Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Exciting Discoveries

A.A. Milne (author of the Winnie the Pooh books) once said,

One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.

While my orderly heart resists the lure of having to 'discover' things like the car keys on a daily basis, I can appreciate the joy of finding something long missing.  Like this poem of Wyatt's.  His third grade teacher instructed him to write a poem that repeats a word or phrase.  He had scribbled dark lines through her admonition to "Remember, no rhyming!" and I'm glad he did.


The whistle blows,
I'm ready to play.
They kick the ball,
it comes my way.

I run, I run
to get the ball.
I kick it up the field.
 Someone kicks the ball
high in the air.

I run, I run
and head the ball.
It flies into the goal.

The whistle blows,
The game is done.
But still,
I run, I run, I run.

Wyatt Garrett
age 9

Monday, August 29, 2011

Fist Pump

Kerry and Gunnar are coming home late this evening.  And by "late" I mean after dinner.

Wyatt and Tate completed their school work this morning, did a couple of light chores, loaded Grampa Grasshopper's truck with a bunch of brush and branches we cleared, and I have let them have a mini "Dirty Jobs" marathon on Netflix streaming.  (I love that show.  Let me count the ways...)

With Kerry not here for dinner, I have fairly loose meal plans, but Wyatt and Tate appear at my side with this request:

Mom, can we pleeeeeaase make our own dinner.  You know, sandwiches, carrots, whatever.

I pretend to deliberate the merits of this request.  (Not seeing the downside.)

Well, gee, I guess I could let you do that.  Okay.

You know, as opposed to me actually stirring myself and cooking something.  Yah, that would be fine.

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For Today, August 29, 2011

Outside my window...  it's a dark morning.  Can't tell if it's heavy fog that will burn off, or real clouds.  Either way, there's a nice breeze rustling the leaves... leaves that are getting "rustly" because they're drying out and starting to drop.  Fall is just around the corner :D 

I am thinking...  it was good to be back at church yesterday, after missing for two weeks.  (In-laws here last weekend, and the week before we visited the church I grew up in - having their last Sunday in the "old" church before moving to a new site.  Kind of sentimental.)

But so good to be back at our church, sitting in our pew.

Which feels kind of weird to say... our pew.  But we're creatures of habit, and for a good reason.
With Tate's hearing disability, we like to sit right up near the front, with his me on his right (so I can whisper in his good ear, if need be), and he can hear the pastor directly as well as through the speakers, which cause distortion.

I kind of hope our friends know there's a method to our madness, and not just an insistence on sitting where we like.

I am thankful for...  the good shift in perspective after a morning in church!  While we are worried about many things (Luke 10:41) - economics, politics, etc - the Lord is on His throne
Pastor Bert went through some of the names God announces Himself by and what they mean.  Some I was already familiar with, some new, but such a comforting reminder!

God is strong, the mighty leader, the supreme deity, the creator.
The ALMIGHTY God, the 'king of the mountain' (kidspeak).
Everlasting, unchangeable, He does not grow weak.
Always present.  Always faithful to His covenant.
The sovereign, omnipotent, thrice holy commander of the heavenly host.
And Abba Father, our safety and security.

There.  Deep breath.

All is well.

I am praying for...  work for Kerry, continued healing for my mom, my brother's upcoming wedding!

I am creating...  plans and pillowcases.

I am going...  in circles.  *sigh*

I am reading...  The World-Tilting Gospel, finally!

I am hoping...  Gunnar is having a good time at a camp-out birthday party.
Well, duh, I'm sure he's having a GREAT time.  :D

I am hearing...  silence in the house.  Wow.  Wyatt finished his school work and went for a quick bike ride and Tate is doing something quiet.  This is a rare moment ;D

I am remembering...  feeling excited for school to start, as a child.  This is still the time of new beginnings to me.  A fresh start.

From the learning rooms...  just starting to get going.  

Gunnar is doing Italic Handwriting, Spelling Workout D, and Daily Grams, and that's ALL for this week.

Tate is cruising along with Italic Handwriting, Wordly Wise, and Pre-Algebra.

Wyatt is working harder.  He's also got Italic handwriting and Wordly Wise, plus Grammar and Composition, Writing Strands, Red Hot Root Words, as well as a Bible Study sampler (not sure how well we like this yet), and Sonlight American History.  He's really not used to reading three different books at once.  That's not what I like to do, personally, but since they all tie together in an integrated way with the history sequence it does make sense.  He's also filling in corresponding maps and a timeline.

They'll all be picking up more subjects next week as government school students go back to school.

I had to laugh.  A bloggy friend was writing about setting up a homeschool schedule for her (little) girls and was mildly apologetic about their BEING a schedule at all.  Seems like some homeschoolers, in their desire to avoid replicating institutional school at home, tend to go to the other extreme.
I left her a comment to the effect that there seems to be a mythology among homeschoolers that everything is supposed to be spontaneous and whimsical and joyful, and that learning always takes place naturally and it's all FUN.

All right, fellow homeschoolers, quit laughing!

Yes, we have fun.  We have joyful moments.  And sometimes we learn really well without traditional methods, by getting out of the classroom and getting hands-on and dirty.


But there's also a lot of groundwork that is (ahem) less than whimsical and delightful.
Yes, we learn grammar.  And times tables.  And spelling.
And it's not all butterflies and rainbows. ;D

From the kitchen...  hmmm, must think of something wonderful for dinner.  I'm feeling all fall-ish.  You know, stews, and crock pots, etc.  But we ought to BBQ a few more times first!

Around the house...  a bit of debris from yesterday's party.  Due to the visit from Kerry's family (not ONE of whom remembered his birthday - not even a card) we celebrated it yesterday with my family.  And with Kerry's special cake.  He must have Fiesta Cake.  That makes the party :D  Good thing he only has one birthday a year!

On my mind...  lots to get organized.  School starting, my brother's wedding, three birthdays, and a family vacation.  Yah!

Noticing that...  the sun is peeking through.  Maybe these clouds WILL burn off.

One of my favorite things...  new beginnings.

A few plans for the rest of the week...  preparations to make, yard work to finish, a kitchen floor that needs cleaning (yuck!), and everyone getting in the school groove.

Here is a picture I am sharing...

Tate, at a CAP event, hamming it up.
I know it's not exactly a (technically) great photo, but it captures my boy :D

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Boys, Shopping, and Fashion Unconscious

You may recall me complaining mentioning the Shopping For Sandals epic earlier this summer.  Well, you might remember.  I, however, apparently suffer from short term memory loss because I decided to take all three boys shoe shopping again.

They each needed what I would call tennis shoes, though that may be a regional term, since I can assure you that none of us play tennis.  The pair Tate is currently sporting are still recognizable as play shoes.  Gunnar has been wearing an old pair of Wyatt's soccer shoes for months.  And Wyatt?  Well, his are held together with duct tape, which he thinks is the epitome of cool, but tends to give a false sense of alarm to those who know that Kerry has been short on work lately.

The truth is, I've procrastinated because I just hate to go shopping, especially on sunny days. (I know, female jaws around the web are dropping in shock.)  All my friends know I'm not a girly-girl.  I don't do my nails.  I don't spend more than five minutes a day on my hair, and that includes the shower.  And my make-up kit consists of some tinted chapstick and an old tube of body glitter from Y2K (that the tooth fairy occasionally borrows to sprinkle pixie dust on the boys.)  Compared to other females of the species, I think I must be missing some genetic material.  Like the shopping gene.  But I could put it off no longer, so with grim determination we set off to the maul mall to hunt shoes.  (Hail the conquering hero, yada yada yada.)

You'd think this would be a good time to shop, what with everyone else's kids heading back to school, but I was obviously delusional.  The stores were packed with people, not bargains.  Oh, and what genius at Stuffmart decided that this would be a fabulous time to remodel?  Helloooooo!  Everything is in a different place, for crying out loud!  I mean, would it be so difficult to put three-ring binders with the other school supplies that are on sale?  Do they really belong in the garden center?  I think not.  But we managed to find a few items and escape quickly.

But the shoes... the shoes.  Besides tennis shoes, Wyatt and Tate also need black dress shoes to go with their Air Force Blue Dress Uniforms.  (Yes, blue uniform, black shoes.  Get over it.)  That's easier to deal with because they're not exactly going to be putting a lot of wear on them.  In other words, cheap is just fine.  But the everyday shoes?  I'd like a pair that won't wear out in a week, y'know?  And I'd also like to put shoes on six feet without requiring a payment plan.  Good golly Miss Molly, what child needs eighty dollar shoes just for walking around the halls of the local government insitution?

After plodding through six different stores my head was about to explode and the boys were equally frustrated.  And by plodding I mean we were moving like a commando group on a tight schedule.  Because, as Winston Churchill said,

If you're going through hell, keep going.

But, WA-WAAA!  We finally found the bargain aisle (which still exists, but apparently has gone incognito) at Big 5, on our second pass through the store.  This is Frugal Mom Nirvana, because everything on the rack is twenty bucks or less.  Quickly, because my eyes were glazing over, I scanned for something - anything - acceptable, and threw a couple of boxes in Wyatt and Tate's general direction.

Over the years I have tried to train the boys that we are not label-conscious.  I will sometimes pay more for certain brands if the quality warrants it, but we're not chasing fads.

I may be an over-achiever here.

Tate has virtually no preference at all regarding color or style, (either that or the look in my eyes frightened him).  I think he'd wear clown shoes if that was what he was offered, as long as they were comfortable.  Wyatt, on the other hand, gave me a nervous, slightly apologetic look.  He wasn't crazy about the running shoes I'd tossed in his lap.  He likes skate shoes (like Vans) and - hallelujah - on the other side of the rack we hit a winner.

That left Gunnar - sweet Gunnar - to deal with, as he doesn't fit men's sizes yet (the twenty buck rack) and we were coming up dry in the kids' section.  All he asked is for something other than black.  And guess what color most boys' shoes are?  Yah.  Or neon and truly bizarre.

Thankfully, a dark gray pair (not black, dark gray, ahem) with orangey-yellow accents and laces saved the day.

And my sanity.

Until the next time.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

School Schedules

Since my friend Ann asked...  yes, we mostly go along with the public school schedule.

If we didn't live in the middle of a neighborhood full or Really Nice Kids we like to play with - who go to public school - for sure we'd do things differently.  And to some extent we do anyway (!) but such is life.  Around here (maybe nationwide?) public schools are mandated to have 180 instructional days, so the school year runs from a day or two after Labor Day into mid-June.  The finish date tends to be a moving target if we get a lot of snow and they have days they have to make up, something we homeschoolers don't have to worry about :D

I had no idea until recently that schools in the south seem to start so early by our standards.  Seems like it would be so hot in August, who could think straight?  But maybe it's just too hot to be outside, so you might as well be schooling.  Do you all get out earlier - like May?  Schools in farming areas (up here) sometimes run on a schedule more like that - or at least they did in the past.

See, I want to be out of school for the best part of the year, weather-wise, and that's not a big window.  We get a lot of rain and wet, and that's when you might as well be schooling.  If I had my way, we'd school October through the end of June (usually rainy) and we'd take off from July through September, because it's usually dry. 

But the boys?  Well now, if we didn't start until October (and public school started in September),  sure my boys would be thrilled.  But if everyone else finished in June and we were still schooling?  Even if it's rainy and blah the boys would hate schooling when the other kids are out.  Which is crazy... but I understand it.  *sigh*

Do you guys face this?
Do your kids care what the public school kids do?
Or are all your friends homeschoolers?
Or maybe you don't have neighbor kids?

Of course, it doesn't really register with the boys that we usually only school four days a week, (although that's changing for Wyatt).  And we take a lot more vacation days than public schools.  We often go camping for a week in September after kids go back to school, and we'll usually take a whole week off at Thanksgiving.  And we'll still finish a week or two ahead of public school.  But somehow that doesn't count.  If the public schools have an Early Release day, or a teacher workday, my boys think they're entitled to a day off too.

There are times I think it would be a lot simpler to be somewhere more isolated!

So there.  That's my completely mundane thought for the day.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For Today, August 22, 2011

Outside my window...  a strong breeze blowing leaves off the trees and a dark, cloudy sky.  Though the air is quite warm it sure looks like fall out there.

I am thinking...  Hmmm, some things not fit to print ;D  Mostly that I am just plain POOPED.  Had in-laws here all weekend and yesterday was hot and muggy.  Laugh if you want, because 82 isn't that hot, but the humidity?  Ugh.  Yes, I know, I'm a heat-wimp.

I am thankful for...  on his birthday Kerry took the boys out to the soccer park to search for Wyatt's lost rocket, launched previously against parental advice on a breezy day and went much further than anticipated.  (And yes, they found it.)  Also, for the cooler temps and rain showers today.  Not sure the boys were thankful for clouds and rain during SUMMER, but it made it easier to focus on school work.

I am praying for...  my mom's continued healing from her radiation, work for Kerry, and diligence in our work for the rest of us.

I am wearing...  denim capris, blue t-shirt.  Fan-ceeeee.

I am creating...  absolutely nothing, at the moment, but plans ;D

I am going...  to catch up on household chores I've neglected while we had company here.  *sigh*

I am hoping...  for a smooth adjustment as we slowly ramp up our school schedule.  Yes, we're starting early this year - banking time to take off for our vacation :D

I am hearing...  the wind rustling in the trees.  Love it.

I am remembering...  taking the boys to Mt. St. Helens, four years ago.  That was AWESOME.

From the learning rooms...  all of the boys are finishing their summer science this week.  Wyatt has been doing an overview of different systems of the body, while Tate, Gunnar and I have been studying birds, bats, and bugs.  This week it's "Leps" - butterflies, moths and skippers.  Our five Painted Lady caterpillars are just now making cocoons so they won't be hatching out this week, but still a fun part of our study.  Tate and Gunnar are just beginning some of their Language work (not much), and Wyatt has begun his first week of Sonlight American History.  He was SHOCKED at the reading list I handed him today, but probably wouldn't admit to being equally shocked at it NOT taking lots and lots of time.  I think he nearly hyperventilated when I told him to read the first three chapters in the Hakim book, but regained his 'cool' when he saw that the chapters are only two or three pages long.  Very doable.  I did warn him, however, about how fast it will snowball if he gets behind.  

And that we Must Not Let That Happen.

Though they're not too excited about doing school work in August, all three boys were done by 11am, and that with the morning being very much broken up by spending time with their aunt (staying with us) and the arrival (from their hotel) and departure of the in-laws, as well as a mid-morning dash to retrieve laundry from the line when it started to rain!

And honestly, as much as I love the lazy days of summer I really think we all do better when we're in more of a routine.

From the kitchen...  leftovers tonight, after a weekend of lots of cooking.

Around the house...  with the days getting noticeably shorter (and cooler, today) it feels very cozy in the evening.  Time for candles :D

On my mind...  organizing for school, organizing for vacation, organizing birthday and wedding gifts, finding a dark suit for Kerry, who will be ushering in the wedding (hello Value Village), and a pile of ironing to do.

Noticing that...  do boys photosynthesize?  I think not, but somehow mine all seem to grow like dandelions over the summer.  What's up with that?

Pondering these words...  

So do not worry, saying,
'What shall we eat?' or
'What shall we drink?' or
'What shall we wear?'
For the pagans run after all these things,
and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
But seek first His kingdom and
His righteousness,
and all these things will be given to you as well.

 Seek first, not also.

One of my favorite things...  being home with my family.

A few plans for the rest of the week...  blessedly, very little.  Just getting back into routine.

Here is a picture I am sharing...

The boys, fascinated by the stump grinder.
I would've been content to ignore the stump (lah-di-dah-di-dah) for a long, long time but Kerry was concerned that it would attract ants or termites.  Not a good idea, just a few feet away from the house, so away it went.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Clearly Something Is Lacking...

*  ... in my planning and organizational skills.  I came to this conclusion as I found myself, for the third morning in a row, at our local grocery store, where my boys are on a first-name basis with the Cookie Ladies Bakery Clerks.  I just needed some fresh produce for the impending weekend visit of my in-laws. 

That may or may not happen.

Because my SIL - who was a flight attendant for years - managed not only to miss getting on her plane this morning, but then turned around and went home rather than trying for a later flight.  She called Kerry and said, "I'm going to be a little late.  No big deal."  In this case late apparently means tomorrow.  Probably.  Soap operas don't have this much drama.

*  Well at any rate I have a tidy kitchen.  Jack (the goldfish) has a sparkling clean bowl.  All the aphid-infested-weeds Scotch Broom has been cut and piled to burn.  And the boys hosed off all the plastic lawn chairs they could find from the back of the shed, so nobody will be "accessorized" with cobwebs or mouse droppings just because they wanted to sit down.

*  And can I just pose a random question?  Why are manufacturers compelled to write "Unbreakable!" on their products?  Don't they realize that boys view that as a challenge?

*  In other news, the Liquid Fence appears to be working.  My sad, pathetic hydrangea actually has leaves on it!  Who knew?

*  The boys are thrilled because their best friends just came home from two weeks' vacation.  Not only do they have their friends back to play with, but we've been caring for their pets and they're being "paid' with Wii time.  GIDDY doesn't quite cover it.

*  Unfortunately they don't realize how much busier they're about to become.  We're starting to ease into school early this year.  We're 'paying it forward', so to speak.  Banking some schoolwork now so we don't have to do any on our vacation.

*  Yes, we're planning a vacation, which I can mention at least in vague terms since - cue the Hallelujah Chorus - we have HOUSE-SITTERS!  Can I just tell you I am thrilled about that?!  We have great neighbors who will keep an eye on things and look after our pets, but I really like having someone in the house, coming and going, picking up the mail, etc.

*  The vacation?  Well, I'll tell you more afterward.  This is the first road-trip we've ever taken with the boybarians and I'm hoping our van and our sanity can go the distance.  I may possibly have researched this trip more than I researched having our first child, so we're just a little excited about it.  Going to give Tate's National Park Access Pass a workout, going to spend a lot of nights in rustic cabins, and looking forward to meeting a couple of bloggy friends along the way :D

*  In the mean time we'll be plugging away at our school work, squeezing all the fun we can out of the last few days of summer (vacation), and marrying off my brother.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

More Good News!

My mom is DONE DONE DONE with her radiation!

Had her last treatment this morning, and the boys and I surprised her with flowers and chocolate, in spite of practically stumbling over them (her and my dad) on the way in.

Now we're praying she gets over what they call "radiation fatigue" before the wedding :D

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Good News!

Gunnar and I are back from the ENT with good news.


The Doc was awesome.  Explained everything he was doing.  Checked to see what was actually going on in Gunnar's nose, and it was just as I expected; a bulging "octopus" of vessels on one side, and a couple of prominent ones on the other.  He took the time to thoroughly numb his nostrils, and did the cauterization with "medicine" on a little stick, followed by more numbing medicine.

When he asked Gunnar if it hurt, Gunnar compared it to the pins and needles you feel when your foot has gone numb and is 'waking up'.  But no tears.  No anxiety.  No problem.  In fact, when he told Gunnar that sometimes it has to be repeated to be effective, Gunnar was very nonchalant about it.

Our prayers are answered :D

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sunday Afternoon Brain Dump

I'm pooped.  I'm not complaining, y'know, just being honest.

1.  We gave my brother an early "wedding gift" - a day of labor.  Well, part of a day.  The five of us, my parents, and my sister spent most of yesterday at his house painting, cleaning, and doing yard work.  In other words, moving his bachelor pad in the direction of wife-worthy ;D

2.  Motivated by the progress there, we've been working some more in our yard.  Really exciting and exotic stuff like raking, picking rocks, filling a pit, etc.  I even pruned our out-of-control grape vine.  It's probably the wrong time of year to do it, but sometimes the right time is when you have the time.  And the motivation.  At the same time.

3.  Our weed-whacker is making me crazy.  Will.  Not.  Hold.  A.  Charge.  Maybe it needs a new battery.  Just bought a new one for the van.  *sigh*

4.  And what is up with me, starting all these chores, with all my laborers gone?  The boys are at Aunty Tami's until Tuesday evening.  Being a school teacher she has more flexibility in her summers than most folks, and always spends fun time with her nephews :D  Which means... 48 hours of kid-free time.  Woo-hoo!  (I mean, I'll miss them dreadfully and all...)

5.  Actually, I'll probably be too busy to miss them.  Between yardwork and housework, I'll be busy the whole time.  The in-laws are coming for the weekend.

6.  My mom has four more radiation treatments, and then DONE.  She's definitely feeling the effects.  Some radiation burns (like a bad sunburn) and just general exhaustion.  But her spirits are mostly good, and we're praying she feels back to normal in time for my brother's wedding, less than four weeks from now!  Prayers gratefully accepted.

7.  And if you feel so inclined, pray for Gunnar too.  Poor kid inherited my blood veins.  Or arteries.  Whatever.  The ones in his nose, that is.  The ones that are so close to the surface that they bleed.  Easily.  He'll get bloody noses if it's too dry.  Or if he sneezes.  Or if he picks his nose (let's be honest, he does sometimes.)  Or just for no reason at all.  Almost every day.

We are going to the ENT on Wednesday to see about having it cauterized.  The thing is, I have vivid and horrifying memories of having MY nose cauterized thirty-eight years ago.  It was that nasty.  They just put some silver nitrate (a caustic acid) on a Q-tip and smeared that on my nasal passages.  Felt like I'd been stung by hornets on some very sensitive tissue.

I'm hoping medical practice has improved in 38 years.


Friday, August 12, 2011


As in, "My yard smells..."

Utterly and completely nasty.  Foul.

Imagine, if you will, the fetid aroma of powerful body odor.  Then throw in my old summer camp cabin-mate's pungent leather tennis shoes (the ones she wore all summer, sans socks, though we begged her to stop), and an over-powering rancid aroma of morning-after garlic breath.  (Too bad blogs don't have a scratch-n-sniff feature... or maybe not.)

Yes, my friends, that is the dubious miracle that is:

Liquid Fence.

You see, I miss our old yard.  I even miss our old house.  Well, no, to be honest, not so much the house.  (I miss the old $480/month mortgage payment, but those days will never come again.)  But I miss the dirt.  We had beautiful, beautiful soil.  Yep, you heard me.  Beautiful soil.  Everything grew there!  I had vegetables. I had raspberries.  I had fruit trees.  I had roses - lovely golden roses.  And you know what I didn't have? 


The soil here is hard and dead.  It's mostly clay and has been defined by the large evergreens (like The Tree we just removed).  And when I finally manage to coax something to grow, just when it's looking good... it gets eaten to the nub overnight.

So wish me luck.  I hope the smell drives the deer away.  And not us.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Wyatt and Tate Are Over The Moon

The mailman and the UPS guy both brought packages for them - their CAP notebooks and uniform 'accessories', respectively. 

So guess what I got to do all afternoon? 

Sew patches on their uniforms.  


And oh-my-word.  Let me tell you something about how stiff and thick the combination of uniforms and patches actually is.  It's ridiculous.  I lost count of how many pins I bent and had to throw away, and I actually had to use a thimble, which - up to this point - has been completely outside my meager sewing repertoire, and I probably wasn't doing it right anyway.

Also, for most of the time I was slaving away sewing, there were five boys, ages 10 to 15, at my dining room table playing Risk.  Or sort of playing Risk.  I mean, I've never actually played it, so I'm not sure.  But I'm not convinced they're actually playing by the rules.  They don't seem to want to completely conquer the world, because then the game would end, and they really like the game to go on for days and days. 

As near as I can tell, they want to be winning, but not to actually win.

So there are continuous and endless negotiations about the balance of power, and who will or will not attack whom.  And what is a "trading post" anyway?  Is that part of the game?  Or did they make that up?  I'm thinking the latter.  And there is one boy (who shall remain nameless) who incessantly cackles/sings/whines when it's not his turn.  And he was sitting right next to Tate's good ear.  I'm thinking that played a part in the other boys finally putting him out of the game.  Maybe.  I was ready to get the duct tape myself.

And no, I'm not complaining.  It may sound like I'm complaining, but I'm not.  I'm just telling you my fingers hurt.  And my dining room smells pretty funky.


Sheesh ;D

I hardly blog for days and when I do...
it all gets muddled.

So, let me 'splain something.

I was NOT wearing this:

I WAS wearing something more like this

Aloha SHIRT.

Hey... at least I know somebody is reading ;D

Monday, August 8, 2011

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today, August 8, 2011

Outside my window...  the sun is shining and a breeze is blowing.  Eight or nine kids are milling around, because I won't let them play in the house.  (Mean old mom wants them out in the fresh air.)

I am thinking...  the summer is FLYING by, the perception aided by the fact that summer weather didn't arrive until about a week ago.  We are plugging away at our science lessons, but will need to start ramping up in just two weeks.  Also, I need a new picture for this feature... without the Big Tree!

I am thankful for...  SO MUCH hard work in the last week.  We got that entire tree down, limbed, bucked up, split, hauled away, AND the stump ground - all in one week.  The boys are still sifting and spreading the dirt (rocks, wood chips) that got churned up by the stump grinder, but I am AMAZED.

I am praying for...  my mom and her radiation treatments.  She's so close to done, but having some unpleasant effects.  Also praying for Dominic - the husband of a friend.  He had a TBI after a fall and is having surgery today to replace bone they had to remove from his skull, due to swelling.  Praying for the surgery and for his continued (awesome!) recovery.  And - of course - work for Kerry.

I am wearing...  shorts, tank top, aloha shirt, flip-flops.

I am creating...  working on our school schedule, and "processing" some new books we've received - need to be cataloged and labeled before they go on our organized shelves :D  A lady from church that I don't even know well approached me with a bag of books yesterday.  "Your boys say they like to read.  Can you use these?"  Yah!  Nearly all were (good!) historical fiction, and a few other regular fiction.  Yippee :D

I am going...  to keep plugging away, day by day.

I am reading...  nothing at the moment.  Anticipating starting The World-Tilting Gospel.

I am hoping...  have told the boys that they should expect to do school work and one solid hour of labor each day.  Now to keep a step ahead of them...

I am hearing...  a mass of kids in the back yard.

I am remembering...  how clueless I felt when we first started homeschooling... four years ago.

From the learning rooms...  a bag full of feathers we've collected (some pretty orange ones from flickers, and blue from the Steller jays), a plate full of bones from some owl pellets we've picked apart, sand that needs to finish drying out, the butterfly habitat out to remind me to order caterpillars, and Wyatt's chapter review that I need to grade.

From the kitchen...  hmmm, I think maybe we'll BBQ tonight :D

Around the house...  oh good heavens, it's a wreck.  I really let things go while we were working furiously on The Tree.  Time to get back in the groove...

On my mind...  my brother is getting married in just over FOUR WEEKS!
Cannot believe it!

Noticing that...  once again, the mess in my office reflects the mess in my brain.
Or vice versa.

One of my favorite things...  window screens, amen?

A few plans for the week...  my calendar is blissfully empty.

Here is a picture I am sharing...
The boys have been to, I think, THREE air shows so far this summer,
but this motorcycle took the cake ;D

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Not-Friday Brain Dump

Lots of things swirling around and not much time for blogging :D

1.  Summer?  Well, we've had a few sunny days, but not too hot.  Fine with me :D  Actually, with all the work we've been doing, cool and breezy is JUST FINE, thank-you-very-much.

2.  Yesterday my sister came home from five weeks in Italy.  We met her at the airport yesterday afternoon.  We've been checking on her house and keeping her lawn mowed, and enjoying her occasional updates with pictures.  Jealous?  Just a little ;D

3.  My mom is more than half-way through her radiation.  And she's doing great.  She's admitted to feeling more tired than usual, but I can hardly tell.  We encourage her to rest whenever she needs/wants.  And we're thanking God it's all going so well.

4.  We are making progress on The Tree.  (See post below.)  My dad recently bought a hydraulic wood splitter and oh-my-goodness, I don't know what we'd do without it.  The Tree was so gnarly and full of knots that it would be insane to think of splitting it all up conventionally.

5.  Tired?  Just a little.  In fact, making Rice Krispy Treats - which takes all of five minutes - to feed my hungry crew seemed a bit arduous.  But we may finish tomorrow.  Cue the Hallelujah Chorus.

6.  A word to the wise...  when your boys have picked a movie, as a reward for their hard work, and they want you and Dad to watch with  them, don't say, "Oh, honey, you'll like it - it's really cute."  Fifteen-year-olds don't like their movies called "cute".  But they'll watch them, just the same :D  (Tonight's choice is Despicable Me.)

7.  If you want a steady stream of looky-lous driving by your house, just cut down a Very Large Tree.  I guess most city-folk have never seen that done.  And I must say it's rather impressive, although virtually everybody overestimates how old the tree was.  And, for the record, the tree was about the same age as my mom - 65, and she wouldn't mind me saying :D

She has a picture of herself as a toddler, next to the tree, and they're about the same size.  A couple of weeks ago?

8.  Gunnar has discovered Hank the Cowdog, and is LOVING the books.  I think Tate is reading too.

9.  Best moment of the day?  After releasing the boys from working on The Tree to go play, my uncle pulled up.  All three boys immediately jumped off their bikes, grabbed their gloves, and loaded his pick-up full of wood, without me twisting their arms.  Yay :D