Tuesday, April 15

One Last Freeze

Surprise Spring Cold Snap! After wearing shorts and light shirts all weekend, we had to break out emergency layers this morning! The ground is littered in oak and grass pollen, but the temps were in the low 40's by noon, and the low tonight is going to be in the 20's. That's a little crazy.

We went to see the San Jose Taiko performance this morning. If you ever have the opportunity to see this group perform, please treat yourself and go! They truly are art in motion, and it's a visual thrill as well as a musical one. Every one of our group sat, entranced, through the whole performance. I was a little nervous about how quickly two hours would pass (what with the small one), but it was over before anyone got antsy. I'd have gotten pictures, but they said we can't. And then one of the door guards sat right behind me. James thinks I looked a little sketchy. He's probably right.

James needed a suit for an upcoming project, and he's outgrown his Dr. Who outfit from Halloween, so we got him suited up and ready to roll. Luckily, the old suit fits John, and he thought it'd be perfect for Easter service. So now, of course, Jacob's thinking a suit would be swanky for Easter, too! It's been a while since everyone had a suit. The default "dress clothes" have consisted of a general pair of Docker-esque tan pants and a polo for so long, now. (I really miss the days when we could pop into Sears and grab those little boy suits for $30. Those days are long gone for most of the crew.)

And, haircuts. Because we are a shaggy, scraggly bunch at the moment. Jacob's hair whisperer is back to work at a new place, and he can't wait to see her. Brian, The Hair Guy, can squeak us in, too, for the rest of the kids. (Funny tidbit about Brian. He has two homeschool families, and he's spent the last four years constantly asking us if we knew each other, but we didn't. He insisted we had to. We just HAD to. We figured it was a case of, "Oh, you're from Earth! Do you know Bob?" It happens. Yet, now that we've met, we can see how he thought we *had* to know each other. We do SO many of the same things. And we live in such a small area. Somehow, we've orbited around each other without ever being in the same place at the same time the last few years, like a comedy sketch in a restaurant kitchen. I think his stress level has dropped considerably now that we don't all smile-and-nod and give each other sidelong glances when he mentions us knowing the other family!)

We've had an airsoft gathering, and done some work on the property. Buddy doesn't smell like skunk anymore. The dogwoods are in bloom. We haven't tackled a garden, yet, but everyone has expressed an interest in having one, so I guess we'll have to get on that at some point. (This is where my competent gardening friends roll their eyes and start saying, "Honey, you should've had..." It's a wonder they admit to knowing me in public.) I'm going to blink soon and find we're smack in the middle of Summer, aren't I?

Kiss those babies!

Friday, April 11

Awesome Weather!

This is why we school year-round. It was so cold, and wet, (and did I mention cold-for-here?) this Winter, and we know Summer's going to have its hot'n'sticky days (it always does...) So we've been running amok now, with highs in the low 70's and lows in the high 40's.

We went to Clarkson Covered Bridge and spent the day playing games, roaming about, enjoying the day.

We went to Monte Sano and spent the day running about, enjoying the view, and refreshing our spirits with all the color and laughter the day had to offer.

Our local homeschool group had Field Day this week. We spent the day... well, you get the picture. Plus, there was ice cream!

The chicks are out of the basement and into their tractors!
Em told me the other day that she really enjoys reading.
Jase loves phonics. (Classical Phonics, from Memoria Press. If you have one that likes to illustrate and doodle, this is a great, great program!)
We've had to replenish the duct tape supplies twice this week.
James is gearing up for a trip. (I can't wait to tell you more!)
John is happy.
Z is happy, and busy, and making things, and just generally excited about life.
Aside from the fact that I simply cannot get a grip on the house right now, life is pretty darned fantastic!

Kiss those babies!

Monday, April 7

On Being Social and Living Spaces

We had small group last night. We have such a sweet group of people. And such a neat blend of backgrounds and interests. There are children everywhere, and it's funny how loud the children are, and how quiet the adults are. I kind of wish the adults were just a little louder, because I feel like one of the children. Still, they haven't thrown us out, yet.

James and I had to slip out early to take the pulled pork to his youth group. Then I retreated to a coffee shop to read for a quiet, upright, hour and a half. (The upright is important, because reading in bed is like breathing chloroform. I don't know why. Probably because I'm exhausted. Reading on our couch has the same effect because the corner is very inviting and it's easy to slip down into a prone position. The next thing I know, the dog's sticking his nose in my face to wake me up.)

The boys keep sharing book titles with me (Mom! You have to read this!), so right now I'm reading Carpe Jugulum, courtesy of John; Rebel Code, courtesy of James; and The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, thanks to Em.

Reading Terry Pratchet in public can be awkward. There's a lot of sniggering and chuckling and occasionally snorfling of coffee if a sip was poorly timed. Other than that, I love my Sunday evening reading time.

We finally put the living room back together after the last game day. You know, a week later. I should have moved more quickly: the large industrial table I'd brought up from the basement got grafted into the permanent plan. I tried to take it down the day after game day, but the guys came over to shoot and used it as a landing space for gear. Then the next day, we had more company and it was the perfect spot for putting the potluck snacks and goodies. By Monday morning, Jacob and Em had set up their school work at the table. It was too late for me to make my move. Now it's a crafting-woodworking-tattooing-drawing-schooling-reading-everything-table. Since it doesn't violate my uni-tasker rule (by any stretch of the imagination), it stays. It is very utilitarian. But man, is it ugly.

Then I realized, as much as I think I would love a magazine show quality home, we'd have to find somewhere else to actually live. So it's all good.

Kiss those babies!

Sunday, April 6

Friends Make Everything Better

It seems like friendship is this year's theme. That makes me smile to my toes, really.

Yesterday morning, EmilyGirl and I slipped off for brunch with a friend and her daughter. It wasn't a long visit, but it was a sweet visit, and I'm so glad we went. Of course, the boys were a bit flummoxed. "Wait. What? Where are you going? Are we going? Should we load up the gifts now? You're going alone?! Weird." Can you tell Em and I haven't done anything like that before?

Em mentioned that she needed more felt. (We'd just bought her a huge pile of felt the day before, no questions asked, for a surprise she wanted to make for Easter. Already she needed more?) I raised my eyebrow. She smiled brightly. We stopped for more felt after brunch.

This was the surprise: Easter Baskets for everyone!

Then we all loaded up and headed to a birthday party for a very special little boy. He's turning four. Dear heaven, that's a cute, cute age. We weren't there five minutes before James had him in his arms, letting the little guy give him a tour of their chicks and chicken tractor. Although we'd built the chicken tractor and know it inside and out, James enjoyed the enthusiasm and joy of the little guy showing off his special things. 15 is a pretty awesome age, too.

Isn't that an idyllic setting? There are a lot of bodies hidden by flowers and trees. It was a perfect day to hang out with friends and celebrate together.

The kids gave the Little ones Easter baskets, homemade foam swords, and a shield (they made a sword for his little sister, because it's hard to observe a birthday with no gifts for you when you're wee tiny, and also so they can play together). Z and I apologized pre-emptively for all the things that are likely to get broken and bruised because of our involvement.

We came home, worked hard for an hour, and then the day disappeared into game time. The day was stacked pretty heavily with Highs when we did our Highs and Lows at dinner. What a great day!

Kiss those babies!

Friday, April 4

In Like A Lion

March was busy! March was cold! March was, all things considered, pretty awesome.

(The picture's from April. But the sentiment's the same.) Our Friday hikes have been a little willy-nilly, but we're getting the hang of it, getting out regularly, and have had a blast. The teen game day is one of the kids' favorite events of the month. They're trying to figure out a way to have it more often, but not have to clean for it more often. (If they can figure that out, I'm likely to say yes.)

I took James and John with me to the GHC convention in Greenville. Road trip (they're both excellent travelers), met up with friends (friends make every adventure more fun), and enjoyed some truly exceptional speakers. They were even treated to a celebrity sighting at the Greek restaurant we stopped at for lunch one day -- Mr. Steve, from MUS!

Except for the time I got to visit with David Kern. He was very generous and thoughtful. I, however, turn into Phil, post-freezing incident. (If you haven't seen Better Off Ted, go ahead and watch the episode where they freeze Phil. It's horrifying to have that happen in real life. But there you have it.) It happened when I tried to visit with Martin Cothran, too. I get around the rock stars of Classical Ed and I turn into a total basket case. I've gotta work on that. But the convention was an overall win, and the boys are already planning on attending again next year.

We visited with the NCFCA at a tournament in Birmingham to check it out and see about forming a forensics club for next year. The feedback was great, and the boys are interested. They sat in on team policy debate, persuasive speaking, and humorous interpretation, so they got a decent cross-section view of what's available. Hopefully, we'll be able to round up enough students to give it a go!

We've made *zero* progress on the house. Part of that is being out of the house all the time. By the time we get home again, we're all bushed and really only up for making a snack plate and watching a little Netflix or reading a book. The washer started leaking. We did wash on the front porch for a week, trying to track down the leak. Found it, and so that's done. The rest of our project time has been spent building archery butts and sleds, and chicken tractors. So, it's not all Dr. Who and Snack Plates...

There's a LOT of good stuff coming down the pike for April. I'm a little woozy thinking about it, but as it comes together, I'll share. (I got a Blogger app for Chrome - hoping that'll somehow make it feel easier to blog regularly again.)

Kiss those babies!