Friday, 28 December 2007

As the Week Winds Down....

Well, the camera is off to New York, dinner is in the oven, progress is being made in Lil'Bug's room (she's helping so 1/2 as fast....), and Thank You cards are started. Not bad for a Friday!

The picture is of the pork chops in the oven right now, only from the last time I made them. It is a Cook's Illustrated recipe and we are still pondering/debating if the amazing taste is worth the effort involved in making the crust. Now that I've done it twice, I might reconsider my vote. :)

New Year's Deep Cleaning

Spring cleaning is great BUT I am usually knee deep in grading papers in the Spring so this year I have decided to deep clean and organize right now for the new year. That way I can start the new year and the new semester our fresh and organized.

Here are the items on my list to tackle:
  • Put away fake tree and better label ornament boxes.
  • My office/craft room: need more baskets and hang some wall art (or baskets on the wall- neat idea I saw in Country Living, shhh.)
  • Lil'Bug's room: need room for all her new loot. Need to change out 2T to 3T clothes, pack and label the 2T crate. Hang her wall art. (Thinking about framing her art and hanging it....)
  • My bedroom: finish painting the trim, find (make?) better window treatments.
  • Paint hallway (fine, this has been on the to-do list since 2004.....)
  • Paint laundry room.
  • Paint hall, bathroom, and laundry room trim. Hang wall art.
  • .......(cue drums of doom) the north bedroom: right now a staging area for pre-packing and all other "stuff". Clean out, set up spare bed. Maybe paint the walls. Maybe. Hang wall art.
  • Then paint middle parlor. Oh yeah, find good colour for that room. Gah.
  • * edited to add * Stain and seal the hallway floor, wash curtains, and bedding.
  • Clean out car
  • Does it ever end? Gah.
(purple means done! Blue means in progress)

I'll post pictures as I tackle (um, if FIL will re-lend me his camera......). I have until January 7th (start of semester.....). Ok, that's sort of a fake goal since I teach online, but it helps to have a date in mind, eh?

Oh, my challenge to you? Post your to do list. Post updates when you get stuff done, pictures optional. You don't have to aim for Jan 7th, but if it helps......

Ok, broom, I'm off!

Thursday, 27 December 2007

Things Take the Time They Take

Bread must rise..... The cake must bake..... Things take..... The time they take....

That little poem is in a Beauty and the Beast Disney early reader book. It is a fitting reminder for many of us right now. My camera will eventually be fixed or replaced, Lil'Bug will learn to read and recite numbers when people prompt her (or give a catty response in the stead), J. will eventually propose to my anxious sister, wounds will heal, hearts will mend......

Things take the time they take.

I often get impatient. I was anxious to conceive Lil'Bug and again this time. Then when it happened I shared right away. THEN 9 months is soooo very long to wait. Though I would not wish an early delivery. There are plenty of things we must do to prepare. My body must prepare, my family must get ready, ect. The new seed takes time to grow into a sapling, into a tree, and then into a grand old tribute.

When you bake a cake, you can't just turn up the heat and expect it to be ready to eat sooner and opening the door to check on it can ruin it too. When I wanted Dearest Husband to propose to me, he didn't. And I cried. Then I thought, for sure now, but he didn't. Every time I was upset- it actually seemed to delay the proposal more. What this really did accomplish was it made our days sad and miserable, irritated Dearest Husband, and in general decreased our quality of life and affected how much we enjoyed each other's company. However, the delay was really a very good thing. By the time he proposed, we owned our own home, I was steady in my studies at school, we could afford the wedding we wanted without burdening our families, and various other good things. It also came down to trust. I needed to trust my future husband to make the decision when he was ready to- I was ready at that first kiss, but that does not mean that WE were ready to make that commitment financially or emotionally. So often I forgot that there was more than just me in that equation.

Somethings just take time to learn. Somethings come with age or with experience. Patience is something we try to teach Lil'Bug, when something is difficult- go slower. I don't drill her on the ABC's or it could irritate her and she will become a reluctant learner. She knows her letters and numbers but has yet to understand the value in the performance aspect of recitation when homeschool doubters drill her to answer questions. She's 3. Do I intend to send her to preschool just so she can learn recitation and compliance? No. That will come to her in time. In the meantime I will continue to let her learn from life at her own pace and joy. Rushing things would ruin that.

Yesterday I really made life miserable for my family with my impatience. I want my camera to work now, not three weeks from now. I am very frustrated. Should that dampen my participation in family life, should not getting to photo document our day ruin the festivities? No, not one bit. I want my house to sell right now, but it's not ready. I want to live on a farm RIGHT NOW- never mind that moving and house hunting while pregnant is an additional stress that I do not need. I want all the laundry to be done but it will always be a lurking pile of a chore, eh? We are about to celebrate our 9 year wedding anniversary- sometimes it seems that the days just flew by. Indeed they did.

Mostly, I want happiness for all my friends and family. That will come easier to all if we all embrace some patience and enjoy each day as it arrives and passes. Just some thoughts for the day....

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

The Day After is Not So Good

I get to stay home and clean house.......

I get to. Why? Because I am so sulky that my family decided it was best to go do something fun and that I should not be allowed in public.....


My camera broke. The local shop won't help because they didn't sell it to us. Nikon won't let me register it because we bought it from a store (WTF?) so no warranty through them and no helpful daily emails on how to better use it. Grrrr. We have to ship it back to the online shop we bought it from. They will honor the warranty and send me a new one. BUT THAT WILL TAKE WEEKS!!!!!

Gah. It's jut a thing, right.

Anyway. That's why I am sulky. No Christmas morning or Christmas day pictures. That makes me really sad. We just gave the camera we've been using back to its owner. Yup. No pictures for a while.

See. Sulky.

Tuesday, 25 December 2007


Some funny highlights:
Lil'Bug wanted ice cream for dinner...why? Uncle J. ate some and she wanted it too. He ate the last of it. So......Lil'Bug insisted that her dinner food was full of boogers. So she wouldn't eat it. She asked for a bowl of cheerios and then wouldn't eat that either. Turns out she was mad that she had to sit in the high chair (we had extra guests and it was the only way to fit everyone....) so she was happy with the cheerios once she was out of the "baby" chair. If the only drama in a family gathering is a three year old's dissatisfaction with dinner (no nap factored)...count yourself blessed! I did!

Uncle J. was not late! In fact, he brought a friend. It was cool. The family recounted all the family milestones based on the boys' injuries and ER visits over the years. Gah. Aunt Bee and her J. joined us too. Certainly a full house! We ate good food, sang carols, and shared a lovely time.

Nana got me a Christmas sweater with bells on it. The baby kicked and the bells would ring. That was hilarious.

During the reading of the Christmas story I started scowling at Dearest Husband. Why? I thought he was laughing as he was reading the part about Mary being with child. Um. Sort of. Turns out he was tearing up and he choked up and had to stop to explain to everyone how happy he is that we are "with child" again and gave me a kiss. Wow, did I feel terrible (for scowling) and overwhelmed with emotion. I teared up for the rest of the reading. And right now, while writing this.

What? No drama? Nope. None. It was great.

Dr. Lil'Bug wrote people prescriptions NOT to take any more medicine. She checked everyone's ears for potatoes and quarters. Then she waved her magic wand and cured people of their worms. LOL! *no one in our family has ever had worms, that I know of.....

Monday, 24 December 2007

A Major Award

So why have I listed my blogroll and a picture of the leg lamp? Minimemoirs award me this and now I am passing it all in my blogroll (+zamunzo, who for some reason I can't get into my roll. I'm working on it!)

Merry Christmas friends. :)

Sunday, 23 December 2007

12 Questions of Christmas Meme

(I found this meme at minimemiors blog and decided to play along. )

1. Christmas is splendiforous. [fill in the blank with ONE WORD]

2. In memories, what was the best part of your Christmases past? Cream cheese pecan pie. One year I ate an entire pie before dinner and no one noticed but a neighbor who caught me and then brought forks and demanded I share. :) Since many of my Christmases were rotten in various ways, I like to remember good little details like that and this one.....:

3. Was Santa ever good to you? [describe how and what] husband first kissed me on Christmas Eve 1996. :) That was the beginning of a different life for me- one where I am cherished, valued, and cared for. I knew this at that first kiss. There was just something very special about that night for me. The time between that Christmas and the next I had enrolled in college and had my first writing published.

4. Do you open gifts on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, or both? Both. Family on the Eve and Santa in the morning. This year will be a bit complicated as Santa will visit Grandma's house and we'll head over there first thing.

5. Is there something you make each and every year? [craft or recipe] Yes. Peppersass cookies and Christmas cards. That's new to the past few years, but so much fun!

6. What are your favorite five[5] Christmas songs/hymns?
Let it Snow!- the Brian Setzer version
Santa's Got a Hot Rod- Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
The Grinch- version by Sixpence None the Richer
AND.....sung by our family on Christmas Eve:
Silent Night
Away in a Manger

7. Is there a new tradition for Christmas since your childhood days? We sing Christmas carols on Christmas Eve as a family. I love this. I can't sing but I love participating anyway. Nana plays the piano and Lil'Bug turns pages for her.

8. Describe one of your Christmas trips. [whether it's across town or across country] One Christmas day of 1999 we flew to Virginia to visit my favorite Aunt and Uncle. We stayed through what was also our 1st wedding anniversary in early January. I saw the Atlantic ocean for the first time and it was the last time I saw my Uncle.

9. Do you have a special Christmas outfit to wear for the day? Every year my MIL buys us all Christmas sweaters to wear. It is a special tradition for her and we honor that!

10. Have YOU or any of your family members sat on Santa's lap? My daughter! She thinks he's pretty cool. I think I might have as a kid. I don't remember.

11. What is/or will be on your Christmas tree this year? Stuff. Lil''Bug has been pulling off the plastic balls and gluing stuff to them. I used to decorate the tree, but she has way more fun so I let her do it. ;)

12. Do you/or have you decorated your yard for Christmas? I did at our first house. It looked like a little gingerbread house with lights. Too cute. I've always wanted to decorate here, but there are no exterior outlets.

Saturday, 22 December 2007

TMBG- James K. Polk

In 1844, the Democrats were split
The three nominees for the presidential candidate
Were Martin Van Buren, a former president and an abolitionist
James Buchanan, a moderate
Louis Cass, a general and expansionist
From Nashville came a dark horse riding up
He was James K. Polk, Napoleon of the Stump

Austere, severe, he held few people dear
His oratory filled his foes with fear
The factions soon agreed
He's just the man we need
To bring about victory
Fulfill our manifest destiny
And annex the land the Mexicans command
And when the votes were cast the winner was
Mister James K. Polk, Napoleon of the Stump

In four short years he met his every goal
He seized the whole southwest from Mexico
Made sure the tarriffs fell
And made the English sell the Oregon territory
He built an independent treasury
Having done all this he sought no second term
But precious few have mourned the passing of
Mister James K. Polk, our eleventh president
Young Hickory, Napoleon of the Stump

Why did I post this? Heh. Funny story. In graduate school I took an American history seminar. I had a 3 month old. I didn't do the reading. I'm sure I'm not the first or only grad student ever to face this problem BUT there were only 3 students in the seminar and it is a little harder to fake having done the reading in such a small class. Fortunately......the subject of James K. Polk came up and I had just heard the song at home. I quoted it almost word for word in my piece of the discussion and managed to make my way through the 3 hours. Gah. I've always suspected that one of the other students knew, the professor certainly didn't. Anyway. Funny story. ;) We all learn things in different ways. Me? I happened to learn obscure history facts from a They Might Be Giants song.

It was on my mind today and the subject of the upcoming Iowa caucus was discussed. Our lovely state is overrun by candidates, news affiliates, and campaign brew ha. I wonder how many of them know about James K. Polk?

Friday, 21 December 2007

Playing and Tea

Friday was filled with friends and tea. Three mamas got together and let their kids go wild. It was fun and just what we needed to take a break from all the holiday nonsense.

Dearest husband was home and played music with the kidlings. I was left another tub mural. We made a significant dent in the cookie pile. All good things. :)

Thursday, 20 December 2007

From the Archives.....

I've only been blogging since April or May of 2007. This picture I found from May of 2006. I love it. It is from a trip Lil'bug and I took to Gavelston, TX. There were a lot of firsts that trip: first sea shell found on the beach, first walk in fresh salt water, first step in quicksand, first swim in a deep pool, first airplane/ferry/boat ride, first encounter with dolphins/crabs/starfish. So much fun. :) I really miss my aunt who lives there and hosted this wonderful part of our trip.

The Aftermath

Things went from sad to worse when we got home. I got more of what happened from my daughter and so did Dearest Husband. We interpreted it so differently that we now understand that we are on two different pages in the grand scheme of parenting. That is not a good thing.

This got me thinking: Lying. What is it really and why do humans do it? Then is what Lil'Bug is doing lying? If so, to what end? So......people lie to avoid unwanted consequence, no? They don't trust the recipient of the lie enough to tell them the truth, for fear of punishment or unwanted reaction. Ok. Sometimes Lil'Bug flat out lies: did you hit the cat? did you take the candy? etc. We ask her these stupid questions when we know the answer already and instead of simply dealing with the now, we test her and she fails (gives the wrong answer). Hmmm. Sometimes though it is a matter of semantics: did you push the kid? No, I moved him. So, to her that is not lying. She is explaining to the best of her ability the nuances of her actions. In one case, she is avoiding (or amplifying) unwanted negative reaction and in the other trying her best to communicate.

So what happens if we punish her in either scenario? We lose her trust.

It comes down to the basic message in attachment parenting: babies communicate their needs- you just have to listen. Well, people communicate their needs too. Lying and manipulating are behavioral consequences of feeling out of control- when we as parents exert control over these small people are we merely leading them to attempt to regain it?

Maybe I am over thinking this. Maybe little kids lie. I don't know. Something feels off. She doesn't lie to me. I want to take this slowly since I think it may be a pivotal point in my parenting.

Family Music

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Malls, Mothering, and More

Today we met with the doula. Very cool. I will actually have 2 doulas this time, but C. is the doula that attended Lil'Bug's birth. We got caught up and such. Good stuff.

Then Lil'Bug got an idea in the afternoon: she wanted to buy Daddy a gift, with her own money, and her own choosing. I agreed and off we went to the mall. Gah. I hate malls. I hate malls more at holiday madness time. The crowds, the noise, the sensory overload of perfume and frantic tension, and all of the other things that go with mallness totally induce panic in me. I can navigate it better than in past years especially if my focus is on Lil'Bug but it is not something I would do casually. At the mall she chose her gift, I went after the clearance shoes previously mentioned (now marked down to 9$!!!!), and we headed for the pseudo-playground known as the playplace.....

There was an incident involving parents behaving badly and overreacting. So we left and did something else. She was on the verge of tears on the way home- insisting that she didn't do what they said.

I believe her. I also think that it was a matter of miscommunication. She was touching or trying to move a littler kid- they say "pushing"- she says, no, moving. Matter of words and exact definition. I still think they were overacting. Also, not cool to touch my kid. Very not cool to pick her up. Yelling? Argh. Grrrr.

Where does that leave us? I left not as a punishment to her, but to remove her from a situation where two adults were losing their cool. My assessment was that it was not a safe environment because of the adults. She asked if we would ever go back. I don't know. I prefer play arrangements where she knows the children involved and the parents know us. The whole thing leaves me unsettled. Usually it's me with the good kid, today it was other parents labeling her and us as "bad". Yuck. I'd like to chalk it up to holiday tensions. She's a lively, funny, outgoing kid. She plays like she is. The pushing, shoving thing really bothers me. She used to be a biter too but outgrew that. I think that she will outgrow this as well, but I dislike the situations that arise: her lying (to try and avoid unwanted consequences), her hurting. I kept my cool. That's good (and a first) but I don't think I communicated with Lil'Bug exactly how I wanted to or should have.

I hate malls.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Oh Christmas Tree!

Motherhood Shopping Musings

I bought jeans at the local Motherhood store. They were $16. Whoo Hoo! I thought since I saved so much that I would look around. The sales lady pointed at some sweaters and then, very kindly, pointed out that my underbelly was already sticking out of my current ensemble, perhaps I'd consider a sweater or top to go with my jeans? I was mortified. I had no idea that bare skin was hanging out below my sweater. Really, with the new jeans and the belly panel it is not an issue, but for my underbelly pants it is. Gah. She was so nice about it, but still.

This week I plan to sort my closet and find the bigger sweaters that I know I have. No need to spend additional money on clothes that are one season! Did you know on the list of must haves for expecting mother's wardrobe is a BOW FRONT SHIRT! I mean that is so 1970's isn't it? Yes, the ugly giant bow on the front of an empire waisted shirt in some pastel puke color. Fine if you like that sort of thing, but why is it on the must have list with jeans and underwear? LOL. So I have jeans. I will wear them almost exclusively until the end when I turn into a giant hippo and then I will find a mu-mu. Last time the one I had was butter yellow and my family called me the butter cow. It was too funny.

I just priced cloth diapers and while they are cheaper than disposables in the long run, the up front cost is daunting. I figure that we will likely do a hybrid use approach. Did you know that you are supposed to flush poop out of the disposables before tossing them in the diaper pail? No seriously. I did not know that nor do I know anyone who used disposables that did that. But it is true, it says so one on their website and packaging. Apparently it is not just the plastic and space consumption in the landfill that is bad, but the watershed contamination with fecal. I had a student in the nursing program write a paper about it this semester- fascinating stuff.

So I've decided to register for stuff after all- just not sure how or where just yet. There is time after all! I want to see how much I can get at Spring garage sales first.

Monday, 17 December 2007

Good Reading

I just stumbled across this:

A short story, SF, and a very good read.

Things We do for Fun

The comments on the Snow Day post got me thinking.......

No, I am not any good at snowboarding, pregnant or not, I just love doing it. I fall a lot, but I have tons of fun. I'm not any good at biking either, but I'll pedal my heart out. Singing too- totally tone deaf, but I'll belt it out anyway! I love to cook, but most of my end results are on fire, under/overcooked, or just plain taste nasty. Once Dearest Husband ended up in the ER with food poisoning. I still like to try and slowly I am improving (that's a different post all together....).

We have a saying at our house that Dearest Husband started: If it is difficult- go slower. That's just about it: slow down and think it out, pay closer attention, just practice. It is all wrapped up in that. Such wise words. We do lots of things for fun, not to be good at them. We love to learn new skills, new facts, new things to do.

Life is good. You don't have to be good at it to enjoy it. :)

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Everyday is a Snow Day!

I love days like this. Lil'Bug and Dearest Husband usually head out to sled and play in the snow while I stay home and catch up on stuff (read blogs, drink tea). Today I decided to go with them. I would have taken more pictures but I decided to partake in the fun and put my camera back in the truck. Also, white mittens=bad idea. Lost in snow forever.

Lil'Bug decided a sled was too cumbersome for both the trek up and down the hill......that's just how she rolls!

Lil'Bug meets Dearest Husband at the bottom. Because I came along he got to bring his snowboard out of storage (it's been like 8 years!). Fun stuff. I would have gotten back into the snowboard groove as well, but for the fear of crashing on my belly. There are some sports that will just have to wait until Baby is born.

Ice Ice Baby.......

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Crafty Waxy

This is what we did on Wednesday afternoon. We had a bucket full of ruined crayons and I saw this project on Stephanie's blog. The problem was that these crayons were ruined from being left outside in the sun and to the wax had melted to the paper and was really hard to peel off. Lil'Bug lost interest very quickly.

Use 4 papers. 3 still allowed wax to drip through and that was no fun to clean up.

I didn't get a picture of the finished product BUT they were really cool. They were fun to color with- that Lil'Bug did gleefully!

Friday, 14 December 2007

Friday Morning, I wish I could drink coffee......

I miss coffee. I miss it bad. Decaf isn't going to cut it and I know that it's "OK" to drink a little while pregnant but I don't believe that one bit. There are lots of things that are OK and then later we find out they cause cancer or horrible mutations or ADD. Plus it makes me vomit. I vomit enough already, still. Tea, fine, tea has it's place and it is not in my mornings. Bah.

Lil'Bug is happily in the bathtub and I am planning our day. We are headed out to the other mall to a Motherhood store to find pants (online they said they have jeans for $19!!!!! We will see.) Then we will come home and bake bread. I've never done this on my own without a bread machine BUT I feel like doing this today. Nesting. Whatever. I want hot, crusty rolls.

I will post a series of photos later today. We've been crafty and I forgot to share. I also plan on getting packages ready (I know I've said this before.....). The Christmas presents I designed (sorta counts as handmade? No?) arrived and I am really excited.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Thurdsay Post 2

Thursday didn't go well at first. That's Ok. Parts of it were good.

Kitchen did not get clean, but got cleaner. Working on grocery list right now.

I fell on the ice outside and hit my back on a concrete step. Ouch. Not as bad as I thought it was going to be but I am sore. We went swimming and that was fun (likely helped with the potential for soreness factor too.) Then we went to Target to get snowboots BUT the women's selection is a)limited to sizes 9 & 11 and b)wimpy: would tear at the toe like all the other boots I have ever owned and c) $45! Agh. So I did not get boots. I did find some clearance shirts for Lil'Bug.

Then we met Dearest Husband and headed out to the mall to find real snow boots at the sporting goods store. This is my new favorite shoe store. They had awesome, comfortable, stylish, durable snowboots for the clearance room! I got a pair for $30 IN MY SIZE. Black. Originally $100. (*remember Target? I paid $15 dollars less for better quality.) There were a pair of green suede Bjorns there too for $30 in my size but I passed only because I am cheap. ;) I tried on Gap Maternity jeans and the fit like a dream, even though they were not petite BUT again, I am cheap, and not paying $70 for a pair of jeans. I was happy enough to stomp around the mall in my new snowboots with my family.

Returned home and fell asleep. So, while I didn't get so much accomplished, the day was not a total write off.

Post on Thursday, part 1

I'm going to post twice today to make up for a Sunday I missed last week (how did that happen?). Also, today I woke up feeling good so I'd like to document a couple things and then compare it to the end of the day reflection. Good excuse for a random thoughts post, eh?

1) I am challenging myself to read at least 3 new blogs a day through the ring links I belong to or links from those I find (either comments or in their favorites). I did this when I first started blogging and found a couple good ones, then for some reason I quit. When I visit a new one I am trying to leave a comment. *If you want me to visit yours, leave a comment!

2) My plan for the day involves recovering the kitchen from last night's cookie making and start the laundry and make beds before we go swimming.

3) Create a two week meal plan and prepare a grocery list. We have dropped this habbit this month and it is costing us. When we do this we eat better and save about $200 in groceries or more. It has to include beef, pork, fish, and chicken plus a variety of veggies and fruit.

4) Prepare the garden raspberries for canning. ie: thaw them. I want to get this done!

5) There is still an inch of ice on everything. I hope to take more pictures today and tonight. It is magical.

Last night was my last in-person class for the next couple of years. There was something that really worked for me the last 2 years of teaching Wednesday night classes so I was really sad to let it go. I'll be teaching online only for a while, which is convenient and pays the bills but it is not the same thing. I came home to a tot who waited up for me like she has every Wednesday night since I started teaching and a grumpy husband grouching the way he has every Wednesday night since I started teaching and I was greeted with the reality of why teaching night classes was just was not working for my family. I changed my classes because of this pregnancy and my limited driving ability in the Spring semester but I am glad I did.

Grades are due Monday. My goal is to finish calculating (grading is done) the final scores and submitting them way before the deadline.

That's about it. Oh, and we are going swimming. Yay!

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Pretty Pictures for Wordless Wednesday?

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Party! (and some stuff)

We hosted our local all inclusive homeschooler group's monthly meeting at our home yesterday afternoon. We all had a blast. Great Grandma came too. I hope she had fun! We did a cookie exchange, the kids played and played, and the moms gathered to have tea in the kitchen. I so needed an afternoon just like this. It refreshed me and, though I went to bed with a pounding headache, my heart was not as heavy.

Of course I made the prediction that the weather weenies (our local meteorologists) were over reacting yet again and the coming storm would not be anything. I was soooooo wrong. Even my dearest husband's work was closed down (sort of) and that NEVER happens (though, the malls only closed early....). It's not the 3-5 inches of snow, it is that it rained first on top of the snow we already had making a fun layer of jagged ice, power outages, and then the 3-5 inches of wet heavy snow on top of that. It still doesn't feel like an old fashioned Iowa blizzard to me, but I will concede that it is dangerous to go out in these (beautiful) conditions.

Then, my husband also has earned some acknowledgement: on Sunday he finished my fireplace, went to band practice, grocery shopped for my shin dig, and then stayed up until midnight baking cookies for my part of the exchange. I played with Lil'Bug amidst concerns that I would not get the house "party" clean. Yup, I finished cleaning just as the first knock on the door greet us. ;) That's just how I roll. Here is his handiwork:


Monday, 10 December 2007

Holiday Angst

This weekend has not been very good. I worked on grading finals, I fixed more computer-y bugs in my class software (ok, compensated for them), and basically stomped around full of anger.

I wish that this time of year I could zen my way out of these feelings and be the peaceful mama that I know I can be. The inner turmoil has been terrible this year. The Omaha mall shootings triggered it. Of the terrible things in my past, I can include surviving and witnessing a terrible crime- I know first hand that the survivors and witnesses will suffer more in the coming years than the gunman ever felt in his teenage angst. PTSD is an easier label but it is not so easy to live with. Pray for them and their families and then pray that you and your loved ones never suffer so.

Then this time of year always brings the recourse of the hard decision we made years ago: to cut off contact with my former abusers. They are family and many of the rest of my family call my very hard decision a feud and tell me to get over it, to grow up, to move on. That angers me. I have grown up and in growing up I choose not to allow people, regardless of some biological link, to treat me in such horrible ways, to allow the abuse to continue in any form or expose my children to such behaviors. That means for me that beloved cousins and aunts and uncles do not visit us when they come to town, they do not call anymore. For some it is easier not to believe me or to "put family" and loyalty first. What am I exactly, chopped liver? It is the last vestige of how the abusive people can wield their power of hurt. For some reason, it is only at the holidays that these feelings overwhelm me.

Right now I am extremely over sensitive and touchy. I am trying to find and inner peace and some sense of balance but it is so much harder than it sounds. So, for me it means cleaning house and baking cookies and just living life.

Saturday, 8 December 2007


Piles of clean laundry waiting (wanting?) to be folded, piles of art supplies, piles of dishes, piles of cookies, piles of toys, piles of papers waiting to be graded in my virtual inbox (thank goodness for paperless classrooms or I'd have a fire hazard on my hands), piles of chaos.....

Pile of inconsolable tot: All of the above and Thursday's art co op got canceled. I should be grateful for the extra time, right? But for the fact that we were loading into the car when the cancel call came and he whole day had been about getting ready for it. Lil'Bug cried. Real tears. Then she was just sad the rest of the day and nothing could cheer her up. I tried really hard: hot cocoa, watching a movie, tickling....not a smile.

We got 4 inches of snow in four hours on Thursday. That's why the art day was canceled. I feel ok about driving when it rains or snows but some moms don't, I guess. I suppose it is better to be safe than sorry or liable, but that explanation didn't fly with a very sad tot. I think this cements my decision to do a regular craft/crazy day with friends here at my home. I am working on a schedule right now. Pile it on to the list of things I have to do.

Piles of snow: not much accumulation really and not the kind that's good for snow creatures either. Streets are cleared, ice is hidden, days are cold- that's Iowa.

Piles of crap: I have a super power (well, several really)- I generally can tell when people are lying. Whether it be about dog sitting or why a paper is late or anything. I guess I got this by teaching college freshmen or growing up in the environment that I did, but I wish I wasn't so blessed. It would be so much easier to just take what people say and be done with it. Sometimes it is just easier to pretend to.

Piles of art: this I can live with. I really love sitting down randomly and as time warrants and working on whatever it is: a card or two, a bead string, or a painting. This pile is welcomed.

Friday, 7 December 2007

School at School

We went to the Science Center today. Lil'Bug loves it- usually. Today there were one hundred first graders on a field trip. Couple things happened:

1) Chaos. Good chaos for the most part, but one group of these bigger kids did not respect the little kids and the areas for just and only babies and toddlers. They mowed over Lil'Bug over and over with or without me there (they mowed over me too). We moved on to a different space because we can. The next area had the other half of the field trip and they were being over disciplined for just being kids and touching things (in an interactive museum for kids, go figure). Some were humiliated to the point of crying. They were directed to play with Legos and then told what to build. ??? We moved on because we can.

Lil'Bug kept trying to play with them, to no avail. They would ignore her or make comments about not playing with babies. It was just so different from our experiences with the large, multi age, park day group we are used to. It was two different end of the school "socialization" spectrum that I find unacceptable: frantic chaos with no respect for others and the authoritarian hand preventing meaningful interaction. There is a middle ground.

2) While waiting for Polar Express in the Imax to begin seating we were witness to the other half of these beleaguered children's field trip. Three teachers stormed out of the IMAX: The Human Body. They were flushed, angry, and hysterical. "The movie was inappropriate for 7 year olds!" They hiss at the doorman and food concessions clerk, "We'll have to send notes home! The kids will be scarred! How can this be for children?! How embarrassing! I was embarrassed!"

Um, Lil'Bug and I saw the movie in November, twice. She's three. The movie is just fine. I racked my brain over what could have upset them so much? The shaving cut? The x-ray skeletons showing the motion of bones in crawling toddlers? Maybe the part about the pregnant aunt and the very non-graphic, yet, natural birth scene? LilBug's reaction was simply that the "mom" didn't chew her food very well. Since when are the normal functions of the human body embarrassing? It's not like they showed anyone naked (oh, maybe the newborn baby for a micro bit) and even if they had it was an IMAX documentary about the human body for goodness sake.

Ironic, while they raised fuss in the lobby, the 100+ kids were still watching the movie- in fact they finished it. Heh.

And I sat there observing this lobby show, not knowing what to say to Lil'Bug's loud questions about the situation. I tried to quietly explain, but Lil'Bug just got louder. Finally we got to find seats for our show. Which is also totally appropriate for children. :)

The school group BTW is from the local district that Lil'Bug would go to. Yike. It is experiences and such like this that remind me why I am blessed to live the life we do. Am I judging? Yup. Maybe I am simply choosing something different for us and using this judgment of the other as wrong for us, but I fail to see how what I saw today is good for the children involved either.

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Updating my blogroll.......

I am working to update my blogroll. I read so many blogs everyday that I am struggling with who to list! I always list bloggers who have me listed but I have just found a few that I didn't know about (by looking at my stat counter recent came from feature). I know I am missing some. Please comment here if I've missed you.

I have added to my rolls a few (new) familes that really got me thinking lately about food, motherhood, people, religion, etc. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have lately. :)

Also, I didn't miss yesterday, I just forgot to hit publish on this one and the other was too angry. I will get that one worked on and send it into the world tonight.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Big Sigh

I am finally caught up with grading, have all the courses fixed from the "bug", and grades ready to submit (pending assignments due this week....) Now on the to do list is to finish up 2 big family presents, take Christmas photos, finish and mail cards (and packages....) AND then PAINT THE HALLWAY!!!!! Agh.

This week Lil'Bug and I went out and purchased pet food for the next month and stopped at the local art supply store and bought 12 bottles of tempera paint. I started to notice that all her paintings were green, yellow, and purple and upon investigation found that they were her only paint bottles that had anything left in them (and barely). So I more than replenished her supply. We even bought metallic gold, silver glitter, and evergreen glitter. I contemplated sticking it all under the tree with a Santa tag BUT decided no, these are things she uses everyday and needs in the course of her daily life. Yes, needs. She paints everyday. Soon we will upgrade to Acrylics, but I am waiting until she finishes the sucks on her hands and also paints her clothes/body/my floor phase. :)

I read on a blog once (I can't remember whose!) of a family, who lives much the way we do, that did not buy things like bikes and games and art supplies for Christmas and birthdays but saw them as educational expenses and necessities. That's how I feel about it- if it is something she needs to live her life more fully to her own direction then it is my responsibility to provide it for her.

She enjoys painting and the texture of paint, she relishes in each painting. The one I have pictured is her giraffe she painted for friend. She's gone from spider looking people to actual body shapes this month, she is also mixing colors thoughtfully and asked to buy a new plastic palate that would better serve how she paints (they are 99 cents) and new bigger brushes (hers are basically like the watercolor brushes that come with Crayola sets). The request just blew me away. I knew right then, standing in the supply isle at the art store that I had missed something critical at home and had a chance to fufill it right then. I let her pick them both out.

So those are my thoughts for the day. What are yours?

What is this and how did it happen?

If I had a prize to give, I would. Can anyone tell me what this is, how it happened, and any science behind it? We froze water. We pulled tray out once frozen. No fanciness involved. It is about an inch long/tall.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

The Fairy Superhero Princess Saves the Day for a Ladybug

Once in a while Lil"Bug gets an idea in her head that she must save the world one ladybug/spider/earth worm at a time. This particular day she donned the uniform and went to work.
December in Iowa: no difficulty finding plenty of ladybugs indoors to "save".....

"I shall do the saving, Mama. The ladybug does not want her picture taken. No thank you."

And out the back door went the superhero princess with her bug box. She gently set the bug in her garden. The end.

A Day with Daddy

The title makes it sound like I wasn't around, but I was! I am just in the midst of a grading crunch so my dear Dearest Husband took the call whenever Lil'Bug had "an idea," and I took the pictures!

Here they are planting a baby pumpkin that she's had around for the last couple months (but it was starting to goo.) I told her throw it away or go plant it. She got on her boots and coat and out they went to "her garden"......

Then she wanted to make cripsy chocolate chip cookies....."DADDY!" They make quite the culinary team.

"Ta Da!" and "Yum....." These are by far the most delicious chocolate chip cookies I have ever eaten.

UPDATE - it's now november of 2008. that pumpkin came up in august and we couldn't figure out where it came from. HA!

Monday, 3 December 2007

Card Craft Day at Chez Podkayne

I decided to host a craft day at our home. That does not seem like a big deal, but for that we are still doing renovations, it is approaching finals crunch, and I am crazy busy/tired. Our table seats 10-12 so I put an RSVP cap on the invitation posted on our local homeschool forum. I cleaned and cleaned and did laundry like there's no end in sight (well, it's laundry so there really isn't), I got Dearest Husband to put said laundry away, and I got out the craft supplies.

Did I mention our table seats 10-12? Well, sort off. It would if we had more than 3 chairs, which we don't. It was on my to do list to go thrift store shopping for chairs and I didn't. I did, however, realize my mistake the night before and sent out an SOS email, to which H. at minimemoirs responded and saved the day with 6 folding chairs. Whoo Hoo!

Other than that, we had an ultrasound rescheduled for the AM of that day, so when I got home I started vacuuming like a mad woman. Still vacuuming when mamas started arriving, but they were cool with that.

Then the artsy fun began. The mamas set up, the kids descended on the table, crafted it up old school with glitter, glue, and card stock, and then they were off again! The rest of the afternoon was spent kids playing all over the house and mamas crafting at the table. Very cool. I got lots of pictures- (I don't generally post others' kids on my blog without asking and I forgot to ask!) * edited to add wheelchairmama's adorable boys! Everyone agreed that my house is perfect for such a gathering and that we should do it on a regular basis. After the holidays I will decide, but I think I will do it. It's just the perfect thing for Lil'Bug (and me) to have some group time now that park days are on winter/cold hiatus.

The kids left me a cool mural with bath paints in the bathtub, some extra handmade ornaments on the tree, and very happy that we belong to such a cool community.

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Girls Rock! (A Peek Into our Day)

We play a lot of music at our house. I play it on the radio, computer, and ipod BUT my Lil'Bug and Dearest Husband play all kinds of instruments. When Lil'Bug was born I hauled the drum set out of storage and set it up in the middle parlor. She's been playing since she could pull herself up to standing. She plays almost every day and especially when her friends come over. They all love to have access to it and once the rule was established: NO STABBING THE DRUM HEADS, everything is loud, but fine. We also have an array of other "real" instruments that they can play as long as they are treated with care (ie, not thrown, hit against the wall, etc).

"Girls rock, Mama!"

Banana Bread by Hand (um, elbow?)

Who needs a mixer when you have a willing tot?

Quick update and forthcoming

Remember the last post where my online classes were not working properly? Now all three are affected BUT tech support knows why and gave ME instructions on how to fix it. Gah. It involves re-grading about 190 freshman composition papers. I have back up records, but I give detailed breakdowns of lost points and those are wiped out. I have 65 left to do.

Forthcoming are 3 posts:
Card Craft day with friends
Banana bread made "by hand"
and...the fairy superhero princess Lil'Bug saves the day for a ladybug

As soon as I get burned out from grading I intend to download the pictures from the week and get typing. I also have Christmas presents to finish and get in the mail, cards to do the same with, and the never ending quest for a drawer (instead of a laundry basket) full of clean and matched up socks........

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Couple of Random Things All This Week

Monday we met Wheelchair Mama and her boys at the Urbandale Library Chapters Cafe. They gave us free cookies, which was cool. What I didn't know was that they were clearing out edible inventory. It closed that night and has not re-opened. Still. Good time, good friends, yummy free cookies.

I felt the baby flutter today. I'd felt it before, but today it was really strong and repetitive. So very cool.

"I'm queen of the bumper mat!"

This week I had a major problem with my online classes, tried very hard to fix it myself, but ended up going in to see the tech support at home campus in person.....with tot in tow. She chanted that she hates the town that it is located all the way there. Once we got there there were no parking spaces and the building was surrounded by emergency vehicles, CNN trucks, satellite vehicles, and construction vehicles. No tape, so we went on in. So.....why the fuss? Hillary Clinton. Speaking to the students in the gym. Most of the students were not terribly interested and Hillary was 2 hours late, but still the place was packed with excited political participants, business people, and reporters with big bulk equipment. It took 32 minutes to walk through the building to tech support. Since we had to park so far away I had Lil'Bug in the emergency stroller that she is really too big for. 3 hours later, we repeated the same task escaping the chaos. Computer program problem unresolved, tot cranky, and then asleep.

"I hate your work Mama. Can we go home and have ice cream now?"

"What? Why are taking my picture? Go bother that cat."

Oh no. Maybe I am turning into one of those bloggers who takes lots of pictures of their cat.....