The poem for today was ‘a poem to yourself’, we weren’t quite sure what that meant, so here is what we came up with.

I want to be a cook
and make hamburgers and hot dogs and fries.
I want to make cheese
and eat it.
I want to go on a cruise
and snorkel in the sea.
I want to drum
in a circle on a djembe.
I want play my harmonica
and learn a new song.

I want to be a marine biologist,
as you can see.
That means studying
math, science and biology.
I want to see a kelp forest,
and snorkel with fish,
this is my wish.

i am confused.
all these memories
taking up space in my mind.
every day I find a new one
leaping out
and wonder
if i will remember.

Don’t worry, I tell myself,
though it seems that days are flashing
forward at a rate that is approaching
light speed,
these whirlwind days are full
of happiness
and growing
of memories
and knowing
that even at light speed
what I do
makes a difference.

Bethany wrote this speech from Bartolome de las Casas point of view for history:

My friends, I have come to talk to you about the horrible mistreatment of the Indians in this New World. I have watched with my own eyes as fellow white men burn, murder and steal from the Indians as though they are not a race to be noticed. I ask that you notice these people, and take it upon yourselves to no longer murder the people that have done you no harm. We come here to their land and make them servants. We require that they work on our land for no pay or little pay with the threat of the lash on their backs. There must be a better way to convert the Indians to Christianity than torture. I have seen a chief that was to be burned alive reject the faith because, in his words, if white men were in heaven, “Then I will not be a Christian, for I would not again go to a place where I must find men so cruel!” Learn from the faith that we are all brothers, we are all made in God’s image and we need to treat each other with respect. The Indian is a proud man, he is not an infidel, he is not a barbarian, he is a brother and until we treat him like one, we will not win their love…and this love is what we truly want them to have for us and for God.

We went to Four mile house for their free day.

We got to pet the horses, we saw two tiny baby bunnies and walked around the property.

The snow was so wet that there isn’t much left, the sun started melting it this morning and poof, wet ground and mud, no snow. Those goats crack me up, all that hair…everywhere.

I like the way the pine beetles make tracks in the trees, not so good for the pines, but it is cool to see.

Tonight we have a night of worship at church, it’s nice to go and just sing. I have no big plans for tomorrow (because we have BIG plans for next Saturday, Doors Open Denver), so we might take a picnic to Chatfield or something.


Here comes a spring snow. Nice and wet and a lot of it. Don’t forget March and April are our snowiest months, we didn’t get much in March, so April here we come. More snow means more water in the summer!

Poem for the day, alliteration.

Snow softly, silently,
drops down daintily,
wrapping the world in white.

Both brown bees have been bossy,
they bring beds and boxes to the bank.
Basically they are blind,
before the breaking of dawn.

Calico cats walk the catwalk
and calico cats can climb.
Dumb dogs eat doughnuts
and dumb dogs get dangerous.

Bowties can be brown,
or blue,
or black,
or blingy,
but really,I like mine rosy red.
Dr. Who dares to wear them deliberately-
because bowties are beautiful.
-B (It’s Dr. Who Bowtie day)

And to think, I was just about to pack up the snowmen.

Maisy says, you want me to go where?

Check the squirrel tree, sniff the snow, pee, run back in.

We’re in for the morning doing school. Grace has a live Q&A session with an oceanographer, we might get out for lunch and if it stops snowing we’ll go sledding on the post office hill. Beans for dinner simmering in the crockpot, just right for a snowy day.

Oh! And the Opera Colorado show last night of Romeo and Juliet was amazing. It was sung mostly in English (and some French) and was abridged, but it was really good. The best quote of the night was from Hannah after Romeo and Juliet kissed 4 times in a row and then had a really long kiss, she said, ‘Are the faking?’ The lady next to her laughed, I said no, they aren’t faking. Grace moved to a better seat so she could see and Hannah was drifting over to the lady next to her, craning around people to see the show. Hannah exclaimed when it was over that ‘it was the best show ever.’ See, take your kids to things they think they will hate, they probably won’t hate it as much as they thought!

Hump day

I decided not to head to WP today. I think I could get there, even though Berthoud pass is icy, but they are expecting snow and I don’t think the van would make it back over the pass in icy/snowy conditions. The kids were looking forward to tubing, but I just don’t think it’s worth the risk of getting stuck. It’s supposed to snow here too, maybe tonight, we can see the clouds rolling in on the weathercam from the mountains. So, we stayed home and did some school. We are going out tonight though, to see Romeo and Juliet with Opera Colorado.

Day 2 – a poem from the point of view of a plant.

In the spring,
I am a pink studded tree,
a cherry blossom tree.
Bees come to take my pollen.
People come to get my berries.
The wind blows my leaves,
and berries fall.
In the fall with my berries gone,
and my leaves falling,
I am just a tree

I am a blue flower.
I sway in the wind.
Suddenly a butterfly lands on me.
Its proboscis tickles me
as it sucks the nectar out of me.
Then I hear a bee buzz,
and the butterfly flies away.
I heave a sigh of relief and then begin to sway,
but then the bee comes closer,
and takes my pollen as he flies away.
I shudder at the end of the day.

I am a flower
attired in pink.
My petals are infinitesimal.
For hours in the grass
I’ve stood
against the wind
enjoying the embrace
of the sun.

Entombed in my warm dark world I wait,
until sun rays reach deep and pull my soul.
I climb out of the depths-
out of the dark.
I unfurl into the atmosphere,
drinking in the dew,
soaking in the golden light.
I stretch forth silky shoots,
and slowly unravel leaves of green.
I sway with the wind, dancing on the breeze,
until summers end calls me down again.

Funny photobomb pics from AutoAwesome yesterday:



Let’s see…Bethany is about to start on her research paper for history – art from the Renaissance, Industrial revolution and Contemporary times (from 1945-present) compared and contrasted. She also has a paper in english analyzing 3 speeches and comparing/contrasting them. Grace is working on her essay of an autobiographical incident (the cruise) while Hannah is working on an essay about Mr. Otter. Grace is also doing a fund raiser for herself, she’s trying to get gas money to go to California and visit with marine biologist Alex and conservationists Mrs. Maris I and Ms. Maris II from Save the Whales. Gas is a big part of the trip, food is another and we’d be camping so that doesn’t cost much (I’ve already found a few free sites, but we’d have to pay for a few nights here and there as the free ones aren’t close to where we’d be.) We don’t know exactly when we’re going, we’re shooting for Sept. and that’s as far as I’ve gotten!

Some cool poetry links here and here.

I’ll be updating the SCFD free days and events/fests under Things to do in Denver shortly. It’s Peanut Butter Jelly Day too, hope you had an awesome sandwich.

(Source – Photo: Bob Laird, USA TODAY)

Start of the week

We went to church, the girls and I worked in the 2′s and 3′s room. We had one daring escapist who thought it was funny to kick the small door in and crawl through to run up the stairs. Everyone else was content to watch a video, sing songs, color, do a craft and stay in the room.

After lunch, James brought Grandma over and we had coffee and doughnuts. She bought me some green earrings for my birthday, which was nice. We stayed in for the rest of the day, we had sandwiches for dinner and watched the last Poirot; he dies, it was sad. But, we have all 13 seasons, so we can go watch a younger Suchet use ‘the little gray cells’ to catch the bad guys.

Today we did school, Bethany has her last block and it’s all core courses: English, History and Earth Science. Today we started on our poem a day, this list comes from Magic and Mayhem’s site, I like it (and I didn’t have to write my own list.)

1. Write a poem where every line starts with the same letter.
2. Write a poem from the point of view of a plant.
3. Write a poem that uses a great deal of alliteration (here’s a refresher what alliteration means).
4. Write a poem to yourself.
5. Write a poem that starts with the first three words of a song lyric that you like. End it with three more words from the lyrics.
6. Create a found poem. Here’s a refresher of what found poetry is. Experiment a lot with where you break the lines and end the poem in order to make the biggest impact.
7. Write a poem with lines that all have odd numbers of words, and no repeat of numbers (for instance, lines could be 7, 5, 9, 13 and 1 word long).
8. Write a poem about a historic figure.
9. Write a poem that retells a fairy tale theme in a new way (for instance, from the perspective of the wicked witch, or with Snow White choosing a different ending).
10. Write a twitter poem — it must be 140 characters or less.
11. Take an old poem of your own and replace at least 50% of the words with new words (they can be synonyms, antonyms or any words at all). See which version you prefer. Then write the poem again with whichever words you prefer.
12. Do the same exercise with a classic nursery rhyme.
13. Write a poem that is exactly 16 lines long and starts with the word sometimes.
14. Write a haiku about winter. (Remember, a haiku is generally 5-7-5 syllables long.)
15. Open up a book and put your finger on a random word. Do it 9 more times. Write down those 10 words and use them in a poem.
16. Write a poem that includes the words other, mother, smother and/or cover at least 10 times (any of the words or all). Feel free to add other words and phrases that sound similar (such as brother and of her).
17. Write a poem as an elderly version of yourself looking back on these years.
18. Write a poem that starts with the word and.
19. Find a photograph that you like (that you took or found) and write a poem to accompany it.
20. Write FOREVER down a sheet of paper. Write a poem with each line starting with the corresponding letter.
21. Pick one of the 24 poets every child should know and read at least 5 poems by her/him, then write a poem about a subject in one of the poems while the poet’s voice is still fresh in your mind.
22. Write a gravestone poem — a poem about someone who has died (made up, real, historical, anyone) that would fit on a gravestone and sum up that person in just a few short lines.
23. Write a poem about an aspect of yourself that is made up for the poem (for instance, what it’s like to be an immigrant or the time you saved the world).
24. Write a dice poem. Get out one or two dice and roll to see how many words each line should be. If you like, roll to find out how many lines long it should be, too.
25. Think of a popular ad slogan and work that into a poem. Try to use the phrase in a totally different way (for instance, making “good to the last drop” be about tears).
26. Write a poem about a childhood memory.
27. Set a timer for 3 minutes and write a random poem about anything that comes to mind nonstop with your non-dominant hand (for instance, your left hand if you are right handed). When the timer goes off, recopy it with your dominant hand and add three lines anywhere in the poem.
28. Write a poem about a dream you’ve had.
29. Write a poem that incorporates at least three senses (for instance, what you can hear, see or taste).
30. Write a poem about yourself in the third person (as if you were writing about someone else).

Here are ours:

Otters on a rock in the ocean,
only swim with seals.
Ocean seals must be playful,
or otters pick a new friend!

Dolphins play in the ocean,
dashing through the waters,
diving daringly in white capped waves,
dancing dolphins swim within.

Mario is a hero -
magnificent video game character.
Mario Party is his game,
mushroom stomping is his aim.

Spring is in the air,
smells of flowers are everywhere.
Stepping in grass so green,
smiling at the springy scene.

The rest of the week looks like: a co-op about My Side of the Mountain and edible plants, a sledding trip to Winter Park, a JASON Q&A event with an oceanographer, a visit to 4 mile house with friends and school.

Dance day

Bethany is still on spring break, she used some of her off time to finish up her fan fiction story. I didn’t realize how large the story had become until she asked if we had enough ink in the printer to print it out, of course, what a silly question – 46 pages later I was rethinking that answer. Yes, she typed a 46 page story about Mario and characters. It’s a good thing she doesn’t have Creative writing in this next block, her teacher would swoon to have to read through and grade that many pages of a story.

Grace and Hannah did their school work quickly. Grace is in the American west in History at the time of cowboys and Native Americans, trains and cattle drives. Hannah is in the Middle ages at the time of feudalism, castles, cathedrals and the plague. Grace is writing an autobiographical event for writing, it’s about the cruise we went on. She has one last week in her Coursera class, this week is part two of Marine conservation. Grace didn’t feel well, so after lunch she took a nap to get ready for dance. Today was observation day, since we only had 2 people dancing we split the time 50/50.

There were a lot of people missing in Grace’s class, spring break was the main reason.

Both dances look pretty good so far, hopefully the people that were missing show up so they can learn more of the dances.

At home I had mole chicken in the crockpot, rice and beans on the stove. Hannah just had rice and beans, I offered to cook some plain chicken (mole sauce has peanuts in it), but she just wanted rice and beans. After dinner we went to the gym and walked on the track, Hannah made it 1 mile, Grace and I did 1.5. Tomorrow we’re hiking with some people in our HS group and we plan on doing 4-6 miles, depending on how everyone is feeling.

Nice day

We had a good weekend, took in the St. Paddy’s Parade, napped, had good pizza at Pizzeria Locale, went to church and saw a show called ‘Tossed and Found’. We took Grandma to the show, she had a good time. The guy was a juggler/dancer/magician, he danced with trashcans, balanced boxes on his thumb and juggled plastic bags – you had to be there, but it was a really good show.

Today they girls woke up late, Bethany took her Art final, Grace and Hannah worked on school and then went to dance. I did not get corned beef and cabbage for dinner, so dinner is whatever we get at Target when we go shopping tonight. The girls are looking forward to tomorrow, we’re going to Pueblo to the Buell museum, raptor center and Lake Pueblo. It was supposed to rain today, now the rain has moved to tomorrow, hopefully it’s light and doesn’t bother us in Pueblo. Wednesday we have a co-op at a bank, Thursday is a new park for park day and Friday is my Jeppensen co-op. Saturday we plan on exploring Chatfield and Sunday is my birthday and we’re going to see the new Muppet movie, because I want to (and it’s my birthday.)

Grace has some new stuff up on her blog, she got a nice note from a marine biologist friend and is gathering supplies for some experiments. Hannah might be getting a new drum (shhh…it’s a surprise) before the next drum circle night in April. Bethany put in her request to be a volunteer at Children’s hospital, but it may be weeks before she hears anything back. Joel has been working extra days and is working on writing up his forms to better express to the lay people on the insurance end why a wheelchair or ambulance was needed for transport. If it’s not the right reason/code, they drag their heels paying the company, so it’s pretty important. That’s about it for today, it was a very pretty day outside, very windy though (which tells me that yes, the weather is going to change.)

A nice park day

Bethany did a little school and got the news that if she had everything done and was making a ‘A’ in Science, she doesn’t have to take the final. She has an ‘A’ and everything is done, so she gets to skip that final. A nice unseen reward. She still has finals in Art, Nutrition and Math to do though.

We went to the park after lunch and we had a small crowd there of public school kids (teacher conferences) and we had our own small crowd of homeschoolers, about 10 families with an average of 2 kids each, so about 20 kids. It was nice to see so many of our friends and some new friends too. Hannah was in a deep conversation with L and I asked his Dad if L liked MLP, no….how about Dr. Who? Yes! Then that’s what Hannah was talking about.

north by northwest

After dinner (Beef soup with cheese tortellini) James and I went to Alamo movie house to see North by Northwest. Any chance I get to see a classic film on the big screen – I take it. If you haven’t seen this classic Hitchcock on the big screen, you are missing out, especially on the airplane scene. We watched this movie with the kids before we went to Mt. Rushmore one time, but it’s always good to see a classic no matter how many times you’ve seen it. Cary Grant is at his best in this film, sure I like him when he was black and white and younger, but in this film he looks pretty good for his age, maybe a bit too tan, but not bad.

Tomorrow we have friends coming over to visit (they are in from China) and school to do and that’s about it.

A snow for Ash Wednesday

It snowed last night and this morning, it was beautiful. We had 4 inches of wet snow clinging to tree branches and coating everything with white. A good start to the day.

I was thinking how nice it would be to start the Easter season with an Ash service, a time to reset, to repent, to remember and to renew. So, we went to Cherry Hills for their service. It was short and somber, we listened to Bible readings, said some liturgy, and received the sign of the cross on our foreheads (or hands.) The ashes are an outward sign of something happening within; I spent the rest of the day forgetting that I had a gray cross on my head, but every time I looked in the mirror – I was taken aback, Oh, yes, that’s right, I have ashes on my head. It was an immediate reminder to think about the day and the upcoming days. The season of Lent is far less commercial than the season of Advent, but there is still a need for reflection and time spent thinking about the true purpose of the season, in this case the death and Resurrection of God’s one and only Son, Jesus. It may be a time to ‘give up’ something, not being catholic we don’t have any rules attached to our observation of Lent. We can give up or take up something. Grace decided to give up chocolate, Bethany dairy, Hannah decided to start reading a book a day and I am giving up frustration and taking up a mantle of prayer. The point is not to leave out something with no replacement, but to fill the void with something good, a kindness, a Bible reading, a prayer, something that makes you better.

Isaiah 61:1-3

1 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.

We took advantage of the snow to go sledding.

The sun was out and the temperature was rising fast, so we made the first and best tracks on Paintbrush hill.

By the time we got home, all the trees had shed their snow coat and the snow in our front yard was rapidly melting, easy come, easy go.

I made Moroccan stew for dinner and I made way too much. It had pork cubes, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, lentils, tomatoes, onions, apricots, cumin, garlic, chili powder, salt and pepper. We’ll be eating that for lunch tomorrow.

Bethany is done with testing, Grace’s curriculum arrived, we went to the gym to swim, things are getting back to normal.

Happy Mardi Gras

We have our King cake, we have our beads, we’re ready to roll.

Bethany spent the morning testing while I spent the morning cleaning up the school room. Grace’s curriculum will be arriving tomorrow and I needed to put up Hannah’s stuff and throw out the old things we don’t need. We went to IHOP for pancake day after we picked up Bethany. It’s right across from the highschool, so there were lots of teens in there getting free pancakes too. Later we went over to the Botanic gardens for free day, Grace took her extra beads and gave them away to the little kids that were there.

We walked around and Bethany took some pictures for art, it’s the unit on cameras.

Back at home I cleaned the bathrooms and started laundry while the girls played/worked. Dinner last night was Jerk chicken soup, tonight it’s pistachio crusted fish with asparagus and salad. I got tickets for James and me to see North By Northwest at Alamo drafthouse. It’s the first time I’ve been there and the first time we’ve seen that movie on the big screen.

Spring cleaning is getting rough around here, I’m tossing stuff left and right and if you want to keep it, you had better be there when I’m tossing it in the trash. I’m sure I’m going to hear ‘hey, where’s my….’ more than once. But, I can see the floor of my closet and the floor of Bethany’s and that is progress!


Well, we started out on task, Bethany did some papers for Nutrition and some on-line classes, Grace took her Coursera quiz and put her paper in, Hannah played. Then, Bethany made this for Science and well, we got a little crazy making funny things like this and this. I call it computer tech class.

After lunch we went by Chatfield state park to get an annual park pass. Now we can roam in and out of the state parks in CO. We went on a short walk from Gravel pond to the river and back again.

Tomorrow it’s fun and beads at the Manitou Springs Mardi Gras festival.