Archive for May, 2010

Last Friday, John and Brock spent time observing a local vet in her clinic to complete the requirements for the Veterinary Medicine Boy Scout Merit Badge. After completing the visit, they were to write a brief report about what they observed and learned. I asked the boys if it was all right with them if I posted their reports on my blog, and they said that would be fine. The first report was written by Brock, who just completed the 5th grade and will soon be a Tenderfoot scout:

On May 19th, we went to the Swartz Veterinary Hospital.  We watched two surgeries.  We also saw ticks, tapeworms, and other things that my harm an animal.  The skin cell samples under the microscope were neat too.  We saw some dogs and cats that were being boarded there as well.

I learned quite a few things.  I learned that being a veterinarian is not what most people picture, because there are surgeries, anesthesia, etc. involved.  I now know what dog skin cells look like.

I thought the trip was interesting.  It was fun to see the animals and to learn some new things.

The second report was written by John, who just completed the 7th grade and is a First Class Boy Scout:

Although the thought of watching a veterinarian at first sounds boring, I actually found my visit to watch several surgeries on dogs extremely interesting and would recommend it to anyone who can stand a slight amount of gore.  The first surgery that I witnessed was a spay on a small dog, and although it was a little bit more disgusting than the other surgery, I enjoyed watching this one more than the other surgery.  The veterinarian and her assistants, “veterinary technicians”, started by using a gas to induce a period of unconsciousness so that the dog would be comfortable during the surgery.  After the dog was fast asleep, the veterinarian put on sterile gloves and made an incision on the dog’s lower abdomen and began pulling out its reproductive organs.  Every now and then, the veterinarian would pause to tie a knot to keep the dog from bleeding.  After the procedure was done, the incision was stitched closed and the dog slowly awakened.  Later, I even got a chance to see the dog; it was just fine, other than being sleepy.

The second surgery was on a poodle that had numerous unsightly lumps.  The veterinary technicians first began putting it under anesthesia while the other surgery was still being performed and kept it inside the box they used for that reason until the veterinarian could begin operation on the dog.  The veterinarian, after having her assistants shave the areas surrounding the lumps, began her task of cutting the blemishes off the dog while minimizing bleeding by the same method as before.  Once the bumps were removed, the dog was placed into a cage next to the other recovering dog.

After all of this, I got to see examples of ticks, skin cells, and other miscellaneous items.  The remaining time after that was primarily spent observing the different animals, most of which were only being boarded.  I enjoyed spending the two hours of watching the surgeries, and I know that even my sisters, when they are old enough, might at least like seeing the animals if not the surgeries.

I know I mentioned in my previous entry that I was surprised how much John enjoyed this experience.  His enthusiasm has continued, and he talks about it quite often.  All of a sudden he has a greater appreciation for animals too.

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My kids’ favorite book characters, Max and Liz, are about to have new adventures.  We can’t wait!!!!  (We’ll have to reread the Joseph book to speed the time!)

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Well, our summer vacation is well under way–and, as I expected, I am not making nearly as much progress on my to-do list as I need to make!  Oh well, Dan’s favorite saying applies:  it is as it is!

VBS preparation is filling quite a bit of my “spare time.”  This summer our church is using The Egypt File which is Answer In Genesis’s 2010 curriculum.  We used their materials two years ago and had great success with it, so we are hoping that this year’s course will be equally as good.  Our church does VBS in a unique way:  instead of doing the traditional 5-day program, we cover all 5 days of material in a 2-day “mini-conference.”  Basically, we cover two lessons on a Friday evening, 2 more lessons on a Saturday morning, and the final lesson on Saturday afternoon.  It sounds kind of crazy, but it really does work well for us.  We serve a free lunch on Saturday, and have the usual games, songs, crafts, etc.

The Prairie Family is up to our eyeballs in preparation for this event which will be on June 18-19 this year.  I will be teaching one of the classes with John as my helper.  Dan and I are leading the assembly times, while John and Brock are excited to be part of the opening skits.  Brock will also be helping the pastor with the recreation sessions, and John will be Dan’s techno-guy for the music.  So, we have a lot of planning and getting-ready to do!  The picture for this entry shows the girls enjoying the puppets that I ordered to use in my class.  They have had a lot of fun with those things!

Luke and Cosette went to a 4-H Day Camp yesterday and had a lot of fun.  They made crafts, planted tomatoes, played games–all of the usual day camp stuff.

John and Brock had an interesting morning today.  Both of them had completed most of the requirements for the Vet Science merit badge for Boy Scouts at local merit badge camps, but they both needed to do some observation in an actual clinic, so today we had that set up with a local vet.  This vet is so good about doing “job shadowing” and went out of her way to give the boys a good experience.  She set up a time for them to come in when she knew they would get to see some interesting things, and they came home absolutely thrilled.   The vet let them observe some minor surgical procedures, and the boys especially enjoyed seeing the pre-surgical sedation process.  All of this animal stuff was right up Brock’s alley, but I was surprised how much John looked forward to this too!  John’s comment coming out of the clinic was, “That was fun!”  So, who knows???  That’s one of the neat things about Boy Scouts:  it gives the boys exposure to all kinds of things.  They both need to write about their experience with the vet, so when they finish, I’ll put their comments on my blog.  It will be interesting to see what they say!

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Swords… and Deodorant

Ok–this is going to be one of the strangest entries that I have ever made in The Prairie Family Chronicles!  It’s pretty weird, even for us!  Believe me, though, I couldn’t make this stuff up.  This is the honest to goodness truth!

This morning I was doing my usual get-dressed routine.  I went to get my deodorant, and it wasn’t in the bathroom where I keep it.  I looked all around and couldn’t find it.  I decided to ask Cosette if she knew anything about this situation because she is the one who cleans that sink.  I thought maybe she had moved it to clean or something.  So, I asked her about my missing item.  “Oh, Kara had that last night,” she answered.  “Kara had it?” I asked.  “Why?”  She told me that Kara had been chasing Brock with it.  OK……

So, I went and found Kara.  I asked her if she knew anything about my deodorant.  She said that Luke had taken it from her and had hidden it.  At this point I was really beginning to wonder what in the world was going on!

So, I went and found Luke!  He got this ornery grin and said, “I know where it is!”  He went into the bathroom that the boys use, dug around under the sink and pulled out my deodorant–without the lid.  “Where is the lid?”  Luke had no idea.

By this time, Dan was wondering what I was looking for, and I told him that apparently the kids had been playing with my deodorant last night and that Luke had found it for me.  He started laughing and said, “Oh, that!  You should have seen that!”  He went on to describe what had been taking place.  I guess Brock had started all of this by chasing Kara around with his Nerf swords.  Kara had put on an apron like a cape and must have been playing medievil pretend games with him.  Anyway, she grabbed a “weapon” to defend herself, and it happened to be my deodorant!  She was running after him trying to make him smell it and threatening that if she caught him she’d rub it all over him and make him smell like a GIRL!  That’s where Luke came in.  I guess he snuck up behind Kara and grabbed her weapon, ran off with it, and hid it.

So, now I know why my deodorant was missing–I have had several good laughs throughout the day trying to picture all of this in my mind!

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Just a Few Neat Pictures

Today Dan wanted me to take some pictures of him that he can use for his job, so we went to his office and took a few shots.  This one with the girls was a candid moment, but I sure do like it!


This is a picture that Cosette took with her camera when she was trying out the timer mode. All of the kids are smiling and look great! (I wish they’d pose that well for me!)


Finally, here is the picture of Dan that he is planning to use for work:

Dan 1

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Playing with Cola

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Today we finished our eighth year of homeschooling with A Beka Academy.  Well, at least the kids are finished!  🙂  My work goes on throughout the summer months sending in the papers, putting away old curriculum, getting out and preparing the new curriculum for the fall.  It has been a very good school year, and the kids have all grown tremendously.  That being said, it will be good to have a break to enjoy other things and come back with a fresh vigor in mid-August.

Our summer is going to be extremely busy.  In fact, as I was making out our activity schedule for June, it looks like it is going to be a big blur!  Luke will be the only one playing baseball this summer, so this will be the first summer for many years that we will only be out at the baseball diamonds two nights per week instead of every night.  (Wow, what will we do????)

The kids are all planning to take part in the summer reading program at the library again this year.  In fact, John has volunteered to help with the elementary-age program on Wednesday afternoons, so that will be good for him.  Cosette will be continuing to take the Kids-A-Cookin’ class, and Brock, Cosette, Luke, and Kara will all have swimming lessons later this summer.

There will be a couple of Day Camps in the near future, and our family is heavily involved in our church’s VBS in June as well.  In fact, Dan and I are kind of organizing the event, and we will also be teaching, leading music, making decorations, sending out invitations, etc.  John and Brock are both old enough to be assistants.  John is going to be my classroom helper as well as Dan’s technology assistant.  Brock is going to help our Pastor lead games.  Luke, Kara, and Cosette will be attending as students.  So, that will be a major focus over the next few weeks as we prepare.

On top of all of this, the lady who led Luke’s Wolf scout group is teaching some summer activity classes and invited my kids to attend.  I thought it sounded like a fun opportunity, so we went to the sign-up earlier this week.  Little did I know that there would be  LONGGGG line for this program!  I got there at the very time the sign-up was to start and ended up standing in line for about an hour!  Classes were filling up left and right before I ever made it to the sign-up table.  In fact, all of the classes that Luke and Kara were going to take were full.  Bless that sweet leader’s heart, though, she had left my kids’ names at the table so the people who were enrolling the kids would know that she wanted them in her class–even if the classes were full!  So, it looks pretty certain that they’ll get in, but we’ll just have to wait and see if everything goes through.  Cosette is really looking forward to her classes.  She will have classes about acrylic landscape painting, making mobiles, and making jewelry.

So it will be a busy summer for the kids.  And that means it will be busy for me as well, but I don’t mind.  Dan and I have always felt that it is important for our kids to be involved in the community.  We homeschool for their personal/spiritual/educational training, but we want to be a testimony outside of our normal “Christian” circles as well.  These activities and programs have allowed us to have friendships with people we never would have known otherwise, and we are thankful for them.

I have my usual mile-long to do list for the summer on top of all of this.  Cleaning, painting, sorting, mowing, gardening–more than I will ever get accomplished!  I know it will seem like only a few days and we will be ready to start another school year!

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Webkinz Fun

My kids have enjoyed Webkinz for a long time, but recently the way they play with them has changed.  In the past they have enjoyed playing the Webkinz games on the internet, but lately they have come up with all kinds of ways of playing with the actual, real-world toys.

It is not uncommon to find Cosette, Luke, and Kara making up skits for their Webkinz.  They come up with all kinds of stories, write out the scripts, practice, and then act them out with their animals.  Cosette will even use her digital camera sometimes to record their creations.

Cosette and Kara enjoy doing crafty things with their Webkinz pets too.  They make hats, clothes, furniture, and all kinds of accessories for them, and yesterday they decided to try drawing them.  I told the girls that I will get them a sketch book the next time I go to the store so they can keep their drawings nice and collected.

So, for the Prairie Family, Webkinz is fun–not only in the virtual, internet world, but in the real world too!

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Our First Teenager

On May 4, the Prairie Family celebrated the beginning of a new phase:  the teenage years.  John is leading the pack, and what a great example he is to his younger siblings!

He had a pretty nice birthday.  He had been wanting his own Facebook account for awhile, but I told him that he needed to wait until he had reached the official age of 13 to open one since that is what Facebook requires.   We are all very much aware of the benefits as well as the dangers of having such an account, and John has agreed to use his wisely and with close supervision.  He basically wanted to be able to play some of the games like Farmville and Petville, and he has been having  a lot of fun with that.  And I must say that I enjoy having my son as a friend on Facebook too!  🙂

We had the usual Prairie Family birthday celebration with presents, dining out, and birthday cake.  One thing I have noticed lately about John is that he is developing quite the sense of humor!  Here is a perfect example:  It is fairly common knowledge that new video games make good birthday presents, so they are getting to be expected.  The kids guess and anticipate what new game is going to be added to our collection for weeks before each birthday.  Everyone gets into the guessing game, not just the one having the birthday, because they know that they will all get to share the new game.  Well, John used everyone’s great curiosity to be silly when he opened up his game.  He peeked into the box so he knew which game it was and then quickly scooted out of the room saying, “Well, the presents are finished now!”  before anyone else could see what it was!  He returned laughing knowing everyone was chasing after him to see what it was.  Yes, John gets more ornery every day, and he plays the big brother role pretty well!

John is really a neat kid.  It is a blessing to see him growing up!

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I had a very nice Mother’s Day.  Of course, Sunday morning was filled with our usual Sunday School/church activities.  After church, the men put together a nice meal to honor the mothers.  It was wonderful!  The church had just completed installing a brand new kitchen facility, and this was the first weekend to use it.  We have so many cupboards now with such nice appliances that we almost don’t know what to do!  🙂  Really, though, the men grilled hamburgers, and there were several salads and lots of desserts.  Yummy!  We usually have church dinners once each month, but it had been a few months since we had been able to have one because of the kitchen construction project.  So, I was going through “Church Dinner Withdrawl.”  I think this will hold me over until June (maybe)!

We had a Gospel Quartet, The Calvary Echoes, perform a concert for our Mother’s Day evening service.  What a rare treat!  We all sure had fun!  This group was outstanding.  The members each gave testimonies that were real and meaningful.  A couple of them had really rough backgrounds that had been turned around when they met Christ.  I just praise God for the way He changes lives.  He is absolutely amazing–what a Wonderful Savior is my dear Jesus!

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