Fiona at 12 Months

Just a little random info about our sweetie at one year…

Photo by Anna Bayer

Miss Fiona turned one on October 10.

She is standing, saying a few real words (such as dada, mama, bye-bye and cat, though they don’t sound much like those words!) and saying a whole lot of her Fiona language (“wizzibat? hubba-zibBA.  izbot!”).

She does this super fast sort of crawl like a wounded crab rather than walking yet.

She likes to clap hands, dance, look at cute animal pictures and watch the “a duck walks into a lemonade stand” video again and again.

She also loves to do her upside down trick.  Daddy says, “Ready?” and she tucks her head under on his belly and then he flips her upside down and flips her back.  She grins and looks quite pleased and wants to do it again and again.

She adores her siblings.  They adore her.  Alex would take a bullet for her.  The sun rises and sets by his baby sister as far as he’s concerned.  He repeatedly bashes himself in the head with things just to make her giggle.  🙂  Jack is a really good babysitter too, and she and Victoria are best buddies these days.  Anna was my #1 babysitter all during her infancy and now she’s bonding more with the others so Anna is taking the back seat for a bit.

Photo by Toria Bayer

She’s got about six teeth now, with lots more trying to poke through.  She’s still nursing and sleeping with us.  Her favorite foods are guacamole, homemade refried black beans, rice and anything her daddy shares.  She’s also already a fan of spicy foods and sour foods.  That’s my girl.

She’s fascinated by how things work and she’s got some impressive motor skills.  She meticulously puts one thing into another, connects parts and figures out how things work together.

She’s also no wallflower.  She is quite confident in letting the world know what she needs, what she thinks, and what it ought to do for her.  🙂

She understands a lot, and is fearless and funny.  The other day we were in a waiting room with a stone wall and she was crawling and standing right next to the large rocks in it.  Daryl told her, “Be careful or you’ll bang your head” and she looked at him and then very gently got up and banged her head on the rock.  Silly girl!  I’m not sure if she just heard “bang your head” and thought it was a command or if she was being obstinate, but it was quite funny and made the little old lady in the waiting room outright scowl and us outright laugh!  I loved how she did it ever so softly and slowly though, that at 12 months old she knew that she would have to barely touch the rock with her head or it would hurt.  Smart little chickie.

She has a delightful giggle, and she uses it often.  She’s happy, loved, loving, smart, fun, funny, quirky and beautiful.

endgush.  🙂


Shacking Up with Amazon

Finances are tight here and I signed up for the affiliate program with Amazon, where I get a small cut if people buy products I link to (or anything else, once they enter through my link).

If you shop on Amazon and don’t already enter through someone else’s links, I’d certainly appreciate if you’d click on my link to do your shopping.  🙂  It won’t change anything on your end but it’ll help us buy more books and groceries (probably in that order).

I tried to put a widget on the blog but I’ve given up.  Every time I paste the code and click save, the dashboard either converts it to another code or deletes it completely.  I am apparently far less clever than a widget generator.  Andrea?  Help?

And now I’m off to accomplish roughly 150 things in the amount of time I can accomplish 20, and to NOT waste time going down rabbit holes on the internet.

Five Good Reads (and one bad joke)

Happy Thursday!  We woke today to find some of that pretty white stuff all over.  I’m not sure I’m ready for winter but at least it waited until after September.

On the agenda today:

  • Have Victoria take her online CAT.
  • Do algebra with Victoria.
  • Start poetry lessons with Anna.
  • Have the boys do math on Dreambox.
  • Play in the snow.
  • Watch the crash courses on world history and biology with the three “big” kids.  We love these!
  • Read aloud to lots of children from lots of things.
  • Clean, do laundry, cook, repeat.
  • Find time to write at least one or two articles.
  • Throw educational things at Anna.
  • Make gluten free cupcakes with the kids and decorate them with ridiculous amounts of colorful sprinkles.  Those who know me know that I’m generally a health food tyrant, so this is big.  🙂

Here’s five interesting things I thought I’d pass on from elsewhere….

  1. Arts education (specifically painting) dramatically improved kids’ performances in math and reading. I really wish we could all just embrace art for the many fabulous things art does for kids (emotional outlet, creativity, beauty, expression, fun…) but if it takes math scores to convince administrators that children should be allowed to create then I’ll still take it.  Click here for the article on Yahoo.
  2. Looking for great high school biology courses? I love this post on LaPaz Home Learning about biology! Cell and Molecular Biology for high school. I am intimidated by the sounds of it but would love to try it with my girls.  I’m also floored by this full biology curriculum by Quarks and Quirks but I know it’s out of my league for doing on my own.  🙂
  3. I shared a bunch of cool links recently on A Magical Homeschool on Facebook. Check the page for pictures and info about solar flares, the winners for the best micro pictures of the years (amazing stuff), make your own bubble pages and more.
  4. I’ve started a series on gifted children on my national AP column. So far there is Attachment parenting your gifted child and How to know if your child is gifted — and why it matters.  If you’re up for some more great reads on gifted kids, Is it a Cheetah? is a wonderful article about how GT kids can appear in the wrong settings (such as schools that don’t support them) and this is a wonderful article about gifted teens and existential dread.  If you have a gifted teen and have not read up on that subject, I highly recommend it before your world goes several shakes of upside down.  I also recently started a yahoo list for parents of gifted teens.  If you’re in that boat and want an invite, let me know.
  5. Lastly, here’s a roundup of a few of my recent homeschooling articles: Minnesota makes free online learning illegal and then Minnesota reverses decision on free education ban and for some fun social studies projects, check out Fabulous projects to get kids hooked on social studies (Star Trek history lessons and such!) and 10 Signs you’re doing something right as a homeschooler. There’s also Coursera offers hundreds of the world’s best college courses free and Free 52-week Western history video course offered online for some pretty fabulous freebies.

I started this entry this morning. Since then, I’ve had my computer crash, did algebra, made lunch, started laundry and a few dozen other things, and now I’m finally finishing it. At least it’s still Thursday!

And okay, that’s way more than five reads, but it’s sort of grouped into five categories!  😉

As promised, though, one really bad joke to finish off…

    A farmer wants to know how many sheep he has in his field, so he asks his border collie to count them.

    The dog runs into the field, counts them and runs back to the farmer.

    The farmer says, “How many?”

    The dog says, “40.”

    The farmer is surprised and says, “How can there be 40 – I only bought 38!”  

    The dog says, “I rounded them up.”


    On Writing in Books

    “Writing notes in the margins of books is fine if it’s done neatly and beautifully–books should be handled with respect. Numbers, letters and underlining can be used to help spot points and to save the needless work of writing out notes. Let the student write out a half dozen questions about the passage studied. He doesn’t even need to write out the answers if he understands that the mind can only truly know whatever it can rephrase as an answer to a question that it asks itself.” ~Charlotte Mason

    I thought this was food for thought.  I know that I am helped immensely by highlighting, underlying and writing in my books.  I think that my book-loving Victoria would be horrified at the thought, though!

    Do your kids write in their books?  Do you find that it helps?  What helps your kids retain what they read?



    Growing Pains

    This blog is nearly five years old.

    When I started it, Alex was a baby.  I had four children — two boys and two girls.  My oldest child was nine years old.

    I wrote just about every day back then.  I had no columns on Examiner.  I had no teens or even tweens.  I was still full of that crazy energy that new homeschoolers have, even though I’d been at it for quite a few years.

    What a lot has changed in five years!

    I’m now juggling four columns, two blogs, five kids and just about every level of homeschooling (high school, middle school, elementary school, kindergarten and toddler!).  We’re gluten free.  We still cook from scratch and garden, preserve and learn homesteading skills.  Oh yes, and I know have three Facebook pages (A Magical Childhood, A Magical Homeschool and All Natural Families).

    I keep meaning to get back to writing regularly here. Daily would be lovely but at least weekly!  I love the people I connect with here, and logging our days in this quiet little corner of the universe.

    I’m still figuring out what the modern version of Magic and Mayhem will be.  I am committed to being here, whether that’s practical or not.  I’m a talker and a writer and I love to connect with other neat homeschool moms out there.

    I just have to figure out how to balance that with everything else!

    Perhaps I’ll let go of perfectionism.  No need for a color photo for every post.  No need to hyperlink to take you to everything I casually mention (oops, already failed that one).  Shorter posts.  More rambling.  😉

    Anyway, this is my new commitment. When I was a struggling poet, trying to get my poems out into the world, I committed to at least free writing every day.  Even if it was for fifteen minutes, I sat at the computer and created.  I’m making the same commitment now.  For here and Magical Childhood, I mean to find a way to make it happen — if not every day then at least very regularly.

    We have to make time for things that matter to us outside of work and outside of family.  This is one of those things I’m going to make time for.

    That, wine, and chocolate.  😉  And reading.  And phone calls with friends.  And exercise.  And more time in nature.  And baking………