Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Dear Mom, B is for Birds, Brom Bones, and Benjamin J.

Week of October 21 - 27

This week started off with a parents meeting at Hummer’s new school regarding a resolution the school has adopted resisting the implementation of Common Core. It was quite a revelation to me – I had had no idea what impact this will have here on parental rights much less education, and am now duly alarmed. I came home feeling strongly that I am meant to be involved in the resistance, and also wishing very much that I were better prepared to help.

My posts about this topic may not be as fun to read, but it really is important to me. You know that I feel a particular responsibility because of certain experiences I have had. . . . Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. (Ronald Reagan, 1967.) Apparently this is one of the times that I will have to face down my natural distaste for confrontation and stand up for something that is right.

The next evening found most of us at a high school volleyball game, where Exacto was playing with the band. . . .but only when the teams didn’t need it quiet, like during timeouts. (Kinda silly, if you ask me). But it was fun for a while, and a good cultural experience for our poor music-saturated children.

Rosebud and I celebrated “B” week. There are so many fun B words! Brownies, banana bread, baking. . . .We did find some non-edible ones, too. My favorite was Birds.

Google helped us find a raptor sanctuary here in Fort Collins, only about 4 miles from our house. We showed up and were amazed at the huge, beautiful birds, in captivity because they had been injured and could no longer survive in the wild.


Golden eagles, bald eagle, several types of hawks, they were all gorgeous.



Fortune was smiling on us (grinning actually) because it happened to be time for the caretakers to bring the birds out one-by-one for weighing and feeding.


We actually got to watch a red-tailed hawk rip a mouse’s head off and then swallow it and the rest in about 2 bites! (A little more than I had bargained for in Rosebud’s case, but I think Fluffy thought it was pretty much the coolest event of the week. :)

no photo of mealtime, but here’s the sweet little red-tail that did it


The rest of the week pales somewhat in comparison, but there was a pretty sweet “Sleepy Hollow Celebration” on Friday for the 4th grade classes that I got to go help with. Hummer and I both enjoyed it heartily. The students could dress up as Legend of Sleepy Hollow characters, and Hummer chose to go as Brom Bones.

He stuffed balloons into his sleeves to look like muscles, and definitely has the mischievous grin down pat.

I am SO SAD that I have no pictures of him! I made sure to change the batteries in my camera before leaving for the party, and when I got there, the “new” ones were dead, too! AAAAHH! (I am trying to track some down with the other parents, and I’ll update if I succeed in getting any.)

File:The Headless Horseman Pursuing Ichabod Crane.jpg

The Headless Horseman Pursuing Ichabod Crane, John Quidor, 1858

They had a feast and re-enacted the story several times (Hummer got a chance to act out his mischief-making ride), watched the movie of course, did some crafts and went home with a little candy.

It was a strangely healing afternoon for me. Not only was it the closest I have gotten to a H*$%oween celebration since 2007, but that movie was what we watched the night before the doctor’s appointment where I received the news that changed my life. I have had no desire to see it ever again. But Hummer didn’t know that (he was too young to remember) and he really wanted me to come help, so I did. Yay for me. :)

And really, it was just fine. Six years and lots of loving support have done their healing work. I still don’t want to celebrate H*$%oween or anything like that, but the complete revulsion to it has faded to just a plain dislike. We are looking forward to the Chinese buffet and a movie this Thursday. :)

Saturday we did one of our favorite fall traditions – the waxing of autumn leaves.


And then we went to climb trees at the park by our house.







Last night Jofus and Lori sent some more pictures of that sweet new little Benjamin, and I am happy just thinking that such cuteness exists in the world. :)



Dah! I just want to kiss those awesome cheeks! He is sooooo cute!



Thursday, October 24, 2013

{ how to remember him here }

With autumn making its way to a beautiful climax here, I have conflicting emotions. One is to be so happy and grateful to live in such a lovely place. The other is a near-desperate longing to be able to visit the cemetery where Benjamin is buried.


photos in this post taken yesterday by a very special friend in Arkansas – thank you so much, Meghan!

It is harder than I thought it would be. After all, I know he's not there. It’s just that that is a place where I feel close to him and have had many beautiful experiences connecting me to him. It’s a place where I feel peace.

1391532_3491577465389_1349065843_n edut

And now that his 6th birthday in heaven is approaching, and I am far from the place where we had so many traditions associated with it, I am feeling a bit lost and even a little scared.

Where could we do the balloon release?

How can we “visit” him?

We won’t be able to clean his headstone like we usually have. We can do the traditional meals and FHE and gift of service, but I’m having a hard time seeing how to replace or revise the other traditions that have become so important to us.


I crave being with people who love him or have some connection to him. I long to be somewhere quiet and peaceful. I want a chance to remember and cry but also celebrate what he means to our family.

At first I thought going to the Denver Temple was a brilliant idea, and planned on doing sealings with DC that weekend. But we just found out that the youth will be doing a temple trip then, and so that takes out our babysitters.

Any ideas out there?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

{ quotables }

10/22 ~ We were at a volleyball game and Fluffy asked Rosebud: "Do you want to be a cheerleader when you grow up?" She responded without hesitation: "No, I want to be a garbage truck driver."


~ Rosebud: "I'm going to be a butterfly for Halloween. And for Christmas, I'm going to be a shark!"


10/20 ~ Rosebud, at the dinner table : "I apologize for the inconvenience, but we are out of all the lobster bisque." (see this for cultural enlightenment :o)


~ We were discussing moving to a place with lower rent. The boys were convinced that being homeless and living in a tent would be a great idea. Hummer even suggested that we could camp at the temple site and face our tent toward the temple, like in the Book of Mormon. I said that maybe it would be better to do something to earn more money, like maybe I could do some babysitting / daycare. They all liked that idea, too. I said, "So the ideas you like best are being homeless and starting a daycare?"

Hummer : "Yeah! You could do both and have a homeless daycare!"

(Who’s ready to sign up? :o)


10/14 ~ Rosebud and I saw some Canadian geese at a park as we were driving by. I stopped and let her visit them. She walked around "chasing" them and when it was time to go, she wanted to take one and "put him in the car."

I told her he would be sad to be separated from his family and said, "You wouldn't want someone to take you away from us and go somewhere else, would you?"

She answered thoughtfully, "Sort of, yeah."


10/12 ~ Rosebud: "Daddy, you are the coolest one in the whole world. Because you kill scary bugs."


10/10 ~ We were trying to convince Rosebud to let her pet ladybug go, as it had already endured nearly 24 hours of captivity. She was feeding it cookie crumbs and I told her it needed its own regular food. She said, "No, she likes it. I'm going to name her Borscht!"


10/9 ~ Rosebud, in a cheerful, matter-of-fact tone: "After I'm on timeout for 100 days, then I would be dead. I would be dead on timeout!"

Monday, October 21, 2013

Dear Mom, I am, I can, I ought, I will.

week of  October 14 - 20

First of all, we celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving, having an elder serving in our ward who is from northern Alberta. We enjoyed the excuse to feast, and the elders were very appreciative.



For some strange reason, I seem to fall even farther behind with this blogging things (actually lots of things) when I am homeschooling. (hmmm). Good thing Fluffy and I are having a blast! He is really fun to teach and discuss with. He says his favorite subject right now is Plutarch. (Who knew I would ever get to study Plutarch? :o)

More homeschool highlights. . . .


installing hooks to hang our bikes in the garage



knitting for a service project



practicing trombone in the great outdoors (his idea)

Rosebud is not quite so enthralled with ancient Greek biographers, and so this week we began “Letter-of-the-Week” activities. It has been super fun.


A is for apples


and applesauce!


I feel like I pour all my energies into the teaching and feeding of these amazing people who live in my home. And sometimes when the day is over and the house is a wreck (more or less) I catch myself wondering for a moment if I do too much of that and not enough of making our home an orderly, beautiful place. But then the next day I do the same thing again, usually with a fair amount of peace in my heart.



(I promise that no geese were harmed in the production of this post. :)



Yep, I’m pretty convinced that my focus is in the right place for maximum joy. It really is the best job ever! I love being stretched mentally to help Fluffy through Shakespeare one minute and the next returning to my own charmed childhood as I color with Rosebud. I love it when Hummer gets in the car beaming and happy to see me and then hearing about the latest in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow or having him offer to teach me the Greek alphabet. I love late night conversations with my logical, deep-thinking Exacto and seeing his goodness expressed so clearly now that he is approaching adulthood. It is amazingly rewarding and really difficult at the same time. (notice I am focusing on the positive and certainly not mentioning the frustrations over dirty socks on the floor, heart-wrenching problems with a couple of aspects in our current situation, homework like crazy, impressive tantrums, running out of milk, etc.)

nature walk on Wednesday


this is when they discovered the “corndogs”



Exacto always has too much homework.


this is when the corndogs exploded



don’t try this at home


snow on Friday!


(no, school was not cancelled. it melted pretty fast. plus, there were no rainbows – why should they cancel school? haha)




I would never have dreamed how fulfilling this work could be. I can hardly believe I was reluctant for a while to embrace it. So grateful I went for it! Thank you for teaching and encouraging me to make this my life’s work!

And yet, a weekend trip to Denver for Time Out for Women was very welcome. I loved getting to spend time with my church sisters and especially Suzie Q, who lives near Denver now. (sorry no pictures!) I came back refreshed and with new strength and perspective.

A huge thank you to DC for so calmly and sweetly letting me go, even though he is drowning in papers to write! He is so awesome!



Monday, October 14, 2013

Dear Mom, I am madly in love with autumn.

Week of October 7 - 13

It is so darn pretty here in Fort Collins! One morning after it had frosted and the sun was starting to hit the trees, leaves just began falling and falling. It was like an animated screensaver, but in real life! We loved driving under the leaf-shower and later on, walking under it.

Now there are entire yards literally covered with leaves. I am enchanted. (It makes me want to make treats all the time, though, and that is not always the best, especially when I have peer pressure from my bottomless-pit boys. :)


We went for a lovely drive into Poudre Canyon and stopped at a picnic area for the boys to explore. They ended up throwing rocks into/over the river while I took pictures (they had some elaborate game they devised), and it was a pleasant occasion for all.



(I’m using my old camera with the scratched lens, due to the cracked lens filter stuck to my new camera. grrr)






Can’t believe this is only 12 miles from our house! So awesome. 113


Other highlights of the week included a band concert for Exacto:


Doesn’t he look dapper?



Some autumn craftiness with Rosebud. . . .


(idea from the Friend magazine. thank you for paying no attention whatever to the dirty clothes on the floor. :o)


(and this was completely her idea.)



Best of all, a visit from family! DC’s sister Vauna was in Denver visiting her daughter Marie, and they both came up for dinner, bringing a slew of much-missed cousins!





So awesome. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – there’s just nothing like being with family! I’m so glad they came!

One more scene of autumn loveliness. . . .here’s our church meetinghouse. Every time I drive by it, I can hardly breathe it’s so gorgeous.


It’s probably not super safe for me to drive past there right now. :0)