Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Since we're working on our home...

I told you we're working hard. No major construction. Just

Throwing away.
Putting away.
Making space.

Because we're fitting in a sixth person in just a few months.

And I'd like to do a bit of redecorating. We're lived here for nearly seven years, and we haven't changed a thing - which means that my artificial flowers on top of the bookcare are faded - or maybe just covered with an inch of dust.

ANYWAY - Jenny at Life is not a Cereal posted a link to a photo quiz at mydeco.com, and I took it just for fun. It told me that I have a decorating style that I'd never heard of - but apparently it's pretty popular. It suits us to a T, so if you've wondered what thread is holding the furniture and paint colors in Bookwormsville together, you can read on:


Your home confidently embraces the many needs of busy, family life. It's adaptable and easy to live with, reflecting your sense of style without having to banish the kids to the attic or basement. You're sensitive to elements of design such as colour, light and architectural detail, mixing items that are relatively disposable with other pieces that, in time, will become family heirlooms.

Living Room

You have a comfortably contemporary living room. The danger with the 'modern look' is that it too easily falls into the realm of the bland and insipid; 'easy' gets confused with 'careless' and the result is just downright dull! Perhaps of all the rooms in our homes, the living room can be the one that most expresses your sense of style and your interests. Think, too, about how and when you will most use the room. For example, do you want it light and airy or warm and cosy? The occasional, totemic accessory -- whether it's a Noguchi table or a Jasper Morrison mirror -- certainly ticks the right boxes but can alienate visitors, if not the rest of your household. Earthy (but not muddy!) colours work well in both rural and urban settings, while tactile finishes and soft furnishings cry out for company. At the end of a long day, there's nothing nicer than spending some quality time with the family: no wonder your living room's the place everyone gravitates to.


It's a man's world in the master bedroom. Sleep is fundamentally important to our well being. In busy towns and cities, noise can often hamper a good night's sleep. Soft furnishings really do absorb sound, and touch is such an important sense in the bedroom, from crisp, linen sheets to wool or even sheepskin underfoot. You have quite a masculine - some might say hard - style in your bedroom, using earthy, rustic colours and textures to create a sense of harmony with the natural world.

Dining Room

You're a maestro of minimalism using carefully chosen ingredients. At home, 'less-is-more' simplicity appears effortlessly stylish. With so little on show, every single item comes under scrutiny, so it's important that you give time and thought to your choice of china, glass and cutlery. Try to avoid the 'designer cliche' trap, whereby every single piece has impeccable provenance: at best this looks like showing off, at worst it's sadly predictable. When it comes to entertaining, children usually take centre-stage.

Home Office

A little of what you fancy does you good -- even when you're working. Working from home is an increasingly popular solution to the challenge of bringing up a young family and making ends meet. A dedicated home office - even if it's just the corner of a room - will help keep you focused and separate work from hectic family life. Your innate sense of style will probably lead you to creating a work space that's as individual as the rest of your home. Just bear in mind basic ergonomic principles, especially when choosing a desk and chair.

Kids' Room

Let a child's room reflect his or her personality -- not yours! If you have the space for a designated playroom, great. If not, then giving your kids the biggest bedroom can be a smart move, certainly once they're past the toddler stage: it gives them a designated space to play, enabling you to keep the rest of your home more, rather than less, how it used to be. Cheap and cheerful is ideal when it comes to most things in children's rooms: not only do kids grow fast, they also grow out of fads and phases at an amazing rate.


Your home is the hub of family life. It's unpretentious without being devoid of character: in fact, with so much going on, it's open to all the pleasures of life.

Friday, December 26, 2008

We've been cleaning...

Isn't that what you do when you have a day off? The boys played with their Christmas loot, and the King and I cleaned our bedroom. He hasn't had any real free time since September, when his seminary semester started. Since then, we've been putting assorted items that needed to be inaccessible for the kids into various nooks and crannies of our bedroom. It had gotten completely out of control.

So, we cleaned it. We are brainstorming new furniture arrangements that will give us both a crib in our room (necessary until at least next Christmas) and access to the bookshelves that are currently blocked by the crib. But first, we had to deal with piles of paper that needed filing (need new bill-paying and filing system here), bits of paper that needed trashing, stray toys and socks, clean laundry, and other assorted junk. We threw away one large and two small garbage bags.

I need to tackle the linen closet and my closet - and he needs to tackle his closet. He has books to deal with, and I need to deal with a plethora of baby and kid clothes (could probably cut the collection by half). We have stuff that just needs to go away (like the three game systems that we have and don't use because we don't have a TV).

And the garage. Oh, the garage.

I think the nesting for this pregnancy has officially begun. I have a serious need for a Clean Sweep.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas Adam!

(Because it's the day before Christmas Eve - HT to Tonya, who has amused me with that every single year for the past nine years.)

The fruits of our labor:

Seven loaves of Banana Chocolate Chip Bread
Nine loaves and three mini-loaves of Pumpkin Cranberry Bread
and four loaves and three mini-loaves of Strawberry Bread

Most of which will be given away to family members in the next forty-eight hours.

There were a couple of Pumpkin Cranberry Uglies. That was fine with us because there are extras. So, we'll be eating the Uglies for Christmas Eve and Christmas breakfast. It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it.

And, in case you are curious, YES, it is quite tasty. Look at the damage my boys and UncaBilly did to an extra loaf of Banana Chocolate Chip at snacktime.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

UncaBilly brought the best Christmas present.

Here's UncaBilly. He's here for two whole weeks and my little Bookworms are so excited!

He brought quite a treat. They've gotten 6-8 inches of snow in Boulder this week. So UncaBilly and Stasia came with a truckbed full of SNOW! (Real snow. Colorado snow. Not that icy stuff we get here in Oklahoma.) And how did they thank him?
Boy style - with a face full of snow. They had a snowball fight in my mom's driveway. What a Christmas present! They are the only boys in our area of Oklahoma who got to have a snowball fight yesterday.

And where was #4? He was staying warm inside the house and flirting with Stasia.

Making Memories with Mimi

Mimi took the King and #2 ice skating at a little outdoor rink last week. They had a lovely time.

#3 tried it, but he was just not quite ready.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Bookworm#2’s Twelve Days of Christmas (composed by himself)

On the first day of Christmas, my grandma fed to me
a giant broccoli tree.
On the second day of Christmas, my grandma fed to me
two asparagus...
On the third day of Christmas, my grandma fed to me
three steamed potatoes...
On the fourth day of Christmas, my grandma fed to me !
four orange carrots...
On the fifth day of Christmas, my grandma fed to me
a big bowl of mac and cheese....
On the sixth day of Christmas, my grandma fed to me
six chicken nuggets, ...
On the seventh day of Christmas, my grandma fed to me
seven schoolhouse cookies, ...
On the eighth day of Christmas, my grandma fed to me
eight big yam rolls, ...
On the ninth day of Christmas, my grandma fed to me
nine peeled apples, ...
On the tenth day of Christmas, my grandma fed to me
ten green beans, ...
On the eleventh day of Christmas, my grandma fed to me
eleven ice cream bars
On the tweflth day of Christmas, my grandma fed to me
twelve pumpkin pies...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Guess who we had lunch with!

We made a quick trip to Muskogee yesterday to visit my extremely ill grandmother and her roommate, my great-aunt Virgie - her sister. We stopped at a McDonalds on the way home and were surprised to be greeted by Ronald himself. We really enjoyed watching him answer the drive-thru window. People were shocked to have Ronald hand them their food. It made an otherwise difficult trip much easier. The picture is courtesy of the King's iPhone, so it isn't the greatest, but at least we got one.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Mission accomplished.

This morning, I woke up at 4am. Because I was supposed to pick up Worldlighter at 6. And I was afraid that the alarm going off at 5:15 would wake up the whole house. It turned out that I should have just left myself sleep because #4 woke up at 5am and was right chipper.The King was not. And the boys were still sleeping. So #4 went with me. Because I'm nice like that.

So, we picked up Worldlighter, and we shopped until we got hungry, and then we ate. And then we shopped some more. That's how two pregnant women do things. We got home about 3pm after visiting Walmart, Panera Bread, JcPenney's, The Children's Place, Sears, Motherhood, Target, Panera Bread again, Michael's, Hobby Lobby, Sam's, Borders, and Walmart again. I wore #4 in the Ergo from 6am-9:30am, and then I brought him back home to the King and #2 and #3 because I just couldn't wear him any longer. He was a sweet little guy, though - shopping in his fuzzy pajamas quite happily on my back. (I think my sweet hubby owes me a neck and shoulder massage for those extra hours of sleep I let him have, don't you think?)

We met our goal, though. All of the Christmas shopping is done. Mission accomplished.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

When Pigasso met Mottisse by Nina Laden

Tonight, we read When Pigasso Met Mootisse together as a family as part of the nighttime reading. I picked it up from the library last week (they do have other copies in my local system.

The King and I loved the book - the pictures are fantastic, and the actual Picassos and Matisses that are depicted in pigs and cows are hysterical. There is a decent presentation of modern art including biographies of Picasso and Matisse in the back (did you know that they really were friends?), and also a stong nod to the concept that we have to choose to get along with people who are have different ideas than we do.

Bookworm #2 liked the book because "One time Pigasso and Mootisse met and became good friends. then they got mad and said, "You paint like a wild beast!" and "You paint like a two-year-old!" And then things were not really funny until they started being friends again."

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Quotes from Pocketfull of Pinecones

Karen Andreola, the author of A Charlotte Mason Companion, also wrote Pocketfull of Pinecones, a lovely book about a mom and her two children who embark on a homeschool journey during the 1930s. The book includes story after story of their adventures with the intent of showing us how to apply Charlotte Mason's educational ideals in our homes. It's a fantastic read for any parent who wants to teach their children to appreciate nature, and it is available in my local library system, so it might be in yours too.

There are some lovely jewels in this book - and I'm going to jot some of them down here because I don't have time to blog each of them individually - though each is certainly worthy of it's own post.

p75 - "My students have a lifetime ahead of them in which to observe and discover - to become self-educated in their leisure, so to speak. My job is to allow their feet to walk the paths of wonder, to see that they form relations to various things, so that when the habit is formed, they will carry an appreciation for nature with them throught their lives."

p81 - "My devotions give the day its energy. I may skip writing in this diary but I try not to skip my time with Him who cares for me. It is proof that I remember Him, depend on his mercy, which is so thankfully new every morning. It is the evidence that I trust Him. it is because my days are so busy that I have kept myself from yielding to the God-can-wait syndrome. I need my heavenly Father and so I seek Him early. Prayers are the wings of the soul. They bear the Christian far from Earth, out of its cares, its woe, and its perplexities, into glorious serenity."

p145 - "To get good grades in school is the motivation used in a system of education where children are constatly quizzed and tested. Here at home we are following a method of education - we are not participating in a system. It's been such a freeing way to teach. I've aimed at learning for the sake of knowledge and not for grades or prizes. Miss Mason recommends that children gain knowledge in three areas: knowledge of God (Bible), knowledge of man (history/humanities), and knowledge of the universe (science/math). Keeping these three areas in mind has helped me in my efforts to be a more orderly sort of person and to cover what is essential to know."

Monday, November 17, 2008

Well, that's a nice surprise!

I've been sick - pregnant sick - cookie-tossing kind of sick - for about three weeks. I thought I was only eight weeks pregnant. And the thought of there being five more weeks in the first trimester was almost too much for me. The nausea usually doesn't go away until about halfway through week thirteen.

However, today, I had a ultrasound and learned that I'm really about halfway through week eleven already! So the magic week thirteen is only two weeks away! instead of five! Hallelujah!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I need Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle.

We recently read Betty MacDonald's Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle as a bedtime read-aloud, and #2 loved it.. Each chapter is a story of a family that is dealing with a particular character flaw in one or more children. The only problem with the book was that it was almost too funny for bedtime - once #2 had The Giggles, they spread until #3 and #4 were no longer calm and ready for sleep.

My favorite chapter was "The Radish Cure," which dealt with the desire to throw a fit at bathtime (not a problem in my house, but that's probably what made it quite so funny to me). Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle suggested that the parents just let the kid get dirty until the layer of dirt was thick enough to plant radish seeds while the kid slept. The morning that the little girl in question sprouted radishes, she decided to take a bath - and after that, bathtime was fun again.

So, from a homeschooling/parenting standpoint, I'm wondering how I can and if I should incorporate Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle casually into habit-training and character education. It's an interesting idea. We've started reading another Mrs. P-W volume that has a couple of kids with problems that we have in this house, so maybe I'll give it a try.

As a desperate mom, I need Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle (or someone who, you know, exists) to give me an idea for how to stop the flow of whine around here. #2 is whining about every single instruction that he's given, and it's about to drive this mama 'round the bend. And now I'm whining about the whining - but really, folks, I just need an idea.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

WFMW Toy Edition: Wedgits - a fantastic building toy.

We bought Wedgits last year for #2 to play with. The starter set was such a hit that we bought several other sets for Christmas, including the nifty car set, of which I have no pictures. Wedgits are square blocks that lock together to make cool creations. These two were built straight out of #2's imagination. We did buy a set of design cards that shows different ways to use the blocks - and that was actually a good purchase because the creators of Wedgits are smarter than DH and I and came up with more ways to use them than we could. Wedgits have brought us hours and hours of entertainment.

You can buy them from many, many places - we ordered from Rainbow Resource. I'll let you search and hunt for your own. Find more good toy ideas at Rocks in my Dryer.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A daring adventure....

There's a Helen Keller quote that I love. She says, "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Security does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than exposure."

I agree with her. She doesn't mention that security is found in realizing that God is sovereign or that the children of God can experience security only because of Him.

We've accidentally embraced this quote. Bookworm #1 taught us that God is good, all the time, but he also taught us that no matter how stable we try to make our life, nothing is secure except for the character of God. With each baby that follows, the only security that we have is a word from God that all of our other children will be healthy. And each one has been.

And now we've got Bookworm #5 on the way - arriving in mid-late June. Which means that next summer, we'll continue serving Christ by raising the children He has entrusted to our care: three children under the age of four and a seven-year old.

If that isn't a daring adventure, I don't know what is.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Saturday in Boulder - the afternoon

The Town Hall in the quaint mountain hamlet of Nederland, CO.

Mountains near Nederland.

A close-up of an Aspen tree near Nederland, CO.

A puffy cloud that looks like whipped cream on this mountain near Nederland, CO.

Municipal parking in Nederland, CO.

A real, live steam shovel, just like Mary Anne in the Mike Mulligan book.

Now, we've rested a bit, and we've played a game of Croquet in the yard. (UncaBilly won. CrazySheryl was second. Stasia was third. I was fourth. And Gramma... well, Gramma finished, yes she did. And that's what counts.)

Dinner is under construction. And it's going to be so fantastic that more pictures may follow.

Saturday in Boulder - the morning

We got up and went to the Farmer's Market. It was great fun, and it was more fantastic than the market in Champaign - and it makes the Cherry System Market seem like a joke. Here are some pictures. We bought some yummies with which to make a tasty dinner. Which we haven't had yet, but that will be another post.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Leaving on a jet plane - for my little Bookworms

OK, my sweet #2, I really enjoyed describing to you what I saw as I walked through the airport, so I thought I'd tell you what I did after we had to hang up so I could board the plane.

They put a jet-way - kind of a folding hallway - from the airport to the plane so that you can walk from one to the other. When it hooks up to the plane, it makes a funny, slurpy sound. You would have been amused and really would have liked seeing it extend to the plane. Did you know that planes are really big upclose? This one was bigger than Daddy's office building.

I stood in line to get on the plane. I was in the fourth group to board, so by the time I got on all the aisle and window seats were taken. I sat between two strangers. That felt funny to me, and I'm hoping that I can get an aisle or window seat on the next flight.

After everyone was seated with their seatbelts fastened, the flight attendents showed us all how to use the seatbelts and what to do in an emergency. I put my iPod headphones in my ears and got settled for the ride. I got out an article to read and a pen to mark it with and some paper so I could jot down the little things I wanted to tell you.

The plane drove down the taxi-way like our van drives on the road - only without bumps and stoplights. When we reached the runway, the pilot made a sharp turn and lined up with the lines painted on the runway so that we could take off. When the people in the tower told him it was his turn, we zoomed down the runway. The engines rushed loudly. You would have covered your ears. I was thankful for the earphones that dulled my hearing. As the plane started to go up, it tilted so that I had to lean back in my seat. Once we reached the right altitude, it leveled out so that I could move a tiny bit - at least I could lean forward to read and write.

Because the flight was so short (only one hour to Kansas City - as Daddy to show you on a map), no one was to be moving around the cabin except for the flight attendents - unless they had to go potty - and I don't like pottying on an airplane, so I avoided that. A flight attendent with a very wide, white smile came by and offered each of us "orange juice or coffee?" Since I had just thoroughly enjoyed my Cinnamon Dolce Latte, I said, "No, thank you." The man next to me had some orange juice. By the time the attendent came back by, I had finished my coffee and was ready to throw away my cup when she opened her little trash sack and offered, "Take your trash?"

Then the plane began to descend. My ears popped several times, and they are still a little sore. During the descent, there are moments where I felt almost weightless, like I was floating. I was sitting just behind the wings, so I could see the flaps coming down to slow the plane just like brakes slow our van, but not so quickly. We slowly went down, down, down, and then BUMP! We were on the runway, slowing rapidly. The engines roared as they reversed to stop the big metal plane. Quickly, the plane returned to a regular driving speed and pulled up to the gate. After a few minutes, everyone began to stand and retrieve their stuff. The jetway was hooked up, and we got off the plane.

Then I checked the gate for my connecting flight and bought a bottle of water. I was thrilled to discover that this airport has comfy chairs with electrical outlets built in and free wi-fi access. That way I can tell you all about it.

Here are some pictures from the airport in Kansas City.


(For the other two readers I have, I'm visiting UncaBilly and Stasia in Boulder this weekend, so you can expect some randomness as I share news with my boys.)

Minor details.

Occasionally, I miss having a TV.

Yesterday, all day, I kept thinking, "There's a new ER tonight!" And then 9pm rolled around ...

and I couldn't find the TV. (Imagine that. It's been gone for over two months.)

So I had to settle for watching an old (but new-to-me) episode on the 'net.

But if someone would like to tell me who they offed last night, I'm curious.

Monday, September 22, 2008

My Thirty-Second Birthday

My day was terrible.

I spent two and a half hours waiting for my new radio to be installed in my van - a job that was supposed to take 20 minutes. The boys were extremely well-behaved (praise God), so that I was actually surprised to see that much time had passed. But it turned out that the 20 minute job took 30 minutes, and they had looked up my home number to call me instead of calling the cell number I gave them, and my car had been ready for hours. It turned out that my radio shorted out because someone put a penny in the cigarette lighter. You can bet it wasn't me.

We left the dealership with barely enough time to get to my dentist appointment because I had a sore tooth. Well, it would have been plenty of time except that I had to stop and pick up a pizza and take it and the boys to the King's office while I went to the dentist. Blessedly, I thought to grab a slice of it to eat while I drove otherwise, I'd have been really hungry.

Because I got to the dentist and learned that I cracked one of the two baby teeth that I still have because there weren't any permanent teeth behind them. And the only real option was to remove it. So, now I have a hole in my mouth and an appointment to get see about getting an implant. But since that costs $3000, I may just have a hole for a while and hope Jesus comes back in the next 10 years before having a hole starts causing me problems. By the way, I was on a soft diet for the rest of the day, and none of the leftovers in my fridge met that description. In my frustration, I told the King that I don't want to go out to dinner.

Then I brought the boys home to play in the backyard, and #2 had a sassy mouth - and since today is not the day to bother Mommy, he got several sets of swats for it before he got the picture.

I tried to call (failed) and then emailed the King to tell him that I still wanted to go out to dinner because we don't have anything in the house that doesn't require chewing and my jaw (TMJ) is killing me. Our favorite cheap Mexican restaurant sounded pretty terrific. I knew I could swallow some refritos and rice.

Then #3 told me his tummy hurt, so I put him on the potty, but he wouldn't stay up there. Three minutes later he pooped in his underwear and dripped it through three rooms on the way to tell me about it.

The King never answered the email, so I made dinner for the boys.

When all the poo was cleaned up and the boys were ready for bed. We're packed them up and picked up a Mexican dinner for us - a very cheap date at home, but a date none the less. And, since it's my birthday, he also bought me a piece of tiramisu. And the only reason I shared was because I was stuffed. It was really tasty. There was so much cinnamon-y whipped cream around it that I saved a dollop or two to put in my coffee in the morning.

You know what's funny (now that the day is almost over)? This isn't the worst birthday I've ever had. There were all sorts of problems in the day, but everyone is healthy and relatively happy. All my children were fairly well-behaved until they started breaking down after 4pm. My husband still loves me. And God is good, all the time - even when the poo just put the day over the top - eh, it was OK. I'll live to parent another day. For tonight, though, I'm glad this day is done. I'll fold my laundry, throw some chicken in the crock pot to slow-roast, take my vitamins and some Motrin and go to bed, where I plan to sleep like a rock until daylight.

Because tomorrow is a new day with new blessings. Praise God!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Narration of Charlotte Mason's original works: Volume 5, Section 5

5. Consequences

I'm about to give you my summary of this section. Some important quotes follow. And if you want to read the whole article, you can click on the heading, because it will take you right to it.

The arbitrary exercise of parental authority can be a stumbling block for a child. The word arbitrary indicates unreasonable or inconsistent authority. We know from countless modern parenting books that children respond best to consistency, and that a hint of reason is nice, too. Children find arbitrary parenting to be exasperating. They need a loving consistent parent who considers carefully her responses to any and all behavior, be it good or undesirable. Parents must be constantly seeking divine wisdom and grace to continue to be able to respond to their children in an appropriate manner, exercising the God-given authority they operate in without overstepping the bounds and becoming tyrannical. Charlotte reminds us that any one of us is capable of reacting to a child in a way that can harm him in body or spirit. It would be much, much easier to just let the child go his own way. Yet it is the parent's job to teach and train him with prayer and great diligence and wise choices on the parents' side if he is to grow into a man of great character. A parent must keep his own natural desire for power in check and instead exercise godly authority over his child, responding to the child with gentle speech, consideration, and fairness.

How I'm to do that, I don't know exactly. I do my best in this area, and I'm sure there is much room for improvement.

"The arbitrary exercise of authority on the part of parent, nurse, governess, whoever is set in authority over him, is the real stone of stumbling and rock of offence in the way of many a child" (pg. 70).

"But let us look ourselves in the face; let us recognise that the principle which has betrayed others into the madness of crime is inherent in us also, and that whether it shall lead us to heights of noble living or to criminal cruelty is not a matter to be left to the chapter of accidents. We have need of the divine grace to prevent and follow us, and we have need to seek consciously, and diligently use this grace to keep us who are in authority in the spirit of meekness, remembering always that the One who is entrusted with the rod of iron is meek and lowly of heart" (pg. 72-73).

"It is no doubt much easier to lay down our authority and let the children follow their own lead, or be kept in order by another, than to exercise constant watchfulness in the exercise of our calling. But this is not in our option; we must rule with diligence. It is necessary for the children that we should; but we must keep ourselves continually in check, and see that our innate love of power finds lawful outlet in the building up of a child's character, and not in the rude rebuff, the jibe and sneer, the short answer and hasty slap which none of us older people could conceivably endure ourselves, and yet practise freely on the children 'for their good'" (pg. 73-74).

"We are, in truth, between Scylla and Charybdis: on this side, the six-headed, many-toothed monster of our own unbridled love of power; on that, the whirlpool which would engulf the manly virtues of our poor little Ulysses. If we must choose, let it be Scylla rather than Charybdis; better lose something through the monster with the teeth, than lose ourselves in the whirlpool. But is there not a better way?" (pg. 76).

"Refrain thee; see thy speech be sweet and rare:
Thy ways, considered; and thine aspect, fair" (pg. 76).

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Today and the never-ending To Do list.

It's Saturday. But next week we have to be out of the house all day three times - so today's a school day. We put our ant farm together last night, so the boys are studying it anyway. I think we'll have a science day today and do history next week. Sound like a plan? I have a Magic School Bus episode cued up and an ant lapbook printed off and some books pulled from our shelves. When the sun comes up and the library opens, maybe we'll go hunt some more books.

Later - obviously - #2 still needs to do a bit of math and some narration and we need to read our Aesop for today (The Ant and the Grasshopper), and the babies are sleeping and the beginning of the Hurricane rains have reached our area.

I need to go run the dishwasher and such.
I think we're having hot dogs for dinner with fruit and French fries.
I must finish the menu for next week and print the calendar for next week and try to invent meals that use up what's in my pantry.
I need to make chili to take to our small group tomorrow afternoon
I need to update the financial spreadsheet that we use to keep track of how we spend our money.
I want to buy a lapbook at Live and Learn Press - the Spanish vocabulary review one. I need to make a decision on that and do it if I'm going to. It would be nice to have it to use.
I need to cancel some subscriptions
I want to start a subscription to Kinderbach so that I don't have to teach piano. We've done the first five lessons and my kids like it.
The King and I need to have our quarterly financial visit and make a plan to get some things taken care of.
I need to refer to the phonics book and see what things I need to be watching for in #2's reading in the near future. I want to re-read the section in Real Learning that talks about creating a word bank. I also want to read Charlotte on teaching reading again.
I need to read "Consequences" from Charlotte Mason's Formation of Character before the local Charlotte Mason Discussion Group meets on Monday evening. So there may be a post on that coming in the near future.
I need to write and mail a fundraising letter for The Little Light House and get us registered for Laps for Little Ones.
I need to finish planning school for the week.

OK - there's the list. Let's see how much I can get done.

Friday, September 12, 2008

We've been busy

This was today. We went on a hike with some friends. Bookworm #2 thoroughly enjoyed the tramp. Bookworm #3 needed to be carried the last half-mile. Bookworm #4 stayed with Gramma (Thanks, Mom!), and that was good because I really couldn't have carried both #3 and #4.

Last week, this was the science experiment. #2 enjoyed setting it up and watching the celery change color over a matter of hours

This was our lesson in making rice and black beans. It was really yummy. Which was good. Because we'll be eating it for the next month because things expanded much more than I expected.

This is how we clean the floor after the ornery baby dumps his plate. I asked #2 to get the Shark sweeper and sweep it up. But they decided to be the vacuums because they wanted more pizza and strawberries. Gross. But I let them. Because I wasn't going to be able to stop them unless I threw myself over the pizza bites. And I certainly wasn't going to do that. If they like pizza this much now, what will they do for it when they are teenagers?

See #4 in the bucket? Apparently, baby cell phones work best in a blue tub with wheels because he keeps taking all his calls in this location.

This was last week's park day. #2 and #3 explored this buggy marsh area and tried to catch a dragonfly, which buzzed them and scared their ba-jeebers right out.

These are our new pets - and our science and nature study for the next few weeks. I'm hoping my pyrex dish and the water moat will prevent my kitchen from infestation. I hope. I really hope.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

200th post

I could have come up with something really awesome for my 200th post. But did I?


Why not? Well, if you really must know, it was because I was WASTING TIME this evening and I didn't know that it would be my 200th post (because I don't pay attention to such things). I can't even say that it's because it's the Bookworm King's birthday and I was hanging out with him - though he is right here next to me, fingers blazing on his own keyboard, working on stuff for a seminary class that he has tomorrow afternoon - Happy Birthday, Honey. I was truly wasting time ... being a bookworm.

I was going through the new arrivals at BookCloseOuts and putting anything that we'd love to have (and don't already own) in my cart just to see what the total would be. I don't have the money for all of the things I picked. I went through Children's Fiction and Children's Nonfiction new releases - and that was all.

But I broke my shopping cart. Now it won't load. So, I've wasted time, and now I don't have the list of things I would order if I could - but I can't, so I won't.

And NOW I'm wasting YOUR time with this ridiculous 200th post, so I think I'll stop. May the next 200 be more worthy of your attention.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Relaxed foreign language education

We've been studying Spanish very informally around here. I have been refreshing my memory - in my pre-mom life, I got a bachelor's degree in Spanish, so it's in there somewhere. The Bookworm King speaks some, but not a lot. But we want to teach this to our kids.

While Rosetta Stone's Latin American Spanish is on our wishlist, it is Price-y. We must save many pennies.

So, in the meantime, we are doing what we can. We have both the English version and Spanish translations of our boys' favorite children's books, like Good Night, Moon and The Runaway Bunny, and we want to get more of them - and we will as time flies by. We also have Flip Flop Spanish 1 and the Twin Sisters Productions Spanish Songs on mp3. And these are delightful. The Spanish Songs have a delightful beat and are actually sung over and over. The Flip Flop lessons are simple and short.

We keep the audio files for the past three Flip Flop lessons and two of the Spanish songs (one new, one review) in the Schoolwork playlist on our iPod (along with the current hymn, folk song, composer sample, and some things like "I'm a Little TeaPot" that my toddler does need to recognize and I forget to sing to him. Since we have to drive about 20 minutes to get anywhere we go, we listen to the playlist once a day. We occasionally review vocabulary: counting goldfish in Spanish, naming colors in the room, etc.

You all, you should have see the shock on my mom's face when (2 year old) #3 ran up to hug her and said, "Hi Gramma! Como estas?"

Totally cracked me up.

All by himself....

Tonight, #2 was in my lap after I'd read to him (all 70 pounds of him was curled up on me), and he said, "Mama, I have a secret."
"Can I know it, or is it your secret?"
He said, "Sometimes I read all by myself."
I said, "I know, Bear. I've seen you. That's pretty cool."
"Will you read me one more story, even though I can read?"

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Narration of Charlotte Mason's original works: Volume 5, Section 4

4. Dorothy Elmore's Achievement (in 5 chapters)

In a Nutshell: My Summary
Don't focus on the ugly things of life. Exercise your Will to change your thoughts instead.

My Narration:
Chapter 1
Dorothy Elmore arrives home from school to the delight of her adoring family. She has been gone for two years, and they are all thrilled at her return. She is a beautiful, intelligent, graceful, well-mannered young lady. She is admired by her siblings, and is quite the leader of the family: "...Wherever Dorothy ran––no, she went with a quick noiseless step, but never ran––about the house to find out the old dear nooks, we all followed, a troop of children with their mother in the rear; their father too, if he happened to be in. Truly we were a ridiculous family, and did our best to turn the child's head. Every much has its more-so. Dorothy's two special partisans were Elsie, our girl of fifteen years, fast treading in her sister's steps, and Herbert, our eldest son, soon to go to college. Elsie would come to my room and discourse by the hour, her text being ever, "Dorothy says." And as for Herbs, it was pleasant to see his budding manhood express itself in all sorts of little attentions to his lovely sister" (vol. V, pg. 42-43)

Chapter 2
A month passes - in that month, Dorothy has her own way in everything. There are no disappointments to speak of, and she is consistently pleasant to be with. But then, one day she can't use the family carriage when she would like to, and she gets in a snit about it - she gets all pale and limp. Today, we'd say that she's depressed. And in Christian circles, her selfishness and self-pity would probably be whispered about and never pointed out to her. But her mother senses that something is amiss in Dorothy's heart. A doctor is called, and he prescribes good nutrition and exercise and rest for Dorothy, and the family works to see that it happens. Dorothy is again the center of their attention and sees that they all love her dearly.
" The doctor came; said she wanted tone; advised, not physic, but fresh air, exercise, and early hours. So we all laid ourselves out to obey his directions that day, but with no success to speak of. But the next was one of those glorious February days when every twig is holding itself stiffly in the pride of coming leafage, and the snowdrops in the garden beds lift dainty heads out of the brown earth. The joy of the spring did it. We found her in the breakfast-room, snowdrops at her throat, rosy, beaming, joyous; a greeting, sweet and tender, for each; and never had we known her talk so sparkling, her air so full of dainty freshness. There was no relapse after this sudden cure" (Vol. V, pg. 47).

She comes out of her funk for five weeks before another disappointment sends her into another funk.

Chapter 3
"To make a long story short, this sort of thing went on, at longer or shorter intervals, through all that winter and summer and winter again" (Vol. V pg. 48). Her siblings noticed the pattern before her parents did, and her mother says to her father, "remember how perfectly well and happy she is between these fits of depression?... Each attack of what we hav ecalled 'poorliness' has been a fit of sullenness, lasting sometimes for days, sometimes for more than a week, and passing off as suddenly as it came" (pg. 49-50). At this point in the story, we learn that Mom Elmore knows this behavior of Dorothy's well because she has battled it herself. Dorothy is dwelling on things that didn't go her way and resenting those who did not bow to her desires. We learn that Mom had these same habits until she was finally cured of them by motherhood. Once she was no longer focused on her Self and constantly thinking about how the world wasn't fair to her, she was able to stop having such sulky fits. Dad wants to talk with a doctor-friend of his about the situation before they discuss things with Dorothy.

Chapter 4
"Now, every fault of disposition and temper, though it may have begun in error of the spirit in ourselves or in some ancestor, by the time it becomes a fault of character is a failing of the flesh, and is to be dealt with as such––that is, by appropriate treatment. Observe, I am not speaking of occasional and sudden temptations and falls, or of as sudden impulses towards good, and the reaching of heights undreamed of before. These things are of the spiritual world, and are to be spiritually discerned. But the failing or the virtue which has become habitual to us is flesh of our flesh, and must be treated on that basis whether it is to be uprooted or fostered" (pg. 59). The doctor explains to Mom and Dad that Dorothy has been allowing herself to dwell on the wrong things - offenses, disappointments, what-have-you - until that has become her habit. Now she is thinking about those things for extended periods of time without realizing it, and that is causing her black moods. He tells them that he thinks he has a cure for the problem, and that she'll be her old self within a few months, but he needs to speak to her first.
The cure: "Ignore the sullen humours; let gay life go on as if she was not there, only drawing her into it now and then by an appeal for her opinion, or for her laugh at a joke. Above all, when good manners compel her to look up, let her meet unclouded eyes, full of pleasure in her; for, believe, whatever cause of offence she gives to you, she is far more deeply offensive to herself. And you should do this all the more because, poor girl, the brunt of the battle will fall upon her" (pg. 61).

If they had dealt with the matter long ago, they would have "never have allowed the habit of this sort of feeling to be set up. You should have been on the watch for the outward signs––the same then as now, some degree of pallor, with general limpness of attitude, and more or less dropping of the lips and eyes. The moment one such sign appeared, you should have been at hand to seize the child out of the cloud she was entering, and to let her bask for an hour or two in love and light, forcing her to meet you eye to eye, and to find love and gaiety in yours. Every sullen attack averted is so much against setting up the habit; and habit, as you know, is a chief factor in character"(pg. 61-62).

Chapter 5
The doctor talks to Dorothy, telling her this: "When ill thoughts begin to molest you, turn away your mind with a vigorous turn, and think of something else. I don't mean think good forgiving thoughts, perhaps you are not ready for that yet; but think of something interesting and pleasant; the new dress you must plan, the friend you like best, the book you are reading; best of all, fill heart and mind suddenly with some capital plan for giving pleasure to some poor body whose days are dull. The more exciting the thing you think of, the safer you are. Never mind about fighting the evil thought. This is the one thing you have to do; for this is, perhaps, the sole power the will has. It enables you to change your thoughts; to turn yourself round from gloomy thoughts to cheerful ones. Then you will find that your prayers will be answered, for you will know what to ask for, and will not turn your back on the answer when it comes" (pg. 66).

Friday, August 15, 2008

Weird sleeping arrangements

I just thought I'd tell you that all of my children do have beds. Several of them have more than one.

However, they all prefer to sleep in the same room. And #2 and #3 prefer their Cars blow-up beds to their real mattresses and bedstands. It must be something about Lightning McQueen. I don't know.

But in spite of our having another bedroom with loft-style bunks in it and this little nursery having a comfy twin bed in it, they prefer the floor.

I don't understand it. But maybe, when I was six or when I was two, I would have.

So, for the moment, we're going with it. As long as they stay on their respective beds and s.l.e.e.p. (preferably all night long), it's fine with me.

Expeditionary Learning

Today was the first day of public school in our neck of the woods - so, being the rebels we are, we took the day off (as much as a homeschooler ever does) and went out to play. We went on an expedition to a far-away-but-still-local park and had a fantastic time exploring and learning on the playground.

My brother is doing his internship for his Master's program (we're rather proud of him), and said internship takes place in a school near his university that focuses on "expeditionary learning." Know what that is? Most homeschoolers do. It's a fancy term for "unit study" - the use of one topic across many or all areas of study. We are rather fond of unit studies here - they just seem to happen - so I'll just tell you that we are glad to know that we're riding the crest of the education tidal wave.

ANYWAY... Today, we went to the park. We talked about all kinds of things:
Like nutrition

telling time,
How a backhoe works
balancing a scale
the importance of focusing on what you are doing:

gravity - and whether the heaviest or the lightest slides the fastest
and centrifugal force.

And that was our day at the park.

I'm tired.

And so are my children:

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Fastest Chef in the ... well, in this kitchen

We had a lovely day today. Bookworm #2 was invited to an event with Mimi, so he was off with her for much of the day. #3 and #4 and I went to Target with Gramma. That was great fun. There was actually time to look at things and not just throw necessities in the cart and sprint for the registers.

We had a nice browse and bought some underwear for #3, who is so proud of his recent accomplishment. There is still some issue with the... um... brown... side of things, but he's very capable of keeping dry and getting closer to getting the... um... brown... in the potty every day. He picked out boxer briefs like his big brother wears - some solid boy colors and two pair with Lightning McQueen and Mater on them. He thinks he's big stuff now.

We came home for naptime and then when #2 arrived, we finished up our schoolwork. We've got a field trip planned for tomorrow, so we had two short school sessions today to accommodate those plans. Then I sent all three boys out in the (fenced in) backyard, and I followed shortly. We saw a spider spinning and a dead cicada. We put the cicada in a baggie, and we hope to share it with #2's buddy who is afraid of bugs. It's pretty cool looking. It isn't often that we actually see a cicada - we usually just hear them.

I stepped in the house for a few minutes, amid much protest, believing that I'd join them in a few minutes. I finished a kitchen task while watching them through the window. It was a peaceful moment - kind of the wonder one experiences while watching a circus. Where do they get their energy? I stepped out to the freezer to grab some peas to go with dinner....

and I discovered that the door was open and the freezer well-defrosted. Blessedly, this is the side of the month where it is full of milk and not meat. We just went to the dairy Monday, so it was full and the milk had barely thawed. I left it to refreeze and dealt with the four large (Sam's sized) bags of frozen veggies, two small bags of French fries, and a bag of fish sticks.

I tossed the fish sticks. They had been in the door and were completely thawed. I cooked five pounds of green beans and steamed five pounds of broccoli and microwaved a pound of peas and baked the fries.

Needless to say, we'll be eating our veggies this week. It all came out well. And it was quick - I couldn't believe it when I looked at the clock and realized that I'd cooked 15 pounds of assorted veggies in 32 minutes. Time flies when you're...working hard. I was watching the boys the whole time I worked since I can see most of the backyard from the kitchen. They were having a blast, and #4 was toddling along with the others - just as sandy and muddy as they were. At one point, they were all in our (tiny) sandbox. I couldn't find the camera fast enough to get a shot of it, but I'm sure it will happen again.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

School 2008-2009

School starts this week in our neck of the woods.

Rather uncharacteristically, I still haven't finished planning our school year. There is so much to learn together that I have trouble picking a starting point and running with it. I can tell you some things that we are doing:

Math-U-See Alpha
Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading (mostly used loosely as a reference)
Sonlight Science 1
Nature study
Reading - lots of reading - mostly for me, but some for #2, too.

This year, he'll be reading the Old Testament section of The Beginner's Bible and much of The Christian Liberty Nature Reader vol. 1 and some of the readers for Sonlight LA 2 and WinterPromise LA 1.

I'll be reading the Literature, Tales, and Poetry suggested at Ambleside Online, the readings for Sonlight Science (or other books about the same topics, as we have a love/hate relationship with Usborne books.) We'll also do composer and artist study a la Ambleside, and we have our own list of read-alouds that we'd like to work on, too.

History - that's where I'm having trouble. I don't like Ambleside's choices. So, I bought The Story of the World, Vol. 1 - but I just don't know that I want to teach the Ancients before I've taught some basic American history - so I set SOTW aside to start next year. I've looked extensively at My Father's World First Grade (Bible history) and at their Adventures curriculum (American history) - but neither completely fits the bill for our style of education - though Adventures comes really close.

So I decided to write my own - and it has two tracks (Bible and US). We're going to go through The Beginner's Bible one story per week - which will last all year. We'll read the whole story from the Bible, talk about relevant ancient topics (call it Ancients - Light) as they come up, and we'll add Bible characters to our timeline and look up locations on a map (Monday's work, by the way - except for the timeline - that will get stuck together on Friday). On Wednesdays, we'll discuss the American history celebrity of the week, and we'll keep them in chronological order. We'll start with Leif the Lucky and cover Columbus, Pocahontas, Jamestown (place), The Pilgrims, Squanto, Colonial times, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Paul Revere.... Essentially, one person or location per week on up through American history. I'll post more specific books and such as figure out what on earth we are going to do. We'll do map and timeline work for US history, too. I'll pull some from book lists at WinterPromise and Sonlight and the free American history curriculum that I found online.

And that's the craziness that will be school this year.

There is a basic schedule:
Everyday - Bible reading, prayer, and memory verse, poetry, Spanish
Monday - Math - focus on Bible (intro. Story of week, Beginner's bible, copywork, Narration, mapwork, activity)
Tuesday - shortest day - copywork will be weekly memory verse, read literature selection), Composer study.
Wednesday - Math - focus on American history (intro person of week, US history reader and read-aloud to be determined, copywork, narration, mapwork, activity), nature study and gymnastics (outside of the house
Thursday - short day - Math, Aesop, (copywork, narration, read from Aesop), Picture study and art project
Friday - Math - focus on science (nature reader, copywork/narration from SL science readings, experiment,

That looks like a lot for first grade, doesn't it. Keep in mind that nothing takes longer than 10 minutes, and many things take only five. Some require only listening and take place in the van, thanks to my little friend, the iPod.

I'm going to have to quit thinking here for tonight because my computer's about to fall asleep and require a good long recharge. I'll have to come edit this and make it more coherent - maybe - unless I just don't and instead decide to publish what we're up to as we go along. I really want to keep a record of our schooling on the blog for easy reference. We'll see.

Monday, August 11, 2008

A day... a pretty good day...

I don't have a lot of brain power left - and I have a lot of work left to do, so this will be short and sweet - and is really just so that I do post SOMETHING and don't toss the habit of blogging to the wind quickly.

We spent the day with the Bookworm King home with us - he took a day off to help our family and house recover from a week of him being away. He let me sleep in this morning, and that was wonderful. We had school - we're still working up to a full schedule - I think we'll be there next week. And we did some errands.

This evening, I had the chance to meet some old friends at The Cheesecake Factory for dinner and dessert. I ate way too much. But it was yummy.

I noticed a lady in the back of the restaurant where it was fairly quiet. She wearing plain black pants and a nice-but-comfortable shirt, and she was meditatively enjoying a piece of cheesecake all by herself. I hope she was a mom who just went out by herself for a minute to gain some perspective. At a glance, that is what she appeared to be.

I would really like to do that - spend some time by myself and get things together. I wonder if I can make that happen. I don't know that my afternoon would include a piece of cheesecake, but I would really like to take a couple of hours to set some goals for the school year. I wouldn't even have to be completely alone. Maybe the King and I should hire a babysitter and spend an afternoon sitting together working on our projects. I'd love to have his input on setting school goals.

Now, there's a fly buzzing me and I need to get the dishwasher loaded and go to bed.

Narration: Bible - Tower of Babel

First, they had to build the Tower of Babel. God did not want it there so He changed their languages so that they couldn't understand each other. So they stopped building the tower, and they all moved to different lands.

By Bookworm #2 - 08/11/2008

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Because I am ThoughtfulMom: A public service announcement

I've been thinking. It seems like I haven't done that in a while. Thought - really thought - about anything for long enough to be able to write it down.

So, I'm going to make an effort to write again. Not just newsy family stuff but about the things I'm pondering. Because I'm always pondering something. I ask almost as many questions as #3, and that's definitely saying something.

So, hopefully in the near future (starting tonight, but we'll see how long it lasts), you may find posts here that are more thoughtful and less newsy mixed in with the pictures and bulletins about life in the Bookworm's Backyard and education in the Backyard Academy for Bookworm Boys. You might find true randomness - or your might find my thoughts on the Bible, Charlotte Mason's work, or whatever I'm currently reading. Like I want to write a review of That Printer of Udell's, and one of The Hidden Hand when I finish it. I've been in so-much-to-say-and-no-time-to-say-it mode for so long that my brain is on overload.

But for now, I'm tired, and I need to sleep - though I have an odd craving for a peanut butter and honey sandwich. Guess I'll have that for breakfast.

To think on: Why did she run away?

The Samaritan woman at the well in John 4 met with Jesus, and then she ran away to the nearby town, where she became quite the evangelist. I have been pondering what her reason was for running away. This is something we discussed at our small-group meeting this evening as we were pondering different steps in the growth of newly-planted churches (yeah - we jump topics a lot)

Here are two reasons we came up with as a group with one of my own added:
1. She was so excited that she met the Messiah that she had to go tell others.
2. She was hurt because the disciples treated her like the loose woman she had been instead of the free woman she had just become, and she ran away in embarrassment.
3. She felt the weight of her sin and couldn't stand in front of the Messiah a second longer - she ran away when she was struck by the comparison of her sin with His Majesty.

I really think any of these are possible.
Why she ran away doesn't matter as much as the fact that she did. In her running, she was able to tell others (other loose women? those "husbands?") who she had met and bring the whole town back with her.

Beth Moore says, "When you feel like your own mistakes added insult to injury in your circumstances, you're more prone to hang your head in prayer than to lift it in full expectation of God's forgiveness and full redemption" (Stepping Up, pg. 126). The Samaritan woman didn't come to the well expecting anything except some water to use for washing clothes or cleaning dishes or making lunch. All she was planning to do was her job - and all she expected to get from her trip the the well was the fruit of her labor. But she met Jesus. And like so many others, she got more than she bargained for.

She was washed clean. Praise God for His reviving, Living Water.

To think on: Am I doing enough? (Heaven and Hell)

Charles Peace was a British criminal who was about to receive the death penalty for his crimes. The chaplain came to speak to him - to see if he wanted to receive salvation before his death - and to tell him about heaven and hell. This is what Charles Peace had to say in reply:

"If I believed what you and the church of God say that you believe, even if England were covered with broken glass from coast to coast, I would walk over it, if need be on hands and knees, and think it worthwhile living just to save ONE soul from an eternal hell like that."

My thoughts: I do believe in heaven and in hell. Heaven is a place of joy and bounty and blessing - and hell is a place of darkness and agony and torment.

It's easy to believe in heaven. We die, our soul separates from our bodies, and we walk through the pearly gates to be reunited with those who have gone before us and, more importantly, to finally see the face of Jesus.

It's hard to believe in hell. To believe that those who do not choose Christ are choosing to be tortured in the dark for all eternity. But the Bible is very clear on the matter: Hell was created to punish satan and his angels - and those who choose to reject Christ wind up there too. That is NOT God's plan for any of us - He plans for everyone on earth to choose to follow Him and to be with Him in heaven one day. The choice is ours.

But do I live like I believe in hell? Do I speak out when the opportunity arises to persuade another person to follow Christ? Do I pray for my unbelieving friends and family members? What am I doing to help populate heaven?

(By the way, the current sermon series at LifeChurch.tv is "So You're Dead...Now What?" and it explores what the Bible has to say about heaven and hell. Check it out at Lifechurch.tv.)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Narration: Noah's Ark

Noah built an ark. And then he invited every animal on there. Then God shut the door, and the flood came. The ark was floating. Noah's family looked at their food and watched every movement of their lamps, but they were safe. Later, they sent a dove out, but it came back because there was nowhere to put its feet. The next time, it brought back a leaf. The third time, it landed on a tree and did not return to the ark. It was time to leave the ark. The ark was on a hill when they got out. The earth was all dried up. They worshiped God. God showed them a rainbow and promised He would never send a flood again.

by Bookworm #2, 08/08/2008

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Some days just don't turn out like you think they will

And today was one of those days.

It started out great - with all things going according to plan - and I love it when what we expect to happen is what happens. We went on a playdate. We went to my mom's to hang out, and the boys stayed with her for a few minutes while I went to meet up with a friend that I haven't seen in a while because she lives far away. We had a lovely time walking around an outdoor mall. I found a pair of capris (that fit! - I now have pants that fit!) on a sale rack at J.Jill. I picked up the kids and came home.

And when I walked in the door, it was really, really warm in here. And it should haven't been warm because the thermostat was set at 76 degrees. And the thermometer in the house read 82. I was less than pleased. I was downright cranky.

I called my dad - he's an AC guy. I answered his questions. And I have to admit that I snapped at him - and that wasn't necessary. I was operating in my flesh - quite obviously - but he came over with his equipment anyway and took a look.

Our air-conditioner is dead. May it rest in peace.

I shed some tears over that.

But my dad has some connections that will make a replacement affordable. And that is a blessing.

And it will be fixed tomorrow. Hallelujah!

But for tonight - it's rather warm around here. I put all three boys to bed in my room because it has a ceiling fan. #4's back in the crib in our room - and #2 and #3 have pallets on the floor. And I'm sitting at the kitchen table writing this and watching a movie on my computer so that I can keep the windows open a little while longer before I close them and go to sleep. Another blessing in all this - it was only in the 80s here today after a week of seeing temperatures over 100 degrees. So, it's not nearly as warm in here as it could have been. Plus, we have air-conditioning in the first place - most people in the world sleep in the heat nightly.

But Mommy....

Today at Gramma's snack table:

Let me preface this by telling you that this week, #3, who is two and a few months, decided that he is ready to learn the potty, and I've been trying to help him be successful in that.

Conversation going on around the table. About an hour and a half since #3's last trip to the potty.

Break in conversation.

"#3," I say, "it's time to go try to potty."

And he looks very seriously at me and tells me, "But Mommy, I'm having a conberfation about Popsy's car."

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Because they are cute....

#4 was so noisy about falling asleep that he woke up #3, who came to lay down and listen to #2's stories.

And when the story was over, I shut the book and went to kiss them good night, and I had the privilege of seeing this:

Monday, August 4, 2008

Our day in pictures

We ran an errand. We painted. We read. We played. We did everything we could think of without going outside for more than a few minutes at a time because it was about 147 degrees and 9000% humidity in our corner of the prairie.

#4 showing off his new-found climbing skills. He's fallen off this chair and whacked his chin on the table every day for the past four days, in spite of our preventative measures. We're working on new measures.

The aforementioned painting project - washable acrylics and sea sponges. It was great fun for all. Gramma played too. Art is fun!

A predicament that #3 got himself into this morning. No children or vehicles were harmed in the process of snapping this picture.