Saturday, May 30, 2009
But I really, really disliked the dance music. I'd have preferred Canon in D Major floating across the grass.
We've been in an absolute flurry of camp planning this week, including two days' worth of camp run-through. We have always had our American Heritage Girls day camps be girl-led. This year we have 13 Pioneers and Patriots (7th - 12th graders) as camp leaders. The vast majority of them, actually, are rising 7th graders, and that realization made me break out in a sweat last weekend. After watching these girls in action during camp run-through, however, I am absolutely amazed and tremendously proud of them. They have showed tremendous leadership, cooperation, and diligence, and I am feeling almost totally devoid of stress. Our camp begins Monday morning, with 72 girls registered. It's a 3-day, three-hour camp, and on Wednesday I will probably be a big blob of mental jello. But in a good way.
Last night was our support group's high school graduation. It was a fantastic event. There were over 400 people there for 14 graduates, including Jesse's best friend, Bryant. Today we head over to their house for a graduation party, and then there is a whole support group graduation party this evening. And, of course, I can't help but think that this time next year, Jesse will graduate. And go off to college. And there will be a slide show at graduation that will make me cry.
Phew. I think I'll stop thinking about that now.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Monday, May 25, 2009
Where I come from in upstate New York, the village next to ours, Waterloo, claims that it is the "Birthplace of Memorial Day." My own hometown takes part in the famous Trout Derby on Memorial Day weekend, when Seneca Lake is buzzing with motorboats and regattas. Here in East Tennessee this day is referred to as Decoration Day as much as it is Memorial Day, where folks visit the gravesites of their families and leave flowers. But for me, Memorial Day was a day off from school, a parade in our hot band uniforms, and a late afternoon sail.
I grew up over 800 miles away from my extended family. The roots are long and strong in Southern Illinois: Cummins, Rileys, Firebaughs, Johnsens. Most of them immigrated to American from Ireland or Germany in the mid- to late-1800s and planted themselves on farms. No one moved around too much. Dix, Illinois is pretty much made up of Rileys. That's where my Cummins and Riley--the Irish-- kin are buried. The Firebaughs and Johnsens--my German kin-- were in the big city of Mt. Vernon next door, and dozens of stones in the city cemetery bear the Firebaugh name, kept abundant through my grandfather Creighton and his 11 siblings.
But when I was a little over a year old, my family moved to upstate New York. The cemeteries there bear names like Fabrizio, D'Amico, Cecere, D'Allesandro, Principio, Scuzzi, Scaramazzinno, Fospero, Ianapollo. (Imagine my midwestern parents learning to pronounce the names of my classmates!)
I have been to my grandparents' graves once or twice. I have traced their names in stone with my fingers and conjured up images of them and the sounds of their voices. I have stood and looked at a stone and thought, "This is my family. I am one of them." It is not enough, though. I have missed some vital connection because of distance. I have missed placing wildflowers on graves and kissing the cheek of a wrinkled third cousin. I have never heard a story told of my father as a little boy--other than by my father.
My friends think I'm funny because I call a certain local family "my cousins." But he is my kin---although we are fourth cousins or first cousins, four times removed, or something like that---and when you don't have the luxury of being in the midst of your kin, you make the most of what you have.
Friday, May 22, 2009
Anyway, back to my spinning head. I am overloaded. We have American Heritage Girls camp coming up in less than 10 days, and somehow we didn't quite realize the effect that Memorial Day weekend would have on camp planning. We had to cancel an AHG event due to lack of participation, and I really dislike doing that. Again, Memorial Day weekend. And then there is this little thing called "homeschooling" that we are trying to finish up by mid-week. I have a feeling we'll get woefully little done next week with all the camp planning.
It's all just little stuff, but I was feeling so overwhelmed earlier today. Preparing supper seemed like the final straw. What a simple cure: we went out to dinner. Being Dave Ramsey fans, we rarely go out to dinner; but tonight I just had to. And it was exactly the right thing to do. Sometimes, you just have to blow money for sanity's sake.
After dinner we chatted for awhile in our rock garden and then played a game of croquet with the kids, picking a few strawberries from our patch to munch on while we played. I can hardly even remember now why I was so overwhelmed.
I love perspective. And croquet is really fun, too.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds,
O God our savior.
You are the hope of everyone on earth,
even those who sail on distant seas.
You formed the mountains by your power
and armed yourself with mighty strength.
You quieted the raging oceans
with their pounding waves
and silenced the shouting of the nations.
Those who live at the ends of the earth
stand in awe of your wonders.
From where the sun rises to where it sets,
you inspire shouts of joy.
You take care of the earth and water it,
making it rich and fertile.
The river of God has plenty of water;
it provides a bountiful harvest of grain,
for you have ordered it so.
You drench the plowed ground with rain,
melting the clods and leveling the ridges.
You soften the earth with showers
and bless its abundant crops.
You crown the year with a bountiful harvest;
even the hard pathways overflow with abundance.
The grasslands of the wilderness become a lush pasture,
and the hillsides blossom with joy.
The meadows are clothed with flocks of sheep,
and the valleys are carpeted with grain.
They all shout and sing for joy!
Monday, May 18, 2009
At the time, Randy, Jesse and I lived in Ames, Iowa. Once or twice a year, we drove the 17 hours down to Tennessee to spend a week with friends and family in Johnson City, where we'd gone to college. Usually these trips involved an excursion to Roan Mountain.
This was actually in December, so we were happy to have our Iowa parkas to wear. Jesse was just three and a half, and I didn't know it quite yet, but I was a few weeks pregnant with Laurel in this photo. That's our friend Suzie in the photo with us on top.
So much has changed since then in nearly every aspect of our lives. We were happy then, but now our cup truly does overflow. We have been abundantly blessed with children, friendships, health, family, a dream job, and a beautiful place to live. And so much more.
Same rock, 13 years later. Who knew how good life could be?
Your turn. Do you have a Monday Memory to share? Post it on your blog and sign Mr. Linky below with a direct link to that post. It's okay if you don't post on Monday! So dig down deep into your memories and get started!
I'll be writing my own memory later today. And I'll be waiting for yours… Thanks to my 3 participants last week!
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
From JenIg's blog:
Rosetta Stone is the fastest way to learn a language and has been the #1 foreign language curriculum among homeschoolers for a while — and you can WIN the *all new* version 3 Rosetta Stone Homeschool LATIN program… FOR FREE! This is the first year you can get Latin in the brand new Version III update.
This is a $259 program (and believe me it’s worth every penny!)
This is a computer based curriculum and Rosetta Stone will also include a headset with microphone, and a supplementary “Audio Companion” CD so you can practice lessons in the car, on the go, or where-ever! Students participate in life-like conversations and actually produce language to advance through the program. Rosetta Stone incorporates listening, reading, grammar, vocabulary and writing along with speaking and pronunciation lessons. For parents, the new Parent Administrative Tools are integrated into the program to allow parents to easily enroll up to ten students in any of 12 predetermined lesson plans, monitor student progress, grade completed work (the program grades the work automatically as the students progress- I love that!), and you can view and print reports for transcripts. Homeschooling a lot of kids at your house? This program is designed to enroll and track up to ten students (five users on two computers) and will work for nearly all ages — from beginning readers up to college students.
To win this most excellent Latin program copy these paragraphs and post them in (or as) your next blog post, and/OR link to the contest from your facebook page and/OR email the information to your homeschool support group – Then go to the original page http://Jeneralities.com and leave a comment saying that you’ve posted about, or have linked to, the contest. Please make sure the link works to get back to the original contest page when you post. And good luck!
My personal note: Jesse is currently doing Rosetta Stone Russian for his high school language credit, and he loves it! I personally would love to have the Latin program for my other kids, as I think Latin is incredibly useful in so many ways, whether your child is inclined toward the arts or the sciences.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Cincinnati: Jesse was born in 11 hours from water-breaking to birth, after 2.5 painful hours of pushing. I had an epidural, which I despised. I was starving through the whole thing. He was 8 lbs. 11 oz., and I was dumbfounded. How could I have such a big baby?
Ames, Iowa: Laurel's birth was the most pleasant, although it was a long day. I had a midwife for her, and she let me eat graham crackers and other yummy things. Back in Iowa we had this drug called an ITN (intrathecal narcotic), which was awesome. So much better than an epidural. I knew Laurel was a girl, even before I had the ultrasound that confirmed my intuition, but I was flabbergasted when she came out 9 lbs. 9 oz. What is up with these big babies? (No, I didn't have gestational diabetes.)
Maryville, TN: Duncan was due on Christmas Day, but of course no one ever has a baby on her due date. Except of course I did. The nurses were traumatized that I didn't want an epidural (at that time, only one anesthesiologist at the hospital could do my beloved ITN, and it wasn't likely that I could get him on call), but Duncan's birth was fairly quick and not really terrible hideous. And just when I thought they couldn't get any bigger: 10 lbs. I have no idea. Duncan aspirated meconium in utero and he had to be whisked off to the NICU at a different hospital right away. His story is here. I am so thankful for his life.
Those are my babies. I miss their sweet-smelling skin and their tiny hands. But I love who they are now, and I am so very blessed to be their mama.
Your turn. Do you have a Monday Memory to share? Post it on your blog and sign Mr. Linky below with a direct link to that post. It's okay if you don't post on Monday and if you don't have photos; I like to read stories any day of the week! So dig down deep into your memories and get started!
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Need some ideas? What about your first Mothers' Day? Or a memory of your own mother? What about the day you found out you were expecting? Another possibility is always to look at your blog entry on tomorrow's date from last year or two years ago, or scout through some old photos.
I'll be waiting…
Saturday, May 9, 2009
With her brothers Max and Henry, about 1930
With Max, WWII
Senior picture, 1944
With James, on the way to California before my Dad went to Korea, 1951
With James and baby John, 1953
With James, John, and baby Peter, 1957
Nine years later, with the addition of Stephen and me, 1966
31 years later at Mom and Dad's 50th wedding anniverary, with the addition of 8 grandchildren (1 yet to come), 1998
My mother and me, last summer
Friday, May 8, 2009
I do have photos from our very first awards ceremony in 2003, when all of our girls were given their Joining Awards and membership pins.
She's the third one from the left in this group of first-grade girls. Four of this first group of girls crossed over last night.
And here she is last year on the night of our ceremony. She's grown several inches since then. In the rush of things yesterday, I didn't even have the foresight to take a few photos of her before she traded in her blue vest.
Between Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, and American Heritage Girls, our weeks can be crazy twice each month. And with Randy's being Cubmaster and my being co-coordinator of our AHG troop, some weeks our heads our positively spinning. We wonder what possessed us to schedule both the Cub Scout end-of-the-year picnic and crossing over during the same week as the AHG spring awards ceremony, and both topped off with the Boy Scout camporee over the weekend. What were we thinking?
But Scouting is one of the finer things in life for our family. We have put so much energy and time into the programs because we clearly see the fantastic benefits and blessings that have come about as a result of our participation.
But I'm happy for just a little break.
(Check out more finer things in life at Amy's Finer Things Friday.)
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
* We're finally out of the Civil War and have backtracked to cover the westward expansion. We've been reading A Pioneer Sampler this week. We absolutely love this book! The kids made these "tin art" pictures yesterday while I was reading to them. The book is a perfect blend of stories, facts, and projects. (Don't be deceived by what appears to be a sunny day. That was but a 5-minute break in the clouds.)
* Speaking of 5-minute breaks, we were tremendously blessed last night to have a respite from the rain for the annual Cub Scout end-of-the-year picnic.
There were three-legged races, sack races (that's Duncan on the far right), and a tug-of-war, plus awards and a crossing-over ceremony. Dr. H. is feeling much relieved today. Tomorrow evening is our American Heritage Girls end-of-the-year awards ceremony, so we are both going to be happy campers on Friday!
Aren't these parents good sports? They did the sack race, too. Hey, those are three AHG leaders on the left! I'm glad they didn't hurt themselves! (I'm allergic to burlap, in case you were wondering.)
* This week's Carnival of Homeschooling is up at the Atlanta Homeschooling Examiner. I actually remembered to submit something this time. I'm looking forward to having some time to peruse the rest of the entries.
* Mothers' Day is coming up very soon. Fortunately, I remembered just in time to go to Winkflash to send Winky Personal to my mom and Dr. H's mom. These are the most awesome cards. All you have to do is upload a photo (or more for a collage), fill in the text (I found a couple of good "mother" quotes), and pay. They actually send the card directly in the mail to the recipient! All that (including postage) for $2.39; it's way cheaper than buying a card at Target.
* My Mothers' Day requests are simple: I want the carpet cleaned and the cabinet under the kitchen sink cleaned out.
What's on your Mothers' Day lists?
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
It is a great place to go for a girls' weekend getaway. In fact, Self magazine named it the "happiest city for women." So here we are, being happy.
|From Asheville 5/4/09 5:56 PM|
|From Asheville 5/4/09 5:56 PM|
|From Asheville 5/4/09 5:56 PM|
|From Asheville 5/4/09 5:56 PM|
|From Asheville 5/4/09 5:56 PM|
|From Asheville 5/4/09 5:56 PM|
Next year, we're thinking Chicago.
Monday, May 4, 2009
This past weekend my college girlfriends and I met in Asheville for Tracy's 40th birthday celebration. The birthday girl is on the left, Angie's in the middle, and Suzie's on the right.
It's interesting to walk on streets that hold such strong memories. I found myself searching for familiar landmarks. Where was fountain where we took our picture? Where are all the thrift stores? Asheville 20 years later caters to wealthy tourists, and the thrift stores have been replaced by "vintage" clothing for the wealthy tourists, craft stores, galleries, and all kinds of restaurants. Perhaps it was like that before, but we poor college students sought out only those places that had $2 suit jackets and old pins. Our old favorite bookstore, Malaprops, is still there, and the musicians are still busking on every block.
I should probably make some kind of Thomas Wolfe reference here, as he is Asheville's native son. Something about "you can't go home again," perhaps. But I'm okay with those long-ago days being memories, and I'm not terribly wistful for the Asheville I remember. Creating new memories is awesome, too.
Do you have a Monday Memory you'd like to share? Post it on your blog and sign Mr. Linky below with a direct link to that post. It's okay if you don't post on Monday and if you don't have photos; I like to read stories any day of the week! So dig down deep into your memories and get started!
Friday, May 1, 2009
I put together a resource list as a hand-out and thought I'd share it here. I'd love to have more links if anyone has favorite high-school sites.
Websites with Links to Articles
• The HomeScholar: Dozens of articles to help parents homeschool through high school:
• HSLDA: Lots of great information (for college bound, military, and vocational tracks) on homeschooling through high school, including sample 4-year plans.
• Tips for getting into college
• Tons of information at College Board (home of the SAT):
Dual Enrollment at Pellissippi State: (This is specifically for those in our local area, but most community colleges have similar programs.) Here is recent article about Knoxville homeschooler who received her high school diploma and associate’s degree in the same year.
• Homeschooling High Schoolers
• HSing High School:
• On2College (Knoxville area):
• Homeschooling High School by Jeanne Gowen Dennis (ISBN 1932096116) Rev. 2004
• Homeschoolers’ College Admissions Handbook by Cafi Cohen (ISBN 0761527540) 2000
• Homeschooling the Teen Years by Cafi Cohen (ISBN 0761520937) 2000
• College-Prep Homeschooling: Your Complete Guide to Homeschooling Through High School by David P Byers (ISBN 1600651003) 2008
• High School @ Home: You Can Do It! by Diana Johnson (ISBN 0805445455) 2007
Homeschooling the High Schooler
Have some more resources? Leave me a comment and I'll add them!