Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Annual Family Picture
I can't even begin to explain what a horrible pain in the butt the family picture was this year. One would think that if you actually get 10 people dressed and to the studio on time that the battle is won. But NOT when you are dealing with JC Penney. We ordered the second frame from the sitting, by far the best of the pictures. Then I get a call a week later saying they can't print it because of fog on the film. It took daily calls to their customer service center for 11 days straight to FINALLY get them to agree to send out a different frame and then when it FINALLY got here (on 12-22 much too late to send out the pictures in the christmas cards) they forgot to include the individual pictures I had ordered of Brett and Will and they didn't include the custom black and white I ordered. I am still working on getting that straightened out. I have NEVER been quite so frustrated with the customer service department anywhere. So this picture is no where as good as the original one, but at least it preserved our family as they were in the year 2005. I am sure everytime I look at it that I will be reminded of what a pain it was to get the final prints in my hands!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

I finally get it!

During Christmas services the pastor made a comment that I had never thought about before. He said that Luke was quite skillful in telling the tale of Jesus birth. He said that he used the manager as a SYMBOL because Jesus would feed the world (as a manager would feed animals). It had always struck me as quite odd that Mary would have laid her newborn son in the place where animals fed (rather than keeping him in her arms)....suddenly the light was turned on! It all makes sense!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Trip Downtown to see Holiday Displays

Julieanne wrote:
Hey all,For those of you planning on coming downtown to see the trains and other holiday displays with us on Wed, here is the link to downtown's parking info - you can click on a map of the remaining $1 parking lots, now that fountain square is under construction. If the link isn't working, just copy and paste it into your browser.

As a recap, we're meeting at 10 am at the Cinergy Train display (free), and then we'll walk around to see the other displays, then have lunch. Then we will go see the creche display at the cathedral (also free) - it's a collection of unusual manger scenes, Native American, Mexican, etc. Laura R. sent me the link for those who want to preview it...Here is a link to the article and some pictures....hours are 12-2 weekdays, I figure we can get there during that time (they will arrange tours if you think we won't be there by then) and it is free....look at the pics at the bottom I love "New Life and Old Skins" and the Adobe one....

Then we'll likely head to Krohn Conservatory (also free) to see their holiday display.If you plan on coming, you can rsvp me so we'll know to look for you. If you're not able to come at the last minute, call my cell... 513-205-7348 so we won't wait on someone who can't come. And keep an eye on the weather... if it's below 20, or if it's raining, it's cancelled.Have a wonderful holiday season!

What an absolutely AWESOME day! Unfortunately Grant was sick with a stomach bug and Brett volunteered to stay home and watch him and keep Will, but the rest of us had a GREAT time!

We started at the train display and then went to the Westin to see their decorations. Then to Towere Place to visit santa (Cade had to make sure he knew that he wanted the ESPN game center) and lunch. We then went up to the cathedral. It was so funny to go into the cathedral which such a diverse group of friends. One of the families is Wiccan and I thought she might be put off by the suggestion but she really marvelled at the artwork involved in the nativities! The kids spent more time looking at the nativities than they did the trains and lights! The cathedral (which one would think would be stuffy and formal) allowed them up close to the nativities, allowed them to touch the cases and gave short narratives about each piece of work. I am definitely adding a trip to see the nativities to our annual holiday activities list (this was the 4th year they had them on display...they feature different ones each year).

We then went up into Mt. Adams to Krohn Conservatory to see the live nativity and their holiday flower diplays.

It was a GREAT DAY! Hopefully everyone will be healthy next year and it can be a true family outing!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Children as accessories

Jay and I went out Christmas shopping last night, in search of the elusive ESPN game center that is the ONLY thing on Cade's Christmas list and a couple of PS2 games that Brett had requested. I had called around to many of the local stores (including all the local Toys R Us) and decided it was best to venture out and see if we could find one. We lucked out on our 3rd stop and found it! Cade is going to be so excited! The christmas shopping is finally on the "downward" slide, more finished than not!

OK, but back to the topic of the post.....after shopping, Jay and I decided to stop and have dinner. Until we were sitting at the bar, I had forgotten that we had ventured into the more affluent neighboring community, that was until I overheard the patrons at one end of the bar. They were greeted by the bartender who made a comment about it being a while since they had been in and then saying "congratulations". It was to this that the woman commented "yeah, she is 3 weeks old and can you believe this is the FIRST time we have managed to leave her?". She made another comment later about the au pair being up with the baby all night the night before. As I watched her chain smoke and down 5 martinis, I found myself thinking how different her attitude towards her child was versus my own. Of course, with my firstborn, I didn't even have a baby at home with me at 3 weeks post partum. I was spending my days standing over an isolette in the newborn intensive care nursery. My parents watched him once in his entire first year of life, other than that, he was with me constantly. Hannah never stayed with anyone until she the day her baby sister was born. Hannah was 2 1/2 at the time. Because I spend so much of my time wtih my kids and with like minded moms, it often doesn't occur to me that many parents chose not to be with their children. Thier children are more accessories, like a nice purse or gorgeous shoes, that "finish" a look, not thier life, their soul, their everything!

We spent a lot of time people watching last night. Woman with silicone breast, beautifully sculpted faces (too bad plastic surgery can't fix hands to hid their true ages)...I wonder what they saw when they looked at me. Did they see a plump, happy woman enjoying her husband's company or could they tell from that often distracted look in my eyes that my thoughts were wandering to the kids at home. Could they sense that we had spent our evening searching out that gift that would make our son's christmas moring special?

OK...so maybe my babble makes no sense. Maybe I seem self righteous. Maybe I am so full of myself I just can't see things the way they really are. But too often, not across a bar, but in the places I go, I see how people don't put the priority on their kids, that it is on things! I hope. despite my many flaws, that my kids realize that THEY are my biggest priority.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Quick Fudge:

I was listening to the radio this afternoon and the host shared this recipe that I plan to try once I collect the ingredients from the grocery. I hope I wrote it down correctly!

4 cups granulated sugar
14 oz can evaporated milk
2 sticks butter
12 oz semisweet chocolate chips
7 oz jar marshmallow creme
1 tbsp vanilla

put sugar, evaporate milk and butter (cut into pieces) into a microwave safe container. Heat 18-20 minutes, stirring occassionally until mixture reaches softball stage. Remove from microwave and stir in remaining ingredients. Pour into 9" square buttered pan. Chill until set. Cut into squares for serving.

Addendum: OK I tried making this fudge Sunday morning.....make sure you use a HUGE bowl, as my mixture bubbled over and down the sides of the bowl! It is sitting in the fridge right now "setting" so I have no idea how it will turn out, but I will say from licking the bowl that the mixture is quite YUMMY!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Ornament Making

On a whim, we invited a couple of our homeschooling friends over to make christmas decorations. Hannah got all the crafts together and saw to it that all the kids (or shall I say girls) got to make one of every ornaments. The boys (my 3 younger ones plus one other) decided that they would much rather play video games and rescue heroes over making decorations.

It was GREAT! The moms (myself, Julieanne, Lisa and Melodie) managed to actually sit and TALK for almost 4 hours while the kids kept themselves happily busy. Melodie had her beautiful new baby Marley with her and of course I had to hold and cuddle her! Will loved her, kept saying "ba-bee" and petting her head (of course if it was his sibling I am sure his reaction would be quite different!). Brett sat and held and cuddled her too, it is so funny to see how great he is with kids and how excited he was to hold a tiny baby again!

Julieanne brought some venision stew with her to share. I had never had deer meat before and decided to try it. I thought it would be "gamey" but it honestly tasted just like beef stew. So one more thing that my adventurous palate has tried!

The ornaments the kids made were quite cute and I love to see them decorating my tree. I am thinking ornament making might have to be an annual event in our home. I think I can handle it as long as I can keep the group mostly female!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Holidayfest at the Beach Waterpark

I decided to undertake the organization of a trip for our homeschooling group to a local amusement park for their holiday event. The Beach agreed to open just for our group (how exciting to have the whole place to ourselves) and I was surprised when over 200 RSVPed for the event.

It was quite cold as we headed out, not even 20 degrees. We dressed warm and I prayed we would "survive" our day in the cold. We did more than survive, we had a WONDERFUL time! Despite some whining from the younger crew (either from hunger or cold) everyone seemed to have fun!

There was iceskating, a sled run, live nativity, pony rides, pedal boats and a carousel. Of course my favorite place was the HEATED tent (warm enough that even though it didn't reach 30 outside, you could have your coat off).

Everyone who attended seemed to have a great time! Hopefully we will plan a return trip next winter! I couldn't believe that the time went as quickly as it did and we were disappointed we had to leave at 3 PM to make it to dance, we would have gladly hung out for another hour, skating and riding the carousel and just hanging out with our friends!

Here are the details, more for me next year, but just in case you are interested:
When: Tuesday, December 6th; 10am - 4pm
What: Holiday Fest at the Beach Waterpark (open to homeschoolers only)
Where: Beach Waterpark Mason, Ohio

Cost: UPDATE: Platinum pass holders get in FREE, regular pass holders need to pay admission price Admission $6.50 but ages 5 - 12 get in for $5, not $6.50!!!, optional lunch $6, Parking free

Organizer: Laura Riesenberg
Laura writes: The park has agreed to open the park EXCLUSIVELY FOR OUR GROUP on Tuesday December 6 from 10 AM until 4 PM. The offer is incredible (includes everything) and we will have the park entirely to ourselves. This should be a great activity for everyone...toddlers, preschoolers, elementary schooler and especially the teens.
There are activities for ALL ages, including teens...here's what your admission includes:

Skate Rental, Carriage Rides, Paddle Boats, Toboggan Slide, Santa’s Maze, Pony Rides for Kids, Live Nativity, Polar Pearl Palace, Santa’s, Sleigh, Holiday Lights and Dazzling Animated Lights Displays, South Pole Petting Corral, Holiday Railway, Festhaus Pavilion, and Christmas Shoppes.

Admission $6.50 per person (ages 5 - 12 are $5) , children under 4 free (although if they chose to skate, they will need to purchase a skate pass for $4). Free Parking! Typically, admission and the all-inclusive pass to Holiday Fest at The Beach is $18.00. Your school’s proposal includes a savings on admission of $11.50 per person. Parking is $6.50 per car on any operating day, but will be waved for our field trip.MEAL $6 per person (optional)*Holiday Fest at The Beach Catering Staff will serve the All-You-Can-Eat buffet style meal in an exclusive pavilion during a specified time frame which includes your choices of..Nathan’s World Famous Hot Dog or a ¼ lb Hamburger or Cheeseburger, mac and cheese, Bag of chips and drink $6 per person

*participants are welcome to pack lunches, but meals will need to be eaten in the picnic area outside the park. The only food that can be consumed within the park, is food purchased from the Beach.

All You can drink wristbands $3.00

I will need to know approximately how many families will want meals. I need to arrange this ahead of time. So if you think your family will want lunch, please let me know how many meals you might want.

Please RSVP to Laura or Cindy. Cindy can take a van-load from her house if you arrive by 9:00.

Monday, December 05, 2005


As I was heading to take Brett to the Monday co-op and the other kids to their spanish class we ended up stranded on the side of the expressway! The alternator on the van died and the van wouldn't run! It was really quite scary to be sitting on the side of the expressway with all the the cars and 18 wheelers FLYING by, it was also amazing to see the volume of traffic at 9 AM on a Monday morning. We had just replaced the battery the day before, hoping that it was what was causing the problems with the van, but obviously a simple fix wasn't to be! A state trooper did pull over to see if we needed help, but at that point I had already called Jay so I told him we were waiting on my husband.

Jay came and "rescued" us, we got the van restarted so I could drive it to Pepboy to have them replace the alternator and he ran Brett to the co-op. The other kids ended up missing Spanish. Not that there is a good time for a van to break down, but it didn't make the morning any better that my shoulder and elbow were killing me (still from that damn accident over 6 months ago) and I had a urinary tract infection flaring up!

Well, at least the problem is fixed and "knock on wood" the van will keep running for a while! We just put new front brakes on the darn thing last week. I swear the stupid thing hasn't run right since we got it back from the repairs after the accident. There are many days when I wish I just had a horse!

Saturday, December 03, 2005


Sickness has found its way into my house. Late last week Emily had strep (which I suspect she caught from her friend) which she has so graciously shared with her father. Will somehow managed to pick up a stomach bug that he has now shared with Sophie, Jacob and Cade. I love nothing more than cleaning puked in beds in the middle of the night.

I am hoping that the ilnesses are shortlived (the stomach bug seems to be passing rather quickly) and that we are all healthy heading into the holidays....we have spent many a holiday with sick kids (I can remember one christmas Hannah was so sick she didn't even open her gifts).

The only "nice" thing about being home with illnesses, is that we have managed to get the christmas tree up. Now I am sure once Will is feeling more like himself, that he will try to "undecorate" everything that we have up!

Hoping everyone in cyberland is healthy!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Some Thanksgiving Recipes:

Here are a couple of my favorite recipes. For me, Thanksgiving dinner wouldn't be complete without them.
Boston Chicken Cranberry Sauce
Serves/Makes: 6

1 pound Can jellied cranberry sauce
1 Jar Smucker's Simply Fruit (10 ounces) Orange Marmalade
1/4 teaspoon Ground ginger
2 cups Fresh cranberries -- sliced
1/3 cup Walnuts -- chop fine

In 2-quart saucepan, over medium-to-low heat, use rubber bowl scraper to stir together jellied sauce, marmalade and ginger until melted, about 6-8 minutes. Add the sliced cranberries, keeping sauce on low. Stir often. Continue cooking and stirring often until cranberries are no longer white and taste tender to the bite (not soft, but not too crisp). Stir in walnuts. When cooled to lukewarm, refrigerate, covered and use with a week to 10 days. Should freeze well to be used within 4 months.


Grandma's Stuffing

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium onions chopped
½ cup chopped parsley
1 pound mild Italian sausage, casings removed
1 pound ground beef
1 6-ounce box Kellogg’s Croutettes Stuffing Mix
¼ pound margarine, melted
1 cup milk
6 eggs
3 tablespoons grated pecorino Romano cheese
¼ pound salami, sliced thickly and diced
½ pound mozzarella, diced
Salt to taste
¼ teaspoon pepper

Sauté onion in olive oil until soft. Add parsley and stir until soft. Add sausage and ground beef and blend well. Continue to stir and cook until no pink shows. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature.
In a separate bowl, mix croutettes with margarine and toss lightly. Stir in milk. In another large bowl, beat eggs and add grated pecorino, diced salami, mozzarella, salt and pepper. Fold in cooked meat mixture and croutettes.

Stuff mixture into turkey cavity and roast according to directions. Or, place stuffing in a large casserole and bake 1 hour at 350 degrees, until lightly browned on top.
Makes 8 to 12 servings.
Will's 16 month picture!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

I'm not ignoring you....

Life just seems to get in the way every time I want to sit down and journal....so here are the highlights of the last two weeks...

Monday, November 7: Surprise baby shower for a fellow homeschooling mom who is expecting baby #5...as a matter of fact, today (11-20) little miss Lilly should be making her appearance, that is if baby's had any idea of what duedates were! It was great fun, we had a "recycled" theme, as Melodie (the pregnant one) loves thrifting and rarely buys anything new. She ended up with quite a haul...clothes, nursing gown, baby sling, diapers, wipes, blankets, baby einstein dvd. She was so surprised when she walked in. I was just glad we had a chance to celebrate with her!

Tuesday, November 8: Brett's 15th birthday! The day started out with a park program (orienteering with compasses) and then some of the teens met up with us to celebrate Brett's birthday. At one point I looked up and saw Brett surrounded by 6 teenage girls, not another boy in sight, and thought to myself, "what more could a teenage boy want?". We had a huge turkey dinner (rivaling Thanksgiving) at Brett's request. Hard to believe that it has been 15 years since he entered my life!

Wednesday, November 9: We made a trip to Dayton to visit Boonshoft Museum. It was certainly worth the hour drive. 4 other homeschooling families joined us. The kids LOVED the animal grossology exhibit and we came home with a recipe to make animal "scat"...can't wait to do that some cold winter afternoon.

Thursday, November 10: 4-H meeting!

Sunday, November 13: My 36th birthday! Jay spoiled me with a serger and a gorgeous Vera Bradley backpack....God that man is so good to me! I could add that this is my first even numbered birthday since I was 20 that I haven't been pregnant (I was pregnant at 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, 32 and 34)...but I have a theory it would somehow JINX me....although the likelihood of me being pregnant is almost nil! The last time I "complained" about this (birthday #34) I had a + pregnancy test less than a week later!

Monday, November 14: Spanish class, open gym, dance class

Tuesday, November 15: Worked on projects for the biography fair. Picked up dad from dialysis, he was sick (nauseated) so I had to spend most of the afternoon with him. Grant had basketball practice that afternoon.

Thursday, November 17: BIOGRAPHY FAIR! I was in charge..here is what I posted to our homeschooling group!

Biography Fair!!
Location: Loveland Community Hall
ALL Ages invited to participate
COST: None
Organizer: Laura Riesenberg
Each child picks anyone, living or dead, and does a presentation about their life. The child choses how to present the information. They can write a report, make a display board, a photo montage, a video. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.. The great thing about this opportunity is that any age child can particpate and present their research to the best of their abilities. No competing!

There is a great article online that explains the biography fair in detail.

Contact Laura is you are interested at

We will begin setting up at 6:30 PM, presentations to begin at 7 PM.

RSVP: Riesenberg, Hensley, Leland, Green, Ridiman

Please bring a nut-free snack to share. No popcorn please! I will provide drinks, cups and napkins.

Directions to the Loveland Community Center:
Take I-275 to the Loveland-Indian Hill exit (#52). Turn left at the bottom of the exit ramp onto Loveland- Maderia Rd. Follow Loveland-Maderia road until you pass Kroger on your left and Castle Skateland on your left. You now go to the 3rd traffic light (W. Loveland) and turn RIGHT onto W. Loveland. Follow to the second traffic light and turn RIGHT onto Karl Brown Way, the Community Center is on the left, parking in the lot right past the Community Center.

Friday, November 18: Bowling with our homeschool group!

Saturday, November 19: Craft at local library and Liam's birthday party.

Sunday, November 20: Tour at Cincinnat Museum Center for the Architecture by Children Program. Talk about a BORING tour. I actually left about 1/2 way through it and took Sophie, Cade and Jacob down to play in the Children's museum. Em had pictures for the Nutcracker for the local papers before our tour and practice following our tour...luckily the ballet is only about 3 minutes from the museum!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Genealogy project

Emily decided that she wanted to tackle the 4-H genealogy project this year. It is a fantastic project that you can continue to build on for up to 6 years. We had no idea where to begin, so I called my uncle (my dad's older brother) who had researched my surname back to its origins in England.

Emily and I went over to his house on Tuesday October 18 and he spent 2 1/2 hours showing us records and recommending books and websites. He told Emily she was welcome to copy anything she wanted and that she could borrow any of the books he had.

He pointed out some of the "interesting" things on one branch of her family tree. We are related to Abraham Lincoln, we are related to Camila Hanks (who rode with Butch Cassidy) and we also have Choctaw blood. Emily and I can't wait to dig deeper into everything.

We hope to trace my husband's family. We know very little of his heritage. Emily is going to draft a letter to her aunts and uncles to get what information they know and also she plans to go and interview her grandmother. We have already come up with the information sheet thanks to some samples my uncle gave us.

My uncle said his favorite free genealogy resource is www.cyndislist.com .

We can't wait to see where this project leads us!

Monday, October 31, 2005

Open Gym Halloween Party
I send out the following email:

What: Open Gym Halloween Party
When: Monday, Oct 31 noon-3 PM (festivities most like from 1 PM to 2:45 PM) Where: Union Township Civic Center Gym
Bring: individually wrapped candy to share (see suggestions below) and a bag for trick or treating!

Join us on Monday, October 31 during Open Gym for a fun filled Halloween celebration! Children are invited to wear their costumes if they would like! Planned activities include trick or treating (to "box" houses the kids will be decorating!) and games(eyeball relay race). We are asking each family to bring a bag of individually wrapped candy (or two if you have a larger family) to share. You can also bring a snack if you wish (cookies, pretzels, fruit). If you would like to plan a game for the kids to play, feel free!

Please be aware that we have children attending with the following food allgeries/adversions: nuts, apples, red dye #40 and popcorn. We ask that you not bring any items with nuts, apple or popcorn to the gym. Also avoid bringing gum as it is not allowed in the gym. Since red dye #40 is hard to avoid, please just be certain before handing anything to Will Riesenberg that you check with me or one of his big sisters!

The following items are nut-free and would make great choices for sharing: individual bags of pretzles (avoid bags of chips as many are fried in peanut oil!), tootsie rolls, tootsie pops, dots, charm suckers, jr mint, charleston chews, andies mints, sugar babies, sugar daddy's,nerds, laffy taffy, airheads, bottle caps, sweettarts, crunch bars, plain m&m's, fruit snacks, individual bags of animal cookies, individual bags of oreos.

Will is able to eat: blue, vanilla, yellow and green laffy taffy, white, blue and green airheads, tootsie rolls (the chocolate ones), green and yellow suckers (as long as they have no gum in the middle!) and any chocolates (although the m&ms must be seperated to remove the brown and red ones).

What an absolute BLAST! Deanne brought cardboard boxes and the kids spent probably 30 minutes decorating them. It was amazing to see them work as teams on their creations. You have to love the ingenunity of a group of boys who decided they needed a window in their "house" and went about cutting one with a butterknife!

After they finished their houses, the kids had an eyeball relay race. Then the trick or treating began. The kids quickly worked out who would be "homeowners" first and who would trick or treat. Then they switched rolls! We really managed to sugar everyone up! Almost every kids had on a costume (I think Will, Dylan, Hannah and Sarah were the only ones without them!).

Julieanne even made dye free suckers for Will. I feel so blessed to have friends who will go out of their way just because they want to!

Happy Halloween everyone!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Breastfeeding witch causes a stir....

My friend Julieanne sent me this link (http://cbs4boston.com/topstories/local_story_300112352.html) and I just had to share it. Made me laugh this morning!

Of course, I suppose, I actually know some breastfeeding witches. I have a few wiccan friends who have breastfed their babies!

Happy Halloween eve all!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Minor medical crisis with dad

Mom called just a bit ago, she had to have dad emergency transported to the hospital.

Apparently when dad was getting dressed, he managed to pull out his catheter. Because of the location, he can easily bleed out. When mom couldn't get the bleeding to stop she called 911! The operator thought it was a urinary catheter and when the ambulance got there and saw all the blood he lost they were pretty freaked out. They lit up the ambulance and sped off to the hospital.

By the time mom called, the bleeding had stopped. They are just waiting on a surgeon to place a new catheter (can't do dialysis without it!).

On top of it all, dad is schedule for surgery on Wed (11-2) to place a fistual for dialysis and a port in his chest for chemo. The surgery will take 3 hours.

Prayers are much appreciated!
Teen Halloween Party

Friday, October 28; 5:30pm – 11pm
Teen Halloween Party
Ages: 12 and up
The Freson Home/Fayetteville (carpool from the Day home) = IF YOU NEED A RIDE, PLEASE LET CINDY DAY KNOW

Bring: a pumpkin to carve and a side dish or dessert to go with dinner, flashlights, warm clothes (it is supposed to drop to freezing ).

The Fresons have a beautiful log home with acres of woods. Once there, we will roast hot dogs, carve pumpkins (there will be prizes for the best creations), take a night hike in their woods, roast marshmallows, and watch (hopefully) the Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, Part 2.

If you can bring your teen to the Day home (Anderson Township), we’ll transport him/her the rest of the way. Carpool leave at 5pm. If you need a ride , LET ME KNOW!

Contact Tammy or Cindy if interested in attending.

Once again I had to priviledge to accompany the teens on one of their activities! 23 teens attended the party and it was an absolute blast. The ride out took almost 40 minutes and I had a van full of teenage boys, it was great fun listening to them talk, especially the candor with which they spoke. Once we got to the house, we were greeted by a ROARING bonfire and lots of food.

The kids had a blast carving pumpkins, eating, playing sardines and just hanging out! The only suggestions the boys had when heading home was that we ditch the movie next year and just spend more time playing games (they all were eyeing the pool table) and that we needed some music. I suppose if those are the only two suggestions, then things are good!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

4-H Halloween Party

This is one of those entries that could most certainly have a different title, maybe something like "Radical Homeschooler follows the crowd" or even "What the heck was I thinking?" but for simplicities sake, the title stands.

Our 4-H advisor knew what she was doing in planning a Halloween party for our October meeting. It was the one way to guarantee that she would have everyone there to nominate officers! Disguise it as a party and they will come!

I should have thought better of the whole thing as soon as we piled out of the car, we being me, Brett, Emily, Grant, Jacob, Cade and Sophie. There was a bonfire roaring and small children barely 2 years old were throwing paper in it while parents ignored the activity. Several slightly older children took pleasure in setting the paper on fire while they were holding it and then as the paper was consumed in fire, would toss it into the air. The Riesenberg children were ordered to stay away from said fire under threat of death. I had to walk away, my friend Deanne even commenting that it must be bad for me to walk away since I am really laid back about stuff....The truth is, I am laid back about just about EVERYTHING except things that might permanently scar my children!

So the fire should have sent me running, but NO, we stayed. Our advisor kept promising a "haunted" hike in the woods with a reward of CANDY for all that traveled back to tell the tale. OK, so naive me, I am thinking flashlights and marked paths. Deanne and I get puzzled looks on our faces as hoards of children are turned lose into the pitch black woods with NO flashlights...They are told to find the "flashing" lights to get their candy. Deanne and I quickly grab ahold of our gang (her son and 5 of mine) and think it really can't be that bad, but we will accompany them to be sure.....Good thing we did, because we got completely LOST in the woods and if we hadn't stumbled over someone who knew the way back, you all might have seen on the news about a massive search for 2 homeschooling moms and 6 small children! It was ABSOLUTELY NUTS! I just can't even BELIEVE that I went into the woods! The odd things was not one other parent got up and went with their kids and half of them were up in the woods SCREAMING and CRYING....Deanne and I ended up leading one of them out with us! We left shortly after emerging from the woods, who knows how long it took to return (or maybe I should say how long it took the parents to wander in and find them!).

Brett came with me. He ended up sitting and hanging out with Sarah (Deanne's daughter). He really cracked me up at one point. He commented to Sarah at one point that normal teenagers wouldn't be hanging out at this party and I turned around and said "yeah, your right Brett. Normal teens are making out in the backseat of a car right now." Brett replied "yeah, that's what I would rather be doing!". Gotta love that kid!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

A confession

Until this past Friday night, I had never spent a night ALONE....never not once. First I lived at home with my parents, and even when I left home at 18, I moved into an apartment with my husband. Even when I was in the hospital having one of the kids, someone was always there with me, albeit a newborn baby or hospital employee. But Friday marked new ground. I spend both Friday and Saturday night sleeping alone in a hotel room.....

You ask, how can this be? A woman with 8 children and a husband, alone in a hotel? Well I snuck away for a weekend of rubber stamping! It was an absolute BLAST, such fun women to be around and such great projects to work on. When I first planned on taking this trip over 6 months ago, I never thought that Will would still be nursing so often! My swollen breast served as a constant reminder of what I had left behind!

The hotel SUCKED! It was filthy, the poor maids didn't even have vacuum cleaners. I would have hated to see what a black light would have shown in those rooms. One gal found pubic hairs in her bed! YUCK! They served a buffet lunch, but my idea of lunch certainly isn't half cooked chicken and elmer's glue tasting salad dressing.

Yet despite the accommodations, I had a wonderful time. I feel revived and rejuvenated, ready to take on the world....Well, that is after I spend some more time cuddling with my baby, a hot shower, and a good night's sleep!

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Absolutely Awesome Teen Activity

Two of the moms from our favorite homeschooling support group, Magdie and Cindy, organized an absolutely AWESOME activity for the teens. I was so excited to get to participate in the activity with Brett and Hannah, one of those nights that made me glad to have teens and even happier that they have such a great group of homeschooling friends to hang out with!

Prior to the event, the organizers divided the kids onto teams and assigned each team a driver (although none of the participants or drivers knew who was on the teams). Once everyone was told what team they would be on, each team was given a digital camera, a list and 10 minutes to come up with their plan of attack. We were given exactly one hour to complete as many of the listed activities as we could (points would be deducted if you returned late!). The final catch, no activities could be preformed on the host family's property! We were given the list at 5:35 PM and permitted to leave at 5:45 PM....the fun was on!

Here was the list:
Take a picture of your team in/on a shopping cart (5 pt)
Collect an unusual, clever or creative item along the way (5 pt)
Take a picture of your team by a police car (10 pt) (10 pt extra is including a police officer)
Take a picture with a total stranger. Your team must be in the classic "YMCA" pose (15 pt)
Take a picture behind a counter with a restaurant worker (20 pt)
Take a picture of your team riding a lawn mower (15 pt)
Take a picture of your team wearing halloween masks (10 pt)
Collect a napkin or a menu from an Italian restaurant (5 pt)
Take a picture of a horse (10 pt)
Take a picture of your team in a shower (5 pt)
Collect a sample of play sand (5 pt)
Take a picture of your team climbing a tree (10 pt)
Collect a bag of hot sauce (10 pt)
Take a picture of your entire team on a playground slide (10 pt)
Take a picture of your team at a graveyard making scary faces (20 pt)
Take a picture of your team doing the chicken dance in front of a stopsign (15 pt)
Collect a photocopy of your driver's hands (15 pt)
Take a picture of your team holding different kinds of balls (10 pt)
Take a picture of your team next to construction equipment (5 pt)
Take a picture of a team meember sitting on a beauty or barber shop chair (10 pt)
Collect a real estate magazine/book (5 pt)
Collect a feather (10 pt)
Take a picture of one of your team mates drinking from a waterfountain (5 pt)
Tkae a picture shaking hands with a bearded man (15 pt)
Collect a picture of someone wearing a wedding dress (10 pt)( 20 pt if you can get one of your teammates in a wedding dress!)
Take a picture of a bus (5 pt)
Take a picture of your team on a fire truck (20 pt)
Take a picture of a team mate riding on a kiddie ride (5 pt) (10 pt if you get 4 members to ride!)
Take a picture of your team with a scarecrow (5 pt)
take a pciture of yoru team in a swimming pool or hot tub (20 pt)
Collect a cornstalk (10 pt)
Take a picture giving an older person a hug (15 pt)
Take a picture of your team holding up traveling books (each team member must be holding a book from a different country) (15 pt)
Take a picture of your team mates with paper cones on their heads (10 pt)
Take a picture in front of White Castle acting sick after eating a slider (15 pt) The White Castle sign must be in the picture!

Our team started out by calling Target to see if we could take pictures in the store...when they told us "no" we went to plan "B". We would hit the local strip mall with a children's resale shop in it! Our first stop was White Castle and then the police station which just so happened to have a metro bus on layover at the bus stop...then to the strip mall. We used a children's rocking horse as our horse and a toy firetruck with everyone's foot on it as our firetruck picture! We grabbed an assortment of balls for the ball picture, then headed to the chinese restauraunt for our behind the counter picture (a funny picture would have been me trying to explain to the kind chinese worker what we were doing and that he needed to be in the picture)..the kids struck the YMCA pose behind the counter. We grabbed masks off a display at the $1 store, ran into BIG LOTS to copy my hands and snagged a picture next to their scarecrow display. used a stopsign in the parking lot for the chicken dance picture, found a bearded man as we ran back to the car. Then it was off to the park to knock out the water fountain pic, slide pic, playground sand, a picture with an older man (who was walking his older dog... Gumbo), as we left the kids snagegd their "unusual" item, a pooper scooper bag from the walking trail. We stopped at a pizzeria for their menu and snapped our paper cone picture there (at which point our camera died!!!), then ran into UDF (convient store) to grab a real estate magazine. Our final goal, to find a riding mower before reaching our host family's house (luckily one of our team members had a digital camera with him!). We pulled onto the street and I told the kids to get out a run and look in all the open garages...if they spied a riding mower to go and ring the doorbell....we were in luck...the first open garage had one, and although the homeowner looked quite baffled, he let us snap the photo! The kids SPRINTED down the street and LANDED on the front lawn EXACTLY at 6:45 PM...we were the second team to arrive, the team behind us was a minute late (thus losing one point) and the final team was 7 minutes late (thus losing 7 points).

Everyone munched on pizza and drank sodas as they hooked up the cameras to the tv for everyone to watch and the judges (4 parents who didn't drive) to score each team. The pictures were HILARIOUS! I am hoping the host family emails me some of them, they are perfect "blackmail" pictures!

Our team WON by a WHOOPING 12 points (it was really one by 5 points because team #4 came in second and had the 7 point penalty)...the prizes were just little trinkets and junk the host family had laying around but the kids LOVED it! Brett said it was the BEST teen activity every and Hannah loved it (btw, Hannah looked so PRETTY ...she just had on jeans and a sweatshirt but she looked so nice...her hair us just pulled up in a "sloppy" bun and she had on a little eyeshadow and mascara...she is really blossoming into a beautiful young lady!).

The only things I would change are that I would make sure each team had two cameras (although ours was the only one that died!), I would add a few more things to "collect" and I would try to burn a copy of the pictures for each family to take home after the event.

Following the scoring, the teens stayed and hung out for a couple hours. I had to leave and pick up Will (I had asked my mom to watch him because Jay had to take everyone else to Jacob's football game...which he WON by the way, their first victory of the season!). My mom said Will cried the WHOLE time, poor baby, he has NEVER not had one of his siblings or mom or dad with him. At least she didn't say she would never watch him again, just that next time he had to bring one of his siblings with him! Apparently they even took him for a walk, and he was "happy" when they were walking away from their house (we guess he thought they were walking him home) but when the turned to go back he threw himself on the sidewalk and screamed hysterically....he screamed the whole walk home (my mom thought someone might even call the cops he was screaming so loud!). He survived though and nursed happily when he saw me!

Like I said, I hope I have pictures to post soon!

It was an absolutely GREAT night!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

OK, the portrait club queen is at it again! These are Will's 15 month pictures! I can't believe how cute they turned out. She took 9 pictures and they were all very cute! I love the ones of him with the football, shows just how small he really is. I wish I had thought to bring his big brothers football jerseys and helmets...maybe for his October photos. I can't believe how quickly they got the pictures to me, I had them taken on Sept 28th and they were in my email box by Monday, not even a week later!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


Yesterday I heard the weather forcast that we would have one last day of the Indian Summer we have been enjoying with temperatures in the mid 80's and sunny skies. So I sent the following email to some of my homeschooling friends...

Anyone interested in meeting at Nisbet Park in Loveland tomorrow and letting the kids get in the Little Miami River and explore how "healthy" it is? There is river access right off the playground and a quiet "feeder" area for the kids to explore. My kids are dying to use the information they have collected at recent stream studies to assess the river and it looks like it will be HOT (87) tomorrow (and it may be the last warm day we have this fall!). Mine will probably have on swimtrunks (boys) and shorts over swimsuits (girls).

The plan would be to meet around 11 AM.....get in the river, play, then break for lunch, play some more...if the kids want, they could paint river rocks (we will supply paint, paintbrushes and newspaper). There are picnic tables and playground equipment. Public restrooms. Plenty of shade!

What to bring: your own nets, a container for holding what you collect (bucket, dishpan, plastic storage box) while you study it, shoes for getting wet, a towel for drying off, sunscreen, picnic lunch, snacks, water (there are water fountains by the restrooms).

The park in located in historic downtown Loveland. To reach the park, take I-275 to exit #52 (Loveland Indian Hill) at the bottom of the exit ramp, turn left onto Loveland Maderia Rd. Follow for a while (you will pass McDonalds and the Elementary School and the post office) turn RIGHT onto W. Loveland (there is a minimart on this corner and an old Movie Gallery building on the opposite corner).....follow W. Loveland through 2 traffic lights and turn LEFT into the parking area for Nisbet Park at the flashing crosswalk (for the bike trail) right after The Mill Coffehouse...if you cross over the railroad tracks, you went too far....once you pull into a parking space, the playground equipment is in the back left hand corner if you are looking at the park. The kids and I may walk (we only live about 2 blocks away), so don't think we aren't there if you don't see the van when you pull in.

Email me if you think you may want to join us! Feel free to pass the invitation onto anyone that you think might be interested....the more the merrier!

Two families decided to join us...the Hensleys and the Lelands. Of course I got there and realized I had left the identification keys and field guides at home, but since we lived so close (literally 3 blocks away), I ran home and grabbed them! We looked like we knew what we were doing, field guides in hand, nets, collection tubs!

We went down to the river around 11:30 AM and the kids were eager to get in. We decided that even though the main part of the river was low that we would stay in the side area so we didn't have to worry about the current. The kids eagerly dug in and found lots of critters.....mayfly larva, leeches, crayfish, minnows, water pennies, snails and snail eggs just to name a few. We even found a small snake who had unfortunately been injured (he died despite the kids trying to "save" him) and a rather large piece of snake skin. Emily also found a cool rock with many fossils in it. The kids swam in the water. Will even enjoyed himself, splashing around and "fishing" with his net! He got himself totally soaked and was sandy and cold so I ended up stripping him naked and carrying him in the sling...he was so happy to be "ala natural"!

After we played for about an hour and a half, we went up and ate lunch. The kids played on the playground for a while. The kids were eager to go back down in the river so we went back in the water. When we walked back down, there were a couple kingfishers flying and calling along the river. I had never seen one in person before, they really were a sight to behold!

The kids explored some more, swam a bit, buried each other in the sand. It was just such a joy to watch them play, see them connected with the earth, being kids! All 3 of us moms took lots of pictures, I can't wait to see them all!

Every collected cool rocks and once we were done playing in the water we went back into the park and we painted rocks. Emily made a beautiful rainbow on her rock, Hannah painted a chinchila. True Hensley painted a very COOL face/head on her rock (I told her she should enter it in the state fair).

Afterwards we headed home and then to the dance studio. Sophie had her ballet class and Emily had ballet technique. From there we swung by the house to pick up Hannah, Grant and Jacob for religion classes up at church. Once they got home we ate dinner and then MIRACLE of MIRACLES I got to watch an ENTIRE episode of LOST without ANYONE interupting me! I think that is a first!

Hope eveyone else had a glorious day too!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

She made it!

Emily didn't want me to say anything to anyone until we knew the results.......2 weeks ago she went down and auditioned for the Cincinnati Ballet's production of the Nutcracker! We got a packet in the mail this afternoon letting us know the results....

Miss Emily will be a soldier with sword!

We think it is such a huge honor that she will get to dance in a professional ballet production and be on stage with professional ballet dancers. We see it as a reaffirmation of our belief that she is a very talented dancer. Not only was she cast, but she was cast in a role that is usually reserved for girls 13 and up! The only downside is that another girl from our dance studio (who isn't very kind) is also in the production......well at least she can no longer claim to be the better dancer!

I had to laugh at some of the info in the packet they sent us. One of the funniest things was a comment that per union regulations, parents are not allowed to touch the costumes! As a mom who has spent hours sewing costumes for competition teams, I find this so ironic! I told Emily I guess I won't be able to hug her before she goes on stage! Not like they let parents backstage at a professional ballet performance!

The parent meeting is Friday, October 7 at 7:45 PM. I will have more details then!

I am just BURSTING with pride!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Identity Crisis

Earlier this evening, Cade and I sat reading a book about dolphins. It was one of those books that poses questions and then answers them. On one of the pages it talks about mama dolphins feeding the baby dolphin and the comment went something along the lines of a mama dolphin nurses her baby every 15 minutes for the first year of it life. Cade started laughing and said "maybe Will is a baby dolphin."

He is right, Will still nurses almost constantly. I am going to assume though, that since a dolphin never really sleeps (1/2 of its brain stays awake at all times) that mama dolphin might be a bit more tolerant of the all night nursing fest! Jay and I have both stated of late that had Will been our firstborn he would have most likely been an only child!

So I suppose it might be possible I am raising a baby dolphin in disguise...at least Cade finds humor in the whole thing!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

My beautiful son!
I just loved this picture that they took of Grant when his team played in the Kings Bowl.

His team doesn't usually wear the black jerseys but they were playing another Loveland team so both teams couldn't wear orange.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Interesting article

Below is a copy of an article that came across one of the list I am on, I really found it interesting. Forgive the formatting, it didn't copy and paste very well! If you get a chance, check out their website at www.elijahcompany.com there is even a newsletter you can sign up to recieve!

As a mom who believes in child led learning, the article really hit home with me. Having had my children home for so many years now, I am used to the blank stares and wide opened mouth expressions I get when I answer someone "we don't use a curriculum" or "we don't do school". Yes, some of my children chose to take classes, some ask for a textbook on this subject or that, some work through a workbook of their choice, but what we do most is just live our lives. When I look at my kids, the bright, beautiful, energetic creatures that I share my life with, I doubt that a lack of school is harming them in any way!


I don't know how keeping our children home during the day came to beknown as "Home Schooling," but I do have a theory: If I asked most adults, "What is the appropriate activity for every child, age sixto age eighteen, during the days Monday through Friday?" Most adultswould say, "These are the years when a child is being schooled, ofcourse." That is why we have such phrases in our vocabulary asthe "school age child." So, if a child is to be "schooled" duringthese formative years, the only real question is, "Where will he be schooled?" Today, the answer is, "He will either be public schooled,private schooled, Christian schooled, or home schooled."Assuming, then, that every child is to "be schooled" during the day,if he is home during the day, he will be home schooled during theday. Hence the origin of the label "homeschooling."Is "schooling" really supposed to be a child's primary dailyactivity? It wasn't until the advent of the modern public schoolmovement. Schooling a child was never meant to be the "constant"with the variable being where the child spends his or her day. Ithas always been just the other way around.What is so problematic with the term "Home Schooling" is what it hasdone to parents whose children are spending their days at home.Giving an activity a label means something to those involved in theactivity. If we are comfortable with certain words in the label andnot so comfortable with other words, those words with which we feelleast secure will take on greater significance. Insecurity is a niceword for fear. Whatever we fear becomes a driver in our lives as weattempt to overcome our fear and feel secure again.When we sent our children to school, we felt a sense of securitythat trained professionals were educating them. We didn't pretendthat we could do a job which others had spent years being trained todo. We might feel that we could raise our children in some areas,but not to provide for their education.Then, one day, we became homeschoolers. Insecure homeschooler; buthomeschoolers nevertheless. However, since what we were doing waslabeled "homeschooling," we, in our insecurity, actually became home-SCHOOLERS rather than HOME-schoolers. The importance of our childrenbecoming educated (isn't that what children do during the day?) tookon greater prominence than the importance of them being home. Thisis understandable when we realize that there is no cultural memoryof what having our children home really means to the family or tosociety.What did I mean when I told my son, "And, your kids won't behomeschooled"? During Seth's years at home, his academic educationwas never the main priority. In our home, we did have a rigidpriority structure, but those priorities were first relationships;second, practical skills; and, finally, academics. Seth grew up witha strong academic upbringing, but academics were never our priority.Seth is a skilled, very competent individual of the highestcharacter. He is also one of the happiest young men I have everknown. As I look back at Seth's time at home, I have come to realizethat he was never "homeschooled." He simply grew up in a mostremarkable place—his homeWhen our children were young we would take them with us to thestore. Other kids were in school. The check-out lady wouldinevitably ask, "You boys aren't in school today?" Since the boysknew we were homeschoolers, they would respond, "No, ma'am, we'rehomeschooled."STARTING OVERIf I could do it all over again, I would not callourselves "homeschoolers." I have actually come to dislike the termbecause I think it creates significant problems. If I were startingover again, when the lady at the store says, "You boys aren't inschool today?" I would teach the boys to say, simply, "No ma'am,"and let it go at that.In just the past year I have noticed a growing distinction betweenfamilies who are homeschooling and those whose children are home,but not being homeSCHOOLED. Are the "not-being-homeschooled"children receiving a quality upbringing, including a qualityeducation? Today enough research exists that I can honestly say anunequivocal "yes". I would even go so far as to say that the not-being-homeschooled child is receiving an education which is superiorto the child being homeschooled. [For a fuller discussion on this,see our article, "Identity-Directed Homeschooling"].The availability of what has come to be known as "prepackagedcurricula" is helping manifest a separation of the two types offamilies who were once grouped together under the oneterm: "homeschoolers." Many parents purchase prepackaged curriculabecause they don't understand what God originally intended when Hebegan this movement over twenty years ago.What do you think your children should be doing all day now thatthey are home? Probably the most obvious way to determine what youreally believe is to ask yourself, "Is my child the constant or ismy child's education the constant?" Look at the materials you use tobring learning into your child's life. Do you use graded,prepackaged, curricula? Is your child in a grade as he would be ifhe were in an institutional setting? Do you follow theinstitutionalized Scope & Sequence educational model? Or, have youstepped completely out of the lock-step, institutional way ofraising your child?This article is not intended to discourage, but to give hope. Inmost parents' hearts is the desire to reprioritize their livesaround what is truly important to them: having a relationship withtheir children. To bring your children home can be an immenselifestyle change. For some, making this change has to be done instages. If you have brought your children home it may have beennecessary (for a season) to place before them the everpopular "curriculum-in-a-box." Hopefully, that season will be short.Our children never went to school, were never in a grade, and wenever used a prepackaged curriculum. Nevertheless, it took us awhile to learn all that I am sharing with you here. Be encouraged.You are allowed to do what your heart tells you is right.IF WE AREN'T HOMESCHOOLING, THEN WHAT ARE WE DOING?Right now, nearly two million children are spending their days athome rather than "at school," thus putting an end to a 150year "detour" which began in the 1850's and which seriously harmedfamily life and Kingdom community as God initially intended them tobe lived. As families leave this detour and turn onto the road whose name is "Life As It Was Intended To Be," we will see vistas we have only read about in books. Let me offer some suggestions.

1 Don't send your children to school. Any school. Bring them home.Raise them to be the individuals God has created them to become.

2 Don't bring the school, any school (along with its "efficient",but arbitrary, grade levels, scope & sequence, and boxed curriculum)into your home. Allow your children to learn through life and therelationships around them.

3 Learn how to awaken curiosity in your children. (This is thesubject of a future EJournal.)

4 The only thing that should be prepackaged is your child. By thisI mean your child was born with all the talents, giftings, andcallings put into him or her since the foundation of the world. Findout what these are and let your child become truly good at what youfind. [For a fuller discussion of this, order the Davis'tape, "Identity Directed Homeschooling"]

5 Dad's heart must turn toward his children and the hearts of thechildren must turn toward Dad. Ultimately, this may bring Dad out ofthe corporate workforce to come home. This final step may takeanother generation to be fulfilled. But, for it to be fulfilled,Dads must at least begin moving in that direction (ie. Giving hischildren the option of becoming entrepreneurs).

6 In your own home, let "homeschooling" die. In other words, don't homeschool your children.God has asked us to raise a generation prepared for the future by becoming exactly what He intended each person to become. This willbe different for each and every child. Your home is the place wherethe acorn can become the oak tree. Or, the seed can become the mapletree. Or, the other seed can become the pine tree. Plant your children squarely in their own home and allow the individual God created to grow.

Chris Davis is the founder of the Elijah Company and a father of 4children."

Any article appearing on this website may be copied or forwarded electronically provided that proper credit is given and that thearticle is not substantively modified. No article may appear inwhole or in part in a publication sold for profit or as part of anycommercial endeavor without the written consent of The ElijahCompany.© Copyright 2003. Elijah Company 1.888.235.4524 www.elijahcompany.com

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Granny's Garden "Homeschool" kickoff

Today the back gardens at the elementary school were buzzing with lively children. 26 homeschooled children ranging in age from 3 to 16 met to work in and learn from the beautiful gardens of Loveland Elementary School. I know, I know, homeschoolers in a school garden sounds so odd and I really can't help but find some irony in it all. We started out by touring the gardens and then divided the kids into 4 groups. The kids then picked a name and color for their group.

Here is a copy of an email I sent out earlier this week to all the garden group families:

Welcome everyone to the inaugural year of the Granny's Garden Homeschool Program! Our first meeting is next Wednesday, September 14th starting at 1 PM.

We will be meeting in the gardens on the hill behind the elementary school. Follow the driveway around to the back of the school. For those unfamiliar with the school's location, it is located on Loveland Maderia Rd next to McDonald's. To get there, you take I-275 to exit #52 (Loveland Maderia Rd) and turn LEFT onto Loveland Maderia Rd. Follow it a couple of miles until you see McDonald's and you have found the school!

Please bring your $10 fee per child to the first class. If you need additional time to pay, or need to break your payment over a few classes, just let me know!

There is a scarecrow building contest going on right now involving many of the classes that use the gardens. The scarecrows will be auctioned at the fall garden party (info on the fall garden party and scarecrow contest is at the homepage www.grannysgardenschool.com ) . I thought it might be fun to have the kids make some scarecrows after the first class. If your children would like to participate, bring any items you would like to use on the scarecrow to our first class! We would probably spend about 30 minutes or so following the class to make the scarecrows.

Below are the details about the garden program:
Homeschool Garden Program
Fall: Sept 14, Sept 28, Oct 12, Oct 26
Spring: Mar 22, Apr 5, Apr 19, May 3, May 17, May 31
Time is from 1 PM to 3 PM
Cost will be $10 per child for the entire program (basically it is $1 a week!) payable the first week of class
Organizer: Laura Riesenberg

Laura writes: Join Granny (aka Roberta) in the beautiful gardens on the grounds of Loveland Elementary School and experience Granny's Garden School. Through the course of this summer, Roberta and I have become quite close and she LOVES homeschooling families and is eager to work with our children. She has set aside 10 afternoons for our children to work in and learn from being in the gardens (and is hoping we will all decide to continue into the summer). The kids will have their own garden set aside for them. Each session will include gardening activities and some kind of related craft. All ages welcomed and encouraged. Roberta even said she would love to have some of the older kids plant and harvest veggies and then have their own produce stand next summer (talk about the perfect economics class!). The program will probably evolve as we go along, but here are a few ideas we have for this fall. You can check out her website at www.grannysgardenschool.com for an idea of what kinds of things go on at the garden and how beautiful they are!

Week 1: topic: Introduction to the gardens.
craft: pressing flowers/drying flowers

Week 2: topic: Gardening, collecting seeds
Craft: seed packs...then at home, younger children can draw and color a picture of the flower and write the name of the flower on the packet. Older children can research growing information to include on the packet, i.e. depth to plant, height and size of plant, etc.

Week 3: topic: Preparing the garden for winter/planting spring bulbs
craft: Rooting cuttings from the garden and planting to winter off inside.

Week 4: topic: Possibly harvesting produce from the gardens, digging dahlias for storage, composting
craft: baby scarecrows

Possible Spring topics:Planting an early garden of lettuce, peas, radishes, onions etc.
Starting perennials and annuals from seed.
Possible spring crafts: painted garden rocks, painted flowerpots, cutting jars, pressed flower cards/bookmarks, hummingbird feeder

If you are interested in this program, please contact Laura at theriesenbergs@cinci.rr.com

Follow up from Granny (During our first lesson, we pressed and dried flowers so Granny sent out the following):

Link to pressing flowers page

Link to hanging flowers to dry page http://www.grannysgardenschool.com/Activity_Using_Dried_flowers.html

I really like having parents to work with the kids, however, it was obvious today that sometimes we have too much of a good thing. Today we broke the group into teams. I will leave it up to you all to come up with a way to identify the each team between now and when we get together in two weeks. This is what I would like to do when we get together in two weeks.

We will stay with the teams we designated today, with changes as may seem necessary.

Have an older child assigned permanently as the leader of each of the four groups.
This is truly a leadership position and the child will have regular responsibilities that will be laid out in another e-mail.

Each week one of the other children in the group will serve as assistant leader.

Each week two adults will be assigned to work with each group during their gardening time.
The ones who are not garden volunteers that week will be assisting with the craft/take home activity for that day. If you prefer garden or crafts, you may decide to do that activity all of the time.

This will allow us to provide a much better learning experience for the kids. It will allow time for exploring and learning something that can not happen with the herd approach. I welcome your feedback. Help me to develop a program that fills your needs.


Sunday, September 11, 2005

I had to share this picture of Emily. It was taken at nationals in Chicago and I just love it. She looks like she is having so much fun!

I finally have the scanner hooked up and the computer back from the shop.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Reds Hall of Fame

So many times in life, events and places do not meet with my expectations. Let me tell you now, the Reds Hall of Fame far exceeded every expectation I had. Since I am not a huge professional baseball fan, I expected to be "bored" with the tour I arranged for our homeschooling group. I was so surprised at how informative the "extra innings" program was and how hands on the actual museum was. My dad joined us for the outing, so I had an extra "kid" to keep track of! I took tons of pictures, I will post them soon!

The tour began with the extra innings program called "The Reds on the Radio" and Carrie, the education coordinator did a fantastic job presenting the program to the kids. The best part was at the end when she had the kids put on their own radio broadcast which she recorded for us to take home. Proud mom moment here, Grant, who really struggles with reading, raised his hand to do one of the reading parts in the program (I think in part because his friend Chris also took a reading part). He got through his part without stumbling, and even though it was only a couple of lines, it was a major accomplishment because he had to read along with the whole play to know when it was his turn to speak!

After we finished the extra inning program we were led upstairs to where the majority of the exhibits for the the hall of fame are located (although the Babe Ruth exhibit was on the main floor). As you head up the steps to the 3rd floor, you pass the rose garden and a white rose marks the spot where Pete Rose's record breaking hit (4192) landed. The wall leading upstairs is lined with baseballs, each one representing one of Rose's hits.

I was amazed at how hands on and kid friendly the museum was. The guides that led us upstairs were super friendly and seemed to really enjoy the kids (and I have to love the "they are so well behaved" comments). One of the guides must have thrown pop-ups to my little boys for 20 minutes so they could catch them while running into the outfield wall! The kids loved the pitching lane and the broadcast both. Beyond the kid friendly area where the areas that showcased the world series trophies (have to chuckle here because when I saw them all I could do was laugh and recall the Seinfeld episode where George destorys the Yankees World Series trophy in an attempt to get fired). Beyond that room is the final room with the actual hall of fame inductees (sp). Pete Rose, of course is not allowed to be represented in that room!

After spending about an hour in the Hall of Fame, we went down and ate lunch inside the stadium. The guides let the kids look at the field, we were hoping someone might be taking batting practice or fielding practice, but no such luck! After lunch we went back upstairs and spend another hour playing in the Hall of Fame!

The kids are eager to go back. Even Emily really liked it (I was surprised, since she isn't a big professional sports fan!)

Here are the details I emailed out to the homeschooling group about the tour:

Tour of the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum plus Extra Innings Program (see details below)
Friday September 9, 2005
10 AM (arrive by 9:45 AM as I have to pay as a group BEFORE the tour begins)
$3 per student (ages 3 to highschool senior)
$5 per adult
Free for those under 3 years old

The Hall of Fame is opening a lunchroom for our group so that we can stay and eat lunch. They will have a bin to put lunches in when you enter the Hall of Fame.

The Red's Hall of Fame and Museum is a Palace for the Fans! With the formation of the Cincinnati Red Stockings of 1869, professional baseball and America's passion for the sport were born, and grew, right here in Cincinnati. Now, for the first time, the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum offers fans of the Reds, and of baseball, the first comprehensive look into the sport's heralded past. Nowhere else are fans able to see as complete of a collection of artifacts from the first professional baseball team and its rich history in the major leagues. And nowhere outside of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., are baseball fans treated to such an amazing visual history of the World Series and Opening Day. The Reds Hall of Fame, which opened to the public Sept. 25, 2004, is just west of Great American Ball Park, the home of the Cincinnati Reds, along Cincinnati's riverfront. The facility features more than 16,000 square feet of exhibit space on two floors.

In addition, from May 13-Oct. 2 a rare Babe Ruth bat and ball - both with Cincinnati connections - will be featured this summer. The bat, used by Ruth in the 1921 season, was presented personally by the Bambino to Harry Borgman in January 1922. The Ruth ball dates to 1935 and was hit into the sun deck at old Crosley Field by Ruth during batting practice in the final days of his career.

Extra Innings program: Reds on the Radio! geared for those 3rd - 8th grade, but the coordinator knows she is working with a diverse group!
Long before television or the Internet, baseball games came alive on the radio. In those early days, radio announcers weren't always at the game but were receiving signals from a telegraph far away! In this program, students learn the inside secrets of an early Reds radio broadcast and help to create those sound effects that made the game sound so realistic. Then, using original telegrapher's code, they'll create an old-fashioned broadcast of their own!

The price of $3 per student (ages 3-grade 12) is an AMAZING savings, as it is usually $5 for anyone ages 3-12 and $8 for anyone over 12 years old. The cost is $5 per adult (again a savings of $3).

The tour begins with our extra innings program and it will last about 1 hour, followed by heading into the hall of fame. Once we are in the hall of fame, we are welcome to spend as much time as we like touring the museum.

RSVP to Laura with the number of partipants/adults.

The Reds Hall of Fame and Museum is located on the west side of Great American Ball Park along Main Street.

From I-75 southbound: -Take the Second Street exit on the left toward DOWNTOWN/RIVERFRONT.-Stay on Second Street heading EAST, and the ballpark will be on your right.

From U.S. Highway 50 eastbound:-Take the Second Street exit on the right toward DOWNTOWN/RIVERFRONT.-Stay on Second Street heading EAST, and the ballpark will be on your right.

From I-71/I-75 northbound:-Take the Second Street exit on your right after crossing the Brent Spence Bridge.-Stay on Second Street heading EAST, and the ballpark will be on your right.

From I-71 southbound:-Take the Third Street exit on the left toward DOWNTOWN/RIVERFRONT.-Turn LEFT onto Walnut Street.-Turn LEFT onto Second Street.

From U.S. Highway 50 westbound (Columbia Parkway):-Take the Sixth Street exit on the right.-Turn LEFT onto Sycamore Street.-Turn RIGHT onto Third Street.-Turn LEFT onto Walnut Street.-Turn LEFT onto Second Street.

From I-471 northbound:-Take the Third Street exit on your right after crossing the Daniel Carter Beard Bridge. -Take Third Street to Walnut Street. -Turn LEFT onto Walnut Street. -Turn LEFT onto Second Street.


The parking garage underneath Great American Ball Park can be accessed from the Pete Rose Way entrance (at the corner of Pete Rose Way and Broadway) or the Mehring Way entrance (facing the Ohio River). Once inside the garage, follow the signs for the Hall of Fame and Museum to access the elevator and stairwell that leads to the Hall of Fame entrance. Parking is $4 per vehicle. Nearby parking is also available on Third Street (parking meters).

Friday, September 09, 2005

There is no such thing as a normal homeschooler....

These where the words my oldest son said after I picked him up from an adventure camp retreat this past week! Of course he quickly followed that statement with the following "we are either weird, weirder or wierdest!"

I asked him which one he was and he laughed and said "weird". As I went through the list of the kids who had been on the retreat with him, I came to conclude that the "cool" kids were weird and some of the more stereotypic homeschooled kids were "weirdest". Unfortunately I tended to agree with his assessments!

He had a blast at the retreat which was held at Camp Kern. They did Pete's Peak, a High Ropes Course and a 40 ft. swing. There was plenty of time for socializing and hanging out. Of course the group, 12 boys, 12 girls, tended to break into smaller groups and my son happened to be in the only "co-ed" group (you know the "weird" kids)! One of the veteran homeschooling mom's organizes the outing (and she didn't even have a child attending this year!). It is such an awesome opportunity because the kids get to work on teambuilding skills while testing their own limits with a group of their friends!

I loved being the one to pick him up and get to hear his stories first hand while they were still fresh in his mind. I love that so much of it comes through uncensored (OK I am no fool, I don't believe my child tells me everything!). we even stopped at a "truckstop" and grabbed chili cheese fries so that I could spend more time listening to his stories. God, I love that kid!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

4-H kick off

Genny wrote:

I hope you enjoyed your summer and are ready to restart 4-H. The new year is about to begin. We will have our first meeting on Thurs.Sept. 8 at 6:30 pm at my house. The address is **** Elmwood Rd. Batavia OH 45103. Map quest directions are usually accurate.

We will be planning our year and setting up project groups. We plan to have art, bikes, and rockets project groups so far. I know more project groups will be set up at the meeting.
I hope this time will work for you.
Genny Green

The kids are really excited about kicking off the 4-H year and are even more excited because some of their homeschooling friends have decided to join them! We are even talking about forming a mini club called the HOMESCHOOL HIVE so that we can get together during the day to work on some projects. Grant missed this first meeting because of football, but the girls and I went along with our friends the Lelands.

My girls are really excited and we have already gone and picked up 15 books to look over and use this year. Grant was disappointed that the one book he really wanted wasn't available, but we are going to work on some other things until it comes in. Turns out his friend Christopher's dad might be able to help him do the small engines book (crank it up). I need to look over the book with him to see if it is something he might be interested in doing.

The girls books are mainly sewing and cooking projects. They each have areas that interest them and it is so great how 4-H allows them to explore the things that they really like. I did pick up the "horseless horse" book for Hannah, Kas says she has a real eye for horses, even to the point that she could probably train to judge horse shows. We will see if she decides to do the book.

Cade and Jacob will be cloverbuds again this year. Sophie wants to be a cloverbud so bad, we are just going to let her pretend!

Genny is going to offer art again this year. But this time, she is going to rotate it through the members houses. I found it really ironic that the mom that offered to hostess first is the same mom that last year said her kids can't paint in the house and that they have never dyed easter eggs because it is messy! I can't wait to see what projects she has in store for the kids! We will be hosting sometime later this fall or over the winter. We have plenty of space and plenty of supplies! The girls are already planning was kinds of projects they want to work on here!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

WEBN Fireworks!
Sunday, September 5

Grant had a football game at 5 PM, so we didn't manage to make it down to the Ridiman's house until about 7 PM. They live in the historic district of Newport and always throw a party to celebrate the BIG WEBN fireworks on the river. By the time we got there, traffic was getting thick, but luckily we were able to snag a parking spot at the Library on a few blocks from their home (at the ever so reasonable rate of $6!). The older kids were really looking forward to the fireworks and I was looking forward to seeing Kas. The added bonus, our husbands would be meeting for the first time (in the 2 1/2 years Kas and I have been friends, their paths never managed to cross!).

Everyone but me, Kas, Cade and Will headed down to the fireworks. It was so nice to get to sit and talk to Kas alone! She was stressed over her in-laws...they really were being quite butts! Even my husband noticed. As we were walking to the car Jay says "who the heck is the bald guy that is so stuck on himself? Does he ever shut up or does he spend all of his time telling everyone how much better he is than they are?".....And you wonder why they call him the "anti-Kathy"!

Emily, Hannah, Tabby and Sophie came back about 2/3 of the way through the fireworks because Sophie was freaking out! I am hoping she doesn't end up being as afraid of them as Cade is (the poor kid trembles at the mere mention of them!). He did great hanging at the Ridiman's with the music turned up to block out the sound!

The picture is of Sophie and Shelby hanging out and eating at the party. It is so cute to watch their friendship continue to blossom, they really are best buds!

We ended up leaving too soon. We got stuck in gridlocked traffic. We should have waited until closer to midnight. Ironically as I sat in the traffic, all I could think about was what it must be like fleeing a hurricane and sitting on the evacuation routes. I got frustrated because nothing was moving, but I wasn't fleeing impending disaster!

Thursday, September 01, 2005


I just can't put my mind around it. The pictures are unbelievable and I say this as I watch from my cozy house, far away from the destruction (well, unless you count the effect on the gas pumps). I have seen flooding firsthand; I have seen the aftermath of tornados firsthand. I have NEVER seen anything like this.

I spend last night watching the news programs. All those displaced families. I have to wonder, would I have been one of those who packed up and left or would I have thought it was OK to stay and ride out the storm. Where would I be with my 8 children? I have to think we would have left, but would the van have made it? Would we have had the money to put gas into it, on a good day it gets 12 miles to the gallon, how long could I have sat in traffic before the tank would have been empty? Would we have even made it out of the danger zone? If we made it out, would we have had the money for a hotel? Or would we have been among those with no place to go.

What got to me the most was a small segment on a national news program last night. They went into the only still functioning hospital in the hardest hit area. The hospital had evacuated everyone that they could, but the couldn't get the babies in NICU out. They were too fragile, too dependant on technology to keep them alive. They made all the parents leave, only essential personel stayed behind. They talked about how if/when the generators fail and the batteries run out they will have to manual ventilate the babies to keep them alive. They will have to do this at the exact rate that the machine was doing it. They have plastic draped over the isolettes to keep the water from pouring in on the babies. The one doctor commented the only upside is that with no air conditioning, the babies are staying warm.

As a mom who has had 3 babies spend a good portion of their first month of their lives in NICU, I broke into tears. Would I have been able to leave my baby behind? Would I have had to, in order to get my other children to safety? What would I have done, my boobs aching, filled with milk I couldn't get to my baby? Tears stream down my checks at the thought.

I wonder about my dad. How long would he make it without dialysis? They talked this morning on the news of patients who haven't been dialysized since early this week. They say many will die in the next few days. By now dad would have missed two sessions.

I feel helpless. Prayer is my only refuge.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Exciting news from one of our friends!

I just got off the phone with our favorite Hamilton County Park Naturalist, Trina Stitak. She shared some very exciting news with me.

She is leaving the park district on September 18, 2005 to go on a sabbatical in Canada....check out where she is going...
http://www.madonnahouse.org/... she said she will be there anywhere from 2 months to a year (or longer) depending on where her relationship with God leads her.....

Trina was the first naturalist to do the "infamous" park programs for our homeschooling group. The first time we set one up, she told us that we had to have 10 kids. My friend Valerie and I were scrambling, trying to figure out if we could count our toddlers and infants towards the total. Over the past 4 years the program has grown to the point that we now need to schedule two back to back programs to accomodate our group!

She said she would LOVE for the kids to write her and the adults are welcome to write her too (as long as we don't ask her is she is becoming a nun or getting married...lol...she said she wants no "deep questions"). She said she will try to make sure to write back to them in a timely fashion...

She is going with a few clothes and some notebooks....that is it!

I'd love the kids to do something for her before she leaves (she kept telling me how important the scrapbook we did a few years ago for her is to her..one of the few things she is keeping).....any ideas?

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

It could have been my kid.....

Yesterday afternoon we got an email from Jacob's football coach, letting us know that the sister of one of the LYF players and daughter of one of the coaches was invovled in a very serious car accident over the weekend. Amber, 12, was life flighted to Children's Hospital and had to undergo 4 hours of surgery to create a hole in her skull to relieve the pressure from her swelling brain. Apparently there is damage to her vision. She is sedated and on a ventilator. The poor child! The poor family! She was riding in a car with friends that turned in front of an SUV at the intersection just blocks from our house. It appears all the kids in the car where relatively young (16 and under) and the accident it seems, most likely, a result of a young driver...it breaks my heart...The kids had a moment of silence last night at practice. You can check out the article on the accident here http://www.channelcincinnati.com/news/4906725/detail.html

It could have been my child, riding with a friend.....We are very picky about who our children can ride with. Brett has one friend that he is permitted to ride in a car with, Hannah has none. Fortunately most of their other friends, even though they are of drving age, haven't gotten their license yet, although their friend Sarah now has her temps. Brett has a couple of friends who are on the verge of getting their temps. I already know 2 he will never be permitted to ride in a car with! Teens seem to think they are invincible!

In 8 months Brett gets his temps and I am scared to death. And only 9 months after he can get his license, Hannah will be able to get hers. I have a sneaky feeling that all those sleepless nights I spent with them as babies will be nothing compared to the sleepless nights I spend when they are driving!

Monday, August 29, 2005

Jacob's football team

Jacob is in the 3rd row, number 77! He is the third biggest player on the team...of course the two boys that are bigger than he is both weigh significantly more than he does....AJ is about 85 pounds and Trevor just makes weight coming in right under 95 pounds. Jacob is slightly built...he is only about 60 pounds!

Jacob's team is doing well. Both games they have played ended in ties. This past weekend the team they tied with (6-6) had never been scored on in the last 2 seasons. I think we are in store for an exciting season!

Jacob's schedule:
Sat. 9-10 1:45 PM vs. Lakota @ Loveland
Sat. 9-17 12:30 PM vs. Mason @ Mason
Sat. 9-24 3:00 PM vs. Lakota @ Lakota
Sat. 10-1 12:30 PM vs. Milford @ Loveland
Sat. 10-8 12:30 PM vs. Kings @ Kings
Sat. 10-15 TBA vs. Monroe Hornets

Grant's Football team picture

Grant is near the middle of the second row. He is number 81.

His team has played 2 games so far. They have just stomped all over both teams they have played.

Here is the schedule for the regular season:
Game 1 1:45pm Sun. Sept. 11 Lakota 12 @ Loveland 2
Game 2 4:15pm Sat. Sept. 17 Mason 2 @ Loveland 2
Game 3 12:30pm Sun. Sept. 25 Loveland 2 @ Lakota 17
Game 4 12:30pm Sun. Oct. 2 Loveland 2 @ Little Miami
Game 5 6:45pm Sun. Oct. 9 Loveland 2 @ Anderson
Game 6 4:15pm Sat. Oct. 15 Mason 2 @ Loveland 2

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The pictures are back and I just had to share them.

Apparently a small child (I am thinking it was Cade or Jacob) left the jar of peanut butter out on the little picnic table in the kitchen without the lid being secured on it. Will, the adventurous creature that he is, decided that it was an invitation to play in the peanut butter! I should have known when he was quiet for so long, that he was up to something!

All I could do was laugh and tell Hannah to go and get me the camera and yell to Emily to go and get a bathtowel and washcloth to clean him up! He had peanut butter everywhere on himself, even in his ears! He also managed to redecorate the wall and carpet with it. Do you have any idea how hard it is to get peanut butter out of berber carpet?

Photos from our fieldtrip to the Licking River!

Here is a picture of Emily and Sophie in the Licking River. Check out our photo album at http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/mrsmomof6/album?.dir=c415&.src=ph&store=&prodid=&.done=http%3a//pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/mrsmomof6/my_photos

to see all of our pictures from our exciting outing!

Here is a picute of Emily and her friend Alison with two of their counselors when they were at Camp Kern from July 11 to July 16. Alison ended up running a fever and having to go home on Thursday, so Emily had to go "solo" for the remainder of the week!

Sunday, August 21, 2005


Football season is officially upon us, well at least the preseason is!

Grant had his first game yesterday afternoon. The start was delayed for about 15 minutes because of the bad storms that blew through, but fortunately the storms cleared quickly and we got to watch the game in a bit "cooler" much less sticky air than we had experienced earlier in the day! Grant's team beat the team from Sycamore by a score of 24 to 6!

Jacob's team played their first game today. On the opening drive, the opposing team (Kings) drove in for a touchdown on their first possession, but thanks to Jacob being blocked in the back by a Kings player, the touchdown was called back! Then later in the game, Jacob recovered a fumble! The game ended in a 0 to 0 tie, but that is far better than a loss! Jacob actually seems to be more aware of what is going on this year, moving quickly (well, quick by his standards) in the direction of the play, rather than just standing around and watching! My mom and dad even made it out to watch the game, despite the heat!

Jacob's team even has a blog. The coach hopes to post pictures soon! http://tigerfootball.blogspot.com/

Friday, August 19, 2005

Friday, August 19; 1:30pm
Creeking Adventure
Moreland’s Bend in Butler (10 minutes south of Alexandria, KY)
Organizer: Susan F.

All the recent dry weather has created some of the best conditions in several years for exploring creeks and river areas. Vikki Rawe, with the KY Board of Fish and Wildlife, will lead a fun learning adventure on the creek. Vikki likes to invite children to explore the waters, the life in the water, and to discover the joy, cleanliness, and respect for this aspect of nature.

This cool activity will begin around 1:30. It is best suited for ages 8 and over, though younger ones will be accommodated.

Susan wrote: We will meet at the Flour Creek Church parking lot at 1:20 pm Friday, and leave there at 1:30. The creek area is about ¼ mile away. We will carpool to the drop off area, then hike the few hundred yards to the creek. Moreland’s Bend is at a riffle in the creek, with the area above it ankle to knee deep on a grownup; and the area below fairly deep. Flour Creek Church is on US 27, go south, past Alexandria to Butler, KY, and turn left at Lock Road Here is the address, and phone number: (859) 472-2130 1109 Ky Highway 177 E Butler, KY 41006

What to bring: net for catching creek creatures, magnifying glass (optional),sunscreen, Change of clothes, Towel, Water bottle,Snacks (people get hungry on creek adventures!),Life jackets if you have some

Please note:
For those with little ones, strollers can be carried to the area; there is a large flat rock area that they can set on.

It will be important to keep a close eye on young children and those who aren’t swimmers. We will need some parents of younger children to specifically watch out for them.

The program will include catching and identifying creek life, and discussing how this helps to rate the health of the creek. Also, we will learn about mussels, and endangered animal. (Here is a link to a relevant recent article in the Cincinnati Enquirer http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050813/NEWS0103/508130393/-1/back01 )

The program is planned until 3:30. There will be time to hang around and swim or float along and enjoy the creek for awhile.

It is NOT recommended to carry little ones in carriers or in arms into the water. It gets slippery and people do fall.

Also…NO flip flops…it would be best to wear water shoes or old gym shoes, but feet need to be covered

Please call (*******) or e-mail with any other questions. I usually do not check e-mails on Friday, so call on the phone if you haven’t e-mailed by Thurs night. Thanks! See you Friday, Susan

Well, it only took us about an hour to get there (thanks to me not trusting mapquest and believing the directions the organizer sent me which she had pasted off the website...it obviously didn't know that the new quarry now stood in the way) but we got there in the nick of time! Vikki, from KY Fish and Wildlife did a WONDERFUL job presenting the info to the group and the kids absolutely LOVED wading in the river searching for mussels and other critters. We were fortunate enough to also be joined by another KY employee, Mark, who only added to the depth of the program. One of the girls found a baby queen snake, it was such a cutie! We found lots of critters that indicated that the river was very healthy and therefore safe to play and swim in. Vikki gaves us handouts that indicated what types of critters we should find in a healthy river, the kids and I can't wait to go down and see how healthy our local river is using the handout.

We were thrilled that the Ridimans made it to the program (they followed the same directions I did and also got "detoured"). You could really see the love of the river in David's face and you could also tell that he shares his enthusiam with his girls. Tabby found an elusive water penny and Mandy found a rare mussel (while searching with Vikki).

The kids caught crayfish and Cade found a bunch of Asiatic clam shells. He was thrilled with them. I was glad I had heeded the advise of the coordinator and didn't bring Will, it was quite slick and steep getting in and out of the river. Sophie LOVED being in the water.

I can't wait to get my pictures back. I will try to remember to post them. I know Kas took a bunch of pictures, I will go and steal...err...I mean borrow them off her blog once she posts them!

During the long drive Emily and Grant and I played the alphabet game, looking for words that started with each letter of the alpahbet....Q was a toughie, until we passed the QUARRY and then we got stuck on X until we made it back to Ohio and saw a XAVIER window sticker....Grant and I found the Z just blocks from the house thanks to a ZICKA sign near the new subdivision up the road!