Monday, March 31, 2008

Dueling Dells

Gotta love Webkinz World. Ugh.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Paris Hilton Meets Politics

OK, not really, but sort off. It appears John McCain's apolitical daughter, Meghan McCain, is blogging from the campaign trail. And yeah, she supports her dad and blogs about that, but she appears more interested in who is on the campaign trail with her dad and what they're wearing than what they actually say. A fun, different take on the "inside the campaign" blog.

Here it is: McCainBlogette

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


I won't bore you with all the mundane details, but why in the world is a good doctor so hard to find? Is it too much to ask to have someone in your doctor's practice-- a nurse, a physician's assistant, someone-- to return your call within a twenty-four hour period?

I'm going to out her because I think her behavior has been abysmal: if you live in Milwaukee, avoid Dr. Nancy Reeder at Columbia East Clinic. She is fine in person, although a bit rushed, but for the second time in three years (about how often I actually need to speak with a doctor) I have called her and haven't heard back from her office. Not from anyone in her office, even after leaving multiple messages. Completely and totally pathetic, no?

Joe and I have decided to switch doctors but, the problem becomes, where do we go? Finding a great (heck, I'd settle for just good right now) doctor is an overwhelming task.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Easter Recap

We started the day with a sunrise service at church, which means being out the door by 6:15 a.m. We were dressed and ready pretty much on time, so I had a few minutes to snap some pictures.

Nothing outstanding, but you get the idea.

Like last year, the early hour becomes too much for Elisabeth.

Church, as every other Easter morning service, is glorious. Focusing on Christ's resurrection and singing all those alleluias after a restrained Lenten season is so perfect, each and every year.

During the children's sermon, our pastor asked the kids what three special things they noticed about Easter and Hank's hand knowingly shot up with the answer.

"Yes, Hank?" Pastor asked,

"We get to get up at the crack of dawn!" was Hank's well thought out response.

Not quite the right answer, but it did earn Hank some chuckles from the congregation.

After church and a sumptuous breakfast at our church, we return home. Ah ha-- the Easter Bunny has come and gone in our absence. The kids search for their loot.

After opening, Joe reads to the kids from a lovely edition of Aesop's Fables that the Bunny left for Elisabeth.

After that, we sit down to a heated game of Qwirkle (which the Easter Bunny brought our game loving Hank). Very, very fun game, even though Superdad is the victor. And Hank takes second place, which means I lose (does it count as a loss if I helped Hank with more than fifty percent of his plays?). A picture of the matching victors.

Soon after, guests begin to arrive. We eat our traditional Easter feast: Borscht (brought by Super Grandma), lamb, oven roasted potatoes, ham (brought by Diana), scalloped potatoes, green beans, Paska (brought by Super Grandma), a fruit salad (that Madeleine "made"), a tossed green salad and Jello. Diana made a fantastically delicious trifle for dessert.

And then, after dessert, coffee and chatting everyone departs, including (drumroll, please) all three kids! Thanks, Dad and Diana! Superdad and I don't quite know what to do with ourselves with no kids in the house, so we quickly decide, tired or not, we better go do something we can't ordinarily do. We go see a movie. A sort of fun, very underwhelming The Other Boleyn Girl. The movie has, however, excited some interest in Anne Boleyn and I have been enjoying a few nonfiction books about her life in my remaining time without the kids.

All in all, an excellent Easter day!

Country Quiz

How many countries can you name in five minutes?

Warning: don't click the link until you've had a cup of coffee.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Second Day of Spring

I know Easter is the earliest it can possibly be this year. I get that. But still today, on Good Friday, the following picture of my backyard seems absurd, no?

Consider this. Just yesterday it was warm enough that Elisabeth fell asleep in her stroller during a leisurely stroll under the bright sun. Dad set up the lawn chair in the picture below next to her and, quite comfortably, sat next to her and read. Anyone want to take a book break there now?

Sixty-five, in one of my comments you asked where all the snow was. Well, miserably enough on this, the second day of spring, here it is!

UPDATE: Woo-hoo, this is fun! There are at least six inches on the ground now (probably more), the bottom inch, inch and a half is solid ice, and the weather service is predicting it won't stop for awhile yet. Possible accumulations of ten to fifteen inches!?

Good Friday

Wishing you all a blessed Good Friday.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Ice Skating Video

I need to learn how to sell myself. If I come right out and say the following video isn't the most exciting video no one, even the most devoted grandparent, will want to watch it. But if I tell you it is the most exciting video I have come across in a long time I would just be lying.

So the following video of my kids ice skating is interesting. You can see where they skate, you can hear their teachers in the background and you can see Madeleine and Hank in their skates on the ice.

If though, you're not interested in sitting through the whole four minute and sixteen second video, at least watch 2:50-3:00. If you ever wanted Hank's entire goofy personality condensed into a ten second video... well, this is it.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Homeschool, Home-school or Home School?

Just a few short years ago, I never much cared how a person wrote home-school. Actually, I never thought about it that much. But over the past year or so, as you might expect, I have been coming across the words (word?) quite frequently and have seen it written a number of ways and, honestly, it really has been bothering me to see so many incarnations of the same word. Surely one has to be correct.

Today, after a year of irritation, I decided to dig into some dictionaries as see what they had to say. I started with the Oxford English Dictionary. Under its noun/adjective entry for "home" there is a special section for "combinations and special collocations" which specifies its use with participial adjectives in sense '(for use) at home' and lists a number of popular examples (i.e. homebody, home-bred, home economics, homeland, homemaker and home stretch) and it writes the puzzling phrase as "home-school" and its definition for any interested parties as "verb trans. educate (a child, esp. one's own) at home.

I tend to trust the OED but, to be fair, I decided to dig a touch deeper. had it listed as one word, no hyphen (i.e. homeschool). At the end of the definition it said "also home-school."

Merrian-Webster on-line, like, had the word listed as the verb "homeschool."

And then I stopped looking because, well, I got bored. Also, my embedded Firefox spell checker keeps underlining "homeschool" as an improperly spelled word. However, when I left click it for suggestions, the only suggestion that comes up is "home school." So, which dictionary are they using?

As for me, I've used all three, but tend to use "home school" the most. But now I'm starting to think "home-school" might be the most correct but, it seems safe to say, that none of the three versions listed here are patently incorrect.

This all still bothers me though. There should just be one, correct and proper way to write the word, and that's it.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Humane Society Trip

Madeleine's Brownie troop had a stellar idea for a field trip Wednesday night: the girls went to the Humane Society. Listen, if you have kids old enough for independent field trips with different Scout groups and the like do not, I repeat, do not let them go to the Humane Society or anything similar. All I have been hearing for the past twenty-four hours is, "Mom, can we get a dog? What? No?! Well, whhhhhhy noooooooot!?!?!?!?!?!"

Heaven help me if they wear me down.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

National Mathmatics Advisory Panel

I know, I know, I talk about math curriculum too much. I can't help it, I am genuinely worried about our country's declining competitiveness in the math and science arenas and wonder if perhaps our country's divergence from the basics is a (or the?!) factor. The countries that continue to churn out scientists and mathematicians aren't using the same types of programs so many of our public schools are using.

Anyway, if anyone is interested, The U.S. Department of Education recently published a report from a National Mathematics Advisory Panel composed of some pretty impressive mathematicians. The report can be found here and here you can find a brief NPR story covering the report.

Clearly, in the competitive global economy we are now living in, something needs to be done to raise our country's declining math proficiency. But what?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


It occurs to me that I haven't posted a picture of Elisabeth in a long while. Shame on me; at this age, each day presents itself new little girl, it seems.

Here she is, just this past Monday.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Five unrelated updates:

1. Still working out camcorder issues. Hopefully today's Amazon order will resolve those problems and you will be viewing as many Super Family videos as I care to share, which will directly correlate, I am sure, to my varying whims and fancies in regards to blogging.

2. Spent this past weekend with Superdad's parents celebrating our niece's birthday. Fun weekend, and lots of cute mental pictures, like Cedar, our niece, clutching her very first American Girl Doll (Kirsten, if anyone is interested in specifics). Alas, I was using the camcorder, not my Powershot and I can't share those images.

3. It's warm here today. Like, above freezing warm. It might even be in the forties. Woo hoo! The big kids filled the freezer up with snowballs anticipating a quick meltdown and, it appears, hot summer days in months to come.

4. We spent another day yesterday with a Lutheran home school group we were invited to join. They only gather once every month or so, but we have loved being a part of the group. As of right now, they're the only home school group we take part in activities with and, I have to say, one of the most interesting and fun aspects of home schooling is the socialization aspect. At every function we have been to the boys and girls play together and it is more common than not to see the older kids mixing in and playing with the younger kids.

5. We just had a contractor here to give us an estimate on drywalling, carpeting and blowing out a wall and expanding our basement. Another new project to think about!

Friday, March 07, 2008


I am in heaven here, people. Pure nirvana, I tell ya.

About a year or two ago our camcorder inexplicably stopped working. It was four or five years old (maybe six?) and it just petered out. I went as far as asking Quantum Void to see if he could fix it, and when he recommended just getting a new one, I stuck it in our coat closet and willfully forgot about it. A new one? That camcorder had set us back well over a thousand dollars. No, we were not going to replace it; who needed one?

Well, I do, it turns out. Our old camcorder broke down before Elisabeth was born and lately I have been feeling remorseful that this incredibly precocious stage she is in right now hasn't been captured on moving film. Not only that, but our piles of old home video footage has been unplayable since our old camcorder served to both record and play the mini DV tapes the camcorder used.

So, I bit the bullet and took it in to a local camera shop to ask about repairs. The clerk said it would be at least $210 to repair it. Minimum. I gulped. Um, OK. Well, how much is a new one?

said the clerk.

Sold! Seriously, $250? A fraction of what we paid for our old, clunky camcorder however long ago it was. Our new Canon ZR 800, the bottom of the barrel, as far as camcorders go, is compact and lightweight and, best of all, it works.

I need one more cord before I can download video to my Dell, but as soon as I have it I am sure I'll be sharing some of the treasurers I unearthed this morning while sorting laundry. Like Madeleine opening Christmas presents at sixteen months old. Or Hank's arrival home from the hospital. And, taken just last night, the big kids showing off their ice skating skills. I can't wait!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Favre Daze

I'm here, I'm here. Wisconsin has gone Brett Favre crazy and, honestly, so have I. Favre said in his press conference today that he now knows what it would be like if he died. Ain't that the truth!

So, instead of fighting it the mass hysteria here is Wisconsin, I'll add to it. A look back to the glory days.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The End of an Era

If you are not a football fan then there is no way on earth I, or anyone else, will be able to convey to you how huge today's news is that Brett Favre is retiring. Brett Favre is a football icon, and for Packer fans he is even greater than that.

Watching Favre sloppily toss off a precise spiral pass eighty yards down field is so much cooler than watching, say, Peyton Manning, execute his perfect, textbook passes. Quarterbacks with good form are supposed to make big plays; quarterbacks with bad form are supposed to be mediocre, not great.

But Brett Favre was great. Maybe even a football legend. Sure, he had his moments of mediocrity and all Packer fans know that feeling of watching Favre getting rushed in the pocket and the hope that, just once, he would do the smart thing and throw it away, but knowing that he wouldn't and that there would either be a thrown pass worthy of the highlight reel or a heartbreaking interception. The safe route was never Favre's route but it was because of that quality that he played like a legend and made some of the most amazing plays in the NFL.

I am still excited about football season next fall but, I must admit, I will be pretty sad not seeing number four in the huddle.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Mt. Dirty Dishes

Next to the laundry, the second biggest, never ending chore around our house is the dishes. I can spend thirty minutes in the afternoon washing breakfast and lunch dishes and the next time I turn around the sink is full again. Or the dishwasher is full and needs to be run or unloaded. Again. It's a never ending cycle of washing, rinsing and drying. Day after day, hour after hour, quite literally.

This past Saturday the Mt. Dirty Dishes got taller than is normal, which often happens on Saturday mornings when we are all here for a big breakfast. Superdad dutifully washed the dishes and loaded the dishwasher, as many twenty-first century husbands are ever so careful to do.

But then on Sunday, Mt. Dirty Dishes returned after a rushed breakfast and throwing together a pot of soup. I had to run a few errands and casually said to Joe, "Hey, if you have sec, could you start washing the dishes?"

"Huh?" He says to me, looking confused. "I just spent all day yesterday washing them."

Yes. Yes, you did. And now everyone knows how I feel because here it is Monday and the pile has returned. Argh!