Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Big Questions

This morning I went to the garage for something and Miriam followed me out. The casket is out there and we had explained to Miriam that Grandpa's body would go in there when he died but we had also explained that he would go to heaven to be with Jesus. She asked me "How we get Grandpa's box to heaven?" You could almost see the wheels of her mind turning, contemplating the lack of wings and jet engines. So I explained that while his body would go in there, Grandpa's soul would go to heaven.

How do you explain a soul to a three-year-old?

I tried.

I failed.

She nodded and humored me anyway.

Tonight Mim asked to snuggle and so cuddled on the couch between my girls she asks "How we get Grandpa's soul to heaven?"

Wow. In this day filled with playing outside, cartoons, painting, play-dough and dolly birthday parties her little mind had been turning around the conversation of this morning; trying to figure out what it all meant.

How does a soul get to heaven? I don't know. Do any of us really know?

I told her that Jesus would come and take it to heaven. That sounds reasonable.

How can someone so small ask questions so big?


Friday, November 20, 2009

Today I built my dad's casket

Two weeks ago the surgeon stepped into the waiting room and told mom and I that dad was dying and there was nothing more that could be done. A week ago dad returned home from the hospital with help from hospice services. Paul arrived, Sean arrived, and Anna checked in through video chat. We spent a day looking at old slides and reliving times past. Smiles, laughter, tears together.

These are dad's last days here with us. A few more at the most. Time is very short.

Dad's patience, kindness, and selflessness have always moved me. And all the more now. Each time I visit he is weaker, and yet his warm love still shines through the broken body - it is not a false veneer, it is true and it does not break even in his weakest state. He is a Godly man like no other I have met. I will miss him dearly and will look forward to seeing him again when my own time comes.

Today I had the honor of helping build my father's casket. Craftsman Nate Currier expertly led the project, I followed along the process as best I could. My son David also joined in. It is a day that I will remember the rest of my life, and I am thankful to have been able to help create this token for my father.

- Adriel

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Of Kids and Cousins

A photo I took this weekend of our kids with their cousins on the Betz side of the family. Left to right - Gabe, Miriam, Sophie, Gracie, Abbie, David.


A big spider spun his web in our backyard this afternoon.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Weekly Report- Week Three 2009-10

For the first time in over five years we have a child in public school. Abigail started her first day of third grade at Keizer Elementary this year. She is having a great time, her teacher is considered one of the best and she is making friends. The girl who sits next to her in class is "super nice mom". She even gets to ride the bus (a whole 5 min. each way) which she is thrilled about. We hope and pray that Abigail will have a wonderful third grade year.

One of Miriam's crafts this week was playing with food coloring and coffee filters. My hands were a sickly grey-green color after this but we had a great time. Here are some of her creations.

The boys and I are leaning about the first European settlers in North America and that is a lot of fun. Soon we will move on to the American Revolution which is my favorite time period. The boys are also doing Apologia General Science and learning that Jr. High level science is very different from the elementary science we had been doing. There are tests! You have to study! You have to take notes! It has been interesting and all of the experiments have worked so far.

In another few weeks we will finish up Lively Latin book one and move on to book two. We have just moved beyond learning nouns and verbs to learning some adjectives. I am supplementing with occasional reading and translating from Ecce Romani for fun and to get them use to actually reading in Latin.

Weekly Report- Week Two 2009-10

The second week of school was off and running but anyone who does memory work knows that you need to come up with ideas to keep it interesting. I had the kids take turns following directions , in Latin, about what to draw. They worked together to quickly draw these pictures on the white board and I had to come up with the coherent Latin sentences to prompt them. It was a fun and different way to review our vocabulary.

For Miriam I am using Hearts of Dakota's Little Hands to Heaven. We read the story of Noah, the ark and the Rainbow this week. This is her rainbow craft. Abbie joined in but neither of them got the rainbow covered in colored paper as was the idea. They had fun though!

A note about our memory work. This is one area where I am the most proud of what we are accomplishing. So often in educational circles you hear "rote memorization" decried as old fashioned and useless. In a classical education memory work is imperative to create the foundation upon which further learning will be built . To really understand anything you must first learn the vocabulary and foundational principals of that discipline. That is what we hope to do with the memory work in our home. Our studies in Latin, English grammar, math, bible and history have all been made easier and more satisfying because of our memory work. Latin isn't so difficult to translate if you know your vocabulary. Math isn't as tough when you understand the directions to "find the sum" and American history is richer when you know "Paul Revere's Ride".

Tantum scimus quantum memoria retinemus

Monday, September 07, 2009

Loon Lake - Rain and Sun

It was Miriam's turn to camp with dad and she wanted to play in the sand, so Loon lake was the destination this weekend. We arrived to a downpour, played in the drippy sand afterward, and then enjoyed dinner in the rain. We escaped to the tent and played Hi Ho Cherry O until bed time. It rained all night, but a giant evergreen kept our tent dry.

Right after we packed camp in the morning the sun broke through and we enjoyed a good four hours on the Loon Lake beach in perfect 70+ sunny weather.

(Miriam did the sand angels without any prompting.)

(Our tunnel/bridge/wall project.)

Monday, August 31, 2009

Olallie Lake

David and I enjoyed a guy's night together at Olallie Lake this weekend, Camp Ten to be specific. David was in charge of the camera, so here's his top pictures: 

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Weekly Report- Week One 2009-10

Ok,  So last year I took cute "First day of School" pictures of my kids.  So adorable!  This year I didn't take a single picture all week.  Lame, I know.  My only excuse is that the weeks leading up to the start of school were quite the upheaval but I am not going to get into that craziness.

So we started year six of homeschooling and I have to say that this was the first year I was not looking forward to school.  Once we got started I was pleasantly surprised to find the routine of school relaxing and it occurred to me that I actually do enjoy teaching.  Yep, I get a kick out of explaining that prepositional phrases can act as adjectives and then demonstrating how to diagram those prepositional phrases. 

 If that hasn't convinced you that I am nuts then let me tell you about Latin.

I picked up a copy of Ecce Romani used, for a steal.  It was my one curriculum impulse-buy of the season.  It uses an immersion method of teaching Latin which means instead of chanting endings and memorizing vocabulary they throw you a paragraph in Latin and tell you to read (with some of the vocabulary defined at the bottom of the page).  This has been a ton of fun, even David likes it!  ER is a full Latin program but we are just using the reading text to supplement our Lively Latin.

We made it through the first week and we managed to fit everything in.  We will need to tweak things a little over time but I think it will be a good year.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

San Juan Island

My friend Jeremy and I took our annual guy's trip last week, this time to the San Juan Islands. What an awesome trip in a beautiful part of the world!

Orcas Island -

Roche Harbor -

From the ferry deck -

A lonely sailboat - seen from the peak of Mount Pickett, Orcas Island -

After kayaking a few miles out to an uninhabited island we "captured" it for the day and enjoyed some spectacular views from "our" island - 

Ferrry through heatwaves (Click to enlarge) -

We found this little USGS survey marker on the island, set in place in 1939 -

Coming back into Anacortes, after passing through the thin but dense fog bank - 

Paper mill against Olympic Mountains - From the ferry coming into Port Townsend - 

Wooden boat, Port Townsend -