Saturday, April 11, 2009


I'm still alive.

My knee still hurts, but I'm braving the mountain of laundry today and sewing Easter baskets in between loads . . . and hopefully finishing Easter gifts by tonight! I'm such a procrastinator about this little stuff.

Pictures to come!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Down for the Count

And I was so good today. I caught up on laundry in between students (which is a big deal since Wednesday is my full day in the studio), got everything vacuumed, sorted out summer clothes for the boys . . .

All I had to do was put away all that folded laundry (which was all sorted out into piles on my bed), but I thought I'd get the boys into bed first so I could put away laundry and watch American Idol at the same time- I'd be all efficient and stuff. I had changed Ezra into his pajama and was helping Ender when Ezra climbed up onto the rocking chair and promptly jumped off. All 28 pounds, straight onto my kneecap.

So, um, I may have cried a little, which kind of scared Ender, but I think he's okay- I don't think I've ever been hurt in front of him before. Ezra rubbed my cheek and patted me- it was so sweet. I couldn't move my leg at all, and my husband was still at work (45 minutes away, no less!) so one quick call and my parents came. Ender was so brave about going to the door to unlock it and let them in, even though the hallway was dark, and he went to get the "boo-boo pack" for my knee. What a sweetie!

I imagine it will be pretty ugly in the morning- it's not so good right now. I'm not trying out any walking until tomorrow, but Brian is home to work on term papers, so he'll be here if I'm useless. I still have to teach tomorrow since it's the week before the recital. I'll just try to keep it propped up and stay sitting, which is harder than it sounds.

And the truly disappointing part? I'm supposed to go see a new fabric shop on Friday that is next to a new-to-me awesome yarn shop with my mom and my sister- I have to be able to walk by Friday morning!

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Pink Series and Cotton Balls

Ender is working on the pink series right now. Last fall when he first brought this up he already knew all the sounds for the letters so we worked on listening for beginning and ending sounds, then talked about sounding out words. He worked at that for a few weeks then lost interest, choosing to go back to spelling with the moveable alphabet using pictures and words in the pink series.

Now that he has worked through the spelling obsession and wants to actually read, we went back to using the pink cards in conjunction with Explode The Code 1. I printed and laminated the cards found here. I'll state right here that this is not a 100% Montessori way to teach reading- I also particularly like the way Elizabeth Foss talks about teaching reading in her book Real Learning, which is very Charlotte Mason.

Ender has a word box that holds 10 of the pink series cards and a few extra words- Mama, Daddy, Ezra, Nana, Pop, Grandma, and Papa. Those are the important people in his life, and those are the words he asks to spell again and again. Ender brings the word box to me when he wants to work on reading and he tells me how many words he'd like to read that day. Usually he'll choose 3-5, occasionally more. He has 10 words in his word box so far, and he cycles through them at his own pace. When I've observed that he's ready for more words I've added two to his box. For the words he's not as familiar with he's able to sound out the short vowel words in his head and then say the word. For familiar words he often has to look at them for just a second or two before telling me what it is. This week I'm adding 1 rhyming word for each of the 10 words that are in his box and we'll stay on those until he's ready for more.

Now for the cotton balls:

This is Montessori on the cheap. The wood bowl came from Target on clearance for $1 (I bought 2 for Montessori work), the board is from the game Mancala. I played that game all the time as a kid, so when I found one on sale for $3 at Target back in December I grabbed it! Ezra isn't old enough to use the marbles that come with the Mancala game, but cotton balls have been a fun replacement. He's very into texture right now so the cotton balls keep his fingers interested. For now I've presented this to him as a one-to-one correspondence work. In a week or two I'll re-pesent it with a spoon, and then later with tongs. Ezra hasn't used tongs yet because I'm not sure he has the patience for it  quite yet. However, he has surprised me with his persistence on recent work so he may be ready in another few weeks.

Another use for the cotton balls? Blow them across the table! We've been talking a lot about wind lately with all the spring storms we're having here. We had a great time blowing cotton balls across the table. It took Ezra awhile to figure out how hard he had to blow to get the cotton ball to move, and Ender figured out quickly that he could control the direction of the cotton ball by blowing from different angles and with different amounts of air. I never would have thought we could spend 30 minutes blowing on cotton balls!


1. I drank way too much coffee, but I only had 5 hours of sleep, so  that justified the over-indulgence in my mind.

2. Because of said sleeplessness, we did *nothing* yesterday morning- no laundry, no school- nothing but meeting immediate needs until we finally HAD to get dressed so that I could work and the boys could have an afternoon with their grandmother.

3. I realized yesterday just how much Ender has changed in the last few weeks. He's starting to look like a 4 year old, even though his birthday is 6 months away. His 3T pants are just a tad too short, he's outgrown his tennis shoes, and he's passed on a few of  his old favorite toys to his brother. He's certainly growing up.

4. When Ender came downstairs yesterday morning Ezra practically mugged him. That's the scene every morning- Ezra is up around 6 and Ender often doesn't wake until after 8. Ezra cannot wait until his brother comes downstairs each morning. Ender doesn't wake easily (wonder where he gets that from?) so he hangs out on the couch for the first half hour or so in the mornings. Yesterday Ezra very gently climbed onto the couch with him, scooted as close as physically possible and laid his head on Ender's shoulder. Above everyone else Ezra loves his bubba.

5. Lesson learned yesterday: black sharpie is a lot easier to remove from white piano keys than it is to remove from a certain toddler. His belly will be covered in black scribbles for at least a week.
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