Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Home Schooled


Spring Break. What a relief. We go at it hammer and tong during the semester, so we really look forward to the unplanned, unscheduled days that always arrive just in the nick of time. Walter took Davis back to Rice Sunday morning. We miss him, but . . .we know he is incredibly happy and doing well academically and socially. That is what parents hope for.

Last night we had the most remarkable meal available in the Brazos Valley. Meatloaf might not sound like much to you, but if you consider that the entire meal (click on the menu shown below to enlarge it) was prepared and served by Erin, Nico, and Adam, you might change your mind. We had four appetizers: chips and salsa, trail mix, boats (snap peas stuffed with sesame sticks), and torpizzas (tortillas with pizza sauce, pepperonis, cheese, and olives), lettuce salad with mandarin oranges, croutons, sunflower seeds, and blackberry walnut dressing, a main course of meatloaf, French green beans, and baked potatoes. The dessert included brownies with a masterpiece sauce made from melted ice cream mixed with fresh kiwis, strawberries, and blueberries. They even cleaned up as they went, loading and unloading the dishwasher no less than three times over the course of the day as they prepared the various parts of the meal.
I am getting a little ahead of myself. Despite the fact that we have had five-and-a-half inches of rain since the weekend, we have really enjoyed ourselves. Erin played in a soccer scrimmage Sunday afternoon at left forward, right midfield, and center stopper. She looked better on the field than she has since last fall. Her eat-chocolate-at-every-opportunity weight-gain diet seems to be working. You can see her "bulging" muscles straining her UnderArmor as she trains Willie after the game. (I'm not sure he needs any more training on how to grab things in his mouth, but what do I know?)

Nico spent the night Sunday night, so they could take an early start on the PPR explorations they had planned. After breakfast, they geared up and headed behind the dam for several hours of animal tracking, plant identification, and general enjoyment of nature's laboratory. Next Monday is the real PPR Day (19th of every month, in case you have forgotten), and everyone will be over, so they took the chance to get things in order and take notice of new discoveries to share with the gang. Willie helped. As a prelude to the occasion, Nico composed this, "The PPR National Anthem." Feel free to sing along (you can see the words more clearly by clicking the image)!

After roving and tromping, they took a break for lunch and some errands (including making the first shopping run for the planned dinner party). When we made it back to the house, they took advantage of Annabelle's willingness to play with them for a while, devising a game that involved shaking a blanket like a parachute, while doing various maneuvers over and under it. One of the stages of the game involved doing a move while not making noise or laughing. This, apparently, was very difficult to accomplish.

The other days of the break have been equally loaded and equally fun. Sudoku puzzles, shared reading time, watching episodes of West Wing, a little gardening, a dash of house keeping. If I had only know that teaching science (PPR fun), music, P.E., the culinary arts, and history (last week's trip to SA), reading, and math (sudoku) was so easy, I might have been home schooling all along. NOT! I value free play way too much to buckle down to a curriculum. I'm just glad that there are dedicated educators willing to do it for me! Thank you teachers. You can have her back next week.

Health update: I almost forgot that some of you stop by to read the latest on the medical front. Erin's local clinic visit went just fine last week, except that Dr. Parr discovered that Erin had still not shaken the double ear infection that she has taken both a Z-Pack and a second round of a different (why can't I remember right now?) antibiotics for. That means we signed up for a third round: Amoxicillin this time, with the hope that it will do the trick. We had a message on the answering machine when we returned from San Antonio that Erin's blood urea nitrogen (you remember the infamous BUN) had crept up again. We will keep an eye on that in early April, when Erin returns to Houston for clinic AND quarterly scans.

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