Friday, September 30

Not Every Day is Exciting, but There Are Always Books

The problem with great stories - the stories that get listeners or readers howling with laughter, swearing with empathy, or nodding (in agreement or dissent) - is that they are parenthetical to the day-to-day living that makes up "life". As we know it. Live it. And, hopefully, love it. They punctuate the landscape, but do not generally make up the bulk of it. They don't offer the structures that shelter us from the elements so much as the view out the window, or the decoration at the ends of the bookshelves rather than the books themselves. I think that's is why stand-up comedy routines are seldom longer than four or five minutes. It's takes a lot of "life" to build up a one-hour act.

This reality makes it difficult to keep up the pace when one comes in contact with others through writing or story-telling. Particularly on a daily basis. You look back at the day and think,
"Well, breakfast was nice. Nobody puked, nobody stuck their fingers in hot bacon grease, and I used the leftover baked potatoes from last night's supper to make hash browns."
Technically, breakfast was a success. Practically speaking, it would make much better blogfodder if someone had thrown up in the grits, or if some other bodily malfunction had come into play. Thankfully, those stories don't come along every day.

Some days are just quiet. Most days, I hope, will be quiet days. They don't make for riotous laughter from the peanut gallery, but I'm okay with that. In spite of the large, gaping blank spot they provide for me at day's end. (Must the cursor blink? As if I don't know it's still sitting in the upper left-hand corner of my screen!) This is when it's nice to turn to the other things that make up who we are and what gets us from one great story to another: the meat of daily living.

I had hoped to write some of the wonderful quotes from Freedom & Necessity as I came across them. I do not, howver, have a reading journal on hand (and have no desire to begin one in the middle of this-particular-spot-in-life), so they never made it here. I'm sorry. You must get the book, though, and read it yourself if you get the chance. I abhor (and I use that word in its weightiest sense) Victorian-era stories, as a general rule, but the characters in this story were so well-written, so well-developed, so deliciously human that I found myself in love with them.

The scarf is coming along nicely. The directions insist that when it is washed (and blocked - they make assumptions, here...) that it will "look like crushed velvet". I will be happy if it shrinks enough to hide the few holes that seem to crop up as I progress. One particular quote in this little booklet, though, brought me a smile. These folks seem to "get it":
A yarn over is the basis for most lace patterns and is very simple to make. In fact, many new knitters make yarn overs by accident (but in those cases it's called a hole, not lace).

The boys shared three wishes tonight at supper. (I took this idea from Melissa, whose family plays "High and Low" at dinner - each person shares his or her high point and low point of the day. We modified it to just playing any type of round robin game: Thanks, where you thank each person at the table for something he did today; Three Wishes, where each person gets to think up three, well, wishes; Joys, listing the things that make you feel joyful that day; Dreams, each sharing something they would like to do in the next month... the ideas are endless, and the boys enjoy it.)

Smidge pretty much wished we'd just leave him alone and let him sleep, so we let him pass on coming up with two more.

John wished:
1) To be a grown man, like Daddy
2) To be married to a woman
3) The woman he marries must "have a golden star on her forehead"

(This contingency seems to have come from Lang's "The Twelve Brothers" story from The Red Fairy Book, in which a very loyal pricess is described thus: She was kind-hearted and of a fair countenance, and she had a gold star right in the middle of her forehead. It's an amazing story, and my heart just burst at the idea that he claimed this girl as a model of womanhood. I'm quite stunned, as we haven't read that story in months.)

James' wishes were:
1) To be able to be a grown up or a child as he chose.
2) To live forever and travel between Heaven and earth at will.
3) Unlimited wishes for the future.

Wow. Good call, although I don't know that he'd want to come back once he got there. The idea of time travel hit him about 45 seconds after the discussion ended, and when we told him "nope, just three wishes", he replied giddily, "but my last wish was for unlimited wishes, so I can add time travel."

We might have a home next week, but we have each other tonight. What more could I honestly wish for? (OK, and to be completely upfront, Zorak and I have both read The Monkey's Paw, so we refrained from joining in the game tonight. Some suspicions are just too hard to break. *grin*) And people think what we read doesn't affect us? P'shaw!

Read something uplifting, encouraging, bolstering, thought-provoking, and great!
And kiss those babies!

Thursday, September 29


This day was truly delicious. I have laughed at the boys. Laughed with the boys. The boys have laughed at me, with me, and at one another. We've adjusted bikes and prepped a pumpkin for baking tomorrow. We've read and read and read. I've laughed myself silly over this incredibly addicting book I'm reading (and it's *gasp* fiction!) We came inside only to eat, and it was heavenly.

Zorak came home this afternoon as we were on our way to the park to meet friends. (The wind pushed them -?- and they made much better time than they'd anticipated. OK, this is like telling me you just did 110 on the Interstate and "made good time"... don't tell me these things! Don't tell me you flew the plane. Don't tell me it took half the time to get home as it did to get there. Don't tell me you did not stop for gas!! Do. Not. Share. This. With. Me. Thankyou.) So, anyway, being home and in one piece, he joined us. That was quite nice. (May I just point out here that a daddy playing patiently on the playground with a child, particularly the daddy of your child, is SUCH a sight for sore eyes! Ok, so back to the blogging...)

The park play area is huge and wonderful for children, but it's a visual-contact nightmare for parents. If your child is more than five feet from you, he is hidden. It was a community project park, and while it's definitely gorgeous, egads, people! Even the folks at Circle K (convenience stores) know not to put visual blocks in front of the people who need to see what's going on. SO. Between the three of us (Zorak, myself, and our friend), we were able to keep an eye on the three smallest ones and make occasional radio contact with the four oldest ones. They ran about like recently freed cave children. All the children there today were flying around at MACH3, having a blast, and managing not to incinerate themselves upon impact with upright piers. It was great!

Ahhh, and now, Zorak is home. Supper has been inhaled. Stories have been read. And I have a ton of laundry to get done. So I'm cutting it short.

As always, kiss those babies, but give those Daddies a little peck and a "thank you", too.


Morning Stories

The reading groove is back. The boys and I have enjoyed a week of reading for longer periods, reading more diverse books, and they've been requesting more stories! The boys are thoroughly enjoying The Story of Numbers, as well as the other general reading we're doing. Last night James let me know he'd read all the current library books at least twice and asked if we can go back. Ahhh, yes. That's what I was looking for. This morning, he read to me for over an hour. We had a wonderful time together.

I am thoroughly enjoying the boys. They've been out-of-doors voluntarily, and that's been oh-so-nice! Our time indoors together has been more enjoyable - whether we're wrestling (which, might I point out, is a very handy "Daddy Thing", not so easy on the "Preggo Mommy"), or baking or reading or just being silly. They are getting a much better balance of life these days, and the improvements are wonderful.

I don't know how they can just home in on this stuff, but they found some yarn at the store the other day. They loved on it. They oohhh'd and ahhh'd over it. They cradled it like a baby doll. It was just too stinkin' cute to say no. That's what precipitated the knitting agrression session. I have to get started when they're asleep because things get stabbed. Mistakes are made. Things are said. It's actually good practice for me to gain control over my tongue. But by yesterday afternoon, I'd ripped out a scarf only nine times and things were relatively benign. The boys played with yarn on the bed while I sat among them and knitted (my ball of yarn safely ensconsed under my shirt). It was like curling up with happy, declawed kittens.

Zorak should return to us this evening. It will be wonderful to have him back. The high today is supposed to be in the low 70's - what a wonderful reprieve! The boys are already outside, roming in the air. They didn't even take toys or balls out - just bolted and spun in circles, exclaiming how pretty it is outside! I think I'm going to go join them. If anyone knows of a place where it never gets above 65', please let me know. :-)

Kiss those babies!

Tuesday, September 27

Why I Love My Husband, #1,877,935,101

Tonight, as I relayed to Zorak my appreciation for him and his presence in my life, I shared the thought that without his positive influence I would probably be a bitter, alcoholic barmaid in a border town right now. His reply?
That's ok. If it wasn't for you, I'd probably be looking for a bitter, alcoholic barmaid in a border town, today, too.
I love that man! He knows when to tell me it'll be okay, and he knows when to ask if I need to hear it'll be okay, or if I need to just be Chicken Little for a while. And through it all, he really always *knows* (in his heart) that it will be okay. How could I not cherish him?

The latest on the Forever Home is that the sellers (remember, this is a foreclosure co. that owns the property and is selling it - they just listed it through a real estate office rather than doing the auction/bid thing) Anyway, they have now asked us to sign an adendum to extend the closing date to October 7th... you know, because they just didn't get on it quickly enough to close this Thursday. It seems they're the only ones who are surprised by this news, though, which is funny. They have, however, actually requested (and received) the Mold Photos, and have begun to grind those little hamster wheels to get the place treated. So, we'll sign. I didn't load up the boys and high-tail it to Decatur to sign the new form, though. They can wait til Zorak gets back and we'll sign it then. But who knows? Maybe next week will be our lucky week!

This evening, Aunt B talked me down, let me know I'm not technically insane (not in this aspect, anyway), and encouraged me greatly. I really appreciate all the humor and good faith she extends to us, but 'specially to me. It's helped a lot, and she's put up with us while we outgrew our 20's and while we have worked to find our footing in our 30's. (Yes, we're slow learners.) By the time we hung up, I could laugh at the situation and be glad that we've come this far. That's quite a perspective check, huh?

The boys and I have been on the go, go, go (dog, go!) all day long. It was good. It was fun. It was really quite exhausting. They are such helpful little guys, though, and the day went smoothly. Tomorrow we have Poineer Club, so we'll see if we can swing the TeamWorkThang heartily enough to make it on time (or at least not be terribly late...)

And tonight, I am going to curl up with a good book and a skein of yarn and get all my aggressions out by trying to knit something. (The book is in case I start yelling too loudly and need to calm down a bit.) I don't know what it'll be yet, but it's possible we'll have some idea what it is in a year or two! In the meantime, the boys are asleep, so the therapy will be helpful.

Kiss those babies!

Drat! Foiled again!

I spoke with Wonderful Realtor this morning. She is so angry she is nearly incapable of speaking clearly. The sellers are refusing to speak to her because they can "only speak to the listing broker". WELL, the listing broker handed the phone to the Wonderful Realtor, because (a) they work together and (b) W-R is the one who has done all the work, has all the details, and is the most useful in this situation. But no.

And now the broker is out. of. town. for the next few days (this is the second vacation she's taken while we've been trying to get this deal through, *sigh*, must be nice).

Sellers still have not given authorization for anyone to go treat the property. They left their office Friday and have not answered the phone, replied to email, or bothered to make contact since then. We don't know how they think this will close on Thursday (which was their pick - they said the 29th!!)

To quote Sarah,
"I am a glacier. I am cool. I am calm. I am chilled. I am freakin' enormous and I will wear down anything in my path. I am cool. I am calm."

I meant to share that with Wonderful Realtor this morning, but she sounded so worn down herself, I wasn't sure it would've been appropriate. I want to make her smile, not cry.

So, another week, month, or whatever without our forever home. It'll be ok. The weather is cooler today. There is a *ooooooo* slight breeze. We have groceries to buy and the money with which to buy them. The boys are covered in mud... I'm not sure where that came from, but just peeked out the window and noticed... hmmm.

Yep, it'll be alright. Really, it will.

Kiss those babies!

Monday, September 26

Come Monday, It'll Be Alright

No, we're not going to a Jimmy Buffett concert. (Wouldn't that be fun, though?) The title of this post is actually for Zorak, who is on travel this week. He headed out this morning, all decked out in his "traveling engineer" garb. The boys and I are doing our Mommy-Doesn't-Have-The-Stamina-For-Boundary-Defining-This-Week Routine. It works quite well, and the older two know (almost instinctively...) that if they walk in the general direction that I point, we're good. If they turn into rabid rock squirrels, however, I will break out the slingshot and clip their little tails with a deeply irreverent glee. (OK, it's not *quite* that bad, but the imagery is pretty good.)

We did have a truly splendid time on Saturday evening. The boys napped in the late afternoon and were truly, absolutely wonderful the entire evening. They had a spectacular time, danced themselves dizzy, ate tons of fair-type food, and when we left the concert around eleven-thirty, they were just winding down. (And yet, they were still up, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed Sunday morning! HOOOOWWWWW do they do that?) John sure wanted to shake Don Williams' hand, but by the time we could get anywhere near the backstage area, he was long gone. John asked if he could write him a letter to thank him for coming to H'ville. (Happy mommy moment! He wants to write!) It was a good weekend before Daddy headed out.

Zorak's Team Lead is a pilot. He has his own little plane.
"Hey! Let's take my plane to Iowa!"
*groan* Guess who needed a few tranquilizers for this trip? Yep, me. It's not that I don't trust the guy, or his plane, but if Zorak dies, I am on my own. I don't want to be on my own!! Fortunately, while not terribly intuitive, Zorak is understanding, so when I said, "PleasefortheloveofGod, be careful. Andcallme." He got it. He called. From Illinois for a gas stop, from the hangar in Iowa. And he let me know ahead of time that he won't be calling again until morning, but that he is on solid ground and is fine. He didn't have to let me know Team Lead let him fly the plane for a while, though. I could've slept very soundly without that information.

Y'all cracked me up on the henchmen post. I hadn't even thought of hiring henchmen for the house. Although, now that you mention it... As of today, I haven't heard anything more. I don't see how it can close on Thursday. In order to have everything cleared for Thursday's closing, the sellers had to have hired a Mold Man to do the work over the weekend so that the test could be run by tomorrow, at the latest. (The test takes 48 hours to culture, and then probably another day to write up the letter and tie it to the turtle that walks it to the mortgage co.) . As of Friday afternoon, the sellers didn't quite "get" that this process needed to go quickly - not quickly according to their planet's time frame - but quickly. Period. They still hadn't even picked a Mold Man yet. Wonderful Realtor worked her day off to help the process along. She said she would contact us this week with an update. If they can't get it done, then at least it's on their heads since they picked this last closing date. In the meantime, it's rained here the past couple of days. I don't envy the Mold Man who gets picked, that's for sure!

I sent Zorak into a tailspin of discomfort this week with my reading selection: Hutterite Society by John A. Hostetler. Last night he broke down and asked, "You're not going to decide this is the way to go and drag us to a colony for a *uses quotes in the air* visit, are you?" Once I mopped up the coffee I'd spewed over the couch and quit chuckling, I was tempted to play devil's advocate on the issue... but refrained and let him off the hook.

The boys asked about the book today, though, and we had such a neat discussion about communal societies and their histories - who the Hutterites are and their history, as well as their faith. James had a really good point when he said, "Wow, since they're doing what they believe in their hearts is right, I'll bet God is very happy with them." Yeah, buddy, you're getting it, aren't you? It's not what we believe, or what we do, but he gets that it's what's in your heart. He also gets that we strive to serve the way we believe best, and that's good, too. I thought that was pretty good for a little guy to comprehend.

We're reading Howliday Inn by James Howe (the sequel to Bunnicula) and the boys are loving it. We're also revisiting our favorite fairy tales (Red Fairy Book), and reading through the Bible together in the mornings.

The boys new fishing rods from Zebco came in last week (excellent customer service, and they sent replacements that were identical to the originals! Thank you, Zebco!!), so they spent time today practicing their casting techniques out in the grass.

We made muffins with a new recipe, but now we need to buy pumpkins for the next batch. We decided they'd be much better with pumpkin. Mmmmm.

And, I spent time today working on my Big Project - ten minutes a day with the Magic Eraser undoing Smidge's EKG mural on the hallway wall and bedroom door. (Can't complain. He's two. He had the marker. I wasn't paying attention. It was bound to happen eventually.) It's good exercise and I should have it all off by the end of the week. (And you should see my triceps!)

Oh. Wow. It just dawned on me that the CD player has made the rounds and I'm now sitting here, at ten o'clock, listening to Prima Latina... I've got to remedy that. So I'm off. Have a wonderful day with your families tomorrow. Enjoy your gifts and your little ones.

Kiss those babies!

Sunday, September 25

On Hiring Henchmen

A good henchman is hard to come by. And so, in the hope of helping malevolent landowners and corrupt sheriffs across the Wild Wild West find competent, caring henchmen, we have outlined the basics to cover in the application/interview process. Enjoy.

Name? (If it's an alias, don't tell me that, just say as little as possible)_____
Former Occupation______________________________________
Reason for becoming a Henchman _____________________________
How's that workin' for ya? ____________________________
Years Henching? ________________
Are you aware that, even if we offer you a "retirement plan", we do not expect you to live long enough to collect on it, and if you do, we'll just kill you if you try? yes___ no ___ (If you checked no, stop now, shred this paper and leave.)
Please explain briefly a situation in which you were involved in a successful Henching Operation that required teamwork and cooperation:

Where do you see yourself in five years? (Or if you don't plan to live that long, let's say, two years? By Christmas?) _________________________________________

Do you have any identifying marks readily visible to onlookers? (please explain)
Do you have an eye patch? (if yes, please mark the top of your application for preference points) _____
Have you, or anyone working with you, ever actually heard the foreboding music that accompanies your entrance to a drinking or entertainment establishment? __________
Just between you and me, how creepy was that?_____________________________________
Do you have any brothers who will follow you blindly into this employment? _______

How familiar are you with the (rather unspoken) Henchman Code of Ethics? (mark yes or no)
*Can you shoot an elderly, unarmed, blind man in the back? yes__ no__
*Can you leave an unescorted pregnant woman without a horse in the wilderness? yes__ no__
*Can you ever, under any circumstances, attack a perfectly healthy, sound, armed opponent at the same time as a fellow Henchman attacks him? yes__ no__

Literacy, cultural awareness:
You are expected to stampede the ____________ and pillage the _________. (Don't laugh. You'd be surprised how many get this wrong. Answer carefully.)

Yup. Mocking bad westerns is what we do on Sunday evenings... it's good.
Have a good evening!

Saturday, September 24

Wow, that was weird.

I fell asleep at a really early hour last night. Unfortunately, I fell asleep sitting upright, reading a book. Ow. It must have been good rest, though, because I was up bright 'n early this morning, before the sky grew light. How wonderful to sit on the porch, sipping coffee, reading a book (different book), and listening to the birds.

Oh, a PSA for this morning: JANET!! Calling JANET!! Can you email me? I saw your note to me on Donna's blog, but I can't find your email.

Let's see. Well, tonight we're going to see *squeal* *giggle* *jump up and down* Don Williams perform at the Big Spring Jam downtown. I'm not big on "seeing celebrities", and generally concerts aren't something I enjoy, but oh! This is Don Williams! This man sang in the background (8-track and cassette tape!) for almost every family gathering I can remember. In the Lefty Frizell/Kenny Rogers/Hank Williams Sr./Dolly Parton mix, Don Williams made appearances at a ratio of 3:1 for each other performer. I don't know who was the fan in the family was, but he was heavily represented in the soundtrack of my childhood. And he's playing here!!! *swoon*

If Zorak were the squealing, giggling, swooning type (which, of course, he's not, and I'm sure he'd like me to make that implicitly clear), he'd be right here with me, because after Don Williams plays, Dwight Yokam takes the stage. I'm pretty sure that although Zorak isn't visibly reacting, he's doing it on the inside...

So, yes, we are keeping our children out until the wee hours of the night to see these men play. To dance on the grass. To sing out of key along with the masters. To laugh as James shrieks, "I LOVE THIS SONG!" for the hundredth time in one evening. To watch Smidge smile and spin in circles with his arms outstretched. To sit with John on my lap, swaying to the ballads and hear his happy humming along with the tune. (The only thing that would make this event perfect would be a set by Freddy Fender as a nightcap. Like Zorak said, "Our children have impeccable taste in music.") To smile at each other and maybe slip in a waltz or two on the lawn.

I finished the biography of Ayn Rand, and the last chapter touched on her critics and followers. That was, perhaps, the best chapter of the entire book. It included quotes and reasoning both for and against. It highlighted the actual issues her critics took, both against her as a person and against her philosophy and fiction. I'm glad I finished the book.

And now, I'm going to go kiss my babies and enjoy a lovely Saturday morning. Hopefully our last one for a while without any work to be done!


Thursday, September 22

Rather Anti-Climactic Week, Here


Quiet tonight.

Boys are in bed. House is looking gorgeous. Caught up on laundry and seriously considering some kind of clothing moratorium for fall. You can change (must change, actually) skivvies daily, but everything else gets three days' wear or you go nekkid until the three days is up. We produce too much laundry. It's amazing. Then I think of Mel Gibson's poor mother and feel pretty footloose about our piles. Still, there's probably room for improvement in here somewhere.

I'm reading a biography of Ayn Rand (and why didn't anyone tell me it rhymes with mine not payne?!? Thanks, y'all! Sheesh. At least I can pronounce Goethe, even if I can't do the little doppleganger doohickies on top of my vowels when I type. What are those, again?) Anyway. Wow. It must be time for an early night. The words are flowing, but not in any one direction.

SO. *ahem* *sips coffee* Yes. I'm reading this biography, in which the author claims to be "neither a disciple nor a critic" of Rand's. He comes across as just a wee bit schizophrenic, to be honest. I'm toolin' along, reading pretty basic discourse and then out of nowhere he throws out, at the end of a paragraph, "Obviously, she missed the point of the complexity of the issue." Then he moves on, and the reader is left thinking, "What the hell is he talking about?" (Pardon the swearing, but that is EXACTLY the word that comes to mind 98 pages into this book, after he pulls that weird segue for the umpteenth time.) He makes a number of random judgement calls out of nowhere, but does nothing to back them up or expound on them, leaving the reader going back time and again in a futile attempt to figure out what she missed. (Futile because you did not miss anything. His comments are just There. Alone. With nothing to hold them up or tell you where they came from. They're like mental orphans.) At this point, I'm finishing the book because I'd like to see if this continues, and if I ever grow accustomed to it. Still better than Huxley, but man I miss O'Brian, and as far as non-fiction goes, this guy has nothing on Forrester. *smile*

Let's see... what else? It's only mid-August. Or that's what you'd think if you woke from a coma and wandered outside today. Hot. Too hot for late September. It's hot. Yuck.

Oh! And did I TELL YOU that our library is going to be adding the ability to put books on hold?!?!? This is better than Christmas for me. Well, it might be Christmas before it kicks in, so that's probably not a good description. Anyway, I made a pathetic attempt to hit the library sans children one night after supper, before they closed. (Have you seen those shopping game shows, where contestants fly down the aisles, indiscriminately throwing items into their carts, careening around corners to beat the clock to the checkout stand? There's your image. I still have no idea what I checked out.) I asked at the counter if they had *pant, pant* considered adding that *wheeze, pant* feature. You know, since iBistro was *gassssspp* developed here... it would make sense to *pant* use the features incorporated into it... and... I had to stop talking or risk passing out from hyperventilation. It's hard to run down stairs carrying a basket of books when you're out-to-here pregnant! The nice man waited for my gasping to subside so I could hear him over the sound of my own inhalations and said yes, they've actually been trying to get it up and running for a while and it's just taken a lot longer than anyone anticipated. He does expect it to kick in soon, though. WOOHOO!!! I'm so psyched!! HOLD! HOLD! A beautiful word. It is the blessing of mothers in libraries everywhere to be able to pick up preselected titles and then spend the library time snuggling, teaching and guiding their children through the Library Experience. Yay for the Madison County Library System!!

Ah, and on that note, I'd better get some rest. I promise not to be so random with tomorrow's blog.

Kiss those babies!

Tags and Parodies

We heard a song on the radio this weekend that was just priceless. It's a parody by Cletus T. Judd of the romantic song "You Have the Right to Remain Silent", by Perfect Stranger. The parody is funny on its own, but if you haven't heard the original, go listen to it first. Cletus T. Judd's voice is intentionally nasal and difficult to understand, and this isn't exactly date-night music (well, for us it would be, but I know that's not everybody's cuppa tea.)

You Have No Right To Remain Violent
New lyrics by Cledus T. Judd and Chris Clark, La-Po Music (BMI)/Chris Clark Publishing Designee

Well, I asked you to dance
Now my nose is broken
Must've said somethin' wrong
Gosh, I was just jokin'
But it's hard not to cry
With a gussied up eye
My face sprayed with mace

If ya didn't wanna dance
You could've just said so
And if I'd only ducked fast
Then I wouldn't have bled so
Do you think there's a chance
You could call an ambulance?
Oh God, I'm in pain

You have no right to remain violent
That kick to my crotch
Uh, that was very uncalled for
You continued to beat and beat me
'Till I was black and blue
I've been wantin' you
But not any longer
'Cause it's brutally clear
That you're so much stronger
I'm madder than fire
My jaws are both wired
One hell of a date

I didn't know my bladder had failed me
Until I looked down at my pants
I think I'm in desperate need of hospitalization
But I ain't got no danged insurance


I bought a camcorder
Got a restrainin' order
Now lay you're hands on me

I guess that's what you get when you ask a perfect stranger to dance.

KathyJo tagged me with this meme. I haven't blogged anything "just for fun" lately, so here it is. For the last part, I don't know who has done it or who would be interested in doing it. So if you'd like to, take it and run, run with the meme!

5 things I plan (Lord willing) to do before I die:
1. Hunt moose in Alaska.
2. Travel into Mexico with the boys.
3. Hike the AT from Maine to Georgia.
4. See my boys grown into fine men.
5. Buy a stinkin' house.

5 things I can do:
1. Make a beeeyuuutiful recurve bow.
2. Basic mechanic work and rebuilding.
3. Knit (not well, but that wasn't the question).
4. Swim.
5. Make boo-boos all better.

5 things I cannot do (yet):
1. Drive an 18-wheeler.
2. Ballroom dance.
3. String spaghetti up my nose and out my throat in one piece.
4. Zorak says, "ride a motorcycle", but I think of that as something I can do, just haven't tried yet. I', sticking with that.
5. Sit through "Beth Moore" bible studies.

5 things that attract me to the opposite sex:
1. Intelligence (and a willingness to abandon it for #2 on occasion).
2. Humor.
3. Integrity.
4. Roots - knows who he is.
5. Boots. Not girly boots, and not decorative boots. I mean BOOTS.

5 things I say most often:
1. Jackass.
2. Who loves that boy? (or "those boys")
3. WHAT are those idiots thinking?!?!
4. We should close next week.
5. Goat.

5 celebrity crushes:
1. Patrick Stewart
2. Tom Selleck
3. Sam Elliott
4. Bruce Willis
5. Kurt Russell

:-) Kiss those babies!

Wednesday, September 21

Forever House Update!

Wow, I'll bet y'all didn't think we meant it's going to take forever when we named this place, did ya? Well, here is the most recent news.

Mr. Mold Inspector went Tuesday with Wonderful Realtor to see if the house could pass muster. He commended Zorak's work, was thoroughly impressed, and would like to find out where he got "the stuff" (oh, and for those of you who asked, I have to go find the jug, but I will do that today).

However, that said, he said he'd estimate a test performed yesterday would have produced results "8-10 times higher than allowable levels" inside the house. We had only treated where the appraiser had mentioned, and what we could see ourselves outside that. Those places were clear of mold, but there's more (which we guessed, not a big surprise) - enough more that it would fail testing.


First, the ironic. The guy at the Seller Company is named Dante. Two images immediately popped into my head, and the combination made me laugh so hard I choked on my coffee. Bonus points for anyone who can guess both images, and I'll love ya forever if you get why I thought it was funny!

Now for the good. Seller Co. is good w/ extending the closing date to the 29th (next Thursday). They also do not want us to do the mold abatement AT ALL. It's not a caring thing, it's a liability thing, but it's making them offer to take care of it in a timely enough manner that the testing can be done and we can close on the 29th... (that part is so key right now. So yeah, I don't have to wear a HEPA filter mask, gloves and a friggin UFO containment suit? And I can still get my house? I am ALL OVER THAT!!

And to top it off, Wonderful Realtor is doing ALL THE LEGWORK to get bids, find a mold treatment guy, line up testing, and all we have to do is show up at the closing table with one or two kids for collateral and a fresh ink pen.

So I'm doin' the Happy Dance here today. Kind of. It's a little hot for an all-out dance. This is more of a wiggle. A very, very happy wiggle.

Kiss those babies!

Happy 7th Birthday, Sweet Baby James!

Well, not a baby anymore. He curled up in my lap this evening, and had to sort of fold, accordian-style, to fit. There's a lot of limb to that boy!

He Who Normally Sleeps Late awoke this morning before six-thirty and came bounding into our room, whispering, "I'm seven! I've been seven for almost seven hours! Want to sing to me?" We sang. We talked. We told stories. We stole the covers from Zorak. We giggled and made plans for the day.

He loves life. He loves learning and growing and loving and sharing. What more could we ask for?
He loves his brothers and adores his parents.
He thinks "family" is the ultimate God-ordained gift given to man to enjoy on this earth.

He's funny. I mean honest-to-goodness funny. His jokes make sense now, and his wit is pretty sharp. The twinkle in his eye is a dead giveaway that he's just laid out a good one, too, and knows it.

He still laughs with the abandon of childhood, ending with the gasping breath of exhaustion and a giggly comment about laughing so hard he's weak.
He appreciates beauty. Strength. Friends. Sunshine. Chemistry.

He believes in ends of rainbows and making wishes on any occasion.

He thinks relighting the candle will give it an extra wish for his brother to share.

He takes disappointments with the kind of grace I can only dream of having. But he still hurts with his whole Big-As-Texas heart. He forgives quickly, and seeks forgiveness when he's wronged someone. Little joys make him smile. Little losses make him cry.
He's there. He's in the game, and there's no stopping it.

He's still a little guy in so many ways. He still can't keep his hands to himself in the car, and he still would rather wear his pajamas and cowboy boots to church than have to wear clothes. He still tackles Zorak in the doorway at the end of each day and hangs on him as if he hasn't seen him in years. He questions everything, accepts very little for face value, and yet will gladly obey his parents simply because they've asked him to (but he would still kinda like to know what's up *grin*.)

I know it won't be long before he stops bringing his blanket to the couch to snuggle and watch a movie by my side. There may not be many more nights where he asks me to scale to the top bunk to read stories by the glow of his reading lamp. Someday he won't need my help opening a fresh jar of olives, or getting the laundry done so he has fresh clothes.

All the ways I have to show him how much I love him will someday be the ways he knows he was loved and can take care of himself. And I will have to find new ways to show him how much I love him. Well, no. I will get to find new ways to show him I love him. They will come as I get to know him in each new season of his life, as long as I take the time to get to know him in each new season.

In the meantime, words of encouragement, spontaneous laughter, time together, and shared joys will help bridge that gap. They might even fill the gap so there simply isn't one and we'll journey together even as he explores at his own pace. That's exciting. He's exciting.

And to think it all started just seven short years ago, with the birth of one tiny baby boy, and the birth of two new parents. He made us parents, and we will cherish that gift, always.


Love, Mom

Tuesday, September 20

Drawing With Children - some thoughts

I am not an artist.

I cannot draw realistically.

(Admittedly, there are times I cannot even draw recognizable stick figures.)

My family has "an artist".

I am not it.

So why bother?

These are the thoughts that implanted themselves in the dark recesses of my brain by the time I was an adult. Some of them had pretty much proven themselves as fact, if you go by observation and tangible evidence. I loved to draw as a child, and tried my best to continue to draw well into adolescence. But there was already an artist in the family who had "natural ability". We also had a Beauty Queen and The Smart One. I was The Smart One. That was my path, and those were the avenues made available to me (whether I took them or not is a different entry altogether.)

Now, did this scar me for life? Do I no longer consider drawing an enjoyable way to spend time? Am I incapable of enjoying art because of it? Will I end up flaying small animals and using their hides for decorative furnishings? Not really. No, I don't. No. Possibly, if it's a nice fur-bearer. In that order.

But... the point is that my attitude toward drawing, art, sketching, is affected by the influences of my life. The mere thought of "exploring art mediums" made me cringe. I just didn't really care until now. For people who love art and incorporate it into their daily existence, this may sound like sacrilege. If I were to switch out "art" for "reading", then yes, I'd be equally aghast. I cannot imagine a life without books! Egads! But art? Eh. No big loss.

So when I read the (painfully misleading) description for Drawing With Children in Veritas Press' catalog, I thought, "Oh, now this would be perfect for the boys!" (Translation: This is a no-brainer, step-by-step guide I can just throw together a couple days a week and satisfy that pesky niggling sensation that we must "do art". YAY!)

They lie.

Drawing With Children puts forth an entire philosophy toward art, drawing, creating, and ability. It will not permit you to proceed until you've convinced yourself that most of what the average person believes about art is, in fact, a myth. Then, and only then, can you proceed.

You work with your child.

You learn the tools to creating art.
You learn the process of creating art.
You learn that it's okay to say you really aren't satisfied with something you've done. It's no different than writing an essay and critiquing it when you've finished.
You learn that art is fluid, and creating art is an ongoing process.
You learn how to adapt.
Keep going.

One of the things I truly like about Ms. Brookes' philosophy is that is closely matches my philosophy about teaching reading, writing or math. (I'm going to paraphrase, here.) There is no magic lamp to rub in order to learn to create, whether it be art, writing, or mathematical models. There are tools and guidelines you must learn in order to be successful. We need structure and creativity in order to be successful. You can be as creative as ever, but without the proper structure and tools, you won't know where you want to take your creativity. Yet don't get so hung up on the technical aspects that you forget about the fluid, revealing and exciting nature of things. Remember, you need both.

Oh, how I love that. But I have never, ever, ever seen it applied to art. For some reason, everyone I've encountered treated art as though it was the one immaculate exception to this rule.

She does get a little Doe-Eyed Utopian-Liberal If-only-every-child-had-this-program-there-would-be-no-more-suffering-or-crime-or-shattered-children-bad-bad-feds-for-cutting-art-funding. I pretty much just take a sip of coffee, grab more bean dip, and move on. It's her book. If she wants to propagandize, well, that's between her and her publishers. I bought it for the art instruction, and it's in there.

I'm going to wait to begin using Drawing With Children. I want to be able to do it right, rather than just sling paper at the boys and call it good. They deserve better, and I can give it to them. It's going to take a lot more time, material and effort than I anticipated when I purchased it, but I'm very glad I did. And I look forward to exploring realistic drawing with the boys. Even Zorak said he might like to work through the book with us.

Kiss those babies!

Sunday, September 18

Sometimes You Just Don't Want To Know

We loaded up this morning: bikes, boys, backpacks, and heebie-jeebie masks (or, as some would say, HEPA filters). We opened up the Forever Home and set fans a-goin' in all the rooms. Zorak could not believe the difference. Neither could I, but for completely different reasons. He was astounded at what an improvement the Mold-Be-Gone made on "all the vertical surfaces". I was astounded at all the dead mold on all the... Well, EVERYWHERE. What did it look like yesterday? I don't want to know.

We searched for water problems (identified a few), rounded up the boys and headed out for lunch. Decatur has a little buffet place called Barnhill's that pretty much fries everything it serves. We had the fried ice to drink. I'm serious. It's good, although I'm pretty sure some Association of Cardiac Specialists Somewhere has a hit out on the owner's head. It also has a good variety of non wheat-slathered foods (penance? peace offering? I'm not sure...) Zorak and I always eat enough at a buffet to send ourselves into involuntary hibernation. I finally had to push myself from the trough with the pronouncement that "I have puppy belly" (Our term for being full - ever notice that small children get that same puffed out belly that puppies do when they've eaten their fill? After six years of having it in the house, it's become part of our regular vocabulary.) I leaned back and sighed the sigh of the truly stuffed, when James snickered and said, "Ya know, Mom, you have puppy belly all the time, whether you've eaten or not." Ahhh. The humor in that boy is sharp (and rightfully inherited). Good thing he was smilin'.

When we couldn't talk the boys into going home for a (nap) movie and (nap) popcorn, we headed out to Point Mallard State Park to check out their bike trail. That was fun. It's not nearly as nice as Monte Sano, as far as remote location, varying terrain, and scenery. But it's not chopped liver, either. The path is wide and level, which makes it perfect for beginners (or those *ahem* carrying the beginners). The boys rode for two and a half hours. They had a fantastic time. Zorak thinks *I* need a bike for Christmas. And a trailer.

John's abilities on his bike have far surpassed anything we could have hoped for, and the enjoyment he gets from riding now has more than made up for the frustrations and fears of pushing the issue. That boy is an excellent rider! He's a happy rider.

James stopped his bike once and called back to Zorak for the camera. He'd found a particularly lovely display of mushrooms growing on a fallen log and wanted a photo of it. My heart nearly burst inside my (heaving, oxygen deprived) chest! Just when you think it's *whisper* not working, they go and do something like that and you realize the gentle walks, the whimsical stories, the field guides scattered strategically about... It works, it really, really works!

Smidge and Zorak did a little impromptu study of "vines". Which ones are pokey, which are soft. Which are vines and which are actually long tree limbs. Smidge touched every. single. vine. on. the. path. (Might this have contributed to Zorak's Great Christmas Gift For Mommy Idea mentioned above?)

When we became concerned that we might die on the trail, leaving the boys to figure for themselves how to get our bodies back to the road (or not), we decided to turn back. The official reasoning: we had to close up the house before nightfall. (They bought it. We're still officially immortal to them. *happy sigh*)

The house has been wiped down and closed back up for inspection tomorrow. It's no longer under Eminent Threat of Mold. It will also photograph a wee bit better without the hairy surfaces, and if the Good Lord's willin' we'll have keys on Friday. Weee!

And on a completely different note:
Famous Men of Rome: WOW! Loving this book, and I haven't even shown it to the boys yet!
Drawing With Children: will have to do a full blog entry on this one. It has much, much more than I anticipated. I'm stunned.

Kiss those babies!

Saturday, September 17

This just might work!

Mr. Newest Appraisal Guy gave the Forever Home an all-clear, except for... Mold. Well, yes. It has mold. It probably had mold when the previous owners lived in it, and we knew it had Mold, but planned to remove anything Moldy and improve (or create, as the case may be) proper drainage once we were in. However, Fannie Mae says we can't have it if it has Mold now. OK, this is a hurdle we can leap. We don't mind that. We imagined the mold had become worse since Katrina swept through, anyway (and as we cannot convince the listing agent to turn off the water to the leaking water heater!!!) We were told Friday that if we could treat for that problem, the appraiser would give a clean bill of health and we could maybe kinda sorta possibly make it for our scheduled closing on Friday. This coming Friday. (I probably don't need to tell you how exciting the mere prospect of closing on this place is to us!)

Zorak did the legwork, discovered that bleach is a serious no-no in treating mold, ran through a number of searches and phone calls that make folks nervous about The Patriot Act, and found The Chemical Guru who helped hammer out the details. Yay! He left on his hunt this morning and returned bearing large quantities of stuff I didn't know you could buy without some kind of Federal licensing. Very cool.

We were all going to trek out together, but Smidge has An Alien hatching from his nostrils and John's digestive system rebelled violently to some unknown aggressor. By the time I contained the various HazMat issues, we decided the boys and I would stay home and Zorak would venture forth to conquer and destroy The Mold.

While the boys and I stayed home battling various unseen contaminants, Zorak stealthily began his recon mission. The Mold is, well, yeah. We can't blame Mr. Appraiser for marking it down. Zorak called me four hours after he left and whispered into the phone, "It's gotten worse. Way worse. Every internal door is hairy, and they're nothing compared to the baseboards. This is gross!" Um. Ew. (It was at this point that I quit feeling a wee bit put out that domestic duties prevented me from going on the excursion.) Zorak was glad the boys and I weren't there. I can only imagine how bad it must be by now.

Anyhow, several hours and a gallon of Mold-Be-Gone later, the house is decontaminating overnight. Zorak disturbed some kind of legless reptile (aka - unidentified, but angry snake) that was nestled happily between the window panes in the kitchen (and he killed it quite valiently, with a cafe curtain rod!) He came down with two or three cases of The Willies from all the Mold (and the realization that the Jacob's Ladder bathroom in the master suite is actually in better condition than the main bathroom, which is funny because I will. not. set foot in that back bathroom, and I now doubt my ability to accurately assess a situation for potential dangers. Do you take the back alley at midnight or cut through the biker bar? Normally, I'd take my chances in the biker bar... now, I don't know...) The high point of his trip came after he had the fans going. He stepped outside and said, "Oh, good. It smells like Mold outside the house now. I hope that means it's working." Poor guy. It was a noble mission, but probably rather nasty, as well.

Sorry, I ramble.

We'll go out tomorrow to open windows, put fans in all the rooms, and let it air out all day. (Please, please don't let it rain tomorrow.) We'll go back and vacuum/sweep out the ickies in the evening, and then meet the appraiser Monday morning for a final perspective check. WOOHOO! Now why couldn't it have been this easy from the beginning, eh? *snicker*

Lots of other stuff to write about, but I need to go do laundry, so it'll have to wait.

Kiss those babies,

Thursday, September 15

And It's Outta Here!!!

What a milestone! And here he is, on the phone with Dad, absolutely bubbling over with the good news - and showing me the gap at the same time. Too funny.

Where did my baby go? *sniff, sniff*
Congratulations, Big Boy! I love you.

Kiss those babies - they aren't babies for long!

Frustrated Little Sponge

Poor James. He really needed a different mother. This morning he came up to me and asked me, "What is the classification of the word 'can'?"

"Well," I said, donning my best mentor voice, "how is the word being used, sweetheart?"

*pause* "Um, no. Not like that. I just want to know how the word is classified. The word itself."

"Yes, but before we can determine that, we need to know if we're talking about "a 'can' of tuna" or whether you 'can' wiggle your tooth.

*sigh* "That's not what I mean."

*sigh* "Of course it is." (Because, really, what the heck else can he be talking about?!?)

So we go several volleys like this, back and forth. Nouns. Verbs. NO. Context... no. His frustration is mounting. Mine is matching his, step for step. We are obviously not communicating well, here. We do this. Thankfully, we know we do this, so we don't take it personally, and we're both going. to. figure. this. out. (Even if it gives us aneurysms! WEEE!)

Finally he says, "OK! Wait! I think I figured out how to ask this."

Yay! (on the inside - on the outside, I said...) "OK, shoot."

"What do you call a word that is two words which are spelled the same AND pronounced the same, BUT have different meanings?" And then he smiled a big, BIG smile.

"OHHHHHH!" *smacks self in the forehead* "OKAY, *now* I get it!"

So we discuss homographs and homophones and homographic homonyms. He is satisfied. His sponginess has absorbed the nectar it sought, and off he goes to think of something else to ask.

I turn, slowly, back to my coffee, and wonder at how I was given such an inquisitive, wonderful (have I mentioned "patient" lately?) child. He's wonderful. He's growing. And he's rapidly gaining on me.

I think I need to go read something!

Kiss those babies!

Wednesday, September 14

Good Morning

Mm, fresh coffee, and a chilly morning. I. Am. In. Heaven.

The boys are finishing up a snack after riding for an HOUR already. Then they plan to head back out. If I could come up with some way to help Smidge keep up a bit better, I'd love to take them on the trail around the lake. I'll bet it's gorgeous in the mornings!

Mmm, yes. Fall can turn me into a morning person.

Yesterday the boys rode and rode and rode. John, Smidge (and I) were about to fall asleep at the dinner table. Yet at night James is up until we insist on lights out. I don't know how he does it, but there he is - the other two have long since passed out and James is curled up with his reading lamp, holding his head up off his chest, eyes watering, and he's reading-reading-reading. He's a funny kid. We're trying to teach him to turn off the light and get some sleep. Gauge when you're tired and just bookmark your spot. It's okay. But he just can't seem to do it. If he hears the timer beep, he'll flip off the light and curl up, no problem. That would work great if Zorak or I could remember to set the timer. Instead, unfortunately, we get them all read to, tucked in, kissed goodnight, and then collapse on the couch with good books and hot coffee... And an hour later, here comes a bleary-eyed James,

"Is my thirteen minutes up yet?"

ACK! Oh, Honey! Yes. Yes. Go to bed, Sweetheart.

"Oh, good, I'm really tired."

He stumbles off to bed. (And we're sitting there, thinking two things: we have got to remember to set the timer, and why won't this child just lay down and go to sleep???)

James' loose tooth is... Still loose... And still there. He is the only child I've ever seen who just has no desire to play with it and get it out. (This was an obsession with me, as I was the only child in my class not to have lost a tooth yet. Ahhh, but he doesn't have that pressure. Think that plays a part?) Anyhow, the tooth is still there. The new tooth is coming up behind it. So Zorak and I have upped the pressure ourselves, but you know, in a positive way.

"Hey! Did you know your tongue is the strongest muscle in your body? It can even push your teeth out! Try it!"
"How much can it wiggle today? Oh yeah? Cool! Lemme see! Ooooo, can you twist it?"

This being my first child losing his first tooth, I have to point out that the one coming in looks like a ROW OF SHARK'S TEETH! The little bumps look like individual teeth, and it looks like there are a thousand of them sticking up! All I can think is, "That tooth is HUGE!!!" (And I think this in a "I Married an Axe Murderer" accent, too.) Yes, you'd think I know better, having lost all my teeth and examined each and every one. Even an adult molar isn't very big. But in a tiny little mouth... Wow. It's kinda cool!

We're still moving along in a state of utter confusion with the Forever Home. It's like swimming in a mud pond. With tidal waves. I don't know which end is up, but I've just quit struggling and figure I'll float to the top, right? We've come up with some good ideas in the past couple of days, so that was also encouraging.

The thing is, this isn't a situation where reasonable people are being unreasonable, or asking for unreasonable things. It's The System, and as with the institutionalization of anything, the first thing to go is common sense, along with the ability to make a judgment call on an individual basis. Sad, but true. What we are trying to do doesn't put all the little check marks in all the right places. We're not really check mark people. If we give up and just go with something that will fill in all the blanks for the folks behind the smoke and mirrors, we'll end up in a place we not only don't want to own, but don't want to live in for the rest of our lives. So I guess it's a judgment call on our part: press on, or roll over. We don't want to live rolled over, and so I guess, in some bizarre perspective check, that makes it worth it to keep working on it. (The logic behind that scares me more than just a little, but I'm gonna run with it.)

Well, the boys are done snacking and they're itching to hit the trail. I'd better top off my cup and find my shoes. These lazy days of early Autumn (you know, since we hibernate in summer) must be savored!

Have a great Wednesday, everyone!
Kiss those babies,

Monday, September 12

Hodgepodge: House, Bikes, General Stuff

KathyJo kindly inquired as to the status of closing on our Forever Home. The last I'd blogged about it was my He Said/She Said post. At the time, Houdini was adamant that he could get it done, (I cringe even using this phrase now) as-is. Of course, he also said we'd be closing by the 13th (aka- tomorrow) "at the latest". Yeah. *breathe in... breathe out...*

Houdini called this morning to have us come sign the disclosure papers again. Said he needed driver's licenses, but had "everything else". Scheduled for eleven. We arrived. He was nowhere in sight. We met Jill. Jill is very hip. Very nice. Very unaware of what Houdini is going around telling his customers. *sigh* Turns out there is a new appraisal being done (but not done yet). Turns out they won't do it as-is, "if there are any major repairs that need to be done". Um... like HVAC, perhaps? "Right. We'll just get it fixed as cheaply as possible before we can close. Oh, and I need your most recent two months' bank statements" (you know, because this has been going on so long that the old ones are obsolete). Jill smiles. She has no idea why we are alternately wilting and seething under our pasted on smiles. It's not her fault.

But... *sigh* Of course.

I don't think this is going to happen. And I'm not sure how I feel about that. If it was a normal seller we were dealing with, it would be no problem to just meet with them and say, "Hey, here's what's going on," and work something out. But with the company that owns the property, it's not that simple. And if this broker insists that we have the same repairs made before going to closing, it's not going to happen. I hate to put that out there, but I just don't see any other way to make it a go. I did, but now this... We'll see, I suppose. I'm known for my pessimism, but I tend to see it as "justifiable realism" most of the time. It'd be really nice to be dead wrong this time around.

Today's theme at home: Boys on Bikes. All day long! Now that John's training wheels are off, he's a whole new critter. He's a mobile critter! And he really is doing great. He was up, dressed, fed and out the door by seven thirty. When James and Smidge finally got out there, he'd mastered a lot of his demons and was ready to explore. I let the boys drive "the loop" (around a block of garages in the middle of the parking lot). While the boys did lap after lap, Smidge hopped on his Big Wheels trike and made one very long, very strenuous, very diligent lap (mind you, his feet don't reach the pedals, so this was an inch-at-a-time process). Then it was time for snacks, because that took about an hour. He's like the world's most determined land tortoise! It's amazing. After we ran errands, got stranded (turned out we just needed a new battery for the Suburban, yippee!! Nothing big!), and then got home, the boys swarmed the front porch, strapped on their helmets and headed back out for another two hours' riding fun! I had to drag them in to eat supper. I had to bribe them with stories and munchy foods during the after work inundation of vehilces. (Well, okay, that was just for fun, but they kept eyeing the parking lot wistfully and making offhand comments about how the traffic was slowing and how it looked like everyone was already home...) I am terrified to think what time they'll be up in the morning, helmets and shoes over jammies, ready to ride!

However, we wanted them outside more. We got what we wished! I'm thankful they shrugged off the multi-media addiction so quickly. It's good to see how resilient kids are.


And for the rest of the stuff, well, it's pretty mundane today. I was wondering if my VP order might be in today... yeah, then I did the math. It's fun, though, to have something to look forward to which might actually arrive!

The boys enjoyed reading poems from Side-by-Side: Poems to Read Aloud - it's a delightful anthology of fun poetry from all manner of sources. The ever endearing Edward Lear, Rudyard Kipling, and James' favorite, A. Nonymous. LOL. He's convinced there's a story there somewhere.

The house is tidy. The boys are fed. The nights are cool, and the beds are warm. Really, what more can we ask for?

Oh, I know. Another day like that. Another day that ends with us all together, under one roof, fed and warm. With another morning to anticipate and savor all over again. Yep, we've got a lot.

Well, Kiss those babies!

Sunday, September 11

Semi-Intentional Education

Limbo has been good for the boys in some ways. I don't know what they are just yet, but that's okay. Someday, one of them will stun us all with some characteristic that's quite unique and handy, and we will be able to trace it to this time. Then, it will be good. For now, however, enough, already!

It started out innocently enough. We kept up the basic three: math, Latin, language arts. During the move, over the summer, we didn't stop. But when I needed the math blocks and couldn't find them, I thought, "Well, we'll pull them out when we get moved into the big house. A short break won't hurt, really."

What I didn't realize at the time was that math is the foundation to beginning our school day. The boys would dive into their math while I fixed breakfast, and that set the tone for the rest of the morning: Latin, reading, snack time follow math. When math stops, it all comes to a grinding, screeching, train-wreck like halt. Zorak of the Hunting & Engineering Tribesmen may think it is a grand thing to have all learning tied directly to math, of course. I (of the Reading & Baking Tribe) am not entirely convinced. (Next Blog: tribal intermarriage and the priorities it confuses.)

Each week, for the past four or five weeks, I've been thinking, "We'll be moving soon, so I don't really want to pull out more things... we can hold off a little longer... well, then we'll be remodeling..." From there, it became a little pathetic, and while I had convinced myself I was OKAY with the lack of structure and aim to our days, it's not working out so well for the boys. That structure and aim is our lifestyle. It's who we are, and we feel a wee bit adrift without its comforting, guiding presence in our daily rituals.

*dum-da-daaaa!* (This is where we stand erect, with our hands on our hips and our chins thrust forward.) WE CAN CHANGE THIS!

Ahhh, see? That felt good, didn't it? I know it did for me, although it also reminded me that my posture has gone the way of Quasimodo. It hurts to stand too erect.

Uh, *ahem.* OK, so. ANYway...

Following some pretty great talks with the boys about hurricanes and dikes and levees and such, I ran smack into a wonderful spark of serendipity when I found Of Dikes and Windmills, by Peter Spier, at the library last week. Oooooo. This is neat. So, I thought to myself, I'll read it first, then read aloud with the boys and we can learn about the process of protecting the land. This is good stuff to know. (This is not a unit study. This is not a unit study.)

And then I found The Story of Numbers, by Patricia Lauber. Oh, what a delightful book! Oh what fun! We need to take the time to read this a chapter a day and explore it more fully. (This is not a unit study!) Yes, we'll do this, too.

Then I managed, through truly poor financial estimation on my part, end up with a little left over cash...

and an internet connection...

and we now have our first ever order from Veritas Press winging its wild little way to our doorstep! I've never ordered like that before. It was exhilerating. It was addicting. First, I ordered Famous Men of Rome, but then noticed that they have a hardback edition of Henty's The Cat of Bubastes and I really didn't want to skip a good Henty read aloud... Oh! And Jill has mentioned Ancient Rhymes so many times! And look, it's right there! That'll be fun! Oh, hey! While I've got it all going in (presumably) one box, they also have Drawing With Children! And... and...AND...

*muffled voice wafts in from the other room* "Honey, what are you doing?"

*stifling my manaical laughter* Uhhh... *clears throat* Ordering books?

*sighs from other room* "Ok." *then, more quietly* "You are so weird sometimes."

And so it is, that with renewed enthusiasm (although I've still gotta go dig up the blocks, but somehow the issue of bringing in two small math boxes seems pretty silly compared to the package en route, doesn't it?) We will begin our schooling for the year. James begins second grade officially tomorrow. John begins Kindergarten. And I'm so excited! What FUN! What fun we'll have together, doing the things we love, instead of living in a self-imposed limbo, waiting for some intangible (and increasingly questionable) "when" to arrive.

If it gets interrupted, so be it. We'll modify. The boys can take their sketch pads to the property and practice their newfound drawing skills. We might need to add binoculars and a good classification text, too. (But none of these are unit studies! I swear it!) It's all good.

And on that note, I must get to bed. John has the training wheels off his bike now, and we need to get out there in the morning to ride - before it gets warm and all we want to do is sip tea and read books (because, let's face it, like I need a lot of arm twisting to sit down and read!)

Kiss those babies!

Saturday, September 10

Happy, Happy Birthday, Baby!

Image hosted by Photobucket.comWow. Two years. It was a good day, and it's been a good two years. When Baby Jacob arrived, he came at a pretty uncertain time for us - but his place in our home, in our family, has never been uncertain. He was exactly what we needed, and he came exactly when we needed him.

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The initial serenade of the traditional birthday song didn't go over too well, as he'd just awoken from his nap. Well, it may have been the nap. It may also have been our singing: he plugged his ears and ran screaming from the room. So we skipped straight to the presents, which were a huge hit. The boys were more excited than he was, at first. Then it clicked. Ohhhhh. This is fun!

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The second time around, we bribed him with fire and cake as we sang: what man wouldn't sit through an opera for that, right? Worked like a charm.

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And it was, oh, so worth it! Yum!

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His absolute favorite new acquisition is his "Thom-thom", or, as it's known by the rest of the world, Thomas the Tank Engine. This thing has been his constant companion for the past 24 hours, minus meals (which he has eaten at breakneck speed so he can once again be reunited with his beloved Thom-thom), and bath time (banshees have nothing on this child). He really loves this little toy train. And joy of joys, it fits on the tracks we bought from IKEA! Yay!

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Smidge's second year has been a good one. It's been filled with adventures of the greatest magnitude, and with the joys of the mundane.

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And it's all done with us, which is a lot of fun for the rest of us, too!!
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Happy Second Birthday, Smidge! You've had a great year, and we can't wait to see what you'll share with us this year! Keep looking ahead, Sweetheart, and we will keep kissing our baby.

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Thursday, September 8

Overheard & A Day of Joy

The boys are fascinated with my maternity clothes. They think someone was just an absolute genius to design clothing that stretches only in the tummy, or is cut to hang properly when filled out with a big ol' belly. Maternity wear is a highly prized invention in our home.

This morning, I lumbered out of the closet, fastening the straps to my Old Navy overalls, and both boys looked a little confused (they both stopped talking and struck the RCA puppy pose). Shortly, James asked, "Those aren't maternity... are they?"

"No," I laughed, "they're just overalls, but they still fit and I thought they'd be comfy today."

"WOOOOOOOW!" Says James, his voice filled with awe, "Those must be HUGE!"


Today we ran like the wind. Not actually r-a-n, you know. I leave that for things like fleeing burning buildings or evading angry dogs. But we ran errands and accomplished so much. We hit the market to get the pregnancy tea herbs, some yogurt and wf granola. Evidently, I didn't eat enough at breakfast, though, because on the way to check out, I felt a little queasy. I grabbed a smoothie from the impulse-buy rack and threw it in the basket. By the time I'd written out the check, I was sweating, dizzy, and trembling. Then I couldn't stand up! ACK! The cashier wasn't terribly observant, and she got a little testy with me when I handed her the check without my driver's license. "Ok, ok, hang on. I just. Have. To. Sit. Forasecond." *I slid down the wall to crouch near the floor (it's a concrete floor and I didn't want to have far to fall if I did pass out.)* The nice lady behind me noticed the sweat pouring down my face and that I was trembling so badly I couldn't get my license out of its completely impenetrable hiding place in my wallet. Bless her heart, she loaded the bags in the basket and called the manager over. I was able to explain that I was just very hot and needed to get outside, sit down, and have a drink and I'd be fine. Then the cashier took her hands off her hips and realized I wasn't being a pain in the butt, here. LOL. The manager tried to get a stockboy to push the cart out, but the boys said they would do it and would take good care of their mama.

The stockboy followed me out, anyway, fawning over the boys the whole way. He helped load the boys and the bags into the Suburban while I sucked down the smoothie and ate a ginger snap. He lectured me for parking "so far away", and made it quite clear that "with all you have to haul, people can just get used to you parking wherever you need to, okay?" That gave me a good chuckle. He stayed until I could show him I was okay. Just a little case of poor judgement on my part, but we'll be fine. *sigh* How embarrassing. But also, what a great, wonderful gift to have a market where the folks are so kind and helpful. Even the cashier was nice once she realized what was going on. I am really thankful for where we live!


Once the soy protein and fructose rush kicked in, I felt much better, so we headed off to the library, where I made my monthly depost to the Fund for Wayward Books, renewed the few that had somehow avoided our big recon plan back at the house, and then we...

Trekked to the third floor!

There is nothing on the third floor, really. It's where they store the historical archives (OK, I'd love to be given an afternoon of free reading up there, but this wasn't the boys' main goal)... No. They just wanted to stand on the balcony of the third floor and look down at the circulation desk from Way. Up. High. That was kinda fun, really.

After that, we got down to business, rounded up the next batch of books to mysteriously disappear somewhere in the boys' room, and spent a few hours reading books there at the library. We love the library. :-)


The rest of the day was quiet. Nice. Cool and breezy. Fresh summer watermelon and silly stories. Relay races in the living room and dancing to Freddy Fender. More dreaming on the house. More great Daddy stories.

And now, more quiet. I can hear the rustle of pages floating from James' bed. Zorak is immersed in the Home Depot book and the Wolf ranges and ovens catalogs. I hear my latest edition of America's First Freedom calling to me. And fresh coffee brewing.

Have a truly beautiful evening with your loved ones, and as always,
Kiss those babies!

Wednesday, September 7

No Title To Make Zorak Laugh

Eh, I can't win 'em all.

Anyhow, we made the drive to our midwife's mid-way office for our initial consultation/prenatal visit. It's a good sign when the front door is open and there are children everywhere! The boys were absorbed into the roving mass of happy children while we retired to your traditional midwife's office: a bedroom-style room with comfy pillows, writing desk, and private bathroom.

We like them. We really, really like them. We may have freaked them out a bit, but on our end, we truly like them. The primary midwife has nine children of her own, all homebirths. She has "mojo", which no amount of certification or training can emulate, and she also has a wonderful midwifery education to back up the mojo. She laughs readily, has a stockpile of herbs to make an Navajo shaman jealous, and we felt very comfortable with her expertise and philosophy. Her partner, who has been practicing with her for years, also has good mojo and a comfortable manner. She has six children, all homebirthed, and her first child was a breech birth. They get it. I'm glad.

We agreed to having the apprentice midwives available and involved. There's no better way to learn than to be there, and we feel that we owe it to the midwifery community, and the future of birthing options, to be an active part of the process. Both of the ladies today were just great: enthusiastic, comfortable with their own skin and the situation, and happy to be doing what they are doing. We could not have asked for a better situation! Well, a better attitude from The State toward midwifery would be nice, but that we will work on now that we are here. *grin*

The apprentices both had their children there, and they were absolutely adorable. One of the little girls likes to play midwife. She's about two. She came up to me with the tape measure, wanting to measure my fundal height. It was so sweet. What could I do but lay back down and cheer her on. She laid the tape from my pelvis to my eyebrows, then poked around my tummy until she found the baby. She smiled and said, "Yup! Looks good!" What a cutie pie, and what a positive attitude toward pregnancy already. My heart absolutely melted into a warm, fuzzy puddle. I wish more people were that comfortable with it. Another little one who wormed his way into our hearts was this precious little roaming, rambling ball of giggling fat. He's nine months old, into everything, and thought Zorak was the funniest, greatest thing since dry diapers! They had a blast playing together. Smidge stayed with me until he hit his comfort level, then he was off to "find the brothers", and he never looked back. *sniff, sniff* Bittersweet, but good.

General health is all good. Measuring right on target, blood pressure good, proteins good. You know, normal prenatal stuff. She does want me to increase my Vitamin C intake, as well as overall greens and... alfalfa. (Am I the only one who didn't see that last one coming???) Anyhow, they also gave me a recipe for a tea to drink daily. I've got to order some of the herbs for it, but I think I can get most of them at our local crunchy shop.

In all, exciting, yet not-so-much in a blogging sort of way.

On the House Front:
Houdini didn't call today with a closing date. So I called him to find out why the blazes not. He said, "If the appraiser gets the new form to me in the morning, it'll be Friday, but most likely Monday or Tuesday." I freaked! "WHAT?!?!? We won't know anything for another week?!?!?" Oh! No. We should close by then. *pause, breathe, pause again* Close, you say? By Tuesday, you say? Are you toying with my hormones? No, he is serious. Or at least he thinks he is, and right now that's about all I've got to go on. So I'm going to cling to for now.

Tomorrow? The library! And perhaps, the market! Oh, 'twill be a decadent day for our home! Ahhhhhh.

Kiss those babies!

Tuesday, September 6


That's such a great word, and one we just don't use too often. I think the only times I hear it regularly are in church or when someone is being sarcastic. I like the way it's used in the Aubrey-Maturin novels: "give you joy," as in, "I give you joy of the victory." That always made me smile a little when I'd read it. Such a small phrase conveyed so much.

Tonight, we have joy. We still have no house, but I think Zorak killed The Gremlin that has haunted The Mistress and made her a poor, wretched wench for so long. This news brings me joy. It brings us the freedom to schedule library visits, museum trips, runs to the grocery store when we are out of food (a mere convenience, I know, but one for which I will be happy for months!). It brings us the ability to take trips to the park, go hiking on the mountain, and the see the doctor during regular business hours.

Joy. Give you joy of the kill, Zorak. You have bested the evil gremlin*, and I, for one, am filled with joy.

On other fronts, no news on the mortgage thing. Amazing Realtor was sick and sound asleep for the past four days. She sounds astoundingly happy to be up and about again, and was even a wee bit feisty with regard to He-Who-Makes-Customers-Cry. Go, Amazing Realtor! She was touching base with folks today, and we hope to hear an actual, honest-to-goodness closing date tomorrow! *adolescent squeal*

Smidge didn't nap today. He nearly fell off his chair at supper, and happily went to bed tonight. Aside from the semi-narcoleptic episodes at the table, I'm thinkin' this might not be a bad routine, eh? He's pleasant even when he's tired and... Oh. Wait. No he isn't. He very calmly, and without any sign of rancor, proceeded to beat John (sound asleep on the couch at the time) about the head with a pillow. He might as well have been waving away fumes or weaving cloth for all the energy he put into it, but I guess it was just too tempting to pass up... Well, he was pleasant to the rest of us, and John probably won't remember it. Sometimes it's not so bad to be the little guy, just a little strange.

And did I mention we've a midwife appointment tomorrow? I am quite excited about it - it means we're getting closer to holding our Little One, and that's a great sensation!

Kiss those babies!

*Officially, Zorak believes "exorcised" is the appropriate term. I'm good with that. The thing runs, though, whether The Gremlin was killed or run off the cliff in a herd of pigs, I don't care. It's gone!! WOOHOO!*

House Update - He Says, She Says

I talked to Houdini, The Mortgage Man, today. He says everything is good. He says they are waiting for the Title Co. to retype the paperwork with the New Mortgage Co. Name in all the right spots. He said he may have a closing date for us as early as this evening. He says there will be no more surprises. He says it's just a time-consuming paperwork task at this point.

You probably don't want to know what She said... We'll just say she's, erm, skeptical.

But perhaps we'll know more by this evening! Wouldn't that be great?! :-) In the meantime, the bruises are healing nicely, and yes, the apartment looks very nice.

Thanks for hangin' in there with us, guys. It's been an adventure!

Kiss those babies!

Monday, September 5

Me and My Bright Ideas

Our carpet cleaner, after limping along for several years and surviving one painful encounter with some not-so-great neighbors, died earlier in the year. It was beyond repair (and we were out of room on the moving van), so we decided not to bring it with us. In June, I picked up a Little Green (from Bissell), thinking that it would be perfect for cleaning the Suburban and the three small bedrooms of carpet we would have by now...

But we still have a full apartment covered in white carpet.

And it's pretty nasty by now. (I had thought we'd have paid a professional to clean it by now and been long gone, now leaving small child particles on a laminate floor which could be mopped clean.)

And so yesterday Zorak took the boys fishing and exploring while I stayed home to clean. It was nice. I washed walls and doors, windows and mirrors. I did all the laundry and balanced the checkbook.

And I spent



Cleaning the carpet.

On my hands and knees,

with my Little Green.

It looked so pretty when I went to bed this morning.

It felt so good.

Then I arose from a few hours sleep and OH. My. Word! My palms are bruised! My knees hurt when I sit or stand. My netheregions ache if I so much as turn upwind. And I never saw it coming. Wow.

The carpet still looks good, but in retrospect, I should have splurged on the upright. Definitely.


Trouble in the Hidey Hole Again

Boy, ya put a few thousand women in the same virtual room for long enough and they're sure to make things rough on everyone. Feminists like to rail on men for being so "warlike" and "dogmatic" and then scoff at how "they still managed to rule the world for so long". Yeah. Well, catfights can hinder one's desire for world-wide domination. Too much energy, too many civilian casualties, and absolutely no good in the end. Way to run an empire, huh?

So far this week on one of the few boards I frequent, ladies have been attacked for some astounding things: for not agreeing with the Borg (and I don't mean that in the kind way, either); for sharing information; for not wanting to play the blame game in Louisianna; even, *gasp* for telling about a lovely Labor Day With The Family in response to the question, "What're you doing today?"

Esh. I think I'm going to stay away for a while and let them hash it out among themselves. It's not a big deal in the Grand Scheme of Things. I just hate to see it happen. Personal accountability is a rapidly fading thing in all aspects of our society, I fear, and this is but one more example. It's a shame. It really is.

Anyhow, if you're here and looking for some good blog reading, here are a couple I enjoy but just haven't put in my sidebar yet because I'm slightly allergic to messing with my template:
* Check out Cyber Ecology, which you can get to via School @ Home
* Crib Chick, AKA Jill, has great reading, fun discussions, and a wonderful focus on the good things about being a Crib Chick (aka - a hip stay-at-home-mom)


Sunday, September 4

Oh, no, Mom. Not like that!

I sat down to read with the boys. We snuggled in, piled up the books, picked a story, and I began to read...

That's when James stopped me, saying, "Oh, no! Don't use your Narrator Voice. Just read like a normal person."

*blink, blink*


Kiss those babies!

The Post-Apocalyptic Freak in All of Us

Well, maybe not all of us. But those few... you know who you are. I was out running around, getting caught up on blogs I love (yes, it's one in the morning and I have church tomorrow, I know. Shush.) I came to SCHOLA, and L has posted some great emergency preparedness links, ideas, and such. Gracious commenters have also added their favorites, and it's just a fun, fun way to blow an hour and a half in the middle of the night!

I'm sure it's obvious to regular readers where Zorak and I stand on the government reliance aspect of life, and the importance of being ready and willing to do what you can for yourself when called upon to do so. We also believe in the importance of being prepared to help your neighbors when they need it ("neighbor" being a pretty all-encompassing term for us). When Zorak made a Wal-Mart run for creamer and fresh ammo and came home with his and hers ammo, my heart fluttered in a way that only fellow PAF folks can understand. So, yeah, the whole preparedness thing rates pretty high for us, and it played a large role in our search for our Forever Home.

I had to come back and blog, though, because L's post reminded me of one of the things I learned about my mother after she passed away. As Zorak and I ploughed through the eighty bazillion books she'd collected over the years, we noticed a pretty interesting trend. My mother -- the woman whose happiest moment that I can recall was the day she found shoes and earrings in *celery green* that coordinated perfectly with her favorite pant suit -- owned more Self-Reliance and Preparedness books than a good Mormon bookstore! It was an astounding realization as we found book after book on methane gas conversion for the home, living off the grid, and canning-for-the-future themed books. Wow. My mother, my civilized, slightly ecentric, happily pampered mother... of all people... fostered dreams of self-reliance.

Pages are dog-eared from years of being thumbed through again and again, notes are in many of the margins, and some of the books have little notes tucked in them with things like her favorite canning recipes, or tips on how to make jerky in the oven and how to store potatoes.

Of course we kept them. And we cherish them. Not just for the information they were printed to share, but also for the information about my mother that they shared. You just never know all there is to know about a person, even if you live with her for twenty years. Even if you think you know so much. It's a pretty cool reminder of just how diverse and interesting each person really is, and what each of us has to offer the world that we may never bother sharing. It's reminded me to get to know people on different levels of themselves, and also that I should dig deep from time to time and share whatever there may be inside worth sharing. What a rich, complete, and wonderful world that could create!

Anyhow, no real point to blogging this. But the thought made me smile, and maybe that was worth sharing.

Kiss those babies!

Tap, tap, tap... Impatience!

We aren't Instant Gratification People, for the most part. Zorak and I both are willing to work toward a goal, sacrifice the present for the future, invest in long-term payoffs, and even simply to wait... wait... wait.

But this is getting ridiculous. I want to report that we have a house, that the new Hounds are willing to sign off on the house as-is, and that we will soon be up to our armpits in pipe dope and PEX tubing!

Yet, I can't... and that, to be truthful, makes blogging difficult. I'd planned to have entertaining stories about the families of mole rats living in the oven, or how the boys decided to use the old insulation as padding for their bobsled track down the hill... I don't know. Something. Something other than, "No word yet." Which leaves me with... um, well, "No word yet." Pretty boring, I know.

Today we found a Very Cool Barber. We thought at first he would be something like a slightly younger version of Geri (from Pixar's Geri's Game). Turns out he is absolutely delightful and is a fantastic barber. He's had his shop in its current place for a little over 30 years, and has been a barber for coming up on 50 years! One gentleman who came in while we were there got a good laugh out of Smidge (who was hungry and sleepy by the time his turn came): he and the barber laughed about how Smidge is just like this guy's boy was all those years ago. He treated the boys like Young Men. He called me Ma'am. He did a really nice job, and of course, there were lollipops after all was said and done! If you're in need of a good barber in the Huntsville area, check out Joe's over by Memorial Parkway and Oakwood Drive!

The guys went fishing this evening, leaving me to enjoy a leisurely conversation with LB in Seattle - in which we spoke in complete sentences, which was a wonderful thing for me! The boys didn't catch any fish. James swears he caught a stingray, and we haven't been able to convince him that the freshwater lake here in the complex probably doesn't have ocean life. So far, no go. Zorak has no idea what it was - he didn't see it. And so, the story will go, of the time Uncle James caught a stingray in a lake in Alabama. Sounds like fodder for fanciful short stories for the next generation, to me.

Tomorrow we will head off to church, and then to the library to return our books and make our monthly donation to the Library Fund for Wayward Books (aka - late fees). We'll check out more Wayward Books and then come home to settle in and enjoy them.

Monday, we will probably stare at the phone and curse three-day weekends that arrive before we have a closing date. But it'll all be good. It always is.

There will be more fishing, I'm sure.

And tonight, it is cooler outside than it is in the apartment! It is beautiful! So I'm going to open all the doors, turn on all the fans, and bask in the coolness of the nighttime breezes!

Kiss those babies!

Friday, September 2

Tidbits from September

It cannot be September already! Weren't we supposed to be... and doing... and going... ah, well, as we all know, life doesn't work that way. Not having a home to open up to a family or two right now is making me twitchy and irritable. Having a home for the boys, though, is keeping me thankful. And regardless, it's still September, whether I'm ready for it or not.

Smidge turns two in a week. That's difficult to believe - not that he's "two already", but that he's only been with us two years. He's such a seamless, integral part of our home and our family. Wow. Zorak and I didn't have that kind of seamless, integral cohesion going on two years into our marriage - yet here come the little guys who can't talk, can't read, can't drive, and they just work themselves right into the whole "necessary part of the whole" right off the bat! Gotta love that. We could learn a lot from children. Or rather, a lot more than we already do.

Found another volunteer match up site: Share Your Home. This was begun by folks in Shreveport, LA. They also have an on-site volunteer base, but they are not limiting donations or open houses to just the area. If you've got the room and the heart for it, please take a look and sign up. And pass it on. The more avenues of communication we can open around the disaster area, the better.

On the more useless notes, the Suburban has developed a musty smell from wet swim towels and warm weather. Ew. Time to put the Little Green to work tomorrow!

The boys finished their swim classes and had a fantastic time with the families in the water. James still won't jump into the 12' end, but he did swim across it - twice. He hasn't quite clicked on the impact of that, yet, but it'll be a riot when he does. We're going to check and see if Southern Adventures is open and whether it's going to be packed this weekend (among all the other goings on, I forgot that this is Labor Day weekend!)

Zorak and I have been oogling ranges and ovens. It's getting funny. Probably closer to sad-funny than ha-ha-funny. You see, since we don't own digital televisions, whomperdine stereo systems, flat-screen anythings, new cars, or even furniture made in the last 20 years... we figured we could splurge on one area of the home: the kitchen. This is where we live, hang out, live, eat, read, visit, entertain, live... and, that's where the coffee pot stays. It's a very important room in our house. So we think we're going to splurge on the range. *maniacal laughter* We are SO in over our heads. The very fact that I am only now referring to it as a "range" rather than a "stove" is one indication of just how deeply imbedded in Square One I am when it comes to appliances. It's a pretty amazing realm out there...

The boys just turned the lights out, so I'm going to slip off to the patio (they can sleep through anything once they're asleep, but the tappity-tap of the keyboard can lure them clear across the house. Go figure.) I'm reading Understanding the Arab World and am about halfway through. I'd like to finish that this weekend so I can try to get it back to church before I owe them late fees, too.

Kiss those babies!


There is so much going on. So many thoughts. I'd like to start by asking for prayer requests tonight, actually.

First, Hillary had her surgery today. Please keep her and her family in your prayers as she heals and they receive the results over the next few weeks.

Second, Laney's hubby is needing a hedge of protection and Laney's needin' a good dose of "old fashioned Proverbs 31-type strength" to keep from pulling her hair out. That'd sure be appreciated.

Third, two ladies from the WTM boards have made contact w/ missing family members in the New Orleans area. That's a huge praise, there.

Please pray for the rescue efforts on the Gulf Coast, and if you feel led to do something, don't hesitate. Donations of goods, money, time and housing are all needed and welcomed. If you don't know who to contact, ask someone. I'm trying to round up some ideas other than what's been posted all over already, and will share them.

I honestly hope the propagandists who have gone nuts today will mellow the heck out. This is the time go come together and work together, regardless of political/religious/skivvy color preferences, people. There are enough idiots out there making the wrong choices and hindering the progress. Let's do the right thing. Please.

I'm too tired to keep my eyes open, so that's it tonight.

Kiss those babies!