New Year's Resolutions

Ok, so I don't really do New Year's resolutions.  They are just a way of setting myself up for failure.  Really.  I am horrible about perfection.  If I don't finish something I start, perform something poorly, fail in any small (or large) way, it is truly awful for me.  I am way too hard on myself.  Honestly, I go over and over in my head that time I sent an email with poor grammar or may have misspoke at a meeting.  It's stupid but there it is.

But, I do have some things I'd like to try and accomplish.  I am simply listing them here as a way of remembering.  They are not goals, therefore if I don't finish them, or if I perform poorly at one or more, it's ok! Hey, it works for me and it's my blog so that's what I'm doing :P

  1. Do some digital scrapbooking again.  There was a time when I was a digi-scrapping fiend.  I did so many pages.  I was on creative teams, I designed.  I got Layout of the Day multiple times online.  Once I even got published in a magazine.  This time I just want to do a bit though.  I have written up a synopsis of last year for our family and I want to add pictures and make it a nice book for family.  I'm planning to post it here too.
  2. Make more freezer lunches/breakfasts.  Things like egg sandwiches, pizza rolls, etc.  Try some new recipes, save some money, have things that are easy to grab on the run.  There will be a couple happy kids as a bonus. 
  3. Decide if I want to continue as Girl Scout leader next year.  I like it and I don't.  Really, I'm just too busy for it, I think.  
  4. Do some of this .  I really should do ALL of it, as I could really use a clean/organize/declutter everywhere, but that's not realistic.  I do like organizing and purging though so I want to try to do one thing a week.  

Some things I know I'm doing this next year:

  1. Going to my brother's wedding, in Arkansas in June.
  2. Organizing the kids' activities.  I need to see what we're doing and try and fit it all in.  See where we need to let go and where we need to step up.  I think it will involve Stella & horse lessons.  Thankfully, we have a friend who is going to do the lessons for us because we've watched her horses.  Still, I need to shoe-horn that into our schedule.  Same probably with dog training lessons for Sandis & Tonks.
  3. Several running vacations.  By that I mean Brian has a race and we go along and have a mini-vacation, usually camping.  We'll be going to Moab in February.  Possibly again in March.  Probably Wyoming/South Dakota this summer again.

Things I'd like to do but probably aren't going happen:

  1. The usual - lose weight, exercise more.
  2. Vacation to the Grand Canyon.  And Toronto.
  3. Figure out what I want to be when I grow up.
  4. Actually have a clean organized house.
  5. Get all the birthday/holiday stuff done early.  Have enough spare time/cash to make gifts/cards for friends who usually only get a fond thought.

It's over

Is it really over? Hallowbirthdaymas season? Can I actually breathe a sigh of relief?

Not quite yet.  Still have my dad's birthday on Thursday.  And we didn't get a few things sent out in time for Christmas so there are some things still owed.  And the tree, decorations, presents, well, they all need to be put away.  But, the pressure is off now.  The finale has been sung, only the encores remain.

And no, I never did find my Christmas spirit this year.  I kept wanting it to come.  Hoping.  Nope, not this time.  Maybe next year.  I wasn't depressed or anything, just never got the thrill that comes with the season.  The fun of doing all the traditional things was just regular fun without that spark.  It's ok though.  The girls had enough for all of us.  Sandis has a long involved story of how she woke up at 5am because she heard the reindeer on the roof.  Then she heard Santa pulling out a chair to sit down upon to eat the snacks the left for him.  10yrs old and the magic still lives on....

New Dog

Brian and I could not decide what to get our girls for the holidays. We have some smaller gifts for them but nothing too big or earth shaking.  Things like a toy teacup pig I picked up on a whim, and on clearance, a few months back at Target and a couple Groovy Girls that were at Once Upon a Child back in September. 

The girls haven't asked for anything reasonable either.  It's either everything they see (Stella) or "I don't know" (Sandis) or else something completely inappropriate like a Nook or an iTouch (both kids.)  Hello children, I got my iTouch for my FORTIETH birthday (Brian bought it with his fantasy football winnings - isn't that sweet :)  My Nook I got this year with the birthday money from my parents and in-laws combined with the gift card I won in the summer library reading program.  Brian has neither device.  Kids, guess what?  1) we aren't handing one of these to you for existing at ages 10 & 8 and 2) I've seen how you take care of things by strewing them about your room and stepping on them.  Electronics don't hold up well to that kind of care.

Combine that with the fact that they've both recently had birthdays where they both received loads of gifts and cash & neither has outgrown any major item (such as a bike), and you have two stumped parents.

Soooooooo, well, Brian's friend takes dogs from Animal House out for runs and there was a dog, Zorro, that he liked.  Brian was wanting a dog he could take on longer runs with him.  You see, Sirius, our current dog, can't go more than 2.5-3miles.  Soon after we adopted him, we took him for his free vet checkup where they said that he had broken one of his back legs and it had re-healed without being set.  Because of that, when Sirius runs too much, he limps around in pain for a day or so.  Sirius would be more than willing to do that in order to go running with Brian, but we are unwilling to let him do that.  Brian regularly runs 10-30 miles in one run, hence the looking at Zorro. 

Well, Brian and I talked and talked about another dog.  I thought it would make a good family gift.  When we finally decided, we talked to the girls.  If we took the plunge and got another dog, it would be a holiday gift for the whole family.  There wouldn't be a big gift under the tree, the dog would be that.  Of course, they agreed! Another dog is the best thing EVER.  Zorro was no longer an option, he'd been adopted (yeah for Zorro!)  We told the girls that we would go look at the shelters but we would only get a dog if it was a perfect fit.  The dog had to be one that could go running with Brian, be large enough that Stella can't pick it up (she gets a bit obsessive,) be less that 3yrs old (because Sirius is 8yrs old and we'd like to not lose them both at once,) one that doesn't need clipping at a groomers, and is reasonably well behaved.  If that dog wasn't there, we would come home without a dog, no matter how cute they were (because, let's face it, they're all cute.)

We headed out on Monday to the Animal House shelter.  Closed on Mondays.  On to Larimer Humane Society.  They had 2 dogs we were interested in based on the above criteria.  Neither was anywhere close to well  behaved.  One jumped all over the girls to the point where these dog-crazy, animal-loving freaks were asking to have him be taken away.  The other ignored us completely, even ducking away from being petted so that it could jump up and look out the windows.  Bummer.  On we went to Longmont Humane Society.

There we found many dogs.  Brian added another criteria, no pit bull looking dogs.  He doesn't want people to be afraid of our dog on sight.  That narrowed our choices, but there were still 4 or 5 dogs we visited with.  We narrowed it to two, a lab mix and a doberman mix.  The dobie won out as she was obeying commands to 'sit' or 'lie down' from Stella in the visiting room, plus she knew 'heel' when Brian took her for a trial walk outside.  So, a mere 7 or 8 hours after we started, we arrived home with our new dog.

Upon arriving home, we took her and Sirius outside because, well, they might need to pee, right? She tore around the yard like greased lightning.  She was FAST! When she came in from outside she was limping.  We've experienced limping dogs before, even taken them to the vet.  Usually by morning, their twisted paw is healed.  Not so this time.  She was still refusing to put weight on it the next day.  Called a vet for our free visit after adoption, figured they could look at the paw then, sure it was just a sprain or something.  Nope.  A green-stick, spiral fracture of one of the bones in her foot.  She now has a cast and we are $300+ poorer.  Poor girl.  I told Brian it's because we named her "Tonks."  I mean, she's lived up to the clumsiness of her name-sake, did she not?

A friend did suggest small increment gift cards to multiple fun locales as a holiday gift.  I think that is a great idea that we may employ next year.  The girls would love to have their very own shopping cards, movie passes, ice-cream on-demand, etc.  And it will probably be less money than our new dog ended up costing.  Still, A dog is a gift that will be remembered and loved for many, many years.  Long after toys are forgotten and clothes are outgrown, Tonks will lie at our feet, run alongside us and greet us at the door. The best things in life are not things, and the holidays are the perfect time of year for that lesson. 

Blessed Yule to everyone!

Oh yeah, the test results

Sandis' test results came awhile back and I just found them again today when I was straightening up.  Hewitt ranks you against other homeschoolers and the national average by percentile and then gives you an overall performance, as well as many other pieces of data.  For simplicity sake, I'm only going to list those three.

Subject                    Hewitt National   Overall
Reading                    58      86             High
Mathematics             62      92             High
Language                  69      88             High

So, basically, she's doing just fine.  I still put very little stock in standardized testing but I was glad it was painless and she did well enough to not give anyone cause for alarm.

I'm an idiot

The word for today is:


Noun:  A stupid person.

Synonyms: fool - imbecile - blockhead - dunce - nitwit - dolt

Today I managed to sleep in a bit, until after 9am.  The kids were up and had eaten breakfast, were happily playing with their rodents.  I had us all get ready and we headed out.  I packed boxes for about 2 hours then we were off to a therapy appointment.  So far, so good! In the restaurant drive through, after ordering, I realized, idiot that I am, I forgot to bring my purse with me.  I had my bag, in it my knitting, Nook, camera (with full battery and sd card,) pens, gps, sheets of houses to photograph, work books for the kids, etc but not my purse in which is my cell phone, iTouch, and most importantly, my debit card and money.


Luckily, I did have a pay check from the boxing/shipping job so I went to the bank, deposited some and cashed out some so I was able to feed the children and put gas in the car.  Woohoo, a win! We then proceeded to do some houses after which it was back to the boxing/shipping job to finish up.  We got done there and headed home, arriving around 5pm, a good 1/2 an hour before I had to leave for OWL.  Not bad!

Still, I was not done being an idiot.

Brian called soon after we arrived home and asked if he needed to pick Sandis up from Girl Scouts.  FUCK!!!! I totally forgot about Girl Scouts.  And this after the Secret Santa gift exchange fiasco.  Not to mention I HATE when people don't show up to things they've committed to


What an idiot I am! I am so angry with myself.  Ok, more disappointed with myself.  I can't believe I forgot.  I don't forget things like this! I called the GS leader right away and left a message about what an idiot I am and apologizing.  Thankfully, Sandis isn't upset at all about it.


The Happiest of Holidays?

December is an evil, evil month. It is the month where everyone and every group feels they need to celebrate. And when they celebrate, they need to invite everyone. This leads to approximately 367X the number of events, parties, invitations, craft extravaganzas, shows, performances and general mayhem than normal.

I try to participate in some of the mayhem. The kids like it. I like it. Of course, due to necessity, and sanity, we have to pick and choose. We cannot do it all. You saw the parody of my pared down list in a previous post. Read it again, I dare you. Then feel with me the exasperation when someone, on Friday, suggests that we do a kid's gift exchange, on Wednesday.

I politely explained my harried schedule and said that we couldn't possibly do it. She acquiesced
momentarily. Then came back with how the children should decide if they want to do it, not accepting that the children would need adult help. Not accepting doing it at a later date to give people time. Not accepting, period.

I had explained my position politely. I solicited other's opinions, ones who had seen the emails and ones who had not. All thought I was being polite and reasonable. I tried to ignore it all even as I was sent more emails, from both her and her child full of insinuations and guilt-trips. Really? This is how we get what we want these days? I understand that you want to do something, something fun, but you can't delay that fun for a month? You can't understand that others have things to do in their lives? You have to force your event/fun/whathaveyou on other people? Is THAT what Christmas is about?!

NO! That is not what Christmas is about. In our house, it is about sharing with those we love, giving to those less fortunate and celebrating the return of the sun. We talk about all of the religions who have chosen to celebrate this time of year. This is what the holiday season is really about. Family, fun, love.

I have to go back to our first UU principle too, "The inherent worth and dignity of every person." I need to remember that this principle applies to ME too. I need to be able to say "no" and have it mean no. I have a right to be treated as a person worthy of respect too.

And now, with that settled (or not), I need to get ready for that Girl Scout meeting. But not until I fix the Christmas tree that my lovely children knocked over this morning. Yes, after all my pets, after two toddlers, the 8 & 10 year olds fighting over something they can't even remember anymore are the ones to first knock over our tree. That's ok, I needed more stress in my life right now, right?

RIP Danger Mouse

Stella is a girl who loves all living things. She will sit and hold a newborn baby for hours, get excited over petting a dog, be sad when she finds a dead roly poly in the basement. Today was especially tough on her because her pet mouse, Danger Mouse, passed away.

Danger Mouse and Penfold were given to us by fellow homeschoolers who needed to pare down their pet collection. I acquired the two little mice as birthday presents, in advance, for the girls. They saw the pictures online before the mice arrived and Stella immediately liked the white and gray one, Sandis the black with white one. As it turned out, Danger Mouse was the one Stella chose.

Danger Mouse was the perfect little pet for Stella. When Stella opened the cage, Danger would run to the open cage door and climb right out on Stella's hand. She would perch on Stella's glasses and tuck herself under Stella's collars. Danger Mouse and Stella were bosom buddies.

This morning, Stella came running in to my room frantic because Danger Mouse was "chattering her teeth and pushing her head against my hand and now her legs won't work!" Stella was sobbing hysterically, trying to get dressed so we could go to the vet, yelling at me to call a vet and holding poor little Danger Mouse.

I started calling vets. First one, doesn't do little pets, try these. Tried one of those, they aren't in on Saturday. Tried another, vet on duty doesn't do mice, try this one. That one said, well, we'll look at her but we don't really do that and it will be $120 minimum, try this one. That one was the winner.

AspenWing in Loveland was able to get her in for an appointment in 40min. They cautioned that if it was a stroke or seizures, as I thought, that they could give her medicine and IV fluids, but there might not be much they could do. I assured them that I knew there wasn't a whole lot they could do but Stella was so upset I wanted the mouse to see the vet. We got ready and headed over with Danger Mouse, who was regaining some movement in her legs. I thought maybe she would pull through. Then, while sitting in the waiting room, Danger had another seizure, much larger than the first. The assistant rushed her back but before the vet could even look at her, she had passed away.

The vet said there was nothing else we could have done, nothing we did caused this, it just happens sometimes. They brought her back in a little box with a rag in it, all tucked in like a bed. They also made Stella a little heart ornament with "Danger Mouse" and her foot prints on it. They didn't charge us a cent.

None of this was any consolation to Stella who sobbed uncontrollably for at least an hour. She was pretty sad a long time after, only recently being able to talk and laugh about things like normal. She said some pretty profound things today such as, "It only hurts the one who's dying for a little while and then they are dead, but the people who are left hurt for a long, long time" and "My life will never be the same as it was before Danger Mouse was in it." There was also talk of how long before the spirit leaves a body and what color the spirit might be (for the record, for Danger Mouse, it is two minutes and pink.)

I'm sure we will have a new mouse soon, as Penfold will need a friend. The new one won't be Danger Mouse, but I'm sure she will be very loved.

Nuttin' for Christmas

Yeah, I'm pretty sure if you don't live under this roof or happen to be in the MUUMs stocking exchange, you'll be getting nothing for Christmas this year from me. I have negative time to do things. Really. Life has become crazier and crazier this month to the point where it's now 30min away from Dec 10th and I haven't even considered gifts. Don't even speak to me of cards.

I am currently working 3 jobs. Yes, that's right, three. I have the Miramont which is my part-time housekeeping work, mostly evenings. I have this through the 22nd as I've given notice. I have the packaging work which is ~3 hrs, 3 times a week or so. This work is basically between 10am and 3pm. I should only have another week to go on this one as the crazy Christmas rush should die down after that. Finally, I have my newest job, taking pictures of houses for insurance companies. This work is anytime during daylight hours, except Sundays. This one is permanent. I can make about twice as much money as at the Miramont AND set my own hours AND the kids can come along. Yes, choosing between the two was a no brainer.

In addition to the jobs, this weekend we have a play we saw tonight, 2 choir performances (Saturday and Sunday), Brian's race (Saturday), Ornament Afternoon (attending and working, Sunday), get 7 things for the aforementioned stocking exchange (Saturday? Sunday?) and picking up Healthy Kids Run swag (Saturday.) We're hoping to set up our tree Saturday night. BTW, the tree's name is Aaron Arbor aka Bob.

Monday is Options for the kids, some packaging work for me then over to Options to see Stella's Reader's Theater (for which she needs to wear all black, so I'll have to find all black) and help with Spanish class. That night is the Options program. Tuesday I have to run a Girl Scout meeting, which I've yet to think about, at my house, which is currently trashed. And I have to work at Miramont that night. And I should try and put in a couple hours at the shipping job too.

I refuse to think beyond Tuesday at this point.

So when on earth am I supposed to find time to purchase, wrap, pack and ship presents? Not to mention our boxes that we send out to family and friends. The boxes are a kind of history of our family over the past year. We get small things which symbolize what we've done and write up a letter about all the fun things. For instance, one entry could be a postcard from Arches National Park which would symbolize our trip there last March. These boxes are wonderful and meaningful and I love them, but again, I haven't even begun to think about them. Often times finding the trinkets to symbolize parts of our year a tricky to find. One year I wanted toy snakes for something or other and not a single toy snake could be found in northern Colorado.

And teacher's gifts, OY! Their last day before break for quasi-school is this Monday which means all gifts must be done by, well, Monday. When can I do that in the next two days? Did I mention we don't have piles of extra cash floating around so I have to be creative and make something, which takes time.

I love my life and all the things I'm doing, I just need an extra day or two shoved in there so I can accomplish all the extras that December brings. That's all I ask, an extra day. Please?

Stella's Banner Day

Stella summed her day up saying, "my first high heels and my first pocket knife all in one day!" I'm more worried about Stel killing herself in the heels (though they are short and wide.) Brian's not too sure about her having her very own knife. We'll see how both pan out....

The 2nd two weeks

The second half of Stella's first month on meds hasn't been nearly as smooth as the first. She is doing much, much better than before she was medicated. Still, there have been some frustrating incidences where she's been screaming at us over things that are, really, inconsequential. Sometimes it's been after a long day. Once it was because Brian didn't make sure she took her meds (I was at work, he told her too but didn't make sure it happened. Live and learn.) Other times it's simply she doesn't want to do what she needs to do, like clean her room. It's never long lasting like before, and it's mostly yelling rather than hitting, and often she apologizes afterward, all of which is a huge improvement.

Still, I find I'm debating whether or not we should up the dosage. We go down to the psych center on Wednesday where we'll be reviewing how things are going. At the last meeting the PA did say that we could up the dosage if there was still anger going on. Stella is doing *so* much better, still, I think we may need a bit more help.

After we get the Prozac figured out, then we have to think about adding ADHD meds to the mix. It seems so crazy to be medicating an eight year old to begin with, let alone giving her two different meds. Still, if she can be a happier, healthier person with medication, why should I deny her that? I know *I* am a happier, healthier person with my meds. And I'm not doing this for my benefit, so she's "easier" for me. I'm not doing this so that she can sit in a classroom. It's so she can be who she really is instead of that person being crippled by anxiety, depression and hyperactivity.

Double Digits

Today Sandis is 10 years old and she's been waiting for this for years. Why? Well, 10 is her favorite number (just like Monk, she says.)

Sandis is my quiet, reflective, artistic, bookworm. She loves soccer, dogs and the color blue, not necessarily in that order. For the latter two, the love has existed since before she could speak. She's not a girly girl but that doesn't mean she's not all girl. And my girl. My first born. The child that made me a mother. I love you, babe, happy birthday :)

Spam that you actually want

There actually is one kind of Spam that you want to see. It's not in your inbox and you can't pick it up at the grocery store. This kind of Spam comes all the way from Broadway....

This weekend we finally got to celebrate Brian's birthday that was way back in August. Or rather, we got to use the tickets I had gotten him for his birthday. Yep, Saturday night we saw Spamalot. It received rave reviews for a reason, it was awesome! All the iconic parts of the Holy Grail were in there along with new material that really made it stand out. The actors did an amazing job with it. It was a riot of laughter start to finish.

The actor who played Lancelot had the best roles in the musical. Not only was he Lancelot, who is gay and has his own dance number, but he also played the King of the Knights Who Say Ni, Tim the Enchantor and the taunting French soldier. How much more fun could you have as an actor?

My only regret is that we didn't get tickets for the kids. Well, not a true regret as I enjoyed having a night out with my husband, and it would have doubled the price of the show, which was high, but the kids sure would have loved it. Sandis truly loves that type of humor. She thinks Princess Bride, Airplane and Space Balls are hilarious. Stella would have enjoyed the singing and dancing, though probably missed a lot of the jokes. Maybe it will tour again some time when we are older and richer :)

The Knights Who Say Ni

And now, for you Monty Python fans, some quotes to make you smile:
  • Are you suggesting coconuts migrate?
  • Oh, king eh? Very nice. And how'd you get that, eh? By exploiting the workers. By hanging on to outdated imperialist dogma which perpetuates the economic and social differences in our society.
  • Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government.
  • you can't expect to wield supreme executive power just because some watery tart threw a sword at you.
  • What... is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?
  • Follow. But. Follow only if ye be men of valour, for the entrance to this cave is guarded by a creature so foul, so cruel that no man yet has fought with it and lived. Bones of full fifty men lie strewn about its lair. So, brave knights, if you do doubt your courage or your strength, come no further, for death awaits you all with nasty, big, pointy teeth.
  • Bring out yer dead.
  • I'm French. Why do you think I have this outrageous accent, you silly king?
  • I didn't know we had a king. I thought we were an autonomous collective.
  • There are some who call me... Tim?
  • In Mercia and the two Anglias – plague, with a 50% chance of pestilence and famine coming out of the Northwest at twelve miles per hour.
  • God, the almighty and all-knowing, has misplaced a cup?