Saturday, February 27, 2010

Very Serious About Safety

We stopped by the library on Thursday, not realizing it was toddler story-time, and saw a familiar face - Wyatt's 4th grade teacher, from public school.  That was his last year in public school, and she was going on maternity leave soon after.  We had a friendly, if brief, visit and I was glad I'd made a point of talking with her (and Tate's teacher) at the end of that school year, letting them know that our decision to homeschool had nothing to do with them personally, that the boys had had a good year, etc.  

But it did remind me of a funny incident...

The 4th and 5th graders earned fake money for things like turning their work in on time and good behavior.  Then they would have "Economy Hour" a couple of times a year.  The kids were encouraged to either set up some kind of carnival booth or have something to sell - not go buy things to sell, but something they had made, or sometimes things they didn't want (used Legos, hotwheels, etc.)  So Wyatt decided to draw pictures and sell his art.  He drew three different scenes, made photocopies, and off he went.

He had drawn:
1.  A western scene with a train passing in the distance and the sun setting behind it.
2.  A speedway scene with cars racing around a track and a huge, fiery multi-car crash.
3.  A WWII submarine being hit by a torpedo.

Which is when I got the phone call from the teacher.  She had confiscated all his submarine pictures because...

they violated the school weapon's policy.

No kidding.  She was completely serious.  She was protecting the student body from danger.

I had a difficult time not laughing.

But I did begin to wonder... how are kids going to study history, which is full of violence and war?  What about literature?  Shakespeare's Macbeth, all bloody hands and daggers.  Current events?  Nope, can't touch those either.

And what about boys being boys?  I don't suppose they're going to be allowed to pick up sticks and play sword-fighting at recess.  Or pretend to save the world from invasion by aliens, with their imaginary laser-blasters.

But a glimmer of hope crossed my mind that day, as I congratulated her on her pregnancy.  She might, she just might have a boy.  So when I met her at the library this week, I looked around quickly, to see which little person was with her.... a girl.  *sigh*  And that's all well and good and lovely and all that.  And I congratulated her again.

But I was thinking...

I hope she has another one.
And I hope it's a boy.
And I hope he climbs trees, and gets dirty, and chews his toast into a gun and ka-POWS her across the breakfast table.

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Buccaneer Bible?

Wyatt's book is growing.  Oh, if that boy could just control his temper and his tongue!

The good news is that I let him exchange part of his sentence-writing sentence for hard labor, in the form of shoveling off the end of the driveway.  Hard, heavy rocky dirt has sloughed off the bank and onto the pavement, and he used it to fill in the hole in front of the gate where we removed a stump.

And I have a new paper to add to his file, this one featuring Proverbs 12:18, over and over and over again.  And, once more, the last one translated into Wyatt's Unauthorized Pirate Version, which reads,

Reckless words pierce like a cutlass, aye, but the severed tongue of the wise be bringin' healin'.

I'm not sure I should encourage him, but I have to laugh.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Lord of the Rings.

Although, if you didn't know, you can pretty much skip this.

One year for Christmas, Kerry got me the LOTR set on DVD.  Not every year, but most, we pick a cold, dark Saturday during the winter, farm out the boys, and have a LOTR marathon.  And let me tell you, no matter how much you like them (and we do), watching all three, back to back, is an endurance event.  12+ hours of screen time.

And yes, I said we farm the boys out.  As yet, we have not let the boys watch them.  While there is much to admire in the stories, they are definitely dark.  As the years have gone by, the boys have heard us discussing the movies and asked me when they'd be old enough to watch them, and I have always said...

When you read the books, you can watch the movies.

Guess who is going to be watching with us this year?

Random Thoughts about The Blog and Life in General

There are people who are determined to post something every day.  And some of them have something worthwhile to say every day.

I don't.

In fact, whole weeks can go by when I apparently think nothing but entirely mundane thoughts.  Which, for the most part, I refrain from posting.  Your welcome.

But, just keeping it real, this is what the week has been like, thus far.

Monday:  I manage to get the Simple Woman post up, but just now realize that I have once again neglected to link it to the "mother site."  I spend a few minutes visiting other blogs and come to the realization that the blog world is an exotic buffet, and I am the macaroni and cheese.  With a side of pbj.

The boys are outside at every opportunity, bouncing on the trampoline and reviving Dino-opolis.

Tate, instructed to write a sentence demonstrating his understanding of the meaning of his vocabulary words, comes up with this for collision:

The train collided with the sewer truck; the results were both disastrous and stinky.

We get through all the school work I had planned for Monday, but do not go to MIT.  It is just one thing too many, and I have to scurry off to rehearsal - by far the best part of the day.

Tuesday:  Though the weather is still beautiful, Wyatt is under a black cloud. Since he can't seem to control his mouth, he is busily writing me 40 copies of Deuteronomy 5:16.  I have to read every single one because he tries to skip words here and there, thinking I won't notice.  And he writes the 40th copy in his very own Unauthorized Pirate Version, which includes avast, scurvy dog, yer, ye, ARRGH, and bilge-rat.

We get through most of our school work, which includes two science experiments involving hydrogen peroxide, a potato, epsom salt, and ammonia.  Once again, the school room has a funky smell.

While I set up the experiments the boys are totally engrossed in their journal writing assignment.  I give them a sentence and tell them to write a story around it, but it can not be funny.  And no burping, farting, pooping, or boogers.  Straining his ears to hear, he followed the sound.

I go with Wyatt to his piano lesson.  To keep an eye on him.

The boys spend all their free time poking each other, pushing each other, chasing each other, and rolling around the floor on each other.  Fun!

Kerry is gone for the evening, and the boys and I begin reading Stowaway, by Karen Hesse.

Wednesday:  I'm enjoying Wyatt's algebra; Wyatt is not.  Which is strange, because he's actually good at it when he gets around to doing it.

We play a game, to see what the boys remember about Catherine the Great.  As they move around the game board, answering questions, they collect "support" for her to seize the throne.  This "support" being represented by M&M's, we almost don't have a new Tsar, as they are so tempted to eat their supporters.

Just as we are about to buckle down to the tedious work of actually writing up a summary, Grampa arrives to help us remove large branches from some of our trees.  Well, anything involving a chainsaw and an extension ladder obviously takes precedence over academic pursuits, so we reconvene in the yard.

Actually, the boys are a big help and work hard picking up branches and debris and loading it into Grampa's truck.  And "helping" me make oatmeal cookies - Grampa's favorite - to thank him.

Meanwhile, Gunnar talks more and faster than any little boy I've ever met.  And he uses way too many pronouns.  But he's begun to notice my eyes glazing over, as he goes on and on about Star Wars or Clone Wars or whatever it is.

Is it bad that I don't know what Ka-shiek is?  Are the clones good guys or bad guys?  What is a twee-lock?  Is it like an E-wok?

Gunnar goes to AWANA and finishes his book for the second time, and now has only 7 verses to learn to get his coveted blue review patch.  I'm a proud mama.

He has two bloody noses today, and finally admits to me that at least one of them was caused by picking.  Like I didn't know that.  He is nearly in tears as he confesses.  I think I shock him by saying, "You know, Gunnar, picking your nose isn't a sin.  There is no Thou shalt not pick thy nostrils in the Bible.  There are other reasons I don't like you picking your nose:

1.  It bleeds.
2.  It's gross to see.
3.  What are you going to do with the boogers?"

Because that third one is what I really care about.

Which brings us to today...


We defer our school work to get some chores and errands done.  So far the boys and I have...

Swept and mopped the kitchen, bathroom, and mudroom
Vacuumed the living room, dining room, and stairs
Wiped off the tops of the picture frames hanging on the stairs (a long neglected task)
Cleaned two bathrooms
Set the table (company for dinner)
Prepared the crockpot stew (yum!)
Tidied the play room (which has probably already been undone)
Tidied their bedroom
Unloaded, reloaded and started the dishwasher
Run a load of laundry
Dusted the living room and dining room, and
Swept the porch

There.  Now I feel productive and useful!

We're off to the library, the grocery store, the consignment store, and to pay the bill for the life insurance, which every year without fail arrives in my mail box 1-2 weeks after it is due.

And that is my exciting, whirlwind of a life.

UPDATE:  I can't believe I forgot this too... but for some great encouragement and motivation on getting things organized and picked up around the house, check out Organizing Mommy's blog.  Not only we'll she exlain how to blitz, she's always encouraging, humble... and... a HEDGEHOG!  (Just kidding.  Sort of.  Wink, wink.)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Simple Woman #48

FOR TODAY...  February 21, 2010

Outside my window...  bright sunshine melting the frost off yards and roofs, birds chirping, and neighbor kids walking to school.

I am thinking...  I forgot to link up last week's Simple Woman... the whole not-linking-on-Monday thing has thrown off my groove.  Oops.

I am thankful for...  the sunshine and the light. I feel like I'm coming out of hibernation.

I am praying for...  work for Kerry, self-motivation for the boys, and productivity for me.

I am creating...  I was going to leave this off this week, because I don't feel like I'm creating anything.  But, maybe, music :D

I am going...  to get all the rest of the laundry folded and put away, tidy my office, and (*ugh*) balance the checkbook.  I've been avoiding the check book.

I am hearing...  little birds, the boys playing downstairs (some big Lego battle, undoubtedly), and tappety-tappety-tappety.

I am remembering...  some little bird feeders I gave the boys for Christmas that we haven't put out yet.  Must find those.

From the learning rooms...  a stack of the ordinary - math, grammar, spelling, history (Catherine the Great), and a funky smell resulting from our experiments with steel wool and vinegar, and copper and vinegar.

From the kitchen...  cheerios on the floor, and the dishwasher running.

Around the house...  I still have a few red Valentine things out.  I should probably put them away, but I'm not ready to face spring yet.

On my mind...  I've been invited on an informal women's retreat with my church.  The note says, Weenie Dave Ache Asian.  I'm hoping to go.

Pondering these words... 

Lift up your heads, O ye gates;
and be ye lift up,
ye everlasting doors;
 and the King of glory shall come in.

Who is this King of glory?
The LORD strong and mighty,
the LORD mighty in battle. 

Lift up your heads,
O ye gates;
be ye  lift up,
ye everlasting doors;
and the King of glory shall come in

Who is this King of glory?
The LORD of hosts,
he is the King of glory.
I'm not usually a KJV person, but we're rehearsing this for Messiah, and I think it's my favorite.

One of my favorite things...  crossing things off my (endless) to do list.

A few plans for the rest of the week...  rehearsal tonight, Wyatt's piano lesson tomorrow, and Gunnar has AWANA on Wednesday.  We're hoping to have a couple from church over on Thursday.  I look at my calendar and it looks blissfully slow for this week... dare I hope?

Here is a picture thought I am sharing...


Sometimes we're just not ready for Monday...

Thursday, February 18, 2010


The boys are rebuilding Lego kits.  Still.  A source of much frustration.  Especially when they're each trying to build a kit of their own, rather than cooperating.  I try to let them work it out on their own, only stepping in when the tension rises.

Gunnar, to Wyatt, with frustration,

I'd be much obliged if you'd - once you're done - help me.

At least he's asking nicely.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Stink Pink

Leah asked, and in case anyone was wondering...

Stink Pink is a rhyming game.  You think of two words that rhyme, and the others try to guess your words.  You give them two clues:

1.  Syllables, and
2.  Synonyms.

Okay, so I'm thinking of two words that rhyme.  They each have one syllable, so I say Stink Pink.  (If they had two syllables each, they would be a Stinky Pinky; three is a Stinkety Pinkety, and so on.)  Then I throw out my synonyms:  Naked Cowboy.

The answer - of course - is nude dude.

Make sense?

Try this one.

Stinky Pinky, flexible wood.

Or, Stinky Pinky, excitable musician.

The words don't have to go together at all.  They just have to rhyme.  But it's more funny if they do sort of go together.  And you can throw in another level of complexity by using homonyms.  You know... Stink Pink, a serious tomb is a grave grave.

Of course they boys tend to go for refined and subtle humor, like Gunnar's piece de resistance last night, Stink Pink, sour methane.  (Just think like an 8 year old boy, you'll get it.)

But I put up with it because - hey - once again, they're expanding their vocabularies and it's a stress-free way to sneak in some grammar (syllables, synonyms, homonyms, antonyms, etc.) as well.

UPDATE - answers in the comments.

Simple Woman #49

FOR TODAY... February 15, 2010

Outside my window...  looks like we're in for a sunny day, which is especially nice since the public schools have a holiday and the boys want to take today off to play with their friends.

I am thinking...  Peggy, the woman who hosts the Simple Woman, ummmm... thing,  (what do you call this sort of bloggy convergence?) can be found by clicking on the words (SimpleWoman) below the picture above.  Apparently I'm not the only one who wants to do this but struggles to pull it off on Monday morning - just when the week is getting started.  At any rate, she's decided not to put up "Mr. Linky" until Tuesday.  Of course, anyone can post at any time, but the link won't be up on Monday.

I'll have to think about if I want to keep doing this on Monday.  Of course, nobody was forcing me ;D

I am thankful for...  having a mac.  Especially given the keyboard debacle of last weekend.

I am praying for...   still praying for Harry and Hazel, and for a family in Zambia who just lost their baby.  And for the boys - that they would desire to do their best.

I am wearing...  jeans, slippers, a teal henley.  "Working" clothes.  Must.  Clean.  Bathrooms.  Today.

I am remembering...  my high and noble goals to train the boys to do more of the housework.

I am going...  to revisit those goals.   And our schedule.  And make it happen.

I am currently reading...  just about finished reading Johnny Tremain with the boys.

I am hoping... *sigh*  to be the person I like to think I am.

I am hearing...   too much quiet.  Though I'm enjoying it, I should probably investigate.

From the learning rooms...  there's a large, Monday-morning pile of work awaiting us.  But the boys are lobbying to shift our week back a day, due to public schools being off today.  Which I don't mind. But it makes it harder for me to remember that today is Monday and I have rehearsal tonight.  And tomorrow, which will seem like Monday, will be filled with Monday's work and Wyatt's Tuesday piano lesson.  And so the week will go.

On my mind...  still turning this post over and over in my mind.

Noticing that...  I'm hearing spring birds chirping.

Pondering these words...

If ignorance is bliss, why aren't more people jumping up and down with joy?

I'm not naming any names...

Around the house...  red valentine decorations and red candles are still scattered about, after last night's family Valentine dinner.  Fun :D

One of my favorite things... the boys' delight in playing Stink Pink.

A picture thought I am sharing...

This is very nearly what I see across the dinner table most nights... *sigh*

Saturday, February 13, 2010


I' tin n npnn bgy br.  Ut  e my eybor orte out.

Yes...  I'm taking an unplanned bloggy break.  Until I get my keyboard sorted out.

That's what the previous line looks like without that all-important row of characters, which is now not functioning.  Because some genius spilled water on the keyboard.

Oh.  That would be me.

You should've seen how quickly I snatched up the keyboard, tilted it on its side, and got that can of compressed air going.  I even pried off some of the buttons and got all the gunk out from under them and replaced them.  But here I sit, at Kerry's keyboard - which is sticky and covered with coffee stains and probably hasn't been dusted since Slick Willie was in office yet still works - pondering the injustice of life.

I'm formulating my plea for help.  Kerry is out at the hardware store just now, unaware that my brilliant ploy - unplugging the keyboard and sitting it upside down on the forced-air heat vent while I took a nap - has failed to restore its functionality.  And I don't think the rest of my array of highly technical skills (turn it off, unplug it, and try again) are going to succeed either. 

And I need my computer.  It's for school.  Really.  And for Bible Study.  I'm very altruistic, you know.

And I'll miss you all until we get this sorted.

Friday, February 12, 2010


In the school room yesterday, Gunnar, trying to figure something out,

What in carnation?

I think they've been watching westerns.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Friends - Still More

(To see the earlier posts, click the label - Beta Thoughts - at the bottom of the post.)

I have to say I really liked Leah's comment about The Friendship Dial.  Parents get to "tune" the friendship dial, guiding their kids in how close to let certain friendships get, and how much monitoring they require. 

So, hears another dial I like to tune...

3.  How much time they spend with friends.

Honestly, I favor a lot less time with peers than what is considered normal in our society.  Now the boys do have a lot of friends that I'm glad to have around.  :D  But in general, spending a lot of time with other kids isn't going to help them grown in godly wisdom and maturity, now is it?  Because they're all immature - meaning, they're not yet mature - mine included.  I've been thinking more about this now that I have a 13 year-old.  And I didn't say "a teenager" on purpose.

I read not long ago that the word "teenager" didn't exist as a noun until relatively recently.  "Teenage" was an adjective, describing a person in their teens.  That all changed when adolescence became a culture of its own.  But that's a discussion for another day.  And whether you're thinking along the same lines or not, it's fairly universally accepted that in our culture most teens are more influenced by their peers than by their family.

That is not my goal.  Now, we're new to this territory (adolescence), so I'm no expert, but that sure seems like a recipe for some undesirable fruit, yah?  At that age, especially.

Good grief!  Why on earth, when our kids are hitting adolescence, and their hormones are carbonated and their brains are muddled, would we want to passively release them to a bunch of like-minded peers?  And that's the good kids!  The rebellious ones get downright nasty.  Isaiah 32:6.

So, contrary to what is "normal", I actually favor more supervision in these years, as opposed to unsupervised (or minimally supervised) time with friends.  The more time they spend with mature, godly adults (mentors) the better.

So, wrapping this all up...

First, I realize that a lot of my thoughts have sounded negative.  In reality, we are blessed to have many friends and relatives that we enjoy spending time with and are happy for our kids to be around.  And they're not all Christians, either.

But, secondly, I do tend to analyze these things.  I have high expectations for my boys, along the lines of 1 Timothy 4:12.  Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.

Um... we're not there yet.  Really, really not there yet.

We're still over at Proverbs 22:15,  Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child...

And it wasn't put there by someone else's kid.  Again, I think of Rachael's words, "Sin isn't a disease we catch.  It's a genetic condition."  Our own sinful hearts lead us astray faster than anyone else can.

Third, since my kids anyway are not consistently wise and mature enough to have this figured out for themselves, I'm going to keep a close eye on things.

When I was growing up our house was the go-to place.  Didn't hurt that we lived on the lake, but more than that, it was just my parents' way.  And whaddaya know, they knew all our friends.  They knew (for the most part, anyway) what was going on.  And I get it.  If they're all here, I can see and hear and evaluate what's going on, and how my boys are handling it.  That's the key, right there.  Watching the boys' hearts.

Not to mention, fourth, at my house, I get to make the rules.

I'm not nearly as good and easy-going about hospitality as my mom was and is, but I'm trying.  Partly because it's one of those "one another's", so it's not really an option, anyway.  But that's not the only reason.  (We do enjoy having company, btw, it's not just an obligation.)

Yes, there are going to be people that we will be kind to... from a distance.  I'd much prefer to stay in the safe zone of like-minded parents.  But we're trying to find the right balance of compassion and discernment.  Trying to work out how to be gracious and loving and wise.

And really, really glad to hear how you all do it.

Heard Around the Dinner Table

Wyatt, Gunnar asked, if you had a money-mint in your nose, would you give me a hundred dollars?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Morning Words

Gunnar often comes creeping into our bed in the morning, for a little snuggle.
He tells me things.

And I listen, though I can't say I'm actually awake.

This time it's All.  About.  Star Wars.

And it goes on, and on.  I nod and mmm-hmmm from time to time, until finally I say, "Gunnar, I really need to get up now."

He clutches my arm tightly and hugs me.

"Not yet, Mom, we have so much to talk about!"

The "we" part is a little fuzzy, but I am powerless to resist and snuggle back in with him.

There is more about Star Wars.  A great deal more.  And then,

"Mom, who's your favorite Star Wars character?"

"Mmmmmmmm, I don't have a favorite.  Ummmm, Harrison Ford.  Uh, that's Han Solo."

"Guess my favorite character, Mom."

"Ummmm... R2D2?"

There is a silence as he ponders the accuracy of my amazing and unforeseen intuition.

"Mom, your conscience is cheating."

Monday, February 8, 2010

Just Sad

It's a sad, sad day when the only email in your inbox is Worm Farming Secrets.

Friends- More

(First part here, and second part here.)  
Btw, sometimes I just mention a Bible reference.
Hover over it and you'll see the verse.

So far... Kerry and I have basically the same goals as far as how the kids ought to treat people.  But we differ in our views of balancing compassion with caution in making friends.

2.  Who the boys hang out with.

Here's where the rubber meets the road.  The boys don't live in a bubble, after all.  They're in contact with all kinds of people.

And they're young and immature.  I don't mean they're immature for their ages, but they are not adults.  They are not mature.  They are not wise and discerning.  I think they need help - they need guidance in evaluating who they can and should hang around with.  They really do.

I'll tell you a story.  When Tate was about seven, there was a boy in his class at school who lived nearby.  I think Tate liked him because he was funny.  Oh, he was funny all right.  He was a smart aleck, popping off in class.  I let him come over to play a few times, against my better judgment.  But that came to a screeching halt when he persisted in bullying Gunnar every time he was here.  Sometimes right in front of his own mom.  And Tate was just too young to get it.

On the other hand, there are other neighborhood kids that our boys go back and forth with constantly, with our blessing.  They're not perfect.  We're not perfect.  But we're on the same page, so I don't have to be as vigilant in overseeing their time together.

As some of you wisely pointed out, there are friends and there are friends.  I think of Proverbs 12:26, "A righteous man is cautious in friendship."

Rachael mentioned the importance of paying close attention to how our kids respond to other kids.  Are my kids being judgmental?  Are they able to be gracious without compromise?  Or are they being attracted by what they know is wrong?  How are they handling it?

When I watched Tate with this other boy, I could see that Tate thought it was all really funny, a big game.  He thought this kid was "cool". When I told Tate we weren't going to be having that boy over any more I also asked him to find some other kids to play with at recess.  And I got resistance.  Which, to me, is a warning flag.  Why are we so fascinated with trouble?

Around that same time we had temporary custody of Kerry's niece for about a year.  Her parents are/were the most vile, self-serving, manipulative druggies you can imagine.  They would've thrown her under a bus to get whatever they wanted.  The things she had been exposed to would curl your hair.  And you know what?  Whenever we were downtown, or at a store, we would see people like her parents - people our grandparents would call "low-lifes" - and she was clearly drawn to them.  They were her normal.  I would watch her watching them... see her interest, her attraction.  And she was two years old.  Broke my heart, and scared me for her future.

So I'm cautious about whom I want the boys getting comfortable around.

Goes back to Proverbs 22:24-25.  Why do we avoid certain people?  So we don't fall into their ways.  So we don't become like them

I think Kerry's gut-reaction is to equate this with being snobby.  Being holier-than-thou.  I see it differently.

I'll tell you the truth.  It's not because I think my boys are so pure and noble and perfectly mannered that they need to somehow be protected from contamination by "bad" kids.  Oh no, it's because they - we - are weak.  And easily influenced by the company we keep.  Proverbs 13:20.

So I'm left with the tension of trying to balance the virtue of being a friend to the lonely and the outcast, with my desire to protect my boys from trouble and temptation, knowing all the while that we bring our own trouble to the equation.

Rachael didn't pull any punches when she said, "Sin isn't a disease we catch.  It's a genetic conditon."

We have it, too.

Simple Woman #48

FOR TODAY    February 8, 2010

Outside my window...  blue-gray sky, may be sunny today, purple primroses peeking out from under the bare dogwood tree, smoke from the neighbors' wood stove drifting by, and - as ever - busy, busy squirrels.

I am thinking...   so very much to do today.

I am thankful for...   a good Sunday, yesterday.  Had a fun time at my parents' watching the SuperBowl.

As I sat in church yesterday morning I was thankful for several things.  Our regular pastor was gone - thankful for him and his wife.  And thankful for little things.  Three women came in late - looked like three generations of family - and they needed a moment to get "grandma" settled.  No problem.  And immediately after they were seated a man across the aisle calmly got up, handed them his bulletin, and pointed to where we were in the service.  A simple kindness.   And thankful for funny things.  As one of the elders prayed that the Lord would strengthen us with His Spirit of power, somebody must've flushed, because the pipes gave a familiar rattle.  We also prayed for a man in the congregation having heart surgery this coming Wednesday.  It's a serious thing, but the man makes light of it and calls his heart "Hazel", because he says it sounds like the name of an unfaithful wife.  (My apologies to any Hazels out there.)

I am praying for...  Hazel and the surgery, work for Kerry, and a good day of school today, as there is much to do.

I am reading...   Already Gone, analysis of research about why church kids leave the church.

I am hoping...   started this day not feeling well; hoping that improves.

I am hearing...   clothes flopping around in the dryer, and entirely too much silence downstairs.  (When the boys are quiet it's suspicious.)

From the learning rooms...   I love the start of a new week.  I like to plan it so we start off strong and then can taper off the work load through the week.  Monday is rather... full.

From the kitchen...   brought home left-overs from the SuperBowl party, so I don't have to plan dinner tonight.  :D

Around the house...   finally took down my winter decorations.  I think the boys are disappointed.  They're still hoping for snow and take this as a sign that I've given up.  But I've scattered some red, Valentine-y things around and they're looking forward to next Sunday.

On my mind...   second-guessing myself.  Am I expecting too much of the boys?  Too little?  Will I ever get it right?

Noticing that...  I stood by Wyatt with my shoes off yesterday and good gracious, I think he's growing.  Maybe I'll weigh and measure them again today.

Pondering these words...  The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, present your requests to God, and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

One of my favorite things...   taking a load of stuff to consignment or Goodwill.  Yay!

A few plans for the rest of the week...   rehearsal tonight for me, to the orthodontist tomorrow morning to see if Wyatt can be done with his headgear, he also has a piano lesson on Tuesday, Gunnar has AWANA on Wednesday, a PTO day Friday (*ahhhh*), and a ladies get-together at church on Saturday.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing...

Nearly three years ago... can't believe how they've grown!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Friend Issues - Take Two

One thing I've learned about parenting is that I wish I was a whole lot smarter than I am.  We muddle through this thing, sometimes blundering around like a bull in a china shop, and it's a wonder our kids survive us at all.

But there's hope.  God promises wisdom to those who ask for it.  I love Isaiah 40:11, "... He gently leads those that have young."  And we have each other.  Not to pool our ignorance, but to remind each other of the Truth.  To pray for each other.  To comfort.  I appreciate all of you who have chimed in with your wise words.

If you missed it and you're interested, you can see the first part here.

As I've been thinking about this issue of friendships, and re-reading your helpful comments, I've come to divide my thoughts into three parts.  And at the risk of rambling on for way too long, I think I'll post just one part at a time.  Besides, if I don't, I'll keep fussing over them.  So, inspired by this (off topic) post, I'm labeling them Beta Thoughts.  Moving on...

1.  How we want the boys to treat others.

Well, that should be obvious, shouldn't it?  Nicely.

I think Craig first mentioned James 2:1-5, and I know that is in the forefront of Kerry's mind too.  We dont' want to model - or allow the boys to develop - the attitude that people are there to serve our purposes, or that we don't befriend people unless they can benefit us in some way.  I think we all know what it feels like to be overlooked or outright rejected by "the in crowd" and we certainly don't want to treat others that way.  Besides, in God's eyes that's all upside down anyway, isn't it.

But we want to do better than just being nice.  (Though that's a jolly good start!)  How about something really radical?  Philippians 2:3-4 hits the nail right on the head, "... in humility consider others better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others."  Ouch.

So we're working on the one another's.  You know...
  • love one another
  • show mercy and compassion to one another
  • encourage one another
  • be devoted to one another in brotherly love
  • honor one another
  • live in harmony with one another
  • serve one another
  • bear with one another
  • be kind and compassionate to one another
  • forgive one another
  • offer hospitality to one another
And I could go on.  But I left out the one about "greet one another with a holy kiss."
Because there is just. no. way.

And in all of that, Kerry and I are on the same page.

Where we differ, things get a little slippery.  Kerry is definitely more tender-hearted than I am, much more likely to give people the benefit of the doubt.  I'm more motivated to protect my own, you know - that mother bear thing.  Which may make me sound more cold-hearted than I hope I actually am.  In some ways we're backwards to the stereotype.  He leads with his heart and I lead with my head.  (Not a sideways insult.  Just tellin' it like it is.)

If you picture a scale with compassion at one end and discernment at the other, Kerry leans toward the compassion end and I lean the other way.  That's not a snide way of saying he's not discerning, btw, but that we definitely weight those values differently.

But the good news is, they're not mutually exclusive.  As several of you have pointed out, there's more than a semantic difference between being a friend and being friends.

So there you go.  Part One.  Discuss.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

More Science

The boys usually love science, especially since we're doing a LOT of experiments this year, thanks to a generous "grant" from Gramma and Grampa Grasshopper.


And let me tell ya, you can have a lot of fun with an assortment of bottles and jars, a bit of plastic tubing, some clay, and alka-seltzer.  We wrapped up our lime-water experiments by cleaning all the limestone deposits off our containers with vinegar, and decided to do a little test on the effervescent abilities of alka-seltzer.

First, we filled a small jar with ordinary water, and put about an inch of water in the bottom of the green bottle.  Using some plastic tubing (left-over from Tate's hospitalization last fall) we dropped one end into the jar of water and wrapped clay around the tubing about 2 inches from the other end.

As Gunnar dropped the alka-seltzer into the bottle, Tate quickly shoved the clay 'plug' down, and Wyatt started the timer.

There was a delightfully entertaining fizzing frenzy for the first 60 seconds that was oh-so-fun to watch.  (That's the purpose of running the tubing into the water, btw, to we can see the bubbles rising -  so we can know how long the stuff keeps effervescing.)

I'm tellin' ya, that stuff goes on and on and on!  The bubbling slowed down after the first minute and eventually became intermittent.  But I just checked on it, 50 minutes later and there were still bubbles forming.

I'm not sure the boys are actually aware that people take this stuff internally.  And I'm keeping that information from them, for the time being.  I can just imagine the glow on their faces as they imagine the awesome potentiality, right at their finger tips.  But that would lead to a whole range of other experiments on gasses and out-gassing that I have no desire to be part of, thank you very much.

 What they don't like, is writing up their experiments.  But, being the cruel and sadistic mother that I am, I force them to the grueling task of filling out this simple form:

Because, you know, I enjoy being mean. *eyes roll*


That is the happy face of a boy who has finished his 2nd grade math!  

Three cheers for Gunnar!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Only From The Mind Of Tate

*** FYI - The following is not a Deep or Insightful post.  Just a little peek into my daily life.***

Leafing through Tate's math folder recently, I found this little gem he seems to have written last summer.  For whatever reason, (Lion King, perhaps?) he had a song on his mind.  Of course, not knowing the actual words to the song won't stop the creative force that is Tate.  (Nor, apparently, will his unconventional personal spelling system, *sigh*,  we're working on that.)

So, without further ado, I present to you,

A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts

I've got a lovley bunch of cocanuts
12 are brown the rest are pink
and on the insid theres
red n blue inke!

the cocanuts
the killer cocanuts
they are so happlesly squishy

I've gut an ugly bunch of cocanuts
10 eat wesuls
the others all twich

My 80 foot coocanuts
have lots of coofy (coffee)
in thyr navul cavitys

I've got a haples bunch of coconuts
all in a roe
on a Abrums tank
witch presently bluw up

And yes, he meant "hapless" as opposed to "helpless".  I checked.  And he defined it for me, more or less correctly.

Wyatt, laughing nearly uncontrollably while I read this aloud to make sure I was getting it right, said, "Tate!  I think you mean 'nasal cavities'!"  But, no, Tate was just using a unique expression for stomach... you know, near your navel.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


We did chemistry today.  Yesterday, (because it had to sit overnight), we mixed pickling lime with water to make lime-water.   (Not from limes... don't drink it.)   When we looked at the jar we'd used for mixing, we saw what looked like clear water with a chalky white powder at the bottom.  Which led to a discussion of terms like solution, suspension, saturate, and precipitate.  Of course, being from the Pacific Northwest, the boys are pretty familiar with precipitation, (*eyes roll*), though not in the chemistry sense, but they quickly grasped the concepts.

So later today, as we were driving somewhere in the van and the boys were talking my ears off, I was trying to look on the bright side and praised them on their diverse repertoire of language.  And I asked, "Why do you guys think you know so many words?"

Gunnar didn't miss a beat.  "Because we talk so much, Mommy."

"Uh, yes and no, sweetie.  I was thinking because you read so much."

Tate jumped in, proving my point.  "Well, it's probably because we read good books that enhance our vocabulary."

I kid you not.

Hallelujah, Remix

I went to rehearsal last night, for the Easter concert.  The boys, having been forced to listen to me waxing on admiringly about Handel's Messiah at Christmas, said, "Well, you're gonna sing the Hallelujah part - where we all stand up - again, aren't you?"  (They liked it.)

Well, sure, of course we are.  I mean, what's Easter without Hallelujah?

But we're not.  We're not?!

Because we're singing this one instead - the Hallelujah from Beethoven's Mount of Olives.  I don't know how to post a video, so do yourself a favor - click the link and give it a listen.

The recording is a bit fuzzy - hard to make out all the words, which are, (with much repetition):

unto God's Almighty Son
Praise the Lord
ye bright angelic choirs 
in holy songs of joy
unto God's Almighty Son
Praise the Lord 
in songs of joy
O praise the Lord
in holy songs of joy
Man, proclaim His grace and glory
unto God's Almighty Son
Praise the Lord
in holy songs of joy

I don't think the boys will be disappointed.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Black Mail?

Every time I make the boys write sentences for me I have them sign the sheets and date them.

I'm getting quite a stack of them.

I'm thinking of making little books, and presenting them to the boys' future wives upon their weddings.  Or maybe when they announce the first pregnancy.

Funny?  Or too mean?  I'm thinking funny.

Simple Woman #47

For Today     February 1, 2010

Outside my window...  
Green... firs, cedars, hemlocks, moss, and very soggy grass
Brown... dirt, flower beds, and trees which look dead, but are only sleeping... for a little while longer
Gray... the sky, and the lake reflecting the sky.

I am thinking...  God is able.  The God who is able to save, completely, (Heb. 7:25), is able to do more than we can ask or imagine, (Eph. 3:20-21), and is able to meet all our needs (Phil. 4:19).  So I can trust Him to meet our family's needs.  (Deep breath... deep breath, again.)

I am thankful for...   It looks like Kerry will be working on a remodel of a house in our neighborhood, which will help, and may also be working with the 2010 Census.

I am praying for...  more work.  Because I am, truly, thankful for those couple of leads Kerry has gotten, but they're both short-term.

I am wearing...  leiderhosen.  No?  Just checking to see if anyone is paying attention.

I am creating...  clean from dirty, filed from piled, calm from crazy, and order from chaos.

I am hoping...  well, the boys are hoping for snow.  We've had such a mild January that trees are trying to bud.  What gives?

I am hearing...  the sound of hands pawing through tubs of Legos, voices verging on bossy, and how can such cute little feet be so noisy?

I am remembering...  having lunch with my grampa.  In his 90's he still lived in his own (little!) home, near us, making bird houses in his garage just for something to do.  I don't think I've ever met a more easy-going, even-tempered man.  He must've gotten bored, but he never complained.   One day we went out for Chinese food and his fortune cookie had this message: 
If nothing is pressing, putter around at this or that.
Yeah.  Which is exactly what he did.  Every day.

From the learning rooms...  decided we needed another week on the Revolution and the Constitution, Gunnar is finishing his 2nd grade math (!), making lime water (to check for the presence of carbon dioxide), studying Greek/Latin word roots, and trying to grow spruce trees from seeds.

Around the house...  still have all my snowflake/winter decorations out, but winter hasn't come.  Yet.

On my mind...  I have read that Patrick Henry, the hot-tempered patriot, enjoyed the sound of rain so much, that he had a special room with a low ceiling built onto the east side of his house, so he could sleep there... listening to the rain.

Noticing that...  where I live, there's a strange phenomenon about street names.  If you're in town, the streets just have their normal names, but where they run out into The County (which is, you know, out of town), all the street names start with "The".  Your address might be 1234 Dewey, but if someone asks where you live you'd say, "On The Dewey Road."  Or The Pole Road.  Or The Axton Road.  I don't know why.

Pondering these words...  the boys have pretty good vocabularies and they like big words.  Tate occasionally mixes words that are similar sounding, probably related to his hearing loss.  Lately it's been peculiar for particular.  As in, "Well, Mom, it's not my peculiar favorite."  Alrighty, then.

One of my favorite things...  google maps.  I can get street view of houses I lived in... in Australia.  How cool is that?

A few plans for the rest of the week...  rehearsal, piano practice, AWANA, dinner at friends' (from church), and later to my parents' for the Superbowl.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing...

When we bought the house we live in, several years ago, one of the boys' main concerns was...
would there be dirt to play in?
Um... yes, definitely, yes.