Thursday, March 19, 2009


March 13-14, 2009
I'll let the pictures do the talking :)

Kylie just realized that she is not going to go get braces. A different surprise awaits her!

A great little birthday book that announces a drive to Portland Oregon where a hotel stay awaits and tickets to Wicked! Surprise is an understatement.

The family outside of Keller Auditorium. It's getting exciting!

The stage before the show begins-we had amazing seats!

While walking back to the hotel (the beautiful waterfront Marriott), we passed by the stage door and saw that all of the actors were leaving. We stayed and met all of the actors. They were sooo generous and kind. They signed the girls playbills and took photos with them. Here is the Wizard!



We waited the longest for her. She had to shower all of her green makeup off. Truly worth the wait.


I can't begin to tell you the excitement we all felt as we finished walking back to the hotel. We met them! The amazing actors who transported us away for three hours to a wonderful world of song, dance, love, betrayel, cheers, tears and applause.

We were on this grand adventure with our dear, dear friends Eddie and Mindee. Here we are enjoying a midnight dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. YUM! YUM! YUM! Kylie of course ordered a club sandwich-her favorite.

Talk about string cheese!

Perfectly Wicked T-Shirts to end a perfectly Wicked Weekend!

Love you, girls!

Sam the Author

Yesterday Sam asked if he could publish a book. I said of course! I've been waiting and waiting for my 6 yr. old son to show any interest in reading or writing of any kind. This seemed to be an interest. I sat at the computer and Sam dictated a story to me. ( I found it very difficult to not edit his words or sentence structure but I stayed true to his words.) He broke it down into chapters, drew pictures to go with each chapter and was very specific about titles of chapters, names of characters etc. It was a great experience. We then printed it out and put it in book form. He's asked his sisters, dad and me to read it to him several times since yesterday morning.

This morning Sam woke up early. He was ready to publish book 2 in his series. We just finished. He was better organized this morning. He would draw a picture for a chapter before we went on and label it with the corresponding chapter number so there would be no confusion later in assembling the book. I was very impressed with his use of appropriate, descriptive language. I can't share that with him so I'm sharing it here.

His books are about war; the China War to be specific. It begins in 2009. Here is a snippet from book 1 (5 chapters) and book 2 (6 chapters). Keep in mind that Sam does not read. We read aloud ALOT in this house and watch great history channel shows and documentaries and lots of other stuff that is just plain entertaining.
Book 1 The China War
Chapter 1
Ready for Battle

It all started when we were in Germany. While fighting the Germans a new Air Force arrived in the skies. It was China! We were surprised and shocked by the attack coming from the air. The Chinese attack was vicious and they were after our leader, Sergeant Daniel.

Daniel barely avoided destruction by jumping out of his airplane using his trusty parachute. Co-Captain Jackie also jumped to safety. Once on the ground they avoided capture by Chinese officers. They got low in the grass. They were quick to shoot and quickly ran to the woods to find cover.

Once in the woods, Daniel and Jackie called base camp. Their instructions were to sit tight! And stay put! A rescue team was on its way.

Two hours and twenty minutes later Daniel and Jackie could hear the thump, thwump, thump of the tank. With the tank came 20 men, including their long time friends, Jackson, Cody and Zack. They were rescued.
Book 2 The Revenge of China
Chapter 5
Support Arrives

We got help with 1,000,000 men. From the British we got 8080. We were ready to strike the enemy dead.

We charged the enemy with our bayonets. They were surprised and responded. Their 19 tanks fired. Our 18 tanks fired back. We destroyed them. We destroyed their hope.

We entered the enemy camp. It was surrounded by enemy soldiers. We weren’t afraid. We were going to take back our ground.

We lost 101 men. They lost 888 men. Finally, the Air Force came and bombed, bombed, bombed the enemy. We were winning!

Chapter 6
China Retreats Again

It was Friday. We won the war. We smashed our enemies. We crushed them with our heart. We fought with our bravery. Many comrades fell but we did win. I was happy about it all.

We were very sad we lost so many of our friends in the first war. We faced the consequences. We knew what would happen in the war. I lived in this war also. I stayed with the Air Force. My new friends and some of my old friends served with me in the Air Force. Some of my new friends served in the Navy. I love my friends. This was the day we fought together in bravery with all of our soldiers.

The End!
I think his use of descriptive words is quite amazing. The numbers he uses cracks me up. It shows his experience in the world of numbers and his age well.
This is a good day for us. I've had to be very patient with Sam and his interests and be okay letting go of 'traditional' learning. It has been hard every day to let him be. These last couple of days are a payoff for that patience. He is loving this. He is already thinking out the plot of book 3 in the continuing saga of The China War. I'm so pleased.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A Very Happy Birthday

Today my beautiful daughter Kylie is 13. My first born is a teenager. Moments I have been reflecting on all day:
1. A favorite family story revolves around the day Kylie was born. My water broke at 5:30 a.m. I was so excited. We knew she was coming. Steve was a senior in college and this day happened to be the day of his finals. I began laboring at about 8:30 a.m. Steve called all of his professors by 9:00 a.m. and asked if he could come right away and take his finals due to my being in labor-two of them were that afternoon-All of his professors said stay with your wife, have a baby and Congratulations! They all gave him A's.

2. The moment she was finally in my arms. We had waited for such a long, long time. It was such a peaceful delivery. Only two midwives, my husband and myself were present. I was on the daybed. Steve helped deliver her and there she was-in my arms. I kept her for hours and hours. Every day getting to hold her, read to her, sing to her, rock her, walk for hours on end with her were a dream come true.

3. The first book I ever read to her was 'Go! Dog, Go!' She was three days old. OHHHHH such a happy, happy moment. (I had been building a family library since the time we had married. Every month I would purchase one book to add to it-it accumulated quickly over those years.)

4. On reflection, I think she might have been a very colicky baby, but we were so happy to have a baby we thought she was perfectly divine. The one thing that would always calm her was to walk her to a small grove of trees that was on our block. She would stare and stare at the trees and would immediately react in a peaceful way. I used to tease her that she must have been a tree architect in heaven before she came to earth.

5. Kylie was 21 months old when we left her with a babysitter for the first time. It was the week before her sister was born. I never had the desire to leave her, I never wanted too and I never, ever let random people just hold her! Ever!!!

6. Kylie's 2 year old birthday party was AMAZING! We threw a carnival for her. It included cookie decorating, go fish, sand sculptures, musical chairs, a huge clown with balloons that my dear friend Tami made and a carousel cake that I made. We haven't thrown a party like that since ;) First borns-it's amazing what we get out of our system with them.

7. When Kylie was 4 years old, all she wanted for Christmas was a bookshelf filled with books. Santa complied :) She has loved reading, learning, exploring and engaging herself in scholarly ways since I can remember.

8. Kylie learned to read in October when she was 6. We worked for three weeks together playing some games every day and she was reading. Three weeks after that she read the entire 'Little House on the Praire Series'. Her next series was 'Chronicles of Narnia'. I haven't been able to keep her sufficiently supplied in books since!

9. When I began homeschooling, Kylie would get up every morning and be sooo excited for learning that day. We would do a whole day of school and she would want more...and more...and more. I could never bore her if there was learning to be had.

10. Kylie was by my side for the births of her other 4 siblings. She remembers all of these births. She was calm and quiet. She would pat my shoulder or rub my back. She would bring me a drink-I was glad she was there.

11. Kylie loves to play games. Scrabble, Speed Scrabble, Yahtzee, Carcasonne, Sudoku, Five Crowns, Rook, Golf...I could go on and on and on. She loves to play games

12. I love the fact that Kylie is never frightened or hesitant to go into a new situation or environment. Her first time attending public school didn't concern her at all. Her first time sleeping away was exciting, Her first time going to week long camp-thrilled! I LOVE, love, love that about her. Kind of a 'Bring it On' attitude.

13. The simplest things make Kylie happy; telling a new story from my life-any type of story-she just wants to hear one, hanging out with adults and being a passive listener or a part of the conversation, hanging out with friends, watching a good episode of T.V., a good book and music!

I love you Kylie! You are bright, studious, reflective, kind, musical, responsible, a great story teller and I love you very, very much. I'm honored to be your mother!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Who Decides?

I've been thinking a lot about relevancy. Who do we allow to decide what is relevant in our lives? Who decides what is relevant learning? Having spent almost a year in a far more unstructured 'schooling' atmosphere (which has made for a far more continual learning atmosphere because learning is never placed on a book shelf when completed) I believe that much of what we are told must be learned is irrelevant! I'm watching my children sprout in unexpected ways-I'm letting them sprout, encouraging them, occasionally steering them but mostly providing resources to their interests. All of this is relevant to them individually. Almost none of it is prescribed by 'educational benchmarks'.
I do not believe that you have to write an essay every day for 10 years to eventually become a thoughtful, understood writer. I believe that when the need arises, a 'student' will then work voraciously to master that task. There will be purpose and relevancy at that point. To force it any earlier is a mistake. Hmm! I find it fascinating the changes that have occurred in myself over the past year-It's been a surprising experiment in listening to the needs and desires of a child and following through on those needs and desires versus what the world tells us is necessary for that child.
Enlightening, fascinating, at times frightening and empowering!

The wait is over

Well...out of 25 eggs, not one of them hatched! What a total bummer. We candled the eggs today to try and figure out what happened. It seems that most of the eggs were infertile to begin with. We had a spike in temperature on day 8 and I'm wondering if that ended the process for our poor little eggs. The kids are determined to have this experience so we are going to try again. I just need to figure out where to get the eggs this time around! Life experiences-always interesting!

Monday, March 9, 2009

We're Waiting with Anticipation

It's day 21 in our egg incubation experiment. This is the day that the chicks are suppose to hatch! We are watching and waiting with bated breath...I'll post photos if any of them begin hatching. Wish us luck!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Post Trauma

It's Monday! The sky is blue and sunny. It's chilly but sunny...a good type of day here in Seattle. Thank you for all of the personal emails regarding my trauma of last week. I'm posting the follow up that has been requested, demanded, needed etc.

So...the story goes like this...Thursday morning came early with a light snowfall. I personally thought that was a perfect reason for not showing up for my surgery but my husband reminded me that my dentist lived a mile from our house and he would know about the area snow. If he can make it, then I can make it! Rude of him, I thought! So off we went.

Once at the office, I was pulled back into the room. I'm pretty sure I started having a panic attack. Bart came in and I was sitting on a bench. I started crying. I did not want to do this. He understood, let me cry for awhile. I guess he knew I'd give up eventually-it actually only took about 15 minutes for me to get in 'the chair'. Pretty good considering. Once I got in the chair, Bart was fast! He was getting me numb within a moment. From there I didn't feel anything. Bart kept talking, I kept trying to breathe slowly. The surgery took about 45 minutes. Bart said it went well and we'll have to wait and see if the bone takes the graft. We'll take x-rays in 6 months and then again in a year. Hopefully it works.

I came home, took lots of drugs - prescribed of course and did my best to sleep it off. I'm still taking pain medication but not as often and it's sore but not as bad as I was thinking it would be. The best part? It's done! Thanks for all of the thoughts sent my way! It truly is a traumatic thing for me but I'm trusting a little bit more after this surgery.

Everyone have a great day! I'm off to scrapbook!!!