Saturday, December 29, 2007

A new year, a new beginning

I've been planning to post this blog for awhile now. I seem to have trouble wandering over to my blog lately to post anything, as if that isn't apparent.

I am excited for 2008. For the first time in my life I understand the significance of New Year's Resolutions. A new year gives you a chance to start fresh, start anew. Take those crappy habits and chuck them. Give yourself an entire year to make a change in your life. Its only for a year.

So here I sit at the computer, sipping one of my last Dr Peppers of 2007 because 2008 is going to be SODA FREE FOR ME! No, not FREE SODA for me, I mean I will not be drinking any soda for an entire year. Of course I've been gearing up to that by drinking the crap out of some Dr Pepper and any other sodas that strike my fancy. But when that 2008 ball drops I will quit for ONE WHOLE YEAR. Its bad stuff, its terrible for you. It is my opinion that it is causing lots of health problems in this country, first and foremost being the number of people being diagnosed with diabetes. Its is becoming so incredibly common. I don't want to be one of the numbers. I also don't want to model poor behavior-- drinking soda-- for my kids. It just doesn't work, telling them that I can have it and they can't. They won't grow up thinking its wrong, they'll probably want it MORE because it was restricted. Maybe high fructose corn syrup will be illegal by the time they are my age-- one can only hope.

Well here I am rambling again, but hey its my blog so I can ramble if I want to.

2008 Resolutions:
2. Blog once a week

Thats it. If I make my list much longer it will be too much for me and I won't do any of it. Hopefully I accomplish #1.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


ITS RAINING! Not just a little rain, we're having a STORM complete with pouring rain and thunder! Its been MONTHS since we had a good rain. Half the city is on mandatory water restrictions. I've been worried about our well although it has never given me REASON to worry so I guess thats good. But in our neighborhood every 1 acre lot has a well on it so just because we're not using excess water doesn't mean the neighbors aren't.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

What is a blog without pictures?

The travel trailer and a future bmx'er

Nathan takes a break from training to check out Sherando lake. Hunter and Nathan try to save the minnows whose water is quickly drying up.

A blog that doesn't get read, thats what!

Officially schooling

Well we've been doing it for awhile now but I haven't blogged about it yet. Hunter and I are doing Saxon Phonics K. I originally started him with "Teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons" but I wasn't crazy about it. It was pretty boring to me and I didn't think it was a very inclusive phonics program, it did just what it says-- teaches your child to read.

So we're 3 weeks into Phonics K and I really like it. I love how it includes different aspects of well, phonics I guess into the lessons. Every day we discuss vowels and consenants (why can't I spell that word?) and work on distinguishing whether words rhyme, two parts of compound words, number of words in a sentence, etc.. Its really been great.

And the best part? Hunter loves it! He is soaking up the information like a sponge. I am amazed and impressed at how easy he is to teach... I'm afraid of how difficult the others will be, I know they'll not all be this easy! He has really grasped the letters and their sounds and he will be learning to read 'log' tomorrow so I'm really excited about that.

He has a much harder time with numbers though, we can't get past 2 on number recognition and I'm not really pushing it although I do go over it every day. He can count accurately to 10 though-- not just saying the numbers but counting items so I know he understands the concepts behind using numbers. He will also set the table for dinner and get out the right number of utensils according to the number of people that will be at the table so I know he GETS it he just can't seem to grasp number recognition yet.

But it is fun, we're ALL learning right now. I'm learning how to do this.. it is more work than I thought!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Its criminal... or it should be..

In my quest to eat healthier and to feed my kids healthier there is an aisle in the grocery store which completely disgusts me. The entire aisle is full of colorful boxes touting "whole grains!" "lowers cholesterol" "9 essential vitamins!" I bet you guess which aisle I'm getting at.

YES the cereal aisle! Full of cartoon characters pimping themselves on boxes of sugar, sugar and more sugar. Aimed at what audience? Children! MY children, OUR children. Its disgusting. Some of these cereals contain up to 30% sugar! And have you seen the recent cereals that came out with the big slogan on the box saying "25% less sugar!" Yaay. Good for you. 25% of 30 is still 22.5% sugar!!!!!! Its criminal, it truly is. And the worst part? Well meaning parents see these slogans "whole grains!" "25% less sugar!" and think they are doing well by their children! Oh my, oh my. Its no wonder that childhood obesity is at an all time high in our country. Look at what we're feeding our children! The sugar addiction begins in toddlerhood with these sugar laced "cereals". Over half the children in America before 9 a.m. have already had a mega dose of sugar. No wonder so many children are diagnosed with attention deficit disorder. They are all hyped up on sugar!

And don't even EVEN get me started on pop tarts, another "easy" breakfast for busy parents, located for purchase on the same aisle......

Saturday, October 13, 2007

A long day out

This morning Hunter insisted that he did NOT want to play soccer, so I was taking it slow and planning to go watch his team play even though Hunter wasn't playing. Then, 5 minutes before the game was supposed to start he suddenly declares that he is playing soccer. So I throw it into high gear (only half the kids are dressed and I'm running around in a tshirt and underwear) dress the kids, get shin guards and cleats on Hunter, and run out the door. We made it while they were still warming up and of course Hunter refused to warm up. He only wanted to play "take the ball away from the blue team" (a direct quote) So the game started and he ran out onto the field. He had a huge grin on his face the whole time as he participated in "herd ball" as Jason calls it, a bunch of 4 year olds running up and down the field chasing a soccer ball. Its pretty amusing.

After the game I didn't feel like going home. I've been feeling depressed today. I ate some sugar yesterday (candy corn to be specific) and I really wonder if thats what triggered the depression. So anyway, we went shopping, er-- I guess it was window shopping, on account of my empty wallet-- Hunter decided that it is fun to go into EVERY store in a strip mall so thats what we did. It killed about 4 hours out of our day. We even went into KB Toys and *gasp* nobody threw a fit! Well, except Jeremy. I showed him this really stupid pizza guy elmo who sings some pizza song and his pizza sings too and he freaked out when I tried to take it away. It was actually pretty cute BUT also a big waste of money. I'm proud to say that I have *never* bought one of those stupid singing dancing elmo dolls they come out with every year in spite of the fact that all three of my kids have gone through an Elmo phase. Jeremy is in one now and will go to bed quite happily with Elmo in his arms. Its adorable, really.

You're probably wondering how I managed all this store hopping with three kids. Well its genius really. Since before Jeremy was born Hunter has been in training to become a stroller pusher. He has formally taken over his duties and everywhere we go he is the official stroller pusher of Jeremy. Umbrella strollers are a mothers best friend. I actually have TWO umbrella strollers (long story involving a male dog marking MY stroller as his territory.....) so I put Nathan in one, Jeremy in the other and off Hunter and I went for a day of window shopping. Everywhere we go we inevitably run into an old lady (or three, or four, or five, or six... eh, you get the picture) who comments on how CUTE it is that I have such a good little helper. And then of course there are the "you have your hands full!" comments which I absolutely cannot leave the house without hearing.

So anyway, we finally made it home. We did go to Ukrops for butter but we came out with a new reusable shopping bag ($1) an 8 pack of juicy juice ($1.79) a 12 oz tub of rainbow cookies ($3.79 bad I know, but theyr'e so irresistably delicious!) and finally 2 lbs of butter ($5) I realized on my way home that I went to Ukrops because they have (relatively) cheap butter, but what did I really save when I bought all the extra crap? Hmmmmmmmmmm.....

Friday, October 12, 2007

We're online

Yaay we got high speed internet today, via a gargantuan satellite dish on the roof of our house. But at least you should be able to reach us on our home phone now.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

A new beginning...

I have been in a downward spiral. I have been gaining weight, eating terribly and of course being quite sedentary. My health is in a rapid decline, I am lazy, I am losing hair, I'm constantly tired, I have very little energy, I feel depressed often, my house is a wreck.

I started reading on the internet yesterday, trying to figure out what to do. Dieting? No, I know dieting doesn't work for me. Restricting myself by counting calories? I can't do it. It doesn't work, I end up binging.

Suddenly I came across a website and started reading articles that spoke to me with force. I am MALNOURISHED. I am UNHEALTHY. My body is ill. The things that I put in my body are the wrong fuel. Think about it-- would you put milk in the gas tank of your car? Thats absurd! It wouldn't run! So then think about your body. Our body needs vitamins, minerals-- things that are found in FRUITS AND VEGETABLES. Not refined, processed, beaten and cooked to death so-called "foods" that are mass marketed to the public. Sure you can SURVIVE on a diet of chips ahoy and dr pepper but what quality of life will you have? You certainly won't live to your life expectancy and the life that you do have will be plagued with illness and disease.

I don't want that life. I want to be healthy. I want to live. I want my kids to live. I want to instill the right eating habits in them so they will reach for the carrot before the cookie because they can read their body signals and know that the carrot is the fuel their bodies need.

Today is a new beginning. Today starts learning the right way to eat. Giving my body the fuel it needs. I am ready. I am tired of being ill. I want to know what it feels like to be truly HEALTHY.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Nathan Chronicles, part 1

I figure if you can't beat them (ok I don't really mean BEAT I am not beating my children!) laugh about them right?

So, Nathan is by far the most trying of my children. On a daily basis he sweeps through the house emptying bookshelves, dumping out toy bins, chasing his brothers with pins (yes, pins.. from my sewing pincushions. Didn't you know they're little tiny swords?!?!) dumping his drinks on the table, throwing his food on the floor.. it never ends.

So I thought I'd chronicle his latest tricks. I know one day, a long long time from now, I'll look back and laugh-- right?

Lucky for me I have a built in alarm system, which we affectionately call "Hunter". The Hunter is always on the look out for foul play. He is quick to sound his alert when he finds something awry--'MAMA! MAMA! Look what Nathan is doing!' is generally the warning call.

So I am sitting here (on the computer, shame shame on me) and I hear the Hunter go off, something about eggs. EGGS! I stop everything and make a RUN for the kitchen. Sure enough, Nathan has found something more fun than hosing down his brothers with the toilet diaper sprayer-- EGGS! They're like water balloons with a crunch! He is throwing eggs all over the kitchen floor. I just about lost it. I didn't know what to say. I just kept asking him "What are you doing?!?!?!?!" And his reply? "I'm throwing eggs on the floor"
Shouldn't that be perfectly obvious Mom?

So I have him clean up the shells and then tell him to go play in his room. What could I do? If I had him clean up the eggs themselves he probably would have had more fun smearing them all over the kitchen floor than he did smashing them there in the first place.

I just can't wait for Jeremy to start causing mischief.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Letter to my family

My dear, dear, sweet family which excludes women save myself,

Peeing standing up is your birthright. Urinating standing up (or squatting, kneeling or lying down for that matter) in the middle of playgrounds, parking lots, grocery stores, or any otherwise public arena is not acceptable. This goes for all of you, including the big one. Nathan-- your peeing standing up IS cute and your heart is in the right place but please, lets wait until you are tall enough to pee INTO the bowl instead of urinating all over the side of it, ok?

Your loving mother

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Who is the parent here?

Isn't it me? Didn't I put these kids to bed? Then why is my 4 year old son sitting in front of me at 9:15 p.m. telling me that I can't use the computer tonight and that I can only use it when the sun is shining?


Sunday, August 5, 2007

Backyard chickens!

I want some! I'm at my moms taking care of the chickens, goats and granny while they go to a family reunion and then head to Idaho to visit my sister Becca. My mom has a million chickens. Well, maybe not a million but I'm thinking there are near 100 poultry here. There are setting hens everywhere and half the chickens have a trail of chicks behind them. I've got chick fever. I want baby chicks! And I want them to grow up and start laying eggs so I'll have fresh eggs from my own chickens.

I just have to build a chicken tractor (seen here) and then get my chickens! More to come...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Thoughts on spanking...

Truthfully, I used to spank. Honestly, I didn't know any different. I thought spanking was normal and what you are SUPPOSED to do to kids. My parents weren't big spankers, I can't even remember a time my mom spanked me though I'm sure she did. (Well, there was that time that she slapped me across the face but that was a totally different and totally deserved story for another time ;) )

So naturally, I thought spanking was just what you did as a parent, to your child. Wait a minute, have we really thought this through? We're talking about hitting our children, the beings we love more than ourselves, the little people that we are completely responsible for, little pieces of our hearts running around outside of our bodies... we're SUPPOSED to hit them? And teach them what? That hitting is ok? Do as I say, and not as I do right? Spank your child for hitting their friend or sibling... HUH?

I realized something, something that I have in the past been guilty of but its rotten nonetheless. Do you know how horrible it sounds when a parent threatens a child "You better stop that or you're going to get a spanking!" We have created this word "spanking" to make it sound like less than it is. What if we replace "spanking" with "beat your ass"... its not very nice is it.

Do you threaten to hit any other person in your life that you love? What if my husband and I started threatening to hit each other when we didn't do what the other wanted us to do?

I struggle daily with parenting and the hardest part of it all is discipline. How do we know the right thing to do? It is SO very hard.. but I honestly don't believe that hitting our children is the right way to teach them.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The latest garden news

Well I'm not posting a picture, but my garden is starting to look like crap. I guess its because its organic. Organic=lots of bugs. I'm planning to do a better job companion planting next year and hopefully deter some of the bugs that are destroying my garden. I noticed today that squash vine borers are taking out the remainder of my squash plants. Not only that, but they also have powdery mildew all over them. I'm not really that torn up over it though, I'm honestly getting sick of yellow squash and the plants are so big that they're creeping around the garden. Next year I'm putting them on dedicated hills... I now see the reasoning behind that.

Yesterday I went in-organic with my tomatoes. I had enough... I STILL don't have any red tomatoes and every time I find one starting to turn its rotten with squash bugs on it. I had it, I grabbed the bottle of sevin that Jason bought me when he was feeling sorry for me over the aphid epidemic and started spraying. Oddly enough as sad as I was to in-organic my garden it felt GOOD to get revenge on those bugs. Organic gardening is SO hard, you can stick to your guns and risk all your hard work going to the bugs or you can get some pesticides and ensure that you actually get to eat some of your crop. I'll try again next year. I only sprayed the tomatoes but I'm sure if I were an organic farmer that would negate my whole farm for 5 years... luckily I'm not.

But the positive thing about the garden today is that for one, I keep picking cantaloupe. I've picked about 20 so far, maybe a few more than that, and I have about 10 left out there to ripen. The downside is I am getting SICK of cantaloupe and it isn't as sweet as I would have liked it to have been. Oh well.

AND the okra is blossoming. I have never grown okra before or even seen an okra plant, I had no idea that they flowered so beautifully:

So that is pretty exciting. Hopefully we'll be eating some home grown okra soon!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Bloggity blog blog

I haven't blogged in a few days and I was really on a roll. I don't know what to blog about today but I need to get back in the swing of things. We went camping this weekend and that always screws me up for about a week, the house is a wreck and I am either exhausted or just lazy. I haven't figure out which it is yet.

So today I have a few goals: wash the dishes, which are overflowing onto the counters, mop the kitchen floor which is disgustingly sticky, and get some sewing done. I would really like to go to Jo Anns but I am not going unless I get those dishes washed and I really don't feel like washing dishes.....

The decisions of a home maker, how did I ever get to this point?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

A literal PITA pocket

Yesterday I made whole wheat pitas. Pita making, for those of you who haven't made pitas before, is a delicate process. A real pain in the ass, if you will. Make some pitas yourself and you will discover the little pocket bread's true namesake-- Pain In The Ass. This is why I only make them about once every 4-6 months and buy all my pitas until I have forgotten just how much trouble they are to make.

First you make the dough, knead it and rise it once. Then you must shape the pitas in perfect little circles (wand let them rise for 20 minutes. Next the oven has to be at the right temperature as well as the pan inside the oven. Then you must transfer the pitas to the hot pan inside the oven without disturbing the pitas so much that you cause the rise to fall. Then you watch in the oven window, praying and willing the pitas to "puff" and if you're lucky, maybe half of them will. Then you have to flip them halfway through cooking but only once you're certain the puffing is either finished or will never happen anyway. I also want to add that a non-puffed pita is not a waste of time, it just won't be a natural pocket you have to cut it open.

So out of yesterdays batch of 8 pitas only two rose to the occasion. And of course, being the blogger that I am, I took pictures. (You can see on left rear pita where Nathan got ahold of it and took a chunk out with his hand, yeah.. that doesn't help the whole rising and puffing process.)

So.. intelligent girl that I am, I uploaded the wrong picture. I am on dial up so I'm not going to let my precious uploading time go to waste and I'm leaving this picture up for your viewing pleasure. My little bookworms... awwwww! <3

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


I got these flip flops from a swap on a message board.. they're cute but I don't think they're me. Every time I am walking with them on I keep thinking "THERE IS SOMETHING ON MY FOOT!" and I keep trying to shake it off. Honestly.. my dirty old toes just don't look right with flowers. But I wear them around the house and garden, they make me feel glamorous in a Zsa Zsa Gabor kind of way.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Family Bed- room, that is

We cosleep with our babies as infants, once they reach toddlerhood they transition to a crib. When they get older and need us at night they come back to our room once again, but not to our bed. They sleep on the foam couch on the floor and sometimes things get a little crowded. I couldn't resist snapping a picture when I woke up to find them sharing <3

Monday, July 16, 2007

My job...

I love my kids. I would do anything for them. But some days, I wish I could call in. I wish I could call my boss and say "I CAN'T TAKE IT TODAY! I NEED the rest of the day off! I'm taking a mental health day!" But thats not an option in my profession. I'm on the job 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year until my charges leave home. It is draining and exhausting.

But then there are the little things. After a day of exploding poopy diapers, strawberry quik powder strewn from kitchen to bathroom, 2 year olds refusing naptime, and every book in the house being pulled from the bookshelves and strewn on the floor, somehow they still warm your heart.

As I'm reading their recent bedtime favorite, How do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?, I can't help but smile that after each rhetorical question "Do they swing their neck from side to side? Do they up and demand a piggy back ride?" the chorus of "NO!"s coming from my little munchkins. Then after I kiss them goodnight and walk out the door and both of them in unison sing "I love you too Mama!" Its like they washed away their sins of the day. How can one stay upset with children like that?

Me vs. Them

Aren't they a little young for this type of conspiracy and uprising?

So its naptime. Thats what *I* say anyway. I put Nathan in bed for a nap, settle down in front of the computer for *me* time and to nurse Jeremy. I hear little feet scamper down the hall... then a 40" tall knight in shining armor appears beside me, pointing his sword at me and daring me to cross him! I push him aside and he follows me, weilding his sword, telling me not to go there! I go looking for the naptime escapee and finally find him hiding under the kitchen table with his faithful sentinel in hot persuit.

This type of conspiracy is just unfair! I need naptime! Aren't they not supposed to gang up on me until the teen years??

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Camping at Cave Mountain Lake Rec Area

For the 4th of July weekend we made a whirlwind of a trip, first we dropped our dog and camper off at my parents' house in Rocky Mount, VA and then headed southwest to Morristown, TN to visit Jason's grandmother for the 4th of July. His mother drove up from Chattanooga and we had a nice little family reunion of sorts for two days.

But, being the nomad family that we try to be, we couldn't stay in one place too long. So after two nights we packed up our van and headed back up to my parents house. We hitched up the trailer, loaded up the dog and headed for the hills. We chose our destination just by choosing one of those little tent icons on the map. The campground we chose was located in *I think* Jefferson National Forest. We had never camped in a national forest before so we didn't know what to expect. The campsites were VERY nice, secluded and wooded. However there were no electric hookups and we did not have the foresight to ever TEST the battery hookup on our camper so we found out the hard way that there is something wrong with our electrical wiring in our camper and the battery connection doesn't work! So we were roughing it (Hahahha) with no electricity! Truthfully though the only "electrical" stuff we can use when our camper is running off a battery are the lights and we have a propane lantern and flashlights so we really weren't missing out on much.

We had a great camping trip, the first night we set up and grilled hot dogs on the grate over the fire for dinner. The next day we got up and went to the lake, it has a beach area and we thought we *might* go swimming but after seeing the mud area I mean beach area we decided that we'd find some other recreating to do that day. Jason and Hunter fished for awhile and Jason caught a few palm sized largemouth bass. Then we decided to "explore" and ended up at the trailhead of a 2 mile hike to Apple Orchard Falls. "Two miles?" we thought to ourselves, that shouldn't be too bad. So we loaded Nathan into the backpack carrier and Jeremy into the ring sling and away we went, up, up, up, up, up, up, up, up, up, up, up, up, up, up... are we there yet? up, up, up, up, up, etc.... until FINALLY we made it! The falls were somewhat disappointing, there was only a mere trickle "falling" down the rocks, I guess the drought is affecting even the higher altitudes. (Note the "falls" behind us in the picture) We stop for a few minutes, admire the drops, and head back down, down, down, down, down, down, down, down, down, down..... etc... until FINALLY we see our van! I swear seeing our van was infintely more satisfying than reaching those blasted falls. So we load up and head back to camp. Did I mention that Hunter was on foot for 95% of the entire 4 miles?? He's a tough little hiker!

....Later that night, the boys are ready to roast marshmallows. SOMEONE forgot to put our roasting sticks back in the camper after our last camping trip so we had to find sticks. Nathan was not patient enough to let one of us find him a stick, so he found one on his own...

So finally we're putting the kids in bed and we just hang out for awhile, watching them be kids. I snapped a few pictures, they put on a show for us. We love being parents, what an awesome responsibility we have!

Saturday, July 14, 2007


I'm really starting to wonder. I think the entire insect population of King William county has moved into my backyard, and more specifically my garden, pool, and back porch waiting to enter my house!!!

The garden is overrun with bugs. I have aphids and squash bugs COVERING my tomato plants. Squash vine borers completely wiped out my zucchini plants and tried their darndest to take care of the pumpkins. Some little black beetle looking bugs destroyed every ear of corn. Japanese beetles are EVERYWHERE. I am still trying to garden organically but I have a bag of sevin dust AND a bottle of spray and I am soooo tempted to use it.

Then there is the pool. I can't find a cover for this pool in the entire greater Richmond area! I spend 15 minutes a day doing circles in the pool skimming out carcasses, its just disgusting.

And flies..... ewwwww nasty flies. They SWARM our back door just waiting for an opportunity to zip in, and you can imagine with three little kids how often our door gets opened. Yesterday morning Nathan was getting ready to eat his cereal and a fly landed in it and started swimming around. Nathan was trying to get out of having to eat it anyway so it didn't break his heart.

I read somewhere on the internet about hanging ziplock bags full of water by the doorway to deter the flies so we are trying that. It looks pretty funny but hey at this point we'll try ANYTHING! I smartly decided to hold the door open after we installed the bags to see what would happen and about 10 flies zoomed past me into the kitchen. Smart girl I are.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Out of comfort zone experiences

Today we ventured over to the mall, Regency Square mall to be precise. We're not usually mall-goers but Jason lost his precious 4 year old Oakleys and just HAD to get a new pair so off we went in search of the perfect glasses. Fortunately we found them and $99 later he can now face the daylight again.

The mall is an interesting place. I feel so incredibly out of place there. Almost akin to being in school again, the experience is as if I were to have taken my lunch tray and plopped down at the "popular kids" table and expected everyone to have smiled and said hello. I don't know why I feel like everyone is staring at me and my kids. I don't dress my kids up for ANYTHING-- even our occasional visits to church. My kids look like they've come straight from the playground than from the baby gap runway like most of the other kids we come across in the mall. Well, and then there's me. I'm no supermodel mom, ha! But I feel like all eyes are on me and it makes me squirm. Why is it? I'm sure they're not actually watching me, wondering what I'm doing in their territory. Or are they?

People grow older but they never change. Social circles, cliques, outcasts-- they still exist and some even get more barbarous over time. As a child what made me think that becoming an adult would break down those social barriers? Childhood innocence I suppose.

Several years ago- I don't remember when exactly, I came to the stunning yet ridiculously obvious realization that the only difference between adults and children are the number of years they have been living on the earth. Age in no way, shape, or form equals maturity.


Saturday, May 19, 2007


That is the question on the lips of every four year old. Well, at least mine. I recall wondering a year or so ago if we were in the 'why' stage. I can now say, with certainty, that when your child is in the 'why' stage you WILL know!

'Mama, why do policemen carry little guns?' (As opposed to Daddy's big hunting guns I suppose)
'I don't know Hunter, why do you think?'
'To shoot little bad guys?'
'I think thats probably why'

The 'why' questions continue all day long, particularly while we're driving.

'Mama, why are you stopping?'
'Because the light is red.'
'Why is the light red?'
'So the other cars get a turn to go across the road'
'If you don't stop will the policeman get you?'
'Yes, and he has before and it cost us $150.'
'Why does it cost money to not stop at the light?'
'Because the law says to stop.'
'Why is there a law?'

Its aggravating but its also very entertaining and I love seeing the little wheels in his head turning.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

I'm back and the kitchen is clean

So last week during a thunderstorm our computer was fried by lightening! It was terrible, I went over a week without the internet. I wish I could say I caught up the housework during that time but instead I learned that its not just the computer that keeps me from doing housework. I just don't like doing it and I will avoid it, with or without excuses. I manage to maintain things but the house is never spotless. I envy the housewives I see on Wife Swap who keep their house meticulously clean. Who has that kind of energy and motivation? Its very defeating to clean with three little monsters coming along behind me tearing things up just as I put them straight.

Several days ago I had an epiphany. Although the boys tear the rest of the house apart, they don't create havoc in the kitchen. They don't dump dirty dishes in the sink and they don't clutter up the counters. AH HA, says I. I can keep the kitchen clean! So today is day three. I've been keeping the kitchen nearly spotless, washing dishes regularly throughout the day and keeping the counters wiped down. Its very refreshing, when the rest of the house looks like a tornado has just gone through it I can go sit at the kitchen table and enjoy the tranquility of ONE clean room. My goal is to keep it up for 21 days, thats how long they say it takes to form a habit.

Friday, April 27, 2007

The Hook

What is it? What is the hook about the computer that some days won't let you alone? You feel this constant draw back to the glowing screen... to mindlessly browse the internet. What are you looking for? What is drawing you back here? You don't even know, but it keeps calling you and bringing you back....

Conveniencing Ourselves to our Demise part 1

I believe our society is plagued by our modern 'conveniences'. Not only do I think it will be the undoing of our society, but it is leading to the destruction of our ecosystem as well. Of course these are all my opinions and are not founded on any research but I think I'm onto something here...

Of course there is my previous blog/rant on disposable diapers. But thats just the tip of the iceberg. Lets consider fast food. First off there is the ENORMOUS amount of waste generated by the fast food industry. But thats not the big issue. The bigger issue is what fast food does to our bodies. The over-processed, very far from the farm type of food those restaurants are feeding the American public. Obesity rates in this country are at an all-time high, over 50% of our population is considered 'obese'! Why? Convenience foods! Its a lot easier to swing through the McDonalds drive through on your way home from work than to get home and slave over the stove.

But is it worth it? What are we feeding and TEACHING our children? For one, we're perpetuating the obesity crisis. The number of obese children in the US is growing at an alarming rate. Today, 15% of children between ages 2 and 18 are overweight. And that number is sure to grow. Secondly, we're teaching them to be lazy. Sounds harsh but it is the truth! Homecooked meals are not that difficult to make. They're healthier AND cheaper. They enhance family togetherness when the family sits at the table to eat the meal you've prepared. What do you do with fast food? Throw a bag of food at each child in the back seat?

I know I sound critical and self righteous. I have realized the error of my ways and I'm determined to do something about it. I'm hoping to convince a few others as well. Maybe I'm preaching to the choir, and if so, KUDOS to you! But to the rest of you, cut out fast food. Skip the drive thru and feed your family some real food and feel GOOD about it.

Our impact on Planet Earth

Lately I've been giving this a lot of thought. I truly feel that we are destroying our ecosystem with all of our 'modern conveniences'. This morning I started pondering the disposable diaper issue. We use cloth diapers but haven't always and still use some disposable diapers. I decided this morning to crunch some numbers.

The US Population is approximately 300 million. EVERY SINGLE ONE of those 300 million people wore diapers til an average age of two. A portion of the population, the over 50 crowd, were born before the modern 'convenience' of disposables, so we'll assume they were cloth diapered. So a rough 'guesstimate' would be 50% of the population, or 150 million people wore disposable diapers. Lets assume that that their parents changed them every 3 hours, until age two. By their second birthday each child has used 5,840 diapers. Multiply that by the 150 million (half the US population) and thats 876 TRILLION disposable diapers. TRILLION!

I was just searching the internet to find out a weight for those 876 trillion diapers but to no avail. Instead I found a few 'studies' citing that the environmental impact between cloth and disposables is negligible due to energy and water consumption in the care of cloth. Now I'm no scientist but that sounds plain ignorant to me. Nothing can convince me to believe that washing diapers in my home and line drying OR drying them in my dryer is more detrimental to the environment than dumping 7000 disposable diapers per child into a landfill.

Maybe the same people who wrote those studies should start advocating disposable clothing, since the environmental impact should be the same whether we wash and reuse our clothing or toss them into a landfill and buy new ones. Thats what I got out of it, ignorant rubbish. I wonder how much the disposable diaper companies paid them to publish their 'studies'.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Thoughts on Homeschooling

Jason and I have decided to homeschool our kids. Originally, I was on board and he wasn't. My mom had been working on me, trying to convince me that homeschooling was the best option for our kids. I was convinced but he wasn't. Then HE started working on me about sending Hunter to school for the 'socializing' aspect. As I started to get more convinced his direction, he started leaning more towards homeschooling.

Several factors came into consideration:

First of all, the thing that is on everyone's mind in light of the recent shootings at Virginia Tech is safety. Granted, school shootings are few and far between and I'm sure if you take a look at statistics many more children die in car crashes than school shootings.

Then there is the issue of different learning styles. Take my ridiculously intelligent brother David for instance, couldn't hardly pass a class in school to save his life. So they administer standardized tests and he tests on a near genius level. He takes the ASVAB (Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery) and scores a 99, the highest you can score! To look at his grades you would think he should have been in special education. The fact is he's a hands-on learner who soaks up knowledge like a sponge but given homework and worksheets he gets bored and therefore fails. Classrooms, textbooks and flashcards aren't necessarily the answer for all kids. I want my kids to be able to learn by doing, to be able to explore where their interests lie, not by what 'unit' their teachers curriculum dictates.

Another issue is time. Kids are only kids once. They need a chance to be KIDS. When a child spends 6-7 hours a day at school, 2-3 hours commuting to and from school and then hours upon hours of homework each night, where is the time for play? Where is the time for the REAL learning that comes natural to children? Kids LOVE to learn, thats their full time job. How much more will they actually learn if instead of spending their day regurgitating curriculum they spend the day playing at the Science Museum, then come home and read books about Einstein, because they WANTED to?

More importantly is the INNOCENCE of our children that is lost in public school. We take great care to ensure that our children don't witness violence on TV, don't hear curse words and are surrounded by loving parents. I am saddened by knowing that there are parents out there who don't treat their children the way we do, who allow them to watch whatever they want on TV, play violent video games, curse and argue in front of their children and create kids that mimic themselves. When my 5 year old child is exposed to other kids who have had an upbringing so very different from their own, he isn't old enough to discern right from wrong. The 'foreign' words he hears from other children are easily incorporated into his developing vocabulary. The violent acts other kids act out on the playground are permanently emblazoned in his mind. His innocence is lost!

Some will argue that we are planning to shelter our children. You're damn right.

It shouldn't be that hard....

It really shouldn't. To log on here every once and awhile and post a blog! I guess I feel like whatever I want to say isn't blog-worthy, but come on. How many people might actually even be reading my blog? Not many, if any!!

My latest mission in life is to make sure my kids don't watch more than 2 hours of tv per week. Yesterday they had about 45 minutes due to my not timing my shower correctly and therefore allowing another tv show to start before I went to turn the tv off. Unfortunately Hunter is old enough now to be able to say HEY! I'm watching this! But he's really good about turning it off when the show is over. So basically I AM using the tv for a babysitter, but only to babysit the kids while I shower and thats ok right?

So yesterday I did a major amount of housework. I don't know what got into me, and I'm not sure how I did it either. I also did a fair amount of sitting on the internet, which makes it all the more surprising at how much housework I did. I also weeded the garden and played Memory with Hunter. Super productive day!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Kids and attachments

I admit, I've encouraged my kids becoming attached to objects. I guess because none of my children have ever been "teddy bear" type of kids, none of them have ever shown a remote interest in stuffed animals, blankets, or really ANYTHING. So of course when Hunter, at 18 months old, wanted to take a toy tractor to his nap I was elated. I thought it was the cutest thing I'd ever seen and I encouraged it, making sure the tractor accompanied him to bed every evening and insisting that he bring it along whenever we left the house. Well, the tractor was just the tip of the iceburg. The toys that were required at bedtime became more and more numerous, and eventually he was running out of room to sleep. Now I said my kids aren't teddy bear kids, and they aren't. These weren't soft, cushy toys, he was taking die-cast metal airplanes to bed. I still don't know how he managed to sleep through the night as I'm sure he spent many a night with a prop or vertical stab in his back. Luckily, he's outgrown that stage and now is pretty content to just get in bed and go to sleep.....

Then came Nathan. Again, no cushy cuddly toys for this boy. About 5 months ago he became OBSESSED with trains. Mainly Thomas the train, not necessarily because he has a thing for trains with faces, but rather due to the fact that there is an endless array of Thomas toys and videos for parents of future-conductors to purchase, and at a premium I might add. Matchbox cars cost about $1.00, depending on where you buy them you can get them for half that. Thomas the tank engine trains, however, are a COMPLETELY different story. ONE matchbox car sized train costs $5!!! And shamefully I admit, Nathan has more of them than I know what to do with. Luckily he's lost most of them (they come and go, under the bed, between the couch cushions, cruising the yard..) because they accompany him to bed! At one point he was taking so many trains to bed that every time he moved one would fall out and I'd hear his most-used phrase "I DROP IT! I DROP IT!" So we (Jason and I) are expected to come running and pick the train up. We'd try and ignore him, but he's a persistent little bugger and would just get louder and louder "I DROP IT! I DROP IT" so we would eventually give him. I ended up giving him an empty baby wipe box to keep his accessories in during bedtime. Luckily now he's lost so many of the trains he's usually only got one or two in the bed and rarely does he drop them.

Sooo here we are, boy #3, not showing any sign of a "teddy bear" syndrome....... but he doesn't seem to have an affinity for trains or airplanes....... Oh no, this one is special. His "thing" is the dog's toy basket:
I actually bought him his own because the dog didn't like sharing.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Its camping season!!!

And WE are the proud new owners of an 89 Coleman Sun Valley pop up camper!!! We've been looking for one for awhile and my wonderful husband found this one on craigslist the day after we'd spent hours at a camper dealership getting a headache over $14,000 campers and 12% financing for 10 years. We weren't sure what to do but we knew we wanted a camper, and BAD!

This camper is PERFECT for us. We paid cash (hooray!) and it has plenty of room and lots of storage. We looked at another camper a few weeks ago that was smaller and in worse shape and they wanted $1600 for it. Luckily, they sold it to someone else (who incidentally didn't even get there until AFTER us but I figure now it was fate :) ) So this camper is a LOT better than the one we looked at before AND it was $600 less! She may not be perfect, but she's ours and we love her.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Our picnic

The other day it was around 70-80 degrees and Hunter insisted that we have a picnic out in our backyard. So we did, I got out the camera and took some pictures of the daffodils (I think) that are growing, our dog modeling her electric fence shock collar, and Hunter took a picture of me with a flower that he picked just for me!

Oh and Mary, if you're reading, I took the picture of the flowers just for you :)

What a night!

I awake in at 2 a.m. to go to the bathroom. As I move to get up, the baby (who sleeps with Jason and I) starts fussing. If he makes too much noise, he'll wake Jason, who has to wake up for his 1 1/2 hour commute in 2 hours. So I grab the baby and take him with me to the bathroom... Then settle back into bed.

At 2:15 my bedroom door flies open and my 4 year old Hunter is dancing around in my doorway, the urgent "I have to pee right now" dance. So I jump out of bed and turn the bathroom light on for him. Crawl back into bed... 5 minutes later he's calling me from his bed, I try to ignore him. No luck. He gets louder and I'm afraid he'll wake everyone else. So I run in there... oh, he wants to give me a good night kiss (at 2 a.m.) So I give him a kiss and go get once again settled back in bed.

Now its 2:30, I've ALMOST dozed back off when I hear coughing... never a good sign. The coughing continues and then I hear the unmistakable sound of a child vomiting. I literally FLY out of bed, hoping that somehow I can catch it before it hits the sheets and pajamas. My 2 year old Nathan is sitting in the middle of his bed, surrounded by his dinner and crying his little eyes out. Motherly instinct immediately kicks in, most fathers would not even know where to start. Grab the kid, take him in the bathroom, strip him down, wash him off in the sink, get clean pj's and dress him. Get him comfy on the couch. Strip the bed, rinse the sheets, and start a load of laundry. Disinfect mattress, put on clean sheets and ONE blanket, NO toys, and replace child. Preventative maintenance for future expulsions. He lies right down and goes back to sleep.

Amazingly, I was able to make it til morning without further interruption.

Even now, while I type this blog my 4 year old is sitting beside me (I believe he's waiting his turn for the computer!) And the baby is on my lap.

Ahhh the thrills of motherhood. Who needs extreme sports?

Monday, March 19, 2007

No more internet addiction

I'm breaking the cycle. I've spent years (literally) sitting in front of the computer, wasting time, wasting my life away. Missing out on the important things like interacting with my children. I'm stopping it now. I'll occasionally blog but for the most part, the computer is OFF in this house. I haven't been on the internet in almost a week and I'm only on now to get some mystery quilt instructions. No more internet for this gal. My life has been SO much more meaningful since I haven't had my rear planted here.

Peace out.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Faces of a baby

There's nothing sweeter is there? Even when its a sad face

Hmm... milestones you say?

No, it never even occurred to me that Jeremy is nearing 7 months now and maybe he should be doing something other than acting like a newborn. Its not that he can't, its just that my life is so hectic trying to keep up with three boys and a dog that I hadn't even thought about putting him on the floor to play... usually I'm just lucky if I can keep his brothers from landing on him and the dog from slobbering all over him and his toys.

So I pull out a copy of "What to Expect the First Year" (most of which I think is a bunch of crap but they're our official "toilet reading" books while raising children) and flip to the six month section. Hmm, he should be sitting on his own- check. Protesting when a toy is taken away? Oh yeah I think he was born knowing there would be competition in our house because he's been doing that since day 1. He could be pulling up by now? Whaaa? Oh yeah, now that I think about it, Hunter was doing these things since he was the only child and I had lots of time to push him to grow up too fast. Now I'm pulling in the reins, whoa kids, slow down I'm not ready for you to be independent!

So I put Jeremy on the floor today with toys, amazingly he scoots all over the place and seemed to really enjoy himself. So I bust out the leapfrog learning drum, all the kids have loved it even as they've gotten older. And you know what happens when you get out a "new" toy? Time to pull out the boxing gloves, those kids will FIGHT for it. Well somehow I managed to get them to "share" and so we had a drum circle going on. I just hope if they do this when they're older there is no ganga involved....

Monday, March 12, 2007

My new babies!

Not what you'd think! These are some of the plants we started from seed. They're getting so big I can't wait to get them out into the ground!!! We planted lettuce, tomatoes, swiss chard, basil, oregano, parsley and some miscellaneous flowers from 05 that I wasn't even sure if they would germinate or not but they did!

Who is this kid?

I'm serious. He did this all on his own.... he CAN'T be one of mine! This child hates being dirty, he has to have a washcloth at the dinner table so he can keep his hands meticulously clean while eating. He will start gagging and throw up when he sees a snotty-faced kid if they aren't cleaned up in a timely manner. He starts gagging if Nathan shows his chewed up food in his mouth.

What a strange little boy! I sure do love him though!!

Creating our Garden

It is so fun having the whole family involved in this process. A few weeks ago Hunter and I started our seeds and I put grow lights up on the kitchen counter (hey, we have a lack of space here in our little house) Then Jason got us a FREE tiller and he's been patting himself on the back over it all weekend!!! So this weekend we tilled up a garden spot, added peat moss and compost/manure and tilled that in. Now I have to get my butt out there and work on making the raised beds. The boys are REALLY enjoying helping, its like a huge sandbox to them. My only concern is that they won't understand that they can't dig in it anymore...