Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Let's Talk Books!

A couple of weeks ago I was at the home of the Pistol Packin' Presbytera and was browsing through a homeschool catalog she had out. I saw a book in there entitled Ballet Shoes, which I had read as a child and enjoyed very much. I'd almost forgetten about it, but now I want my daughters to read it! I thought it might be fun to talk about some not-so-famous books that you enjoyed and want to share with others.

Another book I enjoyed as a child was Twenty and Ten, by Claire Huchet Bishop. It is a story about children at a Catholic school in France hiding some Jewish children among them during WWII. It's an introduction to the Holocaust without the more mature themes of life in a concentration camp, etc. This book does not seem to be available for purchase at all anymore, so I think we will have to find it at the library.

Which is another topic of conversation! Do you need to own all your books, or can you take them out of the library? I feel the need to own books, because I like to re-read books and because we are terrible about taking books back to the library! (blushes) I think our home needs some built-in bookshelves!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Lions and Tigers and Bloggers! Oh My!

The Quilter and I took our offspring to the zoo today. Actually, the Quilter had kindly (if insanely) taken my two girls home after church yesterday, so I met them at the zoo. We didn't see everything at the zoo, but we did visit the exhibit where you could reach into the water and touch stingrays and small sharks. The exhibit closes after Labor Day, and this was the last "free Monday" of the season for those who live in Cuyahoga County, where the zoo is located, so we took advantage of it. We also saw some other fun animals, including some fellow confessional Lutherans! Theo(logical) Universe was there with two of his children and his father the Pistol Packin' Presbyter, who really ought to get his own blog! Die-Hard Equestrian was also representing the blogging crowd, but since she has the Curse of the Photographer as well, she took the picture.

After Cedar Point on Friday, the zoo today, and spending Saturday afternoon and evening with my in-laws who were up for a soccer game my nephew played in town (he attends Cardinal Mooney High School), I'm ready for a rest!!!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Ride On!

Yesterday was Homeschool Day at Cedar Point. An excellent opportunity: cheaper admission, refillable drink cups, meal tickets and a less crowded park. The Pistol Packin' Presbyter and Presbytera were able to make the trip with us. The Presbyter and I rode the Raptor, Blue Streak, Disaster Transport, Magnum, Power Tower and Gemini, sometimes with the Scientist and Wildchild. Alas, the Presbytera has no stomach for most rides, and had enough for a time after Sir Rub A Dub's Tubs. (Picture is a stock picture from the files of the Evil Genius. We had too much fun yesterday to take time for pictures.) Presbytera did happily join us bumping into one another on the Dodgems later.

The Presbytera also rode the Cedar Downs with us, and my memory did not serve me wrong! Cedar Downs is one of only two racing derby rides in the U.S. I knew there were very few of this fun ride around. Interestingly enough, the Cedar Downs was previously at Euclid Beach Park. Perhaps the Presbyter and Presbytera rode it there?

I thank the Presbyter and Presbytera for spending the very fun day with us, and hope that next year we will have more company! Quilter, I'm looking at you! Thank you also to P & P for listening to my rhapsodies about my very favoritest amusement park in the world! Homeschool Day was very nice: nicer guests, less smoking, no dropping of the F-bomb that I heard, not crowded at all. The Presbyter got some tremors upon spotting a guest in line for Raptor carrying a Rosary, but I managed to calm him down. :) Ride early, ride often!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

How About Them Indians?

That game was so much fun last night! To be down 10-1 in the first, come back to tie it 13 all in the ninth, and win it 15-13 in the tenth! Interesting for any fan of baseball. Last night the youngsters were teaching the old guys how to get it done. Choo, Garko, Grady, Luna.... Mastny did a respectable job closing the game, although he's too young to pin our hopes on yet. I just saw that Choo shares my birthday, too, although he is a few years younger than I!

Being the crazy night owl insomniac I am, I then listened to Kevin Keane's entire show. Kevin was encouraging listeners to call fellow Indians fans who had probably shut the game off after the first inning and gone to bed. Kevin called his mom, who of course had stayed up for the whole thing. She did raise Kevin, after all. The only person I could have called was Marie at the Homestead Lutheran Academy, but I didn't think she'd appreciate it! Yes, our season is dead, but it was fun watching the game anyway. There's always next year!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Plot Thickens!

Well, after a lot of attention and a few emails to DK from Misha's readers, DK has made a hasty change to the book cover. However, the old, inaccurate cover still exists for sale on Amazon. My husband is of the opinion that the Amazon cover is the "real" cover, that is, what you would get if you purchased the book, because the new one on the DK site does not look as polished. In any case, I have now saved a copy of the old cover to my hard drive, in case of further updating by DK. I guess I am now a citizen reporter. Heh.

It's the Great Pumpkin!

My daughters want to be gardeners! We just haven't been able to provide them with a garden. That is, the soil around here is not that great, and we haven't had the money to bring in better soil and make a nice garden. However, that doesn't stop my girls! They plant seeds wherever they can. Last year, they planted pumpkin seeds with their little neighbor in the neighbor's small garden area. The mom thought the girls had just been pretending, as they often do. Until the pumpkin plants came up. This year, we are the ones with the pumpkin plants! One in our poor, neglected flower bed, one by the corner of the house.

Look how tall the one in the flower bed is! Sincerity as far as the eye can see. :) I guess we'll be set for Halloween! Maybe we should just give up on nice, landscaped beds in front of our house and make a garden next year. Bet our neighbors would love that.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Um, What?

So I'm browsing through the Dorling Kindersley web page; they've got lots of great books for kids and I'm getting some ideas for stuff for school. Then I see a sticker book of U.S. Presidents, and one face jumps out at me. No, that can't be right. I click to the page, make the cover picture larger. Okay, we have George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, F.D.R., John Kennedy, an "I Like Ike" pin, an outline of Clinton whaling on the sax, and...wait for it...John F'n Kerry. Did I miss something?? Is this wishful thinking? What the heck?

P.S. Thank you to Emperor Darth Misha for linking to this post! Although I only read sporadically, I am a Loyal Citizen!

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Surreal Life

Incredibly, we found out this weekend that my niece (my husband's, actually) is expecting the birth of her first child in January. That means my sister-in-law will be a grandmother, and my husband and I will be great-uncle and great-aunt! :O Ack, I feel old.

Getting geared up to start school this week. I have a deep, dark confession to make. If there was a school out there (that we could afford) that gave the kind of quality education we want for our daughters, I don't know that I would homeschool. In some circles, this is something approaching blasphemy, but I don't think I am always the best teacher for my daughters. I often read, for example, about how each child has a certain learning style. No one seems to mention the parent's teaching style, and what happens if they don't mix! However, I do think homeschooling is the best option for us at this time, so I struggle on. At least it is getting easier with more experience.

I am sort of thankful that the summer is winding down. Not that it wasn't enjoyable for the most part, and not that I am looking forward to inches and inches of snow in the winter, but I feel I could use a little rest and hibernation just like the earth. I like fall anyway. The colors, the smells, pumpkins, craft fairs, a new season of clothes! A new season, with new plans and hopes, and nothing messed up yet.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Kid Swap

No, this is not the latest reality show; it's real life! Die Quilter and three of her brood came over today to swim, and after lunch out, it ended up that Lego-Boy came home with myself and the Scientist, while Wildchild went off with her friend the Princess. Lego-Boy and the Scientist have spent a good bit of the day in the pool, and I'm sure Wildchild and the Princess have been having a lovely girlie day! I'm thankful that my kids have kids their own age (or close) and of similar temperament to play with. Even if they went to a school, they might not have good friends. So I'm thankful for Lego-Boy, and the Princess and the other great kids that my kids like to play with.

Monday, August 14, 2006

In the Dark

Where were you in the great blackout of 2003? That is, if you lived in the northeastern United States during that time? I remember I was at a friend's house in the afternoon, and the lights started experiencing "brownout," growing dimmer intermittently. Before we left to go home, the real blackout had started. It took about twice as long to get home, since there were no traffic lights working anywhere. Although it was a hot day, our home stayed relatively cool inside for a few hours, and by the time we had to open the windows, it was night and the temperature outside had grown comparatively cooler. I spent the evening lying on the family room floor to get optimal air movement and listening to the battery powered radio.

It is true that the blackout illustrated how much we use electricity for things. However, while I do think one should prepare for disasters, natural or otherwise, I don't really want to eschew modern conveniences if I can avoid it! Maybe that's my "old Adam" trying to avoid discomfort and extra work! But even in Laura Ingalls Wilder's The Long Winter, the blizzard "whiteouts" of 1880-81 nearly caused a small town to starve to death by blocking the trains that delivered food and coal. Of course, seven months without regular supplies coming in, and no way to grow anything, go fishing, or even hunt effectively would be hard on any family!

But hey, as a dear pastor once said to me, "Eat, drink and be merry: you're Lutheran!" So light a candle, open a cold one of Blackout Stout, and enjoy God's gifts!

As a quick aside, I'd like to give thanks for another of God's gifts, books, and give a hat tip to The Laughing Frog for alerting me to Keven Stilley of Righteous Judgement, who not only tabulated lots of people's answers in the book meme that's been making the rounds (even Martin Luther joined in!), but alerts us to the guy who started the whole thing, so if you want revenge on the guy, now you know where to look! (JOKE!!! Barb the Evil Genius does not endorse, condone, or recommend anyone using violence except when coerced by her in her secret plan to take over the planet!)

Sunday, August 13, 2006

You Say It's Your Birthday

Welcome to my first liveblog, from the home of the von Schreiber birthday boy! He had a lovely time eating his very first birthday cake!

Then he opened his gifts, and then it was time for naps.

Star Light, Star Bright

Got to see some falling stars tonight, courtesy of the Perseids! Unfortunately, as the link states, the moon was a hinderance to optimal viewing, but we saw some on the way home from a fun night out, and we stopped at the local community center, right by the beach, and saw a couple there as well.

Not only was it a fun night out, but a kid-free night out, thanks to the Homestead Lutheran Academy. The girls spent the night there. We'll pick them up at church, then head to a first birthday party for the winsome lad recently featured at Die Steppdecken des Quilter. Another busy and enjoyable weekend. The best kind.

I should also thank the Pistol Packin' Presbytera and her pistol-packin' spouse, with whom we had the impromptu but fun get-together tonight. And now I need to get to sleep so we can make it to church in the morning!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

We Put the Fun in Dysfunctional

Things are moving along better here at the abode of the Evil Genius. The weather is cooler, which is a relief. There's plenty of ice cream in the house, also important. I hadn't made any plans to fly anywhere soon, which is just as well.

Since I know many of you have people you're related to that you'd just as soon forget, I would like to share the Dysfunctional Family Letter Generator that my husband found while surfing. Hope you all find some humor in it even as you're thinking about who you could mail it to!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Tomorrow is Another Day...

and a better day. Even though I spent most of the day running errands, in a car with no air-conditioning! :) I did get to spend some time hangin' with another mom, which is very helpful to me, especially since our family missed church yesterday, with none of us feeling well. Yes, church is for our spiritual "refill," but when you're a stay-at-home mom in a neighborhood where the other moms all work, it's nice to get to see other people as well.

I'm too tired to post more, but I just wanted to check in. It's nice to have you all to vent to when things are really tough, but God willing, it seems we will get through the biggest problem that was concerning me. The other stuff I can face with time, prayer and a little bit of griping here if I need it! :)

Sunday, August 06, 2006

I'm So Blue, I Don't Know What to Do

It was One of Those Days. We were all not feeling our best today, a combination of great stress, all the heat over the previous week, and not eating that well, an effect mostly of the heat! When I wasn't in a daze during the long, dark teatime of the soul, I was wondering what meaning life has, thinking I will be unhappy the rest of my life, you know. All that good angsty stuff one feels at three o'clock in the morning. Hope some of you had a better weekend!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Extreme Selfishness

I found this article and the comments following it via The Anchoress. It is terribly, horribly, soberingly sad. First of all, for the children in situations like this. And although many of the comments in reply were negative, there were enough that basically said, "We've always felt this way and were too scared to say it!" that it might be enough of a widespread problem to cause concern.

There are a lot of thoughts that come to mind quickly. One was a refrain repeated over and over in the comments: Why did this woman ever bear children? For better or worse, if you don't want children, you don't have to have them. Several commenters chose not to, and prided themselves on it over this woman who had them and neglects them. If they don't intend to even try to be half-way decent parents, one can see their point.

Several commenters also hoped that the children will treat their mother in like fashion when they reach maturity. That they will ignore her when they go out on their own, and stick her in a nursing home the minute her health becomes the slightest burden. This is all too likely to happen.

But some larger issues were not really brought up. What about these children's relationships with their spouse? With their own children? With friends and co-workers?

Attachment theory looks at how children relate to caregivers during childhood. Whether they are securely or insecurely attached to those who care for them when they are smallest and most vulnerable will affect how they view themselves and how they relate to others for their entire lifetime. It is likely that the author of this article was not close to her parents or whoever brought her up, and she is passing this on to her children. This mother feels bored or uncomfortable with every part of being a child: the enjoyment of repetition, the need for acknowledgement and praise, the simple stories and games. She probably did not have anyone to do these things with her. Certainly none of us are perfect parents, and children should not get everything they want, whenever they want it, in any case. I, for example, do not usually see movies with my children, because I don't really like movies much at all. Their father does this with them. I am better at reading the same story over and over. If I'm tired or ill, however, they might not get a story one night. But it's not a pattern. Neither of us will miss an important event in our child's life if we can avoid it. We remember our own childhood birthdays and school plays and wanting someone to be there. An insecurely-attached child, on the other hand, can sometimes patch over their hurt that no one is consistently there for them with thoughts that they don't need anybody, that they can stand on their own!

But again, there is more than the idea of mother/child or father/child interaction here. As one article puts it, "Unselfishness, giving, love, and compassion are high values, and there is nothing like being a mother to develop those virtues in a woman. Responding to a screaming baby at two in the morning requires unselfishness. Character-growth is almost inevitable." Does this mean that any person who does not have children is selfish and lacking character? Not necessarily. But how will the person not willing to put time into caring for a child react when a sick spouse needs something at two in the morning? Or an aging parent? This is what is scary for society at large. If we do not learn love and sacrifice and compassion as children by having it modeled for us and given freely to us, will we be able to give it as adults?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Walkin' in a Winter Wonderland

Yes, it's sweltering hot outside. Yes, we're all miserable and melting and praying the power grid doesn't go down so we can keep our fans and air conditioners running. But I was inspired by a local radio station, which is periodically playing winter songs, such as "Frosty the Snowman," during commercial breaks, to share this picture with you.

By the way, the station is WEOL, 930 AM on your radio dial. It comes out of Lorain/Elyria, and it plays Glenn Beck from 9 to 12 every weekday. Maybe some of you that can't pick up 610 to hear Herr Beck could get this station??

Lastly, although I don't think there are a lot of former wanna-be preppies out there, I had to share this folder I found with you! It's like, so totally cool, I said "Fer sure!" If you go to their web site and find the items in their "Prep Cool" collection, you can see the rest of this gnarly set, but their website design is poor (in my opinion) and does not allow you to link directly to a collection.