Do you have a MOOS-stash?

Under normal circumstances, I and most people I know pronounce the word “mustache” as “mus-STASH.” For a few weeks now, Fritz has been working on memorizing The Children’s Hour by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow which includes this lovely line:

Do you think, O blue-eyed banditti,
Because you have scaled the wall,
Such an old mustache as I am
Is not a match for you all?

When I first read it, it seemed more flowing to soften the “uh” sound to an “oo” so it came out more like “moos-STASH.”

“MOOS-stash?” asked Fritz.

“Yeah, mus-STASH. He’s defining himself by one feature on his face. It’s a literary technique…blah blah blah,” said Teacher-Mom.

“MOOS-stash? MOOS-stash!”

Yes, all he really cared was that he was now at liberty to pronounce a word differently. And now all my children, for weeks it’s been going on, look for excuses to use that word.

Whenever they drink milk, a more-than-once-a-day occurrence, they ask each other, “Do I have a MOOS-stash?” “No,” comes the reply, “do I have a MOOS-stash?”

“Daddy should grow a MOOS-stash!”

“Hey, the UPS driver has a MOOS-stash!”

I’m afraid to take them out in public lest they single out every man with facial hair and talk about him in loud voices with odd-sounding words!

ACU Christmas stockings

I’m almost ready to go:

I’ve got 30 yards of ACU fabric, 30 yards of faux fur, and 25 yards each of 1″ and 4″ wide gray Velcro.

We couldn’t find our stash of 550 cord, so I need to buy some of that, and I also need more white and gray thread.

Bill took in a sample stocking today sans Velcro (it only arrived here an hour ago). I’m waiting for the green light to begin the tedious task of cutting.

I should have photos posted tomorrow and a final price. I need to time myself making them to evaluate my labor. The biggest pain is sewing through 4 layers of faux fur!

The PX is selling ACU pattern stockings for $18. I did a recon today, after my husband alerted me to this possible threat to my business. No faux fur. Big plastic pocket in the middle for a wallet sized photo of your “Most Valuable Patriot.”

I’m not knocking it.

But mine is way cooler.

2009 Updated link with pricing/photo

Updated for 2011: I’m still selling these, folks.  I can make them left or right facing.  They are $20 + $2 to cover the cost for Paypal + $5.20 S&H.  Just send me an email or leave a comment.

It’s in the DNA…

…it must be. How else to explain my 5 year old staring at a closet full of clothes and wailing, “I have nothing to wear!”

Today’s big event: sitting around the house relaxing. What’s a girl to do? Why is this mother so very unsympathetic with her plight? After all, one must be properly attired. You never know what the day may bring.

Ah, she’s settled on her Green Bay Packers cheerleading uniform. Perfect.

Day 50, Week 10

I’ve scheduled a hard break after week ten – meaning we’re taking all next week off. Hooray. Billy and Katie managed to get all their work done in a timely fashion, but Fritz, ever the foot dragger, had trouble getting his math done. He has six long division problems left for today (I’m sure he’ll drag it out for the next hour). Then he’ll have just one math test to do, and I’ll probably make him do it tomorrow just to get it over with. In all fairness to him, we ran out of time for school on Monday and Tuesday and so he’s had to do 5 lessons in 3 days. It’s a lot of work.

I’ve been using Abeka math from the beginning. I think it’s an excellent program. Last week, a friend told me that her 1st grader (Fairfax County public schools – among the best in the nation) is being moved up to 2nd grade math. The first graders aren’t doing addition yet. Katie, my kindergartner, is about half-way through the very easy Abeka K math, and is doing addition.

Yesterday, another friend whose son, like Fritz, is in the 3rd grade (Fairfax County public schools) asked me what Fritz was doing in math. I showed her that day’s assignment: adding numbers like $56.87 to $42.55, multiplying 23,765 by 6, basic word problems, what time does the clock say, write the Roman numerals from one to twelve, and dividing numbers like 5,421 by 5 (using remainders). Her son isn’t even doing multiplication yet. Not even 2 times 5.

Today’s assignment made me drop my jaw: pre-algebra!

N + 5 = 12 + 6
Solve for N.

I can see that Abeka has been leading up to this moment for years. In 1st grade math, a child has to fill in the blank with the right number for problems like blank + 2 = 5. In 3rd grade, you get N + 5 = 18. Abeka is not having the student subtract 5 from both sides, and I am frustrated that it doesn’t, since that’s how I learned algebra. But for now, I’ll trust the program and see where it heads (and I’ll teach Fritz to subtract 5 from both sides!).

But here we are at the close of business on Friday with most of what we set out to accomplish in 10 weeks done. I look forward to “relaxing” next week – I have 30 yards of ACU pattern fabric due to arrive on Monday.


I can’t believe I’ve waited this long to post this news.

I am truly overwhelmed with blessings from God. In fact, I am so overwhelmed with blessings from God, that I frequently take them for granted. Oh, well, look at that, another miracle…ho hum…

On good days, I recognize the gift and offer suitable praise: not just a Hallelujah, but also by telling everyone I know about how awesome God is and the wonderful things He has done for me. Sometimes it takes me days or weeks to recognize the work of the Divine Master in my life. Most of the time, I realize that God is good, say a thank you, and then promptly move on with my life.

Such was the case this week.

As you may know, Fritz was diagnosed in July with a cyst in his jaw. In August, he had a biopsy and a week later we learned that it was a dentigerous cyst. He had a stent placed in his mouth to drain the cyst and to promote growth of his jawbone which was dangerously thin (no sports for fear of fracture). For seven weeks, we went once a week for a checkup at Walter Reed (an hour there and an hour back in travel alone). Then we had a three week respite, and then a month-long break. At his last two appointments, they took x-rays of his jaw.

On Monday, the oral surgeon looked at the x-ray and remarked, “It’s gone!” In August, he had told us that it might take 6 to 9 months for the cyst to shrink. It has been less than three. He was a bit surprised. I’m not. God is that good. I’m happy, but not at all surprised. Well, I am surprised that He blesses me so abundantly given all the crap I give Him in return. But I’m not surprised that He has made it happen. Miracles are just another common everyday event around here: they’re about as remarkable as the sun rising.

The oral surgeon turned to the new resident who had seen Fritz that day. He explained Fritz’s diagnosis and treatment (Fritz is a learning case; I think every resident has seen him). I was elated when the oral surgeon said, “It turned out to be a dentigerous cyst, thank God.” Yes, I silently agreed, thank God.

As we were driving to the appointment, Fritz had been asking some questions about his case. In the past three months, he has done a fair amount of complaining about the stent and his treatment. This time, he wasn’t complaining, he was just asking about it. I told him that he was really lucky. I told him that the docs thought it might be cancer and that he could have been fighting for his life. I told him that the docs thought it might be an OKC, a hard-to-eradicate cyst, and he might have had to spend his whole life dealing with problems in his jaw. He finally got it. He finally realized that he is the recipient of a miracle.

Praise God.

The soonest they could get him in again is December 18th. They will sedate him, remove the stent and clean out anything remaining of the cyst. I’m sure he’ll have to go back in a week for a follow up, but after that, he’ll just go to his orthodontist to figure out how to get his adult teeth in his jaw properly. And that’s that.

Besides thanking God for my son’s health and speedy recovery, I’d like to thank all my family, friends and fellow bloggers who offered up prayers on his behalf. Most especially, I’d like to acknowledge the celestial assistance of two saints: St. Apollonia, the patron of tooth problems who will continue to be petitioned by me for her prayers until Fritz’s adult teeth grow in properly, and St. John Newmann to whom our family prayed a novena before Fritz’s biopsy when we feared he had cancer. I found the novena in a book I love: (Mention Your Request Here): The Church’s Most Powerful Novenas by Michael Dubruiel. This book has been updated and is due for re-release later this month. I highly recommend it.

And now, back to life as usual. I wonder what fantastic, miraculous gift God will give me today…


USPS with a great idea

I got a little post card from the post office in the mail yesterday. In fact, unbelievably, it was the only thing in the mail box. No catalogs, no bills, no circulars. Two days ago, we had only catalogs – about 4, I think.

Anyway, the post card contained news that makes me very happy: the post office will pick up packages from your house!!! They have two flat rate boxes which should be the right size for most of the little care packages I intended to send to family – one size is 8 1/2″ x 11″ x 5 1/2″. So, I have to pay for the box instead of using the ones I’ve been saving and storing in my garage, and the flat rate of $8.10 (Priority Mail) might be a little more than what it would cost if I trudged down to the post office and waited in line for a half hour with 5 kids including a tantruming toddler and bi-polar preschooler. But one has to seriously consider how much it would be worth it to avoid waiting in line for a half hour with a tantruming toddler and a bi-polar preschooler. I often ask myself: if there were a 16 year old seeking employment who lived next door to me, would I be willing to pay him/her $10 to run this errand for me? If the answer is yes, then the extra shipping or service charge or whatever is worth it.

Hmmm…I’ll have to remember this idea when my son gets to driving age. I don’t know if we’ll still be homeschooling him for high school, but I think an errand service could be an excellent way to make money: grocery store, post office, pharmacy, dry cleaners. Market his service to stay-at-home moms with little ones, and he’d have a steady stream of customers.

I’ve already resolved, when my daughters are old enough, to start a house cleaning business with them. If they spent a few years under my tutelage doing that, they could do it themselves and make some serious dollars. Why work retail or fast food for minimum wage when you can earn $30 an hour (under the table) vacuuming rugs? I really wish I had thought of this when I was in college. It would have been nice to have some extra drinking money.