Sunday, August 31, 2008


I am thirty-one years old. For Better or For Worse has been running for twenty-nine years. It was one of the first comic strips I read (along with Calvin & Hobbes and Garfield) and today it is ending--at least as we know it. It has never been hilarious in vain the of C & H or cooky like Far Side. FBoFW is a gentle humor that guided us through the lives of the Pattersons. All the characters I've wondered about, and grew up beside are just . . . over. Is it stupid to be sad about loosing my daily ties with Canada?

I think I have connection problems. I cried--literally cried--when Mr. Rogers died. I love him.
Thank goodness for re-runs and re-prints!

Poor Photographer

I am the photographer in our house. I am not exceptionally talented and am not claiming Photographer as a skill or profession. It's just that I am the one who ends up remembering to bring the camera and to try to capture moments in time--such as babies smiling for the first time, kids' antics, and other family phenomena. Why is it that the one who takes so much time trying to memorialize each chapter in our lives, is photographed like this:
What a weird, unbalanced picture. (That is the crazy eye of our Supreme Commander hangin' out in the corner.) I don't know that I have any "normal" pictures of me in my arsenal.
But, then, I'm not exactly "normal."

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Little Old Fashioned

There are a few things in life to be treasured: toilets, washing machines, dishwashers (not the kid kind, but the electric kind), and light bulbs to name a few. Having said this, there are so many attractions from the "olden days." This, for instance.

I always hang my laundry. Not only does it save us at least $50 a month, the clothes smell so good, they have that crisp, fresh feel and it looks so pretty.
My grandmother swears that the sunshine is a disinfectant. Maybe, but I know my whites are whiter.

There are some tricks to hanging your laundry correctly--who knew?
I checked out a book at the library once called "The Family Cow." It was all about raising and milking a family cow. As I devoured the book and said, "huh" more than once, I suddenly began to laugh out loud. What would my grandma say if she found out I had to check out a book to learn how to milk a cow?
Know what else I did today? Canned apricots. Maybe my grandma would be pleased after all.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Mother Bear

Everyone knows they should never get between a mother bear and her cub. Something breaks in that mama and she goes bananas. I firmly believe human mamas have the same Incredible Hulk tendencies.

This is my son. He is the oldest of five and the only boy. I don't think I've ever pulled into the driveway without him running out the door to help carry in groceries. He reads to his sisters, he tends them so I can shower, he can make a dozen meals and every once in a while let's me know that he will be cooking. If I fall asleep, he covers me up. If I'm tired, he rubs my feet. The neighborhood children adore him and will do whatever he says; he doesn't abuse that looked-up-to position. He is also a 9 year old boy so he pesters the girls, he is too smart with adults, and he doesn't keep a tidy room. I'm not perfect myself, so I'll give him a little leeway.

Tonight, I was talking to Crazy Tom. He had said a few things that were those "kind of" compliments about Pod #1 such as "He was much better behaved at the neighborhood potluck this year" and the like. I just nodded and agreed (which is how I survive most conversations with Tom) and said, "He is a very good boy." Crazy Tom then said, "Well, I'd say just a good boy." You will have to pardon the Mama Bear here, because flames rose up and lashed out of my eyes. What the Hell?!! Show me any other boy his age who is kinder to children and who takes better care of his mother and then you can say he is only good. Let's just say that Crazy Tom knows what this Mothership thinks about her very good, remarkable, even unusual boy.

And never insult a mama bears' cub.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Lovin' This Kind of Naked

We went camping a few weeks ago on the banks of a beautiful creek. The boy Pod had taken his shirt off and was splashing around in the water. The next thing I know, 2 year old Pod has stripped down to the skins and was running around, delighted.

This is big brother saying, "Go get your clothes on." He's so helpful. 'Cause two year olds always do what they're told--especially if it comes from a fellow Pod. And if it requires getting dressed when it's hot and all of us are wishing we were two and could just wear our skins!

But we won't. That is an horrifying thought. Sorry for any disturbing images that flashed into your pure little minds. I'm repentant already. Mostly.

Friday, August 22, 2008


This is the Supreme Commander. Why Supreme Commander? Because I thought Drone might be offensive and it seemed on par with Mothership. I don't know.

Anyway, this is the Supreme Commander. He just started Pharmacy School.

Doesn't he look like a pharmacist? Don't you think you could ask him what to do about your constipation; or if there is something you can put on that rash; or if it's okay to take Fish Oil, St. John's Wart, Fermented Papaya Juice, and Lisinopril-hydrochlorothiazide while, at the same time, sniffing lavender oil?

His look is really quite timeless. Here, for instance, is your Civil War Era Apothecary.
Then there is the Eisenhower Administration Druggist.
But, whatever he was yesterday, today he officially owns a White Coat. People trust those things.
Doesn't he look great?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Homeschool=Real Life

My children have wanted to have a lemonade stand all summer. Because projects like this are never as simple as "Peanuts" would have you believe, the Mothership guided the excited Pods. And, if the Mothership is involved, it is school. First we made purchases, then we divided until we knew how much each cup of lemonade cost. Then we talked about profit; how much do we need to charge to make a profit, how much is fair, how much is more than people will pay, etc. The children made posters to advertise, made change for customers and presented the product in a pleasing way. After we wrapped things up, the kids subtracted cost from the gross, then divided the profit in half (just the two oldest Pods worked the stand). We ask the children to put 30% of all earnings in the bank for long-term savings and 10% goes for tithing. Wow! Oh, yeah. They also made the lemonade and the Rice Krispie treats. That's a lot of education for a few hours of work. They made $9 each PLUS increased brain matter. Love, love home-education.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


This was my hair. Shiny and healthy . . .
. . . thick and streaked with color. I grew it for years and recently, like Fantine and Jo, cut it off and sold it. Unlike Fantine and Jo, however, I sold it for my own gain: I was getting a new computer. It is all picked out--color and components.

My husband is a student. We just found out he did not get a grant we had planned on. My hair money is now buying his required computer (professional school) instead of my really-wanted-it computer.
I should be noble like Fantine and Jo, but I'm not.
I'm just mad.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

"Mooom, She Said 'Bored!'"

This is my oldest daughter and Pod #2. She is seven and quick as a whip. Of all my Pods, she has wit.

Every house has their different cuss words. Some of the kids' friends can't say "stupid." I think "shut-up" is a common one. Growing up, we couldn't say "poop" or "pus." My house? "Bored" is a swear. If the children say it, it is an immediate job--dishes, vacuum, toilet, whatever. I am of the firm belief that if you are bored, you are boring. Find something to do.

Yesterday, I asked the children to help me do some work in the yard. This little pill said, "But I don't have to help. I didn't say I was bored!"

Nice Try.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Morning Greeting

This Mothership of a Fleet of Seven spends a lot of time in the kitchen and hanging laundry. Every morning for about an hour, I get to look at this out of my kitchen window. The sun shining through the glowing grape leaves soothes my soul. Beauties like this reassure me that I am getting help in raising this ruckus family.
Here's to happy laundering and dishwashing and quelching childhood storms.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Summer Toes

Five pods have been launched from this Mothership; this is my first Summer Baby. There are a few notable differences, but my favorite are these. During the colder months, the baby is always socked, bootied, swaddled, and wrapped in a quilt. You almost never see their tiny bodies because the race is on to get them bundled as soon as you take them out of the bath. This baby, however, wears onesies and little dresses with no socks and infrequent blanket bundling. I love looking at her perfectly formed arms and her dimpled knees. It's the tiny feet, though, that I can't get enough of. They are so soft! Don't you want to eat those?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Pod #1 with Pod #5

One of the things I've noticed about children is their ability to mimic everything I do. Sometimes they do it intentionally (you all know that really fun copycat game: Stop. Stop. No really, stop. No really, stop. Okay, that's enough. Okay, that's enough. and on and on until I tell them to go clean the toilet. That usually works.) But more often they mimic subconsciously. This is when we hear them calling the neighbor "Crazy Tom" which is what I call him. That is, by the way, because Tom is literally crazy. Still, it's not nice for a four year old to say such a thing! Geez. You get some good things, too. My two year old stroked my face today and said, "You are so beautiful." Some mimicing is certainly good.

The genius mimics pick up on our habits, actions, and words. This is helpful in a homeschooling environment. If I sit down to read, more often than not, I am joined by at least one child. If put pen to paper in a letter to my grandma, a child chooses to write a letter or draw a picture to someone they had been thinking about. I am a rather avid reader. A few years ago, some girlfriends and I started a book club. Not long after, my oldest Pod wanted to have his own book club. I wanted to learn Spanish and began checking out tapes from the library. Now my second Pod has a "Spanish Club" where she and her friends are learning beginning Spanish.

It goes on and on. Be the person you want your children to become.

This is my mother (who is higher than the Mothership? The Grandmothership?)holding hands with two of my pods. Next to them are two of my sister's girls and leading the pack are my two Down's brothers--they all love each other. This is my mother's legacy. I hope to mimic her better.
Meanwhile, I'm sorry Tom. I'm afraid the nickname has stuck. Children also have incredible memories.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


About this time of year, I start to get a lot of questions about homeschool. I decided a pictoral display might explain better than words.

Homeschool is forts in the living room with every pillow and blanket in the house (physics).

It is making a desk out of whatever is around to record events of the day.

It is reading to the two week old baby (love).Or the two year old sister (again, love--isn't that an academic subject?). Because if you do enough of that reading-to-them business, soon they do this.
And this.It is about taking the funnest field trips together (geology).

Story writing when inspired to write. One must always include illustrations with any good story.

And the use of incredible use of imagination and exploratory skills.

Every once in a while, you might use a work book.

Can you think of a more effective and fun way to learn? The older teach the younger, the mother learns from them all and family unity is the first lesson of the day.

And, it costs a lot.

Home Again

The Pods are all home--the Fleet is together again.

I am a mother; it's what I've always wanted to be and what I do best. I don't spell well, I can't catch a ball, my house is in a rotating state of messy, but I spend time with my children. We laugh together and read together and learn and bicker and play and sing and wonder together. The oldest three were at Grandma's house for 10 days and I MISSED them. When they came home and the chaos picked up right where it left off, I was glad. Is it crazy to like the noise, the mess, the jabbering of children? This is what I do.
What is that I'm serving my family? Boy, they must really love me!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Someday House Idea Sheet

After dreaming for many years of a mythical house that we will have someday, we are finally in the actual planning stage.  As I work out ideas and thoughts for this Someday House, I post updates on my blog.  
Each picture, and its caption, represents one facet of the house plans.  Click on each to go to the link.