Where are the pictures?

It is confirmed, that to some extent, probably more than I should, I think BLOG. I blame the newshound in me ... it's deep. Something happens. I must tell. I must blog.

Something happened last night and I wasn't even here to tell about it. I'm telling anyway.

Let's pretend I'm writing this for radio ...

Screeching tires and a crash interupted a quiet evening in a near northwest side historic neighborhood (oops, that's not present tense, as all news leads should be, but I never hear it on air anymore either).

The clamor signaled the end of a police chase where a stolen car crashed into a curb on the corner near the home of 10-year-old Giles Shelton.

(sound bite) "It was wild. We saw four guys get out of the car and start running everywhere. Then the police came and the police chopper."

Shelton said he wasn't afraid. But the family did stay inside behind locked doors until the ongoing drama drew them outside again. By that time, all of the neighbors were outside pointing out which way they saw the suspects scattering through backyards and sidewalks.

In the end, two juveniles were arrested at a nearby church parking lot. They led authorities to an adult male who allegedly masterminded the theft. He's in jail too.

No word on the driver, another passenger ... or when the Honda Civic was returned to it's owner.


I got the version of events this morning. I asked them if they took pictures. NO! Good thing I wrote this for radio.

The thrill of third, the agony of the double hoop

I am not a coach. This piece of self-evaluation came to me during our foray into the Home School Olympics this week. And it became painfully more clear as I navigated my children through their combined 14 events, along with the throng of other young Olympians.

I'd rather be a photographer. Looking into my viewfinder is where I was when Giles ran his first event, 50 yard dash. When I popped my head out of the camera, I was a little surprised to see that he was the last one running. Is he last? Dead last? Oh dear. This will be bad. What my eye didn't catch in the sea of gray tshirts was Giles crashing a third of the way into the sprint. He picked the lane with the "hidden rut" where apparently many children throughout the day who were destined for blue ribbons ... instead crashed. So the "lessons" to be learned were "good sportsmanship" ... and handling public embarrassment!

This is where I wish I'd paid more attention to Remember the Titans or even The Bad News Bears for some great coaching advice. Somehow ... "you finished - that's great" .. or "better luck next time" or "win some lose some" just wasn't making it all better. I seriously was close to tears myself and just wanted to take him out for a big ice cream so we could cry together.

But he learned ... NOT to pick that lane. So the next event, the 100 yard hurdles ... he claimed a fifth place ribbon. Oh the relief. He is a player. He went on to grab a couple of more ribbons in green and yellow.

Meanwhile, the other two had not ribboned. Grant, being young, could be cajoled and encouraged by telling him he would get his ribbon at the end of all of his events. Since he is new to this scene, and can't read (hallelujah) ... he didn't catch the nuance of the shiny rainbow colored "participation" ribbon.

Then to Lovie. With each event and each no ribbon, whilst her buddies were ribboning, I knew her sweet little heart was sinking a little more. (In addition to the fact that we stayed up way too late the night before to watch the Idol final that we recorded). Cheer up. Cheer up. Your best events are coming ... jump rope and hula hoop. You are going to finish strong!

I must add here that some of her friends also didn't ribbon. But they had no tears (that we saw). Note to mom: emphasize more selflessness!

Five and a half hours later, we reached that final event. Hula Hooping. She has this. I know she does. Her tender emotional state is completely taken from her mother's genes. But hooping, mom could never do.

As she hoops, I'm praying and shooting video. Giles and Grant are cheering. She checks out the competition. More and more are going down. Finally there were four left, and this quad set could have hooped all day (I have the minutes of video to prove it). BUT NO. The organizer had the girls stop and announced they would DOUBLE hoop. Two? She's never doubled!

"You can do it."
"It's the same."

She lasted seven seconds (as per the video) and got a yellow third place ribbon. Funny, she was a big Syesha fan too.

The thrill of victory. The agony of doubles.

I contemplated how I was going to write this for a long time. Thought it would be funny and others would commiserate.

But really. We run the races. We finish. We try again.
While at it, we put others first and glorify God.
Easy. Nope. No one ever said it would be.

She's already planning for next year.

"Mom, I need another hula hoop. No, two more. I'm going to practice with three."

Flying the Coop

Announcing the Robin Triplets (I still think there are only two, but Giles insists there are three)! At least someone has had some egg hatching success around here. We've been watching this nest for a few weeks ... it's under the eave (or is that fascia, I never know), way up there. Too high up to spy on the eggs, the hatchlings or the growth ... or take pictures. Oh, the chicks have a Smart Mama! She should do seminars for celebrity moms on dodging the paparazzi. She's also smart to build her nest way out of reach of Keisha the Hunter (aka, Pouncer, our stray cat). But she is waiting and watching just like us, but for more instinctual, and palatable reasons.

The chicks are big enough to see ... and we feel they will fly the coop very soon. I am keeping the video cam ready!

UPDATE: After a half day of sparrow rehab, Giles was convinced to let it go. After all of that handling and force feeding, I don't know if the poor thing survived after the trauma. But the chick was a good sport ...

Back to nest watching!

His Eye is on the Sparrow


Here is one reason for visionary planning for your family. When we bought our sweet old house that was very BIG at the time, when there were just two of us and no real family planning going on ... (as if) we didn't consider the SIZE of the backyard or that we would someday have TWO boys, one big, and one getting big, who like baseball.

Why, you might ask, do they pitch toward the back door? Very good question. It is preferred over the windows that take up the rest of the space at the back of the house. Although one basement window has met ball.

Why do they pitch toward the house? They hit more than they strike. Despite the photographic evidence.

Why do they use a piece of firewood for a bat? No idea. Bats are in the garage.

Why don't you move? (Be content with what you have!)

Please note the Brinks sign ... so don't even try it.

Who is trying not to show his irritation?

The next picture after the camera holder went inside to finish dinner would have captured the swan song of that plastic thingie over the screen of the back door. GONE!

The lesson: a little vision never hurt anyone. BIG BACK YARD.

Soccer Cubed

Ask us where we will be this Saturday morning AND afternoon?????

NOT at the soccer field.


Gas prices. Neglected yard work. And kids who spurn their soccer practice equipment for baseball practice in the back yard (pictures on that coming later). Oh, and the missed time with the kids' friends, birthday parties and other junk.

What a time commitment. I did treasure the family time. Parents in chairs, two kids sitting on our laps while we cheered on the other one. And a little Soccer Mom tan, when it finally warmed up.

With three games each Sat, way across town (with practice during the week - way across town, during rush hour) - most times we would take a picnic and hang out between our breaks which were never much more than an hour.

Last Saturday we had a four-leaf clover hunt during the break. I found one!

We had super fantastic coaches, and met a lot of great people. And observed, er, a lot of family dynamics with some of our teammates. And dealt with a lot of kids who complained about the snack, or wanted more or cried when some awfully irresponsible mom FORGOT the snack. It IS all about the snack.

I know lots of families do this and are way more involved in way more activities than we are, every day of the week. Woah. Makes me tired thinking about it. And seriously, why? Why do we do it?

See ya soccer.

Roses are red

hurrying to post before the kids find out I'm exploiting their silliness on the www. It's the annual picture in front of the rose bush ... never before quite so zany. Note the scene stealer cat who had to be in every shot!

A day late, and a dollar short

I am totally putting my foot down. Dan and Angi have totally snubbed blogging for twitter. What is twitter? And why? Facebook is about the outer limits of my coolness. And I don't even get that. But I am on. Why? Je ne sais pas.

I have more Facebook friends than I have in real life, and hardly any of them are my BFFs in real life, mostly old acquaintances or people I know. And mostly I don't care what groups they joined or movies they like. Well, I am mildly interested. I don't really care what they were doing 27 minutes ago either. It's a strange strange thing. If I was smarter and more interested (interesting), I would research it and maybe say something profound about it all, or write some devo about it.

And why do I blog? I am not funny like the QC Report or wise like Many Meadows . Hmmm. Why does anyone blog? I waste enough time surfing from one blog to another to another, to realize that almost "everyone" blogs but mostly everyone should not. I mention no names!

Happy Homemaker never even posts anymore. Oops. She just updated some stuff. Cool, because I was beginning to wonder if she had left us all for twittering instead. She does get props for sending us to this one: Stuff Christians Like. It IS funny.

That is all.

Run, run for your lives

I think I finally can write a "brief" post. I feel I've been far too wordy lately, with frilly inside jokes like icky olives (clearly my memory can't be trusted).

As I was writing up something to go with these pictures from last week's storm ... the tornado alarm went off. Seriously.

It was time once again to play the Rated G version of the Gary England Drinking Game (google it yourself for I can't vouch for any website that I found it on, but there are plenty!)

Seriously. It's hilarious (probably only to those who live here) and sure helps with my kids' storm jitters. NO ... not because of that ... we play the non-alcoholic version! But interesting idea. KIDDING. And, uh, great geography lessons! We all need to know where Slaughterville is!

When the going gets tough ...

time to go to the movies.

There was nothing "tough" going on, except navigating the home school convention and work last Friday with the kids. I had a complicated schedule going on to attend convention, drop the kids off with dad so I could attend a luncheon for my part-time job (that requires me to leave the house only occasionally), pick the kids back up, maybe hit the convention again, and then home.

Such a day would be no sweat for me in the old days. Now stress and dread. That's pretty much how I anticipate any day that I have to wear makeup and not wear a tshirt.

I got out of the the luncheon deal but then the kids were bummed out they didn't get to go have lunch with Dad, so without thinking I popped off, "hey, let's do the convention and then go to the movies in Bricktown!" (We had a pass!)

At the convention we bumped into many friends, and was pleasantly surprised to see other people we know who are home schooling (yay) ... I did pretty well this year with the intimidation-overwhelmed-failure-over-stimulated emotions I had the first time I went. Lots of stuff. Lots of "eye candy" curriculum and "widgets."

We had the most fun at VISION FORUM's booth where of course, the boys bought toy pop guns, and a three-man water balloon slingshot. I bought this book I had been eyeing, Passionate Housewives Desperate for God!

On Saturday, I went back to buy Math U See.

But back to Friday, we ditched the convention and walked a few blocks to the theatre to see .... IRONMAN.

I was looking forward to a nap. But NO!
The movie is fantastic. There is one brief adult scene, but the kids were hiding their eyes before I could even do it for them.
Normally, I do not like comic book movies or that junk. I loved this one. And we never see movies on opening day!

Bonus. The movie "broke" twice, so we got free passes for another movie!

Great redemption. Great good vs. evil (good wins, sorry to spoil). And great message about peace not war. Please save us, Iron Man!

Lodestar online


God was so gracious to our family when we literally jumped into home educating with no preparation, no plan, and no idea whatsoever. I often tell people that we made our decision in about 25 seconds, and that is about right. Although God was preparing us along the way ... we just didn't know it. I know we didn't know it because I would say things like ....

"we will never ever ever ever ever EVER home school."

"Home schooling? Icky Olives! NO WAY."

I know God is still laughing at that one. It has taught me to refrain from any future "never say nevers."

God's grace in the beginning was by sending me a friend, Keli, who pointed us to Educating for Life and it's leader, Cheryl Lange.

That first meeting I attended, I heard for the first time about a person named Charlotte Mason, getting off of the conveyor belt of public education, and about a revolutionary little book and concept called "Better Late Than Early," and another book called "A Thomas Jefferson Education." It was heady stuff. I was freaked out and exhilarated.

I have wondered how our course might have been had I tried to bring school home with expensive curriculums, schedules and worksheets. Actually, I know what would have happened. We would have failed.

Yep. We still could be "failing" by certain world standards. But we are having fun! And I wouldn't trade this wonderful intimacy, joy and opportunity to learn together and disciple our children for anything. Thank you God.

And thanks Cheryl, you are a lodestar!

FINALLY ... her much anticipated website is online.
Lodestar Ministries.

Au Revoir

Parting is such sweet sorrow. We said TTFN to our 10 Rwandan students last Thursday, including Alain!

We had no word on whether he made it, until this morning (Mon) when Alain tried to Skype us. We missed him.:-(

Apparently he made it to Rwanda. No word yet on whether all of his stuff got there.

The days before he left were a flurry of shopping and packing. Many trips to WalMart, Best Buy, The Apple Store, WalMart, Radio Shack, WalMart, oh, and WalMart. Throw in the bank, and a few other stops and we had a pretty busy week.

When I was tempted to be grumpy about all of that running around, I just remembered that he was buying NONE of that for himself. He was buying cool things for his family who put him on a plane two years ago to go get his college education in America!

Contrast this to what I observed the day we moved him out of the dorm and to our house before the trip home to Rwanda. I noticed a guy digging through the dumpsters, and was intrigued (nosy) enough to ask him what he was doing. "Are you "freeganing" or did you lose something?

He didn't want the word to get out, so I said I'd try to protect his secret, but apparently dumpster diving outside of dorms at the end of a school year is some pretty great fishing. Clothes. Expensive shoes. Furniture. Sunglasses. Laundry soap (that he gave me!). School supplies ... all tossed in the garbage ... these guys couldn't even bother with donating their junk to the needy. Spoiled American college brats was my thought! Sorry. It's true, no?

Alain scraped together the money he earned at the "caf" (eteria) to get a computer (macbook, good boy), digital camera, video camera and all of the related cards, cords, batteries and power adaptors to give his family. We added to that MP3s, Giles' gamecube system and games that he relinquished to Alain's brothers, jewelry and pictures.

The night before he left, I asked him what he would like for dinner. Had it been me, I definitely would have hinted strongly for steak or lobster. My kids would have begged for pizza! He wanted beans! He'd be getting the real thing from his mama in just a few days, but he still asked for it. So we made beans and sweet potatoes and fried plaintain. A meal that cost about $1.87! And leftovers before the airport the next morning.

Amidst all of that packing and anticipation, would you believe that boy, and his friend, Placide, gave me Mother's Day cards?!

Love them. Miss them. See you in August!