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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Missing Finished Object Friday

Please accept my apologies for failing to post for Friday. I intended to do so while we were on our trip, and was not able to make the computer cooperate with me. So, if you had something to post this past Friday, save it up for this coming Friday. Thank you!


October Colorswap: Orange

I am so sorry for the late posting. We had quite a frazzled week trying to get school things taken care of while at the same time preparing for a trip across the state, and travelling. I meant to have this posted either before we left, or while we were gone, but never had the chance. So, since I was late with this, you will have until November 8th for your package to arrive to your swap partner.

The deadline for registration this month is 12:01 a.m PDT. October 5, 2007. This is Thursday night. If you wish to sign up, send me an email me at arabianknits at gmail dot com with your full name, mailing address, email address that you check regularly, and blog url. This is open to knitters worldwide, but I am going to make a big effort to pair people within the same nation or at least continent, since there is only a month in which to allow for something to arrive. I am going to limit the swap to the first 50 respondents. Please feel free to spread the word about this, though.

The first thing to come to mind in terms of color is, of course, yarn, but please don't limit yourself to that. Handmade cards, candles, soaps, bath salts, stationery, candies, chocolates, knitterly tools or gadgets, knitting themed accessories and roving/fiber for those who are spinners as well are all good idea for gifts. Knitting something for someone would be a lovely gift. Including shipping, the minimum price for this swap should be considered at $25 (remember, that includes shipping and any packaging). I know how difficult it is to determine the monetary value of something handmade, or handspun or hand dyed, and I do not consider those things as cheap, but please keep in mind a general sense of the price of the package being sent. Participants should expect to receive one package and to send out one package for each round of the swap. Packages should arrive by the end of each month, preferably earlier.

Remember that registration for October ends 12:01 a.m. October 5, 2007 and the color theme is Orange. Have fun! I will have assignments sent to you by the 8th of October.

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Finished Object Friday: Nothing Finished

That's not entirely true. I finished the back of my ballerina top. I finished organizing Jerome's books and toys in the living room. I finished one chapter in the bible study book I'm doing with some friends. I didn't finish any projects, though.

Did you do any better? I've just been wiped out. Between homeschooling, housework, meal prep, gymnastics (I still have to post photos), ballet, errands and just normal life, it's been hectic around here. This week was busier than normal, too, though full of good things. The older boys went to their first cub scout meeting last night, and I had a mom's night out type thing the other night. So, I'm hoping there are people out there who maybe aren't as swamped, or who work faster than I do who can share their creations.

If you have one or more finished items this week, please sign Mr. Linky below and share all you have made. Your Finished Object(s) can be knit, crocheted, sewn, quilted, tatted, beaded, papercraft, woodwork or any other kind of craft. Show off what you have made! Please make sure you link to the exact post that shows your finished item(s) rather than just to your blog.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Learning Moments

I discovered an amazing thing. It is much easier to wake up at 5:00 a.m. when you go to bed at 10:00 p.m. This may not seem revolutionary to you, but I am not that smart, it seems, and go to bed at 1:00 a.m. when I need to be up at 5:00 a.m. Last night, I decided I would try this new method of going to bed, and when the alarm went off at 5:00, I was not completely dragging. I'm going to try it again tonight to see if it really works.

I thought this would be a good time to give a little update on the homeschool. The older boys are doing their Latin work right now, Elijah is doing an alphabet puzzle, Amira is in time out and Jerome is taking a nap, so I have a minute...I finished this about 12 hours after I started it.

It has been much easier, in some ways, than I thought it would be. It has been harder in ways I didn't really think about before. For instance, when you are teaching two children at a time, things go much more quickly. We are usually finished with the bulk of their work by lunchtime, and they do their reading and summary writing after lunch. There is much less pass out paper, line up, who needs to go to the bathroom, Tommy stop talking to your neighbor, wasted time in a homeschool. I have been able to do most of the grading of their work with them there, so we can talk about what they did right and what they did wrong and needs work. I am not grading papers at night (though I know that will come as they advance). When I found out that I underestimated their spelling abilities, I could just decide right then that we were moving up two levels. Next day, different spelling book. That was it, we don't have to keep up (or down) with the level of the class. There are some foundational math concepts that they really have struggled with, and I can spend two weeks on it, instead of trying to hustle them along. Also, we can take school with us wherever we go. During Amira's ballet class, for instance, I give them their spelling tests and we practice our Latin. In the car, I can give them a reading assignment to do, so if we have to run an errand in the afternoon, they don't lose their reading time. We can learn while taking care of chores. I read to them from some of the higher level books while they fold the laundry. They are learning some of their math by cooking, calculating scores in Scrabble; their spelling is improving by playing Scrabble and Boggle, and we have fun in the afternoons doing things like that together.

The down side. My house! Have you seen the mess?! It's not like I kept a spotless home, but my whole routine has been thrown for a loop. This is part of the staying up too late. We have a housekeeper who comes once a week, and she is wonderful, but I used to be able to keep on top of dishes and laundry, at least, and this is more of a challenge. Also, we have books and projects everywhere. We have been getting the children more involved in taking care of the home and yard, we have decided that this is part of their occupational education that the state requires. This is helping quite a bit. Little by little, we will get a new routine down, but it is a challenge, and I have been exhausted. There has already been a day when Rich said for me to just start school late and catch up another time, if needed, because he didn't want me to burn out so early. I'm learning to be more relaxed about how we do things, and I've reordered our daily schedule, so the boys can cover everything, and we're not doing school nine hours a day.

So, what is our schedule like?

5:00 a.m. Rich and I get up, shower, get dressed
5:30 One of us wakes up Alexander, who wakes up Dominic, so they can shower and get dressed. We do some household chores while everyone is getting ready.
6:00 Wake Amira and Elijah up, they dress themselves. If Jerome is awake, Rich changes him. Boys do chores. I make breakfast.
7:00 Family eats breakfast together.
7:30/7:45 Clean up, brush teeth, and prepare for morning prayer. Rich goes to work.
8:00 We read Morning Prayer to begin our day with prayer and scripture reading.
8:30 School begins. Elijah and Amira color religious pictures, or trace dotted lines to work on their motor skills. They also do puzzles and things like that.
11:30 I ususally start working on lunch about then, and the boys clean up their work a little.
12:00 p.m. Lunch
12:30 Kids play outside or in the play room.
1:00 Alexander and Dominic do their reading and write summaries of what they read. I work on reading skills with Elijah and Amira.
2:00 We are usually completely finished with school. We still play games and read aloud. This is often when the second round of chores are done, and I can read aloud while the boys take care of that. Then they can play, or read on their own, or whatever they want to do.

During the day, I do a load of laundry, or start meals prep, or whatever else I need to do while they are doing work on their math or spelling, or what have you. I try to start dinner by 4:00, so we can eat at 5:30. The children are learning recitation, so they practice that in front of me, and once a week they stand up and do it by themselves in front of the family as their audience. This is a great way to teach memorization, poetry, public speaking and virtue.

We do some reading together as a family after dinner, give the younger children a bath (every night is the goal, but it doesn't always work that way) and Rich leads Evening Prayer at around 7:00. The kids are usually in bed by 7:30, and Rich and I do clean up, read, watch movies, talk to each other and prep for the next day. The goal is in bed by 10:00, but you know how well that's going. On the day that our cleaning lady comes, I pretty much have the same schedule, but Elijah and Amira don't have formal teaching that day (we do about three days a week of kindergarten, and the rest is games, coloring, and me reading to them anyway). We have one day a week that is really full of lessons, and a Bible study for me, and that day, I do quizzes and oral practice. Saturdays are for art and big projects. They visited some local artists and interviewed them after looking at their work this past Saturday. The older boys also did an archaelogical dig in our old fire pit as part of their history work. We will be getting into ancient Egypt next week, and one of our projects will be to mummify a chicken. We will recreate the flooding of the Nile as well. Our science at this stage is pretty much backyard and kitchen science, though we are focusing on biology this year, and classification.

It has been so much fun getting to learn these things with the children. Seeing them get it, or discover something new is amazing. We had always planned to homeschool Elijah, at least for kindergarten. It is such a joy to watch him make the connections. I don't think a classroom teacher could draw it out of him, she just wouldn't have the time, with all the other children. His doctors say that it is considered standard now for children who have spent any time in the NICU to show some developmental delays, because they don't get the touch and bonding time with their parents, and Elijah has a little bit of that. He has so much in him, though, and at age four was asking me theological questions that some adults still grapple with, but it takes a lot of patience and effort to see it through with him, and I don't think a classroom would do that. I think he would get called ADD, they would try to get us to medicate him, and he would likely fall through the cracks. At home, he is using pencils and crayons to build letters to show me, is excited about reading his Bob books, and wants to read them to his father when he gets home, and he's memorizing poems and prayers.

All four of the older children now say oremus before we pray, and Elijah and Amira are so thrilled to tell everyone that it means let us pray. Alexander and Dominic can now pray the first three lines of the Sanctus, and are learning about the roots of the English language, all while learning grammar.

Several people asked me which curricula I chose. I didn't pick a unit study, though I have heard good things about A World of Adventure and Tapestry of Grace. Both use great books, but World of Adventure is closer to the Classical model of approaching history chronologically. Since some curriculum was better than others for particular subjects, I picked what I thought to be the stronger ones. Outside of these, though, there are far more books that we are using. We read fiction, biographies and histories that go along with the historical topics we are covering. So, since we are going to be working on Egypt, we have books about pyramids, King Tut's lost tomb, mummies, a science book about desert life, historical fiction about Cleopatra Philopater and an Egyptian slave boy, along with activity books about making papyrus, building pyramids, cooking foods they ate, a historical atlas of ancient Egypt, maps, a book about the pharoahs and one about the gods they worshiped, one of Egyptian mythology and one about the statues and art found in Egypt. Much of their religious education is tied in with their history, Latin, recitation and penmanship - their copybooks have them working on scripture, creeds and prayers, and their Latin course is very definitely oriented toward Christianity.

Math: Singapore Math Primary Mathematics
Latin: Latina Christiana (we are in Prima Latina right now)
Spelling: Spelling Workout
History: Story of the World - Ancient Times & The Old World's Gifts to the New
Science: Exploring Nature with Your Child
Writing: Writing Strands
Penmanship: Memoria Press' Copybooks (I also have Zaner-Bloser's Self Instruction in Handwriting as a resource, Rich says he's going to use it himself)
Art: Drawing with Children, Nature Drawing & Teaching History through Art
Bible: Ignatius Bible & Bible History
Church History and Theology: Apostolic Fathers, Lives of the Saints, Christ in the Psalms, Christ in His Saints (these are mostly resources for me in teaching) Loyola Book of Saints and Book of Heroes for the kids, plus many stories about the saints and the early church
Recitation: The Harp and Laurel Wreath

We have so many other books for later periods of history, and projects we will do later this year, but these are the basic ones we go to regularly. I really like Story of the World, but although the author tries to make it accessible to religious and non-religious alike, she skips nearly all of early church history. From the first persecutions of the church to the reformation evidently nothing happened, with a couple notable exceptions, since she covers Constantine and St. Augustine. I would have assumed it was because she wasn't covering strictly religious history if not for the fact that there is so much about the reformation (which Rich says should be renamed the protestation, since it wasn't reforming anything, but was protesting the church and creating a new one). So, her Protestant bias shows through there. So, we decided to get The Old World's Gift to the New, to balance it.

I have a program called PACE for character education, but I haven't yet begun to work with it with the children. I also have the Image of God Kindergarten program and Little Saints Preschool program. Little Saints is great, because it works within the church year as well as following classical methods for art, music and reading.

This speech given by Dorothy Sayers is what sparked the renewal of interest in classical education. If you are looking into classical education or homeschooling using this model, these are some books I would recommend. Most of these come from a Christian perspective (some Protestant, some Catholic), but classical education is not a Christian invention, nor does one have to be a Christian to learn or teach using this method.

Classical Education by Gene Veith Jr.
The Well Trained Mind by Jessie Wise and Susan Bauer Wise (Don't try to attempt each and every thing in this book, or you will go nuts. Maybe if you have one child and don't mind 15 hour days, you could do it. It is still a valuable book of techniques, materials, methods and philosophy for teaching the trivium. This has a lot of practical, how to do it ideas.)
Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum by Laura Berquist
Ancient History from Primary Sources by Harvey and Laura Bluedorn
Introduction to Classical Studies by Cheryl Lowe
Let the Authors Speak by Carolyn Hatcher

These books are just good general homeschooling books:
Mary Pride's Complete Guide to Getting Started in Homeschooling by Mary Pride
The Well Adjusted Child by Rachel Gathercole
100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum by Cathy Duffy

There are plenty more that I have found helpful, but these three are probably the most useful general books I found.

The best places I have found from which to order books and materials are these:

Memoria Press Their Latin program, Copybooks, Teacher and Student Guides to the Greenleaf Famous Men of Series (as well as their printing and illustrations in the series itself), Logic and Rhetoric texts, along with many, many other resources are just superb. I will admit to buying many of them from Rainbow (see below) because of the deep discounts they offer as well as their free shipping for orders over $150.
Emmanuel Books They have great resources for character building and religious education, as well as offering material for classical education from the grammar to the rhetoric stage.
Love to Learn This isn't strictly classical, but has a lot of materials for classical educators.
Rainbow Resource Center This is a reference book. The catalogue is about an inch and a half thick, maybe two inches, with pages like a bible. They have great prices, and so long as you don't want too much Catholic or Orthodox material, you can usually get it from them. I did get Laura Berquist's book from them at a discount, so they do carry some Catholic resources. You will have a hard time restraining yourself when you see what is available.
Conciliar Press Many useful Orthodox materials. This is where I picked up the beautiful Byzantine coloring books for Elijah and Amira, a book of illuminated letters and an children's bible with iconic illustrations. Elijah adores the icons, and he loves reading his bible stories from this book.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Menu Plan Monday: September 17

The crock pot meatloaf I made last week was okay. The flavor was fine, but there weren't the crunchy edges that we love, and I think I will go back to my free form loaves in the oven. I did think that using the crockpot for scalloped potatoes would probably work and free up the oven for the meatloaf, without worrying about timing issues.

What is on your menu this week

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Finished Object Friday: Working My Way Back to You

I'm still working on the Ballerina Top. I'm to the waist increases, after doing the decreases. I think that puts me at a quarter of the way through the whole piece. I have been finishing off Celia, and once I have a picture of that, I will post the pattern for sale.

In actual finishing news, I made 11 jars of crabapple jelly. We have two more batches to make. The weather has been working against us, and I'm not sure we'll get enough to make any more of the blackberry lime jam.

If you have one or more finished items this week, please sign Mr. Linky below and share all you have made. Your Finished Object(s) can be knit, crocheted, sewn, quilted, tatted, beaded, papercraft, woodwork or any other kind of craft. Show off what you have made! Please make sure you link to the exact post that shows your finished item(s) rather than just to your blog.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Prima Ballerina

Amira had her first ballet class last week. I was so excited, but I had forgotten my camera, so we raced home to get it, as we had about 15 minutes to spare, and when I tried to photograph her, the batteries died. One of the other mothers there offered to take some pictures of Amira and send them to me (thank you Karen!), so here they are.

She had such a great time, and is looking forward to going again this week to meet with her teacher. I have new batteries in the camera now.

I bought some ballerina pink yarn and plan on making her some cabled leggings. I used to have a pattern for a knit and a crocheted bun warmer, but now I can't find it. I thought that Kathleen Day gave it to me, so if you are reading out there, could you send it again? Thank you!


September Swapsters

I have finally sent out partner information. If you still haven't received yours, please e-mail me.

Our participants this month are:

Please feel free to take one of the buttons above for your blog. Also, remember that at the end of this I will have a prize for one of the people who designed a button, one skein of yarn for each color theme of the year. You can send me an e-mail with a jpg or gif. Thank you!


Monday, September 10, 2007

Menu Plan Monday: September 10

Our first week of homeschooling was great. There were some things I had to change in our schedule, though. So, I think I have a good working schedule now. The boys are loving Latin, and are excited about history. We're starting with Creation and working through the ancient world this year. Our first projects, though, were just to get them to learn more about history, historians and archaeology, so we're finishing up a family history book, in which they interview family members. We're also doing a dig in our yard on Saturday.

Rich is handling art and PE, I think I said that before. Anyway, he's having them do push ups, sit ups and jumping jacks, and we joined the local Y, so we can get them all in swimming lessons. Amira started ballet last Friday, and she was adorable! I brought the camera, but the batteries died, so another mother took some photos and she's supposed to email them to me. We signed up Dominic and Elijah for gymnastics at the Y, but we have to wait to see if they got in. They will be in the same class, so I won't have to go twice a week. Our local Y is starting a homeschool PE class in late October, so we may join that since we are already paying for the membership.

On a different note, I want to encourage you to visit Liberty Ark and read the latest AP article about the RFIDs that our government wishes to force on all people who keep animals, even companion animals and animals that will not be sold for food. Turns out that they cause cancer in the animals, and that the studies have been out for about a decade. But the USDA is concerned about the health of these animals. If you care about helping small farmers who actually have a stake in keeping healthy animals (because their customers know where they got their food and can put those farmers out of business if they pass on sick animals or bad eggs or dairy), or farmers markets, or just families who like to keep animals for their own use, even if you are just concerned about the implications of a "national herd" taking precedence over private ownership and liberty, please contact your senators and representative in congress to let them know that you disagree with the NAIS, and want them to work against it. The only entities who benefit from it are the manufacturers of the tags, and big meat and dairy producers who are the only ones who can be linked to diseased and mismanaged food. Think about the recalls on ground beef recently and all the chicken recalls and other food scares, and ask yourself if you really think they are concerned about the health of their animals and your safety. It is the small farmer who has a real reason to keep his livestock healthy. He can't just recall and pay off the legal claims. His livelihood is lost if he makes his customers sick.

What is on your menu this week?

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Friday, September 07, 2007

Finished Object Friday: In the Nick of Time

I finished this baby sweater with an hour to spare to get it and the baby hat to the post office for a baby shower this weekend down in California. Their baby is due the same day Alexander was nine years ago, which is also the anniversary of Rich and my first date, so it was kind of nice for me to see that date on the invitation to the shower.

I used Cascade Cotton Rich, and made up the pattern as I went. While I normally like Cascade yarns, and I even like that this is inexpensive, knits up quickly at 4.5 sts per inch, is machine washable and dryable, I don't know that I will buy it again. Every single skein had a knot in it, one had two, which normally isn't a huge deal, except that this yarn only has 80 yds per skein. You end up losing about a third of a yard per knot, and have to weave in more ends. That wasn't the really big issue though. One skein was so over twisted that it didn't take the dye evenly, was curled up and hard, and completely unusable. Cascade has still not responded to my request that they replace it. I didn't want to take it to the shop, since it wasn't their fault, but I may have to have them deal with it. In any case, the sweater is made, it is soft and squishy, a neutral color so it doesn't matter if the baby is a boy or a girl, and this baby will have some love from me.

If you have one or more finished items this week, please sign Mr. Linky below and share all you have made. Your Finished Object(s) can be knit, crocheted, sewn, quilted, tatted, beaded, papercraft, woodwork or any other kind of craft. Show off what you have made! Please make sure you link to the exact post that shows your finished item(s) rather than just to your blog.

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Thursday, September 06, 2007


We keep our plastic tupperware/rubbermaid containers in a big drawer in our kitchen. Between the plasticware reproducing, and our children's creativity in putting things away, we have to reorganize it a couple times a month.

Jerome wanted to start being more responsible around the house and help us out last week, so he started with that drawer.

Why should his father have to do all that work when he comes home, when Jerome can do it for him?

He's less than a week from walking. He stands on his own for a little at a time, and he's been cruising around the furniture for quite a while. Just last week he went from having to have a hand on something while he stood to standing so long as he was holding something like a bottle, or block or book. He seemed to think that so long as he had his hands on something, he was being supported.


Red and Pink Packages

I have been remiss in not posting these. I will rectify that immediately.

First off, I got the best red package from Yvonne in Germany. There was German "Kool Aid," Gummi Bears, cranberry scented lotion, a face mask, dpns with red gummi bear looking point protectors on them (Elijah wanted to know if he could eat them). She also made me a card that was just beautiful. Her card, meanwhile is still here. It, and a few treats I meant to go in her package were left at home outside of the box when I went to the post office. I may try to send them for Christmas, because I keep forgetting to just take them with me and send them while I'm in town.

Of course, there was also yarn. Enough of one to make a sleeveless top for me, or a sweater for Amira. Thank you again Yvonne!

Now for the pink, this:

is what I ripped through when I opened my box from Penny. She sent me an embarassment of riches, I cannot even begin to list it all. There was lip gloss and lip balm, blush and an eye shadow, dusting powder, body spray, bath gel, three kinds of yarn, fringe trim to add to a purse or costume, a pink bag, a bracelet, a nail file and mirror, I'm sure I'm forgetting something. It was just astonishing to keep pulling more and more out of this little box.

Oh, you can't see the cute little furry caterpillar! This delighted Jerome, he thought it was so funnny. It has a light up ball in the middle that you shake to make work, and it rattles and lights up. He was beside himself.

Thank you Penny!

Terribly Un-hip

Am I the only person who thinks this just looks like a red, silk bathrobe? I do not think it is worth the sale price, let alone the original price. I detest this whole 1970s fashion resurgence. Sure, it's doctored up, but it's there underneath all the nicer fabrics. You know that dress was originally made with a polyester knit. While I'm ranting, when is brown going to go away as a fashion color? Not as a basic, but as something that is supposed to be stylish, like those brown and hot pink and lime green and cream colored monstrocities that sell for over $100. I don't like the whole turquoise and brown thing either. And orange! and green! together with pink and red and all that swirly 70s stuff that looks like the decals off of the bottom of a cheap motel's tub or as though it was found on the back wardrobe rack of the Electric Company! Yuck. I know I am going against the grain here. At least I think so, since I see so much of this around.

I cannot wait for fashion to get back to any year between 1935 and 1964 Those are my favorite years for clothes, with the Regency period in England coming at a close second.

The fact that I hate modern fashion has actually saved me a lot of money. I buy second hand, or the stuff nobody else wants when it goes on sale, and everyone is happy. Now that I'm learning to sew, I think I can make some of this stuff that nobody likes for myself and my family.

Which leads me to my exciting news. I bought a new sewing machine this weekend. We saw that the Evil Empire had a factory serviced machine on sale with a 25 year warranty, it had more stitch capabilities than mine, and the service and repair cost of mine was at least the same price as this was new with a warranty, so I picked it up. I can't decide if I'll still get the other one fixed at another time, since it might be good for other projects, or for teaching the kids.

With school starting this week, I haven't had a chance to try it out, but I'm looking forward to doing so this weekend, if I can. After I make crabapple jelly out of the juice we made last night. And make lesson plans for next week. And make copies. And...we'll see.

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Richest of Riches

Homeschooling has been going very well this week. There has only been one problem. I was exhausted! We're not very good at going to sleep on time anyway, and I had prep work and things to do around the house, and was reading on my own, and well, I was getting about four hours of sleep at night, sometimes more, sometimes less. When I was dragging yesterday afternoon, I added up my sleep, and realized I had slept about 12 hours from Sunday night through Tuesday night. Getting up at 5:00 was supposed to make me want to go to bed at a decent hour, but we're not there yet.

So, this morning, Rich turned off the alarm, got up, did our chores, got the children awake, made breakfast and fed everyone while he let me sleep in until 6:30. That meant that I had nearly seven hours of sleep. What a blessing!

I came into the kitchen where he was frying eggs, and pancetta (we had some that need to be used), had toast out and milk for everyone. When I told him that he hadn't gotten me up, he said of course not, he knew I needed to sleep. Then he made me a plate. So, we ended up starting school about 15 minutes late this morning, but we caught up pretty quickly.

Anyway, between the lack of sleep and homeschool, I still haven't sent out partners for September. I will be posting the September partners and participants between tonight and tomorrow. I have a little backlog of posts that I've been scribbling about here that I hope to get up soon as well.

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Tears of a Clown

I was just thinking to myself a little while ago that Amira was already nearly three and a half and had never gotten into my makeup, even though it is mostly right on the counter in the bathroom where she could get it easily. It was so nice that I could trust her not to get into things that didn't belong to her, and how she knew not to touch Mama's things without permission. Evidently, she just wasn't quite old enough yet.

I give you exhibit A:

This was taken after she started wiping it off with the backs of her hands when she saw the look of horror on my face and heard me say "What in heaven's name did you do to yourself?!"

Let me create the scene. I had just gotten off the phone with Rich, and was getting the children ready to get in the car to pick him up from work on the way to Home Group. Amira came around the corner, to the bottom of the stairs, so she could go up and get her shoes, which I wouldn't have noticed because I was gathering my things, but Dominic was talking to her, so I looked up, and saw that face, only with the mashed lipstick all the way out to her cheeks, up to her nose (but not on it) and down to her chin. From the living room, she looked like she was bleeding. If she ever needs to look like someone punched her in the face and bloodied her, we now know how to do it.

The phone rang in the minute or so after I'd gotten off the phone with Rich, so I thought it was him again, and answered Yes in a pretty terse voice. It was the ballet teacher from the school where we are sending Amira. I apologized, and told her that my daughter had just appeared with what was probably lipstick all over her face, and we were trying to get out the door. She sighed and told me that her daughter used to use permanent marker, usually right before she had family portraits taken.

Anyway, I got to Amira, who was hurriedly wiping the lipstick off, and denying everything. The lipstick fell, you see, it wasn't her fault. My first thought was to take a picture, but the camera was in the car, so I marched her to the scene of the crime, found my lipstick and lipbrush on the counter where they normally weren't, the lipbrush had mooshed lipstick halfway up the handle, and the lipstick was pushed far down the tube, there were little streaks of lipstick on the sink and counter. Did I mention that this was not a $5 drugstore lipstick, either, but a department store lipstick, one of the few luxuries I allow myself. She has good taste, at least. Fortunately, it was the old spent tube, the new one was in my purse. This tube was on top of my face stuff in the bathroom, with the dregs in it, and the brush nearby, so I could apply it in the mornings, or before going out. This is how I justify the price of the lipstick, because I use every last bit of it.

Anyway, I asked her if she was trying to make herself into a pretty lady, which she also denied. I told her that if she wanted something sparkly on her face, she needed to ask me first, and let me do it, and that she was not to touch anyone else's things without permission. We then established that because she lied to me, she would have to get a manual attitude adjustment edited because of weird search terms that brought this post up. I made sure she understood that had she told the truth, I still would have been upset, but she would not have been punished.

I had to work really hard not to laugh, though, because I don't want to even think about the therapy bills from her being disciplined while her mother cackled. So, I left the room. I called Rich to let him know why we weren't there yet, and his first question was "Did you get a picture?" I said that I hadn't, but I was on the way to the car to get the camera. I came back and took the picture you see above. I told her I was taking it to show her what she looked like when she played with things she didn't really know about. I washed her face, and we got the adjustment over with, and we went on to Home Group, where she had a great time and had chocolate ice cream afterwards (and didn't have nearly the amount on her face as she did with the lipstick. Chocolate tastes better).

Today, I asked her if she played with my lipstick yesterday. She hesitated a little, and it was clear she wanted to deny, deny, deny, but she said yes in the end, and that she wouldn't do it anymore.


Monday, September 03, 2007

Menu Plan Monday: Labor Day

I am getting the last few things ready for tomorrow. Our first day of school at home! The children are so excited, and I am too, though a little nervous about how I'm going to get things done at home, too. Dinner this week is either quick and easy, or long cooking, both of which don't require too much time from me.

What is on your menu this week?

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Stupid Aggressive

Did you hear that loud yelling at around 4:00 pm this afternoon? That was me yelling at the idiot trespassers who brought their untrained, undisciplined, unleashed dog onto the airport, and then down past the gates to our house, had it in our driveway terrifying our children, thrashing through our yard to attack our chickens, and then had the nerve to act like somehow we were out of line to be so angry with them.

Here's a clue, if you have to go through two gates on private property that is governed by the FAA and pass by four signs that say authorized personnel only and no trespassing, and you don't know why, well the chances are you shouldn't be there. By the way, aside from it being trespassing, it is also a federal offense, you can be prosecuted on the local level as well as the federal level for it. Just a warning in case you think your local airfield would make a good dog walking park, and try to do it without talking to the owners or managers first.

Some self entitled, dog walking, too much money and not enough sense, belligerent, trespassing jackasses thought that because they had not been caught and told to leave before, that it was okay to ignore the signs, gates and common sense that would keep them from taking their dog for a walk on an airport by the runway and ILS equipment. The man never even acknowledged that he had to ignore all the signs, insisting that it had always been okay before. By okay, evidently he and his wife thought that meant because nobody had ever seen them or confronted them about it. A teacher of mine in high school coined the phrase stupid aggressive for people who were too dumb to shut up about their own stupidity. This man and his wife were the mascots for stupid aggressive. As bad as the whole experience would have been, if they had admitted their fault, said sorry and put the dog on a freaking leash and left, it would have been a much better thing.

The wife actually said they weren't in the habit of sneaking around, as though that made the trespassing okay. Part of me wants to get their address and go have a picnic in their yard and if they tell me to leave, to demand that they identify themselves before I even start to move (which the husband did, while standing in our driveway which also has a no trespassing sign up, where we had just driven in with our children and started unloading everyone and everything from our car to get in our house).

Rich asked them if they had an airplane out here (which he knew they didn't), a pilot's license, or a business, or any reason at all to be on the field. No, but you see, they should be able to just walk on, because the gates were open so business could take place here. Just like we should be able to walk around your house, and rearrange your furniture, grab some food from your fridge and borrow some of your things, since the front door was open.

I lit into these people. Rich said the husband made some sort of snarky parting shot at him about being hen pecked, I think he thought he was being clever because of the chickens, because I had gone into mama bear mode, and Rich said he just walked away. He told me that that man didn't know how lucky he was that Rich was there to hold me back. Elijah and Amira were in tears and screaming, Alexander and Dominic were busy trying to get the house unlocked so they could get in with Amira, and Elijah was huddled in the car, terrified to get out (we had just gotten home from church and running some errands). Elijah is already half out of his mind with fear about dogs, and there is really only one dog he can be around without crying, because he's had so many bad experiences with scary dogs. I told the kids that if I saw this dog near our home again, I would kill it. I think the owner knows that, too. I'm not going to let these self entitled, bad dog owners destroy our yard, scare our animals and terrorize our children. I don't think we'll get any eggs tomorrow, and it's only because none of the chickens were in the section of the yard where the dog ran through that the dog didn't tear them up, he literally stalked them and ran through to where he thought he could get them. Dog people do not understand what dogs can do to chickens. Wolves and coyotes kill them, but they do it to eat them, dogs thrash them and leave them in bits without even eating them. It is bloody, ugly, painful and terrifying. I'm still not sure that we won't lose one or two to fright. He could have gotten into the beehives, too, but Rich threw a couple big rocks at him to get him away. That would have been our honey gone, and our hives decimated, though I would have had great satisfaction in the dog getting stung.

We reminded Elijah and the other children about our neighbors' nice dog, who they love, and how he listens and obeys every command that his family gives him, which is why we can feel safe when he comes up here because he would never go to get our chickens, or to hurt them, and if he went somewhere he wasn't supposed to, he would immediately stop and return to his owners on their command. I don't know that Elijah is going to get over his general fear of dogs, though. He's had five really frightening experiences, aside from the normal loud barking that freaks him out, and it's going to take a lot of work and prayer for him to be delivered from that. These assinine dog owners do not help.

The couple went to complain about Rich to another couple that (legitimately) walk their dog on the perimeter road here (and who stay out of the gate where these people went, even though they actually know us and are friends with Rich). Since Rich did a fair amount of shouting, too (and Rich never yells, I am the designated yeller in the family, it comes from my mother's side), the guy was going on about what a jerk he was. These people basically told him that Rich was pretty even tempered and if he was this riled up, it was about something serious. He then explained how he and his wife had a plane here, and they didn't go out of bounds, and politely told them that they didn't belong. When Rich talked to them, they knew exactly why we were so upset, I'm surprised they didn't hear all the yelling, actually. The wife said that they were stupid to mess with a mother protecting her home and family, because I wasn't a mama black bear, but a mama grizzly bear, and she was dead on.

You have to understand also that they came over from a nearby gated community which was built at least 25 or 30 years after the airport was here, where they hate the airport, but spent about a half million dollars for the privilege of complaining about the aircraft that fly in and out of the airport. Here's another clue, if you don't like aircraft flying over your house, or the noise from it, then don't move across the street from an airport. We don't want to live near a prison or a dump, and guess what, we didn't look at any places that were near those. There are fewer than five houses in our immediate area that were here before the airport was. One of them is the one we live in, which is now part of the field. Rich has to be polite to them, because of his job, but the calls he gets complaining are insane. Some of them get referred to the FBI, because they threaten to shoot aircraft out of the sky, or do something to the instruments here. So, these people come from this neighborhood, hate the airport, but evidently think that they have a right to just march on wherever they wish and do whatever they want. There are so many levels of stupidity here, I cannot even imagine. Trespassing in the first place, ignoring the signs (four of them!), having the dog off the leash, not training it in the least, not caring about the animals or children that were being endangered and frightened by their trespassing and irresponsible dog care, being general jackasses instead of being apologetic and getting out as soon as they could, insisting all the way that they were in the right, and had we just been nicer that everything would have been dandy. He's lucky my children were there to see my actions, because I was ready to take a shovel to his dog and then to him.

Rich finally asked him if he was illiterate since they had to walk past four signs that said they weren't allowed where they were to get to our house, and he just threw back, no are you? My first thought, and thank God I stifled it, was Oh, so you're not just ugly, you're stupid, too. Not exactly charitable, but neither was the intention of my heart toward these people. I have a lot to confess tonight. You don't mess with my home, my animals, and especially my children.

I haven't been this angry in a long time. Rich and I were still a bit jittery when our priest and his family came over for dinner. We're trying to think of what kind of large, brightly colored signs we can put up that clarifies exactly who can't be here. Yes, even you, and your little dog too, even if you want to pick blackberries, because you see they grow wild all over about a 1000 square mile area here, and there are plenty of places that aren't privately owned, or federally regulated where you can get them, and no just because you didn't get in trouble last time it doesn't make it okay, liking airplanes does not make you an authorized personnel, and if you don't have a pilot's license, legitimate business here, an airport vest, escort or express permission to be here, don't, oh and by the way, that includes you, too. Even the people who are allowed on the field, because they have businesses, hangars, or planes here are not allowed past the gate these people went through without permission and proper lights on vehicles or vests that identify them as airport people and which are clearly visible to the aircraft from the air and runway.

I know I don't normally post about the airport or the neighbors, but I am still so angry about this. This is the first time I've ever been interested in buying a gun and learning how to shoot. Rich knows how to use a gun, take it apart, clean it, shoot it, etc, from the military, but he and I have always been in agreement that while we support the right of a law abiding citizen to have a gun, neither of us wanted one in our home. Rich wants to start hunting and fishing, but he wants to bow hunt, so it wouldn't be an issue there, though I used to be pretty good at archery, so I could just shoot an arrow at dogs and itinerant criminals who pass through our yard. If you start hearing about dogs near airports disappearing, you will understand.


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