28 January, 2008

Forty Hours Left

Only forty hours until our oldest son takes off for the northern plains for the next phase of his life! This is the calm before the final mayhem of packing up, cleaning up and throwing a going away party for him and his friends.

This past weekend, The Dread Pirate Sparsebeard helped him work on his car to get it ready for the road trip. Today is to be spent with a couple more close friends who probably will not be able to make the going-away party tomorrow evening, for they are both in college in the city, and have hectic schedules of their own.

The previous weekend, we celebrated with family across town and took one last formal family portrait before J moves out.

J came to my final Charlotte Mason book club meeting last week to say goodbye to all my mom friends, some of whom he has studied or worked with in one form or another.

What else do I write? J has grown up so much since spending the summer helping with youth camps in Scotland and traveling about, learning and expanding his perspective(s). He has very strong opinions and is ready for this next step. Staying in our area is just not the best option for him anymore; he has blossomed all he can in this part of the country and needs new soil in which to be transplanted, fed, stretched and even tested. I understand this from my own year(s) right before entering the "twenty-something" ages.

When I think back on it, I, like so many others, would not want to relive the high school years...BUT, the college years are perhaps another matter! Those were exciting times of traveling, learning, growing and maturing. Sure, there are things I would do differently, but the overall experience(s) are exciting and life-changing.

As you can imagine, not only is our sons life changing, but his brothers and sister's lives are changing, and Sparsebeard's and mine are changing, as well. That really goes without saying, but I don't have anything else profound to say at this moment. I'll let you know after he is gone, after we've taken the party streamers down and eaten the last of the cake or brownies. I'll let you know once we begin to change the boys' bedroom to update it to the taste of the next brother in line :-).


Maybe, just maybe we'll leave those party streamers up for a while.


19 January, 2008


Nature Study in our backyard:

Now that colder temps have settled in our area, the dove population taking sanctuary in our yard has increased tremendously! They are beautiful to watch. On this particular morning last week, there were over 50 dove visible; 25 in each of the two trees just out off our back patio, and more in the grass foraging for food. When we returned home from worship service on Sunday, we sat in the driveway and watched them for a good five or eight minutes before disturbing them to go in the house.

Ah, the routine is back underway again, so I find myself looking forward to those moments in the day when I stumble upon something interesting to photograph or that chance to read before falling asleep. I also look forward to spending time with hubby during the weekend and working on book restorations. I have picked up two new projects to add to my list. I generally work on these projects on the weekends.

In our home school, we are doing a modified, simplified CM/HEO schedule of Year 7 offerings. It has been six years since we did year seven the first time.

This new semester, I am reading Shakespeare's "As You Like It" with our youngest, and hopefully our Freshman will join in on the fun, as well. They have gotten back on their math and algebra studies and added a few neat classes at our hs co-op.

12. 5 yos is taking:

Improv class (whose line is it, anyway), performance ensemble, a dancing class, volleyball, and a "brain benders" class.

14.5 yos is taking:
a cooking class, Algebra I, China Painting, and Tennis.

16.5 yo daughter is working and getting prepared for dual-credit classes through the community college to help finish out some of those required high school courses.

At home, we are continuing with a high school Spanish class, which 14 yos and 16 yod are taking with me and a few other friends. 14 yos is also working on literature and lit analysis and grammar studies with his Dad. At this time, they are reading The Two Towers and Machiavelli's The Prince together. 16 yod is working on Year Two of David Quine's Worldviews of the Western World.

We're studying Handel as our composer this year, and still hooked on Da Vinci for picture study.

19 yos is packing up this week to move to Nebraska for college.

I find that we are in a bit of a "suspension" while waiting for J to get himself packed up and moved out. Some things will be much easier to accomplish once we've launched him on his next step into adulthood.

I will likely be offering one more beginner's high school Spanish class for friends' kids after J moves. We will also be able to add in more HEO books after he moves. I just don't want us to miss anything this last week of him living at home, even though he is still wrapping things up with friends and working, so not always "at" home. It is just too difficult to plan much around his changing schedule at this time. We can add the other things in a week or so without taking away from his special departure.

14 January, 2008


"Nothing Motivates like success!"

This is my quote for the semester. We are trying to stay motivated around here and get back to a good routine!

08 January, 2008

Just passin' time

Our adorable cat is amazing. He is watching video that Androcles made of him. Yes, these are the things that we do in our spare time.

05 January, 2008

Walnut Mandolin

The Dread Pirate Sparsebeard leads a woodworking and Lutherie club on Wednesday evenings with a group of his friends.

Below are photos of the project he worked on all through December. It is for our oldest son for his 19th birthday. This is his sixth mandolin, and Sparsebeard says it is his best, yet.

Spruce top and redwood ROSEwood bridge

hand cut abalone inlay and other headstock details

lovely grain of the walnut back

spruce top, rosewood bridge, fingerboard and headstock

01 January, 2008

Happy New Year, all!

After three Christmases and around 500 miles logged, half of our family succomed to a bug that our little nephew gave to several of us on hubby's side of the family. Sweet little thing, he was such a good baby, who would have even noticed anything was amiss? I'm glad to be on the recovery side, now, but still have a sore neck.

I like making plans and getting on top of things, so I didn't like losing the last 48 hours of prime post-Christmas clean-up and goal-setting time. I enjoyed the sleep, but not the lost time. I've a lot of reorganizing to do, too...dozens of files that I need to throw away and re-file all of this year's homework assignments and grading keys in my filing cabinet. The newer items are filed (stuffed!) into a cardboard box on the floor. Along with countless other boxes on the floor.

My first New Year's Resolution is to empty out and get rid of those cardboard boxes. That's a big one. I never seem to have enough time to keep up with what comes in vs. what goes out.

Second resolution is to keep working on saying "No" to things. I've gotten better, but I still have a way to go.

When I'm back to 100%, I'll post more resolutions. Right now I've got to find some grading keys to lend...

Back soon!