Tuesday, October 28, 2008


For not posting for over a month. I've mostly been hanging out at Facebook. Here are some new pictures, though: http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v388/mili_cat/Oct%202008/

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


We just removed a small nut (you know, the kind that goes with a bolt) from Rosemarie's nostril. It required me holding her down, and Bob operating the flashlight and tweezers. Rosie was giggling the entire time.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Rosie's drawing

Rosie scribbled on a piece of paper with crayon then brought it to me, saying, "Look at this picture of a dog named 'Fenja' and a really cool girl named 'me'!"

Monday, September 08, 2008


So I'm going to be applying for a state "Emergency Substitute Teacher" license, so I can hopefully pick up some work while Bob is on a shortened work week.

I'm not sure how much good it will do. It will cost money to get the license, and it could take as long as 6 weeks. I'm not sure how long it takes on average. Since I don't know how long Bob will be on shortened work weeks, I could pay for the license, order it and not actually do any teaching before I get it and apply at an actual school district. However, once I do it, it is done. I would have to renew it, but I wouldn't have to go through the application process again. This could be handy in case of a possible strike in 2010 when Bob's union will be negotiating with his company for the new contract.

So that's the news.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

School Update

School has been going pretty well. It does help our day go better to have a more definite schedule.

Yesterday Pauly did his first "retelling." This is pretty similar to the Charlotte Mason idea of "narration." The idea is that you read the story, or passage, or whatever, to the child, then they tell it back to you. The idea is to check understanding, work on listening well the first time, and develop verbal skills that will be helpful in later writing. The MODG syllabus broke this up into a few different steps, which helped us make it successful. We'd tried this last year with no luck at all, he refused to do anything.

So, we read one of Aesop's Fables. I chose the Tortoise and the Hare, because I figured it would be easier for Pauly if he was already familiar with the story, and I wasn't sure how cooperative he'd be. After I read it to him, he copied the title onto a page in his blank book, then drew an illustration. Considering the fact that he does not draw at all in his free time, he did well and surprisingly there were no complaints. Then he retold the story to me, dictating it while I wrote in down on the page opposite to his illustration. By the end of the year, he'll have a book Aesop's Fables, with his own retellings and illustrations.

I was quite pleased with this. It was a fair amount of work for Pauly, seeing as handwriting and drawing are difficult for him and are not favorite activities. However, it wasn't overwhelmingly difficult, just some work. He is proud of having done it as well. The syllabus calls for us to do something similar with lives of the saints throughout the year as well, so I'm glad it will be doable!

Saturday, August 16, 2008


So, the plan is to start our new school year Monday. We'll be following a four day week, and will probably only "do school" for an hour or so at the most. I'm hoping that this helps me get some order back in my days as well. With all the morning/all day sickness I've gotten very lazy and we have no schedule to speak of.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

It's sitting on the desk

the registration form for St. Michael's Catholic Church, that is. Bob has decreed that we're jumping ship after all, leaving St. Mary's to become members of St. Michael's. And we do have to go through with the leaving and the joining and not just do it informally. St. Mary's doesn't need to be spending money on mailing us things, and we're going to enroll Pauly in religious education at St. Michael's.

I've dragged my feet and reasoned and what-not for four years now. Has it really been so long? But ultimately, it really, really mattered to Bob and I can deal with either choice.

It is nice to attend mass somewhere that still feels Catholic. The kids were asking what the statues in the church were when we started going to St. Michael's. : / And the altar servers actually do things instead of standing there looking bored. And all the mass prayers haven't been rewritten to be more "inclusive" or whatever reason Sr. thinks she needs to rewrite them. And there are votive candles! Truly!

Also, since the church doesn't have a school, there is a large homeschooling community. Maybe we will get to know some of them better.

But, St. Mary's is home. It's family. Anywho, there you are.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

If wishes were horses. . .

I want to go an entire day without throwing up.

Heck, I'd be happy to have a day where I only throw up once!

Just saying.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Pauly finished building his new Lego airplane.

Then he took it apart.

At least I got pics.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Life According To Rosie

While lying done resting yesterday, Rosie told me:

Daddy wake up.
Put on socks.
Go to work.
Get food.

That sums it up, eh?

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Why can't I stay away?

There is a forum. It shall remain unnamed. I've been a member for 7 years now. But now it is bad for me. I don't think the same way I used to, and now reading and participating there tends to make me angry and depressed. Or maybe it is just spending all the time on the computer that is required to keep up with the forum that makes me angry and depressed. It is bad for me. But I can't stay away. Just saying.

Thoughts on Schooling and Neurology

I read an interesting book covering all kinds of topics related to neuroplasticity, that is the growing scientific understanding that the brain can change in structure in function. It is The Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doidge. The book covered brain injury, mental and emotional disorders, pain, sexual attraction and love, and a number of other topics.

One chapter, on severe learning disabilities and a woman who had developed "brain exercises" which are highly effective in improving them, contained an idea which I thought was interesting and which seemed to support the claims of some "Classical" curriculum proponents. The author noted how some older schooling practices were quite similar to these highly effective brain exercises:
The irony of this new discovery is that for hundreds of years educators did seem to sense that children's brains had to be built up through exercises of increasing difficulty that strengthened brain functions. Up through the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries a classical education often included rote memorization of long poems in foreign languages, which strengthened the auditory memory (hence thinking in language) and an almost fanatical attention to handwriting, which probably helped strengthen motor capacities and thus not only helped handwriting but added speed and fluency to reading and speaking.
Doidge wasn't advocating classical homeschooling, but is suggesting that assessments of strengths and weaknesses could and the use of well designed exercises to increase abilities could become a standard part of education. Yeah, I'd like to see that.

At the same time, this quote seems to support the claims of many "classical method" advocates, such as Laura Berquist who founded the Mother of Divine Grace school and developed their curricula, that memorization and the other classical methologies, like copywork and dictation, develop and prepare the child's mind for learning. Anyway, interesting thoughts.

Last year I'd planned on using Berquist's suggestions from her book Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum with Pauly for K, but they ended up falling by the wayside. Not because they were difficult or didn't work for us, but because I'm lazy and unorganized. This year I went ahead and purchased the MODG 1st Grade syllabus, maybe with more of a plan I'll stick with it better. At least nearly everything they recommend is reusuable so I'm not wasting money.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Proclaimers funny

Not that most of you will care.

After playing at the Glastonbury festival:
When Proclaimer Charlie was asked whether he would invite strangers into his back garden to drink excessively, play loud music and piddle recklessly, like Glastonbury Festival founder Michael Eavis does, he replied: "It's a bit like that when my wife's family come to visit from Glasgow, to be honest."


Friday, June 27, 2008

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Peanut Butter

Rosie helped herself to a snack this morning.

If I could remember anything. . .

I spent yesterday recovering from the very busy weekend. We stayed at home and relaxed, and I put together the presents that Grandma and Grandpa gave the kids. Very, very lazy.

Then last night, while going to sleep, I remembered that Roger and Rosie were supposed to have had their well-child check-ups that morning. D'oh.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Friday, June 06, 2008

Catholics for Obama?

Some links exploring the issue:

And here's the link to the slate article in question in the links above: http://www.slate.com/id/2184378/
http://www.romancatholicsforobama.com/ -- has links to the full "official" documents, which generally don't say what pro-life groups say they say. Or that is to say, the Vatican and national documents don't say what Archbishop Chaput says they say.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Overheard at Our House

I made a slightly off-color comment, innuendo really, then asked Bob why he wasn't reacting.

Pauly: Should Daddy react? What is reacting, anyhow?
Roger: Chopping down trees.
Pauly: No it isn't.
Roger: Yes it is. Reacting is chopping down trees.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Rosie's New Tricks

Rosie can take off all her clothes, including her diaper.

She can also now open the screen door if it is not locked.

She's fast, too.

I'm not sure whether any neighbors looked outside to notice me chasing a naked toddler around this morning or not.image

Monday, May 05, 2008

We saw the Proclaimers!

We saw them this past Saturday in Minneapolis. This is what I posted on the fan forum, and I'm too lazy to rewrite it for here.

We went to Minneapolis! I forgot my camera at home, and I didn't get a set list. Sorry about that.

It was fantastic. The Fine Line Cafe is a smallish venue, but it was packed. The energy was absolutely incredible. I am so glad we went. We drove nearly 700 miles to get there and my husband and I thought it was worth it, even not considering the other things we did in Minneapolis this weekend.

Personally, I was really impressed with Jeremy Fisher, and we bought his CD. We really enjoyed the classic rock sound.

I was really impressed with how much fun C&C and the band had making music. You could tell they enjoy themselves, and the crowd was responding with positive energy of its own. It was standing room only, and the floor was packed. Everyone was singing, dancing, clapping and enjoying the music. This was our first time seeing The Procs, and my husband was really impressed with how many songs were even better live, he has not found that to be the case with other bands he's seen live.

We managed to be first in line to get their autographs, and my husband joked to them, "I was really disappointed. We drove nearly 700 miles to see you, and you're not a comedy act!" in reference to that exchange someone shared here from earlier on the tour. They both laughed and Charlie said something in response, but I regret to say that neither my husband or I could understand him due to his accent, which seemed much thicker off stage. Embarassed Then of course we told them much we loved the show.

Anyway, it was absolutely wonderful. Very Happy

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Lost Opportunity

When the kids and I came home from a trip to the library, we were approached by a man coming from our next door neighbor's house. He and his wife were there delivering Meals on Wheels, and they had discovered that our neighbor had passed away.

Our neighbor's name was Homer, and he was in his mid-nineties. He had just moved in about a month ago, his children had bought the house and had fixed it up for him. He was slow, but was still able to get around. He had a small dog named Toby. We would talk to him in the front yard or over the fence, but it seemed like we were always so busy. He made comments about us stopping by so Rosie could play with Toby, or suggested that we should see how his kids had fixed the house up. I'm sorry now that we never did so, we fully intended to "at some point." Last week when he found out where Bob worked, he told me how he had built airplanes as well. He started working at Boeing in 1941 and retired in the late seventies. I thought, "we really need to make sure we visit with him, he must have a lot of good stories." We were busy this weekend, so we put it off til later. Now it is too late.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The day is mine!

I declared war on the grapevine running along our North fence. As the foe had been aggravating and recalcitrant for years, I expected a long and exhausting battle. I was surprised when the enemy proved to be weak and yielding, and I vanquished it in short order. I am triumphant!


Roger says to Pauly "I'm a genius. Geniuses wear socks on their feet, but not shoes. They walk with socks on their feet inside and outside, but not feet or shoes or socks, just socks." ??

I feel like an idiot

I've been going around saying that we'll be gone Mother's Day weekend for the Proclaimers' gig. Well, we won't. Mother's Day is the next Sunday. OK, I didn't just say this once but over and over. Why on earth isn't Mother's Day on the first Sunday of May like it is supposed to be? Now I feel like a dimwit.

I'm glad we'll be home for Mother's Day, though.

One of the Great Mysteries of the Universe

Why does a three year old who changes his clothes multiple times a day, and feels he has to strip down completely to use the bathroom, suddenly find getting undressed "too difficult" when he is asked to do so to get ready for bed?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

My fluffy white baby is gone!

It is a bit bittersweet, as Fenja is a lot more like a dog than a fluffy white teddy bear. It was hard for me to get a good picture, but the coloration that was at the edges of her ears and the tip of her tail has spread. She now has a red/fawn "saddle" along her entire back, and the same color covers the entire topside of her tail (which you can't tell in the pics as her tail curls), the backs of her hind legs, and is spreading along her ears and head as well. This hair is much coarser than her super-soft white fluff, and it is darker than it looks in the pictures. I know it was inevitable, but I miss the fluff.

Her eye tacking stitches have been taken out, and we'll see the vet on Monday to get a better idea of whether or not she'll need any additional procedure.

Public Service Announcement: Quiet

When all of your previously loud and cantankerous children are quiet, it may be because they've got the peanut butter and are all eating it out of the jar with their bare hands.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

We Found the Perfect House

That is, we found the perfect piece of land. It is exactly what we want. 7 acres. Wooded, with a stocked pond and a small stream. Out on a side road, not on a main road. A nice shed/workshop with electricity, a corral with a stable. A wooden swing set, plenty of "front lawn" and an aboveground pool. Between the two towns we'd like it to be, in the parish boundaries that we'd like it to be. A house half again as big as our current one. And, just barely, probably, hopefully, affordable for us.

Obviously, there must be some major problem. That would be the home. It is a berm home, so it is surrounded by dirt on three sides. This isn't the problem, it could have been a plus. However, the center wall down the hallway in the home is visibly warped. We suspect, though we are not certain, that it is a load bearing wall, and that this indicates some serious structural problems with the home. : (

Monday, April 07, 2008

The Proclaimers

Bob and I are going to see The Proclaimers the first weekend in May! We have to drive quite a ways, but I hope it will be worth it.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Why I Am a Catholic by Garry Wills

I picked this up at the library the other day, and it has been a very interesting read. I had heard awful things about it, and in fact someone had even penned a warning in the front of the library's copy that it was unorthodox and should "be read with caution." I found it to be quite different from what I had expected. The larger part of the book is a history of the papacy -- although it must be admitted that it tends to highlight the negatives. This is not meant to be a comprehensive history but a showing of evidence that at times the papacy has erred, and erred greatly. He doesn't deny the importance of the papacy or even papal infallibility, although I thought it was interesting when he gave a quote from Cardinal Newman that agreed with what I've thought, that the doctrine of papal infallibility as declared actually limits papal power rather than expanding it.

I disagree strongly with his characterization of Ratzinger's teaching, I don't think it is accurate at all, but I do think his central thesis, which he largely borrowed from Newman, is true -- that theologians, the laity and the papacy/hierarchy counterbalance each other to keep the Church on track. The chapter "The Pope's Loyal Opposition" is priceless.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Update on Rosie

Thanks for all the vibes, prayers and good thoughts. Her platelet counts are already back up to normal levels! They had said it might take a few months, but she's bounced right back.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

KS schooling bill "snuck in"

The KS legislature recently passed, with virtually no media attention, a bill lowering the compulsory education age to 6 from 7 and mandating half-day Kindergarten before entering first grade. This is quite similar to legislature that was opposed by the homeschooling community and defeated last year. You can read some information about it here. However, this particular bill was amended so that parents could request exemption from the requirement.

Honestly, I'm not too concerned about this bill. If you are opposed to any compulsory education or government involvement in education then I see why you might be opposed to it. The arguments at the HSLDA site, that beginning academics earlier doesn't show any benefits and has definite drawbacks compared to delaying them, is quite true but I honestly don't think it will be affected by this bill. Kindergartens and first grades in KS are heavily academic, at least those in my area are. I don't know of any non-homeschooled children who don't begin kindergarten at age 6 and I also don't know of any who skip kindergarten and enter school at the first grade level. This bill is truly only bringing the law into conformance with practice.

Homeschooling families will need to register as private schools a year earlier, and it would be advised to begin keeping more careful records at that time as well. There are no reporting requirements at all in KS, so the bill will have less impact.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Way to go, Pauly!

Pauly finished his Primer level math book this morning. Next week (or tomorrow if he begs) we'll start the Alpha level. Here he is holding his certificate of completion.

What is more exhausting than a toddler and a puppy?

Try a toddler who has a low platelet count and so must be continually monitored so she is not injured and who screams like a banshee when anything doesn't go exactly the way she wants it and a puppy who needs eye ointment a few times a day and a 3 1/2 year old and a homeschooled 5 1/2 year old and chilly weather and a muddy backyard and a broken coffee pot. I need a nap.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

My Poor Baby!

I'd noticed that Fenja's eyes seemed squinty from the get-go, and since we brought her home her eyes had been watery and goopy. At her vet visit yesterday, we learned she had entropion, a congenital defect where her eyelids roll inward, irritating her eye, and that she had a severe case. We were referred to another vet to handle the correction, and so yesterday Fenja had her eyelids "tacked" to attempt to train them to lie correctly.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine for Aunt Rosa

Pauly made this today.

Why did I say THAT?

Wow. Lately I've had a really bad time writing things on a particular message board that cause a ruckus, then a bit later I think, why on earth did I post that?? It doesn't even accurately represent what I really believe! I keep reacting to certain viewpoints, which would be fine if I didn't tend to misrepresent myself in the process.


Fenja's home!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Green Lightsaber

Yesterday Pauly (5) and Roger (3) were watching Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, and started talking about the green lightsaber. That is, they were talking about who had it (Qui Gon had it first) and who it was passed on to, and who it ended up with, through all the episodes. Wow. I don't know if there is only one green lightsaber, but I can't believe they noticed all that, and remembered it!!


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

What a waste of money!!

When I ordered us a copy of My Smart Puppy, which we'd previously checked out from the library, from Amazon, I went ahead and ordered How To Raise a Puppy You Can Live With, since it was inexpensive (especially since it bumped us up to free shipping) and had good reviews. Unfortunately, it wasn't till it got here that I could read one of the reviews on the back cover: "as important for puppies as preschool is for children." S0 it is just about worthless for a pup in a loving home! ; P

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

So who's the stupid one?

While investigating the city regulations for dog licensing, I found out that cats in my city need to be licensed as well. That surprised me, but I figured that we ought to do it. While I had Gwydion (the cat) at the vet yesterday, I noticed she had a sign up that said that cats and dogs in my town had to have a license, and to take the certificate of rabies vaccination over to city hall to buy the license. As it is right by the vet, we ran over there immediately afterwards. The receptionist, however, looked at me like I was a moron when I told her why we came in, and said "Your cat doesn't need a license."

We left. I hate feeling like I'm stupid. I cannot stand it. When we got home I checked the city website again. Yes, according to both the city website and the online city code, dogs and cats need licenses. : P

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Dogs, Temperament and "Prejudice"

I've been doing a lot of reading from a lot of different sources about dogs and puppies, and there is really a lot of nonsense out there. I just wanted to comment on something that's come up in several places, and is coming up right now on one of my forums: it is not the breed that makes a dog dangerous, it is the owner and training.

Well, yes and no.

Some breeds really are more aggressive than others, and some breeds really are more dangerous than others. Temperament is highly influenced by genetics, just as it is for humans, even if it is also highly influenced by environment and training as well. Some breeds were originally bred to be aggressive, such as pit bulls and other fighting dogs. Some breeds who were generally bred to be sweet, like golder retrievers and cocker spaniels, have been negatively impacted by back yard breeders and now aggressive strains exist. A large dog who is aggressive is going to be far more dangerous than a small dog who is aggressive.

On the other hand, you can find sweet dogs of any breed. If that dog is well-trained and well-handled, you will have a good dog. Now, I feel totally comfortable bringing Fenja into our home, although she is one quarter rottweiller, because of the temperament of the mother dog, because of her own apparent temperament, because of the likely influence from the labrador and bullmastiff genes, and because we've already made a commitment to training her. Everything I've read says that a well trained and well handled pure-bred rottweiller makes a good family pet, and a mix is likely to downplay any negative temperament tendencies. On the other hand, because rotts are big, strong and powerful dogs who are popular with individuals who might want an aggressive guard dog, I am certainly going to be a bit more wary around a strange rott than I would be around a strange smaller dog, until I know how his owners handle him. Some amount of "prejudice" makes sense when relating to dog breeds.

On the gripping hand, much of the prejudice against dangerous dogs is selective. That is, Malamutes, Chow Chows and Huskies are also high on "bite lists" which detail breeds who have bitten a human and caused serious damage, and yet they don't cause the same fear reaction that rottweillers and pitt bulls (or what individuals think are pit bulls) cause. Now, these bite lists have inherent problems, such as the fact that often the actual breed of the dog is unknown, and that many people think just about anything with a square head is a pit bull, but it is interesting to me that fear reactions to dogs still aren't actually based on the bite lists or any objective data, but simply which dogs look scarier.

I like the Humane Society's position statement on this: http://www.hsus.org/pets/issues_affecting_our_pets/dangerous_dogs.html

The pup has a name!

We've decided on a name for the puppy, Fenja. Pronounced fen'-yah, Fenja is the name of a giantess from Norse mythology. See here for more info. And here's another pic of the sweetie.

Friday, February 01, 2008

The Science of Love

This was very, very interesting, especially the hypothesis that the Pill could interfere with our mate selection.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


"School" is going well for us. What seems to work best is a minimal amount of "school time." Having a little bit of school every day actually seems to help the day go more smoothly than no school at all. Pauly seems to like all of school now. He's no longer struggling with reading and he is tearing through the math book and only a few lessons away from completing it. "School time" is also a time for me to remember to sit and read as many books as they want. Often I'm too lazy or self-focused to do that otherwise.

So, there.

Monday, January 28, 2008


Here is our baby that will be coming home in a few weeks.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

How. . .odd

Brownback has endorsed McCain. I think that odd may be the only way to describe this. Brownback was an ultra conservative pro-life right wing candidate, though he didn't always toe the party line and wasn't above criticizing the Republican leadership, and here he is endorsing a definite moderate who has a checkered past with regard to pro-life issues, among other Republican pet issues. I'm quite surprised.

Saturday, January 12, 2008