Sunday, June 30, 2013


We didn't realize when we moved here that there was actually family in the area. My mother-in-law's aunt and uncle and cousins lived about thirty minutes from us! We were very glad to have family close and have really enjoyed getting to know Aunt Marilyn and her sons (unfortunately, Uncle Paul died our first winter here and we were never able to actually meet him). She is quite the record keeper and has many stories about our family history. One of the first things we learned was the story of Jonathan's grandmother, Yuvetta. 

Yuvetta's first husband was a drunk and a gambler. Her family did not ever help her, and conditions were miserable. She had a little girl and they named her Andrea Leah. Little Andrea was born with heart problems, however, and became very ill. During the winter Andrea and her mother would crawl into bed together with all of their winter clothes on to keep warm. They had no food most of the time, and Yuvetta's husband would not let them have money for heating the home. Jonathan's grandfather, David, saw the situation and rescued Yuvetta and Andrea, helping them where they needed it. Yuvetta and David married in December of 1954. Barely a month later Andrea died from complications from her heart and pneumonia. A year later doctors had advanced the technology and techniques to perform the heart operation that would have saved little Andrea.

Aunt Marilyn told us that Andrea had been buried in a cemetery that we pass regularly. We finally decided we needed to go and find her. Last week we visited and had no luck but after making a couple of calls we came back today and found Andrea Leah Pemberton.

We carefully cleared off her headstone, cleaned it some, and cut away the tall grass around it. We explained to the kids that taking care of the headstones and making sure they are kept nice is a way to respect to our family and their memory.

As part of our Fun for the Family award through scouting David made a rubbing of her headstone. We talked about how old she was and talked about the sort of life she had. It made us all very grateful for the many blessings we enjoy.

Our little Andi is named after Andrea. We didn't realize until today that our Andrea and the Andrea she is named after both have "L" middle names! Quite the coincidence...

Cemeteries are always so peaceful and quiet, and a place of reverence and reflection. It was a nice activity for us on this beautiful Sunday. I'm very glad that we found her. Next time we go we'll take some flowers.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Cub Scout Journal

When I mention David's Cub Journal this is what I'm talking about:

Knowing that I wanted to incorporate our Cub stuff with home schooling I decided that David needed a specific journal just for Cub Scouting. I covered a composition notebook with blue paper, then put the Tiger Cub sticker on the front. The scout shop had a set of nifty stickers that included the Tiger, Bear, Wolf, and Bobcat diamonds. They measure about 4"x4" and made the perfect addition to the front of David's book.

David will use his journal to write about his activities, to document his progress, and to complete character connections. Since I have the other stickers as well I will make journals for each year. On the inside front cover I've included a picture of David in uniform from his first pack meeting. On the back cover I'll put a picture of him when he has received his Tiger Cub award. Every year I'll take "before and after" shots of him to inclue in each journal. I think it will be fun to look back at all of his activities and to watch his progress over the years through these journals. I think it will also be a lot of fun someday when he gets his Eagle to have his journals out at his Court of Honor. :)

+ Six

Much to David's joy a member of my home school forum posted that she had tadpoles to give away. They'd been on the cover of her neighbor's pool. He was trying to open is pool for the summer and didn't want to kill the tadpoles. So instead he sought out new homes for the little guys. We came home with six, and I don't think David could be happier.

They are tiny right now, barely an inch long. But already we've noticed that they've gotten bigger in just the day that we've had them.

Of course I got the bright idea that this could take care of some Cub Scout stuff while at the same time giving him some fun school work to do every day. So here's the plan:

Using his own library card,  David will check out several books from the library about tadpoles and frogs. He is part of the summer reading program at the library, so this will fit in perfectly with that program. We'll read the books together, and he'll report to me what he's learned. We'll record all of that in his Cub journal. He'll write a report and short stories about his tadpoles and how he's taking care of them.

Next, I'll teach him about the different features of my camera and how to use it. I have a diagram that David will fill out, and he'll record what he's learned in his journal. We'll discuss how photography helps us and has contributed to our lives and to the world at large. Then he'll teach his dad about what he's learned. Under close supervision he'll take pictures of his tadpoles and chart their growth and development.

When the tadpoles are ready we will release them into the swamp behind the house. At that point the bulk of the project will be finished and we'll start in on a book about his tadpoles. Using his pictures and journal entries we are going to make a scrapbook about our adventures with the tadpoles. It will include a table of contents, index, and glossary, all of the pictures he's taken and the posters he's constructed, and other tidbits of information we collect along the way. David will design a front cover for his book then we'll print it off. Walgreens has a great paperback book option that is rather inexpensive, though if I find a good deal we'll do a hardbound book. David will take the book to a pack meeting read his book and share what he's learned and our experiences with the pack.

Here is what he will earn:

  • Tiger Elective 31: Learn about animals.
  • Tiger Elective 14 : Together with your adult partner, read a book or magazine.
  • Cub Scouts Academics and Sports Program: Pet Care Belt Loop
    • Care for your pet for two weeks. Make a list of the tasks that you did to take care of your pet. 
    • Read a book... about your pet. List three new interesting facts that you learned about your pet.
    • Make a poster about your pet. Share your poster with your den, pack, or family.
  • Cub Scouts Academics and Sports Program: Photography Belt Loop
    • Point out the major features of a camera to your den or family and explain the function of each part.
    • Discuss with your adult partner the benefits and contributions photography makes to modern life.
    • Using a camera, take at least 10 pictures of your family, pet, or scenery; show these to your den.
  • Cub Scouts Academics and Sports Program: Reading and Writing Belt Loop:
    • Visit a library and get your own library card. Check out and return a book.
    • Write a letter or a short story. Read it to your den or family.
    • Keep a diary of your activities for one week. Read it to your den or family.
  • Cub Scouts and Academics and Sports Program: Reading and Writing Pin:
    • Requirement 1 - Locate and identify the following parts of a book: title, author, spine, cover, table of contents, and index.
    • Requirement 3 - Participate in a school or community organized reading program. : We have David signed up in for the reading program at the library.
    • Requirement 5 - Create a bookmark that you can use, or design a book cover.
    • Requirement 7 - Write a poem and read it to a family member.
    • Requirement 8 - Write a short report about something of interest to you. Read your report to your den or family.
  • Cube Scouts Academics and Sports Program: Computer Belt Loop:
    • Explain the parts of a personal computer.
    • Demonstrate how to start up and shut down a personal computer properly.
    • Use your computer to prepare and print a document.
This will also be a great opportunity for us to continue some schooling through the summer. Reading and writing, science, and math will all be included in this big project, and I think it will give him some focus to the school work and make it easier for him to finish.

I'm hoping it works out well!

Thursday, June 27, 2013


Every year a neighboring city puts on a HUGE fireworks display. Here things are funny, only a few cities actually shoot off fireworks on the 4th of July. Most displays are held the week before or after. Our first summer here my dad was in town for the big fireworks display, so we decided to go. The show was great, getting out of the parking lot was not. The show ended at 10:30, and we did not get out of the lot until midnight. We spent a whole 45-minute stretch in the car not moving an inch before my dad walked out and around to find us a better way out. A way he found, and we were off! None of us got into bed before 1:00 a.m., and the next morning was a drag.

Last year we went to a balloon launch and watched their fireworks. Fun, but it was far away and we ended up getting home just as late.

This year we wanted to stay close to home, but we did NOT want a repeat of our first year. So rather than go and join all the festivities and stay at the park to watch the fireworks we decided to have our own festivities!

A DQ trip sounded like a fun treat.

 Then we drove to a school near the park where they have the fireworks and parked there. We pulled out chairs and a blanket and were eaten alive by mosquitoes waited.

At 10:06 we heard the first boom!
It was really perfect. We were close enough to see the display but they weren't so loud that they would scare any of the kids. Peter was fascinated.

As soon as the display was over we took off. We were right next to our car, so we bolted and were out and on the road within two minutes of the display's end. We pulled some tricky moves, took a few back roads, and were home within twenty minutes. MUCH better than the previous years.

Andi must have really enjoyed the fireworks because she pitched a royal fit when we went to leave. She refused to walk towards the car, so Jonathan had to run back with a screaming toddler under his arm. She continued to holler until I told her that only little girls who don't scream or cry get to go see more fireworks. As soon as we got home she sat in our chair and fell asleep.

So I would call the evening a success. :)

Monday, June 24, 2013

All around the mulberry bush

A week ago the kids came marching through the front door with deep purple on their faces and all over their clothes. I was certain they'd gotten into some sort of fist fight and clobbered each other. But not really. They'd just discovered the berries on a mulberry tree down the way.

So for the last week any time the kids are hungry and I won't give them a snack they sneak off to this tree behind the house and eat berries until they're satisfied. Stinkers.

 I finally had enough with the stained clothes and mess an told them they weren't allowed to eat anymore or sit around that tree. Then I told them that they could pick the berries and we'd do something special with them.

 Andi has been happily picking away with our garden basket in tow. She forgot her shoes, though...
That's all berry juice. Post bath. Stained into her feet. I guess you only get to be a kid once. She's better than me, I wandered through a chicken coop without shoes until I was a teenager.

SO! FHE tonight. And we're doing something new. And since I'm fairly certain I'll have a few more cub scouts go through the program I'm going to document everything we do here so I can come back and remember how I did it with David.

Jonathan taught the lesson. We pulled out the Family Proclamation and read that, then asked David about what a family is and what the purpose of a family is. We explained that families are supposed to teach us how to be better, responsible people.

I then asked what sort of responsibilities we have in our home, and who takes care of them. I asked David to list all of the things that have to be done in a day and pointed out to him that each of us do something to help the family run smoother. David picks up his toys so Peter doesn't choke and so we don't step on them and break them. I cook dinner so everyone is fed and healthy. Daddy studies hard to provide for our family. Andi helps put away the dishes so we have clean dishes and a place to put the dirty ones. Peter is happy and smiles, so he makes everyone happy. :)

We talked about having a positive attitude as we worked. We want a positive attitude for several reasons, but mostly so that it is easier to do the work and so that we can have a spirit of peace in our home.

After making our list of duties in the home we divided them up amongst ourselves. For a week we're all going to focus on three chores around the house and finish our tasks cheerfully (that's the idea at least). Tomorrow I will do one of David's chores with him, and at the end of the week we'll talk about how we did and how it helped our family.

This takes care of several things:

  • Tiger Cub: Achievement 1, Family Activity - Think of one chore you can do with your adult partner. Complete it together.
    • Character Connections will be discussed and David will write his thoughts in his cub journal
  • Fun for the Family Award: Building a Family Team - M. Job Chart
    • Made the chart, discussed having a positive attitude, and we'll refer to our chart this week.
  • Cub Scout Academics and Sports Program: Citizenship belt loop
    • Made a list of jobs to do around the home, charting progress for the week in his cub journal
    • Make a poster showing things that you can do to be a good citizen; included in our chart we discussed how families strengthen us and help us to be good people. We discussed our responsibility to help our community
    • Family service project - we're cleaning the church building on Saturday
So that is our project for this week. I'm hoping the positive attitude sticks. ;)

Sunday, June 23, 2013


David almost walked into this little guy today while at the garden:

He was sitting on a ridge hidden amongst some very tall grass. David, walking on the ridge, didn't notice him until he was right next to him!

Now, we saw a newborn deer a couple weeks ago fall asleep next to a friend's pool fence. After a few hours the baby was still there, and the mom had run off. We were all pretty nervous, and my friend very nearly called an animal rehab specialist. After checking on the little guy at 3:00 a.m. (almost twelve hours after mom had deposited the baby at the fence) my friend put a blanket over him and went to bed. The next morning they learned from a neighbor that a twin had been stuck in the pool they were filling in and the mother had been there. They pulled baby B out, and they watched mom, baby B, and baby A run off to safety.

From this we knew not to be worried about the fawn David stumbled upon. They are often left upwards of eight hours before mom comes back to get them, especially when they are this little. And for the first couple of weeks they don't have a scent that predators can pick up on very easily, so they're pretty safe. After grazing for a while mom will come back and get her baby.

We snapped a few pictures then left him alone. We didn't want to touch him (well, I didn't want the kids to touch him) because I didn't want him to get scared and start calling for mom. She would have been one tough cookie and I really did not want to meet her. So off we went to visit our garden.

And it was a successful trip. We pulled off a bunch of leaves from our lettuce for a salad, and I pulled up one radish. They still need another week before we pick the rest from the Radish I square.

The onions are sprouting, the potato is poking through, and the beets are starting to make an appearance. Pretty excited!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Day Camp: Day 3

I was finally feeling fully prepared for that Tot Lot and it was just me and Peter today. :)
As we were leaving for camp, hustling kids out the door, Andi asked where we were going. When I told her we were going to Day Camp she lost it. We dragged her into the car, got her buckled in. To snap her out of her meltdown I asked if she'd just like to go home and I'd leave her there all day with Daddy. She nodded, then proceeded to unbuckle and try to get out the door. And she really tried to walk home. She was only four or five doors down, so I followed her home and made sure she got inside. But if she was that determined to stay home I wasn't going to make her come. I figure two full days outside was enough for her, I wasn't going to make her miserable and take her anyway. So I got to camp with one less kid to worry about. I spent a half hour with this guy...

But no one else showed up. Then it turns out no other families brought their little ones. So I was off the hook for most of the day and got to spend time doing what I'd really wanted to do: spend time with David!

David had a fantastic day. He again did really well at archery (he's a natural in that arena) and he got to spend time with the local robotics team. He controlled the t-shirt cannon for a spell. That was pretty awesome.

Next up: obstacle course. They called it mini-Philmont. David had a buddy and away they went through the course. They did very well, even managing to be one of the first teams to quickly get both of the partners through a hula hoop. They stood back-to-back and lifted the hoop up and over themselves whereas all the previous teams individually stepped through the hoop. Clever boys...

After lunch they had a carnival. The boys earned tickets for each of their dens. At the end of the day the den with the most tickets got first dibs on a bunch of popsicles.

(Post-popsicle with the robot his den built at crafts that day.)

While getting popsicles a fire engine pulled up into the park. After closing ceremonies the kids happily got soaked. I lost track of David pretty quickly. There were a few times I spotted him...

After getting TotLot packed up we were all ready to head out. On the way home I asked David what he thought, if he'd had fun. He gave an enthusiastic response, so I asked him if he understood now why Dad and I had insisted he work that lemonade stand last week. He did, and he also looks forward to working it again next year so he can go to Day Camp again. Which is exactly the kind of response I wanted him to have. ;)
We got home and had a special treat for David in the form of a letter: Cub Scout support from Gran and Baba. It went into the scouting jar. Thanks, Baba and Gran!

So we're all sunburned with sun-bleached hair. And tired, we're all unbelievably tired. But it was a great week and is David very excited to start earning his awards, belt loops, and pins.

Welcome to Scouting, Dave!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Pack Meeting - Crossing Over

Last night, after a full day at Day Camp, we headed off to the last Pack Meeting of the summer. Two weeks ago we all made model rockets, today was the launch. But first we watched all the cubs cross over to their next rank. 
David got his Bobcat award, so we're officially set and working hard on the Tiger requirements. We had several boys move up in rank, then one Webelows that crossed over to Boy Scouts. So excited for him! There is a big troop here that a number of packs feed into. They've been around for 80 years and are very good. A part of me hopes we stay in this area just so we can remain a part of this scouting community!

 Rocket launch! Way fun, and I'm not sure who was more excited about those rockets, the boys or the dads!

 At some point David discovered a killdeer nest. That was pretty neat...
 ... Until I found a baby squirrel!
Yes, that is Jonathan's pant leg it is climbing. Poor thing was shaking and chirping. I wish I could say that he was put next to one of the trees so his mom could find him (the kids were climbing the trees all night, I'm betting they knocked him out), but we pulled him out of the middle of the parking lot and someone was afraid he'd been abandoned and took him home to help him out until they could release him. I'll ask how he is doing at the kick-off meeting in August.

So now comes the fun. Jonathan is, or course, ready to dive into being a Scouting family. I'm excited, David is pretty excited. I think it will be a good thing. We've got the Academics and Spots program manual as well as the family program manual. We've got lots of great goals and ideas and I'm looking forward to watching it shape up in our family.

Day Camp: Day 2

 Day 2 was much better. April (the other mother), Tina (the grandmother) Chris (another mother and Tina's daughter), and I had a much better day. We all sort of pooled our resources and brought crafts from home for us all to do. I managed a trip to the dollar store right before closing to pick up pool noodles, sponges, and zip ties to make a game. We played water wars in the middle of the day with the above gang, plus one. :)

We had free-play time, craft time, snacks (provided by the camp), took excursions to the big playground outside the fence (that fenced section was amazing, and the fence so convenient!), had lunch, did our water war, then more free-play time. Before we knew it the time was 2:00 and it was almost time to go. For some reason that last half hour really drags, but the kids were happy and the adults stayed busy. Big change from yesterday! Tomorrow will be scary, though, because I'll be all on my own. Not sure how many kids are going to be there. Today we had six kids and four adults, I'm sort of crossing my fingers that it will be just me and my kids in the tot lot if the other moms and their kids aren't going to be there.

I did get out to see D a couple of times. This kid is a natural at archery! He needed a little help getting the string back, but he has good aim and did very well.

 By the end of the day everyone was tired. Poor baby took one 15 minute nap and then was up the rest of the day. Up until right before we got in the car, that is...
Cutie. When we got home we had dinner and the kids took baths. The dirt on all three of them was amazing!

Liking my orange shirt. Glad I was able to help fill a need. The camp was audited (?) and was awarded something. The director was really proud of the camp, and thanked all the staffers for making that happen. Not sure exactly what all happened, but I think it was a good thing.

Last day tomorrow.

Day Camp: Day 1

 Our little cub scout had a blast his first day. We found his "ship" (he's on the Enterprise...ha!) and got him settled. Then I went and tried to figure out where my Tot Lot attendant was supposed to go. Figured it out, but no one was staffing the Tot Lot. There were a couple of totes there, but that was it. So while I had volunteered to be a Den Walker (I thought I'd need to stay with D because he's a Tiger Cub), I ended up in the Tot Lot the entire day.

 It actually wasn't too bad. There was another mother and her two kids, and a grandmother and her granddaughter most of the day. There was absolutely no structure, and we were all kind of at a loss of what to do (first time Day Campers, all of us), so we sat around with the kids the whole day and let them have the run of the play yard.

 I did get to go out and see D once while I was pushing the stroller around trying to get the babe to sleep...
 He actually wasn't so much a fan of the bb gun shooting that first day.

 Glad he stuck with it, despite the fact that I never was able to go around with him. I thanked the other den walkers profusely (there were several, we were covered), and they were all more than happy to keep an eye on him. Thank goodness for good scouting moms!

Little P never did sleep much. Two thirty minute naps were all we crammed in, but with all the noise it was more than I expected. At the very end of the day I discovered that he really liked crawling through this tunnel...

Happy dude dealt with the sleep deprivation pretty well...

At the end of the day I asked the camp director I talked to the camp director about the TotLot. I paid $45 for that service for all three days, I was a little disappointed that a staffer never came in and did anything with the kids that were there. Turns out the mom who was going to run it got stuck doing paperwork the whole day. I asked the director if he'd mind if we sort of took it over. He said PLEASE DO!! As it so happens this is the first year they've offered a Tot Lot, so they had no clue what they were doing. I got an orange shirt and became the official Tot Lot staffer. Yay!.... ?!

When we got home I gave Jonathan the low-down for the day. His response to my sudden appointment? "Welcome to the world of scouting; where volunteers find a need and fill it! That's how scouting gets done."

I guess I'll just do my best. ;)