Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Midsummer Madness

Probably time
We've finally decided that we must refinish the floors.  I refinished them once, right before we moved in, but 15 years and a half dozen children later, they are in pretty bad shape.

I looked up some information on floor refinishing and it suggested that two adults, without pets, would need to refinish the floor at least every 10 years, but if you had a child or a dog, you'd probably need to do the floors every three or four years. 

Seriously?  Does anyone refinish their floors every three or four years?

Office before

The problem, of course, is not the refinishing of the floors. 

The problem is that you have to remove everything from the rooms before you refinish the floors.
Homeschool  room before


Even in the closets.

Homeschool room mostly after
That means everything out of the dining room (easy), the living room (not so easy), the guest room (could be done), the office/store room (really hard), and... the home school room (you've got to be kidding me).

I decided we had better start with the monster, so we got the homeschool room done on Monday.  It's all crammed into the library now.  Only 4 rooms to go!

It's like moving (without changing address) in that you get a fresh start at getting rid of junk and organizing your space.  I can tell I am going to love having done this!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Poem of the Week for Father's Day: If


If you can keep your head when all about you   
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;   
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;   
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,   
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Source: A Choice of Kipling's Verse (1943) 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Congratulations, Webelos!

Oob crossed over from Bear Scout to Webelos I, and Choclo crossed over to Webelos II.

That means that next year they will be in the same den before Choclo eventually crosses over to Boy Scouts!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Not Actually All That Wordless Wednesday (which is also a guest blog by Mxyl): More Aquarium!

Decided to see if I could get back into photography and ended up taking like half a gigabyte in photos.  Here you go!

 Left: a waterfall shot at a 200th of a second.
Below: the same scene at a 5th of a second (with me holding the camera veeeeery still).  Although it runs the risk of being blurrier, sometimes that can be a good thing, especially if part of the scene blurs and other parts don't (e.g. blurry water looks really cool). 


 From here on, the place got a lot darker.  However, if you hold the camera steady enough, sometimes the whole place looks a lot brighter than it actually is.

As well, I decided to use this to an advantage: as I said earlier, blurring some things while holding the camera still looks really cool. 

You'd be surprised how dark this actually was.
 One thing I'd learned in particularly, though, was escalators.  If you have a dark area with escalators, then putting a camera on the moving arm rest (and keeping it steady) can produce some seriously awesome pictures. 

Kinda reminds me of 2001, actually. 

Bye for now! 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Shark Teeth!

We finally made it out shark tooth hunting!  Since it was after Memorial Day, we went to Purse Park which is (Quiz!):
A Free
B Uncrowded
C Jelly fish free
D Farther away
E All of the above.

I knew that the answer was E because I've been there before.  It's pretty far off the beaten track and the beach itself is in a tidal part of the Patapsco river (which is why there are no jelly fish, but lots of sea shells).

If you aren't familiar with the area, we were on the Maryland side (in the shade!) looking across at Mount Vernon, Virginia (home of George Washington).

What I didn't know was that they must use these back roads to train people who paint lines on the road. Or, possibly, they really like beer here.

For the last half hour of the trip we were quite amused at the weird, wandering, never quite parallel lines.
What I also did not know was that the fossils here appear to be twice as old as the fossils at our usual spot.  According to the park service, these shark teeth come from the Aquia formation, from about 60 million years ago - you know, right about the time the asteroid hit.

Also, I left my phone in the car (accidentally), so I missed getting pictures of  us actually finding the fossils.  But find them we did! And I was happy to find my phone still in the car!

We were only there for an hour and a half, but this was our largest haul of fossils ever: 241!

We ended up with 123 teeth, 98 ray plates, 5 bone fragments, and 13 turtellias (like long snails).

And, if that wasn't enough to make it a red letter day,  on the way home, Blue Streak hit 100k!

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that the road photos are courtesy of Klenda (I didn't take them while driving!) and that there are some downsides to Purse Park besides the distance.

I would not recommend going there with young kids because the path to the beach, while a lovely hike, ends in a fairly steep... well, somewhere between a slope and a drop.  Older kids love the challenge, but it would be a nightmare with a toddler or baby, especially if you were also trying to carry anything.

Also, the beach disappears completely at high tide, so check the tide charts before you go!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Home School Scheming

Or planning, we could call it planning! Last week I attended a delightful tea with about a dozen other homeschoolers.

It was part meet and greet, part curriculum swap, and, for me, part advertising for the things I want to do next year!

Have you heard about Awesome History? (Spoiler: it's AWESOME!)

Do you have a high schooler that wants to learn Chemistry? It's a thing! Do you have a younger kid who likes Chemistry?  It's another thing (but in the spring)!

Do you crave adventure?  Adventurers is for you!

Long story short, I filled my high school Chemistry and got about 5 or 6 more families interested in Adventurers, and another 5 or so interested in Awesome History.  I figure that's as many as we can comfortably fit, so that's pretty perfect!

My plan for Awesome History is to continue and finish A Child's History of the World in the fall (Awesome Modern History), and then find a new book to do Awesome American History in the spring.

Plus the scones were fabulous!!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Poem of the Week: Dawn is a Fisherman

Dawn is a Fisherman
By Raymond Barrow
Dawn is a fisherman, his harpoon of light
Poised for a throw - so swiftly morning comes:
The darkness squats upon the sleeping land
Like a flung cast-net, and the black shapes of boats
Lie hunched like nesting turtles
On the flat calm of the sea.

Among the trees the houses peep at the stars
Blinking farewell, and half-awakened birds
Hurtle across the vista, some in the distance
Giving their voice self-criticized auditions.

Warning comes from the cocks, their necks distended
Like city trumpeters: and suddenly
Between the straggling fences of gray cloud
The sun, a barefoot boy, strides briskly up
The curved beach of the sky, flinging his greetings
Warmly in all directions, laughingly saying
Up, up, the day is here! Another day is here!

HT: Shiva Boys
Image HT: Pexels

Friday, June 10, 2016

Seven Quick Takes: Doing ALL THE THINGS!

 This past week or so has been a non stop party of getting everything done that I have been putting off because I didn't want to deal with it.

1. For starters, we bought a car. It took 4 days and about 842 hours of sitting around car places, but we have a car and it has air conditioning!
Look, I photobombed the car! (actual quote)

And it drives and stops and looks like it will be super dependable and all that stuff.

It is the first time since having kids that we have a car younger than any of the kids (it's a 2013) which feels a little weird. Actually, it's the first car we've bought specifically for our kids to drive, which is even weirder

But it has great air conditioning (and we'll be in the 90s with high humidity this weekend)!

2. I literally closed the books on the 2015-16 school year.

I mailed in my portfolios last weekend, but this week I finished filing all the kids' papers into their binders, closing the binders and stuffing them in the basement.

If you are The Emperor and looking at this photo with woe, I firmly resolve, with the help of God's grace, to get them off the workbench and onto the correct shelves in the basement by the end of summer. Well, some summer, anyway.

Moving right along.
3. Choclo found his favorite penguin and new BFF, standing outside in a medical office park.

The office park had installed lots of zoo animal sculptures around the building, but somehow, as God's personal gift to Choclo, they put the penguin right outside the door to Choclo's very own doctor.

I see more doctor visits in our future! :)

 4. I got my freezer cleaned out!!! And organized!!!!

I'm picturing at least half of you rolling your eyes.

I'm picturing at least half of you applauding.

 You can picture me taking a victory lap to burn off all the "extra" ice cream.

5. While I was cleaning the freezer/filing paperwork/waiting around for hours in car places, the kids were amusing themselves.

I now need another case of paper and a large push broom, but it was totally worth it!

Also, for no particular reason, do you remember the 80's dance "The Robot?"

6. We had an unexpected run of beautiful weather with clear blue skies, light breezes, and highs in the 70s.

I spent every spare moment outside, weeding and mulching and sitting in the garden watching hummingbirds, bees, and finches.

That's how I discovered that we have a tenant in the birdhouse Zorg painted for me for Mother's Day!

I think it's a family of purple finches.  I suppose it could be sparrows.  Or wrens!

I keep catching glimpses of the mother, and the female purple finch looks a lot like a sparrow to me. Or maybe a wren. They're all little mottled brown birds with "eyebrows." Can you tell I'm new at this whole birding thing?

7.  What? I have to do a seventh take?
Random paper found in my house, but I think it's from Oob.
UPDATE: The picture is from Choclo.

More fun with Kelly!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: Aquarium

                                    That's a moray!