Tuesday, February 26, 2008


I feel happy. Though it is cold, wet and dreary right now, I know that Spring is just around the corner. And though this year I will not be able to spend a lot of money on buying flowers for our garden, I can plan for the autumn (when plants are cheaper) and I can work on the garden areas I already have.

So this last weekend was insanely busy, and I was uptight going into it, worried about all the details, all the kids, all the work. But God was faithful and provided not only the time and energy, but also quite a bit of fun. The youth group room- too long neglected- was cleaned and reorganized. David took care of a bunch of things for his dad’s business, since his dad was sick all last week. The kids’ puppet show was cancelled so we didn’t have to race from one activity to another on Sunday but actually had two whole hours at home, together, as a family (well, technically I was working most of that time, washing dishes, etc., but nonetheless, we were home rather than wandering around town). And today, Monday, despite having to recuperate from a busy weekend AND having several guests, we managed to accomplish quite a bit of schoolwork and conquer the typical Monday chaos.

We are blessed.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The 'Up'-Side of Motherhood

It’s difficult, sometimes, to really enjoy my children. The distractions of housework, teaching, and discipline can overshadow- even replace- the more important aspects of motherhood: loving and relating to these people who drive me nuts on a daily basis. Some of our more poignant moments…

India singing “O bess da yord, and sing his gory, and tew of aw, da marbles he has done.” (the best part is when she hits the high note ‘aw’)

Malachi and Anastasia being totally impressed and amazed by the removal of a spring-form pan. (for those non-bakers out there, a spring-form pan is what you use to make a cheesecake. It is pretty nifty.)

Stuart finding a miniature candy cane in his pocket, and cutting it into four tiny pieces so he could share with his siblings, even though they weren't around to ask.

India’s entire bedtime routine. Running like mad to her bed, covering herself up, and calling out “Come find me!” (she hides in the same place every night J ) Then we have to pray, kiss each cheek, and receive a kiss. That’s a total of six kisses for one kid going to bed! Recently she announced she wasn't going to hide anymore...aw....

Anastasia declaring “That’s just wrong!” at a picture in Malachi’s arthropod book (two bugs mating…I’d have to agree…)

When told that someone lived in India, India looked up and said, “He’s in my belly?!”

The kids were discussing where they wanted to live. I said the Mediterranean. Stuart said France. Anastasia said Puerto Rico. Malachi said MaplewoodMaplewood? Well, why not?

Stuart planning his birthday party…eight months in advance…I refused to let him mail out invitations!

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Wow, I need to go off on things more often. That was my most popular blog post ever.
Well, I'm off to join facebook....

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Maybe if Someone offered me a Million Dollars!

It’s my afternoon coffee break time. The kids are doing reading and art, which is self-supervising, so I have time to relax for a few minutes.

So, this ‘facebook’ phenomenon… what can I say? It’s like high school all over again- popularity contests (who has the most friends? and are those really friends? Does any American teen really know what a friend is? Certainly not someone you merely add to a long list of other acquaintances on your on-line social networking site!), cliques, (aka ‘groups’), pointless conversations, rudeness, and, worst of all, a bunch of adults pretending they are ‘with it’ because they, too, are on facebook.

How lame.

Despite much pressure put on me by various and sundry people to sign-up, I refuse to participate. It’s just another fad that everyone will look back on in twenty years and say “Oh, I remember facebook! We thought it was so cool! Hah, were we stupid or what?” Except for me. I will be wallowing in my superiority, gloating that I never fell for the scam, that I remained aloof from the whole social networking thing and proved my cool-ness by rising above such tripe. Never, in a million years, will I sink to such middle-class American, mainstream, self-centered twaddle.

So, um, is it fun?

Monday, February 18, 2008

My favorite foreign films

  • Life Is Beautiful (Italian)
  • Kung Fu Hustle (Chinese)
  • Run, Lola, Run (German)
  • Monsoon Wedding (India)
  • Pan's Labrynth (Spanish)
  • Il Postino (Italian)
  • The Host (Korean)
  • Mostly Martha (German)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

More about school

It’s easier for me to blog about school now, as we are in the midst of a week off. I actually have time to think, to sew, to clean, and to bake- not that I’ve done any of that stuff. Mostly I’ve read. Heck, I need some time off, too. So this week I’ve read two of the boys’ books for their book club, started a manga series (Full-Metal Alchemist, in case you were wondering. I’ve heard so much about it I want to read it for myself) finished re-reading the Hobbit for about the fifth time and started the LOTR for about the sixth time. That one I sip slowly in between the other, less intense fiction. I’m actually able to enjoy the story again- I’ve almost recovered from Peter Jackson mangling it on the big screen. (Oh, the Ents! Oh, Aragorn and Arwen! Oh, the scouring of the Shire! Ack, I need to go recuperate…)

That’s right, this post was supposed to be about school, not my reading habits. Sorry. As I mentioned in a previous post (I think) I am somewhat taking this year ‘lite’. It seems to be working beautifully. We have been hammering on the basics, and the boys are well on their way to memorizing the multiplication table while Anastasia is working on addition/subtraction up to the tens. The biggest encouragement to me has been Stuart’s spelling. Because he is so painfully left-brained, English spelling is simply torture for Stuart. Just when he masters a rule, he finds ten different exceptions. We have tried several different curriculums, spelling tests, games, rote memorization, etc., and the poor child has struggled to no avail- until this year. Suddenly it all seems to click for him. Now when he writes something, a good portion of the words- even some of the challenging ones- are correctly spelled. I feel that’s it a miracle- mostly that I was brave enough to stop fussing at him, and trust that he would learn it at his own speed. Gee, I’ve been spewing unschool philosophy for years, and now that I’m actually giving it a try, I find it works. What a surprise!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Confessions of a Weird, Christian, Homeschooling Mother

Today was our homeschool class with the Disapproving Christian Mothers (see earlier blog, ‘Am I Really That Weird?’). I intentionally wore a t-shirt sporting a drug reference, just to see if I could irritate them further. I mean, if my very presence is annoying, I might as well and really piss them off thoroughly. Really, it’s for their own good, I’m just trying to push them over the edge so maybe they repent of their snobbiness and are actually obedient to Christ’s command to love your neighbor, even the weird ones (that last part is my own addition, but I think it can be safely extrapolated from general biblical teachings.) Unfortunately, I don't think anyone caught the 'Feed Your Head' scrawled underneath Alice and the hookah-smoking caterpillar. Sucks.


We’re having a week off school. I do four weeks on, one week off, with a different ‘theme’ each four weeks. This last month we focused on spelling and math. Now we’re going to switch to geography and art, while still working on some grammar and math review and, of course, reading. I always struggle with the feeling that ‘I’m not doing enough!’ and attempt to force-feed too much information into my poor children’s heads. I have to continually remind myself: they are smart, they are learning, and they are children! I also have to admit that a good portion of my anxiety about their learning stems from my own temptation to show-off how smart my kids are. Eek, how despicable. Our hearts are so black….

Monday, February 11, 2008


So, I’m not a big ‘lent’ person (I prefer Carnival :). I’ve always known people who have celebrated it (can you use the word ‘celebrate’ in conjunction with lent? ‘observed’ I think is the standard terminology) by giving up small pleasures- alcohol, cookies, broccoli.

Of course, what you’re thinking now is- ‘Ohmigod, Veronica is giving up coffee for Lent!’


No, I’m taking a much more drastic course; something even more dear to my heart than even coffee, and much more difficult to abstain from (no, not sex either, I value my marriage).

I’m giving up anxieties.

Stop and think about it. God never commands us to sacrifice all those various pleasures that everyone gives up for Lent, unless of course they are causing us issues. But he does command us not to worry. So I’m basically killing two birds with one stone- keeping a commandment and preserving a tradition, while refusing to worry (which is also good for my health). How will I do it? Just like any other abstention. When I feel those little worries begin to creep up the back of my thoughts, I’ll just say no.

If it works as well as the anti-drug use campaign, I’ll be a nervous wreck by Easter.

Well, off to the coffeepot…

Thursday, February 7, 2008

boys vs. girls

So, I checked out the feminists’ websites, and there doesn’t seem to be a place among them for a traditional stay-at-home mom. I guess I’ll have to start another society: Women Who Want All Women Treated With Respect, Without Having to Make a Big Fuss About Anything Or Veering Off Into Various Political Discussions That Most Women Really Don’t Agree With (WWAWTWRWHTMABFAAOVOIVPDTMWRDAW)

Is that a winner or what?

The whole thing makes me consider critically the area of gender differences. I feel like my home is a good study of that: two girls and two boys, all with very distinct personalities.

I have an eldest son (ten) who is the quintessential alpha male: quick to anger, quick to lead, not good at spelling or grammar but fascinated by science. His goal in life? Stay home with his kids and fix engines.

My next child, nine, is also a boy. He has very few of the typical ‘boy’ characteristics. He is good in all academic subjects, and has zero common sense. He wants to study bugs or teeth, and has no interest in caring for anything, much less children, except perhaps creepy crawly things.

The seven yr old girl is prime cheerleading material (agh!) and only has interest in learning as it pertains to relationships. She finds a friend wherever we go. Her playtime typically revolves around salons, babies, and waiting tables.

Then there is the baby- toddler, really- who at three and a half appears to be a miniature version of me. Spunk and rottenness, through and through. I don’t know where she’ll fit in with the family yet, though her volatile emotions and eagerness to defend her territory seem to be most in line with her eldest brother. She loves baby dolls too, but is quick to tackle anyone she thinks she can take on. She also screams a lot.

Despite all these personality quirks, one thing stands out: the boys are boys and the girls are girls. The girls are sensitive to subtleties and eager to care for things. The boys exhibit some of these tendencies, but not nearly to the same degree. Simultaneously, the emotional demands of the boys are very real, but very easy to deal with. The girls, however, are bottomless vortexes of needs and emotions; unutterably exhausting! And that is really just a small portion of the vast differences between my boys and girls. I thoroughly believe that all people, without regard to sex, age, ethnicity, or hair style, should be treated with the same measure of respect, as humans created in the image of God, who is neither male nor female (though he currently relates to us as a father and king). But we can be treated the same while affirming our differences, rather than pretending that those differences are meaningless, or buying into the Western stereotype of what makes a man (beer and football) and what makes a woman (big boobs and gossip).

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


Not sure why. Just craving the stuff. Already ate a few pieces of dark chocolate, and I don’t have anything more in the house, so I’ll just have to deal with the cravings.

Why are Tuesdays so much better than Mondays? I think there are some deep psychological truths here that we are missing as a society. Yesterday, I was ready to throw in the towel of life, and move to another planet under an assumed name and a recreated past. Today, I am upbeat, enthusiastic, optimistic, and for the most part, the kids are too. The only external differences between yesterday and today are the weather (yesterday was nicer) and the calendar. Perhaps I will try calling Mondays ‘Tuesday’, and treating our schoolwork and our schedule as if it were Tuesday. I’ll let you know if it works out!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Let it snow!

In typical St. Louis fashion, it went from 70 degrees to 7 inches of snow in a 48 hr. period. But we’re not complaining! The snow was wonderful. We quickly discovered it wasn’t the right kind of snow for building snowmen (sniff sniff) and the children had some altercations over throwing snowballs (Stuart would throw one at Malachi, who would complain, then throw them back at Stuart, so Stuart would throw more, hit Anastasia, who would complain, then throw them at both the boys. Then Malachi and Anastasia would try to snitch on Stuart…you can see how it went). But the highlight of it all was sledding on Art Hill. David and I could only climb the steep hill a couple times each, but the children ran up and down several times. We used an old-school metal and wood sled, which worked alright, and a green plastic toboggan, which definitely was superior for these conditions. The children did a beautiful job of sharing and had a blast.

We were exhausted for the whole weekend afterwards.

More about St. Louis weather- after hovering around thirty all weekend, today (Monday) it’s supposed to get up 64 degrees- oh, the inhumanity! My bulbs will be deceived into sprouting. The snow will finish melting into a complete slush. And by Thursday, it will be freezing again. Now I'm complaining.