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Archive for September, 2013

Sep 26 2013

Farmer Boy

Posted by Mugs @ 2:21 pm in Family,Nature,school Print This Post Print This Post

Zeke’s 4th grade class is reading the story Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder. To help them understand life on a farm, they went on a field trip to visit a local farmer. Because I love spending a day traipsing through manure, I went with.

I arrived before the bus and was greeted by a rafter of turkeys. They were quite entertaining. One turkey would grab a hold of something in it’s mouth (an old plastic bag, an apple core) and take off running. All the other turkeys would chase after him in a race to steal it away. Even if the item had no worth for the turkey, all the other turkeys wanted to steal it. For some reason, it reminded me of my children.

Once the bus arrived, the farmer divided the boys and girls for boy chores and girl chores. He wanted them to understand why the Ma had the egg money and why he named each calf rejected by its mother Charlie or Charlene.

Zeke fed Charlie some milk, held a piglet, and hauled some straw.

The tour consisted of one problem after the next. The geese waddled away and wouldn’t go where the girls had fed them, the oxen escaped and got wrapped in a rope, the horse and mules refused to budge, and the piglets squealed loudly and long enough to make the grandpa in the group turn off his hearing aid.

The farmer held a piece of manure in his bare hand to explain how fertilizer was made, he showed the kids the remnants of his giant burn pile, and he talked in colorful language. There was one moment when I was thankful the kids were looking at the piglets and not the sows and boars.

All the odd sights, smells, and difficulties of farm life were on full display. It was the funniest field trip I have ever been on.

Sep 24 2013

Broomsticks and Flaming Batons

Posted by Mugs @ 1:56 pm in Family,school,Sightseeing Print This Post Print This Post

Saturday was family day for Josiah at Christopher Newport University (CNU).  We drove 2 1/2 hours southeast to spend the day with him. (For those who will ask, “Gabe, where are you?”, he was with a friend and not in attendance.)

On our way to CNU, we stopped by William and Mary to watch Josiah play quidditch against the W&M team. Yes, Josiah has switched from cross country running to broomstick jogging and ball throwing. (For those who have not read the Harry Potter books or seen the movies, don’t try to figure it out. Even if you have read all the books and have seen all the movies, it hardly makes sense.)

The game starts with both teams kneeling down and closing their eyes so they do not see where the snitch runs off to. (The snitch runner is dressed in gold and has a snitch tennis ball in a sock stuck in his waist band.) He runs and hides and one Seeker from each team must try to find him and grab the tennis ball to end the game.

There are 7 players on each team. 3 Chasers attempt to throw the quaffle (volleyball) through their opponents hoops. 2 Beaters throw bludgers (dodgeballs) at the opposing players to force them to drop the quaffle. Any chaser who is hit by a bludger must tag their own goal to reenter the game. Knocking people down and wrestling the quaffle away is acceptable. The three bludgers are up for grabs between the opposing beaters. Each team has a keeper who is impervious to bludgers and guards the hoops. When the quaffle is thrown through a hoop, the team scores 10 points. The snitch can hide for awhile, but must return to the field after a set period of time, and stay within sight until captured. When a seeker captures the snitch, the team scores 30 points and the game ends. Different colored headbands delineate who is in which job.

While we were watching the game, we knew none of these rules and had only a small idea of what was occurring. Since CNU’s seeker caught the snitch, we assumed he scored 100 points and CNU won. Unfortunately, he only scored 30 points by catching the snitch and W&M’s 80 points won the day. In an added bit of strangeness, players go down the line hugging each other at the end of the game instead of shaking hands or giving high fives.

Josiah has a friend from high school, Alex, who is a freshman at W&M. Prior to the match, Josiah asked him to come by and see the game. Alex was noncommittal. When Josiah arrived at the game, he discovered Alex on the other team.

After the match was ended, we drove to CNU, set up Josiah’s printer, had a picnic lunch, watched a rugby match, ate some rita’s italian ice, listened to Josiah play the piano in a practice room, and attended the Family Music Showcase. All parts of the music department put on a show. The marching band blasted us in our seats, the male and female chorus sang acapella, the orchestras and ensembles played well, and everyone gathered together at the end to perform a work arranged by a CNU student which ended with a confetti canon.

Abby thought they were singing “We are the music majors,” which although appropriate would have been a bit odd. The words were “We are the music makers.”

It was all quite good, but my favorite piece was “La Virgin de la Macarena.” Dr. Kelly Rossum was featured on trumpet. His trumpet playing was amazing.

Josiah showed us his first published article for the student newspaper. I was thrilled to see his writing in print.

Afterwards, we ate dinner at Three Amigos. The waitress forced Abby to interpret Spanish to English for us. Four years of Spanish classes have paid off.

After dinner, we watched the CNU football team beat up on Shenandoah University. The game was exciting, but the halftime show was even better. The marching band was great with its drumline, flag girls, dancing tubas, and sparkly baton twirler who lit her batons on fire. The halftime show finished dramatically with a fireworks display worthy of the fourth of July.

During the day, I asked Josiah what he liked best about college.

“It’s fun,” he said.

Of course it is. There are broomsticks and flaming batons.

Sep 17 2013

Whatever My Lot

Posted by Mugs @ 10:22 am in Church,Music,Nature Print This Post Print This Post

“When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,”

“When sorrows like sea billows roll;”

“Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,”

“It is well, it is well, with my soul.”


Sep 16 2013

Are You A Baptist?

Posted by Mugs @ 10:23 am in Church,Family,Sightseeing Print This Post Print This Post

This past weekend, I drove down to Lynchburg, Virginia home to Liberty University, Confederate Soldier Memorials, and all things Southern Baptist. My dear friend, Rachel has been been transported there as a result of her husband’s teaching job in the theater department at Liberty.

They have lived in Lynchburg for just over a year, and I fear the town has begun to influence their children.

I had the following conversation with their 8 year old daughter Lilia:

“Are you a Baptist?” Lilia asked.

“I’m even better than a Baptist,” I said, “I’m an Anabaptist. I’ve been baptized twice: once as a child and once as an adult.”

“No. Are you a Baptist?” Lilia repeated indignantly.

“I was immersion baptized as an adult. I think that makes me a Baptist.” I replied.

“No. I mean do you go to a Baptist church? I go to a Baptist Church. I’m a Baptist.” She declared

“Sorry, Lilia, my church is non-denominational not Baptist.”

One year and she’s already detected an infiltrator in the town.

Next year, I suspect she’ll ask me, “Are you a Confederate Rebel?”

Who knows what she’ll say when she finds out I’m a Yankee.

A few more years in Lynchburg and I fear she may start shouting, “The South shall rise again!”

Sep 12 2013

Josiah’s Sister

Posted by Mugs @ 9:08 am in Family,school Print This Post Print This Post

By God’s providence, Abby was born 19 months after Josiah. Therefore, she has spent the last 17 years of her life being known as “Josiah’s sister.”

Because she was a year behind him in school, most of Abby’s teachers taught Josiah before they taught her, and he was at the high school campus a year before her.

Josiah is now off to University which made Abby think, “Finally, people will call me Abby. I won’t be called ‘Josiah’s sister’ anymore.”

For the past month, Abby has been driving down to the high school with Gabe as her passenger, because Gabe has to attend the middle school at her campus this year.

Last week, while walking to band class, a small middle school kid dashed past her.

“Hi, Gabe’s sister!” He called out.