Reblogged–A Better Way to Say Sorry

A Better Way to Say Sorry

This was shared with me, and I really like how practical it is.

I plan to print out the steps for us to use here at our home.  Sometimes you need a little help, and this seems like a good way to approach saying sorry.

Let's always be friends, boys!

Let’s always be friends, boys!


Radar, Radar!

It may surprise you to learn that we are still doing a bit of learning, even though our school year is officially over.   ???

I just believe that learning never ends!

We are trying some different ways of learning, but still squeeze in a regular lesson here and there, like this lesson from our science book, on Venus.  We learned that Venus has such a thick atmosphere that the space probes sent to explore the planet could not “see” the planet at all, but had to rely on radar images to construct an image of the planet.

This chapter suggested an experiment, which we tried, and it was fun!  We first made a plaster of paris model in a shoe box, to simulate the surface of the planet.  Then we covered the box with a numbered grid-lined paper towel.  The boys had to mark lines on a stick, or paint brush, in our case, to show how deep the stick poked in the box.  They then had to mark their findings from their probing on a chart.

Surprisingly, after all of the squares were filled in, they could predict fairly accurately where they would choose to land their space ships if they were landing on this planet.    One boy found the largest flat spot, another chose the highest point, reasoning that he wanted to land on top of a mountain, and the other chose the lowest point, thinking that in a valley would be an optimal spot.  I really didn’t care where they chose, as long as they understood what they were choosing, based on their findings, and could explain why they chose that spot.

So, in a small way, we now have a better understanding of how radar works.  And we have a planet in a box for sale.  🙂

the Little A dilemma


For some time, I’ve felt the need to clarify something about this blog’s title.  By now, everyone who reads it should know that Little A is, of course, referring to our three Little A-named boys.  Herein lies my dilemma.

If we just had one Little A, then the title, Little A’s Learning Blog would be written correctly, with the apostrophe correctly placed.  But, since we have three Little A people, it creates a conundrum surrounding the plural possessive word usage.  Every time I read Little A’s this or Little A’s that, I inwardly cringe, because I know that technically, it is wrong to use the apostrophe + s in this fashion.  But, if I were to correctly write the word, it would read Little As’, which creates the word as, instead of the plural form of A (which stands for our boys’ names), to which I would place the apostrophe, to show possession.

Clear as the Amazon?

Maybe I should just write it that way and be done with it, but writing As’ looks so much like the blog belongs to as instead of the A team.  And that’s confusing.

But every time I say (even when not referring to the blog title, but referring to the boys collectively) the Little A’s, I know this is wrong, too.  No apostrophe should be used here either, because I’m just talking about three little A boys–or the Little As.  What to do?  We don’t have three little as’s (which, incidentally, would also be wrong)–guess that should be ases, but that’s not a word.  🙂

My conclusion is that there really is no good way to write Little A in the plural, either possessively, or not.  I have resigned myself to the fact that writing Little A’s is simply the clearest way to express what I want to say.

So, in this blog, and in this family, Little A’s shall hereby refer to three little boys whose names begin with A, and sometimes, as in the case of this blog title, it will show plural possession, like in the boys’ learning blog.

Incidentally, after mulling this over and trying to come up with the least confusing way to write this, I decided to check for grammatical tips for situations like this.  Surprisingly, towards the bottom of the list of rules for the usage of words ending with s, and the apostrophe, I came across this tidbit:

Rule 6. There are various approaches to plurals for initials, capital letters, and numbers used as nouns.

She consulted with three M.D.s.
She consulted with three M.D.’s.

Some write M.D.’s to give the s separation from the second period.

Many writers and editors prefer an apostrophe after single capital letters only:

I made straight A’s.
He learned his ABCs.

There are different schools of thought about years and decades. The following examples are all in widespread use:

the 1990s
the 1990’s
the ’90s
the 90’s

Awkward: the ’90’s

The site I got this from is this one:

Apparently, according to Rule 6, there is some leeway for writers like me who use single capital letters that need to be plural.  See the examples.  I still find it awkward to write the Little A’s, but apparently, in cases like these, you pick the least confusing option, and go with it.


There you have my grammar rant.  I do find grammar interesting, and I find bad grammar and typos particularly irritating.  So, for anyone who has cringed at the Little A’s situation, know that I did give it some thought.

And, suggestions would be more than welcome!


My first bedtime story

When I was in my first year in college, I had a wonderful comp 101 teacher.  I’ll never forget the way that she kindled in me, a nursing student, a love for writing that lives in me.  Back then, I had no time to even think about writing, what with books to study, early morning clinicals to attend, and the fast-paced college life to fly along in.  But, because her class was required, I was literally forced into putting down my thoughts onto paper.  Once I began each assignment, I really did find that I enjoyed the process–it was just getting to it that was the problem for me.

I will also never forget the feeling of surprise that I experienced when this teacher, a writer herself, expressed delight in what I had written.  What a shock followed also when she told me I should send my essay to our church’s children’s magazine.  She loved to read good writing, she believed in me, and that made me desire more to create work that lived up to her high standards. I never did turn in the essay, but her comments have always inspired me to write just a bit better.

Someday maybe I’ll still turn in that story, as it’s a good one that needs to be retold.

In the mean time, I have decided to write my own little collection of bedtime stories, mostly so that I don’t forget them.  Some stories you just never forget.

From my childhood, the story of Peter and the Pumpkin Seeds in a classic, told by Uncle Arthur Maxwell.  My parents read it to us, and the lesson of “you reap what you sow” came through in an unforgettable way.  When we gave the set of bedtime stories to our children, that was the first story I read to them. We are endeavoring to instill the idea that there is a cause-effect relationship in pretty much everything in life.  This lesson comes easier for some than for other kids, it seems. 🙂  But, we try.  And the “hero” of my story, we hope, will some day learn this lesson.  This story is one more step along the road to wisdom that comes by life’s experiences.

But as I began to write, examples from my own childhood came back to me–moments that have seared themselves permanently into my memory because of the strong feelings associated with them.  And, moments that have indeed changed my life, even though the specific events were seemingly inconsequential.

For example–I remember when my friend and I decided to make oatmeal cookies.  What fun we had, measuring, pouring, and mixing.  I think we had decided to double or triple the recipe (yay–more cookies!).   I did ask my mom a question about the recipe, but like most mothers with several children (read:distractions) underfoot, she didn’t understand what I was asking, and somehow in the chain of her answering me, me telling my friend, and my friend measuring, we ended up with several CUPS of salt in the recipe, not teaspoons.  Needless to say, those cookies were inedible.  But…you can be sure that I never made that mistake again!  And it’s why I try to listen to the boys’ questions when they cook.

Another blunder I made was again a cooking-related event.  I was proudly making a breakfast for my parents with no help!  Everything went pretty well until my mom came in and asked me what I was doing with the strawberries.  As I stared at the mushy mess floating in the bowl of water, I felt puzzled.  I know I had seen my mom defrost strawberries by soaking them in water.   I told her that, and I remember almost being in tears.  But Mom simply said that we usually don’t take them out of the package before defrosting, and helped me skim them out of the water.  See what I remember?  The mistake, but also my mom’s response.  Experience is a pretty good teacher.

More stories need to be told to my own children.  Like the donut story, and the broken rock story.  Or the picking poppies story.  Hmm….there are many that remind me that lessons learned from experiences in life really do stick with you for life.  If you let life teach you. But this story is not about me.

Without further explanation, here’s my first attempt at a bedtime story.

Lessons from the Garden– a Little A story

Once there was a little boy named Little A.  He was older than his two brothers, who were also named Little A.  On this particular day, the family–all except for Daddy, who had gone to work, was busily working in the garden.  The family had spent quite a bit of time in putting out the garden.  Tomatoes in abundance made up the largest portion of the garden, as well as some cucumbers, eggplants, peppers, and other vegetables.  It is important to note that the boys had spent portions of their own money to invest in this garden, because they had decided that this summer, they would set up a vegetable stand, to sell their surplus, and probably get rich in the process.  This was Little A’s idea, and he dreamed of many customers and already had painted a sign reading “Fresh Produce”, even though the plants still were quite small and hadn’t produced a single cucumber–yet.

The family yesterday had filled some strawberry barrels, and today’s project was to use up the remaining manure to fertilize the tomato plants.    Little A set to work with a will, and in no time, he had manure all used up.  He then declared, “I’m going to go get the fish fertilizer,” and off he dashed to the shed.

Now, Mommy heard his declaration, but held her tongue, waiting instead to see if he would ask permission to get into Daddy’s supplies.  This Little A had been spoken to many times about helping himself to someone else’s things, and particularly by Daddy.   In his eagerness, he again forgot this important step, sadly.  The next thing Mommy heard was him banging around in the shed, gathering bottles and buckets, all the while talking to himself out loud.

Mommy called out to him, “Little A, do you know what how much Daddy uses of that fertilizer?”

“Oh, yes, I’ve seen him do this many times,” was the reply that sounded from the shed. “How much, then?” called Mommy

“Oh, he uses half a bucket of water and adds half fish fertilizer,” Little A called out confidently.

“That sounds like quite a bit; are you sure that’s what Daddy does?” asked Mommy

“Oh, yes!”

“Well, you may use what you have, but since you did not ask permission beforehand, you have lost the privilege of using your toys outside today.  Are you sure on the mixture?”

“I know this is what Daddy does.  I’ve seen him lots of times!  Besides, you can’t over-fertilize, you know! ”

Now, Mommy, who really did not know a lot about the ins and outs of fish fertilizer ( nor did she want to, since she had been so put off by its smell), did have enough experience to know that you certainly can over-fertilize with certain kinds of fertilizer, and said so.  To which Little A commented that you can’t with this, since it’s natural, after all.

He then proceeded exuberantly, to pour his liquid mix onto the tomatoes, cucumbers, and squashes.  He had them thoroughly watered in record time, and from the looks of Little A and his little brother, the plants weren’t the only things that got watered with fish emulsion.  They laughed when Mommy told them to strip down to their underwear before they came into the house.  There is one thing that Mommy cannot stand–it’s that stinky fish emulsion.  So, after two showers, Little A and Littlest A got the “all clear” from Mommy, and scampered off to play.

Next morning, while eating breakfast, Mommy, out of curiosity, asked Daddy what the ratio of fish emulsion to water was that he used on plants.

“Oh, you can mix it differently for different jobs.  But you’d never want to go above about one part fish to fifteen parts water.  Usually about one ounce per gallon is good.  Why?”

“Oh, I was just wondering,”  said Mommy, as she nearly choked on her oatmeal.

“You know they stabilize that stuff by adding phosphoric acid, so it will burn the plants if they get too much.”

Mommy then quietly explained to Daddy what had happened yesterday, and they both agreed that perhaps this was a time when life would be the best teacher for Little A.

When Little A sat down to eat, Daddy began to question him what ratio is recommended for the fish emulsion fertilizer.  Looking unabashed, Little A repeated what he had told Mommy–you mix it half and half, then water the plants.  He didn’t look too worried, since, his philosophy held that fish fertilizer can’t be over-applied.

When Daddy explained to him what the consequences could be to his fertilizing frenzy, he started to look concerned for the first time.  From the window, the garden looked the same, though, and he said that it didn’t look like anything had been harmed.  Mommy suggested that perhaps a good idea would be for him to go try to wash some of the fertilizer out of the ground by watering heavily–it was at least worth a try.

Little A did begin to take the situation seriously, and immediately after breakfast he ran quite a bit of water into the garden area.  Interestingly, most of the tomatoes did look like they were greener and larger, but you could see the telltale signs of fish emulsion that had splashed onto the leaves, because they looked burnt.  And the squash–Little A’s own yellow and green squash–I think they got fertilized the most in hopes of a good harvest.  They just couldn’t take the over-concentrated mix–no signs of life remained in the zucchini, and half of the yellow squash gave up the fight too.  😦

But I am happy to say that the very next week, when Mommy really did need her tree fertilized, she asked Little A to go mix her up some fish emulsion mixture.  This time–he got out the measuring cup!  One lesson learned!