Friday, September 26, 2008

Incredible, Edible and Picturesque!

Huh. Somehow I have gotten out of the poultry craze, but if you are interested, both Mrs. Pevensie and Dalyn have recently posted proud pics of their eggs! Well, not THEIR know what I mean.

Unfortunately, I am too far away from both to beg any.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Grace and Back Pain

Of the many un-lovely things I inherited from my mother*, a very weak trapezius muscle is one. Every so often, with no warning and seemingly without cause, one or the other of my shoulders (and sometimes both!) is rendered useless and painful, affecting my neck, back and arm. I can barely lift myself, can't turn my head, cannot get comfortable in any position, and the only medication I can find that will help it also puts me instantly to sleep.

Today is one of those days. It is also the day I chose to have 6 guests for Sunday dinner. Poor Nathan has had to do the work of three people, both his own, mine, and that of my personal servant. At this very moment, I am eating a piece of pie with whipped cream that he dished up for me. He puts straws in my drinks so I don't have to tip my head back. He picks up things I drop. He rescues me when the stubborn cat keeps crawling on top of me every time I lay down and I can't defend myself.

I feel like a major Ms. Whiny-Butt. It isn't that I am overplaying my pain, it's just that it is ever-present. Earlier when I tried to sit up I said, 'This REALLY makes me want to say bad words!' (I said this instead of the bad word that I wanted to say) and Nate clamped his hands over his ears and said, 'Go ahead, but repent when you are done!'

He's a sweet kid.

*(in the interest of being fair...I also inherited a very nice, um, set of mammary glands from the same parent, and I do frequently wonder if the two are, not those two, the two inherited traits)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Standardized Test Scores

'Real' teachers must have to take a whole class on reading standardized test scores in order to be certified, I am sure.

Anyway, Nate's scores came in the mail today. So did an instruction sheet on how to read them, thank goodness! It was his first fill-in-the-bubble test, and I am pleased with the results. He scored average or above average in everything. His average Stanine score is a 7 (with no score lower than a 5), and his average grade-level equivalency is a 10.6 (meaning that he scored on this test what a student in the 10th grade, 6th month would be expected to scores on this test).

He is just beginning the 7th grade.

I don't think the math computation section is an accurate reflection of his skills, but other than that the only thing that surprised me was his spelling score, which was higher than I had expected.

All in all, I guess I haven't ruined him yet!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Abundantly Blessed

A few weeks ago a friend asked if I would like to audition for a musical. Well, I would love to...but it just isn't a good time for that, and the musical in question was not really God-honoring and worth the time I would have to take away from Nate and home in order to participate. And when it's over, it's over, and what have you taken away from it?

Still, it pained me to forgo involvement in anything musical, as it's been a long time since I have done anything in that area. So I decided that I would take the time that I could have spent on that musical, and use some of it to re-learn the piano and the guitar, instruments that I used to play but had not bothered with in years.

One problem: I owned neither instrument AND I don't even have a job, so merely paying the bills is a challenge, forget buying luxuries! So I figured I would work with my 20 year old Casio keyboard and take every chance I could get to practice on real pianos elsewhere, and make do!

Well, since then, I have been offered both a guitar and a piano free of charge. The piano is in sorry condition, but far better than the keyboard I have. The guitar hasn't arrived yet. Still, I am so abundantly blessed!

In addition, on Sunday, perfectly free of charge and actually a help to the people who brought it, an air hockey table was delivered to me. It might seem silly, but I have wanted one for years, and the kids love them, and it brings back memories of my own childhood. We didn't have an air hockey table, but we did have a pool table and a ping pong topper for it, and my friends and I spent many happy hours with them. I am hoping to eventually get a ping pong topper for the air hockey table, too, but in the meantime, it's already brought a lot of giggles to this house.

I hear people say that God exists, but isn't really involved in our lives. I beg to differ. Times are hard for us right now, but still the care given to the details of our lives is quite obvious to me!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Engineering An Empire

Nate and I have been enjoying the Engineering an Empire series by the History Channel (through Netflix since we are TV-free). What an amazingly cool show! This is history for boys! It actually covers ancient empires from a civil/military engineering persepective. So far we have watched the segments on Carthage, China, Russia, Greece and Greece in the age of Alexander, and the Aztecs. We have been astounded at the feats these peoples accomplished, and it has spurred a unit on Carthage, which my own education sadly lacked. Why do they skip such a wonderful piece of history?

Engineering an Empire is not directed at kids, but we have found that at 12 Nate understands nearly everything being said (and besides, there is a pause button for when he doesn't) and is fascinated by how things worked and how advanced some people were. It does cover a lot of military history, so there is some talk of bloodshed, and in the Aztecs section there are re-creations of human sacrifice (you don't actually see anyone being killed, but you do see hands holding hearts). There's a teensy bit of historic facts about prostitution and such, but nothing shown, and it's really not dwelled upon.

We are halfway through and Nate is begging for more, so if you have kids who need a little something to catch their interest in history, this might be a good choice for you. I would also recommend the corrosponding segments of the Drive Thru History set by Focus on the Family, for a more Biblical perspective (not available for all segments, though).


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Fun Stuff

As I type this, Nate is taking the very last section of his CAT test. He just said, 'So, public school kids take this all in one day?' (it's taken us a week). I said yes. He said, 'Now I know why kids bring guns to school.' Yeah, some days I worry about that kid.

So, to celebrate the end of the test, when he's finished, we are getting into pajamas (well, I am at any rate) and watching Hangman's Curse (from the Frank Peretti book of the same name) which was Nate's pick since he has just finished reading the Veritas Project series. I believe we have both red and black licorice plus gummy bears and gummy cola bottles to aid in our celebration.

And, if we still need fun after the movie is over, we can try out our new air hockey table that was delivered this afternoon. Only, we will have to find something to use as a puck and two somethings to use as strikers, as the table did not come with any. I've always wanted one, though, and when it was offered free of charge with delivery included, how could I turn it down?

Apologies & News

I apologize for any inconvenience my month-and-a-half-long break from blogging has caused. Basically, we had stuff going on that caused me to not really want to share. I think I'm over that now.

Brandon is spending a few months at his dad's and going to public school for the very first time. I hear he's doing well there.

Nate is still here with me. While I have been largely unemployed this summer, Nate just finished up four weeks' work on the house up the street--basically being the grunt. His boss said he's a good grunt and a very careful worker (which Nate blames on my grandmother and me, you know, like that's a bad thing). The boy has been lamenting the lack of a 'real job' for years now, but I think he learned a lot from having one, including that it's much more fun to be a kid! He and I are both happy that he can go back to his much more laid-back schedule this week. And he has saved up almost enough for a new laptop in the process.

Annual testing--only one student taking it this year. Normally I like to have it done by the end of August (since we school from Sept-Aug) but this year with everything going on, it didn't get started until a week ago. It's Nate's first year taking a fill-in-the-bubble test, since in the past he's had a non-test assessment. This is more time-consuming and less flexible. On the first day I laid down the rules and he was a bit put off by them. "Why all these new rules all of a sudden?!" he asked, and when I explained, he said, "Well, can I have gum?" and I told him that was fine so he said, "Do I have to bring enough for the whole class?" LOL He's gotten quite a way through his pack as the only student.

We purchased our test from btw.

I promise not to disappear again anytime soon, thanks for reading,