Monday, June 29, 2009

Hitch Update

My son Hitch has updated his blog on movies. Now, instead of 15 Best Movies Ever Made, there are 30.

It's an interesting variety of movies. How many have you seen?

Dh and I are big movie watchers, but my 17 year-old has seen, and remembers, a lot more, it seems.

Monday Madness

Dr. Mike Eades' blog post yesterday was full of observational studies and randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies, but he wrapped it up with this fun video which made me smile on a sleepy, no more swim-team, 2 of my kids have gone to summer camp, Monday.

It kind of makes me want to go play the piano!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Saturday Seven

Yep, it's a Saturday Seven Six Several since Friday saw me too down in the dumps and tired from the weekly swim meet to blog.

Still tired, but much less dumpy. ;-)


The swim season will almost-but-not-quite be concluded with today's Championship held at the GA Tech natatorium where the 1996 Summer Olympics took place. It's a beautiful location and they get a big thrill out of swimming in an olympic pool. This will be Little Princess's first time swimming there. She foolishly bravely volunteered to swim an IM. Her first. I'm not sure she knows what she's getting into there. Unfortunately, I won't be there to see it since I'm blogging holding down the fort here.


We're trying to furnish KT's new apartment on the cheap this year. We're refinishing the top of our coffee table from the family room, and she might take that with her if it's not too big. It will double as their dining room table!

She's also decided to take an old dresser that I got as a child and we just inherited from my mom a couple of years ago. It's a nice sturdy dresser and I'll be happy to see it put to good use. And looking good again---that big sucker needs to be completely stripped and stained. Mom had painted it white---something she loved doing to furniture---and then it had been in storage for over a decade---so it needs work!

She still needs a bed and shelving---probably to go on top of the dresser to save space. Their new apartment is tee-niny.


We got our beef yesterday! So now our freezer is full of meat. 1/3 of a cow fits very nicely; I'm sure we could get a half cow in there, if we got rid of some of the other stuff. I was in such a hurry when I unloaded, I didn't see more than a few packages of liver. No heart or kidneys that I noticed. I'll have to take another look today. Not that anyone wants to eat them, but I need to find something to use them for!


KT quit her "internship" yesterday. Praise the Lord. We thought it would be a good way to keep her busy and teach her something at the same time. Maybe she would have learned something along the way, but it was really boring and costing us time and gas money for 60 miles a day since we really can't spare my car for her to take for the whole day. That should simplify our lives a little and now she'll have time to refinish her dresser and maybe paint my basement!


I need to wrap this up and head out to the garden for a quick check and watering. It has changed a lot since I last posted pictures!. Some of the gardens are amazing.

These pictures were taken after a few days without rain, so they actually look a little droopier than usual. My garden? Not so amazing.

Too many squashes which are afflicted with powdery mildew. It's better, but production is really slow. Nevertheless, it's kind of fun and I'm learning some lessons. Hopefully my skills will be better next year. I found out we get to keep our beds for next year if we want them!

One thing we are really enjoying are jalapenos! They're really hot and crispy. We ate several of the last night with dinner!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Out with the Old, and In with the New

Saying goodbye to the over-60 year-old piano that served us well for several years. It did a pretty decent job of holding a tune in spite of its age.

I don't know how those hot, sweaty men felt about it, but I thought it would be interesting to photograph the moving of the pianos!

It was so interesting that the 5 children playing in the sprinkler in the back yard had to come in dripping water to watch and get in the way. No pictures of them since I chased them out pretty quickly!

But since we have a very boring 2-step front porch, and these guys knew their business, they were in and out in about 15 minutes. They dripped copious amounts of sweat on my new piano, but were kind enough to clean it off along with the sweaty handprints.

Can you hear Napoleon Dynamite saying, "Gross!"

That's not a very good picture of it since you can't see any details, but we're lovin' it. We even got a special floor lamp for it, which the kids can't keep their hands off because it's so cool.

I think I'll have to record TMax playing a recital on this piano, and post it so you can hear it. That'll have to wait for it to acclimate and get retuned in about a month.

Thank you, Grandmother. +

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Father's Day

I know I'm late posting these, but I thought you might enjoy seeing dh's goofy present! See how excited he is?

We got him a pair of Vibram's 5-finger shoes. They look really weird. Like gloves for your feet. But they're pretty comfy, from what I hear.

Despite the fact that Flylady says you have to get "dressed to your shoes" when you get up, going barefoot not only feels good, but may actually be better for you.

I'm getting me some next!

Swimming Lessons

Last week, my Little Princess got some private swim lessons from one of our young coaches. For a 17 year-old, he's a great teacher, and she got some very good instruction.

Here are some pics as they work on her dive.

Yesterday, she must have figured it out after she bumped her head on the bottom of the pool OMG, yes. Scary. I heard him remark that she had gone "a little deep" and ask if she was okay. They kept working and I kept reading. At the end of the lesson when he and I were talking, she executed a perfect racing dive in the shallow end of the pool.

Thanks be to God that she learned that lesson the easy way and not the hard way!

Friday, June 19, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday


One more swim meet down, one to go. Two if you count the county meet. Another big win for our team.


We got our new piano yesterday, a Knabe upright, and we're very happy with it. It sounds beautiful, contrary to the opinion of the Pipster. We didn't go for the Yamaha grand, which would have been nice, but I just couldn't justify the money. Although, if I could have, I would have skipped right over the Yamaha and gotten the 1926 fully restored Knabe grand which was gorgeous inside and out, and just a few grand (pardon the pun!) more than the Yamaha. I like the fact that the piano store offers a trade-up guarantee, and if we decide that we can afford or need the grand, they'll give us 100% of the Knabe's value toward the upgrade.

Shopping for pianos has been very interesting.


The Pioneer Woman has finally posted the last chapter of Black Heels to Tractor Wheels! I haven't had a chance to read it yet. I'm saving it for a) when I have time, and b) when I have a little quiet so I won't be constantly interrupted. Go read it if you haven't already. It's great summer reading. Too bad you can't take it to the pool!


This time next week I expect we'll be the proud owners of a third of a grass-fed, hormone and antiobiotic-free cow. And maybe I'll be reading this and following the instructions. And maybe I'll be using the dehydrator that I scored at last week's yard sale to make jerky.


My godson came home from boy scout summer camp last week. You may have read about it in the papers. His troop contracted the swine flu H1N1 Influenza A, which he then brought home to his family. Thankfully, he's well now, and I haven't heard whether anyone else in the family got it yet.

I'm looking forward to sending TMax and Pipster to boyscout camp next week.


That's about it for me today. Time to get dressed and start the long round of driving people places with military precision.


Which makes me think: I want to sit down and knit. I abandoned that sock I started---mainly because I haven't been sitting down, except at the computer, and then my hands are busy. Anyway....I'm remembering a sweater that I wanted to make for myself last winter. I think it may be time to find the link and order the pattern and the yarn! I have a birthday coming up---maybe I can have it done by then.


Have a great weekend, everyone! And stop by Jen's for more Quick takes!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

More Cinematic Reviews

Hitch has been hard at work watching movies and reviewing them. I love the way he writes about movies he likes.

He makes me want to rent the old Taking of Pelham 123 and watch it again.

I did watch Away From Her and it was beautiful, heartbreaking, and amazing, just like he said.

He's got his RSS feed now if you want to subscribe. You should, if you like movies.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Summer School

No such thing here. All pretense of completing schoolbooks has been dropped. Swimming and playing with friends has taken over our lives.

Not that I'm worried about it. As I recall from my schooldays, we rarely, if ever, actually completed a textbook. We were very close to the end of those books, anyway. And when swim team is over, I may just make them sit down and do it if I hear a single "I'm bored. There's nothing to do!"

It's time for me to settle down and put all the grades into the computer and start planning for next year.

Thanks to my inspirational friend, Carol, I already have a new geography plan for everyone. It's Visualize World Geography from Tenderheart Press. When I showed it to the jaded teenagers, they totally scoffed at it, but Carol said her 3 year-old learned the countries and their locations, so I'm willing to give it a try. I think it will be fun.

I'm also taking a math cue from her and getting the Teaching Textbooks for TMax. He'll be studying Geometry this year. While I managed to remember most of my Algebra 1 this past year, I don't think I'll be able to say the same thing for my geometry skills. Apologies to Mr. Sirk who taught high school geometry with flair and drama. I do remember that the sum of the squares of the sides of a right triangle is equal to the square of the hypotenuse, but that's about all. Anyway, the Teaching Textbooks should do the teaching and the checking for me, so I only have to supervise and answer the occasional question. I'm looking forward to trying it. For the younger 2, we're still sticking with Singapore because I'm pleased with what they learned this year.

So, my plan now is to stop trying to get projects done around the house. I give up. I'll just stay here at the computer all day wrapping up lesson plans, planning lesson plans, ordering new books, and pacing myself with plenty of Twitter updates, FB visits, and blog reading. Maybe I'll get up and throw the occasional load of clothes in the washer, or drive someone someplace, but if you need me, you can probably find me at the computer.

Now, if I only had a laptop and I could do all this at the pool. That would be the life.

Friday, June 12, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday


You know, I wake up on Fridays, exhausted from Thursday's swim meet----and I don't know why that is since all I did was sit around for 4 hours, judging for half that time----and it takes me a good 45 mins. or so to realize that it's Friday and I should have a post up. You should see all the moms stagger up to the pool, coffee in hand, on Fridays to see their kids collect their ribbons.


My Google Reader still isn't working. Like a dope, I randomly installed a plug-in for blogger, and that's when it stopped working. I've uninstalled it, but no luck. However, I did discover that the "Next" button on my Firefox toolbar still works and I can go through my reader that way. The problem with that is that when I'm busy, I prefer to leave some blogs for later (the ones with more text!)


I'm sure it was bound to happen sooner or later, but my son Hitch, who has too much time on his hands this summer (any IRL friends have a job available?), has started a blog. Oh, and he's been on Twitter for a week or so, too. It's a movie review blog, which is entirely appropriate for him. He's evidently been watching movies on You Tube that I've never seen nor heard of. So, if you're a serious cinephile (wait, is that even a real word??), you might check out his Notes on Movies.
And don't miss the 15 Best Movies ever made.


This is a beautiful post about God's gift of children and how He chooses the right children for us. The children who will change us and bring us, hopefully, closer to Him. Every one of my 7 children has changed me in new and unexpected ways, even the one I lost to miscarriage. I can't imagine my life without all these wonderful people in it---people who make me laugh, and cry, and examine who I am and where I came from. How did I ever get so lucky?


I started a new pair of socks the other day. I'm about half-way through the ribbing on the first one and I'm about to rip it all out. I'm not sure if it's the stretchy sock yarn, the ugly colorway, or the blasted knitting tbl (through the back loop), but I'm NOT having fun. I think I'll start over with just a plain sock pattern and see if it gets any better.


Did I mention last week that we're buying a third of a cow? A grass-fed, hormone-free cow? It's going to be ready for pickup in a little less than 2 weeks. We're going to have to make some room in the freezer!


KT and Hitch seem to be holding a yard sale tomorrow. We've decluttered, and dragged everything out to the garage where it has been neatly organized and tagged. I hope they have a good turnout and make some money since this is what they're doing in absence of real summer jobs.


Stop by Jen's for more Quick Takes and
have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Little Princess to Me: Does "birth-day" mean the day that your mom gave birth to you?

Me: Yes.

LP: Then that means I was born on my birthday! Too bad I wasn't 1 year-old when I was born, then I could have been 2 on my next birthday!


Is it me? Or is it Google? My Google Reader won't load, so I have no idea what's going on in the world!

Don't suggest I read the news---that's just depressing. I want to know what's going on in the world of families.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Night Games

Last night we counted 19 children in our front yard/cul-de-sac. They were from all over the neighborhood. Some of them we hadn't ever seen before.

Somehow, our cul-de-sac has become the mecca for summer "Night Games".

Do any of YOU have Night Games where you live?

I think KT was the one who coined the phrase a few years back, or at least it was her "generation," back when they used to play kickball in the adjacent cul-de-sac. Now she's too old at 19 and finds herself staring wistfully out the window, counting the neighbor kids, and wishing she had friends to play Night Games with.

All these kids played in our yard w/ hula hoops and stilts until TMax, Pip, and Princess were finished with dinner, and then they played Capture the Flag for an hour and a half more. Mean Mom that I am, I sent them all home at 9:30 p.m. I mean, it's pitch dark, and surely their parents want them home, too?

Besides, Little Princess and the other 7/8's have swim team at 8:30 and it's really hard to drag her out of bed when she gets to sleep after 10 p.m.!

I like the Night Game tradition, especially when it's in my yard and I know where my children are. The games will continue almost every night of summer until school starts. Then they'll have a few more during the first days of school before homework gets serious and activities are in full swing. Then they'll just be on Fridays and Saturdays, and gradually fade away as the weather gets too cold.

But they'll be back next summer, too. Some different children, and maybe a different cul-de-sac, but I think it's a tradition this neighborhood will keep going, somehow.

Saturday, June 6, 2009


This morning while the boys were running a 5k w/ Dad and KT, a sleepy Little Princess said:

Can I play on the Wii?

Me: No, the TV is broken.

LP: But the Wii still works!


I'm pleased to report that Mommy and Daddy remedied that sorry situation in somewhat grand style (for us!) with a new widescreen TV and a blu-ray player.

Just doin' our little bit for the economy.

Friday, June 5, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday


Last night's swim meet was rained out after something like 28 events. There was a lightning strike so we had a 30 minute delay, but the officials determined from their iphones that lots more bad weather was coming, so they called it a tie. I was very glad. As Place Judge, again, I was coming down with a cold, and was tired of being cold and wet! Place Judge is normally a great job because you get to see all your kids in their races, but you get very wet when sitting near the diving blocks. That's okay if it's hot and sunny. Not so much when the day's high was only 77 and it's getting colder.


My Dh, The Georgia Rambler, has a couple of new book reviews up. Check him out. Subscribe to his feed. He's awesome, and he doesn't have the Summer Brain; his brain works really well all the time!


I got out the Little Princess's quilt yesterday for the first time in forever. I started to piece together the back, and then about 7 extra children descended on my house and I couldn't work on it while worrying about what they were doing. Maybe I'll get to it today.


Maybe I'll work on the quilt, but maybe, just maybe, I'll take TMax out shopping for a piano! I'm excited about the possibility of finding a piano whose quality matches his skills, so we're going to check out a place his teacher recommends. We already went to the Steinway Gallery where he turned up his adorable, freckled nose at the $48,000 Steinway and preferred a much less expensive brand. That tells me he needs to play a wider range of pianos! I think he just chose the one that felt the most like his teacher's. Any tips on piano shopping out there???


I'm dying to go see "Up". That's another possibility for this afternoon, but we'll see.


What are your big kids doing for the summer? My 2 oldest need work, which appears to be a fruitless search. KT is selling books on Amazon for a little money. They're also going to hold a garage sale after we declutter the house, and they get to keep the proceeds. Madden is too young to work at age 15, so he's just sleeping off all his football workouts, FBing, and whining about being bored.

What do you do with them all summer???


A couple of interesting phone calls this morning. One from a lunatic concerned lady in the neighborhood who complains about everyone letting their kids walk through her yard leaving trash behind, letting their dogs poop in her yard without cleaning it up, turning around in her driveway after the swim meet. OMG, the list goes on! She actually got a video camera to find out who the culprits were and then called to complain again today (because dh is on the HOA Board). It's so hard to have Christian charity because she complains on and on without a breath and acts as if it's the Board's responsibility to keep everyone from touching her property. So she did call the alleged dog pooping culprit, a very nice yet strong lady whom I knew could handle it, who then called me to find out about the "nutcase". She went to view the video to confirm that her dog only peed in the yard and that's why she didn't clean it up. But then she had to listen to the litany of complaints about the neighborhood, as I did. It must be hard being her (the complainer), to feel as if everyone in the neighborhood is against her. We live in a very nice neighborhood. Most people are friendly and helpful and work together to make this a nice community, so it's sad that she feels so mistreated. Her attitude and her response only make it worse.


Visit Jen's for more Quick Takes and have a great Friday, y'all!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Book Meme

I've seen this meme at several places, and since I have Summer Brain, I thought it would be a fun idea for a post. As it turns out, it's taxing my summer brain!

1.What author do you own the most books by?

As I sit here and look at the shelves, I think it's a toss-up between Hemingway, Faulkner, Henry James, P.G. Wodehouse, and Grahame Green.

2. What book do you own the most copies of?

That's another toss-up between The Bible and Lord of the Rings.

3. Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions?

No, because I read somewhere that it is actually okay.

4. What fictional character are you secretly in love with?

That would have to be Captain Wentworth from Persuasion.

5. What book have you read the most times in your life?

The Lord of the Rings, next would be the Little House series.

6. Favorite book as a ten year old? Anything in the Little House series

7. What is the worst book you’ve read in the past year?

No idea, because I try not to read garbage, and I block traumatic experiences from my mind. Dh or TMax could probably tell you, though! They remember better than I do.

8. What is the best book you’ve read in the past year?

A Girl of the Limberlost? Maybe I can't remember the best or the worst because I'm having enough trouble getting my brain through today, let alone what I've read in the past 12 months! That's the best one I've read recently.

9.If you could force everyone you know to read one book, what would it be?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church so people would know a). their own faith, or b). what the Catholic Church really believes, as opposed to what they've been taught.

10. What book would you most like to see made into a movie?

There are a few movies that I think are better than the books, but for the most part, I don't want to see books I love made into movies.

11. What is the most difficult book you’ve ever read?

Outside of my college economics classes, it was probably a book I didn't bother to finish!

12. What is your favorite book?

That's too hard to choose---Lord of the Rings, A Girl of the Limberlost, Little Women...

13. What is your favorite play? That I've seen or read? I haven't seen enough. Of those I've read....A Man for All Seasons.

14. Poem? Hmmm, much to dh's dismay, I'm not a big poetry fan. I've enjoyed lots of the ones that the kids (and I) have memorized for school over the years. How about Lake Isle of Innisfree by Yeats? Or Henry's speech before the battle of Agincourt in Shakespeare's Henry V.

15. Essay? Who reads essays?

16. Who is the most overrated writer alive today?

I'd probably have to say Stephanie Meyer, though I haven't read the books (yet).

17. What is your desert island book?

Hmmm, LoTR is long enough to read and re-read, with lots of action.

18. And . . . what are you reading right now?

The Life of St. Faustina and
The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain. I'm loving it!

Wacky Wednesday

Life is totally wacky these days. We are constantly running in and out of the house for swim team, work, shopping, chiropractor, playing with friends, etc.

I hardly know whether I'm coming or going, and every time someone leaves the house they leave a mess behind!

Today after I drop off the Little Princess at swim team, I'm driving over to visit our community garden. I'm not looking forward to it since KT said that my squashes had all developed a fungus over the weekend. That makes me so sad. I'll see today and, I hope, find out what I can/should do about it. This is the first time I've had a chance to drive over there this week.

One nice thing is that KT and Brendan are able to make the drive to The School to pick up Madden from football practice 3 days a week. Since they are hardly, or not at all, working. I'm trying to keep them busy around the house, but I don't even seem to be able to get my act together enough to do that. Is there such a thing as "Summer Brain" ???


After piano today it has turned out to be a quiet afternoon. Not greatly productive, mind you, but quiet and peaceful! I got my rosary in today on my way to and from the garden, so that probably helped a lot!

I was actually quite pleased with my garden visit this morning. The weather was lovely and cool and the plants didn't look as bad as I feared. In fact, I harvested a perfect zucchini (thank you, Spell Check!), a yellow squash, a couple of jalapenos, and a little lettuce. The worst thing there was an out of control spaghetti squash (They're evil I tell you! But delicious!) that was strangling a red pepper plant and had it down to the ground. It felt very creepy to pry its tendrils from around the pepper's neck! I relocated the pepper and trained the adventurous vine to go up the tomato cage! So I still have hope for my little garden.


Monday, June 1, 2009

Happy Birthday Holy Mother Church!

I'm a little late, as usual, but we were busy unpacking from the camping trip and working on our tans at the pool. I thought I did pretty well to whip up a Red Velvet birthday cake for The Church!

Alas, I did not put birthday candles on it, and we did not sing "Happy Birthday", but I think She'll forgive me.


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