Wednesday, May 31, 2006

This and That

What an awful day for people with allergies. I presume it is cottonwood trees that produce those white fluff balls that make it look like it's snowing; well, it was snowing hard today. And of course it was practically a blizzard right by my husband's office. I was miserable the whole time I was outside, which of course today had to be a lot. Had to drop my husband off at work, go buy cat food, go to Latin class, go to lunch with husband, then go back later and pick up husband, stop at the auto parts store, drop something off for Girl Scouts on the way home. My poor eyes looked and felt awful and I am scratching layers of skin off of my legs and feet. Maybe I should try over-the-counter Claritin. Benadryl works great but also knocks me out cold for hours. Not very useful when you have to be out driving.

Did you hear the juicy news that a U.S. President has close financial ties with the Bin Laden family??? Oh wait, it's Jimmy Carter. Never mind! You know, I didn't have much personal opinion of him as a President, seeing as I was in grade school when he was in office. But the more I hear of him, the more I think he is a disgrace to the title of United States President and to the name of Christian. I consider him a traitor to this country. He repulses me. H/t to Emperor Darth Misha I for the link.

Oh, and Emily, I know where Drury Lane is! It's near Chicago, right by my husband's office where he worked last year. I have proof:

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

In a Snarky Mood

Like the Indians don't have enough problems, one of the members of the bullpen gets arrested. Honestly, I don't understand all the drinking and drugging with these pro athletes. And running away and hiding in the bushes? What's up with that? And all the news over LeBron James' mother's DUI arrest, and getting driving privileges restored to get to work. Hello, when your son is LeBron Freakin' James, why not just get mom a car and a driver? Not that I think the court should have ordered that. But seriously, when you or a family member is making so much it's like you're printing out money in your basement, why not just get a limo when you're going to get plastered? As for the NFL, it could almost stand for the National Felon's League.

And to complete my snark for the day. The Amish: Doing Jobs Americans Won't Do.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Thankful Beyond Measure

I am so very thankful that there have been brave men willing to die for our country, so that I have the incredibly blessed life I am living, and that my daughters have a future of opportunities. There are always things to improve, but we have the ability and the freedom to work for better things in the future, and much to enjoy right now. I thank God for bringing my ancestors here, and hope my life and my children's lives will have made some small difference too.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Share the Love

My Evil Influence(tm) is spreading, bwahahaha! Presbytera now has her own blog! Go on over and check out Pistol Packin' Presbytera, as well as Theo[logical] Universe. Me, I am going to stay cool and enjoy the quiet of not having kids for the day! That and try not to think about the Indians game. :(

Saturday, May 27, 2006

My Name *Is* Barb

but I am not that Barb! Let me 'splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up. There is a well-known Lutheran named Barb who resides here in Greater Cleveland with her husband, a well-known Lutheran pastor. As a matter of fact, he is a pastor at the church my family attends! Anyway, a few people who have visited here have mistakenly thought I was Presbytera, as she goes by when she comments on blogs. So to clear up any misunderstandings, here is a picture of me, Barb the Evil Genius, with my alter ego, Presbytera Barb.

This pic was taken last night, when we gathered at the home of our pastor and his lovely wife for a "homeschooler's picnic" in honor of a homeschooling family from out of town, who is in Cleveland for a wedding. I didn't get as many pictures of this event as I wanted, but I did get a couple.

How many Lutherans does it take to start a grill?

The adorable little Lutheran kidlets at play in the sandbox.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Love Is

Love is: pulling up a clover plant, roots and all (including a little excess dirt) for the pretty yellow flower, and leaving it on your mommy's laptop. On the mousepad.

Love is: telling your daughter "Thank you" for the lovely flower. And leaving it at that.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Is This Wrong?

The Evil Genius is grumbling to herself. She hasn't been feeling well all day, but it's evening and she's perked up some. However, the Scientist doesn't have a clean shirt for tomorrow, and we have to go out bright and early tomorrow morning because the Scientist has Latin class, taught by one of our pastors. But the Evil Genius really doesn't feel like doing laundry. Then, she has a brilliant idea. She has lots of nice new knit fabric, as the Scientist needs new shirts anyway. So instead of doing laundry, the Evil Genius just goes to her sewing machine and makes a new shirt, thus forgoing laundry for another day. Woo hoo!

By the way, my husband went grocery shopping, cooked dinner, served it to me in bed, took out the garbage and helped the Scientist study her Latin this evening. So all you whiny feministas can just head right back outta here!

While I'm making confessions, I might as well confess that my husband is much better at teaching the Scientist in some subjects than I am. They think alike in a lot of ways, whereas I can just get really frustrated and not know how to get through to her. But my husband works full time, whereas I am at home all day. At least in some subjects, I really wish I could have outside help. But then I don't know that a lot of the schools around here would do a better job. I know our local public schools wouldn't, certainly. Nothing to do but keep moving ahead, and look for options.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Looking Forward to a Better Home

I was running on auto-pilot for the last four days, but I think it is just because I was tired. My husband has to be in to work earlier, and I had to drive him every day, so I had to get up earlier too. It was just harder adjusting to a different schedule, I think. I am feeling better today, and ready to face a new week. I have a lot to do! I am frustrated with myself because I haven't been getting as much sewing done as I wanted. But I've made progress in other areas, so it's not all bad.

This story really angers me. Those Mexicans have a lot of chutzpah, don't they? I'm wondering how much longer our government will keep being patient with Mexico. I really can't see how it's just about cheap labor; I keep thinking there must be something else behind it. In the meantime, I guess the best our family can do is not buy products made in Mexico, just like we already try to avoid products made in China. Oh, and we can mow our own lawn. BA-DUM-BUM.

It's good to know that God is sovereign, because there are so many things that could affect my family, and so little I can do about many of them. Thinking about it though, we do have a lot more freedom than other countries to prepare ourselves for the future, whatever it may hold. For one thing, my husband was able to get an education in the field he wanted, I was able to get an education, and we are able now to educate our own children. We need to pray for wisdom to make the right decisions now, and train our children to be good citizens of this country, and most importantly let them be nurtured through God's word towards being citizens in heaven.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

And a Good Time Was Had By All

Well, the house is quiet again. Our three guests are home, probably as tired out as we are! The weather was not very cooperative; tonight was the first time it was not gray and rainy. Still, we did a lot inside, and took a little field trip this morning. I have some pictures to share with you!

The kids at breakfast this morning; we had delicious pancakes made by my dear husband.

The kids at the Lake Erie Nature and Science Center, where we went this morning. We got to see lots of neat animals, and the kids had fun crawling through this log.

What the Scientist and the two boys did inside this afternoon. Believe it or not, the LEGO collection is my husband's. He is an Adult Fan of LEGO, and Brikwarrior is his site. The name comes from the game Brikwars, a war game using LEGO brand mini-figs, weapons, and scenery. Meanwhile, Wildchild and her little friend played princess, tea party, and similar fun games.

Playing croquet, after the rain stopped. We also finally got to follow through with our plan of roasting hot dogs and making s'mores. Yeah!

My husband and I were honored to be entrusted with someone else's kids for a few days! If you want to find out what the kids' parents were up to, check out Die Schreiben von Schreiber in a few days or so. We're thankful for all the fun we had, and hope all the kids had fun too.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

What I Did for Mother's Day

Picked up a few extra kids! Seriously, we are watching three children that belong to a couple from church. The kids are already good friends with our two and play together well. So my husband and I volunteered a few weeks ago to take care of them while their parents go to a church-deacon-related retreat in Michigan with another couple from church. We have them until Tuesday evening. I will try to get some good pictures to put up, but if I don't post, you know I'm busy! :)

I got taken to lunch after church, and before our three guests got dropped off. That was nice. We also went out to dinner yesterday to celebrate my husband's birthday. I have to get a picture taken of him with his present! Right now, I'm really tired, so no more wit from me tonight. Hope all the moms out there had a good day.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Like, Totally Cool

I just, like, wanted to share this picture of my youngest daughter, henceforth to be known on this blog as WildChild. She put the whole outfit together herself, including hairdo, when she got dressed in the morning. I had to take a picture as I found it reminiscent of that golden era of the 80's. Anyone else think so? Anyone? Buehler? Buehler?

Today was the first humid and "sticky" day this year, and I ended up spending a good bit of the afternoon feeling dizzy and nauseous. Still, there were some good things today. My eldest daughter, henceforth to be known on this blog as the Scientist, had Latin class. That was enjoyable as usual. Discussion ranged from the history of the Cymry to the Punic Wars. We did miss the regular presence of some of the members of the Homestead Lutheran Academy, who only arrived at the very end due to other obligations.

The girls also got to spend time with some of their other friends, and I got to spend time with a mom friend (yay!) and lunch with the whole gang and my husband at my husband's place of employ, which has a kickin' cafeteria. Then we came home and WildChild and I had NailPolishPalooza with our new nail polish I just got today. For all that she is a bundle of energy, activity and mischief (hence the nickname WildChild) she is also very much a girly-girl. I enjoy sharing this with her, as I am a girly-girl as well. It's interesting to see how so many of my husband's and my traits, personality quirks and yes, flaws, are coming out in our children, in so many different ways. It's like our traits were put together in a jar, shaken up, and distributed randomly to our daughters! Well, one of the joys of being a parent is discovering the personality behind that cute baby face!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Auto Adventures and Remembering the Past

My husband spent a good bit of the weekend working on our car, with the help of a neighbor across the street, who is a mechanic and also taking more classes in auto mechanics. One of the neighbor's friends (also in mechanic school) was also here for several hours with them. Turns out that the problems we were having with the power steering belt were somehow causing the car not to start. And the problem with the power steering belt was caused by the air conditioning pump seizing up. It seemed like the battery was causing the problems, but that turned out not to be the case. Ah, good times.

I am thankful that those two guys were here to help my husband. Also, our neighbor said he would check out the possiblity of using our van as a "learning experience" at their school. We would just have to provide the parts and they would provide the labor to gain more experience. That would be wonderful, so wonderful that I am trying hard not to think about it in case it doesn't happen, although I have prayed about it throughout the course of the day.

The last American survivor of the Titanic has died. She was also the last person with any memories of the event, as the two British survivors still living were under a year old at the time of the disaster. Poor Lillian lost her father, her twin brother and two other brothers. Here is what she looked like in 1912.

My husband and I were just talking the other night about how people in our time like to dress up and pretend to live in other eras. I find the story of the Titanic intriguing, yet somehow this seems almost macabre. I wouldn't mind dressing up in Titanic era clothes (although not the hobble skirt.) But playing at being on the Titanic with a dainty tea seems in a way disrespectful to the suffering that would later occur, although two of the participants are quoted as being able to better understand the passengers and their feelings. Well, maybe it's just me.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Strong Fences Make Good Neighbors

Certainly not a popular quote today, judging by my quick research to double-check that I had it written correctly. We are to be tolerant, open to all viewpoints, multicultural, full of "positive emotional energy." Pfaugh! Complete and utter nonsense! As confessional Lutherans, for example, we know that God has given us His truth in His Word. As humans still in a sinful condition, we won't always follow this truth, but we always need to look to His Word for the truth, certainly not to other sinful humans. So we need to create a fence, to block out that which would come in to corrupt us, and cling only to God's Word and Sacrament.

On a worldly corollary, my church building also has fences, to help protect the property from being defaced and destroyed. I have gotten the impression over the years that many who claim to follow Christ look rather askance at property rights. Perhaps this comes from the early believers in Acts who chose to live together and share everything among each other. I think more often, we are told to be good stewards of what God has given us. Does this mean throwing our property to the four winds? No, we need fences, walls, locked doors and gates to protect and take care of that which God has given us.

This quote occurred to me originally in conjunction with the current problems on our southern border. I thought there would be more protests today, it being a Hispanic holiday. I should have known that the socialist and communist groups quietly organizing things behind the scenes would instead choose the communist holiday of the first of May. In any case, the fact that we are letting so many people come into this country illegally completely disgusts me. While some argue that building an actual, physical fence along our entire border is not logistically, practically possible, we must have some way to protect the citizens of this country. Letting landowners along the border protect their own property would be a start. If the rights and privileges of being a citizen of this country are not worth protecting, they will soon be not worth having. God help us all when that time comes.

This means something to me on a personal level right now as well, however. I have been battered emotionally for many years by outside family members. Now I am receiving protests and nasty words because I have chosen to retreat for a time. I have locked myself behind a fence to protect myself, my children, my husband, my marriage. My family, the four of us that share these walls, are most important to me. The family is our foundation here on earth. Without it, we have nothing, so I have to protect it first and foremost.

We cannot as Christians always hide behind walls and fences. Sometimes with God's help we must ride forth and do battle with the forces of evil and darkness. But I thank God that we have places of safety, that He protects and shields us through this life. I think fences and boundaries are essential to surviving with others in this world.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Moving Forward

About time I updated you on the exciting doings around here! :) It must be Girl Scout hike week. My youngest daughter is going on a hike tonight with her Brownie troop. My eldest daughter is going on a hike this Saturday with her Junior troop to learn about geocaching. I had thought last fall that it would be fun to have one of our closest friends help us with this. He was an ardent geocacher, with over a thousand caches found. Sadly, that friend passed on suddenly later that same fall. My thoughts about him are in my blog archives. BTW, his "geocacher name" was SherwoodForest.

More car troubles: the one car we have running has a broken power steering belt. My husband is working on it; it's not hard but 'tis time consuming. Also it prevents me from driving the car until it is fixed. And yet despite the fact that we haven't gone anywhere since Saturday, my eldest daughter has managed to pick up a cold! Caught it from a neighbor kid somehow, I suppose.

It helps me to rant to ya'll about the car. Everyone has these problems, of course, but it's a release to share it with you when it's my problem. What else is a blog for but to dump your frustrations? Oh yeah, and share cute pictures of your pets/children/house plants.

I found at least one place where my daughter can take ballet this summer, so I think she'll do that. My other daughter will probably take theater again this summer. She took classes last summer and fall. I'm impressed with her ability to perform in front of others; she was also involved in a couple of piano recitals when she studied piano. Now my younger daughter, the wild rambunctious one, is much more nervous about doing things in public! We're working on it though. I explained to her that it is good for her. Most everybody has to perform or present in public at some point or another. I wish I had gotten better at it younger.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Family Doings

Saturday evening was the first of my youngest daughter's interclass "meets" in gymnastics. She did well and had fun. They were "judged" based on their own performance, not ranked against others. She got red ribbons (second best) in bars, balance beam and floor, and a blue ribbon (best) in "vault," which for her skill group actually consists of running up to a little trampoline at full speed and jumping off of it. Guess they have to start somewhere! I'm throwing in some pictures, one of which was taken after the event. She'll have another "meet" again near the end of May.

The gym where she takes classes is also where many of the high-level gymnasts in the area train. One of the owners of the gym coaches the Magnificat High School girls' gymnastic team, which did very well again this year. Sometimes when my daughter is taking classes, some of the older girls are practicing as well, and it is fun to watch the more complicated moves!

My husband and I were not feeling our best yesterday, but Gino did build a fire last night in our fire bowl/dish/pit. It was our first one this year. I look forward to making lots of yummy hot dogs and s'mores! Last night we had delivery pizza around the fire. Like I said, we weren't feeling our best! :) We're cooking hot dogs tonight. I can't wait! It's been such a beautiful day!