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.