Friday, January 26, 2007

3 year old logic, by Caleb

Mama, I wish that our house was made out of ice cream. Oh man, it would be sooo good. And I would eat it with Daddy, because he loves ice cream, like me.

But if you ate the house then you wouldn't have anywhere to live.

I wouldn't eat the house. I would just eat the ice cream.

But if the house was made from ice cream then you would be eating the walls and floors when you ate the ice cream.

No, I would just lick it at night. I wouldn't eat the house. Silly Mama, you were just joking that I would eat the house.

Yea, that must have been what I was doing.

Blah Blah Blah

I have a tendency to say, "blah, blah, blah, blah, blah." 5 times. No more, no less. My children hear me say this rather frequently. For instance, if I am in the laundry room with the washer going, and Christopher is trying to talk to me from the kitchen I just yell, "blah, blah, blah, blah, blah" so he knows I can't hear him. I also use it when I have forgotten something important and Christopher is reminding me of it, as if to say (and completely in jest) - Yea, you thought that was important but what do you know? It earns me a huge grin with TLs (tickle loves) every time. Now, you might be wondering why I needed to give you this back story. Or perhaps you think this IS the story. But you should know me better than that... there must be a better punch line than TLs. There is.

My mom, aka Nana, was over for dinner this past week, and asked me when I was going to, "start school back up again?" I explained a little about our work with delayed academics, and she was satisfied, but curious to know when I might start working with addition and subtraction concepts for the girls. It was a definite moment when what I believed was put to the test - when was I going to deal with those very necessary concepts? But the truths of our conviction also held steady, because we HAVE dealt with those concepts through baking, educational computer games, well even the addition of each new sibling. I explained this to my mom, and even extolled how the girls had taken addition to the natural next level and begun to do multiplication. My mom was excited to hear this (this is your hint to be amazed at how cool my kids are too *wink*), and even tested them with a few simple problems. The girls did very well (although we have not covered multiplication by 0 - so don't test them on that when you come over).

Hannah was especially animated in explaining how any number, times 1 was that number. And somehow this led into a conversation of adding 1 to very large numbers, things like 2067 plus 1. Hannah and Bethany both were becoming very proud of their answers so my mom decided to really push the limit.

"Okay Hannah, what is 465,371 plus 1?"

Hannah didn't even skip a beat.

"Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, 2."

I think that is a MUCH better punch line than TLs. Right?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Your "Official" 2006 Randall Newsletter

I am writing to give each of you a thorough updating in the Randall home, whether you like it or not. I generally enjoy, with great timeliness, musing about the last year in my life. I print it out on cute card stock, with some variation of pine trees and snowflakes, and postmark it in mid-December. Last year I managed to get an e-newsletter out (we were about to have a baby!) but Christopher was rather under impressed, and stated he thought the printed word held more warmth than the computer-screen version. So this year I had every intention of seeing to it that our family's high-flying adventures were put down in red and green, and mailed via Uncle Sam. So I ask you, "Did you receive your Randall Newsletter?" That's what I thought. I would have been surprised if you'd answered, "yes" since I never mailed one. But I digress.

I realized I was losing an opportunity of the very vehicle I use to blabber about my family anyway. Christopher agreed anything was better then nothing *wink* and so here I sit, on January 24th, 2007, at my computer, while my husband and children are at church, and I am tending to an unwell child. Shall we begin?

At the time of last year's newsletter we had not delivered our 5th child, 4th daughter, Mary Ellen Randall. She came to us on December 27th and was a joy from the start. She is now 13mos old and can almost walk. Her heart is captured with music, smiles and bread. She has 7 teeth and is currently working, err screaming, her way to an 8th.

Leah is 2.5 this month and if you want to better understand her whimsical ways just peruse the blogs here. Her vocabulary becomes more detailed almost daily, and her favorite past time is to yell. If you doubt me, please come over for an evening. She will wrap your heart around her pinkie, but she will do it at the absolute limit of your eardrums.

Caleb turned three in June and was sorely put out that he did not get another birthday in December, "like all the girls". His desperate need to be a fireman was replaced this last year with a passion for worker men, i.e. the men who work large construction equipment. We are undergoing a rather substantial overhaul of our area and he gets to daily witness forklifts, back hoes, bulldozers and the like. He was also introduced to "his team" (the A's baseball organization) and flatly refuses to honor his father's LA Angels. Nana bought season tickets and Caleb will be there with his A's hat, shirt, shorts and probably trying to bring in his calendar! I try to encourage Christopher, perhaps it is only a 3 year old thing? He does sleep with his hat, though.

Bethany had her 6th birthday on December 23rd. 6 years old! I can hardly believe it (and don't even get me started on Hannah being 8 - but that is the next paragraph). Our little girl landed smack in the middle of childhood, and I only blinked once. She has met a girl in our homeschool group and made fast friends with someone outside of her sister's influence for the first time. We switched bunk positions and now she gets the top! Her heart for reading is growing and she is a whiz at math, but nothing touches her culinary skills. She loves to help in the kitchen, and will certainly be making delicious meals in just a few short years.

Hannah maintained her spot as eldest by turning 8 on December 30th. Nice of her, huh? LOL But "eldest" is the best way to describe her. She runs a tight ship in our home (sometimes a little too tight) but I could not get by without her. She is incredibly responsible and enjoys helping out very much. Her desire for academics has not stopped and her reading skills are through the roof. It has actually become a point of concern between me and Christopher because finding content appropriate books that are challenging has become a serious endeavor. If you have recommendations please pass them my way (I love series, where you know you have the next 5 books already taken care of! But I would appreciate any suggestions!).

I continue to homeschool and really love the time I get each day with my children. We practice delayed academics, which means right now I focus more on character training, and inter-personal relationship building, rather than the 3 Rs. However, it is truly amazing how much conventional training slips into life when you are willing to answer questions, and take advantage of teaching moments. As a result, both girls are at or above grade level for their respective ages.

Christopher and I are still serving in our local church, First Baptist Church of Monterey. Christopher accepted a second term as Elder and I cheer him on. Along with this commitment Christopher is a Leader for the Cubbies Club in our AWANA program, and occasionally teaches an Adult Sunday School unit for 10-12 weeks. I am involved in our Ladies Bible Study and continue to host the monthly scrapbook get-togethers (we are hard core, going from 6pm to midnight every 3rd Friday of the month. I love it!) We really enjoy our church home, and love our brothers and sisters there like family.

So what else can I tell you? We are all healthy (except Mary, who, as you remember from the beginning of this post is home feeling icky). God has richly blessed our home, and provided for our needs over and above our expectations. We are truly grateful for each of you and the story line you added to our narrative these past 365 days. Thank you for your love, support, encouragement, timely Christmas cards *wink*, and prayers. We think of you often and hope that our paths will continue to cross throughout 2007.

The Randall Family

Christopher, Trisha, Hannah, Bethany, Caleb, Leah & Mary

Monday, January 22, 2007

Phonics, or The Study of How I Learned to Mispronounce Words

I learned to read using a new-at-the-time system called phonics. In theory it was a great advantage to the "see and say" method previously used because it taught readers to evaluate diphthongs, navigate usage rules, and ultimately provide a far superior store of readable words because one was not confined to only the words previously memorized - you could read whatever you could "sound out". At least that was the theory. Now, before I go further, let me assure my adoring public *that's a big wink to my mom, husband, and few militant friends that read my babbling on this thing* that I do use phonics in teaching my own children how to read. It IS a superior method to "see and say", where whole words are memorized and then read in the future by remembering the letter order for that particular word. And there are a myriad of rules for how phonics must work (like the "e" at the end of a word changing the vowel from short to long so we don't pronounce "like" as "lick" or "ate" as "at"). But I don't remember a lot of my pronunciation rules (the 150 that there are - that is only a mild jest) so I am forced to bungle my way through and it is only a matter of time before I come up with some real doozies.

While reading C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia to my children I kept pronouncing the name of a certain constellation in the Narnian sky as Lee-oh-pard (pard rhymes with lard). For instance, "The children gazed upward, remember the Lee-oh-pard from their other adventures and finding vast amounts of comfort in its friendly twinkling." My husband finally said to me, "What is the name of that star again? How do you spell it?" So I spelled it -

l - e - o - p - a - r - d

"Huh, you know Trisha most people pronounce that leh-perd."
Smart alec.

My husband and I read out of the Bible most nights. I read out loud while Christopher listens. We were recently in the book of Numbers which can be very aggravating because of the long lists of names which have NO respect for our phonics rules. For example Numbers chapter 1 verses 5-15 reads, "These are the names of the men who are to assist you: from Reuben, Elizur son of Shedeur; from Simeon, Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai; from Judah, Nahshon son of Amminadab; from Issachar, Nethanel son of Zuar; from Zebulun, Eliab son of Helon; from the sons of Joseph: from Ephraim, Elishama son of Ammihud; from Manasseh, Gamaliel son of Pedahzur; from Benjamin, Abidan son of Gideoni; from Dan, Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai; from Asher, Pagiel son of Ocran; from Gad, Eliasaph son of Deuel; from Naphtali, Ahira son of Enan." Can you imagine being told you had to ask these men to help YOU? Whatever project you needed help with would be done before you ever got their names pronounced. Well, after tackling this fine passage I was feeling rather proud of myself, and my phonetic prowess when I began to read in 2 Chronicles 21:16 about a group of people at war with the Israelites. This is what I said, "...and of the Air-a-bee-inz who are near the Ethiopians." Once again my smarty husband, who is not even looking at the passage, says to me, "You mean Arabians?"

I could continue, but why humiliate myself even more? Suffice it to say, I am Hooct ahn fonicks!

Monday, January 08, 2007

What If...

Questions you might be asked if you own a 3 and a 1/2 year old... (especially mine, who phrases them exactly as you see below)

What if the whole house was covered in napkins?
What if monkeys jumped onto the road? Would they break it?
What if my skin ran off me?
What if I flew into a tree and got stuck?
What if I ate dirt?
What if there was a big split in the sky and clouds came out?
What if the whole road was red?
What if I couldn't go fast enough for the lawn mower to eat me?
What if my pants were dry?
What if I stayed on the couch ALL day?
What if I ate a gorilla man who came and knocked at our door?
What if my hair was so, so, so, so cutted that it was short?
What if I only ever could wear shorts, ever?
What if my arm grew so big it could take up this whole room?
What if, when I am big, I slept in the dirt and worked like worker man?
What if I grew so big that I was bigger than Daddy?
What if I could lift our whole van?
What if I had new shoes that were red?
What if I ate all my food and even then had something red on my plate?
What if Mary cried?
What if I took my Lightning McQueen car and rolled it over our street and it broke the cars?
What if the whole house had pencils on it?

This coming from a boy who recognizes that zoos are for spiders. Why else would we have zoos?