“…But if you finish them by dusk on Friday, much needed rest will the weekend repay.”

photo-1453227588063-bb302b62f50b.jpgthis pug knows what’s goin’ on.

As I have always said:

“Bathrooms, floors, dirty laundry,

can put yourself in quite a quandary.

But if you finish them by dusk on Friday,

much needed rest will the weekend repay.”

 

Okay. I just made that up.

But the sentiment remains the same.

Saturdays are darn near sacred to my week.

Weekdays are filled, to the brim until it overfloweth, with school, meetings, choir, more school, eating, baths, playtime, more school and sleep. There isn’t rest until after 10pm when I fall asleep while we are (re)watching episodes of Agents of Shield.

Sundays may be the Christian sabbath… but it isn’t restful until after we have dressed everyone, found their shoes, gone to church, taught Sunday school, come home and had lunch. So…it’s kinda a half day of rest.

But Saturdays??

I ain’t got nuthin goin on.

I am sleeping in (until 8). I am taking walks outside. I am reading in my favorite reading chair. The kids are riding bikes outside. We have bbqs next to our firepit. We might even go on a day adventure, if we feel so inclined.

Saturdays are the bomb.

Because I get all my cleaning done on Friday 😀

You gotta plan rest, or you’ll never find rest. And rest is one of the commandments of God…it’s kinda serious!

I am seasoning my pans as I type, I’m finishing up the laundry, and the kids have taken care of their rooms, the bathrooms and they are finishing school.

Ess good.

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Getting Pushback Is Not A Reason To Quit. It Is a Reason To Persevere.

I am not sure how it happened, exactly, that I became the best newsletter writer and editor on the face of the earth. Maybe it just comes naturally to me, just as the delicate colors and perspectives came so naturally to Peter Paul Rubens.

Regardless of how or when it happened, the fact remains that I have been writing informative, challenging, relevant and inspiring newsletters for a good +decade by now. I have received rave reviews on my own writing in the newsletters (“it is so funny and fantastic to read! I love reading your articles!” I am paraphrasing, of course), as well as the open communication of information I include within the pages.

Newsletters have been a crucial and integral part of bonding and binding communities for centuries.

According to CybrarianOutpost:

“Research shows that the first newsletter appeared in 1538, long before newspapers       became the standard medium for news stories. One of the first known newsletters was distributed in England in 1631 featuring happenings of locals overseas. In 1704, the Boston News-letter made its appearance in the US and eventually became a newspaper. Many other newsletters flourished in the 1700’s and also followed suit by becoming newspapers.”

When we first joined the homeschool education partnership we have grown to love beyond words, I noticed large holes in communication between parents and teachers. While there was oodles of information being handed out to parents at the beginning of the year, what was missing was the personal element. What were the teachers’ goals for the month? What were the students’ projects? What were the upcoming events to which to look forward?  What are the short biographies of our incredible teachers? What field trips were we planning? Is it National Book Reading Month? What more can we do with our kids to facilitate the joy of reading in our homes?

And on and on…useful, relevant, important communication.

So, as of October 1st, we have had a monthly newsletter to speak for our community.

Today, I printed our penultimate newsletter for the year.

It was beautiful. Spring colors. Vibrant images to catch the eye. Personal feedback from every teacher and every classroom. And a recipe for Asian Noodle Salad….listen, I love the recipe section of my newsletter, and it will always be there.

So, this morning after I dropped one child off to finish their state testing, and two other kids off to their morning reading class, and two more into our private library on campus to work with spelling games together, I scurried off to the office to print the magnificence that is my newsletter.

It is 10 pages, front to back, and I have been writing, editing, scrapping, rewriting and final editing it until I had to force myself, this morning, to accept the final version. Within its pages I had information on our new superintendent, the process we went through to present the homeschool education partnership as a vibrant voice in our educational community, along with other information about next year’s curriculum on which our teachers and Principal have been working tirelessly.

As I was standing in front of the printer in the front office, as I have done every month all year, a person of the school came in to inspect my printing project.

It was the same reaction a shepherd would have to a foreign shepherd using their well to water their flock. A look of concern and protective indignation crossed her face, as she stood fidgeting in front of this community printer.

“Is this going to take long?” she asked.

“I am about halfway done, so it shouldn’t be much longer.”

“This is too much printing. Maybe next year you could do it online, because the parents don’t read it anyway, so this is a waste of paper.”

…she said quickly and with great chutzpah.

A waste of paper.

Let me explain something, sweetcheeks.

If the administration communicated with the parents, at all, regarding dramatic changes that are scaring families and dividing the community, I wouldn’t have to type it out for them.

If the teachers (who we love) updated their school pages to let parents know what their children were learning in class, even once this year, I wouldn’t have to hit the pavement and go to each classroom to get the information from them.

If certain school employees thinks so little of parents’ interest in their children’s education, then no wonder you have notoriously ignored dozens of emails from parents and prospective parents, which I have fielded all school year, in your stead.

What I know is that the parents in our community are interested, involved, engaged in their childrens’ education, and concerned when they don’t hear anything. I know the parents in our community read my newsletter because I not only watch them read it on their way to their cars after they pick up their kids from school, but I get regular feedback from them on what has been included. I get heartfelt “Thank You’s” from parents every month, and am told many times how much they look forward to finding it in their box.

What I know is that every student is important, and every student comes from a family who wants the best for their child.

So, dear school employee who shall not be named, what I know is that this newsletter is more than just a big printing project.

It is the voice for families. And you can’t put a price on that.

 

I May Not Be Writing Much, But I’m Totally Winning At Life Right Now

Recently, I told some good friends of mine that I was up to my ears in stuff…good stuff, and stuff I love, but so much stuff that it wasn’t even feasible to explain. Where do I even start.

I had to rely on some good philosophy to combat the problem:

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We have been up to our ears in trifold projects, hiking, wiring lamps, organizing egg drops at school, drawing projects, school, PTO meetings, school board meetings, homeschool, school testing is starting about now…and lots and lots of other stuff!

Even though we have been very (very) busy lately, we have worked together to learn and create totally incredible stuff, and not only are the kids rightly proud of their successes, I am incredibly proud of what they have accomplished!

We are totally winning at life together. It is awesome.

Things are finally starting to slow down, and I am starting to get my fingers warmed up to get to writing again.

In the meantime, here are some things we’ve been working on 🙂

Cheers!

 

The Jousting Event Which Nearly Changed My Life.

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It has been a month.

It has been a month since the event happened when I collided with the edge of my bed.  This event was exacerbated by the pitch-black forest without a lick of light, occurring in the wee hours of the night. The main event featured a jousting match between the foot of my wooden bed and the 5th metatarsal of my left foot.

Since this disastrous event, the edge of my foot has gone from sore, to being worryingly achy.

I have transitioned my mentality on the matter, over the course of the month, from, “Wow, that was painful, but I’m sure it’ll get better,” to “Dude, why does my foot still hurt?? Did I actually break my foot and not know it?!!

I had to make a major life decision last night, after I found myself shifting off of my left foot while I was baking garlic chicken, and putting together the sides of coleslaw and homemade potato and leek soup.

Even though coleslaw is a warm weather side, and potato leek soup is a cold weather side…I couldn’t decide, in the precipice of spring, which would be more appropriate for the weather.

And, yes, I plan my meals based on the weather. Don’t you?

The coleslaw turned out wonderful, as always. I keep it rather uncomplicated and simply slice thin a whole head of cabbage and mix with coleslaw dressing. I avoid complications such as shredded carrots, and especially crushed pineapple. I have found those sweet flavors very difficult to pair with my meals, and that we actually enjoy the raw cabbage flavor much more without them.

Fortunately, the potato and leek soup turned out as fantastically as you would imagine. It is a lovely, simple soup which is suitable as a side dish; but definitely not as a main course. The impending monsoon of carbohydrates, infused with umami sautéd leeks, will be the ruin of you; to the delight of the comfort of your couch.

All this being said, my foot did not fare as well as my meal.

It was quite sore by the end of my kitchen adventures, and in a very particular spot.

A spot, in particular, which had a purple spot upon it.

I could not avoid this ache any longer: After a month of soreness, I had to come to the conclusion that the jousting event my foot had participated in, most likely resulted in more damage than I realized.

Only one thing could be done about this.

I have to visit Urgent Care and X-ray the darn thing.

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Off I went, after my morning coffee, to the recesses of the mostly empty Urgent Care ward. There was a young lady with an upper respiratory infection, and another young lady who sat with us in the waiting room. We watched Family Guy together on the available television, interspersed with drug commercials urging us to not kill ourselves. Especially not in a canoe, which every actress seemed to enjoy a little more than any person ever has in the entire history of canoeing.

I finally was released into the second waiting room, where my vitals were taken, and I informed them that I am not an alcoholic, and I am not breastfeeding.

After another brief waiting period, Thomas* took me back to the radiology wing. We positioned my foot into sultry poses, first on its side, then flat on the mat, for Thomas* to take X-rays of my injured foot.

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Authentic picture of injured foot.

Thomas* said, very professionally, as he walked me back to the second waiting room:

“Okay, I’m going to send the X-rays to the radiologist, and he will see if there is a fracture in the bone. It should take about 2 minutes.”

Right-O, Thomas*.

I waited. And waited. I waited with great anticipa….

I didn’t have to wait too long, because Janice*, a doctor, came in to tell me the big news.

I did not have a fractured 5th metatarsal.

The relief which overwhelmed my soul was like a British meal.

It was rather satisfying, but hardly the life-changing experience I would have preferred.

“You definitely whacked the daylights out of your foot, and you have a bad sprain on the tendons. That is going to be sore for longer than you expect. But you should be fine.”

Janice* handed me a 5 page pamphlet on the horrors of tendon sprains, and was sent on my merry way to finish some errands at the Library and hardware store; since I was down the block already.

This experience has been anti-climactic, and my life, as well as those around me, has not changed or been impacted in anyway throughout this ordeal, and hardly because of it.

If anything, I feel better knowing that I have adamantium laden bones.

So, I got that goin’ for me.

 

*names changed for the sanctity of the doctors; and if they have to conform to HIPPA, it seems only fair to extend the same jurisdictions on here.

Homeschool Adventures: Seattle Day Trip

We don’t live in Seattle, but we do live close enough to do day trips in the city!

This is what I envisioned for me and the kids to do once in a while: explore the museums, and gallivant in the city. Explore a little food, a little culture and enjoy ourselves silly.

So, that’s what we did!

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For lunch, I let the kids pick out a bunch of fruit at Pike’s Market, and then we hit a local bakery and got a baguette to break up for the kids.

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There is a lovely park on the water where we had our picnic of Washington strawberries, blood oranges, pears, ginormous grapes and it looked like some darn good bread. Glenn was loving the jazz that a guy was playing on a saxophone nearby, and I was just enjoying being in the sun!

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Then we did a little walking around the alleyways, which I love so much. We ran into a guy with a grey African parrot that barked for us at one point, which was a highlight of the day for the kids.

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But our ultimate destination for this trip was the Seattle Art Museum. Nova insisted we go to the coat check…because that’s super classy and awesome. And I don’t blame her one bit. I got to check my rather heavy backpack, and that was nice.

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We did a lot of art analysis, and the kids did great! We looked at different styles between years and genres, different colors between countries, imagery and symbology. They all found their favorites, although Nova said “everything.” Also, can’t blame her with that one.

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Nova was reading the descriptions of the art pieces to everyone, and some attendees got very comfortable.

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Glenn’s favorite was a bronze turtle sculpture.

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We spent a little time exploring Pop Art, and I was very impressed with how well the kids understood what was going on with the pieces.

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17th century French art.  Kind of my favorite wing.

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I was pointing out here that it was interesting that these paintings, which were painted 200 years ago, had the same things in them that we see today. The kitchen table has a bowl of apples and a wine bottle that easily looks like our kitchen table at home. The coats have the same shape lapels that we see today. The children in the pastoral pictures are walking along river banks and poking fish. The ladies are sitting on couches. Time may have moved on, but people haven’t changed much.

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We stayed in SAM for almost 2 hours, which was long enough for the crew (I could stay for years), so I wanted to give them a pick-me-up. The best place to go is to a Starbucks on the 40th floor of the Columbia Tower 🙂

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Conrad brought an emergency pack of Legos, for this very occasion.

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We all thoroughly enjoyed…sitting. It has been a lot of walking.

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Fortunately, we were a couple blocks away from Ben’s office! So we just crashed the pad, and Glenn played around with the lock picking kit. Why, yes, they do have a lock picking kit at work. Don’t you?

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Ben took us out to dinner….but first…he swung me by the infamous tree in Seattle! So, there ya go. This is the tree from the Man in the Tree episode. It looks fine, although a little bare at the top. It does look like the perfect climbing tree, though.

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We finally made it to dinner. Sushi boats 😀

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You would think that we would be done by this point…but I just wanted to hit one more thing before we called it a day. And, for the record, at this point my legs had had more than enough hiking up and down Seattle hills. But I wanted to see the Olympic Sculpture Park before I forgot.

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My favorite quote from Nova today: “OH NO, another naked guy??

You know you’ve spent the day in an art museum when…

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So, how much walking did we do?

This much.

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