Has It Really Been That Long?

Has it really been that long since I posted anything on here? It's hard to imagine that a year plus has gone by so quickly. So much has happened in that time and more is happening now. I must admit that deeply miss writing on here. Facebook has served as a surrogate for some time and that may be why I haven't taken the time to write here as had been my wont for so long. I think a time has come in my life that I must make the time to do this properly. I need an outlet for all that has gone right (as well as wrong) and Facebook just can't provide that anymore. Something else I miss about doing this is that I no longer have that timeline that I can go to and say "Oh, Charles did this on that day." or "Kitty said that silly phrase on this day" or even "Thirty feet of pipe had to be ripped out of my floor and replaced in early February (true story)."

I have grown so much over the last year with many struggles and triumphs. My shy self was finally a celebrant for a Church service (I even managed to read The Lorax without choking up). I am now the official library chair for my Church. I have knitted many projects (and started even more). I even managed to learn how to knit two socks at the same time. I fractured my ankle but it has now become strong after all of the walking that I do. I have managed to offend my landlady so now we're moving. I am struggling on balancing the minimalist identity that I want with the packrat that I am. Did I mention we're moving? What a wonderful chance to perhaps attain that goal. Or at least take several large steps toward it. My husband lost his job last summer with absolutely no warning so we struggled for several months. I am proud to say we were only late on our rent once. He found an awesome job and we thought our prayers were answered but it wasn't to be. And then he found another good job with a good boss. It's hard physical work but he's losing weight and the boss is happy enough with him that he's now got keys to the premises, he will start commission work this summer and they are talking of sending him for training. I have a 9 year old son that has the mentality of a 7 year old (on his good days). There. I've said it. It's still so hard to accept and even deal with. This year has been very hard for him and he's struggling to find his place. The struggles that he's going through has made it hard on the other children as well. I now have another son in therapy, a daughter seeing an occupational therapist and another daughter that has decided she doesn't need to eat. Even my husband is seeking therapy. My husband and I have applied for a home loan through rural development. I've got everything crossed that I can possibly manage that we get it. I have dealt with a major infestation of fleas (and lice >.<) but have won the day and lived to tell about it. I finally got of my lazy bum to see if my dehydrator worked and it works awesome. I have it going at least once a week now, mostly making apple chips but I have tried other things as well and have much on my "MUST MAKE " list. I have discovered a paleo lifestyle and have moved towards attaining it at least partially. I will be teaching a knitting class to a group of children starting in mid-April (and lasting 5 weeks) and I'm busy planning that. Oh, and did I mention we're moving? So I'm busy packing for that, trying to decide what to get rid off, and looking at rentals (all the while crossing my fingers and keeping the candles lit that we get that loan so I can look at the properties I'd really like to be looking at instead).

I was pleased to learn this morning that my tax refund has arrived so we can now pay off our crazy landlady for the last few months on our lease and not even worry about that anymore. I mean, come on, what person in their right mind asks a tenant to keep their bikes off property in a storage shed (at the tenants expense) so the property looks nicer for other prospective tenants? (Said bikes were neatly in racks. They're also a major mode of transport for us.) Or tells her tenant to sell the children's outside toys because their not playing with them during the winter? Or that the container garden is taking up too much room in the yard even though 98% of the yard is open to the thriving thistle population? Or that we have too much stuff when the the drying dishes from one meal for six people cover an entire tiny counter? (Yes, she was on inspection and actually complained about that.) Ok, I can feel myself getting off on a rant and I certainly didn't have that in mind when I began this. While in many ways I'm sad to leave this unit I know it's time to move on. It's just a struggle to accept that. It's small but it was big enough for our needs. The push to move is really strong though since so much has gone wrong. Just since the beginning of the year pipes had to be replaced (so we had to stay in a hotel for three days), the thermostat in the front room quit working which is not good since it was in the single digits outside this morning, and now my stove is throwing a tantrum. Oh, and we're in a battle with our landlady for damages incurred to our property while the workmen were here for the pipes; she says they aren't liable. As far as I'm concerned, if the workers moved my chest freezer and left it unplugged so that $200 worth of meat was lost then it is her responsibility. If the powers that be aren't saying "it's time to move on luv" than I don't know what the point of all of this is. Besides making me want to jump up and down screaming while tearing my hair out. 

A Spectacular Day

Today was one of those flawless fall days when the sky is a clear vibrant blue, the clouds are whispy and the air has a crisp sweet bite like the perfect apple and you just HAVE to be outside. We were lucky enough to spend several hours of it rambling through a local corn maze! My mother-in-law took us all as a special treat. It was disappointing that Carey was unable to attend but we had a load of wood coming in and one of us had to be here.

The drive was short, only taking us about forty minutes to get there although, I must admit that it seems to take forever to get anywhere with several small children swarming around you what with pit stops, lost hoodies and fights over water bottles. The children thought it awesome coming over the Lewiston grade and seeing the whole valley spread out before them, especially the mill in one area. Their grandfather and uncle work in the mill that supplies this mill with most of it's wood chips so there was a big connection there for them.

We stood in line for only a short time, perused the maps (a necessity!) and noted down the number to call if we were irretrievably lost before setting off on our adventure only to realize that the ticket gal had forgotten to give us our tickets! So Mom had to go back and stand in line to get them. I'm just glad it wasn't so super busy that they didn't recognize that she had actually paid for them and didn't make her pay for them again.

So began our ramble over more than thirteen acres of false starts, dead ends and endless fun. Charles and James had a blast running ahead and around us. I lost count of how many times I thought I'd lost them and then one would pop around a corner in front of me or even come up behind me! The idea was that I would be in charge of two and Mom would have the other two so if we got separated that would be OK. In the end though we pretty much stuck together. I didn't dare leave her! Not only did Kitty keep bopping back & forth between us (it would have been so easy for her to be left behind if one thought the other had her), I didn't have a map. James had taken off with mine and I didn't always know when I'd see him so I couldn't count on it's use although, technically he was supposed to stay with me. But this was such a fun, unique experience and the children had so much energy that I didn't have the heart to make them stay close. They were never so far ahead that I couldn't hear at least one of their piping voices (Charles' is quite distinctive now that he has no top front teeth and he has a whistling lisp) or hear them thumping up & down a lane. They were also marking X's in the soft wet ground whether to mark the way or just for fun I'm not sure. I will say that it would have been an entirely different story if we had gone there at night and the only light to see by being the flashlights we had brought with us.

Throughout the maze there were several numbered checkpoints with the answers to trivia questions on them. If you had not purchased a map, the answers were meaningless but the checkpoints were still handy to get your bearings. Since Mom had purchased two maps, we made it a game to find all of the checkpoints and read the kids the questions to see if they could guess the answers (or perhaps even read them). At one point James was so pleased with himself because he was able to read the answer! The grin on his face was a mile wide. You could easily become disoriented looking for the check points although none were terrible hard. Except for one! Number 6 was almost in the exact middle at the end of a long zig-zagging dead end with several branching intersections.

In the end, we were actually in the maze for just shy an hour and a half. So the kids learned some interesting trivia (such as the number of rows & amount of kernels on an ear of corn or how many eggs a hen lays in a year), saw lots of evidence of animals such as an ear of corn completely denuded of all kernels, got lots of sun & fresh air in their little bodies and only had to make two little side excursions into the stalks to quickly relieve themselves.

(A  nice slide-show will live here as soon as the site cooperates and gives me the code for it.)

After leaving the maze the children were slightly disappointed we weren't getting pumpkins from the "pumpkin patch" but none of them had brought their allowance. Instead, after snacking on apples, honey roasted sunflower seeds, baby carrots, raisins and some lovely dried apricots we set out on a rambling drive home. We took the back roads the better to appreciate the beautiful rollings hill of the Palouse hills dressed for autumn and to better see the houses dressed for Halloween.

This evening was nice as well. The kids don't get to see their grandmother very often for all that they live only a few short miles away. She stayed to read them each a story before leaving us to our own devices. Dinner was simple and quick, they enjoyed their documentary about extinct monsters of the deep and went to bed happy children. Carey wandered off to a game with his friends so now that I am done with my chores, I am enjoying a quiet household with only the peeping of the tea pot and a purring cat to keep me company. I now leave you in favor of a cup of aromatic rose tea and The Witches of Eastwick.


The House on Haunted Hill

Carey and I love watching classic movies; the older the better. Oddly enough, when I was growing up I wouldn't touch a black & white film with a 39 1/2 foot pole. In the almost 10 years of our co-existence I have come to see the error of my ways. Since it is October, last night I was wanting to watch something that was classic, suspenseful, didn't have a lot of blood and gore, that actually had a plot and had at least one distinctive voice in it. So that automatically precluded everything from about 1970 onward (at least for last night). I was wanting the suspense so I could curl up with Carey on the couch and pretend to be frightened. Of course, I hadn't included Carey falling asleep on me! LOL It took me a while weeding through Hulu's horror & suspense section to find a few likely candidates but as soon as I saw Vincent Price's name on this one I snagged it.

The House on Haunted Hill is classic Vincent Price. Eccentric millionaire Fredrick Loren (Price) and his 4th wife, Annabelle, have invited five people to the house on Haunted Hill for a haunted house party. Loren rented a real "haunted house" (a house that had seen seven murders at various times) from the owner, also one of the guests. The guests arrived in funeral cars and were given party favors in little coffins. Any of the guests willing to stay in the house for one night will earn ten thousand dollars each. As the night progresses, all the guests are trapped inside the house with ghosts, murderers, and other terrors. There are falling chandeliers, vats of acid, ghosts literally coming out of the woodwork, etc.

There are very good suspense and horror flicks on the market right now, but many of them still can't hold a candle to old films that require you to use your imagination to round out the details. The House on Haunted Hill is certainly one of those. It's all a bit campy but the suspense and twists are still there; it's full of ghosts, murder, mayhem, betrayal and greed. The guests include Loren & his wife, a young employee of Loren's (that girl certainly had a pair of lungs on her!), a psychiatrist, a pilot, a columnist and of course the owner of the house. There is tension between Loren and his wife (whom seems very reluctant to be there), the typist is very nervous and wants to leave almost immediately (but is kept from doing so by the caretakers leaving early), the owner that keeps relating the gory history of the house and moaning the ghosts are coming for everyone, and then there is the psychiatrist who very emphatically doesn't believe in ghosts. There is supposedly no connection between any of the guests besides them all needing the money rather badly (except the psychiatrist whom is there to investigate the supernatural although he doesn't believe in it so it makes one wonder what else he's up to) and none of them know the others at all although, a few twists at the end reveal otherwise.

They did a great job with the atmosphere of the house but I was little frustrated that they used an art deco mansion for a haunted house supposedly over a hundred years old. Once you were in inside it didn't matter though. Price has one of those distinctive voices (voices that are immediately recognizable and you listen just for the sake of listening) that work admirably for horror and suspense. He brought the creepiness to the party and it added just the touch needed as the guests suffer through their frightful night. Price as usual delivers his lines with a hint of his dark almost comedic timing. There are a couple of quotes of his that I loved. One, when he confronts his wife about serving him "arsenic on the rocks". Or "Don't sit up all night thinking of ways to get rid of me, it makes wrinkles." There is clearly no love lost between those two.

When Carey and I watch a movie, we often drop in on IMDB to check out ratings of the movie, learn odd bits of trivia, etc. One of the questions posted was "Was the house really haunted?". That was certainly a valid supposition; it really could go either way. Some say the nervous typist was having hallucinations other than just the few tricks that are being played on her to twist her to the needs of two of the guests. Others believe there really is a malevolent core about the house and the machinations of the other guests were twisted into it's reality. The feeling I got was that it was actually a bit of both. There was the foundation of a house with a very macabre past. Houses really can take on a personality although it's often just a feeling that can send shivers. Add to it a very nervous personality, a psychiatrist to push & pull at just the right moments and an atmosphere of tension and terror and you have a house full of the supernatural.

Some more fun, campy, good suspenseful movies you could watch:

This of course is just a small smattering of suspenseful out there. In the early to mid part of the twentieth century, the masters were quite prolific. We will not see their kind again.



Lately I have been using my Blogger dashboard to keep track of other blogger blogs (what a mouthful) especially since James' teacher has started keeping a blog for the class. I have also been toying with the idea of taking pen to paper, so to speak, and begin writing again. I have missed it so; it was a wonderful release for me. This blog originally began at the very end of 2006 as way to keep far-flung family appraised of what my horde was up to in their daily life. It was especially for my grandmother and she read it the most. However, a lot of the wind went from my sail when she passed almost three years ago. Has it been so long already? The heart was gone from it and though I occasionally dropped in to do a post, it wasn't often.

Later, as I felt more up to writing again, I discovered something had gone wrong with my formatting and all of my posts began at the bottom of my page after all of the pictures & links in my sidebar had ended; not fun. That discouraged me mightily since for the life of my I couldn't figure out what was wrong! But I have finally taken the plunge. So today heralded a new beginning! This blog has had a complete overhaul with a new background, new colors, new formatting and everything. I was sad to see the old go but I am pleased with the new format. I will have lots of links and pictures to add back in. That will have to wait for my free time tomorrow however.

The new card system for the housekeeping chores that I have adapted from the SHE system is starting to work well , another new beginning for us. The children have given only the normal protestations expected from the small fry when it comes to dumping the garbage or scooping the litter box. I am slowly catching up on the boxes and clutter left from the move and I hope to have it completely finished by my birthday (only a month & a half!). It would be nice to have family for Thanksgiving and not have to worry about hiding the clutter in my bedroom. :D It would also be nice to have friends over and not worry about what they're thinking, even if they're too nice to voice their opinions. Carey has finally started helping, too! Now that he's being handed several cards every morning, he can't say he didn't know what needed to be done. LOL I can't either come to think of it; not when I have the cards staring me in the face. That little box of cards has actually started to become a lifeline for me since I have to look at it every morning and I don't have an excuse to forget appointments anymore. I swear, I would forget my head if it weren't bolted on!

That little box of cards is also what's enabling me to have my free time although, I must admit that I would prefer to be working on my Halloween wall hanging right now. It's the usual scene of haunted house, witches, ghosts, pumpkins etc. I'm using the trampunto technique and doing it by hand so it's taking me a while. I had barely begun this five years ago when it got put away and I just found it again as I was going through boxes. I don't think I'll be able to finish it by this Halloween but I hope to be able to hang it proudly by next year. We shall see. I will perhaps have it machine quilted when I am finished. I'm not sure about that one yet. Either way, if it comes out well I'm toying with the idea of displaying it at the fair next year and perhaps even the Church's quilt show that we do every year in conjunction with one of the services in late fall/early winter.

Today was scary. A ton of snow had dumped on us last night and even at 10:20, most of the streets hadn't been plowed and some of them still hadn't even been touch by a car at all. I decided to take the boys with me to Church. Carey holed up with a good movie and two girls snuggled on his chest while he nursed his bad knee.

I had a hell of a time getting up the hill to the Church and I dreaded every stop sign. Each time I stopped, I had to fight to get it going across the intersection and through the next block. There was only one service today because of a congregational meeting so there were few people there when I arrived. I can't say that the service was enjoyable because I missed it. I decided to stay and help out with James' RE class when I discovered how many children were there. Normally, with the two different services, most of the children come to first one and so there are usually no more than four or five children in RE for the second service. However, today there were close to twenty!

The teacher read two different perspectives of the story of the wise men (today, after all, is Three Kings Day): The Stone and the original bible version. The kids then got to make little spice boxes out of egg cartons decorated with sparkles, sequins, markers, etc. James' did a great job of his. I wandered around helping the kids when needed. One child went all out with his and wasn't doing just one egg cup like all the others, he was doing a complete carton! It was really fancy. The top was covered in glitter and then he put glue lines down it with the plan of putting sequins on them but he kept getting glue on his fingers right along with the sequins he was trying to set down so I showed him how to use a pair of small scissors to drop the sequins on with. Then it was snack time. And let me tell you: powdered sugar, glue and sequins makes for a very big mess. An Epiphany Cake was made and had been dusted with powdered sugar. It was really good though.

Afterwards, I helped clean up. Most of the children had left when it was discovered that one had locked himself in the bathroom. When asked who it was, the child replied "Me". Any guesses as to whom that child was? Yep, it was James. Bleh.... It took us twenty minutes to get the knob off and the damn door open. Although there was a little trip switch for the lock, we couldn't get it to go so it's thought that it's worn out. While he and Charles played outside with a couple of other boys, I helped finish the cleaning inside while I talked to one of the other women from my homeschool group who also happens to be a Unitarian. We talked quite abit about the different philosophies and she's gotten me interested in Thomas Jefferson Education. Depending on how you look at it, it's a very unschooling approach but it's also very classical. It was time to go and we wandered outside to collect our boys which is when I discovered that James' coat was still inside the Church as well as my stuff. I hadn't brought any of it with us when we went over for RE class. I was glad that I barely caught the Reverand Kayle, who was just leaving.

So, everyone said goodbye, we loaded up and we were off. Not. We were stuck! One gentleman tried to help me push it out, but she was just in too deep. I finally went int to call Carey and let him now. He recommended just walking home but I really didn't want to leave the van there. So started a twenty minute struggle with Nature. I dug out as much snow as I could from around the tires, and then I rocked it. The van finally got loose, but there wasn't enough traction to actually get me out of the ruts. So I got to back partially down the hill to the end of the block where I backed into a parking lot and was finally able to turn around and finish going down the hill. Where I got the shit scared out of me. At the bottom of the hill is a stop sign where the street intersects with one of two main one way streets. I slid right through the stop and halfway into the first lane of the one way with oncoming traffic. I would have slammed into a vehicle if it had been unable to get over into another lane. That was really scary and I just sat there while the rest of the traffic finished passing from that wave of lights. I then continued on my way and stopped at Carey's parents. I had to drop off some stuff that had been borrowed and I also wanted to call Carey that I had gotten out and was on the way home.

Carey had made soup for lunch, but due to a miscalculation (and the fact that I don't like chicken noodle) I dug out something else. It was just a light lunch: garlic cheese, some herbed crackers and sardines in a garlic sauce. Of course I had neglected to read the ingredients of the sardines and discovered that they had been packed in oil, which I didn't care for. However, the kids loved them and they kept asking for more. I had bought the small tin as an experiment and it had such good results I think I'll buy more. In the end, the kids ate most of the tin between themselves. At first they kept asking for more "tuna" and I finally got it through their heads that it wasn't tune and then they called it "deens". LOL

After lunch, since it had warmed up considerably, and most of the streets had been plowed, we decided on a trip to the mall. We were wanting some storage chests for Deedee's room and I'd seen a couple of cute ones at Ross yesterday. Alas, those were gone but we did get a couple of cute things that fit under bed perfectly. She has already filled one with her dress up clothes, and the other one she started placing some toys in. She really likes them. One is white whicker with a lid and a blue gingham lining. The other one is open but it has a mod design of circles in green, turqoise and fuschia on a light turqoise background. She loves it.

Carey made some great spaghetti tonight. He had meant to make meatballs but he didn't get the meat out soon e nough so we wound up with just a meat sauce instead but it steall tasted good. We even had real parmesan from some stuffed shells I mad a couple of weeks ago. That always tastes much better than the powdered parmesan usually bought for pasta.

Carey made me sit down and watch The Big Sleep after the kids had gone to bed. It was a lot better than I expected it to be from the description and I enjoyed it.
Today was busy. Carey kicked me out early for my usual me time this morning. So, first I wandered over to a local used furniture and antique store with the idea in mind of finding some shelves for the diningroom. We still have books and stuff coming out of our ears that need to be organized better. I didn't find the shelf I was looking for. The only one that I tagged as a possibility proved two inches too big for the space. :( However, I was excited over some other treasures that I found.

I bought a vintage 1958 Parker Brothers game called Finance and wonder of wonders, it's actually complete! I also got my hands on two record sets: The Wonderful World of Music for Children and Musical Adventures for Young People. I'm quite pleased with both of these. Each set has four double sided records. The Wonderful World has general songs such as Skip to My Lou and Frere Jacques on record 1, record two are songs from great shows including 76 Trombones from The Music Man, record 3 are more general songs such as How much Is That Doggie in the Window and The Teddy Bears' Picnic. Record 4 has muscial tales including Peter and the Wolf (sadly, not the complete version) and The Sorcerer's Apprentice. Muscial Adventures also has some great stuff. Record 1 is full of stories such as In The Hall of the Mountain King and Billy the Kid, selections. Record 2 Marching songs such as The Stars and Stripes Forever or some from movies such as March of the Toys. It haslo has selections from H.M.S. Pinafore which got Carey really excited and he put that right on. Record 3 has traveling and adventures such as Spanish Rhapsody and Victory at Sea. Record is full of classics such as The Thieving Magpie overture and Dream Pantomime.

Of course, the hardest thing with records is getting the kids to understand that they can't bounce around while we listen to one because it will skip and mess up. They do like listening to them though. James insisted on listening to a small ABC on that I have twice and he enjoyed singing along with it.

I also got my hands on a Jody Bergsma print, The Land of Nod. It was a limited run, only 1000 were made. It's a wonderful picture with one of her little people and a great poem accomanying it. Mister Charles claimed it when I brought it in so it now hangs in the boys room.

I then went to Ross where I picked up a few items before heading to Bed, Bath and Beyond to get the humidifier for Carey. I was a little disheartened at the prices. The one that I really wanted was well out of reach, at $200. And I didn't want another small one such as the one that crapped out on us so quickly, after only one season. So I got one from HoMedics called Brethe. It's really a humidifier per se in that it doesn't send out a ton of mist or steam. Some little botanical scents came with it to add to the water which does scent the house very well. What I like is that moisture is being sent out into the air with the scent. It's gentle, although a bit noisy. I also like that I can set it down near the children and not worry about them getting burned, which did happen once with our previous humidifier. :( So, we'll see in the long run how good this choice was.

I ate lunch at the Co Op and sat reading a book while I ate it. I ordered a wonderful bread bowl full of herbed beef stew as well as a large mug of spiced apple cider. The cider was wonderfull as well, especially after I added a dash of cardamom and nutmeg to it. I enjoyed that repast and then wandered up to the library. I brought home another huge stack of books that the kids have attacked.

As soon as I got home Carey got James ready to go and they took off for some one on one time. They went to see Water Horse and James really enjoyed it. He didn't really say much about it when he got home, and he didn't answer questions very well but he says that he wants it. They also stopped off and bought a new frog and a couple of fish. James, of course, has already names it Charlie. I tried to get him to pick a different name but he insisted.

Carey took off for his game after helping put the children to bed. He was busy tickling Deedee and nibbling on her belly when she squealed that "I not food. Don't eat me". It was so cute. So of course Carey grabbed one of her arms and nibbled even more while she squirmed and giggled.

It was starting to snow when he left and I'm glad that he decided to come home early because of it. He fell and hurt his knee when he slipped on some ice hidden by the snow. It was his "good knee" that he landed on. It's now swollen and purple.
Last night during the group meeting, one of the women discussed the fun she had that morning at a local park and everyone said it would be a lot of fun to go there today. In the end, we didn't make it although I certainly planned on doing so. I even got up an hour early so I could get some stuff done before I had to get the kidlets ready to go. I had them fed, clothed in several layers and stuffed into their snowsuits by 8:30 for the twenty minute drive to the park. The plan was to stay there for perhaps two hours. I hauled them all outside to get loaded up only to discover that my husband apparently forgot about this little excursion and took the van to work today! >:(

So here were the kids, all ready to go and pumped up with excitement with the thought of maybe seeing beavers and stuff so they weren't very happy about it. They all set up a very loud ruckus when I tried to herd them back inside. So I loaded the girls into our bike trailer and we went to the little Burman Creek Park. It's only about a 10 minute walk for us. They spent the better part of an hour running around there, making snow angels, "fishing", etc. I wish I haven't managed to lose my camera. There were several shots I would have dearly loved to capture:

  1. Deedee and Charles were actually holding hands for a bit as they walked.
  2. James sitting on the bank by the creek "fishing". He found the perfect stick to his pole. It was long and tapered to point on the end. It was very pliable and looked exactly like a pole.
  3. Kitty making a snow angel.

They had a ton of fun and I only headed home when I noticed the nasty black clouds moving in.

We also had an impromptu funeral for James' little frog, Charlie while we were there. James discovered that he had died this morning and he was pretty upset about it. He insisted on putting the little thing into a baggy with some water and hauled him with us on the walk. He then chose a spot along the creek to say goodbye and poured him out. He was upset for a few minutes, he even cried and said that Charlie was his best friend.

In the end it was OK that we didn't make it to the planned excursion. One woman wimped out because of the cold, one had a tooth break on her, I was stranded with no mode of transportation, and the woman that had originally proposed it got there an hour late. So even if I had made it, and actually found my way there I would have thought no one else was coming. I may have stayed for a while, but would probably have left before the other woman arrived.

We put the kids to bed early tonight. They were all exhausted from all of the walking they did to and from the park, as well as the hour that they ran around there. I was surprised that they went so quietly. They must have been more tired that I thought.

Carey got some boxes cleaned out and then we relaxed with Oh! Heavenly Dog. I don't recall seeing this movie before but it was cute. I enjoyed it and I think the kids will too. Kitty amused herself with a set of keys. She alternately banged them on a new metal dump truck the kids just got or tried them in the lock on the entertainment center. We bought the center used when our previous one proved too small for our TV (Carey didn't measure properly). It has a small door with a lock on it although, the key was long lost when we bought it and we've never replaced even though it's been discussed. So the lock is well within her reach. She would hold up a key and try to line it up and insert said key. She even got it in a few times and then got frustrated when the key wouldn't turn. I didn't realized that she even knew what a key was for! We let her be with it though. It kept her quiet and worked on hand eye coordination at the same time.

She's getting another molar and the top left eye tooth has popped through. Her newest word is "Stinky". She certainly knows what it means too. She came up to us, pulling at her diaper and saying it just as the miasma drifted over to us. She certainly was stinky all right.

Carey also had a bloody nose tonight! We were just watching the movie when his left nostril just started gushing. He told me that it's the third time in two weeks that it's happened. So, I dug out our humidifier only to discover it had sprung several leaks from the bottom while in storage. Grrr... so I'll have to get a new one soon.

Charlie the ADF

Her is a picture of Charlie last year (wow, is really last year already?), just after James'birthday and at this time we've had him for a year. He's the little green blob right in front of the pirate barrel.

Today was relatively uninteresting. Lots of cleaning, a well deserved break playing my new game Voyage, and the usual antics of the children.

James saw only Kathy this morning and he did well. Kathy and I discussed him going to the meeting by himself next week since he did that with Carey the last couple of weeks and he did great. So, we'll see how he does next week.

Carey did kick me out this evening when he found out some of the women from my homeschool group were getting together and he kicked me out. I enjoyed sitting back with some good women of like minds without the interruption of little ones. The meeting was at a popular local coffee house. I've only been in their twice, including this time, but I really like the ambiance. It's full of comfy arm chairs, couches, small tables in secluded nooks, etc. I ordered a large chai and settled back with the five other women who had come. We talked about all kinds of stuff ranging from different homeschool philosophies, curriculum, field trips coming up, knitting, sheep, and other general day to day stuff. I found out that one of the women was older than I though. She has an 8 year old son and she's 49.

There was also a reporter there! I enjoyed talking with her. She has a son she's talking about homeschooling herself. So I think she gleaned more from us than just fodder for an article. The article will be in the January 19-20 issue of the Moscow Pullman Daily news and she's hoping to attend an upcoming field trip at an art studio for a photo op. I may or may not be featured in it, although it would be interesting if I was. I did make sure the kids names were spelled properly just in case.

The most amusing story belonged to one of the women, Gabrielle, about her youngest son Sammy. He has taken to making up really silly and nonsensical super heroes. He will take a word or even a sentence and add the word "man" to the end of it. One of his creations was called Penis Man (I kid you not, his mother was in tears she was laughing so hard over this). He came up with lots of adventures that would only actually have a sexual overtone for someone old enough to understand. To him, they were completely innocent. The story involves a trip to the grocery store, him, and a group of perhaps Mennonite? children. (I can already hear the groans and snickers). He got along quite well with one of the girls and they were having an animated conversation. Sammy wanted to play so he jumped into the middle of the aisle with his arms and legs splayed out and cried "Hey, everyone, lets go for a ride on the Penis Mobile!". Oh, Goddess, I'm laughing just thinking about it. Gabrielle says the whole group went deathly silent and bug eyed. She had to explain to him that not everyone is comfortable with the term "penis" and it's associated connotations so it would be better if Penis Man only came out to play at home.

I was glad to get a ride home with one of the women. I had walked down, only a 10 minute walk but in the ensuing two hours the temperature had dropped drastically and I didn't relish the walk. Wonder of wonders, even Kitty was asleep when I arrived so Carey and I settle down to spend some time together. We watched the first two episodes of CSI season 1 that had arrived that day from Net Flix. That is one of the few shows that I actually miss with no TV. I was happy to discover that Net Flix has the complete set of every season so they've all been added to my que. I will gradually get to watch them over the next several months. There are only two or three episoded per disc and I get one disc at a time. I have also interspersed those discs with movies and stuff that the kidlets would like to watch or even documentaries and other general educational stuff I'd like them to watch. In fact, next up in our que before I recieve my next CSI installment is The Music Man 2003 remake and Wallace & Gromit. Everyone liked the original The Music Man so much that I thought I'd see how well this one was made. However, based upon a video I saw of one of the kids' favorite songs, Shipoopi, it already seems that it just doesn't have the same sparkle and the sheer amount of energy that is displayed in the original elaborate musicals that I so enjoy but I'll reserve complete judgement until I see it.

Alas, we also discovered that James little African Dwarf Frog Charlie breathed his last and passed on sometime within the last day or two. Carey and I talked about just going and getting a new one, and not telling James, but in the end we felt it better to just tell him the truth. He has to deal with this kind of stuff some time and we won't help him any if we shelter him to that extent. So, sometime within the next few days we'll hold a little funeral and James will get to go down and pick a new pet. This really didn't come as that great of a surprise. When I bought a new tank in December, the guy I was talking to was amazed that we still had Charlie since their lifespans really aren't that long.
Today was nice. The kids actually slept in a bit for once (and so allowed us to do so as well :D)and they cooperated with their morning chores. Deedee even made her bed unasked although I'm not sure if piling her blankets in the middle of the bed really counts. LOL

This afternoon our homeschool group met for a day of snow fun and sledding several miles out of town. Now, I was told it was a big hill, but wow. I really wasn't expected it to be as big as it was. It took forever to get to the top. The snow wasn't packing well today, it was just powder. So every step I took I had to fight the saucer in one hand, a Kitty under an arm, and a Charles in the other hand. I never did go down myself. I was just thinking of trying it, but Kitty started shivering. It was pretty darn cold today, and with the wind chill, it was downright frigid. Deedee didn't stay out much longer than I did but Carey and the boys were out there almost an hour. They had a blast. There was hot chili, sourdough bread, hot orange juice, chips & dip, and tea waiting for them when they came in. It was a nice enjoyable hour spent talking to people I haven't seen very often lately, as well as a nice opportunity for the kids. While not as many showed up as was hoped, the kids still did great and liked playing with the others. A possible play date has been tentatively set with one of the parents. When it came time to leave, Carey had to concentrate to get out. He had to back the van down a hill that hadn't been plowed and he wasn't very happy about it.

We were supposed to go to Pullman to look a shelf we saw listed on Craigslist, but he was too tired and wet to want to drive that far so instead we drove back to town listening to the pleas of our offspring to go sledding some more.

We dropped in at the store real quick for milk and stuff. Carey found some chocolate covered cherries, mint flavored. That might be an interesting combo but for me, I certainly can't eat more than one. I was stupid and over indulged last night in the damn things and considering they're always too rich for me, I don't know why I insist on eating them.

After dinner the kids were excited because we played a new game they got for Christmas, Zingo. It's like bingo. The cards have pictures with the name of the item. There are corresponding chips, two are drawn at a time. You have to say the name of the item to get it. So even if you grab it first, if someone beats you to calling it out, they still get it. It was so funny because James started calling things and grabbing them when he didn't even need them. Kitty didn't play but she did help me put it away. She crawled right up on the table and started putting the little chips back in their case. I told her she was doing a good job and she actually said thank you!

We got the kids ready for bed and read some great books to the little buggers. I'm so thankful that I can hold books at the library with just a few pushes of a button on a keyboard at home, so I don't have to spend an hour wandering around, chasing after kids and hoping I actually find some good books. However, that does take all the fun out of it, so sometimes I still just wander around and randomly choose books. You never know what you're going to find that way.

Carey hit the for sale bin at our local movie rental place. I wasn't happy to see so many vhs coming in when the whole point was to be getting rid of them but I do admit he got a few good ones. Tonight we watch The Cannonball (not a good one). There were a few funny moments and stuff but it was a pretty pointless movie unless you into the thought of a car being sexy and like watching them push to the limits.

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Today was just a long lazy day. Carey and the boys spent a lot of time sledding again. Kitty really wanted to go too. So bad in fact that she went running out after them wearing nothing but her sisters snow boots and was very dissapointed that she got pulled back in the house. LOL

We have so much snow out there that they built a small snow fort. Carey built up the walls and then used the kids saucers to form the roof before piling the snow on top of them. It wasn't very big. There was enough room for one to be comfortable or two to squeeze in tight. I got some good pictures of it. Poor little Charles got mashed underneath it when the roof collapsed (helped along by their wonderful father) and wasn't very happy about it since he got quite a bit of snow down his suit. After Carey cleared away the saucers he helped the boys build back up the walls although he wouldn't put a roof back on it. Since so many children play outside unsupervised here, Carey thought it would be irresponsible of him to leave something up that could collapse on someone and possible hurt them.

The kids decided that they wanted to be Indian Chiefs today and so they painted their faces with some of their markers. They looked hilarious and they were quite proud of themselves.

We have introduced the kids to musicals and they've fallen in love. This week they've watched The Music Man and Guys & Dolls. They really didn't pay that much attention to Guys & Dolls but I think that's probably because they were too busy running around singing music from The Music Man. Two of their favorite songs were Shipoopi as sung by Buddy Hackett and Gary Indiana.

Luck of all luck, a spider has chosen to make his abode with us this winter, specifically a P. phalangioides (otherwide known as daddy longlegs). It's been spotten several times in the bathroom over the last few days and today the kidlets noticed it for the first time and have "adopted" it as a pet. They've always been taught that spiders are lucky and are good to have around. Especially since they take care of the icky bugs that we definitely don't want around so they were happy to welcome it. It was funny watching them boil down the stairs with excitement screeching about the spider taking a bath. :D

I can't believe this year has gone by so fast. So much has happened that it's hard to put it all in context. Kitty is walking & talking, Deedee can count to two and draw circles, Charles learned how to pedal his bike, and James is talking much better. We moved, Carey is now oficially a Junior and me.... well I just walked me ass off everywhere all summer and don't even have the smaller pant size to proove it. :( LOL I didn't lose one darn pound this summer. I know, I know, I traded fat for muscle but it would have been nice to change at least a little bit. :D

We don't have tv so there was no way to watch the ball drop in New York. However, Carey got the bright idea of seeing if there was a live feed on the computer and he actually found one. So, at 9 on the dot we all watched it drop. The kids really liked it and wanted to watch it again. They were dissapointed when we explained that they would have to wait until next year. Or, I guess I should say at the end of this one. :D