Monday, March 31, 2008

Andrew's Birthday

Andrew's birthday was a month ago, so I'm kind of late putting up pictures. However, after we reformatted the hard drive because of that hideous malware virus it took us quite some time to reload the photo programme. It was only on Saturday that I was finally able to get all the pictures off the camera. So here they are. =)

Here's Andrew opening a pressie

Bert helping to create the "Dora" scene with the new blocks.

Andrew, having fun playing with the figures.


Andrew's soccer birthday cake. Like the candles? =) Yes, they're matches. We realized when it came time to light the candles that...ummm...actually, we didn't have any. =Þ As it was Sunday, we had to improvise with what we had. It actually worked out just fine, and Andrew didn't know any different so there were no conniptions. =D

Dude!!! What's this aberrant video doing here? That little monkey, you can hear him giggling in the background. Turn the sound up and see if you can figure it out. A million dollars for the person who guesses what is being filmed.

Andrew just watched this video and loudly announced, "That's a COW!" It is NOT a cow! =D

My sister's fiance is a footie fanatic. Fanatic about Everton, to be precise. So what did they buy Andrew for his birthday? This brilliant EVERTON soccer outfit. How cool is that? =)

The day after Andrew turned 3 he started on his soccer team. =D It is SO cute to see those little bodies hurtling around after the ball. Andrew is the second-youngest (the youngest had his birthday a week after Andrew), and thus often gets left far behind the pack. I can't believe how good these 4-5 year olds are with the ball! Andrew doesn't care though, he just has a great time being the "soccer monster". =) The next few pictures and videos are of Andrew's first practice.

This one's going in the goal. =)

Pep talk with Coach Bryant and the "Lightning" team.

When all else fails, pick it up and throw it. =D

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sunday Scripture

Doctrine and Covenants 59:14

Verily, this is fasting and prayer, or in other words, rejoicing and prayer.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Mmmmm, vertigo

Woke up dizzy again today. What fun. =Þ At least I don't get it as bad as my parents do - they can't stand and throw up etc. Oooh, not fun. Mine's just sort of feeling tipsy, rather than falling down drunk. =D

Nathan and Christie Facer came around today. It was really wonderful to see them. Nathan's going back to public school next week as their house in Chicago finally sold and they've put an offer in on one here. It's so sad. =( We'll really miss meeting up with them on Tuesdays for field trips etc.

Remind me to tell you the story of the Grayson's and the Critchlow's cats when the room stops spinning. It'll make your head explode. Mmmm, now that's something to look forward to innit? =D

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Just stuff

I wanted to wait until there was something actually INTERESTING to post - but there is nothing really. Life is just plodding along. Bert went to LA for the first few days of this week and came back this afternoon. We love him so much. =) Andrew has his first soccer game on Saturday - that should be fun. =D I have tons of pictures to load but my photo programme hasn't been loaded back on the computer since we reformatted it to get rid of the hideous malware thing.

Emily is...well, she's pretty sad. I mean, she's hanging in there, and she's doing ok, but I'd say she's surviving rather than thriving at the moment. There's not a whole heck of a lot I can do about it except love on her and support her. Reminds me of the Julie De Azevedo song, "Healing". The sentiment behind that particular song is just around the corner:

Kissing little knees and elbows
Casualties of play
Soothing bruised or fragile egos
Send them on their way
Lost your balance on your bike
Lost a quarter
Lost a fight

Hugs and band-aids come in handy for whatever bleeds
Wishing wells and throwing pennies puts your mind at ease
Lights go on and cure bad dreams
Bad days only need ice cream

But broken toys will turn to broken hearts
And the time will come when I can't find all the parts
Broken glass to broken dreams
Broken bones to broken wings
And you will need a healing beyond me
You will need a healing beyond me.

Tuck you in and read you stories knowing you are safe
Watch you sleeping, watch you breathing
I heave a quiet ache
You'll walk places I can't go
You will fall and I'll let you go
I'll let you go

Wishing I could hold these moments for ever and day
But like the birds as wings grow stronger you will fly away
I flew beyond my Momma's reach
I fell and landed on my knees
And found healing comes in higher wings

Like Momma said...
Broken toys will turn to broken hearts
And the time will come when I can't find all the parts
Broken glass to broken dreams
Broken bones to broken wings
And you will need a healing beyond me
You will need a healing beyond me.

*sigh* I just had a little cry typing those lyrics in.

Ben's doing Ben things. It's all very normal, thank goodness.

In other news, Andrew excitedly announced on Easter Sunday that he found an egg from a rooster. How about that then? =) =)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

Luke 24 5-6

"..they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen;..."

In other news, I completed the Hinckley Challenge by reading the Book of Mormon. It was an INCREDIBLE experience to read it so fast. It truly spoke to my soul; I was in tears many times as the Spirit wrapped its soft, loving, warm-fuzzy-blanket arms around me and whispered "This is true."

Moroni 10:4-5

And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, He will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

White Saviour?

I caught about two seconds of Glenn Beck before Andrew demanded Dora the Explorer. =D What I did catch confused me.

Glenn asked a lawyer for the New Panthers how related New Pantherism is to the black theology of Wright.

The lawyer said it was intimately related. He said if you'd been brought up with a white Jesus, you'd want to have your own black theology as well.

And I thought....Hold on a mo....wait....

White Jesus?

Are Israelis white? I always thought "white" denoted European descent. How on earth could our Saviour possibly be white if he was born of Israeli parents in Bethlehem?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Obama and Wright

Candace at Dream a little dream with me has an interesting post on the whole Wright-Obama horror.

Listen to Wright.

Scary, huh?

Obama listened to him - and agreed with him - for TWENTY YEARS.

Kinda sheds new light on Michelle Obama's words, huh?

“For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country,”

Her pastor would be proud.

Another question: How on earth do churches like these keep their non-profit status? They don't preach Christianity, they preach intolerance, lies and hatred. How come they're not paying taxes?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sunday Scripture

Alma 41:14-15

"Therefore, my son, see that you are merciful unto your brethren; deal justly, judge righteously, and do good continually; and if ye do all these things then shall ye receive your reward; yea, ye shall have mercy restored unto you again; ye shall have justice restored unto you again; ye shall have a righteous judgment restored unto you again; and ye shall have good rewarded unto you again.

For that which ye do send out shall return unto you again.."

Friday, March 14, 2008


Well, testing day is here. Actually, testing DAYS since I ordered the full battery (sounds violent, doesn't it?) IOWA test for Benjamin. The instructions indicate that someone with a college degree must administer the test, therefore my husband has to administer it.

In true sarcastic form, he came up to me a few minutes ago and said "You know, I just KNOW my college degree is helping me sit there watch Ben take the test..." =D

I mean, for goodness sakes, I teach the kid, but I can't administer a test to him? I'm totally untrustworthy and dishonest because I don't have a college degree? And everyone who has a college degree is trustworthy and honest? Uhhh....Ok....

And while I'm being frustrated, we all went to the Post Office this morning to order our passports. Emily needs a new passport to so she needed to be excused from school. (As per passport instructions, both parents and children need to be present) I called to ask them to send her home. The said "hold on" and sent me to a voicemail that said that because it's Spring Break next week no child will be excused today or a week on Monday. Any absence must have a doctor's note. Please leave a message, but they're out of the office.

I called back and said "Look, it's not like we're taking off anywhere. She'll be back in a couple of hours, we just have to get some business done." (Emily later said "I don't know what they're worried about. All we're doing is watching movies, eating brownies and making ice cream. It's a complete waste of my time!")

So they reluctantly took the info down and said they'd "walk it to the attendance office". Which lets me know that attendance aren't answering their phones at all today.

When Emily came home she said the absence was "unexcused" and they said....and I quote...

"Next time we won't let you go."

EXCUSE ME????????

Wait...hold on....their PARENT calls to say "We need her for a couple of hours then she'll be back" and you tell her....not the parent! Oh no, don't say anything to the parent...but to the student who they're hoping to bully you say "NEXT TIME WE WON'T LET YOU GO."

Hello?????? Isn't that holding someone hostage????? Just who the heck do you think you are? This is MY child. I am the parent. You DO NOT tell my child that you can hold her hostage when the parent has requested to see her!

Ok, ok, must calm down. Getting really really angry again.

Anyway. This post is really all about the IOWA test. And it seems to be going ok. Worrying me to death that Ben's finishing early and when I say "check it" he says he already has. Either he's blasting through it just to get it done and is getting it wrong, or he really knows his stuff. I guess the results will tell us. I imagine he's probably making silly little mistakes that will bring his score down. *sigh* Frustrating. I guess we'll know in...I don't know, how long does it take for them to send the results back? 6-8 weeks?


Your Personality is Very Rare (INFP)

Your personality type is dreamy, romantic, elegant, and expressive.

Only about 5% of all people have your personality, including 6% of all women and 4% of all men

You are Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Perceiving.

Global Warming

Tennessee could do with some of it at the moment as well. Brrrr. Roll on Spring.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Loving our children

There was a woman on my classical homeschool list that needed some advice concerning her son. There was a beautiful reply written - so beautiful that I asked for - and received - permission to post it here. Names have been removed.

"I have been reading the replies to K's post regarding her son's desire to go back to public school, and something that happened today in our home came to mind. I thought that I would share.

I was in the restroom, thinking that I might gain a moments peace while my crew was eating lunch (what was I thinking, right?), when my eldest came to tell me that one of my twins, C, was sitting outside on the hay bales with his beloved stuffed puppy.
Apparently, Q (C's twin), got on his case because C kept baby talking (a thoroughly annoying habit that I too wish we could bring to an end...sigh). C took off to commune with nature for a bit. None of the other kids had seen fit to come to C's defense, as everyone was pretty well thinking along the same lines as Q.

It just so happens that my current bathroom read (mayhap I am disclosing a wee mite too much info here)is a mainstream Christian book entitled "The Mission of Motherhood", and at that very moment I was reading about nurturing fragile little souls, and remembering even when they make us nuts that they are just the way that God wanted them to be. He designed every phase that they go through, and each serves a purpose. It was one of the few moments in my lengthy parenting career that I felt absolute certainty as to what I needed to do.

I went and sat on the hay bales with C, and we talked about how very special he is to his Heavenly Father and how much I love him. We talked about how growing up can be so difficult, but that it is God's plan for him, and that he can draw peace from that. We had a wonderful chat, and he was able to hear me tell the other children to please go back inside, that this was C's time with Mom. He was special enough to outrank everyone in my to do list. When we went inside, I was able to talk with the others about how Jesus tells us in the scriptures that whatever we do to others, it is as
if we had done it right to the Savior, and would they treat the Savior the way that they had treated C? Because essentially they had.

How does this relate to K and her (son's) desire to return to public school?

Who will sit with your child on his figurative hay bale at 1:22 in the afternoon at public school and tell him that God loves him and so do you? Who would give him 20 minutes, to the exclusion of all else, the surety of time given, which shows a child like nothing else how important he is?

Who will turn the bullying behavior into a lesson from our Savior- that in the end you view your child as deserving the same decency that would be extended to the Lord himself, had He been standing in your child's shoes?

When this event happened today, it was just one more event in our always eventful life, but the conversation going on on this list has really brought home to me how lucky I am, and how lucky my kids are, to be at home learning these lessons together.

Please do not give up, K. Education is only part of what you share with your child when you choose to home school."

Monday, March 10, 2008

The People of Ammon

Still reading about the People of Ammon. As I listen, the Spirit fills my heart again and again telling me that this is true, that these people truly followed the Lord. How I wish to be like them! Their faith and hard work.

Alma 27:28-29

And they did look upon shedding the blood of their brethren with the greatest abhorrence; and they never could be prevailed upon to take up arms against their brethren; and they never did look upon death with any degree of terror, for their hope and views of Christ and the resurrection; therefore, death was swallowed up to them by the victory of Christ over it.

Therefore they would suffer death in the most aggravating and distressing manner which could be inflicted by their brethren, before they would take the sword or cimeter to smite them.

Ok...thinking about all the ways people have died in the Book of Mormon - and some of them are pretty dang nasty - can you imagine what these people of Ammon suffered? Can you imaging what the Amalekites and followers of Nehor did to them? I just don't even want to imagine. And notwithstanding this absolute agony and pain, they did not lift their swords to defend themselves. What an incredible people.

Not that we should follow their pacifist example - they laid down their weapons because they had murdered so many people and were horrified about that. We do not have to repent in the same way; it's just fine for us to defend ourselves.

Rather, we should follow their example of faith, hope, charity, repentance, righteousness, hard work and humility. We should teach our children as they taught theirs.

I'm so thankful for the scriptures that provide these uplifting examples to me, and remind me of what I should be doing.

It was important for me to see that not everything came out hunky-dory. I mean, the people still lived as best they could, but their lives weren't wonderful because of it. The Amalekites battled the Nephites because they had welcomed the People of Ammon, and as a result, even though the Nephites won this battle, thousands and thousands of them were killed. Many people were in pain and mourning because their family members had died. What a sad sad time. The People of Ammon must have felt dreadful. =(

Life's not easy, even when you're doing exactly what you should be; even when you're following the Lord.

True Repentance

I've been reading in Alma the wonderful story of the Anti-Nephi-Lehis. It makes me want to bawl my eyes out. They truly repented. They were taught "Hey, this thing you're doing...the murdering and stealing's not good." And they went "Oh holy toledo! You're right!"

And once they gained a testimony of it, they were firm and unshaken. They preferred to die rather than to defend themselves against those who were attacking them because of their beliefs. So complete was their repentance that they refused to do anything even remotely similar to that sin again...preferring to die rather than to kill another even in defense.

Wow. Is my repentance that complete? No, when I repent I say "I really don't want to do this again. Please help me not to do it again." but I often fail. Is this true repentance? No way. In fact, it's hardly repenting at all. I'm recognizing my sin, but I'm not repenting as the Anti-Nephi-Lehis did. I'm not saying "I'd rather die than commit this sin again." Not that I'm in danger of dying if I yell at my kids, or if I'm lazy...but you know what I mean.

One day, I hope to be as good a person as those People of Ammon.

Sunday Scripture part 2

Ok, I can't resist posting this one as well, because it's so beautiful.

Alma 22:18

O God, Aaron hath told me that there is a God; and if there is a God, and if thou art God, wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee, and that I may be raised from the dead, and be saved at the last day.

Sunday Scripture - a day late again

1 Nephi 21:15-16

...Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee, O house of Israel. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands;...

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Plan for next year

I was writing to my parents, waffling on to them Ben's basic plan for 8th grade, and I thought I might as well post it here where I can include all sorts of nifty little links.

Scripture - Treasures of the Book of Mormon Volume 1 (which we already own)
Maths - Abeka Pre-Algebra
English - Wordly Wise 3000 grade 8 and Rod and Staff 5
History - Kingfisher Encyclopedia of World History (which we already own) and Story of the World 4 if I can get it used.
Science - Apologia Physical Science - which we already own. Phew!
Electives - Economics, Government, Computers, Duty to God and guitar lessons. All these I either already own or are free - except for the guitar lessons which are dang expensive, as all music lessons are, but Ben likes it and I think it's good for him. =) Oh yes! Ben will also take a gym lesson once a week at Let It Shine. He and Andrew started there last week and just LOVE it. Hooray! =) This is also quite expensive, but I think well worth the money to keep them happy and active. =) Ben's in the "boys recreational gymnastics" and Andrew's in the "Pre-recreational gymnastics". As he only turned three a week ago, he's the youngest in the class....whereas Ben's the oldest in his. =)
Reading - Various classical books, most of which we own or which can be found (hopefully) at the library in the time period 1850-present.

The Rod and Staff book will, I think, be very simplistic for Ben - however, we've never done diagramming before so I feel this is where we need to start (it's where the WTM recommended starting). There's just 120 lessons though, so I feel we can probably catch up.

Basic book purchases for 8th grade will be about $115-$130, if I don't buy any reading books but simply use the ones off my shelf or get them from the library. Total cost for 8th grade books will be about (and I'm just guessing because I've forgotten how much some of the books cost) $230. Pretty dang good, considering my first year of homeschooling cost us about $1500!! What a difference it makes when you finally figure out what the heck you're doing. =)

Later Note:
ACK! I forgot Spanish! I knew I was forgetting something. We'll be starting high school Spanish in 8th grade. Now all I need to do is find a good high school Spanish programme. Anyone have any ideas?

Even Later Note:
I found an online Spanish programme right here Cool! =)

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Sunday Scripture on a Thursday

I've been reading (well...listening on Audiosurf) the Book of Mormon at a fast rate. There are many verses that jump out at me. This one today jumped out at me so far I had to post it...even though it's a Thursday.

Alma 10:27

And now behold, I say unto you, that the foundation of the destruction of this people is beginning to be laid by the unrighteousness of your lawyers and your judges.

Wow. Is that not happening right now? In California, for instance, where the legal rights of their citizens are being trampled on. As my family and I discuss all that's happening in this country, and the writing on the wall vis-a-vis the economy, it frightens me. Doesn't anyone else see this train wreck coming?

We've eaten most of our food storage. Time to replenish.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Emily's Math Grade

Emily's taking Advanced Algebra with Trigonometry at the moment. It's a senior class (she's a junior). Here are her grades:

Lessons (weight=20) 75.8% C
Quizzes (weight=40) 123.0% A
Tests (weight=40) 85.5% B

2nd Semester Average: 98.6% A


In other news, Benjamin got sick of Grammar and so finished the entire book today. He got an A. Hooray! =)

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Our schedule for the next couple of months

Ben is in the downhill stretch of 7th grade. By the middle of May he'll be in 8th grade. Until that time, this is his schedule.

I should say, this is the "ideal" schedule. The day NEVER goes this smoothly, but it's a nice starting place. =)

6am: walk Maus, empty dishwasher, open blinds, eat breakfast, make bed, wipe bathroom sinks. Not necessarily in that order, not necessarily at that time of day, as mentioned above... =D

7am: Morning work - 15 minutes of scripture reading and Treasures of the Book of Mormon (Vol 1), 15 minutes of journal writing, 15 minutes of scripture mastery, 15 minutes of family scripture study.

8am: One lesson of Abeka math. Test/Quiz/speed drill if it's scheduled.

9am: Language Arts. Four pages of Easy Grammar (red book - ours is a borrowed older edition), One section of Wordly Wise. On Mondays, write a letter.

9.45am: Practice guitar

10am: Monday and Wednesday - History (we also use this). Thursday and Friday - Science.

11.30am: Lunch

Noon: Reading. This is a list of things we have read/will read before the end of the year:

William Wordsworth: I wandered Lonely as a Cloud, Lucy Gray, Composed on Westminster Bridge, We are Seven, Lines composed a Few Miles Above Tinton Abbey, Lines Written in Early Spring.

Christina Rossetti: A Birthday, Sister Maude, No, Thank you, John.

Robert Browning: Pied Piper of Hamelin

Edgar Allan Poe: The Raven

Lamb’s Shakespeare

Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Alfred Lord Tennyson: Lady of Shalott, Charge of the Light Brigade

Constance by Patricia Clapp

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss

Children of the New Forest by Captain Marryat

Through the Fire by Hester Burton

Master Cornhill by Eloise Jarvis McGraw

I, Juan de Pareja by Elizabeth Borton de Trevino

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Guns for General Washington by Seymour Reit

A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens We LOVED this particular edition. The illustrations are beautiful.

Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes

Fever 1793

A Gathering of Days by Joan W. Blos

Island of Blue Dophins by Scott O’Dell

and several others I can't remember right now.

Monday - One chapter of Fallacy Detective and a section of Communication and Interpersonal Relationships.
Wednesday - Art and Music Appreciation and Guitar Lesson.
Thursday - Extra Math lesson and one section of Communication and Interpersonal Relationships.
Friday - Duty to God or Scouting merits and one section of Communication and Interpersonal Relationships.

Afternoon chores:
Monday - Take out trash, put black bin on curb.
Tuesday - bring in black bin, take out recycling bin.
Wednesday - Bring in recycling bin, clean toilets.
Thursday - Tidy your bedroom.
Friday - Mop the floors.

After several years of trying to find a schedule that works for me, I think I've found one.

6am: scripture study. I'm currently doing the Hinckley Challenge. It helps me to use various aids to help me study. The past few days I've been using audiosurf to listen to the chapters. It REALLY helps, and I can stop the track at any time and mark a particular verse or two (or five) that stands out to me.

7am: Exercise, shower, family scripture study.

8am: Breakfast, morning chores. (Make bed, laundry, dress Andrew, pick up downstairs)

9am: Andrew's homeschool. (prayer, song, reading prep (one section a day, not one lesson. Lasts about 2-3 mins max.), preschool book (two fun pages/day), activity, when it's warmer we'll play outside) Read the JS book, write in my journal and if there's time, work in my diet book.

10am: Help Ben with homeschool. Mark his work. Laundry, Motivated Mom chores.

11am: Make lunch. Eat, clean up, put Andrew in bed.

Noon: Read to Benjamin

1pm: Help Ben with whatever he needs help with. Mark papers. Do other stuff that I've forgotten right now because I can't find my planner right at this moment. Grrr.

Until 4.30pm: Do other stuff that I can't remember at this moment in time. Ha! =D You can tell I've only been working on this schedule for two days, can't you? =D

4.30pm: Make dinner

5pm: eat, clean up. Evening chores: Laundry, tidy upstairs, other stuff I can't remember right now.

6pm: Andrew in bath. Story, Bed.

7pm: Time to play! Answer emails, write letters, make lists, look at stuff to do tomorrow etc etc.

9pm: Bed.

So, waddya'all think? =)

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Sunday Scripture

Deuteronomy 4:9

Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons:


Write in your journal otherwise you'll forget the cool things God does for you every day. That way you'll remember the neat stuff and you'll be able to tell your children and grandchildren about it and that will strengthen their testimonies.