Monday, January 26, 2009

Chronicles of Cody

Cody eating home-made ravioli's at grandma's house.

Cody with some of his cousins and brothers, as well as Angee (Brian's girlfriend) and Jerry (RoseAnn's boyfriend).Everyone agrees, they count as family.

Cody is our sullen one.We like to say he can't help it..he was sort-of born wearing that look. Those who get to know him, learn that he has a huge heart for those less fortunate,can be very funny, unusually loyal and has learned to balance an extremely competitive nature with playfulness. (this, however, is supposed to be a secret). So, just who is this kid?
I thought I could start with some of his passions.

First of all. Soccer. Cody is living, breathing, sleeping soccer at this time of his life. He wants to push himself to see how far he can go "in the soccer world". (Is that vague enough?) He is playing with his second team since the Fall and working with two trainers. So..Mondays and Wednesdays..he trains..Tuesdays and Thursdays he practices and trains. Friday's are usually games (along with some of his practicing/training days) and Saturdays hold more games or practice. Sundays? He recovers before starting all over again.

This is Cody's 11th year playing soccer, but his first year as a goalie. He had gotten very comfortable at mid-field. After a little hesitation in the beginning,Cody discovered that he can be more aggressive as goalie than just about anywhere else on the field. He is loving it!
So..maybe passions is a short-list...although he recently re-discovered his guitar, and continues to spend hours plotting stories for computer games.
We are trying to put a little balance into Cody's soccer/family life. Cody has returned to studying Latin prayers verses translations of biographies of assassins. The prayers are a little more managable. He is working through St. Martin's Guide to writing, reading Tao Te Ching for co-op and plugging along in math. He is cursing himself for involving himself (yet again) in Odyssey. Insisting he will never do it again. He says this every year at this time.
Finally, he has recently joined Venturers. They are planning to do some ropes courses and scuba diving locally for the short-term. For the long-term they have narrowed down their adventures to either gold-mining in Colorado for a month or scuba-diving in Belize. He has "respectfully declined" any leadership positions with this group.
As for service? Well..he is continuing to lead the Boys and Girls Club city-wide paper recycling program. and helps tutor at the Club one day a week.
Cody's next big interest these days has been micro-financing with non-profit organizations such as Kiva (Keeva?). He has found that he can loan money to , say, a fisherman in Lebanon..and see his money put to use. He insists this is far more gratifying than letting his money sit in a bank and earn $10 a year in interest.
Cody continues his advocacy/awareness-raising on the genocide in Darfur and offering family support to local refugees on a weekly basis. (grocery shopping, playing with children, tutoring, etc.)

I forgot. This has become a request. (who knew?)
Weekly Menu:
Mon: Potato chip chicken, broccoli/cauliflower/potato/cheese stuff, fried okra, biscuits
Tues: stir fry veggies with rice
Wed: ribs, mashed potatoes, corn-on-the-cob, biscuits again
Thurs: chicken and dumplings, salad
Friday: pizza again:)
Saturday: veggie chilli and Wild Game Dinner at the church
Sunday: church pot-luck

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

MLK March/Inaguration


A lot of history in a short span of time.
We have participated in the San Antonio MLK March every year for over a decade. (except one year when the Tx. Hill Country roads were closed due to ice and we couldn't get there). This year the boys insisted on going as part of the Darfur Coalition.

In this picture Elle, Mathew, Hannah and Cody hold the sign while others (Mason, Austen, Joel, Jules, Galen, Harlan...) pass out literature on the SADarfur Interfaith Coalition and get signatures on post-cards to encourage the ending of the genocide in Darfur.

I was questioned by a dear friend as to why we march. Our children were marching to make a stand for Darfur, but why me? Why would I march?

My response? Because it is our priviledge, right and responsibility.

We have the priviledge to march for what we believe in this country. I have spent some time in countries that are not so privilidged. It is not a priviledge I take lightly.

It is my right. I believe that here in the United States, we have come a very long way in social equality and justice for all...but I also know we have a long way to go. Our current public policies regarding immigration, people with disabilities, and same-sex marriages are just a start. I feel it is our right, to make a stand on these issues. The way I see it, equality means equality..not..oh..actually just for x, y and z group. This is my belief. For this I march.
Finally responsibility. It is my responsibility as a parent, to make sure my children know the history of our country. All the history, the parts for which I am proud, the parts for which I am embarassed. We study history to learn from both our successes and our mistakes. The civil rights movement is a HUGE part of American History. I cannot and will not deny this lesson in social responsibility to my children.

We have just spent the morning watching Obama's inaguration into office. Once again.

I saw a sign yesterday that pretty much sums up my feelings about all of this:

Rosa (Parks) sat so Martin(Luther King) could walk.
Martin walked so (Barak)Obama could run.
Obama ran so all children could fly.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Odyssey is back...

My house smells like kids and Odyssey of the Mind.

My kitchen smells like spray paint (they painted outside..I swear) My living room smells of burning sauder, and snacks...(popcorn and pizza actually).

I thought we had another month before the kids hit this mode. I was wrong.

The Club is sending 4 teams this year to the Texas Central regional tournament. We are sending one highschool, one middle school and two elementary teams. The highschool and junior high are both meeting out of our house (although they have coaches other than me). Elementary is meeting out of the Club. All teams are meeting together on Tuesdays for spontaneous problem practice. You know..when they work together to answer questions like, "if you made a bumper sticker for the space shuttle, what would it say?" or to build a cantilever out of toothpicks and marshmallows.

But that is not as messy ..the spontaneous. The long-term stuff will take over my house. At the moment we have two small vehicle models and one pieced together robot and something that explodes for the high school. They are rumoring about spies and the Pink Panther. I can only imagine what they will end up with.

Junior high is working on a problem involving "the lost labor of Heracles". They have spent the day, painting shoes, working on signs and downloading info on the Greek alphabet and Pythagorus (don't ask). They also have lots of brown material, tie-dye (again with the tie-dye), sheets, leaves and various forms of triangles. They don't know if they are using triangles or not..but are playing with an idea.

The mess, however, is not limited to competing members of our house. Since the rest of us are not allowed to offer any ideas..we often immerse ourselves in our own creative endeavors. I managed to get myself lost in a book. (not so creative) Brian-Scott and Angee (who are both going to be judges) are trying to stay out of they are dismantling a d.v.d player and discussing "puppy launchers" in maybe they could "launch" our dog.

"Big"Brian spent the day at Pick-n-Pull..for no reason other than to scavenge for car-parts and clear the house. He did bring home the pizza, though. The pizza, however, is not enought. Here we go with the food theme again.

So while we're at it...this week's menu:
Sunday- vegetable tempera and rice
Monday- lasagna, french-bread, salad
Tuesday- grilled cheese and tomato soup
Wednesday-chili-mac and steamed potato and cauliflower with cheese.
Thursday- left-overs
Friday - pizza again.
Saturday- still not a clue

Now that his team is gone, Austen is moving himself into the tree condo. He claims his room will have to hold his team's stuff. He may be right.

Lucky Austen.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Serious Study?

It is a welcome, but eerie sound in this house. For 3 days, the boys have studied at least 4 hours every morning. I am the noisy one around here. I do not have their attention span.

The boys are calling this our "season of study". If history repeats itself, it will last about one month..then we will be in OM crunch mode and will once again, be going through the motions.
Sandy and Devin are coming over every morning. Sandy patiently sits with Austen each morning as he works himself through the confusing world of fractions, polynomials and figuring area and perimeter. He is spending a lot of time reading 39 Clues and The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy triology.
Devin is a bit more mathematically self-sufficient. He plops himself in a chair and just works through textbooks. He occasionally murmurs he is stuck, but before you reach him he inevitably says,'oh, never mind..I got it." He is spending a lot of time reading Usborne's Book of World Religions and looking at grammar and German.
Both Austen and Devin are spending a little bit of time each day diagramming sentences (like 15 minutes) and have returned to daily essay writing.
We all read together each morning..mainly because I like this time together. We are almost finished with Brizinger. The boys are also reading the Bhagavad Gita for next week's discussion during co-op.
Cody and I are plodding through his Latin together. We decided in the Fall that since the bulk of his time is spent on the soccer fields, Latin was a way to get comfortable with English grammar and meet college foreign language requirements in one shot. At the time, he was debating whether to spend a semester playing soccer in Mexico for his senior year, or go to Italy for his first year of college (also for soccer). We figured a year of Latin wouldn't hurt him, either way.
We started with Latina Christiana. We worked about 1/2 way through it and then Cody decided it would be more interesting to switch to the Oxford Latin Course. This is one brother Brian used for a year. It involves lots of translations, but revolves around the biography of Quintus Horatio Flacus...the assasin of Julius Ceasar. Am I surprised that he finds the life of an assassin more interesting than liturgical prayers?! The biography of an assassin is a bit more time consuming though. Cody is reading and re-reading Darren Brown's Trick's of the Mind. He is returning to the routine of working through the Saxon Alg.II book.
As for me, I am stalling. I need to read the book of Acts, identify some specific groups, etc. for discussion. Instead, I am reading Three Cups of Tea, lots of magazines, The Shack and a book on care-giving. I am filling out a zillion impact assesment things for work..and..well..blogging. Like I said, don't have the boys' attention span.
Why am I writing this? Because years from now, I want to say.."do you remember that time when we every day? I think it was January of like, 2009 or something.."

Sunday, January 04, 2009

taking time to regroup

Our vacation mode is finally ending (sigh), and I am taking the day to regroup. I am preparing for this next semester of study, OM madness, soccer games, C.A.P. competitions and work by spending the day doing laundry, planning menus (if I don't have a vague plan, we tend to go days is quite sad, really), and rearranging the house. I bought myself a christmas c.d...Winter Wonderland from Starbucks this weekend. I am playing it at nauseum as I get ready for our next few months. This is, in a way,
my deep breath before jumping back into our routines.

I have mixed feelings about this. I have thoroughly enjoyed visiting with Brian-Scott.I will miss him. I loved drinking too much Hot Damn, cheating at dominoes and watching the kids playing with fireworks over New Years. I spent a few days in Brian's Austin apartment with my mom and sister where we spent some long-overdue time together. However, I am ready to return to more structured lives.

We are actually missing our routine with the kids at the Club. I have only worked 3 days in the past 2 weeks. It seems much longer than this. We all function better around here when we balance our days with work(like paid labor) service (volunteerism galore) study and play. We have spent the past month abundantly heavy on the volunteer and play side. I am ready for more balance.

Okay..just for fun: Our Weekly Menu (think mixed family part vegetarian part carnivorous)
Sunday: fajitas, ranch style beans, corn and rice
Monday: cheeseburger pie, fruit cocktail and salad (soup bar: cream of bean)
Tuesday: spaghetti, green beans, bread-sticks (soup bar: huitlacoche)
Wednesday: baked ham, mac and cheese, peas (soup bar: tomato-basil)
Thursday: leftovers (soup bar: veggie soup)
Friday: pizza night
Saturday: not a clue!
So it's an almost weekly menu. Truth is Brian usually cooks on the weekends. During the week, I take out all the ingredients in the afternoon before leaving for work. We usually have a first one home cooks dinner rule. This includes the boys. We cooked a lot with them when they were younger so they are all pretty comfortable in the kitchen. Hence, the need for a plan . The other reason we have a plan is so everyone in this house knows what is available to create, snack on, etc. Otherwise, the kids eat the ingredients. Looking for sauce? Cody ate it. Looking for basil? Austen used it all in a tea experiment.. Noodles? Mason built something with them.
All for now. Laundry awaits!