Thursday, November 13, 2008

Gliders or did I mean Rodents?

My sister is selling her spices at two trade shows this weekend and so maybe I am a little overworked and stressed out. But as Denali and I entered the row where we would be set up for the next three days, I noticed a man speaking to someone (thing). I thought he had on a bluetooth. Then looked more closely and realized it was a pet. I assumed it was a baby ferret and found it incredibly odd that you would choose to set up for a trade show while entertaining a pet. I then supposed that he might be from out of town (hoped was probably more like it) and he could not leave this rodent like animal in a hotel room. He is setting up and as we are walking through back and forth unloading, I admittedly was looking a little uncomfortable as his friend ran up and over his head but did not appear to be attached to anything. I call Michael and ask what he thinks of my first impression of this Home Show and the man with a ferret. He is not as humored as I am so I continue to move things around. After our third trip, the man decides my strange and fearful looks might be indicative of my feeling toward rodents (hate would be a very mild word) and tells the little creature to jump in his bag. I continue watching with fascination as he sets up various cages and has jars of "food" set out for sale. I now move on to the picture in my head--Ravi (brother in law and Chief Indian officer of this crazy clan) doing a cooking demo of which they have four this weekend and Michael manning the booth (all that is funny enough) and in comes the rodent creature to help stir the pot both figuratively and literally. I am imagining this GLIDER (more of the display has been put up to clearly identify said rodent) swooping in to taste a little of my sister's Indian cooking. I picture the people running away swearing never to try ethnic food again and I am cursing this little guy for ruining my retirement plan (did I mention not a lot of sleep occurred this week so my dreaming is done wide awake). Well now I am perfectly petrified with the idea of being a few booths down from this crazy scenario all weekend. I call a friend to lament about our luck in having animals and their gear for sale so near to our food and does she respond with sympathy--oh no she owned one of these rodents and named it Phoebe. So as I was trying to get excited about helping with this show, I have used all of my brain power to wonder why anyone would want to sell gliders and the very cute little homemade pouches to carry them everywhere you go. For a reality check, I would like to know how many people go to a home show and buy a glider or his paraphernalia, how does one sign up for a booth like this and better yet, in the state of the economy--will I someday be resigned to selling rodents at a home show to cover college expenses of four kids? I am deeply disturbed by this and after reading ( a must read if you want one) I am thinking at $175 each- this man is making a killing while I tagged 700 Indian Spices this week.

Lastly I would like to note this website recommends buying two unless you have plenty of time to devote to them- like the man two booths over.

Monday, November 10, 2008

House calls

It was pointed out to me this weekend that I might have it good. I am hopeful it is good karma that is making my life a little easier. Michael and I try to teach the kids that good begets good. This weekend began with stomach sickness from my little guy on Friday leading me to believe we might have a couple of cases of Strep. After canceling a bday party, upsetting the entire emotional balance of the kids and cleaning up the car seat, we determined a quick trip to the pediatrician's office was in the plan for Saturday morning.

Off we go-all 6 of us (including my doctor-phobic husband) to the pediatrician. An hour later, we have no conclusive info other than Michael's assurance we have now picked up something just by entering and lamenting why no one makes house calls.

We are lucky enough to have a hair stylist who comes to us. She lived with us for a while (my very best hair days) but has moved on only to repay us with her kindness by not making me truck 6 people to the Aveda salon. so yes, i am grateful.

But to continue with house calls, Sunday morning found us watching soccer and before the game had begun, Keaton stepped in a hole up to his thigh. He refused to stand on his own. We spent an hour deliberating our options. After returning to the house, I called our chiropractors and Dr. Kristin said she was on her way. After an adjustment, she was convinced he was fine but leery of the pain that was initial. She left after a bowl of soup and good conversation. we agreed to come by the office on Monday to be rechecked. By the way, she suggested apple cider vinegar for killing strep. Happy to imbibe with gargling in hopes that if we did not have it- we could avoid it. We will be regularly gargling this winter.

An hour later my second house call for the weekend arrived with camera slung over his shoulder. I am also lucky enough to know a photographer who will come to us and if you have ever taken kids to a photo session -wow- you know how truly blessed I am. The kids don't get all out of whack trying to leave the house in perfect condition. I just get one ready at a time and then send them to sit quietly and bribe them with TV. Matt was even gracious enough to jump in the car and do some outdoor shots. Keaton even began walking again once we were outside.

So over all our weekend was far more chaotic then planned, but I feel incredibly fortunate to have lived here long enough to have established friendships and relationships with people who are willing to put themselves out a little. Another up side is that my children see that it is no more than we would do for this great people we chose to have in our lives. But I continue to be thankful for all the wonderful people who make up my village.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Sports lessons

While we homeschool and encourage cooperative behavior, we are big fans of soccer. Denali chose to move to a more competitive league this year and she has a fantastic coach. They finished their season undefeated last night, which is amazing and may never happen again in her lifetime, but I needed to point out what else we learned this season.

1. The girls had 192 shots on goal before last night's game. WOW! Imagine the odds lesson here. They scored 53. Lots of math opportunities here.

2. The total number of assists was 15- a lesson in how important a team player is for success.

3. 38 corner kicks were taken, which means a better chance at a successful goal. Another great odds figure.

4. Each player contributed to the team and each player had on and off games making it truly a team success.

We have sacrificed a lot as a family for soccer this season and it was a joy to realize last night, that in supporting Denali's passion, we have all learned something. I am excited for the next few tournaments and the indoor season. But mostly, I am excited to see my children learn from our outside activities, and hopefully satisify that endless question as to whether or not we are socialized and able to play well with others.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Holiday Give Project

Who: The People of Paraguay

What: We are the Pray family and have a cousin in the Peace Corps. She is living in Asuncion and expressed the need for better dental care in her region. For our holiday “GIVE” we decided to collect toothbrushes and toothpaste for adults and children to send to those families in need.

Where: We will collect these at our house (2407 Stonington Road, Atlanta, GA 30338), at LEAD (our home school group on Thursdays), and anytime you all see us.

When: We will collect these until December 1st. We plan to add to these packages using our kids “GIVE” money that they have saved this year.

Why: “Share the wealth” - Michael
“To teach a lesson” - Kim
“For the gift of giving” - Denali
“They’re in need” - Bryn
“Out of Love” - Keelin
“Wah wuv” - Keaton

Please feel free to forward and pass on!!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Where do the hours go??

Can it be November already? I feel as though my amazing resolve to be diligent in our school hours has already gone by the wayside and told my oldest today that she would be doing math before they opened Christmas presents if we did not buckle down. Last week we had a great visit with Grandma but got very little done. Well, we did make homemade cheese and went to see a play at the Alliance (those count right??). This week between voting, which could take many hours and might provide an education in and of itself, and helping my sister get ready for the big show in two weekends ( we must get some book work done. I am doing a little reading on Charlotte Mason and how to combine her thoughts in my classical approach. Everyone I have ever met that states that they follow the Charlotte Mason approach appeals to me from the calm demeanor they have with their children. Spent today outside holding Denali and her friend captive on the see saw while I read to them the rules for a happy family life. We discussed the art of being respectful to all family members, the art of slaying your own dragons (making a plan to work on your not so perfect charactersitics), and the need to happily agree to disagree ( an art form I have a feeling will come in handy in most adult lives here in a few days once this election is over). All of this was a good reminder that we must continue to work on our relationships forever. I mentioned tonight to the girls that if we treasure our family, we must work out our issues and spend more time enjoying what each family member brings to the collective table. Hope this helps start the week off right. It looks to be a doozy of a week with all the running around and soccer tournaments and election stuff. I will be eating a lot of ice cream this week to cope with my non-stop action--- feel free to drop in for some anytime.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Where do socks go

I have always joked with the kids that the washing machine must eat their socks, but until tonight it was more of tooth fairy kind of belief. Then I witnessed this occurrence with my own two eyes. Well, not the actual eating but of the hiding. I found seven single socks dating back to when Keaton had teeny tiny feet and a few other unmentionables in the rubber seal of the washer. It was so disturbing that like all other gross things in life, I asked for confirmation. "Look how scary this is," I squeal not only to my husband but with my mother-in-law present. "Can you believe the washing machine ate these and look how long they must have been in here." "How could I not have noticed?" I pride myself on the ability to do amazing laundry, never letting it pile up and getting set in stains out with the grace of a dancer. But somehow I never noticed the dark colors lurking in the rubber seal surrounding the front loader washer. I was so appalled that I actually just threw them in and washed them again (as if they had not suffered this fate enough) but this time they actually got a little cleaner. Being that these items have been wet for several months, I feel I must throw them out yet, I felt it wrong to throw out such foul smelling dirty items in the trash ( ironic huh?). They will find their way to the trash in the morning and my washer will probably smell a lot less wet dog like after this. I wonder if in the book printed in many languages that came with the washer it mentioned this possibility. This might be my punishment that I cheated and watched the short DVD version of how to run the washer. So a warning to all who have not checked their front loader's rubber seal, do you have anything missing from your laundry pile?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Emotions and Expectations

When I signed on for this job as a mother, I admit I envisioned a little Leave It To Beaver mixed with the Brady Bunch and seasoned with the Cosby Show. In hind sight, we do use a lot of the ironic comedy found in the Bill Cosby's work so maybe I was not completely off the mark. My problem this week is emotions and expectations.

By emotions, I mean mine and everyone's in the house. The baby is teething (enough said) and he is a nursing toddler (picture yoga and nursing- simultaneously- and this is my life). The oldest of my girls seems to be in a good place but only after a 6 month period of rolling eyes and establishing what "ACTUALLY" defines sassy behavior. The middle girl is always a tight rope walk when it comes to emotions. We have tried dietary changes, books until Amazon is sending me pleas to combine all my knowledge and write one of my own, and plain old fashion reward and punishment to no avail. Each day it is like juggling eggs, today I awoke to crying about school work and we had not even discussed expectations of the day yet. And this brings me to the youngest girl. She has watched my middle child and apparently taken good notes because what can a parent do when a child refuses to make their fingers move on a piano. At some point yesterday, I was reminded of my Love and Logic parenting- you can make them got into their room but not make them sleep. This is great advice except I have strong willed children and just how do you make them stay in the room without physical touch. I am a big fan of showing my kids the respect that I expect to receive. I feel modeling is far more important than words, but then which adult around them is modeling throwing themselves on the floor and yelling "I amn't going to piano and you can't make me play"? By the time Michael arrived home, I was actually holding the wine and the glass and just waiting for the door to crack. We have an unwritten rule that if you are the only one around with these small people, you must not be in a place where you have to call 911 for a minor emergency because YOU have been drinking. Seems logical until you have been managing emotions of 6 people for several months and feel like the egg you were juggling this morning cracking. I did drink a glass of wine and then I did proceed to sit in my bed and read until everyone else went to bed. Had a nice conversation with my husband about how he is amazed that I can do this each day (me too actually).
But then this is the job of motherhood. Makes me wonder why they have not done a series on life like this, no need to swap wives or eat gross things, just daily life is amusing enough.

On to expectations of which it has been said mine are a bit out of whack. I realized last night and then again this morning that my expectations for myself are very high- isn't that what allows for success? But I pass that on without thought to all those around me, and it caused me to wonder if we are not all hard wired for such perfectionism. Yes, I do realize that my be a bit late in coming as I am 37 and just now realizing that not everyone like things to be just so. What I am trying to wrestle with is when can I let go of my expectations and let the kids have their own personalities? I firmly believe that if you set the bar high, anyone can reach and meet it. But is this real? I am just working through what my expectations for each child are and how to reflect each one's personal preferences without slacking off on the younger ones as I get older. How hard do I push without pushing them over the edge? I will continue to ponder this thought since it involves way more than just my responsibility as their teacher but as their parent.

So now I am on the tight rope balancing eggs (emotions) and jumping rope (expectations). Anyone want to join me--at the very least we can scramble them for breakfast?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Wordless Wednesday


Well, not completely without words...

Just giggling over the pirates who stopped to have a feast to celebrate their religion today--seems a little ironic being that they ARE pirates and trying to steal weapons and all but at least I imagine them in cute little outfits.

Monday, September 22, 2008

New puppy

My parents are getting a new puppy--don't get too excited, I do not wish for another thing to toilet train. But this dog will live only a mere 20 minutes from us and we have a family foster program that allows us to borrow dogs, loan dogs, exchange dogs within a three family co-op.

She is too cute and her name is Mckinley. We have been discussing the similarities in having a dog and baby and here is the list:
1. will have to wait patiently for the dog to arrive (must be 6-8 weeks old)
2. will need special bedding
3. will need special food
4. will keep you up ALL night
5. will require training classes or at least a book or two
6. will include many dtrs visit to ensure growing properly, shots, etc.
7. will cause you to rethink your sanity
8. will keep you close to home as that is the easiest place to keep all the STUFF
9. will remind you that consistency is more important than anything (no softies here)
10. will require toilet training and for this kind it's more like an outhouse
11. will need new toys
12. will involve many "OOHS and AHHHS!!"
13.will bring endless amounts of love!!!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Why homeschool?

This is the time of year I meet many people who ask me why do I do this crazy thing, keeping my kids with me all day and never having any time to myself.

The answer is it is a lifestyle and I am thankful to another homeschool mom who I met at our chiropractor's office who reminded me of this fact. It is a decision we made when Denali was little and it just grew into homeschooling. Michael and I decided to co-sleep with the kids (many countries do not consider this a choice, but a necessity), nurse on demand, choose our (and their) food wisely and carefully, not leave our children until they were ready to be left, and with all this we are hoping we are giving them roots and wings as Michael commonly refers to our parenting style. We love Dr. Sears and I personally have read more parenting books than most people even know exist, but I have taken this job seriously from the very beginning. We have grown and changed with each child- most especially becoming of the philosophy of everything in moderation so we do own plastic toys now, and they have eaten fast food more times than I can count.

Back to the title of this post, the schooling for me is about being with the kids and influencing them every day. I its my goal to have them fully understand and know our values and right and wrong as we determine it. We are teaching tolerance and perspective ( a big one I think because you must understand where someone is coming from before you can decide right or wrong). It would be hard for me to squeeze all this in in only a few hours each day in between school and extra curricular activities. I fully realize that this does not work for everyone, I would like the assumption to be that my family is not judging others but instead choosing what is right for us. My kids see us reading and learning about new things each day ( we are ordering cheese making supplies at the end of the month and Michael is trying to build a hydrogen run Barbie car with the kids). They help set the goals for their school year and the methods to reach them. We spend a lot of time allowing them to make choices under our roof so that when they leave, they can make informed choices for themselves.I choose not to grade the work they do yet because the fear of failure outweighs the willingness to risk trying at this age. That being said , I have very high expectations that they must complete their work and correct their mistakes. This lifestyle for me does require that I need very little sleep, that I be involved in everyone's everything, that my free time mostly comes in ten minute spurts and that Michael and I must use our time wisely and discuss our days late in the evening after the sun has set. Hopefully what my children will remember from their schooling years is an endless amount of curiosity stemming from the large amounts of curriculum ( I collect books because I think they offer inspiration and remind us of things we have learned or want to learn) offered to them and a desire to continue learning about many of these topics well beyond a college degree. At the health talk on Monday, the conversation I had with the other homeschool mom reminded me that in fact, I don't homeschool strictly for educational purpose but in fact it is a lifestyle that Michael and I have chosen thanks to some very positive influences in our lives. Not everyone can or will make this choice, but for us it is a perfect fit.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Week in Review

I have stolen Katrina's title. But anyhow, so much has happened, I will try to recap quickly. We returned from the beach and met up with reality and schooling. Micheal started our first day of school with us and it was great. Got soooo much done because he played with Keaton. We had soccer practices all week and really did get a lot done. I love our new Chemistry book and even enjoyed teaching Keelin and Bryn a little Latin. Had I remained on my original path I would be fluent, as I thought I would start when Denali began. Her third year in and I am just learning Hello. I also love our Geography songs CD from Rainbow Resource. Overall it was a very pleasant week and I am glad we are back to firm schedules. It fits my personality so much more.

In my free (ha-ha) time, I have been reading and tonight I could not help but laugh out loud. The book I am reading is Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver and it is a true tale of how she and her family moved out to a farm to become "localvores"- people who eat within a range of their house. They set up rules and planned to live a year like this to see what influences they could have and just change their perspective. Well, it is a book I wish I could read aloud and have someone in my family find as funny as I do. Maybe it is my lack of farm knowledge or maybe it is my desire to do something similar but my fear of failure that finds the story intriguing and hilarious. But tonight it was so funny that instead of calling all of my favorite people, I will put it in my blog- this paragraph or two that made my side ache at the idea of such antics.

Background you must have is that Michael has been Vegan at one time in our marriage and continues to be vegetarian. He and Denali both. While Bryn eats any and all meat and prefers it not to be marred with any other foods. Protein just protein for her. Lastly is Keelin who is vegetarian unless you count hamburgers, and bacon (which I do-- so she is not in my book a vegetarian). I am someone who eats anything lovingly prepared and placed in front of me because REALLY I am a mom who feeds everyone else first and rarely sits down. So with food and discussion of what is and is not meat and where things come from constantly surrounding me, all usually occurring at the dinner table, I am not a big fan of thinking of the life cycle of animals that find their way to my plate here and there.

So on page 90, Barabra is discussing turkey. Apparently the majority of them are of the same particularly dumb breed and are too fat to have turkey sex (trying not to picture this). She writes," So how do we get more of them? Well you might ask. The sperm must be artificially extracted from live male turkeys by a person, a professional turkey sperm-wrangler if you will, and artificially introduced to the hens, and that is all I am going to say about that. If you think they send the toms off to the men's room with little paper cups and Playhen magazine, that's not how it goes. I will add only this: if you are the sort of parent who threatens your teenagers with a future of unsavory jobs when they ditch school, here's one more career you might want to add to the list."

The question here in our house is- How long into the school year will I have to describe this job to one of my children in effort to get them to finish their schoolwork? And better yet, when can we move to the farm? I feel certain I can maintain being vegetarian there.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Turtle time

Turtles in our midst!! We have been coming to Hilton Head for many years now and love the idea of sea turtles. Fueled by Nemo, we have read books, and looked at marked nests over the years but never have we seen even a track of a turtle. UNTIL Sunday, we were taking an early morning walk when the turtle patrol came by. We stopped with them at a nest several houses down. They were just checking for activity and then the nest next door to us had hatched Friday night. we were told that stragglers end up in the dunes confused by outdoor lights. They can not make it all day in the heat and end up dying because they are unable to reach the water. The nest can hatch for several days and after a few days, they do an inventory, count the eggs, and the shells. They were going to do this on Tuesday. We excitedly discussed how we would be able to at least see the eggs, and shells. On Monday morning, Michael awoke early and took Bryn with him on a scouting walk. Bryn returned out of breath and yelling, "A turtle, A turtle, hurry!!!" I woke my mom and dad insisting that they not get into clothes but run out on the beach in pajamas. Everyone ran out except me, always the mom, I did not want to wake Keaton and so I stayed behind---for all of two minutes. The moment everyone left and the house was silent, I thought,"Are you kidding me? He wakes me all night long. I can wake him for a once in a life time event." So out in our pajamas we ran. We hit the beach running and watched the turtle make a path to the ocean. He was very small and working very hard. We cheered him on. He was our Crush. When he made it to the water, he was clearly in his element. The rest of our day, while incredible since we are beach front with beautiful weather, was just not as emotional or exciting as the turtle we waited six years to see. Then we awoke this morning anxious to see the nest inventory. Keelin with her eagle eye and attention to detail found many tracks but no lost turtles in the dunes. Then the turtle patrol arrived to uncover the nest. They found three babies and helped them to the water. We had quite a following on the beach today as we invited all who walked by to join the turtle train. The volunteers gave us information and encourage people to become more knowledgeable in order to save these cuties. Loggerheads weigh between 250-400 lbs. Loggerheads are threatened. Only 1 in every 10,000 hatchlings survives to adulthood. So if you find yourself in a turtle area, PLEASE turn out your lights after dark.

We are looking forward to more naturing tomorrow as I have signed us up for a mini introduction to a new resort in exchange for free dolphin tour tickets. (There seems to be a bit of apprehension as to what the magic show and turtle feeding will entail as they are trying to sell timeshares) Only tomorrow will tell. We are starting the day off with donuts that we get to customize . What can go wrong with donuts and a free dolphin tour??????

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Save the baby, screw the rice

So my parents returned from their Alaska trip and we all gathered at their house today to celebrate my dad's birthday. We arrived early afternoon and the kids were wild after so many days of rain and indoor captivity (imagine a zoo keeper's challenge of amusing elephants in a small bird cage). After the gift exchange that resembled Christmas (glad your suitcase could not carry more--MOM), the kids played nosily until dinner. Mom, Kristin and I are trying to eat the table while my dad ate with all the big kids in the family room. I commented on how it must feel just like the cruise ship dinners, surrounded by 4 children vying for food off his plate because it always tastes better that way. He did not mind sharing both his food and space thankfully but Anita did not wish to eat sitting still. Apparently she has become so adept at getting her own bottles out of the cooly bag and then serving herself while surveying the room that she feels the confinement of a chair to be a bit like prison. She is wandering throughout the house with food when I calmly suggest my sister invest in Aaron rental furniture if she continues to let food be spread to all corner's of the house. She did not giggle but my mom did. Then Keaton is done eating and Anita takes his place in the regular kitchen chair. She is attempting to climb over the table and nearly places her hand in the egg drop soup. My sister grabs her arm and is holding her off the table but in the chair while also trying to serve her white rice. Keeping in mind the hour of the day-the witching hour that is- and the lack of sleep my parents have had in their last 24 hours of travel, my mom notes with alarm that the chair is slipping out from under the baby. My sister responds very calmly that she only has two hands and can't manage it all. On a roll with a few one liners today, I begin to chant, "Save the baby, screw the rice!" My mom nearly choked which is not a new occurrence at dinner but still enough to get me started. So in the end, no babies were harmed and no need for the Heimlich but another great dinner and perfect reminder as to why we only do take-in with these crazy babies. We are anxiously awaiting Saturday morning when we all leave for the beach together. The laughs, memories, and witty comments will keep us entertained.

Monday, August 25, 2008


Well, I have recovered from registration although it did take strawberry daquiris and pizza. Not my usual evening meal, but then not a ususal day. We spent the weekend slowly easing into life and wishing we could capture Saturday in a bottle. Nothing like having no expectations and not getting anything done to want a few more days like that. We are gearing up for our beach trip and this week all the appts. necessary to keep a household running.

This is a reminder to all who think stay at home mom's don't do anything.
6:30 wake up
7:00 showered and readyish for the day
7:15 Two children up - hoping for a little more time to get tea made
8:00 All 4 up and husband long gone
8:15 discussion and fixing breakfast (always a vote and someone unhappy)
9:00 ATT guy arrives to change over tv, internet, phone
9:30 second loud fight of the day among girls
10:00 time to eat again (not me- mind you- them)
10:30 No phone, internet, cable- thinking we should have started school today
11:00 Discussion about lunch and starting to fix a hot meal
11:30 Still man in attic and baby who wants to climb the stairs to attic
11:35 resisting the urge to close stairs part way like I do for husband in attic
12:00 lunch- Keaton throws most of his on floor (sadly no dog to help with cleaning)
12:30 Dishes and more dishes due to so much eating
1:00 Lesson on new dvr (do love new technology) hard to hear over children demanding shows as demo is being done (side note- they can read anything to do with High School Musical)
1:27 ATT finally gone, but left phone number to call re: my phone
2:00 Call ATT spend one hour discusiing phone options and careful with words in case I was recorded (more than husband would have been)
2:15 Charge cell phone because of previous 1 hour use and no house phone til Wed.
2:30 Answer calls of hunger pangs again with "Get some fruit!!!"
3:00 send email to husband because he is not answering cell and can't/won't call home
3:30 Pretend to go to bathroom for 2 minutes of alone space.
3:45 Send email to soccer team I don't coach explaining no practice due to weather. Yes always a drought and then soccer season brings on the rain.
4:00 A load of laundry or is that three for the day???
4:12 Begin dinner (we are an ever eating crowd in case you ever get close by-stop in)
4:42 ask for the house to be picked up and the wrestling to stop
4:43 someone crying--I was a minute too late it appears.
5:00 Michael is on the way home but must do some work after everyone is in bed
5:15 Family meeting regarding behavior issues for the day
5:30 Sit down for dinner and Keaton is allowed to feed himself.
5:50 Michael has baby in bath, I am cleaning up after yet more food.
6:19 Going to watch closing cermonies on old dvr but cable has been removed so not so much (also why phone won't work until Wed but ATT lady's explanation was that they came out too early to set things up- a first I am guessing)
7:00 Sent all children to bed because they are over tired- we went to bed before them Saturday night only to find out they had stayed up to watch Track and Field then the Cosby show and went to bed "sometime after 2 I think Mom"
7:30 discussion of wireless phone change and 35 minutes on with another ATT rep who was unsure what phone we should get, what plan was right for us, and how to get our numbers from old phone to new easily but his wife had done it so he knew it was possible (Is this really customer service or just commentary)
8:05 Children back up for water and bathroom

None of this is that odd for my days except it should have included schooling, an interview/discussion with a writer about homeschooling, work for my sister, soccer practice for 2 hours, a trip to the library and ALL of this done while nursing constantly. That is why some of us are tired when we fall into bed at midnight. But alas only 6 more hours to repeat, because the pest service guy comes tomorrow...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I am in charge of registration for our homeschool group again tomorrow. I have chosen a job that entails only three days per year. And now that I have done it for a few years with Amy, we have a system. But it never fails to intimidate me the night before. I am trying to print a google document and it is not turning out right. As I was talking to Amy, we were recounting our favorite Registration moment. Here is how it went.

We are set up in the doorway of the registration room so as not to allow ANYONE out without signing up for cleaning. We had a new policy this particular year and we decided to charge people to opt out of cleaning. The facility we rent requires us to clean it before the after school kids come in. We are a non profit, volunteer only organization-- a bit more organized than a co-op but still no one on the payroll. So after speaking in firm tones all morning about this new policy which was not met with happy grinning faces, but instead by a skeptical are you just milking me for more money (note previous sentence about no payroll) both Amy and I were reaching a breaking point.

A woman approaches who has had health issues and has never signed up for cleaning. We explain the new process to her and she is incredulous. "I am going to be charged $10 for having a heart attack." We reply calmly with no of course not, but you will have to pay like everyone else to opt out. She causes a bit of a scene telling us that she can not do heavy lifting (of which none is required in this cleaning). We firmly explain the choices again, her student she is signing up for classes may clean, she may clean, or she may pay. Seems so simple until she yells, "I wish to speak to the head LEAD." Back to previous paragraph- we are an organized co-op. We do have a board and a president, but this was a combination of registration decisions with board decisions and then same people always doing everything and that must change decision. So I jump out of my chair and run to several board members leaving the woman telling everyone how we were charging her for her health issues and Amy flabbergasted because really who is the head LEAD?? I ask if there is a head LEAD and when I get the skeptical look I had already delivered to the woman, they reply with YOU are the head LEAD. Not a title I relished at the moment, but being assured they "had my back" which did no more to comfort me than being with my mom in a dark alley, I return to the table where all the people in line behind this woman are anxious to see if she gets out of this policy. I quietly inform her that in fact these are the only choices and she is welcome to step aside and decide which one is best for her, but no registration will be complete without a commitment of some sort. I then sit back in my seat and wonder why we don't make these mornings, Margarita Madness. The line quiets and the next woman sheepishly looks at Amy and hands over all her paperwork in hopes that we do not find fault with any of it I am sure. Keeping in mind that Amy and I are not fond of any confrontation and have spent our entire lives in avoidance of such issues.

It is comical to find that WE have found our calling in not letting anyone out of the building without the proper paperwork filled out. We take great pride in this fact and tomorrow evening we will recount how we did not let anyone slip by and we have the documentation to prove all the checks and cash match our numbers. I will arrive with coffee and depending on Amy's dream tonight and if it seems like a premonition of our morning to come, those coffees might just need to be spiked. Beware the two women bearing pens and clipboards tomorrow. Thanks to Lucy for taking the piranha role for Cleaning duties. :)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Our weekend

We had an up and down weekend. Saturday we spent the day in Fayetteville, Ga. Denali had two games and we returned in the early evening. We got settled in and then our dog of 15+ years started having what we now know was seizures. He was acting really odd and then started trotting through the backyard as though he did not have hip trouble. It was so unusual that I called a friend who has vet experience. She thought it might be a seizure and we sent the kids to bed. By midnight, He had several more and Michael was headed to the emergency clinic. Unfortunately, it closed beginning August 1 as an all night clinic and would not re open until 8 AM. Michael spent all night up with the dog, which reminded me of why he chooses to be veteran. His love for animals and especially if they are in pain or in trouble actually causes him to become undone. By 7 AM he was ready to take the dog. Tibbis died at 8:15 at the clinic and that is how the kids day began. We had to pack up and grab breakfast on the road for an 11:30 game one hour away. We discussed all our options and decided to bury Tibbis with my parents dog in their yard. We returned from the game and met my sister and family at the house. After digging the hole, Michael let the kids help place the box in the ground. We have kept Keelin and Keaton's placentas all this time waiting for the perfect time or place to bury them. It seemed fitting that these baby homes could help guard our special family member. The kids were given a good experience in the circle of life and death this way. I feel incredibly blessed that our family experiences about death have been as perfect as possible with bodies being old and giving out. Our good news for the weekend was in additon to spending A LOT of time together, Denali had a great weekend of soccer continually improving and eventually scoring the only goal for her team, but most improtantly, she gave it her all. Our rollercoaster ride seems to be over and we are settling in without a pet. He will be missed greatly and our memories will be fond.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Thursday Thirteen

Our favorite Olympic Sports

1. Gymnastics- I once was gymnast and can just begin to appreciate the hard work.
2. Swimming- Not a sport our family is into but love watching it.
3. Soccer- both women and men.
4. Beach Volleyball- Michael wishes to make a living at this.
5. Fencing- A local girl is in this event
6. Water polo- The stamina in treading water amazes me.
7. Canoe- this does not look like fun but incredibly difficult
8. Synchronized Diving- this means you must spend too much time with one person :)
9. Diving- also amazing and way to daredevil for me.
10. Cycling/ Road- Having ridden with kids, too close for my comfort.
11. Volleyball- also fun to see.
12. Weightlifting -an incredible story about a woman who homebirthed too.
13. Rowing- we even have a rower in our gym but no need to work that hard right?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Ok two words- Elton John????

Sunday, August 10, 2008


I am typing at this late hour because I don't have to get up tomorrow morning. Why? Because we are not starting our "real" school year yet. We have worked all summer a little each day but will begin our new year after we return from the beach in September. I have actually planned for the first 6 weeks already though and I am so excited. I think it is going to be a great year, especially now that Keaton can occasionally entertain himself. He was so excited at Stacy and Adele's house today because it was his first experiencen with kittens. He continually called them dog dog, which is his name for our dog. In his world, all four legged creatures must be dogs. Well also because their cats weigh more than our dog. We spent along morning cleaning up the backyard and the kids whining that they did not like outside work. Obviously neither do Michael or I or we would not be cutting bushes down to 8ft off the ground with a chainsaw. It was a very long time coming, this trimming and required many trips to the front yard dragging trees the size of Michael. The yard is not quite finished but we decided to call it a day at noon. I went to the grocery store and listened to my ipod while shopping. Felt a little young but most importantly, I did not have my kids with me so I did not wish to hear anyone. It was sooooo fun. We are catching up on Olympics tonight and then plan a playdate tomorrow. It was a fun weekend and a good reminder to our kids that someone must do some dirty work and none of us is above it. Hope this lesson continues to sink in. Michael and I were discussing the selfishness of kids, inherent, and the reminder for us that as the parents we must demonstrate unselfish behavior for them to model. I am going to focus on looking for the lack of selfishness in our kids for the next few weeks. When you are looking for something, it is usually easier to find. I look forward to seeing how they can demonstrate it.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

New Thursday Thirteen

Ok, it has been a week since I posted so catching up. We spent 4 hours each adult in the font yard this weekend because we let it go so long that we could not even afford illegal help to get it done. I have been trying to learn to knit. Hobbies in our house MUST be productive so I feel that I must make a pair of socks before winter. It is supposed to be relaxing but as of yet it is causing me great anxiety that I can not master what small children have been able to do. We have spent a great deal of time focusing on soccer. Our season begins next weekend as we travel to Fayetteville for a tournament. But last but not least, what has absorbed most of my time is that we had Keaton's four front teeth removed today due to decay. We struggle with teeth like some families struggle with allergies. As it has been researched and explained to me: we as a family have a bacteria that feeds and spreads and we share food, my kids teeth very early, and I insist on nursing on demand. This combination apparently does not allow the teeth to develop properly. We had the option to have fake teeth put in but decided against it. On a side note, if in Atlanta, we know a GREAT dentist who can do partial sedation in the office and she was wonderful. Thanks Dr. Susan Lee. Now to my thirteen.

Things I am Grateful for Daily:
1. My husband who walked the floors last night with me because Keaton could not nurse after midnight.
2. My other children who stepped up to the plate and handled themselves this afternoon so we could nap.
3. My sister who amazingly was able to stay with Keaton and be his familiar face. I DO NOT do medical well at all.
4. My parents who always help even when it means rearranging and dropping anything in their lives. My dad took the girls to breakfast, my mom kept me company in the waiting room.
5. Our friends who checked up on us, prayed for us and even brought me chocolate (thanks Mel-although not so much left to offer you).
6. Our insurance which allowed this procedure to be an option that did not involve financial sacrifice for a year or so.
7. Our city, which gives us many options to great health care.
8. Our health, which we forget to be grateful for until we are not.
9. Living here in the US which I have been reminded often lately is a privilege despite all that people believe. Just leave the country and you will discover how lucky we are.
10. The many nutritious options for food that we have evey single day.
11. The beautiful, safe, loving home I live in.
12. Our extended family who loves and supports us even though they are not local.
13. And last but not least, the opportunities that come each day to help us grow and learn to love more.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen reasons I should not hold a Corporate Job

1.I could not sit still anymore (developed ADD from having kids)
2.I could not multi task at home while at an office.
3.I could not eat whenever I want.
4.I could not control my hours.
5.I could not control my Ac/heat.
6.I could not wear pajamas when I don't fel like getiing dressed (you be amazed at how professional I can sound in my pajamas).
7.I could not go on vacation when I decide I need a day off.
8.I could not continue to nurse on demand.
9.I could not homeschool the kids (except on take your children to work day).
10.I could not deal with the NON-OCD people in any office.
11.I could not ever complete the paper work in order to receive insurance and re- evaluate it every other month,
12.I could not disturb all the senior shoppers at Kroger on Wednedays by taking all 4 children with me.
13. I am WAY too producitve to work under someone else ( my 40 hrs is like other people's 80)

Friday, July 25, 2008







Music, Art, Shakespeare



Copywork and Dictation


Fabulous Friday

OK, so I did not get to my Thursday Thirteen list but that is because last night Denali played a soccer game at the Atlanta Silverback's stadium ( not the big field but still) and then Michael went to poker. So I took the time that everyone was sleeping (or gambling) to prepare for Homeschool Expo. It is my favorite day of the year. It is like how the kids feel about Christmas. I get to choose books to inspire my kids for an entire year. A lofty goal but always up for the challenge, I went with could only be categorized as very brilliant people. Abbey and Katrina were present to help inspire and guide me. I even managed to rid myself of children so I could truly focus on the job at hand. It was as I have described for the last few years,as though I am diabetic and dropped into a candy store. It is AMAZING what is available for learning. I walked the aisles after my first large buying spree at Rainbow Resource with Abbey and Katrina hunting for the last of m list and anything that inspired me. I am lucky enough to have such great friends that they like me in spite of my OCD tendencies. I am obsessed with finishing the purchasing this weekend. So much so that I was incredibly disappointed that I could not find Denali's history. Katrina said she would give me hers to plan with until mine came in the mail if that would help. Very thoughtful. Then Abey returned to the scene after reviving with a little caffeine and found the book I was looking for. Not only that but what kind of lucky girl am I that she would even drop it on my doorstep on her way home. I feel so loved and so very COMPULSIVE. But, happy to have it. Last thing on my list is to order Denali's Latin and then I believe I am done. Thought I would include the pictures I had to take to document our upcoming year. Not ALL of this was bought today but the majority was and yes it was heavy to lug around but I took a rolling suitcase. The pictures above say it all. Thank goodness this only occurs once a year!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Summer and the Livin' is easy

We returned on Saturday from another trip to the beach. We went to St Simon's with the Lipscomb family. I had great plans about posting beautiful pictures but we did not have time for photos. What --no time for photos, let me explain. We left Tuesday morning with 7 passengers and a very full car. When I say full I mean our feet don't touch the floor and the kids must arrange themselves in the vehicle like a tetras puzzle. We managed to get down there and surprise Melanie with Sarah in our car. She came along for the fun or to discourage her from having kids too early, which we are sure she already knew was not a great plan because she is smarter than any 19 year old I know but still. Everyone was surprised and the fun began. Many trips to the beach, an outing for lunch just the girls, a fishing expedition just the boys, eating and more eating, etc... But this sounds like everyone's normal vacation until you find out that this crew includes 8 children 7 adults and a dog. It is not that easy to even get this many people out a door, no less anywhere together. We managed to keep 8 children mostly happy and that is why we did not have any extra hands to take pictures. When it ws time to pack up, we realized we could have been much faster had we turned on the music earlier, well except we also stalled and then realized next year there will have to be dancing lessons. Anyway memories were made and the 8 children returned from the trip with no sunburn so success was ours. Thanks to Matt and Mel for including us in their family vacation and we loved it. Thursday will be thirteen things Keaton learned to eat on his vacation trip. If you have strong feelings about what 18 month old kids should be eating, might avoid this post. It begins with lobster.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

We have returned to the land of health. It is a lovely place you take for granted until the hwole house is under siege. We enjoyed our 4th of July quietly this weekend. We saw some fireworks and we had a cookout on Sunday but all in all it was a productive eeknd. We finished the window in the gym and installed the AC. We added another vent to the girls room so sleeping in the loft is not so hot. We installed Denali's bike gadgets she got for her birthday. We watched Nancy Drew and then played Nancy Drew all weekend. She is quite timeless you know.

As this is a record of my life, I must add that my little guy has a boy obsession iwth the shed. This particular interest fascinates me as I do not enter the shed and wait for Michael to come home to get anything out for me. It is usually messy and full of the bugs we refuse to let in our house. It is detached from the house, not air conditioned, messy, unorganized, dirty and contains many objects I never desire to know how they work--I just like thme to work. For the last week, Keaton has woken up and demanded that Michael take him out to the shed. Perhaps he feels he must be the man of the house and lose things out there also. Or he is attracted to the many motors that are out there (my mechanical engineer husband likes to collect motors in case there is something we may need to motorize in our future). Keaton does seem very intrigued with the extension cords and carries them around trying to plug them into trees and such. They take a quick tour(it has goteen a little less messy now that Michael must be out there daily) and Michael puts away a few things here and there. They return to the house and Keaton looks as if he has brought home a piece of meat to share with the family--very proud and manly. This is so new to me since the girls are not very into the shed, tools and dirt for ditrs sake. I am enjoying his boyness and glad I get to see this side of him.

We are off to piano and errands so I must wake the sleeping baby which I know is a no-no in all parts of the world but what can you do?? I will be better at keeping my life more u to date this week.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Catching up

It has been a bit crazy here. I have two kids with Strep. Keelin is having a reaction to the antibiotic. We had Michael's parents over the weekend. We have celebrated my niece's birthday. We are still working on school. But my biggest news is that the VITAMIX arrived. I have made a ton of (healthy) ice cream and margaritas. I am attempting broccoli cheese soup today. It is fun and very quick.
Another side bit is Michael is moving jobs within his company so he had enough time to do a little reading on the plastic issue. We are a soccer family and use Nalgene bottles every day. Well, not anymore. In fact, I am having to give up my precious water cooler. I will be in mourning for a while. I did call and cancel Crystal Springs. I am sure that you heard the wail after I hung up. The best part is how Michael explained to me that in place of my hot/cold cooler, he could create a worm bin. I am working through this slowly and decided that as long as it went with the kitchen theme, I would be the big girl. But I had a brilliant plan that we could put a shelf on top and use it to set the Vitamix on. The astonished reply about how disturbing and upsetting it would be to the worms was not what I had envisioned. So the plan for the next few weeks is to remove the water cooler, add a worm bin and where is my cold and hot water on demand again??? I have to add though that Michael has reluctantly accepted we are getting chickens in Dec. A girl in my homeschool group is moving and we are adopting her five chickens. I will have fresh eggs and know where one more food item we eat comes from. Bryn suggested to my mom that she bargain with Papa for the alpaca she desires. She said that Mom got her Vitamix and Dad got his worm bin, so Nana just needed to find something that Papa wanted and she had her leverage. Pretty insightful about our family dynamics around here. Well, everyone here is stirring awake so I am off to serve strawberry basil ice cream for breakfast. (strawberries, basil, milk, and 2 tbsp of sweetener (agave nectar). We can count that as healthy right. Just add a a piece of toast for the carb. Come by anytime and we will make you something delightful and healthy quickly.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Katrina tagged me for 6 random things and it took me all this time to get to it. Here goes:
1. I am a water snob. I do not like anything other than cold water to drink. It can not be luke warm or even worse warm. I will become dehydrated rather than drink anything that is not cold. I can not say the same for other drinks, just water. and I am also a big believer in spring water-no ordinary tap water. I can taste the chlorine and all the other YUCK in regular water.
2. I really like scotch. Also a bit of a snob here too. I like Macallan or Glenlivet and the older the better. I learned how to do shots of whiskey in college and so the transition to scotch-- not too difficult.
3. I don't like to be in water. I especially don't like cold water for bathing or swimming. We have a hot tub and I like it but I am don't get into the pool with the kids very often and usually not until at least end of July.
4. Someday I would like to own a winery. When we lived in California , we did a lot of winery tours and it seems very indulgent and romantic to own a winery. M plan is to own one out of the country with a castle so we can have a bed and breakfast too. I have no intention of running either of these full time. Just when I feel like it.
5. Some people do not know that Michael and I were nomadic for 6 months when Denali was 1 and we lived in a tent trailer crossing the country. We have some memories that we could not ever recreate.
6. I love to bake but most especially bread. Another great plan in my head is to apprentice as a baker with this girl in Asheville. She is no longer baking but I wish I could. Never to do it for a living but for my own benefit (well anyone who wanders in for dinner could benefit as well.


This week is a week of finally. Finally Michael is finishing the window at the end of the hall that he started last July 4th weekend. Finally we gave up on the blender and ordered our VITAMIX!!!! And finally it feels like summer with a not so very organized schedule. I am happy to report we have been to the pool twice so far this summer and Keaton has not drowned. I actually had a dream a few weeks ago that kept me up for the rest of the night/ early morning hours that he did and so it is a bit daring of me to challenge fate but the kids are hot so... We are also gearing up for soccer since we (Denali) decided to step it up a notch. She is moving to a new team where her father will not be her coach but more like her trainer. She will play year round this year and see if she is interested in a travelling team next year. She will not have a middle school team to try out for so this is our route if it is her passion. Who would have thought 6 yrs ago when we could not catch our breath from laughter at the sight of eight four year olds bunching themselves together and not noticing where the goals were located that we would be setting running, sit ups, pull ups, etc goals for her to help her succeed? Anyhow, her awesome experiences up until now have fueled her love for the game so we owe a great deal of thanks to all her previous coaches. Tomorrow's post will be more clever as I plan to list thirteen things I intend to make with my new Vitamix.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen things I love about summer:
1.Organic tomatoes
2.Fresh Herbs
3.Bike rides for ice cream (yes I am that desperate and environmental that I made everyone ride 4.8 miles for Ben and Jerry's)
4.The smell of an afternoon shower
5.The smell of hydrangeas
6.A week in my planner with nothing scheduled on it
7.Impromptu trips to the beach
8.Later bedtimes, sleeping in
9.Fresh fruit being part of every meal
10.Time for friends and family
11.The smell of honeysuckle
12.Shorter schooling days
13.Sunshine and lemonade (Not the blog although I love Katrina's)
A small note- my produce came this week from
They do a weekly box and I am very impressed with their plan. You do not have to commit to any length of time and the variety seems to be there. Anyway check them out if you are in the Atlanta neighborhood and see if it will work for you. A commercial for the eat local plan.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Back to Normal?

We have returned from our trip and while not exactly restful, fun none the less. We managed to leave at 7am and arrived home a little after 1pm with four stops. Keaton had his toes painted, Bryn managed to secure new flip flops for all the girls by breaking hers and then choosing the BEST flip flops that all must have, Denali was able to rest her eyes and only read four books, and Keelin learned that dead fish stink (just ask her about it). Michael seemed most disappointed that I only took 30 pictures in a week, and while I agree on principle it was impossible to prevent drownings while snapping photos. So I am including a few. The little girl with her eyes closed is the niece from Thursday's thirteen.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Thirteen things my niece has eaten on vacation

My youngest niece is only 1 and has not learned the meaning of "not for eating"- a famous quote in our house. Here is a quick list of things laced in her mouth although thankfully removed.
1.Sand- we are at the beach however, the continued eating of it with or without the spilled yogurt is the mystery to me.
2. Shells- again normal until you chew on a sharp one drawing blood.
3. A wooden block- this is actually not entirely true as the block splintered leaving just the shards of wood in her mouth.
4. A Nerf football- orange and blue is easy to spot as out of lace for a mouth.
5. Tissue- we are sure she is part beaver based on the wood products she regularly consumes.
6. Sticks- actually parts from the protected dunes- please don't report us as the fine is in the thousands and I feel certain she did not eat THAT many!
7. A bottle cap from the water- seems easier to me to remove the cap to get to the water but with age comes wisdom right?
8. Matches- keeping in mind that this is a rental property so kid locks seem a bit over the top
9.Bug spray-fortunately she managed to be spotted quickly but we did not seem to have to swat any flying creatures while at the outdoor concert tonight- hmmm
10. A book and not even one about food or with food like pictures.
11. Plastic ties -this was a major concern because they would have been pointy going down and might have punctured a lung
12. A ponytail holder- only explanation here is the girl to boy ratio is 7:1
13.Broccoli- she fished it out of the trash.

Monday, June 2, 2008

A squirrel held me captive

On Tuesday I went to the grocery and returned to hear funny noises in the hot tub room. I assumed it was outside until the girls exited the car to help unload the food. They came towards the back door and saw a squirrel in our screened in room. He seemed very upset (angry) that he was trapped and ran around the room possessed. We screamed as though we were auditioning for a bad horror flick and slammed the door once inside safely. A quick headcount helped to determine we were without a member, the baby was still in his car seat. We used the porch door to unload the baby and the groceries. However, the extra fridge was in the screened room. I had planned on using it since a veggie family of six needs a lot of produce. I banged on the wall trying to encourage our visitor to leave out the door that I propped open. As I stepped out to put a few items in, I noticed the loaf of french bread that had been accidentally left out was half eaten. I opened the fridge and HE popped out to hiss at me. I decided there must be enough room in the inside fridge. Our playdates arrived to an explanation that no swimming was allowed today as we were being held captive by a varmint. I called Michael to inform him of his evening plan. He suggested options for me to handle this situation but I feel some tasks are not for me, so I declined the offer of a solution. The kids spent many trips near to the room to assure me they thought the visitor had vacated. Not convinced, I held firm thank goodness. We were anxiously awaiting Michael when I heard noises in the outside room. I explained to my mom on the phone that this thing was taunting me when in fact it was just Michael chasing him out with the flag from the baby bike seat. Does this seem odd to anyone else as it is small, thin and useless? Did he not remember the rats? After a few rounds around the hot tub room by the squirrel and Michael not enjoying five faces glued to the window screaming out advice as to which direction he'd run and where his next move would take him, Michael made a trip to the shed for a rake. The explanation was to protect his face, so he pokes the rake behind the fridge and out flies the squirrel to the top corner of the screen and painted wood. He could not get a grip-- we have concluded this is probably due to the entire loaf of french bread. He somersaults, as we in the house screech and then double over with laughter, and lands in the baby stroller. After his poorly executed gymnastic move , he did scurry out the door. Michael comes in to explain that he must clean up after the squirrel since he did eat the bread. We assumed he hid the remaining bread behind the fridge until Michael checked thoroughly. That squirrel ate the ENTIRE loaf of french bread and was a bit bloated causing his tumble. Michael suggested to the girls that he may have been distributing the bread as one would in a soup kitchen handing it out to the needy squirrels in the yard (picture 6ft 5 man demonstrating how a squirrel would walk on hind legs to hand out bread at the door). Well, I feel comfortable now that he is not coming back, but just in case Michael is supposed to add plexi glass to the bottom of the screening for the holes in the screen room from the rats. For a woman who hates to have anything in her house who does not significantly contribute to the family ( I am a busy mom who needs no more work) you would think I would have posted the unwelcome sign more clearly. I am now recovering at the beach with my sister and all 6 of our kids. Who knows what kind of vacation I might need if we experience a large infestation ever. Poor Michael will have to start a new savings plan.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wonderful Wednesday

We are staying in our pajamas today. I am so excited not to have to be anywhere or do anything, well except a quick run to the post office for a dear friend to sell her some of our Rashees ( rash guard shirts with SPF 100+). We got out the Lincoln Logs for Keaton and are managing to keep him occupied. We are starting the Romantic Period in classical music. I am even thinking we should do a beginning summer art project. Maybe with a beach theme. We used our bikes again to ride to the park on Monday evening and it was perfect. Not too far, everyone got to get off and play for a while. I almost felt like a Guppy. Michael's father said our generation was being referred to as this because we are "green" yuppies. Have to admit it sounds about right, I do like my coffee drink just not in Styrofoam and preferably with organic, shade grown, bird friendly coffee. Also see my post about the Vitamix as reference to my guppiness.
Denali has been working on her Latin puzzles book this morning and I am remembering why we don't grade even though we are so strict with our schedule and our choice in curriculum. She is truly loving to learning. It is so fun to see them develop as learners.
Bryn has been continuing with her logic puzzles but also her reading is just amazing. She went from wanting nothing to do with a book to finding great pleasure in taking a book to a corner and resting. It is a relief to me as I am not sure what to do with a child who does not become giddy ina book store.
Keelin is in need of curriculum that does not need so much help. The directions need to be a little more clear so every five seconds she is not yelling "HELP." I might just feel this way because she yells as though she is actually drowning and it is not the help I am trying to avoid. This will be my plan Thursday night when Michael is at poker.
Michael and I spent last night grooming the dog which sounds perfectly easy when we say we have a five pound poodle but he is 15 years old and it takes forever to get him to cooperate. I refuse to have him muzzled and so 3 hrs later he is about 2lbs lighter. Good he is not any meds based on his weight cause we would have overdosed him. Wish I had a before and after picture, but we tag teamed the process last night. About half way through, I realized I hate when we do this with grooming or any job where it is ever so clear when two people have done the job only one should commit too. We clearly have two different visions of what the dog should look like. Another case for Michael to point out that I must let go of the perfection need in my life. Did I mention I thought I had begun too? Well, we are off to find a great art project to try. Maybe it would be good to take pictures of this.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Maybe Monday

Today is the day I have been putting off all my tasks all weekend and saying I will get to those--maybe Monday. Paid bills, grocery shopped, and managed not to lock a child in the car. Yesterday Michael handed Keaton the car keys while he buckled him in the seat. He then closed the door and before he could open the front door, all the doors locked. I tried to stay calm and mention that he only had a few minutes to TALK (loosely used) Keaton into unlocking the doors. Picture Michael telling the girls to stay away from the doors so the baby won't drop the car keys and forever lose the opportunity to open the door without the assistance of some stranger and drawing attention to our lack of parental foresight in seeing this as a potential disaster. After a few small minutes, my brother in law offering to find the security guy in the soccer parking lot and me trying not to get upset, Keaton honked the horn at least 12 times before getting the right button and unlocking the door. I could say very little about this incident since many years ago, I not only locked my children in the car but also a friend's kids. In my defense, the car was running and the ac on in that case. It did however require the assistance of a locksmith and the many people gathered. It was very embarrassing and a good reminder to be more careful with my keys. Back to the point, with all the weekend things on my plate for Monday, I was quite careful about this issue today on our errands. Thankfully tomorrow is slower and we don't gear up again until Thursday.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


It is Sunday night and I believe we are officially soccered out. Three games on Saturday and two today. Many hours on the field and what an incredible weekend weather wise. Keaton was in his element outside all day. We managed to squeeze in two Harry Potter movies and a quick pool party to celebrate soccer season. It has been fun and filling but this week holds far less activity. Thanks to Auntie and gang for showing up at the games. Thanks to Nana and Papa for hanging out all weekend with us and supporting the girls all season in the sports. No more Lead classes this week and we are going to finish up some school stuff and then begin our summer schedule next week. I am going to meal plan before I go to bed so I can grocery shop in the AM. Poker night Thursday and another pool soccer party will complete our week. Possible trip to Asheville this weekend. We are loving our bikes so if we don't take a trip this weekend, I am sure we will be on our bikes.

Friday, May 16, 2008


My latest craze began 6 months ago. I really want a Vitamix. In every vegan/vegetarian cookbook I own, it recommends one for a staple in your kitchen. For those of you who don't know, it is more than just a blender. It can cook soup, make healthy ice cream, grind flour and knead bread. It is like a wonder machine but of course it has a nice price tag to go with it's wonder. You may now be wondering just how much. Well, I am a big fan of believing I am worth a whole lot. If I were to work outside the home, with my AMAZING talents I would bring in at least 6 figures ( yes, even with the teaching degree). But the vitamix requires a bit more justification. I am a Juice Plus distributor and health is of the utmost importance to us. We eat organic and unprocessed foods. We have no food coloring in the house. And yes, we do cheat here and there but we make it a practice to try to honor the body which houses our soul. Does that sound like a justification for the pricey life changing appliance? I am hoping someone who is reading knows how to reduce the price from $650. In the very long run, I am sure it will pay off. This is just a very similar process that we went through to buy the hot tub. Michael has to decide we are worth it and it has health benefits that can not be measured in money. So if any of you have one, used one or want one-please leave me a note so I can sound more convincing. Or better yet. VITAMIX could just send me one and I could blog every day for a month on the different things I have made to increase our quality of life with their outstanding time saving device!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Thirteen things to do on a rainy day

1. Nap- which three of my four children are doing now. Of course, it is also what I should be doing but I am making yet another list.

2. Read- but this I do on sunny days, windy days, etc.. today I did read more on Writing Strands, Reading and am currently reviewing Science programs. Noeo and Real Science 4 kids top my list.

3. Paint my toenails but this requires no one waking up and then stepping on my feet as they ask for a snack. This must be done at night after everyone has been asleep for 1hour and fifteen minutes. This is an exact time because sleep cycles in our house tend to be very light at the 45 minute mark. If I paint at the 15 mark, I have at least thirty minutes for my toes to dry before someone needs me. More complicated than you thought huh?

4. Bake bread. I love to bake bread and am hoping that if I wait long enough for my Vitamix, that baking bread will become so easy that I will do it daily.

5. Another ploy for my Vitamix- I could be making icecream right now in a matter of a few minutes and it would be so healthy I could serve it to my kids for breakfast ( or so say the infomercial on the computer).

6. Knitting or crocheting -of which I do neither but have plenty of close friends and family who could teach me and then I could occupy my free time with these hobbies. Oh yeah- no free time.

7. Clean- I do love to do this and am very OCD but today just seems like a good day to ignore all my to do lists.

8. Make a cup of tea. I wish I was English and afternoon tea became such a ritual that I would never forget and then wish I had made tea at 3 or 4pm when I am in need of a jolt of caffeine and a peaceful moment.

9. Teach- with all the curriculum I have in our school room I am sure to find something we have yet to do and would engage everyone but instead I sit here and wonder what things we need to finish before June 1. No need to add to that list by finding one more thing to do.

10. Exercise- this sounds good until I rationalize out that I have already showered for today and have dinner plans with people so I must be clean and smell good tonight. If I were to exercise, I would need another shower and that would put me over my allotment for the week. Perhaps some of you are familiar with the young baby, no shower every day syndrome. It is one of the secrets kept by moms.

11. Shop online for all the things that are needed soon and some that will never be needed but desired. The top of this list is,yes, the Vitamix. May I take a moment to justify. My blender blew up and we are health nuts. It is recommended equipment in every cookbook I have and it could remove a few items from my counter.

12. Eat- I could try to eat something without anyone asking for a bite, demanding a different version of my original snack.

13. Blog-this was my best plan. It gives me a chance for my brain to speak out loud and not to look crazy talking to myself.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Today's school

Wow- it gets harder each beautiful day to stay focused. We complete soccer this week which will free up a few nights. Also we have started a garden again. It will be small and so far I have managed to control Michael. One year, unbeknownst to me until it was 4 ft tall, we were growing corn. I have English garden in mind, Michael has wild unruly 45 acres where no one cares in mind. Anyway as we plant today, I will take pictures and hope to post for Wordless Wednesday. We are planting eggplant, squash, tomatoes, cucumber and many herbs which become costly. Last year we planted mint and are currently overrun with it. So if you are in the area and wish for mint, please feel free. We are having a better start to our day. Bryn has finished Spelling for the first grade. Denali is a few minutes short of finishing her Latin for class. She will need to review all summer so as not to lose her vocab. And Keely- well we are just trying to keep her occupied so she does not drive us all to madness. we have piano today so hopefully we will get new songs. Two weeks of the same song is a bit much for these short nonsense songs. But alas we have not taken up drums-- much to be grateful for!

Monday, May 12, 2008

our school work

We are trying to finish things before our school year ends and our summer school begins. Yes, that does sound silly but in my OCD mind it makes perfect sense. And in my world this eliminates the need for me to keep up with a small piece of paper with these lists.
Denali is to finish her handwriting, her Latin curriculum with Abbey, and a good bit more of her Wordly Wise before Memorial Day. She is going to finish: Singapore 4B, Cyber Ed Earth and Space, Perplexors and Venn Diagrams from Critical Thinking, Wordly Wise and study one period in Music for the summer. By September 1 this will be done or we will not go to the beach without school books!!! I feel as though I am fighting a losing battle with summer coming and the ever busy Keaton.
Bryn is going to have finished by September 1: Singapore Science Book 2, Singapore Math 1B, Handwriting Italic C, Spellling Workout A, Explode the Code 3, and Eclectic Reader 2.
Having typed this out, I feel this may occur as I must rise to the occasion now that it is published.

We did begin today Classical Karoke for kids. It is a lot of fun and organized well in my humble opinion. Keeping in mind, I would rather be listening to eighties music through now. But somehow I feel that this is an important part of teaching in the classical way.

My list for Expo includes:
Spelling Workout B and C F and G
Easy grammar Grade 6 and wkbk Grade 2
Critical Thinking Book 1 and 2
Singapore 5a and 5b 1a and 1b
Perspective Time Line Game (looks very cool and I may not wait until Expo)
A World of Faith
Kingfisher History Encyclopedia (yes-we should have had this years ago and no it is not pricey)
A Child's Story of America
Handwriting of some sort
Easy Writing???
IEW??? (wow did I write that but I got another recommendation for it - must see it myself to decide with it's price tag)
Odyssey Story of the World and Audio version of Volume 1
Any of the Shakespeare Can be Fun Series
Copywork and Dictation book (looking for recommendations here ??)
and then anything that just inspires me - which to say is the whole place!!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Thursday thirteen

Katrina inspired me with her list of if money were no object in homeschooling list so here goes:

1. A science teacher- it is my least favorite subject to teach but I find others who are fascinated and passion about it very interesting. I like the nutrition and health aspect of science but find it all a little too heady for me. I would love for someone to come inspire my kids each week into becoming scientific in their thinking and research.

2. Audio books by the dozens. I like to (or have developed) the necessity of multi tasking so I found that audio books are great. I can make muffins while the kids hear history or even just a classic novel.

3. I have to agree with Katrina and say unlimited funds would keep us experiencing the world and not just reading about it. Travel!!

4. All of the IMAX films

5. A geek squad guy to help me (ok do it for me) all the cool things I know exist like my computer hooked to my tv screen so we could all watch the shuttle liftoff without tears of who can see the 17in screen.

6. A pottery wheel and kiln- these are things I have never used but always thought they would be amazing therapy and less caloric then my current therapy of ice cream.

7. A schoolroom with 3000 sq ft - a chalkboard and magnetic area, a science experiment area, an art area - basically a school sized down a little.

8. The entire collection of Critical Thinking Company stuff.

9. A greenhouse for growing things, specifically indoors to control bugs and mosquitoes without chemicals and to be able to have tomatoes year round (they are not tasty in winter flown from South America).

10. The capability of the itouch with maps on the wall. I would love to use my fingers to spread or shrink an area that we were discussing. An interactive map that would allow us to really understand where things are.

11. Meet the Masters - the whole series. My girls love to do art but it is pricey and requires my undivided attention. So maybe a young teen to help entertain the baby while we do this.

12. A writing program that inspires my kids- whatever the cost!!

13. My actual dream would be for me to set up a school in a big house and make it a boys only and girls only for curriculum but share the common area like kitchen and science. The school would have only 5 kids per grade grouping. It would also be more fluid in grade levels. I would hire only passionate people for each subject so that in reality, each child would be taught by someone who could not help but inspire all the kids. I have grand visions and just need someone to fund my beautiful plan!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Birthday and Beach

We spent the last few days at the beach celebrating Denali's birthday and attending a wedding. It was wonderful and the weather was perfect. Michael and I got new bikes after Denali got a new one from my parents for her bday. We spent hours riding around Hilton Head and Keaton would have preferred that we ride home the hundreds of miles but I am guessing that is because he is not sitting on a pole but instead a cushy baby seat and does not have to pedal. As always, I am reminded that the kids need more safe places where all our answers are yes. We stock the fridge and pantry with healthy options, head to the beach and let everyone play in the sand, ride bikes, and RUN as fast and as far as we can see them. We are returning to school and busy plans for the weekend but well rested and revived.

Monday, April 28, 2008

My laptop screen crashed and Dell is fixing it but that is why I have not posted. In addition, my "free" time and I use the term loosely, has been dedicated to making my sister's business hit big. I am sure within weeks, I will be posting about how I am on the payroll. Good thing, since the callouses from cutting, sticking and tagging are getting so bad I need to see a specialist (or maybe just a manicure will do). Anyhow this week is the big crunch week and we are trying to get out of town by Thursday noonish for the beach. Should be a little like a triathlon: run this way, swim upstream and then coast downhill---I hope.