Friday, November 26, 2004

Potato Peelings

My message for today is for everyone: Don't put potato peelings down your garbage disposal! They will clog it! My brother had an exciting time yesterday right before their Thanksgiving dinner, in which this very situation occured. He vividly describes it in his blog. This also happened to my Aunt Claire a few years ago when we were visiting during Christmas, and it happened to me as well back in 1995. We were living in a little apartment for 3 months while we waited to move into our house in Colorado Springs, and I peeled only a few potatoes, since we had no kids at the time. Those few peelings were enough to clog our drain, but since we were fortunate to be renting (believe me, this was the ONLY fortunate thing about renting here!), the maintenance guy came out to do the plunging and de-clogging. He told me to never put potato peeling down the disposal, so I was warned almost 10 years ago, but I have obviously been remiss in not passing along this warning. Now several members in my immediate family have suffered because I have not spoken out! But now, my duty is done, and I will not accept any blame if you carelessly disregard my words of warning and put your potato peels down the drain because you think it will be such an easy and convenient way to dispose of them. Be wise--heed my warning! Don't let yourself get into the postition of having to think about calling a plumber on a major holiday! And always keep Liquid Plumber on hand.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

A Wonderful Thanksgiving

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day, and we had lots of opportunities to remember all that we have to be thankful for. Although it's 8:00 here, I am in no way hungry for any kind of food, and my brain is definitely feeling very fuzzy. We had an incredible feast today, and it was really neat to think about the people whose recipes we were eating. We had Aunt Eloise's orange-jello salad, Elizabeth's sweet potato casserole, Nana's squash casserole, Grandma's ginger snaps, and Pam's chocolate-pecan pie, as well as other traditional favorites like my sweet potato biscuits, and cranberry-pear sauce, Mom's green beans with almonds, dressing, mashed potatoes, and of course, turkey and gravy. We had friends over too, Ira and Jody, and she brought a wild rice dish, another cranberry salad, and a pumpkin pie. Yes, our table was very full! After we ate, Dad read George Washington's original Thanksgiving Proclamation (in which we noted SEVERAL completely unconstitutional references to God, religion, and other things--shouldn't he have known better?!!), and we all told about things that we were thankful for this year, and how we've seen God work. We really enjoyed Ira and Jody's company. Before they were married, she was a missionary for several years in different places, including the Ivory Coast, so she had many good stories to tell. It was a day of good food and great fellowship! We are most of all thankful to be a part of the body of Christ, where even though we're not related physically, we're related spiritually, and we can look forward to spending eternity together, worshipping the Lord!

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

A BIG Christmas Present

Amy and I went shopping yesterday at Toys-R-Us because I had a $10-off coupon and a gift card (of uncertain value) that I wanted to use. I rarely go in Toys-R-Us because, frankly, I think most of their toys are glitzy, faddish junk that kids play with for 10 minutes and then forget. But I really wanted to use up these cards, so I decided I needed to get something there. I was very discouraged after wandering through the store, but as we were just about to go out, I saw a big pile of boxes. The boxes contained these big "Castle Blocks", like giant Legos, that you could use to make your own castle. There was even a door-thing and some windows. It's not a big castle--more of a facade, really, but I knew the boys would love it, especially since we're studying the Middle Ages this year. I already have bought for Nathan and Luke new knight outfits, so Caleb will be able to have our old helmet and shield all to himself. I figured the castle would just make this a fine "Middle Ages Christmas" all around, and best of all, a set of the blocks was $59.99, minus $10 with the coupon, AND minus $42.97 (!!!) on our gift card. I figured it would be something like $.50 left on there. I never dreamed it would be so much! How exciting! There is nothing I like better than getting a good deal on something I think will really be enjoyed! Now the only problem is getting this big box back home. It didn't look so big in the store, or even in the back of Amy's minivan, which had the back seat folded down. But in our minivan, it wouldn't lay down flat, and standing up, it takes up a great deal of room. How on earth will we get 2 big suitcases in there, but all the other assorted detritus that a large family travels with?! Hmm . . . maybe Grandma and Grandpa will have to play Santa and bring it out to D.C. when they come for Christmas. It could ride in their back seat or something and keep them company!

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

A Neat Fundraiser

On our recent trip, we stopped for dinner just east of Zanesville, OH on I-70. We had eaten a later lunch, so I really just wanted to go to Subway, since I knew that would be light and quick. But I was over-ruled by the rest of the family who saw Denny's just across the street. We went in, although I wasn't very happy about it, since Denny's is neither light nor quick. They were having a fundraiser there at the restaurant that night. Seniors from the local high school, John Glenn High School, had volunteered to work that night, and all the tips, and 10% of the proceeds of the meals were going to the local Salvation Army food drive. The kids were so nice. Our server was very well-spoken and polite. He said this has been a tradition for many years. They do this at 3 restaurants a year. They did it at Pizza Hut a week or so ago, and they raised $1500. As we were finishing up (we ordered 5 Grand Slams, which I thought was excessive, but as it turns out, Jonathan must have packed away 2 whole pancakes by himself,and we had no leftovers), the Chorale from the high school came in, sat down in one section of the restaurant and started singing. They were singing REAL Christmas songs, not even just Christmas carols, about Jesus' birth! It was a really nice dinner, and I was so glad we stopped. What a neat town! The restaurant was really bringing in a lot of people too, so I'm sure they raised a lot of money there too. Just another example of those "ignorant, backwards, unenlightened, uncaring midwestern Americans" that the Democrats love to hate, I guess.

A Long Trip

Yesterday we had a fairly long drive, 500 miles, as we came home to visit my parents. People are always so alarmed when we tell them that we are driving to far-away places (anything over 3 hours, apparently). "Four boys in the car for 10 hours!" they exclaim. "How do you stay sane?" Well, the fact is, 500 miles isn't that far. We've done over 750 miles in one day before. And gotten up the next 2 days and driven more. And therein lies the key to surviving long car trips with kids--you have to do a lot of them so they get used to it. Our older boys are champion travelers now because in a military family, you usually have to travel far away to visit family. Caleb is coming along, and we're working on Jonathan's "car manners" right now. Driving after dinner is the hardest time for him; that's when he is the most fussy. We just stick out the crying until he falls asleep. We don't have a DVD player or anything in our car, just a whole ton of books, games, and car toys. Nathan and Luke have the back seat of the minivan, and they play together or read. It's so great when they can read to themselves. My brother and I used to pass many long car trip hours doing that very thing. I feel like my role during our travels is a mix of stewardress/deejay/navigator. For the older boys, I fix up a baggie of snack selections before we leave. Then when I say it's time for a snack, they get to pick something out of their bags. That way I don't have to pass things back all the time, and they can look forward to the choice. For really long cross-country trips, I buy a few new books and toys before the trip and dole them out at appropriate intervals. We have a lot of different types of music choices in the car too, and I try to alternate those as well (the "deejay" part of my title). Long trips are so tiring, but I love how the boys can see our country up close. We have kids' atlases for Nathan and Luke, and they follow along our route in them. I also love how the forced togetherness fosters a lot of good family discussions. Plenty of time for talking about anything during 10 hours of car time!

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Petition for Marine accused of killing unarmed terrorist

I'm sure you all have seen stories about that Marine who shot the insurgent in the mosque who was only pretending to be dead and was hiding his hands. I am so appalled at how our "brave" news media is second-guessing his decisions and defending the terrorists. Abhorent. Anyways, here is an online petition for you to sign, stating that you feel nothing bad at all should happen to this Marine, and that he should be sent back to his unit or given an honorable discharge. I don't know where the petition will end up, but I do think it is very important to make it clear that we support this man, so the rest of our soldiers can be free to make the split-second decisions they need to in the heat of battle, without fear of liberal news media people breathing down their necks and accusing them of war crimes. I got this petition from a military blog called Blackfive , which always has good info about our soldiers that you don't see in the newspapers. I'll warn you though, some of the stories, letters, etc. will make you cry.

Claire

Friday, November 19, 2004

The Washington-Dayton Daily Post??

I was reading a blog that I enjoy (she's a black, Christian conservative), and she mentioned the changes the Washington Post is going to make because it has a declining circulation. Here's a hint--they're NOT becoming more conservative! No, they are going to write shorter stories, have more pictures, and have more skin-color diversity. Yes--they are going to become the Dayton Daily News! Now I KNOW I won't ever regret not subscribing!

Claire

Happy Birthday, Amy!

Today is the birthday of my best friend, Amy. When I say "best friend", I really mean "sister", because that's how I think of her. We've known each other since fifth grade, when we were both new to Dayton Christian. We didn't really get to each other well until high school, though, where we cheered together, carpooled together, and were an incredibly accurate but very slow pair of lab partners. Then we roomed together in college, even sharing the same major (biology--still lab partners!), and of course we were in each other's weddings. Before college, everyone always warned us about rooming with your best friend, but we just smiled--we knew there would never be something we'd disagree about that seriously, and there never has been. We are simply too much alike, and our nonconfrontational personalities mean we just don't annoy each other. I've never met another person who always knows exactly how I'm feeling--because that's how she would also react to the same situation. It's funny how our brains run on the same track. Just the other day we were talking, and she mentioned how she didn't have any outside decorations for her new house, her neighbors all go all-out for Christmas, but she didn't want to spend a whole lot of money, so she was thinking about buying those little candles for her windows because they weren't specifically Christmas, but you could use them the whole winter long. I had to laugh, because I had just gone through the same line of reasoning myself earlier that day! Now that we're in Virginia, and she's still back in Ohio, I miss her so much. Even though we knew we would only be stationed in Ohio a few years, I just got so used to again being a part of her life on a daily basis. Thank goodness for cheap long distance and emails so I can still vent to her when I need to (often)! For a going-away present, she made me a scrapbook of pictures, cards, notes, and memories from all the years of our friendship, and it is one of my most treasured possessions. I LOVE to look through it again and again, laughing at all the great times we've had! So today on her birthday, I just wanted to say how thankful I am for her, and for her wonderful friendship these past 21 years. She's truly been one of God's greatest blessings in my life.

"We've shared so much laughter; shared so many tears.
We've a spiritual kinship that grows stronger each year.
We're not sisters by birth, but we knew from the start--
God put us together to be sisters in heart."

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Calvin and Hobbes

Nathan has discovered my old "Calvin and Hobbes" comic books. That is still one of my favorite comic strips, and when I read comics now, I can see a lot of influences that Bill Watterson has had on modern cartoonists. Nathan will just sit on the couch and read them for as long as I'll let him. He'll sit there the whole afternoon, and all I'll hear out of him is continuous giggling. It's cute. He's doing pretty well at understanding exactly why they're funny. A little while back, he was enjoying some old "Beetle Bailey" books, and I had to explain practically every one of those strips. Can you imagine how much "funniness' those strips lose when you have to go through and define every little detail?! When I reread Calvin now as a homeschooling mom, all I can think is, "What a great candidate for homeschooling Calvin would be." I was just reading a strip in It's a Magical World where he and Hobbes found a snake and started asking all these questions, realizing they didn't know anything about snakes. So Hobbes says that maybe his mom could get them a book, and they are both excited about becoming experts on snakes until Calvin remembers that it's summer vacation, and he doesn't want to learn anything. Hobbes thinks for a minute, then says, "If nobody makes you do it, then it counts as fun." The last panel shows them both hunched over a book saying, "coooooooolll". The fun of homeschooling is exploring those interests and watching your kids get excited about learning things. And the even greater thing about it for boys is they don't have to sit inside at a desk all day long, feeling wiggly.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

An inspiring story

My Aunt Claire has a wonderful story on her blog today. It's the story of a young Mormon woman who was searching for truth, and the Lord used my cousin and a paper he wrote to lead her to Himself. "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:32

Claire

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Christmas shopping

Well, I'm just a posting fool tonight. I am excited because I bought my Christmas present today!!! As an aside, whenever people tell those jokes about women not liking to get practical things for presents--that's not me. So, my big present was . . . a Kitchenaid Professional 5 mixer! I've never had a Kitchenaid before (I always used Mom's when we lived in Ohio), and I did a lot of research last night online to find out the exact model I wanted. I found it at Kohls.com, so today while Nathan and Luke were at their homeschool co-op, the rest of us went to Kohls to see what we could find. It was on sale, plus I had a coupon for 15% off with my Kohl's card! When I checked out, the cashier was actually a higher-up person who Bob and I have dealt with before, and for some reason he gave me 20% off, so it was only about $230. Yay! It has a 5-quart bowl and is 450 watts. I should also add that it is white, which is indeed a boring color when contrasted with the red I could have picked. But I am really not a "red" sort of person, and I definitely think white is a more classic color which will match more potential kitchens!

For our family members, I just want to remind you that we do have a wishlist at Amazon.com, if you happen to need any ideas (not that we or the boys are expecting anything). Just search for us there.

Claire

VeggieTales

I thought I needed to practice putting links in my posts, so I am going to try a post with SEVERAL links--something never before attempted by me! A little over a year ago, while we were in Salt Lake visiting family, I read a little blurb in their paper about how Big Idea Productions (the creators of VeggieTales) had declared bankruptcy and been bought by some other company. We all wondered what it meant and promptly forgot all about it, since it seemed like they were still producing good videos. A few months ago we got the newest VeggieTale, Sumo of the Opera, and it didn't seem as strong as some of the others. My best friend Amy told me about a review that she had read on Amazon.com that said that VeggieTales was owned by a different company, and that Phil Vischer wasn't an employee of that new company. The review referred to Phil Vischer's new web site , which answered a lot of my questions. In particular, he links an excellent article in Christianity Today that discusses in detail what happened. Basically, the company expanded rapidly but profits didn't keep up, so they got furthur behind. They hoped for a miracle with the Jonah movie, but it did just okay, not spectacularily. Then they were sued by their first distributor, and the jury awarded them (the distributor) $11 million. That sunk Big Idea. The interesting thing about the article is how it talks about the personal spiritual transformation that happened to Phil Vischer during this very stressful time when basically his dream died. I think God is going to use him in even bigger ways, but this has made me sorry that I haven't prayed for people like him, who are trying to influence our children for Christ. They are certainly going to undergo spiritual attacks, since Satan really doesn't want to give up our kids. I know I always assumed he was fat, rich, and happy with all the profits from the videos we were buying. Read the article! It's very interesting. And one last link--there was a funny story about the break-up of VeggieTales in an issue of LarkNews.com (which is sort of like "The Onion" for Christians).

Wow, four links! I've come a long way!

Claire






Monday, November 15, 2004

More on the Retreat

I thought I'd tell a little more about the retreat, since before I was pretty obsessed with our lack of heat. We went up a day earlier than most of the people, and Mom and Dad did too. We ate out together at Hoss's (a steakhouse like Ponderosa, for those who don't know) Thursday night, and it was surprisingly good. Two other families got there that night, both with 2 young children and expecting another. We had a lot of opportunities over the whole weekend to talk about child-raising, discipline issues, homeschooling, and other fun topics like that. It's still hard to believe that people actually think of us now as the "older" parents who can dispense advise and wisdom. Both families had older children who might be considered "strong-willed", and they were dealing with the temper tantrums and so on that go along with that. My kids really can't be considered strongwilled in the traditional sense, I don't think, and they don't usually act up a whole lot in public. This gives the impression that they are just really "good" kids, but in fact that is more a reflection of their personalities more than anything, I think--they are shy so don't pitch big temper tantrums or draw a lot of attentionto themselves. They still are rebellious and disobedient, but they are more passive about it, and sometimes it is harder to see and correct. At least if the child is throwing a huge tantrum, then you KNOW there is a discipline issue that needs to be dealt with! If on the other hand, a child just quietly never gets around to doing what you ask but instead goes and starts doing a different thing, then it is harder to discipline because sometimes you don't even notice until later. But the same disobedient attitude is there! So I tried to encourage these parents to just keep on being consistent and enforcing the standards, and eventually they will see fruit. It can be so discouraging though. We talked about other stuff too, not just parenting! It was fun to stay up late and talk and laugh with other adults. Baby monitors are a great invention!

I didn't hear alot of the speaker, Art Apgar, because I did stuff with the kids. I did get to be in on the worship times which were led by another couple, Dan and Carol. I really enjoyed their music as well as how they interacted with each other. It was very natural. They sang songs in a lot of different styles, and many of them were songs they had written.

We got to hike around a little Saturday afternoon. That was a beautiful day, unlike Friday where it rained all day long. We took some family pictures over the weekend too, one of which will end up being our Christmas picture. I got the pictures back today, and we actually have to choose between a few good ones! That RARELY happens with 4 squirmy boys! The weekend was too short, as usual, and we rushed back home to get the boys to AWANAs Sunday night. After we dropped them off, Caleb didn't want to go home (maybe he remembered how cold it would be?). He just wanted to go back to "White Silver 'Prings". And Nathan can't wait until he can be on staff there.

Furnace Update

We have heat again! Bob called around today and found the part down south of his office, so he picked it up after work. He was able to get it installed quickly with no problems, so our house is nice and toasty all over! Praise the Lord for a handy husband who can fix things like that! In a side note, on-line Bob found out that York furnaces are known for problems with the igniter, and he was able to figure out the code numbers to tell that the one that broke was made in 1998, so the Andersons had already replaced it once. The one he got is supposed to be "new and improved", and is supposed to last a lot longer. We certainly pray that it does!

Claire

It's a bit chilly in here right now . . .

Well, we are having furnace problems. To be specific, when we got up Thursday morning and went downstairs, we thought it seemed a little chilly. Our thermostat was set at 69 degrees, but it was only 64. Bob fiddled around with it, but he could never make the furnace kick on, although the fan was working fine. We were leaving to go to White Sulphur Springs for the OCF Veterans' Day Retreat, so we just turned it off and forgot about it. (We had a wonderful weekend, by the way. It was a great group of people, and it was so much fun.) When we drove in last night, the house was a chilly 54 degrees. Fortunately our upstairs furnace works, so we were fine for sleeping. It got down to about 22 degrees outside last night, so we left our faucets dribbling. We were afraid the pipes might freeze! This morning we are all bundled up, and we brought our little bathroom space heater down. The boys had oatmeal for breakfast, and with the little heater pointing towards the table, it took the chill off the air, so it wasn't uncomfortable. I think we're going to go somewhere this morning though--I'm declaring a school holiday! Isn't that what public schools do when they have furnace malfunctions? : ) Our next-door neighbor came over and looked at the furnace last night, and he and Bob have figured out what the problem is. The electronic ignition thing is broken. Bob has removed it, but he can't find a replacement part. They don't sell furnace parts at Home Depot, if you can imagine! So we'll either order it online and be without heat for a couple more days or try to find it around here. He's calling some places today to see if he can find the part.

So, to count our blessings, we're thankful that this happened in mid-November, instead of February, when it would really be cold outside. It's sunny today with a high of 58, and we have lots of south-facing windows, so our kitchen and family room will heat up from the sun's radiant heat. And we do have that second furnace, so it's nice and toasty upstairs. In the meantime, we can pretend we live in a drafty medieval castle!

Claire

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Another good reason to homeschool . . .

Montgomery County, MD is implementing a new sex-ed course in their schools. It looks like quite a doozy. Hopefully you can read the Washington Times article here.

Did it work? If so, you can thank Mr. Techno-Stud Dan, as well as Aunt "Intrepid" Claire for their technical assistance.

And by the way, our Classical Academy won't be using this new health program. Around here, we use cucumbers in salads, on sandwiches, and also as stars of animated kiddie videos, but never as condom models!

Claire

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Pray for our troops!

Well, this is just a reminder to keep praying for our troops in Fallujah and all over Iraq and Afghanistan. I think it really is a spiritual battle over there, and I am reminded of the final scenes in This Present Darkness, where the angels were battling the demons, and the prayers of the saints played a big part in defeating the demons. Along those same lines, Nathan asked this morning how long there was going to be fighting over in Iraq. I of course said I had no idea because the people we're fighting against don't care anything about their own lives or for the lives of their countrymen--they just want people to be scared of them and do whatever they want. That's why they do such awful things. So then we had this conversation:
Nathan: What were the names of the guys who used to torture and kill all their prisoners? The ones who got beaten by the Babylonians?
Me: The Assyrians?
Nathan: Yeah, the Assyrians. They were in the same area as Iraq. The bad people there now are just like them.
Me: Well, anytime anyone tells you that mankind is basically good, or that we're all evolving to become better, just remind them that people haven't changed at all in 3000 years, on their own. Only through Jesus can we really change, and these people don't know Jesus.

Another example of the importance of teaching history to better understand the events of today! It's always great when they can make the connections. Keep praying!

Claire

Monday, November 08, 2004

Interesting Point . . .

There was an interesting editorial column by Bruce Bartlett in the Washington Times today (okay, there were several good ones--have I mentioned yet how much I love this newspaper?!) about the "values" victory in the election. He said that the liberals are so afraid that the "religious nuts" that voted for Bush are ready to impose their radical fundamentalist agenda on everyone by not only banning same-sex marriage and abortion, but also dancing, rock-n-roll, and R-rated movies. Here is his point--"Ironically, the the real problem is liberals have imposed their beliefs on America exactly the way they imagine conservatives want to do." No wonder they're scared! They have no concept of the correct way to go about changing things you don't like in a system--by voting! The only thing they know is judicial activism.

Well, I wish I knew how to link the article, but alas, I know not these deep technological things. I am hoping to put a counter on the bottom of the site, since I am inspired by the astounding success of my intrepid Aunt Claire. And I have gone as far as putting "computer books" on my library list. But I think that the real key to my success with HTML will be the Christmas visit of my brother, Mr. Techno-Stud himself. I am eagerly awaiting his vast stores of wisdom!

Claire

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Haircut Night

Tonight was haircut night for ALL the boys in the family. One can always tell when it's time because of Nathan's cowlick. He has a complicated "double whorl" hair pattern, which looks like dueling hurricanes rotating right beside each other at the crown of his head. Right in between the 2 whorls is a single line of hair, and it literally sticks straight up when it isn't short enough. Tonight Caleb went first, then Luke, then Jonathan (who wanted to be a really big boy and sit by himself on the stool for the first time--usually I hold him), then Nathan, and lastly Bob. I have only recently begun cutting Bob's hair, and I still do it reluctantly, since the stakes are much higher. Plus, I am pretty much a one-trick pony with regards to hair styles I can do, so his haircut always looks like a slightly longer version of the boys'. He usually gets his hair cut at a "real" barber shop in between my haircuts, so I guess it all evens out. And just think of how much money we're saving just cutting out (lol!) every other haircut. As far as the boys go, I would definitely say that I am complimented most often on their haircuts when strangers see us out shopping or whatever. Everyone loves them. They often come up and rub their hands on their heads too, although this tends to mostly happen to Caleb. His personality is the most inviting for such liberties! I don't think any stranger has EVER done that to Luke!

Now for a special treat, Bob is giving everyone a bath in our big bathtub. At the end, he turns on the jets and makes bubbles, which Nathan and Luke love, but Caleb is scared of . . . except that now he is a big boy, so before the bath he was loudly proclaiming to everyone that now he LIKES the bubbles. We'll see what happens when the jets go on, however. I have my doubts. [Time passes] Well, the bubbles are on, and Caleb has stayed in the tub. I guess he is a big boy now! The only thing we have left is his pacifier at bedtime. On our way back from Ohio in October, his car binky broke--well, actually just the thing that clips it to his clothes, but I took it away and said it was broken. I think he's on to me though, because he has asked a couple of times if he can just "look at it to make sure it's broken". I have no intention of fixing it, and slowly he has decreased the frequency of his asking about it. He has no desire whatsoever to give up his bed binky, and I am not going to battle over it until after Thanksgiving and that trip to Ohio. Maybe he'll give it up on his own before then! Wouldn't that be an early Christmas present for me!

Claire

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Appreciate Your Help in Advance: Romans 2:6-23

I struggle preparing inductive Bible Studies, so here's your opportunity to offer general or specific support of any variety. Limited Time Offer: the study is Nov 19th! Thanks, and Very Respectfully, Bob

Friday, November 05, 2004

Book Review #1: Tom Peters' The Pursuit of WOW! (Ch 1)


Trivia: Tom Peters was in the Navy (p35)

I almost stopped reading this at page 3, feeling this was a smarmy "Just Do It" leadership/management book. However, I've really grown attached to Mr Peters' skillful and effective use of personal stories (pgs 5, 8, 14, 17...): Love people and show it (didn't some carpenter say something about this 2000 years ago?)--this book has challenged me to write "Thank You" notes (p28).
I'm sure this book could be considered hokey by those Dilbert has captured to cynicism. I hope I remember that "People give to friends, not to causes" (p36), if face-to-face is impossible then "work the phones" for support (p37), and to "return phone calls fast" (p40).
Peters postulates that reality needs to be perceived, so "perception is all there is--manage it!"
Maybe I'm tired from watching election coverage last night, however this spoke to me (both in trying to defend my vote re: Iraq, in and balancing my sons' (mainly yet future) reactions to bullies: "Weaklings leave a lot on the table" (p43). And this surprise: "Join Toastmasters" on pg 43 as well.
The last points are not rocket science, yet were well developed: First, be "beyond reproach", stay humble, and win convincingly. Reproach could come with not being early/ on time for mtgs, not dressing conservatively (with the example of how a lawyer tells her or his client to dress for court, not being a smart-aleck, and remembering that "jerks eventually get their just desserts" (p45). Staying humble means "skipping even the tiny arrogances of power." Finally, "football games are often lost in the last 30 seconds...I have no sympathy...If you'd been ahead 27-7, then...(it) wouldn't have cost you the game."

Bob
(P.S.: I don't agree w/ everything Mr Peters says--his worldview is much different; however, his observations yield useful insight. While there are nuggets throughout the book, like on interviewing (p75), his book loses momentum for me since his good observations seem to have been front-loaded (good editing?) and more and more of our life philosophy clashes come out--from now on, I will probably have to wait until I'm done reading before posting a review.)

Cake Update

Well, Caleb loves his cake and is very ready to eat it. He thinks it looks just like his beloved Koala Bear. Unfortunately, we have had a situation develop. I left the iced cake on the island, with its feet facing our kitchen window. It's a very sunny day (although with gale-force winds), so the sun has been shining on the poor bear. Well, the heat has turned the frosting on his "bottom" a lovely shade of green, as if he got up and sat in pond scum. SO during naptime, I am going to have to scrape off the affected frosting and refrost, something that never turns out very well as far as crumbs go. Hmmm. . . . and to think I wasn't totally happy with it last night! At least I took a picture then!

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Caleb's Birthday

Well, at this time 3 years ago, I was at the hospital in labor with my third son, Caleb. He was born at 1:10 a.m., after a pretty quick and easy labor, although he was 9 lb. 5 oz, so there was some hard pushing involved! He is such a wonderful addition to our family. He has such a happy personality (unless he is tired or has an ear infection, which only seems to happen in situations like when he was the ring-bearer in his uncle's wedding!), and people always warm up to him very quickly. He has a great smile, and he is just a funny, happy little boy (although he would immediately correct me to say that he is a big boy--one time I told him to get his little bottom somewhere, and he said very seriously, "It's not a LITTLE bottom. I have a big, BIG BOY bottom.")

Since we have Bible study tomorrow night, we did some celebrating tonight. Our friends, the Lorenzinis, came over for Caleb's favorite meal of meatloaf, potatoes, and peas. We had rice krispie treats for dessert, and Caleb opened his presents from his Grandma and Grandpa Grazier and from the Lorenzinis. Yes, that's right--his own parents neglected to get him anything. Can you tell my love language isn't "gifts"? But he was perfectly happy with the great books that he got, so I don't think there was any damage done to his psyche. The thing is, being the 3rd boy, he has tons of toys, so unless I can think of some specific thing he needs, I'd rather not get something just to say we got something. He knows we love him because we do lots of special things together.

I just got done frosting his cake. It's a koala bear, which of course is the stuffed animal he loves and sleeps with. I must say, it's not my best work. I really wanted to use his bear for a model, but Caleb would NOT fall asleep tonight in a timely manner, so finally I gave up and just started "shaping" the cake and frosting it without his bear. Oh well. Tomorrow night we'll take it to Bible study, where we will sing to him and eat it afterwards, during dessert time.

Claire

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Late Election Night!

Well, last night was a VERY late night for us--Bob and I finally went to bed at 4:30, after vainly waiting for the news guys to call either New Mexico or Nevada. The boys stayed up until 10:00. We colored in a blank electoral map that I had printed off. Nathan and Luke were pretty interested in the whole process, and we had lots of good discussions about the electoral college, "liberals vs. conservatives", and so on. I am so proud of the conservative Republicans in Ohio (not to mention the rest of the nation!) who got out and made a difference in the voting! I wished mine would have still counted there, instead of in PA. We watched either ABC or NBC all night because those are the only 2 stations we (barely) get without cable in our basement. Normally that's not a problem, since we don't really want to encourage TV watching, but we certainly wished for cable during the Olympics and also last night during the election! I wished we could have watched Fox, but I was VERY glad that CBS was not a choice. I don't think I could have stood to watch Dan Rather. At least NBC and ABC pretended to be a pretty impartial. Although, was it just me, or did Brokaw and Jennings start getting a little testy with the Bush campaign reps after about 3:00? I guess they (the anchors) were starting to realize that Bush really was likely to win, no matter how many far-fetched scenarios involving provisional and absentee ballots they could devise. Plus, I'm sure they were exhausted. I know I was (am). I didn't eat yesterday, and I definitely found that I was reminded to pray frequently by my empty tummy. We are really praising the Lord today for showing mercy to us, and for extending so much grace to our country.

Today has been a lighter school day, in light of a very tired teacher. The boys got up and starting drawing their own books of medieval knights battling. They just came up with this on their own,and since I am not very artistic, I certainly want to encourage any possible artistic endeavor they come up with! So they worked on those for awhile, looking at our reference books to make sure they knew how to draw the right helmets and weaponry (a long axe is called a "pole axe", NOT a "pike", as I so ludicrously suggested). Then we read our Bible, prayed, and did a little bit of math and English. Nathan is also copying his famous "oatcake recipe" for his history notebook. I guess that counts as handwriting too! I think we'll just read aloud this afternoon. Then maybe a nap for Mom.

Claire

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Oatcakes

Nathan made us authentic oatcakes last night for dinner from a recipe in the Celtic book we're reading. They were pretty good! Of course, we added honey to the recipe, so maybe that's why. We even used the old-fashioned kind of oats (which I accidentally bought at the commissary one time) instead of the quick-cooking, since no self-respecting Celt would have been steel-cutting their oats, I'm sure! The oatcake recipe was pretty simple, but Nathan really is turning into quite a good baker. He made whole-wheat biscuits to go with our soup a few nights ago, and Saturday night he made pancakes (from scratch, using Elizabeth's yummy whole wheat flour recipe). I'm around to supervise, but he's doing pretty much everything, including the rolling out and cutting! Now if I could just get him to do all the washing up too . . .

Claire

Monday, November 01, 2004

A typical day . . .

I thought maybe you would be interested in seeing what a "normal" day looks like for us. We definitely don't get started at the crack of dawn! We usually get up around 8:00, except for Caleb (almost 3), who sleeps until 9:00. We usually start school between 9:30 and 10:00, so we have quite a leisurely morning! The first thing we do is read the Bible. We've been reading a chapter of Proverbs a day for the past few months, since I've noticed a need for some practical wisdom around here, but today we've started back to our Vos's Childrens' Bible. Then we read from a book about different character qualities (self-control, this week), and we usually pray for a different country each day, a la Operation World. The past few weeks, however, we have focused on praying for our country and the election. All this is done on our couch in the family room, and we stay there for English (using First Language Lessons) and Mental Math. Then we move to the kitchen table, where the boys do their copywork, grammer work, and handwriting. I do math with them one at a time during this time, while the other boy works on his other things. Nathan (7) is doing Saxon 3, and Luke (5) is over halfway through Saxon 1. Caleb usually does some preschool worksheets during this time, since he definitely wants to be included. Jonathan (17 mo.) primarily gets into the cereal cabinet and tries to climb onto the table. The boys finish their math pages while I get lunch. We do Latin (using Prima Latina) over lunch. I love this program! It is such a gentle way to start learning a complicated language! They are building up good vocabularies, and they like finding derivatives when we read. After lunch we do science and history. These are favorite subjects, so we have to put them off for motivation. In science, we're studying the human body, and right now we're learning about the nervous system. We use Story of the World II (the Middle Ages) for history, and we're learning about the Celts. We're in the middle of making Celtic warrior helments out of ballons and paper-mache. I don't do tons of fun, messy projects, as a rule, because that is not my personality, but every so often . . . We need to paint them now. I have found that my world history base is very limited, and I have learned so much from the books we've read. We're usually done with everything between 2:00 and 3:00, and they can play or read while Jonathan naps. After dinner, we often read library books, which in our house are usually non-fiction, either science or history, or I read aloud whichever book we're doing currently. Right now we're in the middle of The Dog That Wouldn't Be by Farley Mowat. What a great book! The boys find it hilarious too. Mowat uses more complicated sentence structures and bigger words than a lot of other stuff that's out there, which is good and challenging for them to listen to. We've found a lot of our Latin roots in his words! The boys are usually in bed around 9:00, and thus ends another day--well, not for Bob and me. I guess if we did go to bed then, maybe I'd finally be able to get up and exercise before the boys wake up! But I like my "wind-down" time at the end of the day when everything is quiet, so I doubt things will change anytime soon!

Claire