“Morning Dew”

Wikipedia describes it as a “post-apocalyptic folk-rock song written by Canadian singer Bonnie Dobson in 1962.” Everybody has covered the classic, from Jeff Beck to Devo, Robert Plant to Nazareth, and Blackfoot to Billy Corgan. But two of the better-known versions are those of the Grateful Dead and the Allman Brothers Band.

A few weeks back, the best college radio station around here (the one where Stephen used to volunteer DJ … remember that?) played the latter two covers back to back. The boys absolutely fell in love with the song, calling the Dead’s interpretation “the sad one” and the Allman’s “the happy one.”

So, it’s not uncommon to find a dude strumming Daddy’s acoustic and singing the song, or the three of them belting it out at the kitchen table, or one of them requesting it while we’re riding around in the van. Yep, I have now added the Dead’s quintessential album Europe ’72 to our car catalog, which consists mostly of Veggie Tales CDs and other children’s music.

 Zeke helps move the ball down the field. (Click to see all the pics.)

Gabriel is the one who gets bummed when the song is turned off in midstream because we’ve arrived at our destination. But I’ve explained repeatedly that the recording is more than 10 minutes long, and we just can’t be hanging out in parking lots, jamming out Morning Dew to its dramatic climax every time we hear it. He’s coping pretty well.

Other media-related interests

  • Watching the ’80s cartoons of G.I. Joe and Transformers with Daddy, and pondering whether or not the other Autobots believe in God. Yet, Houston is certain that the Decepticons do the devil’s work;
  • Picking Mommy or Daddy’s brain about war, its meaning, the reasons for it or against it, and all the rest. Their playing Battlefield 1941 on Xbox, listening to Morning Dew, and attending a Revolutionary War reenactment no doubt has played a role in the inquiries;
  • Reading Cinderella, which they call “the girl book.” We’ve had it for years, but I never bothered with it ’cause I didn’t think they’d be into it, forgetting that the story has so much more to it than just happily ever after. Apparently our romantic, Zeke, is especially keen on the dramatic two-page picture of Cinderella dancing with the prince;
  • Since they’ve shown such interest in Cinderella, I busted out Sleeping Beauty — another book we’ve had unread for years. And because of story’s magic spells, dragons and valiant sword fights, turns out we have another girlie hit;
  • We’re still reading Charlotte’s Web, although the book had gotten Houston a little self-conscious about eating pork. Fortunately, the extra-crispy bacon Daddy made last weekend helped quell his over-analysis. “Wilbur tastes delicious!” said a guilt-free Houston during breakfast.

 Gabriel guards the Marvels’ goal.

Real-life farm animals

We made an amazing discovery this week: dairy cows love eating kudzu! I figured that since goats devour it, moos probably would, as well. And because of the mountain, we now have up-close access to the cows who graze on the dairy farm behind our house.

And since the weed is still thriving beyond the clearing and in Miss Heather’s yard, the boys and I happily gathered and fed the leaves to a gathering bunch of hungry creatures. It was a hoot. The cows got nourishment, the 3 Amigos squealed with delight and we killed some kudzu to boot.

While picking up our weekly CSA (community-supported agriculture) food on Thursday, the boys were petting the horses on the farm, while I chatted with Miss Polly. Suddenly, Gabriel fell down a slope and into the horse side of the fence, so Houston notified me (while laughing all the while) of what had happened.

Luckily, Gabe didn’t come into contact with the barbed wire, the nearby piles of poop or puddles of pee. He was a little muddy and scared, but no worse for the wear, thankfully.

The Marvels 

Soccer is great fun. At yesterday’s game, Houston scored two goals, Zeke blocked a the all with some handy footwork, and Gabriel played the entire game. Honestly, though, Houston is the star of the team.

 Houston shows off his fancy footwork.

Granted, he’s nearly 5 years old in this ages 3-4 league and towers over all the other players since he is gargantuan for his age, but all that shouldn’t minimize his determination, positive attitude and teamwork. In fact, one of his coaches told me they never want him to play goalie ’cause the Marvels wouldn’t be able to score any points without him kicking on the field.

I mean, these are non-scoring games where all players are winners, but Houston still knows he’s good. Stephen talked with him about it, explaining that he should be proud of his hard work, but he should be humble and not get big head.

“What does that mean, Daddy?” he asked. Stephen said it’s not nice for people to brag about their talents or to think they’re the best, to which he responded, “Only God is the greatest.” How cool is that?!

Free Comic Book Day

Immediately after last Saturday’s soccer game, we headed to Free Comic Book Day. Due to time restraints, the boys were forced to go napless. Plus, it was a particularly hot day, so waiting in the long line could’ve resulted in some major meltdowns. Yet, the 3 Amigos held it together like champs.

Once everyone got their bag of comics with a Thor collectible miniature inside, they got a second wind. Not even an afternoon thunderstorm could dampen their spirits for this awesome annual event. The kids posed for lots of pics with cool superheroes and villains; Gabriel and I got our faces painted, while Zeke opted for his hand; and Stephen and Houston scored three personalized sketches by the visiting artists.

Houston, Zeke & friends take a ring-around-the-rosie break.

Steven + Paige = ♥

The last weekend of April, we attended our second wedding of the season. These nuptials were for our dear friend, Steven, and his sweet bride, Paige. Steven is one of a set three bros who is responsible for (my) Stephen and I meeting and consequently falling in love. So suffice it to say that Steven is one of our fave folks on the planet.

It was a privilege to be a part of the rehearsal dinner and post-eating fun, the beautiful wedding and rockin’ reception, and the late-night hangin’ in the hotel. Thanks Paige and Steven! And a heart-felt “Cheers!” goes out to the rest of the posse: Adam; Michael and Anah; Frannie and Dr. Phil; Jon and Don; and Willie, Melanie and the kids. Thems just good foke!

It’s just kinda falling into place

That’s how I would describe my homeschooling journey thus far. Sure, it has all been prep thus far, but it has happened rather organically:

  • The initial happenstance chat about homeschooling with Miss Christie and her subsequent mentioning of Classical Conversations and willingly answering my queries about it;
  • Our partnered investigation of the local CC communities and the eventual placement of Houston and Asher in the same Abecedarian tutorial for the upcoming homeschool year;
  • The fact that every homeschooling-related function I attend, I see familiar and supportive faces from Westover;
  • The email Christie forwarded me about a CC curriculum sharing event being held at nearby park this week — a casual and informative outing of lunch, playtime, and lots of homeschooling discussion with our soon-to-be CC community;
  • That email resulted in info that one of the community facilitators, Christine, provided me, including news of a used curriculum sale (which was Friday at Westover, of all places … I got tons of materials for only $30!) and the CC Parent Practicums (for which I immediately signed up, scoring the kids the last three slots in the camp for their age group);
  • Not to mention the invaluable resources I’ve stumbled upon on my own, most notably the upcoming NCHE (North Carolinians for Home Education) conference and book sale.

“Lining up is so lame,” exclaims Zeke, who is (obviously) second from the left.

It’s so easy to get overwhelmed with it all, from the varied curriculums and divergent methods; to the never-ending supplies and discussions of what’s necessary and what isn’t; to the debates of structured vs. free flow and homeschooling vs. un-schooling; to learning homeschool-ese (read: understanding the lingo) while not coming off as a total idiot.

But for some odd reason, this highly organized Virgo planner is not so stressed. Because I understand the enormity of the choices out there and how easily one can get tangled in the minutiae, I figure I just need to keep it simple. And so far, I’m doing that.

Oddly enough, my mind has for fleeting moments lent itself to the notion that since I’m not worried, that’s cause for worry. Luckily, I’m successfully tempering this odd type-A tendency.

Like John Steinbeck once wrote: A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing and coercion are fruitless. We find that after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us. So, let’s submit to the imperfections, learn from our mistakes, not take ourselves too seriously, and have some fun with the homeschooling thing!

Staple removed

Zeke got his staple out this morning and was extremely brave. He is very happy to be able to get his head wet again, especially since we’ve been playing in the sprinkler the past couple of hot and humid days. And I am happy that his hair will no longer smell like dog.

Houston, Zeke & a covert Gabriel stand atop Mill Mountain, overlooking the Shenandoah Valley.

Click the above image to check out the fun from our quickie trip to Roanoke for Daddy’s birthday. I am getting excitingly close to being current with my photos, although I have 200+ pics on my camera at present (sigh). I shall try my best to get all the April stuff up soon.