Monday, March 20, 2006

Hannah (in grey) with her friend Sarah who is holding Marly, the daughter of the family that hosted the geography fair at their house. Can you believe that they have an AUDITORIUM in their house? Sarah did an AWESOME altered book on England (you can see it laying on the table to her right). Hannah is blocking her project on Ireland!

Cade(in grey) with his friend Chris at the Homeschool Geography Fair. Obviously chopsticks are more fun when played with!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The bear

Cade brought the class bear home from Sunday School today. They are supposed to keep the bear with them for a week and "teach" him things that are important. So I asked Cade what he plans to teach the bear...

Cade: Not to bite and not to fight.

Me: Is there anything else you are going to teach him?"

Cade pauses and thinks for about 30 seconds and replies: "Screw the rest of it"

I burst our laughing. Brett burst out laughing. Hannah burst out laughing. Jay didn't find it as funny as we did! Proof in the moment of just how much of everything a child absorbs!

Bear is now sleeping! Cade plans to teach him a computer game once I get off line so he can play. I can't wait to see what he has to write down at the end of the week about Bear's adventures in the Riesenberg house.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

What: Geography Fair and POTLUCK!!
When: Sunday, March 12; 3pm
Where: The Coz Home
Organizer: Laura Riesenberg
What to Bring: Your project, stamp/sticker for marking passports, a dish to share, drinks for your family

Come bring your family to an afternoon of "visiting" other countries in a fun way. At the start of the geography fair, we will hand out passports and each "traveller" get their passports stamped as they visit each country/display.

The following countries are being represented: Austria, Australia, China (2), Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark. Egypt (3), England (2), Galapagos Islands, India (3), Ireland, Italy, Japan, Madagascar, Mexico (2), Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Scotland, Spain, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine (2)

To participate: Each child (or family, it can be a group project) choses a country and makes up a presentation on that country. Let your imagination be your guide: Cool things to share/explore about your country would be postal stamps, Currency, Embassy packages, Flags, Costumes and Folktales. The great thing about this opportunity is that any age child can participate and present their research to the best of their abilities. No competing!

Each participant must bring a stamp or stickers to use to mark the "visitors" passports (plan on stamping about 45 passports). If you can't find something to use, contact Laura at and let her know.

We are also asking that participants bring a dish representative of their country to share(this can be as simple as chips and salsa or as elaborate as your cooking abilities allow!). We will have an international potluck as part of our event. Plates, silverware and napkins will be provided. Please bring drinks for your family.

Families who do not want to make displays but still want to come and participate and "travel" are welcome, consider bringing a dessert or some kid friendly (peanut free) munchies to share.

This event was SO MUCH FUN and so very well attended. 29 kids displayed projects on the country of their choice. Every project was very well done and showed the diversity of the children participating. Hannah presented Ireland, Emily, the Galapagos Islands, Grant, the Ukraine, Jacob, the Philippines, Cade, Mexico and Sophie China! Julieanne took pictures of all the projects, I can't wait for her to send them to me! One of the girls, Jessie, did an awsome display for the Ukraine that included the beautiful Ukrainian eggs and nesting dolls. Another girl came dressed representing her country, Holland, including the wooden shoes!

The kids (and a few of the overgrown kids...aka ADULTS) loved going around to each display and having their passport stamped. It was neat to see what stamps they chose to represent their countries! One family even made their own stamps using an eraser and diminisional paint/glue. A very creative and inexpensive idea!

The food was divine! I actually found a recipe for rice muffins that my friend Julieanne (who is allergic to wheat, corn and various other things) could eat. I just LOVED the sushi and Indian dish, but absolutely EVERYTHING tasted great! What more could you ask for? Great food, good company and a little bit of learning thrown in!

Friday, March 10, 2006


My friend Amber, that helps oversee the junior greenthumb program for the annual Cincinnati Flower Show, called me this morning. She wanted to let me know about some upcoming dates for picking up planters and planting flowers and also had an interesting tidbit to share with me.

Last night she went to this HUGE unveiling event for the flower show, where they release the promotional artwork/poster for the show. She said that this french artist did the work and that it was gorgeous. One of the guests asked him where he got the inspiration for the piece from and he responded that last year when he was walking through the flower show that there was this grill planted with vegetables called "Cheeseburger in progress".....HOLY CRAP...that was GRANT'S CONTAINER! An artist was inspired by something that my 8 year old son dreamed up and planted. The shocking thing was that until Amber told him, he had NO IDEA that the container he found so inspiring was planted by an 8 year old boy!

Of course, I find inspiration in my children each and every day, but to know they inspired someone else, well that is pretty amazing!

I can't wait to see the poster!
A friend sent me this email/story and I just had to post it!

A boat docked in a tiny Mexican village. An American tourist complimented the Mexican fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took him to catch them. "Not very long," answered the Mexican.

"But then, why didn't you stay out longer and catch more?" asked the American.

The Mexican explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family.

The American asked, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?"

"I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, and take a siesta with my wife. In the evenings, I go into the village to see my friends, have a few drinks, play the guitar, and sing a few songs . . I have a full life."

The American interrupted, "I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help you! You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch.! With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat."

" And after that?" asked the Mexican.

With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers. Instead of selling your fish to a middle man, you can then negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant. You can then leave this little village and move to Mexico City, Los Angeles, or even New York City! From there you can direct your huge new enterprise."

"How long would that take?" asked the Mexican.

"Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years," replied the American.

"And after that?"

"Afterwards? Well, my Friend, That's when it gets really interesting," answered the American, laughing. "When your business gets really big, you can start selling stocks and make millions!"

"Millions? Really? And after that?" said the Mexican.

"After that you'll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your children, catch a few fish, take a siesta with your wife and spend your evenings drinking and enjoying your friends."

And the moral is: Know where you're going in may already be there.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

As typically happens anytime I get down on my life, something comes about that makes me realize that things aren't as bad as they could be.

Late Tuesday night, I received an email from a friend of mine telling me that another homeschooling mom that I know died suddenly Sunday of what they think was an abcess on her ovary that got into her bloodsteam. Michelle attended numerous park programs with her beautiful son Nathan. I can't even imagine the pain that poor boy is dealing with right now. The news makes me reflect, wonder, ponder what would happen if my children lost me. It makes me cry!

There is going to be a memorial service and funeral on Saturday. Some of the moms are working on a scrapbook for Nathan. I plan to have the kids make some cards so that Nathan knows we are covering him in prayer and that if there is any other way we can help him that we are here for him.

It has been one of those "school years" that have really made me reflect on my own mortality and the mortality of those around me....a friend's diagnosis of cancer/subsequent hysterectomy in December, a former homeschooling mom dying of cancer back in January, one of the moms on an unschooling list I am on losing her daughter, Hannah, to luekemia in February and now Michelle dying in March.

So today I will be positive and grateful not only for my own life, but that of my husband, children, family and friends. I will not complain about getting my dad from dialysis. I will not complain about all the running that needs to be done (dance, uniform fittings, baseball practice, vet). I will remember what Hannah's mom would give to have a "bad" and busy day with her daughter or what Nathan would give to have another "park program" with his mother. Today I will dream like I will live forever, but live as though I may die tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Mercury and Jupiter in retrograde.....

I knew something must be up when the usually laid back homeschool group I am part of seemed to be in turmoil over what I thought was absolutely nothing, well at least in the beginning it was nothing, but then the founder of the group reworded the vision statement and I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand up.....

She was upset that a new mom "complained" because some of the parents at an event used "adult" she amended the vision statement to say "does not tolerate negativity, cursing in front of children, backstabbing or complaining"....of course when I posted the following in response to the changes, she felt I was attacking her, honestly I was just offering some food for thought....after all where does one's right to not be offended end???

My response:

I think that changing the vision statement is a bit of an over reaction here and honestly see it as being a slippery slope that I personally don't want to start down. Like I mentioned to J, M and D what happens next???....what if say someone came to the gym or another activity who is"offended" by lesbians and a lesbian was there ( not sure if there are any in ***, nor do I care)...would a "only hetrosexual policy" be put in place? What about someone who thinks having a child out of wedlock or being a single parent or being divorced is a sin...would we need to adopt a "only two- parent family"(of course meaning a MAN and a WOMAN) policy? What if someone starts coming to events that is "offended" by breastfeeding or the sight of a bear breast? Should we all have to retreat to the bathroom to nurse and cover up so that they aren't uncomfortable...would a "no public nursing" policy be put into place? What if someone came who was "offended" by the way some of us discipline or don't discipline....would a"discipline policy" be put in place? What about those who are "appauled"that unschoolers don't use a curriculum...would *** adopt a mandatory curriculum for all members? What about those that think having large families is "irresponsible" or those that think having an only child is"wrong"? You can't please everyone.... This really is a slippery slope......where would the right to not be offended end?

Honestly, as the new vision statement is worded, I doubt that I can upholdsuch a high ideal. It is hard to not be negative or complain when dealingwith a sick and dying parent. It is hard to not complain when there isn't enough money to put food on the table or pay the electric bill. It is hard to not be negative when you feel your world is falling apart around you. I have always felt, like J said, that *** is a place of relaxed friendship and I hate to lose that because the vision changes. I am feeling a bit sad, and I am sure that the wording of this email probably isn't as gentle as it could be. It is hard to watch something I care about seem to be in such turmoil over what seems to be something so minor.

OK, so I really don't see the above as an attack, like I said, food for thought. If you are going to "react" and change the entire vision statement becuase someone is upset, then how do you decide what merits changes and what doesn't? And to follow "will not tolerate" with negative and complaining, is very ambiguous...there must be a clearer way to articulate what is meant by such words.

My friend pointed out that Mercury and Venus are both in retrograde, which apparently has a lot to do with miscommunication! So maybe I would be best served by keeping my mouth shut and dusting off some astrology books (OK I would have to go out and buy them to dust them off!).

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Basketball season draws to a close......

I will probably sound bitter, but the refs sucked....the one ref only blew his whistle ONCE and it was to call a foul that should have been on Jackson (kid on our team) but instead he blew the whistle and stood there for a minute, looked around and called out Grant's number (Grant wasn't even by the play, it was at the bottom of the left hand side of the key and Grant was at the top) Grant fouled out of the game with 2 minutes should have heard the roar for our stands in protest and the other teams in glee.....the kid went to the line and got the game within 2 points......then the kid Jay had to sub in for Grant got flustered and turned over the ball....All Saints (opponent) went down and tied the went to overtime.....10 secs left in overtime the ref (who had called almost exclusively for All Saints the whole game...come on team fouls of 16 to 4 at the end of the game, we are talking 4th graders here and All Saints is very aggressive) calls a foul at midcourt (minimal contact...could have been a block could have been a charge...could have gone either way..but it was the kind of thing she had let go the entire game) that put their best free throw shooter at the line.....All Saints won by 2!

I just hate it when the refs decide the is one thing to lose because you aren't as good of a team, but another becuase the refs mess up! Grant was really upset right after the game, but he got over it pretty quickly! Jay did better with the loss than I expected he would! I have that out of my system! Today we rest! Baseball starts Monday!
The season continues....

Grant's team will play in the final 4 game at 11 AM today!

Last night's game was a real nail biter, the game was tied 20-20 with 0.5 secs left on the clock when Grant was fouled and put on the line. He missed the first of his free throws, but the second was NOTHIN' BUT NET!

The other team was so bushleague...the PARENTS actually SCREAMED at the top of their lungs when Grant went to make his freethrows and the assistant coach YELLED as Grant threw up the first one. I screamed at the coach to sit down and he FLIPPED ME OFF! Can you believe it? I hope it made him feel better about losing! Since our entire bleacher saw the incident, it has been reported, chances are if it gets pursued the jerk won't get to coach next year......

Off to get dressed! I have butterflies...wonder how Grant is feeling!

Friday, March 03, 2006

Our newest family member

The newest member of our family joined us Wednesday night, thanks to our friend Julieanne.

Louie is a GORGEOUS purebred male boxer. He is a brindle, big, boufy, dumb! He is about a year old.

We are absolutely in love with him! Poor little guy has had a lot of changes in the last week and is terrified to be alone. He actually DESTROYED his crate trying to get out he was so afraid of being left! So for now we will have to "attachment parent" him......eventually he will gain that independent spirit that all attachment children seem to be infused least I hope he does!