From Alex:

Please forgive me, my fellow peddlers, for the confusion as the right of the 140+ crest. As the journey from Mckeesport to Ohiopyle is 70+ miles, of you traveled with us down and back, you are rightfully a member of the 140+ guild.

I currently await the return of Ryan the Healer of BooBoos from his "day job." At which point we will enter into deep council and discuss the events which are dated to unfold on the 21st.

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Posted by Jon Daley on May 25, 2010, 10:46 am | Read 1449 times | Comments (0)
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From Josh:

Ye bungling fool! How is it that ye durst insult the most sacred trinity of hydrogen, oxygen, and hydrogen (albeit that hydrogen was aforementioned in the trinity please note that this second hydrogen - while resembling the first in nature - is its own unique hydrogen and not to be confused with the first element of the trinity - that being hydrogen) by implying that a red, air-breathing, mammal would even for a miniscule milli-second be considered worthy of the river god's attention!?
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Posted by Jon Daley on May 25, 2010, 10:34 am | Read 1821 times | Comments (0)
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From me:

Oh Great Stout Hearted One and Less Admired Comrades:

        At this moment, that is to say, this present instance in time, I and my accompanying attendants find the highly esteemed, large and otherwise great price of the rougher, larger and most intricately interesting collection of this new fangled hydrogen and oxygen combination of materials to be more than we are desirous of contributing to incantation rituals.  We, that is to say, I, and perhaps the other two male species in my immediate, close family, would be interested in the aforementioned red mammal sacrifices, and we are wondering and pondering if the mammal sacrifices could be accepted and used as a form of payment and way to appease these river gods by which the semi-honorable mushroom cleric is our most precious and distinguished asset, at least in terms of placating river gods, we are not so sure or confident in his abilities in facing the steel plated goblins that ravage our most beautiful and exquisite land.
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Posted by Jon Daley on May 25, 2010, 10:28 am | Read 1762 times | Comments (0)
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From Billy:

 Hail thou brave and mighty Alex...and other revered members of the Assembly:

You have returned from the halls of scholasticia not a moment too soon.  We have long awaited the coming of a valiant warrior as yourself who would dare to make the perilous journey into the land of Ohiopyle.  Even now the assembly is forming a fellowship of bi-pedal expeditioners and with your addition our endeavor is sure to be a success.  To my understanding the brave souls embarking upon this quest are as follows:

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Posted by Jon Daley on May 25, 2010, 10:27 am | Read 1589 times | Comments (0)
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As some of you know, Jonathan and I and some guys from church biked to Ohiopyle last weekend. What less of you know is what goes on inside the heads of these crazy guys, and even less of you know what sort of emails get passed around prior to a trip like this. Worry no longer, those emails will now be revealed... I'll probably put one email per post to avoid super long posts that no one will read anyway, but we'll see. (More)

Posted by Jon Daley on May 25, 2010, 10:25 am | Read 1766 times | Comments (0)
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I have a double request from Grandma to post on the homeschool conference and to make the miscarriage post no longer the first thing you see when you check the blog.  So here goes. (:

This was our second year at the CHAP convention.  Last year we spent so much time listening to speakers that we did not see much of the vendor floor.  So this year we made sure we had time for both talks and wandering the hall.  (More)

Posted by Heather Daley on May 17, 2010, 11:59 am | Read 3375 times | Comments (5)
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5/1 - Noah continues to update his pronunciation of words.  That day it was, for battery, "baddewy" instead of "badeedee"

Faith's okay is now "o-tay".

5/4 - Faith stayed in the Bible study babysitting the whole time.  Jonathan and Noah were there with her.  They had a great time.  When I went to pick them up, she was happily stomping around the tables with the other "dinosaurs" - when she saw me, she ran up and gave me a big hug, and then went right back to what she was doing.

Jonathan's favorite color is yellow.

5/4 - The plastic cover on the middle back seatbelt had come off and gotten lost.  Noah found it and put it on all by himself.

New words for Faith: guy = "die", juice = "jew", seat = "eet", cheese sounds very close, maybe "tseese"

5/9 - Noah, rubbing the inside of his hand, "This is my palm tree."

We're not being quite as ambitious with the garden this year, so the only thing I started inside is marigolds.  I planted the seeds in vermiculite inside on 5/1 and they sprouted on 5/5.  I transplanted the baby seedlings to individual pots the next day and now we are waiting for after last frost to transplant them outside.

Jonathan and Noah did this a long time ago, but I don't think I ever wrote about it - how to make your own miniature lightsaber.  Take a plain ballpoint pen and remove the ink.  Break a hole in the end of the cap.  Stick a colored paintbrush brush end down the pen tube.  Slide the cap over the colored end and there you have it!  A lightsaber that retracts and extends, pocket size.  (I'll try to remember to take a picture)

Posted by Heather Daley on May 12, 2010, 10:24 am | Read 3350 times | Comments (1)
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But I will not attempt again to pull it out without another adult present.  I saw that two small vines were creeping up trees in places I had noticed last year (one of which I had pulled out, but there must have still been roots).  Since all my crazy dressing up last year was a pain (and I suspected I wasn't allergic anyway) I only donned the nitrile gloves.  My planned extraction went very well. 

Then I noticed more of the telltale three-leaves nearby.  I pulled on them only to find a long string of root extending into the thicket.  I should have stopped right there and come back more prepared to take care of a bunch, but I just kept going.  Whoever reccommended the nitrile gloves does not also have thorn bushes.  A few times, the leaves brushed my forearms, and by the end of my pulling, my gloves were torn to shreds.  There was no rash forming and I was not itchy.   I filled two grocery bags with vines and decided finally that I should come back more appropriately dressed.

I asked Jonathan to get me a big plastic bag to put my small ones in and while he was doing that the neighbor's dog came to the border of our yard and barked and scared Faith.  So I had the boys bring her inside and then Jonathan helped me, very carefully avoiding exposed areas.  I washed my hands and forearms thoroughly in the utility sink and then peeled off my clothes and went upstairs for a shower.

After that I went back down and threw all my exposed clothes (including my sneakers) in the washer.

Once Faith was inside and well taken care of by her brothers, she was very patient.  But it was very hard for me to not be able to comfort her about the dog.   I thank God for Jonathan and Noah!

And next time, I'll go back to covering my shoes (or probably wearing my tall rainboots, covered) and wearing long pants and sleeves.  Not sure what to do about gloves, though.  I'd like to avoid exposure as much as I can so I don't lose my immunity, and I also need to protect against thorns.

No more adventures for today, please!

Posted by Heather Daley on May 1, 2010, 6:05 pm | Read 38515 times | Comments (0)
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Combine shorts/shortsleeves with pricker bushes and concrete and childhood exploration.  Jonathan takes care of himself now, and Noah does sometimes, but I've been doing lots of bandaging for Faith.  She's pretty good about leaving them on, but when they fall off she is insistent that a new one goes on right away.

4/19 - Faith adds new words all the time now.  "Dit" means sticker, this is often accompanied by pointing to the back of her hand (put a sticker there, please.)  "Niw" or "miw" for milk, accompanied by the milk sign.  She sounds like a little kitten when she says it!  "Dide" or "ide" for outside or inside, depending on circumstance.

We have lots of violets in our backyard.  Jonathan calls them butterfly flowers.  I used to remind him that they are called violets, and then I read that their scientific name is viola papilonacea.  It means "butterflylike violet" - so Jonathan was right!  He's just speaking English and not Latin. (:

4/22 - Jonathan, sniffing deeply, "Broccoli makes my nose thirsty."

4/23 - Faith was helping me unload the dishwasher.  If she picked up an item she didn't know where to put she asked me, "Doh?"  ("Where does it go?")  One time she picked up a small mixing bowl and put it in the low cabinet where it belongs.  Later, she picked up a larger mixing bowl, and very carefully took out the previous one and stacked them according to size before replacing them in the cupboard.

Last night we visited our friends who have a farm and Faith several times repeated "dat" and "dod" for cat and dog.  She was afraid of all the animals except the cats.

Last night was a bluegrass jam session and it was such a blast.  Jon brought his guitar, though he'd not done bluegrass before.  People sat and stood around a circle, playing away.  It was fun to listen to and sometimes sing along if I knew the words.  Young and old together, great players and medium players.  Jon plucked around on a banjo for a while.  There was a bass fiddle that got passed around to whomever wanted to play.  The kids who were not playing instruments ran around the farm, in and out of the garage where the music was. It was a blast.  Mom, you would have loved it!  One of the girls led some fiddle tunes and the banjos and guitars jammed along with her.  It reminded me of Janet's fiddling days and I thought of that lion-headed fiddle.  They played Red River Valley, Cotton-Eyed Joe, and Rocky Top among many others.  Amazing Grace, I'll Fly Away, and other old gospel hymns.

Noah and Jonathan got covered with farm dirt and bruises; Jonathan stuck a turkey feather over one ear; Noah carried a cat around for a while.  Faith stuck with me the whole time, but did ride on a tricycle a bit with me pushing.

Posted by Heather Daley on April 24, 2010, 12:15 pm | Read 2687 times | Comments (3)
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Here are my notes from when Jon was in the Dominican Republic:

Saturday - first dinner with Daddy gone - When Faith saw that Daddy was not in his chair at the table, she looked for him in the computer room.  The next morning when I got up first, Noah commented that usually Daddy is up first.  I asked, "Do you remember where he is?"  Noah says, in an "of course" tone, "In his bed!"  When I replied that he was not, then Noah remembered "minihan public."

They were really good in church, except for Noah during the sermon, wiggling and lolling.  After church they were exceptionally well behaved.

Jonathan helped Noah get to bed on nights when I had to take care of Faith.  Jonathan often helped me by putting on Faith's diaper and pants.

We had a relaxed pace for everything except getting to Faith's checkup appointment on time.  One of the reasons Jonathan was looking forward to Jon being gone (that he was unable to articulate for a while) was that he was excited about having more of my time, that I would not be spending any time with Daddy so I'd have more time for him.  This spurred me to make a special time for Jonathan more often than we had before.

I realized if something needed to be done, it was me who had to do it, so I might as well do it now since there's no point in waiting to see if someone else does it.  That was not as tiring as I thought, and I thought that I should just do those sorts of things anyway even when Jon gets back. 

God poured out much grace and I poured out lots of prayer.

Spring really helped - everyone was cheerful and excited and we could play outside a lot.
--End of Daddy Gone Notes-- (More)

Posted by Heather Daley on April 18, 2010, 5:52 pm | Read 2426 times | Comments (7)
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It got up to 67 F outside this afternoon.  We had a picnic lunch and then spent a long time outside enjoying the sunshine (kids absorbing lots of vitamin D) and playing with rocks.  Jonathan cleaned and filled the hummingbird feeder.  I filled the regular bird feeder.  I put away shovels and cleaned up the yard a bit (rocks from the paths had gotten shoveled into the grass with the snow).  Hooray for spring!  I even opened up the windows to let some fresh air in.  It only lasted for about an hour because the outside temperature started dropping, but it was very nice.  (More)

Posted by Heather Daley on March 10, 2010, 3:12 pm | Read 2373 times | Comments (4)
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2/23 - Faith repeated the Church of the Ascension doorbell, singing exactly on pitch.

2/24 - Noah was working with Jon on pronouncing "sure" correctly, having trouble with the "sh" sound at the beginning.  Finally, he said to Jon, "How 'bout I just say 'mm-hmm'?"

3/4 - Faith was exploring her reflection in the convex mirror of the mixing bowl.  She looked up and down, made faces in it, looked from the right and left.  Very fun to watch.

Faith is running now, working hard to keep up with her brothers.

Faith is using the toilet sign often now, and more than half the time, she goes.  Often she'll keep a diaper dry for hours.  I got the Toilet Training in Less Than A Day out from the library again and I think I'll do a session with her soon.  Then she'll be in underwear!  I'm debating about waiting until 20 months, which is their recommended starting age, but they do say some kids are ready at 18 months.

Today is clear and sunny and we had a picnic lunch out front, with an old shower curtain under the blanket to keep off the damp. Jonathan made a few games for us so it was kind of like a carnival!  He also made us lemonade, using three cups of sugar in a gallon of drink, so it was pretty potent.

I've been enjoying the snow and wintery weather (remember it did take a long time for winter to come this year!) but there just is something about the sunshine and warmth that's really nice.
Posted by Heather Daley on March 7, 2010, 3:07 pm | Read 3206 times | Comments (1)
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Note: most links in the article are links to our pictures of the wood

As I've mentioned previously, we really like our woodstove, and since we've used the gas less than I thought, I decided to get some more wood, and so I found a guy on Craigslist, who had a decent price for delivering, and stacking, so we bought it, and it arrived today.

In the process of looking for that, I found a guy who cut up an old stump for someone, and he cut and split into large pieces, and then I cut and split it so it would fit in our woodstove.  The tree was a black locust, which turns out to be the hardest wood I've ever seen, and is near the top of the list for hardest known wood.  What that means is that it feels like a rock: when lifting it, splitting it, and when burning it. The picture shows the wood collected from the stump - it must have been the biggest stump I've ever seen - I estimate that there is about 28 cubic feet, around 1/4 of a cord, which is pretty good for an old stump.

But, I got the larger pieces of the stump split and cut (note the safety goggles when chainsawing in the picture...)  And when we burn it, it doesn't really light at first, but then tiny little pieces burn for hours.  The other day I tried to start a fire with tiny kindling pieces of locust, and one larger piece of cherry.  It took forever to get started, and the only reason it finally started was the large cherry piece caught, and then lit the kindling.  The kindling lasted for much longer than the log.  I am hopeful that now that we have locust, our fires will be able to make it through the night, as the cherry only burns strong for four hours, and then has a couple of hours of low burning, on its way out.

The wood we got today is approximately a third locust, a third maple, and a third elm, with some cherry as well.  The maple is softest we've had, so I am probably not going to like that as much.  And they tell me that elm makes lots of cresote, even though it is a hard wood - I haven't looked that up yet, but that doesn't sound good.  They also said the elm burns hotter than most woods.  The maple is supposed to light the easiest, so if we can keep track of which is which, maybe we can simply use the maple for starting fires, the elm for having nice hot fires during the day, and the locust at night.

The firewood guys were the first people that were surprised how little wood we've burned so far (under a cord); they said most people they knew were close to their second by now.  We do use a little gas sometimes, so that might make up for some of it, and since our stove is smaller, it probably takes us a longer time to burn the same amount of wood.  One guy guessed that we had good insulation, but this is the second house (two for two) that doesn't have any insulation to speak of.

They had a good price for stacking, so I got them to do that too (I helped too) and it is nice having four people stacking together - the 2+ cords we got this morning was off the truck and stacked in less than two hours.  And the final result:

In other wood news, we bought a gate that surrounds the woodstove, designed to keep babies away from it.  While all of our kids are careful with the woodstove (I think I'm the only one who has been burned (while putting logs into the stove)) when we had some friends over, the boys were rough-housing and were kind of close, and the mom was pretty concerned about it, and then a cheap/used gate came along, so we bought it, and my concerns (sticking out into the room too much and being a pain when adding wood) about it were unfounded.

Posted by Jon Daley on December 19, 2009, 2:44 pm | Read 18513 times | Comments (19)
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We began the day learning about Guy Fawkes Day (Jonathan says now if we ever visit England he wants to visit at the beginning of November so he can participate in the festivities.)  We ended the day by taking Daddy to the ER.  Jon's notes in italics.

It was quarter of five and I had gotten dinner ready a bit early.  I went downstairs to let "the men" know.  Jon was working on adding our new ultraviolet filter (to radiate the coliform bacteria) to the plumbing and Noah and Jonathan were doing projects.  Jonathan's project was making a new shelf for Daddy's tools.  He asked me to hold the shelf up while he hammered.  Then I heard a cry from Jon of severe pain.  He went running out of the well room holding his head.  He was unable to tell what had happened or even say where it hurt (though now he now says if I ever hear that kind of cry it is always eyes...)  I asked if I needed to call the doctor or go to the hospital and he said he didn't know.  He took his hand away for me to look at some point but I couldn't see any blood anywhere.  He was a bit faint, so he lay down on the floor.  I started praying and assuring the boys and Faith (and myself) that God would take care of Daddy.  (More)

Posted by Heather Daley on November 8, 2009, 7:19 pm | Read 26978 times | Comments (18)
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Jonathan has created a new superhero.  Actually, a team of superheroes.  They are the SuperFire team, made up of as many different colors as you would like.  Super Orange Fire is the captain (that's usually Jonathan.)  Noah is often Super Blue Fire, or Super Green Fire.  I'm sure I'm forgetting details, but some of the features are that they can turn into fire and they can shoot worlds from their arms.  They have capes that can separate into wings.  The theme song includes phrases from the Ride of the Valkyries.  (More)

Posted by Heather Daley on October 10, 2009, 9:07 pm | Read 3316 times | Comments (7)
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