Monday, May 31, 2010

Our (Former) Babysitter

So, last night, I had a case of terrible insomnia.  I decided I’d watch a movie that I didn’t think Rosie Girl or PWM was all that interested in, so I started watching “Follow the Prophet” on Neflix.  When it started, the first name on the credits was Annie Burgstede.  What?  Annie Burgstede?  Annie Burgstede used to be our babysitter for Rosie Girl when we moved to town 13 years ago.  It couldn’t be the same one, could it?

Annie Burgstede (the babysitter, at least) was a wonderful teenager who could talk to adults and was just a great kid.  Not only did she babysit, but she would actually bring games and activities to do with Rosie Girl (who was only 2-3 at the time).  We were so disappointed when Annie went off to art school.  When she was home one summer, we called her to ask where we should take Rosie Girl for dance class.  Rosie Girl has been taking dance classes at that studio for the last ten years.  Suffice it to say that we LOVED Annie.

At 3am, I thought I was having an insomnia-induced hallucination.  So I did what all techno-geeks do – I googled her.  And, lo and behold, our former babysitter Annie Burgstede has a Wiki page and an Imbd page that confirm that she is indeed a very successful actress and had the leading role in this film.

By this time, the film had started.  Annie is now about 27 (I think), but they had made her up to be about 15.  I almost fainted.  There, on my TV screen, was Annie Burgstede, looking just like she did 13 years ago.  Yikes!!  And then she started acting.  Wow!  She’s good!  Of course, she’s good.  She’s always been artistic – that’s why she and Rosie Girl understood each other so well, even when they were so young.

The next time you see Annie Burgstede on TV or in a movie, you know now that, not only did she babysit my kids, but she’s just a good person.

Wow.  What a bizarre night.  It’s just hard to believe.

Memorial Day – May 31, 2010

When I was working, I spent 2 mornings every week at the Wisconsin Veteran’s Home in King, WI.  I was responsible for the medical care of a certain number of veterans or veteran’s spouses.  When I started in 1997, I believe there were actually a couple of very old veterans who had served in WWI.  Mostly, though, my patients were men who had served in WWII and their wives.  I did take care of a few women who had served in WWII.  Several of the newer patients were from more recent combat, particularly some of those with either degenerate illnesses or accident injuries that required nursing home care.

When a patient (they are called members) was admitted to the Home, my job was to take their history and do a physical examination.  Sometimes they came with paperwork, but sometimes not.  If they had dementia, I got a lot of information from the family members.  Their paperwork always told which branch of the military they served in and what years.  I usually asked what they did during their time in the service and where they served.

One of my members survived the sinking of the USS Arizona and then was in the Navy in the Pacific during the rest of WWII.  Several of my members were present at D-Day.  One talked about walking through France during the war.  Some told horrific stories, but very few did that.  I do remember one member telling about being in a German POW camp and only weighing about 88 pounds when he was released. 

For the most part, though, most members kept the horror either to themselves or buried deep.  I don’t know which.  Some would only say where they served and nothing else.  Some would tell the funny stories but nothing else. 

The wives would talk about what their husbands were like after the war.  Some wouldn’t sleep for a long time.  Some had changed.  Others seemed pretty normal.

One thing that is true of every single member at the Veteran’s Home that I met was that they are intensely patriotic.  Every veteran gets a military funeral.  I remember one veteran that was part of the honor guard that participated at the funerals.  I would see him in his dress uniform on the days when he was participating.  When his dementia and kidney disease caught up with him, he could not longer be in the honor guard and the dress uniform hung in his closet.  But, I will always see him standing so proud in his dress khakis.

These are the people I remember today.  These men and women have many counterparts living out in the community or in other nursing homes or VA nursing homes.  But, I remember these Wisconsin Veteran Home members.  I remember their stories.  I think about the stories they wouldn’t tell.  And I’m so very grateful.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

What I’m Going To Do During My Summer Vacation

I get a summer vacation this year!!  How cool is that?!  Wild Man and Rosie Girl wanted their school year to coincide with the public school year, so they had fewer weeks off during the school year and we had to be more disciplined.  We gave up some of our relaxed approach to school in order to have an almost completely free summer.  (Almost completely free because Rosie Girl still has to finish her Algebra 1 course.)

So, what am I going to do?  Wild Man is off with Grandma and will start his trip from Tampa to California on Tuesday.  Rosie Girl has plans to do Algebra, write a novel, and hang out with friends.  Otherwise, we have a week at Family Camp planned and another week when my family will come up for a week in August.  Well, being who I am, I have to have a plan.  And, I do indeed have a plan!!

1. Paint the dining room and kitchen blue.  I’m hoping to get Rosie Girl and her friend to help me with this job.

2. Take the baskets off the top of the kitchen cabinets.

3. Bring the china up from the basement and put it into canvas or quilted cases and put it up on top of the cabinets.  I plant to keep a few pieces out of the cases and set up as display pieces.

4. Clean closets and the basement and give excess stuff to Goodwill.  (I may need to chain my books to the shelves because PWM gets a little zealous when he starts clearing stuff out!)

5. Knitting projects – hats for a friend who’s undergoing chemo, a summer sweater for myself, a summer sweater for my mom, start Christmas presents (no, it’s not too early – I gave my mother-in-law her Christmas present this year in March!)

6. Scan photos from my photo albums into the computer and then copy the photos onto disk.

7. Try to keep my plants from dying.

8. Lots of hanging out with my Rosie Girl.

That’s the plan.  Most of the schoolwork for next year is generally planned, so I just need to order it.  I’m not going to actually order it until July, so I’m not going to spend the whole summer planning the school year.  I actually want to enjoy my non-headache days.

Of course, the biggest problem is going to be that Wild Man isn’t around!!  Last night, we tried to do a cyber-hug over Skype.  It’s just not the same as in person.  Oh, well, I look forward to seeing all of his pictures and video-calling him all the same.  It’s going to be a good summer anyway!!

Do you have any exciting plans for your summer?!  Anything you’re particularly looking forward to?

Friday, May 28, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday – May 28, 2010


I’m so glad to be home!  I had a great time visiting my parents, but it was HOT in Florida, and I was missing my hubby and Rosie Girl.

1. While I was in Florida, we decided to get Wild Man his own laptop.  PWM and Wild Man set up Skype, so we’ve been having video calls with Wild Man once or twice a day since I got home.  I’m going to seriously miss my Wild Man, but being able to video call him every few days will help.

2. Today is Day 10 without a migraine!!  WooHoo!!  Here’s praying that I can have a Day 11!!

3. Rosie Girl had her choir concert on the Friday while I was gone to Florida, so I was seriously bummed that I missed it.  PWM did videotape it, so I get to see it.  The real highlight, though, was that Rosie Girl won the “Most Promising Freshman” award!!  Congratulations, Rosie Girl!!

4. When it cools off in a couple of hours, I’m going to get some seeds planted in the garden and maybe start transplanting some of my seedlings.  I still don’t have a green thumb, but I’m making progress!

5. We’ve joined a CSA this year, so we’ll be getting fresh veggies every week from a local farm.  I’m hoping to broaden the spectrum of veggies that I eat.  I’m sure Rosie Girl and PWM are going to be thrilled with all the new veggies!

6. Next week is the dress rehearsal week for Dance Recital.  Rosie Girl is in the advanced tap dance and the Daddy-Daughter dance, and the week before recital is busy and fun.

7. Next week is also Rosie Girl’s last week of school, so she has finals at school for choir and art and will be dissecting a fetal pig here at home with me along with finishing up the rest of her work.  Next Thursday is the high school picnic after school, so Rosie Girl is going to attend that as well.  It’s been fun to see her get involved in school this year!

Check out 7 Quick Takes Friday to see what’s been going on with others!!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Another Use For Suffering

A friend of mine has breast cancer and is about to start chemotherapy in which she will lose her hair.  Ugh.  I just can’t imagine.  But, I get to make her some hats to give her head some decoration and, hopefully, make her feel loved.  One reason I can make these hats is that I’ve learned a lot about knitting in the last few years when I haven’t been able to work because of my headaches.

One use of our suffering is to be able to turn around and help someone else who is suffering.  We were never intended to walk through this life alone.  Jesus is always with us, but He also left us each other.  As members in the body of Christ, it is our pleasure and joy to walk through suffering with each other.  After several years of chronic pain, I can tell someone else with confidence that Jesus is with us in the depths of our pain, in the Emergency Room, in the ICU.  More importantly, I can pray with and for that person.  I will pray that God will heal them, but, more importantly, I’ll pray that God will use their suffering to make them more like Jesus.

So, what about these hats?  They’re just hats.  No big deal, right?  Actually, I remember how loved I felt when I got my prayer shawl that several ladies in my church made.  I knew that they had been praying for me.  I hope that a few hats can convey the same thing to my friend.

And I pray that God can use my suffering to help a few others as they walk their journey of suffering and faith.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

What I Did On My Spring Vacation

I got home yesterday from a week-long trip to my parent’s house.  I’m really tired, but when I think about all the things I did, I’m really not surprised.  Here’s a partial list.

  • Airboat ride in the Everglades.  Seriously fun and highly educational.
  • Swam in my parents swimming pool with Wild Man at least three times.  Which, by the way, is downright exhausting.  However, it must be noted that I did beat him in a breaststroke race from one end of the pool to the other.  He won the next race, though, because he actually has some stamina.
  • Connected my dad’s new printer/scanner/copier/fax/coffeemaker to my computer so I could scan photos.
  • Scanned 938 photos from my mom’s photo albums into my computer.
  • Got Mom’s help in identifying many of the people in the photos.  There’s still work to be done there.
  • Put together two binders of photos that I brought home to compare to my photos to see what it already in my computer and what is duplicate so I don’t scan things twice.
  • Ate conch fritters at a waterside restaurant (whose name escapes me) in Palm Beach Gardens.  I do love conch fritters!
  • Ate beef stroganoff that my mom made – and she chopped the onions and mushrooms really finely so that I would eat them instead of pick around them.  I did almost lose a finger, though, from picking at the meat as she was cooking it.
  • Slept in my brother’s old room.  My old room is my dad’s office and has a twin bed, so Wild Man slept in there.
  • Went through my mom’s jewelry with her to decide which pieces I want to have eventually.  She went ahead and gave me a couple of pieces that belonged to my aunt who died 10 years ago.  Two of the pieces were handmade by my grandmother – priceless!!
  • Ate far more chocolate Dunkin Donuts than any one person should in the course of a week.  It’s a good thing that the nearest Dunkin Donuts to us is Chicago (I think).
  • Was grateful on a regular basis that I live in a small town with minimal traffic.
  • Did not open my mouth and embarrass my parents in their Sunday School class.  (Aren’t you proud of me, Dad?)
  • Totally enjoyed the worship service at their church and was highly impressed at the 10 points that the pastor got from the verse “You shall not murder”.  Not only that, all 10 points were practical and ways that we can truly live our faith, and stay out of prison.
  • Was hot for an entire week.
  • Got patted down by airport security on the way home.  Yes, they brought in a female security agent and she was quite professional.

So, I’m tired.  I worked at the Nutrition Center this morning, but I’ve been knitting and reading the rest of the day.  Real life starts tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


I’m home after a week at my parent’s house.  I got lots of stuff done, but I’m totally wiped out.   I’ll post pictures and stories and thoughts later.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Things I Have Learned – May 19, 2010

It’s been an interesting couple of days here in HOT South Florida.  I’ve learned and re-learned quite a bit.

1. Airboats are quite noisy.


2. I’m not fond of turbulence on airplanes.

3. The tunnel connecting the concourses at the Detroit airport has really cool lights and sounds.


4. Swimming for a few minutes with Wild Man can make him incredibly happy.

5. Fortunes can swing from quickly from one person to another while playing Sorry.

6. Sorry (at least the version my parents own) was written before the women’s movement since the players pieces are referred to as “men”.

7. I am happy I live in a small town.

8. I don’t miss hot, humid weather.

9. I do miss hanging out with my Mom and Dad on a regular basis.


10. Scanning old pictures is taking longer than I expected, but is lots of fun.

11. I need to take some time to slow down and reflect on all the changes around my childhood home.

What have you learned recently?  Anything fun?  Anything serious?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


On Sunday, our pastor preached about grace and the role of grace in healthy families.  You can listen to the sermon here – and you really should ‘cause it was quite good.

So, what is grace?  If you listen to the sermon, you’ll hear lots of definitions.  Basically, grace is unmerited favor, getting something you don’t deserve.  The ultimate act of grace was God’s sending Jesus to die for our sins and pay the penalty so that we don’t have to.  But, we can show grace to others in our relationships every day.

Wild Man and I arrived in West Palm Beach Monday afternoon to visit my parents.  If you want to see grace in action, just come watch these two people!!  First, we went to my mom’s workplace because she has to work third shift and couldn’t handle that we were in town but she hadn’t seen us.  When we got there, all that Wild Man and I heard was how much Grams talked about us and how much great stuff she said about us.  It bordered on embarrassing, but who’s going to tell someone not to say nice stuff about you?!

We left Grams’ workplace and Grandpa was willing to do pretty much whatever we wanted  for dinner.  We finally settled on driving through a Burger King so the guys could get burgers and I would make a sandwich here at the house.  Throughout the evening, Grandpa’s entire goal in life was to make sure that we were comfortable and that we could get everything set up for scanning pictures tomorrow without incident.  (Scanning photos is the “real” reason that we’re here.)  I mentioned that I’d like to have some Dove soap instead of Dial or Ivory whenever he next goes to the store, and he made a special trip at 9pm to make sure that I had Dove soap.  Then, he took orders for the correct kind of Dunkin’ Donuts for the morning (since we don’t have the luxury of Dunkin’ Donuts at home).

Talk about unmerited favor.  All I did was show up.   I mean, I’m generally a nice person, and I call a couple of times a week, and  I haven’t threatened to shut them up in a trashy nursing home one of these days, but  I certainly don’t deserve the royal treatment that my parents give me whenever I come home.  Why do they do it?  Because I went to college and have letters behind my name?  Doubtful – especially since I’m not even working outside the home, much the less in my chosen field.  Is it because I’m some famous person – not likely, considering my blog readership is less than 50 and I’m well-known only in the environs of my small town.

No, my parents are so good to me because I’m their kid.  The love me.  The do this same treatment for my brother, who is a great guy, although not nearly as cute as I am.  In other words, it’s grace.  We are treated well based purely on our relationship with our parents.

And it’s that way with God, too.  He loves us because He created us, not because of what we do.  It’s perfectly OK to come to Him even when we’ve messed up, even when we have neglected our prayer times, even when we question whether He exists.  He’s still there are He still loves us.  Even though we don’t deserve it.  It’s called grace.  And it’s amazing.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


It’s 12:20am on Thursday.  I leave on Monday to visit my family for a week and to leave my son for THREE MONTHS!!!!  And I have a migraine, my house is a mess, and Wild Man does not have all the clothes he needs!  Yes, I am overwhelmed.

And, people, I am letting my son drive across the country without me for THREE MONTHS!!  (insert hyperventilating sounds  here!)  Am I crazy?  Wait, don’t answer that.

I have my notebook on my desk open to the page with Wild Man’s packing list on it, and every time I go by, I see that Wild Man has been adding to it.  Which is actually good, since I only started with the clothes he needed.  Wild Man actually is listing out things like which books and video games he is planning on taking.

I found some lovely skirts at Lands End – and one really cool thing about ordering from Lands End and living where we live is that I can order one day and have them here either the next day or the day after, but I digress – and I ordered a black and a brown skirt.  They are really nice, cotton, ankle length skirts.  No, I’m not super-modest or anything, but when you wear an ankle-length skirt, you can get away with not shaving your legs for an extra day or so.  Anyway, when I got them, I thought I could make do with the brown, although it was more yellow-orange than I like.  On Sunday night, though, I was back on Lands End website and I found that they now had the khaki skirt in my size, so I ordered the khaki and, for good measure, the navy and had PWM return the brown one to Sears (quite convenient, by the way) when he took Rosie Girl to piano on Tuesday.

While they were at Sears, Rosie Girl found a bathing suit for Wild Man, so I actually don’t have to go shopping for Wild Man before we leave.  In a pinch, I can either shop for him in Florida or give the grandparents money to buy him clothes.  The main thing that he needed was a bathing suit so that he can swim as soon as we get to my parent’s house!  Rosie Girl also found herself a lovely suit – and hopefully, her growing has slowed down so that she can get two years of wear out of this one.

I’m a little (OK, a lot) frustrated with my migraines right now.  Unfortunately, we’ve had something like two or three weather systems come through right in a row and they have just done awful things to my head.

On a positive note, I finished Wild Man’s socks.  I’ve started a raglan sweater that I hope looks good because I am making up the pattern myself.  I am also working on a pair of socks and an entrelac headband with some yarn leftover from Christmas projects.

Wild Man went to the Nutrition Site by himself today.  I had a migraine and Rosie Girl was at school because they had a late start.  The folk there really wanted to see him today since it’s his last day before he’ll be gone for a long time.  We took a map that they’ll put on the wall and mark his progress.

Rosie Girl is all excited about dance recital which is in about three weeks.  It’s a bummer that Wild Man will miss it, but we’ll get a DVD for him.  It also sounds like Rosie Girl has finally decided that she’s going to audition for Show Choir next year, but definitely NOT for Madrigals because she only has time for one extracurricular choir.  If she makes it, the summer practice week is the same week that my family is coming to town, so we’ll have to make some arrangements for her to get to some or most of the rehearsals while not missing much family stuff.  It’ll all work out fine despite the teen drama that has already occurred!

PWM has been excellent this week in helping to get things done.  He’s been helping me get laundry taken care of as well as trying to figure out what shopping is essential.  Wild Man is going to be gone for a long time, but Grandma wants him to pack light, so there’s really not much to do until this weekend.  It just feels like there’s more to do than there is.

A certain amount of the overwhelmed feeling is simply from knowing that our “little boy” is going be to away from us for so long.  Last year, he was at camp for a week.  The year before that, he was with my parents for 10 days.  We’ve tried to have families that we trust that our kids can stay with so that PWM and I can have a night or weekend to ourselves every once in a while (especially important when I was working).  But this is much bigger.  So, I’m trying to get used to it.

I never knew my father’s parents – they both had died before I was born.  My mom’s mother died when I was seven.  My mom’s dad stayed with us several times, and I knew him better, but he was rather old – in his 80s – and he died when I was 12.  (My mom was the youngest of 12 children.)  I never had the chance that my children have to get to know their grandparents.  In fact, my kids knew their great-grandmother who just died last year in her 90s.  This opportunity for Wild Man is something that I never had, and he will, I hope, cherish.  He and Grandma will be a lot closer after three months on the road.

I’m sure I’ll still freak out on occasion.  But Wild Man is going to have a blast.  And Rosie Girl and I will have some fun this summer, too.  I want to get my kitchen and dining room painted.  Hopefully, we can get some things to grow in our garden and planters.  It will be good all the way around!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Saturday Links – May 8, 2010

Here are some links I’ve been enjoying – and I’m not talking sausage!!

How Animals Spend A Typical Day – some really fun pie graphs

Letter from the Tooth Fairy – I could have written this!

Helping The Spiritually Helpless – An excellent post on talking with family members dealing with end of life issues.

Bronte Sisters Action Figures – The literary world’s answer to Barbie?!

The first chapter of Mere Churchianity is available!

Cinco de Mayo LOLCat!

Hope you enjoy!!

Friday, May 07, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday – May 7, 2010

I’m actually getting this post done earlier than usual, but it’s because I’ve got such a bad headache.  Ugh.

1. The calendar may say that it’s springtime, but I don’t think anyone told the weather.  The high today is 48, so we are wearing sweatshirts and have the heater running again.

2. Speaking of cold weather, it looks like it’s time to have a funeral for the three cucumber plants.  They didn’t survive our little cold snap.  The good news is that they grow so quickly from seed that I can have PWM start another set while I’m gone and then put them outside when I get home.

3. I love cooking competition shows.  Right now, I watch Top Chef Masters and Chopped.  I’m looking forward to Next Food Network Star starting in June.  I also enjoy Top Chef, which I think is in the fall.  I love the energy of the young chefs in Top Chef, but I really don’t like that some of them have some arrogance and the language is quite inappropriate.  I often let Wild Man watch Top Chef Masters with me, but rarely let him watch Top Chef – largely because of the language issues.  I wonder if the older chefs have better language because of generational issues of if they “outgrow” it as they become more confident.

4. I made Paula Deen’s chocolate bread pudding on Wednesday night because I had insomnia.  It is soooooo rich and yummy!!

5. Rosie Girl has a piano Master Class today.  I would really like to go and hear her play and hear the instructor.  Rosie Girl is a little upset because the school’s writing club that she belongs to is having a writer come in and visit and Rosie Girl can’t be there because she was already signed up for the Master Class.

6. I’m loving my new laptop.  One of the nicest things was that my pictures and documents transferred from my desktop incredibly easily.  I love being able to just pull my laptop into my lap and look up whatever I need.

7. On Wild Man’s trip this summer, he is going to be with his Grandma who is Roman Catholic, while Wild Man has been raised in an Evangelical Free Church.  Wild Man has been to a Catholic Mass just once or twice that he can remember.  I’ve found a couple of online resources that I’m going to discuss with Wild Man before the trip so that he’s a little bit more familiar with the service and what the different things mean.  Any other recommendations?

Check out Conversion Diary to see what others are saying!!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Carpe Diem!

Rosie Girl and I watched “Dead Poets’ Society” this week and I was reminded of one of my favorite scenes.

Mr. Keating encourages his students to “seize the day” and “gather your rosebuds while ye may” because they are “food for worms, lads”.

But, is that all we are, “food for worms”?  Certainly, our bodies will decompose back into dust, but God has given humans souls and has “set eternity in the hearts of men” (Ecc. 3:11).  We are created in the image of God.  We can approach the “throne of grace with confidence” (Hebrews 4:16).  Doesn’t sound like vermiculture to me!

A friend and I were discussing this today at lunch.  As humans, we are created for eternity, so how does that impact our life on earth?  My friend said (and I agree with her) that our time on earth is “boot camp” for eternity.  This is where we get practice in loving God, serving others, and worshipping God.  Ephesians 5:15-16 reminds us to make the most of our time here on earth.

It’s something of a balancing act, isn’t it?  We look forward to Heaven (“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”  Colossians 3:3) but have the opportunity to serve God in the here and now and tell others the amazing news of the Kingdom of God.  In John 17, Jesus prayed to the Father that his followers would be in the world, but not of the world. No, it’s not either/or – it’s both/and.  We get to set our minds on things above, but keep our feet down here on the ground.

Yes, we are to seize the day!!  Take hold of today and do whatever God puts in front of you to do.  It won’t be the same as what God gives me or your next door neighbor.  Just do it!  And not because you are food for worms – but because you are destined for Heaven!!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

School Planning for 2010-2011

By this time in the Spring, I’m usually neck deep in curricula research and course planning.  This year – not so much.  Mostly, I’ve been getting ready for my and Christopher’s trip to Florida and getting the garden up and going.  Not only that, I’ve also pretty much had Rosie Girl’s high school curriculum planned, although we have made a few changes.

First of all, Wild Man’s 7th grade year:

  • Bible – not sure
  • History/Geography – Sonlight Core 5, but using Kingfisher World Geography as a spine (I think)
  • Science – Singapore Intermediate A supplemented with biographies of scientists
  • Spelling – All About Spelling
  • Writing – Institute for Excellence in Writing
  • Literature – Sonlight Readers
  • Grammar – Easy Grammar 5
  • Math – ALEKS and working with PWM
  • PE
  • Band – at the local middle school

And now Rosie Girl’s full high school plan.

9th grade (will all be completed by the first week of June):

  • Earth Science – work actually done in 8th grade, but it was high school level, so I’m giving her credit.
  • American HIstory – Sonlight Core 100
  • Biology 1 with lab – Singapore Biology with Castle Heights lab
  • Bible – Sonlight Bible
  • English 1
    • American Literature – Sonlight
    • Writing – Write at Home
    • Grammar – Daily Grams
  • Study Skills (1/2 credit)
  • Art – at the local high school
  • Choir – at the local high school
  • Piano – lessons at Lawrence Academy with other performances
  • Physical Education – tap class, regular exercise (1/2 credit)
  • Latin – PowerSpeak (1 semester, 1/2 credit)

9th grade summer courses

  • Algebra 1 – ALEKS (will be completed ASAP in the summer)
  • Japanese (She’s decided she wants to learn Japanese instead of Latin, so she has to do a full two years.)
  • Creative Writing (Rosie Girl wants to write a novel)

10th grade

  • Chemistry 1 – Singapore Chemistry with lab
  • History Since the Time of Christ – Sonlight Core 200
  • English 2
    • Literature – Sonlight
    • Writing – Essay writing workshop and research writing workshop with Write at Home, Creative writing
  • Bible – Old Testament Survey
  • Algebra 2
  • Art – at the local high school
  • Choir – at the local high school
  • Piano – lessons
  • Physical Education
  • Japanese

11th grade

  • Twentieth Century World History – Sonlight Core 300
  • English 3
    • Literature – Sonlight
    • Writing – Creative Writing, other assigned writing
  • Bible – New Testament Survey
  • Geometry
  • The Science of Music – a self-directed science course that Rosie Girl will make up on her own.
  • Art
  • Choir
  • Piano
  • Physical Education
  • Japanese
  • Driver’s education (1/2 credit)

12th grade

  • American Government – Hippocampus (1/2 credit)
  • Another 1/2 credit social science
  • British Literature (with writing) AP
  • Bible
    • Worldview course
    • 1 semester comparative religions
  • Trigonometry
  • Art
  • Choir
  • Piano

As always, Rosie Girl and I are free to make changes to her school schedule as needed.  For example, she has decided that she doesn’t really want to do the Fort Wilderness Marine Biology trip to Florida and would rather expand her self-directed music science course to a full credit course.

I’ve been very pleased with Rosie Girl’s growth in maturity this year.  She does a very good job now of making sure that she gets all of her work done by the end of the week, rarely having to squeak by late on Friday night.

Wild Man will probably learn as much about the US on his drive across the country with his grandmother this summer as we have learned from books and videos.  Nonetheless, I’m looking forward to doing Core 5 – Eastern Hemisphere.  The kids’ schoolwork will definitely be completely separate next year.

So, there’s the plan.  It’s subject to change, of course.  But this is what I’m thinking.  Any thoughts on where I can get a good curriculum for Rosie Girl to learn something beyond basic Japanese?

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Gardening Update – May 4, 2010

The lovely weather recently, coupled with the obvious impatience of the cucumber plants to be planted in their final containers, has gotten me and PWM outdoors to do some gardening.

I planted Cucumber Diva and Cucumber Sweet from Park Seed this year.  Both types were growing in the fiber pots (remember, we’re saving those peat bogs!!) like gangbusters.  I didn’t really want to plant them outdoors quite yet because it still gets a little chilly, but they gave us no choice.


We actually purchased two of the commercial Topsy Turvy planters this year since last year’s upside down growing experiment could have been more successful.  We decided to plant one Cucumber Diva in the Topsy Turvy and then one of each type of cucumber (one Diva and one Sweet) in ice cream buckets.  We chose ice cream buckets instead of the 5 gallon buckets that we used last year because they are smaller and we’ve seen yards where others are successfully growing plants in them.  We also used the Topsy Turvy planters to guide us to make some other changes, like making drainage holes in the bottom of the bucket and making a large watering hole in the top.


PWM putting the potting soil in the bag.


PWM watering the cucumber plant.


A gratuitous picture of PWM – isn’t he handsome!!


Yet another gratuitous picture of PWM.



PWM getting the ice cream bucket ready to be a cuke-growing receptacle.


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Our cucumber growing set-up!  

Inside the house, I have the tomatoes and all the other seeds growing except for the oregano (it’s too early), the pink petunias (I just got them today), and the things that will be sown directly into the ground. 

I think we will plan to sow the carrot and green bean seeds either right before or right after my trip to Florida.  Yesterday, Wild Man and I weeded the second SFG (square-foot garden) bed and today I turned over the dirt very well (and, carefully, around the strawberries).  The last frost date for this area is the middle of May, so next week would really be the earliest for the green beans and carrots, I think.  I kind of wish we had decided to grow onions.  If PWM and I do a box in his mother’s yard next door, I’d like to do it this fall and start some garlic.  So, lots of thoughts.


Rosie Girl’s raspberries are growing like there’s no tomorrow – they really are weeds around here.  In fact, we have to pull the now growth that comes up outside the box.  She says that we can expect berries this year on last year’s wood and that the bush will continue to spread to fill the box.  I’m taking her word for it – this is her project!!

That’s our gardening for this year so far.  So, what are you up to?  Post a comment or a link!!

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Thinking about Happiness

I just started reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  I wasn’t even sure I wanted to read it.  I mean, the idea of spending a year trying to be more happy sounds a little self-centered to me.  I was pleasantly surprised with how the author handled that criticism in the very first chapter.  I won’t tell you here, though – you have to read the book!

What got me thinking, though, was a quote from Aristotle that she includes: “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.”  Really?  The first question in the Westminster Shorter Catechism is “What Is the chief end of man?  To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”  (Here are the scripture references to support this.)  These seem like contradictory statements.

One of John Piper’s well-known books is Desiring God.  In it, he argues for a theory he calls “Christian hedonism”, stating that “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him”.  If we really love and treasure God, then we will give Him all the glory and honor.

In a way, then, Aristotle is correct.  The meaning and purpose of my life is to love and follow Jesus which is the thing that gives me the most happiness in life.

Thoughts?  Did I make sense?

Saturday, May 01, 2010

The Birthday Cake Kerfuffle

First of all, I LOVE the word “kerfuffle”.  I use it as much as possible, so even though the event I am about to relate affected only myself in the long run, I am still going to call it a “kerfuffle”.  Because I can.

With all the crazy weather we’ve had around here and my poor track record with migraines in the last few weeks, I made a very simple plan for Wild Man’s birthday cake.  He is quite interested in the Blue Angels and is probably going to get to see them perform this summer on his trip across the US.  His only cake specification was that it be a chocolate cake with vanilla (NOT buttercream) icing and that it be a 2 layer round cake.

I went ahead and made the cake Friday night.  I also frosted it with vanilla icing from a can that Wild Man had picked at the grocery store.  Things were going well.  Next, I went to Wild Man’s Paper Airplane A Day Calendar which he thought was cool, but doesn’t actually use.  I found the pattern and instruction pages for the F/A-18 Hornet in blue, just like the planes used by the Blue Angels.  Plans were in motion.  I prayed fervently for no migraine and went to bed.

All looked to be going well Saturday morning.  I had a mild headache that seemed to be under control with my meds.  The party attendees arrived on time.  PWM loaded up Wild Man, Rosie Girl, and the three other boys into the van to go to Chuck E. Cheese for a few hours of pizza and games, leaving me at home to finish up the cake decoration and gift wrapping.  My confidence level was high.

I had a few minutes of panic when I couldn’t find the pattern and instruction pages, but I eventually located them.  The next task was to copy the pattern so that I could make several planes or have a back-up if I made a mistake.  I went to our new copier/scanner/printer and realized I might be in trouble – too many buttons and I had never used any of them.  I followed my nose, though, and put the paper in the autofeed tray, pushed the color copy button, and, lo and behold, a color copy was made.

This may have been my downfall.  I think the copy machine success made me cocky.  After I successfully made three (three!!) copies of the pattern, I sat down at the table and went to folding.  Thirty minutes later, all I had was a pile of paper on the table.  Pardon my arrogance, but I have two bachelor’s degrees and a doctorate degree and I could not fold a blasted paper airplane!!  How could this be?!  I gave it one last try, but finally decided that my 12 years of higher education were for naught because that paper airplane was just not happening!

After some Facebook venting (and thank you FB friends for not immediately chiding me for my silliness), I went to Plan B which involved a foam toy airplane of my son’s on top of the cake with decorations around it.  Mind you, the foam plane appears to be an F-14, which is also a Navy plane, but it is clearly not an F/A-18, nor is it blue.  Nonetheless, I made some blue icing, did some very basic decorations (because I was now running out of time), threw the gifts in some gift bags, and had the kitchen clean before the birthday boy made it back from Chuck E. Cheese.

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All’s well that ends well, even with a paper airplane kerfuffle!!  And now, I’m going to get some well-deserved rest!!

(And this cake had sure better not show up on Cake Wrecks!!)

Wild Man Turns 12!!

12 years ago today, Wild Man made his entrance into this world!!  And today, we celebrated those 12 years!

Wild Man and his friends went to Chuck E. Cheese for games and pizza.

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While they were gone, I decorated the cake (which is a whole ‘nuther story!).

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They came home for cake, presents, and play.

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And a good time was had by all!!