Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Antidote

Alex (on the ride home from the Halloween party): Mom, when we get home, can we eat broccoli?


He glows in the dark.

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Should Christians Participate in Halloween?

Sally Thomas has a really good answer over at First Things today, The Drama of Hallowmas. I couldn't agree more.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

When We Were in the Mountains

When I was Young in the Mountains by Cynthia Rylant is a poetic story of childhood days and evenings spent growing up in the Appalachian mountains. It is a story of contentment, being with family and with God and finding joy in the little things.

The following is inspired by this book. We borrow the refrain, changing it only slightly to "When we were in the Mountains..." It was written as a group effort by the five oldest boys and recounts some of the things we did with our time in these beautiful mountains.

When we were in the mountains we went apple picking. The apple trees were so old and twisty. Alex said they looked "haunted."

There was a dog at the orchard and he followed us everywhere we went that day.

Zachary worried that if he picked an apple he might wake up and realize he was dreaming again, but he picked five or seven great big apples and he didn't wake up.

Later, Mom made a huge apple pie.

When we were in the mountains we carved pumpkins and toasted the seeds. Nicholas named his pumpkin, "Punky." The seeds were crunchy and tasted a little bit like nuts.

When were in the mountains we drove along the Blue Ridge Parkway and sang along to Bluegrass Gospel Tunes. You could see the clouds up close.

We saw Christmas tree farms and cows and horses and even a stag with antlers one day.

When we were in the mountains we had a picnic lunch almost every day.

When we were in the mountains we hiked to the top of Grandfather Mountain. We went to a fudge shop up there and saw a real Bald Eagle.

There were many caves along the trail. At the top, we walked across a mile high swinging bridge. The people looked like ants and the cars looked like matchboxes from up that high.

When we were in the mountains we hiked around a mountain lake.

We saw fresh beaver teeth marks on the trees.

At one place there was a flood and we had to cross through mud balancing on logs.

The rotting Rhododendron tree leaves smelled tangy by that lake, like someone's sweaty feet.

When we were in the mountains we spent our evenings by a campfire roasting marshmallows or working on our puzzle. We saw some places that were on that puzzle.

When we were in the mountains we went to the gem mines. Simeon found sixteen Emeralds and Jacob found a big heavy Ruby shaped like a cylinder.

Some of those gems had rainbows inside of them.

When we were in the mountains we didn't want to be at the beach or anywhere else in the world...

...because we were in the mountains and we liked the mountains very much.

Photo credit: Everyone, including fellow travelers who offered to take our picture.
Written material by Simeon, Alex, Jacob, Zachary, and Nicholas

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Mountains!

Everything I wanted it to be and then some...more to come.
For now, Goodnight.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Mountains

Tomorrow, we complete our eleventh week of school work. We're ready for a break and the fall colors are at their peak in the Blue Ridge mountains. Naturally, that's where we belong. We'll "see" you when we get back and have plenty of pictures to show for it, I'm sure.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Happy Birthday, Jeremy!

Today is my husband's birthday. While we were at Target picking up ingredients for his cake this afternoon, Jacob carefully chose some birthday candle numbers to top it. He got the right numbers, but presented them to me backwards and upside down. Happy ninety-third birthday, sweetheart. You're looking GREAT!

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Trouble With Hand-Me-Ups

I just completed the great fall clothing changeover. I might have it easier than some. For one thing, the milder weather in the south makes it so that I can drag my feet on this project or just do a little at a time if I prefer. Secondly, our All-American-Boy wardrobe really simplifies shopping, storage and hand-me-downs in general. I can buy just about any boy clearance item I like. It's sure to fit somebody..this year or next. I don't need to write "boy" next to the sizes on my storage containers. And whatever a boy doesn't destroy himself, he can hand off to his brother to finish for him. We use all we have. Precious little clothing ever leaves this house. What enters here, dies here. It's a great system overall and I feel it saves us time and money. There's just one problem at the end of the chain...

When the four year old is wearing size 5/6 and the five year old is wearing 4/5, how do you convince the older brother to take hand-me-downs from the younger one? He refuses. I have several shirts that survived Nicholas last year and would like to slip them into Zachary's drawers, but I know Zachary won't wear them. He just refuses. So, Jacob hands down to Nicholas who hands down to storage and I buy all new for Zack. I tell myself this clothes will be there for Micah someday, but somehow I doubt it will look all that great after four years in storage. It will probably find its way to Goodwill before then, and that's OK.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Oh, I Like That Response

Me: (Looking at the piles of laundry that resulted from a very active and very fun weekend) Oh, my boys hate me.

Wise Husband: No dear, they just love life.


The whole family ran/walked a 5K race yesterday.

Jeremy finished in 27 minutes (despite helping out with the kids) . When Simeon and Alex couldn't keep up with him, they ran together and finished in 45 minutes.

And Me, Zachary, Nicholas and Micah in the jogging stroller came in at 58 minutes (hey, it was under an hour).

Zachary and Nicholas receive their time at the two mile mark.
They were such good sports, these two, and funny little companions along the way. A 5K is a long walk for little feet and while they cracked me up with their comments about long it was, they never got discouraged and we never stopped. Micah just slept through the whole thing.

Jacob runs for the finish.
He kept steadily ahead of us and finished around 54 minutes.

Every child got a medal for participating. The kids slept well last night and many are sore this morning, but they had popcorn and hot dogs and games and prizes and cotton candy after this race so they're asking when we can do it again. It was a great day!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Made me Smile

Little Boy: (Handing me his toothbrush which looked something like this ) Mom, I think I need a new toothbrush. This one is too... too...frisky.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Which Came First

Me: (to the younger set) Do you know who William Penn was?

Boy: He was named after Pennsylvania.

Me: Well, not exactly.

Boy: (tries again) He was named after the tennis ball?

Monday, October 05, 2009


Nicholas: I had a bad dream last night that we went to the YMCA and there was too many fish in the water...and an octopus...and a squid. The octopus tried to get me, but I beat him up.

Jacob: I had a bad dream that I lost my High King Peter costume on Halloween night and had to wear a tutu.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Living With Boys

Alex had a bug collection in our garage. I came upon it one day while cleaning out there and it made me jump. It was a paper bag full of dead bugs and dead bug parts. There was a perfect set of drangonfly wings, a stag beetle jaw (amazingly huge), some butterflies, millipedes, and myriad metallic beetles. The collection gave me the willies, but I didn't want to discourage my young entomologist as his choice of bugs and bug parts showed some discernment.

So, I found an old tupperware container and suggested we move the bugs there. The container would be more suitable for size and I would recognize it when I saw it and not just come upon it like I had that day. Alex was pleased with the move and took the opportunity to show me each prized specimen. Interesting... disgusting, and interesting. We placed the tupperware on the tool shelf in a visible place and as the weeks passed I watched the collection slowly grow. I'd head out to get the hammer, half wincing at that clear container, but then I'd notice a new moth and pause to appreciate it. Interesting.

So, today when I noticed that the container had become a home for the tree frog they caught yesterday, I was a little sad about it.

"Why am I sad that Alex dumped his bug collection?" I asked my husband.

"You are?" he laughed.

I was. We have plenty of containers to make a frog home from, we didn't need to dump all those months of Alex's hard work and careful collecting. I felt a little bad about it. I did.

When I saw Alex later I asked, "Why did you dump your bugs for that frog?"

"I really didn't want the bugs anymore," Alex said.

"Why not?"

"Well," he said, "They were really starting to smell bad. You'd open the container and it would sti-ink."

Eeeewww...the willies came right back and I didn't feel bad anymore. Not at all.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Tree Frog

Cope's Gray Tree frog with bright yellow underside. Listen to his call.

Friday, October 02, 2009


Zachary: What does "scope" mean?

Me: Have you noticed that suffix in some words, Zach? It means to view or look at. The word microscope can be broken down into micro and scope. Micro means small and scope means to look at. Get it? A microscope allows us to look at small things.

Zachary: Interesting.

Me: Where did you read "scope" Zachary?

Zachary: It was on the toothpaste. It said "plus Scope."