Monday, August 31, 2009

Don't Miss It, Don't Even Be Late

I, eternally optimist that I am, keep thinking that our schedule is going to calm down. Reality is a bit different: we haven't stopped running since camp over a month ago. The good side of all of this activity is: I've got plenty to blog about. The bad side: and no time to type an email, much less a blog post. Prince Charming is holding Fennec for me right now, so I can try to fill you in on some of our recent activities.

We visited a county fair (not our county, not even our state) for the first time. We admired the animals:The girls had fun in the "old time" houses and buildings. Here are my three girls posing in the little school house:

We ate some treats, rode a few rides, admired some award winning art, textiles (including a blue ribbon for the girls' Mem), fruit, vegetables, and so forth. The girls were not actually impressed by all the canned goods. ("Can we please get out of here," being one example of their requests) They really, really wanted to visit the little petting zoo. (All the animals we'd already seen not being quite enough somehow) So even though it was late and even though we were sticky and tired, we headed back to the petting zoo. (And I do mean back: it was in the farthest corner of the fair).

Once there we saw and fed lots of insistent goats. We saw, but did not actually pet, two huge porcupines. And I made friends with a rather pushy camel:

He followed me around and I tried to feed him and treat him nicely but, well, there's not really a lot else to tell about our relationship.

So, thanks for introducing us to Fair Life, Pop & Mem. The girls are still talking about it.

And now, my nephew is calling, (Not literally, of course, he's only 2 months old. He's talented but not quite that advanced) which means blogging time is up.

Friday, August 28, 2009

If A Man Designs a Board Game...

If your husband makes a board game by hand and sells a few copies it will be bought by a game company employee. This game company employee will love it so much, the game company will offer you a contract so they can produce the game. Everyone will be really excited.

A long time will pass and you will begin to wonder if the game company is really going to produce the game or not. The game company will want to change some of the rules, which will make you wonder if your husband should have signed a contract or not. Your husband will decide the rule changes are fine. Your husband will deliberate over the new board and game elements and be anxious to see them in person.

Then you will begin receiving emails about when the game is coming out. You will receive more emails telling you it's been pushed back. Finally you will receive an email that it is coming soon. The game company will start promoting the game. Your husband might get to go to a big game convention to promote his game.

Then your husband will start thinking about how he can best promote his game. He will call local game stores and set up times to play this game. The local business paper will write a tiny, somewhat accurate story about your husband and his game. Then the Big Paper will decide to write a story on your husband and his game. Which means: a reporter and a photographer are coming to your house. To report and photograph.

Feel free to panic. I did.

Let's just say that the interview about this game has been the most stressful part of this whole thing since Prince Charming considered the original contract. I don't think either of us is cut out for celebrity. Then again, who knows? Once I'm a published author and he has games filling the game store shelves, we may just carry around pens especially for signing autographs. You know, just in case.

(P.S. Want to buy a copy? You can find it here: Revolution!)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

An Evening Poorly Spent

It just so happened last night that I was home alone. Well, the girls were all here, of course, but I was the lone adult. What do I like to do when Prince Charming is away and the children are finally asleep? Read, eat, read, write, sew, scrapbook, watch movies.

I didn't feel like scrapbooking or reading last night so I popped in a movie from the library to watch while I made a pillow (which is some consolation, I suppose. At least I have a pillow to show for my trouble).

Now to understand what follows you must know two things:
1. I love musicals. Love them. I'd be hard pressed to name a favorite and I have several that see frequent rotation on our DVD player.

2. I also like certain British actors who may or may not have starred in some of my favorite Austen films.

The musical that I watched last night (and I shall not name it, but I'm sure you can figure it out), is recent. All-star cast (oh, that the producers had chosen a few unknowns who could actually, you know, carry a tune), quirky 1970's should have been great.

But it was not great. I can't recommend anyone see it because certain "plot" points (if you could accuse this movie of having a plot, which I really cannot) are offensive. Now I know that musicals are not usually known for having a great deal of character development but come on! The characters have to have some personality, or likability, or gravitas or something, right?

So, in sum: movie, it's called a "story line". Get one.

And oh, British Actors of Much More Talent Than This: honey, no. Just, no.

Monday, August 24, 2009

To Whom It May Concern

Mondays are my errand days. I take my crew to the library, sometimes we go to the bank, and I always do my grocery shopping on Monday, so that we, you know, have food for an entire week.

Usually there is a little plastic bag on my front porch on Sunday evening. This little bag contains all the local store sale papers. These papers allow me to actually have a plan for what we will eat. Call 'em crazy but my family are just not fond of ground beef six nights in a row.

Sometimes, if I'm really on my "A" game, I can even match coupons to the sales. I know, how obsessive of me. It's weird, I know, but I actually get a little rush when my receipt tells me I saved 50% or more on my bill. We housewives have to get our thrills where we can, people.

You're probably wondering why I'm telling you all this. It's leading up to, as you might have already guessed, a complaint:

No sale papers on my porch yesterday or today! (And I say again: !!!)

How am I to plan my afternoon now? Stumbling around our ginormous grocery mecca with three girls in tow, no menu plan and only the end-of-the-month-grocery-budget on hand?

Not my idea of fun, folks.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Three Ladies and a Little Man

Our attempt to cram a week of school into two days has gone pretty well. So well, in fact, that I wonder if we should be doing more in regular weeks.

I haven't decided on that yet. Today has reminded me how complicated things can get with a new baby around. We're watching Fen today. He arrived bright and early (OK, it wasn't bright but it was early) and he's sticking around all day.

The girls are thrilled but he seems a bit...less thrilled. If he was thinking Aunt Karen's house was going to be a peaceful little vacation, he was sadly mistaken. Fortunately Prince Charming is also home for most of today, because otherwise I wouldn't have enough hands. I can juggle the baby, Polly, and Tigger, but that leaves out Sweet Pea and Sweet Pea must have her share.

Oh well. It breaks the potential monotony of a school day to re-swaddle a baby, or re-insert a pacifier, or remove scissors from Sweet Pea's hands. We'll do anything to avoid boredom around here.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Watermelon Walk

Let me clear up some confusion about our walk yesterday. Yes, we bought a watermelon: And yes, we took it back home with us:
But no we didn't carry it:
Because we had a stroller along for the trip.

And, just because I know you're curious, the reason why The Walk Back is l-o-n-g-e-r than The Walk There is because you've already done the fun thing you went to do. All that's left is going back home where your mom is going to make you eat supper before you ingest your Sugary Farmer's Market Treat of Choice. Or something like that, anyway.

I think that clears it up.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

And We Still Haven't...But Who Cares?

I had big plans to get more school done this afternoon. This morning we worked through our second day of school (Bible, History, Math, and today we added Science) but we still haven't started Grammar, Latin, Handwriting, or Piano. So I planned to do those things in the post-nap happy hours.

But real life, as it is wont to do, took over. I wrote. Prince Charming and Polly worked on played a new game. We rearranged art in the kitchen. We read. The girls and I walked to the weekly farmer's market and bought some treats for after supper and a few sundries (local honey, garlic, a watermelon...). We watched eight little lizards on a rock wall for a few minutes. (Christened by Polly "Lizard Slope") We walked back. (Query: why is the walk home always l-o-n-g-e-r than the walk there?) Prince Charming skipped the walk and had supper ready to go in the oven when we got back.

I hereby declare the afternoon a success.

Monday, August 10, 2009

And Next I'll Juggle Three Children, Blindfolded

After a whirlwind weekend (baby shower, trip to our state capitol, swimming, staying up late, attending two church services, traveling back from our state capitol, attending another church service, picking up some food, putting kids to bed, late again...) we're getting back to regularly scheduled programing.

That is: we've started school again. My plan was to go nice and slow, for several reasons:

1. We didn't get much sleep this weekend so we slept in late. (see above)
2. I have two school age children for the first time. (3rd grader and Kindergarten)
3. We've missed some habit training this summer and are starting over again. (Yes, you do have to make your bed.)
4. We have a busy weekend this week too: our annual ballgame, Prince Charming is going away for a day to promote his game, our church picnic...

So, I thought Bible, History, Phonics, and Math would be enough to keep us busy for one day. (Plus grocery, library, and everything else, of course.)

The girls are not quite seeing it my way though. They understand we all slept in and we had a busy weekend, (Eating out! Swimming! Staying up late to watch the Parent Trap! And When! Can! We! Do! It! Again?!) but they do not understand the concept of easing into anything.

"Mom, can we just do all the other subjects too? Please?"
"Mom, can I have a piano lesson today? Please?"

Much as these requests warm my heart (I mean, I took piano for twelve years but I don't think I ever begged for a lesson), the answer is a resounding, "NO." They may be ready but I am not.

I need a few more brain cells awake before we start diagramming sentences and memorizing Latin vocabulary. And I need to discover a failure free way to contain the Two Year Old Terror. (Sample Dialogue from this morning: "Mom, she's kissing me! But she knows I don't want her to!" And that was before she crumpled the alphabet flash cards and tore down Polly's block pyramid.)

What can I say? There's no place like home and nothing like homeschooling.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Books of 2009 - July

July is a light reading month for me. Not because we go to the beach or anything. Actually, the real reason is almost the opposite: camp, camp, and more camp. I am a dedicated reader but if you think I'm going to stay up reading with a flashlight after I've gotten my 21 female charges to bed, even for a really good book, you are crazy.

1. Liberty and Tyranny. Nonfiction by Mark Levin. I suppose this book could be quite useful if you haven't been well educated in the matters at hand. Just for educational purposes or informative reading, I prefer Jonah Goldberg's excellent Liberal Fascism to Mr. Levin's work, but that's just personal opinion as this book is helpful too.

2. Montessori from the Start. Nonfiction by Paula Polk Lillard and Lynn Lillard Jessen. Montessori concepts intrigue me (especially some the beautiful "Montessori Mom" blogs) but I remain unconvinced, especially concerning Maria Montessori herself.

3. Cold Comfort Farm. Fiction by Stella Gibbons. One of those books that I thought I had read before, but it turns out I hadn't. This book is really funny, if you enjoy dry British humor, which, of course, I do.

4. If Your Kid Eats This Book Everything Will Still Be Okay. Nonfiction by Dr. Lara Zibners. One of the best common sense parenting books concerning health issues I've seen in recent memory.

5. Miss Match: An Allie Fortune Mystery. Fiction by Sara Mills. Christian mystery set just after World War II. Should have been right up my alley and I wanted to like it but...I didn't really. The characters never came alive for me and the relationships didn't either.

6. Life Skills for Kids. Nonfiction by Christine Field. I highly recommend this book to every parent. We are not "raising children" we are raising adults. Or we ought to be. So what do our children need to know before they leave home? This book will help.

7. Tea Time for the Traditionally Built. Fiction by Alexander McCall Smith. The latest in the detective series about Precious Ramotswe and her companions. Now I have to anxiously wait for the next one to be written!

8. The Whatchamacallit. Nonfiction by Danny Danziga and Mark McCrum. Humorous little book about the proper name for things we all should know but don't. For instance: did you know that tiny piece of skin at the corner of your eye is called a 'caruncula'? Now you do.

9. Already Gone. Nonfiction by Ken Ham and Britt Beemer. A study about why children who are raised in church don't stay in church. Sobering. I don't necessarily agree with everything in this book but I do recommend that anyone involved in their church consider reading this. And if you're not in a good local church, why? May I recommend ours? (I kid, I kid. Sort of.)

Totals for July:
Fiction: 3
Nonfiction: 6

Monday, August 3, 2009

Quick Camp Recap

I'd say our Junior Camp 2009 was the best week of Junior Camp we've ever had. We had 43 campers and every single one of them said at least 5 memory verses. And everyone's attitude and behavior seemed good. We've had some years where we couldn't wait until the end of the week, when our
I mean campers, went home. This year we were sad for it to end.

Of course, one camper was the cutest: But we hid our partiality when we could.
This sword fight is taking place in "The Barn". Where we do a lot of our sports activities. Polly's Dad, Mr. Camp Director Prince Charming, was so impartial that Polly didn't even win this contest. See how fair we are?

The Barn is not usually home to sword fighting contests, though. Its primary role is Dodgeball. Lots and lots of dodgeball. Occasionally we try to shake things up with a game of shark tag. But then things like this happen:
In case you can't tell, that's all the skin of my knee scraped off and a lovely bruise surrounding the scraped off skin.

I'd say you should see the other guy but the "other guy" was Polly. We had a massive pile up during a game of Shark Tag. Polly went down and I fell over her. Polly scraped the skin off her nose and some of her cheek. Plus, she got to have a nosebleed, which won her the sympathy of all the other campers. The fact that she was telling people I tackled her, might also have something to do with it.

The spiritual aspect of camp is on-going. Decisions are still being made and God's work is still being done in hearts. Continue to pray for all the kids and the counselors.