Thursday, May 28, 2009

ready, set, go
{the painting, moving, breathing again post}

Tomorrow is May 29th! Hooray! We went paint shopping yesterday and finalized our plan of attack:

We aren't painting the guest room, mud/laundry room, or downstairs bath right now. They are in great shape, with reasonable colors, therefore we can leave doing something fun with them as projects for me down the road.

We are giving ourselves until June 7th to complete painting the rest of the house. Carpets will be cleaned on the 8th. Furniture delivered on the 10th. Internet & phone off at old house- and Brielle turns 12- on the 12th. Moved completely in to the new house by the 14th. Cable, phone, Internet reconnected on the 15th. Breathe. Begin the fun of making the house our home- and posting all the before and afters here- June 16th and beyond.

Kind of ambitious, but we feel like we built in enough spare time for the things that come up along the way. We'll see. In the meantime, I won't be posting, but I will try to keep my twitter updated.

Before I go, here's a sneak peek at where I'm going with the house...

the paint colors (all Pratt&Lambert)
  • main living area : Pearl White
  • upstairs bath : Briny Deep and White
  • master bedroom: Amory
  • master 1/2 bath : Dependable
  • teen room : Symphony Blue
  • the littles' room : Scent of Semillon

Not the prettiest names- but I'm happy with the palette.

I also have some projects that include Black paint.


I'm loving this pair of pillow covers on Etsy for my new living room, but since I'm only getting half of my sectional now and half at the end of July (the right side and ottoman are out of stock- how does that happen? Did someone order just a left side?!??), I might hold off for a bit.

So, feeling kind of like a high school senior when I say, "I'm outta' here"...

I am.

For now.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

"So, it's like a super grade?!??"

was Shaye's interpretation of the mixed grade level classroom where students will ideally be allowed to work at their own skill level for each subject over this year and next- instead of the kids being split by age and taught the traditional first and second grade curriculum separately- described to us at the meeting with our local public elementary school today. One such class has already started and-according to the principal- is working well. They have invited Shaye to join next Tuesday for the remainder of the year, when we will then decide if she could still be challenged in that setting next year or should just be jumped straight to third- where a "walk to reading, walk to math" program allows children of four grade levels to work at a level better suited for their skills versus their age-appropriate "grade" level. Sounds great in theory, but I must admit, I have a hard time trusting the principal who has made it clear he is 100% against grade-jumping, despite any academic need for it. For any child. He won't even be open-minded to it on an individual basis- the only reason he is even accommodating me now (he happily, and hastily, approved my homeschool petition last Fall rather than find a way to accommodate Shaye) is because I went above his head and brought my story to another principal in the school system, who in turn brought it to the attention of the superintendent. Who immediately was for testing Shaye and moving her anywhere her skills said she could be, rather than lose her for good (to homeschooling or to a private school system). I am willing to try it- and Shaye is excited to go anywhere that says they can teach her new things. I just hope she doesn't learn that sometimes things are not what they are said to be. Holding my breath... because this could be the start of something good for the public school system.

Dare I hope?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

school choice **updated**

is a bunch of hooey. Unless you are choosing to send your child to a public school that may not be able to accommodate your child's ability and desire to learn. But this post isn't a rant about public schools. Or a love letter about homeschooling. Although I do love homeschooling. It's a post about what has become my reality. Trying to find a school where a gifted student can thrive- one that costs wayyyy less than the $18,000 a year one that I really want them to go. Because here's the thing; In staying true to my unschooling theory- to let the girls take the lead- I have come to recognize two very important things: 1) Mackenna is a social butterfly who needs the attention and company of people all of the time and 2) Shaye, in addition to being a gifted student, avid reader, lover of all things math and science, she is a born leader and longs to have peers to lead. She is missing participating in group projects, interest fairs, etc. and is starting to verbalize wanting to go back to a school setting but is adamant that she does not mean her old public school.

I have been researching private schools and have found several non-religious private schools that offer what we are looking for at a price we could never afford and some other schools that fit our budget, offer what we we need but are... Catholic schools. We have narrowed it down to two, and by we I mean me, because the girls' and John have a clear favorite, but it is the one of the two that puts way more emphasis on the the Catholic part of being a Catholic school than I am comfortable with. My husband and I were both raised Catholic. I attended a Catholic school for a time in my life. I was confirmed and married in a Catholic church. I baptized my first two daughters in a Catholic church. But as an adult, I didn't practice "my religion". While I believe in a higher power, I never went to church and I don't agree with a lot of the Catholic positions. I got divorced. Remarried. Had two more daughters that were not baptized (although this still bothers my husband, even though he doesn't practice "his religion" either). I have used birth control, and now my tubes are tied. I support gay rights and am pro-choice. You see my dilemma.

This first choice school is wonderful- offers an amazing academic program, great extra curricular activities, the cutest uniforms ever- at a very reasonable price, BUT also daily religion classes, plus morning and afternoon prayers, with extra prayers thrown in at the teachers' discretion, and the principal stressed on our visit that the girls would be prepared for all upcoming sacraments, and baptism, but them actually receiving them is something we would need to search our souls about. Talk about peer pressure. If we stick to not wanting to choose an organized religion for the girls when they are children, they will surely feel left out. I kind of feel like I have to sell my soul for an affordable, good education for my daughters- even if it is to the right side of purgatory.

What do you think?

**UPDATED 5/20/09** In an interesting turn of events, I have been contacted by the public school system that, despite (or maybe because of) all of my harassing advocating for my daughter for them to meet her accelerated needs for months, this past Fall offered no other options to us than the advice to try homeschooling or find a private school that would offer an individualized study course. It seems now they are open to "possibly testing her" to "see about the possibility of placing her where she is academically rather than by age". Hmmm. We meet with them tomorrow to see what exactly they mean by this vague offering.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

ever since we did this...

all. four. girls.

have been doing even more of this...


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

it was a good day.

Monday, May 11, 2009

what do
the 1830's, play doh & amoxicillin
have in common?

They all played a huge role in our first week unplugged. Last Monday, the littles and I spent a gorgeous Spring day- seriously, the weather couldn't have been more perfect- at Old Sturbridge Village. A local (ish) living museum that invites you in to the daily workings of an 1830's rural Massachusetts village. The girls loved it and absorbed much more information than I thought they would. That was especially evident at the end of the day, when we stopped so that they could "play" in the "play area" (playhouse-sized replicas of the village- complete with dress up clothes and detailed props!). The authentic details of their "play" were amazing to watch, as they acted out a day and night as an 1830's family with another set of children who were already playing when we got there.

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, I progressively felt worse and worse as the girls amused themselves with no less than 24 cans of Play-Doh and a box of toothpicks. Thursday afternoon I caved and went to the doctor's where I was put on amoxicillin for strep throat. The next few days are a blur as I spent most of them sleeping (Thank God it is John's slow season, as he was able- and willing!- to pick up all of the parenting slack). All I know is I awoke Sunday morning to breakfast in bed, an array of thoughtful and fun gifts and the smiling faces of my family. I love my life!

As for us adults? Falling asleep without a TV on was extremely hard for me. Much harder than going completely without a TV was for the girls. That was an eyeopener! We have spent a lot of time alternating between buying things for the new house and lamenting how longggg of a wait it is until we close. :) John and I both started reading ALWAYS LOOKING UP by Michael J. Fox, an interesting read about the past ten years of his life. I have also started researching private schools as a possible option for the littles next Fall- Shaye has been expressing an interest in going back to school, "if they can teach me stuff I don't know". That's a big if in the lower levels of our public school's system. We'll see, for now I'm just looking in to all of our options. And- right this minute- we are headed outside with a 52 count box of Crayola sidewalk chalk.

Monday, May 4, 2009

design challenge:
design a room for two teenage girls

The details:

Must hold 2 twin beds (no existing headboards, but feel free to improvise!)

Must be allergen-friendly (IE: no dust collectors)

The wish list:

More punk than pretty

Incorporate their favorite colors...

Could also incorporate black, hot pink, and/or lime green if so inspired (I was thinking some chalkboard paint might provide some cool "graffiti" (doodling is not a "cool" term) space...)

I was given this image for inspiration...

but was told, in no uncertain terms, that the room could not be too matchy- matchy or "theme".

Any ideas or links?!??

Sunday, May 3, 2009

unpink... unplugged!

Beki offered up this challenge for Spring/Summer `09 - unplug your family for 1 day a week. She says it's harder than it sounds. We are going to try! We chose __________ as our unplugged day and let's just say the girls are less than thrilled to have to commit to a whole day without electronics- which makes me all the more excited for it. For more info or to accept the challenge yourself, click on the link below.
I started this post on March 7 and never finished it. I couldn't figure out which day would be best (IE: easiest) to be unplugged each week. Then we found the house. With the great fenced in backyard. In a lovely lakeside sub-division. With a room downstairs that was destined to be John's "mantown" since it was remodeled by the current owners. He plans on buying a new flat screen TV for that room. I plan on taking the flat screen that is currently in our bedroom and putting it in the upstairs living room. That left us with two TVs- currently in our living room and the girls' "playroom". I was adamant that there would be no televisions in any of the new bedrooms. Enter yesterday's yard sale. Those two TVs? SOLD! So for the next month (give or take a few days...) we are, for all intents and purposes, UNPLUGGED!! Yes, it makes me a little weak in the knees, but it is my hope that with a month of no TV and heading in to such a great new environment to explore and spend time in... the unpink ladies will be unplugged all summer!! I'll keep you updated...

my new favorite song...