27 October 2014

A New Unit Study

     We've finished studying the American Revolution, and are moving into a new unit on American Government; quite appropriate, it seemed, with elections only a few weeks off.  So today we discussed the three branches of government and the concept of checks and balances.  We're making a lapbook, so Brynning put together a mini-book on the three branches:





     His concept of the function of the Executive branch may be more accurate than he knows.  (For the record, I did explain that "to execute" in this instance is supposed to mean "to carry out".  He came up with the firing squad on his own.)

10 March 2014

He's going to elope

Today the Yarn Harlot posted about her book signing in Phoenix.  Benjamin is supposed to be in bed, sleeping, but he wandered out (he does this at least once a night) and happened to be looking over my shoulder when my jaw hit the floor over Hannah's Chuppah.  (It's towards the bottom.  Scroll down and think to yourself "This is what knitters without children can accomplish.")

He wanted to know what it was, so we followed the link to the wikipedia page, and I showed him the pictures.  See the one that taken during an actual ceremony?  He wanted to know why there were so many people there.  I explained that it was a wedding, and lots of people come to weddings.  He said "Why would you want so many people at your wedding?  I think that would be a little disturbing."

29 December 2013

Funny

Brynning attempts to slide his plate under his toast (still on the toaster rack) so as not to have to put down his book.  Discovering this is not possible, he moves to the next obvious solution:  Find someplace to set the plate.  (Never the book!)

13 October 2013

Compare and contrast

And with that title, you know I'm going to talk about my two oldest boys, because really, how could two people with the same two parents possibly be as completely opposite as these two are?  I remain stunned and amazed.

David was doing some carving earlier, and decided to try a technique for roughing out the bowl with a chainsaw that several other carvers have recommended.  Benjamin shared his thoughts on the best way to do this and, when David looked skeptical, struck a casual pose, donned a professional expression, and said "Here, Daddy, give me the chainsaw and I'll show you how to do it."  (This is the five-year-old.)

Half an hour later we were sitting at dinner when Brynning suddenly looked up from his nachos and said "Non-existence is so hard to think about."  And quietly went back to eating.

The whiplash is killing me.

16 September 2013

Funny, funny

My children have been rather hilarious lately.  I've been especially impressed by the very dry, sarcastic sense of humor being displayed by Brynning recently - wow.  So I thought I'd share some things that made me laugh in the last few weeks.

First up, Iain, who made his first joke two weeks ago.  And this isn't so much funny as just a chance to brag, so skip to the next paragraph if you don't like cute stories about other people's children.  The older three monkeys are taking an art class one morning a week, and I sit in the studio with Iain and keep him out of stuff in the meanwhile.  He discovered a shelf full of gallon jugs of acrylic paint, and I figured it wouldn't hurt anything if he pulled them off and put them away a few times.  I seized the opportunity to begin teaching him his colors.  First he pulled the blue jug off and I dutifully announced "Blue!"  Next was yellow, which I also labelled for him.  After a few times I asked him "Which one is blue?" and he picked up the yellow jug, announced "LOO!", and laughed.  I replied "No, silly, that's Yellow!", whereupon he picked up the blue jug and proclaimed "LE-LO" before laughing delightedly.

So, Brynning.  Yesterday I finished up a long day by doctoring a puncture wound in Audrey's foot before sitting down and hauling through a scientific paper that I promised to edit for a friend.  Sometime around suppertime I announced that I was pretty certain I deserved a super-hero cape and leotard, and was sternly informed "Yes, you can wear that...into the bathroom, and then lock the door until you change into something else."  I thought I had another year or two before he was old enough to be embarrassed by his own mother.

And speaking of my sons, Benjamin and Brynning had the most fascinating conversation with me in the car two days ago, that was just such a perfect illustration of the difference between my two oldest boys.  We were driving down the main road when a guy pulled up next to us on a fancy motorcycle.  Brynning announced "That's what I want!"  "Those kinds of motorcycles are called Crotch Rockets" I informed him (not without wondering if I would regret having dispensed that particular piece of information).  "Oh," he replied, "never mind.  I thought it was a scooter."  Simultaneously, Benjamin cried with delight "YES!  That's what I want!  A CROCK POT!"

When I stopped laughing enough to re-enunciate the title (No, dear, it's a crotch rocket.) he tried again.  "Oh, that's what I meant.  A Crock Pocket." Regardless, he is all about fast, and dangerous.  Oh, mercy!

16 August 2013

Feast of the Assumption

I am planning to spend today mostly knitting, because it is a sitting down-type activity, and frankly, I wore myself out yesterday.  Let's recap:

On Monday, Catholic Cuisine put up a recipe for Heavenly Assumption Parfaits, just in time to plan for the Feast of the Assumption (which was yesterday, August 15th).

We are not Catholic, but this struck me as such a fabulously creative dessert (and also seemed so simple and do-able!) that I decided we were going to have an Assumption celebration anyway just so I could make it.  So on Tuesday I invited some Catholic friends of ours to join us for a Feast-day celebration.

On Wednesday, I looked around my house and thought "Merciful Heaven, what on earth was I thinking!?"  My pantry contents had been disgorged into Audrey's room and the kitchen two weeks ago so that we could paint the pantry.  The recycling bins and cat's litter box were creating a traffic obstacle in the kitchen while the little kitchen cart from my grandmother took up a large portion of the floor space (nominally made up for by the fact that it provides additional workspace, but it's still hard to negotiate around it).  Beyond the disaster from the pantry, I also have an overflow of tomatoes from my garden, and my chiropractor called to let me know she'd be in town, and did I want to get adjusted?  So Thursday began to look a little crazy.

Thursday I spent painting shelves, shopping for and prepping food, visiting with my chiropractor (a welcome break in the midst of the insanity I had visited on myself), and making jell-o.  I decided to make my dessert in a trifle dish rather than individual cups, and to use real whipped cream because I like it better.  But it turns out that my trifle dish needs much more than two boxes of jell-o to be full.  So my Heavenly Assumption dessert ended up blue on the bottom and green on the top, since I had to finish off with the other jell-o on hand.  Brynning said it looked like the sky just before a tornado, and we decided it was within the realm of possibility (using one's imagination just a bit) that Mary was carried off to heaven on a tornado, like Dorothy heading for the Land of Oz.  So I got the fire built for grilling, all the food made, and we had a lovely time with our friends that was only interrupted briefly when Brynning was head-butted during a pick-up football game, and put his tooth through his lip.  (Iain having done the same thing the day before at the park, my book-end boys now have matching fat lips - adorable, of course.) 

If you think it's weird that a Protestant family would choose to celebrate this particular Feast Day, well, you're right.  Normal isn't something we really do much of around here though, and I'm good with that.  But the main point I wanted to make (yes, I have a point) is this:  This morning as I was recuperating by sitting on the sofa, reading blogs, I came across this post on the biblical roots of the Feast of the Assumption, on the blog of the Archdiocese of Washington.  And it turns out that the Church celebrates the Assumption of Mary not only to honor her, and through her, Christ, but also to celebrate the fact that we can also look forward to a day when our souls and bodies will be reunited in Heaven.  Her Assumption is celebrated in anticipation of our own.  What a glorious anticipation we have in Christ!  What a wonderful thing to celebrate! (Maybe even with green jell-o.)

And just in case you don't want to click over and read the whole post on the Feast day, here's the part that made me cry:

Jell-o or not, it's definitely something to sing about.

05 May 2013

Thanks, but no thanks

Audrey asked for some help with spelling words after supper.  She was making signs for her bedroom door:
I love the heart.  It adds such a friendly touch to "dAngEr to Enemies", doesn't it?

Necessary signage completed, Benjamin (who apparently is either an honorary sister or simply a peon) then proceeded to stockpile weapons in her room.

Later while waiting for a clear spot at the bathroom sink for tooth brushing, Brynning asked me "Mama, how should I beat Audrey?"  Apparently, they're at war.  I offered my advice, gleaned from years of sibling interactions (and perhaps a few parenting books as well).  Doing my best to look wise I told him "I'm going to give you my very best advice, and it will sound boring and silly to you, but I promise if you try it, it will work.  The Bible says that we should love our enemies, and do good to those that persecute us.  So I think you should try really hard to find lots of ways to love Audrey and be nice to her."  Offering some inducement to actually follow this advice (because after all, I do know he's a medium-sized boy who really just wants to beat his sister at whatever this game is) I added "The Bible says that when we do nice things like that to our enemies, it's like heaping burning coal on their heads."  Smiling hopefully, I finished with "Doesn't that sound like fun?"

He shook his head at me for a moment.  "Good grief," he replied.  "I'm never making you a general in my army!"