Thursday, April 30, 2009

More boy words

As I left to take Gunnar to AWANA last night, Wyatt and Tate were plotting in Dino-opolis.

I heard something about "besieging him with a huge army", and gave them the raised eyebrows. Tate was happy to explain.

"Mom! We're going to have a decisive battle against (neighbor/friend) and his Evil Pine-cone Minions."


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wars and rumors of wars

Yesterday, as I was making dinner, the boys came rushing in from the yard, ran through the kitchen and as they thundered upstairs yelled down to me, "We're gonna write a book, okay Mom?"

Gee, let me think for a minute... yeah, okay.

In the school room, this morning, I found a title-page and chapter titles. The book will be called, (are you ready?):

Great Battles of Dino-opolis


And the chapter titles (all by Tate, with original spelling), are as follows:



small battls

magier battls

decisev batls

civl wars


Just in case you wondered.

Oh, and the picture at the bottom shows a giant mushroom cloud.

Monday, April 27, 2009

And Here's Why... (from below)

Let's look, for just a minute, at our new Secretary of Education - Arne Duncan.

Under his 'stellar' guidance the Chicago Public Schools managed to reach these lofty educational heights:

83% Below grade level in Reading

87% Below grade level in Math

77% Below grade level in Writing

84% Below grade level in Science

And you get all this for the bargain price of $10,550 per student.

I guess his "Green for Grade$" program ($50 for an A, $35 for a B, and $20 for a C) didn't end up costing very much.

Things that make you go, "Hmmmm...."

From the conference...

Nationwide studies (and census data) show that:

Public school teachers are more than twice as likely to have their kids in private school than the rest of the population.

Just think about it.

In other words, they are willing to pay money not to use their own product for free.

Simple Woman #16

FOR TODAY April 27, 2009

Outside My Window... bright sunshine and blue sky, boys running laps around the house (is that recess or P.E.?)

I am thinking... the dust is still settling in my mind from the homeschool conference we last weekend.

I am thankful for... being home :0), the boys had a great time with grandpa and grandma, we were encouraged and inspired at the conference, and - though it may be cold - the sun is shining.

From the learning rooms... I had been frustrated (with myself) that we took longer to study weather than I had planned, and didn't get through nearly all of what I hoped to cover... and then, here we are, reading about the Renaissance in history - new ideas about all kinds of things, from the Reformation to the universe - and starting to study Astronomy for our spring science. Amazing how things "work out".

From the kitchen... I'm cooking down an older Elk Roast with some onion and red pepper in the crockpot, to have BBQ sandwiches for dinner tonight. Don't have any nice rolls, though... maybe I can make some, or put it over rice.

I am wearing... well, darn it, it looks like spring, outside, and I'm trying to wear my bright spring-y clothes... but thinking I might feel more comfortable in jeans and a sweater!

I am creating... wow, talk about guilt-inducing... I haven't worked on a quilt for weeks, so what am I "creating"? Order from chaos, plans from messes, and dinner. Actually, as ideas from the conference sift and settle, I'm creating a new - or revised - vision of homeschooling.

I am going... to get the boys started on our history lesson in just a minute, in hopes of finishing in time to have lunch before the "MITI Moms" arrive. That's "Moms In Touch International" - but "Mighty Moms" sounds more fun! The kids definitely think it's fun to get to play with all of the other kids ;0)

I am reading... I am supposed to be reading "A Tale of Two Cities" for book-club this Thursday night, but so far have not been able to get past the first few pages. Not sure I'm going to bother, at this point.

I am hoping... this whole "Swine Flu" thing turns out to be nothing, that my boys will be able to focus on their lessons, and that Kerry gets some work... soon.

I am hearing... boys playing, the furnace blowing, the breeze blowing (!), and my tappety-tappety fingers.

Around the house... I am really feeling the urge to spring clean. Not just to clean, but to get rid of more and more stuff. Kerry will hate this.

One of my favorite things... checking things off my list (or erasing them from the DE board, as the case may be).

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: MITI Moms (prayer group), two more swim lessons, AWANA, our Pastor's birthday party, book club, a Pioneer Day field trip, and more I've probably forgotten. *sigh*

Here is picture thought I am sharing...


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Back from the conference...

Kerry and I went to a homeschool conference Friday/Saturday, and just got back last night.


Like drinkin' from a fire hydrant.

It's going to take some time to process it all, so I'll try to share bits and pieces later. We went to all the sessions with Voddie Baucham, really enjoyed '"the guy" (name? it'll come...) from Answers In Genesis, as well as sessions on Worldview, Family and Church, legal issues relating to homeschooling, "and much, much more!"

The 'bummer' was that having not felt well for a couple of weeks I began to wonder if my "cold" was really allergies, and tried some allergy meds. That was a mistake. I almost passed out. Twice. Which impacted our plans to "divide and conquer" and thereby get to more sessions.

I've been sleeping a lot today, and feeling much better. :0)

The boys were with Grandpa and Grandma and had a glorious time. Grandma fulfilled their wishes by doling out chocolate and renting "Bolt", Grandpa helped let them build a (non-motorized) 'steer-able' go-cart, and they all went to an airshow. Grandma even washed all their dirty clothes, got them home in time to have a shower, and got Wyatt to do his piano practicing before we got home.

My parents rock!

So, possibly after another nap, I'll bring you updates from the conference.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Swim lessons in the morning make for very hungry boys at lunch.

As they topped off their meal with enormous dough-nuts from the bakery there was some discussion about whether to eat the whole dough-nut now, or to put half in a baggie for later.

Knowing they'll be spending the next two nights with my parents, Tate encouraged his brothers to follow his omnivorous example and eat the whole thing, because...

"If I know Grandma... and I think I do... she'll have some kind of treat for us tonight!"

He's got her number.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

In Case You Wondered

It was a typical afternoon.

The boys had finished their school work and were outside playing. Neighborhood boys were stopping by on their way home from school to play in Dino-opolis. In fact, Dino-opolis has become such a "happenin' place" that they've expanded (much to Kerry's chagrin) into a more visible corner of the yard they now call "Samaria". Sounds like a Bible name, but I think they started out calling it Some Area, or Some More Area, and it just ran together.


Since Kerry works from home (out of his Executive Garage Office) we can both keep an eye on the kids. The sun was shining and all was well.

When I went to get some laundry off the line I realized how quiet it had become and asked Kerry where all the boys were.

In the garage.

What are they doing?

Uhhhhh... makin' things.... out of stuff.

In case you wondered.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Requirements vs. Electives

Today was our kind of crazy day...

8am Orthodontist appointment (the boys are doing great)

9:45 Private Swim Lesson (better than great - thank you Grandpa and Grandma!)

1pm Meet with Deaf/HoH teacher (see below)

2pm Wyatt's piano lesson (slam dunk)

I had wondered how I was going to fit our normal academic activities into all this.

But when I saw this:

I knew.

"Your required assignment for the rest of the afternoon is to play outside in the fresh air and sunshine. This is not a request, this is an order."

Alrighty, then.

Danger! Danger! Danger!

Though we've been homeschooling for almost two years now, we still utilize Tate's D/HoH teacher under his IEP. We meet with her once a week and work on keeping Tate exposed to ASL.

One of his goals for this year was to follow signed two-step directions.

Is it just my boys or do most boys want to jump right in as soon as they've grasped the very first step?

Instructions? Who needs 'em! I know what I should do...

So our wonderful D/HoH teacher thought of something that would appeal to three boys, in hopes of getting them to slow down and pay attention.

They made origami tanks.

Big success!

It wasn't until we walked up to the office, carrying our projects, to sign out and leave that it hit me. If there were any liberal-weenie teachers in the vicinity we could be in big trouble. "Why?" you may reasonably ask?

Well, obviously, we were in flagrant violation of the Official School Anti-Weapons Policy!

You think I'm kidding, right?

Wyatt had a teacher who confiscated his drawing of a wartime scene showing a submarine being hit by a torpedo.


Well, she was obviously taking her responsibility to keep students safe very seriously.

*eyes roll*

Which does make me wonder, are they even allowed to learn about wars anymore? How do they think we got our independence? Talking the British to death?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Simple Woman #15

FOR TODAY April 20, 2009

Outside My Window... sunny and warm... well, in the 60's. Laundry on the line makes me happy :0) The boys are outside on a little "recess" catching bugs for the lizard.

I am thinking... I would really like this cold to go away. My sinuses are disgusting. 'Nuff said.

I am thankful for... the warm sunny day, trees about to pop open their new leaves, and the few things in my flower beds that the (blankety-blank) deer have left alone.

From the learning rooms... a brief moment of quiet until I call the boys in for history. We're still reading about the Reformation, and now the Counter-Reformation...

From the kitchen... nothing yet, but I'm thinking BBQ pork for dinner.

I am wearing... turquoise capri pants... oh glorious sunny day!... and a purple sweatshirt (because it's not that warm yet!)

I am creating... nothing new just now.

I am going... to stay home today, busy week ahead.

I am reading... books about weather :0)

I am hoping... the boys can flow with the disruptions in our schedule this week.

I am hearing... happy boy-sounds outside, birds singing, and a big fat honey-bee tapping on my window.

Around the house... untamed clutter. *sigh*

One of my favorite things... blue sky.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: kinda crazy this week... the boys are doing swim lessons on Tuesday and Thursday morning, which will really affect our homeschool day as they focus best in the morning. We have an orthodontist appointment tomorrow morning before swim lessons, also. Then Kerry and I are going to a homeschool conference this weekend and my folks are watching the kids :0)

A picture thought I am sharing:

Baby Sea Stars

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Testosterzone # 11 or Why The Boys Like Homechool

Everybody says that if you homeschool your kids you'll learn all kinds of things.

No kidding!

We just read this morning (yes, I know, we were learning on Saturday... but we didn't mean to, for cryin' out loud), that Leonardo da Vinci was quite the practical joker. In 1513 he traveled to Rome with his patron Giuliano de Medici, the brother of Pope Leo X. Pope Leo apparently liked a good laugh, so he kept Leonardo around.

One of Leonardo's favorite tricks was to (and I quote): "fix a sheep's intestine onto a large bellows. Hiding out of sight, he would pump the bellows, inflating the thin, expandable intestine until it filled the room like a giant balloon and flattened people against the walls."

Not surprisingly, the boys enjoy history.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Creature Feature 4-17-09

It must be spring... the boys are catching things.

We didn't properly identify what kind of salamander this was.

We have lots and lots of little green tree frogs.

Wyatt got such a good close-up that you can see the shimmery greenish-gold color of his skin.

For such little things they are really loud! I'm told that in the days before computer everything, these are the kind of frogs that Hollywood used for "night sounds".

Wyatt was surprised I had posted his pictures without telling him. He pretended to be outraged, but actually was flattered. He's responded to your nice comments below. :0)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

In the spotlight... Wyatt

Gunnar gets his share of attention on the blog, and Tate has been featured lately.

Someone has been feeling left out. And that won't do.

Especially since I borrowed his camera lately (to photograph the lizard skin) and found these pics. He also took the photos of the lizard, and the some I have yet to post.

I think Wyatt has inherited Grandpa's "camera genes" - he really has an eye for photography.

He took all these pics from the tree-house in the backyard.

Thank Gutenberg

Earlier this year we read about how monks laboriously copied books by hand. We looked at pictures of some of those books - like the Book of Kells.

You're looking at the top part of the letter "P".


So you can imagine how long it took to make a book like the Bible.

And how few people had them.

Or pretty much any books... until Gutenberg and his wonderful printing press.

Just to remind the boys to be thankful, I challenged them to "illuminate" the letter A and copy this prayer, from the Middle Ages.

Now, posting this picture below the one above really doesn't do it justice. Honestly, I was blown away by how much time Tate spent writing this. Normally his writing is only marginally more legible than Gunnar's, so this is a great achievement for him :0)

I don't know if his poor writing ability has anything to do with his hearing loss, or if it's just pure 10 year old boy who would much rather be outside hunting bugs for his lizard. I do know that when he was still in public school his writing "skills" were low enough to be addressed separately on his IEP. But anyway... there is hope :0)

I have to wonder if the fact that it was a prayer contributed to his willingness to take his time.

Hmmmm... future inspiration there!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Our Northern Alligator Lizard

Here's an update, for those of you that aren't squeamish about reptiles...

We've done some online research and identified our Northern Alligator Lizard. Which is funny, because when Tate picked him up and held him right in front of my face (thank you very much), I said - very calmly, "Wow. He looks just like a little alligator, without all the teeth."

The boys have fixed him up a home in a terrarium and have done a good job making a good habitat for him... lots of sticks and dirt, a rock to sun himself on, and even some water in a little cup. They have busied themselves catching all manner of disgusting things for him to eat.

Very nice. He looks happy, I suppose.

And, of course, being boys themselves they are assuming the lizard must be a boy. Yet they call him "Liz", not caring that that would be a girl's name.

But the coolest thing is that the lizard is shedding. They brought me the skin from his tail yesterday and I wondered if he'd already shed the rest, but not so.

It's a good thing Tate put all those rough sticks and leaves in there, because 'he' loves to scratch up against them... just the thing for itchy skin, apparently.

Tate came bounding up the stairs with his hands behind his back right after lunch and presented me with the rest.

One of the little legs must have broken off separately, but (if you want) you can click on the pic to enlarge it and see the pattern of his scales, his little wrinkly legs, and the holes for his eyes.

Pretty cool!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

More Homeschool-style science

A comment on the post below about the 'tornado in a bottle' experiment reminded me of the fact that there are a lot of things in our life that haven't made it onto the blog because they happened earlier. One of those things would be Tate's obsession with tornadoes. Tate has always been my boy of passions. Bugs, trains, heavy equipment, tornadoes, pirates, Gatling guns, (no kidding), the Civil War... he throws his whole heart into his interests.

And his interest in tornadoes peaked in the kindergarten and first grade years. The boys were still in public school at that point. Tate managed to work his love of tornadoes into everything. I remember a "winter" project from Kindergarten (because, you know, they couldn't mention Christmas...). The teacher had given each child a pair of large construction paper "mittens" to decorate. All the rest of the class had snow-flakes, or snowmen, or holly, or Christmas trees on their mittens. Tate's had tornadoes.

We made a tornado with two 2-liter pop bottles. We bought weather books from the school Book Orders. We borrowed books and documentaries from the library. We scoured the internet for photos of tornadoes. Tate (with a little help) put together a 3-panel display for the Science Fair, complete with a quiz (and little lollipops for prizes - which made ours a very popular display.) He was probably the only first grader, at least in our area, who could explain the Fujita Scale, and who pestered his parents to plan their next vacation for Tornado Alley.

Anyway, one day I had a bright idea. I remembered watching the movie "Twister" several years before. I didn't remember their being any nudity or violence, and the special effects were incredible. I found a DVD for a few bucks and brought it home to the boys.

What I didn't remember was that the movie was a stream of profanity from beginning to end.


We eventually bought a TV Guardian, and until we got it hooked up the boys watched it...

in French.

Aw, there wasn't much of a plot anyway.

Science, homeschool style...

I get frustrated with myself, you know?

I'm just not doing enough. Or doing it right.

And I prayed about it with the boys this morning. I prayed, knowing that not everything is fun, and some things we just have to do anyway. But I asked God to help me find ways to make school more fun for the boys.

Science is one of my biggest frustrations. Probably because they love it the most! As long as it's something they can get their hands on. Since we're "supposed" to be studying Weather right now, well... they can't grab hold of it the way they'd like.

We talked about clouds today - something we see plenty of of here. And we looked at pictures of different kinds of clouds and started learning their names. And we rushed through labeling a sheet of clouds I'd printed from a kids' website. We were kind of in a hurry because Tate and I needed to meet with his Deaf/HoH teacher right after lunch.

Decided to walk, since it's not raining. In fact, the sun is shining and the temp is all the way up to 51 degrees... which means there were college boys in the park, playing volleyball with their shirts off. Because, you know, it's so hot out. (Eyes roll.) But we're not studying human biology, (much less mating behaviors... sheesh.)

Anyway, on the way home I mentioned to Tate that we should keep our eyes peeled (pealed?) for little creatures out sunning themselves. Of course, telling Tate to look for animals is the very definition of redundant. Did I mention he came home from his PTO day with both a frog and a salamander in a bucket? Finally released them, since he couldn't catch enough bugs to feed them and I had no time to go buy crickets.

Believe it or not, I spotted this little guy first, but Tate caught him. It's a Northern Alligator Lizard. I think they're pretty common around here. Tate has him in a terrarium and was thrilled to see that he's in the process of shedding his skin. He has already brought me the skin from the tail - thoughtfully enclosed in a ziplock bag - to keep in the school room.

And I've just read that he'll eat insects, millipedes, spiders, and snails, so we might be able to keep him awhile.


So that was an answer to prayer :0)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Simple Woman #14

FOR TODAY April 13, 2009

Outside My Window... a cool, cloudy day, but no rain. Squirrels are busy in the yard and the trees. Sometimes I hear them on the roof and then see them jumping into the branches of the dogwood outside my window.

I am thinking... about what I still want to "cover" in this school year and how to allocate it in the weeks we have remaining... or not.

I am thankful for... Easter, grace, the resurrection, and Cadbury Mini Easter Eggs.

From the learning rooms... Martin Luther, Henry VIII, Gutenberg, and the printing press.

From the kitchen... left-over turkey, which I cooked on Friday. One more night of yummy left-overs, and the rest goes into Turkey Pot-Pies.

I am wearing... it's cold again. Jeans, turtleneck, wool socks, layers. Oh, and my "new" hair-cut. Having had it short since last spring, I decided to grow it out long again. But I couldn't stand all the scraggly ends across the back, so last Tuesday I evened it all up. I cut about three inches off at the longest part (now it's all about chin-length.)

Kerry didn't notice. When my folks came to dinner on Friday Mom said, "So, Kerry, what do you think of Julie's hair-cut?"

Deer in the headlights.

I am creating... the quilt is on hold, but the curtains are up! When we moved in there were mini-blinds on every window. Let me just say that when you have two people in the house who are semi-allergic to dust, mini-blinds are not such a good idea. Unless you particularly enjoy dusting. Every. Individual. Slat.

I don't.

When we remodeled we ripped them all off, but never replaced them. Which, on the one hand, looked wide open and bright and clean :0) But, as we live on a corner, did give us a bit of a fish-bowl experience. And occasional startling moments with wildlife.

Like the night I was up late finishing a book. I had that creepy feeling of being watched, turned around to look out the window, and there was a deer staring right at me. And licking bird seed out of the feeder. Anyway...

I received some gift cards for Christmas and finally got around to picking out curtains and rods. All I wanted was white sheers. It still looks wide and bright and open and clean. (Not a fan of dark, heavy, or cluttered.) But we have at least a bit of privacy.

Also, I'll have to get a picture, but sometimes on a sunny afternoon the light can seem harsh - high contrast between the light and shadows. And I love how the sheers scatter and reflect the light around the living and dining room.

Enough about my curtains.

I am going... I have been to "MITI Moms" - my nickname for our Moms In Touch prayer group. Funny how in this group most of us have boys, boys, boys. We know how to pray for each other. :0)

I am reading... "A Garden To Keep". I have six books by Jamie Langston Turner. They're not a series - each one stands alone. But I'm finding there is "more" to the stories when I read them all together. Characters, places, and themes overlap. Very interesting :0)

I am hoping... that as spring comes more people decide to build or remodel. And they call Kerry to draw their plans. Yeah. That'd be good.

I am hearing... the "sounds of spring" - 5? no 7? maybe 8? boys playing in our backyard "Dino-opolis".

Around the house... new curtains. But I said that.

One of my favorite things... chocolate.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: getting "back in the groove"... piano lessons, sign language class, AWANA, etc.

A picture thought I am sharing:

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday

The boys are having a PTO day today, and I am cooking a turkey. Not related to Easter; just because I like to.

And, Lord willing, (if nobody throws up today), we are looking forward to going to church this evening for the Tenebrae Service.

UPDATE - Friday evening: Thank be to God, Gunnar has felt well for two consecutive days. He did fall asleep during the service, but I'd prefer that to our dramatic exit last Sunday. Hallelujah!

For a better and more succinct explanation of Tenebrae, click here. Easter is more joy-filled if you understand and acknowledge the anguish and despair that came before.

Reading other folks' posts today, brought these words to mind:

My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus' blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus' name.

On Christ the solid rock I stand,
all other ground is sinking sand;
all other ground is sinking sand.

When Darkness veils his lovely face,
I rest on his unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
my anchor holds within the veil.

On Christ the solid rock I stand,
all other ground is sinking sand;
all other ground is sinking sand.

His oath, his covenant, his blood
supports me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
he then is all my hope and stay.

On Christ the solid rock I stand,
all other ground is sinking sand;
all other ground is sinking sand.

When he shall come with trumpet sound,
O may I then in him be found!
Dressed in his righteousness alone,
faultless to stand before the throne!

On Christ the solid rock I stand,
all other ground is sinking sand;
all other ground is sinking sand.

1 Peter 2:24
He himself bore our sins, in His body on the tree...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Good Neighbors

Have I mentioned our neighbors? They are distant cousins. Don't ask me to describe how, they just are. Older than my parents, but younger than my grandparents.

Nice neighbors. Friendly neighbors. Neighbors that never complain, no matter how noisy the boys are. Neighbors that invite the boys over to make cookies sometimes.

Bea is making a kransekake and oh darn if some of the rings didn't break and she brought them over to us :0)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Simple Woman #13

Simple Woman

I enjoy doing these Monday "Simple Woman" posts, but the picture on the linky button just didn't work for me... the Victorian looking woman, in a big poofy dress, probably writing with a pen made of a feather... it's just not me.

Then, of course, the writing in the logo was... hmmmm.... unclear. Yes, I know it ways "Simple Woman", but at a quick glance it looked more like "Ample Woman", which just doesn't have quite the same pleasant connotations.

At any rate, I'm not clever enough on the computer to come up with my own "button", so I'm using the house picture for my Simple Woman posts. Now, if only there were three boys running around the corner of the house, shrieking at the top of their lungs, with squirt guns or water balloons in their hands, it would be true to life. But it'll do :0)

FOR TODAY April 6, 2009

Outside My Window... a cool, blue evening, new leaves starting to unfurl on our trees, and a few flowers beginning to open.

I am thinking... about how this week may - or may not - shape up. Gunnar seems to be on the mend. We'll see how tonight goes. I didn't exactly get a lot of uninterrupted sleep last night.

I am thankful for... Gunnar seems to be feeling better. He's successfully eaten (and retained) water, sprite, crackers, applesauce, and about three bites of dinner. And the ibuprofen. Hallelujah.

Also, that my parents are home from their vacation. Did I mention how thankful I am that they live just 20 minutes from us?

And that this week we're taking a spring break, and the weather is lovely. Sunny and "warm". Okay, for the PNW it's warm - up in the 60's.

From the learning rooms... nothing "official". You know, we're absolutely not learning anything while we're on break. But we are reading about the Reformation...

From the kitchen... the sounds of the boys cleaning up the dinner dishes - rice, teriyaki chicken, and green beans.

I am wearing... this may come as a shock, I know... jeans. But not a thick fuzzy sweater, just a long-sleeve t-shirt.

I am creating... I have a plan for the hula girl material. Kind of ambitious for me. If I can do it, it will look kind of abstract. Very different. I couldn't find any leafy (banana leaf) type material that worked, but found a bright-ish green that will be okay.

I am going... to stay home as much as possible this week! Local schools are on break so we are taking one too - the kids and I can all use it, and that way they can play with their friends :0)

I am reading... The Suncatchers, by Jamie Langston Turner, and I'm going to read "A Fighter Pilot in Buchenwald", by Joseph Moser - that's the speaker Kerry and the boys met last Friday. (I'm assuming the title pretty much sums up the book...)

I am hoping... really, really hoping that none of the rest of us catch whatever Gunnar's had. Something nasty is going around. In my cousin's daughter's elementary school, her class of 23 had only 10 kids show up one day recently. Yikes.

I am hearing... the sounds of spring - birds and little frogs.

Tate caught one yesterday at our friends' farm, and had it in a bucket for awhile. Tate had scooped up some muddy water, leaves, etc. to make a temporary home for the little frog while he showed it to all of us. One of their little girls looked into the bucket and couldn't see it. Tate pointed it out and said, "Frogs are very skilled at looking like a little piece of nothing."

That would be camouflage.

Around the house... clutter and more clutter. I've been a bit distracted today.

One of my favorite things... the way the laundry smells when it's been dried on the line, especially fresh, crisp sheets.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: precious little. No piano lesson, no AWANA, no sign language class...

We're looking forward to Easter. If everyone feels well, we'll be at church for Maundy Thursday (soup and bread dinner, and the Lord's Supper), Tennebrae Service on Friday, and then Easter morning service and Easter Brunch. Then to my parents' house for family Easter.

And, yes, we do have an Easter Egg Hunt. The plastic eggs are filled with candy. To avert tears and to satisfy the "N@zis of Fairness" (my boys), everyone hunts a designated color of egg. Laugh if you want, but it's all good :0)

A picture thought I am sharing: look below for laundry on the line... aaaahhhhhhhhhh.


Today is the first day of hanging laundry outside on the line.


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Random thoughts on Sunday evening

Let me just say again how much I appreciate our church and our pastor. I love how the folks at the chapel sing. Not that I necessarily love every song. In fact, they sing a lot of songs I've never heard before. What I love is that they all sing. Everyone. With enthusiasm.

For the most part today was a very pleasant and refreshing day :0)

And in other news...

1. Kerry took the boys to a father-son "thing" Friday night put on by - I think - the Christian Business Men's Association. They had a great time. All kinds of manly man stuff - archery, skateboarding, cars, a flight simulator, and much much more. And the speaker was a WW2 Pilot who had been in POW Camps and in Buchenwald. Very interesting. They got home late.

As I was tucking them into bed Gunnar looked at me and burst into tears. My first thought was that the manly man dinner (hot dogs and chili) didn't agree with him. But when I asked him why he was crying he looked utterly lost, and said, "I don't know!"

I think being over-tired and over-stimulated has a lot to do with it, but as I comforted him and talked with him I began to realize that - honestly - he was crying over the victims of the holocaust. He'd seen pictures of the camps... the people, and he was weeping over it. My little tender-hearted manly man!

2. Try, if you can, to understand the thought process of a 7 year old boy.

I was in the kitchen cleaning up after dinner last night, and Gunnar was in the bath. One of the quirks of older houses is that you'll often have a bathroom directly off the kitchen. Nice. So, he was playing in a bubble bath and I was wiping off the counter, when he stood up, buck naked, but for a few strategically located clumps of bubbles, and said, "Look at me, Mom!"


Then, a moment later, when Kerry went in to get him out of the bath and into jammies, Gunnar insisted that the door be closed for privacy.

Because that's obviously really important to him.

3. And to update you on a previous post... After a nice time at morning church, and a lovely afternoon at the home of some friends...

Well, it's too soon to know if it's flu or the result of hours and hours of running around and jumping on the trampoline and not enough water, but let's just say that we made a rather dramatic exit from evening church and leave it at that.

Gunnar almost made it too the door.

Well, now he can join the ranks of his brothers who both have "barf stories".

Friday, April 3, 2009

Things that make you go, "Hmmmm...."

My parents are off on a vacation. And apparently are having more excitement than they anticipated. Taking the Scenic Route from Point A to Point B took them over a 9900' pass and right into a snow-storm. Sure they're driving "Big Red" (the Dodge Ram pick-up), but they didn't take snow tires or chains. Still, they made it over the pass and were headed down the other side when they had a close encounter of the absurd kind.

If I got the story straight, here's what happened.

Two very stupid people had gotten their vehicles stuck across the road from each other, and then had gotten out of their vehicles and were standing in the road - you know, in case anyone passing by might fail to realize that they were in distress - in the gap between the cars. In a snow-storm. On a steep road.

Get the picture?

Move, you morons!

As my parents came slipping and sliding down the road toward them, The Stupid Ones apparently could not comprehend that even anti-lock brakes can't stop a big truck, (with a lot of momentum, on a slick road), on a dime.

The options were pretty limited. Though the truck was slowing, there was no way to stop it that quickly, but Dad figured he could get the truck stopped beyond them and would offer assistance.

So, as he skillfully managed to thread the needle between The Stupid Ones and their cars, they quickly pooled all their intelligence and courage...

and flipped him off.

Then they watched him drive away.

I was going to say, "A word to the wise..." but, in the words of Bill Cosby, "A word to the wise ain't necessary - it's the stupid ones that need the advice."

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Prayers gratefully accepted...

I had dinner with my friend this evening. Our moms were pregnant together (we were born about two weeks apart), so I can truly say we've been friends all our lives. Sometimes we'll go months without seeing each other, but we can pick up right where we left off. Though we have different beliefs and different interests it's always good to get together. The husbands find common ground, the kids play together... it's all good.

Except the vomiting.

As we were midway through dinner her youngest (almost two) rose from the table, coughed, whimpered, and let fly. My kids scattered like cockroaches when the lights come on. I shooed them out into the back yard while my friend apologized profusely and cleaned up the mess. Dad whisked the little one off to a bath, Mom was sponging the carpet, and I started clearing the dishes, when her older one (almost five) gave me a funny look and said something about the smell bothering him, and disappeared to the garage, and... you guessed it.

I'm hoping that our boys - being outside most of the time - will dodge the bullet, but Kerry and I... well, we welcome your prayers for our continued health. There's a nasty flu going around.

And remember my friend's little guys too :0)

Another home's cool moment

This following is brought to you by the mind of Tate.

Sometimes Tate is trying to be funny, and other times he just is funny...

While studying grammar, I asked him to write a description for each kind of sentence, and listed them for him. He got off to a good start.

"A statement... gives information." Yep.

"A compound sentence... combines a sentence with another." So far, so good.

"A question... asks what's going on." Okay, pretty good. And very revealing about Tate's world. With his hearing loss he misses a lot of information. A fairly high percentage of his questions are for clarification.

But then he came to exclamations and commands, and couldn't quite remember what I wanted. So he improvised.

"An exclamation... makes a point."


"A command... makes a very good point."

Another part of his grammar work was a fill-in-the-blank story (kind of like Mad Libs).

If I were asked to sift the recesses of my mind and come up with three animals, four people, four things, and four places I doubt I would've come up with a leopard, elephant and gecko, an Arab, a peasant, an Emir and President Taft, a bomb, tables, a can and slime, and a bump (in the earth), Mars, the sun, and Britain.

Only a 10 year old boy would put all of those in the same (very short) story...

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Testosterzone #10

Oh the joys of boys and homeschooling....

Wyatt and Tate both had a math test to do this morning. As Gunnar and I do a lot of talking in working through his math, Wyatt often takes his work across the hall to his bedroom so he can work uninterrupted. Tate, who prefers to stay closer to me, just flips his hearing aid off and then our chattering doesn't bother him.

Gunnar, my sweet, darling, innocent (looking), adorable Gunnar, snuggled toward me lovingly and loosed a startlingly loud "out-gassing" in Tate's general direction.

He looked at me, then looked at Tate - blissfully unaware, for the moment - then waggled his eyebrows and said, "Little does he know that his DOOM approaches."

It's a wonder we get anything done at all.

Happy Atheists' Day

Psalm 14:1 The fool says in his heart, "There is no God"...