Wednesday, June 10, 2015

It's summer

I'm sitting here in my newly painted front room (we did it ourselves), a storm is brewing, and I've got my laptop in my lap and I had the strangest thought...maybe I'll blog today!  I just got the time hop app (is it app or just ap?) on my phone yesterday.  Today it told me that two years ago today Madi was on her way to work her first day of summer camp at the rec. (that was incidentally also the last time Madi has eaten meat, the app didn't remind me of that, she did) The app told me that two minutes after Madi had stuck her head in to my room to say she was on her way to work (same place different year, different color shirt).  Time hop also told me that one year ago today Jake had his first day of band camp.  This was what I was looking at when Jake came bounding into my room to remind me that we needed to take a ride down to Orlando to pick up the book he needed for  band camp today.  More incidentallies... We had ordered the books we needed online, but one of them was the wrong version.  On Monday someone told Jake that he could have theirs from last year, on Tuesday that girl didn't show up.  By Tuesday afternoon Jake was sure he was going to get kicked out of two bands if he didn't have the right book on Wednesday.  He called two music stores looking for it.  Let me say this again HE CALLED TWO MUSIC STORES LOOKING FOR IT!!  Jake has no problem playing a funny character on stage in front of 200 hundred people or leading the psalms as a cantor in a full church or even singing two solos completely in Latin as was the case this weekend, but calling someone and asking about a music out.  He was pretty nervous about such a vast endeavor, but he did it and survived.  We got to the music store just before they opened and the $15 book only cost us $5 because I had some kind of a coupon on my account.  All that to say, Madi's still working at the rec and still a vegetarian two years later.  Jake is still in band camp one year later.  Time hop wasn't done yet.  It also reminded me that last year and the year before we were celebrating our little buddy, Dawson's birthday.  He is three years old today and we celebrated with him on Sunday.  Lastly, it reminded me that three years ago on this day we had just gotten back from California.  Eustis Rec...check, band camp...check, Dawson's birthday...check, but sadly we are not in California right now.  We will however be heading for an Alaskan cruise around this time next year, so that's something. 

I picked up a live chicken today.  That is surely something I wasn't doing last year or the year before that or ever in my life.  Friends of ours are away and Madi and I are tag teaming checking on their chickens.  When I went there today one of them jumped out of the coop when I opened the hatch to collect the eggs.  It's a long story and would have made a really funny video that may have even involved a stick and a shovel, but I eventually had to bite the bullet and pick up the chicken with my bare hands to get it safely back into its house.  I swear to you no chickens were actually harmed in the making of this blog post. 

There's the little guy on Sunday.

Maybe I'll be back with pictures from one and two years ago, or maybe I'll be back to blog again in five months.  Right now, I've got to go get Jake from band camp.

Saturday, February 28, 2015


I got a bad cold last week.  Friday night we went to stations of the cross at church, and my nose did not stop running.  Thankfully I had a couple of napkins in my pocket, but it was not a pretty picture.  By Saturday, I was down for the count.  We were a part of a big youth room re-do at church while our youth minister was on a retreat (Madi was there as a leader and gave a talk on prayer).  Anyway, I didn't make it to the cleaning and reorganizing of the room or to the theatre to house manage that night.  Sunday I did everything I was supposed to do including church, and picking up Madi etc, more church, and then the big reveal of the now clean and organized, no thanks to me, youth room.  By Monday I was out of commission again.  Now coughing.  Since Tuesday (my FORTY FIFTH birthday), I've been functionally better, but still super lazy tired.  This brings me to right now, Saturday night a week later where I am laying in my bed, under the covers with my laptop... it is only 8:03pm.  This cold, or more likely 45, has hit me like a ton of bricks.  I've read 3 books this week.  They were Escape from Mr Lemoncello's Libray, Leaving Time, and The Mistletoe Promise. I am now reading Left to Tell which I have been borrowing for almost a year and finally finally picked it up today.  (I think I've been a little afraid of reading it.)  I have taken three hot baths today and I'm still sucking down cough drops like they are candy.  I am a limp noodle.  I originally pulled out my laptop to attempt to watch Parenthood on Netflix, but the computer was being too slow.  I've never watched any of that show, but have heard enough good things about it that it has landed on my "someday I might watch" list.  I am thinking The Fosters might also be on that list and maybe Blue Bloods or Breaking Bad.  I am not a Netflix TV watcher generally.  I am more a dvr-ed reruns I've seen a million times watcher.  Jake has gotten me started on Once Upon a Time.  I am almost done with season 1, but I don't think we've watched any of it for two weeks, and considering this has been the laziest week of my life and I still didn't watch that, I'm guessing it'll be slow going.  One bit of good news for my tired old soul is that Jonathan is miraculously only working until 9:15 tonight as opposed to the oft ending times of 1, 2 or 3am.  This is definitely exciting for me.  Madi is also out right now, but another bit of good news, she is just babysitting about 7 houses away, so no late night driving for her.  These are happy times!  

So aside from laziness, what's new?  My father averted a heart attack two weeks ago.  He had a few episodes of chest pains that culminated in a major episode that involved him "white as a ghost" according to my mother, sweating and in intense pain.  They called 911, and both parents spent that night in the hospital.  The next morning I joined them.  My father had a heart cath and they inserted a stent.  The cardiologist said it was not a heart attack (because there was no permanent damage), but angina (which has two acceptable pronunciations).  My father went home the following day.  He is back to work and as good as new.  Speaking of as good as new, my brother is doing fantastic at the moment.  Please keep praying for him, but he's better than he has been in way over a year (even for a long time prior to his diagnosis).  Their family is planning a trip to Florida in April and we could not be happier.  They have not been here since 2006!  Jonathan is going to hook them up with some good Disney deals. 

Jonathan is graduating again this year.  He will get his Associate of Arts degree on May 1st.  His further plans are up in the air.  They will involve work at Disney and a Bachelor's degree from somewhere, but then whens, wheres and hows are not set in stone.  He has gotten quite involved in the theatre productions at Lake Sumter including programming and running lights for their latest show, auditioning for a future show, and even late night karaoke at Applebee's, where he didn't sing, but did witness a bar fight.  A girl who rode space mountain three times the other night gave him her phone number.  Upon hearing the story both Mike and I asked if he was going to call her, and all three kids rolled their eyes because "of course you would never call someone in that situation, but you might text them". 

Madi is perfect at everything except completing her Algebra 2 in a timely manner (well and maybe history and chemistry too), and keeping her room clean.  She is kicking butt in her college classes.  It is so much easier to stay on top of classes when you see the teacher weekly and they are not a virtual person inside the computer (or your mother).  She is such a leader in youth group, such a good babysitter, such a good singer, such a good actress, such a good friend.  A man on her retreat this weekend told me she is "a leader and an encourager".

Jake went on an all day field trip yesterday with the band for a ten minute steel drum performance where he didn't actually get to play the steel drum just some kind of maraca.  From there he went to the down town Georgefest carnival with friends.  Following in his siblings footsteps, he left the house at 8am and returned home at almost 11pm.  This morning he and I got up at 7 so he could have a good breakfast, get all dressed in his band uniform for his first experience as a marching band member only to find out when we got to the school that they were canceling due to potential rain.  The parade went on sans Jake and the marching mustang band.  Since Mike and I were on our cruise during the fall concert, I have yet to see him perform in the band.  Hopefully nothing interferes with the spring concert.  He is unsure about band next year.  In some ways he really loves it, but we are spoiled enough that we are not big fans of all the school rules that are a part of being in a school band.  For example we were told he could bring any kind of back pack on the field trip, but then he had a mini anxiety attack over getting out of the car in the drop off line with a back pack that wasn't see through.  He was afraid the car line security would make an example of him.  Thankfully he made it into the bandroom unscathed.  Also school things like 6th period sometimes being the 6th period of the day and sometimes being the 1st period of the day, with little to no warning, or getting yelled at by said car line security if he tried to get in the car and the car in front of me has just left so now I HAVE TO pull up asap as opposed to Jake just jumping in.  These kinds of things don't happen at drop off for theatre or youth group or whatever.  We like loose rules, not tight ones. 

Prior to Jake's birth and when he was really little, we used to travel a ton with Mike for work.  Part of why we homeschooled from the beginning was so the kids could take advantage of all those trips.  The summer I was pregnant with Jake we went on a six week business trip to the northeast, came home for two weeks, and then went on a two week trip to Texas.  Changes in Mike's job as well as bigger kid commitments like theatre meant that by about 2005 or so we were no longer traveling much.  Well now Mike has a different job and Jake is the one with slightly looser commitments so he will be able to take advantage of some travel coming up.  In a couple weeks Mike, Jake and I will hit the road back to New Orleans (Mike and I spent 4 nights there last month).  Thankfully we were able to convince the big two to lighten their schedules a little and fly out and join us for the second half of the week, I am excited about that.  This summer will be Jake's 13 year old trip to NYC.  Mike's father takes all the grandchildren to New York for their thirteenth birthday where they can more or less do whatever they want.  Jake will be seeing Aladdin on Broadway.  (Madi saw Wicked and Jonathan saw Phantom of the Opera.)  That trip will involve all of us in New England where we are planning on less Connecticut and more New Hampshire and Massachusetts.  Then the farther in the future trip that we are planning is an Alaskan cruise for the summer of 2016.  Yay!!

Well I haven't moved from my spot under the covers, but now at least I can feel like I more or less accomplished something today.  It's all about low expectations.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

I'm still here...maybe

I know I'm a broken record (that only seems to play about once a month or less).  Sometimes I really think, yes...I am going to write.  Then I think... about what?  A lot of popular blogs have ongoing themes around cute things their kids say.  That theme doesn't always fly when your kids are 12, 16, and 19.  I read a fair amount of Catholic mom blogs, and am involved in a lot of real life Catholic living, but a lot of that also doesn't translate so well to the blog.  Went to confession on Saturday, Madi sang like an angel on Sunday...not really a page turner.  Some blogs have a lot of pictures of their kids' sports.  Jake's outside shooting hoops right now, but that's about it for that.  Theatre is our "sport", but most of the time I don't even get show pictures or videos up here anymore.  If facebook didn't kill the blog, instagram may have.  This blog started just before a major family illness (Mike, go back and see, I don't want to talk about it).  My father ended up in the hospital last week, and that played out a little on facebook to the tune of dozens and dozens of people praying for him, and only one person (on my fb and another one on my mother's) thinking it was all about them instead of about my father.  But I don't know that that is really big blog business.  I like to write.  I might have time to write, but what?  for whom?  Those are the questions.  I just realized that it is raining and Jake and the neighbor are still outside playing basketball (it's also pretty dark), maybe that would make a funny story, but I don't think I'm going to hash it out now.  Jonathan just texted that he is on his way home and it's Taco least for 3/5 of our family.  I'm going to go make tacos and eat my weight in tacos and junk food cause it's also Fat Tuesday!!  Maybe I'll be around during Lent...we'll see...

Friday, January 9, 2015

Dual enrollment

Every time I start a blog post, I am tempted to say, "I am thinking about writing about...blah blah blah..."  I can never seem to write about something, I'm always stuck just thinking about writing about something.  I imagine this is because I'm generally torn between I'm not really a blogger and will probably never write again and I'm almost ready to write that book.  Today I've had a few different conversations that sent me down the path of I might have something to write about.  So here goes.  Jonathan is a homeschool graduate who will finish his associate's degree in May, a year ahead of schedule.  He will eventually get his bachelor's degree, but his plans for when and where are a little up in the air right now.  Madi is a homeschooled junior in her second semester of dual enrollment.  Let me say I am a huge fan of dual enrollment.  I am also a huge fan of the local state college where the dual enrollment (or in Jonathan's case enrollment) takes place.  I think we're well beyond the concerns of not saying our last name or giving away where we live in this space.  I'm pretty sure the three of you that will be reading this already know those things.  So Lake Sumter State College... I love this place.  My kids do too.  One conversation today was with a friend over the merits of AP versus dual enrollment.  The local public schools seem to tell kids that AP is far superior to dual enrollment.  I am pretty sure that as far as classroom rigor goes, this may indeed be the case more often then not.  On the other hand, consider the source.  If you stay at the school and take the AP class (and pass, and pass the test) the school looks good.  If you leave the school grounds to take a class elsewhere, not so much.  I know that there are very good AP classes at the local public schools and I know of plenty of kids to have taken them and will excel in their big name university educations because of it.  I don't deny that.  We have not gone that route.  As homeschoolers dual enrollment makes much more sense and because it is the direction we've chosen I'm here to praise it.  If you google dual enrollment versus AP courses you will see all kinds of pros and cons for each.  Dual enrollment goes more with homeschooling in general.  More freedom to choose the classes you want, when to take them, when to study, etc.  Some local state and community colleges may not be as rigorous as comparable AP classes (lots of online material points to the fact that AP students are usually at the top of their class while entry level college students are not necessarily), but you know what dual enrollment certainly prepares you for college because, guess what? it is college!  One of the websites even said that AP makes more sense for high school students because that class is often taught over a whole year instead of a semester.  Um well in college the whole thing is done in one semester so dragging it out doesn't really sound so superior in my book.  Here's the thing.  This is my same old argument about maybe mastering the more basic material is a better idea than doing harder work and not really "getting it".  Information is out there.  We pretty much all walk around with a small device in our pockets that can give us any information at any time.  Did the Union or the Confederacy win the battle of Shiloh?  I don't know, but I know how to find out really fast.  I do know who won the war though and I know factors that led up to it were around since the founding of our nation, my kids know those things too.  They've read and listened to many books about the Civil War and about lots of other things too.  They know about the battle of Gettysburg and they can almost word for word give the Gettysburg address, they know how long four score and seven years ago is, and they know how to look up any other battle or general or whatever they might need to know about.  Today when Madi and I were discussing her American History and it was time for a quiz, I had her do the matching of the people's names to what they did (who was John Wilkes Booth... kind of important), but had her totally skip the which battle was what part.  When a question of battles comes up on trivia crack, she'll have to make an educated guess and then google it later.  I seem to have gotten off track, but in my mind it is actually the same thing.  After lots and lots of years of homeschooling and turning out some pretty cool kids, I have to say that harder classes are not necessarily better classes.  And dare I say harder classes don't necessarily make you smarter.  My high school physics teacher was a genius.  I don't think I learned anything in that class.  There must have been some kind of a curve though because I must have gotten either an A or a B because that's all I ever got.  I've blogged before about how frustrated I've gotten when people have belittled something that I find worthy educationally because it isn't at a high enough grade level or reading level.  Does something have to be hard to read to give good information?  I don't think so.  I've also blogged at length about how conversation has been one of our main methods of education over the years.  This way of learning is carried out at Lake Sumter.  Jonathan is definitely an auditory learner, it is serving him well in his college classes.  He has been invited into and has joined an honor society phi theta something based on his excelling in his classes.  This is my blog and I've been his main teacher for most of his life, so of course I can say this makes me proud.  But really it's not my thing anymore, now it's his thing.  I really have a grown kid now and another one coming up right behind him (and before I know it that last one will be there too).  Jake at this point is thinking his high school learning will mostly take place inside the school building, so I am in no way saying that our way is the right way or the only way, I'm just saying I feel a little more at liberty to say what worked for us because we can now see that it really did work for us.  And since another one of my conversations today was with a public school mom who is pulling her 10th grader out of school next week, I was able to tell her the ways these things have worked for us, and how this once unconventional way of doing things has now become the thing that so many people want to know more about.  Our early homeschool days would probably be called delayed academics (with a heavy dose of talking), our middle years might be considered a little closer to the school model (but again with a lot more talking), and our later years will definitely be classified as pro-dual enrollment (and yes lots of talking).  Take it or leave it, I have no need to convince anyone of anything, but if you want my opinions on why we do what we do, I'm happy to tell people and maybe even sometimes write a little about it here in this very neglected place.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

12 in 2014

I've read a few of these 12 pics year in review posts and they all seem to have beautiful pictures with the month somehow written right on the picture, and links to numerous blog posts written in that month.  That's not going to happen here.  Last year at this time I had grand plans to blog about each month of the previous year and of course that didn't happen.  If I've learned anything lately it's to aim really low.  I'm pretty sure I can find a picture from each month of 2014, so that is the way this is going to go, no links, no sweet stories, but a picture for every month.

And that's all she wrote.
Link up with Dwija for more 12 in 2014 posts that have more content.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

quick updates in facebook format

After many years of grinding my own flour, I have opted to use cheap white flour for Christmas cookies this year.  It was a good idea!

Madi just texted that she got 100 on her Sociology (dual enrollment at LSSC) paper.  I texted back, "hopefully your Algebra 2 (FLVS) teacher will take that into consideration."

Jonathan and Mike have grand plans for outside Christmas lights every year (think Christmas vacation).  Here we sit in the second week of Advent with nice subtle lights outside.  I'm not complaining.

We got a droopy Christmas tree this year.  Here we sit in the second week of Advent, and I might be complaining a little.  It's still drinking water and not brown yet, but it's kinda sad.  For the last three or four years we've had trees that were still like new on New Year's Day, so I think we were overdue for this one.  I also think I mentioned that we had done so well with trees lately we might be due for a dud and I think this one heard me.

A dear friend had a stem cell transplant yesterday and was walking on the treadmill today.  I can count on one hand the number of times I've been to the gym this year.  Mike is ready to pull the plug on the family gym membership, and in spite of my terrible attendance, I'm not ready to let it go.  Jake is now old enough to go too, and I know he and I really need to get into a gym routine, yet I can't seem to make it happen.  Maybe saying it here will motivate me to take the plunge.  If we don't use it, we'll lose it.

It is the Feast of Juan Diego today and we had tacos for lunch.  I knew it was the Feast of Juan Diego and the boys and I talked about it this morning.  The tacos for lunch was unrelated, but as Sheldon Cooper would say, was a happy accident.

We have gotten 7 Christmas cards so far.  For a while we seemed to be getting one a day, and had the same number of cards as the date in December, but now we'll fallen behind.  Sent me some cards!!

I mailed mine today. 

I also mailed 3 Christmas packages.

Jake has the opportunity to go to two different dances this week, but will miss them both because it is show week at theatre. 

This really was my facebook status yesterday...

Our family's favorite musical, Once on this Island, is this weekend!!  Madi is Ti Moune on Saturday at 7, and Jake is Agwe on Friday at 7 and Sunday at 2. Reserve your tickets today.  This is one you won't want to miss!

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

It's Saturday

Linking with Kathryn once again for what I imaging will be the last time this week.  Tomorrow is the day we've been planning!!  Lots of packing and preparing to do today.  In the meantime here's a short review of yesterday and a preview of today.

Hmmm, yesterday, what was yesterday?  Mike and Madi both had dentist appointments.  I did a little History with Madi, a little reading about northern Europe with Jake.  There was a point for a little while when the whole family was in the kitchen (actually that happened for a little while in the evening too).  Late morning Madi and I went to pay her traffic ticket.  Jonathan took Jake to Target.  Mike was at a meeting.  Madi and I picked up pizza for lunch, the boys brought home soda and we had a little party.  The Duggars joined us on the TV.  Then Madi did math, Jake did a little more school work, Jonathan talked a lot, and before we knew it it was time for Madi to go to work and Jake to go to band.  I sat in the car line during band listening to the Busted Halo show.  Then took Jake right to theatre.  While he was at theatre I went to the Verizon store and got my upgrade.  My 2 year old iphone 4 was on it's last legs.  Now I have a fancy 5S yay!  This week in review with new phones and pedicures is not at all typical of a normal week, it just happened that a week in my life also fell on the week before the cruise.  Mike and I were scheduled to house manage for the current main stage show at the theatre at 6:30.  The show is A Good Old Fashioned Redneck Country Christmas.  I convinced Madi to dress like an usher and help us out.  Good thing because as of the time of the house opening I only had two ushers and one of them was brand new.  I was supposed to have 6 or 7.  I pulled Jake from where he was sulking upstairs because he really didn't want to be there, and he sat people in his athletic pants and Aeropostale tshirt.  Finally three more ushers showed up 35 minutes late.  I quickly put them right to work.  Jonathan had been working on tech stuff there since about 4, and he and Jake decided to just go home and not stay for the show.  The show was pretty cute and touching.  It is a nice short show (my favorite kind of nonmusical) and we were all home (and back in the kitchen) before 10:00.  Then I got in bed and watched the end of Forrest Gump.  The end.

Today we are packing, and cleaning, and I personally have nowhere that I have to be.