Friday, February 29, 2008

Because I know you were waiting with bated breath...

I just want you to know that I spent quite some time trying to coax our printer/copier/scanner into scanning the article. The printer/copier/scanner would not be coaxed.

I will however post a small excerpt of the article. You'll just have to trust me when I say it was in the paper and I had a byline. Did I mention I had a byline? Because I did, have a byline I mean, in case you wondered.

So here you go...

Why Aren't Those Kids In School?

You know the ones; you see them at the bank or in the grocery store in the middle of the day and you wonder, is today a school holiday? Chances are they are home schooled. Home schooling has been around since Eve tried to teach Kane and Able to play nice. In our modern era however, home schooling has not always been legal...

...How many home schoolers are there? There is really no accurate count currently, but according to the 2003 study sited in Dr. Brian D. Ray book, Facts on Homeschoooling, there were an estimated 1,700,000 to 2,100,000 children in grades K-12 involved in home education in the United States. Dr. Ray comments that “Home schooling appears to still be the fastest-growing form of education."

What drives people to home school their kids? There are as many answers to that question as there are parents teaching their children at home. For some it is a religious conviction, for others it’s academic. Many feel that the one on one approach to teaching offers a better result. For some it might be because their children are quite advanced and were not getting challenged in a typical classroom, and for others it might be quite the opposite. Many parents have children with learning disabilities or illnesses that make the home environment a better choice for learning and offers the flexibility needed to address special needs...

So that is it. A piece of my little article that was in the paper, with my name under it! (sorry, I'm a little excited, can you tell?)

Today: the local paper, Tomorrow: the Times! (or not)

I'm Published!!!

I can hardly believe it. I wrote a homeschooling article for the local suburban weekly paper and they published it! I have a byline!! My name and under it it says 'special contributor' (or some such title)


I'm going to try to scan it in later and see if I can post it here. So now when people ask what I do, can I say homeschooler and columnist?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Where Can I Buy A Backbone?

I had a bad experience at Subway today. This seems to be becoming a habit. Why is everyone in such a hurry? Is a bomb going to go off somewhere if we slow down? Is the world going to come to a screeching halt if someone does not get their sandwich in under 2 minutes?

Some of you may know that Ann has an anaphylactic allergy to dairy. All dairy. Even a tiny drop of say, creamy Italian dressing on her sandwich could kill her. Kill. Her.

It is a very serious thing. We rarely eat out. I check everything at the grocery store before I buy it and then mark with a sharpie the things she can not have. We rarely buy things she can‘t have. It’s just easier that way. We do have cheese and milk and yogurt in the house, she obviously can’t have those, but I mean the graham crackers that have dairy or popcorn that has butter or bread with milk in it. We just don’t buy it so there is no confusion.

I have done some research and I have a the list of ingredients for Subway sandwiches and there is the added bonus of watching them make it, so Subway is one of the only places we can eat out.

So today I’m at our local Subway. The manager was there and he is usually very nice and friendly. I was picking up some lunch on my way home from co op for Sir D and Ann. Sir D stayed home with her this morning while I was teaching my classes. She has now developed a fever so it is a cold not allergies after-all.

Anyway, there I am in the Subway and I am trying to order 3 sandwiches. I am watching like a hawk the way they are fixing them to make sure they don’t do it wrong. I have already annoyed them by asking if they could get a fresh loaf out and not give her the one they pulled out of the box where they store the extra bread. It has been in there touching the cheesy bread and that could kill her.

They were going so fast, slapping things on those sandwiches, that I could hardly keep up with which sandwich was which. Then at the last minute, she puts creamy Italian dressing on Ann’s sandwich. When I said that was the wrong sandwich, she just wanted to leave it. I said that one was for my allergic dd and she said okay, (in a very annoyed way) and pulled off the meat most of the dressing was on. Now the manager had come up behind her. I had to ask her to remove some more of the stuff as it had dressing on it too. The manager made some comment about the line being long and there was not time to remake the sandwich.

In the end they had also put cheese on the wrong sandwich and Ann’s sandwich was completely ruined. They were in such a hurry because there was a line behind me. I waited in that same line too. It was my turn and I just wanted everyone to slow down for one minute so I could order my daughter a sandwich that would not kill her.

She ended up eating PB&J that I made her, and we had an extra Subway sandwich.

Those people would have had to wait probably 30 more seconds for me to order my daughter a sandwich that she could eat.

I’m not about special interest groups; I don’t think the world needs to change to accommodate my daughter. I am not asking for all dairy to be removed from all restaurants. I just need a minute. That is all. A minute to make sure what I feed her is not going to kill her. Can you people out there who are in such a hurry, please try to understand that sometimes things take extra time. The world is not going to end if ordering a sandwich takes 30 seconds longer than you anticipated, but Ann’s world could come to an end If I’m in to much of a hurry!

Sir D said I should have nicely said to the manager that I am sorry about the hassle, but I’m not going to buy the sandwiches after all as It could kill my daughter, since they would not take the time to listen to me and do it right. It was not worth It. And I should have simply left the store empty handed. It could have been done kindly and in a non confrontational manner.

I hate being assertive, but I really have got to learn how to handle those situations better. I get so overwhelmed with everyone else’s busy that I can’t think straight, but I’m simply not willing to risk Ann’s life so the line will move faster.

UGH, I need a bigger backbone!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Bit Grumpy.

Sir D had two temp crowns put on yesterday again. He already went through the process once and the permanent crowns were not on right so they have to start over from the beginning. Let’s just say he is a bit grumpy.

Will left too much co op homework for today and is behind. He had ¾ of his paper done (rough draft is due tomorrow) and then left for his ortho appt without saving it. Ann got on the computer (with my permission) and closed it, so now he has to start over. Let’s just say he’s a bit grumpy.

Bob is never grumpy, but always loud.

Eve’s eczema has hit an all time high and her face is puffy and itchy and red, she also lost her cream ($10 for 4 oz) and the humidifier broke last week. Let’s just say she is a bit grumpy.

Ann’s allergies are also at an all time high and she is coughing constantly. Cough medicine is not working, neither are the cough drops. She was up most of the night coughing. Let’s just say she is a bit grumpy.

I did not sleep well last night due to the incessant coughing. I am having a painful, and somewhat lightheaded kind of day (thank you Fibromyalgia for kicking me when I’m down) and I have not prepared much at all for my co op class tomorrow. I had to go spend money we don’t have at Wal-mart to buy cream for Eve and a new humidifier. Let’s just say I’m a bit grumpy.

Anyone want to come over to my house? If you do you’ll probably find me hiding under the covers.

Ring, Ring, Go Away!

To all politicians everywhere:

I have already voted in early voting. My choices have been made. I’m pretty sure our constitution prohibits voting more than once so if you could please stop calling my home that would be greatly appreciated.

We are finding it hard to do school or have a peaceful meal at present, because of the incessant ringing.

Thank you for your time.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

If the Shoe Fits...

You Are Clogs

You are a solid and down to earth person.

You seek and almost always achieve a really sound balance in your life.

You are stylish yet comfortable. Mellow but driven. Excited yet calm.

You are the perfect mesh of contradictions.

No matter what happens, you have the ability to stay well grounded in your life.

People know that they can truly depend on you.

You should live: In Europe

You should work: At a company dedicated to helping the world

Okay I had to do it. I'm such a follower. How funny is it that I'm a clog? I think clogs are starting to go out of style, but oh how I love them. I have many.

Land's End Clogs make my feet very happy. I so live in the wrong town! I am totally moving to Europe, or New England. You can always be in style in clogs in New England, right?

And I am definitely a mesh of contradictions, but I'm not sure Sir D would agree that it is a perfect meshing. In fact, I think he'd just call it confusing.

Monday, February 25, 2008

He Twinkles Like a Little Star!

Would you like to hear what 4 weeks of guitar lessons will get you? Check THIS out. (it's only 30 sec long)

That is Bob's teacher accompanying him.

That is $60 worth of good my friends!

As Long As I'm Living, My Baby You'll Be...

Last night, just as Sir D and I were walking in the door from our small group, his cell phone rang. It was the kids. They were on their way home from AWANA and they got a flat.

I sat and listened to Sir D’s side of the conversation, sure he was going to be the Knight in Shining Armor that he is and ride in and save the day. After he got off the phone he went back to frying the meat for the fajitas. HUH?

“Um, aren’t you going to go help them out?” I ask.


“Don’t you think they need help?” I try again.


“But, honey it’s dark and the girls are with them. Shouldn’t you go and help them” I say a third time.

“Will and Bob know how to change a tire.” He assures me.

“Really?” (When did this happen?)

“Yes dear, they are growing up to be men and men need to know how to change a tire”

“But it’s dark and the girls are with them” (Nothing like stating the obvious, again.)

Sigh from Sir D

“I know exactly where they are. They are in that really nice neighborhood by the church. They parked under a street light so they can see what they are doing and the girls are sitting patiently on the sidewalk.” Sir D tells me.

“Okay” I say not really meaning it. It is decidedly NOT okay that my babies are out there all alone in a cold cruel world, left to fend (or change a flat) for themselves. I don’t like it! Not one little bit!

Well, they did manage to change the tire and then noticed…the spare was also flat. So Sir D did have to go after-all and bring the pump so they could air up the flat. But he did not do it for them, he brought them the pump and sat back and let them do it.

Today, instead of getting his mountains of schoolwork done, Will is calling tire places to find out how much it is going to take for him to get his tires fixed. He is seeing all the hidden expenses involved in automobile ownership.

I guess Sir D is right. They are growing up and they will make excellent husbands and fathers someday.

But they will always be my babies.

And to that lovely lady whose house my kids were parked in front of, thank you! It was really kind of you to ask them if they needed any help or if they needed to use the phone. And it was especially nice of you to bring them a flashlight. I also suspect you watched them from behind the living room curtains, because you are probably a mom too. Thank you for watching out for my babies when my husband wouldn’t let me. We Mom’s have to look out for each other.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Mr Bean

My People are watching Mr. Bean right now…in Spanish, and laughing their heads off.

There is something terribly wrong with My People. Mr. Bean is not even funny in English.

I think Mr. Bean is every homeschooling parents worst nightmare. We are all secretly terrified that we are raising the next Mr. Bean.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Anyone seen my mind? I've lost it.

Anyone else notice that Thursday’s post was about spending $79 on underwear, and Friday’s was about trying to save pennies at CVS?

I think I may have multiple personality disorder. hehehehehe

Friday, February 22, 2008

Ranting and perhaps even a little raving.

I went to CVS today. I am trying to be frugal. I used to save tons with coupons at the grocery store. It was kind of a challenge. But then we had Ann, and Ann was born with an anaphylactic allergy to all dairy. So I don’t do the coupon thing anymore. I can’t buy the item because I have a coupon; I have to buy the brand that has no dairy. So to say we spend a lot on groceries would be like calling the sun a little ol’ star.

But the CVS thing I think I might be able to do. See it’s on household stuff, not food. I think there is some food involved here and there, but mostly it’s TP, dish wash soap, make up, stuff like that.

So, here I am today at the CVS. Now I know I am every person’s worst nightmare. I am a homeschooling mom in a 12 passenger van, carrying a binder filled with the store add, coupons, Extra Bucks (CVS money) and receipts. I know how very annoying I am. I try to be organized and quick. I specifically went to CVS at a time during the day where they would be the least busy.

I am in line and I did not get the right amount of something so I had to run back and get another one. Then I had to give her my coupons which would not scan right (computer problem NOT my problem), then I gave her my Extra Bucks, then my real money. The whole ordeal was taking quite some time. Quite a line had formed behind me, and there seemed to be not another person who could work a cash register in the store.

The lady behind me was quite literally breathing down my neck. She was standing uncomfortably close to me and sighing throughout the whole process. When I pulled out my coupons she said “you’ve got to be kidding me” then when I pulled out my Extra Bucks she actually cursed. Seriously. I was cursed at by the well dressed, not a hair out of place, career lady behind me.

I was very tempted to turn around and explain to her that I have 4 children; two of whom eat like teens and the other two actually ARE teens and we are a one income family. Money is in short supply, but if she’d like to donate $50 to the cause I’ll happily get out of her way so she can buy her diet drink and magazine. But because I am a non confrontational person I only thought those things.

The clerk handed me my receipt and did not smile at me or say “come back soon”. I got to my car and started to put away my receipt and all the Extra Bucks I had earned. Except, wait, where are all my Extra Bucks? I should have earned $42 Extra Bucks and I only had $15. For those of you who are not math minded that is $27 they shorted me.

So I wanted until I saw all 10 of those people behind me leave the store and I went back in. I asked the clerk who was decidedly NOT happy to see me, what happened. She obviously was not interested in helping me and said “Look, I am the only one here and I can’t help you, you’ll have to come back later when the manager is here” Nice customer service huh?

I did come back later, and I brought Sir D with me, because he has a mean scowl.

I brought back every last item I bought, still in the bags. We went in and found the manager and explained the situation. I had all my receipts and documentation. (The binder, it is handy) After I explained the situation several times, and showed her over and over, and did the math for her (when did we start letting 12 year olds manage stores?) she finally got it, then she called the manager of another store. (I think there is a ‘how many CVS managers does it take to change a light bulb?' joke here somewhere)

I believe she may have overheard Sir D saying to me that we just needed to get our money back for everything and be on our way, as this was waste of time. The two managers suddenly and magnanimously decided to award me a gift card for $18.

Are you wondering why $18? I am too. I have no idea what is the significance of $18, but I took it.

This CVS savings game is starting to become too costly to me. I will give it one more chance, then I’m done. In the immortal words of Mr. Darcy. ‘My good opinion, once lost, is lost forever’. So tread lightly CVS, you're on thin ice with me.

And just as a general public service announcement. If you are behind the binder carrying, coupon using mom, cut her some slack. She’s just trying to save a buck. If you would like to curse at someone, why not the store manager, or her superior if she’s only 12, for not having enough personnel to run the place?

I’m just saying…

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Foundational Undergarments

I spent $79 dollars today on underwear. Yes, I am sorry to say you did read that correctly and it is not a typo. Seventy nine dollars. On Underwear. Designed to be worn, you guessed it, under what you are wearing. Now I did buy more than one bra, two in fact, and 5 pairs of underwear. But $79?

See, here’s the thing. I am not a 36C. We will not be discussing what size I actually am, but what I can tell you is I have not been a 36C since I became a mother, and we’ll just leave it at that. It seems that if you are not a 36C you have to go to special underwear stores if you want a decent bra. I am a girl who wants a decent bra. I don’t need to have nice clothes, I am okay with Wal-mart t-shirts and jeans; I am not a clothes snob, really. I may have too many pairs of shoes, but rest assured, they are cheep shoes. I don’t like spending a lot of money on clothes.

But, well, I’m for a good foundation. If you are building a building you must construct a solid foundation if you want the building to stand tall and strong.

I want my building to stand tall and strong. I need foundational underwear. But really! It’s not actually made out of cement and re-bar, it’s just cotton spandexie stuff and some metal hooks. Can’t they make a decent foundational bra out of that stuff for less than $79?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Lawsey Mercy! I can't believe I did it!


I just hit the ‘send’ button. I just submitted an article to my local suburban newspaper about homeschooling.

Sort of a, What is homeschooling? article. I’m a bit freaked out. I write all the time. I never submit anything. I can’t believe I hit the ‘send’ button!

Holy cow!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Not quite chicken noodle, is it?

We have some friends who are in Singapore with Wycliffe Bible Translators. Dave and Gwen.

They sent us this photo of Gwen in front of a soup stand. Can you read the menu? Pig Organ Soup.

They asked us to give them suggestions for a caption.

Mine was...

'A Taste of the Orient?'

Sir D's were completely Uncouth!

'That's one pig that will never fly.'

'Will it be as musical on the way out?'

'I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow your bowels out!'

And to that all I can say is I'm sorry, he grew up in the jungle and had no sisters.

I'll let you know what the winning caption is, because I know you will experience sleepless nights until you know.

Happy Anniversary to me and my blog!

I just figured out that today is my blogging anniversary. I started this thing that is blogging one year ago today!

So happy anniversary to you my little blog. May we have a long and healthy relationship.

One other thing, it took exactly one year and a comment at Jane's blog for me to figure out how to change font size and color on my blog.

I have also recently learned how to strike through my writing. I think things might get annoying exciting around here until people complain loudly the newness wears off.

OH, The Shackles, They Are Restrictive.

What should homeschooling look like? What should my homeschool look like?

We’re having some struggles here at our homeschool. Maybe it’s growing pains? Maybe it’s that Mom is tired? Maybe it’s just Spring Fever, I don’t know.

I’m starting to wonder if our school looks like it should. See, it seems to be a constant struggle with Will. And when I think about it with a larger perspective I think perhaps the problem is not with Will, but with the system.

Will is a good boy, everyone tells me this. I see it myself. He help set up the gym for the Valentine’s Banquet last week after a long day at co op. He didn’t have to, but he did. That is just one example, there are many like that, so why do we struggle so much at home with school? He is not rebellious, he does not have a bad attitude, and he does not wear only black play video games all day. He is a good boy.

He is doing much better on his Algebra lately. Sir D and I have had our laser focus on his algebra. He is also doing well in his writing class and Biology. We have had our laser focus on those subjects. Know what we have not had our laser focus on? History. Know how much history has gotten done in the last three weeks? Yeah that would be a big fat 0.

So off the handle I flew. Other high schoolers have 6 subjects that they must accomplish simultaneously! How is he ever going to handle college? You have to do it ALL and you have to do it WELL!!!! Then I left for my Ladies Bible Study…on forgiveness.

I started thinking, if he’s having a hard time getting his Algebra done and wants to put some less important things off for a while to focus on that, why is that wrong? Just because the public schools do it a certain way does not mean it’s the ideal way, right? Anyway, we are homeschoolers.

The fact is, even though I’ve been homeschooling for 11 years I still struggle with how to do this thing.

I think the problem is, we can do what we want in the early years. We can throw off the shackles of convention and do it the way we want. We can teach our kids the way they learn best, using the materials that work the best. But then we see college looming heavily on the horizon.

We start to shackle ourselves once more. We try to fit our round pegs into the square system.

Why do we do this? How are we supposed to prepare our kids for their future when they must pass through the artificially square system we’ve pulled them out of in the first place, to get there?

For Will history is mostly just a lot of reading. If he needs to put the reading on the back burner for a while to get the Algebra done and that big term paper finished, why is that a big deal? Don’t we do that as adults every day? It’s called prioritization.

I am still very much a product of the system I was educated under. I try to throw off those shackles, but some of them seem to be invisible. But they restrict none the less.

Monday, February 18, 2008

My Haitian Girl

I wanted you to meat the newest member of our family. Her name is Kendia and she lives in Haiti.

After following BooMama and Shannon through their trip to Uganda with Compassion International, how could we not choose our own child?

I talked to all the kids about why kids in other areas of the world need sponsors and how it would change that Child’s life.

The kids really got into it. We decided to choose a little girl that was close to my girl’s ages, so it would be more real to them. We told the boys we’d see how it goes and then in a month or two we could choose a boy from the same country who is closer to their ages.

We chose Haiti. It think it hits home with the kids to see how very close Haiti is to America, mere miles of the coast, and yet it is the poorest country in this hemisphere.

We have not gotten our packet about Kendia yet. It will come this week sometime. All I know is this…

Kendia is 7 years old. She lives with her father and her mother. She is responsible for carrying water and running errands. Her father is sometimes employed as a farmer and her mother is sometimes employed as a farmer. There are 2 children in the family.

For fun, Kendia enjoys playing with dolls, hide-and-seek and playing group games. She attends church activities regularly and is in pre-school where her performance is average.

This is the only photo we have of her right now. I simply can’t wait to get to know this little girl. I know the idea is that with just $32 a month my family can change the course of this little girls life, but I have a suspicion she is not the only one who is going to be changed through this experience.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Beauty at the End.

Yesterday I posted about the gloomy day. And gloomy it was. But it was a good day to stay in and get lots and lots and lots of laundry done. Which we always have, lots and lots and lots of laundry that is.

However, after a day spent doing laundry and listening to the rain and the sounds of the laundry machines we packed up the kids and headed to Sir D’s brothers house for dinner with three of the four brothers and their families. We do this now and then, just because.

Anyway, on the way up there I saw something I have never seen before IRL. It was a rainbow, but not just any rainbow it was the most vivid rainbow I have ever seen and it was complete. I could see it from beginning to end. There was an amazing sunset taking place on the West side of the sky through the passing storm clouds.

And on the East side was the most glorious rainbow I have ever seen.

But it got better. Right before our eyes, on the way to go spend the evening with family, we watched a second rainbow develop over the first.

The sky was filled with a double rainbow, both complete, and the first was so colorful it almost took my breath away.

How can you witness such indescribable beauty and not believe in a Loving Creator?

I’d love to say I had my camera with me but I didn’t. The above photos are courtesy of the local TV station, but those photos are of the actual sunset and rainbow I witnessed.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Looking through the gloom.

It is a yucky day today. It is foggy, drizzly, rainy and grey. It is cold and gloomy.

If you look closely at that photo, through all the gloom you can see a red bird. He really stands out against the grey.

I will choose to focus on the red bird today and not the grey surrounding it.

Happy Saturday to you and yours.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Oh Brother!

My husband is sad. Very, very sad. My husband found out today that not one, but two of his brothers bought new trucks. And not just any new trucks, but enormous, king cab, diesel, tow monsters. Trucks so bad cool tight neat amazing that you could tow a brick building behind them, and achieve high speeds while doing it.

So now poor Sir D has no bad cool tight neat amazing truck, instead he has a wimpy company truck and a Sherman Tank. This particular Sherman Tank is only really strong when it comes to hitting things and not so much towing things.

I think it is the Devil tempting poor Sir D. Not one but two of his brothers have more power and can go faster than he can.

I can only remind him that we will have less debt. They can definitely win that contest!

Poor guy; nothing makes him sadder than loosing to his brothers when it comes to torque… and other testosteronie car stuff.

My Own Personal Kryptonite

Today is a grey overcast day. It is very weird outside. It is like the passage of time has stopped and it is still 7am. Though it is not really 7am of course, because I can’t think in complete thoughts or spell at 7am. In TX we rarely get days like this where it is grey and drizzly all day. I didn’t realize how much my body needs the sun to know what time it is. I just always seem to know, instinctively what time it is during the day. Apparently drizzle is my kryptonite because I lost about four hours today.

I went to Wal-mart today. I HATE Wal-mart. But first, because shopping at Wal-mart is not torture enough for one day, I also stopped into a chop shop to get my hair trimmed. The stylist (I use that term generously) mentioned that I could cover all this grey if I got some caramel highlights. What grey? She’s nuts. I’m WAY too young for grey hair. Won’t go back to see her again.

So when I went into Wal-mart it was somewhere around noon; I think. I spent 3.2 million dollars on food even though I couldn’t find a couple of things on my list and really only bought enough food to get us by until Monday. Then I came home. It took me 4 hours to do those things. I got home and it was 4pm. WHAT? My special powers told me it was only around 2 at the latest.

Stinking drizzle!

Now I have to put it all away. I am sitting at the kitchen table surrounded by Wal-mart bags. They are on the table, on the chairs, on the kitchen counters and even on the floor.

If I stare at them long enough do you think they will empty themselves onto the appropriate shelves?

Yeah, me neither.

You know, if I were ever to win the lottery (which would be a trick since I’ve never bought a ticket) the first thing I would do is hire someone to grocery shop and cook. Then I’d hire someone else to clean. Are you wondering what I would do?

I would do school and play with my kids. That is what I like to do. My girls and I were playing a geography game when I had to leave and go run errands. I didn’t get to finish. I don’t want to go shopping. I want to stay home and play! I hate Wal-mart. Have I mentioned that?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Some Texas Love

Kathleen's post reminded me of this. I love this photo! I think I'll title it...

Happy Valentine's Day: The Texas Way!

And just in case you were wondering I took this photo myself during one of our Hill Country camping trips.

Share the Love

1 Corinthians 13:1-8 and 13

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails....And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

May I presume to add; If we love our families with an unparalled ferosity, and forget about those who have no one, our love is incompleate.

Today is a great day to spread the love! Go check out what Shannon and BooMama are doing.

Then go here, and pick someone with whom you can share the love!

Happy Valentines Day my friends. May you experience God's love today.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Husband 1.0

I saw this over on the Five in a Row forums. It is quite funny. I personally have experienced very few glitches on my Husband 1.0, and the ones that do crop up are usually do to user error.

I am sorry to say I have no idea who the original writer of this little gem is.

Re: Installing a Husband

Dear Tech Support,

Last year I upgraded from Boyfriend 5.0 to Husband 1.0 and noticed a distinct slow down in overall system performance --

particularly in the flower and jewellery applications, which operated flawlessly under Boyfriend 5.0

In addition, Husband 1.0 uninstalled many other valuable programs, such as Romance 9.5 and Personal Attention 6.5 and then installed undesirable programs such as AFL 5.0, The Ashes 3.0, and Golf Clubs 4.1.

Conversation 8.0 no longer runs, and Housecleaning 2.6 simply crashes the system. I've tried running Nagging 5.3 to fix these problems, but to no avail!

What can I do?

Signed, Desperate

.................................................. ..................

Dear Desperate:

First keep in mind, Boyfriend 5.0 is an Entertainment Package, while Husband 1.0 is an Operating System.

Please enter the command: "http: I Thought You Loved Me.html" and try to download Tears 6.2 and don't forget to install the Guilt 3.0 update. If that application works as designed, Husband 1.0 should then automatically run the applications Jewellery 2.0 and Flowers 3.5.

But remember, overuse of the above application can cause Husband 1.0 to default to Grumpy Silence 2.5,Happy Hour 7.0 or Beer 6.1.

Beer 6.1 is a very bad program that will download the Snoring Loudly Beta.

Whatever you do, DO NOT install Mother-in-law 1.0 (it runs a virus in the background that will eventually seize control of all your system resources).

Also, do not attempt to reinstall the Boyfriend 5.0 program. These are unsupported applications and will crash Husband 1.0.

In summary, Husband 1.0 is a great program, but it does have limited memory and cannot learn new applications quickly. You might consider buying additional software to improve memory and performance.

We recommend Food 3.0 and Hot Lingerie 7.7.

Good Luck, Tech Support

Texting a Research Paper

Bob is writing a two page research paper. It is about The History of Cars in America, as opposed to The HIstory of American Cars, because there is a difference, or so I'm told.

And when I say Bob is writing a paper, what I really mean is Bob using text language on a word document about cars. There are so many red and green lines on that document it looks like Christmas.

His rough draft is due tomorrow. (this is for a co op writing class) Somehow I don't think his teacher means it to be quite this rough.

I think it is going to be a looooooong afternoon.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Oh, they do me proud!

Today was observation day at Scottish Rite, so I had to drive downtown and observe Ann’s teacher teaching her things I have never heard of. Did you know that the symbol over this  is called a circumflex? Yeah, me neither. That type of a is pronounced like the a sound in ball; it’s more of an O sound really. And yes this is a Dyslexia remediation class, not graduate level linguistics.

Then I came home to Will, who was so very excited and would barely let me get in the door before he just HAD to show me something. He had learned a new song at Guitar lessons yesterday and had been practicing it and was ready to perform it for me. He was so excited he could barely contain himself. So we all sat down and listened to him pick Mary Had A Little Lamb on his guitar.

What a strange day. My 8 year old is learning graduate level linguistics and my 16 year old is learning how to play Mary Had A Little Lamb.

And like the good Momma I am, I am equally proud of both of them.

Monday, February 11, 2008


10,000 people have read my blog, so says my site meter. I am not sure if I feel flattered or afraid.

So in honor of the nice round number of 10,000 (I’m a little Monk) I thought we’d do a little look back, using the Google search as our guide.

I get a significant amount of hits from my ‘mature TV’ post where I am commenting on Sir D’s propensity to laugh hysterically at Sponge Bob. Imagine the disappointment to the people doing a ‘mature TV’ search when they happen upon my blog and Sponge Bob. Not what they had in mind I would imagine.

I also get a lot of hits on ‘six toes’ and ‘Arkansas’ which lands on The Arkansas Six Toed Steak post. I don’t even know what to say about this.

I get many Jason Bourne hits, from this post. I still love Jason Bourne. I wonder if they’ll make anymore Jason Bourne movies?

I’ve had several people come here looking for the image of the 25 year pin from AA. That was a letter to my Dad, when he got his.

I get a lot of hits to this post about boys Church Shoes. Who knew this was such a nation wide problem?

Many come here inquirimng abou head coverings. I think those people must be sorely disappointed or just downright confused to end up on this post.

Some are looking for The Perfect Mom, sorry, not going to find her here!

I get a lot of hits on my Nascar Post. I hope these people can’t figure out where I live.

Many people land on this post while researching the legalities of Double Towing. All I can say to that is…DON’T DO IT!

I get lots of hits for Sonlight + homeschooling and Five in a Row + Homeschooling for these posts about what curriculum I am using for each child. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, & Part 4.

I am happy to have people coming to my blog looking for homeschooling advice. I’m all for promoting homeschooling and encouraging those in the trenches with me.

I think I’ll stop there. That is ten links. Well, if you count parts 1-4 as one post, and we are. I like the nice round 10. (Monk again) Also, my kids need to be educated at some point today.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Look, Spring!

I know that many of you are still knee deep in snow and slush, and it is very much winter where you are. No so here in TX. It is starting to affect my delicate sensibilities adversely, to look at snow flakes on my blog when it is sunny and 74 degrees outside.

While it may still technically be winter here in TX, it feels much more like Spring. So I decided it was time for the Spring colors.

What do ya think? I think it’s purty! Thanks Goofy Girl! As my teens would say “You have mad skills!”

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Hello, my name is Tricia and I have an addiction…

I popped into one of those convince stores today. I was standing in line with my Coke Zero for tomorrow and my diet caffeine free coke for tonight and some chocolate. As I looked around me at the other customers, I realized I was looking right into the face of addiction.

See, I have given up coke, sort of. I decided I won’t buy it from the store anymore. I’ll just allow myself one when I’m eating out or something. I really need to drink more water. The only way for me to drink more water, is to NOT drink things that are not water, like Coke.

I did manage to get off the hard stuff a few years ago and haven’t had a regular Coke in years. I almost can’t stand the sickeningly sweet stuff I cut my teeth on.
But oh aspartame, she is my friend.

I am also trying to cut back on my chocolate consumption, so I instituted the same will-not-buy-at-the-store policy for chocolate.

This is how I found myself at the Need My Fix Trip Quick Trip on 6pm on Saturday. See, the men are gone tonight and I finally get to start the Bleak House miniseries that has been waiting for me in DVD form on top my TV for weeks. I am so excited. But I just can’t really enjoy my Bleak House night without some Coke and Chocolate.

Back to Quick Trip. As I was standing in line, I noticed the man paying was buying a lotto ticket, the man behind him had beer, the lady behind him had cigarettes, the man in front of me bought chewing tobacco and I bought Coke and chocolate.

I thought perhaps we should have started our own 12 step program right there in the Quick Trip.

Hello, my name is Tricia and I have an addiction; two actually.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Boys and Their Toys.

This is what my boys do for fun.

This is Bob.

This is Sir D.

This is Sir D's brother.

This is Sir D's friend.

Will was behind the camera for this riding trip as he was grounded from his bike. That pesky algebra again. I think once he is finished with Algebra 1 & 2, he will have a book burning party. And then ride his motorbike over the ashes.

That's kinda how I feel about algebra too.

Tradition among the Non Denominational Churches

One thing that I think is missing among the regular old Bible Churches of America is tradition. Some of the more liturgical faiths have that down pat.

I did not grow up with a lot of tradition in my family and maybe that is why I am so interested in creating it with my own family.

We have done Advent for years. I love Advent. Christmas doesn’t sneak up on us. We don’t spend six weeks shopping and then, Wham! Christmas is here. We have 4 weeks to spiritually prepare. We have 4 weeks to take a small time out of our day and think on what God was doing when he chose to come to earth. We take 4 weeks to look back all through scripture where it was foretold that it would happen. I love it! I love Advent and the kids do to. I hope this is a tradition they will take into their own families. They seem to get so excited when we pull out that advent wreath and begin lighting those candles. It is important to me that my kids appreciate more about Christmas than just the gifts on Christmas morning.

So, Lent. I have wondered about Lent for years. What’s it all about? What’s with the ashes on Ash Wednesday? How does it all work? Why give up something? What’s the point?

I have done some reading and I have a few answers, enough I think to celebrate Lent this year. We did not partake in Ash Wednesday, although I think that would be something we might like to do next year. This year we just read the Ash Wednesday scripture: Mathew 6:1 "Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

We talked about how this is something that we can think about in our hearts and do to please God and grow closer to him; it is not something go shouting to the mountain tops about to gain glory from men.

For me, Easter is the big one. Theoretically Jesus could have come to earth as a baby and then decided He didn’t particularly want to get up on a cross for humanity. Would anyone blame him after the way he was received? But he got up there anyway. I hate that Easter comes and goes so fast and there is not quite the build up and preparation like there is for Christmas. Easter is the Big One! Easter is THE holiday and it seems to come and go with no more preparation than making sure the boys have church shoes and the girls have new dresses. This year I decided I was going to change that. So I did some research and got the family together to talk about Lent.

I explained all I had learned and then I asked the kids if they would like to participate in Lent and encouraged them to think and pray about what they want to give up? Boy did I get some interesting ideas.

Bob would like to give up bathing, brushing his hair, brushing his teeth, or his chores. I have told him he is not allowed to give up any of those things.

Will wants to give up Algebra.

Eve can’t decide.

Ann wants to give up reading.

I think perhaps they are missing the point. So instead of focusing on giving up, we are going to focus on adding. We are going to be very intentional about our quiet times together as a family, and individually. I have planned a segment of our day to be set aside for time with God. This is something we should really be doing anyway, but have gotten out of the habit. We do read the Bible together most days, but I have not encouraged a personal quiet time for the kids individually, so that is what we are going to do.

I know tradition does not get us into heaven. No amount of ashes on my head is going to save me. I can give up chocolate for 40 days but if I don’t know Jesus, then I’ve done nothing but deprived myself.

Tradition does not save us, but sometimes it can serve to refocus us on the One who does.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

It’s Meme day!

I’ll add another meme to my day. I like this one, it’s from Tonya. It’s the 123 Meme. Here is how to do it.

Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more
Find page 123
Find the first five sentences
Post the next three sentences

This is from Age of Opportunity: A Biblical Guide to Parenting Teens by Paul David Tripp

This book was the closest book to me when I read that I’d been tagged by Tonya. It is on my bedside table with the other 5 books that I planned to read for the Winter Reading Challenge; which I have totally and completely failed at. A true and abysmal failure, as I have not finished even one single book from my list.

The closest book to me right now while I type this is Will’s Algebra 2 book since I am currently grading his homework. NO ONE wants to hear what is on page 123 of that book!

So here I go, for your reading pleasure…

How important is it for us to take every opportunity God gives us to hold the mirror of the World in front of our teenagers so that they can begin to see themselves as the actually are! So often in the moments when their hearts are being revealed, our own anger and frustration cause us to beat them with words and mete out harsh punishments. We forget to function as God’s instruments, and then our anger only leaves our children more defensive, more closed and more self-deceived.

This book is kinda hard to read as a parent of teens who, you know, sometimes, on a very rare occasion gets a wee bit angry.

Tag! You’re it. Go forth throughout the internet and Meme.

Who doesn't want to go to Venice?

Molly and Grandmother Goddess of the Garden have both tagged me for the Random Meme.

One is for 7 random things about me and the other is, share 5 places that I want to see or want to see.

I’ll start with the last one first as I have never been anywhere. Living in a missionary family (Sir D is an MK) and living near a missionary community, I feel like the oddball!

So here are five places I want to see....

1. Venice! I am dying to see Venice. I can’t imagine a city in the water. I really want to see it in person before it sinks completely into the sea.

2. A REAL ocean. The gulf coast does not count! (I’m trying to talk Sir D into taking me to Fiji for our 20th anniversary, so far no luck.)

3. The Grand Canyon. It is as American as apple pie. You have to see the Grand Canyon once in your life.

4. The Blue Ridge Mountains. My grandpa used to sing me a song about the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. I gotta see them someday.

5. And last but in no way least, the Jungles of Papua Guinea where Sir D’s parents completed a new testament translation and helped complete several others, all while their four boys were running amuck (I’m sure) in the jungle and loving every minute of it.

And now for the 7 random things…

1. I married my high school sweetheart and we’ve been married for over 17 years.

2. I feel like the rice crispy cereal when I move; snap, crackle, pop. Almost all my joints pop without any encouragement from me.

3. I’ve told very few people in my real life that I have this blog. I don’t know why, I’m a softy I guess and can’t stand criticism.

4. We already mailed in our taxes! (amazing how much we don’t procrastinate when we’re getting $ back)

5. I’m an INFJ in the Myers Briggs Personality test. Only 1% of the population is that combination which explains why I feel like such a freak! Kidding! Just Kidding! (about the freak part not the 1%, that is actually true)

6. I love quilts and am very thankful for an aunt who quilts and has supplied us with one for every bed!

7. Growing up I always wanted 2 boys and then 2 girls. Exactly what God gave me! Of course I also wanted a pony…still waiting on that one.

Now if you’d like to reveal random information out into cyber space for no apparent reason, consider yourself tagged! Come on do it; it’s fun!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Oh, the noise!

I am going to share something with you. A weakness. It is a small thing, but it has a big effect.

I have serious noise issues. I think it could be called a noise intolerance, nay, even an allergy.

Racket drives me nuts. I have been known to throw out toys when my kids were not looking because I simply could not stand the noise it made. And those VTech toys for babies? The bain of my existence! I used to unscrew them and stuff cotton balls or Kleenex over the speaker to quite them.

What I fund amusing is that the Lord would give me such a noise intolerance, and four such loud children. I think either He overestimated my ability to handle the racket, or underestimated my children’s ability to make noise.

So because clearly I am an idiot. Sir D and I gave the boys guitars for Christmas with the promise of lessons. I thought, how much noise can a guitar make, right? It’s not like we bought them flutes or drums or, heaven help me, violins.

Well, here’s a little tip for you. When children first learn to play the guitar, they have to play this same little tunie thing, where they pick a few strings and hold them for different amounts of time. What this makes is most definitely NOT music. It is racket in its most annoying and torturous form. It is the kind of racket they have to do repeatedly, given to them as homework by a person we are paying.

Ping, ping-ping, ping-ping-ping, piiiiiiiinnnnng. This has been ringing through my house for most of the day. One stops and the other one starts. Right now I can hear it although I am not sure if one of them is practicing their guitar or it is just reverberating around in my skull.

What have I gotten myself into? I am completely willing to allow my offspring a lopsided education. They don’t really need music do they?

(And please pay no attention to the horrid pig sty my boys live in. Obviuously Home Ec is a course we have not spent much time on either.)

Do we need a christening to go with the names?

I have decided to change my kids’ names. Not in real life, I think that would scar them to much, just here in the blogisphere.

B will heretofore be known as Will. There is a funny story about this choice but that will have to wait.

G will heretofore be knows as Bob.

Now I can tell you the funny story. Both the boys were Veggie Tale fans. They were a bit old when Veggie Tales came out, but because they had little sisters they were forced to watch anyway. Well, D and I started calling the boys Bob and Larry after a while, I have no idea why but it made them laugh so we did it. Eventually we just called them Bob, because they thought we were nuts and we did not want to correct them. Then one day B (now Will) came to my door and knocked. I asked him, through the door, what he needed, thinking he’d just come in. He began to tell me whatever he needed through the door and I could not hear him so I said, “Come in, will ya?”

He opened the door and said, “Mom, did you just call me William?” He was used to being called his given name and occasionally Bob, but William was new. We had a good laugh, and then I started calling him William; because it made him laugh and roll his eyes at his Crazy Mom. I do what I can to perpetuate the myth.

So there you have it, Will and Bob, my boys.

Now for the girls.

E will heretofore be known as Eve. Nothing fancy, just a take off of her real names.

A will heretofore be known as Ann, same thing, just part of her real names.

Now a cutsie internet name for D. He has so many names already. He goes by D___ in real life and H____ (his middle name) at work because there are too many D___’S where he works. Since he’s been at his job for about 16 years he’s developed quite an alter ego. I hate to give him another one. It could be hazardous to his mental health to have so many splits in his personality. However, it is getting confusing referring to him by one letter all the time. I think I’ll have to risk it and find another alias for him.

Edited to add...

Okay, I've got it! It came to me in a dream. Okay, not really it came to me after my second cup of coffee. Sir D! Since I have knighted him I should call him Sir! So Sir D it is.

Monday, February 4, 2008

7 Weeks till Lycra!

I have just had a shocking realization. In just 7 weeks my family and I are going to the beach for week long vacation. While this is not shocking in itself, we did plan it after all, the shock comes in when I realize that my body is going to be wrapped in some sort of lycra spandex in a mere 7 weeks. Lawsy Mercy people! 7 weeks!

My swimsuit is very much like the one above, except it’s black with dark blue shorts; because I believe in drawing as little attention to myself as possible when I am wearing that little clothing and it is made of lycra/spandex. If they could figure out how to make an invisibility swimsuit, I’d be the first in line.

Remember that quote from The Devil Wears Prada? "I’m on this new diet where I don’t eat anything, but if I feel like I’m going to faint, I eat a cube of cheese."

Yeah, I think I’m going to be on that diet for the next 7 weeks.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Flowers, jewelry and coffee; the stuff dreams are made of.

D came home last night with some beautiful flowers. No one variety, but several in a dazzling bouquet of color. He also bought me some small ruby stud earrings. My birthstone is ruby and I just love rubies! Sadly they are quite expensive so I rarely get any. I was given a pair by my aunt and uncle when I turned 16. I wore the fire out of those earrings. Last year I lost one; it was a very, very sad day.

But now that I have a new pair, I think I am going to take that one left over earring and see if I can have it made into a necklace charm. Then I’ll have a matching set. Whoo Hoo!

I searched the world over and found some Starbucks coffee form New Guinea to give to D as a gift. D was born there and spent much of his youth running around in its lush green jungles as a Missionary Kid.

I knew the New Guinea coffee would be a treat for him. WHoo, is that strong stuff! I think I could re tar my roof with it!

I would take lovely photos of my nice sparkly stud earrings and lovely display of flowers, but the boys took my camera with them with they went riding their motorbikes today. I guess they want to get some great shots of them catching air over the triples. I am sooo not going to look at those photos!

Happy Saturday!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Happy Anniversary my Love!

(This photo was taken a few weeks before our wedding; man look at all that hair?)

17 years ago today we said 'I Do'. We didn’t have much of an idea of what it meant back then. We were young and idealistic. We’ve been though a lot together, although not as much as some.

We’ve seen success and failure. We’ve had four children and lost one. We’ve bought and sold houses and moved a lot. We’ve bought and sold cars, we’ve gone on vacation and we’ve stayed home. We’ve been busy.

In all that time, through all that regular life, I’ve grown to love and appreciate you even more than I could have possible imagined I would 17 years ago today. You love me even when I can be unlovable or unloving myself. You’ve worked to support your family even when you didn’t want to. You’ve sacrificed your time and money so I can stay home and our children can be educated at home. You’ve put your family first in a society that tells you that you deserve it and personal sacrifice is outdated.

You are a man of integrity, a man of character, a man of God.

I didn’t know what I was getting into 17 years ago, but I’ll never be happier about any decision in my life, than I am about saying ‘I Do’.