30 diciembre 2015

The garden

As I look out the window beside me, I see our neighbors' blindingly white roof.  To the front is the snow-covered cemetery in the distance.  Thankfully there are cozily decorated walls to my left and behind me to keep me from feeling as though I were trapped in a snow globe.  Ah!  The horror!

Also thankfully, the seed magazines continue to arrive, showing me all of the onions that I can begin growing in just one month.  Wahoo!

So, as I prefer not to set myself up for public failure, I haven't shared last year's garden goal: to grow a decent onion.  Now, I will share that I realized my goal.  I grew several nicely sized, tasty onions.  How?  Well, apart from God's mercy, I think it was starting the seeds in January and then the soaker hose.  Irrigation makes all of the difference.

As for the upcoming year, I will vaguely share (in case anyone has any advice) my goals: 1) I would like to grow a decent melon.  2)  I would like to grow enough food to last a bit into the fall.  I have very specific ideas for Goal 2, but I shall keep them under wraps until I see how close I come.

God, thank you for the gifts of the earth, water and life!

My boys

Nuestros queridos Colombianos

!Que Dios los bendiga!

15 diciembre 2015

My Ty!

As I walked out of my room, after having gotten ready for church last Sunday, Ty abruptly stopped in his tracks and stared strangely at me.  "What is wrong, Ty?"  And the sweetest child responded, "I am startled, MamA.  You are so beautiful!"  Ha!

And here, he is writing out the name of his beloved choir director, Miss Lisa Kay.  Do you see it?

Dahnceh Dunham

One of my favorite memories from university is of my ballet teacher, Vivian from South Africa, calling to me, "Dahnceh Dunham," to work out a combination on the worn wooden floor to the live piano music.  -sigh-

Unfortunately, I didn't last the semester, because there just wasn't enough time to run to Italian class across campus, and, well... Enzo Fuschino was waiting.

And now to the next generation!

tendus at the bar
grand movements across the stage with Teacher Lindsey
the girls (and maybe the reason she really loves class so much!)
And now the child is dancing all over the place... such expression!

Ty was happy to oblige, providing his best air music.  Check out that set-up: He used an Ethiopian Airlines sleeping mask for the strap of his Lego guitar
keeping the beat... He is always keeping the beat.

05 diciembre 2015

Making the house cozy

Enchilada casserole and pickled cabbage.  Third Day's Joy to the World.  Peanut butter blossom cookies.  Family and friends.  Twinkly lights.  Memories, old and new.

Chinita, do you see the Honduran ornament?  I love hanging it on the tree and thinking of your family.
The most enthusiastic tree trimmers
A perfect job for Ty: unwrapping chocolates for the cookies.  What a great helper!

01 diciembre 2015

And... I'm back.

So, what have we been up to?  School.  Lots of school.
When we worked through the sandpaper letters, I also had each kid make a word list by initial sounds to use later as copy-work.  And what did Ty choose for the letter a?  Alcachofas!  Ha!

We're getting there...  Now, if she could only remember how to spell Biruktawit!
With no prompting, G illustrated The Sword of Damocles.
G's math.  In preparation for the abacus work, he is spending a lot of time with the parts of numbers. 
Due to the cold, we have been spending a lot of time on the couch, reading and snuggling.

And, because we aren't spending much time outdoors, we've needed to figure out ways to get the crazies out.  Family wrestling matches seem to work well.

Oh!  And I'm still harvesting from the backyard: kale, parsnips, thyme and dill.

Oh yeah, I grew that popping corn!

11 noviembre 2015

My baby!

Yesterday, Ty prayed before Calendar Time:

"Dios, tú eres grande, perfecto.  Por favo', para las placas tectónicas y protege a Japón.  Ayuda a Dana a amar a Jesús.  Por la sangre de Jesús, Amén."

07 noviembre 2015

This and that

We have been enjoying the divine gift of the best Autumn weather by having impromptu picnics at the dacha, prioritizing mornings at the park over number work, and hanging out on our newly fenced-in balcony.  Thank you, God!

In there was also a wonderful birthday celebration: a party with my favorite Wisdom and Youth, thrown by the Amazing JR; gifts of an embroidered map of Ethiopia, a Soroban, a magic photo mug and... you'll never believe it... I am such a pacifist... but... a machete!  It is for use against the giant thistles of the dacha.  And, you know, it'll come in handy if my dream of living in a foreign jungle ever comes true!

The kids, as always, continue to crack me up with what they say.  The other day, I gave the kids a choice of some activities and G asked Ty, "Which do you prefer, Ty?"  He sounded like a teacher!

Ty, upon finding the coconut oil in a different place than where he had left it, angrily asked, "Who is destroying my laws?"  Uh... can you tell that we have been reading a lot in the Old Testament lately?

Also, so, Ty is seriously infatuated with our church's choir director.  When Rob told us that she would be at his last music rehearsal, Ty dictated a note to me, for her.  Of course she loved it and wrote him a note back.  When I gave it to Ty the next morning, in all seriousness, the child said, "¡Qué nice!" with his best Mexican-American accent.

G's new favorite friend
Toboggan practice?
Fun with boxes
G, during rest time, reading ahead in These Happy Golden Years.  He and I had actually been "fighting" over who got the book to read ahead during rest time.  Finally, I just stayed up really late one night and finished it off.
More fun with boxes
Our newly-instituted afternoon tea and art time

Reading update:  I am happily working my way through St. Augustine's Confessions, as well as Mary Oliver's and Sara Teasdale's poetry.  The latter's Wisdom is so timely.  -a big, sad sigh-

23 octubre 2015


... here I am, already weakened by the earth's tilt.  Ugh.  Sol, sol, solecito, ¡cómo yo te necesito!

So, what's going on?  We have just finished week 6 of ManSoul Academy.  The mornings are going very well, thank God, but I definitely have trouble mustering up the energy, etc. to do the afternoon's activities.  I am going to play around with the schedule next week, to see if I can't ameliorate the situation in time for Term 2.

For my own personal education, you can see off to the right that I've moved on to Autobiographies, after accepting that I don't really like modern fiction.  Whilst I'm awaiting Augustine's Confessions to arrive at my local library, I'm wading through Good Ideas from Questionable Christians and Outright Pagans.  So far I've made it through the basics of Socrates and Plato.  Next up?  Aristotle.

In the garden, well... Mr. Mapache is voraciously attacking, so far unsuccessfully, our poor two remaining hens.  Rob has been in hand-to-paw combat with the masked beast, but he just won't give up.  On the positive side, I have planted about 120 cloves of garlic.  Wahoo!

Let's see... oh, yes, what the kids have been saying:

So, I had sliced apples on the table the other night for dessert.  There were just a few slices left and I encouraged our guests to finish them, since no one wants to eat an oxidized apple.  Ever since, Girumy asks me after each dinner if there is any food in danger of oxidation... because, you know, he would do me the favor of preventing such a calamity.  Ha!

Yesterday, I heard the boys talking to our dear Kun-y.  "So, you need to love Jesus," said Ty, "and when you go back to China, it's not allowed, but don't let it be a secret.  You have to tell the people."  To which Girumy responded, "No, she'll get in trouble.  She should just keep it (you know, Jesus) in her house."  I clarified for her and then she said, "Well, which is it?"  I said "Both."  "Don't keep the good news a secret, but maybe tell others about it in your house instead of on the street."  God, help her!  God, help us!

Oh!  Can you tell that our camera's battery is dead?  And yes, the earth's tilt is keeping it from getting charged.  Waa-waa.

07 octubre 2015

Me rindo

¡Oy!  ¡Madre mía!  And other such exasperations!

I am just too old.  You know, I don't have time to waste.  None of us does, of course, but I feel it now.

I just read Kafka's The Trial.  -a very annoyed and disgusted "Ugh"-

So, I am done with my fiction list.  Yes, I quit.  I will, however, begin another list... perhaps the biographies?

For memory's sake, I did make it through:

Don Quixote
The Pilgrim's Progress
Gulliver's Travels
Pride and Prejudice
Oliver Twist
Jane Eyre
The Scarlet Letter
Moby Dick
Uncle Tom's Cabin
Madame Bovary
Crime and Punishment
Anna Karenina
The Return of the Native
The Portrait of a Lady
Huckleberry Finn
The Red Badge of Courage
Heart of Darkness
House of Mirth
Great Gatsby
and, The Trial

My baby!

You know, just chilling on the sofa with our dear CristiAn, jamming (left-handedly!?) on the guitar and small-talking in Spanish.  Ah!  It makes my heart burst with happiness!

30 septiembre 2015

Promise me you'll never grow up.

-a thorough sigh-

Yesterday, when we reached the end of the penultimate chapter of Peter Pan, I had already started misting up.  And when the children asked me what was wrong, I just said that I was sad and that tomorrow I would be really sad.

Accordingly, when we sat down to our mountain of morning reading today, I had my little orange and white Ukrainian handkerchief at the ready.

I sobbed through the entire last chapter.

I have always cried at the end of good books or TV series, but... whoa!  I wasn't just sad that a good read was over, but at the loss of a friend who had never grown up and at the fact that I think I have never been "gay and innocent and heartless."  So, so sad.

"Woman, woman, let go of me!"

23 septiembre 2015

ManSoul Academy, etc.

So... a week and a half into school, and... I like it for the most part.  Some days, like yesterday, are horrible; but today, by the grace of God, has been better.  I think that I am going to ditch the expectation that the twins will read sooner than later and just be satisfied with their writing.  I will continue with phonics, but not expect them to replicate.  It's OK.  They will read.  I can't compare them to their older brother.  We are all different.  God made us how He made us.  God, help me!
Sophie (and the unphotographed Ty) does solo activities while I work individually with Girumy.  She still has a rought time with the difference between pentagons and hexagons.  Ugh!
"This is going to be the hardest one ever in my life."  Ooo!  Did I laugh aloud!
the twins' individual work... which is grueling for all parties  (The boys, by this time, are rough-housing in their bedroom)
On the literary front, we have been reading Peter Pan.  The kids LOVE it, probably because it is a tiny, hardcover book.  Anyways, the other day I read something about Tink being up in a tree, spying on The Wendy and Ty said, "So, she's being creepy?"  "Yes.  So creepy."  :)

a recent, sample harvest: Thank God!

14 septiembre 2015

Miss Sophie

Well, what a difference a few months make!  We had our first day of school today and... well... I had prepared myself for a struggle.  Although Miss Sophie takes... her... sweet... time... to do everything, she did everything today very well.  We have even started working on writing out her WHOLE name!  She did a nice job with the first half of her first name today.  Ha!  

She is ready for her first ballet class!  Wahoo!  And, so it begins...
So dressed up for Liz's party...  She ALWAYS wants to wear a dress!
I do believe that her Madrina Boo has influenced her taste in color!
She loved the time with her sweet, nail-painting cousin.


We were finally able to congregate as a whole: all of the Colombians and our entire family, including my eldest daughter, Kun.  What fun!  The dears all brought me cakes and coffee and then settled down to play two versions of Spot It (Thanks for the introduction, Wetzels!), while I wrecked a pot of rice, but very successfully made empanadas, frijoles borrachos and a salad and an ugly, but tasty, roulade au chocolate.  Then came the salsa lessons for the kids...

 ... followed by a rousing game of "I have never, ever..."  We then sang a bunch of Colombian songs, thanks to our dear guitarists Camilo and CristiAn and the enthusiastic voices of Diego and Liz.  So much fun!  Thank you, God, for these friends!  God bless them!