They were my kinfolk, my people - many of whom I'm still friends with today, though we've scattered across the country, spilling out in different directions as fast as we could once we'd tossed our graduation caps in the air.

Aimee Nezhukumatathail - World of Wonders

For quote archives click here

It's In the Past

Three Dave's No Waiting

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A lot to say but little time to say it.

Sometimes I have so many things to blog about and just have trouble making time to actually do it. There is much I want to post in the near future. Right now I'll go with a couple puppyisms before hanging it up for the night.

Puppyism 1: We were driving home from church on Sunday and I started singing "tomorrow" from Annie. I love to break into show tunes. Puppy did not want me to sing at this particular moment. I asked her why not she said because her throat and mouth hurt. I told her that the song tomorrow helps her throat and mouth. She said "No, it only helps the Sun. (As in the Sun will come out tomorrow.)

Puppyism the second: Amy and Puppy were talking early one morning. Their discussion went something like this

Puppy: Mom, I can't say certain words.
Amy: Like what?
Puppy: Accelerate.
Amy:Why do you need to say accelerate?
Puppy: I don't know. I just do.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Lions and Podcasts and Robotics. Oh My!

White Lion
Originally uploaded by Cyberslayer

Friday Fragment time. I am finally teaching my blog class at our co-op this semester. For the student's first assignment I had them look at some home schooled students blogs. While doing that Bunny girl came across a post about a white lion. I decided to start today's fragment fest with a pic of White Lion cubs.


The following video is on my desk top. This means my kids like to watch it over and over and over and over and over and over again. (It is short.)

Speaking of videos, the Office starts new episodes tonight. They have also put out a new bunch of webisodes called The Podcast. I thought I would share it here as blogging is a plot point.

The Office - Ep 101: The Podcast: Gabe's Podcast - Video - NBC.com


Robotics update: Spider Droid's team did quite well at the State Playoffs this past weekend. His team finished 19th of 63 teams in the performance category. The other 3 categories are scored by judges and the results were not made public. While they did not win any awards they all had a rewarding time. The team will compete in the Spring in a 4H robotics competition.

That is all the fragments I have for today. Head over to half past kissing time for more Friday Fragments.

30 years ago today

Ronald Wilson Reagan became president of the United States.

This is also a great speech. I hope you enjoy it.

50 years ago today

John Fitzgerald Kennedy became president of the U.S.

This is a nice speech.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A part of me died today.

In 2001, during the time that we were expecting spider droid, an amazing journey began. It started for us at our church when this man Ray came up to the podium at the end of the service to say that his kidneys were failing and that without a miracle he would have to go on dialysis for the rest of his life. I didn't know Ray very well at the time, but Amy and I were friends with his daughter and her fiance. After Ray spoke, I had this strange feeling like I could give my kidney to Ray. I immediately talked to Amy about it because it's her kidney too.

I said to Amy I could give my kidney to Ray and she said yeah I guess, not thinking that I was serious. Not knowing that she wasn't taking me seriously, I went up to Ray and said you could have my kidney. He explained to me that there was a number of tests that needed to be performed that it was fairly unlikely that since we weren't related that we would match. But if I was interested I could take the tests.

So , I took the tests. In the meantime Amy and I got on the same page on the whole donation thing. I have to be honest, I kind of figured that I would not be a match. It turns out that I was a match as close as a match that was possible outside of sibling, parents and children. Because the illness causing kidney problems was hereditary it turned out to be better to get a donor who wouldn't be susceptible to that illness.

Thus, in December of 2001 just about a month after Spider Droid was born, I donated my kidney to Ray. For me it was a simple procedure. After a week or so I was back to work part time. A few months later it was like nothing happened. For Ray it was a long regimen of anti- rejection medication and trying to get those medications to jibe with all his other medications. But even with all that, the kidney did function properly.

About 2 months ago, Ray started having major health problems and became unable to eat any food. He was in the hospital through Christmas and it was finally discovered that he had lung cancer. The doctors started to begin radiation treatments but the prognosis was anything but good. Last week after 9 years, his kidney failed, and he had to begin dialysis.

Ray died this evening. He was with his wife and daughters singing hymns and praising God. I am sad for his passing but am glad to have been part of his amazing story.

Please pray for his wife, Dawn, his daughters, Mandy and Michelle, his sons in law, Ray and Aaron, and his grandchildren, siblings and the rest of his friends and family.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

More evidence that sarcasm doesn't work on 5 year olds.

Mommy's Idea

Friday Fragment time, which is an opportunity for me to throw together a few disconnected tidbits, thoughts and recollections of the week that was.

A few days ago Princess Puppy was on the other side of the door as me and I could not be interrupted, so I told her to wait a minute and not to come in. She just kept on trying to come in and tell me whatever problem she was having at that moment. I told her again to wait a minute and not to come in. She just kept jiggling the door handle and trying to come in and get my help. I finished what I was doing and impatience got the better of me as I said to her: "What part of wait a minute and do not come in don't you understand?". She thought about it a second and said "both."


Today we were studying the digestive system in our anatomy class. Did you know that if you unwrapped your small intestine it would be 20 feet long? We decided to measure 20 feet out just to get a better understanding.

I like activities that help reinforce the words read from the page. Last week we were learning about the Israelites being deported to Assyria in 721 B.C. We learned that 27,290 Israelites in all were sent to Assyria. The text suggested that we take some small items like matchsticks, toothpicks, or buttons (we used coins) and group 100 of them together.

We even made our coins spell out 100. It really hits home how many Israelites that was when it would take almost 273 groups like we made to equal 27,290.

Much thanks to Linda Hobar and her fine Curriculum, The Mystery of History which has so many good activities like this to add to the lessons.


This Friday and Saturday is the state robotics tournament. I have wanted for some time to describe my thoughts about Spider Droid's team advancing from sectionals. The sectional they were participating in was a double sectional. Meaning that 2 distinct sectionals were being held at the same time and location. with 15 teams in each sectional. At the beginning of the meet the organizer announced that instead of 3 teams advancing to state from each sectional as was customary, They had just found out that 4 teams each would advance.

The teams are evaluated in 4 categories. 1) Performance. 2) Research Project. 3)Teamwork and 4) Technical Excellence

In performance the team has their robots compete against other teams in 4 different heats. The teams are given a score for each heat and it is the best score of the 4 heats (not an average of all 4) that determines who wins. This is the only 1 of the categories where you know how you are doing as they post all the scores on a screen in the gym. Droids team got off to a great start and had the best score of both regionals in the first heat. They were not able to replicate that score in the subsequent heats and ended coming in third in their regional for performance.t

The other 3 categories are all based on judging. Before they announced the results the event organizer made it clear that coming in first in any of the categories does not assure a trip to state nor does not finishing first mean no trip.

This is all well and good. But as they made the announcements for the first place winners, I couldn't help thinking after their team wasn't announced as any of the category winners that this just wasn't their year. I remember thinking about taking droid to go see the state tournament and how much he would enjoy it. After a few "Honorable mention" type awards, which I was disappointed they didn't get, they announced the 4 state qualifiers in each region.

The first team they announced was his team, The Fanatix! I was in shock. I really haven't been that surprised since Amy threw me a surprise 40th birthday party some six years ago. Before I go on, I just want to say that I would have been fine (and Spider Droid more so) if they hadn't won. 30 teams met that day a week before Christmas and I would venture to say that each one had the time of their lives.

That being said, I still am so proud of my son and his team. I am pretty certain that this weekends competition will be the end of the line for the Fanatix, but Oh, what a ride it's been.


That's all the fragments I have. For more, head back to half past kissin' time by clicking here.

6 months and 2 days from now

This opens . . .

I can hardly wait!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Off to the races!

It seems like the beginning of January seems to be a rude awakening of activity that we somehow forgot about in all the holiday flurry.

First, we forgot to sign Spider Droid up for spring soccer, which we took care of in the nick of time!

While at the park district signing him up, we remembered to sign up Puppy for ballet...which started yesterday. Got that in just under the wire. Whew!

On top of that, the Lego Robotics state finals is next Friday and Saturday.

And then the homeschool co-op starts up again. Not to mention Awana on Monday nights, in which the two older are working on Bible Quizzing as well. Then after that is over, I am sure that Spider Droid will want to be in the Awana games again. There's always something, you know. Homeschooling doesn't always involve being at home! Homeschool, it's not a place, it's a state of mind. In fact don't think of it as homeschooling, it's more like life.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


I want to make one thing clear. Chicago is the best place in the world for pizza. People who think New York style pizza is even half as good as what Chicago offers are just, how do I put this diplomatically? Delusional!

So, when I say that Amy makes restaurant quality pizza here in the NW burbs of Chicago, that is high praise indeed.

She can take this . . .

Make it look like this . . .

And eat like this . . .

That's what I call good pizza!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

HSD Rewind: Blogoversary edition

It has been exactly 2 years since this blog started. Here is a reprint of our first post from 1/6/2009.
Why We Home School:

Three precious reasons:Princess Puppy, Bunny and Spider Droid!

Meanwhile back in 2011: Thanks for being part and parcel of this crazy look at whatever it is we look at here.

Coming Soon: More of the same and a bit of the unusual.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Christmas in Living Black & White

To return to Wordless Wednesday click here.

Home School "As You Wish"

There is something deeply wrong with my wife. This may surprise some of my readers. Not that you would be surprised to find that I am not married to a perfect person. It's just that I usually write the great things about her. But this thing is so wrong, it emanates from the soul of her being and taints every decision she will ever make.

Yes, my wife, (GASP) does not like the movie the Princess Bride. And the thing is I married her anyway. I just put the videocassette aside and waited until our progeny were born and then old enough to watch it. This coming of age happened last month, when Spider Droid and I watched it together. He absolutely loved it and soon Bunny girl devoured it also. They have only seen it twice and are still able to quote large portions of it to each other in the back of our mini van.

My wife remains apathetic to the film. She walked in while we were watching it New year's Eve and said "Billy Crystal is in The Princess Bride?" and I replied, "Billy Crystal is The Princess Bride", an homage to the line he had just spoken about Fezzik and the Brute Squad. Even though Crystal is in just the one scene his entire performance is one great quote after another, which is indeed a microcosm of the film. The entire movie is in Jeopardy speak, a potent quotable.

Which brings me to the purpose of this post, The Carnival of Homeschooling is celebrating it's 5th anniversary. The Carnival creator/maintainer/many other thing doer Henry Cate of Why Homeschool is hosting the extravaganza. And nothing gives you more vaganza than A Princess Bride themed edition. So check it out. Henry included my recent Library Week posting in the doings, so be sure to check that out as well.

I have to go back into the fire swamp now and start home schooling after a 2 week hiatus. The end of a hiatus is a Byeatus, but that's a post for another day. Until then, have fun storming the castle.

Monday, January 3, 2011

I haven't posted since last year!

Happy New Year!
If you would have told me a year ago that in 2010 that I would be visiting Thomas Edison's and Earl Hamner (AKA John Boy Walton's) home towns I would not have believed you.
If you would have told me that my son's robotics team would qualify for the state tournament, I would have asked "what's a robotics team?"
These and many other things did happen . In many ways, it was a great year. In many ways, it was a horrible year. I guess you could say that about any year.
My new year's wish for all you loyal readers is that 2011 is heavy on the great, light on the horrible!