OMG, I need a nap!



We have been taking care of three housefuls of dogs, cats, horses, ponies and chickens besides our own.  Well, the horses, ponies, chickens and some of the cats are not technically in houses, but still, they want care too.  In addition, we have an extra dog at our house to go with our 2 dogs, 7 chickens, 1 mouse and 2 rabbits (and soon to be 2 fish too.)  And there might have been some recent holiday celebrations? That required preparation and attending events? Maybe?

Yeah, I'm tired.

To care for the various menagerie, we have to get up and out the door by 7:45am.  You realize that I don't usually get up until 9am right? And no, I can't just go to bed earlier.  It doesn't work.  I can't go to sleep before 11pm-ish. 

So in the afternoon, between twice daily circuits about town, I try to rest on the couch.  The dogs are quite sure this is NOT a good idea.  The extra dog and Tonks think that they should wrestle and play and lick my face.  Yeah, fun.  And if they aren't successful at keeping me awake, I have children.  My favorite question was, "mommy, I just wanted to check if we can have fudge later."  No, they couldn't have waited until LATER to ask that.  Silly question.

I am becoming more and more sleep deprived and more and more grouchy.  Not too bad, just a bit short tempered.  I'm looking forward to the day when I get my vacation and someone else watches my pets.

Hopefully on this vacation, the children are elsewhere too so that I don't have to be woken up to "mommy, can I use 99 cents to buy thestupidestappever?"



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We're getting a Death Star!!!



I was telling Sandis today about how a group had gotten enough signatures so that the White House had to respond to the proposal to build a Death Star.  While I know we aren't going to actually build a Death Star, the proposal is quirky and geeky and will be some comic relief for the White House, which I'm sure they sorely need. 

Sandis, however did not think it was cool.  She responded with, "we don't need a Death Star, what we need is a TARDIS."

Hard to disagree, really. 




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The birthdays are all done.  Halloween and Thanksgiving, fond memories.  All that stretches ahead of me is Christmas.  And so we are mired in the part I love and hate.

We are busy.  Crazy busy.  There is all the usual stuff, quasi-school, 4H, pony lessons, work, etc, but then you add in all the extras like parties and choir practices and caroling.  Yes, I do love those things.  And I want to do them.  But then all of the sudden it's Friday and you realize this is the 6th night in a row that you haven't been at home.  And you haven't been home during the day either.  (Bite me you "homeschoolers aren't socialized" people.) 

You are palpably tired.  Exhausted to the marrow of your bones.  Either I'm getting old or my chronic fatigue never fully left or some blend of the two, but I am truly exhausted without being sleepy-tired.  I get plenty of sleep.  Still, my joints and muscles ache and I'm worn down to a nub.  I've had headaches and I never get headaches.

Then there's the shopping.  I've finished the kids and I LOVE shopping for them (my Love Language is gifts,) my problem is all those other people.  I've whittled it down to the bare minimum, and yet, here I sit, 11 days until Christmas with a pile of things to do and no patience or energy to do them. 

What do I have to do that should already be done?
  • Christmas boxes - we do a letter and symbolic small things to tell the story of our year.  We send this to 4 different families who do the same for us.  They are wonderful and meaningful and it's always impossible to find the things you decide you want to put in there.  One year I wanted small toy snakes for something or other and there was not a single toy snake in the state of Colorado.  As soon as the box was mailed, toy snakes rained from the sky.  That's how it works, people
  • Christmas letter - my brothers are getting letters this year.  I have no energy or money to spend on gifts for them.  They never send me gifts, rarely a card.  We are pretty much estranged, though I see some of them occasionally and hear about them through my parents.  Still, need to write the letter.  It will be much the same as the letter that goes into the aforementioned boxes.  
  • Mail gift cards/card to my parents.  
  • Get Brian's gift.  I have a couple small things but there is one bigger thing I want to get him and I need to do it.
  • Wrap all the stuff.  Hate that part.
  • Clean the house.
  • Decorate the house.  The tree's up, that's about it.
  • Send the check for the 4H field trip in January.  That is supposed to be there no later than Monday, crap!
  • Call the dentist.  They called the other day and said we have a "small balance."  That means that whatever they thought insurance would cover, insurance didn't completely cover.  Not a lot of money, I'm sure, but another thing to deal with and pay for.
  • Call the Extension office and get the kids transferred into our new 4H club.  
  • Pay the bills - woohoo 
  • Take the dog back to the vet for her 2nd Lepto shot
  • Schoolwork? Yeah, that's done for the year, see ya in January.

Not to mention I wish I could do small gifts for all my friends.  The people who help me out in small and large ways throughout the year.  And I want to send out 100 cards each year like I used to do.  Reach out in that small way to friends far and near.  

I feel like a huge failure some days.  Other days, I feel great about how I've focused my energy, time and money on my immediate family and made things special for my kids.  All the days find me worn out and not getting enough done.

Where are the people who love and enjoy this season? How do they do it? I want the secrets.  And I don't mean a list of how to organize all the crap you have to do.  I want to know how to be freakishly happy about the season.  I want to embrace and love December without getting overwhelmed and hating myself.  How do I do that? I can enjoy it and get waaaayyyy behind in my responsibilities or I can get shit done and be stressed. I can't have both.  I don't know how.





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Meanest mommy EVER



I'm sure all you moms out there have earned the "Meanest Mommy in the WORLD" award before.  Probably on numerous occasions.  Today I earned it, allegedly.  I should think I would have had to do MUCH worse than I did to earn The Award.  Still, The Award is subjective and today the subject was being peeled away from computer games, not torn away from some arduous task, so that probably contributed to her state of mind when handing out The Award. 

How did I receive today's Award?

Well, it's cold outside.  Below freezing cold.  Chicken-water-in-a-heated-bowl-had-a-skim-of-ice cold.  Because of this cold, I had been out there this morning checking on the sister wives and giving them some hot oatmeal for a warm-up treat when I noticed the nest boxes could use some more straw.  I then asked Stella, curator of chickens, to fill them up.

THE HORROR

I was told it was cold out.  The chickens were fine.  They liked it that way.  Chickens huddled together anyway so they'd be fine.  Which did I want, mom-my, cold chickens or a cold daughter? When I told said daughter that she could, gasp, put shoes on her bare feet and wear a coat when outside, I was answered with a flounce.

And out she went, sans shoes or coat, to fill the boxes with straw.  Then she sat outside on the ground and played with the chickens for awhile.  In the cold.  Barefoot.  sigh.

Now she is back inside, incident and Award forgotten, playing with her ancient praying mantis that has, at most, days to live.  Poor old girl is dying - can't eat, moving is effort.  She laid her eggs a good month ago, she is spent.  Truly an old wise woman by praying mantis standards.  Still, Stella is sad that her little friend is leaving.  It's like Wilbur and Charlotte only Stella knew this day would come.

I am no longer the Meanest Mommy.  I am the mommy who comforts the sad little girl and lets her tote her dying insect around the house everywhere she goes.

I have so many mommy hats it is hard to keep track of them all.  I need a huge hat rack.  Or maybe just a fedora where I could tuck a different title under the band for each occasion.  Then I would know who I was and who I was supposed to be at any given moment just by looking at the hat.

Think that would work?





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It goes to eleven



The oldest one has made it to eleven.  Eleven years ago we were amazed that this tiny thing came from us.  That she was so beautiful.  That she had RED hair.  That she was all ours.  Our first baby.  We could hold her and feed her and love her.  It was the start of our journey together.

Since then we've come to know you better, Sandis.  Here are some things we've learned:
  1. You are crazy about dogs.  All animals, really, but especially dogs.  When you were a baby, you'd yell, "DEEEEE!" while pointing at any dog you saw.  It hasn't changed all that much over the years.  The words are more fully formed, but the excitement is the same.  Don't ever lose that, kiddo.
  2. You are obsessed with the color blue.  It is your favorite color and has been since before you could speak.  You also needed everyone to have a favorite color.  When Stella was born, you assigned her a favorite color until she could choose for herself.  When people would tell you their favorite color (you always asked,) if they said they didn't have a favorite color, you would assign them one.  If they said, "black" you would say, "no" and assign them one that you found appropriate.
  3. You are highly artistic.  You have been drawing since you could hold a crayon.  Of course, you would also try and eat the crayons at first.  Small price to pay for art, right?
  4. You're a reader.  I knew you were my child when you walked from the library to the car to the house without taking your nose out of a book. 
  5. Soccer is your game.  BC (before children,) Brian swore his child wouldn't be one of those soccer kids.  He thought it was crazy that they all played and yet didn't care about the world cup.  Yep, you are one of those kids.  You decided you wanted to play out of the blue and have been going strong for 5+ years.
  6. You are quite particular about your clothes you've gone through stages when you wouldn't wear jeans, would only wear jeans, wouldn't wear leggings, would only wear sweatpants, wouldn't wear a sweater/sweatshirt, couldn't get you to take off your sweater/sweatshirt, wouldn't wear pink, wouldn't wear a dress/skirt.  There were YEARS when you refused to wear socks, even in the winter.  There was the year when you wouldn't wear any clothes at all....
  7. When you are into something, you want to know EVERYTHING about it.  You Google it.  You check out library books about it.  You draw pictures of it.  You talk endlessly about it.  You obsess. That is how you've come to know more than your entire family about dolphins, sharks, dogs, and many, many other things.
  8. Have I mentioned dogs and the color blue? Yes? Well, they deserve a second mention.
  9. Pizza is your favorite food.  Any meal.  Anytime. 
  10. You love meat and despise vegetables. The total opposite of your sister.
  11. You are a great sister and friend.  You stand by your people no matter what.  You don't care about things like gender or age, you care about the person inside.  When you've made a friend, they are a friend forever


Sandis my special girl, I love you so much.  You are so much like me and yet wholly yourself.  Stay true to that self of yours always.  It is sweet and pure and true.  I can't wait to see where this journey takes us from here.




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Advent Calendar Reveal



It's done.  Not as pretty as I would like.  There were gluing issues.  And cutting out numbers issues.  And pickingoutpaperforthenumbersthatdoesn'tquitematch issues.  Suffice it to say, I didn't do it alone and so it is perfectly imperfect. :)



I do really, really like the center paper.  It's whimsical, colorful and has a reindeer - what more could I want?

In each little cube are two small chocolates and a slip of paper.  Written on the papers are the following fun things to do (not necessarily in this order) :
  • Wrap the door
  • Make paper snowflakes
  • Watch Frosty
  • Watch The Year Without a Santa Claus
  • Watch Rudolph
  • Visit Reindeer @ Bath Nursery
  • String popcorn and/or cranberries
  • Get Tree
  • Decorate Tree
  • Bake cookies w/friends
  • Play Elf Bowling
  • Make Felt Gingerbread Houses
  • Caroling @ Church
  • Make gingerbread house
  • Craft Day at Church
  • Drive around & look at lights
  • Make teacher gifts
  • Solstice Bonfire
  • Make a paper chain
  • Watch Elf
  • Watch Charlie Brown Christmas
  • Wildlights @ the Zoo
  • Make glue snowflakes
  • Watch Santa Claus is Coming to Town
  • Watch Muppet Christmas Carol

Yes, there is one more thing than there are days.  That's because I'm not sure when we are going to the zoo.  So someday there will be TWO activities, bonus!





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Ketchup



Ketchup time! I mean, catch up. Right, catch up time.

It's been a busy week.  The first without a birthday or holiday in almost a month.  Fear not, we have one again next week! The cake never ends at the Walter household.

So, this week we:
  • finished the advent calendar.  We had to paint it.  Paint it again.  Put it together, with a mallet.  Get paper to glue around the 24 little flattened boxes that we had to assemble.  Assemble and glue the boxes.  Punch out the numbers.  Glue them on paper.  Cut out the paper around them.  Glue them onto the tiny now-assembled boxes.  When it's all together, complete with activities & candy, I'll post a picture.  As a side note: I'm not happy with the paper selection at Joann's, Micheal's or the LSS (local scrap store.)  Yes, acquiring the paper was not an easy task.
  • picked up chicken food
  • cleaned up lots of dog pee (Tonks had a morning, let's just say)
  • kids' therapy appt
  • kids' therapy group
  • dissected a fish
  • worked
  • taught OWL
  • Stella's pony lesson
  • craft co-op
  • sewing/treat making for 4H party
  • got gifts for secret Santa at aforementioned 4H party
  • vet appointment

I think that's all.  Oh yeah, we did some schoolwork too.  And quasi-school.  Usually I count quasi-school as a break, but this week I had to take in my computer for Sandis' presentation AND had to dissect a fish for their class so it doesn't count as a day off.  Next week I have to bring my computer AGAIN (she only got through 1/2 her report before class was done) and I have to help with making fish prints.  Sounds....great?




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Grocery list according to ???



We had the grocery list on the counter and over the weekend some things were added.



When we asked Sandis if she thought she needed to buy some awesomeness, she retorted, "Well, Stella needs some."  sigh

FYI, "wobbly cheese" is a term coined by Sandis in her toddler years to describe pre-sliced cheese.  I guess it does, maybe, wobble? Makes more sense than "fine eggs" being scrambled eggs, I suppose.





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Turkey Trapping

  

In honor of American Thanksgiving, I give you the turkey trapping story from this past July.  Everything here is TRUE, if you can believe that.  And if you someday decide to kill your own bird for turkey day, I do not recommend this approach.

 ---------

The grandparents have turkeys that live around their house. Several times a week, the turkeys will traipse through the yard on their way to, well, who knows, turkey errands probably. What turkey doesn't have to return their library books, pick up some scratch at the store and hit the ATM on the way home?

So Sandis sees the turkeys and decides she's in love. Not normal love where you see an animal and find it interesting, draw 728 pictures of it and check out every book in the library system that is remotely related to that animal. No, this is real love. The kind of love where you decide you can no longer eat this animal. Well, except on Thanksgiving when you will pay homage to it by eating it. Don't ask me, I don't make these things up, I just report the facts. Also the kind of love where you feel you must catch one of them to take home.

Sandis comes in from outside with a broken piece of window moulding. “Can I use this?” she innocently asks. Having lived with this child for more than a week, I ask, “Why?” with a raised eyebrow. “For my turkey trap!” she gleefully replies. You know that I am a most excellent parent because I did not begin laughing uncontrollably. That is good parenting right there. You know what else is good parenting, sending her to ask her grandparents because, well, they need a laugh as well. The grandparents agreed she could use it as well as a cardboard box provided she returned them when she was done.



The trap was set and baited with a lovely turkey platter. Yes, turkey platter has been redefined. It now means “paper plate with food I imagine a turkey might eat.” Her imagination included apple slices, quartered and pitted cherries, cereal, and two powdered doughnut holes. You would think that a squirrel, ground hog, or other small creature might help themselves to the tasty turkey platter crudites
but you would be wrong. Why? Well, because Sandis put out a sign stating, “For Mr. Turky.” This way all semi-literate creatures out carousing who happened to stumble upon the lovely spread would know that this was only for the turkey. Or turky. The plan was that the trap would be left overnight. In the morning, there would be a turkey under the box which Sandis would then pick up and take home with her. This was an extremely well-thought out and detailed plan so I'm sure you can see no holes in it.



In the morning, Sandis was crushed to discover the box tipped over and most of the food gone. Everything but the doughnut holes, apparently they are fit for neither man nor beast. She was full of new plans. Weighing the box down by tying rocks to it. Sleeping beside the trap so the turkey couldn't escape. Taking a walk and lassoing all the turkeys she saw. Then, when she caught one, it was going to sit on her lap and she would feed it jelly beans. Perfect!



Sadly, we had to leave grandma & grandpa's that day so there was no chance for a second round of trapping. We did take a walk but the loop fell off of her lasso. Yeah, I don't know how that could happen either. We didn't see any turkeys anyway, which was probably good as 1) I don't know that turkey lassoing/trapping is legal and 2) catching a turkey barehanded will probably land you in the emergency room from turkey wounds. The walk was fruitful though because we managed to find a turkey feather. It won't eat jelly beans but then again, it also won't try and peck your eyes out so I'm calling it a win. 




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Up All Night




Stella decided to stay up all night on Friday.  Ok, maybe not all night, only until 5am.  And truthfully, 5am is the middle of the night in my book.  If I go to sleep around midnight, get up at 9am, that makes 4:30am the middle of the night. 

Even so, I expect the children to get in their beds at around 10pm, asleep before 11pm.  On this night, she did not follow the protocol.  Brian said she was simply not tired.  She talked.  She read.  She played on her computer.  She even spent a good hour pulling dog hair out of the wheels of their office chairs.  If that's not boring enough to put you to sleep, I don't know what is!

There was no reason for this awakeness.  She had not taken her ADHD meds late.  She hadn't had a bunch of caffeine or sugar (which don't seem to cause this anyway.)  She was excited about having seen the musical, Into the Woods, but that shouldn't have taken 7 hours to wear off.

She did need to take her night medicine.  She has a drug that calms her down in the evening.  I was asleep and she told her dad that she was told by her psychiatrist that she, "shouldn't take it after 10 or 11pm because everyone is asleep then anyway." 

Um...what?

You see, this is how Stella's brain works.  She heard her psych say something about medicine.  And something about time.  She swirled these around in her brain for a couple of months and came up with this story, which she totally, 100% believes is true.  She could probably recite exact statements from the doctor.

Still, she's dead wrong.

What the psych had said was that she shouldn't take her ADHD meds after noon because they could keep her up at night since they are stimulants. 

Yep, same thing.

In any case, it sounded somewhat legit to a sleepy father and he went with it, not wanting to wake me up to ask my opinion. [Note: this was very nice  of him!]  He didn't think about her melatonin.  Or benedryl (which the psych said we can give her when these sleepless nights arise.)

When the little imp woke me up at 4:30am, I gave her 2 melatonins and a benedryl.  She was asleep by 5am.  Of course, I couldn't fall back to sleep.  And I had to get up at 6am in order to judge at the Lego Robotics Tournament.  Of course.  You know what they call that? The luck of the Irish.



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Fashion Review



The children are different in so many ways.  The one jumping to the forefront today is clothing.

Take Stella.  She will wear anything.  Yes, she likes to put things together in interesting ways, but she likes just about everything - shorts, skorts, dresses, skirts.  Shirts of every variety.  Frilly.  T-shirts.  Long sleeve.  Short sleeve.  Pants that are jeans, tights, leggings, yoga pants, capris.  They're all good.

She also doesn't care if the clothes actually fit her.  For instance the other day her dad told her that her pants were unzipped, to which she said, "Yeah, that's because they can't zip."  Yes, the pants were too small for her and would no longer zip.  She had a hair tie looped through the button hole around to the button to hold them shut.  Just. didn't. care.

Hair ties are also useful when clothes are too big.  Tank top sags to your belly button? Why you just wrap up the straps with hair ties until they fit.  Skirt too large in the waist? Tie that sucker up with some hair bands and it'll fit you.  Bonus that you can wear it NOW and in 4 years when it's actually your size. 

Sandis, on the other hand, is very picky.  You wouldn't know it looking at how she dresses.  No, you'd think she throws on whatever she finds.  Clean or not.  Which is what she does, but from a carefully selected and honed wardrobe.  This wardrobe contains only:

  • Jeans - and not tight jeans.  They have to fit, so they don't fall off, but only just.  No skinny jeans for this girl.
  • Jeggings - Not just any leggings, they must be jeggings.  And you cannot call them jeggings, you must call them jean leggings.
  • Shorts - only jean shorts that fit the above jean criteria, yoga pants style shorts or soccer shorts.  They must come almost to your knees.  Except soccer shorts which may be a little shorter, but certainly mid-thigh at least.  No short shorts (and I'm ok w/that).  No capris.
  • T-shirts - the bulk of the wardrobe, t-shirts.  These must have something on them that she likes, a peace sign, a dog, or else be blue.  Preferably both blue and with a picture she likes.  And the t-shirts must be at least a size too big.  Bonus points if it will fit her dad (and yes, some of them do.)  And only, only short sleeve.  No long sleeve t-shirts.  No tank tops.  No regular shirts of any kind.
  • Socks - only if forced.  Must be fairly plain so there aren't a lot of strings inside.  And often inside out.  (I taught her the inside-out trick to get rid of the ridge by the toes.  This made sock wearing much easier.)
  • Colors - Blue, blue or blue.  Will allow some gray, yellow, green.  May tolerate red or purple.  Definitely no pink in any way, shape, form, or shade.
  • Shoes - crocs, tennis shoes or sandals (if they feel right), flip flops.  Dress shoes cannot have any bows, ruffles, extra straps, flowers or pointed or excessively rounded toes.  Definitely not brown.  Or, of course, pink.  Being old and having holes in them, soles falling off, straps broken - bonus.
  • Sweatshirts/fleeces/hoodies - she loves these but they must be big.  Really big.  Fit her father big.  And she wears them until they are dirty enough to walk on their own and I threaten to cut them off her body and throw them away.  
  • Dresses/skirts/skorts - out of the question
  • Bras - don't even talk about that, mother!

Still, with all these restrictions and complications, we managed to find holiday outfits for both of them.  At Clothes Mentor no less (for those not local, it's a second-hand women's clothing store.)  I would put pics here but it is too early for that.  You'll just have to wait!

Want a hint? Sandis' outfit is blue and includes pants.  You never would have guessed, right?! Stella has a flow-y dress and some not-so-high heels.  Another non-surprise, though there is a vast range from which Stella had to choose while you could guess what Sandis would pick in one guess.  Or less.

And I know that I have girls because their jewelry cost more than their outfits.  Granted the outfits were second-hand and the jewelry wasn't.  Still, boys wouldn't have that issue, would they?

Sidetrack (see I'm warning you. You're welcome): Of course, boy outfits have much less variety, in general.  My husband often laments the lack of cool colors in men's running shoes.  Seriously, running companies, they are going to wear these running in the woods, not to the boardroom, give them something besides gray, black, darkblueindisinquisablefromblack.  Browsing for the girls at the local Once Upon a Child, I noticed for boys they had your choice of black, blue, tan and army green pants.  That's it.  Shirts they'll throw in red, maybe a green or yellow.  Really? I think guys, especially kids, would appreciate a bit more color.  At least they are getting some cool graphics these days.  It used to be your choice of trains, cars or dogs.   Not that those are bad, they just need to be the start, not the entirely.





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43 and counting....



Today I am 43 years old.  In the spirit of having a long list to commemorate each of the last 43 years, and to show that you can still teach an old dog new tricks, here are the 43 (mostly) new things I experienced during the last 366 days, in no particular order.

  1. Chickens! I've wanted chickens since I was 14yrs old and the dream became reality this past July.  Now about those goats....
  2. Rabbits.  Well, rabbit, at the moment.  We're still waiting for rabbit #2 to be old enough to come home with us.
  3. Living with half electricity.  Yes, it was fun to have no dryer or oven/stove for a month.  And have random outlets/light switches work.  NOT! That needs to never. happen. again.
  4. Knitting mittens! Yep, my first mittens, the piggies for Stella's bday.
  5. Owning a netbook.  Tiny laptops FTW!
  6. Meeting TheBloggess, one of my favorites :)
  7. Visiting the arcade in Manitou Springs
  8. Getting a new dog, our 2011 family Christmas gift, Tonks
  9. Read 48 books
  10. Another leap year!
  11. New quasi-school location.
  12. A new seasonal job (helping a friend pack boxes at the holidays)
  13. A new permanent job (taking pics of houses for insurance companies) that works way better with my schedule
  14. Quitting an old job.  Goodbye to the Miramont.  It wasn't a bad job, but its hours were understandably inflexible.
  15. Started a new 4H club with the girls.  The one we chose has a dance team for Stella, which was the main reason we chose it, but also because of the meeting time.  So far, so good.
  16. Met Stan the rabbit man and acquired nest boxes, etc for the bunnies.
  17. Left the NCHA leadership role to someone else.  Actually, many someone elses - they now are a non-profit with a board, of which I am not a member.
  18. Led a Brownie Troop.
  19. Left Girl Scouts altogether.  I love GS in theory, in practice, it's tough to coordinate and organize and we have enough on our plate.
  20. Kept this blog rolling for a YEAR.  Last November was when I decided I wanted to make it a real journal and I've kept on going.  First blog that I've really stuck with.
  21. Started teaching my 5th year of OWL
  22. Had Buckhorn not at Buckhorn.  Our church retreat was impacted by our fires this past summer so we moved it, temporarily, to the YMCA.  How we managed to pull that off, I'm not sure.  Well, I think I do know - a lot of work by my cohorts and myself.  
  23. Got a new roof on our house
  24. Paid a record $3000 to fix my car.  What a PITA that was!
  25. Used my cellphone more than I ever have, including now having a monthly plan.  What in the world is happening to me?!
  26. In the words of the infamous Stephen Colbert, I saw "America...[elect] its first black president for an historic first second time."
  27. Started my first ever dollhouse.  A haunted dollhouse.  It is so cool.
  28. Didn't decorate for Halloween.  Seriously, I don't think I've ever NOT decorated for Halloween before.  It was amid the 1/2 power time so I just wasn't in the mood.
  29. Lost my driver's license for the first time ever.  Thankfully, it was a renewal year anyway.
  30. First identity theft.  The bank called to see if I was in Texas buying multiple cars worth of gas.  Nope.  
  31. For a short time, worked 3 jobs at once plus got ready for the holidays (poorly)
  32. Got Stella's meds figured out
  33. Had Sandis start on her own meds.
  34. Made a living succulent wreath
  35. Had living grass easter baskets
  36. Watched all of Lost
  37. Only cut my bangs, therefore I have long (for me) hair
  38. Had 2 kiddos with chicken pox and the flu.  I only got the flu because I did the CP as a kid.
  39. Saw the full solar eclipse (not my first, but my first since I was 9 yrs old!)
  40. Went on my first Girl Scout campout - which was aborted after one night due to snow!
  41. Had 5 dogs in my house for a week.
  42. Learned how to take care of horses (while their family is away.)
  43. Joined the Harry Potter Knitting House Cup as a Hufflepuff (even though I am always a Ravenclaw when sorted)

Whew! I didn't think I could make it to 43 and not only did I, but I had a couple other minor ones I could have added.  How awesome is that?





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Sorry

 

Due to old age, senility and just generally having children around annoying me, my last blog post was published prematurely.  It has been taken down so that it can be edited and completed.  It will be back later in its entirety.  We here at Chaos Ending Soon (and by "we", I mean "me") apologize for the inconvenience.


 

Have you ever had one of those days that starts out so well and then for no reason goes south? And you've no idea why you are so irrationally angry? No? Just me? Figures.

Anyway, it started out well because I slept really, really late. I love that. After getting up, breakfast was made for me. Then I sorted through the rest of the kids' clothes. They now each have one neat basket of folded, clean clothing. Our laundry room looks like much less of a disaster. The two gigantic bags have been passed on to another family who can use some and pass on the rest.

The family worked together and got the house reasonably clean for the weekend sleepover for Stella's birthday. The girls only lost two days of computer privileges during the cleaning process (for sneaking back to their computers to play when they were supposed to be cleaning.) Not too bad.

Stella's first friend arrived and friend #2 was on the way. She was happy (and a bit crazy.)

Her sister, even though she was totally included in the games, became surly. I asked her to get ready and we could go look for shoes for her holiday outfit and the fun began. A full scale crying, wailing tantrum over not having ANY socks. Probably because we never give our children socks. We make them steal them from other people when they see them lying about unguarded at parks and swimming pools.

Or maybe, she just had to go to the laundry room and get some.

Oh, yeah, that second one.

Then her boots don't fit. They are too tight. The boots we bought maybe a month ago. And they were too big then. And she doesn't have any other shoes. Right. Finally, after threatening to leave without her, she got in the car with me and cried only most of the way to Loveland.

Got to the grocery store after dropping off spare clothing and went to the shoe department to check for holiday shoes. Well, Sandis doesn't like these or those or any other shoes that exist unless they are 1) blue and 2) meet some unknown criteria in her head. Sandis has this thing she does where she screws up her face, turns partially away while flailing her hands and making vaguely grunty noises of displeasure. She was doing that. A lot.

I decided we were DONE in the shoes and moved to the grocery list.

Can't find curry powder. Not sure where coconut milk is at this store (it's different at each store, even if they are the same chain!) Called Brian and found the milk, not the curry. Moved on to trying to find canned roasted tomatoes. Looked through all the Mexican food and all the canned tomatoes. Twice. Tried calling home again. The phone was answered and I could hear little girl voices in the background but then was disconnected. Tried again. Same thing.

Now I'm angry and annoyed. And I realize, on top of all this aggravation, I haven't taken my meds. Fuck. That means that my irrational anger isn't going to dissipate. I say "irrational" because it is totally out of proportion to the situation and it doesn't abate. After yelling, taking my meds, spending a good half an hour with no annoyances and writing all this, I am just now starting to feel better. Starting.  And any little thing is likely to set me off again.

And that is how a day can start well and go to hell. Too many little annoyances build up and then I explode. Except usually I have medication so I don't explode - they make people like my friend Deanna think I'm the calmest person on earth. I'm not, I just hide it well. Usually.



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What are you trying to say?

  

Fifi [FEE-fee]
noun
A dish of Italian origin consisting of a flat, round base of dough baked with a topping of tomato sauce and cheese, typically with added meat or vegetables


Ah, the older child.  All her life since beginning to speak, she has had her own ideas on how the English language is pronounced.

Take for instance when she was a toddler.  We asked her what she wanted to eat, to which she replied "fifi."  Having no French poodles to fry up, we ignored her request.  She was quite put out.  Fast forward to a trip to the grocery store.  Browsing through the frozen foods, Sandis points to the frozen pizzas and exclaims, "fifi!"  Yes, "fifi" meant pizza. How could we not know?

Preschool she moved on to some new and interesting pronunciations.  She added syllables and emphasis was always, always on the second syllable.  Some notables include:

wolves - wolf-is
iron - eye-wren
Saturn - Sat-er-in
pattern - pat-er-in

This was before she could read, mind you, so she'd only ever heard these pronounced correctly.  Still, she pronounced more or less phonetically.  (Ironically, she did not learn to read phonetically.) 

Then there was her Boston accent phase.  This was after learning to read, and after pronouncing words more or less correctly up until this point.  Yes, Sandis would be off to the shouw-wah to get clean after which you could find her drawring a picture.

Now, at nearly 11 years old, she still hasn't gotten over her mispronunciation, and associated inability to actually say it correctly when she tries.  Lately, the sherpa lining in her sweatshirt is made of shepra or shepra and Pecos Bill's name is Pea-cos. 

In her defense, I think she might get it from me (with the exception of the Bostonian part, not sure where that's from.)  When I was a toddler, I dubbed the living room the "knicker."  My parents say there was no know reason for this and as I got older I just dropped the word.

And I often make up pronunciations for words I don't know which are not even close to what they should be.  Why? Well, because phonetics makes absolutely no sense to me.  How any one can sound out cuh-ah-tuh and get cat is beyond my comprehension.  Besides, if I can read it in my head and know the definition, it doesn't matter what it sounds like unless I actually have to say it.  And, it probably won't come up in conversation otherwise I would have heard it, in which case I would know how to say it.  Right? Yes.  I'm going with yes.




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Yes, the dog puked not once but twice this morning.  Brian got the honors of the first clean up.

Stella took forever to get ready, as usual, but was finally dressed when she disappeared.  As I searched the house for her, she came in from outside, chicken crap all down her shirt and skirt.  Couldn't just be one or the other article of clothing.  Oh no.  And why, WHY, did she have to go outside and pick up the chickens when she was already late for quasi-school?

Finding new clothes is not as easy as just finding another clean outfit.  No, you must have a skirt.  Not that skirt, a twirly skirt, mo-ther.

At last, two kids in the car, reasonably dressed and, as far as I knew, no more messes to clean up.  Stella breaks a thread in her new mittens I knit her (how the heck did she do that!) and they need to be fixed.  She got a hole in her new stuffed pig she got yesterday.  Sandis has a hole in her new toy seal from Tuesday.  Mommy, mommy, mommy, when are you going to fix them.  Today? Tonight?

They are gone to quasi-school and can place no more demands, can create no more messes, cause no more chaos, for me anyway, at the moment. 

Here at home, no more dog puke was seen, hallelujah!

Things are looking up already.






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Nine


Stella is nine years old today. NINE!

Nine short years ago, I was:
  1. relieved to be done with labor
  2. not at all tired
  3. knowing I'd be paying later for that, "I'm so awake!" feeling
  4. watching my toddler give her baby sister toys, not believing how her parents could have neglected this important part of having a child
  5. smelling that new baby smell (which is good, unlike new car smell which is hideous)
  6. realizing again how tiny they are when they first are born
  7. learning how to breast feed two.  At the same time.
  8. putting teeny, tiny newborn prefolds on my teeny, tiny baby, and realizing the newborn size were big on her
  9. starring my TWO children in amazement

Over the last nine years, I've gotten to know that wee person.  Here are some things I've learned about her:
  1. She loves to share, if you ask.  If you take, you have a tiger by the tail.
  2. She loves all animals from the tiny aphid to the giant whale.  The squeals when she sees spider are the same as for a puppy.
  3. She walks the walk, her love for animals has led her to become vegetarian.
  4. If you think there are two ways to do something, she'll show you a third option.
  5. Sitting still is over-rated, even for eating. 
  6. Everything should be fair.  Everything.  
  7. She has never been a morning person.  Not even when she was baby.
  8. She will do whatever it takes to learn something she wants to learn.  It may frustrate and annoy her (and therefore, you) but she WILL learn what she wants to learn.
  9. She is the absolute best source of blog fodder ever born!

Stella, my beautiful girl.  I love you more than life itself.  I have no doubt that you can accomplish anything you want in life. 





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Hopeful



Remember how our dog, Sirius, has had some recent medical issues that we thought were lymphoma? Well, maybe not.  The lump on his neck is nearly gone after a week and a half of steroids.  We are hopeful that means he doesn't have lymphoma after all.  Have a message into the vet.  Time will tell...





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Excuse me, but...



I'm sorry, but November 6th is not election day.

Ok, so it technically is election day, but at our house that day has greater meaning.  Beyond the petty concern of who will run our country for the next four years, it is my baby girl's birthday.  She will be NINE years old.  Yes, the last year before the double digits.  [BTW, how the hell did that happen?]

It's a big deal! Remember how important birthdays were when you were a kid? How you waited for your special day? The day with cake and ice cream and presents and whateveryouwanted for dinner and everything focused on YOU so much that your siblings were green with envy? It was exciting.  It was wonderful.  It was magical.

I don't want that spoiled by election hoopla.

So that day I will not be on FB much or listening to NPR non-stop.  I may just have to have a teensy peek at the TV results while she's off playing with her brand new whatchamajigger.  But the focus needs to be on the BIRTHDAY not the election.  Election results won't change due to my obsession with watching/listening to/reading results.  That is my mantra.


So if you don't hear my whoops of victory or wails of defeat on Tuesday, be assured, that they will be there on Wednesday.  But Tuesday is just too significant a day to muddle up with politics.



And yes, I did vote already.  I'm not skipping that, just not doing it on actual election day, which is 100% ok.  Hell, even the President voted early!




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And also vote on Tuesday in the actual elections, if you haven't already.  It's IMPORTANT.  Really, it is.

NaNoWriMo and/or NaBloWriMo



So I'm trying this NaNoWriMo thing again.  Of course, I'm not following the rules.  You can't make me NaNoWriMo cops that don't exist.  NaNoWriMo cops couldn't possibly exist because their name would be so long (and ridiculous) that they couldn't fit it on the badge they'd have to wear.  In any case, I am flaunting the rules.  I am not writing a novel.  I'm also not trying to hit the word count goal.  Just trying to write.  We'll see how it goes!

I'm going to try for a blog post each day.  We'll see how that goes too.


I would love to combine these and post what I've written each day but I don't know that I can.  I need to protect the non-innocent.  Maybe I'll get brave.  Or maybe I'll figure out how to make those things that are painful, humorous.  Not sure either of those things can happen in a month's time when I've had a lifetime so far. 




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Out of the mouths of babes...



My children go to quasi-school where yesterday they apparently held mock presidential elections.  Being that this is a "school" attended by homeschoolers, it is generally a conservative crowd.  That is why it is especially nice interesting terrifying when your eight year old comes home to tell you not only did she vote for Obama, but exclaimed to all in hearing range, "Paul Ryan? My mom wants to punch him in the face!"

Ok, statement is true, but not one I generally share with those outside a close knit circle of friends.  After all, people I know support various candidates this election cycle, and I respect that.  I don't, however, respect Paul Ryan in the slightest.  I do think he is a giant douche canoe and does deserve to be punched in the face.  Not that I would ever actually punch anyone, face or elsewhere.  Even those as deserving as our vice presidental hopeful.

This concludes my election coverage for 2012.





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What on earth have you been doing?!













We've entered Hallowbirthdaymas season so we are busy as hell.  I do try and keep downtime in our lives but, well, that doesn't always work out.  What have we been up to this October?  Here are the highlights, in no particular order:


  • Joined a new 4H club.  Meets once a month, on Sundays, at the Ranch.  Perfect time and location for us.  
  • Started dance with aforementioned 4H club for Stella.  They will practice weekly and perform in June (and perhaps other times but that's their county fair judging.)
  • Ended soccer for Sandis, but up until last week that was thrice weekly
  • Continue having pony lessons with our friend for Stella (lessons are in exchange for us watching their animals when they go out of town.)
  • Acquired our first rabbit.  We'll be raising rabbits to show and selling the extras for meat (or giving them back to Sue M. for meat.)
  • Knitting up a storm because my friend Shanna talked me into doing the Harry Potter Knitting House Cup.  One project/month minimum.  Started and completed within the month.  It's been fun.  Really, it is :)
  • Visited a corn maze.
  • Had a sick kid and husband
  • Had a friend's kids for the weekend.
  • Went to pumpkin carving night at church (one of the UU High Holy Days)
  • Saw Nancy Drew play that our friend was in
  • Worked (me)
  • Did school work (kids) - math, writing, chemistry, ancient civ and Options
  • Went to two birthday parties
  • Had a dog diagnosed with lymphoma
  • Lost half the power to our house and have been making due without washer/dryer and stove/oven. (they are coming FRIDAY to fix it, finally)
  • Started teaching 8th grade OWL again.
  • Cleaned the entire garage and the children's room (me)
  • Went to family fun night at church

I think that's about it.  I'm sure there's more that I've forgotten.  After all, I have children and therefore my brain is only half capacity on a GOOD day.  And you only get one good day a month.  It's in the Having Children Handbook.  I'd look up which day is the good day this month but I seem to have misplaced my Handbook....




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Why use scratch paper when figuring your math when you have perfectly good feet?





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Does this count?



I think that this counts as homeschooling, don't you?



After all, everyone should learn how to change a tire, and be able to do it safely and correctly. She took off the lug nuts (after I loosened them), took off the old tire, put on the donut tire, tightened the lug nuts in correct order and lowered the car.

And yes, she did want to change the tire.  More than that she was incredibly excited to change the tire.  She even got a little upset with me for loosening the lug nuts too much so they came off too easily for her.




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Homeschooling is hard



Homeschooling is hard on the kids.  After all, how many school kids have to say, "dog, get your head off my math!"  Not once but repeatedly over a morning?



Just one of the many hidden perils of homeschooling.




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Gargle



Sandis has been coughing her fool head off for a day now so I thought a trip to urgent care was a good idea.  Yes, I know it's a cold but I wanted good cough medicine.  Unfortunately, all they said was, "keep doing what you've been doing [robitussin and liquids] and also gargle with salt water."

I was telling this to Brian and Stella piped up.  "I want to gargle with salt water! Actually, I just want to gargle.  What is gargling?" 

To get the full Stella effect, read those three statements as quickly as possible. 





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Seriously, Sirius



Sirius is our old man dog.  He was adopted 6 years ago from the Humane Society and they said he was two.  He was probably 4 or 5.  He's getting old - eyes starting to cloud, losing his hearing, fatty tumors, and "old dog hairs" as the children lovingly refer to his graying fur.  Yes, he's gone from a black dog with white specks to a brindlish dog, black and white brindle.

Sirius led an interesting life before he got to us.  His first vet visit after being adopted we found out his leg had been broken and healed on its own.  He had to have his tail amputated due to "happy tail" (banging it around on his cage) and subsequent infection.   He has a front foot missing a toe, probably born that way.

Since he's been with us, the only thing that's happened is an ear infection.  Until a couple weeks ago when we discovered a lump on his neck.  Feeling it, I could tell there was a matching one on the other side of his neck, only smaller.  My thought was infection or tumor in a gland.

To the vet we go! Turns out it was a lymph node.  Could be infection, inflammation or lymphoma.  Decide to put him on antibiotics and benedryl.  If it is infection or inflammation, this will take care of it.  If not, then this won't hurt and we can do a biopsy then.

That didn't seem to help so on to the next step, biopsy.  This was just poking a needle several times into the lymph node to get some cells to be sent off for analysis.  Seems horrible right? He didn't even care.  What he whined about? Checking his temperature in his ear.  Dog, you do know the alternative temp taking spot, right?

Biopsy came back.  Negative for infection.  Probably lymphoma but we can't be sure. 

Options?
  • Another test.  This one if positive, would tell us it's lymphoma.  If negative, 70% chance it's not lymphoma.  Not really great odds of helping us figure stuff out, and it costs $110.
  • Don't do the test and move forward with prednisone.

If we think it's lymphoma or do the test and find out for sure, we have 3 options.
  • do nothing.  He would live weeks to a year if it is lymphoma.
  • Prednisone.  Improves quality of life and can help slow the spread of the cancer.  If it's not lymphoma, won't hurt him.  Not expensive.
  • Chemo.  Quality of life may or may not be improved.  Longer life than prednisone, but measured in months.  Very expensive.  Lots of tests and decisions.
So we're going with the prednisone and no further testing.  It makes the most sense since he's completely fine right now (you wouldn't know he's "sick" other than if you felt the fairly small lump on his neck.)  It also has very few side effects compared with chemo.  While they claim chemo is easier on dogs than people, I've seen what it does to people.  It's pretty horrible stuff.  And we're talking about extending his life months, not years.

It's sad that we have to make these decisions.  It's sad that he probably has cancer.  But the last 6 years have been great for him and us.  His next year(s) will be just as wonderful.  He's loved. He loves us (except Tonks, he's pretty sure we got her just to annoy him.)  It'll be good.

And maybe, just maybe, we're wrong.  And then the prednisone will take care of any residual inflammation and he'll live many more years.





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Oh, Nutella



Dear Nutella,

I do love your chocolatey goodness.  You can be a touch too sweet, but mixed with peanut butter on some hot toast, you are a lovely treat.

You are not, however, nutritious.  You know when you say you contain "hazelnuts, skim milk and a hint of cocoa?" That's just a damn lie.  That would be like there's a hint of salt in a serving of potato chips.  And guess what? Cocoa comes BEFORE skim milk in the ingredient list.  And what's first? Sugar. 

You also claim that when you "spread it on multigrain toast....add a glass of milk and a serving of fruit to turn a balanced breakfast into a tasty one."  Yes, that's true.  However, the breakfast was balanced before you entered the picture.

Please stop trying to be something that you are not.  You are a lovely, wonderful treat, but you aren't a nutrition staple.

Stick to what you know.

Thanks so much,
Shawn




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A New Record



You know how magazines are always trying to get you to renew waaaaay before the subscription is up? Like Brian got one the other day for a magazine that expires next June or July.  I think I set a new record today.  I got a renewal notice from Family Fun.  You know when it expires? February.  Of 2017. 

WTF?

I better send it now before I forget.  For five YEARS.





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Yes, I'm old, among other things.



Friday night I was at the grocery store at 8:30pm.  I went to the restroom where I was confronted by <insert ominous music here> my age.

Yes, there at the mirror was a 20- (or 30-) something.  She had her hair intricately piled on top of her head.  She was wearing those fancy/trendy/idiotic shoes that make your legs/feet look like horse hooves (similar to these but black and suede/furry.)  She was re-applying make-up to her already well made-up face.  She was ready for a night on the town with equally fabulous looking companions. 

I, on the other hand, had just come from family night at church.  I discovered I had gotten food on my crotch.  Not to worry, my oversize, long-sleeved Halloween shirt that screamed, "I am a mom and I don't care what I look like!" covered it right up.  I was there with my younger child to actually buy food.  Yes, grocery shopping on a Friday night.  My hair? I combed it that morning, I'm sure.  Make-up? Please see the 1990's.  I think that's the last time I used any.

Yes, I'm old.  And frumpy.  And boring.  But you know what? I don't want to trade with the fabulous bathroom girl.  I enjoyed those years but I'm also glad they are behind me.  That night I had a lovely little 8 year old girl who had a great time being at the store alone with her mommy.  That is where I am in life right now and it's a good place to be. 




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Worst Mother of the Day Award



I get the Worst Mother of the Day Award for not even getting out of my car at Sandis' soccer game today.

It was cold, windy, rainy.

Before the game when the coach asked the girls if they were ready for the game, they said they'd like to forfeit and go home.

The rain waxed and waned over the course of the two hours of game/warm-ups, but the wind and cold remained constant. I just wasn't up for another week of it. Last week I toughed out the whole game (no rain then.) This week, I didn't even try. Partially because Stella wore my winter coat in to the house from the car so I had no coat with me. Partially because I'm a horrible, no-good, very bad mom.

Yeah, I'm ok with it (and no, Sandis didn't care.)





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In Animalia class last week at quasi-school, the kids had a guest speaker.  Since they were studying birds, a man came in to talk about and show his homing pigeons.

Pigeon man showing how if they have a big thing over their beak it is better.

After chatting with the kids for awhile, he let each of them release a bird, which would then fly home. Of course.  HOMING pigeons.

Sandis assures us that her pigeon liked her. It doesn't look unhappy with the situation

Freedom!!!

Sandis, being a kid that totally hates animals (you can see the sarcasm dripping off those letters, right?), hated this part. 

And, she totally didn't take to heart when pigeon man said he could set up any of the kids with pigeons if they were in the country and their parents agreed. No, we don't live in the country, but we're outside city limits and zoned farm, so same thing, right?

Yes, she immediately started wanting pigeons.

Mom & Dad said it might be ok if 1) they are easy and 2) they can hang out with chickens.

What the hell are we going to do with pigeons?! I don't see us doing the homing pigeon clubs - which pigeon man with his 120 birds says he'll only have time for when he retires and gets serious about his homers.  We can't possibly eat them.  Or their tiny eggs.  Basically they'd be little feathered outdoor pets, the original pair of which cannot be let out for 3 months lest they return home.  Oy!

Let's hope there aren't guest speakers volunteering free pets for fish, amphibians, reptiles and mammals.

PS. Ms. Unrue, could we use the photo of Sandis in love with "her" bird as the photo for the yearbook? That instead of the cheesy smile and squinty eyes that she hammed up with that morning? Oh, and can we air brush on a decent shirt? I know I'm her mother and I should try and dress her better but for some reason, "put on a different shirt, you can't wear a beer shirt to school, even quasi-school" translated in her brain to "turn shirt inside out."  TIA!




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Why, oh why, am I always f*cked

 

It seems that I must have done something to offend the Universe.  Really, Universe, I'm sorry.  Whatever it was, I take it back.  I totally didn't mean it.  Please, please, pretty please?

You see, I can never, ever, EVER get ahead in life.  If it's not one thing, it's another.  And not just a small other, a great big fucking OTHER. 

Take for instance, January of 1994.  My jaw locked shut and wouldn't open.  Great.  Five years and about $10,000 later, I'm all better.  Yes, I did have insurance, good question.

A few uneventful years pass and then, BAM, another shitstorm.  Have a baby.  Get hospitalized a week later after some lovely PTSD creating episodes involving the health care community.  Heap onto that 1) a broken dryer, 2) a broken refrigerator, 3) a broken car, 4) a toilet leaking through to the basement ceiling, 5) a popped waterbed mattress and 6) a dead hot water heater. All of that, within three months of the baby's birth.  I have no idea why I had postpartum depression, do you?

It really doesn't end there.  I also had thyroid surgery a few months later.  A hysterectomy followed a few years after that.  Multiple crowns and root canals for the teeth that never had a cavity prior to the kids. 


Every time I get even slightly caught up, life comes along and bitch slaps me.  "What? You think you deserve money in savings? Regular oil changes? Who do you think you are?"

This year I thought that finally our tax returns could be used to pay for our bankruptcy.  Yes, bankruptcy - those medical and other bills don't pay for themselves.  But no, we can't pay that, we have to use $3,000 to fix my car. 

Just this month I was finally in an ok place.  The bills are all paid and we aren't scared that the old bank account will be overdrawn.  Maybe we could buy some holiday gifts and stash them away.  Start paying on that bankruptcy.  So what happens? Electrical outage. Yes somewhere between our house and our outdoor fuse box, somewhere in our backyard, a wire is messed up.  We have electricity randomly through our house, it's basically half working.  We have to get an electrician out here to find and repair the damage.

When will it ever end? When will I stop being fucked? Why can't I catch a break E-V-E-R?

FML


It's not strange is is?



It's not strange that when I see this photo caption contest from the Nature Conservancy Facebook page (photo credit Bob Gress)



that my thought is to caption it "My souffle is ruined", "Ruined!" ala the Bloggess and her lovely Juanita Weasel



Yeah, I'm going with not strange at all.


BTW, you can purchase lovely cards and/or aprons of Juanita and her friend Jefferson Peabody.  True. Motherfucking. Story.

Yes, they do learn, thankyouverymuch

People don't understand kids. Or homeschooling. Or learning.

Seriously. I overheard a conversation where people were talking about homeschoolers. People who do not homeschool, mind you. They were talking about how this family does a really good job but this other family doesn't teach at all. They were wondering how this alleged lackadaisical family could expect the kids to learn?

This, my friends, is the problem. Until we trust that kids WANT to learn, schools won't change. The whole system models things on filling of a bucket, and then checking the bucket sometimes for leaks. In other words, forcing info down their throats and then testing to make sure they "get it." This model is not working, obviously. Why do the powers that be seem to think MORE testing will make it work BETTER? Does this work for YOU when you try and learn something? I doubt it.

Why not trust that humans of all ages enjoy learning things. Make this learning available. Encourage the learning. Light the fire and watch/help it burn.



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It's here already!



After an evening at a lovely child's birthday party where I got to chat with my friends but Stella spent the night in a tree by herself and Sandis hid behind me whining, I stopped at the liquor store.  Guess what I found?





Yes! It's here already! My favorite, favorite beer :)  And look what it says under the cap.



Yes, I do think it was a night bravely done.




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So I am not a master dream interpreter.  Really, I'm not.  I love when I can remember them, especially if they are all convoluted, but I don't actually find hidden mystery in there.  I usually find things from the previous days that hung around in my subconscious and mixed in with bizarre elements gleaned from my all-time memories and created something resembling what I assume a hallucinogenic trip would be like (never taken the magic bus myself.)

Take last night for example.

First dream, Miller Farms.  Not surprising since the kids want to go there and I need to plan it.  It's on my mind because I really don't feel like going.  It's a ton of work to process all that produce when we get home, not to mention finding a whole day to devote to the trip itself - harvesting food, playing on the jumpy thing, riding the mini-train, sledding down the dirt hill, etc, etc and doing the corn maze.

You see, the girls decided, out of the blue, they like corn mazes again.  After several years of hideous outbursts at the mere mention of corn mazes, NOW they want to do one.  Have I mentioned my graduate work was in corn? And I've walked through enough corn in my life thankyouverymuch.  So, do I go by ourselves? Rope Brian into going with us on a weekend (when it's crazy busy)? Try and organize a field trip with our friends? Yep, it's on my mind.

Second dream, playing hockey.  I often dream about hockey because I miss playing.  BC (before children,) I played all the time.  I was in two leagues, had games and practices 2-3 days a week, went to the gym on off days.  This time I was playing with some old team mates plus some current friends (yep, Lana, you were there.)  One person was out there in a wheelchair as a nod to my inclusive UU self (not to subconscious, they play in sleds, not wheelchairs when the need arises.) 

Third dream.  Third and fourth dreams morphed out of the 2nd so hang on! The hockey morphed into cleaning hockey equipment in the front yard, where there was also accumulated yard sale finds.  Why did I purchase several rugs, a plant stand and a ton of knick knacks? And why did I arrange them in the front yard? This is the drug trip portion, no explanation necessary.

In any case, some high school kids came by with there beat-up SUV and were collecting things from the neighbor for their huge HS rummage sale.  They thought *my* stuff was for the taking too (note to self, next time, say yes, even if it's a dream.)  I said no, but I had stuff inside.  I ran in and started stuffing things into bags (old clothes, toys, etc.)  This is when we proceed to...

Dream four, packing to move.  Yes, I decided to start getting rid of even more stuff because, well, we were packing to move anyway.  This is the whole crux of the post, my dreams of moving.  Over the past year, I have dreamed at least 4 times that we are moving because Brian got a new job.  And all these moves are rush - like 2 weeks to pack up, sell house (ha!), and be in the new place.  Is he looking for a new job? No. His job is quite secure and the company doing well despite the economy.

And guess where we move to in all these dreams? Kansas. Yes, Kansas.  Seriously? I would never want to move to Kansas! It holds nothing for us, it's windy, it's flat.  Why on earth do I dream we move to Kansas? (No, we have NOT watched the Wizard of Oz lately.)  Well this time my subconscious remembered that I didn't like the Kansas move.  I actually was telling someone in the dream about previous Kansas-move dreams as I told them we were moving to, wait for it, Kentucky.  Sigh.  I guess I can only move to K states in dreamland.

So, dream interpreters, why on earth do I dream of moving? And why Kansas? For the record, no new starts in my life currently, nor am I looking for any.  If you have ideas, please post in the comments :)

 


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It's Monday morning and we get up and start doing schoolwork.  Being homeschoolers this means we aren't dressed yet, isn't that nice? I think so.  Stella is excited to start her math, which is on the computer, Teaching Textbooks.  She's loving this new math because 1) it's new, 2) it's on the computer, and 3) it's all basically review at this point so it's easy.  Ask me again in 6 months how much she likes it.  That will be telling.

In any case, she jumped on her computer and asked where her math disk was.  Things went to hell from there.

  • Um, where did you put it? I don't know.  [frantic looking around on her desk while I berate her for leaving disks strewn about on said desk]
  • Did you even take it out of the computer? Well, no.  
  • Then why are you looking for it? Did you check the cd drive? Both of them? No.  
  • Which cd drive do you use? I don't know, both of them.  
  • Which one do you use when you play games? Both of them, I don't know.  

Are you confused? I was confused.

Turns out the disk IS in the cd drive.  Problem is that the cd drive isn't recognizing the disk.  Not good.  Gets even better, cd drive isn't recognizing the disk because computer isn't recognizing the cd drive.  Well, that does explain why things aren't working, doesn't it.  Glad the disk isn't wrecked as it's not actually ours.  We get the math curriculum through the quasi-school for free.  If we lose/ruin it, we have to buy it.  At $150 for this particular curriculum.  

I sit down at her computer to try and fix things.  Keyboard is a nightmare.  Stuck keys, keys that don't work.  I go through various things to try and fix the errant cd drive but no dice, computer refuses to believe that the drive exists besides the fact that I. can. see. it. right. there.  Dammit.

Email Brian to see if he has any ideas and get totally frustrated with keyboard.  Decide to clean it a bit.  Shake it upside down and a pile of nastiness comes out.  Stella says, "that's a lot of sand."  Um, how does she know that it is s-a-n-d and not some other dirt? Oh, because she has a balloon full of sand right here! Cool, right?!

I did not beat, or even scream at, her.  I get gold stars.

After cleaning out the keyboard, during which time she accused ME of breaking it, (honey, I only popped off some keys to get the CEREAL out of there, I didn't dump sand in it!) I got out this lovely pile of crap:


For those of you who were reading along and thinking, "spoiled kids these days have their own computers, grumble, back in my day, grumble, walk up hill both ways, bitch, etc," this picture explains why they have their own computers.  I don't want THIS happening to MY computer.  Their computers are the $10 castoffs from Brian's company.  When they upgrade the computers at work, they sell off the old ones to get rid of them.  This is how my children get their own computers.  It is a $20 investment for both children to have their own computers and not to ever have to touch mine.  Totally. worth. it.

Well, that lovely break is over.  I'm done swearing at Stella's computer (which is waiting for her dad to fix it) and the girls are done weighing the chickens (don't ask) and are working on their schoolwork again.  Just another day of chaos in our lovely little homeschooling home.

BTW, still in our pajamas.  Jealous?  ;)



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