Thursday, September 10, 2009

Getting into a Routine

I've worked out an arrangement with another mom here on campus where I watch/homeschool her four-year-old son during the day so that she can go to work, and then she takes the girls and her son home with her in the early evening hours so that my husband can get some studying done while I go to work.

So far it's working out well. H. gets a buddy to play with/conspire against me with :), and it's helping us establish a routine, since my friend's son is here during the same hours every day.

I'm using the Sonlight PreK 4-5 curriculum, with the addition of a handwriting program called Handwriting Without Tears (HWT). I really like the HWT materials so far. They really break down the process of making letters, and make a big deal over how each letter is made. If I didn't like it so much, I might not keep it because it is pretty expensive, especially for homeschooling. The book and teacher's guides weren't too bad, but then I started reading the teacher's guide and saw all the extra, specialized materials that it refers to. I ordered only what I thought was absolutely essential and that I couldn't make myself somehow.

We're going to start just the Sonlight part of it tomorrow, since I won't have both kids on Monday. I'm only watching the other child on days when the seminarians are in class. Normally this means Monday through Thursday, but next week, they have Monday off of classes for the Exaltation of the Cross.

Work here is going okay. I'm getting used to a two-person-at-a-time team of employees and to having people order things like "an iced twall twoffee nut." I'm also trying to humble myself and realize that working at someplace like Starbucks is really all that I'm going to be able to do right now while I'm only available in the evenings.

I'm still getting lost all the time. As recently as last night I had to call my husband from the car and ask him to look up where I was on Google maps and figure out how to get me home. We did finally get a power cord (auto charger) for the GPS unit that our friends loaned us, though, so maybe that part will get better. Last week I got lost in the Bronx - that was really scary! There are so many confusing or missing road signs here that it seems impossible for a newcomer not to get lost. It feels a little bit like a miracle everytime I return home safe and sound, especially if I do so without having gotten lost.

Grocery shopping is interesting here. The shop that's closest to us is open 24 hours and is the cheapest of the groceries I've found so far, but it doesn't have a great selection on some things. My husband and I were left scratching our heads at a lack of chili beans and RO-TEL, which are staples for us. I've since found RO-TEL at Target and another, more expensive grocery, but chili beans are apparently unheard of around here and are not as common as I once believed them to be, judging by the reactions of people I've asked. Between childcare and homeschooling during the day, working in the afternoons and evenings, church services, church school, and trying to do normal housework, I don't have time to go to two or three grocery stores a week, which is what it seems like most people do in these parts, so we're going to have to figure out how to stock up on what we can't find at our close, inexpesive shop at the places where we can find them or something.

We had a namesday party for H. last Saturday, to which we were late because we ended up taking a marathon trip to IKEA and got stuck in construction-related traffic for over an hour. However, despite the fact that we came home almost three hours later than planned, and I didn't get to make the brownies I promised H. we could have, a plate of leftover Starbucks goodies saved the day and all the kids had fun anyway. We just prayed the troparia for St. Elizabeth and offered treats and juice on the playground for a little while. Hope was so excited about this that she told a random customer in IKEA that it was her namesday. The lady looked at me with a puzzled expression and said, "She's so excited that is her... namesday?" so I had to explain. Ahhh, 4-year-old evangelism.

We still haven't made it into the city, but at the very latest, I'm sure we'll do so when my in-laws come to visit for Thanksgiving, unless someone offers to take us before then. I can't see our getting up the gumption to ride the train and the subway with the girls by ourselves just for the sake of seeing the city, but I do want to go. Right now I work in the train station, but have never been on a train here. The funny thing is, if you hear a sound like a train in Texas and it isn't accompanied by a train whistle, it's usually a tornado, so every time the train arrives, I think for a split second that it's a tornado!


Stephanie Frank said...

Sounds like you have things coming togehter. Marshall sure does miss the girls. He has told me many times he wants yall to move back. Hope that life is treating you well and I am enjoying keeping up with you through this blog.

Tracey said...

Hey! I have some experience working with HWT. What materials did you NOT get? I might be able to provide you with some suggestions for getting/making what you didn't get.

Hope that all is going well out there in NY. I miss your family!