Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Where has he been?

Hubby to me last night: "It seems like you're always reading books or blogging."

Me to hubby: "I just finished scrubbing the kitchen and bathroom floors!"

He's right, you know! But how is he just now noticing? Maybe I should've said, "Duh!"

Monday, May 30, 2005

How does your garden grow?

Hubby, sister-in-law, sister-in-law's boyfriend and I planted a garden yesterday. Can you find what's wrong with that sentence?

None of us has ever planted a garden before. SIL has had varying success with individual plants, but that's it. And I am notorious for killing anything green. I was actually thinking, while we were doing this task, "It's too bad we're doing all this work for nothing." Isn't that awful?

I mean, obviously I'm hopeful that things will grow, and that the plants which were already growing in the house will continue to thrive in the ground. But since I've never had that experience, I'm a little pessimistic. Dare I hope for 8-foot cornstalks and buckets of green beans? Should I look forward to the fresh tomatoes and pumpkins for the fall? Or am I just letting myself in for a big serving of disappointment?

We put down that weed-blocking fabric , with holes where the seeds were planted, and we ran a soaker hose under the whole thing, and we even put a six foot fence around it to keep out the rabbits (I know, I know - how big are the rabbits?). So we'll see. And if anyone out there has a green thumb, if you could send a little of that my direction, I'd be grateful.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Here, kitty kitty!

It's official - as of July 4, we will have our own little kitty named Smoky. The boys are very excited. They brought him over yesterday and he is the cutest little thing! I'll try and get a picture sometime soon. He's gray and really fuzzy and has this adorable high-pitched mew. I have not owned a cat since I was a teenager, and I never thought hubby would go for one, but living on a farm as we do, it wasn't hard to convince him!

Friday, May 27, 2005

Hi to Blog Explosion surfers!

Today I'm just going to take a minute to welcome anyone surfing through via Blog Explosion. Please browse through my archives if you so desire, or visit my other blog My Favorite Things.

Also, if anyone can tell me how to get my sidebar up next to my current posts instead of way down below everything else, I would be extremely grateful! Thanks!

Have a great day!

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Covered in cheese

I emerged from the schoolroom with my oldest yesterday to discover that the two middle sons had covered my basement steps in shredded cheese, like some sort of giant wooden entree. They cleaned it up as best they could, but there's still cheese everywhere.

The funny thing is, I didn't stop to ask them what they were doing or why. It was just, "Who put cheese all over the steps? Well, clean it up." I guess at some point I just ceased to be surprised by anything they do.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The Big Decision

Well, for those of you biting your nails in suspense, wait no longer! Here is my decision about school next year:

My second son will enter first grade in the charter school, PAVCS. He's doing really well with the curriculum and the hours, so I don't see any reason to change. The biggest thing I have to work on with him is how easily he gets distracted. If the baby is in the room, it's virtually impossible for him to concentrate on his work. And of course, I can't leave the baby elsewhere in the house unless he's sleeping. So it's either rush through the work while he sleeps, or repeat the instructions 50 times because the baby is sitting on my lap and that's all the kindergartner can think about! So we'll work on that.

My eight year old will stay at home, but I will be developing a curriculum for him. It sounds so simple, but I'm actually a little intimidated by all the choices out there. Ask 10 different homeschoolers and you'll get 10 different recommendations! Anyway, I think this is the best choice both for my sanity and his self-confidence. I don't want to see him go through what my brother did in both public and private school, and he reminds me so much of my brother. The biggest challenge with him is, well, everything. But that's part of why I so much want to keep him home. I can't just send him off to be Someone Else's Problem.

So, there it is. That's my decision. If anyone can suggest some good 4th grade materials, I'm all ears (or is it "all eyes" on the internet?).

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Where do you live?

A meme from Diana I have been very slow in getting around to:
This is the view out the end of my house. Posted by Hello
This is my back yard and pasture. Posted by Hello
This is my front yard and house. Posted by Hello

More dentist bills on the way

Well, boy number 4 officially has a tooth! I knew he was working on it - he's been chewing everything in sight for a couple of weeks now. I was so excited, I went running for the video camera and the baby book. You'd think I never had a child cut a tooth before! Anyway, it's a week of firsts; he rolled over both ways last Thursday! Hooray, baby!
Picture taken moments after discovering the baby's first tooth! Posted by Hello

My favorite things

This is a companion site to my blog where I will review or just talk about my favorite things. I figured it would be easier than cluttering my main blog with, "Oh, have you read this book?" or "You should see this movie!" I will place a link in my sidebar. I plan on doing movies on Mondays, music on Tuesdays, miscellaneous on Wednesdays, books on Thursdays, and food on Fridays. Enjoy!

Monday, May 23, 2005

The cutest guy I know! Posted by Hello
Here's a rather fuzzy picture of the bride and her dad. Posted by Hello
Here's me and my third son "dancing" Posted by Hello
Here's me dancing with the boys. Posted by Hello
The wedding cake - those are edible shells! There were three flavors of cake, too: chocolate, lemon, and raspberry. Mmm! Posted by Hello

And how was your weekend?

Mine was great, thanks! We got up early Saturday morning and drove to the zoo in Hershey. It's a nice little zoo. It's called ZooAmerica because they only have North American animals there. The kids had a great time, especially in the "Night on the Desert" building where they got to see plenty of snakes, scorpions, and other creepy crawlies. It's a small zoo - it only took about an hour to see the whole thing.

From there, we drove about 3 hours down to the Eastern Shore of Maryland to go to my cousin Katy's wedding reception. The actual wedding was last month in Jamaica, so they showed the video of it. I thought the boys would be bored and begging to go, but they loved it! We had a marvelous meal (part of which made the trip home with us - they had lots of extra food!), and the boys wore me out "dancing." By dancing, I mean that they wanted me to spin them around in circles. Still, it was fun! I really liked seeing my cousins, too. I usually don't see them but once a year, at Christmas.

Along with all the other excitement, my third son's birthday was Saturday also! He'll never have a "birthday party" as big as that one again!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Why I'm glad I have boys

These are just some of the reasons that it's good I have boys:
  • I don't enjoy dresses. I have to wear them to church, but other than that, you will not catch me in one. I would hate having to inflict them on a daughter.
  • I think large machines are cool.
  • I love science fiction and fantasy.
  • I honestly don't care if my kids get their clothes dirty.
  • I don't mind having pet bugs, worms, etc in jars all over the house.
  • I only like sports when someone I know is playing them, so I have no trouble with attending and cheering for any sport my boys wish to play.
  • I always thought my brother had the coolest toys.
  • I never played with Barbie or any of her friends.
  • I'm just not a girlie girl.

I wouldn't say I was ever a tomboy. I much prefer the indoors to the outdoors. Tent camping is not my idea of fun. But I've always gotten along better with boys. Mom of all boys - it's the role I was born to play!

Got milk?

As a nursing mom, I saw this joke and just had to copy it:

Students in an advanced biology class were taking a mid term.The last question was “Name seven advantages of mothers milk” worth 70 points or none at all. One student, who had also partied the night before, was hard put to think of seven advantages. He finally wrote:

1. It is a perfect formula for the child.
2. It provides immunity against several diseases.
3. It is always available as needed.
4. It is always at the right temperature.
5. It is inexpensive.
6. It bonds the child to the mother, and vice versa.
And then, the student was stuck! Finally, just before the bell (indicating the end of the test) rang, he wrote . . .
7. It comes in such cute containers.

He got an “A”.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

May I scratch your ears?

2 Timothy 4:3-4 (King James Version)
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

This is a huge topic, much larger than I am capable of covering in a single post, but I think it's important. There has been so much going on lately that I call "ear scratching." I define this as spiritual-sounding teaching or entertainment which carefully avoids the gospel message (basically, Jesus, the sinless Son of God, died for our sins, and that only by believing in Him and His resurrection can we have eternal life and enter Heaven. Forgive me if I haven't phrased that exactly right, but you know what I mean). This teaching is everywhere, not just in church contexts.

For example, NBC has a series, Revelations, which ends tonight. "In the battle for the end of the world, who will win?" NBC is also doing a special on miracles, and another on the Resurrection. Since I have not seen these, I can't say for 100% sure, but I'm willing to make an educated guess that they qualify as ear scratching. How about the series "Joan of Arcadia," or that old favorite "Touched by An Angel"? Did you ever hear the message of salvation on either of those shows? These are the "fables" Paul spoke about.

Now, I am all for the concept of opening people's minds to spiritual things. But only if there is someone who can take that opening and present the Gospel. If there is no one to do that, it becomes meaningless. What programming like this does is to temporarily make people feel good about themselves and their spiritual lives. It puts them, in other words, in a very dangerous place. "Hey, I'm better than that girl on TV, and she's in tight with God. I must be okay, too." They push and push and push the message that all you need to do to get to Heaven is be good. And the truth is, none of us can ever be that good.

As Christians, we can do several things. First of all, promote these shows to unsaved friends and family. Second, take the opportunity to talk to them about what they've seen afterward by watching them yourself and noting the fallacies, if any. And finally, be prepared to share the Gospel with them. If you need help, this is an excellent website. If we do nothing, the ear scratchers win.

1 John 2:21-22 (King James Version)
21I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. 22Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.

Testing something

Upload Video and Images - Putfile
Click here to watch 'The Bear Necessities'

I tried uploading a video file and I can't get it to play very well, so I thought I'd toss it out there and see if anyone else can get it to work. Let me know!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Me and my little doll! Posted by Hello

May the Force...well, you know

When the original Star Wars came out in 1977, I never dreamed I would be 34 by the time the final chapter appeared. I was six then, and I loved every minute of it. The aliens, the light sabre battles, the spaceships, the princess. Hearing that 20th Century Fox music followed by John Williams' awesome theme takes me right back to that dark theater every time. Remember the first time you saw it? Remember the tiny rebel ship fleeing in front of the Empire's huge battle ship? Remember laughing at R2's well-timed blips and bleeps? Remember sitting on the edge of your seat as the trash compactor got more and more compact? Remember the thrill as Luke rescued Leia? Remember that split second before the Death Star exploded?

I could go on and on. So what's your favorite Star Wars moment?

Monday, May 16, 2005

My political profile

Your Political Profile

Overall: 90% Conservative, 10% Liberal

Social Issues: 100% Conservative, 0% Liberal

Personal Responsibility: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal

Fiscal Issues: 100% Conservative, 0% Liberal

Ethics: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal

Defense and Crime: 100% Conservative, 0% Liberal

I am a little disappointed in the amount of liberal I have in me. But of course, I did go to college.

Saturday, May 14, 2005


Here's the baby enjoying his first bottle of white grape juice. Posted by Hello

Now I've done it.

I mowed the grass in my sandals, and I've got a sandal tan. Posted by Hello

There's no way to fix this. For the rest of the summer, I'm going to have these lovely lines on my feet. I guess I'm stuck wearing those same sandals everywhere I go. {Sigh}

Stonehenge mystery solved!

What's the big mystery about Stonehenge? For years I've been fascinated by this question. Who put it there? How did they construct it? What was its purpose? Then suddenly the other day, while reading about the Intelligent Design debate (should ID be taught in schools alongside evolution?), it struck me. We've been overlooking the obvious.

Okay, bear with me here. According to Evolution, all life on earth came from primordial ooze and eventually humans appeared. I think it could be argued that humans are infinitely more complex than a bunch of boulders, no matter how they're arranged. So why should anyone think that Stonehenge was the result of some sort of intelligent design? Doesn't it make much more sense to say that those boulders just happened to arrange themselves there on Salisbury plain over a period of millions of year?

No, I don't believe in evolution. The book Scientific Creationism does a great job of explaining origins without using the Bible (which of course they wouldn't be able to use in schools). Some sort of intelligent design is just much more feasible than evolution. And why some people can see that when it comes to a bunch of rocks, and not see it when looking at the complexities of the human race, I will never understand.

PS - No nasty messages, please. If you disagree with me, I'm sure you can go find lots of other people who will agree with you.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Just not sure

I know a bunch of homeschoolers read my blog periodically, so I'm hoping you'll weigh in on this. I need some wisdom.

My 3rd grader is a difficult child. He has been since the day he was born. He loves learning science and history and art/art history, but he really dislikes math and he refuses to write anything in any subject. Every day is just more and more of a struggle, and I often end up in tears. He balks at the simplest things (example: on Easter, we had 18 eggs. I asked him how many he and his two brothers would each get. Instead of thinking about it and answering 6, he growled and ran out of the room). At least once a day, he ends up crying or angry about something I'm asking him to do.

He's been like this since preschool, when we were doing very informal learning. I am afraid I'm not getting the information through to him that he's going to need to move on. I should add, however, that his reading skills and comprehension are excellent, and he reads all the time.

So here is my dilemma. I am already 90% sure that I will not re-enroll him in the charter school because it seems to me that it is too much structure for him, if that makes sense (I will be re-enrolling my younger son, though). But I have previously used other curriculum with him with no better success. So should I buy some other math curriculum and hope it works out? Or would it be better for me and him to enroll him in Christian school next year?

I only want what's best for him. I don't want him to think I've given up on him by sending him to a private school instead of keeping him at home. But I don't want his education to suffer because of my feeling that I must do it myself. I really do feel like no one else could teach him as well as I can, but when I'm not succeeding is that really true?

And don't even get me started on the writing. He doesn't ever want to write anything. He won't even dictate to me. Everyone tells me this is normal for an eight year old, but when does it become a problem? I am at a loss.

Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Miami Yikes!

While scanning old photos the other day, my mom came across this one:

Dad, circa 1986 Posted by Hello

No, he is not dressed up for a costume party. Those were his actual clothes. And his actual chest hair. And mom says this look is coming back. Somebody call Crockett and Tubbs 'cause that's definitely a crime!

Monday, May 09, 2005

Heavy reading

Do you ever wonder what happened to all those wonderful poems you wrote on your book covers and in the backs of your notebooks? If you can't find them, stop by the Teen Angst Poetry website and sample other people's. It will make you glad you're a grownup.

When I was a kid...

I find myself feeling older and older all the time. Just this last week, I know I have told my children about a bunch of things that were different "when I was a kid." For example:
  • You had to watch whatever was on tv. You didn't have the option of recording something, watching a video, or popping in a DVD. Hence the reason so many of us can sing the Gilligan's Island theme song.
  • Computer games were text only.
  • You sent your pictures away to be developed, and you didn't see them until you got them back.
  • If you wanted to look up information, you got out your set of encyclopedias or you went to the library.
  • If you wanted to comparison shop, you either had to call a lot of stores, or go there in person.
  • Up until I was 11, any movies of me as a child are silent.
  • Up until I was 12 or so, if you didn't see a movie in the theater, you didn't see it.
  • I listened to music on records.
  • If you wanted to call someone and they were out, you didn't have any other way to get in touch with them. If they were really cutting edge, you might be able to leave them a message on their answering machine.
  • If you carried a calendar with you, it was paper.
  • You had to actually go to a physical bank location to do your banking.

Those are just the ones I can think of right now. But isn't it frightening? I will be 35 this year. Not so old. Just old enough to feel old. Even looking at that number makes me feel old. That's half of 70. Eek!

I am thrilled with all the advances technology has taken in the last 20 years. I really am. I just wish those changes didn't make me feel so ancient!

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Let's play a game!

Granted, family might find this easier! Guess which of the boys is in each picture by posting a comment. I will reveal the answers on Wednesday. Have fun!

PS - It might help to look at other pictures I've posted!
Picture C Posted by Hello
Picture B Posted by Hello
Picture A Posted by Hello

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Thanks, Brooke

I will write more about this when I get home, but I wanted to quickly say thanks to Brooke Shields for sharing her story of postpartum depression on Oprah yesterday. I have struggled with this after each of my 4 sons was born and I know firsthand how hard it can be. It took a lot of courage for her to get on national television and talk about it. Way to go, Brooke!

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

On vacation

There will be no fancy links or long involved posts for a couple of days whilst I relax at an undisclosed location. Mainly because my grandmother doesn't have high-speed internet and I have very little patience.

The boys are already asking when we can go home. I decided to make this journey with my parents because hubby is out of town for a few days and I couldn't bear the thought of being alone with them (insert ominous music). They're usually okay for a day or two and then they figure out I'm outnumbered. So I'm being forced to eat my grandmother's cooking - it's such torture. The boys felt so sorry for me that they polished off most of the food themselves. Okay, so she's actually one of the best cooks on the planet! I'm thoroughly enjoying myself. I've even gotten some reading done.

If it weren't for lack of internet, I might stay here a lot longer.

Now I must go watch Lost. New episode - hurray!!

Monday, May 02, 2005

What's new, pussycat?

We had an exciting day yesterday as our neighbors cat crept into my parents' RV and gave birth to kittens. My mom recognized that the cat was looking for a "nest" and got her a box with towels in it. Sure enough, she yowled and meowed a bit and then started pushing. We looked up some information on the internet while all this was happening and learned that this process is called "queening." You learn something new every day!

This is the same cat that we were told was a male cat last year this time. When hubby told our neighbor that "Gilbert" was going to have kittens any day, he said, "She better not!" Obviously in denial!

It was really fascinating to watch. None of us except my mom had ever seen a cat have kittens before. The boys were bouncing off the walls they were so excited! Eventually she had five kittens. Four of them are black and white striped, and one is gray. The boys of course want to keep one, so we'll see. They've already named the gray one Smoky.

This is Gilbert, just minutes away from giving birth! Posted by Hello
Here are 4 of the 5 new kittens! Posted by Hello

Holding out for a hero

Main Entry: he·ro
  • 1 a : a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability
  • b : an illustrious warrior
  • c : a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities
  • d : one that shows great courage
The boys have been watching this show called Higglytown Heroes on the Disney channel. Now, we do not have this channel at home, so it's a special treat when they get to watch at Granny & Grandaddy's. I sat down to watch it with them, and I was a little surprised at how they were defining the word "hero."

In the episode I saw, a little boy needs to find his aunt's phone number. So he dials information, talks to the operator (where are there live operators anymore?), and gets the number. And the phone operator is billed as a "Higglytown Hero, brave and true." What?!?

If you look at the website for this show, there's a storybook. And in the storybook, the "hero" is the guy who changes a flat tire!

I'm sorry, perhaps I missed the definition of hero that says, "Person doing their job."

As someone with an English degree, it always disturbs me to see the meaning of words changed. I read this wonderful post from the illustrious Barry Carl several years ago about a similar problem:

Once again the fabulously prevaricating spin artists who brew up our daily dose of media hash have co-opted a term from echtkultur and suborned it to their mass hallucination of pop culture. I feel as if I'm being ordered to abandon every last vestige of qualitative thinking every time one of those demi-ecdysiasts with big hair, a spangly dress, and way too much attitude is dubbed a 'Diva'. Excuse me. A real diva is a woman of truly extraordinary vocal, dramatic, and musical capability who can plant her feet in the middle of a stage, no mic thankyouverymuch, and gut out great music. Maria Callas was a diva. Birgit Nilsson was a diva. Carol Vaness is a diva times ten. These pop singers are not. And I'm certainly not saying that they aren't good at what they do, but divas they ain't.
Preach it, Bear! Words mean things. I know English is a changing, evolving language. But if people doing their everyday jobs are "heroes" then what do we call the troops in Iraq? What do we call the firemen of 9/11? Where's the word for them?
Sorry, Disney. You know I love you, but this is just wrong.