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Jennifer's Parenting Journal


Entry 4 ~ February 26, 2012
~ A Deep Breath


Hello all! I apologize for being tardy with this entry. Many things have happened in the last month or so, which all have attributed to me being behind in many areas.

First off, for those of you who have followed my pregnancy journal, you might remember me mentioning something when my father was diagnosed with brain cancer. It was a really tough year for him and his wife. It was really difficult for my older sister and I, too, for we don't live near him and we couldn't help to take care of him like we wanted to. On February 6, my father won that battle with cancer. He is now with his Lord, forever in peace and without pain. The last week of his life was really hard, most of it being in a sleep induced state from anti-hallucinate drugs. It was in December that he was no longer able to read and by the end of January, he wasn't able to speak well either. My father worked in Washington, D.C. For over 30 years, working in the appropriations department as the chief of staff for the sub-comittee. He was a very intelligent man, one who knew our government back and forth, up and down, and one who was very important in many different areas of our country's spending avenues (he helped fund things like NASA, Yellowstone, things to do with Veterans Affairs, the scientific station that is in Antarctica, etc.). Losing his ability to read, speak, concentrate, and other such areas was very difficult for him.

I didn't know how much of an effect he had on Capitol Hill until now. Their church seats about a 1,000 people and for his funeral, it was standing room only! We traveled to Falls Church, VA, where they live, and the children were quite overwhelmed with the whole city thing. They have been to cities such as Green Bay, Minneapolis/St. Paul, and Chicago, but nothing like Washington D.C. We took a tour of the Capitol building, with our tour guide being the second in command security guy. With him as our guide, we were able to go places that other people could not. Such as the "secret train" that senators and congressmen use to get from one building to another in the Capitol Hill area. The children loved it!! If you are interested, you can Google my father's name, Frank Martin Cushing, to read some of the obits that were published about him (my favorite ones are from Capitol Words, one published on February 8 and the other February 15).

Children

With the impromptu trip to VA, our school schedule has been a little bumpy, but we are trying to get back into the swing of things. The approach I'm having with school this year is very eclectic. I am only using a math curriculum that is from 1st - 6th grade. With the other subjects, I'm printing off worksheets and other ideas from online. The two main places that I get my information from is Superteacher Worksheets and Enchantedlearning.com. Both sites cost $20 a year, which I find very reasonable, and the amount of stuff they have on their sites is amazing! We have access to a copy machine that has WIFI capabilities, so I'm saving even more by using that instead of my home printer. I know that many people who homeschool don't really like worksheets, but so far, it's working for us. There are days that I would like a more regimented outline and a set curriculum that is already done for me and I just need to read what they tell me to read, but I also like the flexibility we have with what we are doing now to learn and study what we want. Adam and I take the approach that learning is all the time and that children will learn more through life than they do sitting at a table doing busy work. Of course, things like math and history, reading and writing need to be taught, but if we can learn these things using a subject (such as sea creatures, the rain forest, horses, space, the science behind cooking, etc.), the child is more likely to be interested and to retain the information than if we just put a book and worksheet in front of them. Does that make sense? At any rate, it's working for us for the moment.

We have celebrated two birthdays in the last month or so: Grace's was 1-18 and Maacah's was 2-19 (and yes, I get those dates mixed up all the time!). Grace turned 9 and Maacah turned 11. I can't believe my eldest is 11 already!! We were planning of going to the Mall of America to see the Sea Life aquarium for their joined birthday gifts, but we got home from VA the Wednesday before the planned weekend and after spending 24 hours in the van, no one wanted to travel five hours to the twin cities. So we all decided to go this weekend. I made Grace a quilt for her birthday, of which I have included pictures of (you can read more about it at my blog: The Days Dewings www.dewings.us/blog/). I am also in the process of making Maacah's, which still needs to be quilted and bound. I was on a roll before we left for the funeral and would have had it done on time, but I just can't seem to get back into it. I'm planning on having it finished before we go to Minneapolis/St.Paul this weekend. I have also included a picture of Maacah holding her ice cream cake. I usually make the cakes, but she wanted an ice cream cake instead of a regular one with ice cream on the side.

Misc.

This Friday is our 12th wedding anniversary! It's hard believe that it's been 12 years already!! And yet, in some ways it doesn't seem all that long. Many things have happened in the last 12 years and it makes me excited to see what happens in the next 12!

An idea has been simmering in my brain for awhile about selling some of my wall quilts and other quilted things, by consignment in two of the little shops we have here in town. I'm currently making some samples to take with me when I approach the owners about it. The samples are ones that are ready to sell, if they are interested. I don't want this to be something I need to keep them well stocked with, because I don't have the ability to keep up that pace. That's also the reason I'm keeping things on a small scale, like wall quilts, instead of bed quilts. But it they were to have 4 or 5 different things of mine in their shops, I'm hoping that they will sell. I am including a picture of the first of these "sample" to be done: a Swoon wall quilt.

I think that's about all for now. Talk to you next month!
~ Jennifer

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