Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hangin' with Cleo, Darth, a Clone, and Snow White in the Hood

Considering the fact that it was not dark enough for Trick or Treating when we awoke this morning, the excitement mounted throughout the day. The costumes were donned by early afternoon, and there was a little mixing up going on here and there:

Of course, once she donned the red jacket to keep out the cold, no one was sure if she was Snow White or Red Riding Hood. The black red-striped stockings helped add to her RRH look.

Finally, it was time to go. We don't live in a regular neighborhood, so we had plans to meet some friends. All of our little Halloween spirits were not at all dampened by the continuous sprinkling, so we began our trek around the neighborhood.

I think our friends know what they're doing because the kids have never done so well. Their buckets were full to the top with all. good. candy. They even each scored a full-sized candy bar from one of our last stops.

When we got home, the customary negotiations took place.

And of course once they were in bed, I stole borrowed my share.

For more Halloween pictures, visit Musings of a Housewife.

Halloween Conversations with a Four-Year-Old

Audrey: When is Halloween?

Me: Tomorrow.

Audrey: (cue high, shrill, excited voice) Tomorrow?!!!!

Me: Yep!

Audrey: Does that mean when I wake up it will be dark, and we can go Trick-or-Treating?!!!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Grafting Story

Monday morning. Dentist appointments. For all four children. Actually, it sounds worse than it really was. We used to dread dentist appointments for the children because it meant pinning at least one of them down with all our might while an assistant pried a little mouth open and attempted--amidst the blood-curdling screams--to insert a sharp dental tool. Now the children are all so well-mannered in the dentist's chair, those dreadful moments are but a long-distant dream.

The children are, in fact, more well-mannered at the dentist than I am. I would rather be on my back at the GYN's with my feet up in...well, suffice to say I don't like the dentist. At all. Not the dentist personally; she's actually a very nice lady who tells us our teeth are "delicious". It's the whole going to the dentist thing, enduring the scraping sound, answering the accusing questions like So do you floss everyday?, etc., etc. And I say that our dentist tells us our teeth are delicious, which actually is not the whole truth. She has yet to tell me that because I have not been in, well, a really long time, so I have yet to experience this new dentist's torture care. My husband says we've already met our deductible this year so it would be prudent for me to get my cleaning in before the year's end. I'm fighting him tooth (and nail).

Anyway, Monday it was. At the dentist. With all four children. Jacob's teeth are "delicious", and the only thing he may need in the future are braces to make all of his teeth squish together. Alex requires a mouth expander to correct her jaw, after which she will require braces. We already knew this and have her scheduled at the orthodontist next month. Audrey is too young to really tell much except for the fact that her mouth is a mini-Alex-mouth (the dentist's words, not mine), so if we have any of the children's college fund left by the time her turn rolls around, I guess we already know what treatment she will require.

As for Michael. Oh, his poor little mouth. He requires the same jaw extender followed by braces as Alex and already has his ortho appointment scheduled as well. What really concerns me about him are his receding bottom gums. The dentist attributes it to him being a mouth breather, which I thought meant he breathes through his mouth (duh!); however, she explained that because his bottom and top teeth do not come together, "mouth breather" refers to the fact that a lot of air enters through his teeth into his mouth. No idea what this has to do with receding gums, but anyway. The whole ortho thing as well as better brushing, she said, should keep his gums from getting worse.

However. There is no way to correct the problem that has already progressed. I was told that later he may require a graft. I know all about grafting because when I was little, I was involved in an accident which resulted in my best friend receiving skin grafts on her leg burn. But in the mouth? On the gums? Unfortunately, I asked a couple of questions like, Where does the gum skin for grafting come from? There are two choices: from the roof of his mouth or from a cadaver.

I think I threw up in my mouth a little when she said that. Not that I am not grateful to anyone who donates their organs. Or gums. And not that cadavers gross me out. I mean, I've always wanted to take Gross Anatomy just so I could work on a cadaver. However, you know and I know that I would not stick a piece of my cadaver's gums in my pocket to use later in my son's mouth when I got home from the lab.

She told me all of this in a whispered tone as if my son knows all about grafting and cadavers. He of course was oblivious to it, much as he apparently is oblivious to effective teeth brushing. I have moved all of the kids' toothbrushes down to my bathroom so I can take the chore over again. Except for Alex's; the dentist said she is brushing well.

Like I said, they all did great reclined in their chairs, under the bright lights, decked out in sunglasses, watching the Disney channel of choice. Alex even sat calmly through that especially torturous dental exercise of cramming a gigantic plastic tray of goo in your mouth which you must then hold in there for a blasted Eternity, all the while fighting it with your tongue while fighting to breathe at the same time. When I checked in on her and saw the thing protruding from her mouth, I gagged and had to excuse myself from the room immediately.

Audrey is the only one who fussed at all. During her cleaning, she cried because she did not like the taste of the dentist's choice of toothpaste. While this may seem a trivial and silly matter to the regular person, anyone of royalty knows that when something foreign and unpleasant touches a princess' palate, a few tears must be shed. Her tears dried quickly, however, when the hygienist lead her to the huge Treasure Chest.

The Treasure Chest is always something to look forward to at our dentist's office. As is the chocolate treat. Yes, our dentist has bowls of chocolates lying around her office. I teased her about this once, and she explained that chocolate is not bad for your teeth, just the chewy and hard candies.

Chocolate. That magic word. In spite of myself, I may learn to like this dentist. If you need me, I'll be summoning up the courage to make that call and get me penciled penned in to the appointment book.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

You Capture - (My Town in) Autumn

I think we're going to have a spectacularly beautiful season this autumn. I use the future tense because I suspect if I just had one more week, we'd have this autumn thing in the bag. Currently, there is still just a little bit of summer lingering; however, with the bursts of colors creating a patchwork mix with the summer greens--and some evergreens--it is indeed beautiful.
My town wears autumn very well.

It's a small town in the Bible belt, so there is a church on every corner. Steeples look lovely clothed in autumn.

A railroad track that cuts my town in two is lined with autumn.

One border of my town is a beautiful lake, which peacefully and serenely reflects autumn.

If we were really into American football, we aren't too far from our NFL team's training facility. Autumn makes a gorgeous backdrop for the field.

Here in my town farming is still a way of life, though on a small scale. Autumn brought harvest time.

Yes, with every passing day, my little town's autumn wardrobe is looking more and more lovely!

For more autumn pictures, visit I Should Be Folding Laundry.

One-Liner Wednesday: Grafting Edition

Every Wednesday, my new friend at Running with Letters hosts One-Liner Wednesday. For One-Liner, you are to come up with one sentence that is mysterious and enigmatic. As ambiguous as such a sentence may be, it must still have something to do with a current event in your life. You may choose to share more details about this event. Or not.

So here's mine. I'll share the whole story tomorrow or Friday whenever I get around to it.

At some point, a graft must be completed either using the roof or a cadaver.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Halloween Tradition

It's our Halloween tradition:

I just keep hoping one year the Great Pumpkin will actually show up so that Linus will not have to face the fury of a woman scorned, which as we all know, is "nothing compared to the fury of a woman who has been cheated out of tricks or treats."

Or that Charlie Brown will look in his bag and discover a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup or a Bottlecap or something. Because, as I've confessed before, his discovery of a rock always makes me cry a little.

Monday, October 26, 2009

DF (Discussions on Frugality) - Best Deal of the Week

Warning: I have 1 or 2 male readers, a stat which includes my dear husband. However low that number may be, however, I thought it prudent to issue a warning of sorts. So here goes...if you have little no interest in hearing the best deal out there on feminine hygiene products, I will not be in the least offended if you just click the little x at the top right of your screen.

You're welcome.

So here's the deal. I went to Rite Aid today with my littlest man (and if he only knew what those items in that box are, he would never have agreed to go with me). There they have Kotex Lightdays on sale for $2.99.

But wait. Through their rebate program, Rite Aid is offering a $2.00 rebate on the purchase of the $2.99 Lightdays, bringing the price down to just $.99. And the rebate program is so much easier now. Back when Rite Aid was Eckerds, you had to locate receipts, copy receipts, fill out forms, address envelopes, affix stamps. It was a process not really worth a rebate. Now you just go to the Rite Aid website, sign in, enter some info from your receipt, and you're done. The check shows up in your mailbox a few weeks later.

Where was I? Oh, yes...1 box (the rebate does limit 1) of Kotex Lightdays for $.99.

But wait. I had a coupon for $1.00. Which brings the price down to $-.01! I made a penny on my purchase. Now those are the type of transactions that make coupons totally worth the hassle.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Chaos Culprit

This past week was an extremely disorganized week for us, for me, and I positively, unequivocally blame it on Laundry. Since we were waterfalling and pumpkining on Monday, I missed my Laundry Day. Tuesday rolled around with its usual Chaos, and I was only able to get a load or two done at day's end, leaving the rest of the chore for Wednesday. While the pile of dirty clothes did indeed begin to shrink by mid-day Wednesday, the pile of clothes-waiting-to-be-folded was growing as quickly as a herd of rabbits (did you know a group of rabbits is called a "herd"?).

Then my own Laundry Day was interrupted by my brother-in-law's Laundry. He moved out of his house in a record 3 days this week, and I thought he might like some clean clothes.

So as the Laundry Pile began to take over the house, the rest of our schedule went out the door. With interruptions of varying degrees and for a variety of reasons, our homeschooling this week became carschooling and schooling-out-of-a-bag-of-books. These kind of homeschooling days generally elicit little parental supervision, which may or may not result in mediocre work; the quality of said work has yet to be determined and will be once I have a moment to sit down with some Teacher's Manuals.

I have a good feeling about this next week because my Laundry Problem has been solved. My dear in-laws drove down yesterday afternoon to watch the children while I spent some Grown-Up Girl Time with my friends in the evening. My mother-in-law always insists that she enjoys folding laundry. While I am skeptical, who am I to argue? She folded it all while I was gone, so that all I had to do was sort it, one basket per kid. She's a lifesaver.

Despite our chaotic week, we did have some bright moments. One was our morning spent making cards for soldiers. A friend from co-op stuffs stockings for our great is that? Oh, and this is the same friend who brought in a live lobster for co-op on Tuesday.

So we had quite a group together for card-making, Christmas cookie eating, and general romping around. It was a good time, and I didn't think about the laundry once.

Of course I will be thinking about it again tomorrow morning because Monday is, once again, Laundry Day. And tomorrow the one interruption--dentist appointments for all the kids--takes place. Hopefully, though, the interruption paired with Laundry Day will not throw my whole week into Chaos again.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Discussions on Frugality

I've made a decision. I will change my "Frugal Fridays" to "Discussions on Frugality". Here are my reasons:

1. That sounds really sophisticated. And I'm a really sophisticated gal.

2. I don't want to trap myself into Fridays only. Because what if I get a really good deal or something on Thursday, and I can't wait until the next day to share it with you?

3. I accidentally stumbled upon the real Frugal Friday. And she has more than, uh, three readers. So who am I to steal her thunder? Ha. Ha.

I thought about calling it "Frank Frugality Discussions" just to get in the alliteration since that seems to be a title must in Blogdom. But the name Frank means nothing to me, so it would bother me everytime I posted it.

So. I did not sit down to waste a portion of my afternoon just to write an entire post about the name of my previous post. That would just be plain silly. Rather, I first wanted to thank Crossview for her Frugal Suggestions (no alliteration, and that doesn't even bother me), and to offer some coupon starting advice for Brownie.

In a nutshell, Crossview's tip is to Stockpile. I totally agree. If you see a good deal, snatch a bunch of 'em, whatever "'em" might be. However, unless you have need of 20 heads of lettuce--all at the same time--you probably want to focus your stockpiling energies to non-perishables (of course, meat works well to stockpile since it freezes).

Stockpiling is an especially brilliant idea if you have coupons for the item that is being offered at such a good deal. Obviously, you can get coupons in the Sunday paper, and that is my main source. There are many websites that have printable coupons as well; my only hesitation with those sites is that, one, many only allow you to print one copy (I'll get to why you should have at least two coupons for an item in a minute), and two, the ink cartridge on my printer is not cheap.

Like I said, I prefer to get mine from the Sunday paper, and I always grab the 2 papers for $2.50 bundle at Wal-Mart or Publix. This way I have only spent an extra $.50, but I get double the coupons. You need at least two coupons for each item for two reasons. First, it helps you if you are going to stockpile because you can use a coupon for each repeat item. Secondly, coupons are great for B1G1F items (that's Buy One, Get One Free).

Let's say, for example, Devil's Food cake mixes are regularly $2.25 (and I have no idea what they are regularly; I'm terrible at remembering regular prices. Note to self: Start a Price Book.) Anyway, let's say the cake mixes are priced at $2.25, and Publix is running a B1G1F promotion on them. That would be 2 for $2.25 for those of you who are slow. Then let's say you have two coupons, each offering $.50 off a Devil's Food cake mix. That would be $1.00 off of that $2.25, bringing your total to 2 cake mixes for $1.25. But wait! Let's say that your local Publix doubles coupons up to $.50. Why, that means each of those $.50 coupons are worth $1.00, making those two coupons equal a savings of $2.00! Which means that your 2 cake mixes will cost you a grand total of $.25. That's a pretty good deal, isn't it?

Now one point that Brownie made is that she generally finds that store brands are cheaper than name brands, even with a coupon. And she's right...if you are trying to buy the brand name item at its regular price. This is the most important rule about couponing: You have to combine coupons with sales. And that is where the research I mentioned in my last post comes in. You have to scour the ads and match coupons up with sale items you need or can stockpile for future use.

So, anyway, for what it's worth, that, my friends, is a bit of what I have gleaned from a couple of years of blog reading and trying to figure it out on my own. One of these days, I will try to post some of the links that have helped me learn about couponing. It really is kinda fun if you approach it like a game, a Let's-See-What-Awesome-Deal-I-Can-Get-This-Week Game.

Frugal Friday - Introduction

As a family, we've been later than others in feeling the effect of the poor economy. And certainly we have so much to be thankful for: Mark is gainfully employed by a company who treats him well, in a job he really enjoys. Still, we have lately been forced to tighten the belt a little, be more strict following our budget, and look for creative ways to make the dollar go just a little farther.

One way we did this was our Not Disney Disney Vacation. Since our hotel was paid for by our Club membership and our resort condo had a kitchen, we were able to stay for free and cook most of our meals at our temporary home. Of course, speeding tickets don't bode well for the budget, but such is life!

Another way in which we are being creative with the finances is by couponing. Unfortunately, the Not Disney Disney Vacation threw me off the couponing game a bit. This weekend I decided it was time to get back in the game. I sorted, tossed, clipped, and sorted some more. I'm armed with my coupon file box and ready to head out wherever the sales flyers lead me.

This couponing game does take considerable time to do right. There is, of course, the clipping. But then there is also the researching. And to really make it worthwhile, a significant amount of research is required. It's also difficult finding the balance of eating healthy while using coupons. A majority of coupons from the weekly paper are for junk items like Oreos, Lucky Charms, and other similar products I only want as a treat (notice I didn't limit that to my children; I'm a big fan of Oreos and Lucky Charms too). However, I have found that if I stockpile toiletries especially, we can save a bundle. What's great about stockpiling is I never find myself out of toothpaste right before I head out the door to a homeschool event where my morning breath would not be appreciated. There is always plenty of toothpaste in stock. It will take me awhile to build up my stock of coupons again, but I have a good start with today's paper and some I printed from

Besides couponing, I try to find time to read blogs and other types of articles on frugality. There are so many good tips out there. Part of what will keep me accountable and keep me in this game of frugality is posting great finds or creative ways we have saved money. That is what I want to do on Frugal Friday. And I would love to hear any tips you have to share. If I had more than 3 regular readers, I would certainly test my technological prowess and offer a Mr. Linky, but for now, if you have a tip to share, leave a comment. And please forgive the title. Certainly I am not the first to use "Frugal Friday" as a meme title; all of the creative titles with alliteration have been taken, my friends. I hope I am not infringing on anyone's copyrights.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

You Capture - Technology

Recently, my daughter asked me if I was alive before television was invented. I feigned offense but only half-heartedly because I remember asking my mother the same question. OK, so I did point out that, "I'm not that old" with mock indignation. Honestly, it is astounding to consider the advancement of technology in my lifetime. I mean, I made it through school and college leafing through musty Encyclopedias and wading through the old card-file system at the library. And I either wrote--literally--all of my papers or plunk, plunk, plunked them out on a typewriter. And, boy, was I a mean typist!

Being the education lover that I am, I occasionally long for a re-do. Can you imagine doing school with the WHOLE world right there at your fingertips? Perhaps that's why I homeschool, to live a whole other academic life vicariously through my children.

Certainly technology has opened so many possibilities. It does, however, also draw a two-edged sword--the information world is so very vast, it is easy to get lost. And spend A LOT of time getting lost. I have to be very careful I don't spend too much time on the computer. It is so easy to sit down "just to check email" and, an hour later, find myself checking out the very latest in homeschool science curriculum. There are two culprits that suck the time right out of my day when I'm on the computer:


and Blog World.

Of course, a close second time waster is the TV, but I make it a policy not to have it on during the day. Trying to teach school whilst catching up on the latest soap is not all that conducive to learning.

20 points if you can guess this show:

Make that 5 points. That was too easy. I was going to hit you with this next photo, but couldn't pass up the frame with Kramer in it.

OK, 20 points if you can guess the episode. Not that you win a prize or anything.

There is one piece of technology that does not distract me: the phone. I have a strong aversion to the phone. I don't know if this is because of my college job as one of those annoying people who interrupts you during your dinner to tell you that you will be receiving a free gift in the mail if you just sign up for something. Or perhaps it's the fact that, even if the children are on the far side of the house when I pick up the phone and dial the number, as soon as the other party picks up, I'm like a magnet. Or maybe I'm just shallow and tire of the small talk that has to take place at the beginning of every phone call.

Whatever the case, if you called my cellphone, you would likely get my voice mail which says something along the lines of, I am not answering because I usually forget to take the cellphone with me. And don't bother to leave a message because I rarely check.

I don't text either. In fact, I'm a texting dork. And of course I have no interest in owning an iPhone or any device of equal caliber. So on the off-chance that I am required to text someone, I still do the ol' 4-4, 3-3, 5-5-5, 5-5-5, 6-6-6. (20 more points if you can figure out what that spells).

So I guess you could say I have a love/hate relationship with technology. But I guess that's probably how most people love your computer until it crashes or freezes. Then not so much.

For more technologically inspired photos, visit I Should Be Folding Laundry.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Recipe for Perfection

Take a beautiful, sunny (for a change) day.

Add some very special friends.

A delicious meal at a Lodge with a View.

Go on a hike down hundreds of steps that ramble along beside a breathtaking waterfall.

Take the steps with a child-like gusto that equals so much speed you barely have a moment to appreciate the waterfall.

Throw in a second outing to the pumpkin patch down the road.

Add a hayride.

And a game of Pumpkin Patch Tag.

And you have the Perfect Day.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas. Already.

After picking Alex up at a sleepover yesterday morning, we headed to Sam's, hoping to score a little free lunch. Unfortunately, we were too early for samples; however, we did enjoy roaming the warehouse looking at the Christmas gifts and decorations that already crowd the aisles. Upon returning home, it seemed the only appropriate thing to do was get the Christmas music out.

I love Christmas music. My favorite Christmas album has, for years, been Celine Dion's. Although I'm not Catholic, I absolutely love her rendition of Ave Maria. She sings it beautifully. I also like the assortment of unique songs mixed with traditional hymns, which again, she sings beautifully.

This is always a nostalgic time for me. Even 20 years removed from it, this is the season when I miss Africa the most. Yes, I love celebrating the holiday with the family I have started a world apart from my life in Africa, but every year, I get such a deep longing to be back "home" with my family.

Perhaps this homesickness I feel every year is what has made it difficult for me to obtain that Christmas Spirit feeling many talk about. Over the years I have scoured Family Fun magazines, read blogs, and talked to friends about the season and always feel a little jealous of those families that have this repertoire of holiday traditions that are so definitive of their families. They have lists of traditions their children come to expect every year, meaningful family times the children talk about years later. I've always wanted to be this family, yet I have not found it easy establishing those traditions. I don't know, maybe I try too hard.

This year I am determined to get in the spirit of the season, and I am determined to plan some fun things for us to do as a family. If some of them stick and become traditions, that will be an added bonus. I plan to take a good chunk of time off school in December so we can concentrate on doing fun things and not be burdened by the necessity of plowing through pages of curriculum. We can always school further into the summer.

Last year was probably the toughest for us, for our extended family. Tomorrow, in fact, marks one year since we lost Jennie. Last year we really didn't feel like "doing" Christmas at all, so we celebrated early and then traveled on Christmas Day. No travel plans this year, but my mind is already whirling with ideas for our December.

We won't spend a lot this Christmas. Last year Mark and I did not exchange gifts, and we don't plan to again this year. The kids just got new bikes, which we wanted them to enjoy while the weather has not yet reached the frigid mark. Although I don't know how well they will remember it Christmas morning, we told them these bikes are a Christmas gift. I know, that sounds like a mean trick to play, but don't worry, the children will not feel slighted by Santa, nor will the underneath of the tree be bare. We're just taking it a little easy this year with the economy. And, believe it or not, taking the focus off of gifts can be a good thing! Yeah, you heard me!

So I'm looking forward to a wonderfully meaningful Christmas this year, and as far as I'm concerned, the Christmas season starts now. Of course, I suppose I do need to teach the children, but only for another month and a half before we can take a big break!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Week's End Ramblings

Right now, this very moment, I am supposed to be cleaning the house. In fact, aside from a spelling test and some math fact practice, I've given the kids the day off school; I won't even check a box on today's attendance sheet in spite of the spelling and math. Today I am supposed to be cleaning because we're showing the house this evening. I'm not freaking out, mind you, not like I have in the past. I will clean it like I would for any guest, but I may not even move the world's ugliest toaster oven out to the car. I may just leave it sitting there, dejected, on the counter. And I may or may not prepare a baked good to leave on the counter. I've decided that in this market, it will take a miracle to sell this house, so there is no use fretting over all the things that could be done to beautify the place if I had more than one day's warning.


The Princess was humming the other day. She stopped abruptly and exclaimed with wonder, "Hey, when I do this--Hmmhmmmhmmm, it feels like there is a bee in my mouth!"


The Crud has officially left our house. The Crud, in fact, had a name tagged on to it by our doctor: strep throat. All 3 of the younger ones had it; I didn't take Alex in because by that time, she was all better. She was, after all, the culprit who started it all, the first one down. Perhaps she got over it without the use of antibiotics. Perhaps the others would have as well, but we're still sucking down pink stuff twice a day because that made the Crud exit a bit earlier.


School went pretty well this week. We studied the skeletal system yesterday, and my little skeletons had fun labeling their almost-life-sized skeletons that hang on the hallway wall by the kitchen (and, no, those are not coming down for this afternoon's showing; they took too long to put up!). The 3 olders have been writing daily "spooky" stories, which I will post on Homeschool Writer's Block at some point. Their writings have sprung from prompts I've gotten from various online sources. Very cute stories, though none are very scary--usually the "strange noise that is going bump in the night" turns out to be a friendly bumblebee bumping into the window or something.


It's gotten cold here. Have I ever mentioned how much I hate the cold? If we sell the house today, maybe we can still pull off that move to Florida, i.e.: warmer weather.


The chore I am most putting off at this very moment is that of cleaning up the media room/hubby's office/my hobby room. Why? Because the floor is littered with little winter clothes. I did the seasonal attire switcheroo a couple weeks ago, and while I still need to do some clothes shopping for the older three, the Princess has enough clothes for at least 4 princesses. Girl clothes are so much cuter and so much more fun to buy, so we have quite a stock for her, plus all of her older sister's hand-me-downs. I'm not sure where I'm going to put them, especially now that she shares a room with her sister and there is no more closet space.

If you need me, I'll be standing in the middle of the media room/hubby's office, my hobby room with a puzzled look on my face.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Al Gore, it's just a phase. I think.

I am both really intrigued and a little alarmed by the writing that is spilling forth from my 9-year-old's pencil. NOT that I don't like nature, and NOT that I am not totally amazed by God's creation. It's just that I hear resounding echoes of environmentalist bouncing off of the lines of her prose. Not that there's necessarily anything wrong with an environmentalist; we should all do our part to take care of the earth God has blessed us with. It's just those wack-o environmentalists that concern me. But since she's far from wack-o. And so long as Al Gore doesn't come knocking on our door looking for a partner in crime, I guess we're good. Here's today's deep thought from my daughter:

Listen and Look
Listen and look to nature's beauty. Nourish yourself in its every fine detail. It's rich, it's divine magic. Nature has secrets just waiting to be discovered. So listen and look for the secrets of nature.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Wisdom of an Almost-10-Year-Old

I already shared Alex's profound thoughts she scribbled on a hotel notepad. Here is tonight's wisdom:

Living things around you are all parts of a beautiful painting. Everything has a purpose, a meaning in this world, a function, a reason. So take care of the beautiful art. Does an artist just dump his masterpiece in the trash? No. He puts it somewhere safe from things that will hurt it. So protect the painting of art that is the world.

Who is more dumb: the dumb person or the person who follows him? It is the person who follows. He makes a dumb decision to follow the dumb person, which makes him dumb in the process. A smart person objects to the dumb one. The dumb person isn't smart, but the person who follows what he does is even dumber.

And once she discovered I was posting her genius on the blog, she took up the Trail of Genius where she left off in Kentucky (and please do feel free to comment; she has requested feedback!):

Leave a trail of genius. When you leave a trail of genius, you help others think better. You make the world a better place, one thing at a time. It can also prove to the world you are intelligent in mind and heart. When you leave a trail of wisdom, others find it and use it to do good and right things. Those who are pure of mind become great. Those who are kind will be rewarded. They will be rewarded, not suddenly, but they will be rewarded. Those who are foolish will not be great but a fool, so leave a trail to your genius.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Letter of Complaint, er, Gripe

Dear Monday, October 12, 2009:

Oh, will you never be over? In 3 and one half hours it will be with great pleasure that I bid you farewell.

You rained torrents of rain upon us. Again. So much so that I spent much of the morning pacing the floor in front of the window, glancing out with much angst as I watched the water level in the backyard rise.

There are ants everywhere in my house. Hordes of them. Everywhere I look, there are ants.

You made the dishes in the kitchen sink go forth and multiply. I think that was you. At any rate, I will blame you because I can't see how just the five of us could possibly have generated that many dishes.

Ditto on the laundry.

Perhaps my children should sign their names on this letter because they were all in a funk too. Of course I blame you.

You caused my bread to flop for the first time ever. And this is the bread I made especially so I can make a picnic lunch for tomorrow. Now my picnic lunch will be comprised of sandwiches on flopped bread. Thank you for that.

As with all of your predecessors and as I suspect will hold true with all of your successors, you have not afforded me enough hours. I have planning to do for a writing class, stuff to do for co-op, preparations to be made to teach my children. I need more hours.

Where am I supposed to sleep tonight with the bed piled high with laundry?

I think today I have gained back all six pounds I lost last week while sick.

When at last I got a few precious moments to take a shower tonight, you forgot to remind me to lock the door. Why can't I at least be alone in the bathroom?

My shower was interrupted by one of 4 little people yelling through the crack, "Mommy, someone peed on my bed." Thankfully, it seems it was the pee of a little boy who did not want to tell me what happened. I am only thankful for this because if it had been feline pee, the cat would have been gone, which would have broken the heart of my biggest girl who is just a little bit obsessed with the cat.

Did I mention I have a laundry problem?

Thankfully, once you are gone, there will never be another like you.

Good riddance.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Crud and Men in Tights

Because of the Crud which invaded our house and apparently has taken up residence here for an undisclosed period of time, I spent much of this week canceling obligations and soliciting able-bodied inviduals who don't have the Crud to cover these obligations.

On Tuesday, I had to beg Bright Futures Director--and former English student of mine--to take my writing class. I missed my kids, and they missed me too. At least according to Chris. He emailed me to give me a class report and added, "They missed you! When I told them you were not coming they almost cried. I think they died a little on the inside." Of course, hyperbole is no stranger to Chris, but I'd like to think they missed me.

It was no easy feat securing subs for my 3 co-op classes. Apparently, the Crud is going around because there were few subs available. I got a sub for 1 out of the 3 classes anyway and then dropped Alex off so she could still enjoy co-op while the rest of us sat at home sniffling and coughing and waiting until it was time to go pick her up.

I tried to wake up Wednesday and be a responsible mom by getting breakfast for my offspring, but my head throbbed, and I felt like I'd been beaten up, so I stayed in bed. Around noon, my mind and body began arguing. Responsibility again. Yes, they are my children. Yes, they do need regular sustenance. But my head hurts! That's when my 9-year-old superhero quietly opened the door and asked, "Mom, do you want me to make nachos for lunch?" She's a lifesaver.

Yesterday morning I was tempted to spend another day in bed, shirking my motherly duties. However, there was the matter of these drama tickets I purchased weeks ago. The drama? No, not Four Kids Gone Wild in the Absence of Parental Guidance, but rather, Wonderquest's rendition of Robin Hood.

Unfortunately, although I can attend a play half-sick since I am a mature grown-up and can keep my germs to myself, the Princess was not entirely rid of the Crud. Fortunately, TravelDaddy came home Wednesday night. And so at breakfast, after she finished hacking up her left lung, Audrey resignedly stated, "Well, Mommy, I guess I won't be going to the play with you." She was right: her incessant coughing may very well have gotten us kicked out of the theater.

Even after being so matter-of-fact, once she understood she was going to be left out, Audrey got a bit weepy, but I quickly pointed out how lucky she was to get a morning with Daddy. I helped her get dressed up for her date, and she very happily waved good-bye to us.

Robin Hood was quite good, and the kids enjoyed it. Not overly enthusiastic about it, but no complaining either, so I guess that's all in a day's homeschooling.

We did also manage to snap some pictures with a couple of the stars in tights.

First, a shot with the Sheriff:

And one with Robin, although without his hat, he doesn't look much like Robin, does he?