Thursday, May 31, 2007

5th Grade Music Class Concert

Chicky-babe had her final performance for her music class tonight. She was AMAZING! She sang a couple of solos and was spot on! Her music teacher, Mr. Strong, recommended that we try to get her a vocal coach and said he really thought her voice was so beautiful and she really had such talent that she could easily be winning State-wide competitions by the time she starts high school with the proper training. There just happens to be a vocal coach who attends our church though I am not sure exactly how expensive her lessons are.

She LOVES to sing and I think she will lead worship one day.........maybe even with her ukulele! We were so proud of her tonight! She did so well considering she gets terrible stage fright. She thought she might pass out from the fear of all those eyes on her, but she hardly seemed nervous at all when it was her turn to sing and she sang out nice and clearly.

We ordered a DVD because it was the last concert of her elementary school career. Maybe I can figure out how to include a little clip of it on here somehow. Any advice???? Well, anyway, my heart glowed tonight with pride and it was beaming out of my face!!!

Meticulous Man's State Project

Mr. Meticulous has to do a report and presentation on a state at school and (how AMAZING is this?!) he was assigned ALASKA! Wahoooooooo! Sa'Weeeeeet!

We are not at all excited about it either (hee hee). I will post pics after he completes his presentation board. We have permission to use some original Alaskan Native artwork and have a pair of seal fur moccasins Gram and Gramps sent us to talk about the fur trading business or crafts......we'll see where they fit in.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Prep for next year's adventure

Hi there,
I've been busy lately filling out paperwork to register the kids for an online charter public school called Connections Academy. We are very excited to start this new adventure. Big Daddy and I have been considering homeschooling for quite some time now and it seems to be the right time to embark on this endeavor. When trying to find a curriculum that we could afford, I came across the website for this online school. After reading everything on the site and attending an informational meeting with the Jim Thomas, the President of Oregon Connections Academy, we decided to go ahead and enroll them.

The kids will each have a teacher online whom they will be in contact with via webmail and phone at least once a week or as often as they need to be. I will be the hands on help, referred to as the "Learning Coach". It is actual accredited public school so we will have to complete a set number of days and will have a schedule to keep, but the cool part is that WE will determine the schedule. If we want to have school in the backyard on nice days we can. We can eat lunch whenever we are hungry, take breaks when they are needed and all in all enjoy more freedom than a traditional school schedule would allow. We are planning to join another homeschooling family on a regular basis for science and art activities as well as some outdoor stuff.

If you are interested in this or want to check it out some more to understand what we mean you can visit the Connections Academy website here:

Because this is regular public school, we will be adding a Bible curriculum in on our own (and probably a science one as well) for balance. My plan is to make it our morning devotion time before school starts every day. I know that we will only be able to do this successfully when we put God first in our day. That will help set the tone for the rest of the day and hopefully help with the sibling rivalry we constantly battle against. Thanks for your prayers and support. I'm sure we (I) will be needing them. Incidently, I also need a resource for an 8 ft. table. I like the plastic-topped ones like these ones from Costco but I would like to find one for less if I can. I always appreciate tips on saving money.

I know I can do this. I go through moments of panic when I think about how I won't have the same quiet morning routine anymore and it will probably be pretty hard in some ways, but I am really looking forward to having my kids around more often and helping more to shape who they are. I'd rather not rely on the flawed public school system to mould my children.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Our New Favorite Book

We have found a new favorite book. Skippyjon Jones is HILARIOUS! If you haven't read this outrageously entertaining kitty boy's funny escapade yourself, we highly recommend that you hop on over to your local library and pick out a copy to read to a child you know. Pick a child...any child. I guarantee they will love it...especially if you have a knack for a funny little Spanish accent!

You will find us quoting lines from this book often as we remember El Skippito's adventures with the big bad bumblebeeto bandito! Zeb's favorite line (and Mine too) is (said in your best spanish accent):
"My eers are to beeg for my head and my head is too beeg for my bodee. I am not a cat! I am a CHIHUAHUA!"
Another family favorite quote is:
"Holy Frijoles!"
I should warn may never look at your closet the same again.
.......Or your siamese cat. *wink*

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

O Happy Day!

Happy Mother's day to all the Moms out there in cyberville. We had a wonderful time. After a wonderful breakfast burrito from Burrito Amigos, we all drove over to Lane Forestry Products and bought some really nice soil to fill the 3 raised garden beds Big Daddy built for me about a month ago. It was really fun to watch the look of sheer excitement on little Mister's face as the digger dumped each scoop of the beautiful black soil into the back of the truck!

What's a garden without plants? So it was off to Walmart and Fred Meyers for tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini and tons of strawberries! We filled up the beds and planted them with the plants we bought and also seeded corn, green onions, radishes, baby carrots, melons and baby bear pumpkins. We finished up just in time for dinner.

All in all, I had a wonderful Mother's Day with my four little blessings and my loving husband while we all played in the dirt. It was very rewarding.

Sparrow Update...

Well, as it turns out, I was wrong about our little birdie neighbors. While I haven't seen any activity from Chicky-babe's birdhouse in about a week, we discovered that one of the other original birdhouses by the garden is inhabited. We even think there might already be an egg or two inside. It could get pretty interesting here in about two weeks.

Doing a little research, we've discovered that our birds are called House Sparrows. Apparently, they are very common and can be slightly aggressive in their nesting pursuits and have been known to forcibly evict resident birds to take over their nesting sites. Sheesh. I haven't noticed that behavior around our yard, thank goodness. Well, more bird watching to do. (I will post more pics in a week or two when we get our camera back.)

Friday, May 11, 2007

Sad News....

We were sad to discover that our lovely little birdie tenants have decided not to finish the nest they began in Chicky-babe's birdhouse. I think having it hanging off the playhouse might have made them feel too vulnerable in the end and they have decided to nest elsewhere. Fortunately, I think they are still among the throng that flocks to our yard daily to scratch and peck at the seed we spread around. There are always several about the patio and little Mister gets excited when he notices them.
I think one of the reasons the birds chose Chicky-babe's house over all the others was because the hole in her house was the only one they could fit through! I guess we didn't think about that very thoroughly when we were constructing our houses. Not to worry though. It's nothing a little jigsaw action won't fix. We will take care of it this weekend and maybe we will get another birdie family to move in.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Birdie Landlords

Hooray! We woke up this morning to discover a pair of sparrows had taken a liking to Chicky-babe's birdhouse and were busily gathering nesting materials and adding them to the box. After spending a long time online trying to figure out what type of birds they were, I finally gave up the hunt temporarily. It wasn't until Big Daddy and I were browsing through birding books in Borders on our date tonight that he found a picture of the exact bird. Here's what they look like:

top: male bottom: female

We are excited to observe this behavior right in our own backyard! I did a little more research about them and learned that they can lay 1-8 eggs which will hatch in as little as 10 days and the babies will fledge at about 14 days!!!! We'd better keep our eyes open for these little guys.

(I will post pics of our actual birds as soon as I get our digital camera repaired. For now, these are some Audubon pictures from the web. Our birdies look exactly like these ones though.)

Here is a pic of what their eggs will look like:

We will post about our progress often. This will be fun!

Monday, May 7, 2007


Chicky-Babe played spring soccer this year after taking a 2 year break from it. There is a very small window of opportunity to make it onto a really good team around here as we quickly learned. It seemed like we weren't even going to be able to play at first, but another girl's mom offered to coach if we could gather enough girls to complete a team. It was sketchy and we ended up borrowing a couple 6th graders, but we finally made a team. The girls had practices twice a week and games both Saturday and Sunday of every week for a month solid! They worked their tails off on that field. The Strikers' season ended sadly today with a record of 7 losses and 1 tie. They were only skunked really badly twice. The other times it was by a point or two and it wasn't for a lack of trying!

As frustrating as the season was, Chicky-babe isn't giving up though. She and Big Daddy went to a U of O women's soccer game last weekend and had lots of fun. Afterward, there was a free clinic for anyone who was interested. The U of O players showed them some basic drills they use in practice and gave everyone a chance to try to score a goal against an Oregon Duck.

She also has an opportunity to get some free coaching from one of the other girls' dad who has lots of experience in soccer. He offered to coach any of the girls from her team who wanted to learn over the summer for no charge and there were at least a couple other girls who seemed interested. I think we will be back at it again for fall soccer and THIS time we will be one of the first to register for a team! Soccer babes ROCK!

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Home is for the Birds!

Big Daddy and I were up early today...I believe it was 6-ish. After a few minutes straightening the yard and enjoying the beautiful morning, he said to me, "I was thinking about building a bird house." My ears perked up immediately because we had been talking a day or two earlier about using the old fencing wood we got from a neighbor to make some and I have always wanted a bunch of birdhouses in my backyard. "Let's do it!" I said sleepily................or maybe that's what my mind said. I think it actually went something like, "Uuuummmmm......ok."

Next thing you know we've got boards and measuring tapes and drills and saws (the little miter box saw so we won't wake up the neighbors, of course!) out and we are sketching out plans. We worked away discussing which angles look best and what side of the wood to face out and generally having a fun little time. Meticulous Man poked his sleepy-eyed head out the back door to say "Good Morning" just as we finished up the little house. When he asked what we were doing we told him to "go get dressed and come see"!

We were so pleased with the first little house that we decided to broaden our horizons a bit and make a birdie 6 apartment complex. This one took a little more figuring and a bit more clear communication to create, but it was finished not long after two more sleepyheads showed up at the door.
Now, since Big Daddy had built me 3 raised beds for our garden this year we had decided that the big birdie apartments should be mounted on a post and attached to the center of the center box. Then we attached the first little house to a board and mounted that to one of the other boxes. Well, we can't have things being uneven in my garden, so we set out to build another house...this time fashioned after an old outhouse! After a few interruptions and the last sleepyhead waking up and joining us, we had each had a part in building the bird houses right down to the little moon-shaped cut out on our birdie outhouse house.

The kids had fun banging nails into any available piece of scrap wood and pulling them out again. Sweetpea and Chicky-babe both decided to make their own houses so Big Daddy helped out with the sawing and drilling and all that. Mr. Meticulous and little Mister were playing tool guy with the extra hammers (thank goodness we have 4) and tucking them into their belts every chance they got. At one point, little Mister had 3 hammers tucked in his pajama pants! It's a wonder they stayed up with all that weight. All in all, it was a wonderful morning that turned out quite industrious without even feeling so.
Best of all, I finally have a yard full of birdhouses like I've always wanted. Thanks, God!