Tuesday, September 23, 2008


We have recently been fielding a lot of questions from the kids about heaven. As recently as last year (prior to my read of Alcorn's Heaven), I pictured heaven as a boring eternity of harp-strumming atop a white, fluffy cloud; therefore, I don't consider myself a heaven expert. So we decided to, as a family, read Alcorn's version for kids. It has been a fantastic experience with the kids. Our reading has sparked many deep, provocative discussions, and the kids have been asking great questions. What's more, they can't get enough of the book. Jacob is especially interested in it, and tonight he requested that I pleeeaaase read another chapter. He even offered to give up room time to hear another chapter, so I of course obliged; it's not often that room time is sacrificed. (Room time is theoretically supposed to be a QUIET 1/2 hour before bed during which the kids lay QUIETLY in their beds and read or look at books; it need not be said that this is not necessarily what transpires in the boys' room!)

Two thumbs up!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Ridiculous Homebuyer

Dear Whack-O Homebuyer,

My realtor just informed me that you decided NOT to come see the house. You had previously inquired about the possibility of us fixing a pothole in the road at the end of our street. (And would you like us to put in a Kroger at the corner of Main and Oak for your shopping convenience?) Although a pothole or two is typical for a non-county road like ours, we informed our realtor that we would be happy to entertain such an "improvement" as part of an offer.

When I talked to my realtor today, she relayed your surprise that we had not gone ahead and fixed the potholes. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe we ever had an offer on the table? In fact, you never even came to SEE the house. So it should not need to be said that we had not even gotten as far as to find a pothole-filling person to fill the pothole. At the end of the street.

Secondly, my realtor explained that you were a bit taken aback because you chatted with a neighbor who told you that we did not contribute financially to the "road pool" when the gravel road was initially paved by all of the residents of _____ Drive. Let me explain this to you very simply:

This neighborhood has been here for over 20 years.

In 1999, the residents who lived here at the time pooled their money to pave the gravel road.

In 2005, we built our house here.

Do you understand that? I think you read too many political blogs because you're making ridiculous requests, claims, and assumptions.

By the way, I was also told where you've decided to buy. I know the neighborhood well: your bathroom will likely look right in to the bathroom window of your neighbor; your room will probably have a nice view of your neighbor's backyard; and you'll pay a hefty annual HOA fee to share a pool with a thousand other residents and their children. Oh, and the HOA will tell you what flowers to plant when and where. And what color to paint the house. And lots of other great things. So enjoy!

An I'm-Not-Bitter-But-Simply-Incredulous-Homeseller


So there I was, risking my life, perched precariously atop the little red wagon, waving a broom frantically above my head, reaching desperately for the roofline...all in an effort to recapture Manny the Praying Mantis. Manny has been in our lives for about 3 days now. He resides in an oversized jar which is, at all times, generously stocked with grasshoppers. He seems to feel quite at home; at least it would seem so by the fact that he was not shy about ripping the head off one of said grasshoppers and quickly consuming it. A pretty cool event to observe!

Manny's caretakers are very sensitive to his need for exercise and fresh air and daily allow him to roam outside of his jar. Today, however, something must have gone terribly awry because I glanced outside the laundry room to see my first born risking her life, perched precariously atop the little red wagon, waving a broom...well, you know the story: I assumed the risk, and Manny was indeed recaptured. Tragedy averted.

As the boys were wrestling Manny back into his glass dwelling, I overheard Jacob say, "Now Manny, you don't get any more playtime today!" They're so very skilled at meting OUT the punishment!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Out of Touch

My Bloggy Brain has been sorely out of touch lately. I guess it's been tougher than I anticipated switching from vacation mode back to school mode. But I think we're finally back into the swing of things around here. We have a few projects going on anyway to, you know, at least to give the impression that we're hard at work.

This morning's project is all over the dining room table: a 3 ft. long, 600 piece puzzle of the world. In between lessons, the kids have been hard at work trying to assemble it and hopefully learning more about the geography of this great planet while they're at it. Michael had a grand idea for making it easier:

"Since this puzzle is 600 pieces, if we had 600 kids each kid could have a piece to put in. That would make it so much easier."

Yeah. 600 kids. That would make things so much easier.

Our other project is our plants unit study. If you'll remember, I bought a science textbook this year so there wouldn't be so much work. However, I'm just never satisfied with the curriculum as is. So we went through the Plants unit from the textbook as an intro. Now we're doing lapbooks, experiments, plant studies and dissections, and hopefully a trip to the botanical gardens. No, this ain't just A Beka; I gotta go add all that work on top of it all. But the kids are having fun. We have our lapbooks started, and we have our first science experiment taking over the kitchen: four stalks of celery divided among four glasses of colored water.

One of our other projects was presented last week at our first Book Club. Book Club was actually Alex-inspired. She suggested it back in Kindergarten. We took last year off but picked it up again this year. All four of them gave book reports last week. Yes, I said all four. Even Audrey created a visual for her book called "Ten Little Ducklings." I of course helped her present:

Me: What was your book called?
Audrey: Little Ducklings
Me: How many ducklings?
Audrey: One?
Me: No. How many?
Audrey: Two?
Me: No.
Audrey: Three?

OK, so she enjoyed painting her poster more than she cared about the book. No matter the project, she's all about "doing school."

Even as we're focusing on school, hopefully we won't stay so out of touch as I feel we have the last couple of weeks. And hopefully, my blog brain will rise from incognito, or the rest of my memoirs are destined for this same type of mundane recording of our happenings.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Disney Journal 2

Thursday (9/4) - We had a perfect day at Epcot today! And the kids loved it; in fact, they preferred it over Magic Kingdom. Surprising, but they just loved the space ride, Test Track, and Soarin'! The boys were the only ones brave enough to do the full version of the space thing, and the G force nearly did their daddy in, but they were begging to go again. They did get to do the Test Track a couple of times, but Soarin' was too busy for repeat rides. I'll have to admit, Soarin' was a pretty cool ride, although I would have made a couple of changes: With the "wind" in my face (which, incidentally, is wind created by my husband's company's fans), I really did feel like I was hang gliding; however, I would have liked a little more swooping and turning and maybe some ocean spray on my feet when we soared over the surf. Anyway...with the task of collecting mask charms at each country, the kids quickly walked around the "world" with few complaints, and we had a wonderful lunch in Morocco followed by dessert in France. Yummy! With the exception of Soarin', off-season, homeschool vacations win again because there was barely a crowd!

Friday (9/5) - A great day to take it easy. However, Hurricane Hanna brushed the state of Florida, so we woke up to light rain, wind, and overcast skies. Not a good pool day. But we had fun in the hotel. We rented a couple of movies for the kids. After one of the movies, the kids participated in a children's craft and made clay animals. And Alex and I had projects of our own: one became more my project than anyone else's. I thought the kids would enjoy trading pins, but I wasn't able to drum up as much enthusiasm as I thought, so I took over the new hobby. Hey, I'm at Disney: I can act like a kid and enjoy it! Our second new hobby was inspired by Steven Barrett's book Hidden Mickeys: A Field Guide to Walt Disney World's Best-Kept Secrets. Alex and I explored the hotel, on the prowl, looking for hidden mickeys. And we found all but two of the little mouse profiles hiding at our resort. We enjoyed ourselves and have tucked the book away for our next visit. Our day ended with dinner at the Boma Restaurant, which was supposed to have quite an offering of African food. We didn't find the buffet to be worth the money, and except for a few North African dishes like couscous and hummus, there wasn't a whole lot of African fare.

See the hidden Mickey at the bottom of the shield?

Saturday (9/6) - Today was a beautiful, sunshiny day. Perfect for the pool. And that's what we did all day, although we did sneak in another craft: the kids enjoyed making wooden giraffes, a great keepsake to take home. The kids also requested to take part in a nightly African drum parade through the lobby of the resort. Noisy but cute.

Sunday (9/7) - We left at 8:30 and were home and unpacked by 5:30. It's good to be home. I guess. I keep looking out the window hoping to see a giraffe saunter by. And I'll miss my personal fireworks show tonight at 10:00. But since we are home now, it's time to avoid restaurants and hop on the treadmill. Oh, and I guess we need to resume our academics.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Disney Journal 1

Sunday (8/31) - After our beach outing, it was time to head to Disney World! We checked into the Old Key West resort and had a relaxing and fun afternoon. We took a water taxi to Downtown Disney where we enjoyed the sights and the shopping as well as the Rainforest Cafe. When we returned to the resort, the kids had a blast at the pool where the castle water slide sent them zooming into the water.

Monday (9/1) - Today did not begin too well because our little Princess woke up throwing up. She has been talking about Disney World for a year now, and I was quite concerned that her magical dreams would be dashed. Besides that, we had to check out of Old Key West by 11:00, and our suite at Animal Kingdom would not be ready until 4:00--5 hours in the car or out with a sick one! We went ahead and checked out, and covered our little one with beach towels. Good thing because we didn't make it far down the road. In the meantime, we called Animal Kingdom, explained our situation, and asked them to do what they could to get us in early. Audrey then wolfed down a very hearty lunch, which I tried to discourage, but she kept insisting: "I still hungry, Mommy!" So I let her pack it away, and that seemed to be what she needed because she perked up and was just fine. Animal Kingdom was, meanwhile, very accommodating and got us into our lovely apartment by 12:30. We enjoyed settling in while the kids hung out on the balcony checking out the zebras, giraffes, and gazelles grazing below us.

Tuesday (9/2) - We headed to the Magic Kingdom bright and early this morning. We are blessed to be here at the same time as some dear friends of ours from church. Their two older kids are our kids' best buddies, so we all had a splendid time at the park together. I think we rode just about every ride, and Mark and I even took turns on Space Mountain. We left around 5:30, came back for dinner, and then headed back to Magic Kingdom for the parade. We left before the fireworks to avoid fighting crowds until midnight, and when we got home, we were surprised to discover we could see the fireworks in the distance from our balcony!

Wednesday (9/3) - Today has been a lazy day. No one stirred in our apartment until about 8:45! We spent the day at the pool where even Audrey couldn't get enough of the slide (as long as we were at the bottom to catch her!). This evening we'll enjoy a spaghetti dinner here with our friends. Their kids, in fact, are here watching a movie with our kids (actually the movie is over now, so they're tearing around in circles through the living areas and out through the balcony). It's a crazy crew here right now!

This is such a fun place. The African decor makes me feel at home, and every once in awhile I even get a whiff of something that reminds me of the Cocody Market--maybe some of the souvenirs or something. We'll try one of the lodge restaurants Friday night to see how authentic their African food is!

She begged to see Tigger and Pooh, but once we FINALLY got through the line, she wouldn't let me photograph her alone, and you can see she was still a bit shy!

Quote of the Day

After a very late night last night, I wasn't surprised to hear a huge yawn come from Audrey this morning at breakfast.

"Are you tired, Audrey?" I asked.

Jacob thought it was a pretty big yawn for such a little girl too because he said, "Do it again, do it again, Audrey!"

"I don't have any more tired now!" she replied.