Forty Something Parents

The Ins & Outs of Parenting


1 Comment

Home School Art Project – Family Tree From Hand & Foot Print

I’m always trying to come up with new ways to exercise my daughter’s creativity.  Being that she is six years old, she has a lot of input when it comes to our zany creations.  One thing’s for sure — we always have fun coming up with new ideas.

I had been trying to think of a fun art project we could create from my Nixi’s hand and foot prints, but ‘the light bulb’ had continued to elude me.  Finally, last week, the ‘light’ lit-up brightly above my head, and this Hand & Foot Print Family Tree was the result.

Using Nixi’s foot print as the trunk of the tree (which had to be painted, since we had no brown construction paper), we traced and cut enough of her hand prints from green construction/art paper, and labeled each hand (or, should I say ‘leafy tree branch’) with members of our immediate family from both my side and her dad’s side.

One thing I would have done differently — and might still add to the tree leafs later — is to also write the names of Mom, Dad, Bubby, Sissy…Grandma, Grandpa, etc, instead of just their call-names.  It’s really no big deal if you do or don’t add real names to your leafs, because — as in our case — you can always go back and do it later.  These improvisational art projects are pretty flexible that way.

On that note, we were very delighted with the outcome of our family tree creation.  So, however you wish to carry out your process, you’re sure to have oodles of fun with your child…or children, and grand-children, too.  I hope it inspires you to find new and different ways to create family keepsakes with your home schooler.

Thanks for stopping by.  :  )  Please comment and share your ideas and creations?  We can all learn from each other.  Blessings and .V.. (Peace), to you and yours!

*Supplies We Used*

-colored construction paper

-scissors

-Elmer’s school glue

-Crayola washable paints

-white poster board (paper backing for family tree), 11 x 14 inches

-paint brushes (though you can always use your fingers, too)

-pencil for tracing (better than using a pen or marker so you can erase)

VOILA…!!!  Here is our finished result!  We couldn’t be more pleased with our hand and foot print family tree.   If you date your creation, you can always see how big your little one was at any age.  It’ll be a wonderful keepsake-memory…always.

 

 

5-DSCN82302-DSCN82272-DSCN82273-DSCN8228

 

 


Leave a comment

Homeschooling — The Freedom to Learn

As our daughter Nixi began to approach school age, my husband and I figured we’d go the traditional route and enroll her in school.  Until one day, as I sat with my 3 1/2 year-old in the office of her prospective preschool, I realized that it somehow felt all wrong.  The principal came-across as cold and unfeeling, not the least bit warm in her interaction with my child.  It alarmed me to rethink it all.  That was the day we began our journey into homeschooling; casually, without even realizing it at first.

I remember the school calling me up on the phone, questioning me as-to-why I had not sent in my daughter’s enrollment papers.  I quickly told the school administrator that I had decided to keep my daughter home for another year.  I was not sending her to their school.  She clearly did not approve of my decision, but…since it really wasn’t any of her business, I did not succumb to her prying.  It all turned around for us that day, and I started ordering books on homeschooling and un-schooling.  I was intrigued by it all: the idea of keeping our daughter home to learn in a non-traditional way.  I felt passionate about helping my daughter develop a deeper love of learning than most kids are allowed to reach in public schools; though there are exceptions in every case scenario…I must admit.

Two years later, I can’t say it hasn’t been a challenge to do things differently this time around, but I can say…it has been quite an adventure!  Being a late-in-life homeschooling mom is someplace I never thought I would be at this age.  And…I must admit, homeschooling isn’t for everyone.  Even I have my days when I wonder if we are doing the right thing…schooling our 5 year old in a non-traditional way.  I worry she might be lonely at times…for other kids her age.  I worry she might get really sick of my company; me being her constant companion, teacher, mother, friend.

Then I see her with other kids, with other people, and I realize she doesn’t have one ounce of trouble blending into any situation.  She is a very outgoing child.  She makes friends where ever we go.  I watch her just being a kid, while many of the other ‘traditionally educated’ kids stand back and seem almost fearful of being free…being kids.

It’s times like this when I realize the freedom and room to grow…to learn, we are giving her by teaching her in such a relaxed environment.  Because she has developed a love of learning (especially reading) on her own, I feel she will not tire of it as she grows older, and into more difficult curriculum.  She will already have-come to associate learning with freedom and no stress; unlike kids in traditional learning situations.

As a child, I remember liking kindergarten–recess especially–and that’s about it.  I found school terribly confining and boring, stressful and traumatic at other times.  The constant need to fit-in and be accepted was a real drain from my creativity and concentration; my entire ability to learn.  And even though I did finally get through school, I cannot look back on it all and say it was a good experience.  In fact, it was the opposite.

The old saying “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink”, stays constant in my reminder-to-self when I do have my weak moments of doubt.  I remember how, even though I sat in the classroom physically, I was not there mentally.  So the teacher was teaching, but my thoughts were a million miles away…wishing I could be anywhere but there in school.  This is something I never want my daughter to experience: that desperate need to escape, feeling like you are in a prison-of-sorts.  In my  memories of school, from K to 12, that’s exactly what I felt 99% of the time.

Not until college, when I went voluntarily, was I excited about learning.  I cherished each and every moment I spent in my college classroom.  I loved just being a part of the experience that was higher learning.  I finished all my classes with flying colors, my first go-round in community college.  Later in life, when I was already a mom of two, I enrolled again in college.  Just like before, I loved being there.  It was what learning was supposed to be, in my eyes.  I blossomed in so many ways in my efforts towards my AA in English.  Not only did I maintain a 4.0 GPA, but I also ended up serving two years in student government, and contributing to the campus literary magazine.

These memories of ‘learning on purpose’ and loving it, are what keep me trying new…fun ways of teaching my daughter.  –Ways she does not even realize are lessons, because she has fun in her educational efforts.  It is true, kids are like sponges when it comes to learning.  Our little-one loves books, she loves reading, word games, numbers too.  It’s all fun for her; not a chore, an assignment load she cannot bear at such a young age.  I feel that kids are given too much burden when it comes to lessons and homework in the public school system.  It takes the fun out of learning.

As for our preschooler-turned-kindergartener, we hope to keep learning fun for her all through her school-aged years.  We choose to let her remain a child, without all the pressures of fitting-in and growing up too fast.  In an age of too much seriousness, stress, and pressures for children to grow up too soon, I feel Blessed that we can be here to guide our daughter.  I feel so-very fortunate that she can learn…for the love of learning.  After-all, living a full…abundant life (in my opinion) involves remaining forever young and seeing each and every thing around us as a lesson to be learned.  Learning is everywhere we go — the world is our playground.  We just have to be allowed to embrace it with an open mind…and open arms.

 

//


Leave a comment

Baby Turns 5…In a Flash of Light

Seems like just-yesterday, we were welcoming our little Nixi into this world, and now…she’s five years old.  My…how time flies when you’re having fun and chasing a little’n at the ripe ‘young’ age of 46!  :  P  Even though my Nixi leaves me feeling quite exhausted most days, I find it invigorating just-the-same.

Today I found the energy to go for an hour-long walk along the ocean; pushing Baby in her jogger…all the way…for over an hour round-trip.  I should feel drained, but I don’t!  Instead…I feel like I actually accomplished something today.  In fact…this whole week, since Sunday when Baby turned 5, has been a very pleasant…but busy, change to our regular everyday; which I admit has become quite monotonous.

One thing most folks know about me, if they know me at all, is that me and ‘monotony’ do NOT mix.  I long for change…adventures anew, each and every day.  I long to wander this vast globe of opportunity, and see the things many have yet to see.  Still, I am stationary…for now!  I keep telling myself, ‘Your days a-comin’ little lady!  Your days a-comin.’  I look so-very forward to the rest of my life.

Seeing my youngest child growing so fast, my oldest with a child of her own (my only grandchild), and my son in the Army…away and very missed, reminds me I really don’t have all the time in the world.  But for now…I am sharing some pics from her 5th Birthday Party.  I hope it brings a smile to your face, and some joy to your heart.  I know seeing them again, certainly made me smile.  :  ))

Enjoy!!


Leave a comment

Pleasure Pier on Galveston Island — The Good…The Bad…and the Grumpy

*A Day at The Pier with Baby*

Finally…we took the plunge and went to Pleasure Pier here on Galveston Island.  The day had been packed full with early morning shopping at Galveston’s Farmers Market; where I shopped for a client as well as myself.  Then we stopped in at Taco Cabana for a bit of brunch.  That’s when the bad behavior started with Baby.  She suddenly developed a bad attitude…with me!  Not Daddy, but only with me.

Cooling Off Beneath the Water Ride

Cooling Off Beneath the Water Ride

I’m still not sure what I did or didn’t do to make her feel indifferent towards me.  I guess when you’re together every minute of every day, you tend to get on each others’ nerves at times.  Being a homeschooling Mom isn’t so easy!  It takes a LOT out of this forty-something mom.  So…a bit of fun was the solution we figured might cure the problem.  It did…for a little bit (not very long…I might add), then it stared again: the whining, pulling away, not being happy over anything at all that we tried.

Seahorse Carousel at Pleasure Pier

Seahorse Carousel at Pleasure Pier

Perusing Pleasure Pier with Baby

Perusing Pleasure Pier with Baby

That’s when we said “Enough is enough!”   After 2 hours of sweating in 110 index temperatures and too much struggling with our preschooler, not to mention we were forced to pay $3.50 for a bottled water (there are NO WATER FOUNTAINS at PLEASURE PIER), we headed for the exit.  Of course, this didn’t make her any happier, and we heard it all the way to the van.  Instead of going home, we decided to head to East Beach and check out the tide pools that seemed to have flooded the beach the night before.  I had been wanting to get a special sea life shot to submit to a local mag, and we needed to hear the ocean waves and feel the cool breeze of Mother Ocean.  In short– we needed a hug!

Pirate Discovery -- A Bucket O' Clams...and Seashells too.

Pirate Discovery — A Bucket O’ Clams…and Seashells too.

So there we were, at the beach.  Still, Baby was fussy.  I was at my end with her, and Nico was just passing it off as best he could; reading her stories inside the van.  Soon after, it seemed we might have some peace and quiet…at last!  That was until we decided to head for home.  We went around the Seawall until we were well past Pleasure Pier; since she wanted to go back and ride some more.  I was barely getting around by then; with my previous injury still not fully healed.  My knee was feeling a sharp pain going right through it.  I was definitely not up for any more walking!

Riding along in Peniki, the backseat was quiet and the day was much cooler as evening closed in.  It seemed all would be better for the rest of the day.  Then we stopped off at the store for some last-minute grocery items, and much-needed libations.  Lo-and-behold, as soon as Nico got out of the van to go into the store, Baby started screaming to go with him, and he was going to let her too…until he realized he’d need to visit the restroom while inside the store.  So…again begins the tantrum.

For what seemed like an eternity, I waited for him to come out to the van while Nixi cried…screamed…kicked me from her seat (I was sitting in the back with her)…told me to go away…said she was leaving to go with Daddy, you name it, she said it.  I was about to break; or so I felt, when the tears began streaming down my face.  I was completely beat by the day–exhaustion was setting in on so many levels.  Still she cried and screamed at me to stop crying.  I didn’t want to swat her, because it never seems to help much.  So I cried….and cried…and cried some more.

Deciding to call Nico and see what was taking him sooo loooong, he answered to say he was on his way out of the store.  Hurraaaay!  He could see my state when he got out to the van.  He knew I’d reached my limit with the little’n for the day.  Reaching over to show his support, he told me to just take some time for myself when we get home and he’d handle Baby.  I didn’t argue.  In fact, I was too tired to even answer.  I felt quite numb by then.

So, we got home…the fits continued, and he took over, for a little while, but not for long.  It’s funny how Dads, as great as they are, are not always equipped to patiently handle young attitudes.  I was back on the job a very short time later.  I finally got her to talk to me, and it seemed she just wanted what she wanted, and that was that.  Her wristband from Pleasure Pier had been cut off her wrist…by Daddy, and she was completely heart-broken over it.  So…what else is a mom to do?  Tape it back together, and pray for peace.

By day’s end, when Baby finally fell asleep after I struggled with her in the shower, I had a sip or two of wine and fell in; glad the day was over and all was quiet…at last!  Which just goes to show–Life is fun when it’s fun, but we all gotta pay the piper.  My ‘piper’ just happens to be four!

Blessings & .V.. to All


1 Comment

A Pirate Ship Discovery

Image

Okay…so it’s been right under our feet practically the whole time we’ve been islanders — an adorable ‘fit for a fairy tale’ play park village just a few streets over from our little Caravan abode.  Nico set out one day with Baby in tow, pedaling down the road because we had one restless little toddler and Mom (that would be me) needed some much-needed time to herself.

A while later, here he comes down the road, and I could hear Baby protesting in the distance.  She was obviously not too happy about something.  So…he pulls into the driveway, and that’s when he began to tell me about the great play park discovery.  I guess this is what I get for going ‘straight there and straight back home’ when I’m out and about.  :  /

I guess I just couldn’t see the forest for the trees!  ‘Happens to me a lot.  :  )

A Pirate Kid’s Dream Come True!


Leave a comment

Finding Your Inner-Child…Late in Life

 

Who needs the Fountain of Youth when you have a Toddler and a positive attitude!  Feeling young, and staying young, is as easy as remembering your own childhood.  Here’s how I rediscovered my Inner Child…(click on pic or link for more).

Biking at Big Lagoon SRA, near Perdido Key, FL

Biking at Big Lagoon SRA, near Perdido Key, FL

http://voices.yahoo.com/forty-something-years-young-7804120.html?image=1513808&cat=44


1 Comment

The Forever Optimist — A Family Beach Staycation

Image

We moved to the island last year…on a wing and a prayer; hoping we could make it work, blind to the struggles we would face.  Because of many financial hardships and our rather modest (to put it nicely) means, we’ve learned to become quite creative with how we entertain our toddler.  Free family fun is the norm for us; a very simplistic way of island life.  It has made us better people and parents…all-the-more.

Now, with the holidays behind us, we have welcomed our first new year as full-time Islanders.  And because we love the ocean and the beach so…we felt compelled to go shelling at one of our favorite family-friendly spots along the coast.   This particular stretch of Galveston Beach is a place we have come-to-call ‘Nixi’s Pirate Play Park’.  In our opinion, and Baby’s, it is the best little park on the island!  We highly recommend it to any visitor or local.

The first day of this new year might’ve been a bit dreary, but we didn’t mind!  To us, it was a mystical and adventurous family outing of treasure hunting and shelling along the big seashore: so many discoveries we made that day!  It was a time–a memory–of new beginnings and priceless moments that we pray 2014 will bring even more of…to our little tribe.

Blessings & .V.. to you and yours in this New Year…and always!

GVR