Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Math for Christmas?

Okay, I've only got a few minutes before my day really begins, but I want to write something positive about homeschooling so my dear friends aren't worried about me.  I don't want anyone envisioning me in a fetal position on my closet floor with bits and pieces of a well-meaning teacher's guide scattered about.  Or a math book.  Oy.

That leads me to a great thing about homeschooling...

If something's not working, we can change it!

We've been using Math-U-See with Emma & Jeffrey for the past few years.  Since it was working quite well, I don't know why I decided to switch to Teaching Textbooks this year.  I think it's because I wanted them to work more independently, and TT can be done without practically any parental involvement--in theory.  The student watches a clip from a CD-Rom and then does the practice set in the workbook.  An answer key allows the student to check his work, and another CD-Rom shows how to work each problem if the student can't find where he messed up.  Teaching Textbooks is well done, thorough, and I'd recommend it to anyone--well, anyone who benefits from a spiral approach to learning.  Unfortunately, that's not us.

So, guess what?

We're going to back to Math-U-See, which uses a mastery learning approach.  A lovely friend of mine has loaned to me the MUS Pre-Algebra DVD and Instruction Manual for the year.  (Thanks, Lily!)  I only had to purchase the workbook, and it's already on its way.  You'd think this math curriculum was a Christmas present, judging by Emma & Jeffrey's reaction.  Emma was willing to chip in for the workbook herself!  (I didn't let her.)  And as I tucked Jeffrey in bed the other night, he said, "I guess if I went to public school they wouldn't be able to change curriculum just for me.  I'd have to suffer through it, even if it wasn't really working for me."


Sunday, December 18, 2011

On Homeschooling, Part 2

Okay, one thing I really love about homeschooling is the unlimited supply of encouragement I find in my friends.  Thank you.

Kellie, you are so right.  I'm always encouraged after spending time with other homeschooling families--especially the moms.  We are a unique breed, and we need to stick together.  And though I love diagramming sentences (I really do...I know...weird), character training is more important than academics.  Knowledge is good, but it can also puff up.  Knowledge, accompanied by character, is wisdom.  How can I help my children develop godly character if they are out of my hands for 40 hours per week?  Sure, it's possible, but homeschooling sort of has that built-in to itself--whether I like it or not.  Homeschooling helps to draw out "character-building moments".  (And I'm not just talking about the kids.)   

Char, thank you for saying it was God's plan for Samuel to be a fourth child.  Among the things I listed yesterday, I obviously feel the most guilty about leaving him in the dust, and your statement really spoke to my heart.  I am so thankful he knows his siblings well.  Even through the fighting, I'm convinced they all love each other--and always will.  I also realize that Sam will have more than he wants of my attention when he's a teenager and his older siblings are (Lord willing) out of the house.  That's just so far away from right now; it's hard to see.  And if it's hard for me to see, then it's impossible for a four-year-old.  (I do have Lies Homeschooling Moms Believe.  I just need to find it.  Thanks for the offer and the suggestion.)

Rebecca, "four living books"--I like that.  And as Sue mentioned, this is my season of life right now.  Even when I look back to two years ago, I can already see how I have a little more discretionary time these days.  For example, I'm writing this blog now.  I tried that before and never kept up with it.  While I'm not as consistent as I'd like to be, the blog is not completely forgotten.  Also, Dave and I went to lunch and a movie (Hugo) this afternoon for our anniversary--and we didn't hire a sitter!  When we got home: all of the children were alive, the house was still standing, and Samuel was wearing the same outfit as when we'd left (meaning he didn't have an accident).  Yep.  I'm in a new season.  Perhaps I'm not in the this-is-the-year-I-write-that-book season, but it's nice to be heading in that direction.

Oy, Sue, I hadn't even thought about dropping off, picking up, homework and all of that when I was doing my  time-saved-by-public-schooling calculations.  Homeschooling really is much more efficient.

And Bailey, your email made me cry--sweet tears, mind you.  It was beautiful, and thoughtful, and so loving.  Thank you.  I will prayerfully consider your offer.  I love you too.

There is still more to come.  I wanted to take time to respond to my loving friends' advice and encouragement before I wrote my "Why I Really Love Homeschooling" post.  So, stay tuned.  (And don't be discouraged if it takes a few days.  We're still doing some school this week, so it might have to wait until our Christmas break begins.)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

On Homeschooling

I have a love/hate relationship with homeschooling.

Sometimes I wonder why I do it.  I mean, really, why?  It truly does take a bit of time.  It's hard work--not necessarily because of the academics (for me) but in dealing with attitudes in my children and *ahem* myself.  Other areas in my life often take a back seat: reading, writing, music, exercise, outings with friends, and *gulp* lots of time with my buddy-boy, Samuel.  Don't get me wrong.  Those things are still in the mini-van, just in the back seat.

We were in Maryland for Thanksgiving.  Dave's parents and older brother (and family) live there--about 20 minutes from each other.  Tuesday morning, we three Mrs. G's went out for breakfast.  It was lovely.  I'd never been to Panera Bread before, so that part was a treat in and of itself, but the company was even sweeter than my cinnamon roll.  I came to find out that the other two Mrs. G's do this every week.  Every week?  *sigh*

I used to lead a Thursday morning Bible study--which I loved.  As homeschooling got more involved (i.e. the workload got harder and I added another student), I prayerfully decided to let that go.  I simply didn't have the time.  I really miss that.

I also have a book idea which has been rolling around in my head for a couple of years.

I'd like to spend more time practicing music--especially piano and violin.

And this last one's the kicker...poor Samuel.  I really feel like he gets the short end of the stick when it comes to my attention.

I'm often tempted at the thought of putting the kids in public school.  I know there are time commitments to that as well (PTA, fundraisers, school events, volunteering), but it can't add up to all the time I put into homeschooling.  There would be time for me to do more of the things I've listed above.  I'm especially tempted on Mondays.  Oy...Mondays.  And the Mondays after a break?  Well, I've actually had the phone book in my hand, ready to look up numbers for the elementary and middle schools.

Okay, so that's all the "hate" part of it--and honestly, that's too strong of a word for my feelings.  Frustrated is more accurate than hateful, and there are plenty of things about homeschooling which I truly love.  I'll tell you about that later; because, I'm going to steal a few minutes at the piano before everyone else gets up.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

"When a hen goes walking...

...it comes back with a full crop."  That's an old Albanian proverb I learned today while playing this hilarious game:
It's called Wise and Otherwise.  I first heard about it from someone in my homeschool group, so when I saw it on the coffee table this evening I couldn't wait to try it.  It's a bit like Balderdash (the board game made from Dictionary/Fictionary).  The Reader tells you the first part of some obscure old saying from another country, and each of the other players has to jot down his/her own made-up ending.  Once everyone's finished proverbs are handed to the Reader, the imposters are read alongside the actual ending and everyone votes for which one they think is the real deal.  You get points if people vote for yours, so you want to try to make it realistic--unless you're just in the game for the fun of it.  Then you just make up crazy endings.  For example, "When a hen goes walking...it returns from crossing the road asking, 'Why?'"  = )

A rousing game of Pit was played before Wise and Otherwise.  Emma and Lydia were first-time players, and while they both enjoyed it, this game was really right up Lydia's alley.  Yelling random numbers at the top of one's lungs suits her quite well.  We don't own this game.  Fortunately, it's an inexpensive thing to add to her ever-growing Christmas list.

Speaking of Christmas lists...who's going shopping tonight/tomorrow?  Not I.  I'm too full.  And I'll still be too full tomorrow.  (If there's anything left in the stores on Saturday, then maybe....)  The deep-fried turkeys--yes, turkeyS--were so juicy that I had to walk away while Dave was carving.  A beautiful torture, it was.  And the sweet potato casserole dessert...oh, MAN.  (I know there was more sugar in that than in the pumpkin pie I had later.)  I had three helpings.  Today, I'm pretty sure I found some of those 13 pounds I'd lost throughout 2011.  Hmmm.  Maybe I should go shopping.  "Doorbusting" sounds exerting.  Nah.  If I go walking shopping, I might come back with my crop cart full--and my wallet empty.

I hope you all had a blessed Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

'Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving

We're visiting Dave's parents in Maryland for Thanksgiving.  Tomorrow's festivities will take place at Dave's brother's house, which is about 20 minutes from here.  John will be deep-frying the turkey (YUM), and we've got all sorts of delectable sides and desserts ready (or almost ready).

John & Shari have four kids.  The eldest of them is in FL, so we're missing Melissa this year.  This morning, Shari picked up Daniel, a plebe in the Naval Academy, and they stopped by so we could see him in his uniform.  Snaz-ZY!  He cleans up good!  Christy is a junior in high school.  She drives now.  And Tim is a freshman.  He's only four months older than Emma, but he's a year ahead in school due to his summer birthday.

My kids only see these cousins once a year, so they're pretty excited about heading over tomorrow.  And I love hanging out with Shari.  She's a kindred spirit.  You know, I really lucked out in the in-laws department.  I often say that I couldn't have found a better mother-in-law if I would've met her first and then tried to marry one of her sons.  She's a gem.

Monday, October 17, 2011


Okay, this is just a quickie because it's been a long day and it's almost time to put the kiddos to bed.  (Plus, the Sing-Off is on tonight, which Dave lovingly DVR'd for me to watch after everyone's tucked in.)

I forgot to tell you my favorite quote from my Dad (see two posts ago)....

"He who farts in church must sit in his own pew."

HAAAAAhahahahaha....  It still makes me laugh so hard.  I think that's the best pun I've ever heard.

I miss him so much.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

For the Love of Words

I know a few people who keep quote books, but does anyone out there keep track of your favorite words?  In the red journal I wrote of yesterday, I've saved several pages in the back for just that.  I'm not exactly sure why I like these more than others.  It might be merely how they roll off my tongue, or perhaps because of an interesting etymology.  Here are a few of my faves:

osculate ~ to kiss: a pretentious or facetious usage

puckish ~ impish or whimsical  (Guess the back story on this one.)

undulant ~ rising and falling in waves OR having a wavy form, outline, or surface

wonky ~ shaky, feeble, unreliable

ennui ~ a feeling of weariness and dissatisfaction: boredom

sedulous ~ involving or accomplished with careful perseverance; diligent in application or pursuit

embonpoint ~ plumpness of person (but not excessively overweight)

schwarmerei ~ excessive or unwholesome sentiment

rime ~ frost

potboiler ~ a usually inferior work--as of art or literature--produced chiefly for profit  (The back story here is that it was either so overproduced or so inferior, or both, that its best use was for the fire under the soup pot.)

nepenthe ~ a potion used by the ancients to induce forgetfulness of pain or sorrow OR something capable of causing oblivion of grief or suffering

There are some words which I loathe as well, but I don't dignify them by recording them in a journal.  I'll write a few here though: slacks, blouse, and cancer.

Which words do you love/hate?

Saturday, October 15, 2011


I got this pretty little journal a couple of years ago as a thank you gift from one of my homeschool choir students.  I wasn't sure what to do with it for the longest time.  It seemed too nice to be a run-o-the-mill daily diary. I'd fly through it too quickly.  But with "follow your heart" written on the front, I couldn't exactly use it as an address book either.  Finally, it came to me.  I decided to use it to record my favorite quotes.  They might be lines I find in books, cut-and-pastes quoted on Facebook, a bit of poetry, or favorite Bible verses.  Here are a few, in no particular order:

"He who rises late must trot all day."  ~ Benjamin Franklin

"There is no perfect time to write.  There is only now." ~ Barbara Kingsolver

"There must be more to life than having everything." ~ Maurice Sendak

"For of all sad words
   of tongue or pen,
The saddest are these,
'It might have been.'"   ~John Greenleaf Whittier

"There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one." ~ Jill Churchill

"Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves."   ~J.M. Barrie

Do you have a favorite quote or two?  I'd love to hear it.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Emma is 14 & Downhere!

My oldest, Emma, is 14 today!  This past year went by so quickly that even she said she's not sure she's ready to be 14 yet.  LOL.  In honor of her birthday, we're not doing school.  Lots of schools take off for Columbus Day, but we take off for Emma Day.  = )

So, last night was the Downhere concert.  Awesome.  Brilliant.  I hadn't been to a live concert like that in so long, I'd forgotten how you can feel the drums and bass in your chest.  Nice.  They're in concert again on Saturday not far from here.  I wish I could go, but it's too soon to ask for another Moms' Night Out.  When I left last night, Lydia was sitting on the back stoop watching me leave.  She had big tears sliding down her cheeks.  *sigh*  I don't get out very much like that.  Maybe that's the problem.  She's not used to it.  Hmmm...maybe I should go on Saturday....

There were two different guys who opened for Downhere: Aaron Shust and Jason Gray.  Aaron had gotten pink eye from his kids the other day, so when Jason came out after Aaron, he brought out with him a bottle of...you guessed it...hand sanitizer!  Remember the clip I posted yesterday?  Most of the six other moms I went with attend my church, so they'd seen that clip on Sunday.  We laughed and laughed....  Jason put it all over his hands, the microphone, and even his face.  Then he said, "Uhhh...my face is actually stinging a little right now, but you can't be too careful."

Poor Aaron...not only did he have pink eye, but the sound system kept cutting out AND the haze from the smoke machine set off the fire alarm!  He was a trooper though.  He and his band carried on with good humor.

Then...Downhere.  They opened with "My Last Amen" followed by "Here I Am".  Then they did several songs from their new album, On the Altar of Love--which I'm listening to right now.  My favorite song so far is "Rest", which is based on Matthew 11:28-30 and also happens to be my homeschooling verse (the one which keeps me sane through homeschooling, that is).

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

They closed with "Somebody to Love" by Queen.  That may seem odd to you if you don't know the back story.  Marc Martel, one of the lead vocalists, sounds quite a bit like Freddie Mercury of Queen.  Someone (I don't know who) is putting together a tribute band for them, and Marc auditioned with this song and put it on Youtube here.  (Be sure to take note of how many have viewed this clip.)  Marc also appeared on the Ellen show because of this clip a couple of Mondays ago.  If Marc wins a spot in this tribute band, he will go on tour.  Please pray for him, that he'll be able to be a strong light in a very dark world.  

 Jeremy, the drummer, signing my shirt.

 Marc Martel signing my shirt.  I must've said something witty (or embarrassing?).  Look at that smile!  ; )
Glenn (bass & trumpet) and Jason (piano & vocals) are in the background.

Marc, little ol' me, and Glenn

I can't get the video of "Somebody to Love" to upload on here.  I put it on Facebook though.  Unfortunately, my puny camera didn't do it justice.  Around the one minute mark, he sings, "This is the guitar solo!"  The front of the red shirt they're signing (above) has a picture of Marc with that caption.  Yeah, it's corny, but I like corny.  = )

Well, I've got some birthday baking to do!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Well, I did it.  I got up early and swam laps this morning.  It was early afternoon when I went on Saturday, but getting up before the sun means business.  I did 15 laps today--a couple more than last time.  I'm very tired.  Of course, I did stay up until midnight last night watching The Sing Off on the DVR.  I love that show.  (I got goosebumps a couple of times.)

The bad thing about lap swim is that I smell  like a pool for the rest of the day.  I take a shower afterwards, of course.  I even use special shampoo (and yes, it is speshul).  However, a 15 minute shower after soaking in chlorinated water for twice that time does not do it.  I smell bleachy-clean.  I feel...sanitized.  That reminds me of this clip:

They actually showed this in church on Sunday (while the kids were getting dismissed for Kids' Worship, no less).  I've seen this SO many times, but it still makes me laugh.  = )

Well, that's all for now.  I need to get ready to leave for the Downhere concert!!!!!  This is going to be the best Moms' Night Out ever--epic, even.  I'm so excited.  *hyperventilating*

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Taking the Plunge

Today there's a street fair on Main Street.  So, not a parade this time, but lots of food, a couple of bouncy houses, and sidewalk sales.  (I love small town living.)  Dave took Samuel for a little while so I could go to lap swim!

Ah, lap swim, how I've missed thee; although, we may have a love-hate relationship in the morning.  Seriously, it's been ages since I've done that.  I mean, I've gone to the beach with the kids, but that's not really exercise--especially when you consider that I sit in my chair reading homeschool magazines while the lifeguard watches my kids.  (I keep an eye on them too, of course.  I used to be a lifeguard myself, so it's kind of hard for me not to watch the water.  I'm just trained that way.  I mean, simply trained that way.  Ahem.)

So, I did 13 laps in half an hour, but five of those were with a kickboard so I could work on my scissor kick.  Whenever I do the front crawl, I either forget to kick altogether, or I kick harder with my right leg than my left and I end up veering off course.  I'm attempting to even things out.  Whenever I can, I try to get a lane by the wall.  That way, at least half of the time, I'm veering toward the wall instead of an innocent by-swimmer.

I "took the plunge", so to speak, and bought a swim pass for the quarter.  Since we already have a family membership, it only cost $33 for unlimited swimming until the end of December.  (A family membership is a mere $60 for the year.  Yeah.  The year.  For the family.  Another reason to love small-town living.)  I need to go eleven times per month to break even.  (It costs $1 per time for a member without a pass.)  So, I'm committed, I guess....  LOL, that sounds so oxymoronic.  "I guess I'm committed."

It is such a gorgeous day here.  I'm thankful it's Saturday, because I would not want to do school on a day like today.  We'd be playing hooky.  It's 82°F with low humidity and a light breeze, and I'm sitting on the front stoop watching golden leaves flit to the ground.  Ahhhhh....  The only thing putting a damper on my bliss is that I can see Hillbilly Hell being constructed kiddy-corner across the street.  Hey, that's what they call it.  There's a sign and everything (with a pentagram on it, no less).  These neighbors go all out for Halloween:  scary mannequins, an old trampoline converted to some kind of spider web with a 3-D skeleton on it, a demon holding a scythe, a clown with red-glowing eyes on a cross, and there's a soundtrack.  So far, it has: howling wolves, crazy drums, painful screams, some "MWAH-HA-HA"s, creepy organ sounds, "Jaws" music, ghostly moans, and "The Twilight Zone" theme song.  (That last one's not so bad.)  Unfortunately, my younger kids can see this from their windows.  It's also lit up at night, all the better to see it at its spookiest.


I don't get it.  Why?

*Another sigh*

At least they do a nice Christmas light display....

Friday, October 7, 2011

Kilroy Was Here

That's the name of the musical our homeschool group is doing in May.  Auditions were yesterday, and I got to be one of the judges since I'm the musical director this year.  I'm not exactly sure what I've gotten myself into here, but I think it's going to be fun.  Time-consuming, but fun.  And yet, it's nothing compared to all that my friend, Char, has to do.  She's directing the whole thing.

Some of the auditions were outstanding!  I think my favorite one was two high school girls who reenacted a scene from Tangled.  Spot on hilarious!  They also brought us brownies.  (By the way, Bailey, I have the plate.  Is it yours or Lindsey's?)  Anyway, I'm quite excited to work with these talented young people.

I had all four of the kids with me for the auditions.  We were gone for five hours.  While we were gone, Dave made this!
 A train table!

 Dave bought an old coffee table from Goodwill...

 ...and cut and painted some plywood for this part.

 It's on our enclosed porch right now.  I hope the weather stays mild for a while!

I wish I would've taken video footage of Samuel and Lydia when they saw this.  They kept running around the house, telling Dave how "amazing" it was.  They were quite appreciative.  Dave is such a great dad.  

P.S.  Bailey, the bribe was completely unnecessary.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

I Love a Parade

Our small town is great about parades.  There are three or four per year, and they come right up Main Street, which is three blocks from our house.  Yesterday was the homecoming parade.

Okay, first I have a gripe.  When the AMVETS start the parade, dressed in their uniforms and carrying the big flags, shouldn't the parade watchers stand?  Shouldn't we salute or put our hands on our hearts?  It really irks me when people just sit on their rears while these men and women of valor walk by carrying our symbol of freedom.  True, I don't know if it's a hard and fast rule that we should stand, but it seems a respectful (and easy!) thing to do.

Next in the parade came the fire engines carrying the football players. (BTW, they received more honor than the veterans.  No contest.)  The head coach is a wonderful Christian man.  We've known him for years.  When he was a kid, he actually went to the camp my husband now directs.  (He's a few years older than I am, but I went to camp with his youngest brother.)  Bill's wife and sister volunteer in the kitchen for a week each summer, and their girls help out with the dishes and bathrooms.  To top it off, Bill is a great coach.  = )

Samuel loved the parade, but he was a bit concerned at first.  He loves to SEE the fire engines...
 ...but not HEAR them.

 Here, Lydia and Jeffrey are warming up their hands before the candy gets thrown.

 The High School Marching Band

Samuel asked me to take this picture.  This was his favorite part of the parade (besides grabbing candy).

We now have enough Tootsie Rolls to last us until...well, I guess I never feel like we have a Tootsie Roll shortage, so...forever?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Three Down, Three to Go

One of the things I do to help Dave with the camp ministry is cleaning for retreat seasons.  We have plenty of summer staff, so I don't have to do much of that then, but spring and fall keep me pretty busy (especially when you consider we're either trying to finish up or start our homeschool year).  In the spring, we only have two or three retreats, BUT they take place before our big clean-up weekend over Memorial Day, so everything has been sitting collecting dust and bugs and cobwebs.  (Sometimes I find a dead mouse or two.) Thankfully, the groups are fairly small and I don't have to clean a lot of buildings.  The fall retreats number between six and eight groups.  This year, we started with seven, but one cancelled.  Today, I finished cleaning for retreat #3.  I'm halfway done.  = )

I don't mind cleaning--that much.  I mean, sure, there are several things higher up on The Things I Like to Do list.  But, cleaning has a sort of instant gratification that appeals to me.  I also like to see old things made new again, or dirty things made clean, I guess.  If only I knew they might stay clean for a little while.  There's the rub.  Also, it's interesting to note that the cleaner camp gets, the messier my house is.  For example, I've cleaned ten toilets so far this week--none of them here.  Hmmmm....  I've got a busy weekend ahead of me.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Happy Birthday, Dave!

Today was my hubby's birthday.  I love him so much.  I can't tell you how thankful I am for him.  He's always been a good provider.  He's a hard worker.  (Those two things often go hand-in-hand.)  He's got a good sense of humor.  He's also great at opening jars and killing spiders and going downstairs in the middle of the night to investigate an out-of-place noise.

But wait...there's more....

He's a great Dad.  We have four kids, all with different needs and speeds.  Of course, neither of us are perfect parents, but we're committed to raising these guys for God's glory.  Some of the things Dave is really great about regarding the kids are: buying the perfect birthday presents, teaching them computer stuff, reading to the older kids, taking the younger ones on outings, emphasizing how they should respect their mother, and consistent discipline.

Still more....

He's an excellent husband.  I have complete trust in him on multiple levels.  He is committed to me.  He understands when I just need to "express" versus needing a solution.  He gives me time without the kiddos when I need it.  He supports me in homeschooling.  He makes me laugh.  He encourages me.  He loves me.  (This list is not exhaustive.)

But he's even more than that.

He loves the Lord.  He loves the Word.  He makes a point to grow in wisdom and knowledge based on the truth of the Bible.  And I don't mean just head knowledge, but the kind that changes you from the inside out.

I definitely married up.

Friday, September 16, 2011


I just completed my first lesson in Japanese via Rosetta Stone.  I love it!  It's tricky though!  Japanese, that is, not necessarily Rosetta Stone.  I like the idea of Dynamic Immersion.  It's kind of like a puzzle, and I like puzzles. 

I got 88% for my first "grade".  I think I would've done better had I figured out earlier how to have the English transliteration above the pictures instead of the Japanese characters.  I know--without a doubt--that I'm a visual learner.  There are sections of the lesson where you need to repeat the sentence back after the native speaker says it.  That's really hard for me to do when I'm only seeing unfamiliar squiggles and specks.  Someday, I'd like to learn all of the characters (and I'm SO glad they're in the program, because the kids are excited about that too!), but for now I'd just like to pronounce things correctly.  Really, who knows what I said tonight?!

A pleasant surprise was waiting in the Rosetta Stone box--a 36-week lesson plan!  I was wondering how on earth I was supposed to divvy up these lessons for the kids.  It's all laid out for me.  Nice.  (I have Version 3, Homeschool edition, BTW.)  It looks like I'm responsible for providing some kind of "Cultural Activity" (read: field trip) for weeks 9, 18, 27, and 36.  We don't live in a highly Japanese-populated area.  I'll have to do some digging on the internet.  Should be fun though!  Now I'm sort of wishing we were doing Sonlight's Core on the Eastern Hemisphere.  Oh well.  Maybe I can throw a couple of those read-alouds in as part of our Cultural Activity.  I'm really looking forward to this.  = )

P.S.  FYI, so far, "domo arigato Mister Roboto" has not come up.  I'll let you know.

P.P.S.  Can you believe I posted two nights in a row?!  (Don't get used to it.)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Summer to School Switch

So we're not sick anymore.  Sorry about the lack of posts.  Perhaps you thought we'd all died.  Well, we're alive and kickin'.  All is well.  Busy, but well.

We started our homeschool year on August 29th.  It's been going wonderfully regarding Emma (8th grade) and Jeffrey (6th).  They've taken the reins of their education more this year than any other, and it's exciting to see them be more independent and learn some time management, as well as the subject matter.  They each have a list.  Emma's is an actual list with check-off boxes, while Jeffrey's is a grid which shows a week-at-a-glance.  They do whatever they can on their own (without me) before lunch--which is quite a bit, actually.  After lunch, we discuss readings, do science experiments and map work, and go over anything they didn't understand.  They've really been doing well, and I'm quite proud of them. 

Lydia?  Well...I think she just needs more time to adjust from summer freedom to the school year.  I think that's all I'll say about that right now. 

Samuel has needed to reorganize his day as well.  He feels like he's lost his playmates since they're all busy doing school.  Lately, I've started the school day by reading to him (he's almost four) for a little while.  I also bought a couple of workbook-type-things he could do so he wouldn't feel left out.  If I spend a half-hour with him straightaway, then I'm almost guaranteed a full hour after that without interruption.  It's like his attention tank gets filled, and then he'll go upstairs and play with his Cars cars for a long time.  This is a great discovery, since Lydia does require my full attention at this time.

Swimming lessons and Awana started this week.  Youth group started last week.  Dance starts next week.  It's busy, sure, but I've carefully prayed over activities for this school year.  I'm at peace about all that's going on. 

You know what else starts next week?  The Sing-Off!  YAY!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Forever Friends

Oy.  We're still sick.  I think we've rounded a corner though, so I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.  Well, except for Lydia.  She awoke with symptoms this morning.  *sigh*

Even though I'm not 100%, I went out for dinner with three of my closest friends here in town last night.  (It would've been four, but Kim couldn't get a sitter and her hubby was out of town.)  After an entire summer of Dave being busy with camp--so I mostly had charge of our kids--last night was just what the doctor ordered for my spirit and soul.  I may not have my familial sisters living close to me, but I've got kindred spirits in my sisters-in-Christ.  It's a huge blessing to have like-minded, God-loving friends.  Although, we don't agree on everything.  We have some differing interpretations on Scripture (minor points). Also, two of us homeschool, one has done a homeschool/private school combo, and the other two have done a private/public school combo. 

We've been through so much together: babies being born, kids being adopted (a couple from Africa!), sickness, and a parent dying.  When Emma's appendix burst, my family was too far away to be able to help out, but these sister-friends came running to help in different ways.  Emily took care of my other kids because Dave got sick at the same time!  Cheri brought me a lovely Easter dinner at the hospital.  Michelle's family was going out of town, but they made a point to stop by with some Jello eggs and other goodies for Emma.  And Kim came by the hospital late one night just to keep me company.  (Emma was in the hospital for almost a week, and I stayed with her every night.  She was only eight.)

About 18 months before the appendicitis incident, all four of these friends were present when Lydia was born.  My doctor graciously allowed them all to be in the room to witness the birth.  A beautiful part of my (early) labor experience was when the five of us read Psalm 139 and spent time in prayer together. 

Friends like these are gifts from God.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Home Sweet Home

Good grief!  It's been over a month since I've posted.  Sorry.

I've been at camp all this time.  Well, most of the time.  We've come home for an afternoon here and there.  The kids and I moved back home today though.  Camp offically ends tomorrow morning, but everyone in our family except Lydia is sick, so we just came home today.  Dave has a camp board meeting tomorrow, so he'll be here tomorrow evening.  (He's sick too.)

It's nice to be home.  No sand.  Also, and unfortunately, no food.  I desperately need to do a big grocery shop, but it'll have to wait until Dave gets home because I plan on doing that sans kids.  I hope I don't need two carts.  It's like Old Mother Hubbard's around here.

I also have loads of stuff to unpack and organize.  However, seeing as I'm a bit under the weather, it can wait.  We're all just watching a movie. 

Thursday, June 30, 2011

On Turning For...For...Forty

Gray hair.  Crow's feet. Laugh lines.  Picky stomach.  Joint pain.  Slower metabolism.  Yep!  I've got 'em all!  You see, there's a big birthday coming up here...and it ain't 30.  I wish.  I loved turning 30.  I finally felt like a grown-up--that maybe I had some wisdom attained.  Yet, I was still young.  This year...well...I'm not exactly going to be old, I guess.  I just can't figure out how I got to 40 so fast.  Forty times around the sun--it makes my head spin.  And they say time goes by faster as you get older?!  Oh bu-oy...I think I'm in trouble.

For the past several days, I've been pensive--introspective to the point of self-absorbtion, possibly.  (It can't be good to think about one's self so much.)  But, I can't seem to help it.  I've been sort of taking stock.  Assuming I'll have an average life span, though I realize there are no guarantees, I'm about half done.  The term "Mid-life Crisis" comes to mind.  I haven't gone out and bought a red convertible...yet.  However, in the past month I've: colored my hair, bought a face cream with AHA's, exercised more, gave up pop (more or less), and considered buying a teeth whitening system ($$).  It's the middle-class woman's mid-life crisis. 

All of that only addresses the physical aspect of my life being half over--and not very well at that.  The bigger question looming in my mind is, "Have I been a good steward of these 40 years?"  Gulp.  God has given me so much to oversee!  There's my marriage, our kids, ministry, friendships, finances, my home, gifts & talents, His Word, my relationship with Him, and time.  Have I been a faithful steward of all of that?!  I doubt it.

And then there's a deeper struggle, regarding my innermost hopes and dreams.  I had all of these aspirations when I was younger.  Some of them have come true: marriage and motherhood, to name a couple.  But I really wanted to do something BIG.  Something special.  And I know, I know...marriage and motherhood are noble things.  But I wanted to make my mark on the world!  I don't know.  Is that a little silly?  A little selfish?  I've simply been feeling so normal.  So average.  So blah.

So, count your blessings, Jenny.  Right?  Yes.  Good point.  I do have many blessings.  Lots of people would covet a "normal" life like mine.  And I don't mean to sound ungrateful.  I truly have nothing to complain about.  So why do I feel a bit...restless?

Is this yearning a device to keep me from resting on my laurels?  Does the Lord have a new adventure for me?  Is this something to urge me out a state of complacency?  Or is this a purely selfish craving meant to distract me and make me discontent?  Complacency and contentment: so close in meaning, yet so far.

Stupid birthdays....

There is a bright spot in all of this.  Because I have trusted in Christ's atoning death on the cross to pay for my sins, I have eternal life.  And what's the middle of that?  What's half of eternity?  It's still...eternity.  To that, I cling.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Secret Room 2

YAY!  I finished the secret room yesterday--more or less.  Sunday was a gorgeous day, so I scraped paint off the porch windows while the kiddos played outside.  Monday was a bit dreary--good weather for working inside.

 Look!  There's a floor!
 A step inside the door
 I'm still going through books and pictures, so these shelves will be completely full by the end of the day (see the last picture below).  I think more shelving may be in my near future.  On the floor I have the dehumidifier and extra comforters.
Going clockwise around the room: a few baby things, cat carrier, luggage, telescope, school stuff.  (It'd be nice to sheetrock this room someday.)
 Shoes-in-waiting, clothing (organized by boy/girl and size), sleeping bags.
 Extra mattresses, Christmas decor (way back there), fans.
The Sorting Room (a.k.a. my bedroom) where I'm still working on photos & memorabilia, picture frames (I don't know how we got so many), and books (I do know how we got so many).  The plan is to finish this today, but the weather is perfect so the kiddos are outside.  Sam's a bit too young to play outdoors without me nearby.  I s'pose I'll get out the razor blade and scrape some more paint off the porch windows for now.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Secret Room

I picked up Emma from MDA camp a week ago already.  She had a great time--her best year yet, she said.  This was her fourth year attending, and the first time I've ever received a letter from her.  And yes, I've always sent her to camp with pre-addressed, stamped envelopes, so all she had to do was jot down a few words on a card and slide it in.  Anyway, she said I could publish her note.

Hi everyone!

Today is Monday and a lot has happened so far already!  Right now it's rest time, so nothing exciting is happening.

Guess what?  Savannah reads the Warrior Cat books!  We are really good friends and we just played in a huge pile of sand at the beach!  It was a lot of fun, but now my pants are all sandy, AND I have to go to the dance in them!

Anyways, I miss you all (yes, even Lydia) and I got your letter at lunch, so no worries!  I hope to write you again.


(Tell Phoebe I said, "Meow!")

= )   Love you!

Well, she didn't write us again, but I'll take what I can get.  And a speshul thanks to those of you who took the time to write her while she was at camp.  = )

In other news, three houses in our immediate neighborhood are for sale: the houses on either side of us, and one kiddy-corner across the street.  It's making me feel a little self-conscious about the kind of neighbor I am. 

The weather report: it rained so much this week I felt like we were living in Seattle.  The good news?  Our yard looks great.  The bad news?  Our roof was leaking.  Thankfully, we have a neighbor-friend who's a roofer by profession.  He came over today and tarred up a couple of spots.  He wouldn't take a penny, either.  I guess we can't be terrible neighbors then.  Unless everyone is just living in fear of us....

Part of the reason I haven't blogged lately is because the leaky roof has caused me to go through everything in the secret room**.  Everything.  So far I've gone through all of the clothes and shoes, Christmas decorations, reorganized the kids' completed school work, and I have bags and boxes of stuff for Goodwill.  I still have a few boxes of who-knows-what to sort through, and I really need to get rid of some more books.  *sigh*  That's the hardest part.

**The Secret Room is a 24' x 9' space under the slanty part of our roof at the back of the house.  You have to go through Jeffrey's room to get there.  It's one of the things that sold us on this house eight years ago.

 Jeffrey's closet (above)
 Jeffrey's hanging clothes are to my right as I take this one.
 Voila!  The Secret Room
(Well, not-so-secret anymore.)
 This isn't a true "before" picture, so you can imagine how bad it was before I began!
 Our cat, Phoebe, shedding her fur right where I last vacuumed.  Typical.
I don't blame her for being in here though.  It's so nice and quiet.  Ahhhh....
Here's an area I feel is finished.  Emma's and Jeffrey's completed school work (K through now) is in those bins, and the rack holds shoes-in-waiting.  Boots are behind it, and the cardboard box holds soccer gear.

It's going to take me most of the weekend to finish in here, but I'm going through every tiny, little thing.  Besides, I haven't cleaned this out for at least three years. (Hmmm...Samuel is three.  There might be a connection there.)  In any case, it's nice to take a break from working on the porch.  I'll post some porch pictures another day for those of you who aren't on Facebook.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Happy Camper

We just got home from dropping Emma off at MDA camp.  The shoe is on the other foot this week for me--entrusting my kid to someone else's care.  Usually, other parents are dropping off their kid(s) at our camp.  It's Emma's fourth year as a camper, so it wasn't as difficult to leave her as the first time, but it's still weird.  And even though she's probably the quietest of my four kiddos, there's still quite a void here at home.  Already.  *sigh*

Each MDA camper gets his/her own counselor for the week.  Some kids get two--depending on how much equipment and special care is needed.  Emma has had the same counselor, Tricia, for the past three years.  This year it's Kate.  Tricia is still there this year, so I'm not sure why there's a switch.  I think it's because Kate is new to MDA camp as a counselor, so they didn't want to put her with a new camper.  Tricia has the new girl.  In any case, Kate seems like a lovely young woman.  She'll be a junior at one of the UW branches, studying elementary and special education. 

This is one of Emma's favorite weeks of the year.  She loves MDA camp because she doesn't feel like anyone is staring at her, and--compared to some of the other campers--she feels more abled than disabled.  They also have a lot of fun things planned (motorcycle rides, pony rides, boating, swimming, crafts, games designed for kids like her) and the local news affiliates get a lot of footage for the Jerry Lewis Telethon.  Emma is usually on TV quite a bit over Labor Day Weekend.  She'll fall asleep one happy camper tonight.  = ) 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Good Housekeeping

In the book I mentioned the other day, my first "Mary Assignment" (as opposed to Martha) was to make a sort of mission statement for why I want a clean home.  I won't bore you with the whole enchilada, but I discovered something of interest during my soul and Scripture searching.

"Therefore, I want younger widows to get married, bear children, keep house, and give the enemy no occasion for reproach (2 Tim 5:14)." 

Now, it's not like this verse was new to me, but this time I saw more clearly how marriage, mommy-hood, and managing a home (how's that for alliteration?) are part of God's design to help me live a godly life and improve my witness to others.  Hold on though; what I think this verse is NOT saying is, "Cleanliness is next to godliness."  That is, I don't think it means that the cleaner my house is, the more spiritual I am.  I'll tell you why.  Let's back up a verse.

"And at the same time they (younger widows) also learn to be idle, as they go around from house to house; and not merely idle, but also gossips and busybodies, talking about things not proper to mention (2 Tim 5:13)."

Marriage, mommy-hood, and managing a home are good things to keep me occupied so I don't become:
  •  idle (lazy)
  • a gossip (tattler, babbler, foolish or silly talker) and/or
  • a busybody (in other people's business while neglecting my own more important matters). 
Did you notice how they "learn to be idle"?  That's a good thing, because it means we can also learn to not be idle.  And how did they learn to be idle?  Exactly...as they went around from house to house, or (ahem) Facebook wall to wall, or blog to blog.  *sigh*  Now, don't get me wrong here.  It is possible to be on FB and visit others' blogs without being a lazy, gossipy busybody.  I We just need to check myself ourselves.  *cough-cough*

Having something constructive to do keeps me from being destructive--to my life, others' lives, and the very Word of God.  I never really thought that housekeeping could be a blessing in my spiritual life.  It's always seemed too mundane for that.  I was mistaken.  Keeping my focus on the nuturing-managing role God has designed for me will really keep me out of trouble, and will enable me to be more of a blessing in others' lives (by minding my own business, mostly).  I'll also keep the enemy's Reproach Bazookas ammo-free.  That's what I think this passage is all about.

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got some housekeeping to do.  ; )

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Clutter: My Nemesis

I hate clutter.  I really do.  I love to purge and organize--when I have time.  And that's next to never, it seems, because homeschooling takes time--time which perhaps I'd spend purging and organizing if the kids were in school.  I think many other homeschool moms accomplish these tasks during the summer.  Living at summer camp for ten weeks every year makes it difficult for me to do it that way.

I grew up in a cluttery house.  And that's okay.  Some people find comfort in clutter.  That's fine.  I'm not here to judge.  I simply don't happen to be one of those people.  Instead of finding comfort in clutter, clutter finds the crazy in me.  And it ain't pretty.

However, on more than one occassion, I've found myself thinking, "Wow...this is a really nice box/container/egg crate.  I bet I could use it for something...."  SCREECH.  Grinding halt.  Okay, so I may not like clutter, but I definitely carry a recessive gene for clutter-comfort.  So, I need some help sometimes.

I came across an e-book the other day and downloaded it today: 31 Days to Clean: Having a Martha House the Mary Way.  It's more about the why of having a clean house than striving for perfection.  We clean our homes as a way to show love to our families.  When I get all crazy from the clutter or start cleaning in an angry frenzy, then I am definitely NOT showing love to my family.  And it's not the clutter that's the real problem.  It's my attitude.  See, as a first-born child, perfectionism runs in my veins.  Sometimes I feel like I need to wait for the perfect time to accomplish a task (which is almost never), or it has to be done perfectly, so the job only ever gets half done.  I also have trouble delegating, because I usually think I can do the job better.  This slight obsession leads to procrastination, discouragement, and/or exhaustion.  Does this mean I give up on de-cluttering and cleaning?  Oh, I wish.  ; )  No.  It's more about letting go of the perfectionism, and keeping an actual mission statement of why I want my home to be clean and organized to be at the forefront of my mind.  In fact, that's the first assignment--making the mission statement, printing it out, and posting it where I'll see it often.  So, after I get the kiddos to bed tonight, I'll be working on that. 

I'll keep you posted.  I think it'll be an interesting journey.  And when I'm done, I'll be all ready for company, so come on over!  = )

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Hi! My name is Jenny, and I'm a Curriculaholic.

So, I've already received some of our curriculum for the fall.  We finished our school year a week-and-a-half ago by now, so it's time to start planning for next year, right?  *rolls eyes*  If I didn't have summer camp on the horizon, I might put off planning until mid-July.  In the fall, Emma will be in 8th grade, Jeffrey in 6th, Lydia in 1st, and Samuel...well...he'll turn four in October.

Here's what I've gotten so far:
Teaching Textbooks Pre-Algebra ~ $$$!  But I think it'll be worth it.  It will pass down well.
Apologia General Science ~ I bought this from a friend's rummage sale.  Then I found the Multimedia Companion CD for $5 at Christianbook.com.  It's all the older edition, but I think it looks great.  And, the price was right.
Apologia's Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day ~ After I'd already ordered this, a friend at the homeschool park day told me she had a copy I could borrow for the year.  **Note to self: In the future, don't purchase any curriculum until after the first park day.**
Diana Waring's History Revealed: Ancient Civilizations & the Bible ~ This is my most favorite new thing so far!  It has something for everyone, so we can all do the same time period together.  It will involve more prep work on my part, but it'll also be tons more fun.  Unfortunately, that's been lacking somewhat in our homeschool.
Rosetta Stone Homeschool Edition ~ Japanese!  This was the kids' language choice, so we're going to go with it!  Rosetta Stone had dropped their prices by about 35%, so I finally splurged.  I think the sale goes until June 11th, so you still have time.  (It was $159 for Level 1--normally $249, I think.)
The History of Classical Music Study Guide by Beautiful Feet Books ~ This is a one-year curriculum which we'll stretch out over two years, or perhaps three.  I still might need to purchase some resources for this, but I'll check the library system first, of course.
Institute for Excellence in Writing ~ This is on loan to me from the same friend who has the Flying Creatures book.  She's such a good sharer.  (Thanks, Char.)  This will be mostly for Emma & Jeffrey.  I have an older edition (1997) of Sonlight 1-LA which uses Alpha-Phonics.  It worked well for Jeffrey, so I'll be using it with Lydia.  I also have the I Can Read It! books on loan from another friend.  (Thanks, Liz.)
Do Hard Things by the Harris brothers ~ This will be a sort of devotional book for Emma.  Our history has lots of Old Testament Bible in it, so I wanted something different for the kids' "normal" Bible subject.  Jeffrey will go through Lee Strobel's The Case for _____ for Kids series.  And I think I'll do Leading Little Ones to God with Lydia (and Samuel, as much as he will sit in).  We've also been going through Training Hearts, Teaching Minds by Starr Meade as a family devotion.  I love it.  It goes through the Westminster Shorter Catechism in Modern English.  (Whew! Say that five times fast!)  Six days of readings--a few short paragraphs and supporting Scripure--are supplied for each of the 107 questions.  If that's the *shorter* catechism, I wonder what the longer one is like!  This will take us two or three years to finish!

I still have to purchase Lydia's math, some language arts items for Emma and Jeffrey (spelling, grammar, vocabulary), art for all, and--if there's any money leftover--some fun things for Samuel.  I've been looking at the Frances Study Guide by Valerie Bendt for him.  It's a unit study based on the Frances books by Russell Hoban--all of which we already own.  I *adore* these books.  I wish there were more of them.  Sam will still be three at the start of our school year, so I don't feel like I really need to start with him yet.  We'll see.

Well, if you've read all the way through my ramblings, congratulations!  The only prize I can offer is my gratitude, for what that's worth.  = )  If you homeschool, I'll be glad to know what your family is doing.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Wonderful Weekend

We had such a great weekend that I didn't really have time to blog about it.

Saturday afternoon we went to our local Harley-Davidson place.  It's not just a store.  He's got live animals (emu, miniature horses, a donkey, a camel, and an alligator), a pirate ship, a restaurant, a car museum, and more....  Doc doesn't charge any admission fee.  Here are a few of my favorite pictures:
 Lydia, Samuel, Jeffrey, and Emma
 Motorcycles everywhere!  It was a fundraiser for MDA. 
We went to say thanks to Doc and all of the riders. 
Emma got a chance to publicly thank everyone,
but my camera was being temperamental and I missed a great photo opportunity.
 This, I think, is a HUGE grill which Doc built himself!
 Lydia and Emma inside the cabin of the pirate ship--which Doc also built.  When we had our pirate theme for camp a couple of summers ago, Doc let our staff shoot a short movie on this ship.  What a guy....
 Samuel, Jeffrey, and Dave up on deck
 This is a 5-seater motorcycle.  Guess what?  Doc built it himself.
 A floating car!  Read the card in the picture below for details:
Click to magnify.  Sorry the windshield wiper is blocking some of the words....
Cue the "Dixie" horn please!  Man...this takes me back.  = )

Then on Sunday, I was on worship team.  I love Sundays anyway, but I especially love worship team Sundays.  And it's not because I get to be up on "stage" or anything.  In fact, sometimes I wish I could be invisible up there, so I wouldn't get in the way of things.  I think that because I get to know the words of the songs so well, and practice with other people who love to worship God through music, it just makes my heart...well...SING.  Plus, it's fun.  I wish I could do it every week, but the season of life I'm in right now doesn't allow that.  And that's okay.  Maybe someday...but truly I'm content with what I'm able (and privileged) to do right now.  Thank you, Lord.

After church we had Don & Emily (and kids) over for a barbeque.  First of all, the weather was perfect--mid-70's with low humidity (unlike what tomorrow will be).  And, Dave made the chicken on the grill with the soaked wood chips and everything.  He also did some steak shishkabobs with garlic, onion, and peppers.  I made a yummy salad according to a recipe that I "stole" from my waitressing days in my college years.  We also had some fresh pineapple and cherries.  YUM.  The only bad part of the day was that both Don and Emily had to work that evening, so they could only stay until 3:30.  It was good while it lasted. 

Feelin' pretty blessed....  = )

Sunday, June 5, 2011

My Attempt at Posting Pictures

 This is the sling I fashioned for Lydia so she could "wear" her doll to the movie.
This is the doll she brought with her.  The one in the stroller stayed home.

YAY!  I did it!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Park Day!

Throughout the summer, our homeschool group meets at a park every other Friday.  Today was our first park day (and I forgot the camera).  What a great turn-out!  The weather was a little humid, but I'm not complaining.  I'd rather have a little stickyness than that eternal snow.  Jeffrey (11) found a great climbing tree.  Lydia flitted about from one piece of equipment to another.  Samuel favored the slides.  All three ditched their shoes from the get-go, and the kids were *filthy* by the time we left.  Sam was the worst, but that makes sense since he's closest to the ground.  (Emma stayed home.  Going to a park reminds her of all she *can't* do, so she had a lovely, quiet morning at home with Dave.  She goes to MDA camp soon, so she'll get lots of outdoors/friend time then.)

After lunch at home, Samuel took a two hour bath--not because he was *that* dirty (though he probably was), but because he was having a great time in there.  I got the bathroom cleaned, caught up on some reading, and checked Facebook and some curriculum websites while he slowly shriveled into a prune. 

I saved us about $30 tonight by cutting Jeffrey's and Lydia's hair myself.  I was all set to take them to a professional, but the place where I usually go closes early on Friday nights.  Grrrr....  In any case, the kids are both happy with their cuts, and Dave's happy I didn't spend the money.  Meanwhile, we watched a Tim Hawkins video I brought home from the library yesterday.  For some bits I was laughing so hard it's amazing J & L don't have bald spots--or lacerations!  (I usually put an old sheet down in the living room and cut hair while the kid watches TV.  I started this when Emma was pretty little to help her sit still, and the M.O. just kind of stuck.)  The part where Tim talks about signing his favorite Bible verse reference during an autograph session had me silent-laughing, and I couldn't catch my breath for a long time.  Thankfully, I was done with the haircuts by then.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

King of the Grill

Dave has really gotten into grilling lately.  The kids and I are the grateful beneficiaries.  We had pork loin roast tonight, but I think the chicken tenderloins he makes are the best.  I often do a marinade, but Dave soaks some kind of *magic* wood chips which smoke the meat on the grill.  Mmmmm...MMMM!  It's a double-bonus for me: I get a tasty main course, plus help in the kitchen!

I got to hold a one-week-old baby girl this afternoon.  Oh, man.  I feel so far removed from that now.  I forgot all of the sweet, funny little faces newborns make--all of the squeaks and squirms.  Love that.

Lydia (6) is in a total mommy phase; she's so cute.  She's got two dolls she's been strolling around the house.  Dave took Emma (13) and Lydia to a movie tonight, so Lydia had me fashion a receiving blanket into a sling so she could "wear" one of the babies to the movie.  Dave joked with her that movie theaters don't often allow babes in arms.  "She'll nap the whole time," said Lydia.  Of course, it's just a doll, so she was able to bring it in.  Little did they know that the doll really *can* cry. 

Samuel (3) stayed home with me to babysit the other doll.  It's a good thing I was home, because Samuel fell asleep sitting up on the couch with the Wii-mote still on his wrist.  (He's not ready to babysit past 8PM yet.) He was all Wii'd out--in more ways than one.  I scrubbed the cushions and they're drying by open windows.  *sigh*

Tomorrow I've got worship team practice.  Kids play all of the time.  Grown-ups?  Not-so-much.  Some time ago, a friend asked how we, as grown-ups, play.  I had to think about that at first.  But I know.  I sing.

Let the Not-So-Wild Rumpus Start!

So, today was our first official day of summer vacation.  I know yesterday was Memorial Day, but we would've taken that off regardless.  I'm not sure what I expected, but it seemed like rather a dull day.  The weather was gorgeous, however.  Warm and windy.  I opened all of the windows in the house and watched the curtains flit about.  A couple of door slams (!) caught me off guard.  *puts door stops on the shopping list*

The best part of the day was seeing my friend's brand new baby girl.  This is her second daughter out of six children, so I think she's loving being in the pink again (the other daughter is her oldest).  Lydia and I brought a meal over.  You might be thinking, "Oh, how sweet of you to make them dinner...."  I have an ulterior motive though--I want to see the baby.  = )  What a peanut!  (We're bringing another meal to a different family tomorrow.  This little girl is the second daughter of five kiddos.  Can't wait!)

I also ordered some more of our homeschool stuff for the fall.  Christianbook.com is so gracious.  I had a free shipping code which expired in mid-May before I'd made up my mind about a few things in my cart.  Well, I called customer service, and they cheerfully gave me a new code to use today.  (It never hurts to ask.)  I still have several things to order from Rainbow Resource, but that will have to wait.  $$$

I did order a couple of fun things for me today.  The Duggars DVD (1st season) was only $5, and I also bought a Downhere CD.  (Eh...my birthday's comin' up.)  I'll have Dave help the kids wrap them, and then I'll act all surprised for the unwrapping.