Tuesday, January 31, 2006

"The Eagle Has Landed"

Well, I am done with the teaching part of my co-op responsibilities! Yay! Today we talked about the moon. The first part was about the physical moon--characteristics, phases, etc.--and the second part was about the space program to the moon. I always find that so interesting, so I love talking about that. We also have lots of little metal diecast figures of the space program (an Apollo capsule, the lunar module, a Saturn 5 rocket, etc.), and the kids really liked seeing and playing with those while I talked about them. Now hopefully they will all remember some part of what I said when we visit the museum next week!

One funny thing happened today while I was teaching the first graders. We were talking about the difference between our gravity and that of the moon, and I was bounding around the room to show how the astronauts walked on the moon. One little boy said in a surprised voice, "Hey! Are you having a BABY?!" LOL! I guess he never noticed before! Either that, or he just thought I was really fat! But since I carry straight out in front, like I stuck a big basketball under my shirt, people rarely don't notice anything! I laughed though. : )

I was so tired again after we got home, and I had a huge headache. After I put Jonathan down for his nap, I took the unheard-of step of actually putting on my fuzzy warm fleece nightshirt and crawling into bed for a nap, instead ofjust sleeping on the couch! It was nice, although my headache is still going strong. I think it's actually one of those atmospheric/pregnancy headaches, since it's been cloudy, then sunny, then cloudy all day, and very windy. Where's a barometer when I need one?! Actually, I think my head could be a barometer, since it seems to be reacting to changing atmospheric pressure!

After dinner tonight we watched half of "My Fair Lady" and had popcorn. I think the boys' favorite part is when they are dancing during "The Rain In Spain" song. They laugh so hard! The L's gave us a new popcorn popper for Christmas, and let me just interject here that we are absolutely loving it! It is tons bigger than our last one, so we only have to pop up one batch for us (6 quarts). It also has this neat stirrer bar thing, and it really does seem to work to keep the old maids to a minimum. Plus, the bowl is not cracked, like on our old one (which really is old--I think it came into the marriage with Bob too, so that makes it over 12 years old!). It all adds up to a much nicer movie-watching experience!

Monday, January 30, 2006

Taking Off Your Mask

"Taking Off Your Mask" was the topic of our ladies' retreat, and the speaker was a woman named Debby Price. She and her husband used to go to our chruch, but then they moved out to Wichita, KS for her husband's job. They have 4 boys too. Both Debby and her husband are children of preachers, although she did say that her family (growing up) never thought she would ever be a speaker at a retreat, since she was not a public speaker by any means! She was very nice and friendly, with a very vibrant walk with the Lord. I was sorry we weren't around when they were at our church to get to know them more.

She gave her testimony Friday night, and then on Saturday she started talking about why we wear masks. She had a handout with 2 circles on it, both being ways to solve problems. The first way is to have a problem, respond and try to fix it (since everyone wants to be in control!). Then you either succeed or fail, but eventually you will fail at fixing some problem. Then you feel anger, shame and fear, so you put on a mask, withdraw, and feel defeated.

The second way involves responding to your problem by trusting the Lord. Then there is either success or failure, but you can be confident that "our character is more important than our comfort", and that no matter what happens, God is in control of the situation. Then you can feel peace and be open about your struggles, walking in obedience. That leads to freedom, and you see your problem as a testimony to the Lord's power and faithfulness.

She said a lot more, but this first part really spoke to me, since we've been struggling so much with the issue of our future, and what we should be doing with our house. I can really see that I am not trusting God to take care of us, but more importantly, I really am not trusting that the Lord will speak to Bob and work in his life, even through potentially bad decisions, to draw him closer too. I really want to know the whole plan--at once! Debby said once, "My future doesn't depend on me fixing it", but right now I feel like that is where I'm at, and I have not experienced peace . . . well, since we moved here! We had a time of prayer Saturday night, and that whole issue is what I asked prayer for. The ladies prayed for both of us, and it was a real encouragement to me. Of course, I went home Sunday, and Bob and I got into a raging fight about what else, what we should do with our house, and I feel like it must have been satanic! Fortunately we were able to talk about some things later, but obviously this is an issue that Satan feels he can use to divide us. Specifically, the issue is "should we sell the house sooner rather than later". Interest rates are going up, and the fear is that there will be a much smaller pool of buyers who will be able to afford our house (and a bigger pool of houses for sale) when it is time to sell (in a another year or 2?). So maybe we should try to sell now and live in a rental until we are ready to move. The only flaw in this plan is that we will be having a baby in 8 weeks, so we aren't really in a position right now to get a house ready to sell, much less pack everything up and move ourselves. So some of the conflict is that we don't have many options right now, and that leads one to look back and question previous decisions leading us to where we are now. But since we can't change those things, that is a pretty counterproductive little exercise, although it does considerably raise the tension levels!

Right now, the bottom line for me anyways is to be open to how God is leading Bob and also to trust that God has us where we are for a reason. I have been praying that God would clearly reveal to us, especially Bob, what he wants us to do, and I'll continue to pray that. But really, what it comes down to is saying, "You know what you're doing, and I trust you, Lord". That takes the pressure off of me! I still would like to experience more of his peace though, LOL!

Sunday, January 29, 2006

I'm Back!

I'm back from my retreat, and Bob and all the boys survived without me just fine! In fact, Bob took all the boys to WalMart yesterday. I don't even take all the boys to WalMart on Saturdays! The other ladies were very impressed. They already think Bob is some kind of hero because he can watch all 4 boys. Most of them don't have as many children as I do (well, none on the retreat had as many as we do), and most of them have in-laws or parents close by to help the husbands out. So this has just cemented Bob's "super-dad" reputation.

The retreat was really good. The weather was beautiful, and yesterday afternoon I got to take a nap AND go on a nice walk along the beach. How relaxing! Our retreat was at a place called Sandy Cove, which is on the Chesapeake Bay. It is like a hotel, with 3 buffet-style meals a day and maid service, so it is a nice atmosphere.

The speaker was good, but I will have to write more about what she actually discussed later. We stayed up late last night, and I am just pooped! So . . . more later!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

New Courses Offered For Men . . .

I saw this a few days ago, and it made me laugh, so I thought I would post it. Obviously, it is all sterotypical, so it doesn't apply to everyone. For example, both Bob and I hate to shop, so no problems there! And I am the one who will not stop and ask for directions. Bob on the other hand will roll down his window and ask random strangers in the car next to us, while I hide my head in the glove box. I guess I'd better sign up for Class 9. Here at home, I am doing an intensive class of my own along the lines of classes 4 and 5 (laundry hampers and dirty dishes) in hopes that my sons' wives will be the beneficiaries, and my sons will never need these kinds of classes as men! : )



Class 1 How To Fill Up The Ice Cube Trays --- Step by Step, with Slide Presentation. Meets 4 weeks, Monday and Wednesday for 2 hours beginning at 7:00 PM.

Class 2 The Toilet Paper Roll --- Does It Change Itself? Round Table Discussion. Meets 2 weeks, Saturday 12:00 for 2 hours.

Class 3 Is It Possible To Urinate Using The Technique Of Lifting The Seat and Avoiding The Floor, Walls and Nearby Bathtub? --- Group Practice. Meets 4 weeks, Saturday 10:00 PM for 2 hours.

Class 4 Fundamental Differences Between The Laundry Hamper and The Floor --- Pictures and Explanatory Graphics. Meets Saturdays at 2:00 PM for 3 weeks.

Class 5 After Dinner Dishes --- Can They Levitate and Fly Into The Kitchen Sink? Examples on Video. Meets 4 weeks, Tuesday and Thursday for 2 hours beginning at 7:00 PM

Class 6 Loss Of Identity --- Losing The Remote To Your Significant Other. Help Line Support and Support Groups. Meets 4 Weeks, Friday and Sunday 7:00 PM

Class 7 Learning How To Find Things --- Starting With Looking In The Right Places And Not Turning The House Upside Down While Screaming. Open Forum Monday at 8:00 PM, 2 hours

Class 8 Health Watch --- Bringing Her Flowers Is Not Harmful To Your Health. Graphics and Audio Tapes. Three nights; Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 7:00 PM for 2 hours.

Class 9 Real Men Ask For Directions When Lost --- Real Life Testimonials. Tuesdays at 6:00 PM Location to be determined.

Class 10 Is It Genetically Impossible To Sit Quietly While She Parallel Parks? Driving Simulations. 4 weeks, Saturdays noon, 2 hours.

Class 11 Learning to Live --- Basic Differences Between Mother and Wife. Online Classes and role-playing Tuesdays at 7:00 PM, location to be determined

Class 12 How to be the Ideal Shopping Companion--- Relaxation Exercises, Meditation and Breathing Techniques. Meets 4 weeks, Tuesday and Thursday for 2 hours beginning at 7:00 PM.

Class 13 How to Fight Cerebral Atrophy --- Remembering Birthdays, Anniversaries and Other Important Dates and Calling When You're Going To Be Late. Cerebral Shock Therapy Sessions and Full Lobotomies Offered. Three nights; Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 7:00 PM for 2 hours.

Class 14 The Stove/Oven --- What It Is and How It Is Used. Live Demonstration. Tuesdays at 6:00 PM, location to be determined.

Upon completion of any of the above courses, diplomas will be issued to the survivors.

Quick Update

It's been a few days since I last blogged. Nothing exciting has happened, and well, I'm just more tired! I've been doing so well at exercising every morning, but the downside is I pretty much have to take a nap at about 1:30. Oh well.

Teaching went really well, but I sure was tired afterwards. First and second grade teachers have my utmost respect because I just don't think I would ever have the patience to deal with 20 or more wiggly little kids for a whole day! Three hours is plenty for me! The first graders took longer to do things, so I had activities we never even got to, but better too much than not enough! The second grade boys were pretty hyper, but everyone liked talking about stars, and things went well.

Now I am moving on to the moon for next week! I'm so glad I got all of my handouts done and copied off already, so that is all set. Now I need to make a big poster depicting the phases of the moon, as well as a far-off view of the earth and sun, with the moon in the different postitions. In fact, I should be doing that right now, but you see I always pick blogging over what I really should be doing! LOL! I don't actually have all that much time to get ready before Tuesday. Tonight I have a co-op moms' meeting. I enjoy getting together with the other ladies, especially when it involves dinner! Then tomorrow afternoon I am leaving for our church ladies' retreat, and I won't be back until Sunday afternoon. Yes, that means 3, maybe 4 nights that I don't have to cook! It's the little things that excite me most at this point. LOL! I am looking forward to the time away. I'm not sure what the speaker's topic will be, but the retreat last year was really good. I hope this one will be too.

That's about all that's happening around here. I'll post about the retreat when I get back!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Preparations are complete . . .

I start teaching tomorrow, and I just finished pounding my last chip can. I made constellations by pounding nail holes into the bottom of pringles chip cans and covering the outside of the canisters with black construction paper. They look pretty neat, I must say, but I am tired of holding the nail in place! I did 18 of them (yes, we have been saving pringles cans for quite awhile, and I will be thrilled to have them out of the study!), and there are 6 different constellations that I did. I got the idea from someone on the Well-Trained Mind board several months back, and it was a good one! I think the kids will enjoy "star-gazing"' from the comfort of the classroom! It sure beats all the D.C. light pollution anyways. I also found, at the last minute, a demonstration on why stars twinkle, using a bowl of water, a mirror, and a flashlight. I had quite a time hunting up a small mirror, but finally I found one in an old compact. I managed to pry it out using a putty knife, so we're good to go on that as well. I had plenty of flashlights to choose from, though! LOL!

Ed, Elizabeth, Jonathan, and I did a reconnaisance foray to the Udvar-Hazy Museum last night while everyone else was at AWANAs to scout for our upcoming field trip there. The museum is technically free, but there is a $12/car charge for parking! Elizabeth got a hot tip that you can park after 4:30 for free (the museum closes at 5:30), so that is what we did. We had to organize a scavenger hunt for the k-4 through 2nd graders, since they don't get a guided tour, and their hands-on time is only about 30 minutes. There's some neat stuff there, especially if you are at all interested in space, but I hope it will keep the attention of the little guys!

Now all I need to do to be ready for tomorrow is type out my lesson plans in an attempt to be really organized. I suppose I should go ahead and sign off so I can get that done! You will notice that I haven't blogged for several days, but when there is something else that needs to be doing, all of a sudden I am full of words! LOL!

Let the nesting begin!

I still have about 9 weeks to go, but I am already feeling twinges of that nestin ginstinct, particularily with regards to storing up food. Now I know that reading My Side of the Mountain, where Sam details all his preparations for winter isn't helping any, but I do always get this urge to pack away tons of food in our freezers before I have a baby. I say "freezers" because one thing we have is plenty of freezer storage space! We have a lovely big side by side in our kitchen that came with the house, plus a small side by side in the garage that we got from Nana and Papa. Then we also have a big upright freezer in the garage, also from Nana and Papa, as well as what used to be our main fridge, an Amana with the freezer on the bottom, down in the basement. Amazingly, that one is also from Nana and Papa (we didn't just up and take away all their refrigerating devices--they moved into a small retirement village, and we traded our new fridge for their nicer one when they sold their house when we were stationed out in Colorado!). So storage space is definitely not an issue! As a funny aside, a few months after we moved here, some salesman called from one of those places that will bring meat to your door. He asked what kind of refrigerator and freezer we had. I rattled off all of ours, and there was kind of a stunned pause. "Umm, are you an appliance store or something?!" LOL!

Anyhow, I have been busy browning tons of ground beef and cooking and chopping tons of chicken. I've also put an extra meatloaf up, as well as chicken and black bean soup, and from tonight's meal, chili. I also cooked and mashed lots of sweet potatoes so we can make tons of sweet potato biscuits! I have plenty of other soups on our future menu, as well as spaghetti and things like that. I used to freeze a lot of casseroles, but with Caleb being allergic to dairy, there aren't as many that work now. But I think I will still have enough in the freezer by the time the baby is born to feed a small army. Which is good, since that seems to be what I am feeding every night.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Space Update

Well, for the 2 or 3 of you who are wondering, I got everything done last night for my space unit, and we were able to make the copies this afternoon. The price I paid--I went to bed at 1:30. Amy knows from college days that my brain pretty much shuts off after 11:00, so I was not all that productive after that time, and that is why it took me so long to finish! Actually, what happened is that I cut out all my beautiful timeline figures and realized that I made the Gemini, Apollo, and Saturn 5 rocket figures too big, and so all the figures did not fit on my timeline paper! Ack! In my befudled, tired state, I tried to figure out how to make our printer/copier shrink things down, but alas, I could not. Irrationally, I decided that the best thing to do was redraw them smaller right then. Yes! That was my brilliant solution! I finally got that done and the new ones copied onto the paper with the other figures (the ones that were small enough and already fit, LOL), and by that point in time, I never wanted to see anything dealing with space again. Fortunately, the boys all played and cooperated really well together this morning, and I slept in until 9:00.

At Office Depot we made a grand total of 421 copies--I told you I had done a lot of work! It took us over an hour to do so because Jonathan picked this afternoon to not obey in stores. So he thought it was hilarious to dart around display cases, creep around on his tummy, and generally make a nuisance of himself while I frantically tried to keep track of the mountain of copies piling up beside the copier. We actually had to go back out to the car after finishing the copies to "deal with issues", and then come back in to buy the rest of the stuff, like those little metal paper fasteners that you push through 2 pieces of paper and then the pieces will spin. We're using those both for a star project and a moon phase project. I'm happy to say that Jonathan was much more obedient after the intervention. LOL! I felt like a one-armed paper-hanger, though, and I'm sure anyone who saw me thought things like, "Oh, that poor overworked woman, with 4 wild Indians running around all the time!" Ahh well, keeps me humble. I can tell people that the boys are rarely in form like today, but I can tell they don't believe me! LOL!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Moon and Stars

I am up to my eyeballs in space stuff. I teach the first and second graders the next two Tuesdays at our co-op, and the general topic for our unit is space. I'm covering the stars and constellations next Tuesday and the moon and our space program to the moon the Tuesday after that. The mom who taught the first two weeks already covered the planets in the solar system and the space shuttle. When I was back in Ohio in October, I bought a space unit study guide at the teacher supply store, and it has some good ideas, but not enough. So I have been forced to do a lot of things on my own. I've made connect-the dot constellation pages for Orion and Ursa Major. I've made a coloring page about star temperatures and our spiral galaxy (note: spiral galaxies are very difficult to draw. Do not use mine as a model!). I made a constellation matching page wheere the kids cut out squares that just have the stars on them and glue them under the squares that have the stars with the lines all connected. I still have a few more things to draw. It's an hour and a half of teaching for each grade, and first and second grade kids are pretty active, so you have to have a lot of stuff to keep them occupied!

For the moon week, I didn't have to do as much drawing. We're going to be learning about the phases of the moon, so I need to make a model moon to use with my globe and a light. That will also demonstrate eclipses. There is already a moon phases activity in the activity guide I bought, so I just have to make copies of that. I do need to make a big poster of the moon phases for everyone to look at though. I did make a timeline worksheet that involved quite a bit of drawing. I'm going to glue a line with dates on it onto black construction paper for all the kids. I drew pictures to correspond with Sputnik, Yuri Gargarin's first space flight, the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs, the launch of Apollo 11, and the moon landing. The kids will cut out the pictures and glue them under the approriate dates. You can imagine that took me forever, since I am not an "artiste"! Ahh well, I poked around on the internet, but I couldn't really find little drawings like I wanted. I am trying to get over to Office Depot tomorrow afternoon to make all the copies I need, so that's why the big push tonight to finish it all. Whew!

For our "fifth week activity" (where all the grades do something special together), we are going to the Udvar-Hazy Museum , which is the annex to the National Air and Space Museum that is by the Dulles Airport. There are lots of space things exhibited there, and a lot from the early years of the space program, so I wanted the kids to be somewhat familiar with the terms. We will all see an IMAX movie, and my grades will have a little demo time where they can touch some parts of a space suit, etc. We need to come up with a scavenger hunt-type activity for them because they don't get a guided tour--only older kids. So I guess I'll be a tour guide as well!

Now, on to the making of a Latin review worksheet. I've been making one up every Friday, and the boys have enjoyed doing them. Well, maybe "enjoy" is too strong of a term! But since we're doing it all orally during the week, I figured they need some written reinforcement each week. Goodnight!

Piano Lessons

Yesterday was the first piano lesson for Nathan and Luke! You may remember that back in November we watched Anthony's dog Ned for him while he and his family went down to Texas for Thanksgiving. Our reward (and we really earned it, since it turned cold and snowy right after they drove out!) is some free piano lessons from Anthony! Anthony has developed quite the clientele of students AND a great reputation, so we were pretty happy to be able to get some time with him.

Nathan was very excited about starting lessons, and Luke's reaction was also typical of him--"Piano lessons! Oh no!" This is because 1. piano lessons are something new, and 2. he doesn't already know how to play the piano, therefore he might possibly make mistakes. But he had a really great time (they both did), and Anthony didn't scare Luke at all! LOL! So all afternoon the house rang with the notes of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star". The keyboard has never seen so much action!

Bob never had any sort of music lessons growing up, so he told the boys before they went that he wanted them to show him what they had learned. They were pretty excited about the idea that they knew something Daddy didn't, so they were very anxious for him to get home so they could "teach" him. They even worked it out between themselves--"Luke, I'll teach Daddy this week, and you teach him next week." "Yes, but I'l be there in case you forget something." We are well on our way to being a musical household! LOL! They were both eager to practice after doing their chores this morning and before starting schoolwork. I can only hope the enthusiasm continues, and I have to give credit to their great teacher! : )

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

A Good Holiday

We had a good day yesterday, although we didn't get much accomplished. Nathan made us cinnamon rolls for breakfast. Before you get all excited, let me just say these were not Elizabeth's delicious recipe, or Quiverof10's recipe, which has won rave reviews from the ladies on the Well-Trained Mind boards (we'll try those sometime!). They were, however, ones that an 8 year old boy could make by himself, so that made them quite delicious! I'll try to remember to post the recipe at the end of the post.

Bob was home, but we had a regular day of school anyhow. I felt like we've had to take some unexpected days off for doctors' appointments and such, and since we didn't have anything special planned, it seemed like we should go about our daily routine. Bob mainly played around with stocks online and paid our bills, contributing some Latin derivatives to the discussion at various points.

The highlight of my day was being able to go to the monthly meeting of the Ashburn Christian Home Educators support group (ACHE). It's always so nice to get out of the house and socialize with other women, especially ones with whom I have so much in common. I went with Christine, so I knew someone already, and another woman from our homeschool co-op was also there. The topic for the evening was "Classroom Organization and Time Management". The biggest thing I came away with was the knowledge that I am really pretty happy with where we're at right now, and with how I keep track of what we do and plan our days. I picked up a few practical tips, but I don't have a lot of unresolved angst about wishing I was better organized in the classroom! It was kind of funny--there were a lot of women there with 2 or 3 kids, the oldest being just 5. So Christine and I, with our oldest kids being the advanced age of 8, were like the old pros! That felt so odd because I know I am NOT the expert on homeschooling. I guess, practically speaking, that I AM more of an expert than someone in their first year with a kindergartener! Still, it felt weird. It was a good time of fellowship, with lots of great food. I ate more than my fair share of cheese spread and crackers! : )

Here is the recipe for the cinnamon rolls that Nathan made. It is straight from the Jan./Feb. 06 issue of Quick Cooking.

2 tubes (8 oz. each) Pillsbury crescent rolls
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 c. powdered sugar
2 T. milk

Unroll crescent dough into a rectangle. Seal seams and perforations. Combine the sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over dough. Roll up jelly roll style, starting with a long side; seal edge. Cut into 16 slices. Place rolls cut side down in 2 8 in. round baking pans coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar and milk, drizzle over the warm rolls.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Most Practical Christmas Gift Award

Last night, the boys were down in the basement, watching TV. Bob was on the computer, and I was trying to figure out what I was going to teach for co-op on the couch. At around 8:15, our electricity went off, so Bob went down to rescue the boys, while I searched my brain for where a flashlight could be. Then I remembered that we had bought cheap little flashlights for all of us at WalMart to put in our stockings for Christmas! I had never opened mine, but had stuck it on top of the bookcase in the family room. Yes! It was still there! And with that meager light, we were able to find 4 of the other 5 little flashlights, plus the big rechargeable one that was in the van. So everyone had a flashlight, and everyone was happy. Since it was bedtime, everyone just got their pajamas on and went to bed, instead of staying up late and watching football. That made Mommy happy! The power came back on at 11:30, which woke me up since I could now see what lights I had missed turning out, as well as hear the TV in the basement. It's been windy today as well, but not so bad, so I don't think we'll need all our flashlight power tonight. Too bad, since I have located even another one! Ahh well, I am still amazed that we could find so many of those things when we needed them. Believe me, that rarely happens around here!

Friday, January 13, 2006

Four Things

Several days (weeks?) ago, Pam over at Ramblings and Other Things tagged me, and I never got an extra minute to do it. But now we're done with school for the day, the house is clean (since Bob's sister and her family got back from their cruise last night and stayed here again before going back home this morning), and we're having left-overs for dinner. SO . . . . .

Four Things-

Four Jobs You've Had In Your Life: research assistant for the human engineering lab at Wright Pat (summer before starting college), paper-grader for Dr. Braithwaite's advanced math classes in college, American Heart Association research fellow at Wright State, and now, the most challenging and on-going, mother.

Four Movies You Would Watch Over and Over: Pride and Prejudice (BBC version), Hello Dolly, Apollo 13, Anne of Green Gables

Four Places You Have Lived: California, Okinawa, Colorado, Ohio

Four TV Shows You Love To Watch: Design on a Dime, Househunters, . . . . ummm . . . any of those HGTV shows about fixing up houses to sell . . . . sometimes I like to watch Whose Line Is It Anyways--that show can be so funny, although it can also be pretty crude . . . you can tell I'm reaching here! I just don''t watch that much TV. Before babies, I was a faithful ER watcher, but I haven't seen that show probably in 7 years now.

Four Places You Have Been On Vacation: Korea, Germany (our space-A honeymoon adventure), Telluride, Florida panhandle

Four Websites You Visit Daily: Claire Bug, Powerline, Hotel California (although I must say my brother has been less than prolific of late!), and the Well-Trained Mind general board

Four of Your Favorite Foods: chocolate . . . anything chocolate, but especially that which also includes peanut butter, or is dark chocolate, Chili's fajitas, Colonial's pizza (in Cedarville), my chicken enchilda casserole (can you tell that I crave Mexican foods while pregnant?!)

Four Places You Would Rather Be Right Now: in Ohio with my parents and Amy, browsing in a library or bookstore without kids, cross-country skiing in Colorado (well, I'd have to not be pregnant, too!), getting a full-body pregnancy massage . . . . ahh, makes me relax just to think about it!

And now, I've noticed that my home-schooling friend Beverly has also been too busy to blog much lately, so I am tagging her to do this little quiz!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Long Day

We left the house at 9:30 and got back home at 4:15. What did we do? Well, Jonathan and Caleb both had doctors' appointments, we ate lunch at Wendy's, and we went to the commissary. And if you don't think that should be an almost 7 hour day out, then you obviously don't live in Northern Virginia!

Jonathan had what should have been his 2 year well-baby appointment, although he is now over 2 1/2. He is healthy and normal, although very small. That should be no surprise to anyone! He got 4 shots today, 2 in each thigh, so he is not a happy camper now.

Caleb's appointment was because he needed new prescriptions for all his allergy and asthma meds. I am getting tired of going in all the time for these appointments, so I wanted to communicate to the doctor that I needed more refills on each prescription. Well. Not only did I NOT communicate that, somehow I also miscommunicated the fact that I needed new prescriptions for all 4 of his medicines. After waiting forever for our name to called in the pharmacy line, I discovered that he only gave me new prescriptions for Zyrtec and Albuterol, not Singulair and Flonase. I almost cried. So now I will be going back for another appointment in less than 3 months, because that is how much of those 2 medicines I think we have left. Every time I have an appointment there, medical care immediately becomes the top reason why I absolutely do not want to stay here any longer than I have to. I can not communicate with the doctors there, and it is so incredibly frustrating.

We went to Wendy's for lunch, and my jr. bacon cheeseburger with no cheese indeed had cheese on it, so it was then that I started to wonder if maybe the problem isn't me! Maybe I speak a very garbled form of English but just don't realize it!

Anyhow, we are now back from the commissary, home from all the rain and traffic on 66, and I have $457 worth of groceries to put away. So I guess it is going to be a long night too! The one thing I did do right today was start a roast and vegetables in the crockpot this morning, so praise the Lord, dinner is already taken care of. *weak cheer*

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Books and Movies

Last night, the boys and I watched "Caddie Woodlawn", which I found on DVD at the library. You may remember that we finished reading that book aloud a few months ago, and the boys really loved it. When I brought it home, I told Bob that I am always so hopeful about movies taht come from books, but usually I am so disappointed. No matter what this one was, it would be good for the boys--either it would be just like the book, and they would love it, or it would be totally different, and they would learn an important lesson about how the book is usually so much better.

Well, this movie definitely fell in the second category! Nathan's first comment was "She doesn't look anything at all like I imagined her to look like!" LOL! The movie wasn't a bad movie at all, and maybe it would appeal if one hadn't read the book. But the book is so interesting and humorous, and the movie was nothing like that. I guess I will never understand why directors feel they need to arbitrarily change around characters, plot details, and so on. There were so many changes in this movie that added no value! People died who did not die in the book, and for no reason, really. Events happened in completely different orders, again for no reason. The thing that bugged me the most was how they changed the actual character of one of the main characters in the book. Robert Ireton was the Woodlawns' hired man. He was from Ireland, and he loved to play his banjo and sing funny songs, and tell funny stories. In the movie, however, he was an incredible bigot who spread terrible rumors about the Indians, almost massacred a bunch of them, and tried to keep little half breed boys out of the house! Umm, no. There were random townsfolks with those sort of attitudes, but not Robert Ireton. This book and movie is based on a true story--what if you were a descendent of his, and this was how a movie portrayed him, with absolutely no evidence to back it up?! That really bothered me. When we finally reached the end of the movie, Nathan said, "Why didn't they just make the movie like the author wrote it? It was a GOOD book!" I agree.

That got me thinking--what movies out there are good and faithful adaptations of the books from which they come? The only one I can think of that I have actually seen is the BBC production of "Pride and Prejudice". That miniseries perfectly captures how I imagined it should be! I haven't seen the new movie, so I don't know for myself how it compares, but I have my doubts. It's not 6 hours long, for one thing, so I know they chopped out a lot and changed around some lines. I haven't seen "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" either. I know there are some differences, but it sounds like they tried to be pretty true to the book. Directors (or whoever is in charge of these things) should not assume they could have written a better book, and so so completely change things that the final movie product bears no resemblence to the book!


While Nathan and Luke were at co-op, Caleb, Jonathan and I went to the outlet shops in Leesburg. The Book Warehouse store is closing, so I thought I'd see if I could get any bargains, plus I wanted to see if the Carter's outlet there had any bigger pajamas, like for Nathan. Well, the Book Warehouse was quite a disappointment--everything good was quite picked over--and I didn't find any big sleepers either. But I did buy a few baby girl things. And boy, was that weird! I hadn't realized how much I really just look past pink things. My eyes are only drawn to the blues, reds, and greens on the boys' side of the store! After spending awhile looking around, I can say that bubble gum pink is not my favorite. I do like purple though, even purple flowers. The pink stuff was what was mainly on sale, so I tried to get stuff that was white with pink flowers or whatever on it. That makes it sound like I bought tons of stuff, but that is not the case! I bought 2 little newborn one piece footed things, two 3 month things like that, a little onesie that is 6 months, and a 9 month Christmas outfit that was really on sale. Still, it felt very odd to be carrying up all that girl stuff, so I did ask about their return policy, and it is pretty liberal--no time limit! I won't be washing all that stuff until I see for sure a little girl! lOL!

Monday, January 09, 2006

The Difference Between Hymns and Choruses

When we were out here visiting and househunting, and we went to Reston Bible Church, their worship leader read this to us all one Sunday, and we thought it was so funny. I actually tried to find it on the internet when we got back home, but I never could. I was happy to see someone post it today on the Well Trained Mind board, so I thought I would share it with you all now, if you haven't already seen and read this.

The difference between hymns and choruses

An old farmer went to the city one weekend and attended the big city church. He came home and his wife asked him how it was.

"Well," said the farmer, "It was good. They did something different, however. They sang praise choruses instead of hymns."

"Praise choruses?" said his wife. "What are those?"

"Oh, they're okay. They're sort of like hymns only different," said the farmer.

"Well, what's the difference?" asked his wife.

The farmer said, "Well it's like this: If I were to say to you, 'Martha, the cows are in the corn', well that would be a hymn. If, on the other hand, I were to say to you:

Martha, Martha, Martha Oh, Martha, Martha, MARTHA
the cows, the big cows, the brown cows, the black cows, the white cows, the black and white cows,
The COWS, COWS, COWS are in the corn, are in the corn, are in the corn, in the corn,

Then, if I were to repeat the whole thing three or four times, well that would be a praise chorus."

Amazingly enough, on the exact same Sunday a young, new Christian from the city church attended the farmer's small town church. He came home and his wife asked him how it was.

"Well," said the young man, "It was good. They did something different, though. They sang hymns instead of praise choruses."

"Hymns?" said his wife. "What are those?"

"Oh, they're okay. They're sort of like praise choruses, only different," said the young man.

"Well, what's the difference?" asked his wife.

The young man said, "Well, it's like this - If I were to say to you, 'Martha, the cows are in the corn', well, that would be a praise chorus. If, on the other hand, I were to say to you:

Oh Martha, dear Martha, hear thou my cry
Inclinest thine ear to the words of my mouth.
Turn thou thy whole wonderous ear by and by
To the righteous, inimitable, glorious truth.

For the way of the animals who can explain?
There in their heads is no shadow of sense,
Hearkenest they in God's sun or his rain
Unless from the mild, tempting corn they are fenced.

Yea those cows in glad bovine, rebellious delight,
Have broke free their shackles, their warm pens eschewed.
Then goaded by minions of darkness and night
They all my mild Chilliwack sweet corn have chewed.

So look to that bright shining day by and by,
Where all foul corruptions of earth are reborn.
Where no vicious animal makes my soul cry
and I no longer see those fould'd cows in the corn.

Then if I were to do only verses one, three and four, and do a key change on the last verse, well, that would be a hymn."

Sunday, January 08, 2006

A Few Random Thoughts

I haven't blogged lately, but that's just because, well, nothing exciting is happening. Pam tagged me again to answer a few questions, which I WILL do, but I just haven't yet. I'm a procrastinater after all, I guess! Here are some random thoughts:

1. We have been eating a terrible diet the past few days. I haven't cooked! We had grilled tortillas Saturday night for dinner and frozen pizzas Sunday--what is the world coming too?! Monday we will be back to our regularily scheduled dinners. Also our regularily scheduled exercise. (*Update: I actually started this post Sunday night, but just to let you know, yes, we had a perfectly normal, healthy dinner tonight. It was well-received. LOL! And I rode the bike for 20 minutes in the morning and rode the Gazelle-thing for 20 more this afternoon. Whew! Now I don't feel like such a slug!) I did have my glucose tolerance test on Friday. Maybe my terribly unhealthy diet is a suble rebellion against that. Hmm. I should know the results by the middle of the week.

2. I did some scrapbooking this weekend! Now I am only a year and 5 months behind! Wow! Thanks again to Pam for motivating me to get going again by sending me some pages that already had borders on them.

3. Bob's sister and her family came Friday night and spent the night. Bob got up early Saturday morning to take them to the airport. They made it onto their cruise boat, and they fly back Thursday. We had a great time staying up late and visiting with them. The cruise talk really put a bee in Bob's bonnet that he wanted to go on one too. Unfortunately the next year is pretty much out, since I'll be nursing a baby, but we're tentatively planning to go November 2007. Anyone else in? LOL! Nothing like planning ahead, I always say!

4. Nathan and Luke had dentists' appointments this afternoon. I had been concerned about one of Nathan's permanent teeth, his upper right incisor. It is really small. The x-ray showed that, in fact, it is really small. LOL! There's even a name for it, but since I didn't write it down, I can't remember it. The gist of it all is there is nothing to do now, but when Nathan is an adult, if it bothers him, he can get cosmetic dental surgery to build it up to a wider size. This is great news, because now I don't have to worry about seeing an orthodonist, dealing with United Concordia, etc. Yay!

5. Bob left this afternoon to drive up to his sister's house in PA. Her custody trial is tomorrow afternoon at 1:00. Please pray! Bob will drive back leaving early Wednesday morning.

I guess that's it for now!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

A Year-End Meme

I've been tagged by Pam with an interesting set of questions. I'm kind of doing this off the cuff, without thinking over my answers much, so we'll see how I do . . .

1. What did you do in 2005 that you had never done before? Cooked a meal at my house for my in-laws--they had never visited us before last February, although we've been married now for over 12 years.

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year? Hmm, as a rule, I don't make New Year's resolutions. I always want to exercise more and eat in a more healthy manner though, and this past year I have had good months for that, and also bad months! I have been using whole wheat flour more often, as well as milled flax seed, so that is a start.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? I can't think of anyone right off the top of my head . . .

4. Did anyone close to you die? Well, the L's lost their baby in July, right after we found out we were expecting. That was a very difficult time.

5. What countries did you visit? No countries this year, other than in books. Sigh.

6. What would you like to have in 2006 that you lacked in 2005? A clearer sense of what we should do after Bob retires, and where we should go, if anywhere.

7. What dates from 2005 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? July 22, when I had a positive pregnancy test.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Hmm. This is really a tough one because I am not really in a position right now to achieve big things. I made a great cheesecake on my first try? I organized the garage so we could fit both the van and the Pathfinder in there? I guess I'll have to stick with "I fed and clothed and taught my family for the year, and they all know that I love them"!

9. What was your biggest failure? Well, I never did potty-train Jonathan even though he showed lots of interest twice this year. I didn't take away his pacifier either, so next year will probably be more difficult because of those things, LOL! Also, I never got the boys (and me) on a consistent cleaning schedule. I'm trying again this year though (hey, maybe that's a New Year's resolution!).

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Well, we were all so very sick after Bob's family visited us in February--I thought we would never all get better! It was a bad pneumonia thing. I think I broke a rib from coughing, because it hurt so badly for so many months after. By June, I could finally lower myself back down to the bed without wincing! And of course there was my pregnancy rash thing a few weeks ago. Praise the Lord, it has all gone away now, and I'm not itchy. Funny aside though--now, whenever Jonathan isn't feeling quite right, he'll always say he's "itchy". I guess he heard me complain too often, LOL!

11. What was the best thing you bought? The 5 double bookcases from Sams! I still absolutely love these, and I love rearranging and ordering my books on them!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? My cousin, James, who graduated from Air Force pilot training. That merited a huge family reunion down in Texas!

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Bob's sister's husband. They are going through a messy divorce instigated by his affair, and he is being such a jerk about custody issues and well, everything. The custody hearing is next Tuesday, actually. Bob will be going up there to support her, and we would appreciate your prayers.

14. Where did most of your money go? Well, our house payment, I'm sure! LOL! We took a big trip to CO this summer, but that was a TDY. We got a great deal on our room in Texas, so that wasn't as bad as it could have been. I have bought a lot of books this year, although most were second-hand !

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Having another baby. Also our trip to Texas. I was so excited to see my brother and his wife, and their new home, as well as my aunt and uncle who we rarely get to see! And my parents were there too--it was wonderful! I'm still excited about it! : )

16. What song will always remind you of 2005? Hmmm . . .I'm drawing a complete blank here. I can't think of a one.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?

I would say a) about the same b) MUCH fatter, due to the presence of another human being in me
c) Monetarily I would say about the same but spiritually I would have to say FAR richer! (I'm stealing your answer for that one, Aunt Claire!)

18. What do you wish you'd done more of? Exercised.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of? Snapped at the boys over little, inconsequential things.

20. How will you be spending New Year's Eve? We spent it at the house of very good friends, with other good friends from our Bible study. We ate and talked while the kids played. It was very fun and relaxing.

21. Did you fall in love in 2005? With my husband again. As we talk through all these possibilities for the future, I'm glad we'll be in it together.

22. How many one-night stands? Well, none. Never!

23. What was your favorite TV program? I guess "Design on a Dime", since that is the only one I really ever watched this year! That is on in the afternoon while I exercise. Otherwise, I am not a big TV watcher, and I rarely do it.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? No, I can't really think of anyone I hate. People I don't care to associate with on a regular basis, but not hate.

25. What was the best book you read? This year, I would have to say Idols of the Heart by Elyse Fitzpatrick. It really challenged me to see what I really worship (security). Also, this isn't the best written book (readss like you're at a seminar!), but Love and Respect by Emerson Eggerichs really illuminated some problem areas of our marriage, specifically the patterns in which we respond to each other, and how to break that "crazy cycle".

26. What was your greatest musical discovery? Beethoven's Wig CDs. The kids love them, and hey, I do too.

27. What did you want and get? The Message Bible and Climbing Parnassus

28. What did you want and not get? I can't think of anything.

29. What was your favorite film of this year? Besides the Lone Ranger and some new Veggie Tales, I can think of no movies I watched. LOL, I'm not much for visual entertainment, am I?!

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I went back to Ohio right after it, and I went to the ladies' retreat at my old church with my best friend Amy. It was so much fun! I was 32.

31.What one thing made your year measurably more satisfying? Cell phones! We finally got some the end of May. Wow, what a difference!

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2005? Pregnant. Comfortable. Not caring a whit about what the neighbors think if they see me getting the mail in my sweats (and wearing a plastic tiara, LOL!).

33. What kept you sane? Knowing that the Lord has a plan for my life, and that he loves me unconditionally.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Umm, the Lone Ranger? LOL, see #29!

35. What political issue stirred you the most? Gay "marriage" and the relentlessly negative portrayal of pretty much everything by the liberal mainstream media.

36. Who did you miss? My family and Amy. And I was so sad to not get to see Pam when we were out in Colorado. She and Bill were gallivanting around Ireland, lucky ducks!

37. Who was the best new person you met? My civilian OB doctor! Seriously, it took so long for the approval to come through--I didn't think it would ever happen!

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2005. Enjoy where God has placed you right now. You don't have to assume you'll stay there forever, but while you are there, make the most of it. See what there is to see! Impact people!

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. This is from Tree 63's song "Blessed Be Your Name". It's the whole first verse and chorus, but I really love this song.

Blessed be your name
In the land that is plentiful
Where the streams of abundance flow
Blessed be your name

Blessed be your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed be your name

Every blessing you pour out, I turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord, Still I will say...
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your glorious name.

Ahhh . . .

. . . that sound you are hearing is the sigh of contentment as we get back into our regular schedule! We started school back up yesterday after 3 weeks of break, and it was nice. It turns out the boys remember their Latin vocab pretty well. They've lost some speed on multiplication facts, though. We started a new handwriting program for them, Handwriting Without Tears, and I think I am going to be very pleased with it. Luke in particular has picked up some terrible habits, so hopefullyt his curriculum will help with that. Nathan is learning cursive. He's been just doing a big handwriting workbook, but I think the new approach will be better. I've heard good things about this program, especially as it relates to boys, so we shall see if it lives up to what I've heard! Handwriting is definitely a weak link here, so pretty much anything will be an improvement!

I started going through Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons with Caleb again. We started this in September, but he really wasn't that interested, and it wasn't making much of an impression on him so I stopped. Since then, he's become a lot more interested in reading himself, so I think it will go better this time around. He's also doing the first pre-Explode the Code book, and he's having alot of fun with that.

We're in the middle of My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George as our read-aloud. We are really enjoying learning about how to make acorn flour, bathe with slippery elm bark, and in general survive in the woods. Fascinating! I can't believe I never read this book when I was young, but it is definitely a book with a lot of appeal for boys.

I think that is a good, albeit brief, update. It feels good to be back in the routine. Sometimes I wish AWANA and co-op would not start back up! I'm not that motivated to get back into those things right now! But since I am teaching this unit (space) at co-op, I guess I'd better get on the stick.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Happy New Year!

I tried to post this last night, but somehow the post disappeared into nothingness . . . oh, well!

We did get over to the L's house New Year's Eve, and we had a wonderful time! Our whole Bible study was there, and we had lots of great food, so it was a fun night. We counted down at 9:00, and then we left after 10:00. Bob and I stayed up until midnight though!

The daily devotional from Dec. 31 in My Utmost For His Highest really spoke to me in light of my previous ponderings. I guess we'll always look back and wonder if we made the right decisions, but Oswald Chamber's words were comforting to me:

At the end of the year we turn with eagerness to all that God has for the
future, and yet anxiety is apt to arise from remembering the yesterdays.
Our present enjoyment of God's grace is apt to be checked by the memory of
yesterday's sins and blunders. But God is the God of our yesterdays, and
He allows the memory of them in order to turn the past into a ministry of
spiritual culture for the future. God reminds us of the past lest we get
into a shallow security in the present. . . .

As we go forth into the coming year, let it not be in the haste of
impetuous, unremembering delight, nor with the flight of impulsive
thoughtlessness, but with the patient power of knowing that the God of Israel
will go before us. Our yesterdays present irreparable things to us; it is
true that we have lost opportunities which will never return, but God can
transform this destructive anxiety into a constructive thoughtfulness for the
future. Let the past sleep, but let it sleep on the bosom of Christ.
Leave the Irreparable Past in His hands, and step into the Irresistible Future
with Him.