Friday, October 31, 2008

Emily's Inspirations

Many, many years ago, when I had only two children old enough to trick-or-treat, I saw a magazine article showing how to make some adorable popcorn costumes. I decided to go into maximum Martha mode and made two of them. They were a huge hit! Everywhere we went people oooh'd and aaah'd. The kids got extra candy from people because they were so cute. They wore those costumes for several years in a row and even Katie wore one when she was old enough.

They finally got so ratty we had to toss them out. I hated to see them go.

Emily really, really, REALLY caught on to the idea of the homemade costume. She LOVES making a costume. She LOVES the attention she gets. She LOVES having something that no one else has. She has gotten ideas from magazines, books, and from seeing someone else's costume and devising ways to make their costume better. The minute Halloween is over (and once while we were actually out trick-or-treating) she starts planning next year's costume.

The first year after the popcorn, she decided to be a Lego.

The next year, she wanted to be a picnic.

The year after that, she decided to be a washing machine.

Last year, she was a tea party. It's a little difficult to tell from this angle, but that is a tea pot on her head.

And this year's costume is.....................................................................

A Lemonade Stand!

We glued a lemonade jar, a Country Time lemonade container, fake lemons, and plastic cups filled with lemon jello to the stand for good visual effect. Cool huh?

Just A Little Surgery

I had to have some minor surgery yesterday. An endometrial polyp in my uterus was causing some issues and it had to be taken care of. I didn't take a camera to the hospital, but my beloved groom whipped out his camera phone when they put the silly blue hat on me and said, "Oh, I HAVE to get a picture of this!" So my doctor and the anesthesiologist jumped in the picture too.

I had four or five of those warmed blankets on me. Those were wonderful! Whatever they gave me to knock me out wasn't bad either. After the surgery, I came home and slept until 5:00 p.m. I'm feeling very well rested today!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

See How She Grows

Emily is suddenly going through a growth spurt. We measure the kids on a board we've nailed to the wall (so it can be removed and taken with us) and she grew over half and inch in one month! Usually Ben is the one eating everything in sight. Now Emily is the one who is constantly hungry - and sleepy too. She took a two hour nap one day this week. I warned her that she would never be able to fall asleep at bedtime. Instead, she went to bed an hour early. She's shooting out of all her clothes. She's mad about that. She has some clothes that she just loves that suddenly don't fit. Katie is getting a flood of hand-me-downs (which are all too big but which she insists on wearing anyway). Emily said she hates growing so much. I told her she might as well accept it because there isn't any other option.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Star Is Born

Today's service at church was run by our youth. They sang all the praise and worship music at the beginning of the service (it was like attending a rock concert), took the collection, put on a skit, and one of the youth pastors preached the sermon.

Here are the youth singing at the beginning of the service. I didn't expect them to be so bouncy! Ben is behind the two boys on the front row.

Then they did this skit to the song "Set Me Free" by Casting Crowns. My video camera doesn't zoom in or out so I couldn't get any close up shots. When all the kids look to one side at the same time, the boy portraying Jesus had walked on to the stage, but he is out of range of my viewfinder. A couple of the other parents were videoing also and I hope to get a better video sometime this week. This is Ben's first starring role! (Wherever does he get those theatrical genes?)

I had a heck of a time getting this video on the blog! It just did NOT want to load. I finally had to upload it to Youtube and link it from there.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Japanese Wolf Spider

One of the moms in our homeschool group brought their pet spider to co-op this week.

Pet spider.

This is not a spider that she went and got from a pet shop. This was a wolf spider that crawled out of a box when their household goods were delivered from Japan. She decided not to kill it, and made this nice little terrarium type house for it. It is now protectively clutching a giant egg sac which presumably contains a million little replicas of itself. It looks like it's holding a marshmallow.

If a four inch spider comes crawling out of my household goods when we arrive in Hawaii, I will NOT be making a pet of it. It will be squished into a little greasy spot on the floor before anyone could even think to ask.

First Shipment

Two movers came today to take our first shipment of stuff to Hawaii. Since it will take so long (up to two months) for most of our household goods to arrive, we can ship up to 1,000 pounds early so it will be there when we arrive. Of course, we shipped lots of summer clothes, swim suits, beach toys, beach chairs, and beach towels. It's around 45 degrees here right now so we aren't likely to need any of that stuff in the next two months, but we will desperately need it upon arrival.

The moving team consisted of two men. We had a fairly easy load to pack and it didn't take them long. One of them took all of five minutes to ask, "Are the schools not in session today?"

"We homeschool," I replied.

"I'm actually a school teacher," he said.

"Oh great!" I said.

"Oh crap," I thought.

"I taught for a million billion years," he told me. (He didn't really say it was that long. But how ever many years he did say was a lot.) "And I was the school counselor for the last fifteen years of that."

"Wow! That's great," I smiled winningly, trying to look competent and hoping the kids would remember their manners and make me look good.

He made several comments about school and curriculum and then he started flogging the dead horse of socialization.

"You know," he said, "homeschooling may be good for the early years, but at his age," pointing at Ben, "he probably needs to go to school for the socialization."


"Well, actually, he's very social," I took a deep breath to rattle off all our social activities and relieve the fears this man had concerning my children. "He plays soccer, he's got the lead in a skit with his youth group, he takes guitar lessons, we are part of a science co-op, he just went on a mission trip to Maine this summer, and he's a boy scout!"

"I've been a scout master for the past gazillion years."


Then he quizzed Ben about being a Life Scout and how far along the path he is to Eagle Scout. When he stepped out to get some more boxes I hissed at Ben, "He thinks you're unsocialized! He's giving you a socialization pop-quiz!"

I thought about wrapping the kids in bubble wrap so I would really look like an overprotective parent, but the movers came back in too soon.

Then while the other packer went over all the paper work with me and I signed tons of little lines, teacher-man examined every book I had on my shelves in the dining room and the living room. He even picked up and thumbed through some of the books we had out on the table. Then he gave me another pop-quiz about state requirements and how homeschoolers get into college. I was happy to give him all the info he requested and then topped it off with an extra credit report about my kids annual standardized test scores. ACE IN THE HOLE!

After they left, I collapsed like a noodle on the sofa. Moving is exhausting!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

"Take This Pack of Virginia Slims and Go To Your Room!"

Well, after a three year hiatus, Emily's eczema has returned. I took her to the doctor today and got a prescription to clear it up.

While the doctor was doing the exam, she asked, "Does anyone in your house smoke?"

"No," I replied.

"Except for me!" chirped Emily.

The doctor and I both looked at her. Then the doctor looked at ME.

"She asked if anyone in our house smokes," I said to Emily.

"Oh!" Emily said, embarrassed. "I thought she asked if anyone in our house was sick."

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

At The Duck Pond

We had some extra bread lying around, so we decided to feed it to the local ducks. We figured this would make a nice family moment that we could look back on and smile about after Kerry deploys.

The ducks are hilarious when they realize you have food. They waddle as fast as they can, wagging their tails behind them.
The sun was setting and made some really pretty pictures. In the future, I will show these to the kids and remind them of what a great life they had - feeding ducks in front of a beautiful sunset. I won't mention that Ben didn't want to come.
I also won't be taking pictures of the kids as they are right now - playing video games and eating potato chips. I'm only recording the moments that make us look like the perfect homeschool family.

Emily nicknamed this duck "Trixie" because she does tricks like our dogs. She jumps for the food you hold over her and wags her tail when she gets it.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Baby, It's Cold Inside!

We live in historic housing. (All the other neighborhoods on post are just old. Ours is historic.)
They have been updated somewhat. For example, there are radiators in our house, but they don't work. The powers that be modernized the houses by putting heating and air conditioning units in each room that are just like the ones you find in hotel rooms. There is a high/low/off knob. And there is a knob that you turn one direction for cooler air and the other direction for warmer air.

The problem with these units is that they are controlled from a Main Unit somewhere else. I don't know where this Main Unit is. Just that it isn't here, where I can get my hands on it. In the summer the Main Unit is switched to cool. And the individual units will not blow warm air, no matter how far you turn the little knob to "warmer". You can get less cool air, but not warm air.

Lately, despite the fact that it is early October and the weather should still be warmish, it has been cold. People in our neighborhood have been begging to have the heat turned on.

This is a picture of the girls getting ready to do school.

This is a picture of the girls going into hibernation as they watch TV.

So finally, housing gives in to the pleas of the chilly citizens and turns on the heat. The Main Unit had a lever pushed, or pulled, or whatever they do. We have heat!

So immediately the temperature changed outside. And now we are sitting around with the windows open, sweltering in our toasty homes.

Think there might be a REASON to stay out of a restricted area?!?!?!

Ah. The joy of raising a boy.

I know very little about boys. I don't have any brothers, so I didn't see the sort of things that boys do growing up. I understand my girls. I can take one look at them and know by their expressions if something is up. I look at Ben, and he could be about to do anything, and I wouldn't catch it. It's like trying to raise an alien from another planet. I'm baffled by what is going on in his head sometimes.

This weekend he went camping with a cub scout troop. He is a boy scout, and he and two other teenage boy scouts went along to help out; to be the "older, wiser" scouts that the young cubs could look up to. They were in charge of singing campfire songs (the Big Mac Rap was requested a number of times) and helping supervise activities and controlling the general mayhem that large numbers of young boys cause.

When he came back from the camping trip, I asked him, "So how was it?"

"It was great! I almost got shot," he responded with enthusiasm.

Turns out he and the other two boy scouts got to go on a little hike through the woods by themselves for a bit. They came to a sign that said "Restricted Area - Keep Out". Naturally, they completely disregarded this sign as being pertinent to them. They figured there was probably a building somewhere nearby with secret documents in it. Nothing that they would be bothering, so they continued on.

Pretty soon, they came to a clearing. Sitting in the clearing were six fresh apples. But there was no apple tree nearby. "That's odd," they thought. "How did those six fresh apples get there."

Ben walked over and picked one up. Then he heard a disembodied voice growl, "Hey! Put them apples down!"

They looked around and spotted a hunter in a tree. HE had placed the apples out to attract deer so he could SHOOT them with his bow and arrow.

I told Ben, "You are sooooo lucky that he didn't aim and shoot when he heard you walking up! He could have thought you were a deer and fired off an arrow before he got a good look at you!"

He is now busy fantasizing about what a great scar he could have to show people if he had survived being shot with a real bow and arrow.


Friday, October 17, 2008

The Joy of Homeschooling

One of the great things about homeschooling is hearing what goes on in your kids heads after a lesson. This morning we were talking about Obama and the FOCA bill (which just makes me sick). In case you haven't heard, Obama says the first bill he intends to sign if he is elected president is the Freedom of Choice Act which will nullify ALL federal and state limitations on abortions. In other words, anyone can have an abortion at any stage of pregnancy for any reason.

So after this discussion Ben heads off to get a shower while I do a science lesson with the girls. Much, much later he pops back up and says, "Sorry I took so long. I was having a debate with Obama............I won."

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Poor Katie has had such a time with her teeth! When she was two, her four front teeth just began crumbling away and we had to have them all capped. When she was three, one of her two front teeth was accidentally knocked out. I'll tell that whole story later, I'm still suffering from Mommy guilt over that one. Then when she was four, she lost her other front tooth and the tooth next to it to an abscess. So she has been missing three teeth on top for over three years now. We've been waiting and waiting for her to have teeth but those little boogers just didn't want to come out! Finally, the dentist decided those teeth needed a little help. Katie's gums had just gotten so tough over the years that the new teeth just couldn't break through. So today we had to go in to give those teeth some help getting out.

This picture looks like what I think happens to people who get kidnapped by an alien spaceship. In actuality, Katie had on sunglasses to protect her eyes from the spotlight they were shining on her and she had on earphones so she could hear the television program which was playing on the TV directly over her head. The two skewers coming out of her mouth were actually giant Q-tips which had numbing gel on them to numb her gums so she couldn't feel the Novocain shots. (It didn't work.)

When they started giving her the Novocain, she started crying. So I cried too. I am such a weenie when it comes to my kids hurting. They tried three different times to get enough Novacain in her, giving her five-minute breaks between shots and she felt it every time.

Then they had to cut away enough of her gum to expose those two front teeth. She said her lip felt like a big marshmallow and she was dizzy. She had woken up with a horrible cough this morning and this whole procedure did not make her day any brighter.

So I took her out for an Oreo milkshake afterward to make her feel better. I could tell she was still numb because she couldn't feel the ice cream dripping all over her chin.

Hopefully we will soon have pictures of Katie with teeth!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

More Renaissance Fun!

One of the best things about our day at the Renaissance Fair was that it started off with a blessing. We were in line to get our tickets when someone in the group ahead of us turned around and said, "We have four extra tickets if you'd like them." They had been given complimentary tickets and had extras, so that saved us over $60 in admission costs right there!

Ben and Kerry both tried throwing axes at the wall while the girls and I stood waaaaaaay far away. Kerry managed to get two of those suckers to stick in the wall!
Lady Visa and Master Card! That was funny.

Dragon Boogers? Ew. Sharp Pointy Things. That was where Ben spent a large portion of his day. Eyeballing swords.

Emily with the dancing fairies.

Katie feeds the unicorn.

Kerry and I try it out.

The girls wanted to try out jumping as high as they could.

It looked like fun!

Emily got REALLY high.

She had the "Cousin It" look going on.

And she slew a dragon and was knighted by a guy who only had one hand but had two pierced nipples to make up for it.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Corsets Galore!

We spent a day at the Renaissance Fair. Those are always fun. I'm amazed by some of the elaborate costumes we see. Some people put a lot of thought and effort into truely looking the part.

I can't even imagine how you train to be a knight at a joust. Seems like your employment opportunities would be limited. The armor they wear is incredibly heavy. And how they kept from injuring each other is beyond me!

We saw many Lords and Ladies in fabulously elaborate costumes. We saw lots of "goth" Renaissance costumes too. I just can't imagine anyone dressing in black lipstick and black spidery looking dresses back then though.

We saw the King and Queen. Kerry was fortunate enough to be in the Royal Privy when the king decided to stop in. He sat on the throne right next to him!

Then there are the pets, who clearly researched what animals of the Renaissance period wore to make sure they fit in.

And fairies galore! I don't remember ever seeing so many fairies at a Renaissance Fair before. That's a popular look this year.

But most of all we saw what can only be called "buxom wenches". These are the gals who can't come naked (it isn't allowed) but they want to make sure everyone sees what they've got. Then they pretend to be completely unaware that their chests are on display for all to see. We giggled a lot at these gals.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

RIP Computer

Our desktop computer died. It just started rebooting itself over and over like a massive case of hiccups until we turned it off. Now I turn it on every so often just to see if it will suddenly decide to start working again. Hope springs eternal. I always hope that electronics will just work without me having to put any money or effort into them. I suppose at some point I will actually have to locate a repair shop and drag it over there and see if there is anything they can do. Sigh.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Re-starting Guitar Lessons

Ben and Emily started guitar lessons again today. We had taken the summer off because we were traveling so much. Then when we tried to start back, our guitar teacher had no openings. So, we had to switch to a new teacher. Luckily, the studio we use in town had another teacher who came highly recommended.

So, we showed up today and met the new teacher. While we were waiting for him, I noticed Ben had a hole in his tee shirt. I was fussing at him for not taking more care with his appearance on the day he was meeting his new instructor. Then, out came the instructor to meet us. He had a headband around his forehead, a goatee, earrings,and so many tattoos that one arm was entirely red and green from elbow to wrist.

Ben mentioned to me later that he didn't feel bad at all about his tee shirt.

Both the kids LOVED the new teacher. He's got a good "vibe" according to them. I had a feeling they would like a young rocker. He's more interesting and "in tune" with today's youth I guess. I'd describe him as being really "hip" and "cool" but those are probably really uncool, unhip words to describe someone these days.