Friday, June 28, 2013

Pouring and leaping through strange seas

"The Wart did not know what Merlyn was talking about, but he liked him to talk.  He did not like the grown-ups who talked down to him, but the ones who went on talking in their usual way, leaving him to leap along in their wake, jumping at meanings, guessing, clutching at known words, and chuckling at complicated jokes as they suddenly dawned.  He had the glee of the porpoise then, pouring and leaping through strange seas." 
                   ~T.H. White in The Once and Future King

Whenever I talk to someone who wants to try the Ambleside curriculum I always try to warn them that the literature selections might seem too lofty for their young ones, but not to surrender too quickly because they might be surprised at their child's ability to comprehend and enjoy the chosen books.

Case in point:  Ambleside Year 2 (2nd grade) adds Pilgrim's Progress to the list.  This is not an abridged, children's version, but the original KJV English version.  We first came upon this when Grace was in Year 2, 4 years ago. I thought this was going to very difficult, if not impossible, but I figured if we were going to do this we were going to do it all the way.  We took it in small snippets like they suggest, reading only 3-4 pages a sitting and, lo and behold, I was shocked to find that not only did she enjoy it, but she actually retained what we had read, enough to be able to narrate it back to me at the next reading.  Reading 3-4 pages at a time is really as much as I can take in myself, since the book is so rich and requires time to chew on and digest it. 

It is now our third time through this gem as Naomi is finishing up Year 2, and I believe her comprehension is even better than Grace's because she has had the privilege of listening along to books that were way beyond her supposed grade level since she was born.

My point is, never underestimate the ability of your child to enjoy books that you think may be too far above them.  And even if they can't comprehend it all now they will enjoy leaping along in the wake of the words, "jumping at meanings, guessing, clutching at known words, and chuckling at complicated jokes as they suddenly dawn."  They will have the glee of the porpoise, pouring and leaping through strange seas. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


We seem to be dealing with some sort of summer flu here.  Claire had a fever for nearly a week and just as she started to recover Naomi and Asher came down with the same thing yesterday.  I almost wish we could have all had it at once to just get it over with.  But alas, it isn't to be.

Meanwhile, my sister reminded me that I never linked to my third post on Beth's blog.  So HERE is the link for those of you who would like to read it.  But don't let it make you feel inferior or guilty in anyway.  Naomi and Asher are not listening to Bach as they rest and recover.  It's Cars and Adventures in Odyssey for them.  Although I think I will try to talk them into James Herriot for this afternoon.  I just can't bear to waste all this couch time without taking advantage of some audio books!

Thursday, June 20, 2013


I've been busy writing my guest posts over at Beth's blog so I haven't had much time to update here.  #2 is up over there if you care to read it.

In the meantime here are some pictures from our trip to the aquarium last week.  We went with my Mom and my niece, and thankfully we had some cheap $10 tickets from home-school week last year that we were not able to attend because someone was sick.  As much fun as we had, I kept thinking that I would never spend the $150 it would have cost us to get in at the regular admission price.  That place is outrageously over-priced!  I know it must be expensive to maintain all those tanks and fish, but that's just ridiculous.

Not only that but I think we picked up some weird virus while we were there because four of us got sick a couple days later with fevers and head colds.  No wonder because the place was mobbed with school trips, which are the bane of my existence.  If I am ever tempted to send the kids to public school I just need to visit a museum when it is mobbed with school trips: kids running like mad around the place with their iPhone taking pictures of fish, pushing you and your kids out of the way, yelling, and learning absolutely nothing.

That's enough of my whining and pessimism though.  On to the pictures.

Oooh, crazy moving pictures!
I think the kids' favorite parts were the shark tunnel and the touch tanks.

I think my favorite part was 12-year-old girls with their iPhones running through the aquarium to stand in front of each tank only long enough to take a picture of the jellyfish or shark or whatever it was, while yelling right in my ear to their friends.  That was really awesome.

Geez, Christy, quit your whining!

Feel free to go read my guest post.  I'm much happier over there.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Toddler antics

Claire has been a pickle lately.  This 18 month age exhausts me every time.  Just when they start developing their adorable personality and being funny they also start getting into serious trouble and making serious messes.  Terrible 2's has nothing on 18 month olds in my opinion.  Thankfully there are ways to pacify these little trouble makers even if it is only short lived.
You can also give them fish to play with.  Who needs toys when you have sunnies?
But then they make up for their troublesome ways by causing us to laugh hysterically.  Like when she thought she would imitate her big brother who just relieved himself behind a tree.
She could not see what we were laughing so hard about.  This is serious business she was thinking.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Guest posting!

I'm guest posting over at my friend Beth's blog today.  It's the first of a three part series on teaching art and music appreciation to our children.  If you are interested, feel free to head on over and check it out!  Even you are not a home schooling parent I think you will still feel inspired! 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Birthday Earings

Last Friday Naomi finally turned 8.  I say finally because I have been saying she was 8 for the past 6 months at least, and she had to keep correcting me.  I don't know why I kept doing that, maybe it had something to do with the fact that she just acted older than 7 in my mind.  She just blows my mind with the things that come out of her mouth.  Whatever the reason, I am glad I finally won't get it wrong anymore.

She decided that for her birthday she wanted to get her ears pierced, so off to the mall we all trooped through the pouring rain.

Does she look worried?
Ouch!  That hurt a little more than she was expecting!
Happy birthday big girl!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Leaving the nest

It was a lovely spring evening a few days ago that our bluejay fledglings decided to leave their nest.  They were right on schedule according to our handy dandy chart, which said that bluejays fledge at 17-21 days.  Since we knew their time was coming we were keeping a close eye on them.

I don't know who saw them first, but everyone went running outside when this little guy was spotted on the ladder.

Hey little guy, remember me?  I checked on you nearly every day since you were hatched.

They made sure to put him back right where they found him because instinct knows best, and what we think might be best for the baby bird might not be best for them.  They were also not allowed to pick them up the next couple days as they hopped around the yard and tried out their wings.

It was funny to watch the next couple days as momma bluejay would go dive bombing Lily whenever she went outside.   Nothing was going to get at her babies on her watch!

I wonder if these jays are going to be extra friendly because of all the human attention they received, and if someone somewhere in the neighborhood is going to wonder why a particular bluejay doesn't seem to be a afraid of people.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Tree Climbing Competition

For the past several years Christian has been competing at the local and state level tree climbing championships.  Two weeks ago he competed at the local level and took 2nd place overall.  This past weekend were the state championships and we all had fun watching him compete.  I don't get to see him work that often, but when I do I am always impressed, and it isn't just because I am married to the guy.
Getting ready to start and checking out the tree with the judges.
He got his throw line onto the right branch 60-70ft up on his first try.
Getting ready to ascend.

Foot-locking up the tree.  He is always one of the top guys for speed on this event.
Up in the tree and ready to move to the different stations.

Watching him up that high does give me butterflies in my stomach, but I know that he is ultra safety conscious.

There is only one event for this competition which they call The Master's Challenge, unlike the local event which has 5 different events.  This makes it a little more stressful because you only have one shot at winning, and there is no room for error.  The event is pretty technical, and they give points for all kinds of different things like speed (they have 25 minutes to complete the tree), safety, assessment of the tree, and finesse.  I don't even know everything they are looking for.

He was bummed because even though he looked amazing up there and finished in time (he was one of only 4 guys to finish in time), he took 5th place.  We really had high hopes that he was going to make it to the Internationals this year and he had been training really hard.  This is a really hard event though, and it really is all about who is having a good day.

He is #1 in my book though.  And that is because he knows what is important.  Instead of competing at multiple events in different states to boost his chance at winning like a lot of the other guys do, he chooses to stay home with his family.  Instead of hanging out with the other competitors after the event and talking about gear and how awesome they are, he just quickly puts his stuff away and takes the kids to the playground there at the park.  He loves doing these competitions and it makes his work more fun, but he always makes sure that it isn't pulling him away from his family too much.

And we figure there is always next year.....
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