Wednesday, January 31, 2007

My Boy... Oye!

It must be genetic. All boys are born with that, "dumb things crack me up" gene. K.Z. is using Hooked on Phonics for part of his Language Arts program. Since we bought the whole set they sent us a free cd-rom game to help reinforce what he is learning. It is a really neat game that he progresses in level by level and is quite educational. All the games revolve around the words he is currently learning.

In one of the games, the main character "Pop Fox" is at a restaurant ordering "words" for dinner. He says the word he wants to eat and the player, as a waiter, uses the mouse to drag the correct word onto his tray to serve to "Pop Fox". In return "Pop Fox" noisily chomps the word and thanks the waiter with some canned compliment reiterating the word he was just served. Still with me? Here is where it involves the previously stated gene.

K.Z. was playing the game involving the waiter serving words instead of food when I hear him snicker and exclaim, "he said butt!". I was sure that he was not laughing because of "but", the very common conjunction used in every day life which was the actual word, but (and there it is again) because he thought it referred to the lower posterior of the body. I went in to investigate when "Pop Fox" heartily thanked the waiter for the meal by saying, "What a great but!"

The Thrill of the Drill

We have had a fire drill scheduled in Homeschool Tracker for about two months now. It also gets K.Z. a sign off in his Tiger Cub book. As silly as it sounds we just have not had the right opportunity to execute the drill. After our excitement (frustration) with our smoke detectors last week and our children's less than stellar response to it I decided today was the day. Our resident firefighter was diligently working away in his home office so I enlisted his expertise (and height to reach the detector).

For the first drill we decided to give them warning. We had them put on boots and we all went upstairs to the girls' room. We first went over what to do, what not to do etc. and then Mr. Clean and K.Z. went off to K.Z.'s room. I had the girls sit on their beds and I stayed with them. When the alarm went off I could see genuine fear in the girls. Xena started to get anxious, so I talked her through the steps of checking the door, not forgetting to hold her sister's hand, etc. K.Z. was long gone!

We got them out to the meeting place outside (purposely without coats) and then let them back into the warm house. After a brief discussion about what to do in other emergent situations (dialing 911, etc.) we let them resume their normal activities, but not before Mr. Clean let them know that the next drill would be a surprise and could be any time and any day. They would have no warning. Want to guess how long he lasted? The next drill was about 3.5 minutes after the first one ended. I am taking away his smoke detectors!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A Little Therapy

Where and when was it decided that women, moms especially, were supposed to lose the confidence of their youth? One of my constant battles with myself is the fact that I am no longer 19, a soccer player and in great shape. I will never be 19 again, I may never play soccer competitively again and because most female bodies are not completely finished growing yet at that age (although I think I was done growing at 12!), I will never have the same body I had at 19. But do I really want to?

The body I had at 19 may have been strong and shapely, but it had not yet held a baby in it's womb nor provided nourishment for offspring. It hadn't had the privilege of being Mr. Clean's wife and preparing the journey to be with him "till death do us part". That was the body of a kid.

Yet I still fail to remember all these things when I am getting prepared for my day and lamenting over my wardrobe. "This hem is unraveling, this shirt is too old or these jeans are no longer very flattering", seems to be my battle cry every day. However I know if I had a wardrobe of brand new clothes it would be the same. It is not what I have, but who I have allowed myself to become. The 19 year old me would have put on a gunny sack and paraded it as if it were a Yves Saint Laurent ball gown. The me of today would probably find flaw with the gown itself.

This morning after my daily grumble, I finished dressing and was greeted with a knock on my bedroom door. Xena was there looking for a little fashion advice of her own. She wanted to know if the dress she had selected was supposed to have a shirt underneath it or not (she had put one on). I opened the door and was met with the most beautiful sight I could have received this morning.
My bohemian princess fully dressed, fully confident and knowing that she was stunning regardless of what she had picked to wear.
I want confidence like hers.

Monday, January 29, 2007

I Still Imagine

Remember the feeling you get when you discover a new song that touches you down in the depths of your soul? Fast forward a few weeks ahead when you have listened to it a gazillion times and it has worn on you. It now falls into that "just a nice song" category, no longer able to produce goose bumps or tears.

There are a few songs that never stop giving me goose bumps or tears and most of them are old hymns. But there is one contemporary song that recently had fallen into the "just a nice song" category. Until K.Z. discovered it.

For Christmas K.Z. received a cd player from his grandmother to be able to listen to books on tape and the like. Although it does get used for that purpose K.Z. is like his parents and is a huge music lover, so he begged Mr. Clean for the use of our cds. In all of his wisdom my dear hubby decided to spare our cds, but did burn some of our collection for K.Z. to have of his very own.

K.Z.'s favorite right now is Mercy Me, specifically, "I Can Only Imagine". This was one of those heartfelt songs that took me off to another place. After it was commercialized to death and sung everywhere, it lost a bit of it's hold on me, but K.Z. loves it and plays it all the time. Seeing my beautiful boy sing and dance to the song is enough to make me love it again, but then he said, "Mom, I can't wait to get my new body in heaven where no one will ever get sick or need band-aids. I can't wait to see Jesus".

The song has a whole new meaning for me now "hearing" it through my son's ears. I went online to see if I could find the video since I had never seen it. It is very well done, scroll down and see it for yourself! It made me cry.

P.S. Sorry about the commercials you may encounter before the videos, it's a pain! Also, look for Michael Tait of dc Talk in the video and the Cub Scout with his derby car. I dare you not to get misty eyed as well...

Saturday, January 27, 2007

That's My Boy!

Mr. Clean and K.Z. have been diligently working on the design and completion of K.Z.'s first Pinewood Derby Car. Today was the race they have been working toward. Because I am just the mom and not into all the technicals of the race (time, speed and wind velocity, quantum physics and the space time continuum, etc.) all I can say is that my little Tiger Cub kicked major tiger tail!

I know, I know, it is not very nice to say such a thing and I smiled politely and applauded for all the little guys because they worked very hard but... "NAH NAH NAH NAH NAH, MY BOY WON!" Not only did he win, he won undefeated in his rank!

Once he got into the finals when he was racing all the other ranks he did not do too shabby either. He came in 7th place. Not trophy worthy but pretty good in my book. For a complete analysis of the race, check out Mr. Clean's much more dignified account.

All this competitiveness has worn me out. I am going to bed...

Friday, January 26, 2007


A couple days ago I was baking muffins (lemon poppy seed to be exact, but not germane to the story) when our smoke detector went off. Now our smoke detector has not gone off once in the few short years we have lived here and it was ingeniously placed not directly over the stove as in some houses, but in the hallway so my cooking should have nothing to do with it. Besides, I would take great offense if somehow my cooking had offended the delicate sensors in the smoke detector!

The thing is that when one of the detectors goes off, it sets off all SEVEN in the house. So I had seven smoke detectors going off simultaneously. To say that it was loud was quite an understatement. Mr. Clean immediately searched the house for the cause of the smoke, finding nothing. So the natural course of action? Take whatever is available (in our case one of K.Z.'s workbooks) and fan the tar out of the detector until your arms hurt. Nope. Mr. Clean grabbed a huge box fan and turned it on full blast while opening the windows. Nope. Mr. Clean kicked the big box fan. Nope. Gromit barked at the detector. Nope. It's piercing sound was destined to render us permanently deaf. This went of for about 10 minutes until Mr. Clean, quite out of ideas, disconnected all seven smoke detectors. Sweet Victory!

Now before you cheer loudly keep in mind that Mr. Clean may be a mild manner white collar man during the day, but afterward he turns into Mr. Clean, Super Firefighter (I have the life insurance policy to prove it). So for a firefighter to disconnect a smoke alarm? I am sure many a man of steel are "tsk tsking" right now. Later that night he reconnected six of them but left the hallway detector on the counter in shame.

Last night after a dose of my beautiful cough syrup with codeine (again I must say, "God bless my doctor") I drifted off to dreamland with no fear of waking up to a wracking cough. In my dream someone warned me that something they were going to do might be loud, but the details of my dream are fuzzy. I woke suddenly to the sound of six smoke detectors going off at 05:30! At this point there is nothing to do but assure my screaming children (all three) that, "no the house was not going to burn down" while wondering why none of them had jumped out of bed and fled to "the tree", our meeting place in case of fire! We will have to work on that later.

Once again, Mr. Clean searched the house and then disconnected the detectors (this time muttering things under his breath I am sure would have to be censored). The kids and I went back to sleep. Mr. Clean had way too much adrenaline mixed with testosterone to let the situation get the best of him and go back to bed. He was a man on a mission.

Two and a half hours later when I rolled out of bed he had diagnosed and make a plan to correct the problem. I am happy to report that now we have seven reconnected smoke detectors. Pray that they don't go off again for the fear that it may send my hubby over the edge!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

God Bless My Doctor

I am very stubborn when it comes to being sick. I hate, no make that abhor paying a $15.00 co-pay for a doctor to say, "well Mrs. Clean it seems you have a cold." Well, duh...

But I have been sick for over a week now and pretty miserable with some throat and cough "thing". Finally Mr. Clean called today to tell me he was coming home at lunch and I was to make a doctor's appointment. I guess he was tired of my moping and whining and wanted his almost normal wife back. Reluctantly I made the call.

Since moving to Pennsylvania I have seen my family doctor about 3 times, in 3 years. Once was to get a shot before we went to the Czech Republic this past summer so that does not even count in my book. Aside from the typical OB/GYN visits, no doctor required here! But since they are a really good practice they agreed to see me and overbooked me for 2:30 this afternoon. Knowing that would mean a very long wait I took a book with me and was kind of excited to get a little time to actually read a book of my own.

As predicted, my doctor told me I had a virus that was floating around and I just got hit with it pretty severely. But here is where things looked up; instead of the usual prescription of lots of fluids and rest (which I did get), I also got a REAL prescription. One I can actually take to a pharmacy and have dispensed for me. One that may help make me feel better faster than my course of action (occasional NyQuil and lots of "Airborne", which probably is too late to do anything anyway). $15.00 well spent!

Now the pharmacy is another subject. $60.00 later...

Homeschool Resources Meme

I have been tagged! So here it goes...


The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer


First Language Lessons


Although I love their curriculum, for Kindergarten last year I spent a lot of money on Sonlight and the entire "kit and caboodle". I wound up not using a third of it and now I am switching gears for next year and probably will not use Sonlight at all!


Sonlight's Science Curriculum


Story of the World


A telescope


A complete curriculum tailored to the needs of all three of my children with their individual learning styles, able to be taught in unison, all the books included and CHEAP!


I have decided that getting and reading homes school catalogues is a dangerous activity! There are way too many I love to browse through


Well Trained Mind Message Boards


I am tagging:


OG Beach

Princess Ruby

The Tutor (already tagged, but she probably did it and it will be worth the read!)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Where I am From

I am from the Chesapeake Bay with its sharp jellyfish sting and its soothing salty waves, from Kraft macaroni and cheese and Scottish shortbread.

I am from the old church Sunday School house with the yard that goes on forever, painstakingly perfected by my parents.

I am from the marina rose bush and the smell of freshly cut trees.

I am from Christmas brunch and fierce devotion, from Lowe and Whitefield and the Leach legacy.

I am from dedication to the Word and dedication to the family.

From scarecrow bones and the Michelin tire monster.

I am from 11 am church services and punch in Andersen Hall.

I'm from the flat landscape of the District, the mountains of the Cherokee and the hills of Scotland, of shortbread and venison.

From the ship carrying my grandmother back from Africa as a child mourning the loss of her missionary father, the strength of an iron worker on the Empire State Building, the ability to make anything sprout forth from the earth with hard work and dedication and jars and jars filled with the fruits of that labor.

I am from boxes of pictures in the basement, old sticky album pages faded with time, ship manifests and census reports. From love letters home from the Korean War, passport photos and newspaper clippings.

I am from wood fires and love of trees. Sunday Redskins games and a little girl’s unwavering devotion for her father. I am from family, faith and hard work. A legacy.

Where are you from? Let me know if you post this so I can read yours as well!

Monday, January 22, 2007

An Elephant Never Forgets

I am a soft touch. Mr. Clean grimaces when he sees an ad for a Hallmark movie, because he knows it will be littered with Hallmark commercials. Immediate water works for me! While I was sick and cuddling with the remote I ran a across a documentary on PBS. Now rarely does anything on PBS make me cry, but in this case the tears would not stop.

The story was about a retired 50 year old Asian circus elephant who lived in a zoo in the south. It was a small zoo and only had room for one elephant so Shirley was it. She had a dedicated handler, Solomon James who had been in charge of her care for the 20+ years she had lived there, but he was her only company so she was quite lonely (elephants are "pack animals"). The zoo decided that it was time to let Shirley go and found a new home for her at The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee.

The first thing that turned on the faucet was the fact that Shirley's handler was going to have to say goodbye to his elephant friend. He rode with her to her new home and had the chance to bathe her one last time. Through tears he commented (paraphrased), "I wasn't the first to put a chain on her, but I will be the last to take it off and leave it off". Then the camera got a shot of him removing her leg restraints in a huge barn full of hay.

Soon after, her new owners (the sanctuary's owners) decided to introduce her to some of the other elephants so that she could get acquainted. Not knowing the initial reaction, they left Shirley in an enclosed part of the barn while they brought in Jenny, a 20 something year old elephant. Immediately the elephants began trumpeting and trying to get to one another through the steel bars. They wrapped trunks as if embracing one another and stayed as close as the bars would allow. By morning, the two had actually bent the steel bars trying to get to one another so the sanctuary staff opened the bars and let them come face to face sans the bars.

They later discovered that Shirley had acted as an "adoptive" mother to Jenny 22 year earlier when an orphaned Jenny was a baby at the same circus of which Shirley was a performer. These two knew each other straight away after 22 years apart! By this time I was in full on "sob mode". They went on to tell how from that instant on they were never apart and stayed by each others' side.

This story originally aired in 2000. In October of 2006, young Jenny died from a complication caused by an infection. Shirley's reaction was heart breaking. Here is the rest of their story from the PBS website...

Shirley and Jenny

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Trying To Get Back in the Saddle

Here it is, Sunday, four days into my "El Sicko" journey. I am trying to get back in the saddle, but my foot keeps slipping off the stirrups! Today I feel less like a zombie and more like I am a zombie returning from the dead. Slowly, but surely!

While doing nothing but sounding like a tuberculosis patient and laying in bed, my mind has been a whirlwind of blogging ideas. This is when I need a laptop, because I can assure you that once I am back to full speed, my brain will have forgotten it all and I am simply too lazy to get up, find a pen and piece of paper without the "tell-tale" scribble of a three year old on it and manually write it down.

So here we are on a Sunday and I am not quite back to perfect health, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Boy I hope it's not a train!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Coundn't have said it better myself...

Since I am still not up to par, all I want to do is crawl under the covers and hide today, but since the law requires me to at least have interaction with my children even when sick, I decided to make myself feel better and read some of my favorite blogs in lieu of sleeping all day which would be my preference. I found this "repost" on Heather's site, "Stepping Heavenward". It was excellent so I decided to let her and the original author of this post do my blogging for today! I must add that I have been blessed with the reactions I have gotten from friends and family members about our decision to homeschool but I still find this excellent.

What Non-Homeschoolers May Not Know

We've been educating our children at home for ten years now. In those ten years, I have observed that there are expectations that non-homeschoolers can place on homeschooling moms simply because they lack the practical knowledge of what it means to homeschool.

If you are the mother, grandmother, sister, friend, father, or brother of a homeschooling mom, here are some things you should know:

1. Educating children at home is a full-time job. Don't get irritated if she consistently allows the answering machine to do its job. If she were a teacher in an institutional classroom, you probably wouldn't think of calling her during school hours, so try to realize that while still at home, she is keeping regular school hours, too.

2. Unlike homes in which the children are gone for eight straight hours, her home is in a constant state of activity. The children are not only home, they are home making messes. All day long. Their mother doesn't even have the opportunity to go into their rooms while they are at school and weed out the junk. And if she is like me, you might find odd homeschooly things lying around- like the month we had a dead turtle in the garage fridge.

3. Housekeeping and homeschooling are mutually exclusive. If she is doing her job educating her children academically, then her house is not being cleaned. If she takes the day to clean the house, then school wil not be accomplished.

4. Place realistic expectations on her- she cannot simultaneously teach school, make three square meals, keep a house that looks like it has sprung out of the pages of Architectural Digest, have her nails done, drive children to extracurricular activities, and have all the clothing laundered and pressed. Something's gotta give, and in my experience, it is usually her personal care. So don't expect her to don the latest styles, have her roots meticulously dyed at just the right moment, and her aforementioned nails filed and polished to perfection. And while most of us aren't slovenly, we just tend to put some superfluous aspects of personal care at the bottom of the to-do list.

5. For many of us, homeschooling isn't an option. Many believe it is not only the best way for their family, it is the only way. Many see homeschooling as a Scriptural directive. When sharing a particular struggle unique to homeschooling, comments like, "Well, why don't you consider putting them in school? Maybe homeschooling just isn't your thing" aren't helpful. Instead, offer a listening ear and your fervent prayers on her behalf.

6. If you are truly concerned about the state of her emotions, home, children, or marriage, offer practical help to ease her burden. Personal time is at a premium for her, so consider offering to take her kids for the day so she can recuperate. If you like to do laundry, offer to come over and get the loads going, fold, and/or iron. If you like to cook, consider putting together some meals that she can store in the freezer for days when time is at a premium. If she teaches a broad spectrum of ages and grades, consider offering to come in once a week or more to teach preschool to the little ones. One grandma I know created "Nana U" for her preschool grandson (number five of seven) and not only did it ease her homeshooling daughter's burden, it created a special bond between grandma and the child.

But there’s a caveat here: ASK her what would be most helpful to her. Don’t presume to know what would help her. Taking the oldest children for the day might be fun for you, but it’s quite possibly not at all helpful to her. The living room might need to be vacuumed, but it’s not helpful if she’s trying to take a nap. Someone once told me, “If it’s not wanted, it’s not helpful.”

7. Think about what a financial burden homeschooling may be placing on the family. The loss of her possible income can be a real struggle nowadays, and you might be able to buoy her for another year by offering to purchase little things like simple school supplies. Gifts for the children like books on subjects of interest to the child, field trip fees, museum memberships, and the money to pay for music lessons or other extracurricular activities are the best thing you could give a homeschooling family. Not only does a homeschooling mom not need one more thing to manage or pick up, she would be thrilled to see you take an interest in the many academic items on her wish list.

8. Simple questions like, "How can I pray for you?" and "Is there any way I can help you?" are like a cool breeze in her life. Don't assume you know her needs- ask. You could just be the vessel God uses to carry her on through this very demanding and ultimately rewarding season of her life.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Oh death!

"Oh death, Won't you spare me over til another year?"

This week has pretty much crashed and burned and I have decided to write it off completely. If school happens or not tomorrow depends on Zorro riding in to slay the enemy (a case of the yucks) and save the day. I will not be holding my breath!

Earlier in the week Xena and C'sa decided to have a "cough-off". They both tied for first place, but hey, just a little cough never hurt anyone right? On Wednesday morning C'sa upped the stakes and threw up, I assumed from too much coughing. Wednesday night I went to bed with a migraine.

Well now I am happy to report that both girls are feeling much better. Their mother however feels like death warmed over. I had a bible study here this morning and then ogbeach and I had a school free day while the kids played. We both needed the break and the company. It felt good and I felt good until the scratch in my throat began and the indicative "hard swallow".

Had it not been for the fabulous Golden Arches (yuck!) this evening my children would not have eaten dinner as Mr. Clean (aka: Mr. Wonderful, and I mean that sincerely) is in NYC until tomorrow and then Buffalo until he flies home Saturday morning. The meatloaf I had planned (I forgot I have no eggs) is still in a loafless form in the fridge and well, I simply do not care. Even if I had a live chicken shooting eggs out at supersonic speed in my kitchen I still would have hit the drive thru. The "zip" in my "doo-dah" has died.

So I bid thee farewell for now as I curl up with my bottle of NyQuil and the remote.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Mr. Clean's Brownie Points

I have decided that yesterday is going down in history as a "homeschool wash out". Nothing went right for the first 9 hours of the day after rolling out of bed. School did not get finished and what was done was questionable at best anyway and the queen bee of this family (that would be me) was simply in a funk over all of it. The kids were loud and constant and nothing was right with the world (okay a little dramatization here but it's valid!).

THEN, the familiar sound of footsteps and with a grand sweep of the door in walked, SuperDad, cape waving in the wind behind him while birds chirped and sang the Hallelujah chorus (as did the queen bee).

In all his wisdom and graciousness, Mr. Clean allowed me to stop being Mom, teacher, chef, taxi driver, etc. at 4:30 and off I went (no, ran) upstairs. I took a long hot bath complete with a magazine and then slowly got dressed doing all of those wonderful grooming things mothers rarely have time for (lotion? who has time for THAT on a daily basis?). To top it off, I had promised a friend I would venture out for a home show she was having. So while Mr. Clean was cooking dinner and feeding the offspring I was slowly making my way out of the bedroom.

Three scrubbed little faces came up to say goodbye to me as they went off to a Cub Pack meeting (by the way, K.Z.'s pinewood derby car weighed in at an EXACT 5.000 ounces!!) and I got ready for a night out with adult females.

The end of the fairy tale you ask? Not yet! When I came home the most amazing, romantic and thoughtful thing awaited me. A perfectly clean kitchen.

The Kid Whisperer

When we got our scrappy little pup, Gromit we started to train him straight away. He was a 1 year old "pound puppy" when we got him and we wanted him to be the perfect pet. We have had him about 15 months now and although not perfect I must say he is a great dog. Mr. Clean and I became obsessed with "The Dog Whisperer", Cesar Millan and his training methods which are in our opinion, second to none. Cesar's theory for becoming your dog's pack leader is implementing "Exercise, Discipline, then Affection" in that order. See a Cesar clip below...

All this has me wondering. It works so well with Gromit, what about K.Z., Xena and C'sa? Before you gasp in horror, let me assure you that I hold my children in much higher regard than the dog, but here where we live in PA it has been dreary and sopping outside and a little nuts inside. They have been bickering with one another and yelling a little too much (as has their mother) and been in a general state of "Phhhhhh". A good run along side Cesar and his skates just might do the trick!

However, since I do not foresee Cesar paying us a visit here anytime soon, I guess I should get these kids to an indoor play place soon so that they can run and be wild!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Being humbled

I have learned in my short 32 years that when you get too puffed up, something usually comes along to knock you down a peg or two and show you the "big scheme of things".

Today started off wonderfully and then K.Z. got frustrated with something and had a typical 6 year old meltdown. Me, deciding that the day was going to go certain way (and way too puffed up with self righteousness) did what all good moms are supposed to do and calmly explained that his attitude was inappropriate. He was not seeing it my way so I did the next best thing; I yelled at him. Looking back it was like a bully on the playground who thinks that being loud and scary will make him/her win the "battle".

More frustration, tears and yelling ensued from both players and then I banished him to his room for just about a day short of forever. While he was stewing in his room and I was stewing on the first floor, looking something like this...

...the phone rang. It was my dear friend "S" calling from New York needing an ear. She found out Monday that a very special family member had passed away from a brain aneurysm at the age of 35. Thirty five! He was a fit and healthy young man and is now gone. My frustrations with my son did not seem so crucial. After I hung up I decided that I needed to be the "adult" (after all I was the only legal adult in the house at the time, who better to take that role?) and go talk to him. We cleared the air and talked about what to do with anger and how to respond to it. I was the one needing to take the most copious notes on this subject.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Seeing the fruits

This is our second year homeschooling K.Z. I have wanted and planned and dreamed about homeschooling since before I was married and now it is my reality. Last year I thought the men in white coats just might come and cart me off or at the very least Social Services would box up my kids, take back my mothering certificate and declare that if I continued to be their teacher they just might turn out, "dumb as rocks".

Well neither happened although I do have a straight jacket ready in the closet just in case. In Kindergarten we just had "those days" sometimes. Granted we had fantastic days too, but sometimes the hard ones stand in the forefront of your mind. The ones that send you off crying into a pillow.

Today I was blessed to see some of the fruits of my labor (and K.Z.'s). The days plans were foiled by a MOMS Club meeting I had to attend and I did not get home until lunch time. Both C'sa and Xena were sick so I needed to tend to them as well (thank the Lord for Mr. Clean's home office and that he happened to be in it today!). By the time lunch was done it was 1 pm and by then we are usually done with school for the day. I had not done my lesson plan for the week yet so I was clueless. Yet we were still blessed.

I started K.Z. on his math (kind of obvious where you left off when it is a workbook!) and went about trying to get the week's lessons mapped out while answering his questions. In the midst of this the girls were deposited into different rooms for rest time since they were not feeling well. I had run across a great spelling website thanks to another homeschooler on a message board. K.Z. wound up playing on it and loving it for 45 minutes allowing me some regroup time and allowing him to practice spelling words. He pounded out his Spelling Workout lesson afterward in no time and we were on to History.

Normally during history he listens and loves looking at the pictures in our Usborne book but today we were reading from A Child's History of the World. It's a fantastic book but pictures are rare and since I am raising a very boyish boy, the more pictures of war and the like the better. Yet today he sat quietly and listened and even perked up when the chapter was on King David (we had been talking about Homer and I do believe I actually saw his eyes literally glaze over for that).

After we did our language lesson he was to recite a poem we had been working on and he excitedly said it verbatim. This was after only practicing it for thee days previously and they were last week some time! Then he called his grandmother and recited it to her with full confidence!

While he sat chatting on the phone I watched him in amazement. He is getting it. The knowledge I am trying to give him he is absorbing and even seems to enjoy it. Being that he is a first born and quite a perfectionist, he is not one who likes to get things wrong or "mess up". Frustration for him can come easily if a new concept is just outside his grasps. But it is obvious that he is starting to understand the learning process (no son, you are not born knowing all that you need to) and the rewards for me could not be sweeter.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Hank Jr.

K.Z and I have started reading the "Hank the Cowdog" series and we are loving it. For those of you unfamiliar with "Hank", he in the author's words,

"leads a motley crew of West Texas ranch characters through a series of hilarious adventures. When he's not patrolling the ranch, he spends his time soaking in Emerald Pond (the septic tank) or sleeping on his gunny sack bed under the gas tank."

Sounds just right up every boy's alley. To say Hank has an aroma would probably be an understatement. Tonight as we were reading about Hank's adventures as "the head of ranch security" we were accosted by an aroma of our own from Gromit, our own small, "head of house security", who was fast asleep on the couch and quite unaware of his, shall we say, faux paux.

As we are well trained to handle every situation with poise and grace we did what any polite team would do, we wrinkled our noses, said... "EWWW!" and cracked up laughing. At bedtime K.Z. said his prayers in his usual gentlemanly fashion and ended it with, "Please Lord make Gromit stop farting."

And the people said, "AMEN!"

A Desirable Area?

My dear, long time friend, The Tutor (aka, Mrs. Frodo) and her family have been enduring the long arduous educational process while her husband Frodo has been obtaining his Masters and applying for PhD programs around the country. In their searching and decision making about which schools to apply to they have been looking at cost of living in various areas.

While researching, The Tutor ran across this site that is excellent comparing different locations. While perusing the site I discovered a quiz. Never one to ignore the possibility of being analyzed by a computer, I took the "Best Locations To Live" quiz. It gave me a list of 290 locations (tailored just to me of course), so one has to be a hit right? Well maybe down in the 200s, but my "Top 10" based on the answers I provided in said quiz were San Francisco, Boston, Seattle, Denver, San Jose (do you know the way to San Jose, la la la la la la... I can't resist the urge to hum that song whenever I hear that city mentioned), San Diego, Long Island, NY, Long Beach, CA, Minneapolis, and Washington, DC (New York City was number 11) and they don't even come close.

Now I don't know much about Minneapolis so I cannot say that is far fetched, but San Francisco and NYC? Not a cold day in... okay, not an appropriate line of thought. Washington, DC is my childhood home, but unless I want to live in a box on the Anacostia, there is no way we could afford to live there again (or maybe a smaller box on the Potomac; better area). Boston? They have no "R"s and I definitely need "R"s in my vocabulary. Seattle is not too bad as I have cousins who live there and my sister in law is in Portland Oregon, but the rainy season just might send me over the edge. Mr. Clean has proclaimed California off limits. Even though the weather is divine, the politics drive us batty. So that leaves Denver, Colorado. I could live there. It's not too far from Focus On The Family in Colorado Springs (#43 on the list), so field trips a plenty!

Further down the list I got some decent matches, but none I would have thought of myself.
That's what I get for expecting a computer to pinpoint exactly where in the country I should live!

The town we live in now? Number 178. At least it made the list!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow...

Well, maybe not here in the area of Pennsylvania that we live in as it is supposed to rain here for a few days, but according to Xena and C'sa, "You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile".

I ran across the 20 somethingish anniversary edition DVD of Annie for a mere $9.99 and what I thought would be a cute little Christmas present for Xena and a trip down memory lane for Momma has turned into a full fledged Annie obsession. As I write this, my beautiful perfect daughters who were supposed to be asleep an hour ago are in their beds (allegedly) acting out the opening scene complete with their version of the lyrics. In the tub tonight, C'sa got the starring role while Xena was non other than "Sandy" the dog (??).

Xena has adopted a soundtrack of her own already and spends most of her day in song as is. Her life is like a day at the opera and it is usually a trip to be in the audience, but now that she has sucked her little sister in, I fear I just may sing my own version of "Little Girls"...

Be a Blogger Chick!

Even better than being a biker chick, be a blogging chick, LOL! I ran across this site in my travels and thought it was too cool. Just one more thing to suck me farther in!

I was up way too late last night with a bunch of great MOMS Club ladies and my brain is still in that post "ladies' night out fog" to write much that is coherent. I hope to check back in later today, so until then, have a great Saturday!

Friday, January 12, 2007


Yesterday, my dear baby C'sa decided that there was a snack that she simply did not want to try. She had eaten quite a bit of the other items presented to her and then declared, "I am all done!" Teasing her about the fact there was something left, she replied, "I'm not trying it, Mommy can eat it!" We all got a chuckle out of it and it immediately threw me back to the days of "Mikey" in the Life cereal commercial.

Checking in on my favorite blogs today I found that
Susie had a bit of nostalgia of her own. That inspired me to post this old commercial for your enjoyment and a little trip dowm memory lane!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Uncharted territories...

Being a mother and a female, I have very distinct dreams and hopes for my two daughters based on what I know about being a woman. My son however is a different story. This boy is "all boy" and I simply cannot even pretend to imagine his future. Now I know that the future is not certain in any case and I do not pretend that I will ever have any insight as to what lies ahead for any of my children, but I decided today after reading an article that if I could pick someone for my son to emulate it would be this man (homeschooled as well!)...

JACKSONVILLE (FBC)–Living with acclaim and accolades could easily overwhelm an 18-year-old recruited by the nation’s top college football teams. His decision to commit to the University of Florida recently pre-empted local television news programming and created a media frenzy throughout the nation.

But when Tim Tebow was asked to recount the record-setting statistics of his high school career, the Florida High School Player of the Year said he could not. “I’m sure someone kept the stats, but I haven’t kept track,” said the member of Jacksonville’s First Baptist Church.

Nor does he surf the internet where dozens of stories and scouting reports have been written about the talented young athlete. Instead the dual-threat quarterback for St. Augustine’s Nease High School has been taught that honoring God is more important than athletic accomplishments.

Read the full article

A "Post It" Note

My blog usually flows like a very irregular tide (that would be an oxymoron wouldn't it? Using the term very loosely, of course). Some days it is powerful and strong with a lot of writing, some days it is like a shallow (very shallow) tide pool with not a lot of writing or content. Since I love to write and have been told it helps keep the blood actually circulating to the brain (very important when the last of the remaining brain cells need fuel to fire) I am committing myself to try and post something daily. It may not be spectacular or very witty, but it will at least just "be".

Now, when in a week I have not written anything at all, you have my permission to call me to task. Just be gentle, you may stress out one of those remaining brain cells!

Ta ta for now, hopefully something brilliant will spill forth... tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

My American Accent?

Growing up in the DC Metro area, I learned how to speak "Eastern Standard Diction", typically what actors, newscasters and politicians learn to fill many different roles without sounding like they have an accent. So I was interested in seeing what my results would be when I ran across the quiz/poll below on Stepping Heavenward's blog. I was pleasantly surprised that the results pretty much agreed with my upbringing despite living so close to Philly for the past three years, LOL!

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The Inland North

The South


North Central

The Northeast

The West



Tag, I'm It!

Mrs. Frodo, my dear friend at Apollos Academy tagged me for this a while ago, so here we go:

Nine Weird Things About Me

Or Things About Me That Don't Come Up In Common Conversation

1. I had the honor of meeting Rita Moreno at a National Hispanic Council On Aging dinner in DC while I was in high school.

2. I am related to Scottish missionary Dr. David Livingstone and George Whitefield (and it is pronounced "White"field, not "Whit"field as most Americans believe; I promise, my mother is a Whitefield!)

3. My great uncle Mac was Ranger Hal.

4. I was a student in one of the first Communications Arts Magnet programs in the country (read: guinea pig).

5. I am allergic to whey, yet am obsessed with pizza!

6. My paternal grandfather traveled from Georgia to New York City to be a laborer on the Empire State Building and then became a DC taxi driver for over 40 years after.

7. I have a tattoo on my ankle that I got when I was 20. I would love another, but Mr. Clean has requested that I resist the urge (while on the outside I am a mild mannered homeschooler, on the inside I am a juke joint singer with B-52's hair!).

8. I love motorcycles. Mr. Clean had one before we became "responsible parents".

9. I would easily become a "raw foodist" and follow Serene Allison around like a groupy, if I could still eat steak!

Monday, January 8, 2007

Words of the Wise

K.Z. and Mr. Clean have been preparing for the annual Pinewood Derby that his Cub Scout Pack has every year. Being that this is K.Z.'s first year in Cub Scouts he is extremely excited and has no clue what to anticipate. Mr. Clean being the veteran Boy Scout, knows exactly what to look forward to and in preparation has purchased not one, not two, but THREE car kits (possibly more that he has yet to fess up to) lest one gets, "messed up".

In the true spirit of the race, both K.Z. and Mr. Clean have been working on the car design and development together, down to weighting the car and spray painting, although Mr. Clean refused to let K.Z. be in charge of the "help book" (aka: "secrets to crushing the competition") in fear of it being lost forever and due to the fact that our Cub Scout cannot read anything weightier than Dr. Seuss yet.

In the spirit of the Pinewood Derby season that is upon us, Mr. Clean pulled out his race car that he made 20 something years ago. It was still in fairly good shape minus one wheel.

K.Z. in all his wisdom says to me, "this is Dad's car. He said that he didn't win the race he was in. I bet it's because his car only has three wheels."

Homeschool Holiday is officially over...

In just a mere two hours our Christmas holiday will come to an end, school wise. For the past three weeks we have done everything except a lick of school work. This all ends tomorrow and oddly, I am quite excited about it. My house works so much better on a routine and the past few weeks there has been none, just chaos wrapped in a bow. So tonight I look forward to starting a cold rainy Monday morning surrounded with books and little ones.