Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Showers of Babies

At some point many years ago, probably when all the boys were little, I decided it would be fun to learn to quilt.  Someday.  And a friend of mine decided that someday sounded too far off and talked me into taking a beginner quilt class with her.  So glad she did!  

I discovered that for all my domestically-impaired tomboy ways, I really like quilting.  I think it has something to do with the fact that's it's a kind of bringing order (piecing the quilt top) from chaos (piles of fabric), and a lot to do with the fact that I can do something and it stays done.  Yah, I think that second part is huge.

And now that I've acquired some basic skills there's another benefit - it's really fun to make gifts!  And with four chapel babies due this summer... well, I had a lot of fun :D  We celebrated the first two of the babies at a shower this evening.

My friend Hosanna knew she was expecting a little boy.  I'd been wanting to try a Jacob's Ladder block and had some gorgeous turquoise in my stash.  My neighbor handed me some speckled blue and they paired together beautifully.

Once again, I've spared no expense on my display apparatus ;D
I haven't made many quilts with a traditional quilt block, so this was fun.  It's actually made of sixteen blocks, rotated in different directions to make the pattern.

I backed it with the speckled blue and pieced a striped binding.  I love the way it looks, but it was kind of a pain to hand-sew the binding on with all those seams.  Have to remember that for next time.

Oh, that turquoise just sings to me, and I have a bit left :D  It's funny, although blue is a cool color, that turquoise feels warm to me.

My friend Danyale - Hosanna's SIL - knew she was having a girl. 

Sewing for girls isn't exactly speaking my native language if you know what I mean.  So I used some bright, primary colors...

... and decided to try something very non-traditional, with raw edges...

... and lots of big, bright, happy color.

I think this one would actually be a good wall-hanging, but I hope it gets used.  A lot. :D

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Little Sewing for Naomi

Working on the quilt for our bed is a good thing for me.  I've never made one that big, so it's a good challenge, though the pattern (if you can call it a pattern) is very nice and simple.

But I have to admit, I love the satisfaction of doing little projects that are quick to finish.  And when my SIL mentioned that the only bibs she had that still fit Naomi were the ones I made last year with her baby quilt, I knew I had a good idea for Naomi's birthday.  Oh sure, we got her gifts we hope she'll enjoy, but I figured Allyson might appreciate a few new bibs.

And so...


 "N" for Naomi

Ahhh, turquoise :D

And a little cowgirl flair...

 ... with a bit of extra pink.

Ta-daaa :D

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today, June 24, 2013  

Outside my window...  "a tyranny of chlorophyll".  Green, green, and more green, under a cloudy sky.

Hearing...  the dryer tumbling and a plane flying over.

Pondering...  I think I need to make a calendar for the next few weeks  that has a page for every day so I don't forget what I'm doing.  Crazy.

Praying...  for a bit more work for Kerry, for several in my family and church family who are not feeling well, and for...

Thankful...  baby "J" arrived safely yesterday (thanks for your prayers!)  Mom and baby were both doing well last I heard, and we're praying that the baby continues to breathe well :D

Also thankful for a fun day yesterday - Naomi's first birthday party!

Further thankful for cough syrup with codeine and the first good night's sleep I've had in about a week.

Thankful for the rain last night after a sticky, oppressive afternoon.  I know we're heat-wimps and you can laugh all you want about the fact that the temp was barely 70 and we had the air-con going in the van.  But all afternoon at the b'day party we had a room full of people, hot and muggy weather (humidity was 88%, I checked) and no breeze to stir the air.  But I fell asleep to a monsoon.  (Me?  Exaggerate?)  Won't need to water anything for awhile :D

Wearing...  capri jeans and a blue t-shirt.  Whoopee.

Creating...  having fun working on the latest quilt.  It will look similar to the photo in the post below, but bigger.

Going...  to get stuff done.  It's amazing what a good night's sleep (and better breathing through modern medicine) will do to your energy level.  Hallelujah.

Reading...  a (fluff) novel that revolves around... quilting.

Looking forward to...  spending quite a bit of time with Naomi in the next few weeks :D

In the kitchen...  Gunnar is having some friends over to watch a movie tonight.  (In our house, I only do kid-parties for your birthday until you turn 10.  After that you can have a couple of friends over to do something special.)  Frozen pizza is on the menu :D

In the learning rooms...  trying to finalize some prep for next year as we'll be temporarily transforming  the school room into a guest room for Naomi.

Around the house...  looking at things with fresh baby-proofing eyes... time to move the furniture and relocate a few breakables.

The Mother Load...  oh heavens.  Cleaning, reading, sewing... and I need to go over packing lists with Tate and Wyatt, for their CAP adventures this summer.

Noticing...  how quickly order slides into chaos.  *sigh*

Something to remember for later...  the best one-year birthday present in the world is a Bumble Ball.

I got one for Gunnar when he turned one and it was such a hit that it's been my go-to gift ever since.  The crazy catch is... they're hard to find in toy stores, but pet stores sell them for dogs.  Not sure I should tell my SIL???  Naomi loved it :D

A favorite quote for today...  my old standby,

When I do stuff,
stuff gets done.

I know, I know, it's the deep thinking that gets us through the day...

One of my favorite things... my family :D

A few plans for the rest of the week... 
* Monday - I have a rehearsal tonight.  Can't really sing (cough,cough) but I can go listen and start learning my part.
Tuesday - Tate has another set of follow-up appointments at Children's and Kerry is going to take him.  Hallelujah.  I don't mind doing it, but I do pretty much all of them.  His work is a bit slow this week so I asked if he'd pinch hit.  They can have one last visit to the Pacific Science Center before our membership expires too.  And I'll try to finish the quilt top.  WIn-win!
* Wednesday - my friend who just delivered her baby yesterday was going to put on a shower Wednesday evening for the other two recent chapel babies.  I've become the PIC (person in charge), with lots of back-up from other chapel ladies.
* Thursday and Friday - Wyatt works Thursday afternoon, but otherwise, I'm prepping the house for having Naomi visit :D

A peek into my world...  my amazingly talented dad took this photo of a foxglove.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Saturday Brain Dump, aka Welcome to Whine Country

You've heard of the colloquial "Chinese Curse", right?

May you live in interesting times.

Yah.  This has been an interesting week.

1.  We'll start with me.  I mentioned my visit to the Urgent Care doc, on my birthday, thank-you-very-much, and the four prescriptions?  Yah.  That helped a lot, but there was a catch.  The whole breathing thing.  I wasn't doing it right.

You know what a pulse oximeter is?  (That little red glowy thing the doc puts on your finger like a clothespin, but not so tight - measures your heart-rate and how well your blood is oxygenated.)  We live near sea level.  Our blood should be 95-100% oxygenated.  I was running in the mid 80's.  I'd go up a flight of steps and be out of breath and wheezing like my Great Aunt Lucille, who had bad, bad asthma.  Felt like I was pulling for every breath.  So I ended up seeing my regular doc yesterday.  Good news - the antibiotics knocked out the bronchitis.  Bad news - my lungs and throat are irritated and swollen, hence the whole not breathing so effectively thing.  Add two more prescriptions, one for a five day course of Prednisone.  Which the boys find HYSTERICAL.  Because I'm not just Mom, I'm

Mom on steroids.

Yes.  Thanks.  Hold your applause.

2.  The upside of being sick and tired is I've been working on a new quilt.  FOR MEEEE. :D
I splurged and bought some fancy designer fabric (read "expensive") because I saw this baby quilt.

Blue is my happy color, and that turquoise-blue makes my heart sing.  Doesn't it look soothing and dreamy?  Like the ocean around Hawaii, or the mosaic tiles in a fancy pool.  I decided I needed one big enough for my bed.  I've pieced half of the top in two days, and let me tell you friends, it's hard to be random.

I cut up a bunch of squares, throw them in a box, and pull them out willy-nilly.  I even had Tate help me, to prevent me from trying to disperse them perfectly evenly (OCD much?).  And mine is bigger than this.  Go big or go home, right?  Instead of 9x9, mine will be 22x23 - big enough for a queen bed, but not covering the pillows.  (I'm cutting the squares 4.5", so they finish at 4".)

If I have any fabric leftover I'm tempted to try cutting some much smaller squares to really look like mosaic tile, but that's a LOT of seams to match and I'm not sure I'm that ambitious.

3.  Wyatt raced today in a triathlon, as a relay.  I'm so proud of him for his effort and his attitude, because his team had their share of struggles.  I believe the word "epic" was used.

The swimmer discovered that swimming in a lake is vastly different than swimming in a pool and came in dead last, behind an (89 year?) oooold man that had to be helped from the water.  And PS, after swimming the course, racers have to run (walk? stagger?) uphill for about 50 yards to hand-off to the biker.

The biker made a valiant effort to pick up a few positions but at mile seven his chain broke.  A chase car showed up to see if he needed assistance (a ride? a phone call?) but he refused to quit and pushed his bike, running, the next three miles to finish the course, not in last place, but close.  Actually, he was able to coast the last quarter mile down a very gradual (ie not fast) slope.  If you look closely (enlarge the pic) you can see the broken chain dangling below his near foot.

Wyatt, fortunately, did great on his 2.6 mile run and finished strong.  Not sure of his time.  "Twenty-some minutes," according to Kerry.

We're proud of them all.  They FINISHED.

4.  Kerry rewarded him (and all of us) with a trip to DQ.  Plus, we needed to refuel all the boybarians because they had mowing to do.  While we're - thankfully - not having the flooding that western Canada is suffering, we have had a lot of rain.  A LOT.  It's not good to mow in a monsoon.  The mower doesn't cut well, the grass clumps up, and it's easy to slip (not something you want to do near a whirling blade.)  But today the sun shone :D

So the boys came home and immediately it was time to divide and conquer.  Kerry and Wyatt went to mow at the church, and Tate and Gunnar each went to separate neighbors' properties.  And I need to keep track of who gets paid what.  (Have I mentioned that I need a secretary?  Because I really think that would be nice!)

5.  We've had some technical difficulties called life.  While I really do feel like I'm on the upswing now, things just haven't been getting done the same around the house.

*  The kitchen needs to be deep-cleaned (as soon as the caulk dries around the sink... third times a charm?).

* The floor is DIS-GUS-TING.  Sweeping will do for now, but it needs a scouring.

* The boys shower is leaking, so they're using ours, which now really needs to be cleaned.

* The van needs new brakes.  *sigh*

6.  And then, to add excitement to the mundane... 

* As soon as we came in the house Gunnar discovered Jack, his crazy goldfish (I mean, that fish had personality) on the bottom of his bowl.  Not swimming.  He's had a long run for a ten cent 'feeder fish', so we can't complain.  We could say that Jack has gone on to a better place... if a better place is the "burial at sea" Gunnar performed. But then...

* I went out to check on the rabbits after we got back from the race and discovered that somehow Podger had managed to get together with Polly, over on her side of the cage.  (What the heck?  How did he get there?  Is he some kind of lagomorph Houdini?)  Not sure when it happened, but they were together for a good four hours, at least.  And - bunnies being bunnies - we all know what that means.

7.  So all in all, it's been a really stellar week.  Interesting times, indeed!

But really, I can't complain.  In fact, I'm throwing out a prayer request.  A good friend of mine is having some severe pregnancy complications and is having a C-Section tomorrow (Sunday).  The catch is, she's at 33 weeks.  They've been giving the baby "rescue steroids" to encourage lung development, but at this point the baby is safer out than in.  They're the "J" family.  They are trusting God, but it's still hard.  And scary.  The baby may have to be transported south, to a bigger hospital, and did I mention they have four young children to manage?  Yah.

With that, my friends, have a blessed Sunday.  As a much more famous blogger likes to say,

Be in the Lord's house, with the Lord's people, on the Lord's day.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Year Six - DONE!

Six.  Really.  (I almost wrote "Five".)  No kidding.  I actually had to look at last June's round-up to convince myself.  The years, they fly...

Let me start, as usual with 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

And now, a brief moment of exuberance...

We did it!  We did it!  We did it!
We finished!
We made it through another year!

We've gone from these sweet little boys back in 2007...

and early 2008... 

to these growing young men in 2013.

I guess it has been six years.  So, down to the nuts and bolts.

Gunnar's excitement in the photo above came from finishing his math book... in January.  And here he is with his 6th grade math book, but we'll get to that in a moment.


First, yet another disclaimer... their grade levels are "off".  I want them be older, rather than younger, when they hit Running Start so we've labeled Wyatt and Tate down a grade.  They haven't failed.  They're not slow.  They're progressing wonderfully.  It's just on paper.  M'kay?  At church and with friends, if you ask their grade they'll tell you 10th and 8th.  On paper, it's 9th and 7th.  Moving on...

Wyatt - Grade 9

If you're a regular reader you already know that Wyatt has been dividing his time between homeschool and public school this year, part of a process of preparing him to transition to community college for Running Start in 2014.  I confess I had very mixed feelings about him re-entering public school, but Wyatt has done wonderfully.  I've seen the young man shining through, more and more.  I picked him up this morning - his last day - and he showed me where he'd written down emails for a couple of friends from his math class.  Completely unprompted he explained that he hadn't gone out of his way to make a lot of friends ("not a social butterfly") because his main purpose at school wasn't social but academic.  But he'd found a few guys with who were "like-minded" - not at the top of the social pecking order, perhaps, but friendly and focused on their work (rather than messing around and popping off) - that he enjoyed getting to know.  Can you imagine how reassuring that was to me?!  And (yes, I'm a bragging mom) also completely unprompted, he asked me for a thank-you card so he could write a note to his math teacher, who "made math fun."  Amen and hallelujah.

Anyway... his report card will come in the mail, but he's getting A's in math and English, and most likely a B in Spanish.  He had some issues with staying organized and keeping track of his work early in the semester that he has overcome.  As far as mastering the material, he's an A+ student, but if he finishes with a B... well, we're REALLY PROUD.

As far as homeschool goes, he's been very self-directed this year.  I've scheduled his work for him, to even out the work-load, I help him review for tests, and I correct his work.  And that's about it.  He's earned A's in his Apologia Biology and BJU's American History, and I'm not grading his Logic (P/F - he passed).  Along with his Biology course, he read and summarized Jay Wile's Reasonable Faith, and Duane Gish's Evolution: the Fossils Still Say No!

Like last year, he's continued his involvement with the choir, singing in both the Christmas and Easter concerts, and is thriving in the Civil Air Patrol (recently promoted to Master Sergeant).  I have a hard time convincing myself this is the same child who was suspended (twice!) from first grade.

Tate and Gunnar start their day together (with me :D ) for prayer, Bible Memorization (Philippians 2, Psalm 19 and 23, Luke 2, and others), spelling and a grammar warm-up.

I've found Sequential Spelling to be a great help to my boys.  The books are designed for a 180-day (public) school year, so we're off cycle, but who cares.  We finished Book 2 and got through 100 lessons in Book 3, and we'll pick it up again next year.  Wanda Phillips Daily Grams take just a few minutes, with five daily exercises.  1.  A sentence missing all it's capitalization.  2.  A sentence missing it's punctuation.  3. and 4. vary widely from sentence type to verb agreement to pronouns/antecedents to dependent clauses etc. 5. Always two to four clunky sentences that could be combined into a smooth one.  My only complaint about these books is that so many of her sentences are passive-voice.  BO-RING.  ("Flowers were laid on the table.") I encourage the boys to reword them to make them more active and interesting.  ("Dad brought a dozen roses to Mom, and laid them on the table.")

Then the boys split up and work separately for the rest of the morning, on language, math, and science...

Tate - Grade 7

It looks like a lot more than it is... though it's plenty.  He worked his way (a page a day) through the Getty-Dubay handwriting book long before the year was over.  After that we copied Bible verses :D  He only needed to do edit one article per week in Editor in Chief  to cruise through that.  And the Wordly Wise (20 chapters) and Vocabulary From Classical Roots (16 chapters) balance out for a year of learning vocabulary.  It's the A Beka  Grammar and Composition that's the heavy hitter.  He waded through 2-3 pages a day of rather boring (but thorough) nuts and bolts of language.  The A Beka language books have some funny quirks, though.  They're obviously written by southerners and spend a lot of time correcting errors that are all but unheard of around here.  Things like "used to could" or "he took sick" or "I'm fixin' to learn you to spell" etc.

After spending five years with Saxon math I thought it would be good to broaden our math horizons.  Like Wyatt, Tate needed to make the transition to doing his math more independently.  Lial's Basic College Mathematics kills two or three birds with one stone.  Contrary to the title, it's not really college-level math, rather what you need to know before going on to higher math.  And, frankly, it covers nearly the same material as Saxon's pre-Algebra (Algebra 1/2) - which helped Tate gain confidence.  He worked through it at his own pace, mostly on his own, and got to experience a different style of math text and instruction.  Win-win.  And when he finished that, we launch into Jacob's Elementary Algebra.  He'll continue that next year and may or may not finish the book.  Like Wyatt, unless he shows an amazing aptitude for Algebra, I'll have him take it again at the high school.  I want the boys to be SOLID with math.

Tate made a big leap up into Apologia's General Science.  I love Apologia's materials, but it feels to me like there's a huge jump up in difficulty from their elementary curriculum to the middle grades books.  I'm glad we didn't try this last year, but this year?  He did great.  I expected him to work through most chapters in two weeks (for one longer unit we budgeted three weeks).  He had to take notes as he read, give written answers to questions embedded in the chapter, perform and write up most experiments (if we've done them in recent years and he remembers them, he can just read through the evaluation), give written answers to the chapter review/study guide, and then take the written test.  I gave him help with several of the experiments, but he could've done everything on his own.  Can I just say again how much I love Apologia?

It was kind of funny at the homeschool sale last week.  Several folks asked if we had any Apologia science for sale.  Apparently it's hard to find used because most people want to keep the books.  Me too.

Gunnar - Grade 5

Gunnar and Tate are pretty similar in their handwriting skills, so I'm having them use the same books, and then progress to writing verses.  (Helps with our memorization as well!)  Gunnar also launched into his first Wordly Wise book this year, with good success.  I started out helping him through A Beka's Language A, but as the year went by, he did more and more on his own.

He also worked through Red Hot Root Words,  a lesson or two a week, finishing it sometime early in the spring.  Easy squeazy.

Gunnar has always been "off-cycle" on his math, as we started his Grade 1 math midway through his Kindergarten year.  I never want to rush the boys, but no fear of that :D  He finished his Grade 5 math in January and launched right into Grade 6.  One advantage of being off-cycle is that you can whiz through the first twenty-or-so lessons in about a week, as they're all review.  Win-win!

Gunnar loves animals.  Given the choice, he wanted a third year of zoology, this time, Apologia's Land Animals of the Sixth Day.  Apologia took a different view on their elementary science curriculum - it's not graded (1st grade, 2nd grade, etc.)  There are six subjects, all very doable (with a little tweaking) for any elementary student, so you can pick and choose.  If I remember right, they offer Flying Creatures, Swimming Creatures, Land Animals, Anatomy, Astronomy, and Botany.  I thought about choosing for him - probably would've done one of the zoology books along with Anatomy and Botany, but he loved these science courses, so I'm glad I let him pick.

Tate and Gunar came back together in the afternoon to read with me.  A generous friend loaned us her Sonlight "Eastern Hemisphere Explorer" core, and we really loved it!  She had just upgraded to the new, revised instructor's guide, and loaned that to us as well.  But since several new books have been added (and some deleted) we ended up using the older IG, to keep things simpler.  This core is kind of a departure from our usual history studies as it really has more of a social studies focus.  Not all the books tie in; some are just plain good reading :D

We did a LOT of reading!

 I bought two packets of maps, worksheets, and projects so the boys could each make a notebook - lots of fun! - and we toured the Eastern Hemisphere.  Sonlight includes fiction and non-fiction - along with missionary biographies - that relate to the era of history or area of the world you're studying.  We used our encyclopedias and internet as well :D  It went something like this...

Pacific Islands
Ships, Sailors, and the Sea
Torches of Joy
Henry Reed, Inc.
All the Small Poems
Exploring Planet Earth
The Island of the Blue Dolphins
Call it Courage

Australia and New Zealand
Faces: Australia Through Time
Red Sand, Blue Sky

The Incredible Journey
Whatever Happened to Penny Candy

Water Sky
Genghis Khan and the Mongol Horde

The Mongols

Central Asia
The Horse and His Boy

SE Asia
The Land I Lost

The Master Puppeteer
Commodore Perry in the Land of the Shogun
Born in the Year of Courage
The Big Wave
The Cat Who Went to Heaven
Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes

The Kite Fighters
Tales of a Korean Grandmother

God’s Adventurer: Hudson Taylor
Eric Liddell: Something Greater Than God
Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze
Li Lun, Lad of Courage
Mission to Cathay
The House of Sixty Fathers

William Carey: Obliged to Go
Just So Stories
Daughter of the Mountains
India: The Culture
Gandhi: Peaceful Warrior
Teresa of Calcutta
Around the World in 80 Days
India: The People
* Amy Carmichael – I added*

Shadow Spinner
Arabs in the Golden Age
Ali and the Golden Eagle
Aladdin and Other Favorite Arabian Nights Stories
Seven Daughters and Seven Sons

Mary Slessor: Forward Into Calabar
King of the Wind
Journey to Jo’burg
David Livingstone: Africa’s Trailblazer
A Glorious Age in Africa
Louis Braille
Star of Light
Beat the Story Drum, Pum-Pum
The Rat Catcher’s Son
The Hobbit

I added in an extra missionary biography of Amy Carmichael, just because I wanted to.  And we dropped The Wolves of Willoughby Chase because none of us could get into it.  And I saved The Hobbit for last, though I think it was originally slotted with New Zealand.  We really enjoyed most of the books :D  I have to say that the YWAM (Benge) missionary biographies are not exactly works of literary greatness (*ahem*).  They're very formulaic - each one begins with a dramatic event from the (chronological) middle of the story, then goes back to the missionary's childhood and progresses from there.  The writing is so-so.  But that's not why we read them.  The stories are inspiring.  And the other books?  Some of the boys' favorites...

They giggled their way through Henry Reed, Inc.  howled through Just So Stories, and absolutely loved the revenge justice of Seven Daughters and Seven Sons.  Some we've read before but enjoyed revisiting, like The Land I Lost, Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze, The House of Sixty Fathers, Shadow Spinner, The Horse and His Boy, and of course The Hobbit.  

And now for a break :D

Monday, June 17, 2013

Grasshopper Days


Grasshopper Days

For today, Monday, June 17, 2013

Outside my window...  laundry on the line, and the sun shining on the dogwood.

Hearing...  the occasional robin and a very persistent squirrel.

Pondering...  the weekend.  We had our big family June-birthdays-and-Father's-Day get-together/BBQ on Saturday instead of Sunday this year, and I like it a lot better.  Especially since we usually have it at my cousin's house - a two-hour drive before the detour, and slightly longer now.  It felt so much more relaxed than when we'd either have to skip church or rush out after the sermon to jump on the freeway. With six birthdays and four dads to celebrate it's a bit like Christmas in June, y'know?  Lots of fun :D

I had in mind to make Sunday more special for Kerry - really emphasize Father's Day - but it didn't quite work out that way.  Instead, I ended up at Urgent Care with some sort of respiratory crud that was getting worse instead of better.  Ugh.  I had a breathing treatment - very weird.  I've never smoked in my life, and it was kind of like smoking a giant peace pipe of warm, steamy meds.  Really, really weird.  But effective enough to get me out of a chest x-ray and sent home with four - yes four - prescriptions.

So, you know, fun times.

Praying...  for Wyatt, at school, doing his math final this morning.  And for me, to feel better.  You know, breathing is kind of important.  Sleeping occasionally, too.

Thankful...  Kerry and the boys are managing things while I rest, and even brought me flowers and chocolates (saving for later, when I'll really enjoy them) for my birthday :D

Going...  really hoping not to leave the house today.  Yep.  I set my goals high.

Reading...  just finished Douglas Wilson's Future Men and highly recommend it to parents of boys.  Great perspective and encouragement.  He starts with something that should be obvious, but isn't necessarily - an arrow needs a target.  If we want to raise our boys to be godly men (masculine in the Biblical sense) we have to know what that is.  And our culture isn't helping us, tending to err either on the side of making boys effeminate, or embracing a false "macho" masculinity that glorifies any number of things that are not, shall we say, virtues.

But you should read it yourself.

Next on the summer reading pile, finishing Dan Phillips' God's Wisdom in Proverbs, which I started awhile ago and had to set aside to finish other things.

Learning...  more about my boys.

Looking forward to...  Wyatt being done with school, on Wednesday.

In the kitchen...  ummm, yah.  I should probably throw something in the crockpot while I have a bit of energy.

In the learning rooms...  hiatus :D

Actually, I have most of my planning done for next year, but should get in there and turn everything over - put last year's things away and look for next year's.  I need to double check all the equipment/materials for the science experiments and see what I need to get.  I think - I think! - we've finally reached the point where I'm not buying much of anything new, since everything gets handed down.  Sure, we'll need more specimens to dissect, and more red cabbage for indicator, and more paper and pencils, etc.  But the curriculum is pretty well in place.  Hallelujah.

Around the house...  birthday and Father's Day gifts on display.  Is this weird?  Do other people do this?  We leave our gifts out for a few days.  On the one hand it could look like boasting, but to us it's about being thankful.

The Mother Load...  must rest, must rest, must rest... and we have some thank-you's to write, some tidying to do, some bushes to plant (thanks to my brother I finally got two Victoria Wild Lilac I have wanted), and, well, I need to rest let the rest go for now.

Victoria Wild Lilac
Noticing that...  it's time to have a little talk with the boys about shower habits.  How long can it really take to wash your hair (less than an inch long) and body?  Pick up the pace.

Something to remember for later...  had fun watching my niece - Naomi - enjoy her first birthday cake.  And the bath, afterward :D

Something fun to share...  Gunnar is counting down the days until July 16, when he can finally join CAP.  Several of his birthday gifts were items for his "24-hour pack".  He's growing :D

A favorite quote for today...  Boys take a lot of faith.  Douglas Wilson

One of my favorite things...  seeing the tenderness come out in my boys (just wish it wasn't because I'm sick!)

A few plans for the rest of the week...  Wyatt finishing school will need to be celebrated, along with Gunnar's actual birthday; Wyatt is in a triathlon (relay) this weekend, and we'll be going to Naomi's very own first birthday party.  Gunnar is on pins and needles with anticipation of unveiling his gift!

A peek into my world...

What I hope my little lilacs will grow to be...

... and the birthday girl!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Yah, sure I'm a stay-at-home-mom.  (Which makes about as much sense as baby sitter.  Did you ever see anyone taking care of little kids who got to do much sitting?  But I digress...)

Today I'm a SAHM that feels a lot more like little Billy, from Family Circus.

If you could see my footprints today... good grief!  So, for your entertainment, here is a day in the life of a SAHM:

  1. Home - good morning!  Finish school (for the year) for Tate and Gunnar by 9am - woo-hoo!
  2. Credit Union (bank) - cash check and exchange a pound or two of quarters from homeschool sale last weekend
  3. Value Village - drop off two boxes of homeschool sale leftovers that aren't worth the effort of trying to sell and/or ship.
  4. Costco - be at the door when they open to avoid the hordes that cross the border to shop here.
  5. Walmart - desperately need to replenish a few grocery items and Liquid Fence - a disgusting and pungent aromatic blend, with notes of half-digested garlic, rotten eggs, and foot odor that has thus far managed to protect a few plants from the deer.
  6. Home - repackage and freeze two bags of chicken tenders, four pork roasts, and 20# of ground beef.  Clean the counter.  Clean it again.
  7. Little Caesar's - two pizza's, ten bucks.  Feeds three hungry, growing boys and two adults.
  8. Home - eat.  Brush teeth.  Definitely.
  9. Doctor's office - Wyatt passed his flight medical and is the proud possessor of a Class 3 Student Pilot's License.  Woo-hoo!
  10. Home - do a few dishes.
  11. Lake P Park - Wyatt is meeting his team-mates at the site of next week's triathlon.  They're doing it as a relay and need to scope out the route and strategize.
  12. Home.  Breathe in and out :D
  13. CAP - deliver boy(s) to CAP.  Pick up SOP for Gunnar so he can begin memory work, preparatory for joining next month.  Next month!
  14. Hardware store - Kerry needs a new saw blade.  And apparently a book.
  15. Grocery store - I need cabbage and green onions for a salad I'm making for the party this weekend.  And yes, it's my birthday too ;D
  16. Home.  For real.  I begged Kerry (actually I didn't have to beg) to pick up the boys at the end of CAP tonight, as I think I'll be in bed before they're home!
And now, to watch an episode of Dirty Jobs with Gunnar, and then TO BED!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today, Monday, June 10, 2013  

Outside my window...  sunny but not blazingly warm.  Still, my laundry is flapping in the breeze and drying nicely, so all is well ;D

Hearing...  Wyatt moving cars off the driveway, presumably to sweep.  He's getting better with the clutch, but backing is still tricky.

Pondering...  I keep track of what we've done in homeschool.  For the younger boys it's no big deal, but for Wyatt, it's time I start writing an official transcript.  Fun times...

Praying...  that work keeps coming in for Kerry, for the two (two down and two to go!) pregnant moms at church, and for a fun summer for all of us.

Thankful...  just paid the bills this morning and there's money left for groceries (but not much else, darn the cost of those new tires!), but - speaking of money - I made just enough money selling old homeschool stuff to pay for Wyatt's flight medical (he has to have a special medical exam to get his student pilot's license).  Gee, what a coincidence.  Also thankful we're wrapping up school, we have our lawn-mower back from the shop, and the boys helped clean out the dryer vent - a long overdue item from The Mother Load.

Yep.  It's just a thrill a minute, here at the Grasshopper House.

Creating...  I've just about got everything tidied to the point that I can start the next quilt!

Going...  to work on the transcript...

Reading...  nearly finished with The Hobbit, and then will be truly done with school :D

Looking forward to...  Saturday.  June birthdays and Father's Day.  If you don't know my family, lemme 'splain something (no, there's no time, lemme sum up... you know what I'm talking about?) :
we have a lot of June birthdays.  
Add in miscellaneous graduations, weddings, and - of course - Father's Day, and it's pretty much Christmas in June.  My cousin likes to host this event.  She lives two hours away, so we're usually either skipping church or rushing out the door from one thing to the next.  But this year we're doing it on Saturday, which just feels so much better :D

In the kitchen...  sloppy joes, for dinner.

In the learning rooms...  hmmm, time to do a turnover :D

Around the house...  really, we're focusing more and more on outside instead of inside, and that feels good.  A neighbor gave me some strawberry plants - the first thing that went into my I-hope-it's-really-deer-proof garden.  It's a start!

The Mother Load...  oh mercy, it's piling up again. But - good news! - the minions are free from schoolwork and are mine to command (insert evil-genius laugh).  So the first job is the list.  I've already begun...

Something fun to share...  Wyatt is such a mimic!  He does this crazy little song about toast.  Cracks me up.

A favorite quote for today...
There's always an easy solution to every human problem - 
neat, plausible, and wrong.    H. L. Mencken

One of my favorite things...  a little nap break in the sun chair while the boys do the lunch dishes :D

A few plans for the rest of the week...  get Wyatt's flight medical (tomorrow) and get him to the park to practice for his part in a triathlon (relay), dinner at friends' house, make sure the boys stay on track with their lawn-mowing, party Saturday (!), and Father's Day on Sunday.  Ahhhh :D

A peek into my world...

Then (2007, I think?)... 

... and now.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Friday Brain Dump and Public Service Announcement

1.  Do you know what today is?

National Doughnut Day!

Yes, it's a bacon doughnut.  He loved it.  And you know where bacon comes from, right?

Yes, anyway, Doughnut Day was too important for you to miss, so I'm letting you know.  I'll be treating the boys when we get the van back.

2.  Where's the van?  Getting new tires, thanks for asking.  *sigh*  I'm sure it was long overdue, but it's not something that's fun to spend money on, y'know?  And Kerry scared me!  He put the doughnut on (not the yummy kind of doughnut, but the little, undersized spare tire) and told me to drive it down to the tire shop and meet him there.  That means driving it down a steep hill.

The hill is even more exciting in the winter, but I digress...

The picture doesn't do it justice - it gains about 350' in elevation in a very short distance.  Normally, no big deal, we're used to it.  But I'm a little cautious about the doughnut (tire).  Right before heading down the hill I heard a strange rattley clunking below the van.  What if the doughnut wasn't on right?  What if it came off as I headed down?  What if little green aliens come and take us all away to a doughnut-less world?  (No, I'm not an over-reactor, why do you ask?)

I pulled over.  When Kerry changed the tire he left something dangling below the van - some little dingle-hopper cable thingy that secures the spare tire underneath the van.  (I would never have found the spare tire in a million years.)  So anyway, the dingle-hopper was successfully secured by looping it over something and I made it to the tire shop without incident.  Aren't you relieved?  I was.

3.  In other news... woke up to clouds this morning (no surprise, for June) and it rained for all of a minute and a half, so the boys are waiting to see if they can mow today.  (Oh, it just started again...  rats.)  We have a busy weekend coming up and the boys want to stay caught up on all their mowing jobs.  I could tell you it's because they're altruistic and want to keep their clients happy (which they do and they work hard), but the truth is, they really want the money.  

One of their clients fishes in Alaska all summer.  He has a large yard, none of which is flat and part of which is actually quite steep.  I've told them that he really doesn't mind if they don't mow every single week.  If it's too wet now, they can mow early next week and it will be fine.  Tate gave me a pained look, as if I was a bit slow on the uptake.  Mom, no mow = no money.  The man pays them fifty bucks a mow.

4.  They did some yard work for an older couple from our church earlier this week.  I hadn't realized how big the job was going to be when the man said he had some ivy he wanted pruned.  Wyatt and Tate worked flat out for two hours, and I helped them quite a bit too.  Around here, ivy is an invasive weed. It spreads like crazy and it will kill trees if you let it get away.  But this man likes his ivy and uses it as ground cover next to several little paths by a pond.  Well, smothering the little paths until the boys hacked it back into submission.  They worked hard and were well paid, so it's all good.  But at one point Tate looked me in the eye and said, "I will never plant ivy anywhere I live!"  Amen, son.

5.  Smells.  Also, just so you can get a feel for my world, (sympathy, anyone?) it's 8ish in the morning and I smell... hot dogs.  Huh?  Kerry has decided that he wants to have more protein for breakfast, so he went to the grocery store and asked one of the butchers to recommend a low-fat sausage.  (And speaking of pained looks...)  Kerry came home with some apple/chicken sausage, and offered to share.  No takers.  He's been cooking one up with some eggs each morning.  And you know what they smell like?  Cheap hot dogs.  Apparently they taste about the same.

And now for a gratuitous photo of Gunnar and Podger, to take my mind off mystery meat...

6.  Wyatt promoted at CAP.  And Tate should've, but for the second time someone screwed up Tate's paperwork.  Though CAP has been a wonderful thing in the boys' lives, it's certainly not perfect.

The boys have to pass four tests to promote, and after that they go before a promotion board.  All of which, Wyatt and Tate had done.  But no promotion for Tate.  And why not?

He got three different stories (which gets my hackles up... what's the truth?)
First they said they didn't have any paperwork showing that he passed his PT test.
Second, they said they had the paperwork, but it was too old - invalid.
Third, they said he was .2 seconds too slow on his shuttle run.

Well, wait a minute... the PT test has four components, of which you must pass three, so if he didn't pass the shuttle-run it shouldn't matter (he passed the push-ups, curl-ups, and sit-and-reach.)  Tate was told verbally that he passed (or he would've taken advantage of other opportunities to retest). AND he went before the promotion board (which shouldn't have happened if he hadn't passed all his tests).

I don't like to be cynical, but I'm not too happy about the situation.  The Mother Bear is coming out...

7.  Something is lurking behind me...  a job I need to do this morning.

See the piles?  Tomorrow is the big homeschool "recycle sale".  And I'm in the mood to get rid of share some things we're finished with :D  Everything in these piles (and boxes of books) must be priced, and loaded, and ready to go for tomorrow morning!

And, yes, I realize you could've gone a lifetime without seeing a photo of my laundry baskets, but what can I say.  It's motivation for me.  :D

8.  I almost put the pattern blocks into the sale pile, but I'm glad I didn't.  Because look what I found in the living room...

Yep.  He still loves them.

And what are you doing this fine Friday?