Friday, September 29, 2006

Getting Comfy

The theme for this week is comfy.

My pictures were all taken at one of the Indianapolis Symphony's Symphony on the Prairie performances this summer. After we all eat fried chicken, as the music starts, one by one the family members stretch out on the blankets and get comfy.


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Magpie Redux

For those of you who didn't have the pleasure of reading it in its original form, the Motley Magpie is back, this time on the web. My two older children and I often read portions of each quarterly issue out loud because the truth and humor of what was written had to be shared.

As a result of this needing to share, I have loaned out or given away almost every issue that I had, so I will be very glad to see them on the web.

HT: Cyberstones

The Litany

My friend Susan wrote a great post yesterday on the Litany. This prayer is another of the many rich and wonderful parts of my Lutheran heritage that I was not introduced to until we began attending our last church about six years ago. As usual, Susan pushes me to think more about why a particular prayer or hymn says what it does.

Go read.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The theme today is eyes. I probably could have done better, but it's a busy weekend!
This is Andrew, protecting his eyes. :)


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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Testing, Testing

The kids in the schools around town are in the middle of the ISTEP tests. These are statewide standardized tests, administered in the fall. They are expensive, of questionable worth, and a source of ongoing controversy. Yet, as is the case each fall there have been calls for homeschoolers to have to take part in the testing.

In honor of this fall ritual, I am resurrecting an item from my old blog:

There have been several public calls recently to increase the regulation of homeschoolers in the state of Indiana. The idea mentioned most often is some sort of standardized testing.

Often, to those who don't homeschool, this is a common-sense suggestion. They figure that tests will surely show us who is doing a good job and who is not. An often heard statement is, "You would welcome testing unless you have something to hide."

This shows a fundamental lack of comprehension about how and why many parents homeschool. Some homeschool because they disagree with what is taught in government schools. Some do it because they would rather have the flexibility to pursue learning in a manner--and an order--that works best for their child. Some do not believe that government schools are rigorous enough, and pursue more demanding courses of study. And some delay much formal academic work until age 10 or so as advocated by homeschool pioneers Raymond and Dorothy Moore.

Many different homeschool styles are not compatible with standardized testing. Those who pursue a classical education model often are not on the same timetable as the schools. Many homeschool families choose to do more in depth study of a couple of subjects for a year, rather than a broad overview. In our own family part of the reason we started homeschooling was our recognition--without a standardized test--that our son needed something different than the standard classroom experience. Trying to teach to a test would have derailed us completely.

Then, too, there are the practical questions. Where would the money come from? What would happen if the kids don't pass? It seems kind of laughable that a government which cannot ensure the success of the kids that it is responsible for would try to usurp the responsibility of parents, who have a far greater interest in the success of their own children.

And we won't even go into the dubious reliability of standardized testing.

+Dr. Kurt Marquart+

Dr. Kurt Marquart went to his eternal home early yesterday morning.

Although I did not know Dr. Marquart well, I will miss his gentle presence at church, and we will all miss his influence on our synod and our future pastors. There are posts all over the Lutheran blogosphere from yesterday and today remembering him better than I am able to, but his passing is significant and I could not ignore it.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Photo Hunt: Looking Up

This is an old picture, but one of my favorites. Our daughter is twenty now and mt husband hasn't had this much hair for years!

The theme is "Looking Up."


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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Not what I expected

Last night I attended a lecture with my daughter. It was part of the Omnibus Lecture Series at IPFW, where she goes to school. She could earn extra credit for attending and since she wanted company, I went along. The speaker was Azar Nafisi, the author of Reading Lolita in Tehran. I was not particularly excited because I hadn't read the book, and am feeling overdosed on politics .

It was excellent. It was not overtly political. It was about literature, and the power of books, and having the kind of respect for other cultures that leads us to say, "Wait. What you are doing is wrong," when we see evils like slavery and the beheading of women. She argues that attitudes that in the environment of political correctness pass for respect are really condecension, because societies are seen as so inferior that they can't help what they're doing.

She talked about the trivializing of news in our society that puts baby Suri at the same level of new coverage importance as suicide bombings and about the oversimplification of much of the information we receive, such as calling such a large part of the Middle East and Eastern Europe "The Muslim World." (Which, as she pointed out, plays into the hands of the militant Islamists who want that to be the case.)

She talked about Jane Austen, but I'll let Bethany tell you about that.

If you have the opportunity to hear Dr. Nafisi, go. She mixed humor with talk of literature and stories about life during the Islamic Revolution in Iran. It was entertaining and informative.

Now I need to read the book.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

She's got the bug

As if it's not exciting enough that she's writing on the MouthHouse Moms blog, my friend Susan now has her own blog. I think you'll all soon see why I've been trying to convince her to join the blogosphere. So check out Susan's Pendulum.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Blogging notes

I didn't write yesterday because I felt that I couldn't write about anything other than September 11, but didn't have anything to say about it that someone else hadn't said better. In the next couple of days I may have a post or two that are provoked by things that I've been reading and hearing the past couple of days.

There is a new blog that I am excited about, and not because I'm one of the bloggers. My friend Susan, who I've been badgering for ages, is finally blogging along with a team of highly-trained experts--uh, no that's not it--oh yeah, really cool moms! So visit the MouthHouse Moms.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

There really is a difference

I have had several homeschooling posts jumping around in my head lately. Several are half-written. Fellow Lutheran homeschooling mom Barb Frank has just taken the words for one of them right out of my mouth. Go read.
The theme today is FOOD. Since this is one of my favorite things, I couldn't use just one picture.
The first one is my first pick. I took it yesterday on our fun trip into the country. Real food eating what it was created to eat. I chose the second one because I think it's a fun picture. Kettle corn--yum!


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Friday, September 08, 2006

Adventures in the country

Bethany and I went on a long-planned trip into the country today. There is an old road, finished in 1833, that runs between Fort Wayne and the town where I was born that has some really pretty spots and some great old buildings. It is becoming suburbanized in spots and we wanted to capture some of the sights before they are homogenized.

After that we headed out into the country in another direction on a couple of other missions. I wanted to get pictures of a couple of old tombstones and check on a couple of things in an old cemetary where a number of my ancestors are buried. Bethany enjoys the cemetaries, too, so we got really absorbed in what we were doing.

Next thing we knew we were being cornered by a vicious...

Boston Terrier. We were chased from the cemetary and out the gate by a PACK of them. (Sounds pretty dramatic, huh? Really, I think it was a family who wanted to play, but I wasn't taking any chances.) Pretty soon they forgot about us and we went back home, but it was very amusing.

Insomniac posting

For some reason sleep is not coming right now, so I'm going to do this long, pointless, yet nonetheless interesting meme that my friend Jen posted. Those that are bolded are the ones that I've done.

1. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
2. Swam with wild dolphins
3. Climbed a mountain
4. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
5. Been inside the Great Pyramid
6. Held a tarantula
7. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
8. Said "I love you" and meant it
9. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby's diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was shit faced
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Posed nude in front of strangers
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an expert
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Eaten fugu (pufferfish)
89. Had a one-night stand
90. Gone to Thailand
91. Bought a house
92. Been in a combat zone
93. Buried one/both of your parents
94. Been on a cruise ship
95. Spoken more than one language fluently - not quite, but close
96. Performed in Rocky Horror Picture Show
97. Raised children
98. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn't have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication.
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Petted a stingray
110. Broken someone's heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Petted a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad and The Odyssey
135. Selected one important author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone's life

I would love to see results from any of my friends. You all know who you are. :)

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Happy Birthday Sunshine!

Twenty years ago today our firstborn made her appearance. It was love at first sight!
We had a rough first few months because of colic, but that was the hardest it got. We have been blessed with a wonderful, smart, sweet, loving daughter who has grown into a lovely young woman.

Here she is at four in one of her favorite dresses, at ten with her brothers, at 13 with her braces, and now with her friends. Happy Birthday Bethany!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

My mind is swirling

I now have five draft posts partially written. There are just too many things I want to blog about that take some real thought. I am hoping to get at least one of them up later tonight, but for now I need to get back to work.


Monday, September 04, 2006

To hunt no more...

Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter, much beloved by the males in this house, died today after being struck by a stingray barb.

According to anything I've ever read, the father of two never felt that he was in danger from the wild animals that he worked with. I watched his shows with the boys for a long time, but quit after he took his very young son into an enclosure with crocodiles.

Now I'll be subjected to strange Aussie accent parodies and ejaculations of "Snakes" and "Crikey" all day.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Theme: On the Road


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This wasn't the picture that I originally had in mind. Unfortunately that picture has never been scanned into the computer. I think this one fits, however, since Andrew is flying his kite "On the Road."

Friday, September 01, 2006

Back to school?

This is the first year that we are really having an official start date for our home school. But this is going to be a different school year all around. One of the many great things about homeschooling is that it can change with the needs of our children, so our homeschooling style is undergoing a tremendous shift to meet the needs of my younger two.

The boys are excited about the things they're going to study this year. I'm nervous about trying to be more structured. We'll see if I survive!

I'm going to be moving my homeschooling blog shortly and am anticipating that it will be quite busy when we get started next week.