Thursday, June 29, 2006

You Scream, I Scream....


Yes. This is now a blog about ice cream. And duck poop. And nasty neighbors. And why in the devil am I NUMBER ONE on Google for the search: "Moms drugging pacifier"? Who Googles for *that*? Where was I going with this?.....

Oh yes.

Ice Cream.

I am coming up for air from my delectable dish of homemade, 12 whole ounces of chocolate, chocolate ice cream. Yes. It is THAT good. I would post a picture, but somehow, I'm guessing that a full grown woman with her face covered in chocolate is not cute, like it is when it's your kid, but probably borders on the somewhat pathetic. But I will assure you it is wonderful. So is the Old Fashion, cooked-on-the-stove, vanilla ice cream I ate before the chocolate. And in between dishes, the Strawberry Sorbet is wonderful for cleansing the palate.

I need to step AWAY from the ice cream maker. I'm hoping Hubster comes home soon to put a stop to all this insanity. For some reason, I felt compelled to spend half of this weeks' milk budget on cream. Good thing that stuff keeps forever. I really need to stop with the ice cream already. I'm pretty sure that they don't include enough extra fabric in bridesmaids' dresses to go up a size or two, so staying the same size or smaller in the next three months is probably a good idea.

In other news, it sounds as if the oldest has really "launched". He's been working his first real manual labor job along side his brother in the oil fields of WY and is now the richest young adult on earth. I'm going to call him for a "fresh cream" loan. So far, he's still planning on coming back to college in the fall, but told us he plans on rooming with a buddy. As in, NOT IN MY HOUSE, rooming with a buddy. Is it wrong for a mother to view her child's room as unclaimed real estate? With the three smallest children stacked into ONE bedroom, I've been rethinking this rooming arrangement since we moved in. The house is a three bedroom house, but, the large dining room has regular doorways with doors in all the openings. We decided M should have that room since it is the farthest away from my room. Even two years away could not make me forget the child's' obsession with music. Music played at all hours of the day and night. Music that goes thump thump thump. Where was I going with this?...

Oh yes.

Large area's of unclaimed real estate.

So I wasted very little time moving D's things into the newly vacated real estate. I even hung her posters. Does anyone else find teen idols disturbing? All I can think of is my own teenage boys. Great looking, wonderful kids to be sure, but A. They smell, B. They sweat, C. They sneak out, D. They wreck your cars, E. They start telling girls they only just met that they "love them"...where was I going with this?...

Oh yes.

So B has his own room for the first time since he was 17 months old.

Given the fact that J and K fight like there's no tomorrow, and J thinks B hung the moon, it really would make more sense that he have the baby in his room. But the idea of being able to decorate a BOYS ROOM and a GIRLS ROOM is far, far too great a temptation for me to pass up. Given the fact that Hubster is the Supreme Hunting Man of all time, I have been leaning toward Cammo as the theme for B's new room. He wanted dinosaurs. You have to have cammo to hunt dinosaurs...right? Cammo=Free Decorating, Dinosaurs=Not Free Decorating. Given my latest addiction, it's gonna be cammo, at least until that wonderful tan microsuede comforter goes on sale.

And the girl's room?

I wish I could say that this bed was going to be the centerpiece of their fabulous new room, but, given the fact that even if I could afford that bed, I wouldn't be able to bring myself to spend that kind of money on a bed, I'm thinking a new paint job on the bunk beds and some tulle is going to be the basis of the new design. K has a beautiful pink satin bedspread she got for her last birthday, so I will be picking something fun, and probably purple, for J. My problem is that I have a love/hate relationship with the bunk beds.

They are great for saving space. They are horrible for kissing little sleeping children. I'm going to have to keep thinking on this one. Where was I going with this?...

Oh yes.

I'm going into the kitchen for another bowl of ice cream.

Monday, June 26, 2006

My Splurge!

Ohhhhh! I am the luckiest girl in the whole world today!

When I was growing up on the ranch, we kept milk cows. Milk cows mean lots of fresh cream. And one of the more delicious ways to use up cream is in homemade ice cream. The problem with making ice cream now, is that at $3.57 for two cups, it gets expensive in a hurry. Back then, the cream was free. But we still didn't make ice cream very often. The reason? Ice. Ice had to be bought in town and was always at a premium. I remember making ice cream in the middle of the winter with my grandpa using ice we'd chopped out of the river, and cream grandma had frozen from the summer months. When grandma decided her ice cream making days were over, she gave me her old ice cream maker, and it burned up the first time we used it. *phooey*

I know better than going to stores...any stores...when I'm on the shoestring budget. I know this. I really do. But Tar-gee was calling my name. I only went to check out the clearance bedding items for some idea's for D's bed spread, since she's getting the queen size bed, it stands to reason that she needs a new comforter...right? I was only gonna LOOOOOOOK.

And then....I saw *it*.

I've been seeing those little 2 quart ice cream makers at Wally Mart this summer...$16. And I have to admit, I've been tempted. But today, sitting there on an end-cap, (darn that sly marketing) was a Hamilton Beach, 4 quart, Ice Cream making MACHINE. $29.99. *sigh* Not today. But WAIT! Do my eyes deceive me? On special for $17.88, and today is "SOLD!!!", I said!

Now I just have to run to the store for some ice. And some cream. And some salt.

Oh well...I'm having homemade ice cream TONIGHT, baby!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

J to English Dictionary

Hip Hip Hooray! She'snotamute. We were starting to wonder. The first two children spoke clearly enough to be understood on the telephone around 15 months. Full sentences were well underway by 18 months and by two years of age, we couldn't get them to shut up. J has been content to scream and whine until someone figures out what she wants. This has been the source of endless frusteration and hairpulling on my part. But in the last two weeks she's started expressing herself with words, even though she usually requires me to interpret for others, I'm not worried, since this seems to be a common thing for most families.

'TOP!: Stop. Usually in reference to something being done to her by one of her siblings.

'Nonny: Naughty. Usually said in conjunction with something she shouldn't be doing and accompanied by a sadistic grin and eyelashes batted at full speed.

'EP MEEEEE!: Help me. Anytime she needs assistance. And at the pool. As I carry her screaming from the pool to the locker room before she shrivels up into the size of a raisin.

itty itty itty: Kitty. As in, "Here kitty, kitty, kitty. Pay no attention to the large, heavy object I'm carrying..."

Me: Used in conjunction with everything in sight at any given time. Usually accompanied by a look that clearly says "I am the queen of the world, so stand down earthling!"

'eeeee: Please. Sounds suspiciously like me, but Hubster says it's please. He's hoping she's not the terror she sounds like.

NO!: You know the thing about the pool? Yeah. This goes in there too. I'm here to tell you that the pronunciation of this word was practiced non-stop over a 30 minute period.

I fwop!: "The green beans and milk I ate for dinner are in my hair. I have stared into the eyes of death, and I have lived to tell about it. Now give me a bath and wash everything within a 12 foot radius of my body."

She also has consistent gibberish sounds she uses for blanket, thank you, excuse me, where's K/B and outside. I'd love to type these out, but they come out of the nose...mostly. It's more of a voice intonation thing.

But the monkey dance and the frequent bottom-lip-only-kisses she's been giving out are by far the two most endearing tricks she's learned. The monkey dance involves rocking side to side, the whole foot coming off the ground and waving the arms above the head while wiggling the hips and body. Clapping and jumping both feet off the floor are also a big part of the monkey dance. And there doesn't have to be much to inspire a monkey dance. Monkey dancing is even funnier than dancing to the Llama Llama song for 30 minutes at a stretch. Even when there is no monkey dancing, you should watch for monkey walking. Walking with stiff legs and bobbing your head side to side like a drunken little midget is fun don'tcha'know?

Is it any wonder I've neglected my blog over the last couple weeks?! LOL

Friday, June 23, 2006

As the Neighborhood Turns....Part two

Yes, I think I'm going to make this blog into a little drama series about my craptastic neighbors.

I came home today to a bright yellow notice on my door. Yup. My friendly police department just dropping me a little love note to the effect that the neighbors are griping again and if I could park on the lawn it would be so much better.

I took action.

Just to clarify, I restrained myself from all shoe polish use, and talked hubby into parking the long trailer tight up next to the garage. We only left the Bronco, which had the utility trailer attached, parked on the street.

So I just couldn't stand it anymore, and I went door to door. "Yes, hi, I'm your neighborhood red neck, and someone has been complaining about our trailers, I was hoping to find out who so we could maybe come to an understanding?" I didn't get too far into my quest before I ran into someone brave enough to own up to their actions. At first, she was a little defensive about having called the police, she claims to have been asked by two other neighbors to complain on their behalf, get this, they told her they didn't have time to call themselves. I politely gave her the rundown on the fact that the car was legally parked and the only reason it was parked on the street was because of the complaint that it was in the yard last week. I let her know that her "friends" who "didn't have time to call" had actually put quite a bit of time and effort into the whole thing and told her about the certified letter. She seemed genuinely shocked and said she felt really bad for calling today, especially when I pointed out that if people keep complaining about us parking them on the yard, we'll have no choice but to leave them parked on the street permanently. We ended up having a really nice conversation and she pointed me in the direction of the lady most likely to have been the instigator of the failure to maintain premises complaint, and I'm pretty sure she'll explain the situation to the other neighbor she claims asked her to complain. So I guess I'll be paying a visit to the lonely little old lady at the end of our street who has L.O.T.S. of extra time on her hands. I rang twice tonight, and even though the light was on, she didn't answer the door. I'm not sure it will do much good, but, it can't hurt to try.

I should really get a picture of what I'm talking about so you all can see I'm not crazy and we really do keep the place up.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Love Thy Neighbor

Or not. *sigh*

Just in case you all missed it, the world fell off it's axis last Friday. Our three cows, who were no doubt coerced by our mule, escaped from their comfy pasture and were roaming the dead end country road in Small Town, Texas. Somehow, the neighbors living up and down the street must've not noticed our animals living there for the past three years, since no one knew where they were supposed to be. Oh, they knew the name of the owners, and apparantly, my phone number as well, since the friendly Sherriff's Department called and left no fewer than 5 messages informing us that the animals had escaped, and judging by the breathlessness of those messages, were running wild up and down the northern part of Texas. Sherriff-ing must not pay what it used to, or we must have one b-o-r-i-n-g little town. I'm no genius, but it seems to me that the easiest way to solve the problem would have been to open the gate to their pasture and let them back in. A little grain + an open gate= animal's happy to follow you to the ends of the earth. Instead, our friendly Sherriff's department, (which, by the way, has it's own "Posse", we are in Texas, remember) decided that it would be much easier to put the animals into a trailer and take them "downtown".

*Snort* Anyone who's herded cattle is probably laughing right along with me at this point....None the less, they did succeed in catching the mule and dragged him off to mule jail, but after much huffing and puffing on the part of our friendly sherriff's department, they were unable to capture the cows, and instead ran them off into...well, the vast wilderness of the rural country neighborhood, I suppose. Upon returning home from a three day stint housesitting for my perfect BIL, we discovered this sorry state of affairs and spent Friday evening rounding up our smart cows who escaped the evil clutches of the law, and most of Saturday bailing our stupid mule out of mule jail, and fixing the fence so that they couldn't put on a repeat performance.

But that is not all! Oh no! That is not all!

There was another message from our landlord, a kind man whom we've been happy to rent from, telling us that he had received a certified letter from the City of Small Town. In my experience, that's never a good thing. So during the great cattle round up of 2006, I repeatedly called his home trying to get ahold of him.

I'm kinda crazy like that. I hate *not knowing*. I can't sleep. It eats me up if I don't *know*.

So I finally got ahold of him and he told me that a neighbor had made a complaint about the condition of the property, specifically: Brush piled in the yard, automobile parts, and trailers parked in front of the residence. The complaint about the trailers gave it away. The "brush" was actually tree limbs from a long overdue "tree hair-cut" that we had trimmed one weekend, and cut up into firewood the next. Wasn't even there by the time the certified letter arrived. The automobile parts consist of the front clip of a 1981 Ford that was brought over by a well intentioned friend to replace parts damaged by a teenage son, 3 "parts" in all. But the trailers! That made me laugh. Yes, we own a 40 foot flatbed trailer. We also have a small utility trailer. It is important to note that we also live in the "semi-country", and so this is not an uncommon thing to see...trailers on one's property.

But, these are no ordinary neighbors! Nope. These are *those* kind of neighbors. Our "Welcome to the neighborhood" party consisted of a Police Cruiser and a polite officer telling us that while our trailer was legally parked, one of our neighbors had been driving the department crazy with daily calls to complain about the trailer. (Wasn't that nice of them?!) The kind officer even had a suggestion, park the trailer on the area next to the driveway; even though that parking arrangement wasn't technically legal according to the ordinances of Small Town, it might help the neighbor feel a little bit better about the situation and make them stop calling.

Apparantly, that didn't work, and the squeaky wheel DOES get the grease.

My Hubster is a patient man. But once his patience are used up, there is no reserve. Mom of All Trades Street was littered with no less than two trailers and four vehicles by Satruday afternoon. All legally parked, and stratigically placed so that all traffic must slow down and slolom carefully through, one car at a time. I hid the poster board and markers so that Hubster couldn't carry out the second part of his diabolical plan. B *can* read now, and I don't have any desire to be defining *those* words for my six and seven year old any time soon. When Hubster goes to work, I'll carry out the plan devised by my dad, and simply write the words: "BITE ME" in shoe polish on the windows. Why should I let him have all the fun?

Friday, June 09, 2006

Renewal of Spirit

I have said before that it seems as though life moves in cycles. Everyone experiences and talks about "life's' ups and downs", and maybe that's true for them, but I rather picture life as going along in a horizontal motion rather than a perpendicular one, stretched out across the timeline of our existence that stretches from infinity to infinity. And instead of the wheel spinning up and down, I picture it moving along that line, and spinning us like the Egg Beater ride at the fair, round and round as we travel down the timeline to our destiny.

The last two and a half years of my life have felt like we were at the back of the cycle, several yards back from where we had originally progressed, and caught in the g-force that was pushing us back. But every once in a while, I catch the glimmer of progression that seems to indicate that we are about to regain what has been lost, and progress further along the path of life than we have heretofore adventured.

I have spent the last few days ironing out what our life might be like in the next year, and two years, in terms of my husband's employment, my going back to school, and our plans with respect to homeschool. It appears as though the school schedule will allow me to still homeschool B and K. I hope I'm not kidding myself here, but I really think that I can structure my time to provide a quality education for both my children and myself. Having the support and help from my husband in both these endeavors is amazing.

The crowning moment in this new cycle of moving forward came in regard to homeschool.
I've spent the last two days researching curriculum and formulating a plan that goes beyond "if I can get them through this year and not screw up". Anyone who homeschools knows the self-doubt that can go along with undertaking sole responsibility of educating your children. I found a quote today in my research that hit me like a ton of bricks and was the cherry on-top of my freshly renewed excitement and dedication to homeschooling:

The object and design of education is Liberty!

* We teach morality so they will be free from vice.
* We teach literacy so they will be free from ignorance.
* We teach economics to free them from financial bondage.

How true and noble this statement rings! My desire that my children be classically educated by me, in our home has always felt like the right thing to do. The resistance we've met along the way, which felt devastating at first, just melts away when I remember that the education path we've chosen for our children will give them a childhood filled with classical literature, opportunity to think about math as more than problems on a page, a firm grasp on the details of the History of the World, and the opportunity to explore their world and their place in it.

My first and second grader absolutely lit up as we read the Washington Irving version of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. I think it really says something about the opportunities afforded by teaching your own children, that as we meandered our way through the unfamiliar syntax and verbiage, we had talks about slavery, learning, descriptive writing, and the feelings of others. I think a great many people would dismiss this incredible work as far too advanced for children this age, instead feeding the child a watered down version with far fewer descriptives and a simplified plot. With little guidance from me, they not only *got* the story, they got excited about it, and wanted to spend extra time talking to me about it, with B even calling me to his bedside to whisper his questions and theories to me in the dark. I have no doubt that their learning and excitement is something that I wouldn't give away for all the world. The impact we have on our children is so incredibly vital to who they become and how they function in the world around them.

So through teaching my children today; amid the piles of laundry, the sinks full of dirty dishes and the never ending cycle of chores that goes into maintaining a home and family, I rediscovered the joy and excitement of parenting. The fact that I get to be these beautiful children's MOM! I'm so excited I could just pee myself!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Letting the Cat Out of the Bag

OK. So I know that breaking news isn't supposed to be done on your blog, but, I'm kind of a renegade that way. Besides, the only people it's really a secret from, is my parents.

So to the titles of; Wife, Mother, Bookeeper, Chauffer, Part-Time/Occasional Work From Home Dispatcher, Groundskeeper, Housekeeper and Blog Lady Extraordinare, I add the title of: Student.

See? I really am Mom of All Trades.

Yes Mom and Dad, you read that right.

I'm starting college.

Really and for sure.

I was gonna wait and tell you once I graduated, but I figured you might not believe me.

I didn't start out thinking "Gee, I ought to go to college". I told my parents when I was in seventh grade that I wasn't going to go to college. And I've really been quite OK with my decision. It hasn't really prevented me from doing anything I wanted to degree required for changing diapers and wiping noses!

Anyhow, I was just going to fill out a FAFSA for myself and see if I qualified, since I was doing them for E and M anyway. But I wasn't going to college. I went ahead and filled out the application to go, but I wasn't going to college. I took the COMPASS test, but I wasn't going to college. I went to freshman orientation, OK, yeah, I might be "taking some classes". But today, oh today. I sealed my fate and registered for fall semester. A whole 16 hours worth of classes made their way onto my schedule. I guess that means I'm going to college.

And the schedule I managed to procure (see, sounding smart already!) should allow me to continue homeschooling the kids AND not disrupt the life of my family and friends to a great degree.

So, high ho, high ho, it's off to school I go!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

My Secret is Out

Guess it would help if I'd BLOG once in a while, huh?! LOL I've been worn out and tired from the trip and then trying to get the three ring circus back on track now that I'm home.

So. Yeah. DYM is the super special celebrity blogger I got to meet and hang with! Since you all pretty much read her blog way before mine, you probably already know all about that! LOL She has a post up from two days ago that is makin' me feel all famous and stuff! She was one of the origional three blogs I got hooked on and gave me the idea that, I too, could blog with the big dogs. It was so fun to meet her and her cute kids. I didn't get to meet Snow White, but I got an even better treat; I got to meet the "REAL" Laylee, she told me she wasn't Snow White yet, because her Snow White dress was dirty and her mom had to wash it. The kids fed the gulls and pigeons at the beach and Daring and I flapped our gums, only pausing long enough to rescue the kids from jumping off the seawall. And, yes, I am so proud of my stalker status. I really did fly across the country AND walk three miles to meet her. I'll make sure and let you know when I'm coming to *YOUR* town...or should I say "a town near you"?

I mean no offense to my Seattle readers by pointing out the colorful freakiness of the inhabitants of your great city. Really. It's just that In my two weeks of travel, I have come to the conclusion that I need a discreet way of taking pictures of people I come across. The table full of "alternate lifestyle living men" dancing to "Don't You Wish Your Girlfriend was Hot Like Me" at a Pizza Hut in Moab is a prime example. That's definately some bloggable stuff. The people I come across in my travels are as much a part of the experience for me as the destination it's self. At the risk of being totally un-PC, it's good to have a belly laugh wondering if that guy over there thought he looked good in his shorty-shorts when he put them on this morning. Sorry, but if you attract attention, you might attract mine and I might laugh at you. Pay no attention to me, I don't get out much and I really can't help myself.

While in Washington, I got to tour some of their lovely temperate rainforest. Huge-o-normous trees and lots of green every where you go. Here are some favorite shots:

I really did take those! Aren't they great! Especially the waterfall pictures, they look like a postcard.

My sister is getting married at the fabulous Lake Quinalt Resort. It's a quiet, intimate place with limited space and unlimited hospitality. I ran across some very unfavorable reviews of the place on-line before my trip, particularly regarding the owners tolerance of children. I was skeered. But, wait! Nope. John was GREAT! Beyond great! He was so friendly, and when diaper duty (or should I say doody?) left me with a "package" un-suitable for and indoor trash, he saw me looking around for a trash, jumped up from his cozy chair, and graciously took the offending package uphill, in the rain, to the dumpster. How's THAT for service?! I was totally impressed. Here are some shots from that lovely location:

Some shots of the city from Gas Works Park, and the Freaky People Fest:

And then I just wouldn't be a good parent if I didn't post some sickeningly sweet pictures of my offspring on her first large scale adventure:

Whew! Tired yet? Life-a-la-boring comin' at ya next week!