Monday, June 30, 2008

Ten Things About Me/Us

First, an announcement: I'm getting old.
Symptoms: I turned the big ol' 3-5 a few months back. I had to downgrade the resolution on my laptop so I don't squint all the time. I *cannot* get used to using only ONE space after periods when typing so I have truly become the epitome of "you can't teach an old dog new tricks". I force my kids to drink from a lowly water fountain because I remember when "you could buy a bottle of water for .50 and I refuse to pay $3.00 for it now" (plus if the garden hose, transporting water from the WELL, that filled the horse's water trough, was good enough for me...). And a morning at the zoo totally tuckers me out. (But that might actually reflect on another aspect of my life, saved for a bit later.)
Solution: Do what you can with what you have. If you're old, make accommodations as best as you can and deal with the rest as is.

I have so much to update you on that this could be a two or three parter. I'll try to shorten it to mostly highlights...but I'll warn you that it's truly very hard for me to say something without the back-story!! If you want to know more about any of the topics, feel free to email me or ask in the comments. I am good about answering questions. :)

1. My aforementioned sinus pressure tales could be a really long, really sad anecdote about the incompetence of the medical system in the US but I'm sure you've already heard too many of those. So I'll shorten the tale to one sentence: I've found a 'work-around', for the most part, on my own, after spending gobs of [time and money and more pain and energy and worry] asking doctors to figure it out for me.

2. We had a lovely Flag Day celebration with our local homeschool group. The kids learned about the Olympic flag and the American flag, discussed flag symbols, created their own flags, participated in a flag parade (around the subdivision) and played a Memory-type game with flags from many different countries. The memory game was a great idea though if you have very small children, I'd suggest a smaller sampling of flags - maybe ten flags - to start with and go up from there. This would be a great game for this weekend and easy to make yourself by printing them on the computer (just google various country flags) - you can even cover them in contact paper to make a game that lasts longer than a weekend! :) It would be neat to put magnets on the back of them when you're done to display on the fridge. You never just might lead to an impromptu study on Japan, which might lead to building a volcano model, which might lead to a documentary on Mount St. Helens, which might lead to drawing a map of California (or a road trip to CA!), which might lead to discovering the funny city of Ukiah, CA, which might lead to finding this site which tells of a Haiku festival in Ukiah (that's haiku spelled backwards), which might lead to just having to make some haikus of your own...and haiku takes you right back to Japan again, but to explore maybe their culture instead of their landscape. ;) Ahhhh...unschooling at its finest.

3. I found *THE* neatest thing online the other day. Librivox is a community of volunteers who audio record themselves reading books to store in a digital (mp3 and such) formats. These are all public domain books (books published before 1923) so Harry Potter isn't there but there are so many classics (and poems) that are! I love this idea and I'm soooo happy it's out there. Even if you don't want to volunteer, check out your favorite poem or story - download the audio version for free on their site. Little Women, The Road Not Taken, Shakespeare, Moby Dick and even the Bible are just a very small sampling of audio recordings available. Lend your hand...err, the project (it's actually very simple and if you have a microphone for your computer, it can be totally accomplished with freeware programs too!). :)

4. I held the Creative Activities position for our MOPS group last year. While I enjoyed the creative outlet and really did like it, it ended up being a bad year for me with the new baby and all my unforeseen back/rib issues. So I decided to slow things up a bit and do Publicity this year. Basically, I update the website (I can obviously handle that...teehee), handle flyers and a display for MOPS Sunday (when we do our big plug for moms in the church to join/help our group) and do the monthly newsletter. When Matthew was a baby, several of us in the local La Leche League meetings decided to start a playgroup. After it got rolling, I put together a monthly newsletter and *really* *loved* doing it. So I'm very excited about doing it for MOPS this year. I was originally going to do it along with the lady who did the position last year but she emailed today and said that she feels pulled to do Creative Activities this year. So it looks like we traded positions and will be picking each others brains.

5. My old time readers should know but I haven't talked about this in a long time, for you newbies. I was diagnosed with MS in January 2006. (In my prologue (LOL), I mentioned tiredness - fatigue is the #1 complaint of people with MS). At the time, we were planning on having another baby and it wouldn't have done much good for me to be on medication for six months so I decided to wait. Well, I made it through the pregnancy very well. It's common for women with MS to have a great pregnancy (the disease sort of goes dormant) and then have a relapse between 3-6 months after delivery. I've done great - no relapses since my actual diagnosis. I've had some symptoms here and there but no acute took lots of prayers by us and family/friends but I was able to make the "at least one year of breastfeeding" that I felt was really important for Linnae. But she's weaned now and it's time for me to buck up and start the meds.
There is no cure for MS but the medication will reduce my risk of developing more lesions by 33%. 33% might not sound that great but when you realize that you're talking about lowering your chance of paralysis or similarly terrifying fates by 33%, you decide that it's worth the trouble. ;)
The medicine is a hard pill to swallow though. Actually, it's not a pill at's a self-inflicted (or husband-inflicted) shot, three times a week. And has the potential to make me feel pretty cruddy (flu-like) for a few months until my body gets used to it. I've come a long way from my days of hiding underneath the pediatrician's table, forcing nurses, much to my mother's chagrin, to pull me out for my immunizations. I remember that my first few lab pregnancy tests were a huge deal for me. In fact, I remember one nurse in particular saying, "Honey, you'd better HOPE you're not pregnant if this is how you react to needles!!" Then I went through infertility and lots of needles, then hyperemesis with pregnancy #1 (and more needles), then gallbladder attacks all through pregnancy #2 (and surgery to remove the gallbladder after pgcy...more needles), then gestational diabetes with #3 and #4 pgcys along with those four-times-daily needle blood sugar levels...and let's not talk about that 10 inch epidural needle I had three times (yeah, only badge of honor...teehee). After all of this, I'm a LOT better about needles than I was as a child; however, every time I see one come at me, my inner child wants to head for the nearest table and camp out under it for the rest of my life. So if you would send some prayers/positive thoughts my way on Thursday afternoon, that will be the day that I'm acquainted with my spiffy needle injecting device...and I'd appreciate some extra strength and courage that day.

6. Both Matthew and Rose have had separate classes at the Zoo in the past few weeks. I didn't get to attend either class with them but they seemed to have a really good time. Matthew's class was all about animal tracks - the kinds of footprints different animals leave and how to track animals in the woods. Rose's class was for the pre-K crowd and was more of an arts and crafts class. They sang animal songs and did some fingerplays and a few crafts. Nothing extraordinary but she did seem to really like it. Plus, she got to pet an OPOSSUM!! Pretty. Cool. (soooooooooo glad I wasn't there! I still shiver when Hubby tells the story of falling asleep in the tree while hunting to wake up with one staring him in the face. uuuuugh I would have been down that tree faster than a speeding bullet...or, on second thought, I probably would have just shot it, that is, if I actually shot things. shiver.)

7. My brother recommended a graphic novel (known to us old people as a "comic book" series bound together into a book) for Matthew. It's called Tintin and something he recently started reading himself. He already has our nephews hooked and if his own daughter was old enough to read, I bet she'd be loving it too. I picked up the first book of seven the other day at the library and it landed on the couch. Ten minutes later, I heard Matthew say to no one in particular, "What's this?" and for the next 45 minutes, all I saw was this:

He stopped only when I told him it was time for dinner, and went straight back to it. The following morning, he finished it up and asked for the second book. I was a bit shocked. He *does* have an affinity for Garfield and Peanuts strips (and even Dilbert) but Tintin was written by a Belgian. It has *gasp* pictures of men smoking cigars, for crying out loud! LOL It was published in various countries in Europe so some of the terminology used is unfamiliar to him, as well as 1954 lango. But he was, as you can see, thoroughly entranced. Apparently Steven Spielberg was also entranced by it as he's working on a Tintin movie, scheduled to film in September.

8. We had some friends in town early in June (miss you already Mike and Jen!!) (loved seeing you Christie and Ryan and R&D!) and then I had checkups with all of my doctors in a two week span, along with a few kid visits to the pediatrician. I then spent the next week seeing my primary dr and urgent care and ENT for my sinus issues. June flew past us.
(for you non-budding-astronomers, this is a picture of the June night sky)

9. July promises to be super busy as well. Hubby is on business travel for part of this week and then there is, of course, the holiday weekend. Next week, Grammy is on vacation while Matthew and Rose are attending VBS...but I'm sure we'll still find something to get us into trouble. The third week, my niece is staying with us and the kids have another, evening-style, VBS. The fourth week, my other niece in that family is staying with us. And Hubby will have some more traveling this month as well. Then it'll be crunch time for the August MOPS newsletter.
(I have no idea what this musical is about but the picture seemed to sum up July)

10. I'm spoiled. We went to the zoo today with friends. Yesterday's overcast upper 70's breezy beauuuuuuutiful day apparently fooled many of us and we all headed to the zoo today. It was sunny, 84 and not very breezy. Not horrible, indeed, but it was hotter than I prefer. There were GOBS of people there. On the way out, there was probably at least a half-mile line just to park vehicles. I had gotten a pretty good free spot and as someone decided to jam up traffic to wait for me to unload the stroller and get everyone packed into their car seats, I felt the pressure rising every second. I'm no novice at getting stuff shoved away but I got really stressed out when a quarter of a mile of cars started honking. I realize they were honking at the guy who stopped, and not me, but *I* was the one he was waiting on and it took me quite a while to de-stress from the situation.
I forget sometimes how spoiled I am, being a homeschooler. We usually visit the zoo in the cooler weather in the spring and fall, simply because of our own weather tastes, so we usually go when most other kids are in school during the week. But today, we met up with friends and were shoving the strollers through the Herpetarium with all the other kids who are trying to get the most bang for their summer buck, so to speak. If that was the only way I ever got to see the zoo, I'd be one of those moms who hates to go there too.
They did have a neat robotic, life-sized dinosaur exhibit. The exhibit was buried deep along the dreaded elephant trail. The trail itself is neat the first time or two...or maybe three times you do it. If you click on that link, you'll see a map of the trail and you can see it's a neat idea. The path winds you through South America, Africa, Asia and North America...on ten acres...and you see various animals relating to each section. For instance, in Africa, you see our two hippos (who were in really bad moods today). But this is where ideas and practicality don't mesh very well, in my opinion. It soon becomes the never-ending, can't-get-out-if-you-wanted-to trail. Especially when they're cleaning the elephant paddocks and the only animals to watch are the Sweaty Zookeepers. Or when you've been on the stinkin' trail at least a hundred times and *still* have yet to actually SEE the reported Black Rhino. There's no way to walk up, see there are no elephants and walk away to see the lions. This is a looooong winding trail that has a few other animals along it but when you reach the middle and decide that 'going to see the elephants' wasn't as big a priority as you initially thought, you're stuck on the trail anyway. No turning around, no short cuts. Yes, I am complaining...but with a purpose. You need the mood and the back story. Hot, tons of people, very long walk that you can't get out of, looking for reported 'dinosaur exhibit'. Rose, looking at yet another empty paddock, sighs and says, "It sure is a long way to walk to see those dinosaurs." I retorted, quick on my feet, "You DO have dinosaurs on your dinosaur tour, right?" My children looked at me oddly and said nothing. I continued in Ian Malcolm style, "Hello? Helloooooo?" Not even a giggle or a smirk for my really great reference to the best line in Jurrasic Park. Nada. Further proof that I'm old.
But I digress. Back to Dinos...
Somewhere between Africa and Asia, they placed the dinosaur exhibit. The dinos roared at us while moving their front legs and heads around and the Dilophosaurus even sprayed a mist of water, causing me to feel a tad bit sorry for Dennis Nedry. At the end of the exhibit, there was a cast of a dinosaur skeleton for the kids to 'dig up'. (Note what highly useful archaeological tools they handed my kids...and the great shape they're in! Matthew and Rose wanted to know where the trowels and "real tools" were).
Regardless of my spoiled state (and tongue-in-cheek complaining), I really do love our zoo. I know it's one of the best in the US and what's more - it's free! We also loved meeting up with our friends at the zoo, even if it was a short morning.

The 'spitting' dilophosaurus:

Fighting Hippos Mere Inches Away!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Still sick...I think...

One of the blogs I read, Unschooling Snapshots, had a good strewing post today that I wanted to share with you. Whatcha Strewin'?

I haven't blogged much the past few weeks and that's mainly because I'm still not feeling well. I've had many sinus infections in my life as a result of my bad hay-fever allergies but this time, it is much different. This is just sinus pressure. No congestion, no cough, no sneezing, no runny nose. Just severe pressure in my upper sinuses and even my upper teeth. After a week of that, I called for antibiotics. Four days later, I went to Urgent Care. Two days later, I was seeing my regular dr again. He gave me some pain meds (along with other stuff) and I've kinda been floating along for the last 4 days. So I don't know if I'm actually *doing* better but I am *feeling* better...however, this is my last day of pain meds so we'll see what tomorrow brings. I may be back at my drs office on Friday, begging for a lobotomy again.

Matthew is continuing his leisurely study on presidents. The book we read about John Adams didn't paint him to be a very nice person and talked more about what he did before becoming president than what he actually did in office. I'm not sure if that's the way history remembers him or if that was just this particular author so we'll be looking for another book about him to get a more rounded picture. I'm anxious to move on to Jefferson as I found a good fictional biography of Jefferson as a boy that looks good.

Rose is now reading Jade's before-nap stories to her. It's so sweet to peek in there after I've put the baby down for nap and see them snuggled up in bed, reading quietly together. Being girls (or perhaps just their personalities), they butt heads more often than either does with Matthew. I was initially quite worried that moving Jade into Rose's room would make matters worse but I think it's working well. They seem to have adjusted fine and don't mind sharing the room at all. They even seem to play nicer together but still have their moments so it is especially sweet and heart-warming to me to see Rose reading stories to her little sister.

Linnae is closer to walking. She has the leg strength, just not the confidence yet. But she can crawl up the stairs faster than anyone can catch her, much to my chagrin, and I know it will only be a short time before I will be wishing she was 'just crawling' again. :)

This afternoon, Grammy is taking Matthew and Rose to see Prince Caspian. Tomorrow we have a birthday party and a homeschooling get-together with a Flag Day focus (it was rescheduled from last week due to illness) and on Saturday, Rose and I have a program at the Zoo.

I know it wasn't much to blog about but I wanted to let you know we're still here and hopefully I'll be back to blogging more often soon. In my fuzzy pain med state, you're lucky it was at least coherent. LOL

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Out of the Fog

Sorry I've been out of good posts for a while. Truth is, I'm feeling lousy. For the past 4-5 days, I've had some really strong sinus pressure, resulting in headaches (of which I'm not accustomed) and general extra crabbiness. I have no congestion in my nose or ears or chest - just the pressure that's causing me to think about the pros of lobotomies an awful lot. So, last night when dear sweet Hubby offered to put the baby to bed, I readily accepted (and he always puts the other three down too).

I went to bed much later (the decongestant that didn't help kept me awake) and flipped on the baby monitor as usual. All I heard was static so I switched to the other channel as Jade likes to play with the buttons sometimes. I then heard the familiar noise machine in the background and went to sleep.

Around 5am, I heard Linnae crying. It wasn't a "I mean business" cry but more of a "I want somebody to come in here...I think". You know, one of those cry-for-10-seconds-then-quiet-for-a-minute repeat things. Knock on wood, she's a GREAT sleeper and hasn't ever done this to me before (boy I'm really asking for it, posting this!). So I let her do that for a little while, hoping she'd go back to sleep. No such luck. About 10 minutes later, she really started crying good. Worried that she'd wake the other 3 at 5am (oh doesn't THAT sound fun?), I leapt from my bed and scrambled down the hall. Bleary eyed, I opened her door and saw her raise her sleepy head off the mattress and blink at me like, "What's going on, Mom?" In my half-awake state, I thought that maybe she'd been crying in her sleep. So I picked her up and held her and swayed, trying to get her back to sleep. She was very quiet. After a couple minutes, I tried to lay her back down and she wasn't going to have any of that. So I held her a bit more. Fever? Nope. Diaper? OK. Cold? Nope. Maybe she just had a bad dream.

Then I heard her cry again. Except she was crying down the hall on the monitor. But she was in my arms and I knew for sure that she wasn't crying. As the fog began to lift off of my sleepy brain, I realized that I was listening to a baby...but not mine. And the cry was too young to be any of my other kidlets. It was then that I looked at her monitor and realized it was turned off...Hubby had forgotten to turn it on last night. I was apparently listening to the neighbor's baby, who is, needless to say, an early riser. And I'd woken poor Linnae up for no good reason.

So this evening, I took the opportunity to tell my neighbor about it. She apologized several times but I told her that the only reason I was telling her was not to complain but to make sure she was aware that she might have other neighbors listening in too...and that she might want to be sure to turn it off when the baby's not sleeping (especially if she wants to complain about the

I'm sure I'll laugh about this some day but today, in this bleak sinus pain state? Not so much.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Weekend Wonders

On Friday night, pizza night, no less, Matthew decided that he wanted to set the table. This is something quite new for us as we usually do buffet style around our house. He was very particular about setting his spot just right. He had the plate centered, the cup at the top right, the folded napkin on the right as well. Then he placed the fork on the napkin and the knife on the left. He looked at me quizzically and asked if that looked right or if the utensils were the other way around. I said, "Though it makes more sense to me the way you've done it, in nice restaurants, they do place the fork on the left and the knife on the right." He emphatically retorted, "Mom! In nice restaurants they wrap them up in the napkins!" I suppose that I might need to take him somewhere "nice" some day so he can see what "nice" is. ;)

On Sunday, 5yo Rose and I went out alone. I needed some blood work done at the hospital and then we went shopping for new bath towels. The hospital took *much* longer than I expected and Rose was very hungry so I told her we could grab a hamburger in between stops, teasing that it was "just because you have really neat parents who do that sort of thing". She said dramatically, "You mean, I have the BEST parents in the whole world!" I grinned at her in the rear-view mirror. She added in a know-it-all voice, "Well, along with Carl and Nancy, of course". This got a full-blown laugh. Carl and Nancy are our neighbors. Their grandkids come over a lot and play with my kids so we've gotten to know them pretty well. Nancy's grandkids are heavily male and she really enjoys getting to talk about girly things with Rose. I think she and her husband probably *are* some of the best parents out there but I find it so funny that Rose thought of them first on her list of "best parents in the world".

For more on table settings, click here.
To see a shining example of why we need more great parents like Carl and Nancy, click here (though I'll warn you that the comments down the page there aren't for kidlet eyes).

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Overheard today

Matthew: Burned brownie bottoms are awesome!!!

Rose (speaking of her stuffed sheep dog): Floss has been sleeping for days and days. I think he might wake up more if he had some sheep to watch. But sometimes he practices with the plastic sheep...but he needs some stuffed sheep, or some Webkinz sheep, if there are any.

Jade: I nee all my tats! ('I need all my cats', referring to her armfuls of stuffed animals, not one of them being an actual cat)

Linnae: ni-ni!

Awesome article

This article, by one of my favorite writers (and yes, she's a published author - she's best known for her Little House series books about Laura's grandmother and others), will heretofore be referred to as "My absolute favoritist (Rose's word) all-time best read on arguments against homeschooling".

It's so well written. She doesn't attack 'school' but instead gives real answers to those questions that we, as homeschoolers, get soooo very often. Go read it. If you're a homeschooler, you'll shout hip-hip-hooray at the end. If you're not a homeschooler, you will have a new perspective on homeschooling...and, it might just be an even better one than you have now. ;)

Monday, June 09, 2008

Monday, Monday...

If the song is now stuck in your head, welcome to my world. And it's not even one I like. :)

We've had a very busy weekend. Saturday morning, Matthew went to a program at the zoo. So I drove him all the way down there and dropped him off (parents weren't invited to stay). His class was about Animal Tracks. They identified tracks and figured out which animal made which track and the instructor brought in some animals for them to look at like a millipede, white ferret, etc. He had a great time. While he was there, Grammy and I went over to the Art and History museums to look around. I wanted to see if there was anything I thought the kids might like there. I found some fascinating things at the History museum's store. A plethora of items (coffee cups, t-shirts, books, pens, etc) with the quote, "Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History". I have since put the book on reserve at the library so I can't say if it's a good read or not but the quote really struck me. I'm no women's libber but I really liked that thought as it could apply to so many things.

I picked up a couple books on the presidents for Matthew, one of which was a series of fictional biographies about Jefferson's childhood. I'm betting my library has more of the series too. At the Art Museum, I picked up a great little book on how to draw cats for Rose, as well as some beautiful detailed butterfly tattoos for the girls.

After picking Matthew up from the Zoo (where we teased him that they'd just throw him in the monkey cage if I was late), we rushed over to Steak N Shake for a quick lunch. We drove all the way home to drop Matthew and Grammy off and I went straight back downtown to see Mamma Mia! at the Fabulous Fox Theater (if you've never been, it's too gorgeous to describe - click on the link to see the pictures). I didn't care for the storyline all that much but it was really fun getting to see how they worked a storyline into all the ABBA songs that I grew up listening to (and still do). I had a really good time. I was originally going to go with a friend but she backed out and I couldn't find anyone to go with me so I took the best date...myself. LOL Who would enjoy it more than me? ME, of course! :) After that, I rushed back home to greet SIL & BIL, who stayed with us Saturday night to catch an early plane to Cancun on Sunday. SIL and I went out for rare treat - kidless time together! The four of us stayed up too late watching youtubes and geeking out on the couches. It was a really great day.

On Sunday, we spent the afternoon with a friend of Hubby's from high school. His wife and I have become good friends and our kids have now as well. We had a great lunch and went to a new indoor playground and just had a great time there all afternoon.

It was a very busy weekend but it was a lot of fun. After the kids got down to bed, I was looking up one of the Abba songs I hadn't thought about in many years and found out that they made the musical into a movie!! It opens next month with Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan. I'm excited to see what Meryl does with the role as I love just about anything she does. :) It'll be fun to see it so close to when I saw the musical so I can compare and contrast the two. Quite fun!

So today I've spent chillin out and tomorrow we have plans with friends and Wednesday we have plans with SILs kids. So it should be a good (but tiring) week. I hope you have a great one too!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Life Lessons

Many times I have been given 'teaching situations' in my life. They come from friends, family, strangers and God. Some are more poignant than others and some are definitely more fun that others as well. Usually, I do *not* see them coming...even after I should certainly know better.

When my online friend, Stacey, blogged about her son doing this, I chuckled:

When this one happened to her 2 week old couch, I grimaced, but still laughed.

And when she posted this, I began to wonder if it wasn't all just a ploy for good blogging.

But when she blogged this, I nearly wet my pants, laughing myself silly. I mean, really...WHO in their right mind would give that kid MORE MARKERS???

Alas, dear sweet Stacey (who makes THE most incredible cakes, btw!), I am no longer amused.

Last week, the older three kids were awake bright and early as usual. Rose (5y) and Jade (3y) have really been enjoying coloring/drawing a lot together lately and this morning was no different. In fact, I'd gone out the night before and bought them a brand new set of *washable* Crayola markers because they were using cheap off brand markers that were in really bad shape. They were having a blast together.

The baby woke and I went upstairs to get her. As is customary, the other three trailed along right behind me, screaming their 'good mornings' at the baby until she shuddered in fear before breaking into a sobbing fit. ('d think by now that she'd be used to that morning greeting!) I calmed her down and when I turned around, I found Jade bent over like she was picking something up off the carpet. Just happy that I didn't trip over her and fall in a heap at the bottom of the stairs, I didn't pay much attention to what she was actually doing. I start making my way down the stairs with the older two kids in tow (still trying to out-good-morning the other) and trying to calm the baby. I realize, halfway down the stairs that there are little brown spots on my carpet. Each stair had a brown spot on it. It then slowly dawned on me. I looked back at the top of the stairs just in time to see Jade starting to make the next spot. She had a brown marker in hand and apparently, each step she took, she marked it with the marker. I suppose, one could make a Hansel and Gretel connection out of it but I digress. She was told not to do it and punished accordingly.

Being the super cleaning mom in a household of 6 people, the marks were still there a couple days later. I hadn't looked up on the Crayola website yet how to clean their *washable* markers out of carpet. I probably should have asked Stacey. She might have whispered a warning of my impending doom.

On Sunday morning, I woke to find this. It's not the best picture but you get the gist. If you look closely, you can even see all the small purple dots surrounding the big purple design:

I'm just grateful that some of it went on the rug that needs to be replaced anyway.

Needless to say, I was *not* laughing. I immediately thought of Stacey and how I'd laughed "with" the poor woman. does have a neat site. They have a huge database to search for getting their products out of other things. You can enter in the specific writing implement (washable markers) and the specific item destroyed (carpet). Then it gives you very specific steps on how to remove their product. My instructions were:
Stain Removal Tips
Dampen a sponge with alcohol and use a blotting motion to absorb the marker stain, changing the sponge as often as needed. Apply upholstery/rug shampoo according to the directions on the container. If stain remains, use Capture spot and soil remover according to the directions on the container.

I wonder if they have rights to Capture Spot Remover and rubbing alcohol? If my kids (and Stacey's) are any measure, we should both purchase stock in the companies right now.

I didn't have a sponge but got to work with some cotton balls and rubbing alcohol. It took lots of elbow grease but it did come almost completely out. Rose was thrilled to help me clean up the mess on her floor.

A few hours later, it magically reappeared though it wasn't nearly as distinct a picture as before:

I need to attack it again with the alcohol but I have had 50,483 other messes since Sunday that required more urgent attention. At least the brown marker blended in nicely with our cream carpet with tan specks. Purple just kinda stands out, ya know??

So, I send this out tonight into the blogosphere, begging forgiveness from Stacey for laughing at her marker plight.

These 'teaching situations' never come like I really want them to.

(You can find Stacey's post about *all* of her son's hysterical antics...including MORE, yes MORE marker incidents here. Thanks, Stacey for letting me piggyback on you for a bit. :))

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Twittering away

I've had a bad week. I'm just not feeling great. It basically hasn't stopped raining since early March and the mold count is through the roof. The red puffy eyes combined with the scratchy deep voice would be enough for anyone to run in fear but combine it with the hot humid stickiness outside and my lovely mood and you've got a real winner here. On the up side, we've still been learning things (on top of "how to avoid Mom this week," that is).

I'm utterly amazed at how well Rose is reading. It seems to have happened overnight. She's even entered the library summer reading program. They have to read so many minutes to get a prize...and she's very focused on filling her sheet. At bedtime, we read her a story and then she reads us one...just because it's silly to read Mom a bedtime story. I really need to get that webcam so you can see it yourself.

Speaking of the library, I went in to get the last Harry Potter book the other day for Matthew and the librarian asked if I wanted to sign him up for the reading program. When I agreed, she asked what "grade" he was in. After a few minutes of a dumb stare while I tried to figure it out, I finally blurted out that he would be going into 2nd grade next year. She stopped dead in her tracks and looked at me. "Second? And he's reading Harry Potter?" (I love these opportunities to further positive opinions of homeschoolers.) "Yes," I replied and smiled, "we're homeschoolers." Then I asked if my daughter could join up too, "she'll be in Kindergarten." (I was proud of myself for thinking so quick on my feet.) "Is she reading on her own yet?" When I again said, "yes", I really suspect she thought I was lying to her. Oh well. The kids are excited...prizes??? for reading??? WHY??? They can't seem to figure out why anyone needed to encourage kids to read...why on earth would a kid NOT want to read? I have no idea.

I said I would update you on Matthew's quest to learn about the Presidents. He told me that he wants to know more about them so he can "answer more questions when we play trivia games". To hear him say it, you'd think we go to trivia nights all the time. The truth of the matter is that we had one with our MOPS group this year and they brought in someone to do a trivia quiz with the kids while we had ours for the adults. Then MIL had one at her church later, that allowed the kids and adults to play together. We also like to play word and trivia games around here sometimes but with the kids ages, it's a little limited at this point. I might need to get Disney Trivial Pursuit soon though. Anyway...presidents. I found a book at the library that wasn't too dry about Washington. We read through it and we've talked about it some the past few days. Tonight he wanted me to read it again because "I still haven't memorized all the stuff about him that I want to yet." If you asked, the first thing he'd tell you is that Washington had false teeth that were made out of human teeth (ick), cows teeth (TRIPLE ICK) and the tusks of elephants (don't. even. I don't know where those tusks have been!?!?). He would also tell you that Washington fought in the French and Indian War and built the White House but was the only president to never live in it (before this week, I couldn't have told you any of that either, sadly). I made a suggestion that we could do a presidential scrapbook so we'd have something to reference and he seemed really interested in that. I also found a movie called "The Crossing" about Washington at the library but I need to preview it as it's not rated and I believe Washington was rumored to be quite the philanderer and my usual kid-friendly-movie-review sites don't have the movie listed.

Jade is speaking a lot better these days too...much bigger words and more clearly. A couple days ago, the two older kids ran outside to play. Jade, finally getting the computer to herself, decided to stay inside and hoard it. She played on (a GREAT early reading site!) for about 45 minutes and loved every second of it.

Linnae is finally pulling herself up to standing. After 14 months of me kicking her feet out from under her, she's persevered and doing it anyway. I knew that Irish name(first name), as well as the Irish blood, would serve her well. :)

We had a good discussion today about discrimination. Matthew was relaying a conversation he had with Hubby a few days ago. Apparently when they went out to get haircuts and lunch last weekend, Matthew was naming off places he'd like to eat. When he mentioned Subway, Hubby said, "Remember Mom said we're not going to give them our business anymore?" At this point, Matthew looked at me and said, "I forget why now though. Why not?" First I told him that we don't usually eat there anyway so I didn't feel it was that big of a stand but I explained about Subway's recent contest and how they're excluding us from participating because we're homeschoolers. Never being one to hide his emotions, he slammed his hand down on the counter and said, through gritted teeth, "Well, I hope that everyone decides to not give them business anymore and they go out of business totally! We should tell all our friends to go to Quizno's." Might be a good time to read Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath. :)

Last, but not friend Pattie recently mentioned on her blog (yes, even though she was originally Hubby's college friend, I have claimed her now...teehee). I clicked on a link and it's the neatest concept! It's like mini-blogging. In 140 characters or less, you answer the question "what are you doing?" You link up with friends and see what they're doing. I've added it in the sidebar of my browser so it's super easy to add an entry quickly. I'm having some connectivity issues tonight but hope they resolve soon. So if you're on twitter, leave me a comment or might learn even MORE about us. :)

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Learning Life Through Books

Our neighbor has her grandkids over at her house a lot and because of that, my kids have become good friends with them. One of their parents is going through a divorce and the cousins are now temporarily living together. As is so often the case, there are some growing pains going on that we hear about from the kids. After I called the kids in tonight for baths, I went outside to see that all the toys had been brought back inside. One of the boys, A, was out there and he was leaning down on his water gun so that it took me a minute to figure out exactly what he was doing.
"Oh," I said in revelation, "you're getting all the water out of it, eh?"
He said, "Yeah. I'm mad at J because he put the water in here wrong and he takes my toys and yesterday, when I wanted a Popsicle, he said it was his brother, C's, and I'd have to ask C for one...but then said he was going to tell C to say no anyway when I asked him."
"Wow," I agreed, "that doesn't sound very nice."

Later, at dinner, Matthew brought up the fact that A and J weren't speaking because they were mad at each other. And he sounded like he was empathizing with A and mad at J himself. He said, seemingly frustrated, "I can't wait until their small school break is over so I can talk to J about it!" I talked to him for a few minutes about not being mad at someone just because your friend is mad at them. It's ok to empathize with him but I felt he should think twice before he decided to also be mad at J, because he's friends with J too. He interrupted me with, "Mom, you know in my Harry Potter books..."
Thinking what I'd said went straight in one ear and other the other, I said, "mmm?"
He continued, "Well, Hermione and Ron get mad at each other a lot. They don't speak to each other for a long time."
I said, "Oh?"
"But Harry gets them together and fixes it for them," he said, giving me the thumbs-up signal and a wink.
" you're going to be Harry for A and J?"
"Yep," he said, "I'm gonna make them talk to each other again! That's why I can't wait for their school break to be over."

~Better than *any* book report I could have ever received, he not only followed the storyline (a minor storyline, at that) but he figured out what the author was really trying to say and applied it to his own life. I think Joanne Rowling would be quite pleased too.~