Saturday, August 20, 2011


Thanks to a lovely combination of exhaustion and illness this week, my dreams have been strange and sometimes nightmarish.  Nothing like being sick and tired and waking up gasping from some horrid nightmare where you are being electrocuted by an unseen assailant. 

I always have crazy dreams, though I have gotten used to them being more fun-crazy than terrible-crazy, because I don't have nightmares all that often, anymore.

The dream that disturbed me the most this week and had me up wandering the house in the middle of the night wasn't even a nightmare.  Not really.

I was on a school bus with my oldest daughter and the bus stopped.  Suddenly, she is out the window (don't know know how dreams are) and the bus starts to take off.  I look back and there is my daughter, only she is somehow a little girl of 8 again.

In the dream she is crying and chasing the bus and I am paralyzed- I can't yell or stop the bus.  I am looking at her sad and scared little girl face and then *poof* I woke up.

In the history of bad dreams, this doesn't seem all that awful.  However, I found it so disturbing- the sadness and fear on her little girl face, even the old familiar outfit she had on was upsetting.

 I got up and checked on all the kids and then because I felt so anxious and inexplicably sad, I didn't go back to bed for a long time.  I feel like crying every time I think of it and I have been smothering all the kids, but her especially, this week with extra hugs.  Even when she was cranky and didn't want to be hugged.

Maybe I had the dream because it has been on my mind lately how quickly my kids are growing up and how bittersweet that is.  They are great kids and I am very proud of them and they way they have 'turned out', but I often miss the days when they were babies, toddlers and preschoolers.  

There are many days, when I see people struggling with their little ones, that I think, 'Thank God mine are older now and I don't have to do all that.'  But, to be completely honest- I miss it.  All of it.  

I also feel a lot of guilt because when my two oldest were little, I worked, ALL THE TIME.  I missed so much.  I used to see them for an hour or two, long enough to feed and bathe them before bed and then the next day threw clothes on them before rushing them back to daycare.  When I had time off, I was so tired that I couldn't give them all the attention they deserved. 

I have always regretted that and if I had it to do over again, I definitely wouldn't bother with working at that time- it isn't like I loved my job ( I loathed it) or that I got ahead financially ( I sooooooo didn't).  

So, maybe that is why my dream was haunted by my daughter as a sad little girl, because I mourn the time I wasted and the fact that soon, my first born, my first love, will be all grown up.  I don't know if my heart can take it.  I think empty nest syndrome would kill me.

All of this churning up of regret and emotion has helped clarify some things for me, too. Even though I have far more time with the kids now, I still spend too much time on this stupid computer- reading emails, playing games, stalking Facebook, reading the hundreds of blogs that I follow and entering contests.  Yes, even my little bit of sporadic blogging is time that could be better spent.

I think it was really clarified for me when I didn't have internet for those several days, how much time I waste online.  Yes, I enjoy it, but I can't rewind the clock on my family's childhood.  They will only be calling, 'watch me' and 'look at this' for just so long.  They will only want to play catch or house or library for just so many years.

When I look back I don't want to remember  life passing, behind my back as I clacked away at a computer.

This is my long-winded way of saying, I am going to be reducing my online presence.  I am going to force myself to an hour a day.  Obviously, this is going to affect how much I can read and write.  I will attempt to post something on here once a week and I will try to make the rounds to my favorite blogs on that day also.

I can't say that I am going to regret cutting my time online down, because I know that what I am gaining is far more valuable.  I shall miss my daily dose of some of my favorite bloggers and entering all those contests, but reading a blog or winning a new DVD doesn't compare to reading stories to my kids.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hoping nothing comes up.

I have been struggling with intermittent nausea for the last several days.

Anyone that knows me, knows I would rather take a hammer to my face than be pukey.  Be thankful I didn't use any of the Googled images for that...there are some seriously disturbed people on the internet.

I will try to get something posted later this week.  In the meantime, please enjoy this picture of my nephew when he was little, cause it makes me smile:

Friday, August 12, 2011

Comcast- the final chapter...for now.

Wednesday,  after we returned from our little walk downtown,  our water was shut off.  It seems a water main was broken.

Which was lovely, because we were sweaty and  smelled like roadkill and everyone kept using the bathroom and we couldn't flush.  At one point I threatened that I was going to make everyone go into the woods to do their business.  I didn't, so things just kept getting worse and worse in the single, tiny bathroom in this house.

I have always pondered the ignorance of a man (you just know it was a man) that designed a 4 bedroom house with one bathroom.  I also wish I could meet him so that I could kick him in the shins, repeatedly.

Some neighbors of mine were piling in their cars to head to friends or family to use their showers and luxurious flushable toilets.  I watched in envy as I contemplated the effectiveness of unscented baby wipes vs. swampy arm pits.  Oh, why didn't I spring for the aloe and shea butter baby wipes?

Without water, we couldn't wash dishes (yeah, that broke my heart) or cook a whole lot, so we had sandwiches for dinner and then I flopped on the couch to numb myself with several repeats of  "Sex and the City".  The episodes where Carrie went to Paris with Baryshnikov, who frankly looked like a walking mummy to me, but to each their own.

At about 11pm, my daughter received a text from a friend saying that the water was back on.  I whooped and yelled and turned on faucets and hugged everyone and danced about.  I was like a contestant 'coming on down' on "The Price is Right".

I am still slightly traumatized by my little experience without modern plumbing and I realize that I would not have made it as a pioneer.  I would have learned how to load the musket,  just so I could first shoot whatever idiot man had drug me out there and then myself.

I jumped in the shower and then hosed down the kids before finally falling into bed, grateful that my lovely sheets were not besmirched with fetid body soil.  I can't figure out people that don't bathe regularly, it feels so wonderful to be squeaky clean.

I woke up to more crap on Thursday.

So..........if you are new here then you can read this:
to get all caught up.

Ready?  OK.  On Thursday, Windstream (the phone company) got my phone turned on, but the internet couldn't be completed until today.  Not sure why, maybe tiny nanobots have to tunnel to my house first.

As soon as the phone was working, I called up Comcast because I STILL did not have the channels and features I was supposed to on my cable...never mind the whole phone fiasco.

I call, explain everything to someone, including my desire to officially cancel the nonexistent phone service and the internet.  After 16 minutes and 43 seconds, I was disconnected.

I am nothing, if not obstinate.  I called back.  And then.... if you can believe it, I got the one person in 20 at Comcast that is actually qualified to do their job.

In less than 5 minutes, she had all my cable problems fixed, the other services cancelled and she apologized for all the trouble.  2 weeks, 18 phone calls, 3 chat sessions and 1 email and I FINALLY got the 1 person that knew which button to push to fix my problem.


But, I no longer had any internet service.  Which I thought would be just fine.  I mean I am old enough to remember the days before computers ruled everything (and these words will probably haunt me during the robot revolution).

Still better than zombies.

But without any way to check email or stalk Facebook or blogs, I felt a little cut off from the virtual world that suits me far better than the real one.   Cause the real one has long lines,  body odor and these guys-

And without the internet, I had to wing it even more than usual with the home school, because 3 of the 4 kids couldn't do their online work and I couldn't run off any of the various worksheets that I normally do or look stuff up when someone has a question and we want to explore it further.  Ahh... the days before Google...they were sad, sad times.

They don't even realize that  they are miserable.

I decided to take the easy route and after we all spent time working on our reading,  I put some documentaries in the DVD player.  My son really wanted to watch some stuff on the Civil War, so we did.

We did have some intelligent discussions about secession, slave vs free states and the battle of the Monitor vs. the Merrimack.  But, the girls couldn't resist ridiculing the narrator's less than enthusiastic commentary or his cheap looking set.

Once we had spent enough time discussing the reasons the South lost and what role blockades played in the outcome of the war, I decided to expose the kids to some classic cinema that fit the topic.

 I used "Gone with the Wind" in our lessons on the Civil War.  The first half, anyway.  It is a long movie to expect kids to sit through, so we are going to finish it up sometime in the near future.

I stopped the movie several times to explain certain things, particularly about the life of slaves and later Sherman's march to the sea.  They all stayed fairly interested, but I was surprised at how much my son liked it.  He asked a ton of questions and showed genuine interest.

Then today, still no internet.  So, we practiced handwriting, reading and then social studies.  We are now on ancient Egypt.  The kids learned about all sorts of stuff, including mythology and the gods that the Egyptians worshiped.

I encourage the kids to draw, color and doodle while I read, because I feel that it keeps them engaged and interested.  They worked on some coloring pages I had copied, but they also did some free drawing.  My youngest decided she wanted to draw Osiris and my niece said she would, too.

When my niece was finished she handed me this picture:

She said, "It looks like Papa with his big bald head sweating in the sun, like a Hebrew slave."  I was dying laughing.  She is so funny and smart...Hebrew slave.... 

After our read-aloud, I gave the kids a big piece of paper for them to use for an art project making their own ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs on a 'tomb' wall.

I think the coolest part is that we had a hieroglyph chart to use, so that we knew which symbols represent the letters of our alphabet, and the kids used this to 'sign' their work.

My girls did express dismay that their names didn't have a lot of different letters so they could use more cool symbols, but in the end, they did a great job.  The entire sheet is hanging in my hallway now and I would love to have taken a photo but the light is very poor and the cell phone can't get a good image.

Nope, still not over my son breaking my cameras.

At lunch, my youngest had some trouble with a loose tooth that she eventually ended up pulling.

Wanting to eat, but can't.

My niece, giving advice, even though she has yet to lose a tooth.

She finally got it and then she went around like this for then next half hour:

I just hope the Toothfairy does better than last time:

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

What have we been up to?

 Home school continues and I have learned some important things about myself:

1- teaching 4 kids is much harder than teaching 3.  How those people with 6 or 10 kids do it is beyond me, but then again, how they do anything without the assistance of valium laced cocktails is beyond me, too.

2- I enjoy history and social studies MUCH more than my kids, especially the girls.  They find most of it boring and I can tell that when I get all excited explaining something that they are just humoring me with their participation. I think history and geography are very important, so they are just going to have to endure.

3- I am even more decrepit that I previously thought- I have spent the last couple nights on the couch, drooling and immobile, just waiting until I can convince my legs to carry me to bed.

For anyone that thinks I exaggerate when I say that my kids are not  interested in history, here is an example of what my oldest  daughter did with her social studies work while I was reading a story aloud about Mesopotamia:

She added some the raining arrows of death and the river of blood.

And what is that figure by the poor ancient farmer's leg?

She says it is a gremlin/demon stabbing him in the leg.  Nice.

Yep, that weirdness comes straight from me.  I can't deny it and worse, I find it really funny.  I am such a bad influence.

They did have a great deal of fun making their cave paintings.

First they crumpled their construction paper to simulate the surface of a cave wall.

Then they argued over who got to use what brush.

What the cuss did I do with her head?

My oldest, who is a great artist, struggled with trying to replicate primitive art, so she used the most unwieldly paint brush she could find.

There were a lot of interesting stories to go with these paintings, including saber tooth tiger and mammoth hunts, exploding volcanoes and an unfortunate and deadly hunting accident that took place in a beautiful oasis.  Apparently life and art was pretty grim back in the day.

This morning it was gorgeous outside, so I decided to push lessons back until later and we went on a small 'field trip' downtown  (when you home school, you can call anything a field trip and feel superior....)

First we hit the post office to mail a package to my mother and father.  The kids were excited about the building because it is old and they had never been inside before.  My two older children were particularly interested in the criminal reward/wanted posters.  I mostly ignored their suggestions to supplement our income by hunting down lunatic bombers.

After we left, the kids spent time searching for colorful and sparkly rocks on the ground,  before we went for some ice cream at the Sweet Shoppe.

It was wonderfully cool inside and smelled so yummy, because not only do they sell ice cream, but what they are famous for is their homemade fudge.  Mmmm....fudge...

The kids enjoyed their ice cream while I enjoyed a Diet Dr. Pepper and sitting still.  Note the cart in the lower right corner.  That is our little cart for fetching groceries.

My oldest daughter loves this shop because they carry her favorite ice cream, Kentucky Delight, which is like Kentucky Pie (or some call it Derby Pie).  It is a brown sugar ice cream,  (wait...what? Brown sugar ice cream?  Insanity...yummy, yummy insanity) chocolate chunks, nuts, pie crust chunks and a caramel swirl.

 I would have loved to have some, but I can't eat ice cream when I am hot.  And yes, I know that is odd, but I AM odd.  Haven't you been coming here long enough to know that?  Incidentally, I ate a butt load of ice cream when I lived in Alaska and Alaskans eat more ice cream per capita than anyone else, so I guess I am not Alaska, anyway.

Back to the Sweet Shoppe.  I couldn't resist getting a piece of Maple Nut fudge for myself.

You know that scrumptious icing on maple doughnuts?  This is like that, without all that unnecessary doughnut getting in the way.

What fat girls see when they close their eyes at night.  This and Matthew McConaughey running shirtless on the beach.

The kids and I are were interested to learn that they were preparing candy for the Kentucky State Fair where they have 2 booths this year.  

Fair pics courtesy of the Kentucky State Fair:
 Louisville Kentucky State Fair Rides
I just wanted to show all you Yankees that  no one is playing a banjo or carrying a jug of moonshine.

Here is just some of the fantastic candy they have made to take to the fair.  I can not describe how wonderful this shop smells.  It is like heaven wrapped in chocolate and dipped in sprinkles.

Before we left, the kids and I noticed a big US map with push pins marking locations.  It turns out they deliver (who knew? Not me and this isn't my first time in fudge nirvana) and each pin represents the ordering customer's locations.  If you love fudge, you can order here: .  I highly recommend the Tiger Butter and the Peanut butter and Fudge varieties.

So, we left the shop and headed around the square, past all the cute little shops.  We stopped to peek into the windows of the Lincoln Museum and a jewelry store with beautiful pieces on display.

My niece with her ice cream (she took a bit longer to finish than the others), in front of the Jewelry store.

Next we came to the creek and stopped on the bridge to look at the water.  The kids were very interested in discussing the water level and the vegetation and the difference between the area in spring and summer.  The were very happy to spot a school of slim, silvery fish.  I was interested in standing still long enough to not feel my heart beat in my ear lobes.

View from the bridge and the best I could do with the cell phone camera.

We continued up town and stopped at the Dollar General store where my youngest spent some of her allowance on some Littlest Pet Shop toys for her and my niece and I bought everyone some Gatorade and chips.

They sat at a picnic table outside the IGA grocery store while I ran inside to pick up something for dinner and then we headed home.  It was much hotter on our return trip, but we managed (barely).

Now, everyone's belly is full and I am going to go read something entertaining and somewhat educational to them.  Then, I am going to collapse on the couch to drool.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Whew...I'm Pooped!

Today was the much anticipated first day back to home school.  I was up bright and early, because my niece comes before 8 am.  Which frankly, I find to be an inhumane time for anyone to have to be up AND functioning.

I don't know why the people in charge of everything don't all band together and decide that the business day should not begin until 11 am.  I think we would all be less cranky.

At any rate, I spent the morning burning through my printer cartridge with all the worksheets I needed and then I got to work whipping up a hot breakfast.  Pancakes, sausage and orange juice.  I foolishly doubled my pancake recipe, because I wanted there to be enough for everyone.  Now, I have a ton of left over pancakes.  Good thing they keep in the refrigerator, cause the kids will be eating them tomorrow. 

Well, that is one way to eat a pancake.

I did stop taking pictures long enough to cut their pancakes.

Blame the cell phone for the blur.

Trying to catch every bit of syrup with her tongue.

After filling up, we started our day with handwriting and social studies.  The two younger girls were very excited to learn about archeologists and nomads.   Tomorrow we are going to work on some 'cave painting' art projects.  I am sure that will be a hit.

After our discussion, everyone broke off to do their individual work, either online or in workbooks.  By 12:30 we were all ready for a break.   We had a nice lunch of baked potatoes and salad  with broiled chicken breast.

After lunch, the kids played outside for about a half hour.  They came inside because it started to thunder and looked stormy, though we never did get a storm- it blew over within an hour.  

The younger girls fixed up my bed as a reading area and I read them a couple stories while Aidan and Lilli played a video game.

I caught a few minutes of Days of Our Lives before the President broke in about the economy (boo...hiss..) I know the economy sucks.  I don't need the President to tell me about it and now  I don't know if Maggie Horton will survive her gunshot wound to the chest until I can catch it tomorrow, yes, I like soaps and I KNOW they are lame, but there you have it.  

We went back to work at 2 and  my niece got to 'Show and Tell' her seashells from her vacation in Florida.  She did a great job and it seemed every shell was her 'favorite'.


We finished up anything left from the morning and did some fun coloring pages.  Tomorrow we will be starting Spanish lessons after our lunch break.  

I also wanted to start art lessons in the afternoon, but the book I ordered isn't available until October.  Of course, they waited 2 weeks to tell me.  *sigh*

I will go back to researching options, but in the meantime, they will have to settle for the projects that go along with their social studies and unit studies.  We will start our unit studies next week, and first up is The Little House on the Prairie. 

Yes, even though the kids seemed less than enthused about the show.  But, I know the books are really good and when you get to build your own log cabin with the best supplies the Dollar Tree has to offer, it's makes it even better.
Random pics of the kids working throughout the day:

Now, everyone is relaxing before dinner.  I am really tired and I am already counting the hours until I can fall into bed.  Wish I hadn't promised to make  the kids cheeseburgers, cause I would throw Froot Loops at them if it wouldn't cause a riot.

These first few days will be  the hardest because I spent the summer sleeping in until after 9 and spending my days, sloth-like on the couch.  Hopefully, I get used to it soon.  If not, I can always start eating coffee grounds with a tablespoon.

Also, on the Comcast front- still no phone, or the cable TV extras I am supposed to have.  Although, yesterday afternoon, the On Demand worked for about 7 minutes.  I am not sure how I will refrain from punching the technician in the mouth when he shows up on Friday.