Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Woo Hoo! We got our lawsuit settlement check.

A couple of months ago, we received a very official looking letter from an attorney's office.  It stated that the Historian was listed among the plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit against his former employer.  Apparently they did not correctly calculate part of his severance pay when he was laid off several years ago, and he was now going to get that money--minus legal fees of course.   We should expect the check to arrive in 4 to 6 weeks.  We thought it would be nice to have some extra cash coming in around Christmas.

Well, we waited and waited, and I forgot about it.  Then a couple of days ago, we get a certified letter containing the check.  With great anticipation, the Historian opened the letter.  Then I heard him laughing.  Guess what we got? 

Drumroll please....

A check for $0.81.  Yes, $0.81.  That is the net, not the gross amount.  Before taxes it was $1.33.  I'd better try not to spend it all in one place.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Too Many Loose Ends

Life is busy at Bradford Academy these days.  Responsibilities and activities are snowballing.  Much is not getting done.  It's mainly my fault.  Some of it is not my fault.  Some things could have been dealt with properly if communication took place more than 2 days before the event.  Now that would make a good post., but priorities have to be made. 

I am also dealing with some health issues.  It's not really bad, but I do need to see a doctor.  I am trying to hold off until 2009 because we have very high deductible health insurance.  I have had to let some things go, and the blog is the easiest.  I hope to get back to posting after final exams, but if not

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fall Fun

What do you do with a sunny fall afternoon?

First, rake up a big pile of leaves.

Pose in front of your masterpiece.

Climb up the toy truck.



 Photobucket Photobucket

Bury the neighbor's dog.
100_0308.jpg picture by soandjo

Pose for another picture.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Chick Two Homicide

Chick 2 (April 2008 - November 2008) was kidnapped and brutally murdered by Caspian the dog today.  It was a classic case of death by biting.  Chick 2's plastic outer shell was cracked exposing the spring mechanism.  He died instantly and felt no pain. 

Caspian the dog has been declared unfit to stand trial on the charge of first degree murder.  He will serve probation from the plastic animal area for an unspecified amount of time.  It is not the first time he has exhibited signs of criminal intent.  Mama Horse and Hay Ride the dinosaur both bear the scars of previous biting attacks.  The Historian and attorney for the accused stated, "Dogs will be dogs.  They chew stuff up.  It's what they do.  Chick 2's owners should have taken care to keep him away from all canine aggressors."  Such words do little to comfort the Crafter, Wild Thing, and Sweetie who deny any part in contributing to the tragedy.

The plastic animal family is coping as best they can.  Please remember Chick 1 and Chick 3, the survivors of what was a set of triplets, as they will feel the loss more so than the others.  Chick 2 is lying in state in the TV cabinet.  The funeral will be this afternoon around 2:30pm. Entombment will be in the trash can.

In lieu of flowers, the family would like a new plastic animal.

Chick 2
age 7 months

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Day After the Election

I have purposely stayed away from talking politics on my blog because I felt that nothing would be gained.  I stand where I stand.  I believe what I believe.  I don't want to stir people up or argue.  If you ask me about my political position, I will say that I am a socially conservative Libertarian.  That generally shuts people up because that either don't know what the words mean or they know my answer is complicated and don't want to take the time to hear it.

I was not excited about this election though it was historic.  My first, second, and third choices for president left the Republican primaries early on.  I didn't like McCain, but I did respect him.  I never liked Obama because of his policies.  The Historian supported Bob Barr, the Libertarian candidate.  I was torn.   I ended up voting for McCain.

I have mixed feelings on the results of the election.  I am proud that I live in a country that is capable of looking past a candidate's race.  I am scared of the liberal policies that are sure to come.  I wonder what trillions of dollars in new government spending will do to the economy.  I wonder what will happen when our nation's enemies "test" Obama as President. 

Regardless of how I feel, there are some things that are true no matter what.  Take the following quiz I received this morning in my email.  It should keep things in perspective.

A True/False Quiz

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, Jesus will still be King.

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, our responsibilities as Christians will not have changed one iota.

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, the greatest agent for social change in America will still be winning the hearts and minds of men and women through the gospel, not legislation.

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, my primary citizenship will still be in this order - (1) the Kingdom of God, (2) America, not vice-versa.

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, the tomb will still be empty.

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, the cross, not the government, will still be our salvation.

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, our children will still be more concerned with whether or not we spend time with them than with who is President.

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, my neighbor will still be my neighbor, and loving him/her will still be the second greatest commandment. (Do you know the first?)

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, the only way to see abortion ultimately overturned will still be winning men and women to a high view of life through the gospel of Christ.

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, the only way to see gay marriage ultimately defeated will still be winning men and women to a biblical view of marriage through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, my retirement will still not match my treasure in Heaven.

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, "Jesus Is Lord" will still be the greatest truth in the Universe.

True/False: The day after the election, regardless of who wins, we will still know that God is in control.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Please forgive me, this is about public bathrooms

We had a great time at the NC State Fair.  It was everything a fair is supposed to be.  We looked at the exhibits, admired the animals, rode the rides, saw an awesome fireworks display, and ignored the food while munching pears and apples brought from home.  There are many things I could write about like the woman with the body of a snake, or the parking attendants chanting "Obama, Obama" as we tried to navigate back to the main road.  However I will limit myself to the topic of public restrooms.

A relatively new feature to the state fair is the presence of bathroom attendants.  It was a little weird at first having someone show you to your stall, but considering how the restrooms used to be, I got over it.  Let's go back in time.  Going to the bathroom at the state fair was an adventure in disgusting.  The floor was always wet.  With what, I did not want to know though I had a good idea.  The potties were N.A.S.T.Y.  I wouldn't want my dog near the thing, never mind my backside, so the hover technique was definitely in order.  Of course there was no toilet paper, soap, or paper towels.   And  there was this smell...I would rather go behind a  bush.

My how things have changed.  When you walk in, you are greeted by a nice lady who announces "Pick any stall, there's a clean toilet behind it."  She was right.   The bathroom was clean and smelled faintly of the original Lysol.  Need sanitary supplies?  She had them.  Need some baby wipes?  She had you covered.  Want a refreshing mint?  She had that too.  There was also the ever present tip jar.  Tipping to use the bathroom just seems wrong to me.  My tax dollars help pay for the bathroom.  I shouldn't have to pay extra to use it.  It adds up quick when you have the microbladdered Wild Thing and Sweetie to deal with.  I didn't tip each time.  Sorry.

There was on attendant who took the prize.  All of the bathrooms were pleasantly decorated with fall decor, but this particular bathroom included poetry.  Poetry that would speak to the heart of 11 year old boys.  We were in "The Best Urination Station in the Nation" which is "The Place to Be When You Gotta Pee".  Each stall was numbered with its own little rhyme:  Have some fun in Stall 1, Use stall 2 if you need to poo, You'll feel alive when you use Stall 5.  Then on the back of the door was a reminder to "Be Sweet and Wipe the Seat...Don't Rush, Remember to Flush."  I couldn't help but laugh. 

I asked the Historian about the men's restrooms.  He said there was no interaction, but the attendants clearly expected tips.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Crafter is Nine

I can't believe that she's 9 already.

Here is her "Pup Cake".
ACake3-1.jpg picture by soandjo

Let me explain.  Pup has been with us for almost 8 years now.  He is permanently dirty.  His stuffing is worn.  His hair isn't all there anymore.  He is loved.  He is real.

ACake2-1.jpg picture by soandjo

I think it's a good likeness.
Acake1-1.jpg picture by soandjo

Look at all the candles.

Cake4-1.jpg picture by soandjo

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I need to know one thing

What day will it be when I look back on this and laugh?

I've been crazy busy this week.  Tuesday, we got the puppy neutered.  The Historian had to get up early to take him.  I took the Crafter with me to my math class.  After class we went home and I fixed lunch.  Then we went to the Crafter's theater class.  Then we had to go pick up the dog.  He was drugged out of his mind and was pretty much unconscious until bedtime when he perked up and wanted attention.  He cried most of the night.  I finally let him sleep beside my bed so I could sleep.

Wednesday, I taught my math class and raced home to get Wild Thing and take him to the dentist.  He had a good check-up.  They told me to floss more.  Then we met the Historian and the girls at a Mexican restaurant and had a nice lunch together.  The Historian took the kids to a park and I picked up a few groceries.  Everything was going so well.

Then the Crafter hit Wild Thing with her scooter and he fell on the sidewalk.  There was lots of screaming and blood.  He's going to have another scar on his head.  We get him cleaned up.  The Historian goes to work.  I head for home with the children.  Sweetie talks the whole way home about "blood on the playground" and our lack of band aids.  I'm worried about Wild Thing because he's unusually quiet.  We get home.  The puppy had peed on the couch.  I take care of that.  Wild Thing lays down in his bed (not normal).  The Crafter goes to keep him company.

A few minutes later I get the call  "Mama, I threw up".  Boy did he throw up.  Everything was coated--sheets, pillow, bedspread, stuffed animals, soaked through the mattress pad, and Wild Thing himself.  I put him in the tub and tell the Crafter to get the phone because I need to call the doctor and our neighbor.  She calls the neighbor before she gives me the phone.  So I go ahead and ask my friend if she'll be home in case Wild Thing needs to go to the doctor.  I call the doctor and talk a nurse.  Sweetie repeats over and over "Wild Thing threw up all over his bed."  The nurse doesn't think he needs to go in because he's now playing.  So as the load of dog-pee laundry finishes, I start on the puke laundry. Wild Thing sets up shop on the couch with a bucket beside him.  He dozes off and on.  I wake him every 5 minutes to make sure I can.  My very nice neighbor goes to the convenience store for ginger ale.  Wild Thing perks up and seems more himself, then he throws up in the bucket.

My mama calls. They finally figured out what is wrong.  The start of her illness most likely was a virus.  It had similar symptoms to one that was going around at the time.  The virus triggered rheumatoid arthritis.  We are all thankful that she doesn't have something life threatening, but she does have something life changing.  My great-grandmother suffered from rheumatoid arthritis, so we know what could happen down the road.  She is coming on Saturday for the Crafter's birthday.  Then my sister calls.  She is coming on Saturday for the Crafter's birthday.  The Historian has to work this weekend.

To top off the day, I took off my shoes.  I normally keep some sort of shoe/slipper on all of the time, but for some dumb reason, I took off my shoes.  Then the chair attacked my little toe.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.  I know that most people would say that I tripped on the chair, but I swear that chair broke my toe.  It's swollen and purple and painful and taped to the next toe.  So I'm hobbling around trying to walk the dog and getting ready to go teach math.

I think I need chocolate.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Great Day for Geeks

Nerds, geeks, and scientists all over the world are celebrating.  Today was the day the Large Hadron Collider powered up.  That 17 mile, $8.9 billion dollar particle accelerator on the border between France and Switzerland is causing quite a stir among scientists.  The purpose is to recreate the conditions that existed shortly after the "Big Bang".   In the process, they hope to find the Higgs Boson or  "God particle" that is responsible giving matter mass.  They also hope to gain insight in to dark matter which theoretically makes up most of the universe.

Of course scientific advancement has its downside.  There is a chance that the LHC could cause black holes to form in the center of the earth and rip it apart.   For more information, read  here and here

So what does the Chemist think?  Most of the physics is way over my head.  I don't believe in the Big Bang Hypothesis (it ain't a theory).  But even if I did, how could one recreate an event that was unobserved.  By definition, science must be observable and repeatable.  Any ideas about the origin of the universe must therefore fall outside the realm of science and land squarely in the realm of belief.  The world will end when and how God decides with or without the Large Hadron Collider. 

Aside from any religious implications, the science is very cool and the science nerd in me can't help but smile.  In the spirit of making science fun--please enjoy.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Hurry Fall

I needed a new look for the blog.  School and all of the extra activities have started, so I figured a fall theme was in order.  It's more soothing than the science template.  I'm still tweaking it.

It's been cooler the past couple of days.  We've even been able to open the windows.  Unfortunately, the mosquitoes are not any better, so we really can't enjoy being outside in the yard.  I'm considering getting a bat box. 

We had a good Labor Day.  I'm waiting for pictures before I write about it.

The dog is finding his place here.  Sweetie (I need a new name for her) is not very good with him.  She is too rough with animals. 

Mama went back to work yesterday, but she shouldn't have.  When I talked to her last night, she sounded so tired.  She has more tests tomorrow.  Her doctor said that they've explored the box, and now it's time to look outside of the box.  

My father-in-law's wife is suffering from shingles.  Her children don't help her, and my FIL isn't capable of caring for her.  They are both in their 80's.  The Historian will be going there either Friday or Saturday.

Now let's add a hurricane to the mix.  Hanna may be on her way.  We live in central NC, but both our families are closer to the coast.  Fortunately they are far enough inland to miss the brunt of hurricanes and tropical storms, but their areas get a lot of damage and flooding.  The power will be out for several days if it hits.   I know that they wouldn't consider leaving and coming here.  They are stubborn that way.

My mind is full these days.  I have several soap-box type posts forming.  I don't know whether any of them will make it to the blog. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

This is what happens when you are a little brother.

Mermaid.jpg picture by soandjo

Wild Thing the Mermaid

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Meet the Newest Member of the Family

His name is Caspian. 
He is 9 months old. 
The kids love him. 
The cats hate him. 
Am I nuts for getting a dog now?
Don't answer that.

Caspian.jpg picture by soandjo

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Stuff...just stuff

I've been really busy lately.  So here's the latest

My Mama:  Mama's still sick.  She's some better.  We do have some big praises--all tests for really scary stuff came back negative, and the CAT scan was normal!  Her mono test was inconclusive as well as some of the others.  The doctor packed up all of her test results and sent them to an infectious disease specialist at one of the university hospitals.  I don't know whether or not anything will come of it.  The case has to be interesting enough for them to take her.  In the mean time,  please continue to pray for continued recovery and rest.  Also pray that my grandmother will stop telling Mama stories about one of her friend's nephew's third cousins having some mysterious ailment and dying.  It doesn't help.

Me:  I'm teaching at the college again.  I have one class this semester.  It's the same math class I taught last year, so I don't have much prep work to do.  The scary part is that I think the Crafter could almost handle class.

Home school:  We are plugging along and getting work done.  We haven't been doing anything fun lately.
Bible:  Put aside Explorers, reading the book of Joshua
Math:  Singapore 4A chapter 2
History:  Read the chapter about Galileo in The Story of the World.   I'm too lazy to go look it up right now.  Side tracked into reading Galileo for Kids by Richard Panchyk from the library. (Don't tell anyone, but I took my husband's card since I'm not allowed to check out any books).  It has some neat activities.
Spelling:  Continuing with Spelling Power.
Grammar:  Writing Tales this week.
Science:  Working on ch. 3 in Real Science 4 Kids Chemistry.
Spanish:  I finally decided to break down and get Rosetta Stone.  It was really $$, but hearing from some moms who had tried other curricula and ending up frustrated convinced me-that and the $100 off code from The Old Schoolhouse.  The Crafter did one lesson.   She had a hard time speaking loudly enough for the voice recognition to kick in.  We'll try again next week.
Art and Music:  Who am I kidding?  I think she practiced piano twice this week and drew some pictures from a Draw Write Now book.

The coming weeks are going to continue to be busy.  AWANA starts tomorrow.  New Sunday school classes start the first week of September.  The Crafter starts Christian Youth Theater the second week of September and we are working on her audition.  I'm ready for things to slow down, but that doesn't seem to be in the cards.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Mama--Please pray

My Mama is very sick.  She has been sick for almost 2 weeks.  She called last Thursday and said that she was sick with chills, fever, and headache.  I was told not to worry, but she wasn't up to keeping Sweetie for the weekend.  The doctor said it was just a virus that was going around, and they were checking for Lyme disease just in case.  Fast forward 6 days and 4 more doctor visits.  Mama is much worse.  Her fever stays between 101 and 103.  Pain medication hasn't had much effect on her headache. 

The biggest shock was when my Daddy called and left a message on Sunday.  Daddy has NEVER called me.  Even when Mama had some minor surgery a couple of years ago, he didn't call.  He doesn't talk on the phone.  Even if he picks up when I call, the conversation is "Hey.  How are you?  Love you baby.  Here's your mama."  So you can imagine what's going through my mind.  He doesn't know what to do.  He has told my sister and me to stay home.  Really, there isn't much I could do if I went there. 

Yesterday, they redrew Mama's labs and they are testing her for everything they tested for last week plus a bunch of other stuff including Yellow Fever, West Nile Virus, and Legionnaire's disease.  She is on a strong antibiotic, a steroid, and sedatives to help her sleep.  She is in danger of developing pneumonia.  She is scheduled for a CAT scan of her brain on Thursday.

I am restless.  I'm having trouble concentrating on the day to day stuff.  I can't do anything for Mama except pray. 

Please pray for Mama if the Lord leads.  Thank you.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

2008-2009 School Year Report 1

The Crafter and Wild Thing started school July 7th.  We started very slowly.  This is the first week with all core subjects.   I hope to add in some art and Spanish in the next few weeks.   I like to get a couple of months of school in while the weather is so miserable.  We'll take a week or two off in October when it cools off.

Wild Thing has finally taken an interest in schoolish things.  We are working on very basic phonics, math, and some preschool workbooks from Rod and Staff.  So far he has been doing Starfall for phonics.  He really enjoys doing anything that involves the computer.   The Historian made him some math blocks that he enjoys.  Wild Thing recognizes his numbers up to 12 but falls apart after that.  He's only 4 1/2, so I'm not rushing.  He's mainly doing school to keep him occupied while the Crafter works.  He likes to tell Sweetie that he can't play with her because he has to do his school work.  All in all his formal preschool pursuits take less than 30 minutes.

The Crafter is in 4th grade.  How that happened, I don't know.  It seems like yesterday when we did the first page of Phonics Pathways.  Here's what she has done:

  • Bible:  Explorer's Bible Study Lessons

  • Math:  Saxon 65 through lesson 45  We skipped a bunch of lessons.  Now we are working on Singapore 4A since I finally bought the books.

  • Grammar/Writing:  Alternating weeks of Writing Tales 1 with Rod and Staff.  We do a lot orally, so we can move faster through the easy stuff and then we won't feel behind when the tough stuff hits.  I am debating letting her have her own blog for her final drafts of her Writing Tales projects.

  • Spelling:  Spelling Power plugging along with level C.

  • Reading:  The Story of Martin Luther from Google Books

  • History:  Story of the World Lessons

  • Science:  Started Real Science 4 Kids Chemistry 1.  I love chemistry.  The Crafter has therefore decided that she hates chemistry and will whine incessantly while doing chemistry.  Nice.  I'm not sure about this curriculum, but then again I am very picky.  This seems like too much too soon.  We'll see.  She's finished chapter 1 and is almost done with chapter 2.  Maybe the marshmallows for the next experiment will help.

So far so good.  Our biggest problem so far has been Sweetie (that's just a code name) who is becoming less sweet all the time.  She is two in every way.  She will scribble or play with play dough for a little while, but during school time, she seems to want constant mama attention.  The Historian is home for the first part of our school day, so he keeps her entertained.  That helps a lot.

Another obstacle is a lost library book.  We can't check out anymore books until it is turned in or we pay for it.  That book has to be in this house.  Any ideas for new places to look?  

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Last Year's Vacation

We will not be taking a major trip this year.  Work schedules and needing new gutters make it difficult.  So I thought I would post some pictures from our visit to the Creation Museum last August.  It was our first family road trip.  We enjoyed the trip, but it was exhausting.


I highly recommend the Creation Museum.  It is very well done.   I wish I could add some music to this one.  A chorus of "Billions of Dead Things" or "Behemoth is a Dinosaur" would be a nice touch.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Day at Fantasy Lake

Here are some pictures from our day trip to Fantasy Lake on July 3rd.  It was hot, but not as humid as normal.  The water park wasn't crowded at all.  A good time was had by all. 

Fantasy Lake

Fantasy Lake



 I changed this one to black and white because of my sunburn.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Fourth Grade Curriculum Choices

You've waited and now they're here! This is what I plan on using for the Crafter's fourth grade year.

Bible:  Explorers Bible Study-God's Perfect Plan

Reading:  Novels from Ambleside Online, Veritas Press, Sonlight, and other Great Books lists.  I want to add a few book reports this year. 

Grammar/Writing:  Rod and Staff Level 4 and Writing Tales 1

Spelling:  Spelling Power

Handwriting:  Italic E

Math:  Singapore Primary Math 4A/4B supplemented with Saxon 65 as needed

Science:  Real Science 4 Kids Chemistry Level 1, Exploring Creation with Botany

History:  The Story of the World 2 (finish up) and 3 with Activity Guides

Music:  Piano Lessons, Listen to classical music tapes

Art:  Drawing with Children and Visual Manna

Logic:  Reading Detective, Math Detective, puzzle books

Foreign Language:  Undecided here—maybe Latin with Children or Latina Christiana; maybe some sort of Spanish

Wow! That looks like a lot, but we don't do every subject every day. Now all I have to do is work out some kind of weekly schedule.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Midsummer Night's Whine

I believe the heat and humidity has sucked the life out of me. I don't like summer. My apologies to those who love summer, but summer holds no magic for me. The average summer day here is over 90 degrees with high humidity. The mosquitoes are thick and hungry. The only relief is in the water. We are fortunate to live near a lake, but we can't swim all the time. It looks we are headed back into a drought this summer. Water restrictions are soon to come.

The children aren't dealing well with all of the inside time. Sweetie and Wild Thing keep fighting (any suggestions?). The Crafter whines “I'm bored” all day long, but she's starting school again in a couple of weeks. Wild Thing needs more outside time to get out his boyish energy. If he doesn't get his running time, he is nearly uncontrollable. I would take them on more outings, but we are trying to stay home to save on gas. It cost $70 to fill up the mini van today. I need for a tank to last longer than a week.

I haven't been sleeping well lately. I feel tired and lazy. I need to get my act together and order the rest of the Crafter's curriculum so she can go ahead and start 4th grade. I need to purge books and clutter. I need to get back to meal planning. I need to stop neglecting the housework. I need to work out a homeschool schedule for next year. I just can't seem to get enough motivation to do anything beyond the necessities for survival.

I'm a bit depressed. My 35th birthday was last week. The Historian had his days mixed up and thought that it was the next day. I've gained some weight and my summer shorts are tight. I'm in the midst of a full blown pity party and I need to snap out of it now.

I know that I have nothing to complain about. I know that I am blessed beyond measure. My children and parents are healthy. My husband has a decent job. The vehicles are running. We can still afford to put gas in the cars and food on the table. The air conditioner works.  The house needs some repairs, but God will provide. I have to remember to count my blessings and not my problems.

Whine over.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

This is an email I received a while back.  It is really cool.

See the baby?

103_6655-1-1.jpg Baby in the tree image by spell_2008  

Monday, June 16, 2008

A Nice Anniversary and Some Random Comments

My husband and I just celebrated our 15th anniversary.  We had an absolutely wonderful time.  Some friends agreed to babysit overnight for us. We went to Fayetteville which is about an hour away.  We enjoyed some child-free meals and a nice hotel room.  We ended up going to the local mall Thursday night because it was too smoky to walk outside due to a forest fire near the NC coast.  I haven't been to a mall in a long time, and now I remember why. 

Friday, we went to the Cape Fear Botanical Gardens.  It was beautiful.   I highly recommend a trip there. I want to go back when the camillias are in bloom. The weather was breezy and surprisingly comfortable.  We had a nice hand-in-hand stroll.

On these excursions, I observed a lack of fashion sense among the late teens/early twenties crowd.  Granted, I am no expert.  You may laugh at my "mom uniform" of jeans, a T-shirt, and tennis shoes, but I can assure everyone that nothing is showin' that shouldn't be.  I would now like to address some of those young people.

To the young men with your pants falling down to the point you have to use one hand to hold them up:  Congratulations on your weight loss!  It is a great accomplishment to lose those 50 extra pounds.  I think you should all get together and write a diet book. Then maybe you can afford some pants that fit or maybe JUST USE A BELT!  I do not want to see your underwear!

To the young ladies with the low, low rise pants or shorts:  I don't want to see your underwear either.  If someone walking behind you can tell that you are wearing a thong, your pants are too low.  

To those wearing mini skirts:  BE CAREFUL HOW YOU BEND OVER!  Enough said.

To the mothers-to-be with the exposed bellies:  Congratulations on your expected bundle of joy.  I know that you are excited and want everyone to know, but most people can tell that you are pregnant without full flesh exposure.  If I was mistaken about you being with child, my apologies.

To the tube top wearers:  If you choose to wear one, please be aware that your bra straps will show at the top.  Yes, even the flesh colored ones show.   If you chose not to wear a bra, gravity is taking its toll and I could tell.

To the lady wearing 3 inch white heels at the botanical garden:  What were you thinking? I know they matched the rest of your expensive white outfit, but you were touring a garden.  Gardens have dirt and grass.  High heels sink.  I know you suffered.  Sorry if you saw me giggle.

I hope I have the sarcasm out of my system now.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Blood, Sweat, and Tears

It's hot here in NC.  We have had 100+ temperatures with high humidity since Saturday.  It's typical weather for late July, not early June.  My children are cranky and bored.  They are constantly fighting among themselves.  I would throw them out, but they are not very heat tolerant.  They have red, sweaty faces after a few minutes outside.  The mosquitoes are also horrible in our yard this year.  I have to coat them in Off before I can let them out or they come in covered in bites.

I had intended for us to take a real break from school until July, but that's not going to happen.  We need to do something.  We are continuing on with history and a bit of math for the Crafter.  I'm working on getting a bee unit study together for everyone.  I have a Hands of a Child lapbook from a free download that I hope to use.  It will be our first lapbook.

Yesterday, I tried to keep the kids happy by letting them play on the Slip and Slide for a while.  I can't let them use it everyday because I don't want a huge water bill.  They played  peacefully for about 30 minutes, then I had to turn the water off.  I told them to come in for baths.  I had started running a tub when I heard screaming.  Wild Thing came in with his face covered in blood.  I put my screaming child in the tub and started looking for the source.  He had a half inch cut right in the center of his forehead.   After a few minutes of direct pressure, it stopped bleeding, but the tears didn't.  It took him a while to calm down.  Wild Thing was pretty scraped up.  He was running away after antagonizing his sisters when he tripped in the gravel driveway and face planted on the rocks.  Thank God he wasn't hurt worse.  He's fine now.  It's amazing what a couple of Band Aids can do.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Here are some family pictures from our January trip to Myrtle Beach.


The Historian


Wild Thing


The Crafter


Sweetie, the Chemist, and Wild Thing

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Homeschool Achievement Day 2008

     Homeschool Achievement Day was last Saturday at our church. I signed the Crafter up for her first piano performance and to present an astronomy project from Exploring Creation with Astronomy. I thought we had taken more pictures, but we ended up with only a few. So stupid me thought we should type up her narrations from each lesson. Then we couldn't find them, so the Crafter and I spent 2 solid days reconstructing narrations from all 14 lessons. This was our first experience with a project deadline. Thank God we homeschool. The Historian did not like us working so hard on it. He kept telling us that we should have started earlier. I don't think this family could survive regular school.

     To make matters more complicated, my parents and grandmother and the Historian's father were all coming too. So there was all of the emergency house cleaning to do. The Crafter and I worked frantically to finish the project, vacuum, dust, clean the kitchen, hang out laundry, and clean the bathrooms while the Historian kept up with Wild Thing and Sweetie.  We had Chinese take-out for lunch which simplified things greatly.

     All in all the visit went well. I drove the van with the children.  My parents and grandmother followed me and the Historian and his dad went in the truck.  When we got to church, I was informed that my brake lights weren't working.  We couldn't do anything about it on a Saturday afternoon, so we went in and set up the astronomy project.   The Crafter played her pieces very well during the music recitals.  Everything was nice until intermission when Sweetie wet her pants. Fortunately, God told me to pick up a pair of extra shorts before we left. That's the only reason I had them. When Achievement Day was over, we all said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. The Historian took Wild Thing and the Crafter roller skating. I went home with Sweetie in the van with no brake lights. We made it home safely, but the van saga was just beginning...

Here are some pictures from the Crafter's project:

 P1000045_017.jpg picture by soandjo  
This is the solar system model.  Jupiter is a watermelon.

P1000089_042.jpg picture by soandjo  
Lava on Venus.

P1000098_046.jpg picture by soandjo  
Preparing for the eruption of Olympus Mons.

P1000100_048.jpg picture by soandjo    
 Hurricane tube from the Jupiter lesson.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Confessions of a lurker

I am a lurker.

I read forums and rarely post.

I read blogs and rarely comment.

I benefit greatly from information freely given.

I receive daily encouragement.

I pray for others' needs.

Sometimes I leave a note of thanks, condolence, or encouragement.

Those notes are few and far between because

I am a lurker.

A lurker is the internet equivalent of shy.

I have been shy all of my life.

I am never the center of attention.

I am not comfortable going up to strangers and introducing myself.

I usually won't be the first to welcome you.

It's not that I'm unfriendly.

I'm afraid of rejection, but I'm working on that.

I don't have a ton of acquaintances.

I do have a few good friends.

I am a good listener and if someone needs something, I'm there.

Once you get to know me, I'll talk you ear off.

I try to be the extrovert that I'm not.

I thought the "safety" of the internet would help,

But I'm still a lurker.

I'm trying.

I've joined some forums and communities.

I've managed to somewhat keep up a blog for half a year.

I've reached out a few times.

Sometimes someone reaches back, sometimes not.

That's the way things are.

I'll never be the bubbly one or the popular one.

I am the way God made me.

And if He likes me, that's enough.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

End of AWANA

AWANA finished up for the year last Sunday.  The children all love it.  Our church doesn't have AWANA, but they go to a near-by church.  This is the first year all 3 attended. 

The Crafter finished up her first year of T&Ts, her 5th year in AWANA.  She finished her book, just barely, and received a First Book Award.  We had to get a waver on "the bring a friend" requirement.  That is always so hard for her because we don't know a lot of kids to invite.  The Crafter's friends are either already in AWANA or they live too far away to come with us on Sunday night.  She did try.  Her teacher let her to make a list of names and allowed that to count.   The Crafter was Clubber of the Month for April.  Mama's proud.

Sweetie went to Puggles.  Really it's just a nursery, but the workers were wonderful.  Sweetie often says "I go Puggles."  I don't know what we'll do next Sunday when it's time to "go Puggles".

Wild Thing started going to Cubbies after Christmas.  He did OK.  He liked the games.  He placed second in the AWANA Grand Prix for the Cubbies.  But here's what Mama is proud of.  Wild Thing was very generous with his AWANA bucks at the AWANA store.  He spent most of them on the Crafter.  He bought her a My Little Pony!  I still can't get over this spontaneous act of generosity. 

We're going to miss AWANA.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Every once in a while they all work on something together and all is quiet.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Excuse me, I need the soapbox.

Today is Earth Day.  I cringe inside. The news is constantly telling us about how WE are destroying the earth and if WE don't change then the world will have a horrible end.  

Here's my not so humble take on the subject.
  1. The earth is the Lord's and all that is in it. Psalm 24:1

  2. Since God made the world, He (not people) will decide how and when it's destroyed. How arrogant are we to think that mere humans can destroy what The Almighty spoke into existence?

  3. The world is cursed because of sin. Romans 8:22   Because of the sin , we humans make big messes of all our relationships, including our relationship to God's creation.

  4. The Second Law of Thermodynamics states: All processes go from order to disorder.   This means that the state of planet Earth is also tending toward disorder.  Can't argue with physics.

  5. God gave man dominion over the earth. Genesis 1:26-27 As Christians, we are commanded to be good stewards of all of God's gifts, including the world's animals, plants, water, fossil fuels, etc. just as we are commanded to be good stewards of our time and money.

  6. God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and self-discipline (sound mind) 2 Timothy 1:7.  It makes me so mad to see little children being made fearful of global warming and begging grown-ups to "do something or I may not grow up."  God gave us brains to think. We must weigh our decisions carefully by considering the motive behind and the consequences of changes we are asked to make.

  7. There are no totally good environmental decisions. For example, there is a push for everyone to use compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL's). They are more expensive up front, but they last longer and use less electricity. The environmental downside--they are hazardous waste because they contain mercury vapor and cannot be put in household trash. I will have to store used CFL's until there is a hazardous waste day at the county landfill and then drive 20 miles to take them.  Also, most CFL's are made in communist China, while incandescent light bulb are made in the USA.  See, changing a light bulb isn't simple. Even growing organic crops (which I totally support) has its share of problems, and the ethanol issue is much more complex.
OK, so where does that leave my family on Earth Day. We do without what we can. We don't waste food, electricity, or water. We have some compact fluorescent light bulbs. We recycle what our recycling center takes. We write on the backs of envelopes and junk mail. What little garden we have is organic. We buy used when possible. We don't eat a lot of processed foods. We use grocery bags for trash bags. We drive as little as possible, though more than we would like. We use mostly homemade, natural cleaners.  That being said, I used disposable diapers on my children and I refuse to feel guilty about it.  Our "green" habits generally correlate to "cheap" habits.

I guess my point is that there is no"magic bullet" that will rid the world of pollution or solve our energy problems.  I can only attempt use what God has given me wisely and encourage others to do the same.   Worrying about it only wastes my time and energy.   

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Week Off?

I wish. We have been busy like many families this time of year.  Doing taxes (Historian's job), a vet appointment (Historian's job), the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, providing refreshments for homegroup, making a final exam, and a friend's Mary Kay party are all extras on the agenda this week.

I'm usually good at rolling with the punches, but right now I am close to burning out.  I feel as if all of my energy and creativity are gone.  I haven't had taken time to plan out the rest of this year much less think about next year.  I have been in “do the next thing” mode for several weeks now.  We haven't done any projects or experiments or any of the fun stuff lately.  The Crafter is cooperative, but bored.  I think she needs a break too.

Anyway this week we have the Iowa Test of Basic Skills.  Another mom asked me if I was going to count the testing days as “school days” since we weren't doing any “instruction”.  You've got to be kidding.  Of course I'm counting them!  Don't public schools count their standardized testing days?  Why shouldn't we?

That got me thinking, why not take the rest of the week off?  We finished up a test prep book on Monday, and we've been reading the latest stack of library books.  That was enough for one day, right?  Tuesday and Wednesday are test days.  Thursdays are tough on homeschooling because I'm not at home from 8:30-12:30.  We generally don't get much done on Thursday anyway.  Friday's the only day left.  Who wants to start working on Friday?  Not me!

A couple of days off so sounds like a good plan.  We could plant the garden.  We could spend some time reading aloud together.  We can watch something noneducational on TV.  We can just rest.

Friday, April 4, 2008

A Slight Case of Cheating

I'm sure this happens to everyone eventually, but I was not prepared for it to happen to us. The Crafter cheated on her school work.  Here's how it went down.

There was a play that she disparately wanted to attend.  It was at night.  The Historian works at night.  Wild Thing and Sweetie do not do well being out past their bedtime.  The Crafter's best friend's mother graciously invited her to attend the play with them and to spend the night afterward.  We gratefully accepted the offer on the condition that the Crafter diligently complete her work for the week.  I even got organized and made a color coded spread sheet listing each assignment for each day.

Everything was going well.  The Crafter completed her work on Monday in only 3 hours—including piano practice.  The Historian and I strongly encouraged her to work ahead a bit.  Thursdays and Fridays are difficult school days because I teach at the college.  She didn't want to work ahead; she wanted to have extra play time.  Tuesday and Wednesday passed in a similar fashion.

Thursday was not good.  I wasn't here to stay on top of her work.  The Historian was busy with Wild Thing and Sweetie and couldn't help as much as he would have liked.  I arrived home and saw what was happening.  We gently reminded the Crafter that going to the play depended on getting her work done. She said she understood, but the diligence of earlier in the week was gone.  She messed around and spent two hours on math instead of the 30 minutes it should have taken.  She didn't finish Thursday's list. There was still time though.  Her Friday list was short with only math, reading, piano, and a spelling test. She could manage the undone items from Thursday and do Friday's work with time to spare.

If only she had asked for help with her math.  I arrived home to the Historian looking at some math problems or rather some correct answers to some rather involved math problems with no supporting work.  We knew some mischief was afoot.  We asked her to redo the problems and show her work this time. Thirty minutes passed with no math.  I point blank asked her if she had copied the answers from the answer key.  She said no.  After another thirty minutes, she began to cry.  The Historian finally got her to confess to copying the answers and then lying about it.

Daddy handled the discipline.  There would be no play, no spending the night with her friend, and she would have to apologize to her friend and tell her why their plans changed.  The Crafter shed many tears.  I believe that the toughest part of the punishment was when she actually had to confess her sin to her friend.   I pray that we handled this appropriately.  The answer keys are now in a less accessible area.  I hope this doesn't happen again.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Resurrection Sunday

Celebrate The Empty Tomb With Us

He's Alive

by Don Francisco

The gates and doors were barred and all the windows fastened down;
I spent the night in sleeplessness and rose at every sound
Half in hopeless sorrow and half in fear the day
Would find the soldiers breakin' thru to drag us all away

And just before the sunrise I heard something at the wall
The gate began to rattle and a voice began to call;
I hurried to the window and looked down into the street
Expecting swords and torches and the sounds of soldier's feet

There was no one there but Mary so I went down to let her in;
John stood there beside me as she'd told us where she'd been.
She said "They moved Him in the night and none of us knows where;
The stone's been rolled away and now His body isn't there!"

We both ran t'ward the garden, then John ran on ahead;
We found the stone and empty tomb just the way that Mary said.
But the winding sheet they wrapped Him in was just an empty shell;
And who or where they'd taken Him was more than I could tell.

Well, something strange had happened there,
but just what I didn't know;
John believed a miracle but I just turned to go.
Circumstance and speculation couldn't lift me very high
'Cause I'd seen them crucify Him, then I saw Him die.

Back inside the house again the guilt and anguish came;
Everything I'd promised Him just added to my shame.
When at last it came to choices, I denied I knew His name;
And even if He was alive, it wouldn't be the same

But suddenly the air was filled with a strange and sweet perfume;
Light that came from everywhere drove shadows from the room.
Jesus stood before me with His arms held open wide;
And I fell down on my knees, and just clung to Him and cried.

He raised me to my feet and as I looked into His eyes,
Love was shining out from Him like sunlight in the skies
Guilt in my confusion disappeared in sweet release
And every fear I'd ever had just melted into peace

He's alive! He's alive, He's alive and I'm forgiven!
Heaven's gates are open wide:
He's alive, He's alive, oh He's alive and I'm forgiven
Heaven's gates are open wide
He's alive, He's alive, hallelujah He's alive!

Friday, March 7, 2008

An Escapee

Thursday, I arrived home to find the door dead-bolted. I was mildly surprised, but Sweetie recently mastered the doorknob and I figured that the Historian needed added security. He opened the door and immediately asked if I had heard the news. Uhh, what news? There was an escaped inmate in the neighborhood. The school closest to us was on lock down. Oh. Great. There's an escaped criminal hiding near my house!?  I wanted details. The Historian had none.

I checked the local news. A 16 year old boy being taken into custody when he ran from police. He was already in handcuffs. Then I saw his name. We knew this kid. He used to be our neighbor when we first moved here. He had been to our house countless times. He played in our backyard with 3 of his older brothers. The Historian took those boys to the movies and for walks in our woods. They would show up nearly every day looking for something to eat and to see the Historian. They eventually went to church with us and attended youth nights at the Christian Youth Center.

Without going into major details, it is not surprising what happened. There was no father in the home. The mother usually looked like she was under the influence of something. An older brother was already in criminal trouble when he was 5. They moved further away about 7 years ago and we rarely saw any of that family. I haven't really thought about them in years.

Until the escape. The Historian calmly stated "I don't think he would hurt us." I don't think he would either, but he might hide near us. I don't like the thought of bumping into him under these circumstances. The command center for the search was about .5 miles from our house. As of this moment, he hasn't been caught.

I hesitate to even bring this up, but with a serious threat to homeschooling in California, I will. This kid was public-schooled from the time he was 4. The family was on public assistance. Why did all of the "professionally trained” teachers and case workers allow him to become a statistic? Shouldn't all of that supervision and oversight prevented him from turning to crime? Had this child been homeschooled...well you can imagine the headlines. I will stop now.

Please pray for this boy.  Pray that he will turn himself in.  Also pray for his soul.  I know that he has heard the Gospel. The seed was planted when he was younger. Pray that it will sprout and grow. He still has time to turn his life around.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

First time parents can be so funny.

My brother-in-law will probably not be pleased that I share this, but it is too funny. My 2 month old niece has been having a lot of trouble with spitting up.  My mom and I both suggested that a little rice cereal in the bottle might help. (Before you comment about breast feeding, my sister tried for 4 weeks and her milk never came in.)  My sister would not try rice until the doctor said it was OK.  He did.  So she sent my brother-in-law to the grocery store for rice cereal.  He comes back with a huge bag of puffed rice. My sister asked, “What in the world do you have?”  Brother-in-law said, “I figured we could eat what the baby doesn't.” Fitness in Milwaukee

Thursday, February 28, 2008


I do not know the original author, so I cannot give proper credit.

Malachi 3:3 says: "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver"

This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God.  One of the women offered to find out the process of refined silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study.

That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work.  She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver.

As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up.  He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities.  The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot; then she thought again about the verse that says: "He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver"

She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whold time.  The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire.  If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.

The woman was silent for a moment.  Then she asked the silversmith, "How do you know when the silver is fully refined?"

He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's easy--when I see my image in it."

If today you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has his eye on you and will keep watching you until He sees His image in you.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day


Not exactly what you would expect for Valentine's Day is it?  On Valentine's Day we are supposed to express love and show appreciation to those we love.  So what do we do?  We make heart crafts and go to parties.  We send cards and flowers.  We buy gifts and eat treats.  I am not condemning any of these things.  I do them myself.  I enjoy doing all of these little things for those I love.

But on this Valentine's Day the Holy Spirit posed this question:  Have you expressed love for your Saviour today?

No, not really.  On a day set aside for love, I have barely acknowledged the greatest act of love ever.

Why is He beaten and bloody?  Love.

Why is He nailed to a cross?  Love.

Why is He dying?  Love.

Love for sinners like you and me.

Isaiah 53:4-5  Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.  But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

John 3:16  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Thank you God for loving sinners like me.  Thank you for not sparing Your Son.  Thank you Jesus for loving me.  Thank you for taking my punishment.  Thank you for dying for me.  Thank you for saving me.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Guess what the Crafter found on her leg after playing outside this afternoon?


Can you believe we have ticks in February?  Fortunately it hadn't seized yet.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Hay Sings and Cow Poke

Or reason #242 why I homeschool

     Since I fell off the history wagon sometime in November, I thought that it would be a good idea to read back through The Story of tlhe World Vol. 2 to where history dropped off the schedule.  I read a chapter aloud to the Crafter every day.  Wild Thing has been listening in--more or less.  I'm wasn't sure if he was getting anything out of it. Yesterday we read about the Battle of Hastings.   The Crafter and Wild Thing listened.  When the story was over, Wild Thing ran from the room.  He usually runs from the room as soon as his required listening is over, but this time he came back with his toy knights.  He set up his red knights up on a stool and his blue knights on the floor. 

Me:  What are you doing?

Wild Thing:  Playing Hay Sings

Me:  What army is on the stool?

Wild Thing:  Harold is on the hill and William is on the floor.

Me:  Who gets the dragon?

Wild Thing:  William gets the dragon and Harold gets the Cow Poke.

Me:  Cow Poke?

Wild Thing:  This.  (holds up toy catapult)

The Crafter:  (laughing so hard she can barely get the words out)  It's a Cat-a-pult, not a Cow Poke.

Wild Thing:  Cow Poke. (flies toy dragon to the stool and knocks down Harold and his army)

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Back to Work

     I have to face facts--vacation is officially over.  We got back from our annual trip from Myrtle Beach yesterday--just ahead of the Republican Presidential debate.  We had a good time.  The weather was warm enough for the children (not the parents) to play in the ocean.  We spent a lot of time at the indoor pool and lazy river.  Myrtle Beach in January is great.  There are no crowds.  The resorts are Motel 6 prices.  Most of the touristy, waste your money, stuff is closed.  Nothing to do but play with the kids.

     Bradford Academy is slowly, but surely getting back into full swing.   The Crafter covers the basics daily.  The extras are suffering, but that's usual.  Wild Thing is beginning "preschool" which consists of about 10 minutes of letter/sound practice and a coloring page or worksheet of some sort each day.   He also has to listen to the read-aloud part of history.   Actually working with two students while dealing with a 2 year old is proving more challenging than I thought.  How does a mom of many manage?

     I go back to college teaching tomorrow.  I have 2 chemistry labs this semester.  I am not particularly looking forward to teaching this time around.  No matter how many times I do it, I dread the start of new classes.  I always get over it.  I hate writing the syllabus and meeting the first class.  Once I get going, I'm fine.  I did manage to do a decent job of teaching math to motorcycle mechanics last semester, but that is another story for another post.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Bye Bye Bop Bop

My girls were both pacifier addicts. The Crafter enjoyed hers until age 3.  She named her pacifier Bop. The name stuck. The Christmas after she turned 3, we informed her that Santa Claus was taking her bops to the neighbor's new baby because he needed them and she didn't because she was a big girl. The bops disappeared and everything was fine.

When Wild Thing came alone, we discovered that he was a strict thumb man. No pacifier would pass his lips and how dare you even suggest such a thing. Fortunately, he quit thumb sucking as his teeth came in.

Now we move on to Sweetie. Sweetie was a die hard bop addict. She even went so far as to call her pacifiers “Bop Bop” rather than Bop to indicate the strength of her affection. But when Sweetie turned two, it was time to phase out Bop Bop. We started only allowing bop at nap time, bedtime, and on really long trips. Somehow she would manage to find a bop, no matter how many I took away. I am convinced that there is a layer of pacifiers buried in the strata of junk in this house.

But last Sunday, the last bop mysteriously disappeared. I don't know where any are. We had 4 last week. Anyway, I have put Sweetie to bed bopless for the past 3 nights. Guess what? She sleeps just as well without it. She doesn't need it anymore.

Oh, she looks longingly at pictures of babies happily sucking their pacifiers and says “Baby Bop Bop. Me Bop Bop?” 

I reply “No Sweetie, bop bop is gone. I can't find it.”

Sweetie says “All wite.”

My baby is growing up.