Friday, October 10, 2014

Double Entendre

My husband called me to the window this morning.

"Uh-oh," he said. "There's a hearse, dead on the road."

I think Gary Larson would be drawn to that.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Shopping List

A certain 2-year old came into our bedroom this morning and asked, "Do you want to see my rock?"

"Sure," I mumbled into my pillow.

"Oh-tay," she said, and she proceeded to shove her hands down her leggings and pull out a pebble.

I sat up and looked down at her. There were several more unusual lumps showing through her leggings. "How many rocks do you have in there?" I asked.

She shoved her hands down her leggings again, counting. She counted all the way up to eight but only produced four other rocks.

"I have eight rocks," she said. "And you need to go to the store and buy me pockets."

Tuesday, October 7, 2014


I'm fairly sure that one of the downfalls of being the youngest of ten children is when your five older sisters put you in a doll's dress, stick a bow in your hair, cart you around, and call you "Zebulinda."

Especially when you're a boy.

Sunday, October 5, 2014


My husband was gently prodding me to "just write something" for the blog.

"I don't have anything to write!" I said. "There's nothing new for me to say! We still have ten kids. I'm still doing laundry, trying to get out of doing meals, and spending too much time on the Internet. What else is there?"

"Just ruminate," he said.
  1. to chew again what has been chewed slightly and swallowed
  2. to engage in contemplation

So pardon me while I ruminate for a bit.

I am a cheater when it comes to homeschooling. I have been homeschooling for twelve (oops! That's what comes of writing down the first number that comes to your head..."Ben is 12, that's a number, YES! Write it down!") eight years now, and I only figured out this tactic two years ago. Here it is: We start our year in April, take off however much we want to take off for summer, and then start back up when we feel like it (usually mid-August). Then, whenever we are asked, "How long have you been doing school?" we can answer, "Oh, we're on week 13" in the beginning of October. It all sounds very industrious and productive. Really, it's all semantics. I'm a cheater, and I like it.

Zebulun, in his favorite place of all...Outside.
This is the kind of 10-year old girl everyone should have. She's wonderful.

 TWO THINGS have surprised me over the past two years of cheating (and also, not incidentally, finishing each year ahead-of-time):

1. The Read-Aloud. I have become a fervent campaigner for the necessity of read-alouds. Read-alouds (when Mom reads to the children) were always the first thing to be dropped when school started getting stressful or rushed. We did our math, we did our phonics, we called it good.

Now, they are the last thing to be dropped. We may not have time for math, we may not have time for phonics, but we MUST make time for read-alouds! Almost every day, during their breakfast and again during their lunch, the children listen to me read a chapter from a book. Currently, we are reading The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew during breakfast and Five Children and It during lunch. It typically takes us a little over a week to finish a book, and it is unarguably the most important part of our day. It sets our family culture, it forms shared memories, it improves their listening skills and vocabulary and sense of humor...I could honestly do a whole post on this. I am that passionate about it. 

And that surprises me.

2. I like science. My eighth-grade self would be mortified by this statement. Honestly, my thirty-year old self would be mortified by this statement. But suddenly, science is a subject that I don't want to skip! I am just as eager as my children to figure out what is going to happen in the experiment and to figure out why it happened.

An assassin bug eating a beetle on a butterfly bush. That's science!
Science is really a revealing of mysteries! It's fascinating! I feel slightly robbed that my early interactions with science, beginning in about third grade, were right after a soggy cracker-and-cheese lunch, where my carb-induced haze and the need for a nap combined to turn that heavy hardback textbook into one very uncomfortable pillow.

That's not science. That's a siesta.

And that is a bone. Also, that is boy science. Parts of dead things are still your father's territory.

Science is saying, "Watch how this world works! Look what God did! Look how He put this together, and what He has revealed to us so that we may understand a bit of how it is put together! Look what we can make things in this world do because we know a bit about how it is put together!"

I think it's mesmerizing.

And that surprises me.

So there you have it. Ruminations. (Does that surprise you?)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Be Local

I got nothin'.

That's how I feel when I look at this blank box, this "New Post" square for the blog.

What is there that I can add? There are experts everywhere on every single topic. Need to know how to cane a chair? Diffuse oil? Weave hair? Pop a boil?

Hee, hee. I just said that 'cuz it rhymed.

Anyway. Whatever your need, whatever your quest, the Great Oz of The Wonderful World Wide Web will provide. Help is but a keystroke away.

Which, perhaps, is my problem.

I live in a semi-rural area that's on the way to a very rural area. In our local thrift store, I heard a woman debating with the store worker about what made a "smart" phone. She was convinced that any phone that you could take to a store with you was a smart phone. He calmly tried to explain that some people's phones that they can take into stores (cell phones) actually function as small computers. She was completely confused. The conversation ended due to lack of communication, but it was in no way for lack of trying!

Also, where I live, words like "local" and "farm friendly" are used every day and meant in positive ways. We know our bacon and the farmer who raised him. (I say this as an example. I cannot afford the bacon my farmer raises. I also have ten children, and do you know how quickly ten children devour a pound of bacon? And just you try frying some up without having anyone notice!)

But anyway. Back to the matter at hand.

I'm just sick of it.

Sick. Sick. Sick.

I'm sick of everyone being an expert because they googled, everyone being a friend because they requested on Facebook, everyone's world being contained in a box a foot from their faces.

Myself included.

Only, I remember, THAT'S what I have. Oh, yeah. The world.


You know, real family. Real friends. Real.

I understand that the Internet is here to stay.

So is high fructose corn syrup. And mosquitoes.

I'm trying to figure out how to be less present among all of that and more present among all of this.

No contest, really. I mean, what difference does it make if you Shop Local, Support Your Local Farmer, Eat Local ... if you don't Live Local? Who cares if your meat came from the farm down the road, your vegetables from the back yard, your eggs from the chickens across the street...if you spend your evening tweeting about it, sending Instagrams of it, and updating your Wall? WHO CARES??? Who are these people that CARE about that junk? Care enough to want to read someone else tweeting, Instagramming, updating?

The thing is, as people, we are made to multi-task. And that's good and right. Otherwise, the laundry would never get done, or we would never eat. You cannot give your FULL attention to only one of these tasks and still get the other done. You just can't.

But as mothers, we cannot multi-task with one foot in this world and one foot in the online world without causing a colossal upset. I'm not talking about checking for recipes, or reading a funny post, or even maintaining a blog (heaven help me if I ever post on that!). I'm talking about those who live their lives here and now as fodder for posts/updates/photos there and then (or worse, there and now). You cannot live like that and not have it hurt your parenting, your marital life, your very self.

I maintain that you cannot do it. Not as a mother with children in the home.

You cannot do it, and I cannot do it.

So I guess, really, when I said "I got nothin'," what I meant was, "I got a whole lot of somethin', and sit you down and listen."

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

First Things First

Noelle is ninety. And amazing. She knows all of my children's names and can match them to their faces. She speaks several languages fluently. When my husband starts quoting a verse in the Sunday School lecture, he can see her mouthing the words before he says them. She asks pointed questions that invite illumination, and her answers to questions impart it.

So when I saw her handing out a Bible reading plan at the first of the year, I wasn't shy. "Noelle, can I have one of those?" She eagerly handed me the folded bookmark and answered in the affirmative with that musical lilt that is her voice.

"And Noelle?" I hesitated. "How do you make yourself DO it? I've probably read Genesis ten times now, given how many times I vow to do it and then falter a month into it."

"Oh," she said. "I know about that. But I decided that I was not going to read ANYTHING else each day until I had read my Bible."

And that was it. It may have been the lighting in the narthex, but truly her white hair was shimmering.

But of course. If something is a priority, then it comes first, right? So just ... make it come first.

I am proud to say that I'm almost done with the Book of Joshua. I'm 3 days behind, but that's only because of my own foolhardy reasoning and deviating from the plan. And I'm looking forward to righting that tonight.

I've found that, just as with many other things, the more I do it, the easier it is and the more enjoyable it is! I actually look forward to spending time in the Word and shoving aside "other" reading (ahem, you Laptop Temptress, you...).

I've been a solid reader for over thirty years. And for over thirty years, I have hemmed and hawed and been flummoxed over reading my Bible.

Which, really, is predictably stupid. If you want to make something come first, make it come...first.

Thank you, Noelle.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Because matching socks is a mathematical endeavor

They want to know. Why do we have to do math? When are we EVER going to use this?

And I absentmindedly give them a halfhearted answer about doubling recipes, and balancing checkbooks, and surveying land.

They call me out on that last one, and I wisely submit that they have no idea what they're going to grow up to be. They could all end up surveyors.

Only, they answer, for sure we won't. Not if we have to do math.

It's later, when I'm matching socks and turning pant legs right-side-out, that I remember.

People get married, and then there's the honeymoon, and then when the diapers stink and the taxes are due and "What can you make with half a pack of lunchmeat and some craisins?" -- well, there's fine daydreaming in those honeymoon memories. Remember when we rented the luxury vehicle? Remember when you ordered the coq au vin, and I ordered dessert? Remember sleeping in until noon, going out for lunch, then counting our wedding money?

Figure out 9x15 now, so when you're my age, you can remember a time when problems had answers . . . and if they didn't, there was always the back of the book.

Arithmetic, and algebra, and calculus, these are your mental honeymoon. These are your chance to say, "Aha! I know the answer!" and be right. And later, these will provide the sweet memories of a time when wrong answers were safe and a feeling of exhilaration accompanied the successful working out of a problem.

You may never need to remember how to find the circumference or how to figure out how long the train took or what difference a differential makes.

But you may need to remember that all the size 4 "Cars" underwear is the 5-yr. old's, except for the one pair with fire coming from the back of Lightning McQueen...that's the 4-yr. old's that came in his varied Disney pack.

And you may need to remember that all the socks with three stripes belong to the 8-yr. old. The 5-yr. old gets the ones with two stripes, and the baby gets the ones with 1 stripe.

Somewhere in there, your mental acuity will need to be present enough to remember who wore the Old Navy tunic dress last, because the 8-yr. old and the 7-yr. old girls take turns with that one.

And really, for our family, Grandma's Crustless Quiche recipe should be multiplied by three but split into only two pans.

Seven cookies split between nine children with teeth equals 7/9 of a cookie each. But to make that easier, split all the cookies in half. Then everyone can have a half of a cookie. Now there are 5 halves left. Split those in half. Everyone can have one half, and the extra half goes to whoever first grabs the broom to sweep the floor.

And I know you don't believe me, but sometimes I envy you with your math book. A few tears shed, a few minutes sticking to the task, and then the joyous, "I'M DONE!!!" and racing to find your boots and coat.

Math envy. Is there such a thing?

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Protected by Copyscape Duplicate Content Detection Tool