Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What's Up?

It's Wednesday and I can't think of a thing to say!  Ha!  This might be a good time for a Wordless Wednesday post.

But I'm way too chatty for that.

I'll just tell you that it's been American Heritage Girls all the time around here.  Copies, piles of copies, getting signatures, getting stuff in the mail, training leaders, training more leaders....

I'm happy to say that yesterday we trained our last 2 leaders!  Not at the same time, mind you.  We had to do the training twice, partly because of scheduling issues and partly because they're at different levels.  Not that the training is all that different....but...nevermind....  don't want to follow that train of thought to its frustrating conclusion!

It's done.

At least until we arm-wrestle ask another mom to be a leader.

So, after all that, today promises to be an "easy" day.  Or, at least a normal day where I know what to expect:  school, laundry, school, laundry, piano, library, and then (oh, bliss, oh joy) choir rehearsal. It's better than knitting.  (Although what raptures would I be in if I could sing and knit at the same time?!)

Tomorrow is our American Heritage Girls meeting, but I won't think about that now.  I'll think about that tomorrow!

Do you know what else tomorrow is?  It's the feast of  St. Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower, and my Name Day.  I love my sweet friend who helped bring me into the Catholic Church, and who knows that I'd be lost without her Little Way to guide me, since I'm not capable of big things---like sticking to her Novena for a 9 days during a busy week.


St. Therese, pray for us!


Saturday, September 26, 2009

It's a Zoo Out There!


Yesterday was our long-awaited field trip to the zoo!

The flamingos are right inside the gate, first thing you see. This pic doesn't do them justice, but they are such a pretty, shrimpy color.

I'd love to stay and watch them, but they smell worse than anything else I can think of at the zoo. Let's move along, kids!

This little guy was right outside the elephant enclosure. Do you think the elephant would have been scared of him?
We were looking at the aerial photos of the zoo on Google before we left, and we could barely discern the elephant standing there because they match the earth perfectly. Why is that? Because they spray the dirt over themselves to cool off?

Oh, hooray! A couple of new additions to the zoo! This is Parakeet Adventure---a little aviary that is simply bursting with these beautiful little budgerbriars. You can walk in amongst them, and buy ridiculously expensive "seed sticks" to feed them with. The kids loved it.

I kept thinking how my mom would have loved these little guys.



A couple more new additions, not nearly as exciting as parakeets: Warthogs and

meerkats.
The giraffes were beautiful and graceful, as always.
This guy was in the section with the lemurs, who were leaping all over the place. I don't know what his name is, but I really was that close to him. He was sitting right over the sign that had his name on it, so I just kept edging closer.
Gorillas are fascinating, but they make me hate the zoo. They just never look happy.
We had quite an education on this day. We got to see another gorilla go to the bathroom and then move upstream to wash his hands and face.
The tiger was very educational as well. And kind of horrifying.
He was pacing at the top of the hill and then came down to bathe, so we got a nice view of him.
Oh, he's looking over at us!
He's getting up and coming over to the glass! Quick! Get in front to get a picture! (Not just my kids, but there were several families there.)
And then.....
He walked right up to the glass and just as everyone is taking their picture he turns around, lifts his tail, and sprays the glass with his....er...secretions!

The kids all thought he peed, and I wondered where they go to school, because that's not how a boy tiger pees. Nor a girl, either!

Jerk.


Then, because we weren't already tired, the kids worked off some of their energy rock climbing. Even the Little Princess made it to the top twice, but the first time, she refused to rappel down and the zoo employee had to help her down. She got it the next time though!



Have a great weekend! And may all your tigers be polite!

Friday, September 25, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday

1. I finished the quilting on LP's quilt and I'm ready to start making the binding and sewing it on. Praise the Lord. I'm ready to be finished with this project, but mostly I'm ready to see something new on her bed.

2. Impromptu football game last night. One of our football games fell through because we're borrowing a field and the other team didn't want to play on a Saturday. So Coach found a team to play on a Thursday night. We beat the other undefeated team 40-19.

3. Yesterday we made our weekly Thursday run to pick up farm-fresh milk and eggs and then go to Trader Joe's. We generally stop by the community garden on the way back to check on our plot, and we hadn't seen it since the floods. The garden wasn't underwater, but the playground and basketball courts on the other side of the parking lot had been. Everything was fine until we started home and I forgot all about the speed trap while I was talking to Pipster. TMax wasn't there to remind me to watch my speed.

He's been dying to see the speed trap in action because I've told him about it----these 2 cops just stand in the left turn lane with the radar and then step out into the middle of the road to stop the speeders.

Yep. You guessed it. Snagged.

Okay, it sounds bad to be going 51 in a 35 mph zone, but you have to see this road. Hardly any cars. Perfectly straight. 4 lanes divided by a median. The speed limit could easily be 50 mph, but because it's residential on one side and a park on the other, it's only 35. Cross the intersection 1/4 of a mile up the road and it's 45. grrrr.

Embarrassing. Expensive. Crap, crap, crap.

Oh, and they pulled someone else over before I was out of sight. Big money maker, that.

4. I'm going to start re-reading all the Betsy-Tacy books, well, skimming them to find literary references, and read all the books and poems mentioned in the books. I think it will be fun. I think I'll even try to find recordings of the music they sang and danced to around the piano.

5. I didn't get my quick takes out this morning because we decided to go to the zoo. We were able to check out a family zoo pass from the library, after trying to get it for a year, and we decided to make hay while the sun shines, so to speak, since we're expecting more rain tonight.

6. The zoo was fun and I'll tell you more about it tomorrow and show you pictures, because I know you've never seen animals before.

I want to know....do all animals in zoos turn brick red, or is it just the ones that live here where the Georgia clay colors everything?

7. The flooding did quite a number on our church property. We enjoy our riverside property and have a beautiful Stations of the Cross out there, but it's not so nice anymore. All kinds of trash washed up; the water wrecked our benches and picnic tables, damaged at least one station, and covered the whole area with sewer overflow. It's yucky, to say the least. And now we won't be able to have our parish picnic out there anytime soon. I think there will be lots of cleanup parties instead.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Stop by Jen's for more Quick Takes!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I Love Betsy-Tacy!


I can't remember when KT and I started reading the Betsy-Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace, but we adore them. We've each read them several times and she read the first 4 to LP and Pipster this summer. They start when Betsy and Tacy meet at age 5 and end with Betsy's Wedding, the first year or so of her marriage. They graduate from high school in 1910, so that gives you an idea of the time period we're talking about. I've just finished re-reading the last 6 books: one for each year of high school and 2 post high-school tomes.

My favorite books of all of them are Betsy and Joe and Betsy and the Great World, her senior year, and the years after high school which include her year abroad. As a senior in high school Betsy finally starts to mature and take life a little more seriously, thinking about others more than herself. She still makes lots of mistakes and behaves very childishly at times, but she matures even more out in the Great World. Through it all, she is charming and friendly. Everyone wants to be her friend. She views everything in Europe with a childlike rapture and details all her adventures with a girlish exuberance which is very engaging. I'd love to go on a tour of all the same places she went!

On September 28, the last 6 books are being re-issued in 3 volumes. Bookclubgirl has given me a copy of the first volume: Heaven to Betsy and Betsy in Spite of Herself to give away to some poor soul who is unaware of the charms of Deep Valley, Minnesota. So far, only one person has expressed interest, but this is your last chance!

Leave a comment telling me why you should get this book and I'll randomly choose someone to give it to. I know I have more than 3 or 4 readers out there, so I hope I get more responses than that! If you all read them already, chime in and tell me that, too! Which one is your favorite?

I'm looking forward to hearing from all of you!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Alton Brown, I love you!

This is what I awoke to this morning:

After watching "Good Eats" last night with Alton Brown, TMax and Pipster were inspired to make his waffles for breakfast. (As an aside, I have to say I love his show. He's wacky and informative. I enjoy how he explains the science behind the cooking. Great stuff. Alton, if you're reading my blog from over there in Marietta, feel free to drop in! We just live around the corner from the Kroger you always film at!)


They were even nice enough to set their alarm and get up at 6 a.m. to have some ready for Madden when he had to leave for school!

They cleaned up the whole mess when they were done! I'm so proud of them!

Where was I, you ask? I was sleeping in since we don't have school today. All the neighboring counties, including ours, are closed because of the Atlanta flooding. We'll probably do some work, but it won't be a full day since the neighbors will be here early!

The rain in the past few days has been fairly astonishing considering that we're used to drought conditions. During the heaviest rains we've had some serious waterfalls and rivers in the back of our house. This is our next door neighbors backyard---all that water has been washing into our yard.

Here it comes!


Oh, the video from the other day (scroll down), is where all this water exits my yard on the other side. It got twice as big yesterday!

We're fine and our house is fairly dry. We have a small leak in our basement that has always been there when we have heavy rains. When we finished the basement, we left that area as an unfinished storage room, so there is no carpeting or drywall to get damaged. Fortunately, the yard is graded well enough that all the water you see runs around the house!

God willing, it will stay that way!

A Joke

TMax: Why didn't the melon run away with his girlfriend?

Me: I don't know, why?

TMax: Because he can't elope!


Get it?

Monday, September 21, 2009

It's a Boy!

It's Hitch's birthday today! His 18th!



He wasn't my first baby, but he was my first boy and my first baby born at home.

I've often thought that God has big plans for him since he was born with a true knot in his umbilical cord. Nice and snug, but not tight enough that it did any damage. He was very lucky. We all were.


He has always been a sweet tempered little boy, not too rambunctious as boys go. He has always been content to read his books as soon as he could read---which was when he was 3.

He also loved to watch movies.

He has followed that same pattern all his life.




He'll be a famous director someday.


Happy 18th birthday!
We love you!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday Snippets

I'm over my whine-fest from Friday. Sorry about that. I didn't sob myself to sleep last Thursday, it was just a few tears of exhaustion and frustration as my head hit the pillow!

~~~~

Today we spent the afternoon visiting our college students since this is the day between their birthdays.
The youngest two were very happy to see them!





We had lunch, presents, and cupcakes, and then a little trip to Borders. It was a fun but too short visit. It's strange to have all 8 of us around the table for lunch and then just 6 for dinner!

~~~~

I think the drought is over in Georgia. I'm pretty sure it has been for a while, but this past week of near-constant rain has to confirm it. I can't remember when we've had such a rainy September.

Our basement is leaking. Our backyard is washing away. The neighbor's yard is evidently washing away too, but not fast enough to replace the erosion going on in mine!

The dam looks like it might burst:



The kids had to go out and check out the many rivers around the house. During dinner it was raining buckets.






(Ha! It worked! Thank you Apple!) Here's a video looking out our dining room window at the rushing river. This is just supposed to be a gentle slope down to the neighbors' yard. I've never seen it like this before.
video

~~~~~
Finally, here are those pictures of KT that I couldn't scan yesterday. Some of my favorites! I hope she's grateful that I didn't post the naked ones.




Saturday, September 19, 2009

It's a Girl!

Actually, she's a woman now. The baby girl that made me a mother for the first time has grown up into a beautiful, young woman!


I can't believe she's 20. I can't even believe that this picture was taken 3 years ago when we took her to college for the first time! (Edited to add: that's because it was only 2 years ago. duh.)



She loves her siblings;



she loves to frolic;



and she even looks good in collage form!



Wouldn't you know that my scanner isn't working today, so I can't post any adorable baby pictures of her! But she was the cutest pudgy baby!!


Happy Birthday, Sweetie!!!!
We love you!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

7 Quick Takes (Tired Edition)



1. Another great homeschooling article by Mrs. G at the Pioneer Woman's site. She writes about socialization and what a crock it is that children should be "socialized" at school.

2. That's all I had for my Quick Takes yesterday before American Heritage Girls. Another meeting last night which involved training for some and neverending paperwork for me. LP and I got home rather late after it was long over. Exhausted and hungry. My sweet boys had held dinner for us!

3. I cried myself to sleep last night over the worries of this troop. I'm not sure I'm cut out for this kind of volunteering. As shy as I tend to be, I have no problem standing up in front of a crowd talking about sex and natural family planning in NFP classes or pre-Cana (marriage prep) classes, or even RCIA. But this AHG stuff wears me out. Trying to recruit leaders (strong-arm them is more like it) and blah, blah, blah. I don't even want to tell you all about it!

4. So I also had insomnia last night. Woke up around 2:45 w/ what else but AHG on my mind, couldn't sleep, read for a bit, turned down the AC because I was HOT. Went back to sleep and slept in but I've still be tired all day. Taking total advantage of Friday being "Easy Day" around here and working on reading about Betsy's senior year in high school.

5. It's been raining for days so we're going to go check on our little seedlings and enjoy fresh air between showers.

6. Got some lovely little ornaments in the mail today from my quilting cheerleader, Sarah. They are precious and made me very happy.

7. I'm looking for crafty Christmas ideas. Speak up and point me to websites and blogs that have ideas! I'll be eternally grateful.

Or at least until Christmas is over!

Have a great weekend! Visit Jen's for more Quick Takes!

Quilt Progress

It started with this back in January (!?):



Laying out the blocks a few weeks later:

I'm using large squares because this is supposed to be a quick, relatively easy quilt.

Here the squares are all sewn together:


My original intent was to keep this simple and simply hand-tie the intersections of the squares, but some people convinced me to actually quilt it by hand. I'm still taking the easy way out and only quilting the large center square and all those light green ones. To make it a nice symmetrical pattern, there are a few more that get done, too.


The center square of the 9-patches get a smaller version of the big flower.


A few more squares and I can make the binding and finish it up! Little Princess is wondering if it will ever be finished. I've set myself a goal of October 1.

I don't think that's near enough time!

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