The Walking Mosaic


Stella as The Walking Mosaic

Make-up by Sandis

No, I have no clue where this idea came from.

Update: When Stella came in the living room in full Walking Mosaic getup, complete with her hair tied and clipped into numerous tufts, she scared Tonks so much that Tonks growled and barked at the strange and unusual person who invaded her home.  Thankfully, Tonks didn't also get so scared that she peed on the floor because, well, she does that.  


We're in the midst of the busy season here.  When everything gears up for the end of school, the beginning of summer, packing everything and anything into our weeks.  There are doctor and dentist appointments, soccer games and practices, the never ending quasi-school science fair.  There are oodles of outdoor activities.  Stella went to a horse clinic so I'm sure she'll be pushing for those lessons.  I'm looking back longingly at the days we had the plague and HAD to stay home away from all other human beings. 

And since it's near the end of the traditional school year, I'm of course planning out some new school stuff to do with the kids.  We don't really take summers off, though when it gets too hot in our south facing, no air conditioning house we don't do school work.  That's because mom is heat intolerant and can't concentrate so she calls off all work requiring thought of any kind.  The kids never argue for some reason... 

Anyway, we've started working on a history timeline starting with the Big Bang (the actual event, not the show, though we do like and watch the show, it's not really relevant historically.)  I always thought history was BORING as a kid.  Dates this, wars that, blah, blah, snore zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.  Then as an adult, I realized that it is FASCINATING.  I want my kids to have the fascinating, not the boring.

To start I got out my big timeline book, The History of the World (note, book, not the Mel Brooks movie, again, the movie being less relevant historically.) Well, our book doesn't start until 4000 BCE, so we haven't actually gotten to that yet but this is what I'm going to use to make sure we hit all the big events in the history of our world.  So far, I'm doing it through picture books, historical fiction, documentaries. This website has been a great resource for finding applicable books. 

And, following my organizational pattern, I have a table! Too bad tables don't make blogs sizzle because I have lots of those in my life.  Anyway, here's where we are at:


13-4 billion years BP
Born with a bang : the universe tells our cosmic story : book 1 / by Jennifer Morgan

4600-500 million yrs BP
From lava to life : the universe tells our earth story : book 2 / by Jennifer Morgan

65 million yrs BP-present
Mammals who morph : the universe tells our evolution story : book 3 / by Jennifer Morgan
Queue 1

3.2 million yrs BP
Lucy long ago : uncovering the mystery of where we came from / by Catherine Thimmesh.
Queue 2
Pleistocene era
2.588 million (±5,000) to 12,000 years before present (BP)
11,000 years lost / Peni R. Griffin.

Hunters of North America
4000-3000 BCE

4000-3000 BCE
If Stones Could Speak, Unlocking The Secrets of Stonehenge

4000-3000 BCE
DK Eyewitness Mesopotamia by Philip Steele and John Farndon; The golden bull / Marjorie Cowley (2600BCE)

India (indus)
4000-3000 BCE

4000-3000 BCE

China (Yellow River)
4000-3000 BCE

4000-3000 BCE


Hatshepsut, his majesty, herself / by Catherine M. Andronik (1475BCE)

Then and Now: The Wonders of the Ancient World Brought to Life in Vivid See-Through Reconstructions

I'm thinking we'll be doing a big timeline down the hall where they can put up the events as we read/study them.  I am planning on using this scale so that, well, I don't have to figure it out myself or buy a big, expensive timeline.  Yes, I am both lazy and cheap - or as the Girl Scouts would say, I'm "using resources wisely."  Yes, that does sound better than lazy and cheap, if less fitting.

So far the kids are loving it.  Not sure if it's because of the actual materials or because they get to lie in bed with me at night and be read to for half an hour or so.  Either way, they like it and are learning so I'm calling it a win!

Curriculum junkies note: I know about Story of the World but it's not as exciting as some things I've found, and a bit too Christian at times.  I realize Christianity is part of history, but how it is presented matters to me.  I don't like the story of Abraham or Moses presented as fact and other stories presented as myth.  Even if I was Christian, those stores would still be parables to me, not factual accounts of history.  I don't mind them in the context of a story, it goes to cultural literacy, it just how it is presented that bothers me.  Anyhow, I will be using it some, just not exclusively.  And, I've ordered History Odyssey, The Ancients.  I'll see how that goes and if I'll do subsequent volumes.


See what I did there? I put crossover in the title.  And while it doesn't really make any sense, we did go to both, and crossed streets.  And just using the word in my blog post title will make my blog sizzle because it was in the list of tips to "make your blog sizzle."  So there you go!

Today we got up early, at 7:30am in order to go to early church so we could head to the Botanic Gardens.  People we never even knew attended Foothills Unitarian were there.  The world is a different place early in the morning.  No, not going to make a habit of it.  Those people were nice and everything, but I do like my sleep ;)

Soooo, after attending church, and social hour, and picking up Brian from seeing his friends finish the Horsetooth Half Marathon (and my friend, Deanna, finished it too! but he didn't see her,) and stopping home to make a lunch, we were off to Denver.  Arrived at the Gardens around 1pm and only had to walk about 3 blocks after we parked, not bad for a free day.  And no parking tickets, which from what my friends have said, is a miracle in Denver.  The Gardens were busy, but not terribly so.  One of our girls even commented on how it wasn't as busy as she thought it would have been.  I would do a free day there again (not at the zoo, mind you, but the Gardens, yes.)

You might think it's too early for flowers to be blooming - but think again! Besides the normal tulips and irises, there were poppies and lilacs and phlox and any number of spring flowers going crazy. 



Brian and Stella (yes, he shaved his head yesterday, sigh)

More Lilacs - can never have enough of these lovelies

Fairies! There were fairies roaming the gardens. And I got some bling from them.  Upon seeing the glasses they were holding, I asked if fairies got to drink mead.  They said I got sparklies just for knowing what fairies drink :)


When we first arrived, Stella was grouchy.  She was too hot, she wanted to leave, being in the shade didn't help, blah, blah, blah.  Then Brian took her to see the fish while I found out about a cool project, Project BudBurst.  It is a nation-wide program where you monitor cherry trees, of all kinds, and report online what they are doing.  Brian thinks it's boring because they don't actually do anything.  He is wrong, of course.  You get to record when they flower, when the leaves turn colors, when/if the fruits form, etc.  You should check it out!

Anyway, Stella was then in a good mood while Sandis became sullen because she was bored, she wanted ice cream, there was nothing to do, nothing to see, blah, blah, blah.  We ignored her because she didn't get in a better mood until we left.  Seriously, even if it's not your thing, it's not that bad.  Yes, the horrors I put my child through, making her look at flowers.  Does she realize how often I have to look at kids playing soccer? Not that exciting. And I have to do it all. the. time.  Not once every two or three years.

After the Botanic Gardens we headed over to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.  We knew it was a free day (yep, there too) but we only really wanted to see the planetarium show, Wildest Weather in the Solar System.  Brian dropped me off up front to see if they even had tickets to any of the shows, and lo and behold they did! As it turns out, really no one was in the shows because, well, it's free day and those aren't free.  So in a theater that holds ~120, there were maybe 25-30 of us.  Perfect! Also while there, we saw the weather scientist do a presentation on how weather is formed in Colorado - and we were in the front row for that.

All in all, a pleasant afternoon of free days.  Parking, no problem.  Show tickets, no problem.  Crowds, minimal.

Still not doing the free day at the zoo ever again.

Retirement Plan


My children have decided it's fun to pound large rocks into smaller rocks and eventually into sand.  They can spend hours doing this.  "It's fun," they say. 

Now, they are then gluing these sand grains back together with water in order to make sculptures which they will then sell on the internet.  On a website created using the book Stella got at the Windsor Library book sale, probably not out of date at all, being a library discard.

I am planning my early retirement.

As a side note, who knew I could have indentured my children in the quarries and had them enjoy it?


We all have things that before we became parents, we never would have said.  Things that seemed so self-evident, we wouldn't have even believed anyone would ever need utter these things.  Things that defy the very essence of the universe.  Things like, "Don't lick the trash can" and "No, you shouldn't put lunch meat on your soccer ball" (yes, I've said both of those.)  Here are this weekend's submissions from our household.

  • Did you put water in your water bottle? (after numerous times that they had brought along an empty water bottle after been told to get a water bottle.  The water part is NOT obvious.)
  • You have to comb all of your hair, even if you, personally, cannot see it.
  • Don't throw rocks at the windows
  • No, you cannot play "take turns being locked in the trunk of the car"
  • Peeps are not a pre-breakfast treat, you have to eat breakfast BEFORE getting a treat
  • Breakfast cannot be Peeps
  • When you are banned from your computer, this does not mean you can use your Dad's computer (or sister's or mother's)

I'm sure there are more that I'm forgetting.  I need to keep a running list somewhere other than my brain, as it is less than reliable these days.

Oh, and while looking for something to write about, I saw "101 Great Posting Ideas That Will Make Your Blog Sizzle."  Well, my blog definitely needs some sizzle, right? I jumped right in at #78 Create a post that utilizes a bar chart or pie chart.

 Now that's info you can use! I know people will be flocking here for this information.

Just wait until next time when I utilize another helpful tip, "incorporate the word 'crossover' into your post title."



One daughter is in danger of being sold on eBay, the modern equivalent of being sold to the gypsies.  And technically, we probably ARE the gypsies since I'm Bohemian.  And Irish.  So crazy people with a drinking problem.  But anyway, yes, Stella needs to be sold off.  Why? She lost the Roku remote.  Again.  The girl loses remotes with regularity that rivals the sun rising.  This time it's been gone for several days.  Roku is how we watch our streaming Netflix, which is our TV and listen to Pandora which is our radio. Plus, it really, really annoys me when something is lost.  I fixate on finding it because it MUST be somewhere.  Even if I don't care if the TV is on, I still am searching for the damn remote.  Yes, crazy, need to drink...oh wait, that's not on the agenda for today.

Ok, we could deal with the lost remote.  Brian downloaded an app for my iPod that makes it into a Roku remote. Genius! Until you realize this means that the children then get to use the iPod.  Yes, I could do it all for them but that's annoying.  And yes, I did let them use the iPod occasionally, under supervision.  But remember when I mentioned that I'm good at sleeping? I get that way by letting the children watch Bullwinkle and Liberty's Kids while I sleep in the morning.  Hey, they are 8 & 10 yrs old.  They can make their own breakfast.  They can have the TV as a babysitter for an hour or two to keep their mother rested and semi-sane.  Don't judge! Remember, I'm a crazy Irish-Bohemian, I could curse you causing you to, um, give me all your alcohol? Yeah!

Soooo, while watching TV this morning, the aforementioned gypsy child took off my screen protector and then, realizing what she had done, put it back on after dragging it through the compost pile, I think. She did this because she's ADHD and can't help put pick at things (check out her fingernails.  Or scrapes. ew!)  She realized this had a cover! With an edge! It could be picked at!

Now of course, it looks like, well, there just aren't words to describe what the fuck it looks like.   Here, look at it:

looks worse in person, I swear

Just slap a new one on there, you say? Well, I got this one on clearance about 2yrs ago, yes YEARS, and it's thicker than normal and has never had a single bubble or scratch in all that time.  Yes, it is the titanium shield of screen protectors and I don't know how to replace it.  I've been lamenting how I can't find one of this quality for my Nook.  And it is ruined.

Stella has apologized and is truly sorry, which for her is meaningful, so I guess I won't sell her.  Instead, I'm making her stop at Target on the way to see the baby animals to get a new screen cover.  This is DELAYING SEEING THE PIGS.  The worst punishment I could think of, in her opinion.  Natural consequences, baby, natural consequences.

What Now?


I have nothing to write about.  Life is humming along.  Kids are doing schoolish things and non-schoolish things, both of which create mess and chaos in my house.  And yard.  They also do activities which suck the time right out of our days, the latest of which is reading to dogs.  Yes, we drive into the Windsor library so my children who are proficient readers of young adult chapter books can read picture books to uninterested dogs who sleep through the whole ordeal.  The idea is that therapy dogs get time with lots of people, kids get to perfect their reading skills.  For my kids, the idea is that they get to pet new dogs. 

As a family we planted two trays full of seeds which will most likely die before they make it outside.  The ones that survive to see the great outdoors will likely die soon after.  Then, I will go and purchase a few plants at the grocery store or greenhouse which may or may not survive, but will bear little to no fruit and I will end up at the farmer's market getting a bag of veggies for $10 from Miller Farms.  That's how my gardening goes.  Every. Single. Year.  You'd think I'd learn but I'm so hopeful in the springtime. 

My life marches on as well.  I fail miserably at keeping the house picked up.  I've done no organizing of my house.  Oh wait, I DID go through all the kids' books and take seven, yes seven, boxes to the used book store.  No word yet as to how much credit we'll get from them.  Can you believe I actually have EMPTY shelves on a bookcase? It's unheard of! Even in our house where we have at least ten bookcases.

Um, what  Yes, I've done work! And sleep.  I'm really good at sleeping.  Especially when I try and read Out of Oz.  The politics of the land of Oz is not captivating to me.  I've read the first three books in the series so I feel I MUST finish this one as well but <whine> it's to hard to get through.  It's so boring </whine>  When I read the Outlander series or the Hunger Games series, I can stay up until midnight or 1am reading.  This tome has me drifting off before the Woot! deal changes (11pm for you non-Woot! aficionados.)  Do I give up or slog onward? So far, I keep plodding along but the Outlander book #7 that I downloaded before I read the Hunger Games is calling to me from my Nook. 

Tomorrow the plan is to travel to Plumb Farm in Greeley for Baby Animal Days.  When working in Greeley one day I just happened to drive by and see a big sign about this.  When I next stopped, I wrote down the farm's name and then Googled it when I got home.  The girls are so excited to see baby this, that and the other, but especially pigs (for Stella) and ducks (for Sandis.)  After that, we'll go over to the Windsor library, not to read to dogs, but to check out their book sale (which we found out about while reading to dogs.)  I do have empty shelves, I should probably fill them up, right?

Then what? More work for me.  And Saturday is soccer, as always.  Sunday is free day at the Botanical Gardens in Denver so we may head down there.  Usually I avoid free days like the plague, but I'm thinking early spring in the Botanical Gardens won't be as bad as say, free day at the Zoo when school's out, right? I'm hoping.

Broken Promises


Ok, maybe "promise" is too strong a word for what I have broken.  I made decisions with forethought and research and then, BAM, changed my mind.  Not once, but twice this week.  It's not something I am used to doing. I honor my commitments.  I stand by my decisions.  I cut and run?

The first switch was from Fort Collins to Loveland Options.  You see, the kids go to quasischool one day a week.  The quasischool program is run out of Aurora Public Schools with branches all around the front range.  Well, some of the local school districts decided they wanted that money (the school running the quasischool gets half-time funding for kids they have one day a week.)  Enter FtC and Loveland school districts to take control of their respective quasischool.

I decided to stick with FtC.  I figured there would be growing pains but I figured we could hang with it and make it work.  Their friends are in FtC, they have a great location (former school so a real gym,) the person running it is soliciting information from the parents (a good sign.)

Then the schedule comes out.  Um, not so great FtC.  I don't mind the 4 classes instead of 6 - they can go more in depth, that's ok.  But the actual choices are just so, well, blah.  I check out Loveland's classes. There are some great choices there.  Plus, Loveland left the program as it was so same teachers, same structure.  I talk to the kids.  Even if none of their friends switched over, they want to go to Loveland (not to worry, many of their friends are switching.)  Loveland it is.

I do feel like I betrayed FtC.  I went to their meetings, helped on committees, gave feedback and then bailed.  But I guess they didn't give me the product I was expecting.  I wish them well, but it's not for us.

Second switch, Girl Scouts.  I was going to drop leading GS next year, then I didn't.  My thought process was that with combined troops and a co-leader, it would be doable.  Plus my girls love it.  But, after another questionable campout (which I did not attend, thanks to influenza,) I was waivering on my decision.  I am tired of dealing with the "mean girls" situations that repeatedly come up in this group of girls.  I went back and forth in my mind.  I solicited opinions of others I trust (whose opinions were mixed.)  Then, I went to the source, I asked the girls. 

Their first reaction, "I want to keep doing Girl Scouts!"  I reminded them that at least 4 girls are going to public school next year and will be dropping out.  Then I told them if they dropped GS, they could probably do 4H and all of the choices that would offer.  Then I listened.  Sandis jumped off the GS bandwagon fast, fast, fast.  4H means dog training and that's what she really wants to do.  Stella, well, she only has 1 friend left in GS and this is someone she sees on a regular basis without GS. 

So, I get to drop the drama and the responsibility.  But, I went back on my promise to lead for another year.  I guess, I can live with that, though it's a bit stressful to me.  I'm not one to change my mind and leave someone else in a lurch.  Plus the girls have been doing this for 5 years so it's a little sad to drop it. Still, I am standing by our decision, Girl Scouts is done for us.

Both choices, difficult.  Both choices, the best decision for our family.  Still a bit conflicted about it, but I'm not changing my mind again.

Is it wrong?

Is it wrong that I learn history from Google? Seriously, I had never heard of Eadweard Muybridge until Google made their logo in his honor today. Go check it out NOW, I'll wait.  Do it, because if it's not 9 April 2012, well, you missed it and will have to go here instead. Which, I guess, isn't necessarily a bad thing because then you can see all of 2012's Google Doodles, including ones you may not get in your local. 

Back to Eadweard, he's an interesting guy who was a pioneer in photographing animal locomotion and created a movie projector of sorts (it was pre-film.)  Also, he found out his wife was having an affair and shot the alleged lover point blank and got off with justifiable homicide, so, um, don't mess with Eadweard! 

I think I won't introduce the kids to this historical character quite yet.  Not just because of his legal issues.  They would probably not be too interested.  When you've had TVs, computers, YouTube, netflix, smart phones and the like in your world basically since birth, some stop action film isn't going to impress even if it was developed 140 years ago.  Hard to believe how far the technology has advanced in such a short time.  When I was in high school we obtained our first computer (Apple 2C, which did basically nothing) and a VHS VCR that was toploading and had a remote on a cord! We were living it up with that remote, no one had those! Of course, we did only get 3 channels on TV and had to turn the antenna, which was ~50', with a rotor to get a different channel.  Not to mention going up to the TV and turning the knob to change channel and/or volume.  The hardships of life in the 70's and 80's :)

Sorry, I'm too tired

I'd love to write to you about my week in an interesting and hilarious way, but I'm too tired.  You see, we had the flu last week.  It's been exactly 8 days since I was struck down with the nastiness and I am still worn out.  I'm back to the daily grind, the work, the school, the appointments, practices and errands.  Nevertheless, I need more rest and sleep to get through it all and my brain is mush at the end of the day. Because of that, I have nothing left for you, my adoring blog fan(s).  Hopefully, this will improve forthwith :)

Super hero name

I had to type in a word verification on a friend's blog in order to post.  The words were "strict minaom" which I believe should now be my alter ego's name.

No, I'm not still feverish, why do you ask?