Monday, June 29, 2009

Daybook--Home Edition

For today Monday June 29th

Outside my window...there's a mixture of sun and clouds.

I am thinking...what did we do before digital cameras...I just down loaded 244 pictures from our trip onto the computer...I am also very annoyed because I cannot get online on said computer.

I am thankful...for Jonathan's computer because that is what I'm using now.

From the kitchen...meatballs are in the crockpot, bread is in the machine.

From the learning rooms... summer break...although Jake did some math today by his choosing...lots of reading.

I'm creating, just putting lots of stuff away.

I am wearing...tan shorts and a green shirt.

I am reading...The Cricket in Times Square.

I am figure out the computer problem.

I am hearing...Jake and Madi watching The Price is Right.

Around the house...tons of laundry in progress.

One of my favorite things...HOME!!

I am pick up Jonathan from theatre and bring him and Madi to kids' college in a few minutes.

A few plans for the rest of the, relaxing, reading, shuttling kids, and lots of fun with Jake when no one else is home...he's got a lot of plans including games of Battleship, Wii Bowling, and more.

A picture thought...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

music on the road

We're almost home, there will be tons of unpacking, laundry, and preparation for the week ahead to do when we get there, so I'm not planning on much computer time. Meanwhile with most of the family sleeping and Mike singing along to the radio, I've got the blackberry and it is time for a final on the road post.

We've heard some really good music on the ride home. The Climb by Miley Cirus has become a favorite for all of us. We've been a "Christian Music Family" for about two years now, we are big fans and look forward to going to Disney's Night of Joy for the second year in a row. I have to say, I'm enjoying listening to some of the variety in the music we've heard on this ride home though. We've certainly heard a lot of Michael Jackson. I am not one of the billions of people who bought the Thriller album, and I am one of the billions of people who think he was a kook, but you cannot deny his talent. The music brings back a lot of memories.

When Cindy and I were in high school we'd write notes to each other at night and tell each other what songs were on the radio as we cruised the dial. It seems like I might've been able to find a better way to spend my time, and yet here I am 20+ years later basically doing the same thing in a new high tech way. Just since our Cracker Barrel lunch stop we've sung to songs such as Really love to See you Tonight by England Dan and John Ford Coley, An Innocent Man by Billy Joel, Hotel California (twice), Before He Cheats by Carrie Underwood, plus REO Speedwagon, Sheryl Crowe, and many more, not to mention all of the Christian radio songs thrown in for good measure. I really like could anyone not?! My goal for the week is to figure out how to get some songs on my mp3 player...I've actually had it since November!!

Here's my challenge for you...if you've never listened to Christian music...give it a try (Casting Crowns is our family favorite...Jonathan introduced them to his cousin Sarah on this trip and she downloaded two of their songs onto her computer). On the other hand if you only listen to Christian music...take my advice, it's OK to change the station once in a while. Remember variety is the spice of life.

Friday, June 26, 2009

the trip is winding down

We're now at Mike's mother's house for the last two nights of our trip. "The cousins" are together, and I'm not really sure if any of them slept last night. I'm just glad that I did. This evening Mike and I get to go to his cousin's wedding. Then we'll hit the road tomorrow. Kids' college starts Monday for Jonathan and Madi (plus Theatre for Jonathan...already the show is in two weeks. Time flies when you're not there!). The weather has been cool and cloudy all week. We're loving it, but everyone who lives here is sick of it and ready for summer weather. It's looking like there won't be any trip pictures on here until at least Monday. That should give you something to look forward to:)!

Can you believe Michael Jackson died? I don't know much about it since the blackberry is really our only connection to news. And poor Farrah, at least she's not suffering anymore. What a week. Not to mention J and K...what a stinky thing that is!!! Those poor kids, I love them, and so does the rest of the world, sadly that's part of the problem. Fame does crazy things to people. Let's all take some time to celebrate our own annonymity!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

abreviated daybook on the road

...For today Tuesday June 23rd.

Outside the is already light out even though it is just after 5am.

I am...awake and laying on the couch at Mike's Dad's house.

I plan... to go back to sleep as soon as the benedryl kicks in, we've all been fighting minor colds on this trip.

I am... not playing by the rules on this daybook because there is no copying and pasting on the blackberry.

I will...have tons of pictures to post at some point...maybe not until we get home.

I am thinking...this was the first Sun/Mon I let pass with no daybook in about a year.

I am memories.

From the kitchen...I plan to have some of a fruit tart for breakfast.

I am thankful...that the METRO didn't crash when we were on it...and I am sad for the people who were on it when it crashed.

Learning rooms on the road... DC on the weekend and NYC yesterday...what's more educational than that? We even saw a glimpse of "the little red lighthouse" and a great view of "the great grey bridge"...a FIAR book. In the next few days, I hope to go to a restaurant/hot dog/fried clam stand like the one in Night of the Moonjellies.

I am hearing...not much, alls quiet.

I am going... to walk down to the beach later, today is the calmest day of our trip.

I am reading ...Just Take my Heart by Mary Higgins Clark and a few more books.

The rest of the week...tomorrow we will go to my nephew John's birthday party and see my side of the family, including Cindy. Thursday we will go to a celebration for our niece Sarah's completion of middle school. Thur night through Sat am "the cousins" get to be together. Friday night Mike and I go to his cousin's wedding at Samuel Morse's estate (of morse code fame). Sat mid morning we hit the road.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

on the road

Here I am in a hotel room on Mike's blackberry, waiting for my family to get ready so we can explore a little bit of our nation's capital. We left for our trip after VBS and Theatre on Thursday (Jonathan is going to be the Dad, Mr MacAffe in Bye Bye Birdie). We made it to Florence, SC before stopping for the night. Yesterday we continued north and as usual spent too much time in suburban DC traffic. We finally made it to our (very nice) hotel in time to ride the METRO and explore the Smithsonian's Museum of American History. Then we had great pizza at Burtucci's. Last night Mike and I watched Twilight (it's relatively close to the book). This morning Jake and Madi swam in the rooftop pool, and now we are heading out for a little more exploring in the rain before heading to Grandpa Sal's.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Being human OR rabbits and elephants

Am I the only one who looks for comments constantly as reinforcement? I'd like to think that I really don't need praise, but I think I do desire recognition, I am human after all. Ultimately, I think that is what this rambling post is going to be about. I "live in my head" all day long, and this blog seems to be the best way to get most of what is in my head out. In other words, it is a good way to give my mind some peace. My original blog thoughts for today involved moms being so hard on ourselves. I often speak of a friend who used to say she wished she did X like this person, Y like that person, and Z like another person. The problem is those were three different people and she was taking all of their best qualities and comparing them to her own perceived shortcomings. I think we all do that. Someone will always have a cleaner house, smarter more polite kids, etc... We need to be gentler on ourselves. Another friend has put it this way "we are comparing our insides to someone else's outsides". We know our own shortcomings, we see are own yucky insides (envy, worry, frustration), we may show them to those closest to us, but basically we try to show our "best" to the world. When we see each other's good, a common reaction is "I wish I were more like they are". My hope is that someone who reads this (IF anyone reads this) will be touched by it and remember to go easy on themself. Personally, I am usually pretty easy on others. I try to be, anyway. I often say things like "the fact that, as a mother, you are concerned about this, or questioning that, means that you are doing a good job". I say it to others, but I don't often listen to myself. Last night after I ranted to Jonathan about his needing to make more time to read, Mike reminded me that overall Jonathan is turning out pretty good. My response was, "I'm not trying to raise average children". Generally speaking I don't think anyone sets out to raise average children, but I've continued to think about that all day. I often say to my kids things like "I'm not putting all of this effort into homeschooling you for you to.....blah blah blah" {I'm sharing some of my yucky insides with you now}. The thing is, I know this kind of thing is counterproductive, but I'm human so I do it anyway. Then I beat myself up over it because being human is no excuse. [please tell me I'm not the only one who does this kind of thing]

Anyway, what is my point? Well I don't really know, but weeks ago I said I was going to have more posts on the homeschool convention, so now I will attempt to pull some of that into this and wrap it all together. Jeff Myers is one of my all time favorite convention speakers. He is president of Passing the Baton International. It is a ministry that trains mentors to "pass the baton" to the next generation. The baton being leadership, faith, communication skills, etc...etc... Because I went to every session he spoke at at the convention, I was able to get on his email list. I received an email from him today. In it he told this story {the story actually comes from someone else, you may have heard it, but I never have}...It goes like this...say you have two elephants and you put them in your garage. Say one is male and one is female. After some time (a year or two) you open the garage door and what do you find? Now you might have three elephants...a mom, a dad, and a baby. On the other hand what if in that same garage you instead put two rabbits, a male and a female. In a year or two you'll not only have 3 rabbits, you may in fact have hundreds of rabbits. The point is this, so often people are "all or nothing people". "If I can't do it perfectly, I'd rather not do it at all". We need to recognize our own baby steps. Instead of looking for "elephant" experiences we need to embrace the opportunities for smaller "rabbit" experiences. We are all challenged with something (or many things) it may be health, finances, difficulties with children, etc...etc... Whatever your issue is right now, praise yourself for the "rabbit" steps you are making.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

For today Sunday night June 14th.

Outside my window...we heard some fireworks, but can't see any.

I am thinking...about starting a new puzzle, I just finished a 1000 piece First Ladies one, I loved it! I am also thinking about how I graduated from 8th grade 25 years ago was a very big deal because it was a very small school, we had all been friends for years, and I was moving away 4 days later.

I am thankful...for the many opportunites my kids have.

From the kitchen...we just had steak on the grill with blue cheese crumbles and green beans, we are now cleaning out the bottom of the barrel (AKA chest freezer) so we can defrost it while we're away. I think we're only buying milk this week. We have lots of breakfast options--muffins, scones, cereal, eggs; some deli meat, cheese, and leftovers for lunches; and frozen potluck for dinners.

From the learning rooms...lots of reading. Jake will be doing two FIAR books while we are on our trip Night of the Moonjellies (set in CT) and The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Grey Bridge (NY...we plan to spend a day in NY on this trip). Jonathan and Madi are making a dent in their reading charts. Madi is reading Betsy & Tacy and Jonathan is still reading The Cricket in Times Square and also listening to The Hobbit.

I'm creating...readers.

I am wearing...a tan skirt and blue shirt.

I am reading...Search and Rescue by Patrick Madrid, a book of short stories called Home Schooling (which has nothing to do with homeschooling) by Carol Windley, and I am listening to a Debbie Macomber book (6 Rainer Drive) on a playway from the library.

I am get inspired to do a lot of cleaning and organizing while the kids are all at activities (VBS and Theatre camp) each morning this week.

I am hearing...Jake coming upstairs to get in bed.

Around the house...again...I'm hoping to get the meantime, it has that lived in look.

One of my favorite things...the smell of bread baking.

I am go to bed as soon as the bread is done and cooled.

A few plans for the rest of the week...Jonathan starts Bye Bye Birdie Theatre camp tomorrow. Jake and Madi will be doing 4 days of a VBS. We head to CT on Thursday.

A picture thought...

Saturday, June 13, 2009

More pictures

Last weeks Theatre events were capped off by a ceremonial running over of the "hot dog display"...

Jonathan spent a few days with my parents this week and on Friday Jake, Madi, and I along with OBM's two oldest kids went to get him and spent the afternoon at the beach. Somehow we didn't take any pictures at the beach, but we did see this strange car on the way.

This past week Madi and Jake took part in a local VBS sports camp. Madi was an assistant teacher of "Dance" for the younger kids, and Jake was in soccer. He was supposed to do basketball and was very much looking forward to it. On Monday we found out basketball had to be cancelled. For a few minutes Jake was very upset and didn't want to do it, but by the time I picked him up from the first night he said, "Soccer is much better than basketball!"

Jonathan and Madi are participating in free golf clinics (and later in the summer free 4 hole tournaments) put on at a local golf resort. This is Madi's first summer doing this and Jonathan's third. These are pictures from today.

Madi took these pictures from our backyard this evening.

Isn't this the most perfect pumpking you've ever seen?! It grew out of our compost pile from seeds from the fall. We have three more pumpkin plants growing, and a few more baby pumpkins...very exciting. It went from the garden to the crock pot to scones very quickly...I can't wait to eat them for breakfast!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Tag, you're it...

If you see yourself in the story, consider yourself tagged, but only if you want to participate. If you decide to join, you need to write a story that includes as many blog names as possible! (It's almost 11pm and I'm going to take the cheaters way out and not highlight all the blogs, but I couldn't pass up the chance to play along with this one).

I was walking down the road less traveled heading to the Humston home when I came across a garden of gems. I had expected sonlight garden in hillside hollow, but I went about my business embracing the paradox. I figured before too long I'd be enduring with grace. Although I was not a single mom in a complicated world, I was one blessed mamma, and I had to do what was right for my own family. I'd researched Oak Hill Academy and Smith Schoolhouse, but I knew Winchester Academy was the one for us. I would be the one to make the best decisions regarding my own children because I was the one who knew about their monkeyboy adventures. I alone knew they'd never eat capicola, peters peapod, or 5 kiwis in Florida. I soon discovered that when it comes to education there's no place like home.


Life is one big party at "Winchester Academy"...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Summer time mode

Well, we finished Story of the World yesterday and I'm defintely in Summer time mode. I love the schoolwork that we do and often get frustrated that other things come up and get in the way of our "doing school". However, since it is summer, I'm going to embrace it at least for a little while. We still have some science to finish, and ideally the kids will each do some math once or twice a week. (not to mention all the reading) But for our first day of summer vacation, I'd say I've taken to it pretty well, I finished one book and started two others, I've played "smoothy moves" on webkins to get some money for Jake's sick pets, I did some sodokus, and I've started a puzzle. Jonathan is spending a few days at Meme and Grampa Carlie's. Jake had a friend sleep over last night, and Madi's got one here tonight. I'm geering up for some summer house projects, but in the meantime this unwinding is feeling pretty good.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Summer reading challenge

OK, I think I'm going to take some chances in my reading and broaden my horizons this summer. If I'm expecting my big kids to read 16 books in 10 weeks, the least I can do is try to get myself to read some things that I wouldn't necessarily choose. I saw this on Cindy's blog, she got it from here.

This challenge is all about taking chances in your reading. There are 10 tasks in all -- 7 involve finding a book to read in very random ways. The last three tasks are about taking chances as a writer as you are challenged to take on the role of short story writer, poet and movie/book reviewer. The challenge is meant to be fun and no pressure. Complete as many or a few of the 10 challenges as you want. However, the more you complete, the more chances you'll get to win the grand prize. Here are the details:

* The challenge will run from June 1, 2009 through November 30, 2009 (6 months)
* One winner will be drawn on December 1, 2009 and will receive a grand prize of $25 worth of books from Amazon (any books you choose!)
* Each completed task earns you one entry into the drawing for the grand prize.
* To earn an extra entry, blog or Tweet about this challenge and let me know in the comment section.
* To earn 5 extra entries, complete all 10 challenges.
* The total number of entries that can be earned is 16 (10 for each challenge, 5 for completing all tasks and 1 for blogging/tweeting about the challenge).
* You can join the challenge anytime before the November 30 deadline but only tasks completed by November 30, 2009 will be counted as entries.
* To have your entries count, you must publish them on your blog and leave a comment with a link to your entries in the comment section for this post.
* All participants must sign up in Mr. Linky below so I can keep track of everyone who is participating.

1. Random Book Selection. Go to the library. Position yourself in a section such as Fiction, Non-Fiction, Mystery, Children (whatever section you want). Then write down random directions for yourself (for example, third row, second shelf, fifth book from right). Follow your directions and see what book you find. Check that book out of the library, read it and then write about it. (If you prefer, you can do the same at a bookstore and buy the book!)

2. Random Word. Go to this random word generator and generate a random word. Find a book with this word in the title. Read the book and write about it.

3. Birth Year Book. Find a book that was published or copyrighted in the year of your birth. Read the book and write about it.

4. Judge A Book By Its Cover. Pick out a book based SOLELY on the cover. First, write about what you expect the book to be about based on the cover art. Then read the book and write about how the book was different from and/or similar to what the cover art led you to expect.

5. Phoning An Author. Pick a random last name out of the phone book. Find an author with the same last name and read a book by them. Write about it. (I'm flexible ... if the first random name you pick is Xprxyrsss, you can pick again!)

6. Public Spying. Find someone who is reading a book in public. Find out what book they are reading and then read the same book. Write about it.

7. Random Bestseller. Go to and, using the True Random Number Generator, enter the number 1950 for the min. and 2008 for the max. and then hit generate. Then go to this site and find the year that generated for you and click on it. Then find the bestseller list for the week that would contain your birthday for that year. Choose one of the bestsellers from the list that comes up, read it and write about it.

8. Lit Riff (inspired by the book Lit Riffs by Matthew Miele.) Choose a song and then write a brief story that is inspired by or further explains the lyrics of the song.

9. Poetic Review. Write a book review in three different forms of verse: haiku, limerick and free verse. (You can pick any book you want to write about.)

10. Movie/Book Comparison. Find a book that you haven't read that has a movie based on it that you haven't seen. Read the book and watch the movie within a few days of each other. Write about your reactions to both the book and the movie and compare the two.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

For today Sunday night June 7th.

Outside my is dark.

I am thinking...about what a great weekend it was, great family, great friends, great performances!

I am thankful... for all of the above.

From the kitchen...I don't really know yet. Kefir smoothy for breakfast, leftover pizza will be lunch, and by mid-afternoon I should have looked at all of the options and come up with some sort of meal plan for the week. We are in clean-out mode for sure and I know the refrigerator is full, but what exactly we have, I couldn't tell you!

From the learning rooms...we're almost done...I think we have 2 or 3 more stories in Story of the World and 5 or so lessons left on the Human Body for Science. With the calmest week in a long time coming up, we should get that stuff done pretty quickly. Jake is doing Madeline (and isn't ready to return Glorious Flight to the library either...that is the one he originally didn't like).

I'm creating...performers!

I am wearing...jammies.

I am reading...Nights of Rain and Stars by Maeve Binchy STILL (there wasn't much time for reading last week). Madi is reading The Year the Swallows Came Early, Jonathan is reading The Cricket in Times Square, and Jake is reading Amelia Bedelia.

I am hoping...for a great summer.

I am hearing...Madi saying goodnight.

Around the house...UGH!! It was show weekend...need I say more?!

One of my favorite things...watching my kids on stage.

I am accomplish a lot of house cleaning projects this summer.

A few plans for the rest of the week...Jonathan has an orthodontist appt in the morning, later in the week he might go spend a few days with my parents. Madi is "assisting" the dance instruction at a local sports camp every night this week, and Jake will be at the same camp playing basketball. Mike has a few doctor's appts including getting his blocked salivary gland dealt with. I plan to officially finish the school year, clean the house, read some books, possibly go to the beach, and a few more things. It may seem fairly hectic, but compared to the last few weeks, it is going to be "a walk in the park" (lets hope we don't run into any quicksand!!)

A picture thought...

Saturday, June 6, 2009

HSM 2 and Homeschool Exhibition

Three down, one to go. Your last chance to see High School Musical is tomorrow at 2:00. The songs are really catchy...I should know, I can't get them out of my head!!

Today was our third annual homeschool exhibition. It is modeled after a similar exhibition in one of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. The kids can perform, recite, or demonstrate something that they have learned in the past year. We had a string quartet, some dancing, some multiplication, piano, flute, some poems, and science experiements. Jonathan and Madi chose two volunteers to help them demonstrate how if the names of colors are written in a different color it is generally easier to read the word and much harder to say the color it is written in. Unfortunately the volunteers were really good at saying the colors, but it was fun anyway. Jonathan, Madi, and Jake along with other homeschoolers from Theatre performed the High School Musical Meagamix. There is also an area for the kids to display their schoolwork where others can walk around and look at it. It is one of my many favorite events of the year.