ordinary… mostly

"We have nothing to offer each other, except a haven." — K. Nafziger



Should have blogged in 2013… Part 2

(This is part of a series of things that I should have recorded in 2013 – things which were highlights of the year, but which didn’t get recorded when they were fresh in my mind. Now you mostly just get pictures.)

January 26 – Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Shortly after our trip to Black Rock, I took the girls to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. (It must have been Field Trip Week at the Rainbow House of Learning!) We spent the entire day and had a great time. The bad news is that my pictures are poor. The good news is that my parents gave us a family membership to the Carnegie Museums for Christmas. Expect more pictures!

Middle Daughter was also taking pictures that day. Being the aspiring ornithologist that she is, she took about 70 pictures (yes – 70!) of the museum’s bird collection, including the family favorite – the ivory-billed woodpecker.

Ivory-billed woodpecker

Birdorable ivory-billed woodpecker

Should have blogged in 2013… Part 1

(This is the first in a series of things that I should have recorded in 2013 – things which were highlights of the year, but which didn’t get recorded when they were fresh in my mind. Now you mostly just get pictures.)

January 22-24 – Family mini-vacation

In January, we traveled to Black Rock Retreat (a Mennonite camp in eastern Pennsylvania) for an overnight homeschool program. And since we were in the area, we added stops at the Herr’s Snack Factory, Wilbur Chocolate, a Hampton Inn (because we like staying there and because they had an indoor a pool to test out Middle Daughter’s underwater camera), and the Pennsylvania capitol building.

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It’s time to get ready for school! Oh… never mind.

After breakfast this morning, Ordinary Spouse/Home School Teacher went to tell the girls to get ready for school. This is what she found.


As it turns out, school had started without her.


Why you shouldn’t read homeschooling blogs

This evening, Ordinary Spouse exclaimed,

This is why I don’t read homeschooling blogs!

She was looking at a blog describing the curriculum for a particular second grader. It included the following textbooks:

  • 1 math
  • 1 grammar
  • 1 spelling
  • 1 writing
  • 3 world history
  • 2 United States history
  • 1 reading
  • 1 literature
  • 2 science
  • 1 vocabulary
  • 2 art
  • 2 geography
  • 1 critical thinking
  • 1 foreign language
  • 1 keyboard skills

Says Ordinary Spouse…

Nothing like a homeschooling blog to make you feel inadequate…

And then she went on to imagine this conversation between two homeschooling parents…

“What did you do in school today?”

“Oh, I gave my daughter a box of buttons and some felt.”

The crazy weather day

(Another special treat – Oldest Daughter’s thoughts on Superstorm Sandy, recorded in her journal during school today.)


They say it’s going to snow!


Now it says it’s going to rain!


They say now that it’s going to snow on Tuesday night!

WHAT IS THIS ALL ABOUT? Good question. On October 30, 2012, the day before Halloween, I woke up and went down the stairs. “Look at this picture,” were my dad’s first words to me. I looked at the picture. It was a picture of our picnic table sprinkled with snow! I looked out; sure enough. The picnic table was sprinkled with snow slush!


As the morning brightened, rain drizzles became more visible. But my dad called from the office and said the waterfall was DUMPING HARD!

So we got in our warm winter jackets and headed outside. When I stepped out, I suddenly became aware of the loud rush of the creek. We hurried over to our little creek* and found it was the most full we had ever seen it!

* Ed. note: We have a little, unnamed creek that runs right outside our back porch. It eventually feeds into Jacob’s Creek – the big creek running past camp. Jacob’s Creek is probably the one Middle Daughter heard, but she investigated the small one first.

Seeing BIG splashes, we hurried over to Jacob’s Creek.There were two enormous logs stuck in the middle of the creek! The creek itself, though, was at least one foot deeper than it usually was; maybe even two feet deeper!

We walked down to the office, but not by the lookout by the waterfall, because there was a huge hole made by water! We went to John’s office** (he wasn’t working) and saw the waterfall DUMPING! Words can’t describe how big it was! Even Brenda**, who has worked here for 16 years, had not ever seen it this full!

** John is Laurelville’s executive director; Brenda is the director of group reservations and guest services.

Then my sisters went to build a snowman out of the patches of snow slush. My mom and I watched them build while we huddled under our umbrellas, hiding from the cold, whipping wind. Their ‘slushman’ (or at least that’s what I call it!) turned out to be more of a snowpecker, so that’s what we called it. After ten minutes or so, we got cold, so we went home.

After lunch, it started SNOWING! Unfortunately, lots of it falls, but none of it sticks. And ever since this afternoon, it’s been falling – even at 3:52 pm on October 30, the time I wrote this period → .

Middle Daughter’s thoughts on Sandy

(Today we have a special treat. Middle Daughter will share her thoughts on Hurricane Sandy. She wrote these in her school journal after a mid-afternoon walk and wondered if I wanted to post them to my blog.)

Here come the leftovers of Hurricane Sandy. One of the most amazing things here is… SNOW! It’s the first snow of the year. I mean – there was January, but that was a long time ago.

I see many things… like snow, of course. Birds, including chickadees, titmice, and another bird we think is a hermit thrush. And last, but not least, we saw three deer.

I can hear a few things, too. Some of the things I can hear are the highway and the creek. The creek isn’t a good creek for whitewater rafting – until now. Well, actually, it’s a little too dangerous for whitewater rafting!

I’ve seen a splash in the creek that was six feet high! I can feel snow on my face, and I can also feel just plain cold. Well, I guess it has to be cold to snow.

Thanks, MD!

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