Thursday, July 29, 2010

Today is my birthday.
I was born in 1968. This video was made in 1967, but the one from 1968 cut off. So, I'm pretending it was from '68 because I had my heart set on it.
Anyway, this was always one of my mostest, bestest, favoritest song as a kid, so I wanted to post it.

The Moody Blues were the first concert I went to when I was about 13. I think we paid $12.00.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Well... I've decided to buck up and get over my stage fright, and opened an etsy shop.

Also, I thought these two talks by Scott Brown on courtship were really good.

Hope your summer is a beautiful one!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Doug Wilson has a post about worldliness over at his blog.

I have to admit.. I have mixed feelings about Doug Wilson. Sometimes I think I know what he's talking about and others I plain don't. And even when I do think I know I have an unsettled feeling that I will be wrong in the end and that somehow my being wrong will expose something about me that I won't quite like exposed, except I don't know what, because I'm not absolutely sure I know what he's talking about.

But he had a few blogs posted a few links to blogs I had never read before- Stuff White People Like and Unhappy Hipsters. I had never heard of those blogs. But he said (I think) they were something you could turn up on if you were turning wordly so I would like to know what they are! So I click over..  Now, stuff white people like is clearly written by a guy who is plain unhappy that he wasn't born with cooler skin pigment. I mean, sure, white people like picking their own fruit, but I don't think it's limited to only white people. But the unhappy hipsters... half the pictures on that site were from Dwell magazine! And *I* just publicly acknowledged that I like Dwell magazine! Before the whole world!!!! On the internet!!! (Never mind I think like 5 people read my blog-that's beside the point. You never know when your next door neighbor will google some random thing and suddenly be paging through years of all your stuff.. I digress..)

Should I take that post down? Examine my inner soul as to whether I am indeed on the path to perdition.. err liberalness? One commenter said (I think) that this is the first step to endorsing  you know whose marriage... AAAaaaaagh!!!!

And NOT ONLY THAT but there seems to be some question as to whether one can buy a low flush toilet and not be sinning. Dear readers... I must confess... I HAVE A LOW FLUSH TOILET! BY CHOICE! (And you know, it works fine, thank you very much.)

So what I want to know is, now do I have to be self conscience about my low flush toilet every time I have friends over? When they ask "Where's the bathroom?" do I have to say "Oh it's right over there, please excuse the low flush toilet, you know my husband is a contractor and we get these types of things cheaper than everyone else we wouldn't have paid full price for it I just like to save money on my water bill, don't you know it's not that I'm cowtowing to the greenies, I think it's horrible how their inflicting their low flush toilet laws on everybody else and I'm not saying everybody has to have a low flush toilet but it is kind of nice when you have so many kids because you know they do tend to flush a lot... heh heh..."

Just when I was starting to get over my social awkwardness... Now this happens...

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Gustav Klimt
Just because it makes me happy.
I wish it was bigger though...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

First, if I may just mention, there is a facebookathon for friends of a friend. They are trying to get together the funds to bring a kid home from Ethiopia. For these folks, $5.00 here, $10.00 there can make a big difference, and there are easy buttons to use your card so it's really easy to pass them on a couple bucks. They also have t-shirts and stuff like that.. So if you're so inclind, I just thought I'd pass that on...

Anyway, even though I've gone through a lot of homeschooling methods I find the one that resonates with me most is the Charlotte Mason method. I didn't do this one with my older two (why is it that what you're looking for is always in the last place you look? One of the great mysteries of the universe..), I'm incorporating it more with my middle girls, and starting out with it with my boys. I have never read the full Charlotte Mason series but I have read some other books that summarize her take on education, my favorite being the Karen Andeola's Charlotte Mason Companion. I use Ambleside Online a lot and I am on their mailing list. Though I do not follow it the way some people do. I do not follow the years exactly because there are some books that I just don't care to bother with, some that may be in a previous year (to where my child is) that I don't want them to miss, etc. Also, they tend to have a lot of books going at one time, and I would rather to have maybe two or three books, but then read more of them in a day and finish them faster.

The thing with Charlotte Mason that I especially like to emphasize is the narration. I find having a child repeat back to me the contents of a chapter (or for younger children a page or a paragraph) gives me a much better picture about what that child got out of that chapter than having them answer key questions. In times past I put one of Owen's narrations here.  He enjoys narration and took to it like a duck to water.

In the books I have going at any given time I usually chose the one I feel is most important at the moment and do narrations out of that one. I don't have the boys do one everyday. (They are still working directly with me, the girls are more independent.) For example we recently read Where Do You Think You're Going Christopher Columbus? by Jean Fritz. One day I might copy a picture from the book, the next have them narrate a paragraph. The next day label a map, the next day narrate a paragraph. All of these I put together in one of those little paper notebooks that use brad clips to keep things in. Each boy has his own little book. They love having their own book that they made and get them out and look at them on their own. Which means the book doesn't last long sometimes. It's then I pause and ask myself, "What is the goal. That we have memorials of all their schoolwork? Or that they enjoy learning, indulge their curiosity in good ways, etc." So I leave them be. But I should probably put up a few, just for memory sake.

Time to make breakfast...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

By the way, I was joking a little bit with the post below, but not really. All those things are actually things that I have beaten myself up over-or maybe that other woman has-at other times. Maybe not stringing harps, but for sure stress over wondering if we are doing enough on the intellectual plane and if I'm wrong to be so neglectful of Latin. I can see the value of Latin and have we've dabbled in the roots area but I kind of feel like maybe we shoud be paying more attention to it.  And even as I was typing it, part of me was thinking, "Well, yeah, that's how it oughta be... If we just get our schedule tighter, if we train those boys better, if I get up earlier..."

The thing about this woman is she is just like Bev said. She always comes to me at the point of my failure and she never sees the things I do well. She gives me these pictures of the way I ought to be, but she never presents it all at once, so I could really see all of it together. I mean there are so many hours in a day. And she is unrelenting in her expectations. Everyday, all day... I think I should name her like Bev does, maybe that would help me to keep her more under control. Sometimes recognition is the key.

Anyway, back to homeschooling. I did mean to get there.  

The reason I went over some of the stuff (two posts ago) about the things I think are pretty foundational in the way to think about school is I think if we keep some simple things in mind our schooling will be more of a joy to us, and more impactful. We ought to know why we  are doing what we are doing-not just in homeschooling at all, but in the subjects we are presenting. Why did I make Shayleen do that chapter on Chinese history three times? I can't really remember. I don't think it was probably a very good reason. 

On the whole, I think if your homeschooling time is just one big long chore, then you are probably doing something wrong. I'm not saying there are never times to discipline or buckle down and do something not-so-fun, but I don't think that should be the majority of the school day. Especially in the younger grades. 

There is a lot of talk about the "simple life". People crave a simple life. They know they are scattered, indecisive, and feel overwhelmed with the choices they have. Often we are presented with a vision for "getting back to basics" and are told if we just get back to sewing our own clothes, canning, making our own bread and cheese, etc. that that will be the simple life. But that is not the simple life. Often is just ends in more burdens, guilt and complexity in trying on that level to discern what is best. 

I think the path to the simple life is to fix your eyes one one goal and follow that one with your whole heart. Do not allow your eyes to wander from the right or to the left. 

What is the chief and highest end of man? To glorify God and enjoy him forever. 

Not to get in a higher math book that the other kids, not to show your public school teacher friend that homeschooled kids can and often do perform well on the SAT, not to figure out neat projects so you can take pictures and put them on your blog, not to pressure your kids into some performance level that will kick you up into the "Oh So Stellar Family" tier at church. Not so you can show other prospective families what a good catch your son/daughter will be in marriage.... no no no no.

To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

More later.

Monday, July 12, 2010

There is this woman who follows me everywhere.

She came along about 20 years or so, about the time I was getting ready to get married. She made all sorts of promises. She told me that if I did everything just the way she does my husband would adore me, my children would all be obedient and smart and I would be the happiest, most fulfilled woman on earth..or at least pretty close.

She is perfectly thin. She has no stretch marks even though she has 12 or so children. She works out every day. She never eats cookies when she shouldn't. Her children are all clean, straight, matching, have fresh haircuts and perfect manners. They all have aspiring interests like learning Chinese and biological engineering. They string harps while they speak Latin to each other, always politely, of course. Her house is organized and she knows where everything is. The kids' (She doesn't call them kids though. She calls them Lambs.) schedule is perfectly laid out and they all get up and get straight to work without being told. Her vegetable garden flourishes and she spends many enriching hours working in it with her children as she lovingly discusses all the ins and outs of life with them, and works on their memory verses. Her children can recite large portions of scripture. Dinner is always lovingly made from scratch with fresh baked bread. Not just regular meals. Things with butter and wine and matching table settings. Nobody says "Awww, I don't like spaghetti."  when they come to her table. She is also interested in her own personal enrichment and she studies art, literature and other sundries of interests. She always has a serene smile. Her house is adorned with her handmade quilts, canned friuts and vegetable and her children wear her hand knit sweaters and sweetly sewn jumpers. (the boys have matching ties) Sunday morning at her house always goes smoothly, with homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast.  Her windows are clean. Her bathroom is clean and decorated with matching towels. Her kitchen is freshly painted with homemade curtains. Her drawers are neat. Nobody ever has to rummage through three drawers to find the measuring spoons. Her Christmas decorations are all organized, and they go up the day after Thanksgiving. Not one of them gets broken. She is always a sensitive friend. She always remembers to buy card and never puts them on the microwave and forgets to mail them out. She always remembers thankyous. She volunteers for many church needs, bringing meals (Not in disposal containers. Nice ones. That match.) to all who need them, with homemade desert included, maybe some flowers as well from her yard.  Her laundry always smells really nice.  Like lavender. Her babies smell freshly washed. She has a side business where she makes "egg money" for little goodies for her family, and all the kids get valuable business experience through working in it.

Her sons are strong and courageous. Her daughters the very embodiment of feminine virtue.

She is an understanding listener for all her friends. She is a sweet loving support to her husband. She never raises her voice, always knows where the line is between being a counselor to her husband or a nag. She always talks kindly about everyone.

The problem with this woman is I cannot disagree with her on any of it. Everything she tells me is right. But she wears me out sometimes.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The way the free market works around here...

Irene buys a Blow Pop for .25.

Papa trades a Coke for the Blow Pop.

Irene sells Coke to Elisa for 1.00.

I think Irene should be in charge of finances around here, somehow I gotta find a way to capitalize on this....

Friday, July 9, 2010

The other day I was over at my friends house chatting with another mom that I don't know as well and we were talking about home school methods. It is hard for me to sum up my home school methods because I have traversed every method promoted out there... I think.. and like any vagabond, have picked up a few things here and a few things there and learned from trial and error and what worked with one kid doesn't always fit with another and on and on and on... (yes, I know that is a run on sentence. My whole homeschooling life has been one big run on sentence.) But anyway, I have always enjoyed finding out what other people are doing. Especially people who have older and or adult children. There are a lot of really enthusiastic young moms out there who are all ready to detail every aspect of their plan for child raising and homeschooling. I know they have good intentions (mostly. Though there are those who simply aspire to be the next rock star of the home school scene and want to be acknowledged and admired. Give those girls a wide berth. At least until they get a little humility under their belt... Which they will...) But the older women can give a more realistic idea of what to expect, what worked for them and why...

Anyway, since I like to know what other people do and benefit from it, I thought I would post a little about what we do. Maybe it'll give a resource or thought for someone who would like some new ideas.

Now remember-I am a mom with ten kids. I am also a non driver. I am certain that if I had only a few kids and a car there would be at least some things I would do differently. I am not into following methods to the letter. I am on a mailing list that is centered around a particular style of teaching and sometimes the women just agonize (it seems to me) over what book goes where and where to start and how much of this or that... I think we are so fearful of thinking for ourselves and we just want someone to take us by the hand and guide us through every little step...

Anyway, here are some basic things I think are true of child raising and general and schooling specifically (not in any particular order. I write these posts off the cuff as I'm sure you can tell):

Children are people. Can I just say, I think we forget that? They get bored, discouraged, overwhelmed, just like we adults! Why do we put burdens on their young frames that they aren't meant to carry?

They are not here to pad our egos, fulfill our unlived dreams for us, show the world our superior teaching skills, get a job that will make a bunch of money, get married just so we can have grandchildren, etc. etc. etc.. Some of those things may happen, but they are side effects, not the goal.

They are here for a purpose. It is to glorify God. Education is a tool God can and probably will use in their life to fulfill that purpose, along with other things. But it is a tool and not the end in itself. The glory of God is the end.

Part of the glorifying of God is the expansion of His Kingdom. Education should reflect the goal of kingdom expansion (though I think I would define that more broadly than a lot of the church today. Maybe.) and priority should be given to subjects that can contribute to that goal. but...

God does a lot of things for the pure joy of it. How else can you explain flowers blooming where no one can see them? So if the necessities have been covered I see nothing wrong with a kid taking time for something for the pure fun of it, like researching the history of baseball or learning to play the penny whistle, as my 16 yr old son is in the basement doing right now...

Children have been created for certain positions in God's kingdom. I know there is a basic knowledge that every kid should know. Bible, phonics, math (to a certain level) I would put in things like church history and general history and a basic science education. But I also think there should be a lot of individualization too. The education my 16 yr old son got is simply not the same one my 18 yr old daughter got. She is much more literature focused, types faster, sings, plays piano, bakes... Forrest focuses on composing music, economics, violin, and sheet rocking of late, and displays a shocking lack of knowledge about classic literature (at least to Shayleen) Elisa (14) so far hasn't done any music really, though I keep praying for a flute for her... She reads astronomy books for fun... So, like I said. Different.

And I think getting to know your child is an intrinsic aspect of homeschooling. They are like presents we get to unpack slowly. What all has God put in here? I don't think you can home school well if you don't take time just to delight in the person God has created in them.

People learn things better if they are actually interested in the thing you are trying to teach. I will never forget making Shayleen do a certain chapter about Chinese history over 3 times when she was about 10. She never did pass that chapter review, but she did proclaim henceforth that she hates history. I think that was a big mistake on my part.

Well, I better go make breakfast now. The natives are getting restless. More later.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

                      Forrest came upstairs the other morning and we had to snap this picture of him...

Kinda like, don't you think? It made me laugh.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

One thing that was mentioned in the Julie and Julia movie (and that I have heard many times referred to before) is the self centered nature of Blogging... Why is blogging self centered? I suppose it could be if the only reason one does it is so they can pontificate unceasingly about every little aspect of their life, but I do wonder why it would be seen as any more or less self centered than say, writing articles or making a comment in a conversation? I have been a pretty lazy sporadic blogger. But I have met three people in real life from blogging. One has become a very, very good friend that I wouldn't have otherwise. I keep in general touch with a couple people and I got to meet another new friend last week as she and her husband drove through our area on a trip. And we out of that we got an invitation to drive up to her place and go sailing. :) I really hope our summer schedule allows us to make that trip!

For a while I got waylaid from blogging into the world of Facebook. Facebook is really good for some things. It is really fun for looking at each others' pictures. In our church we do a lot of things together and there are always pictures of your own kids being taken by someone else, or funny pictures of mutual friends, etc. For that, Facebook is great. But for conversation, Blogging is so much better. I hardly ever post the things I find interesting or say much on Facebook because it doesn't seem like I should clog up other people's news feeds with a bunch of my stuff. But if someone is coming to my blog they can decide whether they want to or not.

Blogging gives you a chance to talk about things that maybe people in real life aren't all that interested in. Sometimes you get to connect with people from around the country who do find the same things interesting that you do. Some blogs are very centered around a topic, cooking, knitting, homeschooling... Some are random mom blogs, student blogs.. I like to just hop around and look at blogs. People are interesting. It's interesting the variety of blogs out there and what people find to talk about. Sometimes you can start with links from one type of blog and end up with a completely different sort of blog and not even remember how you got there.

Anyway, I've decided to get back to blogging. Which maybe explains why I've actually been posting lately. :)

One blog my kids and I ran across the other day gave us quite a few laughs was this one:

They haven't posted in a while, but we really found some of the old posts fun. I hope they do some more.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Shayleen and I watched Julie and Julia together the other day.

 I really liked it. I've heard some people say they only liked the Julia aide of the story much, but I liked both. Maybe partly because I think Amy Adams is just the cutest thing. I think it's her nose. She's just adorable.

But I also kid of related her character.  The feelings she had about turning 30 and not have really accomplished the things she wanted to and even suffering guilt because she wonders if the things she wants are just stupid and a waste of time and wondering if you were just fooling yourself to think you could ever do anything in the first place... Oh, I so have that one down. At one point she was worrying all this over and I kind of mentioned to Shay that I could relate to the things she was saying and Shay burst out "Oh, Mama, she is SO you." 

And of course Meryl Streep. I mean... she's Meryl Streep...

I found it comforting that Julia didn't REALLY learn to cook until she was almost 40. It never bothered me to turn 30 but now at 40 I'm thinking more about not being able to do things I want to do just because human beings are only allotted so much time on this earth. There are so many interesting things in this world!
And I would really like to Paint. Draw. Do textile art. I do already a little bit but what is on the paper isn't what is in my head yet. I want to be able to put down what is in my head. 

Well, Julia became one of the world's greatest cooks and she didn't start till she was 40. So I guess there's hope for me yet.

Friday, July 2, 2010

If you ever feel melancholy, watch this video. You simply cannot be blue afterwards. And turn it up.

I love that little graceful thingy the Indian girl does with her hands. I could practice it in front of a mirror, but no matter how well I did it, I don't think it would have the same effect coming from me... Ya think?


Jul 3


Jul 4


Jul 5


Jul 6


Jul 7
Partly Cloudy
Partly Cloudy
Partly Cloudy
Partly Cloudy
Mostly Sunny
Mostly Sunny
Mostly Sunny
Mostly Sunny
Mostly Sunny
Mostly Sunny






I had to laugh when I saw this forcast. Is that not just so Oregon? Summer actually begins on
July 5th.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Of all the places I would love to go see in the world, this is one of the top ones.

The Rosary of the Chapel of Vence. Designed by Henri Matisse when he was 74 years old. An act of love for a nurse who had tended him when he was sick. I can imagine him wanting it to be beautiful and wanting to bless the woman who had given him tender care.. Hoping they would love it and be blessed.

I love the crispness of the blue and white. I can imagine the Mediterranean air coming in and making it all fresh and bright.

I also love this picture of Matisse, older, in a wheel chair, but still loving to play with color and shape and designs... 
Not everything Matisse did is my fave. But I do love his sense of play and the way he used color.