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 ( 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!