Monday, January 31, 2011

Needle Ice

 Ever wonder why rocks seem to forever be working their way to the surface? 
 Here's your answer...
... ice.

We had a little impromptu science lesson this morning, in the yard.
Observe the humble mole hill...

On the small scale it's called needle ice.  On the large scale it's frost heave.
Basically, there is water in the soil.  The air above drops below freezing.
Ice crystals begin to form, and they grow in the direction of heat loss. Up.
And they push the soil and stones up above them.

Look closer.

Pretty amazing :D

Grasshopper Days 1-31-11

Grasshopper Days

 For Today, January 31, 2011

Outside my window...  clear and cold.  Love these days, because it feels like winter but not so dark.

I am thinking...  is this really the end of January?  Seems like Christmas was just last week.

I am thankful for...  the new steps (which I still haven't posted a photo of - oops!), my family,
and Game Nights at church even though I come home reaching for the Ibuprofen, with my ears absolutely ringing.

I am praying for...  work to continue to come in.  I know, I know, I mention this a lot.
And we're very thankful that right now Kerry has projects to work on.
But it's not like "having a job", where you work 40 hours a week and know what you make.
His jobs are projects.  They have a beginning and an end.
And we always need more projects coming in.

I am wearing... lots of layers, friends, it's cold outside!  Sweats, thick poly-pro socks, long-sleeve t-shirt, red long sleeve thick shirt, hair up in a twist.

I am creating...  stuck.  Want to make a bed-quilt with some vintage looking fabric (blueberries!) but haven't found a pattern/block that's just right yet.

I am going...  to tidy my office today.  Really.  (Quit laughing.)
And to buy 9-volt batteries.  More about that later.  *sigh*

I am reading...  finished Peace Child and about to start The House of Sixty Fathers with the boys.

I am hoping...  clear weather holds for a few days.  The boys and Kerry are building a new bunny hutch, to get the bunnies up off the muddy ground.

I am hearing...  the boys playing with the bunnies downstairs.  (Yes, they bring them in the house.)

From the learning rooms...  Monday seems so overwhelming!  Trying to raise the bar for Wyatt, who will be a high schooler (one way or another) next year.  So this week... volumes of solids (Wyatt), multiplying and dividing mixed numbers (Tate), long division (Gunar), words with cor, electricity, Italy, Benito Mussolini and fascism, Sequential Spelling, keyboard (typing) practice, and The Mysteries of Harris Burdick.

From the kitchen...  just switched today's dinner (Turkey Taquitos) to tomorrow, so need a new plan for tonight...  probably chicken, noodles and veggies.  :D

Around the house...  still enjoying my winter decorations, but I ought to sprinkle a few red Valentine-y things around.

On my mind...  what to do with Wyatt (educationally) next year...

Noticing that...  the days are a little, just a little, bit longer.

Pondering these words...  

Don't miss the little betrayals...

Pastor Bert was talking about Judas' betrayal of Christ, and how we all try to work out
what could have brought him to that point.  But it wasn't sudden at all.
He'd been dipping into the money all along.

It began with growing comfortable with little sins.

Now there's something to think about.

One of my favorite things...  warm feet, my flannel sheets, and the best kind of bed-bug there is...
the snuggle-bug.  I have one that joins me nearly every morning ;D

A few plans for the rest of the week...  going out on a date-night tomorrow night to the theatre.
Putting on a hoity-toity accent (thah thee-ah-tah) may sound high-brow,
but since we're going to Spam-A-Lot, may be out of character.

Here is a picture I am sharing...
 must get school going now, but will try to add photo of
the mighty and wonderful stairs later today!


Thursday, January 27, 2011

PTO Day Brain-dump

The boys are gone to my parents' house on a PTO day, which should mean that I can string a few coherent thoughts together, but that may be reaching on my part.  A PTO day is a rare chance for me to work on projects I enjoy (like quilting), to clean and tidy without my work being instantly undone, or to talk with other adults.  Because it's always refreshing to have a whole conversation that does not consist of sentences punctuated with forceful adverbs.  Stop that right now.  Finish your work immediately.  Apologize nicely. 

What I mostly do is just enjoy the quiet, a rare commodity on most days.  If you don't know them in real life, well...  the boys are what you might graciously call lively.   In actual fact, taken together they're really more of a force of nature than just regular people.

All it takes for chaos to descend is a few unsupervised moments with a Mad-Libs book.  Those sunny-faced, denim-jumpered homeschool moms who champion the educational value of these books (nouns! verbs! adverbs! adjectives!) clearly underestimate the potential here for my boys.  Oh, their vocabulary is enhanced, all right.  They can describe bodily functions the way Eskimos can describe snow.

Why, why, why is that such a central part of life for boys?

When they're being really polite at least they'll warn you.  I was in the mudroom with Gunnar this morning, getting ready to take them to Grampa and Gramma's house.  He looked at me with concern.  Mama, you should hurry.  I tooted.  No kidding.

They'll be back soon, full to bursting with all the fun they've had, and you know what the first thing they'll say is?

When's dinner?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Photos I Mentioned...

 Thank the Lord that Tate is a patient boy.
A very, very patient boy.

He only had to wait two months for his birthday party,
and another couple weeks for me to post the pics.
Provided by one of the guests - a 13-year-old neighbor - 
who happened to bring his ipod (?).
Which was fortunate since we didn't bring any of our cameras,
or even Kerry's cel phone.
Go figure.

So, seen through the eyes of a good friend...
the train museum:

I love the attention to detail.  Here's the beauty shop.

The boys particularly loved this - note the cats.

They seem to have thought of everything!

This may have been to please the moms, though the boys had a good laugh.

The boys love coming here because...
they let you drive the trains.
In fact, they'll even let you bring your own trains from home and drive them on their track.
Which the birthday boy is doing :D

Oh dear... he must be up to something.
Gunnar, at the controls.

In spite of being so very late, we all had a fun time.
And how can you go wrong when you finish with ice cream?!  ;D

Monday, January 24, 2011

Believe Me?

Believe me, now?

Grasshopper Days 1-24-11

Grasshopper Days

For today, 1-24-11

Outside my window...  still quite dark (7:50am) and cloudy.  No rain at the moment, but undoubtedly more on the way.  When it gets lighter I can take a picture of The Steps,
now finished and usable.

I am thinking...  felt really yucky when I woke up this morning.  Hope this day improves.

I am thankful for...  not having anywhere I need to go today.

I am praying for...  peace and kindness between the boys... gets harder on these cold, damp, rainy days when they are mostly cooped up inside.  *sigh*

I am wearing...  gray sweats, thick socks, slippers.  Bo-ring.

I am creating...  thinking about making a bed-size quilt for our bedroom, but the size intimidates me.
Maybe...  ?

I am going...  nowhere today :D  Ready to get the tree out of my living room,
but not put away all the winter decor.

I am reading...  just about to finish Peace Child (Don Richardson) with the boys, having "edited" a couple chapters they can read when they're older.  Ew.

I am hoping...  for a burst of energy!

I am hearing...  rain dripping.

I am remembering...  sailing in warm places.

From the learning rooms...  a great deal of frustration, crankiness, and trouble concentrating, this morning.  I think we're really feeling the effects of not keeping to a more consistent schedule (sleep!)

Learning about - Joseph Stalin, words with volv and rota, common denominators and adding and subtracting fractions, writing a good paragraph, Paul and Silas and the Philippian jailor, the volume of spheres, cones, and pyramids.

From the kitchen...  I was going to cook a turkey today but decided to eat up left-over pizza instead and cook the bird tomorrow.

Around the house...  we've been moving everything around in the family room, and now I want to move everything.  Clean (out) everything.  But I'm still feeling pretty blah today.
Weather?  Hormones?  Germs?  All of the above?
A nap sounds good, but no time now...

On my mind...  oh, there must be something.


A cozy chair, a cup of hot chocolate, and a good book.
Which would probably add up to a nap.

Noticing that...  it's raining harder.  So hard it's like fog - hard to see through.

Pondering these words... 
In my many years I have come to a conclusion that
one useless man is a shame,
two is a law firm,
and three or more is a congress.
 - John Adams

One of my favorite things...  peace and quiet.

A few plans for the rest of the week...  getting back on schedule!

Here is a picture I am sharing...

... from the model RR museum.
Uh... nice dog.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Good Saturday Morning!

Sunshine!  Some of you know what a relief it is to see a clear sky after many, (many) days of clouds, rain and darkness.

I try to be a good sport about it.  In fact, there's a lot to like about the short, dark days of winter.  And they are short.  On cloudy days it doesn't get truly light until about 8am, and then it's getting dark by 3:30 or 4 in the afternoon.  We light the candles, grab a quilt or blanket, and wrap ourselves in the coziness of staying home and slowing down. We make more hot chocolate, cook more soup, read more books (individually and together), and I get more projects done.  Or not... somehow it feels okay not to be busy, when the whole world seems asleep.

Today, however, is sunny and bright, and a day for getting things done.  But before I start cleaning and sewing...

1.  Memo to Tate:  You are 12 years old.  Please, embrace The Napkin.
To be fair, he's getting better about this.  For awhile I was making him take his shirt off while he ate, so he would realize how often he wiped his fingers on it.  No kidding.

2.  Grampa Grasshopper was here again yesterday - in  just-above-freezing monsoon rains - removing the forms from the steps.  Just a couple more days and we can walk on them.  *Happy squeal!*  Pictures soon.

3.  Note to Gunnar:  What were you dreaming about?  You growled, and moaned, Clean it up.  Clean it all up, now!

4.  I'm freshly inspired to step up the boys' chores.  I may post on this to keep myself accountable.  Consider yourselves forewarned.

5. A message for Wyatt:  That electric razor you got for Christmas doesn't bite.

6.   The boys are cleaning the bunnies' cage.  At this point it is still divided.  We're all hoping that Podger and Poly will get along and share the "good" house, but so far... let's just say that Podger is definitely the Alpha Bunny, and we had to put Poly into protective custody.  Give 'em time...

The boys have also been instructed to go on a garbage hunt around the yard, as it has been windy.

Then there is gravel to be moved.  They are slowly but surely emptying out the old play area in hopes of turning it into a garden.  At this rate, by 2020, but maybe I can light a fire under them...

7.  Quote of the day (maybe Dobson?):
Many parents are finding that a pat on the back helps develop character - if given often enough, early enough, and low enough.  ;D

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

In Which We Are Finishing a Project

I may have mentioned this before, but I have The Best Parents In The World.

Last summer, Kerry had this done:

There is a bit of a rise from the driveway to the garage, and into his glorious, executive office.
And the four, temporary cinder block steps had reached their expiration, and he wanted to pour concrete steps.  Great idea.  So the excavator dug, and the boys dug, and we had...

a hole.

Grampa Grasshopper to the rescue!

You see, there are two things (among many) you should know about Grampa Grasshopper:

1.  He is a Helper.  With a capital H.  He will do things for you.
And he knows how to do lots of things.

2.  He loves concrete.  Grampa Grasshopper works in concrete, like some artists work in oils.
It's his medium.

In December he spent several days here, building the forms.  All out of his head.  (Stairs are tricky.)
And cutting the rebar, tying it into place, and whatever else needed to be done.

And then it got too cold to pour concrete.
And too wet to pour concrete.
And too snowy to pour concrete.
Then too wet, again...

But today... success!

 Of course, just having the big mixer truck, right there in your driveway, is exciting.
And guess what... there are jobs for boys.
Like pounding on the forms to get the air bubbles out.
Wyatt pounding...
 Tate pounding...
Gunnar supervising... (and looking cute).
And beginning the finish work... still going on, but it's getting dark now.
Pictures of the finished product coming soon!


No more liability obstacle course to get into the garage!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Grasshopper Days 1-17-11

Grasshopper Days

For today, January 17, 2011

Outside my window...  a rare moment that it is not raining.  *sigh*

I am thinking...  there are always more things I want to do than there is time to do them.

I am thankful for...  family, friends, a check we were worried about came in Saturday's mail, and a new (to me) camera!

I am praying for...  good friends, traveling back to Zambia tomorrow with their five girls.

I am wearing...  jeans, white t-shirt, blue thermal shirt, navy crocs (my 'slippers').

I am creating...  have plans for the next quilt, but haven't begun it yet.  I had just cleaned and tidied my office when - seemingly - a tornado came through.  How does this happen?  So fast?!

I am going...  to reinstate our daily schedule, with tasks-to-be-done before each meal.
2 Thessalonians 3:10

I am reading...  Notes from a Small Island.

I am hoping...  the weather holds.  We're hoping to pour concrete tomorrow.  Well, we've been hoping that since before Christmas, but what with typical weather (too cold, or too wet) we've had to delay.  Would be nice to get this project done :D

I am hearing...  it makes me nervous when I don't hear the boys...

I am remembering...  life before the internet.

From the learning rooms...  adding and subtracting fractions, appositives,
proto-, prin- and pri-,
area, circumference, and pi,
 center of gravity,
and I can't remember what else is on the agenda.

From the kitchen...  bread is rising and the crock-pot is crocking.  Or potting.  Or whatever it does.
Pork roast, potatoes, and carrots.

Around the house...  snowflake decorations,
(hey, if there's none outside, we can try inside!),
blue, white, silver, and sparkly.

On my mind...  so much to be thankful for,
being content with what we have (which is more than plenty),
and how fast the boys are growing.

Pondering these words...  a friend mentioned a poem her friend sent her.
Love this line...
a settling of wayward thoughts.
Don't know about you, but that's something I could usually do with.

One of my favorite things...  a tidy, orderly house.

A few plans for the rest of the day...  just a bit more schoolwork to do, laundry to fold,
and my parents and another couple coming for dinner.

Here is a picture I am sharing...
I don't have an interface cable for my 'new' camera yet, (ordered one),
so no new pics.
But in case you missed it,
guess who?

Winston Churchill!

With his creator...

... on a beautiful day last week.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Sad. Just Very Sad

  • Much-hyped and eagerly anticipated snow-storm begins to fall Tuesday night.
  • Ecstatic children go to bed, anticipating abandoning schoolwork to play in snow.
  • Snow storm turns to driving rain by 4am.
  • Very Sad Children wake to dark, depressing, soggy world.
  • Helpful Dad announces that government schools are closed, due to fear of (failed) snow-ma-geddon.
  • Very Sad Children imagine government school students partying all day, presumably with pizza and unlimited access to electronics.
  • Very Sad Children not consoled by the knowledge that government school students actually spending a rainy day at home, and will be making up missed day in June, when we will be enjoying sunny days at the lake.
  • Apparently impossible to imagine anything pleasant while learning grammar, accompanied by the sound of driving rain, and chunks of melted ice rattling along gutters and downspouts.
  • Cruel Mother must somehow be to blame.
  • Cruel Mother forces children to apply themselves to Grueling Homeschool Lessons.
  • Finished before lunch.
  • Very Sad Children only marginally consoled by visit to favorite doughnut shop and movie rental.  
And that was a Very Sad Day.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Get Well Soon... Or Else.

I mentioned yesterday that my cousin's husband just had his appendix out.  He's doing fine, as far as I know, and they got to it before it ruptured.  You should have seen the look of relief on Tate's face when we heard that news.

So yesterday I asked the boys to write or draw a get-well message for Mike.  But maybe - just maybe - having them do that immediately after a long discussion of World War I might've been a tactical error.


Gunnar drew a fully-armed soldier pointing his finger right at the viewer (a la the Uncle Sam "We want YOU!" posters).  And this is what the soldier is saying.
Now listen!  You get better!  That's a order!  So get better, otherwise you're going to be in trouble!  So get better, savvy?

Wyatt wrote a nice note.
Dear Mike,
We're very sorry to hear that your appendix has been sabotaged, but we're glad to hear they removed it before the saboteurs could detonate the explosives.  Get well soon.
From: Wyatt

While Tate put his heart and soul into this somewhat obscure missive.
I am very sorry to hear that something so entirely useless was redeployed in oblivion, as the revolutionary Appendicides nearly obliterated your body's economic system and government.  Luckily foreign intervention came before the vast armies of Viruses marched in to aid the Appendicides and now your economic system and government are saved - you're on the way to recovery.
From Tate

In Tate's interpretation the Evil Appendicides are waging full-scale war against Mike.  Fortunately "foreign intervention" (aka surgery) arrived before the Evil Appendicides could be joined by their allies, the Viruses (infection).


Now wouldn't you feel all warm and fuzzy and comforted?!

Monday, January 10, 2011

When Tate Makes A Snowman

What do you get when your older boys make a snowman?
And one of them is a history fanatic, especially with anything related to wars?

Do you recognize him?

Look closer.
 It's Winston Churchill!

 With his proud creator.

Lovely, Lovely, Lovely

Funny, my dogwood tree looks much like this in the spring,
covered with white blossoms.

The view from our bedroom.
My parents live up on that far hill (but out of view)
and had even more snow - about five inches.


Happy! Happy! Happy!

Happy boys, because there is snow.
Happy me, because it is light and beautiful.
And happy family, because the boys run their energy off outside
for hours and hours in the cold, fresh air.

You can't imagine how excited the boys were to get snow, after a disappointingly green Christmas.
Their favorite sledding hill had melted off a bit, due to traffic and southern exposure,
so they quickly got to work gathering snow,
and building up a sled path along the side of the road.
The neighbor's ditch makes a perfect U-shaped toboggan run!

Progress was interrupted by the inevitable.

 Then they shifted their activity to the other side of the house.
Why do they never work this hard on my projects?!

A little parental guidance was required as anyone past puberty is clearly a big spoil-sport
and thinks that - just perhaps - building your sled run right into the street
may not be the best idea.
A curved embankment to turn the sleds to the side will help.

Here is most of the neighborhood pack.
The eight boys are at the core,
(Wyatt is standing in the background)
and two of the three little sisters joined in as well.

Grasshopper Days 1-10-11

Grasshopper Days

For Today, January 10, 2011

 Outside my window...  snow!  Much to the boys' excitement, we got about three inches of snow Saturday night.  Enough for sledding and snowballs and - I hope - maybe a snowman today?

I am thinking...  the Daybook needs a new name
Grasshopper Days?  Too weird?
The original daybook site (here) is just a link service now.  The original "host" isn't posting there anymore.  And since my goal is not primarily to attract new readers (but to keep a record of our days) I don't think I'll be linking anymore.  Anyway...
Grasshopper Days?  Or suggestions?

I am thankful for...  snow!  Because it makes the boys so happy.
And I love the extra light.  These dark, dreary days can get me down, but the white snow covering everything makes a huge difference.  It's amazing.  I don't mind the cold of winter, but the darkness.  And this is cheering.

I am praying for...  my cousin (well, okay, he's my cousin's husband) Mike, who just had his appendix out last night.  Surprise!  He's doing fine, but feel free to pray for his recovery.  Also, he just started a new job a week ago and is concerned about having to miss work so soon.

I am wearing...  layers, people, lots of layers.  Brrrr!  It's cold out there!

I am going...  nowhere.  Staying off the icy roads.

I am reading...  on a little binge.  Just finished three books and am reading
Notes From a Small Island.
Love Bill Bryson.

I am hoping...  Kerry's surge in work continues.
He's BUSY!  This hasn't happened for months!

I am hearing...  boys playing downstairs.  Must get back to schoolwork.

I am remembering...  hot summer days.  When my fingers weren't going numb.

From the learning rooms...  dividing by 3, 6, and 9, the Russian revolution, pyro/flam roots, direct and indirect objects, adding and subtracting fractions, the end of World War I, and gravity.  I thought we were doing gravity last week, but it was buoyancy.
(Thank you, Bill Nye, for your videos.)

From the kitchen...  oooo, it's crock-pot weather for sure.

On my mind...  what I wouldn't give for an air-tight stove.

Noticing that...  Gunnar may be getting taller.  Must weigh and measure boys for the record.

Pondering these words...  
I'd rather have them civilized at home than socialized at school.

One of my favorite things...  the crock pot.  I may have mentioned that. ;D

A few plans for the rest of the week...  playing in the snow.

Here is a picture I am sharing...

 What the boys want to be doing...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Trains, Blizzards, and True Confessions

Saturday was Tate's big day.  He got to pick a couple of friends to come along on a special activity - a couple of hours at the Railway Museum running the model trains, and then on to Dairy Queen for treats and gifts.  The "kid party" portion of celebrating his 12th birthday.

Nothing unusual about that, right?

Except that his birthday was in November.

Which was a rather busy month, what with soccer winding down (and the ensuing team parties), in-laws visiting, Thanksgiving in Oregon, and then being launched into December.  I could also remind you that I'm not always exactly as organized as you may think.  (Case in point:  there are no pictures of this post because we forgot to bring a camera.  To our own son's birthday party.  Kerry even forgot his cel phone.  So I'll post pictures when I get them from the 13 year old neighbor boy who brought his ipod, or whatever.)

All of that is true, but there's more.

You see, I have a confession to make.  Though I love my kids and want to do nice things for them, I really do not like kids' birthday parties.  And you can multiply that by ten if it's for an only child.  (And if there's a clown?  We won't even speak of that.)

Oh, we've had a few fun parties.  Wyatt and Gunnar have it easier, with their summer birthdays.  I mean, how hard is it to set up the slip-n-slide and serve ice-cream bars?  Or take a bunch of kids to the lake?  Tie-dye some undershirts?  I can handle that.  Especially with all the kids outside.

But Tate is a bit more challenging, with his November birthday.  Not to mention his unique interests.  I mean, his Civil War party was a lot of fun, in spite of my inability to find themed decorations.  And the kids seemed to enjoy the Underground RR / slave catcher game we played out in the yard (as rain and darkness were falling at 4:30 in the afternoon,) but I have to tell you, I'm glad when the boys hit 10.  Because that's when you age out of kid parties, in this house.  After that you get special activities.  With a nice, manageable group of polite boys.

Because something happens to boys when they get in a group.  Is it just me, or have you noticed this too?  You can take a bunch of boys that are perfectly nice (and sane) individually.  But put them in a group and it's like baking soda and vinegar.  Or Pepsi and Mentos.  I think all the testosterone in one room causes them to lose their minds.  Or something like that.  Cake and junk food may possibly factor in.  Maybe.

But I have good news.  The next boy in this house to have a birthday will be Gunnar, in June.  And you know how old he'll be?

Ten.  :D

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Not Exactly A Recipe For An Educational Evening

We were loaned a nature DVD to watch with the boys.
(Can you guess where this is going already?)

Since we don't have a TV, we took it up to my parents',
to watch on their big HD flat screen...
and because it's fun to see them.

Oh, it was fun all right.  It was hilarious.
We might have been able to get past the narrator's goggle-eyed worship at the altar of Darwin,
or the sight of a very sincere middle-aged woman seriously believing she could
sing the "song" of the humpback whale.
(I hope she met the fellow later in the show who sings hoots like a Siamang gibbon.)

But when the narrator decided to challenge a bird for territory, using recorded bird calls,
the living room descended into hysterical chaos.

Because when you combine three boys with a very animated Brit exclaiming,
He's saying, "I'm a Great Tit and this is my patch!"
guffawing hilarity is what you'll get.

For what it's worth, this is a Great Tit.

And oh boy.  Whaddaya bet my traffic goes up.  Sheesh.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Another Reason to Homeschool

It's 35F and raining.  Welcome to my world.  (Apparently I woke up feeling just a little bit snarky this morning.)  I look outside at the wet darkness and it's clear to me why so many animals hibernate.

It might also have something to do with getting everyone back in the groove of our homeschool routine.  Let's just say there's been a wee bit of drama.  Day Three, and things are falling back into place.

Gunnar sat across from me, practicing his handwriting.  And smiling to himself.  I glanced over his shoulder as he carefully copied, "Look! A big rabbit," and then added, "with sunglasses."

Indeed, the picture of the rabbit had been accessorized with sunglasses, bandoliers, a grenade, a knife, and, "Those are the bunny's two little pistols, Mama."

Of course, in public school this would raise all kinds of red flags, the school psychiatrist would hyperventilate and call me, and he would probably be suspended for violating the school weapons policy, because he's obviously a disturbed and violent child.

Around here we just say, "He's a boy."

A Little Perspective is Always Good

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Grasshopper Days 1-4-11

Grasshopper Days

For today, January 4, 2011

 Outside my window...  the temp has been below freezing for several days and nights, and the frost is getting pretty thick.

I am thinking...  about whether to continue doing the daybook.  I've stopped linking to the site, since the "host" doesn't seem to be participating anymore.  Go figure.
I like the discipline of reflecting on the week (not my strong suit), but maybe time for a new format?
Just thinking "aloud"...

I am thankful for...  Kerry has a bunch of work right now - woo-hoo!

I am praying for...  a little friend having her tonsils out today.

I am wearing...  layers.  Lots of layers.

I am creating...  HA!  Put that on hold, after the flurry of Christmas activity.

I am going...  to get school started, momentarily.  (Doesn't that sound familiar?)
We're shooting for an 8am start, but today looks more like 8:30.

I am hoping...  those wonderful clients Kerry is working for will pay him.  Promptly.

I am hearing...  very much silence.

I am remembering...  ice skating on a frozen lake, as a child.

From the learning rooms...  getting back into the school routine without a lot of drama.
Reading about the beginning of WWI, reducing fractions, words with ject/jet, writing thank-yous, dividing by 4 and 8, Porfirio Diaz and the Mexican Revolution, editing, and experiments with gravity.

From the kitchen...  hmmm, it feels like a soup day.

Around the house...  I love Christmas, but it feels good to get it all picked up and put away.  Clutter, even Christmas clutter, can make me crazy after awhile.  Now my house is all about sparkly silver, blue, and white, stars and snowmen, and icy looking candle holders, with a warm glow.

On my mind...  Wyatt will be a 9th grader next year.  High school age!

Pondering these words...  
The great of the earth are those who leave silence and solitude
around themselves, their work, and their life,
and let it ripen of its own accord.
                                     - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

One of my favorite things...  the light that floods in the house on these crystal clear, cold days.

A few plans for the rest of the week...  self-discipline and getting back into a good routine (*sigh*),
lots of school work, reading, getting out for walks.

Here is a picture I am sharing... 

Tate's favorite Christmas gift, on the right.

Joining Podger (on the left), we have Poly.
Short for Napoleon Bunny-parte.
(He is Tate's, you know.)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year :D

I'm not a New Year Resolution maker.  All those years as a student, and now as a homeschool mom have forever enshrined September as the month of new beginnings.  In fact, last year's goal still works for me ;D

But, inspired by Deborah, I'm thinking about some changes for next Christmas.  Because I'm all over the idea of planning ahead to emphasize the good and beat back the crazy.  So next year...

1.  I want to have all my shopping/crafting done before Thanksgiving Stop laughing!  It could happen.  In fact, it did happen.  Once.  Back in 1998, when I was expecting Tate (born in November).  I had all my presents prepared before he was born.  Of course, there were fewer of us, but... it could happen.  It can happen.

2.  Instead of Christmas cards, I'll send a Thanksgiving letter.  Okay, yes I do realize that it's quite possible I'm just exporting the crazy to November, instead of December, but this is still workable.  I think.  (Right?)  And wouldn't that be nice?  A thankful letter / early Christmas card?  I like this idea. :D

3.  I am purging more of my decorations.  Because we just have So. Much. Stuff.  And I love decorating for Christmas, but it's all too much.  And even if it's nice stuff, it can still be too much stuff.  More branches and pine cones and candles, and less knick knacks.

4.  New Advent Devotions.  We may get one more year out of the ones we've been using, but the boys are out-growing them.  Ideas?  Feel free to suggest :D

5.  More hospitality.  We like having people over, to share the season with us.  And it didn't work out much this year.  Planning farther ahead would probably help.  ;D

6.  We will get the boys three gifts each.  That's plenty.  One writer explains it like this. The three gifts of Christmas were gold, frankincense, and myrrh, so each of those can be a symbol.  The gold gift is something they really want - like Legos, or toy soldiers.  The frankincense gift is something they need - clothing, or an electric razor.  And the myrrh gift is something to nurture their spirit.  That's harder and requires more thought and insight.  Maybe a book, a magazine subscription, a CD.  Something like that.  Something that helps them grow in their character and/or faith.  Something that reflects their unique personality.

7.  Maybe, just maybe, we'll finally make a gingerbread house.  This one, really, is up to Kerry.  Being married to an architect and all, you'd think we'd have come up with some stellar gingerbread houses, but not so much.  (In fact, not one yet.)  If he's interested, great.  If not... no worries.

So there.  That's seven.  That's plenty, right?

How about you?  What are your favorite traditions?  What will you change next year?