The rain in Spain

it falls mainly on the plain, and that is devastating for the wheat farmers. Mostly the rain to us is annnoying. Well, there is the ceiling leak, and the buckets of water to pour out and place precisely in the right place to catch the next deluge.

What's God up to? What about the folks who work in the weather. Not the postal professionals who have to work in the outside misery (sorry) AND GET PAID, but those who don't get paid if they don't work. Construction workers. Roofers. Landscapers. Lots more probably if you think about it.

Still, I love taking pictures of raindrops on faces and letting kids squeal in delight in the non-lightning showers.

Some summer.


A boy and his frogs

Giles points out there are many more pictures that could go in this post. Indeed. These are just frog finds from last week at his grandparents' house and today in the yard. Actual tears when his Dad had to say NO to hauling out the aquarium to house this latest find. Giles is worried our cat will find it if frog (toad) is left outside in the wild now that his habitat has been mowed. So he wants to cage it up to lead a confined life in a fishbowl and be hand fed with crickets until it croaks. What is this a zoo?

Michigan Moments

the beach, the dunes, grandma's calf (!), grandpa's tractor with cousins and friends, lovie!

Lake Michigan Sunset

Accidental alliteration

I try not to spend too much time writing this blog - which is bad for the readers. I do enough obsessing over words and my limited grasp of them for the writing that I do that I get paid for. (And I'm just going to let go of that ending the sentence a preposition with). This writing is just leisure, honing and I don't know what else. I've seen a lot of typos and misspellings slip through. Gasp. While scrambling eggs a minute ago, I thought about Ma's "sensibility, submissiveness and strength" that slipped out while writing the last post. Then I admonished myself for not carrying that to the rest of the sentence, although I see I almost accidentally did except for the "hard work."

here's the original sentence:
I've tried to grasp at the sensibility, submissiveness and strength of Ma and have prayed my children will appreciate the hard work, honor and simplicity of those amazing times.

here's the edit:
I've tried to grasp the sensibility, submissiveness and strength of Ma and have prayed my children will appreciate the hard work, honor and habits of those amazing times.

I cheated and used my desktop thesaurus for another h word. It doesn't really fit, but I must move on with the day.

Please don't let this feeling end ...

it may not come again, and I want to remember!

No, we haven't watched Ice Castles. BUT we are coming to the end of something very sweet. The Little House books. We are slow, so this has taken us a couple of years. I read the first two and Farmer Boy but then we found the audio books at the library, so we then started listening in the van on the way to fencing, or play practice, swimming and other errands. We've had to wait for the next book to become available, or we'd listen to something else for while.

It took me a while to grow to love the actress's (Cherry Jones) interpretation of Pa, Caroline, Laura and even Nellie Olsen's voice. But now she is perfect, and she's almost like part of our family. She has ridden with us many miles. One awesome thing about listening to unabridged books on tape is that the usual reader (mom) gets to enjoy also without performing. So I can laugh when I want, tear up or back up the disc if we need to catch something again. And it stretches the theater of our minds.

Then there's the fiddle playing.

We are on the last chapter of the Happy Golden Years. Laura and Almanzo were just married by the Rev. Brown and are on their way to the new house he built for them on his claim. Ma has just made a white wedding cake. There are only a few minutes (pages) left of the book. I'm not ready for it to end. (Not that there's a shortage of additional information about Laura and fam., or field trips to their farm in "nearby" Missouri!)

Lydia and I squealed a few chapters back when Almanzo asked Laura if they might become engaged. And we both caught our breath when the chapter announced "Haste to the Wedding."

We remember when that Wilder boy first drove his beautiful team into town and the horses, not the boy, took Laura's breath away.

We remember the long hard winter when they ground wheat in their coffee grinder (non-electric). I've tried to grasp at the sensibility, submissiveness and strength of Ma and have prayed my children will appreciate the hard work, honor and simplicity of those amazing times.

Such a marvel that when Almanzo and Laura were courting, they would see each other once a week, during a Sunday buggy drive. They did not text, email or call each other every night. She never pined away for him and forgot her chores or studies because work had to be done.

When the family sacrificed to send Mary to the College for the Blind, she didn't come home all year. She didn't catch a plane or a train home for the weekend, Thanksgiving break or Spring Break.

Laura felt spoiled with more than two dresses.

A delightful evening included a dinner of fresh potatoes and peas from the garden, maybe some salt pork or a spring chicken, and a pie for dessert ... and it was capped off with Pa playing his fiddle. They didn't even think about turning on the TV.

And Ma would never sit at the computer like this, so I guess I'll get up and get my hands busy because as she says "busy hands make cheerfulness."

History Mystery Theater

For our year end school party, we had a History Mystery Theater party with two other families with whom we've studied early American History this year. We started with the Vikings and were supposed to end with the Civil War for the year. But we had so much fun, that we really only got to Lewis & Clark, so we'll keep going after a little summer break.

All of the children made snacks. Giles and Lydia made "Mary Todd Lincoln's Vanilla Almond Cake" (with cooked frosting which was a first for all of us to make), Crispus Attucks' Okra Salad (Grant), George Washington's Roast Beef (Grant) and Johnny Cake (Lydia, featuring fresh ground wheat - ground in the coffee grinder). We marveled at being able to use the Kitchen Aid, crock-pot and electric stove and "wheat" grinder. Poor Mary Todd's arms must have hurt after beating all those egg whites!

We all invited family members (Thanks Aunt Cindy and Uncle Rick) to the party. We had our theater, then a slide show and then all of the Dads blessed their children with speeches, praise and certificates (while all of the moms sniffled and shot video).

Any guesses on our characters?

Let's see if I remember highlights of their speeches ...

Giles: "My name is blankety-blank-blank and I was born in 1838 in Maryland. I was an actor. I had a plan to kidnap someone I hated but the plan was foiled. That made me mad, so I deciced to kill the man I hated, and when I did, I shouted "The south is avenged."

Lydia: "I am a Shoshone Indian and I was born in the Northern Rocky Mountains. When I was about 12, I was gathering food with my family when the Hidatsa Indians came and kidnapped me. I married a man named Toussaint and I had a baby boy named Jean Baptiste. I was one of the first Native Americans to see the Pacific Ocean. When I was 25, I caught a fever and died (while dying dramatically on the floor)."

Grant: "I was called the Father of our country. I was a major (?!) in the Revolutionary War. I never told a lie."

Great time.

When caller ID says COUNTY JAIL

Do you answer the phone?
I won't answer an "unavailable call," a political call or calls from certain family members (kidding), but I couldn't resist answering the call from the jail.

When I picked up and heard that the call was from "LaMonte" (made up name), I then had to listen to two minutes worth of instructions about how much I would be charged for taking the call. While doing the calculations and canvassing my brain to figure out whether we really knew any "LaMontes" who could be at the jail, I decided to take the call.

Of course he had the wrong number.

I asked if there was someone I could call for him.

He was extremely friendly and gracious, "oh yes ma'am, that would help so much. thank you."

So I took down the number of his sister. "La Monte" had already called all his cribs and couldn't reach anyone ... one of those numbers was close to ours, we figured out.

He wanted me to tell his sister he was "caught" and if she could bail him out.

I was dying to ask what he was in for, and how long he'd been there. I didn't.

I should have prayed with him right then, I realize NOW. But I just told him I'd call the sis.

After we hung up, I reported the news to the family. Stan immediately suspected scam, and Giles freaked out.

So we made light of it all to Giles and told him it was a wrong number and the dude can't hurt us cuz HE'S IN JAIL.

Stan called on his cell the sister's number. We can't get through. Busy.

I probably wrote down the number incorrectly and La Monte will rot in the county poke forever because his ONE phone call was to our number.

The main thing

I love my Old Schoolhouse Magazine for homeschool families. I had some quiet time recently to really read most of the articles and I underlined lots of things and dog-eared lots of pages. One nugget I want to share is from an article from Ken Ham.

"The Bible makes it clear that every human being will live forever in heaven or hell. What a responsibility we have as parents to be entrusted with this heritage from the Lord. The Lord has entrusted us to train our children for eternity. In addition to training them in their earthly ministry, we have to provide them with eternal training - to love the Lord. Yes, it is nice to have successful children in college and getting good grades, but it would be better to have ditch diggers who love the Lord than successful kids who don't love the Lord. He's the bottom line: the most important thing in the world is that we know Christ."

During our summer break from "school," I will be praying about more ways to incorporate the Word into our schooling. And really asking the Lord to show us how to love him and how to love each other.

(As I type this, the kids are fighting quite hatefully. Just two minutes ago they were lovingly cooperating in play while they staged a military parade with Barbies and GI Joes for Memorial Day... their idea. We do have our work cut out for us.)