Sunday, September 30, 2007

One Week Ago

Last week, we celebrated my birthday a day early. I knew by Monday the family would be scattered to various events, so I made sure we had time together when we could. Don't mind the Corona sign behind us! I was craving a juicy steak, so we went to Roadhouse Grill.
I love being with these people so much. They make me laugh, they bring me much joy, they make me feel like the most blessed woman alive.
Himself was hesitant to revisit Roadhouse Grill. We first went to one on Mother's Day almost 10 years ago when we came to Florida.
Now, you have to understand that the day before, the girls and I had gone to the Mother/Daughter Tea at our church. We were surrounded by fine china, delicate cakes and goodies, beautifully decorated tables, and delicious tea.
The very NEXT DAY it was peanut shells on the floor, steak sauce, and "Let's give a YAHOO to Timmy, celebrating his graduation. . . YA-HOOOO!" Himself took his eyes off the ball game on the TV monitor long enough to suddenly realize, "This isn't exactly a Mother's Day place, is it?" We laugh about it now!
After lunch, we headed to Target. I don't have a closet in our bedroom. When we moved in, Himself put in a shelving system along one wall, which works wonderfully for what we need. "Someday" we're going to remodel the downstairs and we'll build a walk-in closet, but for now anyone coming to my room sees all of my clothing in all their glory. I don't have a dresser because I've found I tend to stash stuff in it and then I don't know what I have.
My shoes have been a jumbled mess on the floor. Mom and Dad sent me some birthday money, so I decided to do something about the shoe situation. Thanks, Mom and Dad! I don't care how old you get. . . .getting birthday money is always a treat!

Here I am, looking at this shoe cubby. Did you know Rubbermaid has an entire closet system? We just have the wire shelving, but this is so cool! I'll definitely keep it in mind for when we build a real closet. The shoe cubby can be mounted to any height, as seen here.
Target had a Target brand cubby, but it was twenty dollars more and held three less pair! What's up with that? It looked sturdier, but I wasn't going to be sitting on it or anything. I just wanted my shoes a little more orderly.

Here's Himself, giving his thoughts on the matter. Three things he hates: cheap sheets, bony furniture, and flimsy furniture. The Rubbermaid one did seem more flimsy.

Still. . . we wouldn't have to buy it again when and if we ever remodel and build a real closet! Plus, did I mention it was 20 dollars cheaper?

Sold! We went home and he promptly put it together for me. I didn't get a picture, but I can now easily choose my shoes AND have a neater closet. They all fit except for slippers, flip-flops, and one pair of tennies. My boots went on top. I love it! Thanks again, Mom and Dad!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Egypt/North Africa

Some home school days just don't go as planned. I think the single best argument against home schooling is PMS. Let's face it; sometimes, the teacher just doesn't want to get out of bed and deal with humans.

BA and I planned a co-op to wrap up our geography study of Africa (focus on Egypt). It never fails that when we want to do something special, things don't go as smoothly as we desire. BA had a cranky morning at home. I had a crankier morning in my own home, and now we were supposed to be civil?

This picture of the beginning of our co-op sums it up nicely. The girls are on eggshells, and BA and I are wanting to be anywhere but in that classroom.

Still, we are called to teach our children. BA and I are committed to giving our girls the best home school experience we possibly can. We silently agreed to shake off the crankiness and get over it. When we did, that's when we all started enjoying ourselves and actually learned something!

Here are the Tuareg (pronounced Twa-reg) girls. Unlike other Arab countries, the Tuareg women don't wear veils. They're also highly respected by the men.

Tuareg girls get to wear:
Lots of dark eyeshadow . . . .

. . . and bright red nail polish. Let's hear it for the Tuareg!

Each of the girls prepared a speech about the biography of their choice. Here Rachel tells us about David Livingstone. In our class, they're allowed to look at their paper as long as they need to, but when they speak they must look at their audience. Rachel is gathering her thoughts on what to say next.

Glenna talked to us about Mary Slessor, a wee Scottish missionary to Africa.

Since the Tuaregs are nomadic, we told the girls to go outside and construct a shelter from blankets. BA and I were sitting in the air conditioned classroom, watching their attempts from the window. We did NOT interfere! When they finished, we stepped outside to discuss their results.

Shade, yes, but where are you going to lay down? Where will you sit to eat?

Ok, so the two of you can fit in your shelter, but will you take turns being comfortable?
We talked about what a real shelter should look like, then they tried again. They were nomads, after all, and nomads move around! Round two taught another valuable lesson in tent building . . .

. . . look for ant piles before you begin to build. This led to another valuable home school moment . . . .

. . . . why is baking soda able to take the sting out of an ant bite?

Every good co-op ends with food. The Tuareg traded with others in their travels, and we decided trading had been pretty good this year. The teachers were smiling by this time, because food was present!

Hummus, pitas, feta cheese, couscous, dried apricots, raisins, roasted meat, and artichoke hearts. We used pitas for plates and made sure we only ate with our right hands.

We also had rooibos (roy-bus) tea traded from South Africa. With honey, of course!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Home School Days

As we get closer and closer to having our school room done, we eagerly anticipate the day when all the "stuff" will be in one place and not scattered all over the house!

Here are a few pictures of a typical day. Glenna sets up an experiment on the effects of weight on speed.

Two matchbox cars, both weighed, one weighted down.

Science is pretty serious stuff. Here she has on her "scientist face."

Go! The weighted car is the blue blur. Feel free to donate to my camera fund so you don't have to look at blurry pictures like this.
She concluded that weight does affect speed, but then she read about Galilleo's experiments. Conclusion: Gravity is a harsh mistress.

These are Kelly's sculptures for History of the World. We try to do unit studies, so as many academic topics as possible are related. For History of the World, she's also getting a literature credit, an Art credit, and an English credit.

Aren't they cute? The camera doesn't do justice to their cute little hineys.

I wonder where they are now? I wonder if she saved them, or if she named them and invented an entire habitat for them as Glenna would have done?

In other news, I have permission to say that Ty's band has recorded a new 2-song EP. They just received the finished product via email yesterday! May I just say, WOW? Their four days recording have produced some incredible results! I'll have to let you know when it's available to the general public.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Happy Birthday, Bagel Two!

I'm still clinging to the position of being two days older than you. Do you think you'll ever catch up? Two days older, and about 45% more gray. Sigh.

Hope you have a fantastic day! Welcome to the land of the Forty-onederful!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Help at the zoo?

DDHZRJ, it won't let me comment on your blog. Says I'm not a "team" member!

Honestly, I want to be a team player. I understand there's no "I" in "Team" and all that.

May I comment? Pretty please? B's quilt is so fabulous!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Thank you!

Thank you to all friends and family for the birthday wishes, Starbucks cards, ginormous muffins, flowers and love! Today was truly forty-wonderful!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

It's the First Day of Fall . . .

. . . and I'm still sweatin', y'all! I know the tables will soon turn when we're in our mild winter while the rest of the "true fall" states are freezing. I know that day is coming, but how I long for coolness in the breeze!

Thursday night we went to a soccer game and it was a beautiful evening with a breeze. There was even a hint of coolness to it, but not much.

I look back over my journal and I know October will be the worst. Cool one day, roasting the next, it's hardest in October when every day should be fall!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Happy Birthday . . .

. . . Grandma Cruz!

We hope you have a fabulous day celebrating! We hope your son and daughters on the west coast take you out for dinner, too.

And here's a special hope that you've finally found some lime-green sunglasses to go with your fabulous outfit! ;-)
Don't let the smile fool you, folks. This lady's tough as nails. She skydives, goes whitewater rafting, and has been known to grace the back of a motorcycle on occasion. She's lived in a teepee for an entire year with five children under age 14, plus a huge dog named Pete.
Best of all, she gave birth to Himself so I could have him.
Thanks, Mom!

Friday, September 21, 2007

The Full Retreat Blog

I thought about having Green Monkey's experience be all I have to say about retreat, but I decided to give more details. Mainly, I wanted to post lots of people pictures so my friend Becky B in MT (hey!) could look at each photo for familiar faces. You were missed, Becky!

The first and most interesting part of retreat is the drive to get there. My friend Janet was kind enough to pick me up, but she made me promise not to take pictures of her hair. I semi-succeeded.

Her daughter, Erin, and I are appropriately giddy. We know what's coming! We know that we get to make our own decisions for the next few days! We know there will be tons of snacks, great teaching, music, side-splitting laughter, and no responsibilities.

I spent most of my retreat missing my family and wishing they were with me. I was so excited to go, NOT because I wanted to "get away" from my family, but because I know what a blessing a retreat is and I come home even more eager to serve my family. Hence, the reason THEY are so glad to see me go!

Leah has never been on a retreat that I know of. See her expression? She doesn't know what's coming.

Erin does. Oh yeah. Erin does.

At last we arrive in Daytona Beach! You know, I have been here almost 10 years, and I've never been to Daytona? I've been to other beaches, but Daytona has the whole Biker reputation that I wanted to avoid.

This is the Daytona Speedway. AKA the Redneck Mecca.

And this is Daytona Beach Traffic. Did we let this and messed-up Google map directions spoil our enthusiasm? Not one bit!

At last we arrive to our destination. Whoa! What's with the color??? It didn't look like that on the web page! No one told me the hot air balloons on the side were outlined in neon, either!

I mean, what IS that? Pistachio ice cream? Guacamole? Lime sherbet?

At the front desk, we already found fellow retreat goers waiting to check in. Nancy's green shirt is MUCH nicer than the green on the lobby walls. I have to remember that Florida is indeed the place these colors came from.

I waited for the sloooowwww elevator, hitched a ride up to my 6th floor room, threw open the curtains, and found this:

And this:
Can you see this green color? I just can't explain it. I don't know if I've ever seen it on a color chart, and I'm a painter's wife!

And because I'm a painter's wife, I took one up close of the stucco.

This one's for you, honey. Sorry I didn't take a picture of failing paint, but I figured this would do. You probably need to go down and sell them some paint anyway because of that whole color issue.

We were on our own for dinner, so we ended up at Ruby Tuesday's. I'd never eaten there before! The salad bar was spectacular (different kinds of lettuce offered, even). The mini-sandwiches were cute. Here, Janet's about to nail me with her fork for taking her picture again.

Aren't you just dying to know what Erin's thinking? I think she's trying to figure out exactly what her food tastes like.

More mothers and daughters! LSM and her daughter, Rachel. More on Rachel later.

We can walk right down to the beach from our hotel. That's Sheila, displaying the steps. And the green. And the orange doors.

Before dinner, I quickly put on shorts and had gone down to the beach for a little to see BA and a few others. Our rooms were joined, so when we got back to the room BA jumped in the shower while I changed back into my slacks. She came out dressed like this:

She was kind enough to change.

The first place to head to is the all important snack table! Everyone brings a snack to share. I usually bring pita chips and hummus. Go ahead, laugh! I never have to bring any home, because it's gone! I actually did pretty well this retreat. I stayed away from the sugary stuff and stuck to fruits and crackers.

In order for us to get a good price for retreat, we rented one of the smaller meeting rooms. The tables all fit, but it was a close fit. It wasn't easy to maneuver between the tables, though it wasn't impossible.

The first session always starts off with a skit. This is where Trish and Debbie shine! Hee hee.

Our retreat speaker this year was our very own Bonnie L. (turquoise shirt). I've had Bible studies with her for the last two years. She's one of my favorite teachers. Trivia: how many missionaries or MKs (missionary kid) can you spot in this photo? (answer below)*

Rachel had been in a car accident and broke BOTH feet. She is able to put weight on one foot, but she uses this little wheel mobile to get around. It's the cutest thing! She puts her knee on the pad, then uses the other leg to propel around the room. Over lunch she discussed plans to "Pimp My Wheel Mobile" with spinner rims, vanity plates, and possibly an oooga horn. LOVE the red cast!

Megan and Hannah! We were so happy to see some young ladies join us. Lots of Mothers and Daughters came together. Two more years and my girl will be with me!

Here are two sets of mothers and daughters. The one in yellow is the wife of our youth pastor.

I don't know why I didn't catch on to the whole "sit on the couch during the session" thing. I guess I feel a need for a table while I scribble notes. AND to hold my snacks. Right gals?

This was my roommate. Yes, she's that cool. She put her sunglasses on right away the minute she saw paparazzi (or in this case, mamarazzi).

On the right is our pastor's wife, saying goodbye to the Queen. Did I mention the Queen is moving to Arkansas? I don't mind so much, since my Dad just moved to Arkansas as well. I'm told the Queen's new palace is not that far from Dad's double-wide trailer.

The Queen also shared part of her testimony. I hope when I'm in my 80's, I'll be as well read and well lived as the Queen! Long live the Queen!

These were what the crafts were supposed to look like. The one Green Monkey made for Glenna had crooked corners, spit, and paste. Janet B probably never uses spit, paste, nor a Green Monkey. That's probably why hers look so fabulous.

Here's Megan's Mom and the Speaker. Again, how many missionaries can you spot in THIS photo?*

These teens were not, I repeat, NOT, spitting or throwing things over the balcony. Our teens are great like that.

*Answers: In both photos, the technical answer is three (per photo), but according to our Speaker, all of them are! We're all to share the hope that is in us with everyone, not just the ones who go overseas.


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