Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!!!

I hope your new year is filled with all sorts of good things!! :)

Friday, December 29, 2006

Hard decisions for a 6 yr old

Matthew has $40 in his bank...mostly Christmas money, though some was saved from his birthday in Sept. As I previously blogged, Transformers are THE theme in his life in the way of toys. He got the ultimate one for Christmas and several others but wanted to get more with his money. So we went to the ol' WM today and looked around. In the regular Transformers aisle, he was trying to decide between two - Quickmix for $15 and Red Alert for $25 or getting both or keeping his money for someone he'd like better. I do have to say that he's quite discerning in the way of which ones he wants. We decided to let him think on it a bit while I got some groceries when we came to the end of the aisle. There they had two of his favorite characters that he's badly been wanting - Megatron and Cybertron Primus. They were each $38. He quickly stopped thinking about the first two and focused on these. After about 10 minutes of saying it was just too hard to decide between them, we decided to get the groceries and come back.

He was thinking really hard about this the whole time we shopped. At one point, he said, "Mommy, remember yesterday we were reading that review of Megatron on Amazon and they said he was hard to transform? Maybe Primus would be a better decision." Indeed we did look up Megatron yesterday on Amazon and several of the reviewers said he was hard to transform. In the end, he landed on deciding to get Primus but it was interesting to watch his decision process. He also had an understanding that this was a lot of money to spend...that he could get 6-7 smaller Transformers or this big one for the same price. But he has wanted this one for a long time. In the end, he handed over his money willingly and hasn't looked back. He's thoroughly pleased with his purchase.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Blog readers

I admit, I read quite a few blogs. And in my time online, I have tried out several different kinds of feed readers, only to be frustrated with their very complexity. I want something that is fast, easy and doesn't necessarily have all that personalization jazz that seems to hose everything up. Andrea, over at posted recently about *free* I'm surprised I even attempted yet one more reader but this one is actually easy and fast and works great! So I'm passing it along to you.

If you don't know what a feed reader is...basically, it's a site where you keep all your favorite blogs on one page - and it tells YOU when that author has updated a new post AND displays the post for you. So no more clicking 20 different bookmarks every morning (and then some, if you haven't had your coffee yet)...just go to your one bloglines site and all your favorite blogs' new entries will be there for you to read. Try it out, I know you'll love it. :)

Oh, and in my right side-panel under my Links section, you can subscribe to my feed too. :)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Really sorry for the lag time!

Homeschoolblogger upgraded their stuff in the beginning of Dec. I have to say - I was absolutely fine with the strip down bare version (even though I'm considered a pc 'techie'). But the lag time was hideous just to log into the site. So posting had become a nightmare for me and I haven't even logged in here for several weeks. However today, it looks like all is well so perhaps they've worked out the kinks now. ;)

Well, we've been inundated with Cmas stuff, which I'm sure most of you have as well. We've been making a lot of homemade projects this year and I'd show you pictures but can you believe I FORGOT to take pictures before handing them out?? Arrrgh.

Pregnancy is going well (knock on wood) and not much to write home about there. Matthew is adjusting to having another sister very well though I think he still holds out a little hope that the tech was wrong. ;)

Jade has finally been working on saying words a lot more lately and I think it's finally sinking in that she gets things faster when she names them instead of pointing and grunting. Rose is...well...she's at that "I'm about to turn 4 and therefore, turn into a monster for a year" stage. You know, as a young parent, you're warned about the "terrible twos" and the "trying threes" but no one talks about four. That's because it's B-A-D. There's really nothing you can say to sugar coat it like the other ages. Somehow, "ferocious fours" just makes it 'cute' - and it's NOT. It's just a rough year.

I've been branching out and seeing what other homeschooling groups are in the area that we could fit into well. There are some really great ones that offer just what we're looking for but they're quite a drive and only really offer things for Matthew. I'm thinking of starting up a young homeschoolers group in our area. I'd like a co-op where the moms can offer one-two hour classes in a subject they enjoy and think the kids would enjoy. Nothing too structured, of course, but a way for the kids to be involved and meet other homeschoolers and make friends. So I'll be getting together soon with a friend of mine who is homeschooling to see what we can come up with.

Our Christmas was great! The kids seem very content and pleased with their toys and they have a little money to spend on whatever they're missing too.

Matthew's Christmas was all about Transformers. Oh sure, he got some books and craft materials and a Darth Vader helmet but what he really wanted was Optimus Prime. What a story - this summer, they repainted the toy (I think to match the movie coming out next July) and Matthew insists that "he's the wrong colors!" Thus began my search to find the older painted OP that "connected to Leobreaker" (also a requirement). None of the stores had any. The only place online I could find it was Ebay and collectors were bidding the prices pretty far up there (plus an extra $15 shipping charge would have made this his only Cmas present from us). I began to lose hope and started dropping lines like, "Matthew, they don't make him with the old colors anymore. I haven't seen any in any of the stores." He began helping me search online and at every store that sold Transformers. Nada. I so desperately wanted to get this toy for him because he's wanted it since last spring. It was his #1 wish. I'd almost given up and as Cmas got closer, Matthew began saying, "Mommy, if you can't find the one with the right colors, I would like the new one too." Poor guy was desperate. :( The Saturday after Thanksgiving, Hubby took the older two kids to work with him because they'd been begging since last Thanksgiving when he took Matthew. I decided Rose wouldn't last all day long (plus she was sick) so Jade and I did a little shopping then met them for lunch and brought the girls home for a nap. While Jade and I were shopping, I decided to stop at a Walmart that I rarely ever visit in another town along the way to Hubby's work. I've been to this particular Walmart maybe three times ever. I went back to the Transformers section, just because I was in the habit of looking. I held no hope. I scanned the packages and looked all the way to the end of each row. Nope, the one he wanted wasn't there. I think my last flicker of hope died at that moment. As I listened to the happy after-Thanksgiving shoppers all around me finding what they wanted, I just stood and stared at the section, wondering if another Transformer would suffice and yet knowing it wouldn't. After letting the reality set in that I wasn't going to find it, I turned to leave. When suddenly, my eyes drifted up the shelf. I don't know why - I never look way up top. But my eyes drifted. There were lots of extra stock Transformers in all the new packaging and then...what was that?? Was it?? COULD IT BE??? No, I dared not hope. I held my breath and tried to stay calm. I couldn't see it very well. The box was dust covered and a little banged up but it just *might* be the one. Quickly, before anyone else could possibly steal it from me, I ran like a lunatic for a sales person with a ladder. He was helping someone a few rows down and I asked him to come down when he was done. After a very long 5 minutes, he came with the ladder and pulled down the dusty box. "THIS one??" he asked. I looked at it. I couldn't believe my eyes. Old colors: check. But was it the one that connected to Leobreaker?? I scanned the back of the box but there was no mention of connecting to another Transformer. I still wasn't sure. I bought it anyway and kept the receipt, just in case I needed to return it. In the next aisle, there was a Darth Vader voice changer that he'd wanted since last Cmas - down to $10 from about $35. I grabbed that one. In the next aisle, there was a basket of return items that someone hadn't restocked yet. Searching through the basket, I found the Han Solo and Chewbacca Transformers that combine to make the Millenium Falcon. Target's ad that day said they had it for $15, down from $35. Would Walmart give me the Target price?? I took it up to the service desk and they gave it to me, no problem. I was giddy with excitement and barely made it through lunch with everyone before rushing home to see if THIS OP was THE one that connected to Leobreaker. I searched and searched online. Couldn't tell. I emailed Hasbro but got no response. Finally I stumbled across a blog that is purely all about Transformers (FYI parents, I'll warn you that it does contain some language). *This guy* knows his Transformers. I emailed him. He wrote back a wonderfully nice huge dissertation about how the toy was the same and just got repainted and that both the old one and the new one will connect to Leobreaker and even sent me a picture of the one my son wanted, according to his specifications. The picture was exactly what I had in my hot little hands. Bless this man's soul!!
Christmas morning, I was more excited than Matthew. Rose had been easy - she just wanted more stuffed cats and dogs. Easy peasy. Jade was too little to voice much but she seemed very happy with her new Weeble village ($15, down from $50 from SamsClub). I also found a used Gauntlet: Dark Legacy xbox game. Our version had gotten scratched from the kids playing around with it and was unplayable. He hadn't asked for a replacement but when he opened the package and saw what it was, he immediately started crying big alligator tears! "It's the game that I thought I'd never get to play again!" I held my breath as he opened Optimus Prime. But he was too excited to cry this time. He jumped around the living room like a crazy person. He whooped and hollered and screamed with delight. I've never seen him so happy. It was worth it...all the blood, sweat and tears of trying to find it...I'd do it all over again. He has been attached at the hip to OP the last two days and I suspect that will continue for quite a while. He is now trying to find Galvatron, Wing Saber and Megatron, who also attach to this OP, but all the stores are picked over of course so it might be a while before we can find them locally.

So that's my big Cmas ultimate toy story for this year. I hope your kids were equally as thrilled! :) Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 04, 2006

I stumbled across this today

I stumbled across this today

And I've decided it's a must-read for any parent, homeschooling or not.

Soooo many times I feel this conversation going on in my head as I talk to my schooling friends. And I DO feel that they 'hear' what this person says they heard, while I'm not meaning that in any shape or form. And, in the same way, I have 'heard' what "she" said the way this person interpreted as well.

I am passionate about homeschooling my own children...this should not reflect on you and your decisions, nor should your decision to school your children relect on me. These are choices we've made for our own families and I hope we can still be good friends, just the same as if you choose to drive a truck and I drive a van. They're just different choices.

I don't know what is best for your children. God gave them to you, not me. And He gave my kids to me, not you. I'm sure there was a good reason for it. ;)


Matthew: And Mommy, someday when I'm a dad, which I hope to be, I hope I can have two boys. You know I'm planning on marrying Kayla, right?
[Kayla is his best friends little sister - she's 7 months old - too cute]
Me: Really?
Matthew: Yep. And I hope we have twiiiiiiiiiiin boys! And we name them after me.
Me: (thinking to myself) To increase your chances with her, you might not want to let that ball drop until after you get married. ;)

I’m engrossed in a blog entry and I hear Matthew yell upstairs to Rose, “you mean you’re stuck at the zoo, waiting to be adopted?” “yeah” comes the reply. I ask Matthew, “What animal is she?” He says, “A meerkat.” Then as he makes his way upstairs after finding his Transformer for naptime he says to her, “A meerkat? What a nice animal to adopt! I’ll take you home with me!”


I know that every mom understands that when the kids are quiet, there's trouble afoot. This is especially true when you have 3 kids 6yrs and younger. I'm involved in a cookie exchange this weekend and to test out a new recipe, I made a small batch of them. YUM A version of haystacks - basically chow mein noodles covered in melted chocolate and butterscotch chips and left to harden. The kids love them and they're super simple to make (YAY, since I have to make SEVEN dozen!). So after a well-eaten lunch today, I offer one to each of the kids. Rose and Matthew down theirs very quickly and run upstairs to play. Jade, however, is quiet and taking her time with hers and seeing as how she's done perfectly fine and gobbled them up quickly the last few days, I didn't think much about it. I got involved in a mommy project and forgot I left her with a chocolate covered goo glob. She finally starts fussing to get down from her highchair and when I check on her, I find this (and to you savy baby-signing moms, can you see her signing "MORE"?? You gotta be kidding me, right girl?):

OK, stop laughing Andrea! Your time is coming....SOON!
And on the unschooling front...just to prove that your kids WILL be interested in anything you are...
Hubby went to a training seminar for a Network Security certification in October for his career. As the time nears for the test he has to pass, he spends more and more time studying. The kids have decided that this "studying stuff" is fun. Yes, fun. And it wasn't a one time thing. They "study" every weekend with him and whenever else Hubby has it out. Rose sets up a tv tray-table next to him and colors and works on printing her letters. Matthew sets up his tray-table and copies from Hubby's books into his own journal. Here's what it looks like:

Here's what he does with his time:

It reads: "Data link frames carry data packets in the information field. Simple routing traffic stays on local network. There..."
I have to pause here and really remark on this. Yes, some long words are carried over to the next line and there aren't many breaks between words and he gets off the lines, etc. But look at what detail he has. Let me remind you that he has had *no* formal training on writing. He absolutely refused to pick up a crayon or any other writing utensil until he was over four years old. He even used a yellow dot and labeled it #1 because Hubby has his book tabbed out in sections. He used white-out when he made a wrong letter. And most importantly, he thinks it's FUN. It's not homework or something he has to finish before he can get to recess or lunch. It's FUN because Daddy is interested in it. And who knows? Maybe he'll learn to be a great hacker by the time he's 9 too. :) ROFL

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Calling all creative friends...

I have a quandry. A year or two PK (pre-kids), I purchased a couple of panels of fabric at a local store which I'm sure they don't sell anymore. They're identical and they are really great looking maps of the US. I made one into a play blanket for the kids yesterday (what else do you do when you're snowed in?) and the other...well, that's where you come in.

I have this idea of gluing this piece of fabric to a bulletin board and the kids and I can have fun placing push-pin markers of sorts in each state we've visited or each state we know someone or each state we studied, etc. The first problem with that is maintaining a legend so we can determine why there are say, two red flags in Arizona, denoting two families we know there - I'd like to have a list of what each flag specifically means, etc. But after searching for cork board, the other problem I've found that a 3' by 4' piece is quite expensive...and the hardware chains don't sell it either. (Of course if all that tax money I'm paying for public schools wasn't coming out of my pocket, I might not be always looking for cheaper items...hmmmph...don't get me started.) And I worry about the littlest ones and the push pins falling out, etc. Soooo....I'm wondering if there's a better route to go down in this train of thought. Any ideas?? I know I have some teachers who frequent my site and I know your heads are just swimming right now. So, throw it at me! I'm not afraid of tools or building things or crafts by any means. Just give me an outside-the-box thought or two, will ya? :)

Friday, December 01, 2006

Snow Day!

Oh the first snowfall of the winter
Was a day that we all waited for
When it drifted to and fro
Why you shouldve seen the snow
It was near seven feet or more
By the old barn door
-Lyrics by Karen Carpenter

Well, not seven feet here but about an hours drive west of here, they had 16 inches. We mostly got ice. I haven't been out yet but there are major roads closed around us everywhere (including interstates) and as you can see below, at 9am our cul-de-sac hasn't been touched, nor has our main subdivision roads. I can't tell if our neighbor was sliding coming in last night or coming out this morning but I doubt he meant his car to be parked where it is. ;)

Though the ice has made our trees sparkle. My willow tree in back and Rose's Crabapple in front are both very sparkly in the early morning sun. We do have power (obviously I'm not running on my backup power supply just to blog...teehee...well, I but close to 500,000 don't have power yet.

My ice-covered sparkly willow. :)

The back yard. You can see the tops of our leeks poking through the garden so though I haven't measured anything yet, I'm sure it's maybe an inch or two of snow at best.

Our trashcan and cul-de-sac. See the neighbors car? It's not turned on. Was he coming or going when that happened? He does typically park in the garage and his truck made it up there. My Hubby did have some trouble getting up our driveway last night around 6pm. Neighbors car wasn't out there until later.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

As I listen to the sleet pounding the house...

while I have three sick kids coughing through naptime upstairs, I'm reminded of the great blizzard of '83. I was 9 and had some awful sickness with 104F fever. We lived in a 500 sq ft two-bedroom home on a gravel road, five miles outside of our little town and our electricity had gone out...and it stayed out for four days.

The severe winds had snow piled higher than I've ever seen it in my life and I still remember the chest-high tunnel someone dug to reach the cars. We still have old Super 8 film, converted to VCR tape now, of the dog trying to find his way through like a rat in a maze. We had no fireplace and were stuck trying to keep warm with extra clothes and blankets. My mother used a saucepan over a candle to warm canned soup for us. My brother was sent outside to dig holes in the ice covered swimming pool so we could flush the toilet (septic system). My oldest brother was off at college in another part of the state. We used candles for light and, as I recall, spent most of the time reading to each other, huddled under blankets. With my high fever, I don't think I was quite as cold as the others but they did seem to want to snuggle close to my internal heater.

I remember my father and brother taking off to town to look for a kerosene room heater on the 2nd or 3rd day. The story he came back with was that he had to pound on the door and beg some shopkeeper to open up and sell him a kerosene heater, using the ol' "my daughter is very sick and needs it desperately" line. It worked and as scared as my mother was of the thing, it did help warm us up.

So as I sit and listen to the sleet pelting the house today (and forecasting 6-10 inches of snow tonight), and worry about Hubby making it home from work in one piece, I smile to myself, recalling my mother reading a story to my brother and I by candlelight, huddled under a blanket so many years ago. We'll survive this winter storm too and maybe even have a good story to share about it down the road.

A little over an hour ago conditions (the white is a teeny bit of snow but mostly all ice):

Current conditions (yes, still almost all ice):

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Matthew has been working on mastering the art of tying his shoes, off and on, for a while now. He has a few books with shoelaces on them and instructions. He has shoes with laces. And every once in a while, the notion strikes him to work on that skill. A few weeks ago, we were rushing out the door to the grocery store so that we'd make it back before lunch (I hate getting caught out at lunchtime with starving children) and naptime. In that moment, when I was getting Jade ready, issuing instructions on "no, Rose, it's REALLY cold outside and you need to wear long pants instead of your capris", he decided to wear his lace shoes. I could tell the determined look in his eye that he was going to "do it himself" and this could take a long time and ruin my plans for shopping. But alas, I took a deep breath and watched.

He talked himself through it like every other time. "Over, under. Bunny ear. Bunny ear. Loop again and pull through." This time though, something went incredibly right and he had DONE it...on the very first try. I'm not sure who was more surprised - him or me. He was so incredibly proud of himself!! He'd worked hard at it and had been frustrated many times before. I wonder if he would have been as proud of himself if he'd been forced to learn it in a pre-K class? I'll never know. What I *do* know is that I'm so glad that I chose to wait for him that day instead of rushing him through the door. Watching the lightbulb click is just an amazing sight and I'm so glad I didn't miss it.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

If you were a wall in our house today...

you would have heard the following conversations:

1.I was asking Rose what she wanted for Cmas. She named, among other things, a cat tree. I don’t think we’ve ever discussed a cat tree and I didn’t know how she would know what one was. Then I got worried that Matthew figured out what is in the garage, waiting to be painted (an animal 'tree' to hold all her stuffed cats), and told her. I let it go but it kinda weirded me out.

Later, I was writing down the list of things she told me and Matthew reminded me that she wanted a cat tree. I asked him where she got the idea for a tree? “I mean, cats don’t live in trees!” He said, “From the Catwings book!” I should have known. ;)

2. Hubby, Matthew and I were talking just before bedtime tonight. Matthew had said he wanted some Lego Mindstorm sets for Cmas and we discussed that he would need to know how to program and that they're very very expensive. Hubby said that another expensive gift he'd like to get one day are two microscopes...a high powered and a low powered one. Matthew exclaims, "You're the best dad!! I'd LOVE a microscope!"

3. Matthew is quickly coming around to the idea of being the only boy. We told him his cousin's viewpoint (he is also an only brother to three sisters), "The best thing is that on boys night out, you don't have to share Daddy with anyone!" That conversation quickly led to scheduling a boys night out for this coming weekend.

Jade and Rose were running after Matthew this afternoon and Matthew was play-screaming, 'help!' I told him that was something he'd have to get used to - his three sisters will give him lots of attention and want to play with him lots because he will be their only brother. He liked that idea a lot. Nah, he's not an attention monger. ;)

4. While watching one of his favorite shows, Good Eats with Alton Brown, Matthew kept pausing the TIVO. I wandered over to see what he was doing and he was copying the cooking instructions that appeared on the screen. He spent a large part of today writing.

Monday, November 27, 2006

We hoped for a boy, I 'felt' girl...

the kids were positive it was a boy and it's a...GIRL! LOL Always go with mom's gut instinct. :) Happy and healthy and no sign of previa again - YAY!

Matthew is disappointed. He really wanted a baby brother ("I ALREADY have two sisters!"). But he really does have so much fun with his sisters, I think he'll come around in no time. Besides, there are definite advantages to being the only boy (I should know, I was the only girl..teehee). ;) Rose doesn't seem to mind either way so she's happy.

Today, today, today is the day!!

We're headed out to the big halfway mark ultrasound. Hopefully in a few hours, I can tell you if we're having a boy or a girl in April. :)

And as much as we're all pulling for a boy to "even things out", we're just praying for a healthy baby. Matthew, on the other hand, is *really* pulling for a boy...heavily. I was again preparing him last night that he might get another sister but that's ok because he has so much fun with his sisters. He thinks about that for a minute and says, "But I don't know that I can watch three sisters for you when you need me to." :-P Apparently he takes his big brother duties very seriously. I told him that Rose will be 4 by the time the baby arrives and she's big enough to help him watch the other two. His eyes lit up as he asked, "So she can watch Jade and I can watch the baby??" I replied, "Yes, she should be able to do that." He was much happier about that.

Hopefully I'll be posting soon! Stay tuned! :)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Everyone have a great turkey day! :) And I'll post pics soon!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Early readers

Sometimes there are downsides to having an early reader. This morning, Matthew read the wrapper to his oatmeal breakfast bar and it said, "It's great warm too! Remove From Wrapper. Microwave on HIGH for approx. 10 seconds." So as Hubby is leaving for work, he informs me that Matthew told him that we need to discuss Matthew's use of the microwave. Apparently Matthew warmed up his bar this morning all by himself before we woke up. Thank goodness he followed the directions to the letter!

On the other hand, sometimes we get very silly things out of him because he can read complex words and usually can tell me their meaning but the pronunciation is way off. Especially words that sound nothing like they 'should', phonetically speaking. But yesterday we got a very good laugh. So we were running to grab a load of mulch so Hubby can winterize the garden. And Rose is in the back of the van quietly singing a song by doing the "duh duh duuuuhhhh duh duuuhhh duh.." version. She's so quiet that we can't hear her. Matthew says, "Daddy, can you sing the Cocker Spaniel song so Rose will stop doing the duh duuuuhhh's?" Hubby and I look at each other. "Cocker Spaniel song??? I don't know any cocker spaniel song. Do you mean a song from Lady and the Tramp?" Matthew says, "No...YOU know!" "We're really not sure. Can you sing a little bit of it?" He starts humming the tune to the Star Spangled Banner. The background: Rose is a little song hound. Every night, she requests song after song when being put to bed. And every night, Hubby obliges. Her favorite all-time song is The Star Spangled Banner. So almost every night, he sings that one to her. Through her closed door, Matthew is on the other side of the wall in his room, waiting for Hubby to tuck him in and listening to the songs. He's not much of a singer himself so he only occasionally will request something like the Spiderman or Larryboy theme songs. So Hubby and I start full in on "Oh say does that Cocker Spaniel baaaaaaaaaay...." It does fit pretty well. ;)

Friday, November 10, 2006

Mini vacation

Hubby is sending me away from the house for 24 hours this weekend. Tomorrow morning, I'm to leave as soon as possible and not come home until Sunday. He booked me a room at a hotel in the city and I'm not allowed to call home (and vice versa) unless it's an emergency. I've already made plans with my mom for breakfast Sat and my best friend for Sat night dinner and gabbing until all hours (or until her breasts implode and she has to rush home to feed her baby, whichever comes first). He's also said it'd be nice if I did this once a quarter. I'm really looking forward to the time to myself. I'm going to savor completing full thoughts, not being interupted in the middle of sentences, not having to pick up after anyone but little ol' me and just having some quiet for a whole entire day.

Today we have our MOPS group (Mothers Of PreSchoolers). We meet twice a month at a local church and the kids go into their own classes and do crafts, storytime, maybe play on the playground if it's nice enough, have snack, etc. I get to go into my class and each week, a different group of us brings breakfast items - home cooked stuff, donuts, bagels, coffee, juice, fruit, etc. We eat for about 20 minutes, then we have our 'class'. During one of the two weeks we meet per month, we have a speaker. Last month we had a lady from our library talk to us about getting our children ready and excited about reading. During the other meeting, we do a craft of some kind. We've made bookbags for ourselves, no-sew blankets for a local crisis nursery, bookbags for kids in South America (there's a mission trip heading there in January) and today we'll be creating Christmas boxes for Operation Christmas Child.

Rose adores her class as they usually let her do all the coloring and cutting and pasting and stickers that she wants to do. They were especially surprised at her concentration a few weeks ago when they had little foam animal stickers set out and she worked on her page for more than an hour. She is my little artist. ;)

Matthew doesn't do so well at MOPS. But he's getting better. He doesn't seem to like classes at all - Sunday School is tolerated but he always tries to get out of it. He always has a very hard time when he has to move up a level and change rooms. One of his High Spirited traits is slow-to-change. I learned very early on to try to let him know what's coming up but also to emphasize that things can change - friends get sick and cancel playdates sometimes, sometimes places we plan to visit are closed when we get there, and so on. It's a never-ending challenge around here but he's getting more adaptable as he gets older.

What can I say about Jade? She's happy no matter where we go or what we do. All that's required for a smile on her face are her shoes. Yes, Jade loves her shoes. She will go get them from the closet as soon as breakfast is over and she's still in her sleeper. She sits on our shoe rack and 'rearranges' our shoes every single day for at least 20 minutes or longer. She loves shoes. I feel I know where most of Hubby's money will be going when she turns into a teen. ;)

Well, speaking of MOPS, we'd better get going! After, if we don't get rained out, we're meeting up with our best friends to hit the zoo this afternoon! :)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

I'm actually watching non-local stations...

simply due to the fact that EVERY commercial is voting related. WHY, someone please answer this - WHY do they get into mud-slinging wars so badly? All they end up doing is force the voters to pick the lesser of the two evils and we're not happy with either one that ends up in office. I rarely use this word outloud but I think they all just end up looking like total idiots. So I'm currently watching stations (until the election) that don't have political FoodNetwork and DIY and HGTV and TBS and Science Channel. I refuse to watch the others. 'Course my favorite programs are recorded on TIVO so I can zap through the crazy politital junk. And do they still think they make money on commercials? With so many homes having TIVO these days, who actually watches commercials?

OK, off my bandwagon. This is a topic that really drives me insane, as you can tell.

Just as the kids thought it was over, we're having a Halloween party day this weekend. Grandma and her parents (now living with her & her hubby) are begging to see grandkids in full costumage. So we're heading over this weekend to trick-or-treat them and back home to carve the pumpkins and watch Disney's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1958) (great film if you haven't seen it! It's a tradition around here). Yes you read that right - we have yet to carve pumpkins. What can I say? It's been crazy busy and Hubby was gone at the last minute last weekend and I didn't want him to miss the tradition, especially since he's the carver around here.

So after a week of making costumes and worrying and sizing and resizing and trying on and figuring out how to attach a tail and trying on again and making accessories to go with the costume and trying on AGAIN, I took the day off yesterday. I admit - I didn't do anything. Well, I loaded the dishwasher and laundry washer but that was it. I played around making a cute sweater for Jade. It's not perfect and looks more like an off-the-shoulder look but I'm pretty proud of it for my first ever garment. Please pardon her expression. She's had a cold for a week and going out on Halloween made it more like Niagara Falls now so she's on meds and stuffy and runny and not in a very good mood (hence the not-so-matching red pants). ;)

Today is a day of catching up. Things screaming my name the loudest:
1. Bathrooms
2. gobs of laundry (mostly clean, just needs to be sorted and put away)
3. costume left-overs need to be put away because they're about to take over the entire downstairs between fabrics and fur and hot glue guns and sewing machines...I'm telling ya! I also need to find a 'home' for all the yarn I have around here. Grandma sent me her extra yarn she hasn't used in years and while I'm incredibly grateful, I'm also quite overwhelmed with yarn at the moment and need to figure out where to stash it.
4. floors

Those are the major obstacles for today. Wish me luck! :) Oh and CONGRATS to my friend Andrea on the birth of her first baby, Zoe, on Halloween! :) WTG girl!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!!

Happy Halloween!

Indiana Matthew

Rose, Shakespeare from Meerkat Manor on Animal Planet

Black Cat Jade

The whole gang...

Friday, October 27, 2006

Thank YOU, Grammy and Grandma!

About this time last year, Grammy asked me if Matthew would like a magazine for Christmas. It sounded like a great idea for my great little reader however he was less than enthusiastic when he received a pair of binoculars with a note that said he'd be getting a subscription to "My Big Backyard". But as soon as it started showing up, it fast became a favorite bedtime reading for him. Rose started getting "Baby Animals" at the same time and has thoroughly enjoyed it this year.

For this Christmas, subscriptions have been renewed or upgraded to the next age level as appropriate and Grandma is adding "Highlights" to our reading materials.

I believe I (and the kids) have shown the grandmas how very much the kids love their magazines but I don't think *I* have ever shown my gratitude.

Every evening we have 'crazy hour'. This is when Daddy is on his way home from work, the kids are up from their afternoon quiet time, I'm trying to get dinner going and the kids decide to go stark raving mad. They run, they scream, they wrestle. It's different every night but usually starts with a friendly game of tickle or chase or something that's relatively harmless that soon spirals out of control. This starts roughly around 5:30 and continues until we sit down for dinner. And it's highly compounded by our hardwood floors - no carpet to absorb all the noise. Who knows why this happens every night? I have tried to guess for a couple years but have come up with no great explanation except the fact that they know I'm preoccupied with dinner and (typically) a phone call or two at the same time. Somehow the family likes to call during crazy hour so I'm sure we come across as good and sane over here in the background. ;)

Tonight, at the apex of crazy hour, combined with the dark rainy day and a busy morning at MOPS, I was just about does Bill Cosby say it, "she held the yardstick over her head like a Samarai warrior and said, 'I have had ENOUGH of this!'" Yeah, I was about to do something like that. When Daddy enters the house. This usually makes crazy hour ten times worse. However, tonight was different.

Tonight, there were two magazines in the mail.

Putting together the last minute touches on my slaved-all-day meal, tacos (teehee), I suddenly realize that I can actually HEAR Hubby talking next to me...and he's not shouting over the roar of children. I find a toy and yell loudly ask nicely (assuming the kids are upstairs) for Rose to come and put it away. Rose comes running in from the living room and puts it away. I watch her and she goes back to the couch and is totally absorbed in her magazine. I quietly walk into the living room and Matthew is in the chair, totally absorbed in an article in his.

Bless you, Grammy and Grandma. Bless you! [And, as if by magic, the song playing on XM radio just now is "I Believe In Angels"...and I certainly do now.]

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Yes, more excuses

But at least this time I have somethings to SHOW for myself! :) I told you I was working on an unusual shaped afghan. Well, here is the finished product. I call it a "Blended Rainbow Round Ripple". I'm still having video card issues so I hope you can see it in all its glory. Colors are red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet. The kids love it and ever since I put it on the floor to take the picture, they think it's our new living room rug.

In other news, our planting experiment has gotten quite exciting. (Check out the previous post to get the original story.) The beans that have been in the dark cabinet grew about twice the length of the one in sunlight but didn't produce leaves and were yellow, almost white. The kids and Grammy decided to move it to the sunlight to see what would happen. It is turning green and starting to grow leaves - surprise, surprise. The going theory around here is that while it was in the dark cabinet, it thought it was still underground and shot up so it could reach the sunlight above ground. The beans in the bag have finally sprouted, quite a while behind the "normal" planting and a couple of the beans in the jar have sprouted as well. The "normal" planting is quickly outgrowing it's tiny Dixie cup and will have to be transplanted soon as its roots are beginning to surface. Eeks! Yes, more pictures abound...

1. Mr. Normal

2. Mr. Started In Dark Cabinet (see the baby leaves emerging after only one day in the sunlight?)

3. Ms. JarHead

4. Ms. Bag Lady

And of COURSE you didn't actually think I'd post all these pictures and not leave a very cute one of at least one of the kids, did you?? Surely you know me better than that. Meet our newest learning-the-joy-of-reading kid, Jade... (This photo was NOT staged by anyone but herself. She pulled up the table, put the book on top and happily gaga'd all over it for about 20 minutes, stopping only to look at me and giggle to her hearts content because she was so very proud of herself.)

Friday, October 20, 2006


Yes, we've been busy! First, I promised some pictures of my crochet creations so here are a few...
Poncho that Rose was willing to model for you:

Skull Cap on a not-so-willing model:
(this one turned out really pretty but waaay too small to go with the poncho as intended so I gave it to Jade)

And a sling for Rose's stuffed animals. She typically makes a habit of carrying around her animals stuffed in her shirt or top of her pants so my best buddy suggested I make her a sling (DUH?? Where is my brain???) and she adores it. :) And I apologize in advance for her dirty shirt - it seems snack appeared before I realized it.

I'm also in the middle of an unusual afghan (the first one that I'm going to finish. I've started many in my lifetime but never have completed one yet.) and will post a picture when it's complete.

On the unschooling front, we've been doing a study on plant growth, started by Grammy one day when she was babysitting. They planted some Great Northern Beans several different ways:
1. In a cup with dirt and water and sunlight. We add 1 tsp of water every 2 days.
2. In a cup with dirt and water in a closet. We add 1 tsp of water every 2 days.
3. In a plastic bag with dirt and water and sunlight. This is a mostly self sufficient bag but I do open the bag every couple days to give it a little oxygen.
4. In a mason jar with a wet papertowel and sunlight. We add 1 tsp of water every 2 days.

The results so far aren't quite what I expected...
1. Our "typically planted" beans:

2. Our plant that is in a dark closet. I myself was surprised that it grew at all but it's interesting to look at the differences. Because of my video card issues, it might be hard to see the color difference but #1 is very very green and healthy looking. It has nice thick leaves forming. #2 is yellow, almost white, and hasn't grown any leaves yet. I suspect it will die in the next week. Matthew also observed that it has a funny smell and we discussed mold and the conditions necessary to grow mold.

3. All of them but you can see the plastic bag one here. They put staples halfway down the bag, placed some water in the bottom, put in the dirt and beans on top. This one is a good look at what happens both above and below ground with plants:

4. This is a closer look at the jar beans. They're starting to sprout but they're not moving along nearly as fast as the others, and some of the beans on the opposite side of the jar aren't doing anything yet:

We'll keep you updated on their progress.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Well, it's happened

I now have a Daddy's-girl. It happened about this age with Rose but it wasn't nearly as abrupt. It shocked me until I remembered it's part of being a little girl.

Jade will be 19 months next week. First it was Friday night when she fell down and started crying in the other room. I could tell it was more a "I'm tired" than a "I'm hurt" and called to her in a sing-songey voice. "Jaaaaade....did you get hurt? Come here sweetie." I immediately hear her pitter patter coming towards me as she's crying. I turn around as she passes my chair and goes straight to Daddy. He looks at me apologetically and shrugs as he hugs her tight. I admit, I was hurt. But thought that maybe she saw him first when she came in the room since the chair I was in had it's back to her. Yes, I told myself, that was all it was.

Sunday we took our annual fall drive into the country and found our favorite pumpkin patch, even though there are hundreds between here and there. She wanted Daddy to hold her hand on the gravel and carry her. This was fine because I had my camera bag, camera and purse, overstuffed with snacks, already hanging around my neck. Jade fell in LOVE with all the pumpkins and came home with a little decorative one that entertained her all night. [I'm having video card issues so I hope the lighting is OK on these pictures!]

As I started dinner last night, I needed some items from the garden and sent Hubby out to get them for me. Jade started calling for him, "Daaaa..eeee.....Daaaaa....eeee" and would follow up her calls with a fake sputtering cry. She continued on in this fashion until he came back in, despite my telling her that he'd be right back. At this point, I'm still thinking it's all 'cute'.

Then, THE sting of all stings. I made a fabulous chicken roast recipe from I cut her up chicken, cooled it, cut up her veggies, mashed them down a little, put some butter on for flavor and, letting my dinner get cold, started to feed her. She violently shook her head "no" at me. I knew she was very hungry - we'd done all that walking at the pumpkin patch, she didn't eat much for lunch and we were eating a late dinner. So I tried a bite of something else. Still, violent head shaking continued. She cried and whined. Finally, Hubby said, "Let me try something". He took the same fork I used and tried to feed her. She opened wide and happily accepted the food. I was shocked. Heartbroken. Stunned. When did my little girl turn into a Daddy's girl? Then I started remembering that Rose had done the same thing around the same age. It just wasn't as fast and didn't sting as badly.

Don't get me wrong - I'm happy for Hubby. He gets less time with the kids than I do and I'm happy that she loves him and loves spending time with him. But I have to say that it still hurts a little.

Of course, on Saturday, I took Rose out for some garage sale exploration and then took Matthew out for grocery shopping later that day. Maybe Jade is jealous??

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I Am From

I Am From (template at

I am from The Letter People, from an Atari 500 and boomboxes.
I am from a small yellow five room house on land big enough for twelve. From apples and lilacs and horses and tire swings hung from climbing trees.
I am from the sweet honeysuckle, the cool dark woods filled with stick directions and a field of jonquils. From rabbits and cats and dogs and gerbils and guinea pigs and mice.
I am from French Dip and Writers, from Burtons and Pratts and Grandpa Clark who loved to read and take long walks and fight for justice.
I am from the tellers of rich stories and lovers of rich music. Quotes from birds and cats who wouldn’t go away.
From 'think before you speak' and 'get a good education so you can support yourself' and 'be brave like a soldier'.
I am from Agape Love. From the beginnings of CCM. From long bus rides to GA camp and hot float trips down ice-cold spring fed rivers.
I'm from Missouri and California and Michigan and Ireland and Germany, from egg rolls and apple pie and biscuits and gravy and warm blueberry muffins on crisp Christmas mornings.
From the blizzard of ’82 when we were without electricity for three days and I was sick with 103 fever, from homemade Halloween costumes, and the aunt who was a year younger than me and still my best childhood friend.
I am from boxes buried in the basement, from collages hanging on walls, from Super 8 films and yellowed newspaper clippings stored in dust covered containers but not forgotten.

[If you decide to do a I Am From poem, please send me a link! I love to read them!]

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Back to our regularly scheduled program

Ahhh yes...unschooling. Learning what you want when you want. Yes, that was the point of this blog! teehee...sorry, I've been sidetracked lately because this little alien has taken over my body quite literally. But I'm feeling a little better each day and I can get back to 'normal' for a while.

So the really great thing about unschooling is that we've STILL been learning, even through all the mommy-is-very-sick-go-find-something-quiet-to-do-for-a-while.

Matthew figured out how to count to 100 all by himself, just because he wanted to. He's been working on math lately too. He's been adding numbers up to 12 + 12 from playing around with his "fun" Math Gear book, and has asked me to get him the others that show subtraction, multiplication and division too. I just asked him what else he's learned and he said, "I'm getting SICK of staying in this house! THAT's what I learned!" Touche and Ditto. Hubby brought home a box of books from a work friend a few weeks ago and one of them was called "Deadline at Spook Cabin". It looks like it's about 40 years old and I never imagined he'd pick it up at all but there he was, zipping through it in just a couple hours yesterday instead of playing xbox or legos or running around screaming with his sisters. (Ha. Copyright I was right...40 years) We've gotten into some theological conversations lately too. Matthew had done something he KNEW he wasn't supposed to do...and he'd done it like 3 times in the span of about 2 hours. I reminded him of the rules, I'd talked to him about it, I'd given him time-out and on the last one I said, "Matthew, if you do that again, I am going to spank you." He props both of his hands on his waist and says, "Mommy, God doesn't want us to frighten people!" I sent him to his room while thinking, "There IS such a thing as holy fear and you're about to find out exactly what that is, boy!" :-D See, I get as frustrated as the next mommy...maybe MORE because there is never a real break for us from each other. After I gathered myself, I went upstairs and we discussed my role as a parent and what God wants me to do as a parent when my children don't behave. And we discussed the "Children, obey your parents" verse as well. That same wrong behavior hasn't come up since.

Rose has been very busy with arts and crafts and her stuffed cats. She LOVES to draw and color and she's getting quite good at drawing stick people and really uses her imagination when trying to draw something new. Whenever she draws me, she always puts a tiny dot in my belly for the baby. Awwww. She's also been playing quite a bit with a LeapPad keyboard thing. It has all the letters and there are multiple games to play on it like "what letter sounds like uh?" and "press the letter R" and "press a letter to play a song", etc. She's also been asking me to write words for her lately. "Mommy, write cat above my picture." She also loves to play with Matthew's Leap Pad (especially his SpiderMan book). She writes pages and pages of letters every few days. She painstakingly practices 'iiiiii jjjjjj iiiiii llllll mmmm jjjjjj iiiiiii ccccc' I need to scan in one of her pages so you can see them. She may have better handwriting than Matthew at this point.

Jade...well, what can I say an 18 month old has been learning? Everything. She understands everything I say to her and can follow two step directions. But she still mostly refuses to speak English. Go figure. Though she does try to buckle and unbuckle her carseat straps. ;) So maybe she's been focusing on her small motor skills instead of her verbal ones. Or maybe the other two talk PLENTY for 3 kids and Jade, out of the kindness of her heart, has decided to give Mommy a break for a bit longer. Either way, I've seen her putting forth a much more concerted effort lately to make sounds that really work. So I'm sure it won't be long before she has her first huge language explosion.

And me?? Well, I've picked up the art of crochet. I've made a few very simple repeat pattern blankets in the past...ok, well...I've STARTED a few of them anyway. ;) But last week was Hubby's bday and since we agreed our super duper top-of-the-line camera would be our gift for the year, I couldn't buy him anything. So with hunting season coming up, I decided to make him a hat and scarf. That way, if it turned out lopsided, the deer wouldn't tease him as much as say....coworkers. ;) The first hat was probably too small for him so I made another, using a different pattern and it turned out CUTE (well, in a manly cute way).

Fits well, isn't lopsided and I was amazed how quick and easy it was for someone who really hasn't done much crochet before. He was impressed and since I've been feeling so awful and not doing much but sitting and recovering and resting, I have now been keeping my hands busy. So I then made a bookmark for my secret sister in MOPS (shhh, don't tell her!)...

And, I'm now working on a poncho. I was making it for my niece Christine but it's turning out so cute, I may have to keep it for Rose. But then again, Christine is so much more a girly-girl than Rose is, Rose may very well refuse to wear it and Christine may win in the end. I'll post a pic when I'm done.

So there you have it. Learning going on all around us though I could easily answer "nothing" to the question, "What have you guys been doing this last month?"

Monday, October 02, 2006

Bedtime Stories

As I'm laying down with Rose tonight for a few minutes at bedtime: (fyi - Rose's cats are stuffed, Grammy's are real)

R: Mommy, I only have my one big cat in my bed tonight.
Me: I noticed that. Where are all your other cats that you usually have?
R: There wasn't enough room.
Me: Ohhh.
R: I have 4 girl cats and 5 boy cats.
Me: Well watch out because they'll soon be multiplying in that ratio.
R: What?
Me: Nevermind.
R: Grammy doesn't have any boy cats but I have 5 boy cats.
Me: Grammy does have at least one boy cat.
R: What's his name?
Me: Linus. He's all black and he's a big cat.
R: Oh. (mumble mumble) Cricket.
Me: What color is Cricket?
R: He's black.
Me: [testing to see if she thinks all Grammy's cats are black now] What color is Oreo?
R: She's black. And white. (another pause as a sly grin forms over her mouth) And pink.
Me: (laugh) Pink? Where is she pink?
R: On her nose!
Me: Ohhhh
Me: What's your big cats name?
R: I don't know. Grammy gave him to me when I was a baby.
Me: Well I bet Grammy expected you to name him.
R: Ohhh. Maybe Himalaya's daddy or Himalaya's mommy or Himalaya's brother or Himalaya's sister or Himalaya's grammy (on and on and on)...I think I'll name him Himalaya's daddy.
Me: So he's a boy cat?
Me: Because daddys are boys.
R: Daddys are not boys!
Me: Your daddy is a boy.
R: No, he is a SIR.
Me: (laugh) I think you mean he's a man.
R: (very stubborn now) NO, he is a SIR.
Me: Ok

As I get up to leave:
R: Mommy, what's that woo-wooo sound I hear in the middle of the night?
Me: Probably the train going through town. I can hear it very faintly in the distance at night when all is quiet too.
R: Well, you stay up until you hear it and then go outside and tell them, "Be quiet and don't wake up my Rose!"

This is the same girl who was so moved by Grandma punching out some perforated characters on the side of her Happy Meal box tonight that she actually said, "Wow" in that awed voice of wonders.

Friday, September 29, 2006

12 weeks today!

Finally - 2nd trimester! :) I'm feeling better though evenings are still rough and I'm not eating much. But I'm off meds and surviving so I'm thinking I should be feeling better with each passing day now. If I think back in terms of weeks, I DO feel better than this time last week so maybe I'll feel somewhat normal by this time next week?

Hubby will be away for training next week and I'm not looking forward to that. But it's a good move and he'll get another certification under his belt to make his resume prettier so who am I to complain? ;) I have my MIL and my mom scheduled to come help me out each evening next week since that's the worst part of the day for me and I'm extremely grateful they'll be here. Hopefully it's the last time I'll be needing help for a while. I'm not sure what it is about me but I hate to ask for help. I guess we all do.

Well, Hubby's bday was yesterday and the kids and I are planning a party for him tonight. So I'd better be off decorating, making a cake and home made bread and cleaning up the place.

Everyone have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Friends and feelings

Matthew's best friend, Allen, started 1st grade this year and it's his first year of going all day. This has been a hard adjustment on Matthew. Allen has a younger brother, James, who is almost 4yrs and a baby sister. Rose and James have always had a lot in common just like Matthew and Allen so it's always been 'understood' that James is Rose's friend and Allen is Matthew's friend. [This background is important for the story.]

Matthew has been reading a lot of those Joy Berry Help Me Be Good books lately. I bought the set years ago but was a little disappointed when they showed up. So I shoved them away and didn't think much about them. But Matthew has unearthed them in our library in the playroom closet and has been reading through them. And I’m finding his recent explanations of his actions are getting quite…well-thought out.

Yesterday we had my buddy over and James and his baby sister. Allen was, of course, in school. Matthew had a very hard time playing with James and Rose. He was overly tempermental, bossy, wanted to play and then didn't want to play - nothing made him happy. I was bewildered at his behavior and secretly wondered if he was coming down sick (as is typically the case when he's having such a 'bad' day).

Last night we were snuggling before bed and he said, “Mommy, I’m a googleplex plus a googleplex plus a googleplex (and on and on for a while) sorry about my attitude with James today. I was really sad that Allen wasn’t here to play.” I thanked him for apologizing of his own free will and commended him on recognizing why he had a bad attitude about it. I also told him that Allen's mommy had emailed me and said that Allen was sad he missed seeing Matthew too. He immediately said, “Did you tell Allen that I didn’t play with James??”

I think he was worried that by playing with James, it would make Allen sad and so he didn’t want to play with James and upset his friend. I talked to him about the fact that while Allen was sad about it, I’m sure he understood Matthew playing with James and that he would want Matthew to be nice to his little brother and play with him.

This morning, he said out of the blue, “Mommy, I love Allen very very much.” I reminded him that we’d see Allen this week after school one day and again at James’ bday party in a couple weeks. He seemed happier about that but added, "I wish Allen was homeschooled!" Hubby and I looked at each other with a ???? expression for a second before I said, "Well you know Allen has fun at school and he likes to go. And I bet there are days he wishes you went to school (if you were in his district) so he could play with you at recess." He slowly agreed with me. "We'll just have to try to be more creative in finding time to spend with him and in the meantime, I hope you can play nicely with James next time we see them." He assured me he could.

It's so hard to see him struggling with missing his friend and harder still to see that he's so worried about Allen's feelings that he felt he was betraying his friend by playing with his brother. But I think his sensitivity to others feelings is a great attribute to his character.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Come On!!

Come on!!! You're telling me that NO ONE had a comment regarding the baby name poll???? NOT A WORD???? All you really overly opinionated people who comment me all the time??? Even YOU can't tell when I'm joking anymore??? No, I seriously would not pick any one of those names....but I had to play with you a little. I figured if ANYONE was going to call me on this one it would be my SIL...but even she chickened out. lololol your next mission - give me good R boy names. And I mean GOOD ones. ;)

I'm feeling better now

Maybe the worst is over finally. I took myself off the strong meds last week due to side effects and after those subsided, I found that I was feeling a lot better. I had a GREAT weekend. On Saturday, we took a couple walks around the neighborhood and played outside in the yard with the kids for a few hours, ending up on the driveway with our sleeping bags, watching the sunset disappear and the stars appear. The kids and I pretended we were camping out while Hubby made dinner. It was such a nice day. On Sunday I was also feeling great. We took a short drive and found a new city park not far from us and let the kids play. It was a windy, overcast cool day and it was refreshing and fun. I even felt good enough to pitch in with housework a little too!

So hopefully soon I'll be back to my typical post-m/s pregnancy state and will hopefully find something ELSE to talk about. :)

The kids are showing signs of being couped up for too long but they're hanging in there. We've invited some friends over this week and maybe we'll venture out to the park again before the rain comes in later this week. We saw quite a few fall decorations yesterday in our driving around so maybe we'll get ours out too...after all, the first day of fall was Saturday - I guess technically, we're late. ;)

Monday, September 18, 2006

Cutie Pie

Just a cute girl, a cute cat and a very cute dress...

AZ trek
This is a website for two 55 yr old women who are a real inspiration to me. To have their energy and drive at 55!! As they put it, 'instead of accepting membership in the AARP this year', they are riding 800+ miles through Arizona on horseback. They estimate the trip taking roughly 8 weeks and they just started Sept 1st. Their diary is quite interesting to read, though it can be sporadic as they don't have internet access at every campsite or every day. Their goal is to write a book about the adventure when they're done and I can't wait to read it and see the pictures they've taken. What a trip!! What guts!! What explorers!!

Their online diary can be found here...

Baby update

Looks like I'm making up for lost blog time, I know. Sorry!! If you're just tuning in on this Monday, please scroll down some - I've had quite a few posts the last couple days. Just wanted to post a little OB update.

I had my 10 week checkup today. Everything looks great. She couldn't hear the heartbeat with the doppler so she ran me in for a quick ultrasound (teehee - Baby is wiggling ALL OVER THE PLACE! Baby was waving and doing kicks so hard that it jerked his/her whole body. And I still can't feel any of it. It was amazing to see how much movement was going on in there. Heart rate was 176, right where it should be, and he/she measured right on target. I'm down 7 pounds so far but that's probably only the beginning of the weight loss since I usually lose a lot while pg due to a total lack of appetite.

'Course the babysitter, Papa, left without giving hugs and Rose was in full blown alligator tears by the time she realized it. I told her she could call him on the phone and he decided to turn around and come back for a hug. What a great grandpa. :)

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Pirate Festival!

There is a local group that does a yearly Renaissance Fair in our area. We've gone once or twice and always have fun being transported back in time for a few hours. Costumes, food, jousts, period language and shows all combine to give you a real feel of the times.

This year, however, they have added a new one - a Pirate Festival! With Matthew having a pirate party that he missed out on, I decided this might be a good way to "make up" for his missed party from last weekend. So he grabbed his pirate garb and off we went.

The festivals take place in a local park in the woods. Walking up to pay the admission, you are already beginning the transformation of worrying about bills and blogs to wondering what the French soldiers might do when they see your son dressed up as a pirate. You are greeted with 'ahoy matey' at every turn and watch soldiers and pirates alike surround you as you quickly forget your modern life.

Among fine craftsmen of swords, hats, pirate garb and jewels, you first stop to watch some street musicians.

The beautiful harp, soft drum and pipe further lure you into pirate land.

Next you come across an archery range, where for a small fee, you can practice your pirating skills. Hubby helped Rose and Matthew a little but I was amazed at what naturals they seem to be. Rose sent her arrow (all by herself) all the way to the back bale of hay! And Matthew shot off 3-4 all by himself.

As we came out of the archery range, we had our first close encounter with a real pirate!! And he had a bearded dragon with him. I'm not sure if Jade was more impressed with the pirate or the dragon.

After wandering around a bit more, we saw that there was a black powder demonstration about to start and after grabbing some pirate grub (smoked turkey legs...yummm), we took the food back to watch the demonstration. We learned how to load a black powder gun and fire it.

He also showed us what flint is and how to use it to start a fire. He also gave us lessons on how to create charcloth to start fires. It was quite interesting! Rose even got to hold the gun to see how heavy it was.

We weren't quite finished gnawing on our turkey legs yet and decided to join another show across the main path. This seemed to be a magic show of sorts but the pirate in charge had the actions, words and personality of none other than Cap'n Jack Sparrow. This man had done his homework! He had the twisting hands and the quick wit down perfectly. We sat on the back row since the show had already started and enjoyed the show while we finished eating. As the show proceeded, Matthew and Rose slowly snuck up until they were standing just in front of this man. Matthew calls out, "I know who you are - you're Jack Sparrow!" The pirate replied, "No, love, that would be piracy! I'm Cap'n Tom Bollinger." After a few other of Matthew's interjections, he laughingly said, "Who does this child belong to?" Hubby and I ducked our heads and Matthew and Rose came running back to us.

Of course, the trip wouldn't be complete without a picture of "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything" (that's a Veggie Tale reference for those of you who don't know).

And some mean looking jailbird pirates...

All in all, a great time was had by all of us. Though I did take a little spill down the gravel road. I skinned my knee a little but mostly gave it a really good bruise. It was a very fun trip and I was surprised that I had the energy to keep up with everything after 4 weeks of doing literally nothing. Afterwards, we all crashed for a good long nap and dreamt of sailing the open seas searching for pirate booty. ;)