Archive for June, 2006

The Big Declutter: Day 1

June 27, 2006 @ 10:28 am | Filed under:

The Charlotte Mason curriculum post (part 4 in the series) is coming soon. First up, though, is tomorrow’s Carnival of Education, a collection of education-related posts by teachers, parents, and commentators all over the blogosphere.

Also in the works here at the Lilting House: a comparison of day planners and calendars. Since many of us use planners based on the academic year, it’s just about time to start shopping for a new one. I’ll be reviewing the MomAgenda, the Catholic Woman’s Daily Planner, Franklin Covey, and more; if you’d like to chime in about your favorite organizational tools, drop me a note!

Closetday1Meanwhile: it’s Day Two of our Month of Motivation. This is the closet I tackled yesterday. I have no impressive after photo for you yet, but the kids and I made a lot of headway. We now know what is in some of those boxes. Hey, there’s the shoe I’ve been looking for for four and a half years!

Jenny at Big Slice is making progress too, with a week’s worth of simple menu plans. I think I want to eat dinner at her house on Thursday.

George in Orange?

June 27, 2006 @ 6:11 am | Filed under:

Jane heard from a friend that dollar bills were going to be printed in orange from now on. I didn’t think that sounded correct, so I suggested we look it u—

Look it up?” snorted Scott. Jane guffawed. Oh, sure, they mock me, but they love me.

Well, we did look it up (so there) and here’s what we found. As I thought, there are no plans in the works for orange smackeroos, but the U. S. Treasury’s Bureau of Engraving and Printing website offers a nifty interactive tour of the new and improved tens, twenties, and fifties.

Carnival of Education

June 26, 2006 @ 11:49 am | Filed under:

I’ll be hosting this week’s Carnival of Education over at The Lilting House. Submissions are due tomorrow evening, dinnertimish. Email them to me at thebonnyglen (at) gmail (dot) com.

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Wiki Wiki Homeschooling

June 26, 2006 @ 8:10 am | Filed under:

Have you paid a visit to the KnowHomeschooling wiki yet? A wiki is a website where anyone, including you, can contribute or edit content on the topic in question. The best way to get a grip on what it is exactly is to go explore.

There’s a section on homeschooling blogs—is yours there? If not, Scott Somerville has posted instructions for how to add it. founder Jill has asked me to help spread the word to unschoolers in particular—she’d love your help in adding to the unschooling and day in the unschooling life sections. And I noticed that one has yet written pages for Latin-Centered or Charlotte Mason education. Click here to find out how to add or edit a page.

And get this—anyone who adds or edits content on the site can enter a drawing for $500! Five hundred dollars! I think I’m having palpitations.

The 48-Hour Book Challenge Recap

June 26, 2006 @ 5:19 am | Filed under:

I didn’t participate in Mother Reader’s very cool read-and-review-as-many-books-as-you-possibly-can-without-going-blind internet mass-read extravaganza. I know my limits. Once so proud of my ability to devour a book or four a week, I have meekly accepted the new reality: I am now a slow reader. It’s a time-and-tired thing. If I go to bed early just so I can read, I’m asleep before the chapter ends. Scott laughs when the book falls on my face. Sometimes this wakes me up enough to read another paragraph. Once the book fell on the baby’s face. She didn’t seem to notice, but it made me realize I need to rethink this whole reading in bed thing.

Fortunately, a lot of other bloggers have more stamina. Mother Reader gives a thorough recap of the competition here. And look!

“The winner of the 48 Hour Book Challenge is Midwestern Lodestar! This dark horse librarian by training read an amazing fourteen books with a total of 3155 pages! She read and blogged for about 26 of the 48 hours. What an introduction to the kidlitosphere!”

Did you catch it? It’s a real word now! Kathryn Judson (whose blog I quite enjoy) sent me a note the other day asking if I’d Googled “kidlitosphere” lately—she’s right! Just look at all those hits! ::sniff:: They grow up so fast…

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I Must Say it a Lot

June 26, 2006 @ 3:59 am | Filed under:

Beanie: “Mommy, what’s stronger—a tiger or a lion?”

Me: “Tiger, I think. Let’s look it up!”

Beanie, laughing like I am just so cute: “I knew you’d say that.”


“What if you had to look up how to look things up?”

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Join Us for a Month of Motivation

June 25, 2006 @ 11:08 am | Filed under:

Jenny over at Big Slice of Life, Small Slice of Cheesecake is launching a project called Month of Motivation. Jenny’s goal: to lose ten pounds before the BlogHer conference. Stop by her blog and cheer her on!

Jenny is inviting others to join her in spending the next thirty days (starting Monday, June 26th) working toward a goal in daily increments. I’m game. What I need motivation for: a grand household decluttering. Closets, dressers, bookshelves, the works. Jenny’s right in understanding that publically announcing a project like this can help keep you committed to the work. If my enthusiasm flags, you’ll all know it. Eek.

I think what I’ll try to do for this thirty days is post a picture every day of any boxes or bags of Stuff I’ve managed to part with. I’ll make a sidebar photo album for the purpose. Ooh, just thinking about this makes me shudder. No, really, I can do it. I’ll do the FlyLady thing and set a timer for 15 or 20 minutes of decluttering every day. Starting tomorrow, because today is a day of rest.

How about you? Care to join us? Got a project you need to undertake? Or maybe it’s your goal to read poetry every day, or to make weekly menus and follow them, or to pray a daily rosary, or to listen to a particular symphony until you know every note. Leave a comment here or on Jenny’s blog with your goal for the Month of Motivation. We can all egg each other on.

Thanks for the Traffic

June 25, 2006 @ 8:15 am | Filed under:

Darren Rowse of Problogger has a very good point.

“My Mum always taught me to say thank you,” he says, “so I thought it was time I did by thanking some of the sites that have sent me traffic.” And he invites the rest of us to follow suit. “Perhaps we should make this a semi regular event of acknowledging the places that keep our blogs going by providing readers.

Darren is right. Without readers, we bloggers are talking to ourselves. I do appreciate the traffic y’all send my way. Really, one of my favorite things about blogs and blogging is the sharing. Look! I found this fantastic book/website/quote/article! Check it out! What do you think?

There’s a reason Show and Tell was everyone’s favorite thing about kindergarten. It’s as much fun to watch and listen as it is to show and tell. So: here’s my great big thanks to all of you out there who are showing and telling such interesting, inspiring, and thought-provoking things; and thanks to the folks who have linked here when it’s my turn to Show and Tell.

Here’s a special shout-out to my top twelve referrers from recent months:

Karen Edmisten
Farm School
The Llamabutchers
Danielle Bean
Chicken Spaghetti
Big A little a
A Chair, a Fireplace, and a Tea Cozy
Spunky Homeschool
Real Learning
The Common Room
Jen Robinson’s Books Page
Suitable for Mixed Company

I also get a lot of traffic from the folks on the Real Learning Webring, especially Bruggie Tales, Castle of the Immaculate, Cajun Cottage, By Sun and Candlelight, and, of course, my virtual home away from home, Cottage Blessings. Thanks, all of you!

Get Up and Go (With Video! Woohoo!)

June 24, 2006 @ 11:22 am | Filed under: ,

Wonderboy is a bit of an enigma. So far I have counted six specialists who’ve used some version of the phrase, "We’ve never seen another kid quite like him." Neurosurgeon, surgeon, neurologist, physical therapist, developmental pediatrician, and general practitioner. Possibly two general practitioners. We have come to accept that there is no name or label for what sets our boy apart, no previously mapped-out territory. He is truly, completely, uniquely one of a kind.

His physical abnormalities—and that is not a word that bothers me; "normal" refers simply to qualities shared by the majority of people, and there can be no denying that there are many things about Wonderboy that are NOT like most people—his abnormalities are not genetic. His chromosomes, the geneticists tell us, are normal. No extras, none missing, not even any little pieces of a chromosome missing: the big fancy tests they ran confirmed this.

No, in his case, it seems something went slightly awry during the first few weeks he was developing in utero. All of his physical abnormalities are what’s called "midline issues." Run a line down the middle of his body and you’re pointing at the places where he isn’t put together like your average Joe. Skull, brain, inner ear, heart, abdomen, tail. Um, yes, tail. He was born with an unusually long and protruding tailbone. It stuck out beyond the end of his bottom a little, a hard little bump that made it painful for him to sit on hard surfaces. Last summer it had to be surgically removed to prevent the skin over the coccyx from breaking down and getting infected. It took us months to get used to not seeing it when we changed his diaper. But he can sit comfortably now, and that’s a great thing.

He has very high muscle tone, a neurological issue that made it hard for him to stretch out his arms and legs to their full range when he was a baby. He started physical therapy at five months of age, and after hours and hours of stretching and exercising and basically sort of kneading him like Silly Putty (um, really stiff inelastic Silly Putty that doesn’t have any of the pliable properties that pretty much defines Silly Putty, so that’s a stupid simile to have chosen, but there you go), he has gradually gained the flexibility necessary for things like walking. He walks! Really really well! Time was, we weren’t sure that was a given. Now here he is two and a half, trying to run.

But. One of the most "we’ve never seen anything like this" things about Wonderboy is that he has these  bizarre gaps in his development. I guess he didn’t get his copy of "What to Expect the First Two Years" in the womb so he doesn’t know in what order things are supposed to happen. Case in point: he’s been walking for over a year, but he couldn’t stand up until last month. If he was lying down, he couldn’t get up into a sit, a crawl, or a stand. Sitting? Couldn’t get onto his feet. Or hands and knees. Could only just sit there.

You could pick him up and set him on his feet and he’d take off like a little wind-up toy. But if he was just lying on the bed or the floor, he was stuck there. And for a kid who can’t hear well, who relies on visual contact for communication and happiness, being stuck was scary. So he never sat down. All day long. Except when one of us would get on the floor with him to play or do PT, he just trucked around on those knobby little legs of his.

And then, last month, the miracle happened. He—just—did—it. All the months of physical therapy paid off, all the hours we’ve spent, the big sprawling bunch of us, taking turns having floor time with him, making up games that stretched his tight muscles and worked some strength into those bony little arms.

This unbelievable victory occurred about three days after a PT session. We couldn’t wait to show his physical therapist, the wonderful Molly. But it happened that for one reason and another, it was over a month before we had another session with Molly. By then Wonderboy had spent hours practicing his new skill with immense delight and to much applause from admiring sisters. He spent a couple of weeks with his forehead carpet-burned from using it to balance as he maneuvered himself to his feet. Let me tell you, this getting-up business is HARD WORK. I bet you take it for granted. I know I did. Watching Wonderboy struggle, I have realized it requires an astonishing amount of muscular finesse and strength. Now I feel like a powerhouse every time I stand up from my chair. Did you see that! Dozens of muscles working in sophisticated interplay, and I didn’t even break a sweat!

So by the time Molly got here last week, Wonderboy was primed. Scott put him on his belly on the floor, and the boy GOT RIGHT UP. Okay, it still takes him about thirty seconds and some forehead-scraping. But he can do it. Every time. Molly was blown away.

And then she blew us away, because after watching the boy demonstrate his fabulous new skill some fifteen or twenty times, she announced that Her Work Here Was Finished. For now, at least. To our surprise and joy, Wonderboy has graduated from physical therapy. You may commence the trumpet fanfare because this is HUGE news.

He may need PT again someday to help develop other motor skills. But for now—and with this boy, NOW is where we are, day by day, moment by gorgeous, miraculous moment—for now he doesn’t need the extra help.

And that is a really big deal.

Jane caught him on tape this morning, getting up onto his feet. It’s our little thirty second tribute to the marvels of Early Intervention, and our big giant thank you to Molly.

Click to watch the video. (Sorry, folks, I didn’t realize it was auto-loading for some of you! Thanks for the heads-up, Daryl.)

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