Thursday, April 11, 2013

Blustery Days

I woke up to the sound of the wind whooshing around the house and rain spattering on the windows.  Ahhh, spring in the northwest.

Rain on the schoolroom window.

Gunnar and I have been faithfully getting out walking most days, and boy-oh-boy it was good to get out of the house and clear my head today.  Even better - the sun peeked out for a bit.

The backyard, sans trampoline (yay!) and briefly sunny.

Don't be overly optimistic by the amount of blue sky you see there.
It lasted about ten minutes.

In the neighbor's yard - some kind of forget-me-not?

What is it about BOYS???  Just when I think they're on track they'll do something that makes me consider beating my head against the wall.

We've been having some blustery days inside the house, as well as out.

Japanese knotweed a neighbor is NOT controlling.  Ugh.
Spreads to our yard.  Double ugh.

Specifically, Wyatt, who is struggling with organization in one of his classes.  Frankly, I think the teacher has the same struggle, and his haphazard method of assigning and collecting work is exacerbating Wyatt's issues.  

Gunnar started calling this "caterpillar plant" when he was little.
I'm tempted to dig up a start - it's in the alley.

And then there's the distraction factor, related to "classroom management" (ie making kids behave).  Wyatt has been complaining from the first week that other students are talking in class, texting, and gaming on their phones, under their desks, making it difficult for him to concentrate.  Then the kids are supposed to work together on classwork, and the ding-dongs pester the kids who were attentive, to help them with their work.  Sheesh.

Which kind of reminds me of this... 

... but I digress.

A tulip tree, at least that's what we call it.
It's a kind of magnolia.

So Wyatt needs to work on his part of the equation, but I'm hoping the teacher can make some adjustments as well.  (Meeting with him and the school counselor on Tuesday.)

We're watching a house go up.

And - NO - I'm not blaming the teacher for Wyatt's failings.  He needs to raise his game.  

Gunnar noticed the water dripping across the  window space,
and the light flickering on the wall inside -
sun reflecting off a puddle on the floor.

But when he's getting straight As in his other classes, and even getting As and Bs on his tests (in the class in question), you can see why I want to get to the bottom of why he's getting Ds (and even Fs) on assignments from this class.

A camellia peeking out.

But then today his math teacher (a different class) pulled him aside to encourage and challenge him.  He's doing so well in algebra that the teacher suggested that he double up on second year algebra and geometry next year.

Another neighbor's tulip tree.

Alrighty then.

I know European starlings are invasive and a nuisance,
but we like them anyway.

Meanwhile, on the homefront, he and Tate decided to torment Gunanr by poking holes in some of the pictures on his bulletin board that were very special to him.  Gunnar was in tears.  I fined them both five dollars (payable to Gunnar) for destroying his property.  And when they went upstairs to get the money (and I'm skipping over the ridiculous and agonizing several minutes of arguing with me about it) they decided to poke more holes.  And got fined again.

Gunnar's friend was waiting for a treat.

And on top of that, Wyatt has been getting behind on his homeschool work, and been deceptive about it, to me.  So he is on house arrest and is reduced to working from a hyper-detailed checklist.  Meaning, he comes home from school in the morning and goes straight to his room and starts working his way down the list.  Until I sign off each and every item he stays in his room working, except for meals, bathroom breaks, and a 15-20 minute ride-your-bike-around-the-neighborhood break, mid-afternoon.

Mm, mm, mmm... skunk cabbage.

Then, to put the icing on the cake, he neglected one of the items on the list yesterday, which was to leave the desk clean.  Tate uses it in the morning (while Wyatt is at school) and Wyatt uses it in the afternoon, and typically leaves his stuff cluttering it up.  Not fair to Tate.  So I put it on his list, to remind him to be considerate.

Licorice ferns, growing in the moss on a maple.
The rhizomes are edible and (kind of) sweet.

And when I found the entire surface of the desk covered with Wyatt's books and projects this morning,
I calmly picked it all up and put everything in a box.

We've been keeping our eyes on this "widow-maker",
hanging over the trail.

And when he came home, and realized it was gone...

Mmmmm, salmon berry blossoms!

... I sold it back to him.

Our enemy... stinging nettles, coming up in abundance.

Oh, I gave him grace.
I only charged him a buck.

More moss, more licorice fern.

But if it happens again, the price doubles...

I think I know who did this...
we saw a large, pileated woodpecker on our last walk.

He's pretty good with math.  I think he got the message.

Lacy hemlock branches in the sun.

So, you know...  fun times.

And look what Mr. Sharp-eyes spotted... another one!

So, I put this all out there, not to humiliate Wyatt.  We've all had our stupid moments.  I'm expecting he'll pull through this, and come out better.

No, I'm telling you all this because - news flash:

And that's why it's called a Western RED Cedar...

We don't have it all together.

Vinca minor, commonly known as periwinkle.

Because sometimes, with blogs, we only post the good things.  Or at least, the funny things.  Or we only post the hard things when we've come out on the other side, and wrenched a lesson out it.
And we look pretty darn special.

Gunnar loves this ornamental tree in someone's yard.
Looks like an octopus.
And really, we're pretty darn ordinary.


Ann said...

I needed this post. Thank you so much for sharing!!

melanie said...

I still think you are an awesome mom of great kids ;D

I do appreciate your honesty flavored with respect for your boys -- and it makes me think of James 5:17 that we studied tonight. {Elijah was a man subject to like passions... and he prayed...(and God answered!)}

dlefler said...

I love this post. LOVE it! We've been really (REALLY) struggling with Matt lately - he is very resistant to taking personal responsibility for very basic things - getting dressed in the morning, practicing his piano lesson, and keeping track of his library book. These are his ONLY responsibilities, and whoa, the TANTRUMS we see from our SEVEN year old child!

We're working on it, but holy moly - it is definitely a process.

Also? I am "stealing" your idea of fines. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

Felicity said...

I like your style!! And it is true, we tend to blog about only the good stuff... I'll admit I don't want to blog about the negatives - I'm not sure what I'm scared of... Also, some of my kids' friends read my blog and some things are better off not being known by them! But thanks for an insight into your not-so-good days. You have some good ideas for handling issues. (And sorry, but I had to laugh at the boys poking holes in the pictures - kids are the same all over the world!)

The dB family said...

I love my blogging friends who keep it real! I still sometimes can't believe how similar our lives are.
You're doing an awesome job. We do it $$ style too. At the ages some of the kids are now, it seems to be the most painful :o) and helpful way of remembering.

Blessings and hugs!