How to Make The Dentist Fun

The Buster goes to the dentist more frequently than the girls to help stave off any more tooth issues. I have worked to make sure that going to the dentist has been as low-stress for him as possible since he has had to have so many procedures done, but our new dentist has taken all the pressure off my shoulders.

The dentist office we found here is ideal for us. Ms. Vicky is our hygienist, and she not only loves our crew, but she makes going to the dentist fun! She knows I’ll be going back with the crew, and she and I always have a great visit. She also works very hard to make the time physically comfortable for the kids, which takes no extra time, but makes a huge difference.

Dental Spa

Dental Spa

In the picture above, please note the fleecy blanket, he’s watching television, and Ms. Vicky has just removed the nose cone she uses to give him laughing gas since she has to do such a tooth scraping on him.

At one point, after inhaling the nitrous for awhile, she asked him how he was feeling, and he looked at her with a big grin and said, “I’m beginning to fear for my sanity.”

She practically choked with laughter.

Coming to visit us? Let me know if you’d like me to make you an appointment at the Dental Spa.

Happy, Joyous Friday

Those lightning strikes of joy can hit at anytime!

I read this Storypeople shortly after I woke up, and it set the glorious tone for the day.

The crew and I were leaving Costco, and I reflected on our trip. Thanks to random chance, sometimes difficult choices, and some hard work, I was able to: Buy my children snacks from the snack bar; Purchase a new windbreaker for Monkey; Select two bags of plants for the new house; and Pick up a box of handmade cards to mail out to people that we love. These items are in addition to the food we needed for the week, and the extra fruit we picked up to share at Game Night at church tomorrow.

Oh, the ineffable wonder of being able to care for our family with ease: The ability to purchase not just needs but wants. So few people have this ability in our world.

Then to be able to purchase a newspaper and give out a gift bag on our drive home. Monkey took care of the whole transaction and offered the gift bag with grace, and it was graciously accepted.

For today, I’m not going to feel guilt about what the world doesn’t have. I’m going to simply be grateful for what we do have. And recognize that if all of this went away tomorrow…or tonight…we would still find beauty in the world.

Random obligatory picture that makes me smile.

Random obligatory picture that makes me smile.

Saying Goodbye

My Aunt Lois passed away this week. She was the sibling after Dad in birth order.

I wasn’t close to her, but family loss is a unique thing. With her loss, I lose one more connection to Dad and his history.

R.I.P., Aunt Lois. It doesn’t sound like you had the blessedly peaceful passing Dad did, but you were surrounded by loved ones.

Bed-lympics

We loves us some games. Here are some of our favorites.

Ghost got a kid

An adult creeps about under a blanket. The kids try to approach as close as they can without getting fully sucked underneath the blanket. If they do, they become a member of the ghost team. Play-styles: If Monkey gets grabbed, she always crows “I’m okay”. She’s getting longer so it’s nearly impossible to get her fully under a blanket. Buster likes to bravely leap upon the ghost’s back and tries to choke it to death. Secretly he wants to be part of the ghost team. Yessa shrieks.

Ghost getting a kid

Ghost getting a kid

Ghost got a kid

Ghost got a kid

This game shouldn’t be confused with an earlier iteration called “Save Princess Buttercup”. We played this when Yessa was a wee sprout. She would be captured and the big two fought valiantly to free her.

Mudslide

The adult rolls barrel-like from one side of the bed to the other. The goal is to catch and crush a kid under an unstoppable wave of force. Recently we’ve added powerups that allow the mudslide to fling boulders (pillows), reroll (reverse direction quickly upon hitting the far wall), grab the players, accelerate (speed up quickly), and practice deception (say one thing, and do another).

Clearing the mudslide

Clearing the mudslide

Caught by the mudslide

Caught by the mudslide

Bed arm

This one’s new and one we like to play with cousins. Two adults go heads down and arms up on either side of the bed. Without looking, they use their dangerous bed arms to grab and pull a swarm of kids from the bed. Once off the bed, the kid is defeated. Last kid standing is the winner.

This kid won't be here long

This kid won’t be here long

Fist of fury

Almost forgot! Fist of fury requires replicating Bruce Lee’s one inch punch on a tiny target. True technique requires sending the kids more up than back. I suppose there’s some technique to landing too.

Broad time and modal domains

Broad time and modal domains

Child Protective Services, these kids are being perfectly cared for.

Child Protective Services, these kids are being perfectly cared for.

Monkey takes a turn

Monkey takes a turn

New Roof

If you were concerned about coming to visit us because of our roof…your problem is solved.

Thanks to an honest roofer who suggested we have an insurance appraiser take a look at our roof before he gave us a bid on redoing it, and thanks to the December 21 storm that tried to blow the house into the next county, yesterday we had a new roof put on.

They removed two dormer vents off the back.

They removed two dormer vents off the back.

Looks pretty.

Looks pretty.

Sunny Sunday and Rememberences

Our Sundays have developed a delightful pattern.

I leave early for choir practice or to prep for RE if it is my week to teach.

The crew joins me at church just as the service begins at 11.

We enjoy the service together, in the sanctuary, or in RE.

Crafting in RE together.

Crafting in RE together.

Create, create, create.

Create, create, create.

Then we head to lunch to visit with our new church family.

After church, Thena and Imani come over to play, and Thena and I go for a swim.

It is such a relaxing, easy ending to the week. Thena is a great swim coach, which I appreciate.

And I’m so grateful to have found new friends who slot into our life so easily.

This is a simple, short, not-about-much blog post.

It’s because with so many of you, I simply cannot recall how we became friends.

Tania, I know it was CrossFit, but I don’t remember how we went from gym buddies to friends.

Tania and Buddie's team.

Tania and Buddie’s team.

Louisa and crew: Girl Scouts, but before that, was it just being at the park together?

2013-11-11 11.40.26

Kelly and Paula: Playgrouup, but we were friends with Gisella first, how did we get lucky enough to find you in our lives?

Beautiful day in the sun.

Beautiful day in the sun.

Mia: You, I remember! It was playgrouup, and you turned to me and said, “Jennie, I have a certain vision in my head of why people homeschool, and you don’t fit that vision. Why do you homeschool?” It was said in such a loving, non-judgmental way, how could I help but love you?

Look at me holding up this wall!

Look at me holding up this wall!

Jenny and Gina&Todd, location, location, location-living in the same place helps people connect. Luckily, once the connections are made, location ceases to matter.

What's not to love about this face?

What’s not to love about this face?

Couples that organize together, stay together.

Couples that organize together, stay together.

Well, April, I knew we needed you, but I don’t remember how it started?

April and I needed to be friends to survive this crowd.

April and I needed to be friends to survive this crowd.

Anyone else reading this, who isn’t family, but didn’t get mentioned above, I want to remember how I met you, too. All these connections matter so much to me. I don’t want to lose any of them.

The Rest Of Us

While Buds and Monkey were off coding bugs, the rest of us were having adventures, too.

We dropped Hamlet off at the weekly adoption fair so people could see him in the flesh to see if he might be a good match for their family. He has gotten increasingly comfortable at our house, and we are, naturally, growing more and more attached to him, but we all recognize that a family with younger cats would be a fun option for him.

Pretty relaxed.

Pretty relaxed.

Kind of doofy.

Kind of doofy.

There was the possibility that someone might take him home with them that day, so Buster, Yessa, and I said a loving good bye to him before we headed off.

Then the youngsters and I headed over to see The Lego Movie, which was a big hit with us. Even a few tears for me at the end. “Everything is Awesome” knocked “Let It Go” out of my head for a few hours. Buster said it was, “The best Lego movie ever in the history of the world.”

After the movie we still had time before we headed back to Petco to see if Hamlet would be returning to our home or not, so we tried out Perl Cafe. It was a hit only with me, but I’ll be glad to take Buds there sometime soon.

Well, yes, we will try gingerbread donuts.

Well, yes, we will try gingerbread donuts.

Lavender Lemonade for the win!

Lavender Lemonade for the win!

After lunch, we drove over to see if the gray, raccoon-tailed one was waiting for us. He was exhausted from having been in a metal cage for hours, and even hissed at me when I tried to scoop him out from the end. It was a half-hearted hiss, though. He barely meowed on the way home in the carrier, and as soon as we opened the carrier up, he walked out, looked around, and began to purr loudly. I had explained to him what would be happening, but apparently he didn’t totally get it.

He was glad to be back, though.

Happy and relaxed.

Happy and relaxed.

Then we popped down to pick up Monkey who was loaded down with all the gifts from the Python Conference, and back home for a relaxing evening while Buds stayed to code.

A winning day for everyone.

Turning the tide

We were able to sneak Monkey into the day-long Young Coders Tutorial at PyTennessee, the nascent Python programming conference in town. She came in just under the wire twice. A spot opened up on Twitter at the last moment and the age limit for the class was 12. Luckily, round(Monkey.age, 0) == 12.

Mommie2zs was nervous to see her girl, all by herself alone at a conference with 275 mostly male coders. Daddy2zs was confident in the gentility and helpfulness of Python programmers. A unfortunate misunderstanding at a conference a year ago has led to conduct policies with real muscle and self-reflection about being a welcoming community.

She looks cross, but she's just letting Mom know she's okay.

She looks cross, but she’s just letting Mom know she’s okay.

Monkey wants to be a coder. She was a pig in mud at the conference, a boisterous lover of learning. She had taken Code Academy classes as well as a Minecraft programming class. We had a tasty lunch together midway through, and bubbled “I’m loving this.” She stalked the halls with confidence and looked like she belonged. At the end of the day, she tried to crack the ribs of her instructor with a giant hug.

The real best part? Committed people addressing a real problem. PyTennessee embraced diversity. 50% of the Young Coders were young ladies and women made up 10-15% of the PyTN attendees. That’s not a huge number, but more than average. 29% of AP Computer Science test takers in Tennessee were girls. This is the highest rate in the US. Why’s it so high? One killer teacher at a all-girls school in Chattanooga had 30 students take the test. One person can make a difference.

So what was the best part for Zoe? Owning her own tiny computer (all the participants got a Respberry Pi)? Spending the day conferencing–a most adult activity? Time from Dad? Her favorite part of Young Coders was when the whole class had to dig in and fix two bugs in games caused by interactions between the Raspberry Pi and sound output. That’s good, because fixing bugs is what coders young and old do.

Parlor Games

Belle Meade is the plantation down the road, and they have a great assortment of homeschool offerings. Today we attended the Plantation Parlor Games & Pastimes. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but a combination of fantastic weather, quick moving activities, attending with friends, and 6 minute drive from our house, combined to make a splendid outing.

The entire event began with the whole group watching a puppet show with an assortment of puppets. Kids are such fans of physical humor. A funny tilt of the head, or a horse brandishing a sword with its mouth, these are all sure-fire laugh generators.

The puppet stage

The puppet stage

Enthralled by the puppets:

Everything's better with friends.

Everything’s better with friends.

Then we broke into smaller groups for various sessions. Our group started by playing the Victorian Parlor Game “Tableau.” We broke into three groups, and by sheer happenstance, our group was all kids who had been in the HS gym class at the Y last session, so all the children and Moms knew each other, which was fun. Tableau is like charades, except you work in groups, and you freeze in a scene. For example, our scene was “Ice Skating” so we each chose a way to represent that, and then the larger group guessed what we were doing.

From there we moved to the dance session where we learned the Virginia Reel.

Listening to the dulcimer during our Virginia Reel session.

Listening to the dulcimer during our Virginia Reel session.

We discovered we all like group dancing, especially when the steps are prescribed and we know what the steps are!

From the Virginia Reel we went to the Magic Lantern Session, which was my favorite. We had been thinking of a Magic Lantern similar to the scene from Tangled, but a Victorian Magic Lantern actually looks like this. Audience participation is required for a magic lantern show, and we clapped, drummed, neighed, and “Ta-Da’d” our way through the show.

Not great quality.

Not great quality.

On the right in the picture above, you can see the crowd prompts. It is the sign for “applause” in this picture. On the left was the narrator reading us the story, and the circle in the middle of the blown out picture showed the story of the wild mustangs who became part of a circus.

From the Magic Lantern we moved outdoors to learn a couple more Victorian games.

Buster as the first "You Can't Make Me Laugh" reader.

Buster as the first “You Can’t Make Me Laugh” reader.

In the game above, the person in the middle reads a story line by line. The circle acts out the line as hilariously as they can, and when the narrator laughs, a new narrator is chosen.

Pass the object.

Pass the object.

In the second game we played, an ordinary object is passed from person to person while the center “it” hides her eyes. After the count of 10, all hands go behind backs, and “it” has to guess who holds the object. The children were cackling like crazy during this one.

Time spent with friends, learning new things, outdoors on a gorgeous day.

Happy, happy, happy.

Prime Number

I wrote about parental fear a few posts ago…different issue this morning.

This morning the 9 y.o. declares he is going to find his way to fame by finding the pattern in prime numbers.

Then he says, “Mom, you’ll help me, right?”

As husband laughs hysterically in the background, Mom responds, “Of course, Buster.”