homeschooling · overheard

Oh, you mean *that* Peter.

Monday, a very wet, miserable Monday found us at our homeschool co-op as usual. The head teacher in the preschool room told a Bible story about Jesus talking to the Apostles–the famous “fishers of men” story. She then asked the circle of youngsters around her whether any of them knew who Peter was.

At this time my Princess jubilantly throws her hand in the air and cheers: “He’s a Rabbit!”


No, sweetheart, not that Peter. 😉

family life

Acting up

It was a lovely evening today as the kids went out to play after dinner. The humidity is so much less these days so we all feel like going out of doors, which is completely opposite to how we feel from the end of July through August. I had stepped out to check on the gang, and paused on the top deck to admire the way the sunset casts beams of light through the trees. It still looks like we have a substantial forest behind our house; by November we’ll be able to see the neighbors’ houses down the hill again. 

My reverie was soon arrested by the sight of yellowed paperback book pages fluttering on the ground below. The rest of the book was neatly placed on a red playsilk not far from a tree. I called for Rascal and Dinosaur. I knew it wasn’t Trooper or Princess and although I wouldn’t put it past Sunshine or Miss M to tear apart a book, I also knew that Rascal and Dino had been acting out scenes from The Adventures of Tintin: Red Rackham’s Treasure (the book and cartoon, not the recent movie), and they had been using the red playsilk.

Rascal answered the summons. I pointed out the pages, what was left of a ratty old paperback Wodehouse tome that as far as I know hasn’t been published in our favorite Collector’s Wodehouse edition yet.

“So, what’s all that?” I ask. It eventually came out that they had seen the book on the kitchen table and decided it was perfect to act the part of ‘Old Documents.’ So Dinosaur had torn up the book and they had brought it outside to ‘discover’ in the ‘shipwreck.’ 

I called them to task for tearing up a book–a no-no in any circumstance–and reminded them that we keep an abundance of scrap paper for the purpose of drawing and coloring and yes, even playacting. Rascal went down and picked up every last page and recycled it. Dinosaur did his own bit to clean up.

And now, looking at my book in the bottom of the recycling bin, I’m admiring their ingenuity and trying very hard not to laugh. Hey, the pages do look like old documents!


Memory lapse

Today Rascal went to the first CCD class on his road to his two big First Sacraments this coming year–First Penance and First Communion. It’s a little surreal to me that one of our little guys is on this road, despite the fact that they are growing like weeds. Haus Meister and the Rascal had to stop off at the Big Box store and replace two of our minor labor saving devices that decided to die on us this morning: to wit–a toaster and a new coffeemaker, as the teapot that replaced the broken carafe in our old one called it a day. So I eagerly awaited their return to see what Rascal thought of it all.

ME: Hey, buddy, how did it go? Did you like it?

RASCAL: Yep. It was a lot of fun. I had to make a name card (I think he meant name tag).

ME: What did you all talk about?

RASCAL: I can’t remember.

At which time I just give him a blank look. It had only been an hour since CCD.

RASCAL: (excited) Oh wait–now I know. God.

That’s my boy. Mr. Obvious in action.

family life

Costume Drama

Good news! Dinosaur announced today (sort of) that he isn’t going to be a MOOSE for Halloween this year. I was kind of glad to hear that because my crafting time is nil for another couple of weeks.

Instead, he and Rascal decided they were going to go trick-or-treating as these guys.


“To be precise”, the Thompson twins, or Thomson and Thompson from the Tintin comic series.

Now finding the bowler hats might not be hard, courtesy of Amazon. Finding suits, also not hard. Thanks to Wal-Mart purveyor of cheap clothing. And anyway, these two could stand to be a little dressier from time to time (yes, you, oh Dinosaur of the John Deere boots).

But what worries me about this costume idea…

….the canes. Something tells me the canes would be a bad idea.

Just my sixth Mommy sense in action.

Still, I’m kinda disappointed that I couldn’t send one of them ’round as Captain Haddock.

“Blistering Barnacles!”


Theological Tangles

Yesterday morning we loaded up in the van and headed out to our weekly homeschool co-op day. As usual, Trooper requested that I start the van right away (he likes the roar of machinery) and that I turn on the music right after that (he likes the music). Our CD of choice probably from now until Christmas is Songs of Praise by Danny Schneible. Seton uses it in their kindergarten curriculum but really it’s good for all the kids, and unlike 97.6% of all children’s cds, you can listen to it over and over again and it doesn’t wreck your nervous system. Plus Haus Meister and I went to college with Danny. And that’s my plug for it. 

There is a song devoted to Mary on it, and one line goes: “Jesus will give her all that she asks, at her feet our troubles we leave.” The kids have of course heard this song a thousand times this summer but yesterday Rascal decided to find an issue with it.

RASCAL:  (shouts from the far back of the van) “Mom, why are Mary’s feet troubled?”

ME: “Oh, they aren’t, dear. That’s just a fancy way of saying we tell Mary what’s bothering us and she takes it to Jesus.”

RASCAL: “But he’s talking about someone else!”

ME: “Um, no dear, this song is about Mary.”

RASCAL: “It can’t be. He says Jesus FORGIVES her.”

And I’m thinking–Score! He remembers that Mary was sinless hence in no need of forgiveness like the rest of us. 

ME: “You heard it wrong. He said Jesus WILL GIVE her.”

RASCAL: (ego challenged) “No, Mom. I’m right. He said FORGIVE.”

ME: (launching into fruitless argument) “Sorry, it is ‘will give.'”

And just as Rascal was about to continue the ‘is not’ ‘is too’ stuff I had been silly enough to fall into, Dinosaur effectively derailed the conversation.

DINOSAUR: “I want to turn into a moose.”



family life

Lucky 13

Originally posted on August 21, 2009. I had to update the picture. Lucky 13 this year! 13 years…. Best 13 years ever.

Misselthwaite Matters


Haus Meister and I met on this day in 1999, in the lower level of the building pictured above.  We had just finished our entrance grammar exam, two brand new freshmen embarking on our college careers.

I’m naturally an outgoing person, but I had been feeling too homesick the evening before to mingle at the ice cream social.  I hadn’t met many members of my class yet, at least outside the mandatory orientation talks.  So, coming out of the classroom I looked around for a chance to strike up a friendly conversation with someone.

Only one person in the immediate vicinity was not grouped in a cluster of people but stood on the fringe listening.  I thought it amusing–and rather gentlemanly–that he was already in slacks and a tie.  Myself, I was enjoying the brief days before dress code would be enforced.

“Hi!” I greeted this well-dressed stranger. “That…

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A not-so-subtle hint

While on an errand today I made mention to anyone that happened to be listening that it certainly was cooler this August than usual–at least, the humidity seems less.

ME: And I’m glad, because I’m looking forward to Fall.

RASCAL: Aren’t you looking forward to my birthday? It’s coming soon, you know. (The only future event on his mind right now)

ME: Of course, I’m looking forward to your birthday! You saw all the icing I bought this weekend! (Not having icing luck lately) I just love Fall, that’s all. I’m looking forward to cool weather, to sweaters, to apple ciders, to….

DINOSAUR: (interrupting) I’m looking forward to the Donut Store.

Effectively derailing that conversation. The Donut Store was not a stop on our itinerary, no matter how much he hinted.


Prehistoric Plans

The other day I was getting Miss M ready for bed, while Dinosaur was sitting nearby chatting with me.

DINO: Mommy, when I was a kid…

(I always tune in quickly to these insights, especially since he’s still very much a kid)

DINO:… I turned into a dinosaur. WHOOPS! Then I died, and turned into bones.

ME: Thanks for that one, sweetie.


I should explain that he’s fascinated/obsessed with the dinosaur exhibit at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, which features a good deal of dinosaur skeletons (real and fabricated). It’s not the wooly Mammoth from Southern Indiana that impresses him as much as the display of two Tyrannosaurs attacking/being attacked by a Triceratops. This prompts interesting thoughts such as:

DINO: Mommy, the triceratops is MEAN.

ME: Why is that?

DINO: He was attacking the meateaters!

Somehow I’ve never seen it from that point of view.


Another day:

DINO: Mommy, we’re going to plant one plant tree for the Tyrannosaurus. That way he can eat at least ONE plant.

Nice to add some vegetable to the Lizard King’s diet.


Last night:

ME, speaking to Haus Meister about the day: ‘And then Dino tells me, “Mommy, when I grow up, I’m going to turn into a dinosaur and then die and turn into bones.”

HAUS MEISTER: Son, we need to work on your ambitions here.