Archive - September 2008

1
My Favorite Things
2
Celebrating the Archangels
3
Much Accomplished
4
Let the Games Begin
5
Too Busy
6
The Wall of Riley
7
Four Years
8
Staircase Bookshelf
9
Random Thoughts
10
Philip’s Story

My Favorite Things

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens…

Well, those may be some of Maria Von Trapp’s favorite things, but for a list of my favorite home school things, come read my post at The Homeschool Classroom here: My Favorite Things.

And speaking of The Homeschool Classroom, we’re looking for some guest writers.  If you’d like to write one or more posts about homeschooling, please visit this post for more information: Have You Ever Wished You Could Be a Guest Writer?

Celebrating the Archangels

Last week our homeschool group celebrated Michaelmas, which is now not only the feast of St. Michael, but of all the angels.

I asked Charlotte at Waltzing Matilda if she had any coloring pages of the archangels, and she made a beautiful one of St. Michael just for us! The children thought it was very cool that she made it for us – thank you, Charlotte!  Be sure to visit her blog for more saint coloring pages.  They’re listed in her sidebar and she has St. Gabriel and St. Raphael now, too.

Later we had dessert.  Angel’s food cake, of course!  With whipped cream wings.

And devil’s food cake cupcakes, too!

St. Michael just happens to be our family’s patron saint, so we will also be celebrating his feast day this Monday at home.  One project on our list is this coloring page that Charlotte helped me find, which has both the prayer to St. Michael and a picture to color:  St. Michael.  We’ll also talk about Le Mont St Michel, which is dear to my heart because Philip and I stayed there during our honeymoon.  St. Aubert of Avranches founded the abbey there after being told to do so by Michael the Archangel in a dream.  When he didn’t do it, Michael bore a hole into Aubert’s skull with his finger.   That got his attention enough and he had the abbey built.

Traditional dinner fare for Michaelmas is roast goose, but while the geese are plentiful on base, I’m not up to catching, cleaning and cooking one.  I’m thinking roast chicken instead.

Much Accomplished

Our first Brownie meeting of the year is out of the way and I can feel the weight being lifted off my shoulders. It’s amazing the amount of work that goes into the planning and execution of one simple meeting. The girls seemed to enjoy themselves and that’s the main thing. One girl who is new to our troop said that she didn’t have much fun in her Brownie troop last year, but this year was going to be much better, she could tell already.

It could have been the s’mores we made in the microwave that convinced her, but that’s the kind of feedback I like hearing!

So as we start our new Girl Scout year, my co-leader from last year and I got together to finish up our financial report from last year. Despite book keeping on my part that amounted to me tossing bank statements and receipts into a folder and writing a cryptic note about Girl Scouts owing me $55, we got our checkbook, bank statements and financial report to all match up exactly. So I just mail that little form off and forget about it until next year.

We did notice that our troop is lacking a receipt book which would have solved the question of the $86 discrepancy a lot sooner than we managed to figure it out. So I’ll add that to my shopping list. I’m not sure how I got made treasurer anyway.

When we were pretty much done with the number crunching, we sent our children off to play at the park. Not 10 minutes later I got a call from Pumpkin Girl on the two-way radio saying that Bip was stuck in the swing. So off the park went Jenn and I to unstick stuck Bip. Then we stayed and chatted at the park.

I really like being outside in the Fall. It’s been overcast and rainy the last two days, but not too chilly. Chilly enough though, for the first soup of the season, served up in our pumpkin tureen. Fall – I love it!

Oh, but wait – I forgot! As Jen was gathering up her children to leave, I saw Philip walking up to the house with another Army guy. It was our friend George who was in Iraq, then Afghanistan and is now on his way to Italy. I guess he showed up at Philip’s office and they came home for lunch. What a fun surprise.

George stayed for lunch and managed to keep from laughing too much over our children. They regaled him by quoting Thomas Paine, using “crossed the Rubicon” in a sentence and singing the countries of Southern Europe.

What a good day. I even got a nap.

Let the Games Begin

Boo had his first soccer game of the season last night.  Wow, what a great time!

His uniform this year is orange and black and the team chose the name “Mustangs.”  Mustangs is a good name, but it has nothing to do with the color of their jerseys.  My suggestions were the Pumpkin Heads or Orange Julius, with the battle cry, “Hail Caesar!” Alas, my suggestions were voted down.


Here they are, waiting for the game to start.  They’ve got nifty player’s benches on the sidelines this year.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that Boo is not the smallest person on his team this year.  I have to admit that I worry about him and his size because he’s a boy.  But it looks like all the eating and sleeping he’s been doing all summer has caused him to keep up with his age peers.

What did surprise me was his increase in athletic ability.  Athletic ability has never been his strong suit and for his first two years of soccer, nobody was all that good so it didn’t matter.  The next two years saw the increase of the skills of his fellow players, but he was only OK.  He had a real stick-to-it-ness, though, and a happy go lucky spirit that made his team mates like him.  His best skill was his ability to charge at an opposing player and cause them to panic and kick the ball before they were ready.

This year he started the game at center half back, in a slightly different line up than I’ve seen before.  His job was to play offense when his team had the ball, defense when they didn’t and to be ready on the left, right and center at all times.  In other words, he was to run like crazy.


(He’s on the right in this picture, looking like he’s running on air)

That boy was amazing.  Wherever the ball was, there was Boo.  He wasn’t a ball hog, though, and passed to teammates who were open, and fell back to receive passes when he wasn’t needed.  He would come from out of nowhere to take control of the ball.  At one point the opponents had the ball and were running towards the goal.  Boo came running from behind, down 3/4 of the length of field, overtook the player with the ball and stole it.

During a lull in the action, the coach called out,”Boo!  Are you ok?  Are you hurtin’?”  Boo shook his head, but the coach pulled him out for a breather.  Other than those 5 or 10 minutes, he played the whole game.

Check out this great picture I got of him.  What a game face!  Go ahead and click on the picture to enlarge it and be scared of that face.  How would you like to see that charging down the field at you?

The first game tied at 1-1, not that we’re keeping score or anything.  But it’s good to open the season with a non-loss.

Here’s Boo coming through the Victory Tunnel of Parents.  We should have those at the Olympics.

Too Busy

The last day of summer. Finally. And now our Fall schedule is going to kick into high gear this week with the start of Cub Scouts and Brownies.  Philip and I failed to plan out scout year over the summer like we thought we would and both of us ended up delaying our first meetings.  Now we’re both in a frenzy of pouring over our respective scout books, complaining, emailing, complaining, typing up plans and complaining.  Fortunately the weather has been nice enough to send the children outside so we can gripe work in peace.

I’ve been wrestling with the list of Brownie Try-Its to weed out the ones I don’t hate and the ones we did last year.  Then I’m plugging them into the schedule based on how intense the projects are and what resources are needed.  I’m hoping to get at least a little parent involvement this year because with this being my 3rd year in a row as a Girl Scout leader, I’m more than a little worn out.

It’s all good, though.  If I can get most of the intense planning done now I can cruise through the rest of the year.  I’m very much into planned spontaneity.  If I have a good plan, I am comfortable with deviating from it, knowing what the desired outcome is.  Lack of planning drives me nuts, though.  With no plan at all I’ll end up with a headache and an overwhelming urge to eat a whole package of Oreo cookies.  Double stuff.  With milk.

I’m also looking over the plans for our Catholic homeschool group and noticing I’m the only one who came up with crafts and therefore I find myself as the craft lady of the group. Again. It was my brilliant idea to make Martinmas lanterns using glass jars and to host a Martinmas lantern walk ending up at my house for cookies and hot chocolate.  Doesn’t that sound fun?  What if I told you that the very next day we’re getting on a plane and going to Disneyworld.

I did the same thing to myself last year and organized a through-the-mail Jesse Tree Craft Swap that needed to be completed before we left for our Disney Cruise. I don’t know what I was thinking.  File it under “It Sounded Like a Good Idea At the Time.”

I think I can pull off the Martinmas festivities, though.  First, I’m ditching the glass jar idea.  While a little more complicated, we can make the lanterns out of paper.  Safer and easier to carry on a stick.  Second, I’ll provide the house and the hot chocolate but I’m going to ask each family to bring a couple dozen cookies.  If I plan well, I can have the house neat and tidy for a party and we’ll be pretty much all packed that night.  I know no one will stay much past 9 pm, so we’ll still have the evening to finish packing.

That’s my plan anyway.  We’ll see how it goes.

Oh and it’s soccer season, too.  Since no one asked for my helping planning the schedule, this year we have Wednesday night games in addition to and sometimes instead of the Saturday games.  I don’t know why.

I also worked on a sewing project with Pumpkin Girl, knit 3 pumpkin hats and still managed to cook dinner all week.  Today I even moved furniture around all by myself.  I am woman, hear me… yawn.

About the only thing I haven’t done this week is get nominated for Vice President.  I just don’t have the time.

The Wall of Riley

So what do you do after a day like Monday?  You put it out there, such a tragic event, and then just coming back to the ol’ blog with my usual upbeat self seems strange.  But that’s how life is sometimes.  It knocks you flat and you get up and just keep swimming, just keep swimming.

Monday actually turned out quite badly, but for reasons totally unrelated to Becca.  Let’s blame it on Boo, shall we?  He’s reached a stage where he churns out his school work quickly in order to be done and free for the day.  Let’s just say it’s not his best work.  I really don’t think he cares.  I’m whipping out Lecture 15: I Just Don’t Know What To Do With You Anymore and he’s got this totally zoned out look on his face.  Um, excuse me? You may NOT look at me like that until you are at least 12.

And all of a sudden I have great empathy for my dad.  Because if that’s the way I looked at him during his lectures, then good grief, it’s a wonder he didn’t haul off and pop me one.   What he did instead will live in legend forever.

After getting good and fed up with my teenage self, my dad would start in on Lecture 3a:  Heed Me Now or Be Grounded Later.  I, caring about as much as Boo cares about his handwriting, would have totally tuned him out and was pondering greater things like which shoes to wear the next morning and when the next Duran Duran video might be on MV3.  No, not really.  I was actually listening in case he called a pop quiz and wanted me to tell him what he just said.  But I’m pretty sure I looked like I was zoning out because out of the blue my dad would turn away from me and yell, “HELLO, WALL!” and would go marching off.

I was smart and kept my mouth closed, but inside I was thinking – what?  What’s that all about?  I really think he’s losing it this time.  Oh well, I guess I can go.

And I’d retreat to my room to listen to Duran Duran albums.  I’m talking actually record albums here, of course, this being the early ’80s in all its big-hair glory.

Another lecture I got often was something about Living the Life of Riley.  My dad lost me as soon as this one started.  First off, who is Riley?  And why am I living his life?  I didn’t think he was a teenage girl growing up in Southern California, but you never know.  This was back before Al Gore invented the Internet, so to find out about who this Riley person was would have required actual effort on my part.  And you have to give me huge credit for not asking my dad who Riley was.

Of course, pondering Riley and his life while my dad was talking would have caused my eyes to glaze over, prompting my dad to give up and go talk to the walls again.

So here I am all these years later with a girl who is a Mini Me in almost every way and a boy who at almost 10 years old is causing me to wonder if I’m talking to the walls.  I looked up Life of Riley, too.  If that boy isn’t living it, I don’t know who is!  Speaking of which, it’s high time I started school and another round of lectures.

Pray for me, I’m going in!

Staircase Bookshelf

This bookshelf sits in our staircase and it’s been a real eyesore.

No excuses for this.  It’s just become a place to shove anything that should be put away. It’s needed attention for awhile now.   This time I did not pull everything off the shelves like I should.  First I cleared away everything sitting on the floor in front of the bookshelf.  Then starting with the bottom shelf, I made the point of at least touching each item and removing anything that didn’t belong.  You’d be amazed at what was crammed in these shelves!  Gift bags, angel wings and a sheep costume, just to name a few.

All the obvious stuff removed, I figured out which shelves would hold what.  Craft books for the top shelf, cook books and reference type stuff on the 3rd shelf, piano music on the bottom.  Everything else fit in on the other shelves.

The very top was cleared off and I poked around the house looking for decorative items that weren’t being used anywhere else.  I commited HGTV’s number one decorating mistake by using fake ivy in the basket, but too bad.  I kill ivy.  Philip says ivy fears me.  If I’d stuck real ivy up there, it would have been a dry, crunchy, spider mite infested mess within a month.   On the far right (click on the picture, then enlarge to see it) is a wine bottle sleeve that I bought at Michaels.  It’s holding all my knitting needles.  Up there they are quickly accessible and now they are decorative, too.

Random Thoughts

Boo was born in a Houston hospital while we were living in Sugar Land, TX.  Even though it’s going to get slammed by Hurricane Ike, Sugar Land is not under mandatory evacuation.  Apparantly their hurricane plan is to “hunker down.”  I’m glad we’re not stationed there right now.

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Why are girls so complicated?  What’s with all  the drama?  Why can’t they just grunt and nod at each other like boys?

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Prejudice hurts.

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Why are all my pregnant friends and family having boys?  I have so many patterns for cute baby girl hats and I don’t get to use any of them!

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Pumpkin Girl’s ballet shoes cost me $25 this year.  She’d better not outgrow them before the recital in June!  The owner of her dance studio fit her himself and he recommended the slightly bigger size, then tightened them up for her.  He’s been doing this for 25 years, so hopefully he knows what he’s doing.

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I made zucchini bread today.  The recipe was for 2 loaves, but I only have one loaf pan.  So I poured the whole batter into one square baking pan and made zucchini bread cake.  We’ve already eaten 3/4 of it.

Philip’s Story

I remember this day seven years ago.  It was an absolutely beautiful day.  The sun was shining, there was a slight breeze and the temperature was mild.

My husband called to tell me that he was ok.  “Of course you are,” I said.  “Everything’s going on in New York.”

Then he informed me that one of his co-workers had seen a plane hit the Pentagon.  Not a minute later, the newscast  I was watching starting showing the evacuation of the White House, a black plume of smoke visible in the background.  It took several more minutes of speculation before they were confirming what Philip had told me.

This part of the story is unremarkable. The part that really gives you cause to stop and contemplate the hand of God is that Philip was supposed to be at the Pentagon that day.

When he started his job in July 2001, his office was located in an office building in Crystal City, not far from the physical structure of the Pentagon.  He was assigned to one of the many departments temporarily displaced by the renovation of the Pentagon, but they were planning on moving in to their new office space in August.  His first week at the new job he told me he wouldn’t bother bringing in his box of office decorations because they’d be moving in a month.

Well, government contractors aren’t known for their ability finish a job on time and to standard, so it was no surprise when the August move-in date was pushed back until October 2001.  Perhaps you remember that one reason that the Pentagon didn’t suffer more casualties was because the plane hit the empty offices that were awaiting renovation.

Later Philip brought home a map showing the parts of the building hit by the plane and destroyed by fire.  Those that his department would have been sitting in were destroyed.

The hand of God, right there.  It was not yet Philip’s time to go.

So yes, I remember this day seven years ago.  But harder still, I remember this day four years ago.  It was the beginning of the end.  Every year I think I’ll be ok and make it through without crying.

Maybe next year.

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