Thursday, June 29, 2006

Shhh! Don't Tell

Okay, today is my birthday and after I dropped MB off at camp this morning I was feeling particularly like I needed to do something for myself. Oh, and it had to be something that I could take an 18-month-old with me, so no massage. There was this B&N gift card someone had already given me for my birthday and it was whispering to me. Yep, way down from the bottom of my purse it was whispering.

And the chorus cries out: No she didn't! No she didn't! Not after all that time she has spent purging books from her existing collection.

Did you know that it is possible to spend $100 in the store in less than 20 minutes, while one also entertains the toddler in the stroller. Or maybe I spent that because it was only 20 minutes and I was entertaining the toddler.

I am rather proud of my purchases. I did find the two books I was wanting to find, and got a bag full of entertainment for next week at the beach when I plan on pawning my children off amongst 2 sets of grandparents and an aunt/uncle/cousin set.

Book List

The Family Wellness Guide: From Mother Earth with Love Tara Fellner
This on was on the 50% off table and got for < $2
Learn to Pray: A Practical Guide to Faith and Inspiration Marcus Braybrooke
Another 50% off and less than $2
The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers on cassette tape and unabridged - again 50% off each
We The Living; Ayn Rand
Lizzie's War; Tim Farrington
Life of Pi; Yann Martel
The Baker's Apprentice; Judith Ryan Hendricks
Flowers for Algernon; Daniel Keyes
The Prodigal; Beverly Lewis

Those are the books I got for me. I also picked each of the girls up, just one more book. MB got one on the solar system and K got a Magic SchoolBus Ocean Floor.

Speaking of K and the ocean; I am floored by her interest and abosrption of information about ocean life. She doesn't turn 4 until September, yet she can rattle off a list of 20 or more animals that live in the ocean, she can describe them and tell the different types of sharks. She spends days going through new books on ocean life, not moving for 30-40minutes at a time. She has been to the 'quarium 4 times since it re-opened Memorial Day weekend. She may go 4 more times while we are at the beach this weekend.

MB has never shown this type of interest in anything. She likes stuff and enjoys doing focused studies, but this whole immersion thing is new. I like it. It shows passion and I am seeing growth in K through it that I had not witnessed before.

Gotta go and get ready for camp pick-up and gymnastics drop-off.



Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Lazy Days of Summer????

We just have not gotten to that point yet. This weekend we unloaded six more boxes from the storage unit. We have decided to do it in stages to help with the purging process. We bring the bxes home and empty each one into three more boxes - keep, donate and trash. Then we put away the keep items, take the donate and throw the trash away. By far the largest box has been the donate. After living without for so many months we really decide that we don't need it. I have a fourth box to collect books that I know that I can live without. This is the box I am not sure what I am going to do with; I can't decide whether to take them to the used book store or donate to the library. At the used book store I would get credit for future purchases, which could sidetrack my whole less is more ideals. The library I would feel good about the donation, but wish I could get creit towards my future overdue tabs.

Sunday the rain began, so I started cleaning. I even managed to wipe down the walls and woodwork in 60% of the house. We have a 3-foot demarkation mark along ourwalls. Above - nicely painted, pretty woodwork. Below - covered in a red clay and dirt grime, along with various pen and pencil drawings.

Monday MB started her day camp. An all-day, woodsy, arts & crafts day camp. On the way to camp she told me that she could finally see what being at school all day would be like. Yeah, as long as school was filled with nature hikes, trips to the pool, arts&crafts, and playing kick ball all day. But I got to feel what it was like - waking a sleeping child up 1 1/2 hours before she normally gets up, making a lunch and two snacks for a child who doesn't like sandwhiches, getting the other two little ones up and dressed so they can go for a ride in the car. Really, MB is loving the camp and keeps thanking me for letting her go. And, that is why she is going to have fun and do those things that she really likes to do.

While she was gone on Monday I did manage to clean the bathrooms and do a few loads of laundry, then off to EM's 18-month check-up. She is great and very healthy. Even though we go to one of those large pediatrician offices with several doctors and a couple of nurse practitioners, this past year I have been blessed to consistently get to see one of the best ones there. In the last two years we have only had to go in twice beyond normal check-ups, so we are not there all that often. Yet, this doctor remembers me, remembers all my girls even if they are not with me and is willing to spend time with us. He also really thinks homeschooling is cool and asked how MB's year went!!

After the appointment I meet my mom and sister back at the house and then went to get MB from camp. Monday night we celebrated my birthday (Thursday) since my sister was here and had family-style chinese take-out at the house.

Tuesday I lived in the car. Airport, gymnastics and daycamp are all in the same general area from my house - about a 20-30minute drive each way. The day started at 5:30am to get my sister out to the airport for a 7:15 flight. Then back home to wake up MB and finish making her lunch. Drive her to camp by 8:30am, but was able to leave the little ones with mom for this. Back home where I had enough time to fix myself breakfast and get the little ones ready for a day out. 10:20 leave to take K to gymnastics, where we stay and watch. Noon, leave gymnastics and head into town for lunch and errands with my mom. 3:00pm back at the house and able to sit down for a little bit. 4:10 back in car to go pick up MB to get her over to gymnastics by 5:00. At gymnastics from 5:00-7:15pm. Home around 8pm for a dinner of leftovers and baths. I crashed at 9:30 - I think the girls were still talking in their bedroom.

Today, mom has left taking K with her for the rest of the week. MB is at camp and I am home with the "baby." I have managed to get some picking up done. Em has enjoyed putting stickers on paper and playing outside and has now fallen asleep on the floor at my feet. I think I might take her up on that suggestion, I deserve it after yesterday.

We are heading for the beach, at least the girls and I, on Saturday and will stay down there for almost a week. We don't have any gymnastics or events going on next week - so nothing to rush home for. Some family and friends will be down also - so we will stay until everyone gets antsy to come home.



Thursday, June 22, 2006

Living as Romans did

Ah well, it was nice while it lasted. Apparently our air conditioning saga is not quite completed. For the second time since we got it up and running the breaker in the fuse box has tripped. It seems the system runs fine for a few days then, for some reason the breaker trips. This breaker is located under the house, in the crawl space. In a location that one has to shimmy under several large pieces of ductwork. Dh will need to be the poor one that has to come home this evening and make that trek to reset it and determine how to fix it this weekend.

The funny thing is that I don't think about all the outgoing money right now in relation to this. I know that hubby can fix it for much less than bringing out a professional. I think about all the money we are saving by not having the option of air conditioning. Can you tell that I totally lack discipline - if we had air conditioning available I would have it on and running, but since we don't I am saved to my own inner desires.

So what do you do when it is 95-degrees outside and no air conditioning? Well in our case we have air mattresses that were used last night as my sister and neice passed through town. We have a frig full of fresh cold fruit. So we lay on the mattresses under the ceiling fan and I demand the girls slaves bring me fruit, water, ice cream and brownies throughout the afternoon. I even offered MB a bonus to her allowance if she would be the one to get up and fix lunch for us today.

Yesterday, while K was at camp I finally managed to make it over to the homechooling bookstore. Ooooh, candy shop! I did pretty good and have managed to leave some money in the educational coffer for later purchases this summer. What I did pick up (may not be totally correct due to the fact I am too hot and lazy to go into the other room and get them):

Prima Latina - Student workbook, teacher book and pronunciation cd (so they don't end up speaking 'southern, red-neck' latin)
Saxon Math 3 (I tested MB and could not believe this is where she ended up. Then went in an looked at both 2 and 3. I figured 2 she would fly through, but 3 may give her more of a challenge earlier on and keep her interested)
Solar System activity book
Find the Constellations, H.A. Rey

After the bookstore we went to walk around the mall, where I found an inexpensive telescope to start MB out with and some glow-in-the-dark planet models for MB to build her own solar system model.

Last night my sister and neice flew in from the west coast, and my mom was up to transport them to the east coast. My house, being in close proximity to the airport serves as the family way-station. They got in around 11pm, which meant that I did not get to bed until after 1am. My sister will come back through early next week, but my neice is staying for about a month. We will make sure to get down to the beach a few times so MB and neice can have their time together.

Gotta leave for gymnastics. Looking forward to the air conditioning and hoping that it is a no whiny kids night.



Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Who knew that spending three hours away from the house everyday could exhaust me so and make me feel like I am playing catch-up every afternooon. Combine that with a good case of pregnancy brain and I don't ever feel like I can get something coherent written again.

Camp is going really, really well for K. I was a little worried for her, but she is loving it. And more than that she "fits" in. Her actions and abilities and personality don't shout: I stay at home with my mom and sisters all the time and I am grooming to be a homeschool misfit. ;) As, K is an introvert and a little bit of a live wire with her sudden scream fits - I am never quite sure where she fits in on the preschool continuum.

From the first day there has been no hesitation about going. I sign her in and she goes right into the room. I can't even get a kiss or wave goodbye :sniff: She is just as excited to see us at pick-up time and loves to show me the little craft project she has done. On the way home we get to hear about her daily tea party. But, as exciting as all that is, I can tell in the afternoon she is beat. She has been more tired and cranky in the afternoons and really, really wants to be by herself.

It has been neat spending the time with my two december girls. Because of the distance I try to stay up near the camp site instead of coming home. On Monday we splurged and stopped by a bagel shop for a mid-morning snack, where we just sat and talked for awhile. Then headed over to the bookstore for some browsing. The girls ended up getting a pirate book complete with eyepatch, head scarf and earring that was on the discount table. MB picked out a couple of reads for herself and I found a copy of Crunchy Cons that I have been wanting to read.

Monday afternoon we made pirate swords out of a box (we have a few lying around here) And another box became the pirate ship. We read some pirate books and had a nice afternoon complete with a visit from my dad and stepmother as they came through town.

Yesterday we went to the Farmer's Market. I really, really need to get over there more! Comparatively their prices are now lower than the grocery store (they used to be about the same) and there is no sales tax. Not to mention stall after stall of local farmers and family members hawking their wares - from fresh produce, organic meats (including buffalo and ostrich), homemade jellies and butters, and personal care items. Everything has to be produced in North Carolina. I did very well keeping myself in check and thinking about what we need for the next two weeks. I bought:

1 - Canteloupe
6 ears of sweet white corn
1 qt strawberries (last of the season and very sweet)
1 qt blueberries
2 sweet potatoes
2 cucumbers
2 green peppers
small basket of peaches
4 baking potatoes
1 lb of new red potatoes
3 onions

And the grand total: $23.00

After we picked up K, we went by the grocery store to get the rest of our two week supply. We are doing okay on meats and were only out of boneless/skinless chix breasts, which I was willing to do without. But, they happened to be on sale - half off!! So we stocked up there and I found a few other must sell cuts of beef marked down half-price to round off our storage. We are good to go for the rest of the month for less than $100 total (farmers market and grocery store)! This psyches me up because we might actually hit our goal of $300 for the whole month.

There was more pirate play and MB helped me prepare the dinner to go into the crockpot. We fixed Dijon Pork Chops with Potatoes. Then off to gymnastics for the evening. Due to a whining kid, not one of mine, which went over like fingernails on a chalkboard - I decided to come on home and let DH pick MB up later.

I have managed to read Crunchy Cons, and wow!! So many thoughts running through my head and it will be a few days before I can finish flushing them out. But what a perfect companion book to all the other frugality, simple living books I have been reading. What a path I am starting to glimpse!

And just a quick aside to let everyone know that the theory of the power of "Threes" is still holding - our desktop computer is dying a slow death. First the water heater, then the air conditioning, and now the computer. We will not be without as we have the laptop - but I am not sure what we are going to do - we, as of this week, run our phone through the internet and the laptop is hooked up to everything wireless. I don't think that the laptop could serve as the central location for our telecommunications hub - but I may be wrong. Anyway, I refuse to stress about it, and unless it is absolutely necessary in order to make our phones work, I can't imagine that we will run right out and purchase a new one. I am trying to get all our necessary photos, paperwork, emails and bookmarks moved over to the laptop - which is a pain (but would be supremely painful if we lost it all).



Monday, June 19, 2006

Seeing Family and Quick Trips

This was the weekend for my husband's annual family reunion. MB had gone up to the mountains to visit her grandparents earlier in the week, so we packed up the younger two and headed west Saturday morning.

The reunion was held pool side at a country club. This made it enjoyable for all as we had the big pool for MB, the little pool for K and EM and a playground for when all needed a break from the water. And the tent was set up right in the middle of everything so we could constantly keep an eye on everyone. MB enjoyed playing with her cousins, some whom she only sees once a year. We adults enjoyed catching up and visiting with everyone.

After it was over we headed up to the in-laws house and spent the night there so we could celebrate Father's Day with them.

After an enjoyable breakfast and Sunday dinner we loaded up and brought everyone back home.

The house elves did not come to clean my house while we were away, so I have the piles of everything all around the house from trying to unpack the storage unit, along with junk that the dogs pull out when we are away. But, I get to do the clean up with air conditioning!!!

That is right, 20 minutes before we left Sat morning we got the air conditioning up and running. I have it set at 82. When we did not have AC, I found the interior temps 84 and above were very uncomfortable - and rare. So, it is set a few degrees below that. This is still higher than what we have generally run it, but hopefully will work for us.

K has her first ever "day camp" today. A little 2 hour tea-party camp. MB went a couple of years ago and enjoyed it, so we figured we would let K have a try. I hope it goes well. I really am not sure what to expect with K.

Better go rally the troops.



Thursday, June 15, 2006

More Simple Thoughts

Adding more thoughts onto my search for a more simple life, and maybe making myself a little more coherent in the process. That post really jumped around.

Everytime I have run into the "Simple Life" philosophy it is during my search for tools to help me with being more frugal. DH and I have chosen a difficult, even though it is fairly well tread, path of one parent working in a two-working parent economy. Locally, most families who choose this path do so with the working one earning six-figures, or nearly that. We earn less than half. Real estate prices are high and going up, local taxes keep increasing, and our state having the highest gas sales tax in the region - keep pushing our usable income down. Finding new ways to do more is just another one of my jobs, and truly one I actually enjoy. I think of it as a financial scavanger hunt.

I won't go into how we do it, because I learn the way most everyone else does; internet, library books, trial and error. I don't have any new ideas. And if I was better at it I wouldn't have to keep coming back to re-educate myself.

From frugality to simple living. Frugality has become to me, yet another rat race. One well running - but sometimes it just seems like I am trying to live like everyone else just with less money. The stress is still there and it eats away at something in my soul. Something is missing from the practice of frugality.

Frugality, in my mind, addresses how to live in a middle class way, without middle class money. How to make the money stretch to cover all those things. But, over the years I have ended up with way too many of all those things. All those things are not making me happy. Frugality would help us save up money to move into the bigger house - but do we need the bigger house.

That is where reading about Living Simply has opened up those doors for me. It isn't about how to buy more stuff or have more stuff inexpensively, it is about having those things that we need or really enjoy having. To me, it is going to be the process of removing those things from my life that cause stress, that don't improve our lives in anyway. It is readjuasting our thought process from what we need to buy to do something, to what do we have that can already do the job, not so much to save $$ but to not use about anymore resources. It is about not buying a newer, larger house, but instead making the one we have work for us. Spending more time closer to the land and nature, and less time holed up inside the house for one reason or another. It is DH not feeling like he has to work two jobs in the summer. It is the children not growing up feeling like they constantly need everything.

One of the most striking things that has touched me during my readings, is how people (who approach simple living in many different ways) express how by making these changes they have found a more spiritual life, no matter what there spiritual beliefs are. They are living closer to nature and feel a connection to the world around them. This alone, where I am right now, draws me in more than anything else. The wordly clutter we have collected has gotten in my way of experiencing the Spirit found around us. Taking care of the clutter takes a lot of my time, time I would rather spend doing things that I find enjoyable and useful to God and to the community at large. The overwhelming clutter at times makes me feel like a failure because I can't keep it clean or organized all the time.

I have no idea how far along the path we will go before we say this is fine, this is comfortable. I am not even sure which path we will take. That we will see as we journey. We may not stay in the same house, but maybe we will. Personally, I find myself dreaming about life in a neighborhood or village of like-minded (not necessarily the same religious orders) people. A true community that pulls together resources and have open doors, and such. A place to be able to work the land and enjoy nature. That being said, I still want my computer and internet, tv for special programs or watching movies. I want a home with heat and AC. But, this is the dream I was talking about. The chances of this being our path, of DH taking this route I would place at less than 1%.

Our first step is going to be emptying the storage unit and ruthessly determining what actually will be allowed back into our house. I will alo be going through the house to decide what has accumulated recently that we don't need.



Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Diagnostics 101

Several well-meaning and concerned people have suggested that we really need to have a professional come out and determine what is actually wrong with our HVAC.

My husband's response: "It doesn't take a genius."



Hands Full...of Love

"You really have your hands full." Since I have been pregnant with number four I have been getting this comment from strangers or aquaintances. It doesn't bother me that much, as I have been getting this comment from friends since my oldest turned two. And, it is true. I do have my hands full. I have never been happier!!

I stayed at home with one, when she was small. Worked full-time later with that one and had another one. Finally came home and then got pregnant with three. My busy, multi-tasking, never-know-what-will-happen-next days are the best I have ever had in any of those periods of my life.

So, yes, my hands are almost always full. Full of one of my babies. Full of food I am cooking or serving. Full of a book I am reading to the girls. Full of games and toys to play. Full of laundry to wash.

I LOVE having my hands full.



Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Slow and Easy

I have not been on the computer much. It is more a weather related issue than anything else. Our office is the only room we can't get a good cross ventilation in and it doesn't have a ceiling fan. So, it is the one room in the house that gets really hot. I am sure the two running computers don't help much either.

The rest of the house, and us, are holding up really well to no air conditioning. Who woul have thought NC in mid-June and no AC. The weather outside has really been helping us. This has been a very delightful late Spring.

Since I haven't been on the computer much I have been enjoying library books. In specific so household management and simple living books. Our big goal is to really get our spending back under control, but the additional get rid of clutter and reduce stress is another positive. Reading through I realized that we have already made steps along the path of getting rid of things that are not helpful spiritually or physically, in a sense to come back to what is important. Reducing from two working parents to one, so that I could be home with the girls. Then this srping we were faced with another one - move to a larger home with a larger mortgage - or reduce the stuff we have and live within our means. I am glad we finally chose the path we did.

This week we are going to start unloading the storage unit. I have been trying to prepare myself for that. Not everything is coming back into the house. I have been working on lists of what is important that we need back, versus what should be given away/sold. DH wants me to get rid of some of my books - oh how my heart breaks to think of it. But, more than half our things in storage are books. I know that there are ones I did not care for, there are books that we really don't need. And there is the used book store that I can take them to and get "NEW" books - yeah I don't think that is what he had in mind either.

Reading this stuff has had me thinking. I am not a doomsday, anti-tech person at all. But I have to say that there are a lot of necessary things that we don't know how to do for ourselves anymore. Food wise we would be in a heap of trouble if anything happened to the global economy. And that is just one example.

Anyway, I have a DREAM (as in different from a goal because it would be more utopia than plausible), to eventually simplify, get rid of the stuff that overpowers and controls us. To live closer to a natural living, as much as possible in suburbia - or eventually the small farm if we ever find it. To spend our time learning, living and experiencing a closeness with God and spiritual matters. I understand what pull people like the Amish, Huttites, and New Age Commune dwellers have on people. It isn't so much their beliefs as it is that they live them, while I know that I often find myself just wishing I could.

And, here is the thing, not having Air Conditioning has actually helped me to come closer to living the way I want. We have our doors and windows open to the world around us. We spend time on our back deck because it is shady and cool. We spend time together in the family room, because the den/office is too hot.

The gas prices are helping because we don't just get in the car an go here and there. We schedule our trips and plan for them. I put $15 in my tank last Thursday evening - I am planning for that to last us until this Friday. That is only about 5 gallons, but I have scheduled my week so we on't spend it driving. This gives us more time in the house or walking in the neighborhood. We have made our "big" trip to the library and grocery store, if we need anything else we will walk or DH will pick up at the store for us on his way home (he commutes and they have permission to park in a grocery store lot).

That is just the beginning. It is going to be hard turning around a hedonistics, middle-class suburbia life-style. But slowly, surely we are being shown how. And, slowly, surely if I don't try to do too much I, and the family, won't get overwhelmed.



Friday, June 09, 2006

You can call it a good day when...

All the bad feelings you purged onto notebook paper the night before are gone when you wake up

A load of laundry, empty dishwasher and swept floors are done before the first child wakes up

The first child up (K) has a new found love of sharks, particularly hammerheads, and you are able to curl up with her and read a library book about sharks before anyone else is up

The oldest, high-maintenance child, actually chooses to entertain herself for nearly two hours creating a perler bead creation for her grandmother, then you are able to teach her how to use an iron without anyone getting a burn

Lots of hugs, tickles and nose honking with the "baby" while older ones are entertaining themselves

MB picking up a book on Jupiter, and then reading the first six pages to me

MB building a a cardboard box playhouse for EM

All breakfast, lunch and snack plates cleaned up without me saying a word

MB's excitement for showing me how Uranus' moon, Miranda, explodes and then comes back together in the documentary we rented

MB finding a work by Van Goh on the "Disney Playspace" site and then wanting to go look him up at the web museum

K coloring, independently, within the lines and actually letting MB and I play Yahtzee.

MB actually only wanting to add the dice together in Yahtzee, and not really wanting to play, but showing me an understanding of carrying the "10" that I have not seen before

Daddy taking the big girls to the pool, and leaving me to only put the baby to bed

Coloring the baby's "playhouse" with the baby while she jabbers on about the airplanes and birds she hears

Tomorrow is Saturday and I don't have to be anywhere



Thursday, June 08, 2006

I am in the process of making changes to our home telecommunications systems. Just yesterday we moved from DSL to cable broadband. Our phones and cell phones are in the process of being switched.

When we were going to move I had investigated using the different systems from the ones we had been using for nearly four years. So, I figured at a savings of nearly $100 a month, not including the new customer discounts for limited times, why not change anyway.

Eventually a bunch of my old pictures on the blog will disappear, due to losing my photo file location I had been using.

Now, I am off to update the thousands of places I feel like I have linked to my email.



Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Yet another reason to not be sociable

I had an incident yesterday with a neighbor that I just can't get past. This has been brewing for a long time and I am just about to the end of my rope with it.

The neighbor has two boys about the ages of my girls. She admits that she has trouble making and keeping friends both for herself and her boys. Over the last year plus she has latched on to me and my girls to be their playmates. One reason, I believe, her friendships don't last is because she is so very opinionated and will tell someone how their kids should be raised. She gets great pleasure out of tattling on the other kids - a trait both her boys have picked up on. Her boys cannot get along with any of the other kids in the neighborhood.

My girls have no enjoyment out of playing with her boys, and generally their play times end in arguments. I have watched their play and very often the boys start something of a war/chase game (very normal for boys - I have no problem) then when someone asks them to stop they won't. They just keep doing it. I have watched them chase my daughter right up to the door. If my daughter chooses to stop them by turning on them an doing to them what they are doing to her - they immediately dissolve into tears and crying and run to their mother (who is always there). Then I am told how "bad" my child is.

The neighbor does not allow her children (7 1/2 and almost 6) to play anywhere without her direct supervision. They have scooters and bikes but are only allowed to ride them in a driveway. (we live on a neighborhood loop road that my husband an I feel is very safe from our own direct observation). When the boys are over my girls are limited by them to what they can do and when they start to do something that we allow but they aren't the boys cry and the mother digs into me about why I allow it.

Constantly I am bombarded with horrific stories an how dangerous life outside the doors of a home are. Let me stop here and state: If anyone should know an fully understand the horrors and pain that can happen to a child in their own neighborhood, it would be me. I am still dealing with monsters of 25-years ago from growing up in my own neighborhood. But, I refuse to be a prisoner to my own past, and for my children to be prisoners to it or to the media explosion.

Soap box: great minds and lesser in this day and time wonder why children are fat, sit in fron of the computer or gamebox all afternoon and why their creativity is so blunted - people you have to let your kids out once in a while to explore and be without you breathing down their necks. They have to have bumps and bruises and learn to pick themselves up. They have to learn to be with friends - warts and all without a parent getting in their business. That doesn't mean that I don't watch them and that I am not here for them - they know I am and they know they can come get me when I am needed. I know more about what they are doing (right now) then they think and I use it as learning tools, later, when it might not be as upsetting (confrontational) to sitdown and discuss. End Soap box

Anyway, yesterday afternoon the K-escape artist struck again. She ended up down at our babysitter's house, which is also the bus stop. Babysitter's mother was there along with neighbor mom. I have found out that neighbor mom yelled at both K, and later MB who went to find her and upset both of them terribly, before coming over to my house to "let me know" and lecture me again about how horrible the world outside is. I sat down talked with the girls, explained the rules again, comforted MB (who thought, because of what neighbor had said, it was all her fault). I pulled out a game that we had not played before as a little treat, and a way to keep them under my eye for awhile.

A little while later, neighbor mom shows up with her sons. The kids play outside while neighbormom lectures me more and I ignore her while I am trying to get dinner made. After only a few minutes one of her sons comes running in with this scream. Going on and on about danger and MB. I thought MB had gotten really hurt. As I am running for the door I hear him tell his mother that MB is riding her bicycle in the road and that is not allowed. Sure enough she is turning in circles at the end of our driveway. I turn on the two of them (neighbor) and let go.

I told them that they both need to be quiet and calm down. These are my children and I will raise them as I see fit. I make the rules for the children and I do not need them to keep telling me what they are doing. I then go outside and get MB and K to come in. The neighbor actually took the hint and left.

My normal mode for ending any sort of friendship or aquaintainship is ignoring, or just not making an effort. That didn't work here. My polite - "MB does not like to play with son1 and son2 anymore" did not work. I seriously doubt my tirad yesterday will have much influence - how do I get rid of this woman and her children?



Saturday, June 03, 2006

Ah...Cool Air

One might be thinking that I am talking about actually having air conditioning in my house again. But, sadly, I am not.

DH replaced the thermostat with the fried circuit board last night and still nothing happened. So, we he headed outside to check the heating/air system and found another fried circuit board. hhhm... I was out of town the weekend before we some pretty nasty t'storms moved through the area. They messed up the phone at the house until I got back to reset everything. I am wondering if something didn't get us during that storm??? But, at least our computers are working fine - that would be a catastrophe!!!

Yesterday was another hot, humid day. Yes, it is summer in NC - should I be expecting any different. All day I kept going outside and checking the sky for our promised rain/thunderstorms. Anything to cool it off awhile. I also understand why and how afternoon siestas and rest times became standard practice here in the south. The tradition being that in the summer one gets up early to work, comes home at midday for the big dinner then rests for two or three hours before going back out to work in the evening. Yep, that is us right now.

It could be worse. DH's co-workers are aghast that we didn't even try to turn our AC on before this week. But, our house/yard is covered with large shady oaks (scary during winter ice storms, but wonderful for reducing elec use) and it really keeps the sun from baking our house. We have pretty good cross ventilation with our windows and every room but the den/office has ceiling fans. We close the curtains in certain rooms when the sun is at its worse to keep that heat energy from coming in. I am also not a big stickler for clothing right now - lots of bathing suits and diapers being worn around here.

The biggest and most helpful thing though, is the "whole house fan." We flip the switch for that monster (built into the ceiling in the hallway) open a few windows and the back door, and we have a huge amount of air flow with all the hot air being sucked up and out of the house. Last night, after the rains finally came, we cranked it on and the interior temperature dropped ten degrees in less than one hour.

The temperatures are supposed to stay in the low '80s for the next week. DH is looking to see where he can order the new circuit board - but it may take a week for that to come. We will eventually have air conditioning, hopefully before the end of July when it just gets nasty. Otherwise I may be moving to the mountains or the beach for July and August.

What to say about the girls and our projects... MB is working hard on her handstands for gymnastics and had a friend teach her how to walk on her hands, so now she is doing it Everywhere. K has entered some "helpless" phase that I hope disappears as quickly as it came. EM is so very entertaining, even when she is getting into things. The rocks are still tumbling, the seeds have been soaked and are doing their natural thing, and books about the ocean, planets and Odysseus are being read.



Thursday, June 01, 2006

Sigh of Relief

Wednesday was the day of the water heater. Today, the day of the air conditioning. After a long trip out to several stores for groceries and then bringing everything inside, I decided I deserved a couple of hours of air conditioning. I go over to our thermostat, press a few buttons and wait for the click and then whirr of the unit. And I wait, and wait... . Then I repress the buttons and give a good whack on the thermostat for good measure. Nothing!!!

No - this can't be happening to us. Not right now. Everything worked a month ago during the home inspection!

I call dh at work to make sure that isn't some hidden switch I don't know about after living 8 years in the house. Nope. He will look at it when he gets home.

I sweat, the girls sweat. We spend the afternoon laying still under the ceiling fan. It is 91 degrees and humid. Finally time to leave for gymnastics, I am actually excited - it is air conditioned.

Dh comes home from work. He performs the same functions I did - same results. He is actually able to get the unit off the wall and look at the computer board. A short has occured on the thermostat!

Thankfully it wasn't the air unit!!!! We can replace the thermostat tomorrow, and it is supposed to cool back down for the next five days - so no rush anymore.

Peace and Cool thoughts,


Unexpected Things

Yesterday morning, running on the high that the day before had produced in me, I went out to the garage to check on the rock tumbler. It was still running, and so was our water heater. Water running all down the sides and along the floor of the garage. Not what we need while trying to get our budget back in line.

I called hubby at work. He is so busy right now and it was just one more aggravation he didn't want to deal with. So, I called a local plumbing service with whom we have had good experience. I called around 9am. By 11:30 we had a new water heater installed and working!!! For such a frustrating thing it was so nice to be able to handle it so easily. Of course I am still piqued about the $$, but at least we did have a source to be able to fund it.

Our neighbor came by in the morning to bring us our new sprouter and seeds that was delivered to her house. Yeah! Today we will start sprouting our first set of sprouts.

I worked on our menu for the next two weeks (payday to payday) and made up our grocery list for today. Then hubby comes home with his new work schedule for the month - and messes with my dinner plans. So I am having to rearrange things.

I struggled with planning meals, as always in the summer. I have great, inexpensive meals for cooler weather, but they don't work quite as well when the heat is on. I get tired of grilled chicken and hamburgers. Salads, although I love them, don't seem so popular with everyone else. Of course hubby, considers them a first course not an actual entree, and generally wants a ribeye steak to follow it.

Time spent in the wading pool by all, requests for word lists to put in alphabetical order, impromptu arts & crafts, the rocket ship made out of the water heater box to travel to Jupiter, a video on the "gas giant planets", and 4 more chapters in the Odyssey series completed our day.


A family of six living and learning. You might catch us outside in the mud or working on crafts. We always seem to be on the go, come on and join us.