Thursday, October 28, 2010

Monsters on the Moon (A Fairy Tale)

{my version of Enkidu, half-man half-beast}

After reading the Epic of Gilgamesh, we drew our own mythical characters, and wrote a fairy tale starring them. This process produced lots of giggles in all of us. For your reading pleasure (or, you've been warned):

Monsters on the Moon
by Jacob, Isaac & Mom

Once upon a time, there were two monsters, Shozi and Enkidu. They were half-man and half-beast. They had many adventures together. One day they went to the moon in a monster ship. Their purpose was to take over the moon and destroy the aliens. When they arrived, they met a green, four-eyed alien named Eltenor. The alien was frightened. It spit tar at the invaders in self-defense, and stuck them to a big crater. What will the monsters do now?!

All of a sudden, a meteor hit the moon. It happened to land directly on the alien, smashing him to bits. The meteor was followed by a meteor SHOWER, which washed the tar off of the monsters. (That was lucky.) Now, back to the aliens. There were lots more of them.

The aliens were colored red or green, with black stripes and three eyes. They were furious at the death of their leader. They all cried together, “War on the monsters!!” Organizing their troops, they strapped on their laser guns and rolled out their meteor cannons. The monsters were starting to feel a little intimidated. “I think we’d better get out of here,” Enkidu said. Meanwhile, the aliens pulled out the instruction manuals for their cannons. (They were brand new from Moonmart, and the aliens had never actually fired them before.) Seizing the opportunity, the monsters grabbed the manuals and stuffed them into the cannons. The aliens fired, and the giant paper cannonballs caught fire, killing ten aliens. (That was unfortunate for the aliens.)

Plan B. The aliens fetched their moon buggies, in case a quick escape became necessary. They aimed their laser guns, and fired at the monsters. The monsters activated their force fields, which caused the lasers to ricochet back to the moon buggies, resulting in a giant explosion. The aliens were running out of options (and aliens.)

Plan C. The only thing left to do was escape! The few remaining moon natives retreated to their garages to retrieve their rocketships. Firing up the ignitions, they took off into outer space, hoping to start a new life as Martians. (It wouldn’t be easy – they were ILLEGAL aliens, after all.)

Meanwhile, back at the moon, the monsters planted their flag in the soil. They took a celebratory moonwalk, and radioed back to Houston. Mission accomplished, they headed back to earth, where they were hailed as heroes and awarded a lifetime supply of Moon Pies. They lived happily ever after. Well, at least until their next dangerous adventure….

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Back to School (or Not)

We've been having an amazing time in our homeschool! I plan to post some of our favorite adventures so far.

This one is from Week One.

We are using "The Story of the World" Volume 1, by Susan Wise Bauer for our history curriculum. During our first week, we studied archealogy. Marty and I created an archealogical dig site in our backyard, and let the kids search for "artifacts." They sorted their findings, drew them in their sketchbooks, and charted them according to the grid quadrant in which the artifacts were found. Then we discussed what we could learn about this "ancient civilization" from what they left behind. Fascinating!

I had to laugh, though, at all the trash the boys found in their digging, instead of the large, obvious artifacts that Marty and I had planted. They got so excited over tiny bits of plastic, and rocks that "must be ancient arrowheads!"

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

You Know What They Say About the Best-Laid Plans

This summer started out predictably. The kids got off the bus that last day, full of energy and anticipation, ready to begin our adventures. Oh, the joy of seeing months of sun and warmth stretch out in front of us, with their promise of picnics and swimming and ice cream cones! We immediately started in on our summer list of fun. And we had a fantastic time! With Abram getting a little older, I was starting to feel human again, and life was finally settling into a routine. Like I said, predictable.

The Plan: Relish my time with the kids all summer. Do all the things that make the season special to us. Build wonderful memories together. Continue to hold weekly den meetings for my little 8-year-old Cub Scouts. Send my boys back to school in the fall and settle into normalcy once again. I remember thinking, "This is nice. The forseeable future is laid major changes on the horizon. I can just relax and enjoy the ride."

What? You're laughing? It sounded reasonable to me.

And then there was the Lord's plan. (I'd be willing to bet He was laughing too. At least a little.)

At the end of June, a good friend of mine from our Baltimore days stopped by to visit us for a night on her way across the country with her family. I was thrilled to see Angela again, and like good women, we talked all evening. Now, this friend is passionate about two of my favorite subjects: motherhood and education. She described her vision for raising her children, her beliefs about education, and the joy she finds in homeschooling her children. Her words rang true to me and I kept thinking, "THAT is exactly what I want." But of course, my plan was already laid out. And I'm NOT the type of mother who homeschools. I'm not patient or entertaining. I like quiet. I'm uptight and a bit of a control freak. I don't do stupid crafts.

Angela left the next morning (to this day I wonder how she managed to completely turn my life upside down in less than 20 hours,) but her words and the Spirit that accompanied them would not leave me alone. I started to research homeschooling and the particular method that Angela had shared with me. I read and pondered and prayed. I met with local parents who homeschool, and checked out curriculum. When I broached the subject to Marty (purely hypothetically, of course,) I expected him to say I was crazy and didn't I already have enough to do? And remember, I like quiet?? Instead he said: "Well, it's about time! I've always wanted that for our kids." Uh-oh, that's two strikes. Three if you count my 100% supportive mother (who homeschooled my brothers and me for a few years.)

To make a long story short, with the clear direction from the Lord that this was what we were supposed to do, we withdrew the boys from public school and are now having the time of our life teaching them at home. The list of blessings we have reaped so far is too extensive to write here. They will likely make a post of their own sometime in the future.

Definitely NOT part of my original plan, but infinitely better.

That wasn't the end of the changes, though. Three days after my friend left, I was called to be the Primary president in our ward.

The week after that, I was asked to accept a small position with our local Musicale - an association for music teachers and students. Because things always happen in three's, you know.

The moral of this story is, of course, never to plan anything. And don't even THINK the word "relax," let alone say it out loud. With all sincerity, though, I am ever so glad that His plan won out over mine.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

And Speaking of Birthdays

This little guy turned 1 last month! It's impossible to believe that it's already been a year since his birth. Abram is starting to walk almost constantly, says nothing but "dada" (especially when I try to get him to say "mama,") and is proficient in signing "more." He follows his siblings around, loves to play outside in the grass, and dances to classical music. He is a complete and total joy. Happy birthday, baby.