Sunday, August 26

Oh! I didn't tell you about this!

The "sanitize" bit in yesterday's post reminded me. Our Big Excitement this Summer: a new washing machine! Actually, a new washing machine and dryer.

But it's all in one tub.

Yep, you put in dirty clothes and remove clean *dry* clothes. One move. I'll give you a minute to consider that.

Although perhaps you didn't need to wrap your mind around it. You may have known about it. Somehow, we seem to be the last of a handful of people to ever hear about this. (No less than three friends, when told about our new toy, squealed and said, "Oh! You are SO European/Korean!" They were pretty evenly split on the influence. But we had no clue. However, we did go with the LG. So -- Go, South Korea! You nailed the landing on this one!)

One word: Awesomeness.

Some of the reviews we read said it's not a good fit for a family because you're limited to doing only one dedicated load at a time. Meh. We've been using it for a little over a month, now, (seven people, one virus, plus allergies, chickens, and mud - that's plenty of laundry to give it a run) and I could not be happier. Yes, it does take longer to wash and dry one load at a time compared to the ideal, which looks like this:

wash one load/get it drying while you wash another load/fold the first load while the second load is drying and you wash a third load. 

But if you compare it to my usual:

wash one load/forget it's in there, getting mildewy, until I desperately NEED to do the next load so I can switch them out before bed/re-wash the first load/stay up way too late to be able to switch the second load out after the first load finally passes a sniff test... 

we're coming out ahead, my friends. So very far ahead. Add in the delayed start which allows Zorak to have freshly washed jeans in the morning, but we can still be in bed by ten. Or eleven. But if we stay up, it's by choice, not desperation. How cool is that?

It's a crazy little machine. It dries everything to perfection except for our thick towels (they take about ten minutes under a ceiling fan to finish off), and the thickest part of the crotch of jeans (again with the ceiling fan) -- and really, I don't move that quickly, anyway. Worst case scenario, I put in the next load, refill my coffee, address a handful of random interruptions, and it's all dry and ready to be put away. *with no re-washing, ever* And if I want to line dry some things, BONUS. Everything is clean and nearly-dry, even without the drying cycle. (Today, alone, I washed and hung three loads of wash, and still had time to wash/dry two more loads in the machine. So wonderful!)

The kids love it. Well, some of the "new" has probably worn off by now, but they appreciate the quiet spin cycle, and the clean clothes, and no longer needing to buy Shout in the gallon jug... It's a gift that keeps giving. I just don't know why we didn't know about these sooner!

Kiss those babies!

On Catching Up

So the kids had their plan in place:
Get up early
Hit the books hard
Spend more time reading between the writing-intensive studies to provide for stimulation and avoid death by pencil.

This was their recommendation for getting caught up to where the lesson plans said we should be. I thought it was pretty responsible (and beats what I'd have done when I was 12!)

We hit it hard on Monday. John had allergies, and he struggled, but we pushed through.

We hit it hard on Tuesday. James had allergies, too, that day, but we pushed through.

Wednesday, they mostly sat around, looking stunned, wondering that allergies could be so harsh...

Thursday, Jacob developed allergies. Or, as we began to suspect, "allergies". :groan:

Thursday evening, EmBaby and I both fell prey to what we'd been calling "allergies". I don't know what this is, but it's nassy! Since it's knocking us all down like dominoes, we're guessing it's viral. So our new plan is in place:

Vit. D
Pray this runs its course before it mutates and does another lap through the house.

It's been a documentary-heavy couple of days, here. So far, we haven't had to try out the "Sanitize" option on the washer, though. I'm counting my blessings!

Kiss those babies!

Monday, August 20

Not Like Any August, Ever

I hesitate to say anything, but this August has *rocked* in Northern Alabama. Temps have remained in the nearly-reasonable 90's, the humidity hasn't gone over 100% more than maybe twice*, and so far nothing has landed on the house or the car! Someone's been Very Good, I suspect. Wow.

So we've been braving the out-of-doors more this year -- going to the river, on hikes, to the park, canoeing. We didn't spend nearly as much time at the water park this Summer as I'd hoped to, but some of that was because we weren't sweltering and desperate for relief the whole time. (June. June was awful. But after that, Mother Nature backed off the ire and we recovered.) We did get some good use out of it, though. I only lost one child, one time (which is pretty darned good, all things considered), and nobody got burnt at all this summer! No, I take that back. Zorak and the boys all got sunburned shins on a canoe trip with the Scouts a couple of weeks back. But that wasn't on my watch, so I don't have to claim it. BOOYAH! First time, ever!

We're in Week 5 at school, and so far, we're... pretty darned slow. Wow. We seem busy. We feel busy. But we're not laying tracks like we'd thought. So today, the kids brainstormed a new schedule, to be implemented tomorrow morning. No clue how it's going to go, but finding out is half the adventure, right? (That face you just made? Same one they made when I used that phrase this morning.) In all, though, it's going really well. EmBaby's reading more fluidly - her accent is killing us in the phonics, but she's starting to clear those hurdles. (I've never had one with an accent before. This is a whole new ballgame!) Jacob's just rolling through it to get to the books. I can't keep him in books. (Yeah, I know. Third child this age, you'd think he'd be inundated. I guess not.) John finally got a good callous from playing guitar. He feels legit, now, and it's given him a renewed vigor in many areas. And James is kicking into high gear is so many areas. Mostly after 11:30 or so in the morning, but once he's caught a gear, he can *go*.

For me, the big excitement so far was hearing John announce that he *likes* Latin. One day, Dwane Thomas at Visual Latin, and the good folks at Memoria Press (thank you for First Form!) will receive cookies, or brownies, or a copy of someone's NLE results with a thank you note. That's some crazy joy, there.

And the rest of Summer? Well, things don't always go as planned. We did get the sand - uh, this past Saturday. The windows we'd been putting in, one at a time, all went on clearance (not to be re-stocked  - ACK!) so we snagged all we needed in one size, and we now have new windows along the whole front of the house. We'll be eating beans and rice for the next three months, but the marked improvement in insulation is worth it already.

Oh, and okra! Our mad gardening skills have once again yielded insane amounts of okra. Not much else - maybe one cucumber, a handful of squash, two and a half tomatoes... we'll spend the Autumn pickling okra and giving thanks that we do not have to rely solely on what we grew for Winter sustenance. Again. Amen.

Kiss those babies!

* Tongue in cheek. Mostly.