Sunday, August 17, 2014

Four Years Past The Seven Year Itch

Happy 11th anniversary to us!  We've officially been married so long Jim and I were having trouble remembering what we've done for our anniversary each year.  Ahem.  Luckily (but probably inconsequentially) for us, I recorded everything on here which means if I ever want to tell my great grandchildren about being married for 11 years, I have to eek out some sort of cave scratching regarding yesterday.  

This is the first anniversary I've been pregnant, and whoosh am I pregnant.   So pregnant Jim promptly ordered me fried pickles as soon as we sat down at the little pier cafe in Seaport Village while I chewed on ice and fanned myself like I was in the Sahara instead of a breezy cool balcony on the bay. 

Our ten year anniversary last year seemed so...anticlimactic and twilight zone-ish.   We spent year zero to ten saying silly things like "We'll renew our vows for our tenth!", "We'll take a cruise...go to something extra special".  Instead we spent it frantically trying to move our family from the only home they'd ever known,  and we wouldn't have celebrated it at all if generous friends hadn't of sent us out for a fancy dinner.  This year though I just feel incredibly lucky.    According to Facebook we should have never "courted", we should never have gotten married so young.   We should have kissed before we got married, we should have grown up and matured a little more...seen the world...experienced life.   I'm not so arrogant or naive to presume anything we did or didn't do was the "secret" as to why we're still happily married...I'm just grateful.   Grateful I still have a husband I respect, am attracted to, and who I think is amazing.   Grateful he feels the same way about me.   Grateful I've never had cause to second guess or regret my wedding vows.   Desperately hopeful that the future holds more of the same.  I hope eleven years only represents a small fraction of our marriage...that Jim doesn't kill himself on his motorcycle and I don't have a heart attack from trying to homeschool and keep four boys alive.

Meanwhile, I enjoyed reclining lazily on the grass while listening to the San Diego symphony.  The cruise ships leaving the bay didn't strike so much as a small chord of jealousy in me...although that may have been because I was too busy moaning about my aching back and swollen feet.   

At least I can look forward to chasing an almost one year old around for our 12th anniversary?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Classical Conversations Cycle 3 - Wooden History Figures

Since I have two very active, hands on, visual learners, Classical Conversations is sometimes a bit hard for us because it involves so. many. songs.    I'm always trying to implement creative ways to teach the memory work at home, and I also love handmade, naturally sourced toys.   So when I finally buckled down to go over my school planning for the upcoming year I found myself browsing Etsy for things like "wooden George Washington" and "Christopher Columbus" etc etc.  It got harder when I tried to find a toy Vanderbilt or Carnegie. Ahem.     My mom is an amazing artist, and my dad loves to work with wood, so I grew up with things like a "to scale" Noah's Ark and a wooden Nativity Scene that folded in on itself was easy for little hands to play with.

Now my parents and their awesome abilities are thousands of miles away from me.  They're missionaries to the Deaf in Guatemala and while I occasionally scrounge their U.S. attic for leftover wooden toys from my childhood, it didn't exactly help with my very detailed list of historical figures listed in the Cycle 3 history songs.    Like Etsy, my parent's attic didn't have little Vanderbilts or Teddy Roosevelts lying around among the rafters.    So I asked my mom (begged? pleaded?) how hard it would be for her to design new figurines for me that would fit with this upcoming Classical Conversations cycle, and how difficult it would be to make them.

I don't know what I was expecting, but I was totally blown away when I got a box in the mail with these in it.

This is my set, hand painted with love by my mother.  They include all of the major figures listed in the history sentences.

And the best part is they made quite a few sets, so they're available for sale if anyone else is like me and interested in creative supplements to the CC curriculum. 

They were designed by my parents but are made by deaf students (usually young adults) learning to work with tools in a workshop.   All profits go to the actual individuals who made them (finding a job is difficult in Guatemala if you're deaf).   

Most of them are currently unpainted, and would come with a PDF of rough directions and pictures.  (everything can be painted with a sponge, q-tip and toothpick... no fancy artistry or brushes required. My mom likes to keep it simple so kids can do it). 

I have a few painted sets available, but they will likely be a little different than mine due to the variety of "artists in training" working on them.

You can download an order form here. And email it to
Or send your address and what you want to 

Feel free to pass this on.  There are approx 30 sets available, and I would love for none of their hard work to go to waste. 

Items included in set:  
Christopher Columbus                                       Pilgrims (man and woman)
Native Americans (man and woman)                 Lewis and Clark
George Washington                                           Henry Clay
Davy Crockett                                                   Abraham Lincoln
President Polk                                                  General Ulysses S. Grant
General Robert E. Lee                                     Civil War Soldiers (Union and Confederate)
Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, Carnegie, Swift         Teddy Roosevelt
President Wilson                                             Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin