Sunday, August 23, 2009

School Supply Shopping and To-Do List for this School of Sardines

*Buy sunscreen (we're out!! and we have two more trips to the beach planned - LOVE to go in the middle of the week during the school year)
*Buy new water shoes for upcoming camping trip to Garner State Park
*Buy ballet shoes for Camille
*Buy new tae kwon do pants (jules is wearing capris)
*Order Teaching Textbooks Pre-Cal for Ellie
*Order Teaching Textbooks 6th Grade for Jules
*Begin shopping for drums for Joel
*Shop for new amplifier for Joel
*Order English book for Joel
*Order Great Books for everyone
*Buy Ellie's government book (dual credit)
*Shop for dress for Ellie's upcoming solo recital
*Order baby chicks (the turkeys will be slaughtered in November - will have room for new chickens)
*Replenish face paint (Jules is running through it pretty quickly...lots of movie-making and his actors really dig the face paint)
*Look into astronomy studies to go along with our new Galileoscope
*Reorganize our co-op after having lost two teens to college.....what will our group focus on for this year?
*Begin forming Odyssey of the Mind teams
*Find a couple of workbooks for Camille and Jasper to explore on the days they want to play school
*Make some reading lists and hit the library!
*Hang out at the pool as much as possible before it closes
*Get a new phonics book for Camille? The current one seems to be malfunctioning.

Hmmmm.....that honestly kinda sorta seems to be about it. For us, the beginning of the school year is signalled by things like ballet and Odyssey of the Mind. A lot of our activities continue throughout the summer months so we don't have this big feeling of School Starting in that respect. And the boys actually do most of their math during the summer....they have less to do otherwise (Odyssey is a big time-sucker for them during the school year) they're finishing up their programs and will start in on the next ones pretty soon (before abandoning them for Odyssey sometime around November).

Ellie always gets a little busier with the school year due to dual credit classes. The Economics class she wanted to take was full, but she'll still be taking Government (via St. Philips College). She'll be performing a solo recital in November so her practicing will approach the 4-hours per day mark pretty soon. She's finishing up AP Biology and will be starting AP Physics probably after Christmas. She'll be taking the PSAT for real this year - so hopefully she'll be studying for that, too. This is the beginning of 11th grade for her.

Joel is going to undergo the biggest structure change this year. He'll be starting 9th grade, which is technically high school. So we're easing him into some more structured learning. With the exception of math - he's been pretty loosey goosey up until now. He is still considering college for his future (among other things) so he understands the necessity of preparing for it. He currently spends most of his time playing Rock Band, playing his guitar, reading history history history, making movies, and doing farm chores. We'll be adding in Algebra I (well, as soon as he finishes up Pre-Algebra), English, and Science. We're still trying to decide between Biology, Integrated Science, and Astronomy. We're lucky in that my dad enjoys teaching the kids science - and he just bought us a telescope - so Joel is kind of leaning towards Astronomy. Joel is a virtual pea soup of learning as will be a trial and error method of finding what works for him. I hate the phrase "disabilities" because he hasn't been disabled by his quirky little brain - he considers himself enhanced by it. I know that WE are enhanced by it! Learning with Joel has been a great adventure; often one of immense hilarity. Joel is mostly looking forward to Odyssey of the Mind, although I know that at some point he will say, "What was I thinking?" Our family has a love-hate relationship with Odyssey.

Jules is Jules. Jules spins, floats, and paces his way through life - and does so while paying very little attention to what month it is. He is starting 6th grade - and with his personality - I am glad he will be skipping a lot of jr. high drama and experiencing the familiar crazy world of home, instead. Right now he is into making movies and finding his own way in the world - navigating through the waters of boyhood more and more without Joel as his beacon. Joel has entered the turbulent tides of teenhood....and Jules is looking out at open waters....and swimming ahead. More and more he has Camille and Jasper in tow. Camille and Jasper happily follow along, very aware that the tie is tenuous, at best, and that Jules is very apt to tire of them without any warning - ejecting them from his room or his tree or his secret hiding place....only to invite them back in again moments later. They are the primary actors in his movies and are often being dressed up, painted, and directed. Jules reads a lot - we don't have to direct that interest - he chooses great books. Other than that - he'll begin Teaching Textbooks 6th grade math, continue with his activities in co-op, and possibly add his strong acting skills to whatever crazy skit his Odyssey team comes up with. This will be his first year to do Odyssey without Joel on his team (Joel is moving up to the high school team) and he's not entirely sure he wants to participate without him. I can understand this and he'll be the one to decide. Jules will be okay with whatever he ends up doing. Our big decision concerning Jules this year will be whether or not to have him officially tested for Asperger's. We're pretty sure he would qualify for the label - we're just trying to decide on whether or not it will do him any good (looking to the future) to have a label in his pocket.

Camille is beginning the 2nd grade. She is starting at a new ballet school. This is a Big Deal because it will possibly be twice a week and the studio is an hour away from us. I have spent the past few years spending very little time on the road - so this will be a big adjustment for me. Camille has been very happy taking dance with her beloved Miss Erin since she was 3. But Camille is infatuated by ballet, is in love with ballet, and wants to try out her toes in a more serious and disciplined environment. She asked when Miss Erin's "big girls" would begin dancing on their toes and was devastated to learn that they would be switching from ballet to jazz. "So I won't ever get on my toes? Ever? That is my lifelong dance on pointe!" Sigh. I tried to ignore it. But the truth is, when Ellie said she wanted to be a concert pianist (at the age of 11), we didn't ignore her. And last year she debuted with the San Antonio Symphony as a soloist at the age of 16. So - I have no idea whether or not Camille will stick it out to attain her dream - or if her dreams will merely change. But I feel I need to let her find out. Bleh. My carbon footprint is now the size of Rhode Island. Let's see....other than that? Camille is not interested in structured learning. She does enjoy working in her math book - and she is even "on schedule" in that regard. But reading still consists of "read to me!" and so we do. All the time. She likes Nancy Drew but especially loves the adventures of Poppy the Ballerina (duh). She is beginning to play more and more computer games that require reading - and when I watch her I can see that she reads a lot better than she realizes. She will be on an Odyssey team this year - one that actually competes rather than performs (last year she was on a primary team - they were adorable but non-competitive).

Jasper would be starting kindergarten. The thought of this cracks me up. He would be on Ritalin by lunch time. I am not kidding. This kid would not do well in a classroom. That's not to say he wouldn't do just lovely next year...or the year after.....but THIS year? Would be a nightmare. And I'm happy that I won't be experiencing it. Jasper does math (rather easily I might add - he grasps the concepts better than Camille). He likes to be read to but, like his sister, isn't very interested in doing it for himself. He loves Hank the Cowdog (kid has good taste) and falls asleep every night listening to the adventures of Lucy, Edward, Susan, and Peter as they live out their lives in Narnia.

I will be a busy mama in a couple of weeks. And I'm both dreading and looking forward to all of the excitement our "school year" is sure to provide. I will keep you posted on all of the (mis)adventures of our little school. If you're interested in our homeschooling journey, especially in how it began (I never thought I'd homeschool) you can read about it in the homeschooling series of posts I'm writing HERE.

Happy End-of-Summer to you all!
Sardine Mama

Friday, August 14, 2009

Suck Suck Slurp Slurp

There is a place where time is literally sucked out of thin air. Where does it go? I have no idea, really. But it goes there fast. The place? Is called facebook. And I'm sick and tired of it. In fact, that is my official status update: Sardine Mama is sick and tired of facebook. And in another ten minutes I shall frantically log into facebook to see if anyone likes my status by giving me a little thumbs-up sign. And an hour later I'll get off of facebook and wander bleary-eyed through my house wondering what month it is. BUT - at the end of the hour I will know the personality types of my friends, whether or not they approve of making dog fighting a felony, what five men they would like to see standing at the ends of their beds, and the fifteen books that changed their lives.

I have a lot of facebook friends. Not a lot by the average teen standard, but a lot by my standards. The definition of "friend" in the giant Time-Suck-Hole is different from the definition of "friend" in the real world. Often, facebook friends are people you've never had a real conversation with. They're friends of friends, or people who went to the same high school but wouldn't sit with you at lunch or acknowledge you in the hall. I'm friends with my kids and with their friends, which is sometimes awkward and sometimes hilarious....and sometimes convenient. For example, I find it convenient when my son tells me he's doing one thing and his facebook status tells me he's doing something else. And I love it when his status says he's bored. Really. Because I always have plenty for him to do. Actually, he has pretty much stopped saying he is bored on facebook. It really didn't work out too well for him.

Some of my facebook friends are people I would know if I bumped into them in the grocery store but who I wouldn't go out of my way to exchange pleasantries with. So it is somewhat surreal that, via facebook, I suddenly know what they just had for dinner, what they're planning to watch on television, that they just went grocery shopping, and they're considering a piercing. And when you're really lost in the Time-Suck-Hole you think that these are important things to know. You know, someone posts that they found cantaloupe on sale at the local market and you enthusiastically give it the thumbs-up. "I like this!!" you say. "I like that you found cantaloupe on sale! I don't know how many kids you have or what your husband's name is or how old you are...but I am frickin' thrilled to death that you found a deal on melons! I like it! I like it a lot!" If I am really REALLY lost in the Time-Hole-Suck I will add a comment about my own experiences with cantaloupe. I might comment that I prefer honeydew or that the last time I bought cantaloupe it was not very sweet. Then someone else will comment that I must not be checking for ripeness and list instructions for picking out sweet cantaloupe....someone else floating around lost in the Time-Suck-Hole.

People share all sorts of bizarre stuff on facebook via quizzes and status updates...and I am no exception. I recently shared that I could be easily caught in a trap if the bait were Sawyer (from LOST), Russell Brand, Patron Tequila, Haruki Murakami novels, and absolutely no children. This was through one of the "5 Things" quizzes. I love those. A long conversation of comments and several thumbs-ups followed my announcement. This encouraged me to take another quiz....something like 5 Things Within My Reach I Could Use To Defend Myself! And that loud sucking sound in the background? Time, baby. Suck, suck, milk through a straw.

Political status updates are also big on facebook. It is a passive aggressive way for people to thumb their noses.....and it, of course, encourages an avalanche of thumbs-upping from like-minded friends. A virtual rah rah session. What it doesn't EVER do, however, is make someone go "Oh my God! My sister's friend from high school who now lives in Wisconsin is against the Health Care Bill! I will be against the Health Care Bill, too! Because I value her opinion THAT MUCH."

And how many times in the past week have I seen "I Didn't Vote For Obama and I Stand By My Vote!!" or "I Voted For Obama and I Stand By My Vote!!" I am sometimes tempted to use a lot of exclamation points to shout out who I voted for, but I don't. For one thing, everyone knows who I voted for. For another, I have friends who didn't vote the same way. So the purpose of that is......what....exactly? I don't know. Maybe it is because I am the minority voice here, but I really don't like talking about politics unless there is a purpose to the conversation. I will share frustrations with like-minded friends....and I'll share an opinion when asked.....but I won't just throw something out there to start something. I'd prefer to talk to my friends about things we have in common (which are often some pretty important things) over the things about which we differ. I don't appreciate having someone attempt to change my mind about an issue, and I don't try to change the opinions of my friends. Especially by using lots of exclamation points!! On facebook!!

I am also often invited to join groups - many of them Christian in their orientation. Which is an indicator of how many of my facebook friends are not my real-life friends. My Christian real-life friends know that I'm not going to join their club. How many times have I been asked to join the group to "Remind Obama That This Is A Christian Nation!!" Oy. No thanks. I don't care to live in a religious state, especially one that isn't my religion.

However, if you invite me to join the group called "Tell Dick Cheney To Shut The Hell UP!!" I will join in a heartbeat. And did, in fact. But inviting my Republican friends to join the group would be rather offensive to them, don't you think? I would really like to form a group dedicated to convincing people to STOP TALKING TO SARAH PALIN AND THEN PRINTING WHAT SHE SAYS!! SHE'S NOT EVEN A GOVERNOR ANYMORE!! BECAUSE SHE QUIT!! BECAUSE THE ELITIST LIBERAL MEDIA PRINTED LIES ABOUT HER AND SHE GOT TIRED OF IT AND FOCUSED ON IT INSTEAD OF RUNNING THE STATE!! WHICH IS NOT A GOOD LEADERSHIP QUALITY IN A PRESIDENT!! But again, I wouldn't hit a "send all" on the "join this group!!" invitation.

Facebook also has games. Lots of games. Because it cannot stop sucking time. And nothing sucks time like the "I'm only going to play this 3-minute game 10 more times" mentality. And of course, at the end of the gaming, it will be time to see how many thumbs-ups you received for your status update....CAROL IS LISTENING TO THE RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS WHILE SHE PLAYS GAMES!! Other people lost in the Time-Suck-Hole love it when status updates indicate they are not alone.

Oh well. Call it procrastinating or social networking - it is all the same. A big Time-Suck-Hole. And speaking of Time-Suck-Holes....I need to get caught up on reading some blogs.

Later Dudes! Signing off as Sardine Mama - who is typing away and totally ignoring that disgusting sucking/slurping sound in the background.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Yankings on the Apron Strings

First of all - congratulations to 9 (+) Texans for being the first to comment with recommended books for me! Her free copy of Haruki Murakami's Hardboiled Wonderland and the Edge of the World is on its way. Yes, I know this looks slightly suspicious with 9(+) Texans being my Best Conservative Friend and all. But the girl was numero uno of the (massive) 5 of you who responded (thanks by the way....I'm not alone after all). My BCF has a trigger finger with the responses. Anyway, she deserves it because she has 8 kids and some of them are teenage boys, so you can see how she might need some form of escapism. Of course the kind of escapism she'd really like would involve a corkscrew but she'll be happy with a really bizarre Japanese novel, instead. Because she really can't afford to dull her senses over there.

Today has been a big day for me. My Big Girl got her driver's license. I was so thrilled that I'd brought all of the required forms with me that at first I didn't even realize we'd passed the big finish line. "Here you go," the DPS employee said, as she passed Ellie her license. "OK, thanks," Ellie said and then spun around and sauntered out the door with me behind her going, "Ellie! You got your license! Oh my God!!!! Aren't you excited? Can you believe it?"

To which Ellie looked perplexed (how many times has this so-not-me -kid given me that look over the past almost seventeen years) and said, "Well, I'm happy but I'm not surprised because, you know, we came here to get it and I've had my learner's permit and this didn't just fall out of thin air and know.....I expected to get it......"

Me? I am endlessly surprised by this whole parenting gig. When Ellie was born I couldn't believe it. Even though I'd been pregnant for 9 months I was like, "Oh my God!! I had a baby! Can you believe it?" and if I remember correctly Ellie looked at me like, "What did you think was in there? A porcupine?" And so it has continued over and over and over. She is not surprised by her life - she doesn't understand the miraculousness of it - and I can't stop being surprised by it. It is like, "Wow, I made this little thing and now it is just up and doing all of this stuff by itself! Will wonders never cease?"

I have 5 kids, but everything Ellie does is a "first". Everything! Isn't that crazy? I never stop being thrilled, surprised, and amazed etc etc etc etc....I think my enthusiasm must exhaust her. Of course the other kids do firsts, too. But not as many because there are a somewhat limited number that can be pulled out of the hat, so to speak. They still manage, though! They all are unique individuals with their own interests and talents - the other 4 do things Ellie doesn't do. And it is thrilling! But it is the ordinary things that will always be extraordinary with the first kid. Things like getting a driver's lisence. I know I'll be proud in two years when Joel gets his - but I doubt I'll freak out about it like I did today with Ellie. She's forever breaking me in.

We're not the only family getting broken in on firsts. Ellie's best friend since she was itty bitty is (gulp) leaving for college in a couple of weeks (at the ripe old age of 16). Last night was his going away party.

Great group of kids...we're so lucky that this is the group ours' fell into. And speaking of firsts.....two of Ellie's friends are getting married (to each other) next year and Ellie will be a bridesmaid in the wedding. They're older than she is (obviously) and this is just one of the things I SO LOVE about homeschooling. My kids have always hung out with kids of various ages, giving them lots of opportunities to benefit from role models and to be role models for others.

The oldest kids in the group are now all in college but still hanging out with their younger friends, too. Last week Ellie went to the movies with friends who included a married couple, an engaged couple, and three teens....all of them genuine friends. It is so cool! And Ellie's little crowd has stretched recently to embrace Joel. Joel will be 15 in September and he is truly becoming a teen....wandering around with his IPod, strumming his guitar, talking bands and movies and hanging out with Ellie.....and at other times being a little boy by wrestling on the ground with his younger brothers or chasing his younger friends (who he adores) with NERF guns or playing with LEGO's. He feels so safe in either environment and it is fun watching him seamlessly glide between his two worlds - both of which welcome him with open arms.

I remember being so sad when Ellie somewhat left Joel behind to quit playing with toys and began listening to music for hours on end, reading books, hanging out with friends instead of playing with friends.... But it was okay. Joel simply shifted his attention to Jules and they became inseparable. But now he is shifting and leaving Jules behind...and I have talked to Jules about it and he says, "It's okay, Mom. I'll grow up, too, someday." Jules is always the one who gets to me with his little statements of simple truth.

So Jules is now playing with the youngest two more often. This is thrilling for them and makes Jules feel worshipped and glorified - which is good for him. Speaking of Jules, he performed in a piano recital yesterday. He did very well, considering the fact that he does not take piano lessons :).

It was at Ellie's young piano students' recital. Camille is taught by Ellie so, of course, she was in the recital. This was expected. What was NOT expected was Jules coming out of his room dressed in black slacks, a white dress shirt, and tie. I was like, "Uh, Jules, you don't have to dress up just to watch Camille's recital."

Jules said to me, "Oh, I'm playing in the recital, too."

Ellie happened to be passing through the room and she was like, "What? Dude, you don't take lessons."

"Oh, I know," he said. "I just made up a song."

Ellie looked at him as he stood there, you know, dressed for a funeral. I couldn't tell what she was thinking. It was her call. She opened her mouth and said, "Whatever. But make it short."

He did. (Look at Ellie's face as she watches/tolerates him).

And here is Camille performing her songs. She did great!
And here is little Matthew. He is not mine but he is wearing a super cool hat and I had to put him on the blog :)

So tonight I'm wondering just how far my apron strings can stretch. Can they stretch down the highway, following a teal green '94 Cadillac that my firstborn bought with her own money? Can they hold onto a boy who is becoming a man - a process of which I know nothing about? This is all new to me....all of these firsts...... And in the back of my mind I know that eventually? The strings are going to break. Because that is what is supposed to happen. And that is both amazingly awesome and not entirely fair.

So tonight I'm signing off with my apron strings tied up in knots, so to speak. Which is okay by me. It is when they're left hanging limp that I'll be in trouble.

Sardine Mama

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Book Review Time! Yay!


Whew. I feel better, now. Rough day. Sorry to mention this again, but we're talking incredibly freakishly hot. Don't we have air conditioning, you ask? Yes we do. But we just broke a record for the number of consecutive days of triple digit temperatures and this means my kids are going stir crazy. It is too dang hot for them to go outside and so they are, ya know, INSIDE. All The Time. So Am I. As in, we're together, inside, all the time. Get it?

So it has been a rough and noisy day here in the can.

Even though we can't tell from the thermometer...summer is almost over. I can't believe it! We made it to the beach once (see previous post) and that is all. I did not get my little sanity break with my hubby that I like to take.....well, I did get a little break but it didn't involve books on the beach alone...and that is what I really look forward to. I mean, don't get me wrong. I love taking the kids to the beach, too. Tons of fun and all. And I do know that someday I will have an empty nest and childless vacations yada yada yada....but I need some time alone NOW occasionally. As in once a year. Nothing makes me happier than sitting on the beach all day while Jeff works, reading and staring out at the surf without constantly counting bobbing heads, or re-applying sunscreen to sandy bodies, or fixing sandy get the point. But this summer it just didn't happen. Oh well. At least I wasn't nursing sandy babies or toddlers on sandy breasts or changing sandy diapers! Done that plenty of times, too.

So speaking of books and reading and summer.....I am done with Haruki. I love him. I adore him. (I'm pretty sure he would love me and adore me, too...if we ever happened to meet.) BUT. Sometimes love just isn't enough. Haruki has just pushed all of my buttons for the last time. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle was the last straw. It was a beautiful book with delightful characters and just enough weird stuff (Murakami likes cats, sheep, and parallel universes) to keep it interesting. The only thing it didn't have (along with every other Haruki Murakami book I've ever read - and I've read a bunch 'cause I'm weird that way) is an ending that explained any one of the previous 400 or so pages. Hmph. Really. How much of this nonsense is a girl supposed to take?

I have considered learning Japanese. I'm thinking that a lot is getting lost in translation. If only I could read it in Japanese - surely I would understand it? Probably not. That would be a hoot. Spending years learning Japanese only to read a Murakami book and get to the end and go, "What???? Are you freaking kidding me????" Not gonna do it.

So. I have read a few books this summer. And I mean a few. As in I cannot believe how few. What does that mean? It isn't as if I have had an especially busy summer.....usually I read way you can see I have some major reading to do during the last days of summer.

Here's the deal: I'll tell you what I've read if you tell me what you've read. I need to add to my end-of-summer reading list. I'll read anything. I think I've already proven that with the whole Murakami thing. So let me hear it. What have you read this summer? I want lots of comments. In fact, if you are the first person to respond I will give you a big old HOORAY on my blog. This is worth a ton of money, by the way. Well, no it isn't. So I'll go a step further. If you are the first person to leave book reviews in my comments - I will send you my favorite Murakami book....Hard Boiled Wonderland and the Edge of the World. SO THERE. I almost understood that one.

Here is the list.

1. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami. I highly recommend it although you will not understand it unless you are way smarter than me and that isn't possible. I don't mean that. Yes, I do. No, I don't. Actually - seriously - read it. If you love characters you'll love Murakami. I love his characters. They are wonderful. They are quirky. They become my best friends...which is sort of sad....but anyway - yes, read it!

2. God Without Religion by Sankara Saranam. Great introduction by Arun Gandhi. But then it got kind of weird. Not kind of. It got weird. I didn't finish it. Interesting, though. Kind of. I like the idea of God Without Religion.... because I don't do religion but I do do God. That sounded bad. I don't do God. But I saw a Sarah Silverman episode where she did God. Ack. See? Bad me. Even thinking that way. What I mean is I'm all for the idea of God. Without Religion. Which is the name of the book. I don't think I'll finish it but won't go so far as to not recommend it. Because you might like it. Who knows?

3. Lisey's Story by Stephen King. Typical Stephen King book. This one started off a bit slow, but picked up at the end. Didn't like the end, though. But I did pick up the new word of "smucking".

4. On Writing by Stephen King. Recommended to me by my friend, Amy. Simply the best (and by far the most entertaining) book I've ever read about writing. Didn't do much for my writing, though. Except for this here blog - I'm still not doing any.

5. Interview With a Vampire by Anne Rice. I was inspired to re-read this book after watching the movie from Netflix. I loved the movie so much - Tom Cruise is awesome as Lestat. And a beautifully young Brad Pitt as Louis was...well....beautiful. Watched it with Ellie and she laughed through most of it. She also poo-pooed Pitt as a "pretty boy", which she apparently finds unattractive. She didn't make it through the book, either. I love the book. I love Anne Rice. I even read one of her Jesus books and loved that, too. What was it called? Out of Egypt? And of course, I love both Jesus and Louis, the world's most depressed and longest suffering vampire. That's Louis, not Jesus. Although Jesus is also known for his suffering.

6. Speaking of Anne Rice, I will admit to her erotic novel, Beauty, the first in a trilogy. A friend told me that it was the only Anne Rice book she'd ever read and that it was pornographic (don't know if she finished it, or not). I was not knowing of the pornographic Anne Rice books. So of course, I ordered Beauty right away. I was extremely disappointed by the time I got to the second chapter, and by the time I arrived at the third I had lost all interest. So I didn't finish it. It wasn't my cup of tea, so to speak. She wrote it under a pen name and I can see why.

7. Pitcairn's Island by Whoever Wrote Pitcairn's Island. This was the end of the Mutiny on the Bounty trilogy that Joel and I read. It was soooooo sad. And interesting. Of the 3, I loved Men Against the Sea the best. Sometimes it is just good to get out a classic or two or three.

Speaking of classics, we're currently reading

8. Lord of the Flies and

9. The Yearling. Jules is mostly snoozing through The Yearling but I love it love it love it love it. But then again, I like the nature stuff....loved Thoreau's Walden.

My bigger kids all re-read

8. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince over the summer. They wanted to refamiliarize themselves with it before we went to see the movie, which was rocking awesome, of course!

The kids have all been reading this summer and except for Potter, I'm not going to try and list them all. I'm lucky in that they love to read. Even my dyslexic kid loves to read. (We recently had a little visitor over who is just so intrigued by the whole homeschooling gig - he was like, "Do you guys have to read books?" and my kids were like, "We LOVE to read books!" and he was like, "so you have reading time?" and they were like, "It's always reading time!" And it is. Except for when it's not. And then I don't make a big deal out of it. I refuse to force them to read. So far, I've never even been tempted.)

OK - here's the deal AND I MEAN IT. Let me know what you've read!! We've been pitifully lacking of comments, lately. Free book to commenter number one. The only string attached is that you have to explain the ending to me when you're done - okay?

Start listing books. Cook books, spiritual books, self-help books, parenting books, erotic books, mysteries, brain candy for the beach.....whatever. Start typing.

Signing off as a Waiting Sardine Mama.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A Trip to Remember?

Have you missed me? I have been off....Somewhere. Everywhere. Nowhere. All at once. To be more specific, we just returned from the Texas Gulf Coast. It was as relaxing as any trip with five children and one grandpa in a travel trailer can be. It was a trip that needed taking, a trip through time, a trip to be remembered and then forgotten and then remembered again in such a way that will leave us wondering if it was the trip where the mosquitoes attacked or the one where the wind blew down our shelter....the one with the sunburn, perhaps?

But it will always be remembered by me as the trip that was taken after Stevie died. The one where I tried to act normal, and in fact, often felt normal....except for the moments I didn't.

My brother has died. And at first I wasn't going to blog about it because it is too personal. And I know what you're thinking....that surely someone who has just recently blogged about breasts cannot have anything be too personal to blog about. But you're wrong. A lot of my life is too personal to blog about. And Stevie has always been a part of that personal life. But since this blog is meant to be somewhat of a journal for me, how strange would it be not to mark the time that Stevie died? How strange, indeed?

There is too much to write here about Stevie. There is too much to share. There is too much to hold in. There is too much to regret and too little to remember about my autistic brother with Down Syndrome.

So I'll close with this image of Camille, instead.....she is looking out at the Gulf, which was brown and choppy on this particular afternoon....watching it churn and jump and swirl....not thinking about how if we had come on another day it might have been lovely and smooth and clear as glass...beautiful and green and peaceful. Not thinking at all about what might have been....
Signing Off as Stevie's Little Sister