Barbarians, butterflies and a three-day week

“On a Walk” by Poppy

Can you believe this is the last day of August? I cannot. We’re only 115 days away from Christmas! Unbelievable.


Poppy spent the latter part of this week with Rockford’s parents, so we only did schoolwork on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Pete’s schedule yesterday included:

  • lots of reading;
  • playing with cars and blocks;
  • watching “Madagascar 3” at the cheap theater;
  • and playing “Rock Band” before bed.

    I think he had a pretty great day. I know I did. I’m not sure what we’re going to do today, but I think a trip to TCBY might be in our future.


    Poppy finished “Wonderful Alexander and the Catwings” and “Jane on Her Own: A Catwings Tale” by Ursula le Guin this week. The series is, as the name suggests, about cats with wings. Poppy loved the books.

    In slightly more down-to-earth literary pursuits, we got to the chapter of “Anne of Green Gables” that required an explanation of what “drunk” means.

    Me: “Sometimes grown-ups drink too much alcohol, and my makes their brains not work so well.”

    Poppy: “Oh. Well why would they do that?”

    Me: “I don’t know. It’s just a choice some grown-ups make.”

    So thanks for that, Lucy Maud Montgomery.


    This week we read about the barbarians attacking Rome. We didn’t get to any of the activities, so we might still be talking barbarians next week. Poppy did her narration work for the chapter on her blog, where she included this bit of information:

    The word “vandal” now means a person who does bad things on purpose, like someone I knew who drew an X on the wall. (That was my brother.)

    You can read the rest at “The Romans try to fight off bad guys.”

    Extra credit

    • In “Artistic Pursuits this week, the lesson called for us to take a walk in search of things we might find inspiring. Poppy filled up almost a whole notebook with sketches of trees, flowers and butterflies, while Pete drew a mailbox, a berry and a fighting robot monster. Then we came home and talked about Marc Chagall’s “Birthday” before using their sketches to inspire a painting.

    It feels odd taking a break this early in our year — Wednesday was, I believe, only our 22nd day of school — but Poppy had been yearning for some special time at Grandma’s house, and it worked out well for her to go this week. I think it was good for Pete and Poppy to have some time apart, too. They were already missing one another by yesterday afternoon.

  • I share with you some (more) links

    One that made me cry:
    For Maggie, Who Lost Her Lobster

    Life is hard and I’m doing the best I can. So I just take inventory and love myself something FIERCE and then start over. Every single moment I am someone brand new.

    One that made me want to watch a movie:
    Shall We Go Together and Look for Her?

    At the further end of the field, behind the barbed wires, far away from the others, a woman was looking at me, alone, fair, all dressed in black. … In her clear eyes, one could read a mute intense despair. I put my hand through the barbed wires and she seized my arm, just like a shipwrecked person would clutch at a floating board.

    And a few things that made me laugh:

    It’s an all-new and very exclusive list of bloggers!

    Gardening Trophy
    Gratuitous trophy!
    There’s been a far amount of brouhaha over the last few days about A Mommy Blogger List that was published somewhere on the internet. That happens pretty regularly, because the people in charge of the internet have dictated that readers really, really like lists. That’s why bloggers use them so often. Anyway, this particular list riled up a lot of bloggers because the gist of it was that you can get bloggers to promote your product for you for much less money that it would take to, say, buy a classified ad or a spot during the Superbowl.

    Which may be true, if not right, but I didn’t really want to talk about that other list. What I really wanted to do was make my own list, so that I too could create a controversy and draw in lots and lots of clicks and make a billion dollars in ad revenue.

    Oh wait. That’s wrong, too. I just wanted to tell you about some blogs I read. And so without further ado, may I present to you:

    5 Bloggers Who Blog & Enjoy the Benefits of Breathing Oxygen*

    Fadra Nally

    I met Fadra in the tasting room at the Biltmore House winery during my first Type-A Conference. She was friendly, smart and outgoing, and she drank all of my wine. (That may or may not have actually happened. But I’m pretty sure it might have.) She writes about her life at the rather appropriately named All Things Fadra. She is just as friendly, smart and outgoing on her website as she is in person.

    Fadra does an excellent job weaving her personal narrative and her compensated blog work into a cohesive unit, which isn’t something that just anyone can do. Check out “A basket is not just a basket” and you’ll see what I mean.

    Fadra also started Social Dialect, where she writes much more seriously and clearly than I do about “The Problem with Blogger Lists.”

    Angela Pudding

    I have long suspected that Angela’s last name isn’t really Pudding. I am no stranger to subterfuge, though, so who am I to judge? Fluid Pudding was one of the first blogs I read regularly, and it’s still one of my favorites. She makes me laugh — see: “She’s Come Undone” — and reading her stuff makes me feel like I’m spending time with an old friend. Her blogroll led me to so much excellent writing when I was young and bored and working as a bored young copy editor.

    I think of Fluid Pudding as my gateway blog.

    Also Angela sent me a box full of stuff from Trader Joe’s earlier this summer, which in no way means she bribed me to get on this exclusive and prestigious list.

    (She totally did. Except I only thought about writing this about 20 minutes ago and she sent the box months ago, so she totally could not have unless she’s The Doctor, which she very well could be. She is, after all, capable of knitting a very long scarf.)

    Amanda at High Impact Mom

    Amanda is yet another person I met through the Type-A Parent Conference. She’s the volunteer coordinator for the conference, and from what I can tell she never stops working. Whether it’s through goofy exchanges on Twitter or her own DIY home repair plans, Amanda inspires me to get up and get stuff done.

    Erin at Mother Bird

    I went to high school with Erin, and lo these many years later she has a blog and she homeschools. Kindred spirits. Except that she also sews and has a giant garden and could give Ma Ingalls a run for her money. She posts things like “Mother’s Hands” and “On Vacation” and “Ag Boys,” and she writes them all with a stunning and simple lyricism that I envy. I mean, look at this:

    Because my mother was always so close to me as I grew up, I never knew how to appreciate her presence. We don’t appreciate the ground. But just try to suddenly be without it.

    I will not be even slightly surprised when a publisher finally discovers Erin and begs her to write a book. She’s marvelous.

    Jen Anderson

    This is where I go lately to gain some perspective. Jen is in her early 30s. She has two small daughters, a loving husband and breast cancer. She is so unfailingly positive, it’s almost impossible to read her words without feeling more hopeful about your own life. She writes things I need to hear, absorb and live out. In “How Do I Do It?” she writes:

    What choice do I have? I have landed in a craptastic situation. I can look at the crap, or I can look up. When I look up I see more love than I’ve ever seen before (and I have seen a lot of love in my life). When I look at the crap, well, I can’t look at the crap, I can’t focus on it, I can’t allow it to have power over my thoughts. My eyes are fixed on the prize, and, oh Jesus, the prize is so great. The prize is my girls, my fabulous life, my future. Today, today, is a prize

    I can’t even read that without welling up.

    There are roughly 206,778 more blogs in my Google Reader, but the people in charge of the internet say that your lists shouldn’t be overly long nor should they feature an even number of items. I would be happy to go through every last blog I read, though, if you’re interested. Are you?

    *How presumptuous of me to assume these bloggers enjoy oxygen! I just said that to create controversy and garner more clicks.