Thursday, November 5, 2009

When You are Homeschooled by a Nurse

"What is this?" I ask. "Oh... that's where that went" she replies. So the story goes, she was using the hypodermic needle to look at bacteria from her fish bowl under the microscope and the needle flew off when she pushed the plunger. I found it lodged into the wall above her closet door like someone had thrown a dart. My response was "No more needles to play with!". Her response was, "Maybe you could show me how to screw it on so the needle doesn't fly off". She has an answer for everything! Aghhh!!!!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

First USA Swim Meet

This past weekend we traveled to Bristol, TN for Kevin and Colleen's first ever USA swim meet. We knew it would be a little different than summer swim league, but we didn't know how much. They had to swim at the minimum twice the distance in every event and in a couple events they had to swim 8 times the distance. It was a small meet which it made it great to start their year. We are all exhausted, but they both left with trophies for third place overall in their age groups. On top of that, their team "BLAST" won first place overall. We were all tickled. Below is a picture of them with their trophies and Coach John.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Counting Tree Rings

"This tree is a hundred years old mommy!"

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Mr Opportunity

She is entirely too young to meet Mr. Opportunity! Thank you Lord!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

What Was I Thinking?

A friend of mine (or so I thought ;) called me and said she heard that I may be wanting a couple additional hens to replace our dear departed Stella. She had a friend who had recently acquired some little bantes for her daughter to play with and had to get rid of some wonderful Plymouth Rock hens that laid giant eggs everyday. Perfect!

When we went to get them I noticed that one was losing some feathers. Maybe its time for her to molt I thought. But something told me I better not take them. On the way home I decided to be on the safe side I should not put them in with my healthy hens. So my dear husband made me a temporary pen and we have been watching them for 5 days now. Clearly they are older hens, one of them has diarrhea of unknown etiology and the other one lays an egg every day or so and usually they smash it and eat it.

I wonder why I can't use some common sense and go with my intuition? It sure would save me a lot of time and energy. Come to think of it, maybe I now know where my son gets his "acting without thinking" behavior.

I guess we will watch them for another week and if they don't look any better, we will let Daddy take care of our problem. He really deserves better.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

It's Here!

It was one of the most exciting things I had ever experienced. After almost 5 months of waiting and nurturing baby chicks, the first egg arrived last Friday. Since then we have had 3 more!

To add to the excitement, we won the "Race to Egg" competition with my friend Sherry. We had both been wanting chickens for a couple years  and both had our coops early this year. She called me around the last week in February to tell me that she had won because she was driving back from the Greenback co-op with her baby chicks. I said, "But Sherry, the competition was the first egg and not the first chick". So the race was on.

The following week we had our first 2 chicks and two weeks after that we had another two. We chose a variety of chicks for fun which was to our advantage. A couple of the chicks that we picked were bred for early and consistent egg production. Sherry's downfall was her selection of the beautiful, heirloom Buff Orphingtons. Our Josephina, a Golden Comet who is 3 weeks younger than the Buff Orps won the crown for us.

So you may ask, "What does one with so prestigious a title win?" Nothing less than a fine supper prepared by Sherry. Which by the way, she has won the cooking contests in the past. Victory can be so sweet!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Weekly Wrap Up

What a week!!! I am so glad it is over. I have had a horrible flare up with the fibromyalgia and an ER visit for chest pain. Just the low potassium again I guess. I am finally starting to feel a little better. 

 Colleen's favorite chicken took ill the end of last week and we have been nursing her trying against the odds to help her make it and we came home today and she had scratched her neck wide open. Thankfully Daddy was here and could take care of Stella and put her out of her misery. What would we do without daddies? We will miss you Stella. Colleen has lost 2 fish and a chicken in 4 days. I am not sure how much more she can take. I am not sure how much more I can take.

The City Swim Meet is tomorrow. If the kids do well, we will have to go back on Sunday. Although I do not relish the thought of 2 days at a swim meet, it would be nice to have some happy around here.

On the happy side, we were able to cancel Colleen's appointment for tests at UT this week because her stomach is feeling much better. Thank you Lord! 

Sunday, July 12, 2009

One Thing I love About Homeschooling

The other day I was reading SmallWorld and was challenged with the question of whether I felt like I was doing a good job homeschooling. Although some days are hard, the payoffs are huge in my opinion and yes we are doing a good job. I love that my son who is 10 still likes to make beleive and is not embarassed to get in a Spiderman car designed for 5 year olds when it looks like fun. He has been allowed the opportunity to still be a kid. 

It seems to me that being a child seems to get ripped from you the moment you get on the yellow bus these days.

The other night at the dinner table we somehow got on the discussion of what the Pink Floyd video of "The Wall" meant. Don't ask me how they got to see parts of it (Daddy!). They did not know what the kids wearing masks on a conveyor belt  falling into a meat grinder all coming out like perfect, equal sized hamburgers meant. When we started saying the words to the song, "We don't need no education, we don't need no thought control", it struck me that maybe Pink Floyd was on to something. I have always thought it was just about being a rebellious teenager, but now it seems to have a whole new meaning for me. We homeschool so our children will not end up being "just another brick in the wall".  We want them to grow in the gifts and talents that the Lord has given them. They get to spend time learning about the things they love  and learn about history the way it actually was and not a textbook author's interpretation. (The Pilgrims first gave thanks to God...not the indians! )They are able to learn about science by experiencing the world around them. They have time to create and play and imagine. And if the latest videos you have watched are "The Lone Ranger", then it is Hi Ho Silver...Away! Thank you Lord for giving me the ability to give the gift of childhood to my children.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Suburban Gardening

I received one of the best compliments I have ever had about a week ago. My neighbor who is about 85 and had farmed all his life came over to take a look at my little garden and chickens. He said, "I have never seen such a good small garden. I would have never believed that you could get so much into such a small space." Wow! All his years of farming and he had not seen a small garden like this. It is nothing spectacular and the weeds and bugs often win, but there is something so wonderful in eating the food you have grown. Thank goodness we don't need to live off of my garden because it wouldn't cut it, but I do enjoy it.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Medical Mondays

Yesterday while playing with some friends my son got stung twice by some big ugly hornets. He was stung on his arm and behind his left ear. It was a little swollen so we put some ice on it and it seemed to be ok. This morning when I sent him off to Wesley Woods day camp it was still a little swollen, but he was not complaining and it didn't appear to be any worse. When he came home, this is what we had. If it was both ears, he would look like Shrek. He got some benadryl tonight. Poor little fellow didn't quite know how to go to sleep. He was crying, "I have to sleep on this side but it hurts".  After the bendryl kicked in, he was able to sleep on the other ear thankfully.

On a lighter I was sitting eating my lunch (without children), my face started to feel warm and then it started to tingle and then burn. I just had to get my hair up so I went to the bathroom and when I looked in the mirror, my face, ears, and chest were beet red. I thought, "Oh no! I am having an allergic reaction". Contemplating how my afternoon without children would be ruined by a trip to the ER, I went to consult my neighbor Libby. She suggested that even though it was really red, maybe I could wait a while and see what happened. Taking her advise, I went home, laid on my couch, turned on the fan and tried to relax. After a few minutes I started to feel better and the redness decreased. It was then that it hit me. "I am having a hot flash!" I can't believe I almost drove myself to the ER for a hot flash!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Testing the new iPhone

  • Pictures taken with my new iPhone while we waited for the account to be activated. Colleen and I had just been talking about how I always seem to get what I want. Maybe not everything...but I do like my iPhone. I just need to figure out how to use it ;).

Monday, June 1, 2009

The "Firsts" of Summer

Summer has arrived  with the the "firsts" of the season.

The first lightening bug was caught by Colleen and the first fish was caught by Kevin.

We had plenty of fun  with worms and mauls today too.

Friday, May 22, 2009

"Rice Pickers"

My daughter chose the title of this post. She thought it was appropriate to the subject and I guess she is right.

Question: What do most people do when they find moths and larvae in their rice? Of course throw it out. But not us. We have a farm collie who would love some basmati brown rice cooked with some old ground beef and four chickens who love grubs. So.....we pick. For some reason, my pictures of the chickens devouring their feast did not show up, but Colleen picking the grubs and the grubs themselves did. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

One of the Good Ones

I would have never imagined how hard it is to parent some boys. My son is smart, antsy, and a challenge. There are days I am not sure we will make it next week, let alone adulthood. However, tonight was one of those nights that gives me hope. He was awarded his Weblo's Badge  and remarkably, I had little to do with it. Not only did he read his book and complete the requirements, he wanted to do it and do it well. It just tickles me to see him put on his uniform with such pride. He has to tuck in his shirt and put on his belt with all of the "beltloops" he has earned and tie his neckerchief just so. He loves cub scouts ( now that I am not the den leader ;-) and wants to do his best. Am I seeing a maturing young man? 

Monday, May 4, 2009

Friends in High Places

This past weekend we had an impromptu  getaway to Cherokee, NC with friends for some "Native American" studies. Both dads are in the military and were unavailable, so it was just the moms and kids. 

We stayed at a cabin overlooking the quiet town of Whittier, NC. The view was spectacular, but the driveway was a little scary. Although it rained much of the weekend we still were able to visit the Oconaluftee Indian Village, the Cherokee Museum and the Art Museum. Other highlights of the weekend included panning for gems, fishing for trout, and an extremely close game of Trivial Pursuit. I believe that it was my reluctance to watch or read anything Harry Potter that cost me the game. What in the world is a Hogwort? 

I think the kids had a blast and built stronger friendships just like the moms. I know that anyone who will stay up to talk theology with me until 2:30 am must be a friend for life.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Give and Take

Paco cam to live with us the day my mother was buried. Colleen and I had been looking for a farm Collie and found one in West Virginia with the same name as her stuffed dog that she has been carrying around since before she was one. When we saw him online with the name "Paco", we knew it was divine inspiration. 

We were planning how we were going to get to WV to get him and at the same time make a visit to Pittsburgh to see my mom who was not doing very well. Suddenly, there was no longer a reason to  visit my mom, but instead a funeral. I am so sad that I did not get there to see her before she died, but God alone knows why we didn't. I am able to suggest many reasons, but none of it matters now. I miss her and wish I had one more time to visit with her. I am sure she would have some suggestions about how to get the "stink" out of a farm dog.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Two Hikes (Uphill) in Two days

What was I thinking? I thought the Blueberry Hike at Wesley Woods would be a nice stroll in the park. I should have a lovely time enjoying nature with Kevin and Colleen on a homeschool field trip.                                                                                                                                                                               Surely we would know if was challenging by the
 description in the brochure!  Well it was straight up a mountainside. Granted there were "switchbacks" so we didn't go straight up, but I was wondering how I was going to speed-dial my cardiologist when we were in the "no service" area. As the blood started to shunt to my vital organs, I was wondering why my children were able to leap up the hill as though it were nothing to ascend 1200 feet in 15 minutes. Then, it dawned on me. They exercise all week long. They swim twice a week, do karate, gymnastics, and horseback riding while my exercise consists of pushing a pedal and turning a wheel. It just doesn't seem right.

Once we arrived at the summit one would think it "is all down hill from here". Well it was...over a couple of water falls. This was really kind of fun but I think the guide was thinking "what am I going to do if this fat lady falls"! When we returned to camp I am pretty sure the counselors had a grand time at lunch sharing their stories of  the "mothers" who accompanied the kids. I feel confident that they are not used to assisting such old joints climbing down off the waterfalls.

Hike number two was today at Spruce Flat Falls. The guide book says "don't let the steepness of the trail in the beginning scare you". Well I was not sufficiently scared and I am now reaping the rewards of the effort. The mere act of sitting takes 14 times longer than usual and is fraught with reminders of the "steepness". Once we arrived at the falls however it seemed worth it (at the moment). It was beautiful! The kids had a blast taking off their shoes and wading in the water on one of the first warm days of spring. I just don't understand their insatiable need to be barefoot, but I am trying to be more flexible.