Sunday, May 31, 2009

More Perks

As difficult as it sometimes is when TravelDaddy is absent, his travels come with perks. Like our lodging this past weekend in Kentucky. When we checked in, he requested his usual upgrade when he is accompanied by his brood: a suite. And a suite they gave us--a lovely suite with a full living area and kitchenette/bar area along with a master room and bathroom. And then they took care of our $20 per day parking fee. And then they gave us $200 in vouchers to cover our breakfasts. Very nice perks indeed. 90+ days in Marriott properties per year pay off!

We had a wonderful weekend in the charming city of Louisville. The occasion was the bi-annual Christian and Missionary Alliance conference. My in-laws were missionaries with CMA as were many of my friends at boarding school (my parents were with the heathen baptists). So this was a weekend for spending time with Mark's sisters who are missionaries in Africa and the Middle East and with many other missionary friends I have not seen for years. We were also able to be part of the commissioning of a very dear friend who is heading to Africa shortly.

A relaxing, fun weekend...and now if only my husband's perks would provide for a substitute VBS teacher so I could sleep in tomorrow morning.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Tradition Shmadition

I promised myself that this time would be different. I mean, we always go to the Aquarium Restaurant when we come to Nashville. And we always get dessert. We're trying to live a life characterized by more frugality now, though, so I had convinced myself that the traditional dessert under the sea was not one of life's necessities. However, once we got into the mall...and once we began walking past the restaurant...and once we were inside the gift shop...and once we were walking under the aquarium tunnel filled with colorful fish...well, frugality shmugality. I asked to see a dessert menu. Just to make sure our fave desserts were still featured. And then I requested a table. At which point my biggest little boy threw his arms around me and said, "Thank you, Mommy! You're the BEST!" At which point I KNEW that frugality shmugality applies. At least when it comes to traditions like this one.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Museum Perks

I may have previously mentioned my minor traveling disorder characterized by this overwhelming urge to make whatever city we’re visiting my new Home. It just so happens that Nashville happens to be one of those cities that causes those symptoms. It seems peaceful somehow; perhaps it is the hills which hide the chaos that is apparent in other cities. The climate is mild, comparatively speaking anyway; I mean, it’s not Africa, but it’s not Canada either. And it’s far enough south that you can still order sweet tea at any restaurant, and they won’t look at you like you’re from Neptune. I also really enjoy the city’s attractions—not the country music because I’m not a big fan—but the landmarks like the Opryland. The mall which sits beside the Opryland is great too. In fact, the Opry Mills Mall is far superior to Atlanta’s Mill mall. Their children’s museum too surpasses Atlanta’s.

Speaking of the children's museum, about six months ago, we finally gave in and purchased our first museum membership ever. I chose Atlanta's Imagine-It sight unseen because I'd heard it was good, plus the other children's museum we had been to in Chattanooga was extraordinary. When we finally visited, though, I was not at all impressed. So I began to doubt my choice. Until today.

Today while Mark visited customers, we took on the Discovery Center in Murfreesboro. We had a great time! Two levels of activities to spark the imagination and use up the energy of any young boy or girl, PLUS nature trails surrounding the center. Definitely makes the museum membership worth it!

You Capture - Family


I suppose the word family implies the whole thing. As in all six of us. But we're traveling, so I don't have a tripod with me. And really, who am I fooling sounding all professional using words like tripod and stuff? Even if we had the tripod, I have no idea how to use the timer on the camera.

I suppose I could have gotten my better half in the picture too, but I decided instead to make this a kids-only picture. What else is new?

Not that this picture was any easy feat, mind you. Although I rethought my bribe approach (too much of that already occurs), it indeed took much, um, persuasion to get them to leave their hotel TV to sit nicely on the stairs. And by nicely I mean without kicking, scratching, pinching each other. (See how nicely my oldest has her hands resting on Michael's shoulders? Well, that is NOT a look of happiness and cooperation on his face. He's waiting for me to snap the picture so he can swipe her hands away and then turn around and do who knows what to her if I don't stop him in time.)

So here it family picture. Or 1/2 family picture. Or something like that. You can see my fave picture of a member of the family from this trip here.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Security Check

We’ve never forgotten them. They have spent countless nights in hotels and friends’ homes with us. They even accompanied us on a cruise. But this morning in the disorganization I created by procrastinating, I forgot to grab Audrey’s “My” (translation: blankie) and Bear. I realized it when we were just an hour out of Nashville. Had we been just an hour from home, I probably would have turned around and gone to retrieve them.

I expected a flood of Drama when I broke the news to the Princess, so I mustered up all of the enthusiasm I could and asked, “Do you want to go to K-Mart when we get to the hotel and pick out a new My?!?” She bought into my enthusiasm wholeheartedly, made a rather quick choice and snuggled her new, soft My all the way back to the hotel. Her only concern when we got back was, "Can we take my new My home with us?"

Sunday, May 24, 2009

All the World's a Stage...

...even for especially for my little princess. She waited quite patiently all afternoon for her daddy to install a ceiling fan in her sister's room. And for her mom to feverishly pour over and plan VBS stuff. In the midst of all the waiting, she planned out her puppet show down to the last detail: the "stage", seating assignments, and sort of a script. We were finally all seated, and she began.

"This is the beach," she explained as she marched two popsicle sticks across the up-ended end of the ottoman. "And this is an alien," she indicated, describing one of the popsicle sticks. The alien stick took a dive into the ocean. "I can't swim! I can't swim!" she said in her best alien voice.

"And this is Darf Bader." She introduced another character, and this is where the plot kind of fell apart. I think there was a light saber fight. Or two. And..."His head fell off."

I'm afraid the influence of two big brothers runs deep through her creative veins.

Note to self: Research ways to train her so that she retains some semblance of royal etiquette despite the boys.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Photo Friday - Shiny

For Mother's Day, Michael emptied out his bank and presented me with a lovely homemade card and "cash".

For more Shiny photos visit Photo Friday.


We've had a lot of discussions in this house about the meaning of the word
"private(s)" and why it is inappropriate for a certain princess to approach any one of her brothers' friends with the statement, "You're a boy, you have a ....."

But the Princess had a serious question for her daddy. "Daddy," she said, "why is one of the penguins in Madagascar 2 named 'Private'?"

So many words with so many meanings. It's a confusing world for a little girl.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

You Capture - Sweet


A touch of Sweet Honey mixed in with freshly milled flour, yeast, yogurt, warm water, and salt.

Sprinkled with Sweet Cinnamon Sugar.

To make a delicious Sweet Bread.

Gobbled up by precious, Sweet Children.

A healthy snack which the children love...a Sweet Deal for kids and Mom!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Looking Back - My Baby Boy's Story

Seven years ago today--and from about this very moment--I was awakened by stronger-than-Braxton-Hicks contractions. And, for drama's sake--and to make sure the father of the child knew just how much I was suffering--I may (or may not have) groaned and moaned a least enough to wake him up. I do know for a fact that I said to him, "I think I'm going to have a baby today." We weren't due for another 10 days, but I just had this feeling. Woman's intuition, I guess.

The contractions subsided a little bit, so I dismissed my earlier comments as we headed to the doctor's office for the "weight-check" ultrasound. After having delivered a 9 1/2 pounder already, the doc just wanted to know. I was a little curious too, seeing as how these big babies were coming out of me.

Thankfully, we had scheduled my parents to watch the other two children so we could both be present for the ultrasound (well, I guess I didn't have a choice) because during the ultrasound my contractions intensified so much the doc said, "Well, I guess it's time. Why don't you go on over." I remember I cried worrying about the two at home. I hadn't said good-bye to them with the thought in mind that I'd be gone for a day or two. May have been the hormones too.

After a little help from some pitocin...after a little relief from an epidural, an 8 pound, 10 ounce Jacob greeted the world a little after 8 pm. What I remember most about those last few pushes was that the epidural had worn off so I was feeling everything, including two little feet who were kicking his way out.

Those two little feet may be bigger now, but they haven't stopped kicking. My baby boy...shy around others but a wild man here at home--and growing everyday in confidence so that he even shows some of that "wild man" side of him outside our home. He's a rough and tumble boy who can take a punch and dish it out too. But he's also a sweet, thoughful, affectionate little man who has but to offer one of his shy glances and your heart will melt away. And although he may not be the one who envies the spotlight, the things he says are so funny he often finds himself there anyway.

I'm so proud of him. As I look forward to another year in which we are blessed with our little man, I pray for wisdom and guidance as we learn just the right balance of being there for him and knowing when to step back to give him the room he needs to continue to grow in confidence.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


You know your daughter is growing up way too fast when you go to get some socks to take the boys skating only to discover she's made off with ALL of yours, which means you must go up and raid HER sock drawer.

(Note to self: Buy her more socks. OR...Buy yourself some new socks and let her keep all the old ones.)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Crazy Eights

Although this crazy world of cyberspace can potentially be fraught with danger, it can also be a blessing. For example, I have been blessed with "meeting" new friends in the blog world, many of whom I have discovered to be dear, sweet, fun ladies. One such person is Annie at Having a Ball. She's a wonderful mom and an all around fabulous woman. Someday I'd love to meet her in person.

Anyway...Annie tagged me in her Great Eights post. So here we go:

8 Things I'm Looking Forward To:
(In order of their expected and/or planned occurrence)...

1. Warm weather--surely it will come soon.

2. Family trip in a couple of weeks to Kentucky via Nashville. We'll visit a museum in Nashville while Mark works. In Kentucky, we'll have the pleasure of spending time with family and friends. One main purpose for our visit to the Bluegrass State is to share in a special commissioning ceremony for a friend who is headed to Africa to work as a missionary pediatrician. He's headed Home. We went to boarding school with him. I would love to put "Going Home to Africa to visit him so my kids can see where Mom and Dad grew up" on this list, but since there are no such plans (as of yet), I'll save it for a future list.

3. Every year there are any number of reunions occurring in various regions of the world. Well, that's not news. But these are opportunities for those of us who went to boarding school at ICA in Africa to get together. We don't always go to them. But this summer there are two here in our area. One is this coming weekend. It's a small one, but a couple of my very dear friends (1 an old roommate) will be coming. My brother-in-law is hosting a second reunion later this summer. It will be people from an "older" class, but I still remember them (even if they don't remember me since I was just a little kid then!).

4. I LOVE VBS, and I always volunteer to be in charge of the Bible study teachers. Although I'm looking forward to VBS, however, I'm more looking forward to it being over. I feel very disorganized this year, and I'm getting a little stressed out, especially since we will be returning from our trip in #1 at about 10:00 pm the night before I have to be at church at 8:45 AM.

5. I'm sooo looking forward for this school year to be over. I have those end of the school year blues.

6. I'm sooo looking forward to the beginning of a new school year. The last of all of my curriculum came in today. I'm having a great time looking through it all and planning.

7. Someday having another date with my husband. A date means with the children NOT in the same building, not just having the children sit at the table next to us.

8. I am so looking forward to growing in the Lord and to continuing to become the mother and wife that He wants me to be. I'm learning slowly but daily about patience and about what it means to serve my family. In so doing, I'm enjoying the blessing of getting to know my family--specifically the kids--better and of discovering what a joy they are to be around.

8 Things I Did Yesterday:
1. Taught Sunday School.

2. Found out that next week our church is doing a combined service at 11:00. Translation: No 9:00 service. Which means: We don't have to teach. Which also means: We get to sleep in.

3. Took a nap. If it hadn't been raining, we would have played volleyball.

4. Enjoyed nems for dinner. Nems are Vietnames (cooked) spring rolls. We called them "Nems" in Africa. Mark makes them taste just like home.

5. Watched the "Survivor" season finale.

6. Wrapped presents for Jacob. His birthday is Wednesday, but he opened presents today and had his celebration today.

7. Examined the hermit crabs' new habitat for signs of soon as they got their new digs, they decided it was time to molt, so they dug under and have been incognito for a week. One did resurface last night, but now he has vacated his shell and, I guess, disappeared into another one. From my research, I've learned that they should be left alone during this time, which is difficult for curious little boys and girls (and curious moms). Michael asked how long they would be out of commission. I said, "Four to five weeks." "Forty-five weeks?!" he said. "How many days is THAT?!"

8. Watched a couple of MASH re-runs because I couldn't sleep on account of #3.

8 Things I Wish I Could Do:
1. Play the drums.

2. Play the electric guitar.

3. "Speak" in sign language. We're going to begin learning a little this year...I have a DVD that teaches praise song signing.

4. Go back Home with Mark and the kids. I want the kids to see where we grew up, and I would love to go out with Mark since we have never been out together as a married couple.

5. Go to Italy.

6. Catch up on my scrapbooking.

7. Draw/paint/be artistic.

8. Be more "out of the box" with the kids (as my bloggy friend Annie discussed), more spontaneous with school stuff and with life stuff in general.

8 Shows I Watch:
1. Chuck
3. The Mentalist
4. Survivor
5. Psych
6. Burn Notice
7. In Plain Sight
8. My Boys

8 Bloggers I'm Tagging:
1. TeacherMommy at Diapers and Dragons
2. Mitzi at The Road Less Traveled
3. Nikowa at Knowledge House Academy
4. Courtney at Life on Courtney Lane
5. Mare at Mare's Musings
6. Crossview at Down on a Red Dirt Lane
7. Dina at 4 Lettre Words
8. Mama Knucker Hatch at Our Golden Apples

So here's how to do this 8 THINGS thing: Mention the person that tagged you. Complete the lists of 8's. Tag 8 of your wonderful bloggy friends. Go tell them you tagged them!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I Wish I Had Brought My Camera

I wish I had brought my camera today. I almost slung it over my shoulder as we headed out the door, but the skies were dark and the air heavy with mist, so I assumed there would be no visit to the park today. By the time we got to Athens, however, the sun was beginning to peek through the low-lying clouds, proving that meteorologists may actually, occasionally know what they're talking about.

I wish I had brought my camera today. If I had, I would have had the opportunity to capture expressions of...

...delight as the children fed the geese and their goslings. Obviously accustomed to human acts of kindness, the geese bickered with each other as they gathered around, each vying for the biggest crust of bread.

...intrigue as the kids observed a large, varietal range of turtles in the pond. Some were small, tennis ball size with shiny, new shells. The ones that held the most interest, however, were the large ones with long tails. Clearly older, these astute reptiles slowly but intentionally came up to the surface to get their share and to show off their algae-covered shells.

...curiosity as they questioned the myriad of water bugs skittering across the glassy surface of the pond.

...anticipation as we headed for a new exhibit at the park zoo.

...mischievousness as they observed the 3 alligators who occupied the new exhibit; still as statues, the kids schemed ways to get them to move.

...disappointment when the children discovered the otters are no longer residents of the zoo.

...excitement when we visited the bears' exhibit and discovered one bear who was mostly not napping.

I wish I had brought my camera today. Because good days are even better remembered with a picture.

You Capture - Colors

I'm cheating. You've all seen these pictures before, but through The Happy Housewife, I discovered another photo meme at I Should be Folding Laundry. The theme this week is colors, so I pulled from the archives, thus completely ignoring I Should Be Folding Laundry's Rule #3 (sorry!). Next time, since I'll have more warning, I'll be more original (promise!).

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Teacher's Report Card

We're putting the "year-round" in "year-round" schooling this year by going well into June; however, with plans already well underway for the 2009-2010 school year, this is a time of reflection for me. What went well this year? Where is there need for improvement? So I thought it would be a good time for a self-directed report card.

Phonics & Reading: (A)
The boys have really, really improved this year in reading. Jacob went from reading zilch to full-fledged reading, and Michael is still plodding along as well.

Areas for Improvement: Find something and stick to it! I may have found that very thing already in Hooked on Phonics, Master Reader. Both boys are going through that now. Michael is on his first "novel", and Jacob has already finished the novel and is now on the second level of the program. I need to stick with this and then figure out a comparable program to follow up with: perhaps the HOP Reading Success product, although I haven't yet submitted it to my "research-it-to-death" process in order to finalize the decision. The boys are also going to be finishing up their Abeka Phonics books, just the ones they're working on; I won't buy the next level because they are just too tedious for them.

Grammar: (B)
I give myself a B because, while Alex had fantastic grammar instruction this year, the boys did not do much by way of grammar. They are young, however, so I'm not too worried. They did do some activities that came up in their Frank Shaffer reading books. Alex learned a lot this year and is almost finished with her 4th grade Abeka Language book.

Area for Improvement: Be consistent in offering Grammar instruction. Have everyone start and regularly maintain a Grammar Notebook to get all of those rules cemented in their heads.

Literature & Writing: (B)
The kids are young still for a lot of writing, although Alex composed some fantastic pieces of writing throughout the year. We covered some quality literature, but I would like to do more.

Area for Improvement: Next year, I'm sticking to my trusty reading lists (Ambleside and Classical Christian Homeschooling) for independent reading. Learning Adventures, too, provides great suggestions, and I need to stick to their read-aloud suggestions. I want to have Alex complete the writing assignments she will face in Learning Adventures and Shurley English both, and I want to do all I can to get the boys confident in their handwriting and creative ideas so that they can begin to become budding writers.

Math: (A)
I should do a separate report card for the boys and for Alex because the boys are bringing my average down! I give myself an A, not an A+, because I think I've done really well with Alex. She can zip through ALL of her facts now and has learned many, many new concepts this year.

Areas for Improvement: Quiz, quiz, quiz the boys on those facts!

Spelling: (A+)
Spelling went great. I enjoyed using Spelling Workout. If I didn't already have Abeka's Spelling and Poetry 2 for the boys, I'd order the next level of SW. Alex will stick with SW and will be in Book E.

Areas for Improvement: More fun activities with words and learn more new vocabulary.

Handwriting: (A+)
I can't believe how much everyone's handwriting has improved this year! I used a curriculum this year (A Reason For), but I plan to do just copywork next year. I think this will be more meaningful and teach them more about grammar.

Areas for Improvement: Knowing my propensity to plan but not follow-through, I need to be diligent in having the children do copywork daily.

History: (A)
I give myself an A because History is one thing we didn't skip; however, I really jumped around a lot from Prairie Primer to Story of the World.

Areas for Improvement: Stick with one thing (Learning Adventures). Use more living books as resources. Be consistent in keeping on projects like timelines, etc. Consult more maps to build in that geography along with the history. Do more hands-on projects!

Science: (C)
I skipped around a lot from curriculum to curriculum to make-your-own curriculum. Hopefully, I stick to Learning Adventures next year for a deeper year of Science. The kids did, however, have a lot of life experiences--museums, nature, etc.--which enriched their scientific lives. They also all had science of one kind or another at co-op, so that added good depth to their studies.

Areas for Improvement: Stick with one thing (Learning Adventures). Use more living books as resources. Actually FINISH projects that are started. Stop being lazy when it comes to gathering materials, setting up experiments, carrying them through, and cleaning up!

Geography: (B)
I started to give myself a C, but then I remembered that the kids are at least a third of the way through learning the states, their capitals and abbreviations, and their locations. In addition, we always find on the map any country that is mentioned in any other subject. Last year, I did a particularly good job of keeping Geography part of the mix by actually preparing a country study for every chapter of Story of the World. I just wasn't as good at it this year.

Areas for Improvement: For each country studied in history, do a thorough geographic study with the kids. In addition, teach more map skills, especially to the boys. Hmmm...what curriculum or book to use for that...

Foreign Language: (F)
I was supposed to teach them a foreign language? I decided this year that I am NOT, nor will I ever be, a foreign language teacher--even if I know the foreign language I am trying to teach. Mark and I said before we had kids that when we did have children, we would speak French in our home so the kids would learn two languages. Right. That didn't happen. So...I've ordered a computer Spanish (rather than French) course since they might actually use Spanish later on.

Areas for Improvement: Be consistent in making time in everyone's schedule (maybe even mine; we'll see) to sit down and learn Spanish!

Music: (F)
I know how to play the piano, so how hard it is, really, to walk upstairs and give a child a lesson?? Apparently as hard as it is the speak French in front of them. The problem is, I forget.

Areas for Improvement: REMEMBER to give piano lessons. AND to make them practice. And be consistent and thorough in covering the classical music that is presented in Learning Adventures.

Art: (D)
Thankfully, the older two got art at co-op because they sure didn't get it here!

Areas for Improvement: Be consistent and thorough in covering the artists that are featured in Learning Adventures. Do more hands-on activities in all areas, which will strengthen their artistic side (which, if they possess it, did NOT come from their mother).

Bible: (B)
Obviously, the kids get a lot of the Bible with church and family devotions. We did no formal study of the Bible, however. I would like to do more formal study as well as do some memorization as a family--not just at AWANA.

Areas for Improvement: Stick with what is presented in Learning Adventures. Be diligent in working on memorization. Use character studies from Contenders for the Faith.

I am also adding some beginning logic/critical thinking by Critical Thinking Co. and Latin from Memoria Press for Alex. Should be a busy year, but I'm excited for it. Now if we can just get through the next few weeks which, I know, will draaaaggg. To see a complete list of the curriculum we're using next year and all pertinent links, there is an Our Curriculum link on my header.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Confessions to My Better Half

Dear TravelDaddy,

I have a confession to make. I may have spent our family fortune--such as it is--on two very cramped hermit crabs. You see, after we went to Learning Things (and we'll discuss the monetary repercussions of that visit when you get home), I couldn't help but stop at the PetSmart across the street (incidentally, it was right next to Starbucks).

Because you do not have as close a relationship with Hermit and Lightening as I do, you probably do not know that it has been rather tight quarters for the two of them in their little carry-along tote. Because that little pint-size plastic tote was $5.00 by itself, imagine my surprise when I found a 10-gallon, glass aquarium for $13.00! What a deal! A deal I couldn't pass up.

The problem is that the 10-gallon aquarium had to be filled with stuff. You know, to make it feel homey and all. And Hermit and Lightening appreciated having a new home set up for them. Really, they did. It was actually quite fascinating to see them explore their new digs. I don't care one way or the other about the crabs' emotions.

However, you do care about your children's education. And let me tell you that despite the fact that I may have dropped our fortune in the nation's largest pet franchise, the children got a great educational experience out of it. They all gathered around the tank and declared themselves "Hermit Crab Scientists." Then the two oldest ones wrote books about them. (I know that will surprise you, especially about our young gentleman who, I guess, didn't realize he was doing school because he wouldn't be caught dead doing school and enjoying it.)

So, you see, this was actually money very wisely spent. Experiences like these are sure to build a foundation for future lucrative careers. Even though we are now fortune-less, we needn't worry because someday those futures will come to fruition and we can just move in with one of them. Reminding them, of course, about their great education and all of our sacrifice, etc., etc.

Your Loving Wife

Beach Chronicles 6

My neglect of our last day at the beach is not due to a lack of details. On the contrary, we had a lovely, busy finale at the beach. Dear friends of our from Georgia also made the trip through Podunk County, Georgia, and Middle-of-Nowhere, Alabama, to join us in the Panhandle. It was fun on our last day to have friends to:

Go beachin' with...

Enjoy dinner with at The Back Porch...

And play mini-golf with...

They also shared their delicious, homemade ice cream with us, after which we had a little kid swap. They got my two girls, and we got their boy. I know...a 2-for-1 doesn't sound fair--at least for them. However, since they just welcomed their 5th baby 3 weeks ago, I thought my quieter, more--ahem--well-mannered girls might make life easier for them.

This was Audrey's first "real", non-family member sleepover, and she loved it. Of course, Mom felt better knowing her baby was just 11 floors down (Actually 10 since they left out Floor #13, which means we were actually on Floor 21, not 22. You know, they cater to the superstitious but completely ignore the obsessive compulsive. I smell a frivolous lawsuit.).

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Bring me the sunset...

I stink at writing poetry. But...I discovered this writing prompt over at Diapers and Dragons (TeacherMommy's is 1002% better than mine, so be sure to check it out!), plus it's making its rounds on Facebook, so I thought I'd give it a try. I actually gave it two tries. Because I thought I would bless all 6 of my readers with double stinky poetry.

Which do you like best?

And why don't you give it a try?

Write a poem that begins with Bring me the sunset in a cup...

Poem #1
Bring me the sunset in a cup
to pour out over sunsets past
and all those still to come.

To remember
African sunsets,
their brilliant colors made more vivid
by fiery flames and ashes.

To remember
beach sunsets,
their reflections mirrored on the waters,
capturing poignant moments.

To anticipate
sunsets with those I love,
moments wrapped in the laughter and warmth,
that only a sunset can bring.

Poem #2
Bring me the sunset in a cup,
and I will remember my Father
who holds all of Creation in His hands,
who holds all of my
circumstances, good and bad;
hopes, great and small;
dreams, attainable and lofty.

Bring me the sunset in a cup,
and I will pour it out,
knowing it is not I who can contain it.

Hatching Isn't Just for Eggs

To avoid the Mother's Day Rush tomorrow noon, we decided to go out for lunch today. I chose Long Horn. The kids love this restaurant because they are served a bowl of peanuts as an appetizer, peanuts which have not yet been shelled. Because I know it's difficult to catch on to shelling peanuts--especially with little fingers--I started shelling some for Audrey. She stopped me, however. "I don't want you to hatch my peanuts," she protested indignantly. "I want to hatch them by myself!"

Alright, alright.

She worked on "hatching" a couple by herself and finally handed one to me. "Will you please help me hatch this one?"

On the way home from lunch, she was quite the jokester:

Audrey: Knock, knock!
Me: Who's there?
Audrey: Sock on your head.
Me: Sock on your head who?
Audrey: Purple!


Friday, May 8, 2009

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Beach Chronicles 5

We woke up this morning to the sound of a little boy's heartbroken sobs. Apparently, the hermit crab which we, against our better judgment, allowed Michael to bring home, had gone to hermit crab heaven. I say "apparently" because he hadn't really. He just wasn't active, and Michael assumed he was dead.

Still, in my research, I heard many say that it is difficult to keep a saltwater hermit crab alive in captivity, so I encouraged our little boy to return "Hermit" to the ocean. We made a big to-do about Hermit's return , and there was much fanfare as the waves swept him out to the deeps beyond. Although I didn't tell my little boy, my research also revealed that even saltwater crabs need some freshwater, so I'm not sure what Hermit's fate will be, but at least his graveyard will be "home" to him.

After our big production, and against our better judgment, we headed down the beach to a tourist trap store that advertised hermit crabs. And we bought two. Because my research shows that hermit crabs are social animals.

It's not like this is our only pet here on the ocean. We also have about 50 tadpoles who made the journey through Podunk County, Georgia, and Middle-of-Nowhere, Alabama, with us. Because I am fascinated by them and didn't want to miss out on their growth and development didn't want the children to miss out on their growth and development in our absence.

So it'll be a full car when we head home on Friday. Until then, we have lots of critters to observe, including the fever (go ahead--look it up) of stingrays that swim along the beach in front of our condo every evening.

Beach Chronicles 4

My husband made reservations yesterday for a "Dolphin Tour" today. And I complained bitterly because

a) I didn't want to disappoint the kids. They call it a "dolphin tour" like you're guaranteed to see dolphins and like you'll be taken on an actual tour when in actuality there's no dolphin guarantee, and you take the pontoon boat out yourself (which, I have to admit, I prefer over having to play nice with a guide). I have done the jet ski dolphin tour before, and we saw dolphins, but we had a guide who seemed to know where to find them.

b) I've been very cold down here, and the thought of being out on the open sea with the chilly air rattling my body gave me goose bumps.

c) He scheduled our "tour" for 9am. (See letter b.)

Well, as usual for once, I have to say my husband used good judgment. It turned out to be a lovely day and was warming up nicely--even at 9am. And the kids had a great time on our boat, which we took to Shell Island. Turns out on the way to Shell Island we actually did run (almost literally) into a lone dolphin. He was a little shy, though, and didn't even stick around long enough for us to photograph him; however, he did provide for us bragging rights just because he briefly popped up to greet us.

When we got t0 Shell Island, we had all 7 miles of the island to ourselves for about a half hour before one other boat showed up. And it wasn't until we were leaving that another boat beached itself. The kids had some great science lessons while on the island, most of which centered around hermit crabs as they were plentiful. Against our better judgment, we even let Michael take one of the hermit crabs home.

After an hour or so on our private island, we headed home and then enjoyed lunch at Treasure Ship.