This is why we recycle

We all got a late Monday morning start. Even this guy. We had a recycling bonanza this week from Alain's party with a ton of aluminum cans (with the tops torn off for the Ronald McDonald House). We are used to our recyclables and big trash day refuse being picked through. And I was hoping the cans would be found because we know there's money to be made gathering aluminum.

This man got to our cans before anyone else and before the truck came. I grabbed my camera (what? I'm not sharing his face or selling his image) and shot through the window.

A few minutes would pass and I'd check again. He'd still be crushing cans.

The last time I looked, he was about to ride away on his bike but looked to see a funeral procession from the church across the street about to drive past him. He stopped. Got off of his bike. Took off his hat and bowed til all of the cars passed.

Precious. The kids and I are discussing it. And we prayed for the guy (and the severe weather all around us). And we are (I am) thankful for our house and the reminders of the broken world that we have the honor of seeing from our curb.

Happy Birthday Alain

Our oldest son turned 21 on Sunday! Happy Birthday Alain.

His day started early with a phone call in his dorm room from home. He got to speak with all of his family who were thrilled to wish him a happy birthday.

Home is in Rwanda. Family are his parents, two brothers and his sister.

They are all counting the days for his summer visit home! Only about a month left.

We'll miss him so much this summer. How selfish is that?

He invited some friends over and we had a fantastic afternoon with our house filled with more college students than I thought possible.

We made beans, cassava, rice and grilled chicken (we also had hot dogs for some filler). We also had some fried plaintain for an apppetizer.

Happy Day.

There's a teacher's guide

I'm finding it difficult to sit down and soak up all of the John Adams episodes. Instead of sitting in front of the TV, I should be writing love letters to my husband!

“ I look back to the early days of our acquaintance and
friendship as to the days of love and innocence, and,
with an indescribable pleasure, I have seen near a score
of years roll over our heads with an affection heightened
and improved by time, nor have the dreary years of
absence in the smallest degree effaced from my mind
the image of the dear untitled man to whom I gave
my heart.”
—Abigail Adams, wRiting to John Adams in 1782

The documentary runs a little slow ... but that is part of the draw, I think. We need to feel the slowness of those times. The long sea passages from the colonies back to Britain transporting news of treaties, battles, surrenders and victories. The time it took to powder one's wig before any meeting of the Continental Congress.

When I saw a trailer for the movie, Tom Hanks, executive producer, said something to the effect that researching Adams led him to an understanding of our history that had he realized as a school child, would have blown off his little head!

But he didn't say WHAT that was! What was it?

One remarkable detail of the movie/Adams life was that at 14-years-old, John Quincy, who had accompanied his father to Paris, braving British fire on the sea, was sent to St. Petersburg as the secretary to the new US Ambassador ... BECAUSE he was fluent in Russian.

Stan commented that he wouldn't have sent his son off with that man who looked a little suspect (must have been that wig). So is the taint of our modern times and fear of child predators.

Still. 14.
We know how wise Jesus was at 12! I just listened to a sermon on that (What Your 12-year-old Should Know).

We better download and start working on that teacher's guide (though it's produced from TIme and HBO, so I am a little suspicious of the bent!)

Peep Peep Peep PUP Peep Peep Peep

Those words were on the bottom of a poster that hung in my childhood room. I would study it during dozing off and waking up times and count the letters of the words and look at the tiny chicks in the barnyard scene surrounding a little golden lab puppy. I had this elaborate head game of counting the number of letters in words, names, sentences, and a scoring system in which anything that ended in the number EIGHT was the best.

But I digress (11 letters. bad).

Peep Peep Peep has moved in. (But no PUP). Didn't I just laud Webkinz in the post just previous to this. The inanimate, virtual, carefree sort of pet?

How then, could it happen that the very next day after the Webkin post, we drove in our real car using real expensive gasoline to pick up our real batch of 30 chicken eggs to incubate?

I thought it would be a great educational experiment. Easy: Put the eggs under a light. Watch them for a couple of days. Experience the miracle of life through hatching. Cheer on our chicks. Nurture them. Find a farm for them to live. It would be just like the fair where they have those large incubators with glass walls and chicks were hatching all of the time. Cool.

My first lesson in chicken incubation was that it takes real 21 days for our peepers to hatch. I am such a city girl sometimes (who actually grew up in the country with a mother who liked to raise chickens from time to time).

Until then, we must turn the eggs THREE TIMES A DAY ... ensure their incubator remains a steady 99 degrees, and to keep it humid. Sounds like the vacation I'd like to have (with a swim up bar, of course).

Did I say we have to turn those eggs three times a day? For 21 days?

It's day three. And so far, we are remembering. We are logging our progress, checking the temperature, the humidity. We are learning new terms like chalazae, albumen and candler. A candler, by the way, is a contraption with a light and a box that we need to make in order to view the inside of our eggs in a few days to check fertility and check development! And see whether we'll be expecting 30 peeps ... or fewer.

The eggs have been named things like Speckly, George and Duke. And Grant has shed tears more than once when we remind him that we will NOT be keeping the 30 (or?) chickens. It breaks city ordinances. And our neighbor would turn us in. Not that I wouldn't like to try to keep them! Our own eggs (for eating)!

Anyone know of a farmer who needs chickens? We wouldn't mind taking a trip out to the country for delivery. Think of the educational opportunity.

Candling update coming up.

Cody, LizzieJessica, Brownie

We've welcomed many new pets into the house. I love them. No messes. No training. And the kids are totally into taking care of them. And they are already taxidermied (word?). And their live versions all live inside the computer.

We are a little late into the Webkinz craze. But we're in.

We are a ridiculous stuffed animal house anyway. Now, there's more. Even the cool oldest kid coudn't resist anymore. And he's into it. But won't admit that to just anyone.

I've rationalized this noting how the kids have learned that each of their webkins(z) has to be fed before you can buy them clothes. That you have to work (play games) to earn money. And you have to save money to purchase items, such as hottubs and fancy pirate beds for their webkinz rooms and backyards!

It's interesting to see how they decorate their rooms, and what's most fun is to see their community together in Webkinz world. Grant sent Lydia a gift yesterday, and she was so thrilled. He got a squeal and a big hug for his gesture.

I should have thought of that for Easter baskets. Instead, they each got a new Webkin. Luckily, I found a 2-for-1 sale on them at the last minute.

Another educational application (in the REAL WORLD) happened yesterday when Giles said he heard of a kid that has 92 Webkinz. What?!

For one thing that would be a fulltime job to take care of all of them! (The kid would have to quit school for that).

But mostly my eyeballs rolled back into my head and my brain started cha-chinging. How much money is that?

So the multiplication problem of the day ... 92 x $15.

I pointed out that answer could buy a real hot tub for the back yard. Be a nice chunk of change toward a real car. Or pay for lots of education for orphans in Rwanda.


Off the deep end ...

or ... where have you been all of my life?

Our new home educating journey has led us to so many new aspects of approaching our life. From bread making to nature study, and beyond. Who knew? Some of it is radical, some practical. Some of it convicts me. SOme of it makes me roll by eyes. Some of it is as appalling as it is exciting. All of it is challenging. And most of it makes me tired.

I often joke that I wake up in a new world every day. And I do. It takes me a long time to grasp some concepts that are no brainers for other people. So I might have heard all of these things before but didn't listen? My poor kids.

But we learn together as a family. The parents along with the children. My mistakes and the years I lost not knowing stuff, will hopefully just give them a stronger foundation to build their lives upon, and their children's lives. And their children.

As an example, here are the titles of some of the books and cds I've been listening to lately ...

Preparing Sons to Provide for Single Income Family, by Steve Maxwell
How Modern Churches are Harming Families, by John Thompson
The Role of Children in the Meeting of the Church, by Douglas W. Phillips
Making Wise Decisions about College, by Douglas W. Phillips
Why Satan Wants Your Firstborn and What to do about it, by SM Davis
Home is Where the Heart Is: Teaching your daughters to cherish being keepers of the home, by Susan Bradrick and daughters

Most of these materials I gathered from this outfit, VISION Forum.

We are who we win?

Love the game Apples to Apples. Here's one day spent during Spring Break at Beavers Bend. The rain day. Missing are the cousins/aunt/uncle with us ... but they don't know I blog, and I do not have their permission to post unmake-upped cabin-haired pictures of them on the internet.

Funky and exciting

Lee Greenwood



Corrupt and comfortable? I prefer cunning and carefree! Also prefer unmakeupped and cabin haired days!

Sunday nights

When I read the book John Adams by David McCoullough more than a year ago, I was so enthralled that I started making notes and writing down quotes to incorporate into home school to tell the kids about this man. He did rise to the top of my fave presidents list. A year later, I can't find those notes, ack! And I can't remember a lot of particulars about the man, except I still admire him, and of course, love the wife!

Principled. Wise. Confident. Visionary. God seeking. Home educated as a child. Wife adoring. Committed writer. And I think humble, at times. Some people think he was a jerk. I almost got into a friendly argument the other day with a friend (except I'm too chicken to argue) who didn't like him because he was against women's suffrage. Well, maybe, but he was against slavery. So there. (I thought of that later).

You have to love those men who rode their horses from Boston to Philadelphia for the sake of founding a country ... there were no road breaks at Steak N Shake. Or podcasts to help pass the time trotting along the paths. Or sometimes fresh water and oats for the horses. Hard life. At home. On the road. And in yellow fever infested Philly. And that was all before the horrible war started.

So when I walked into the post office the other day and saw a large poster of "John" advertising his movie, I was elated! Then I was dejected, HBO. No HBO, yo.

Still it didn't take long for me to do a little mental rebudgeting, and wondering whether we could subscribe for the duration of the THREE MONTH LONG MINISERIES that shows on Sunday nights. And wondering whether it was time to get the DVR! Afterall, this could be school related ... and all of us love this period. The kids still play colonial times, Rev. war, etc.

Then those smart people at Cox Communication offered a deal to the dorks. Three months of HBO for $5 a month just for John Adams!

Signed, sealed, delivered. And Giles has already programmed the DVR to record for me.

I'm going to look for those notes. And I can't wait for the series!


From about Sunday ...

The high temperature in Oklahoma City today was 70 degrees. The expected high on Monday is 37, with a 60 percent chance of snow.

Prized Possessions

Scene: Mom walks into the house after attending worship service at Cross & Crown. The short ride home was lit up with lightning flashes and an incredible stillness ... no rain. Upon getting out of the car, I hear the tornado siren and went skipping into the house.

"Is this tornado warning really for us?" I yelled to my family who was nowhere to be found. It's never for us. We are tornado immune as evidenced by the 80-100 year old homes that surround us ... and the false scares we've had for the last 11 years in this house. There's some security in that! Probably unfounded ... but we do know the sirens blare for any possible tornado groan anywhere in our vast county.

"YES. Get down here." They yelled from the basement.

Two of three children were near tears, panicked and very frightened. Grant kept laughing and emphasizing that he was not afraid ... at all!

We listened to the radio coverage as they tracked a possible tornado that came within a half mile or so of here.

NO damage to anyone though. No touchdown of any tornado.

Giles had enough time to get his Play Station and take it downstairs. Lydia grabbed her "Beary" stuffed animal. Grant brought a flashlight! I wanted to sneak upstairs for a drink.

Tomorrow we anticipate snow.