Monday, August 31, 2009

Need a laugh?

Because sometimes, after a lllloooooooooooooonnnnggg homeschool day, you just need a laugh...



I don't know why that was so funny to me. My kids found it humorous, but I think they may have been laughing at me laughing so hard I had tears running down my face.

Seriously, was that guy in my 4th grade class?


Friday, August 28, 2009

Week 1 down, 35 more to go.

As usual on the Hilltop, nothing is usual.

The first week of school consisted of the following...

Eve had a little accident with her bunk bed dismount the weekend before we were to start school so we started off the first day of school by going to the doctor's office at 7:30 am to get her foot X-Rayed.

It is indeed broken. Of course it's broken. That's how we like to start off our school semester/year.

She is currently in a boot like this and clomping all over the house.



Heaven help us all.

Bob's best friend in the entire world (okay, one of his many friends) left the country last night for 4 years with his family on a missionary assignment.

I have been having trouble getting him to do any sort of work, because he wants to spend every waking moment with his friend because "MOM, He's leaving...for 4 YEARS". I know I should be more sympathetic, but we've know they were leaving for 4 months and that excuse has been used to garner permission to have extended sleepovers, weekends camping at the lake, and many, many other usually not allowed escapades culminating in them going to see a midnight movie last night...a school night.

Will has started his classes out at the Community college, but because we were not here when sign up started, he has to take one of the hardest classes he has this year, Applied Human Anatomy and Physiology at a college 30 miles away and it's a Flex Term class which means they squeeze it into 8 weeks. Needless to say he's ever-so happy about this.

The only one who is not having issues this week is Ann, but she's just so happy not do be driving downtown to attend the Scottish Rite Dyslexia Lab school like she's had to do for the past 2 school years, that nothing could spoil her good mood.

Also, I decided to teach them Latin this year...Yeah. What the heck was I thinking?

So...how's your first week of school? Did you send them off? Do they like their teachers? Are they homeschooling? Is it going well? Are you wishing you could send them off to school? Is boarding school in Switzerland already sounding like a viable option?




*This post has been entered into The Homeschool Lounge's Open House. I am not sure it's exactly what they were looking for, but it's an honest look into my not so normal homeschool*

Friday, August 21, 2009

Selective Services



My first baby turned 18 a few weeks ago. I am still coming to terms with it. If he is 18 that means it would be weird for me to still be 29. I'm not really good with the numbers, but I think it means I might have to start admitting to being ever so slightly over 29. This, I do not like.

When The Teenager Who is Now an Adult went in to renew his drivers licence, he also took the opportunity to register to vote and sign up for the Selective Services as his dad told him was his civic responsibility.

Huh?

The registering to vote thing I am familiar with. We have talked much about it in this house. I have taken my kids with me to vote. We are very civic minded around here. But what is this thing you call Selective Services??? Seriously, I'd NEVER heard of it.

Excerpts from the Army Website Re: Selective Services

WHAT IS SELECTIVE SERVICE REGISTRATION?
Registration is the process by which the US government collects names and addresses of men age 18 through 25 to use in case a national emergency requires rapid expansion of the Armed Forces. Not registering is a felony.

WHO MUST REGISTER
With few exceptions, all male US citizens and male immigrant aliens residing in the US and its territories must register within 30 days of their 18th birthday.


Dude!

How'd I get to be a 29 year old citizen of the United States of American not know this?

Apparently I'm not as civic minded as I thought and also??? NOT really happy that my adult child baby is officially on the government's list to be drafted should the need arise...specifically under the current administration, who has not heretofore been known for their rational thinking...

Although I am eternally grateful to those AMAZING men and women who voluntarily serve in our armed forces. A more heroic group you'll not find. But when suddenly it's MY baby...and they use the word draft... It makes me feel a little gitchy...and nervous...and I wish I could zap him back to 5 when I could keep him from any and all danger...not to mention it was way easier for me to pass for 29 back then.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My Ears are Ringging with the sound of NOTHING!!!

My house is amazingly, blessedly quiet. I am not sure how that happened. One minute there are 5 kids here and the next...none!

Every Tuesday T comes over for the day. She is my niece who lived with us for a while. We love her dearly, but OH THE GIGGLING when she is here... It's not her, well it is, but it's not just here. Something happens when you get all three of them together. It's so loud you can probably hear it from where you are!

So I had prepped myself for a loud, giggly kinda day. I have a lot to do it preparation for school starting Monday. I have been very, very busy trying to find ways to avoid preparing for school on Monday. All this procrastination can really be exhausting...

So while I planned to spend the day in the back room organizing (HA!) with silly, giggly girls bounding around, I find myself, instead enjoying the silence.

Grandma called and asked if she could have the girls for a couple of hours to help her clean off her bookshelves. The girls were thrilled because g-ma pays way better than I do. Especially since I don't pay at all. Grandma also always has food. They like grandma.

SO off the girls go to grandma's house. Then Will heads off to work for the afternoon and Bob gets an invite to a friends house for a Halo party. Really, it's a hey!-school's-gonna-start-in-a-few-days-and-we'd-better-get-in-as-much-fun-as-we-possibly-can party. But I guess 'Halo Party' is easier to say.

So here I find myself, sitting in my house, ALONE. And there is all this quiet, and lack of sound, and stillness. Do you think I'm going to spend all this blessed solitude working on homeschool stuff??? Heck no!

I'm writing, and reading! Because there is all this quiet and lack of interruptions. I can't waste it on organizing!

Getting ready for school on Monday can wait till tomorrow, right. I mean it's only Tuesday!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Stuff and Nonsense

My friend and I went to see Julie and Julia yesterday. What an adorable movie! It was about food, and blogging, and Julia Childs, and okay, yes there was cooking, but I can forgive that.

You know what I really liked about the movie??? All the people sleeping together in the movie? Totally married! Shocking, I know! And the two married couples? They really liked each other! How refreshing.

I also got the RV out of the driveway this weekend. Also, very refreshing. My driveway is quite large and actually fits all three of the cars we own when there is not a giant RV in it! Lovely. And when I say "I" I really mean Sir D and the boys because there is NO WAY I'm actually going to move that thing anywhere, but I did clean it and unload it and get it ready to be put away, so that counts.

(please insert segue here)

I planned, at the beginning of the summer, to restore order to my home. I did not want to spend all summer in a chaotic home only to rush around and get in orderly in time for school to start. I wanted to enjoy the order. HA! What is this thing you call 'order'!???

Okay, so it wasn't at total loss. I did get alot of the house orderly, but the back/school room? Yeah, not orderly. This week, this must be done because I need to start school in one week and I have NO IDEA where my school books are...not a good way to start the school year.

So this week...organize school stuff!

Sigh.

I miss summer already.


Friday, August 14, 2009

I'm not gonna lie to ya...

Reentry's been a wee bit tricky.

We came home from our two week camping trip, late at night and tired and dirty. We smelled of campfire smoke, as did almost every article of clothing we owned.

My car is a completely different shade of brown and there is gravel on the floor. Not dirt, gravel.

There is MUCH to do when one gets home from a two week camping trip to the mountains. Much, much to do.

Here's the problem. We came home right in time for co op to be ramping up, college registrations and for my own personal little homeschool to get started.

I feel like I jumped in after the race was half over!

I have gotten out of bed each day and hit the ground running and not stopped until I fell into bed at night.

The sad thing is, I don't feel like I've accomplished anything when I fall into bed at night. The to do list is getting longer not shorter.

I think I have decided to simply stay in bed today. Think anyone will notice? Yeah, I know. It was a good idea anyway.

One day, Sir D keeps telling me, my schedule will be my own and I will not have all these little people dictating what I do when. But I don't believe him.

Also, have I mentioned that it's HOT here??? I don't do so well with all the HOT.

I want to go back to the Mountains where the cool is.

sigh...

The phone's rung 3 times in the last 10 minutes (and it's only 8:30 AM!) Bob has requested a ride to his job, and a pick up when he's done. Will just asked me to help him find his college books for his classes, the girls need me to check all their chores and I still haven't gone to the grocery store since we got back.

Somehow I don't think my stay in bed plan is going to work out too well...

Reentry is hard. Let's take a moment to enjoy the pretty....




Ahhh.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Conquering the Mountain

We’ve made it home safe and sound. It was questionable for a while if that was going to happen, what with all the being lost in the mountains, and the car mishaps, but we did indeed make it home.

We’ve been home since late Saturday night and now we’re wondering why we came back home. It’s HOT here. It’s a darn good thing we like so many people here because otherwise I think we’d have turned the truck around the first time we got out of it in the panhandle.

It’s amusing to me how family trips always seem to go awry. Never do they go like planned. There always seems to be some sort of mishap. Someone ends up in the hospital, someone gets lost, cars break etc. This trip? All of the above.

Seriously, how could I not be a blogger living in this family? The material I am handed is just too good not to share.

Today we’ll start with ‘the day the boys went up the mountain and almost did not come down’. (Sounds like a good title for a children’s book…or not).

It was decided before we left for Co that 2 of Sir D’s brothers (D & B) would climb Long’s Peak taking along my boys, Bob and Will, and B’s 10 year old twin boys. I was so busy packing enough clothes and food and blankets and whatnot, for 6 people for 14 days, that I did not actually consider making sure my boys had the proper mountain climbing accoutrement like, say, light weight backpacks to carry water and snacks and decent tennis shoes (turns out, indoor soccer shoes are not a good choice) or any sort of climbing gear, really. (Can anyone say run on sentence?)

Once enough gear and high protein, light weight snacks were packed up in borrowed backpacks, the group of 6 headed off up the mountain. They left at 3 am. Yes, I said 3 am. Nuts, I know! Apparently there is this silly thing called ‘weather’ up in the Colorado Mountains. They say you must have summited by noonish before the ‘weather’ rolls in and electrocutes you. Who knew ‘weather’ was so powerful? So…up they go. The rest of us hung out around camp, enjoying all the NOT HOT that was outside. We had a really great day. At one point my sister-in-law R called up to camp after having been in town to tell us her car had died. (It is at this point in the story where I will not comment on the superiority of diesel power because enough of that was done by the brothers at the time.) Sir D and another guy who was camping with us with his family, rode off to save the day, or call a wrecker to come get the (gas powered) truck to take to the shop.

By the time they were finally on their way home it was noted by someone (a MOM) that the hikers had been gone for quite some time, and didn’t we all think that it was a bit odd that they were not back yet, and shouldn’t someone check it out, and hay, since you’re out and about anyway saving the day and whatnot, perhaps you should check on the hikers since it’s now 5pm? (Hello again, run on sentence.) So on the way back from dropping off the (gas powered) truck to be fixed, Sir D and SIL R headed out to the trail head parking lot (that was FULL of cars earlier) to get the skinny.

When they drove up the parking lot was nearly empty. Hummm. Sir D spoke to a ranger who said he’d cleared the summit and followed the trail all the way back down to the base and had not seen our hikers. Not good. He said that did not mean anything really since there are many trails down the mountain and sometimes people even camp on the mountain. It just means that they were not on the summit (good thing with all that ‘weather’ up there). He said that it did seem a bit long to hike to the peak and back down, now that they’d been gone for 14 hours. He said to wait another hour to hear from them, and then the fun would begin. He did suggest driving to the other trail head (several miles away) to check if they’d gotten on the wrong trail and ended up where their truck was not. This did not seem likely as there was cell service at the trial head and they would have called, but we did it anyway. Nothing. We waited for the requisite hour and no word was heard. To say we were now getting worried was a bit of an understatement. During our hour wait, we did a few things. We wrote down a description of all the hikers and gathered photos and put them in two files for Sir D and our friend T to take to the two trail heads and hand out to the Rangers should a search party be needed. It was noted by me that neither Sir D nor myself really knew what our boys were wearing, save the stupid indoor soccer shoes. I was having this reoccurring thought that if something bad did happen would the powers that be bring me up on charges for sending my children mountain climbing in what really amounted to slippers? We did know what snacks they had and whose backpacks they had were wearing… Once the hour was up, Sir D and T drove off to the emergency call boxes at the two trail heads as instructed. You could cut the tension in the air like a knife back at camp. We moms tried to act calm and serene for the little kids but it was extremely obvious that we were all very worried. We did a lot of praying, in the group and separately. I may have struck a deal with God that if he let my boys come home I’d never let them leave the house in indoor soccer shoes (SLIPPERS!) again. So we sat…and waited…and prayed…and waited. I don’t remember the last time I’d ever been this afraid. The later it got, the less likely anyone thought it would end well. Someone had to be hurt, otherwise, why would it take this long? We had no communication with Sir D or T as there was no cell service at the camp. That is why Sir D or T had to keep driving down the mountain to check their messages in case the hikers called. We at camp knew that the next step, that was about to be executed once they got to the call boxes, was that the Rangers would set up a search party hiking up from both trail heads to the summit, looking for the 6 lost hikers. At this point, we were all getting a little nauseous at camp. I heard a diesel engine coming up over the rise. Sir D with news, I imagined. I prepared myself for what he had to say, who was hurt? How bad was it? I simply would not let my mind go any further down that path because I could not stomach the thought. When the diesel engine crested the mountain road, it was not Sir D in my truck coming over the rise but my BIL D, and all the hikers. We sat there in stunned relief. They hopped out of the truck, tired but happy. Like conquerors returning home from a huge victory…. Poor men. After they were hugged fiercely, they were all yelled at!

Turns out, they had NO IDEA they were lost. They thought it was early evening 5 or 6 ish. They didn’t know till they got to the truck that it was after 8. They’d been gone for a total of 17 hours.

We were able to get a hold of Sir D due to the fact that someone could send an email to their phone (we had access to email at the camp, but no cell service, they had cell service but no email) to tell them that all was well. Sir D called back Shannon at the emergency number, who he was now on a first name basis with, and called off the search party that was being organized.

Everyone was extremely thrilled that the 6 hikers had been found, safe and sound. I’m sure the Rangers, who were about to begin an extremely long hike up the mountain at 9 at night, were especially relieved. Needless to say we were all very, very happy to have the men back. They made it all the way to the top. They summited a 14,259 foot in elevation peak. They lived to tell the tale. It took a very long time because they had 10 year old boys with them and they were all severely effected by the elevation (what can I say, we’re flatlanders around here!) not to mention some of them were wearing slippers. When I asked Bob if it had been worth it he thought for a minute and said, “Uh, No. If I had know how hard it was going to be, and if I had know that I was going to have to walk straight up for 16 hours, then rock climb without proper equipment for the last bit, I probably wouldn’t have gone. But it’s really cool to be able to say I did it.” Yes, they did it.

And this is what they saw when they got to the top.

video

My men conquered the mountain.

Late that night, after everyone had gone to bed, Sir D and I sat outside under the awning of our camper and watched a fierce storm roll up over Long’s Peak. The lightning was something to behold. Again I thanked the Lord that my boys were not lost somewhere up on that Mountain, but safely tucked in their beds. And I also realized that those Coloradoans are not kidding about the ‘weather’.

Even thought I didn’t go up that mountain with them, that hike up Long’s Peak is something I will never, ever forget.

Friday, August 7, 2009

All good things must come to an end, they say.

Well, vacation is almost over. Tomorrow we begin the long, slow tow back down the mountain to Dallas where it's HOT.

Here, in CO? Not hot.

Why do I not live here? Where it is not hot?

I have many, many stories. Tales of broke down trucks (sorry, I'm from TX, that's how we talk), men and boys lost in the mountains, roads so steep they require runaway truck lanes, and driving through long tunnels that burrow under large mountains. Turns out, fyi, Eve and I? Not fans of the tunnels....

More when I get back to the surface of the sun home.