Friday, April 26, 2013

Risk Legacy: Game 3

Our third game of Risk Legacy made up for my dismal experience last time: I won!  Unlike the previous two games, we all kept to ourselves in the beginning and focused on building our armies.  At some point, Ryan was gaining an advantage with rapid expansion in Asia, and Greg went after him.  They spent the remainder of the game trading insults and territories.  This was a "fortuitious circumstance" for Kylen and me.  The nice bonuses they earned from large areas of conquered land went into funding their war against each other, while Kylen and I peacefully and slowly grew our forces with the help of our small continent bonuses (Africa and South America respectively).  Ryan always got his Australian bonus, and Greg was able to hold North America a few rounds.

All of us had big armies left at the end.

My faction had the special ability of my capital always being fortified.  The plus 1 on both my defense dice discouraged any attempt at invading.  Kylen decided to try for Greg's capital and began making his way north.  I had a sizable army in Europe that I'd built in preparation to strike a capital, but I held back due to everyone's daunting fortifications.  Kylen eventually left one of his border territories weak, and Ryan swept in to capture his capital.  If he hadn't, I would have!

Kylen and I had started with an extra victory point (red star) since we hadn't won before.  Each capital is worth a star, and you can also trade in cards for them.  Greg and Ryan traded their cards for men.  On my next turn after Ryan's big invasion, I traded in cards for my third star and used my European army to take Kylen's capital from Ryan.  He rolled very poorly, and I was able to get my final star.  For my reward, I followed in the footsteps of my two predecessors and chose to name a continent. I christened South America "Rivendell," an Elven outpost from Lord of the Rings. 

My army on Kylen's capital.

Here is where we came to a thrilling moment!  If the other three players chose to name a minor city, we could open up our first secret envelope!

There are six secret containers, four being envelopes.

Ryan decided to carry the animosity between him and Greg beyond the game and insisted that he would only name a minor city IF Greg would draw a smiley face on his hand.  Ryan and Kylen had revived their hand face silliness during the game, and this was Ryan's way of getting in a little good-humored jab.  Greg, being the stubborn man he is (we're perfect for each other!), wouldn't hear of it.  Much conniving ensued, and I even attempted to forcibly draw a face on his hand myself.  He fought me off valiantly, but Ryan at last consented to get even by naming a minor city "Smiley Face On Greg's Hand Island."  He then took a picture of it with his phone while proclaiming loudly that it would be on record for all time.

"Smiley Face On Greg's Hand Island"

As winner, I nominated myself official secret envelope opener.

It had quite a pile of cards inside, some of which will result in major changes to our future games!  Very exciting, but I'll wait until the next Risk Legacy post to talk about them.  =)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Anxiety and Viruses

I've had a rough couple of weeks health wise.  I was having trouble managing stress, and it culminated in an anxiety attack.  This was the second big one I've had, and both times my breathing was affected for a week or two afterwards.  This time the breathing problems really got to me, which added to my stress.  I woke up Sunday morning with half my bottom lip full of blisters.  I'm not the type to run to the doctor, but I decided to go.  They tested me and found out the blisters were from a common virus that causes cold sores.  It lies dormant most of the time but can be triggered by stress.  I could barely eat or talk for a couple of days, and even drinking was difficult due to the swelling.  It can take two weeks to completely go away.  They gave me horse pills that are an anti-viral which should hopefully help the healing process along.  I can't swallow anything remotely big.  Greg has to cut them into about 10 pieces, and I swallow the pieces one at a time.  This happens twice each day.  Add my other daily pills (main one being FIVE vit. D capsules each day - have to take the 1000 ones because anything bigger gets stuck in my throat), and that's a lot of annoyance.  At least it's forced me to drink more water, with all the guzzling to get all the pills down.  I've stayed home, because I look a sight!  Plus, it's contagious.  Plus, my breathing made me not want to do anything.  Praise God, my lip is definitely better today and my breathing is slightly improved.  I would appreciate prayers that my breathing returns to normal soon and for me to handle stress better.  Both of these things are a big deal right now.

The first time I got an anxiety attack, it was over something big.  Mostly though, I get stressed easily over small things.  I've always been that way to a certain extent, but I'm starting to realize I may need to take it more seriously.  Some of the trouble is my illness.  My body doesn't handle stress as well as someone with normal health, and I have worked hard over the years to address that by limiting my commitments and scheduling down time.  Some is probably due to my OCD/perfectionistic tendencies.  I have prayed lots but perhaps not as much as I should.  Sometimes I think my personality would need to change completely.  I'm the sort of person who moves a lot when I'm standing, I get up and down and pace while on the phone, and I can be very eccentric.  Is that a nervous problem or just my personality?  I think for me to be completely calm all the time would mean I'd have to become a different person.  Just to clarify, not a more godly person.  I don't think this is a sin issue.  I'm talking a different kind of person.  I like to be creative and occasionally obnoxious.  It's how I express myself.  I honestly don't know how I could trust the Lord more than I do, and I certainly don't have any sinful tendencies holding me back.  Yet, something needs to give.  I'm sure the Lord doesn't want me suffering from anxiety.

The doctor recommended anti-anxiety medication or counseling.  I don't like the idea of medication, and I can't help being offended by the idea of counseling.  This isn't depression.  I'm an upbeat person.  Maybe too upbeat but certainly not depressed.  The Lord is my healer and councilor.  At any rate, something needs to change.  I'll have to pray about what that needs to be!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Mario Wall Decals

We FINALLY got the rest of our Mario decals up in the basement!  It looks amazing, and we had a great time deciding how to arrange them.

Gotta have a pipe coming out the window.

Kylen's idea to make the center block higher so it looks like Mario is hitting it.

I wanted a pipe from the ceiling, and Kylen thought of the Goombas.
Greg thought it would be neat to surround the mushroom with bricks.

Monday, April 22, 2013

LEGO Chain

Kylen's LEGO chain almost reached the second floor!

Saturday, April 20, 2013


I read an article on yahoo this week about lefties, and it reminded me all over again of how interesting I find the subject.  It was so uppermost on my mind, I decided to talk about it in our co-op's newsletter introduction.  We homeschoolers are always up for trivia, right?  :-)  Thought I'd share it here on my blog as well, especially since I haven't been around much lately!
I have a very important topic to discuss today.  I would like to acquaint everyone with left-handedness.  You see, I've been left-handed my whole life.  My WHOLE life!  My mom told me that when I was learning to eat, she'd catch me holding the utensil in my left hand.  She'd come over, gently transfer it to my right, and before she knew it that stubborn spoon had made it's way back to the left again.  Eventually she had to accept that we had a southpaw in the family!

A few years back I came upon a fascinating article with statistics and theories on lefties.  I was surprised to find how accurately the data described me!  Here's some trivia I hope you find interesting (with colorful commentary added where applicable).

Power tools, can openers, hole punchers, children's desks, and staircases are among the items designed for a right-handed person.  My dad always said he knew when I'd gotten bread - the twisty was wound backwards.

They still aren't sure what causes left-handedness, and there are many theories.  One is that a specific gene called LRRTM1, passed from the father, tends to increase the chances.  I like this one better than the theory that the child suffered brain damage in the womb!

Being left-handed can be advantageous in fights, where a mean left hook can come as a surprise to the opponent.  This advantage only works because lefties are a minority.  The left-handed advantage shows up in many sports, some studies suggesting that up to 45 percent of expert fencers and tennis champions are left-handed.  Yep, that's me alright.  No one can resist my left hook.  Actually, I didn't seem to have any advantage in the full-fledged cat fight back in kindergarten.  The other girl seemed to give it back as hard as I could dish it out.  Maybe she was a leftie too.  (In case you're wondering, that's the only fight I ever got into.  Once was enough!)

Only about 1 percent of the population is truly ambidextrous.  So few?  Really?

We don't know if Leonardo was left-handed, but he certainly may have been.  He wrote backwards from right to left.  His contemporaries said they saw him write and paint left-handed, but people were highly superstitious in his society and forced lefties to use their right hands in childhood.  I learned to write in the odd manner you sometimes see lefties using, with my hand twisted around awkwardly, resting on the paper and smudging everything as it goes.  It made my hobby of drawing more difficult.  Many pictures were ruined by the smudging effect until I started placing a sheet of paper under my hand.  It was incredibly inconvenient though, so I didn't make the effort often.

10 % of the world's population is left-handed, ranging between 5 and 20 percent depending on the location.  Location matters?!

Lefties tend to excel at visual and spatial tasks such as architecture and graphic design.  They are more likely to be chess masters but less likely to be scientists and mathematicians.  This is definitely me, except for the chess part.  My talent has always been in the arts.  I did well in science and math, but  those subjects sure didn't come easy!

Identical twins often have different dominant hands.  Interesting!

Lefties have higher rates of dyslexia, schizophrenia, and immune problems, such as allergies and auto-immune diseases.  Yes, I had asthma, hay fever, allergies to cats, dogs, horses, hay, cantaloupe.  After I became an adult most of those improved.  I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease around 10 years ago.

Animals such as dogs and cats tend to have "pawedness," but the distribution is about half and half.  However, chimps and gorillas tend to favor their right hand when fishing for termites, while orangutans favor their left.

Males are more likely to be lefties than females.  Must be due to that right hook advantage.

Lefties are more likely to be geniuses.  Four of the last seven presidents have been lefties, as well as Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, and Isaac Newton.  Sure, I'll take it!

Medieval castles usually had staircases built in a way so that defenders at the top could have their sword free to swing at opponents while invaders would have their swing impeded by the wall.  Legend says the warrior Clan Kerr trained his men to use their weapons in their left hand and had staircases that allowed their left-hand to wield a sword at invaders.

When asked to visualize space, right-handers tend to be more sensitive to their right-side and perceive a small left arm and larger, longer, stronger right arm.  Lefties don't have this bias, which may come from a lifetime of navigating in a right-handed world.  Yep, that's me.  Extraordinary ability to visualize accurately.  ;-)

Have those of you who are left-handed or have left-handed children noticed any of these tendencies firsthand?  I'd love to hear about it!  But what it all comes down to is that we came into the world with varying talents, blessings, and challenges so we can minister in different capacities.  Uniqueness in ourselves and our children will mean there are things we'll never be good at, but it also means we'll excel in other areas.  We just have to work on our weaknesses and use our strengths for God's glory, all the while thanking Him for both!

Leftie and Lovin' It,

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Our Scrapbook Arrived!

Last week, in fact!  That's something else I like about mixbook.  Both times we've ordered something, it's arrived pretty fast.  Anyway, I already sat down with Greg and Kylen to look through it.  We're happy with the final product.  It doesn't look as good printed as it did on the computer, but that's to be expected.  My goal is to have another one done before the end of the year.  I've heard there are amazing discounts a couple days after Thanksgiving.  Who knows?  Maybe I'll get two more finished by then!

Pics of a couple spreads:

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Easter 2013

Easter was BEAUTIFUL here, probably our nicest day yet!  The predicted high was in the upper 60's, and I was dying to go outside.  That didn't happen, because we were preparing for company, BUT . . . it was good!!  Greg's parents make the drive to our house but once a year, and being so rare, it's always extra special having them here.  :-)

Continuing with our holiday changes, we didn't do an egg hunt this time.  However, we still decorated eggs, since they are part of the meal.  I was looking for something different to try on pinterest and found a gal's post about using Kool-Aid.  For some reason, the idea really tickled my fancy, and that's what we did!  It felt easier than the food color tablets.  Little stirring, no vinegar, vibrant colors, and true to the blogger's comments: yummy smells add to the experience!

We used the sticker and rubber band techniques to lend variety.  Greg doesn't usually get much into it, but I was pleasantly surprised that he stayed from beginning to end!  Of those I decorated, my favorite was one with stars.  I chose it for knocking, and it ended up the champion!  It did so well, that Greg's dad thought it was rigged!  Plus, it was the only egg I took an individual picture of beforehand.  It was just meant to be.  ;-)

Greg said that growing up, he looked more forward to Easter than Christmas, and the best part was knocking eggs.  In Romania, Easter was the bigger holiday.  It makes sense that people would celebrate Jesus' resurrection more than his birth.  I wonder how it came to be the other way around in the US?  And I really love how their egg knocking tradition puts emphasis on the resurrection.

Each Easter I like to take a moment to reflect on the wonder of what Jesus did and all that it means for us.  After my usual Bible reading, I was getting up to start the day, when I felt an urge to sit back down and flip over to the resurrection story.  I figured we'd all read it together later and almost ignored the prompting.  But then I read and was blessed.  Turns out we never got to it, so I'm glad I listened!  But it's such a wondrous thing, isn't it?  What Jesus did for us?  It's truly wonderful!