Halloween…It’s Not On Our List.

We have a long list of things we don’t do.  We don’t do Santa Claus.  We don’t do the Easter Bunny.  We don’t do the Tooth Fairy.  And most certainly we don’t do Halloween.

We do obey Christ the best we can, making decisions that some agree with and others don’t.  We try not to place our children on that slippery slope into paganism, immorality or idol worship.  And with all my might, I will protect them from ghoulish, satanic, offensive holidays that sugar-coat evil in the name of family fun.  I hate Halloween.  It’s dark, it’s evil, it’s strange and foreign to everything I teach our children.

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Secretariat Rides Again…

Grandma and Grandpa Frantz were here for a visit this week and they recommended we go see “Secretariat” at the theatre.  They had already seen it twice and thought a third trip would be just as exciting!  So, Friday night after work we headed over to the local cinema to see this wonderful family-friendly movie.

First, before I lose track of anything sensible, the movie was very well done.  The information might not be exactly accurate but the basic truth of the horse, the races, his amazing stamina and his legacy are on the mark and a good reminder for those of us who were too young to remember.  Secretariat won the Triple Crown in 1973, an amazing feat that has only been reproduced 11 times since 1900.  It was a truly amazing story of a family’s determination to believe and hope the unthinkable in the most unlikely choice for an athlete.

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A Season of Thunder…

We did something extra-special this year and purchased season passes to the Oklahoma City Thunder, a new NBA team for our state.  Darin has always wanted to live somewhere (like Kansas City) where he could enjoy professional sports teams.  Even though Oklahoma City is 2 hours away, it is the closest thing we have to our own local team, so we jumped on the basketball bandwagon with two tickets to every home game this season (42 games!).  An added plus is that the Thunder organization “owns” two previous Kansas University basketball athletes, Cole Aldrich and Nick Collison.  And as each NBA team visits our state, Darin will get to see other KU alumni that have thrilled him over the years.  So, it’s a good thing…Darin has his “dream” and each of our children get a special date with Dad to go to their favorite game.

I was chosen to attend the season opener, because…well, because “if momma ain’t happy then nobody’s happy”.  It probably doesn’t exactly go like that but since “we” bought the season tickets “we” supposed “we” should experience what it’s like to attend a professional ball game so “we” would know exactly what the kids were going to enjoy!  Did you follow that?

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Orange Power!

 

Go Pokes!!!

We were very blessed to be able to attend an Oklahoma State University football game this afternoon.  I haven’t been to a football game at my alma mater since before iPhones were invented!  I think it might have been back when I didn’t even have a cell phone!  YIKES!

One of our drug representatives  was kind enough to include us on this wonderful offer (drug representative is not a politically correct term for a drug dealer…he’s a very nice man who represents Butler Schein a distributor of veterinary medical paraphernalia…not to be confused with drug paraphernalia…I’m really digging a deep hole here!).  Anyway, he was kind enough to offer us two tickets to today’s game, complete with off-site parking,  a pre-game lunch and a shuttle to the game!  I was so excited.  I borrowed an orange OSU pullover, grabbed my cowboy boots and off we went!  (sorry kids…you’re staying at home!).

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Homeschooling…The 5 R’s: Readin’, Writin’, Rithmatic, Ridin’ and Remodelin’…

 

Our schoolroom.

 

I’ve never understood why everyone doesn’t homeschool their children.  I’ve wanted to homeschool my children before I even knew I was going to have children!  It was just something I was passionate about the first time I heard a story of the notion.  I remember telling Darin about wanting to homeschool when we were first married and he thought I was crazy.

Later, when we were both crazy, we embarked on a long but happy career of homeschooling our kids!  Darin is the Principal and Substitute Teacher.  He gets the respect.  I’m the regular teach…I get the fun!!

Today Darin walked into the “school room” (aka Dining Room) and made a gasp (just to be funny).  I’m sitting there in my bathrobe teaching Phonics…isn’t that what everyone wears?  It was cold…I like my bathrobe and our dress-code is a bit lenient!

Homeschooling hasn’t been easy.  At times it’s been grueling and I’ve wanted to fire myself.  But it’s absolutely the only thing I would ever consider doing.  I know my kids better than anyone on this planet…I know their tendencies, their weaknesses, their giftedness and I’m prepared to change my methods to help make their strengths more obvious and their weaknesses honed into assets.  And more important than anything, everything we learn is sifted through Genesis 1:1. God created Math and English and Science…even Algebra.  That is what makes homeschooling so worthwhile. I’m not just teaching so my kids will be gifted, but to know they are a gift.  I’m not pushing them to be geniuses but to have a Christian worldview that makes them know the genius of God.

Today we had our classes all going at the same time, as usual.  I’ve never been very good at juggling…2nd grade math with 7th grade science…phonics with algebra…grammar with biology!  But, somehow, it all goes along pretty smoothly.  The older boys are doing a study of Christ through the four gospels.  Ian and Ali are starting with the Old Testament.  We’re practicing our handwriting and writing our lab reports.  Thank the Lord I have Jacob to be my able-bodied assistant!  He keeps everyone organized and on schedule.  He fills in and teaches Ian & Ali’s math when I’m at work.  And he runs a mean copy machine…

 

Brock & Braeden had a science experiment...notice the eye protection! Safety first!

Now sometimes people find out we homeschool and worry that our children are “sheltered” or “poorly socialized”.  I have alot of really good answers to those comments that I usually keep to myself to avoid losing my Christian witness (is idiot in the Bible?).

But, speaking of “sheltered”…my poor kids.  We went on a bike ride today.  I had promised we would take to the open road and do a little spin around the neighborhood.  I know this sounds normal to most of you but for us it was a first time event.  Not because I’m sheltering the kids…I’m simply lazy.  And it’s not really because I’m all that lazy, we just have never had everyone up and riding bikes before.  But, the time had come so we did it.

I will back up this little story by saying the last time we (Jesse, Jacob & Brock) rode a bike on concrete was at least 4 years ago when we lived in Verdigris.  The boys would ride up and down the street.  Braeden had a horrible time learning to ride a bike (I think it’s called fear) so he stuck to his roller blades but Brock rode a few times before we moved to the country, where everything is rocky and downhill with the exception of the places that are wooded.

Ian and Ali learned to ride their bikes out here on the gravel and grass…to me that makes them incredibly talented….or desperate.  They work HARD going up and down the gravel driveway or out in the bumpy grass…really hard.  And some of the time they didn’t have working hand-brakes.  It was like a science class right there…gravity, momentum, inertia…pain.

But, we dusted off my bike and Braeden took the it’s helm.  Brock got his chain lubed up and raised his seat as far as it could go.  Although he looked a bit peculiar with his knees rising above the steering wheel, he said he could handle it.  Ian mounted his steed after his hand-brakes were fixed.  And Ali, the wisest one in the bunch, donned her safety helmet and took off on her “girl bike”.

Me?  I walked.  It was the strangest bike-ride I have ever been on!  I couldn’t figure out how to coast!!

 

 

My biker gang...

The kids rode their bikes halfway down our driveway to the hill then got off and walked their bikes up the remainder of the half-mile journey to the gate.  Then the magic happened…we opened the gate and they pedalled onto the asphalt and glided down the road….glided…and coasted….and glided….!

I felt horrible.  Ian said, “Mom, thank you so much for letting us ride.  Look, I’m coasting”.  Brock said, “It’s like riding on glass!”. Braeden added, “This is my first time to ride a bike on a real road”.

Yep…sheltered…

We had fun.  We went about 1 1/2 miles down the road and back again…up hill both ways.  I had just a bit of trouble keeping up since they were gliding and coasting and speeding WAY ahead of me.  We learned “road etiquette” and I’m sure the neighbors now think Ian’s name is “MOVE OVER”. But the kids were over-joyed.  They were ready to go mile after mile after mile (until they realized their rear-ends were getting a bit sore.).  Jacob & Ruthie joined us as well and their tails were dragging by the time we got home!

 

 

Ruthie joined the pack.

But, we can’t play all the time.  So, part of being in the Ponderosa School of Reality is we had to do a little manual labor.  The boys mixed up some loads of concrete and hauled them into the house where Darin was doing some foundation repair on our new addition.  Ian and Ali had already helped Darin rip up some floor boards and dig some holes in the ground. They just needed the concrete!

 

 

Hard at work mixing concrete...one load after another until 16 loads were completed.

It was a very ingenious plan to pour the concrete through the floor boards!  It was also a very messy plan…but, once completed the floor will be braced to stop the floor joists from being a bit too “limber”.  Live and learn…

 

 

The concrete made it's way into the new addition one load at a time...16 trips.

By the end of the day we were tired.  We had learned about vowel-consonant blends, practiced our downstrokes, read a book about the red jet, told time on the hour, read Genesis 1, reviewed all our adverbs, studied the origins of science, blew up a balloon with vinegar & baking soda, solved for x, figured out that evolution is simply a hypothesis and NOT a theory nor a fact, reduced fractions, reminded ourselves that anything is possible with God, started chapter 9 of “The Swiss Family Robinson”, discussed Christopher Columbus (his real name was Cristoforo Colombo!), found the Tropic of Cancer and Capricorn and refreshed our memories about gerunds.

We also explored distant lands on our bikes and built a firm foundation.

And when all was said and done it was a GREAT day, just like I imagined years ago when Darin thought I was crazy…

 

Strange phenomenons are occurring….

It’s been a weird week for me…stranger than usual (and it’s only Wednesday!).  Things have been appearing and disappearing and reappearing.  Usually it’s my memory but this time it’s been tangible things…concrete things…things I can look at.  And it’s not my wallet or keys.

This week I lost a fishhook…and a cat.  I never found the fishhook and I found the cat.  The cat did not take the fishhook.  I still don’t know where the fishhook is and I’m pleading the 5th for any more information about it’s whereabouts.  Actually, if I were a drinker I’d be drinking a 5th…the fishhook made me CRAZY.  I’m still a bit nervous about the whole thing.

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Happy Birthday Darin!

Birthdays are big around here…like the number FORTY-FOUR!!  Don’t believe a word of it when he tells you he’s 39…again.

The kids surprised Darin with Krispy Kreme donuts in bed, wonderful gifts like Coca-Cola, Biscoff Cookies & Reeses Cups.  Then it was pizza for lunch…a Ding-Dong Cake from Merritt’s Bakery (Yummmmy) and then the grand finale…supper at the Olive Garden.  The best surprise was the singing waitresses…always a fun thing to try to get away with.  I believe Darin’s words were, “Just wait until your birthday…revenge is mine!”.

Donuts….chocolate….pizza….chocolate…endless breadsticks…chocolate…that, my friend, is a GOOD DAY!!