Archive for September, 2009

Updates from the Ranch

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

IMG_2192Lot’s of small news – nothing big. The Steussy Ranch Mobile suddenly became undrivable for no good reason yesterday. After years of owning only non-American cars, I consider our purchase of the Ford minivan a grand experiment for the extended Steussy clan. Suddenly breaking down after 45,000 miles is not a good indication. Note that Gabi has updated the sticker in the back window to accurately reflect the new family size.

I spent the last two days in jury service. Amazingly, I was even seated in a jury box, with both attorneys accepting me as a juror. This was after they’d thrown out everyone who had said anything remotely intelligent in questioning. Day two, however, the public defender came to her senses and dismissed me. I don’t think I’ll ever, ever sit on a jury. There is something criminally wrong with Riverside County’s jury selection system. I’d very, very rarely been chosen for jury duty anywhere else, but here they hit me once very 18 months or so. Something very wrong about that.

76184544DV012_DETROITToday starts American Football season, the most intellectual sport on the planet. I’ve had great fun since starting to seriously watch in 2004. Gabi and I are in the family football pool again this year. It will be fun.

IMG_2193That’s about it. Big kids are in school; I’m taking care of the littlest two while Gabi meets a friend for coffee. That’s all there is …

First Day of School, 2009

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

Dan_and_Cam_First_Day_of_school_2009Here are Dan-dan and Camilla on their first day of school!

Five_Steussys_at_schoolGabi had to take the kids herself today; Dad was busy. Here is the whole crowd as they arrive at school.

Camilla_cubbieCamilla shows off her cubby, as well as her new school uniform.

Edie_VeronicaEdie came over the weekend to check out Veronica. She brought Myles and spent some quality time with all of us.

Last Day of Summer

Monday, September 7th, 2009

Just sayin’ …

Aaron with Bandage

Saturday, September 5th, 2009

IMG_2169Aaron had a little boo-boo on his foot yesterday (long story). But he was happy enough afterward to pose for this photo.

Reading the Hobbit to Very Young Children

Friday, September 4th, 2009


We finished reading The Hobbit on September 1. We started on July 24, so this was a long time in reading. It was quite a success.

My strategy reading chapter books to very young children now is not to force them. We’d tried Harry Potter, Alice in Wonderland, Narnia and others during the normal reading time (when I do Dr. Seuss, P.D. Eastman, Bill Peet, and Maurice Sendak for all the kids). This did not work. Books without pictures bore the two year old and can’t keep the attention of the four and six year olds.

Instead, I started reading The Hobbit after they’d gone to bed. With the four year old and six year old in bed (two year old sleeps in a separate room), I’d sit in my reading chair and go through 5 or 10 pages. If they were interested, they could listen. If not, they could sleep or play quietly. I’m sure neither of them heard or understood every word. But when Bilbo Baggins was talking with Smaug, I had their rapt attention.

In general, I did not stop to explain words (there would have been too many). I tried to voice act the conversations as best I could, so the kids could follow those. And, every night, before starting and after finishing, I would summarize the latest events in the book. I’d also bring up the latest events as part of our dinner time conversations.

The biggest problem is that the book continues for 40 pages after Smaug is killed, and the kids couldn’t see any point in continuing the story after that. It was hard keeping enthusiasm for the story after that.


More Photos

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

IMG_2142I’ve had complaints that I’m not posting enough photos, so here are some recent ones. Not much going on at the Steussy Ranch – wrapping up summer. Kids are back in school next Tuesday (after the Labor Day holiday). Veronica is growing, continues to sleep and eat well. Older brothers and sister are treating her well. Dan-dan and Camilla take turns holding her, and Aaron climbs the side of her crib to “pat” her head and say, “‘Ronica! ‘Ronica!”

4_temecula_kidsGetting four kids together in a good photo will be quite a challenge this year. At least all four of them are present above.

at_playWe’ve had lot’s of visitors over the past few weeks. These are Leila’s visit this last Sunday – during our two weeks of over 100 degree weather.

James Kahn on Health Care Reform

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

Jay Kahn is a friend in Santa Barbara. He is a physician working in an emergency room there. He participated in a conservative sponsored town hall meeting on health care and has written a report on it. It’s posted here with his permission.

On Monday, August 24, I engaged in a debate on health care reform at a Town Hall meeting sponsored by the Vandeventer Group.  The audience, though civil, was often hostile, and intimidated me into silence on a few occasions.  When it was over I ended up feeling that I’d left things unsaid, which I’d like to clarify now. (more…)

August Christmas

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009


I was in the Temecula Costco yesterday. August 31, it’s 104 degrees outside (that’s 40 for you Celsius people). And what do I find inside? The very first Christmas display. Oh, get real people – I’m not ready for this.