The Saddest Moth Fact You’ll Learn Today

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We peeped the antennae of these spectacular little creatures at the edge of our window today and then spent the next hour watching and photographing them.  We had no idea what kind of moths they were at first.

The green one, who is actually about 4-5 inches wide (wider than Joseph’s hand!) is a Luna moth.  We think the one on the right is an Agreeable Tiger Moth. 

Sadly, Luna moths don’t have mouths because they NEVER eat.  They only live long enough to mate.

4 Summer Reading Programs to Prevent “Summer Slide” or Just for Fun

Do you worry about summer slide? According to Reading is Fundamental, “children who do not read over the summer will lose more than two months of reading achievement. Summer reading loss is cumulative. By the end of 6th grade children who lose reading skills over the summer will be 2 years behind their classmates.

We homeschool year-round because we don’t separate “learning” much from our daily life anymore, so we don’t worry about summer slide.  We do, however, change up our schedule about every 6  weeks or so.  Starting now, here are four summer reading challenges we plan to participate in.  The kids love charting their progress and “winning” prizes.  Join us!

 

Joseph, back when he couldn’t read, just listening.

1.  Read any 8 books, record them in a journal you print from their website, bring the journal to a Barnes and Noble store between May 20th and September 2nd, and Barnes and Noble will give you a free book.  Find more information here.

2.  For TD Bank members, they’ll will give K-5th graders $10 if you complete their  form (which you can get here), list 10 books your read, and bring it to a local TD Bank by August 31st.

3.  Kids who read any 8 books from the Pottery Barn Kids recommended list by July 31st will receive a free book at participating retail stores.  Our absolute favorite from their recommendations is What Sisters Do Best/What Brothers Do Best by Laura Numeroff and Lynn Munsinger, which is going for about 1 penny, used, right now on Amazon.  One penny!  We got it when JohnJohn was born and I find us coming back to it over and over because the kids just love flipping it around to read it forward and backward!

4.  Scholastic is trying to set a new world record for summer reading minutes.  Help them by reading and logging minutes between now and September 5th here.  You can win books and other prizes as you go.  Register here.

 

On Running and my Beautiful Daughter

You may remember from some older posts that I am involved in a running challenge this year.  I am running 40K of races for my 4oth year and blogging about it with some friends at Girls Gone 40.

This week it was my turn to write about “why I run”.  I was so touched by the response to the piece.  After hearing from some other parents, I realized that the post belongs here too.  It is as much about being a Mom as it is about being a runner.

Happy Mother’s Day, all!

 

Why I Run

The first time I went for a run just to run, my father was dying of cancer.

Dad had been given 6 months to live and so in those hot, wet, summer months when I lived with him for weeks at a time, I took up running.

Running was simple. I didn’t think about it or plan for it. I had no goal. I certainly didn’t blog about it. I just laced up my sneakers one day, went out into the neighborhood and ran the streets, trying to catch my breath.

I didn’t do anything right. I stared at my feet. I clenched my fists. I held my arms tight up against my body. I didn’t even wear a sports bra on those early runs (I’m sorry, boobies).

But, I did it. I remember thinking, as my lungs burned and my feet ached, “I’m running because I can”.  My Dad couldn’t, that’s for sure.  I didn’t know what a mantra was but I repeated that mile after mile.

And I thought “Shit. This hurts.” Sometimes I cried through entire runs shedding grief and frustration. Those runs gave me big freedom and big choice, even if the choice was choosing pain that I could control.

After my Dad died, I grieved him by training for the Philadelphia Marathon. I needed something to look forward to and I needed time to think.   Why not?

During the marathon, at mile 16, I broke my foot (a stress fracture), but I finished.

I tried to run a half marathon about a year later but my foot still wasn’t right and I re-fractured it (but finished, again).  I fractured my foot a third time and realized I should maybe take a break from running.

Then I had kids. For the past 7+ years, I have been too exhausted and too afraid to run. I have gotten soft. And round.

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I BLAME YOU, BABY!

 

When Rachel suggested running 40K for her 40th year, I jumped on it because I irrationally thought that if I could get over the hump of starting, I’d be the runnergirl I was in my twenties again. I’d run because I could. I wouldn’t have to think about it. I would just do it. We’d do it together. And we’d turn my fear into fun, one race and one margarita at a time. Though never long and lean, in my mind, GirlsGone40 would give me the body and the endorphins of “runnergirl”, with the race bibs to prove it.

That’s a lot to put on running. I know. First I used her to comfort me in the worst loss of my life so far, and now I expect her to help me find my way back to a place I haven’t been in almost a decade!

When I started running again in October (and calorie counting, and trying to change other habits), instead of thinking “I’m running because I can”, I thought “I’m fast and fit and long and lean. I’m fast and fit and long and lean. I’m fast and fit and long and lean!” All I could think about was how I was going to “crush the miles” and get smaller.

Over and over, for the first 4 months of this challenge, even when I wasn’t exercising, it was all I could think about. That mantra, instead of motivating me on the treadmill, became a harsh trill in my ears the rest of the time, reminding me how I was failing because I wasn’t losing weight. I wasn’t getting even one size smaller.

Instead of lifting me up, my relationship with running became complicated. I mostly just felt bad about myself. And really embarrassed that at 39 I care so much about being “thin”.  I’m usually judging the fattists out there for being so judgmental. When did I switch teams?

Rachel was having a hard time getting motivated too and so I thought about letting the blog and the challenge go. In my mind, I had no good reason to run. Weight obsession is a small, small world. And I wanted to get back to my big, rich life. It was still pretty painful getting back into shape and the mental baggage was messing with my head.

Then Molly, my 7-year-old daughter, one day, asked to run the rest of my races with me, telling me her “goal was to run 20K before she turned 8”. How could I say no to that?

Molly doesn’t care about weight loss. She doesn’t care about being “fit.” She has no desire to change habits. Luckily, she has no losses to grieve. She does not care how long it takes her to run a mile or if she walks when she needs a break.

Molly runs for one reason: She just wants to be with me.

We’ve run three races together so far, a 5K, a 5-miler, and 4-miler.  Mother’s Day will be our fourth race.

When we are out there together on the course, or running laps around my house, Molly laughs. Sometimes she skips.  Or hops.  Or leaps.  And she chats about her dreams from last night. She imagines us winning our next race. She designs t-shirts to go with our matching running skirts. She plans entire meals to eat when we are finished. She chants quietly “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.” Sometimes she switches it to “I am awesome. I am awesome. I awesome.”  In our last race two women overheard her and joined in.

Molly’s made running simple for me again.  It’s not about the miles.  Or the minutes.  Or the calories.  Or being fit.   Or whatever ridiculous expectations I started GG40 with.  I run because I can.

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#1 Running Partner

Behold: the two absolutely worst arguments against homeschooling

That’s not my title.  And it’s not really my post.  It is Matt Walsh’s. I am re-blogging it because he wrote it way better than I ever could.

In his post Mr. Walsh responds to one of his readers on whether we should keep our kids in public school in order to help “the system” and whether 2) homeschooled kids aren’t properly socialized.

Not only are they two of the worst arguments against homeschooling, they are the two I hear the most.  I don’t agree with him on everything, but I laughed out loud when he wrote “I give you this: with the exception of about 14 thousand other times, this is the first time I’ve ever heard this argument.”  It’s true!

Check it out here :  Behold: the two absolutely worst arguments against homeschooling.

An Afternoon in Manhattan

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This gallery contains 11 photos.

  Joe had off last week and we decided to take a last minute trip to New York City.  Freedom to travel is one of my favorite benefits of homeschooling. After visiting family, we spent an afternoon in Manhattan.  I’ve … Continue reading

Passing Notes in Homeschool

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“Joseph needs to come back in 10 min”

When I passed notes in school they were usually along the lines of

“Dear Clancy, Put an X in the pink box if you like me.

Put an X in the purple sparkly box if you like, like me.”

They were also folded into tiny squares and passed furtively in books or under shoes.

 

So, I really cracked when Joseph handed me this note from Molly.

She needed time to set up her “Monster Shop.”  She knows he couldn’t read it.  She had him march it over to me and hand it to me.  Then I kept him busy for 10 minutes.

The Firefly and the Castle Crewmember

Last week the kids participated in a full week at school auditioning and practicing for, and performing in their first school play.  Here’s Molly as part of the castle crew and Joseph as a firefly in The Princess and The Pea:

 

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Arts education matters.  If I could watch my kids work this hard, learn so much, and have so much fun – – especially if they dressed as fireflies with day-glo bellies – – I’d probably send them to school more often!