You are currently browsing the monthly archive for February 2008.

Feather Boy by Nicky Singer

D and P enjoyed this book but probably not as much as I did.  It’s the story of a boy named Robert who is being bullied.  The author did a good job of revealing Robert’s thought life which I found very interesting (must be the psychologist in me!).  Robert’s life changes through working on a school project with elderly people at a local nursing home.  He ends up being paired with the batty old woman named Mrs. Sorrel.  This lady has a past of her own and finding out her story, Robert is able to change his own.  The story climaxes when Robert beats up the boy who had been bullying him for so long.  It’s not really what he intended to do and the results are not all that he hoped for.  I liked that the story was full of hope for the under-dog but also full of realism.  I’m not particularly fond of stories that end happily ever after.  So often in life, it’s not like that.  It was refreshing to enjoy a story that mirrors life as I have come to know it.

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The first edition of the monthly publication, “The Gravel Gazette” is out!  D, P and I wrote articles of interest to our family and did our best to put them in a newspaper-style format.  I am very pleased with the results.  D and P had to do research for a number of their articles, learned to write clearly and concisely, worked hard to edit their work, typed up their articles themselves and assisted me a little with the layout and putting together of the collective works to make “The Gravel Gazette” look pretty sharp.   I can hardly wait to see what improvements we can make to the family newspaper for the month of March.

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I caught my kids behaving!  Believe it or not, this is an after-school picture.  I think I stood mutely staring for at least 30 seconds when I saw both my boys

a) sitting normally

b) sitting normally on the same couch without argument

c) sitting normally on the same couch without argument voluntarily reading books

If ever there was a Kodak moment, this had to be it!  So glad the camera batteries didn’t fail me!

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We tried out the Roller Skating Place in Odas Park on the weekend.  It’s the kind of place that hasn’t changed in at least 20 years.  Judging by the age of the staff, they likely have been working there for at least that long.  For me, it was kind of a nostalgic sort of place.  I used to rollerskate in a place similar to this when I was a teen.

The boys found the old-fashioned rollerskates funny.  To them, they were big and clunky since they are used to the more new-fangled in-line skates.  I was surprised how easily they took off in them.  They were like poetry in motion in the arena.  I was more like Weebles Wobbles (but I didn’t fall down!).  D and P easily outlapped me and we all laughed about it.  We went at it for a little over an hour and then decided unanimously to call it quits.  We all have callouses on our feet to prove we went.  It was fun to step back in time a bit and exercise like people used to 20 or more years ago.

The Kite Rider by Geraldine McCaughrean

We had to take a break from the Keys of The Kingdom series as book #5 doesn’t come out until May of this year but we aren’t taking a break from reading interesting books.  Geraldine McCaughrean’s book, The Kite Rider, a Carnegie Medal winner had us all enthralled.  It is the story of a boy named Haoyou living in 13th century China who sadly witnesses his father Pei’s untimely death testing the winds on a man-bearing kite.  In a bid to keep his beautiful mother from being forced to marry the man responsible for Pei’s death, Haoyou ends up becoming a kite rider himself.  His stint works and leads to employment with the Jade Circus.  Hayou finds himself travelling through rural China all the way to Xanadu, the summer abode of the Kublai Khan.  In his journey, he learns some hard lessons about life.

The book was beautifully written and brought home the sad but true message that not all adults are honorable and worthy.  It is a picture of a boy growing up and learning to think like an adult and leave the ways of childhood behind.  I wish that I could find more books like this one.  It made for good conversation.

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In loving memory of “Little Green” who landed its last jump this afternoon at the Couchiching Golf and Country Club hill.  The Gt Snow Racer died suddenly and unexpectedly of a broken front ski after triumphantly landing the big jump under the steering expertise of D.  “Little Green” will be sadly missed by brothers and co-owners, D and P.  There will be no memorial service as “Little Green’s” parts have been generously donated to science.  Those who knew “Little Green” can look for the Gt’s parts in this summer’s go-cart.

Gone from us, but leaving memories

Death can never take away,

Memories that will always linger

While in Washago we stay.

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I got to go ice fishing today with my favourite guys – D, P and DA (DA’s brother was also there but usually outside the hut).  It’s definitely a guy sort of thing to do.  To get to the hut, we were individually taxiied by snowmobile.  DA and his brother took the boys for a fast ride which was right up their alley.  I think DA took me a little slower which suited me just fine. 

Once at the hut, we got to hear all about chipping the hut out of the lake.  The warmer temperatures we had a few days ago caused the lake ice to go a bit mushy and made the hut sink down.  It then froze into the lake when the temperatures got colder.  Not good!  We got there just after DA and his brother, G, had moved the hut.  They were still drilling the new holes with an auger. 

There are no photos of happy boys holding fish because we didn’t catch any.  We sat there for two hours with very little excitement.  I kept wondering why people find ice fishing fun.  It’s a guy thing.  It has to be.  What woman wants to sit in a tiny, guy-decorated ice hut looking into a hole for hours on end?  The only woman I can think of is me just because it gives me a chance to hang out with my favourite guys in the whole wide world.

I wasn’t aware yesterday that we were due for a lunar eclipse.  Thankfully, we went out to our small group Bible study yesterday night and left just in time to see the beginning of it.  The sky was unclouded and we clearly saw the earth’s shadow move across the surface of the moon.  By the time we got home the moon was beginning to look a dark orange colour.  It was so cool to watch.

I’m so glad that I accidently found out about the eclipse.  P and I did some research on it for his latest newspaper article and found out that what we saw was a total lunar eclipse.  Lunar eclipses apparently can happen two to four times a year but total lunar eclipses are a bit more rare.  The next one will be on December 20, 2010.

I also saw the two bright stars that made a triangle with the moon.  From our research we found out that these bright pinpricks were in fact the star Regulus and the planet Saturn.  It was so amazing to actually see this. 

P didn’t really even want to do any research for this article.  He told me that he knew what a lunar eclipse was and that he could briefly explain it.  I hauled him down to the computer anyways and after reading a little on last night’s lunar eclipse he was glad that we googled it.  He went up excitedly telling D how old he would be when the next total lunar eclipse would happen.  This is the kind of homeschooling I really like – when we all do something really cool together, learn about it and then are able to incorporate it into our curriculum. 

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D and P are sometimes a bit incensed about what I include in my blog and what I choose to leave out.  They roll their eyes and say things like, “You’re not going to blog about that are you?  That’s so boring!”  The above photos were their idea.  This is what they think is really cool to blog about – a Lego monster truck designed and built by them.  I’ve seen enough Lego buckets dumped and enough amazing Lego creations in my lifetime to make it seem a little old hat by now.  For them, though, this is the stuff I should be snapping pics of and going on about.  So, for my boys and all of you who maybe don’t live with overturned Lego buckets in your dining room, this blog entry is for you. 

We were doing the “Sunday morning shuffle” trying to get ourselves and our stuff ready to go to make the early morning service this morning.  I guess my mind was on my Children’s Ministry story because I was blundering around making silly mistakes.  When I started to pull out of the garage with the trunk wide open, the boys burst out laughing.  I calmly turned to them and very seriously suggested that instead of laughing at me maybe they could try praying for me.  Without missing a beat, P blurted out this prayer:

“Dear God, Please heal my mom.  She’s totally lost her sense of humour.”

Ecclesiastes 3:11

He (God) has made everything beautiful in its time.