Thursday, June 23, 2011

Profitable rakes

We were at Noah's baseball game tonight, and Sarah was begging me for money for the concession stand.  I told her I had no money.  During this whole exchange, my dad was telling her that the capital of Iceland is Reykjavik.  She ignored him, because she was focused on my cash (or lack thereof).  But when he said, "I'll give you a dollar if you can say 'Reykjavik'", he immediately got her attention.  I overheard this conversation while the kids were getting ready for bed:
S:  Grandpa gave me a whole dollar just because I said something!
N:  Wow!  What did you say?
S:  I said thanks.
N:  No, I mean what did you say to earn the dollar?
S:  Oh.  I don't know.  Something about rakes...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

School at the creek

The teacher's guide in my math curriculum said to explain to my students how much a liter is, as compared to a quart.  I thought that sounded pretty boring, so I got  a bunch of various-sized containers out of the recycling bin, and a 4-quart measuring cup from the kitchen and told the kids we were having math at the creek.  Usually they groan about math, but they whooped and hollered and hurried out to the creek.  Sarah said, "What if the flash cards get wet?"  I told her it wasn't that kind of math.

I gave them a brief lecture about the different measurements and then turned them loose to play with the containers.
A water bottle cap got away from Noah, so he took off to retrieve it.  Jason is such an amazing watchcat.  He always runs along the side of the creek to keep track of Noah.
Unstructured, hands-on learning is my favorite, because they learn way more by discovering it for themselves, and because math leads seamlessly into science.  He filled up the bottle with different amounts of liquid to see if it would float or sink.
When we found a frog, science class got even more interesting.  Froggy ended up getting dissected (after dying of natural causes).

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Heels are unappetizing

Dear all five readers of this blog,

We don't like the heels of the loaf of bread, and I suggested to the kids that maybe if they were called something other than "heels", we might be more inclined to eat them.  So we started brainstorming new names...
starts (too boring)
butts (too gross)
golden squares of deliciousness (too dramatic)
fish food

What ideas do you have? 


Thursday, June 16, 2011


When I got to the nursing home tonight, a group of singers/musicians was performing.  My grandma was sitting by herself, looking tiny and lonely.  I pulled up a chair next to her, and she brightened up and said, "Where'd you come from?"  The band started playing "Tennessee Waltz", and my grandma started singing along.  I asked her if she knew that one, and she said, "I used to."  An old man was there visiting his wife, and he said it was their 67th anniversary.  He was petting her hair the whole time.  The lead singer sang something about suppertime, and at the end, he said, "I know a lot of you are probably thinking about suppertime at home and wishing you could be there, but when we all get to heaven, the Lord will open the gates and say, 'Come on in; it's suppertime!' and we'll all have supper together."  Then he sang one of my favorite hymns: "When We All Get to Heaven".  I sang along, and no one noticed or cared that I can't sing.  It's quite an experience, singing about heaven while surrounded by a lot of people who may soon be there.

Best buddies

These two usually cuddle up together in the winter, but they tend to stay separate in the warmer weather....
but today, they couldn't resist sharing the same bed.  You'd never guess that Jason detested Marty when we first brought her home, less than a year ago!
And here's my favorite set of best buddies, having some fun in the shower. 
They were doing "sacrifices".  They would yell out, "This is for my country!" and then dump cold water on their heads and scream.  They did sacrifices for the cats, the queen of England, the Wii, etc.  
They tried to wash each other's hair simultaneously.

Hearing them giggle together is my favorite sound. 

Spit art

Washing dishes and missing my grandma

Whenever I wash a big load of dishes, I think about my grandma.  I grew up in the house right next to hers, so I was at her house almost as much as I was at mine.  All the big family celebrations took place at her house, and afterwards, my mom, aunt, cousin, and I would wash and dry the dishes.  It was work, of course, but it was fun.  The convenience of dishwashers has ruined the fellowship of doing dishes together (but I'm not giving up my dishwasher). 

When I grew up and moved into my own house, I got into the habit of calling my grandma whenever I had a big load of dishes to wash. She would often be washing hers at the same time, and we would talk while we washed, which took our minds off the menial task and made the time pass more quickly. 

I was filling the sink with hot, soapy water this morning, and I almost reached for the phone to call her. But then I remembered.  She's in a nursing home and doesn't have a phone, and even if she did, she probably wouldn't know who I was and definitely wouldn't carry on a conversation.  Alzheimer's has gradually been stealing her away, and I miss her a lot. 

Faith of a little child

"Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
- Mark 10:15

Sometimes I look at my children's rude, selfish behavior and think, "Clearly, Jesus was not talking about MY children when He made this claim."  But there have been lots of times when I've seen my children's faith, and it has improved my understanding of the kingdom of God.

Yesterday, my kids took communion.  I missed the beginning, so I don't know what prompted it, but by the time I saw them, they had juice poured into little shot glasses, and one of them said, "Let's sing a Jesus song."  They sang a song from last year's VBS and then drank.  It wasn't a solemn, religious ritual.  They didn't dress up and look sad.  They did it in a spirit of celebration and thankfulness, and I bet Jesus was pleased. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

bird rescue

Noah and I were outside yesterday and noticed a mourning dove absolutely freaking out.  She was yelling and spinning around in circles and flapping her wings.  We watched her for a few minutes, wondering why she went nuts.  Then Jason the cat appeared with a little gray bundle in his mouth.  He dropped it proudly at my feet.  It was a baby bird.  I started putting two and two together and realized it was a tiny mourning dove.  The crazed mother bird was nowhere in sight, and the baby was too young to be out of the nest.
Noah tried to feed it some milk.  We also offered it a worm and some seeds.  I even made it some baby cereal.  My nephews were here during the whole bird crisis, and one of them named it Snackpack.  While Snackpack was resting under the heat of a lamp, Jason attacked a baby robin.  We rescued it from him, and fortunately, it was big enough to fly away on its own.  We did some research on the internet and learned a whole lot about mourning doves.  I knew we were in over our heads.  After several phone calls, I finally got in touch with a wildlife rehabilitation person who agreed to raise the baby.  I'm keeping her number handy,  because I have a feeling we may need her again, with Killer Jason on duty.
Best wishes, little Snackpack!  If we see a mourning dove flying around in a few weeks, we'll assume it's you. :)