Friday, November 27, 2009

Fire Dreams

From "Cornhuskers" by Carl Sandburg
I remember here by the fire,
In the flickering reds and saffrons,
They came in a ramshackle tub,
Pilgrims in tall hats,
Pilgrims of iron jaws,
Drifting by weeks on beaten seas,
And the random chapters say
They were glad and sang to God.

And so
Since the iron-jawed men sat down
And said, “Thanks, O God,”
For life and soup and a little less
Than a hobo handout to-day,
Since gray winds blew gray patterns of sleet on Plymouth Rock,
Since the iron-jawed men sang “Thanks, O God,”
You and I, O Child of the West,
Remember more than ever
November and the hunter’s moon,
November and the yellow-spotted hills.

And so
In the name of the iron-jawed men
I will stand up and say yes till the finish is come and gone.
God of all broken hearts, empty hands, sleeping soldiers,
God of all star-flung beaches of night sky,
I and my love-child stand up together to-day and sing: “Thanks, O God.”

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Song

(from Happy Jack) by Thornton W. Burgess~

Thanksgiving comes but once a year,
But when it comes it brings good cheer.
For in my storehouse on this day
Are piles of good things hid away.
Each day I’ve worked from early morn
To gather acorns, nuts, and corn,
Till now I’ve plenty and to spare
Without a worry or a care.
So light of heart the whole day long,
I’ll sing a glad Thanksgiving song.

The boys left for South Carolina this morning around 5am. Mary and I enjoyed turkey with Grandma, Aunt Jessi, Jaiden and Julian today. We miss them already.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wolf Pack

We try and make it to a Wolves game every Thanksgiving weekend (mostly to hang out with Grandpa, Gene and Dorothy, but also we like hockey). This year, because Scott is taking the boys to see his mom in SC, we didn't think it would work out. Thankfully, there was a game tonight and we were able to meet up with our friends~

Mary was very excited when she saw where we were - she loves watching hockey on television~
We ran into Skates on our way out - Sam was the only one interested in a photo op~

The boys are leaving bright and early tomorrow - I'd better get to bed!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

"Only the pure of heart can make good soup." ~ Beethoven

Tonight was my third annual soup exchange. It was the best yet! I made cream of mushroom and Emily made Spicy Sweet Potato and Coconut Soup. Tracy wowed us all with her crockpot bacon corn chowder. Kelly brought a delicious Polish potato cheese soup. Katie scored with a white chicken chili. Kylene finally made her (soon-to-be) famous split pea. And Janelle rounded out the night with some hearty beef barley. Some year I am going to remember to take pictures of each soup. This year, all I got was my own~I love this soup exchange - there's nothing better than having 6 homemade dinners waiting in the freezer for a busy night! Janelle calls it a "slop exchange". That's okay - we still love her, especially Mary~


The boys have started attending an AWANA club this fall. It meets at a local church and they both love it! It's one of those programs where the kids always want to go, and are very disappointed if they miss it. Here they are heading out tonight (the theme was "gold", hence the yellow head scarf and wig)~

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Let Us Rejoice

Today was the fall performance at the Greenhouse. The time period they're focusing on in the ancients, so of course they started with a recitation of the Creation story. Here's Charlie during his lines~
(Photos courtesy of Jean F.)
They also performed "Walk Through the Bible", a short skit with hand motions and catch phrases that chronicles the events of the Bible. Then students sang Hine ma tov, and danced a Hora to Hava Nagila. Grandpa met me there, and we both (along with Sam and Mary) enjoyed the show.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Top Five

This afternoon, Sam told me that he wants to be an "amblien" when he grows up. "What's that?" I asked. Charlie clarified, "He wants to be a paramedic, and drive an ambulance." "That's a good job," I said. And then he shared his "Top 5" (I have no idea where he picked up the term "Top 5"):

1. Archaeologist

2. Soldier

3. UPS (as in, United Parcel Service) :insert sound of a record screeching to a halt:*

4. Baseball/Hockey/Football Player

5. "Amblien"

*Not that there's anything wrong with UPS, but where does he come up with this stuff??

A Volunteer from the Audience

You can't really see what's going on in this picture, but I wanted to remember that Sam was called up to assist the performer during this C.O.D. show today. He was so excited, and the really cool thing is Charlie was called up from the audience the last time we saw this show. There is no photography allowed, so I had to sneak a picture with my cell phone~

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Can't Get Enough Cantigny

We really should just become members of Cantigny. I've lost track of how many times we've been there this fall. Today Sam, Mary and I met some homeschooling friends (while Charlie was at the Greenhouse). The tanks are always a favorite~
We never tire of the museum either~
Will Mary remember any of this? Not exactly. But what a great addition to her "cumulative experience"~

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Charlie had his last day of archery at the Greenhouse today. He enjoyed it towards the end, but overall was a little disappointed. I think the problem was it was more of a beginners class, and he has quite a bit of experience at this point. We'll stick with the forest preserve's program, for now. It's free, only once a month, and at a time when Scott can go with him.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Oriental Institute Museum

This place is very cool! When I hear a museum has free admission, I tend to think it won't be all that interesting - was I wrong! We are studying the ancients this year, and this place was a goldmine of artifacts and exhibits from ancient Near East.
Charlie just learned about the Lion of Ishtar at the Greenhouse~
This stone threshold was in the Mesopotamian galleries, as well - it was made to look like a beautiful carpet~
This human-headed winged bull from Khorsabad was one of the coolest things we saw! It is awe-inspiring to think this stood in the palace of the Assyrian king Sargon II, who ruled from 721-705 B.C. ~
Mummy of Petosiris~
Somebody loved this person (and I know as C.S. Lewis wrote, "You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body." that this isn't the important part of this person, but still. If this were my child, I'm not sure how I would feel about his body being displayed in a museum.) ~
The museum was very well organized, and surprisingly child friendly and accessible~
Children's shoes~
I love when museums allow photography~
I love being reminded of how we really haven't changed all that much~
A quiver~
This place was way less nerve-wracking than the Museum of Contemporary Art (where one isn't allowed to touch anything, not even a blank section of wall inadvertently) ~
I ♥ timelines ~
Another thing I love about homeschooling is that everyone (even the littlest) gets so many cool "educational" opportunities as part of their cumulative experiences. Sadly, I can guarantee, if Charlie and Sam were in school, I would not be taking just Mary and myself down to Hyde Park on a Tuesday morning~
One of the things I love about classical education is the way it presents history from the very beginning through the present, rather than starting with American history like so many of our own schools did and do. I've learned since embarking on this homeschooling journey that history makes sense, when you start at the beginning!

Grandma was nice enough to take a day off from work and go with us today. It was nice to have a kidless extra adult along. After the museum, we went over to Chinatown and had lunch~
Sam's patiently waiting for his food, so he can get to what really matters - rice candy!

We had fun stopping in some of the little shops, as well. I love visiting Chicago, but it always ends up being a longer and more exhausting day than I plan. It was very helpful to have Grandma along, though :)

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Sam's fall recital was this afternoon. I am always in awe of the things my children can accomplish! Here is my handsome boy~
This weekend, Sam was expressing reluctance about the recital. I was surprised, because he normally is very excited about performing. Unfortunately, he did have a minor slip up in the middle of his piece. While I know he was disappointed, I am so proud of him for holding it together until the end. I know I would have been tempted to run off the stage crying. And while he did have tears in his eyes as he came off the stage, he persevered through his difficulty and stayed until he finished.

I love Sammy so much - he never fails to make me smile :)

Thursday, November 5, 2009


A friend was selling her Nikon D70, for a great price. I've been wanting a digital SLR for a couple of years, and so was happy to take advantage of her offer. Sam, Mary and I walked to the park, and I messed around with it for a bit~

I still tend to grab my old camera, just because I am familiar with it. But I know eventually I'll get better pictures with this one. Right now, though, I'm having to force myself to use it. I should get some great Christmas photos!

Monday, November 2, 2009


College of Dupage offers these wonderful, affordable performances. We've seen many really great shows over the years, many of them more than once because they were so awesome! Today we saw a really cool show of Chinese drummers. Jigu! was fascinating and beautiful~

Lately, Mary lasts for about half of each show. When she gets antsy, we step out to the lobby for a bit, where she charms all the college students~

We decided to take advantage of the Indian summer and stopped by Willowbrook Wildlife Center on our way home. This is a place that, sadly, if it's out of my sight, it's out of my mind. But whenever we visit, we love it! Today Sam spent some time with a rescued rabbit~
Mary liked the (shudder) rats~

These blue jays were fun to watch up close~

There are all kinds of animals outside, too~
This turkey vulture was huge~
A peregrine falcon. I think it's time to reread, "My Side of the Mountain" ~
Look at this pretty little kestrel~
They recently added a sandhill crane habitat~
We kept our fingers safe~

We have another show next week, at COD (Kevin Locke Native American Dancers). Hopefully this weather will hold, and we can stop by again!