Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tuesday Brain Dump

Good morning.  

1.  I love the relaxed, unscheduled-ness of summer :D  And I'm sure I'll love getting back into routine, come September... but don't tell the boys.

Don't tell them this either:

2.  Gunnar had a few friends over yesterday, and you know what?  He has really nice friends.  While having a house full of 12-13 year old boys may not sound like your cup of tea, I can tell you we had a fun time.  We invited them via email and suggested they bring a swim suit and towel, it being summer and all.  So when they arrived, guess what they did?  Put their swim suits and towels in the house and proceeded to have an "epic squirt gun battle" (Gunnar's words) all over the yard, and get all their clothes thoroughly soaked.  They may not be fully rational, but they're sweet.  I took them to the lake to swim.  Heck, they were wet anyway.  A few pizzas and a movie later and they'd all been picked up and we were headed for bed.

3.  We're still praying for rain, for the areas east of the Cascades, struggling with fires.

4.  Meanwhile, on the damper, greener side of the state...

While CAP gives the boys frequent opportunities to fly, adults aren't usually so lucky.  But recently Kerry (a "Cadet Sponsor" volunteer) and Tate got the chance to fly down to the Tacoma Narrows Air Show.  They had a great time.  Here's Tate, helping to pre-flight the plane....

... and sitting in the front seat.  He has a lot to manage, with his CI processors as well as the head phones.

He was pretty excited to fly right over this aircraft carrier.

 And here they are, approaching Tacoma  with Mt. Rainier looming beyond.

The boys are REALLY interested in this - it's an Elio.  A made-in-America, two-seater car, that's supposed to get 84 mpg and sell *NEW!* for under ten grand.

And Tate, always my hard worker, jumped right in with the local CAP cadets to capitalize on the hot weather.  Sounds like they made quite a few bucks!

Kerry snapped this as they headed for home.  You can see how close the airfield is to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge - the modern replacement for the infamous Galloping Gertie.   

Flying north, over Seattle...

... and the ferry landing at Ft. Casey State Park...

 ... and further north, over the Deception Pass Bridge.  You'd be amazed at the current that goes through there.  You really want to watch the tides around there!

And at last, home sweet home.

5.  The house is so much quieter with one boy away.  Tate and Gunnar would like to point the finger at Wyatt, but it's true no matter which boy is gone.  Oh, the dynamics of brothers!

6.  We'll be picking Wyatt up on Friday, on our way to Oregon.  VACATION!!!  I don't normally announce that we'll be away, but in one of those providential "coincidences", some missionary friends of ours will be in town and needed a place to stay... exactly while we'll be away.  Sweet deal for all of us :D  They can enjoy some R&R here, while we're down in Lincoln City.  My parents have graciously rented a big house and invited all fifteen of us to come stay.  Yes, fifteen of us.  We're very much looking forward to it... and to the quiet return to home afterwards ;D

7.  I've been taking advantage of the cooler weather to do some school planning.  Gunnar hates to have me mention it, but I sure like having all my ducks in a row.  Of course, we'll probably change things, once we get started.  Just because I can write it all down in one week, doesn't mean we can accomplish it all in a week, but we'll see how things shake out.  At least we have a target.  An outline.  And boy-oh-boy it feels weird NOT to be planning for Wyatt.

8.  Tate is kind of bummed that the high school near us is not going to be able to offer ASL after all. He'd been hoping to take it for his foreign language.  He still could, but he'd have to request a transfer to another high school, clear across town, where he knows no one.  I told him if it's important to him, we'll make it happen, but I think he's going to settle for Spanish at the neighborhood school.  It will be interesting to see how challenging it is for a HoH kid to study a foreign language.  If anyone can succeed, Tate can :D

9.  I've been beating back the chaos in my office / craft room, but I don't know if I'll ever really win this battle.  I can dream, though!

10.  Time to make packing lists for vacation :D

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Good News and Bad News

First the bad news... 

This is happening in my state.  Nowhere near us - we're safe - but still a horrible loss.  To date, have not heard of any deaths, but many homes lost along with miles and miles of beautiful forest.  Pray for the firefighters, and for rain.  Lots of rain.

Photos from here.

The good news...

We shipped Wyatt off this afternoon for a week at Worldview Academy.  

He's pretty enthused about going.  Asked for prayer that he would learn a lot and take good notes (not his forte - the note-taking, I mean).  What an awesome opportunity for him!  Love the support from our chapel, with a generous scholarship.  I love how several folks spoke with him at church today - encouraging him about the week ahead and letting him know they'd be praying for him.

Love my church :D

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Year Seven - DONE


It kind of startles me that we've been doing this homeschooling thing for that long.  If you're doing the math you'll realize that our boys  - well, two of them anyway - started out in public school.  Wyatt completed fourth grade, and Tate second before we pulled them out.  Gunnar is the only one that has been exclusively home educated.  And that first year?  Kind of a zoo.  Well, the boys were littler, so there was a lot less pressure to "achieve" academically.  And I was determined that we would have FUN and go on FIELD TRIPS and be CREATIVE.  And we did.  We were all about freshwater clams and Mt. St. Helens and the fire department and baking and Vikings and salt-dough models of the sea-floor and Dino-opolis and riding the Amtrak.  And the boys learned a lot :D

The years have gone by and we've changed the way we homeschool.  As the boys have gotten older we've gotten a lot more organized and focused.  I even wrote an official-looking transcript this year, for the first time.  Thank you, HSLDA, for the examples and templates :D  Since keeping records is, you know, kind of important, I'll throw out my annual disclaimer:

For most of you, this post will definitely fall into the category of over-sharing.  For me, this is record-keeping.  If you're interested in the nitty-gritty details of What We Do For Homeschool, here's your fix.  If not?  Nothing to see here - move along ;D

Also, as I thought about the boys going to the Community College or Tech College on Running Start, I became convinced it would be better for them to be OLDER rather than YOUNGER, so we've "red-shirted" them - labeling them down a grade on paper so they'll be eligible for Running Start when they're a little older than they would otherwise.  We're NOT taking advantage of the system in any way (not getting "more" somehow, than other people), just giving our boys an extra year to mature and become responsible and independent before starting college.  Make sense?  Moving on...

Wyatt - Grade 10

Wyatt decided to double up on math this year, thus taking four classes at the public high school - Second Year Spanish, Grade 10 English, Geometry, and Second Year Algebra.  He did GREAT :D  Invited to join the Honor Society and everything.  He also had the opportunity to go sailing for a weekend on the Zodiac, with a school club - lots of fun :D

At home, he studied Chemistry, using Apologia materials, along with reading and summarizing a couple of related books - What Is Creation Science? by Gary E. Parker, and Environmental Overkill: Whatever Happened to Common Sense? by Dixy Lee Ray (former governor of Washington state, and a fairly conservative Democrat... how things change!)

Wyatt also divided the year between American Government and Economics.

And with that, I'm done teaching Wyatt.  ACK!  I mean, in an official, homeschool capacity anyway.  Wow.

Tate and Gunnar together

Tate and Gunnar (and I) worked through these books together.  We've been using (and re-using) Daily Grams for years - just a few minutes a day covers a lot of ground!  And the Sequential Spelling has been awesome - wish I'd discovered them sooner.

We also did another year of Art Appreciation, using materials from Picturing America.  LOVE this set of prints.  We loan them out to lots of others, so they've been in continuous use.  What a great resource.  They went along very nicely with Tate's study of American history.

Tate - Grade 8

Tate just finished his last year of full-time homeschool.  He'll be following in Wyatt's footsteps and will divide his time between public school and homeschool next year.  They grow so fast!  And he has had a very full year.

The language work...  I'm determined that my boys know how to think and write coherently.  And yes, we really did all of this.

A Beka's Grammar and Composition II, Wordly Wise (that's not a grade 4 book - the numbering on the older editions is... different), Writing Strands 4, Red Hot Root Words, Vocabulary From Classical Roots, and penmanship practice from Getty-Dubay.

Much to the dismay of the older generation, I'm not teaching them cursive writing.  I have no idea whether they do or don't in the public schools - has no bearing on my decision.  Cursive?  No reason - no purpose - no need.  They need to write legibly, smoothly, and quickly.  Hello Getty-Dubay Italic.

Tate also worked through Apologia's Physical Science and finished Jacob's Elementary Algebra.  Well, actually, I think we ditched the last chapter.  He'll be taking Algebra again at the high school next year, so NBD (no big deal).

Sonlight's American History core was a GREAT fit for Tate - who loves history and reads voraciously.  The History of US books form the spine, while he read all the other books along the shelf.

Gunnar - Grade 6

At least I think he's grade 6.  He hasn't been "red-shirted" yet, and I'm still debating whether he has two years or three before launching into high school.  Decisions, decisions.  Meanwhile...

Like Tate, Gunnar is getting lots of varied practice with language.  He worked through A Beka's Language B, Wordly Wise, Vocabulary from Classical Roots, and Words on the Vine.  He wants to take his penmanship books to the rifle range and shoot them ;D

Gunnar is off-cycle for math, as I've mentioned every year.  He finished Saxon's grade 6 math, and is about halfway through Pre-Algebra.  Math and science are the main reasons I'm debating what grade to call him.  I want to give him plenty of time to really understand the concepts and to handle them independently.

You may recall that Gunnar really wanted to do a year of chemistry.  That enthusiasm lasted most of the year, flagging only when he grew tired of recording all the experiments and labs.  Because mean old mom thinks that's kind of important.  We had fun :D

With no real curriculum to work from, I pulled together a lot of things.  We read through a two-page spread in Eyewitness Chemistry every week, keeping track of important scientists, definitions of terms, and new discoveries in a notebook.  We used Usborne's Illustrated Dictionary of Chemistry (younger level) and the Kingfisher Science Encyclopedia (older level) to help us understand concepts and find definitions.  Then I pulled experiments from LOTS of sources... 

We used a couple of Adventures with Atoms and Molecules books, a couple of our favorite Janice van Cleave books, Fizz, Bubble and Flash (aimed for younger kids, but still helpful and fun), and the Chemistry C500 kit.  The test tubes, vials of chemicals, and all the tools - pipettes, pincers, etc. - fulfilled his mad scientist dreams.  I call it a success :D

While Gunnar may not love history quite as much as Tate, he is also a voracious reader and really enjoys Sonlight's literature approach to history.  He just finished the first year of a two year walk through World History.  And he has read...

... and is looking forward to next year.

Not pictured - all the boys are working on their keyboarding with Mavis Beacon.


I think that wraps it up.  Well done, boys!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Somebody had a birthday, Sunday.

Can you see what he's holding?

Yah.  That would be his new drivers license.


In the past few hours he has...
* taken (and passed) his drive test
* gotten his license
* got on our insurance
* paid his fees for college this fall
* registered for the draft
* registered to vote.


Sunday, July 13, 2014

When The Thermometer Says 90...

... the grasshoppers go to the lake.

No, I didn't take my camera, so the pics are from last summer.
But guess what.
The lake looks about the same.
Just imagine the boys all an inch or two taller ;D

THANK YOU Grandma and Grandpa Grasshopper
for inviting us to your beach!

Somehow, after being immersed in that cool, clean water I feel better for HOURS :D

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

So, Riddle Me This...

Remember the poodles from a few days ago?  They were at it again, last night.


We had yappy poodles next door when I was a kid, and (when the owners didn't do anything) my parents would squirt them with the hose to shut them up, but these dogs are out of reach.  But HELLO, did you know you can look up phone numbers by address?  I mean, at least I could leave a message, so when the owner comes home she'll know the dogs are a nuisance.

So I called.

"It's almost eleven o'clock and your poodles are yapping.  And yapping.  And yapping.  Again.  If you leave them home alone, could you please shut them IN the house where we won't hear them.  Thanks."

And magically, minutes later, the yapping stopped.

On the one hand, thank you for dealing with the problem.

On the other hand...

That means she was home.
Listening to hear dogs yap at 11pm,
doing nothing about it,
until I called to complain.

Y'know, when I was growing up, one of my mom's favorite phrases was Be considerate.  Consider other people.

I'm telling' ya, it's a lost art.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Independence Day

Whew.  Now THAT was a weekend!

We had a visitor :D  Holidays are so much fun, seen through fresh eyes, don't you think?  Naomi had lots of fun at Grandpa and Grandma's, playing with Gunnar...

... reading with Grandma...

... enjoying a cupcake... "CAKE! CAKE! CAKE!" ...

... watching the grown-ups play games (Tate's tiara, courtesy of Naomi)...

... pretending to BE Tate (she seemed to be trying to replicate his CI processor)...

... and sitting on my parents' deck, watching the fireworks "BOOM!  Fireworks fall down! BOOM!" until she fell asleep in my arms.

Of course, her favorite person is Gunnar, the source of fun and toys and "piggy rides".

We also treated her to... "NUGGETS!"

I mean, what are the best aunties for, but a little spoiling?!

And - so nobody gets their undies in a bunch - that's all in the context of fresh air, sunshine, fruits, veggies, walks, trips to the park, and regular naps.  ;D

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Brain Dump

1.  It's summer.  But here's the thing about the lazy relaxed days of summer: 

Not so exciting to read about.

In fact, I've tried three times to prove my point, and only succeeded in boring myself, so just take my word for it, alrighty?

2.  I hate poodles.  Two of them.  Yapping ceaselessly last night.  And did I mention it was ninety degrees yesterday, so all the windows were wide open?  Yap.  Yap. Yap.  And nobody apparently home.  Because I'm the person that will go out with a flashlight at 11pm to make that noise stop.  Especially when I have to get up at 5:30 to drive Tate to Seattle for a CI appointment.  Arrrrgh.  They ought to be eagle food.

3.  Stay-at-home-mom?  Yah, the title makes as much sense as "baby-sitter" (I mean, who just sits around when they're watching other people's kids?)  Because it's only Wednesday, and this SAHM has already
* taken two boys to four appointments, one in Seattle
* squeezed the Dollar Store and Value Village in between the orthodontist and the dentist
* as long as we were out, took Wyatt by the music store while I collected my "earnings" from the consignment store (yah, we're loaded now ;D)
* delivered the boys to CAP along with stops at Stuff-Mart and the grocery store
Yah.  Stay-at-home-mom.

4.  So, the appointment in Seattle.  Mostly a routine mapping appointment.  Tate is doing fabulously  with his new implant.  Where he tests now is better than some people EVER get, and he's still adapting and improving.  Go Tate!

However, although the new implant is on the right side, he's developed a twitch on the left side.  I hadn't even noticed it (nor had he), but his therapist pointed it out. If he's in a quiet room and I make an "eh-eh-eh" sound, his eyelid will give a little tiny twitch.  The electrodes run really close to the facial nerves.  Our fabulous audiologist devoted a great deal of time to tweaking the electrodes individually to maximize the sound he gets and minimize the twitch.  I don't know that we completely got rid of it, but you'd never notice if you weren't looking for it.  And since it doesn't bother him... he'd rather receive all the sound he can, even if it means a little (partial) wink here and there.

And really, a quiet environment with someone going "eh-eh-eh"?  I mean, how often is that a problem?

Oh.  Wait.  Canada.

But otherwise...

5.  Since I can hardly post without a photo...  got a gift card to the fabric store for my birthday, and had fun picking out some more goodies to play with :D

6.  Words of wisdom...  Cheap shoes are always a mistake.  They may look like Vans, but they don't fit like Vans.  I'll be returning them.  But they're such a great turquoise!  Rats.

7.  Speaking of rodents...  we have crows.  (Yes, I know they're not rodents. Stay with me...)  I do NOT like their cawing.  So grating and annoying compared to a cheerful little robin.  But they may have a redeeming quality I can appreciate.  Remember the dead mole a couple weeks ago?  We just found a third one.  On the driveway.  Are the crows leaving them for us as a love-token, like cats will do? Whaaaaat?  I'm not sure I want to know, but Go Crows.

8.  The garden.  It's coming along.  I'll have to get some pictures.  And pick some lettuce.  We do have lettuce growing.  And raspberries.  I sent the boys over to pick raspberries yesterday after Tate's therapy appointment, hoping there would be enough for a batch of jam.  And how!  Jam AND a pie :D  All of us but Gunnar love raspberry pie.

So the boys came home with the berries.  I had Wyatt help me make the pie (so he'll know how to do it - it's easy!)  We had lunch.  And while the boys did the dishes, I went over to the neighbors', you know, to practice the art of sitting.  (I want to have it right by the time I retire ;D)  And - surprise! - they told me Chickie is back!  (Chickie is the friend who is letting us use her garden space.)  Funny that the boys hadn't mentioned it, but they didn't see her (garden in the back, RV in the front).

Went over to say hi, and laughed together that she hadn't seen the boys, but had gone to the garden right after they left and was surprised there weren't more than half a cup of ripe berries.  I guess the boys did a good job of picking!  I invited her over for pie :D

9.  So there.  That's why I haven't been posting.  I haven't wanted to make you all insanely jealous of our glitzy lifestyle.  I mean, really.  Where else can you get yapping poodles, cheap shoes, dead moles, and raspberry pie all in one stop?

Much wow.

Now go forth and enjoy the sunshine.