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{Or something like that.}

We have this problem pretty much every year, and each year it seems to get worse.

“This” is on the list of “permanent things that are constants in our lives”; in the “mystery” category.” Other things on the non-mystery section of this list include, but are not limited to, chickens, horses, cats, dogs, and farm anything. 😀

I don’t know if we are strange or not, but it really is difficult to go gift shopping for the kids, particularly at this time of year. Used to be, we’d do a bigger ticket item for them collectively; lately they’ve been pooling their monies to buy their own higher dollar items.

Don’t get me wrong- I’m not complaining.

For years, we’ve been overloaded with junk. Several years ago, I even had to put the kibosh on bringing everything, including new books into the house, because we were overloaded with stuff.

We did a lot of good weeding, but it’s amazing how much stuff stuck around with the move. We definitely have more space here, which is good.

The issue now has become, what to get the kids for Christmas?

Does this seem like a strange problem to have? I don’t know. Are we alone with this mystery?

Several years ago, I had taken to having the kids make lists, which they manage to fill. It goes without saying that I weed a lot of the junk off of the lists.

I’m looking at my oldest daughter’s list, and I kid you not, right before the Burt’s Bees lip stuff request is this gem:  “another horse.”  😆 😆 To be fair, on everyone’s list, including hers, is tack.

Shoot. I want tack, but can’t find what I want.  And now it’s a little late. We may have to wait for a tack show in the spring.

But I digress.

You’d think Christmas shopping would be easy, but it’s not. I can’t stand getting junk just to get stuff. We have a habit of buying things like, oh, socks, for example, and then saying, “This is part of your Christmas gift.” 😆 And, to be fair, they do LOVE  getting socks {especially goofy socks, like toe socks (and no, they didn’t steal mine!)}, so that’s all good.

I’m thinking we may try more of a “Throwback Christmas.” You know, like something we’ve done when they were littler.

There was the one year they all got their own roll of craft paper. They each had their own, and I didn’t care what they did with it.

Another year, they all got copy paper. Yep, they did. I got tired of mine disappearing when I needed to print, so they got their own brick and left mine alone for, oh, like a week or so.

So this year, I am thinking, we need to do some monogrammed or otherwise labeled stuff in that same vein.

At the top of my list are brooms and dustpans. Despite me buying numerous brooms and dustpan/small broom sets, we never seem to be able to find them when we need to do chores.

Along these lines, I’ve thought about giving them each a vacuum, but that’s a bit spendy. I may just bite the bullet and give them each a pack of vacuum belts, which we go through a significant number of.

To spread out the giving, we may do some early/late gifts for birthdays, and yard tools are always a huge hit around here; shovels and rakes in particular. This might be one of those early gifts so maximum usage can be had.

At the very top of my list, though, I’m thinking of utility necklaces personalized with their names on them. {I can’t use initials, because they all have the same initials; yes, all of them……} On these necklaces, we need to have something for keys. We can never find shed keys, so this is good.

We’ll need a dangly part for a paint can opener. We are still painting, and we can never seem to find an opener. If everyone has one hanging around their necks, surely someone can open the can.

And finally, the one “charm” that needs a retractable cord so it never comes off the necklace, is a pair of scissors.

Did you know that scissors are in short supply? Indeed, they are. There’s a missing colony of them, which seems to be not unexpected for this state. 😉 I am sure they are somewhere in a hidden location, laughing at the effort to locate them.

A necklace with a cord would make escape nearly impossible. I say “nearly,” because as you well know, there are likely undercover operatives in the house, that seek to shuttle them to their secret hiding spots. It’s an underground network, I am convinced. If we ever find it, we’ll find not just the missing scissors, but a good number of socks, too.

{And if you think I’m nuts, they actually do have such a thing that you can connect scissors to:  scissorsreel

Except I’d want the necklace form of the reel.}

So. That’s what I’m thinking. This year, we may just go past the expected socks and underwear and do the necklaces, brooms, vacuum belts, and pens! How could I forget the pens?

These can go on the necklaces, too, those little sharpie pens. They are fantastic utility items.sharpie Get one of those and hook the whole mess on one of those badge reel thingies, badgereel and we’re good to go!

I need to figure out a solution to make the tips of the scissors safe, so the kids don’t poke any eyes out or accidentally impale themselves. I’ll also need a paint lid opener tip cover, too, because those can be pokey and sharp as well.

Heck, while I’m at it, I should probably make myself a necklace too……

Looks like this year’s Christmas Mystery has been solved! I’d better get to it, because I’m running out of time. :mrgreen:

What are your favorite gifts for your older kids and teenagers?

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Don’t Judge Me


Praise God! Hallelujah! We have internet! {Don’t judge me!} 😆

Back in the olden days, when we were in the campground, we had that crappy satellite internet- remember that? Because our house was just over 2 miles away, I was worried that we’d be relegated to using the same service, just to get any kind of internet.

We knew we couldn’t get a cable connection here like we had at the old house. And there was much weeping and gnashing of teeth.

The hunt was on. I’d get one answer from one part of a provider; then another from a local division of the provider. I was tearing my hair out. I really did not want either dial-up or satellite. DSL I could live with.

Once we moved in, we’ve had a steady stream of visitors. Even though I cannot see a single house from where we live, and neighbors are not in abundance, I am pretty sure we’ve met them all. And it is *awesome.*

One question I’d asked every single time was “What kind of internet can you get? Can you get DSL?” And I was distraught to hear that not a single person around us was able to get it- not the Century Link guy who lives around the corner and drives by twice a day; not the mailman who lives around the corner and down the street a ways; not the neighbors past the bridge; and not the other Century Link guy who lives next to the outpost with the switches in it.

Nonetheless, we were brave souls and had already paid for a year by that time. 😀 We even had the modem delivered already and had run out into the road to flag down the guy in the van.

At some point, I was resigned to thinking we were screwed stuck with whatever we could get as long as it wasn’t dial-up.

A different Century Link man came out (the one who lives around the corner and down the road next to the outpost) and gave us the scoop. Apparently, there were some DSL lines run out here just a year ago. We needed a set of available switches. If they had those, they would build the line. But, we needed to understand that because we were so far from the outpost, our communication rate wouldn’t be as fast as it could be had we been closer.

{Please, Mister Internet Man, just get us online with a decent speed!!}

Praise God! Hallelujah! {Don’t judge me!}

And then yesterday they called to let us know we would have it by 5 pm today. Praise God! Hallelujah! {Don’t judge me!}

My children’s teeth are visible for the first time in I don’t know how long, and I’m pretty sure the frown lines haven’t had time to really get set in. Praise God! Hallelujah! {Don’t judge me!}

At this point, it’s safe to say that the speed is just fine; blazing, in fact, in  comparison to the satellite connection we struggled with at the campground.

I think it’s also safe to say that my slave labor kids won’t be helping paint much this afternoon. I’ve warned them, though- they get to goof through lunch, and then we need to get back at it. {Seriously, it’s like there is blood spatter all over this house- including on the ceilings…..GROSS!!!!} At least now, maybe they will be in better moods, since I have something to threaten them with……..

So. Where were we?

Yes. We moved in. My son and I flew back to NM to meet the movers. What a crazy busy 4 days. That was a fiasco, to say the least. I may write about that, but I may just want to leave it where it is……

So far we’ve dealt with wasps swarming the house {a continuation of what we had before we closed- there are at least 5 different species fighting over territory}, a steady stream of neighbors, a locksmith who was unable to re-key the locks, 5 abandoned horses, including one severely emaciated nursing mama horse whose colt was about 2 months old when we moved in and very nearly going down because she needed at least 500 lbs and who we think is pregnant again already; a fence that wasn’t keeping them in last week {and those fences aren’t on our property!} which meant the one day they had gotten out literally at least 6 times; our kitty who disappeared and we didn’t find until we started to smell her deceased body; 😦 numerous contractors coming in and out to fix stuff, and and and and…..

The home inspection was fantastic, but didn’t let us know the upstairs tub sends water running down the ceiling fan in the kitchen when an actual shower is taken. I still have to get the propane people out to set the second tank; we haven’t gotten the trash to run yet despite leaving it out for 2 weeks and seeing the truck run by every few days; we still have to get the upstairs heating pumps replaced and part of the floor needs to be finished and a closet got missed and needs the carpet replaced. And I’m pretty sure there are other things I’m forgetting right now.

But- I’m not busy or anything. 😀 I’ll write about things in more detail as I get time. I just wanted to let y’all know I’m still alive and there’s no need to worry about me having fallen off the face of the earth.

In the meantime, I’m going to get back at the painting after I eat and hope I don’t have a layer of ‘skin’ to peel off in my paint pan………..

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I know it’s a scary place, but bear with me……….

In my own head, I am funny.

Quips are off the cuff, and leave people digging for their dictionaries.

Actually, I used to be. Once I got sick, it became a struggle to even understand what I was thinking in my own head, much less spit it out and have a result that made any kind of sense. I confess I’ve gotten to the point where the strange looks people give me don’t bother me as much. It’s part of life. I deal with it and move on.

In my own head, I am skinny.

Yep. Skinny. Like I used to be. Only older. When I look in the mirror, I find myself thinking “They always say the camera adds ten pounds….” and then come crashing down as I realize that I’m just using my eyes. I’m pretty sure they are broken………

Now, before all of y’all go off on me and give me the speech about loving my body and size doesn’t matter as long as you are healthy blah blah blah, let me just say this: if you’ve been in a position where your body has become an alien and something you don’t really have much control over at all, then you might be able to understand my thinking without too much work.

Of course, if you’re a girl, you probably don’t need to reach to understand this, since you’re sitting there nodding your head. I’m considering investing in one of those full-length fun house mirrors that lengthen you, but that would add to my stuff problem, and I’m really, really still trying to be good in that department.

In my own head, I am young.

Ok, so I’m not really old. I’m 40. Shhh, don’t tell anyone. 😉

This is one of those things where most some days, I scratch my head and wonder when I got old enough to have kids. And then I realize I don’t just have kids, I have kids AND teenagers. 😯

Ya, I know. Our oldest is going to be 16 in 2 months. And that just can’t be true, because I am not old enough to have kids. Well, ok, maybe a toddler or two, but teenagers? Sheesh.

I’m so anal with things that I actually have documents saved that chronicle time- time having done this or that, because thanks to my brain mush (which must mean I really am not young), wait- what was I saying?  Oh yeah……. I keep track of stuff, like how long I’ve been doing certain things, because at some point, it’s all a jumble and I honestly can’t remember.

I keep track of things like how much I run; how many miles are on my shoes, and that kind of stuff. Recently, my last batch of dates was how long I’ve been doing my Community Bible Study (CBS), because I’ve lost track. Turns out, that’s been 8 years, 5 of which have been in the children’s department.

And homeschooling? Yep, we’re brand new at that is what I think in my own mind, but now we’re getting settled, since it’s been a few years. The reality is that it’s been 9 years, and our son begins his final two years of high school in the fall (except he’ll probably start some college classes then).

I’ve been out of high school, too, for over 20 years. I’m not sure how that’s possible, but apparently it must be, because that’s what the calendar is telling me. Heck, even Big Dog is about 10. Ya. We got her when the baby wasn’t out of the box yet. By default, that makes Barfy Cat 8.

My head is a great place to be, because then I can ignore things like those pesky facts. Yep, I am still young……..

In my own head, I am still smart.

I can’t remember where I wanted to go with this…….. oh yeah- In my own head, I am still really smart, like I used to be. Things started changing when I got pregnant for the first time, although it wasn’t too bad. Initially, I chalked the brain farts on pregnancy brain; then it was breastfeeding brain. Since I haven’t done either of those in a number of years, I pretty well have to confess that maybe it’s age related. Meh.

And then I remember that it’s probably disease related………. Used to be, I was blessed with a photographic memory. As in, I could read something and remember what it said usually verbatim, in addition to what part of the book it was in and where on the page it was located.

I used to be able to memorize anything and everything- when we got our first car (a ’94 Mustange GT, bought in ’93), I memorized the VIN number at home that first night. No idea why; I think it was by the time I recited it to insurance it just kind of stuck. 3 4 years ago when we traded it in for hunny’s truck, that number was still in my head. No idea why.

I was considered by some to be a “compendium of information” and I really had a good time with Trivial Pursuit. I haven’t played that game in 20 plus years, and I had to struggle to remember the name……. 🙄

Nope, when I got sick, loosing this was the thing that scared me the most out of everything. It continues to be the thing I miss the most, too. The one thing I could count on 100% of the time is gone, and some other kind of mush is taking up space up in there. We figured out this was basically the result of the constant inflammation, and if I could just get rid of that, I’d get my mind back. I think I’m about at 50%, but I’ll take what I can get. I don’t really have a choice, and for the most part, I can remember driving places, so that’s a win in my book. Something is better than nothing!

And sometimes………. I have a moment of clarity. Sometimes, things are crystal clear to me, like they used to be. I had an episode a few weeks ago where I left the shopping list at home because I forgot where I put it. And it was a LONG list, with unusual items on it. Surprisingly, I didn’t miss a single item on the list, and I could remember it, just like the olden days. It was fleeting, but it made me smile. *sigh*

In my own head, I am still beautiful.

This is one of those that is completely superficial, so if it’s going to make you think less of me, click away now………….

In the olden days, I looked good. I’m too short to be a supermodel and I was probably never emaciated enough, but I had some decent qualities- good skin, decent (although very fine) hair, dangerously long and dark eyelashes, and good muscle tone.

Now, my mantra is: Thank goodness for makeup!

The first sign of things to come was losing a good size chunk of hair off the top of my head. To be fair, we tried to convince ourselves it might be related to post-pregnancy hair loss, even though I had a suspicion it really wasn’t. Fortunately for me, I only had to do the comb-over every other year for the following years, although there stands a good chance that eventually, it’ll go from being alopecia areata to alopecia universalis.

Honestly, I’m looking forward to that, because then I can just get some wigs and be done with it. And truly, there are only so many bald thin spots you can comb over before your remaining thin hair is all used up. It’s bad, I know, but when you hair is extremely thin and very fine, it’s just a disaster. Besides, it would be nice to not have hair some places anyhow. If I lose it all, I won’t have to worry about shaving my legs, and that would be another score in my book.

Then there is the skin……….. while we’d like to attribute the discoloring to my medication, the truth of that is that it started happening before the new medication, which has a sun warning on it (as in, don’t go out in it ever unless you are totally, completely covered from head to toe, as IF that is going to happen when you live in a desert……) While my retinas are suffering from de-pigmentation, I’m picking up pigment in places I’d rather not.

And muscle tone? Puh. I’m one of those people who absolutely does not look like a runner, because despite the miles, I usually have no muscle definition. I thank the inflammation for that one, too.

So, ya, I have to say thank goodness for makeup and for hunny, who is still somehow convinced I’m beautiful. Maybe I ought to be thankful for rose-colored glasses or delusion, too, from which he seems to be suffering.  😆  No, really, that’s the power of love, and is a fantastic example of what real love looks like. We always said real love looks like wiping your partner’s/spouse’s behind when they’ve had surgery and can’t, or holding their hair when they barf……… I think this will have to go on that list.  😆

In my own head, I am tall normal height.

Yes, that’s right. In my own head, my 11-year-old neighbor isn’t taller than I; I’m not shorter than 1/2 of my kids, and I don’t need to pack around a step stool to get to the second shelf of my upper cabinets. In my own head, I don’t need help reaching things numerous times a day because I am tall enough to get them on my own.

Not much more I can add to this.

In my own head, I am 100% healthy.

I believe in the power of positive affirmation, so this is something I literally tell my self numerous times a day; particularly when I am trying to talk myself into just doing my run already. Ya, I need to say that a little louder today, because the other side of my brain is being stubborn and ignoring me.

In my own head, I am infinitely interesting.

You can stop laughing now. It’s my delusion, and I’m keeping it.

Yep, in my own head, I am infinitely interesting and multi-faceted, so much so, that random strangers give pause to ponder the wondrous information dripping from my lips.

The reality is, I’m pretty boring. We strive to be drama-free by design. I give that effort two thumbs up, because the reality is that the most excitement we get around here is counting how many eggs have been laid today………. And who is pecking who- don’t forget that! 😆 Oh! And how many nesting boxes do we think we’ll need once the babies get to that point…………..(seriously, you didn’t think I’d not say something about chickens, did you? :lol:)

My head is a great place to live, I have to say. I’m pretty sure I could get lost in there and be endlessly entertained with the fallacies contained therewithin- and the characters that live in there, like Frank and Macy, for example.

What’s living in your head?

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You know I don’t usually do this.  Actually, I have never done this before (make a blog post out of something I saw on Facebook).  This one, though, was too funny to pass by.

If you’ve been reading along, you may have stumbled across my What A Pain! post, where I share my exercise history and love of yoga.  While I primarily run these days, I’m still doing about 30 minutes of yoga as part of my warm-up, cool-down and stretching regime.

Language alert for anyone concerned.  No idea if this is a real  Craigslist ad or not, but it’s funny, and apparently copyrighted by Craigslist Inc. Courtesty of the Bikram Hot Yoga Albuquerque page on Facebook……

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Yoga mat for sale. Used once – $1

Date: 2011-09-17, 8:41PM PDT

Reply to: sale-vuyvq-2604350472@craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]

Yoga mat for sale. Used once at lunch hour class. Usage timeline as follows:

 

11:45a

Register for hot yoga class. Infinite wisdom tells me to commit to 5 class package and purchase a yoga mat. I pay $89.74. Money well spent, I smugly confirm to myself.

 

11:55a

Open door to yoga room. A gush of hot dry air rushes through and past me. It smells of breath, sweat and hot. Take spot on floor in back of room next to cute blonde. We will date.

 

11:57a

I feel the need to be as near to naked as possible. This is a problem because of the hot blonde to my left and our pending courtship. She will not be pleased to learn that I need to lose 30 pounds before I propose to her.

 

11:58a

The shirt and sweats have to come off. I throw caution to the wind and decide to rely on my wit and conditioning to overcome any weight issues my fiancée may take issue with. This will take a lot of wit and conditioning.

 

11:59a

Begin small talk with my bride to be. She pretends to ignore me but I know how she can be. I allow her to concentrate and stare straight ahead and continue to pretend that I don’t exist. As we finish sharing our special moment, I am suddenly aware of a sweat moustache that has formed below my nose. This must be from the all the whispering between us.

 

12:00p

Instructor enters the room and ascends her special podium at the front of the room. She is a slight, agitated Chinese woman. She introduces me to the class and everyone turns around to greet me just as I decide to aggressively adjust my penis and testes packed in my Under Armor. My bride is notably unfazed.

 

12:02p

Since I do have experience with Hot Yoga (4 sessions just 5 short years ago) I fully consider that I may be so outstanding and skilled that my instructor may call me out and ask me to guide the class. My wife will look on with a sparkle in her eye. We will make love after class.

 

12:10p

It is now up to 95 degrees in the room. We have been practicing deep breathing exercises for the last 8 minutes. This would not be a problem if we were all breathing actual, you know, oxygen. Instead, we are breathing each other’s body odor, expelled carbon dioxide and other unmentionables. (Don’t worry, I’ll mention them later.)

 

12:26p

It is now 100 degrees and I take notice of the humidity, which is hovering at about 90%. I feel the familiar adorning stare of my bride and decide to look back at her. She appears to be nauseated. I then realize that I forgot to brush my teeth prior to attending this class. We bond.

 

12:33p

It is now 110 degrees and 95% humidity. I am now balancing on one leg with the other leg crossed over the other. My arms are intertwined and I am squatting. The last time I was in this position was 44 years ago in the womb, but I’m in this for the long haul. My wife looks slightly weathered dripping sweat and her eyeliner is streaming down her face. Well, “for better or worse” is what we committed to so we press on.

 

12:40p

The overweight Hispanic man two spots over has sweat running down his legs. At least I think its sweat. He is holding every position and has not had a sip of water since we walked in. He is making me look bad and I hate him.

 

12:44p

I consider that if anyone in this room farted that we would all certainly perish.

 

12:52p

It is now 140 degrees and 100% humidity. I am covered from head to toe in sweat. There is not a square millimeter on my body that is not slippery and sweaty. I am so slimy that I feel like a sea lion or a maybe sea eel. Not even a bear trap could hold me. The sweat is stinging my eyeballs and I can no longer see.

 

12:55p

This room stinks of asparagus, cloves, tuna and tacos. There is no food in the room. I realize that this is an amalgamation of the body odors of 30 people in a 140 degree room for the last 55 minutes. Seriously, enough with the asparagus, ok?

 

1:01p

140 degrees and 130% humidity. Look, bitch, I need my space here so don’t get all pissy with me if I accidentally sprayed you with sweat as I flipped over. Seriously, is that where this relationship is going? Get over yourself. We need counseling and she needs to be medicated. Stat!

 

1:09p

150 degrees and cloudy. And hot. I can no longer move my limbs on my own. I have given up on attempting any of the commands this Chinese chick is yelling out at us. I will lay sedentary until the aid unit arrives. I will buy this building and then have it destroyed.

I lose consciousness.

 

1:15p

I have a headache and my wife is being a selfish bitch. I can’t really breathe. All I can think about is holding a cup worth of hot sand in my mouth. I cannot remember what an ice cube is and cannot remember what snow looks like. I consider that my only escape might be a crab walk across 15 bodies and then out of the room. I am paralyzed, and may never walk again so the whole crab walk thing is pretty much out.

 

1:17p

I cannot move at all and cannot reach my water. Is breathing voluntary or involuntary? If it’s voluntary, I am screwed. I stopped participating in the class 20 minutes ago. Hey, lady! I paid for this frickin class, ok?! You work for me! Stop yelling at everyone and just tell us a story or something. It’s like juice and cracker time, ok?

 

1:20p

It is now 165 degrees and moisture is dripping from the ceiling. The towel that I am laying on is no longer providing any wicking or drying properties. It is actually placing additional sweat on me as I touch it. My towel reeks. I cannot identify the smell but no way can it be from me. Did someone spray some stank on my towel or something?

 

1:30p

Torture session is over. I wish hateful things upon the instructor. She graciously allows us to stay and ‘cool down’ in the room. It is 175 degrees. Who cools down in 175 degrees? A Komodo Dragon? My wife has left the room. Probably to throw up.

 

1:34p

My opportunity to escape has arrived. I roll over to my stomach and press up to my knees. It is warmer as I rise up from ground level – probably by 15 degrees. So let’s conservatively say it’s 190. I muster my final energy and slowly rise. One foot in front of the other. One foot in front of the other. Towards the door. Towards the door.

 

1:37p

The temperature in the lobby is 72 degrees. Both nipples stiffen to diamond strength and my penis begins to retract into my abdomen from the 100 degree temp swing. I can once again breathe though so I am pleased. I spot my future ex wife in the lobby. We had such a good thing going but I know that no measure of counseling will be able to unravel the day’s turmoil and mental scaring.

 

1:47p

Arrive at Emerald City Smoothie and proceed to order a 32 oz beverage. 402 calories, 0 fat and 14 grams of protein — effectively negating any caloric burn or benefit from the last 90 minutes. I finish it in 3 minutes and spend the next 2 hours writing this memoir.

 

3:47p

Create Craigslist ad while burning final 2 grams of protein from Smoothie and before the “shakes” consume my body.

 

4:29p

Note to self – check car for missing wet yoga towel in am.

 

 

  • it’s NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

PostingID: 2604350472

 

  • Copyright © 2011 craigslist, inc.

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If you have kids, then you will know that just because they are “family,” that does not mean they are going to like each other all the time or get along. My two youngest girls have a love/hate relationship. They can go from loving each other profusely and being extremely helpful to one another to wanting to gouge each other’s eyes out, seemingly in the blink of that eye.

These two are 9 (almost 10) and 7.  They have completely different body types.  What does this have to do with anything? As one who grew up being smaller than a younger sibling, I’ll tell you, body type means a lot as a kid. How would you feel, getting hand-me-downs from not just your older sister, but your younger one as well?

Middle dd, J, has my body type.  She has always been my “mini-me.”  In all seriousness, the only time she was ever on the growth charts was when she was born. Really. At 7 lbs, 4 ozs, she was a pound smaller than baby #2, but heavier than baby #1.

Fortunately for me, my ped was willing to listen to me and accept my proof (my own growth charts, which were a mirror image of hers) and after a “mandatory” iron test when she was 6 months old, he was able to say her weight was not a concern. At two years old, we finally got the green light to turn her forward-facing in her car seat even though she was still 19 lbs.  She was longer, though, that the guidelines for the car seat.  Do you know that it was literally impossible to find (at that time) a rear-facing car seat for a long baby under 20 lbs??

Along comes baby #4, weighing in at 8 lbs, 14 ozs. While she didn’t fit in many of the newborn clothes, she wasn’t gargantuan, either. Normal growth; normal weight gain.

But in comparison to dd #2?  People still think they are twins, even though they don’t look much alike, past the blond hair and blue eyes. They are, however, maybe an inch or two different in height.  They wear the same size shoes, and the same size clothes.  While it’s hard to find clothes that don’t fall off dd #2 (because she is skinny), it’s usually not a problem to roll up pant legs.

And this, I think, has fed into the frustration dd #2 has felt for a really long time.  If you remember being a kid, you remember how fast you wanted to grow up, and how important it was to be recognized as your own person.  Well, at least that’s how it was with me.  😆  I was tired of being small, and people thinking I was considerably younger than I was, just based on size.

Much of the time, my two youngest girls get along relatively well.  You may recall that a few years ago, we tried selling our house.  Notice the key word: tried. That was right about the time our housing market here started to slow down.  Once summer came, I had *zero* interest in trying to sell the house and worry about keeping it ready to show while having 4 kids summering.  Not gonna happen.

The primary issue with this house, of course, is space.  The layout is fine; there are parts of the house I totally love. We’ve been here a while.  So long, actually, that we hadn’t actually started homeschooling yet.  This is our 9th year of homeschooling. We knew, moving in, that we were losing some storage space, but didn’t think it would be a big deal.  Ya, it’s a BIG deal.  I don’t have enough space; and always need more bookshelves. We also didn’t have 4 kids when we moved in, either.

And I have all three girls sharing a bedroom.  While you recover from that shock, let me add that their bedroom is decent size and they have a walk-in closet. As my oldest nears full-fledged teenhood (she’ll be 13 in a few months), the issue over space is a constant, all-out battle. She really needs her own room.  With the housing market the way it is, I don’t see a move happening any time soon.  If the market starts to move at some point, we would, of course, try selling again.  But at this point, I can’t handle having the house on the market for a year (or more.)

The bulk of the issue that my older two girls have is with the youngest and her stuff.  Our philosophy has always been that at the younger ages, kids NEED a lot of play; that their learning happen primarily through play. Can you see where this is going?  😆

Keeping that one room really clean (read my Stuff post to see what I’m talking about) is an ongoing, losing battle. The conflict always revolves around whose “stuff” it is, primarily between the two younger girls, the youngest always getting the brunt of it. And while that’s not entirely untrue, the room still needs to be cleaned.

I am completely sick and tired of the arguing. Much of the time, the arguing over cleaning the room spills over into everything else. While we don’t tolerate name-calling, that doesn’t mean it’s not happening.  (If you are a sibling, you probably know what I’m talking about.)

And it is frustrating. And maddening.

Kids these ages, even if they know the particulars (which mine do) of good conflict resolution (as in: “when you do “x”, I feel “y”), can often get into all-out war.

And it is frustrating.  And maddening.*sigh*

Some days are better than others, but this is something  are constantly “working on.” While there are things that may work for a short amount of time, I haven’t found the “magic bullet” that will work consistently long-term.

Yesterday, though, I hit upon something that I think might work, if anything will.  The bonus is, it has nothing to do with *me.*  Yay!

You may recall that we do a weekly Bible study, where I have been in the children’s department for several years.  Last year, I graduated to the homeschooling class, as my youngest moved up. I anticipate being there for a while.  😆

This year, we are studying Acts. Acts is about the spread of (the church) Christianity, post crucifixion and resurrection; the acts of the Apostles via the Holy Spirit. (Ya’ll know there is more to it, but that’s a general summary) Chapter 2 is titled, “The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost.”

Part of what I love about this particular Bible study is that every study takes you all over the Bible. So, this week, we went to Galatians, to learn about the “fruits of the Spirit.” Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.” (NIV)

As part of our conversation, we talked with the kids quite a bit about the fruits of the Spirit. Not only did we talk about what they were (see the verse above), but to think about concrete examples of how they show/demonstrate each one. What fruit of the Spirit are they most like?  What ones can they work on? My challenge to them was to think about fruits (of the Spirit) in particular that they could work on during the week.

Can you see where I’m headed?  😆 What’s interesting to me is that my two younger girls were still thinking about this long after we came home.  Hmmmmm.  Fruits of the Spirit.

“To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit….” (1 Corinthians 12:8)  “All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.” (1 Corinthians 12:11)

Fruits of the Spirit…. gifts of the Spirit………

Last night I had a dream.  If you’re anything like me, your brain doesn’t stop, and actually works through the night, resulting sometimes in really bizarre dreams.  Last night’s dream wasn’t so much bizarre as utilitarian.

I dreamt of a tree.  On that tree, there were fruits that could be stuck on at the end of each day.  Each child (in my case, my two younger girls) had a tree. At the end of each day, they could stick on the fruits of the Spirit they consistently demonstrated throughout the days.

Ya’ll know I’m not crafty, right?  😆  While I have visions dancing in my head (’cause a plum is a fruit, too!), making a huge tree with appropriate fruits of the Spirit to stick on isn’t something I can throw together quickly.  Or maybe even at all.  😆

What I did find, though, was an image of a “Fruit of the Spirit” tree. I haven’t completed the whole thing, but you can see what I’m trying to do. 

Each day has a tree.  I need to make a header for each child using the verse, which tells what each fruit of the Spirit is.

At the end of each day, they can write in below and color each fruit they think they demonstrated the whole day.

Maybe a little “competition” to be “kind,” “love”(ing) and have “self-control” can be a good start in working on developing better attitudes and “patience.”

Maybe a visual reminder will give them pause and get them thinking about how they want to act? Maybe I need to just totally turn this one over; you know, “let go and let God….”

I’ll keep you posted!

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I have a confession to make.  I did something today that I have been trying very hard NOT to do for a considerable amount of time.  I can only hope that my transgression today won’t unravel all the good I’ve done while working on this problem for lo these many years. *sigh*

 <whisper> I bought yarn. (pause) Yarn that isn’t involved in a working project. </whisper>

Can you see me dancing with delight? 😆

As you may know, I am in the midst of making baby things for a new niece.  While I bought all the yarn they had in the main color I’m using, I have since run out. Since the yarn is the Hobby Lobby brand, there is no where else to get it.  And, even if I could, the only other store in my town that sells yarn is Wal-Mart.  You can see my limitations.

Two weeks ago, slightly before I ran out of yarn, I went to my local Hobby Lobby to get more.  They were still out.  I filled out the form to special order it, and they were supposed to have it on the following Thursday. They never got any in.  I confirmed that my order on this regularly stocked item was still in the system, and was assured that surely, they would get the yarn the following week.

Yesterday was the day the yarn was supposed to arrive.  They said they would call me one way or another.  Another Thursday passed; another day of silence. Today I went back to the store to see if it had arrived.

It had not. 😥

In my desperation, upon arriving home from my weekly shopping, I went online and ordered more yarn. I am annoyed.  Not only was I charged tax (because we have a local store) but I was also charged shipping.

I emailed customer service to express my displeasure.  Surely, if I can order the yarn online, why can’t the local store get a shipment? And WHY should *I* have to pay for shipping when I ordered it through the store and it didn’t arrive?  Clearly, there is a lack of logic with regard to this situation.

But, this is not the transgression yarn of which I speak. 😀

Since my baby-things-making has stalled, I shifted gears back to the troubled sock. I am pleased to report that while being very large (I used much larger needles on my first practice sock so I could more easily see what I was supposed to be doing) and not necessarily “pretty” in some spots, it actually looks mostly like a sock.  I am starting on the second sock and will try to shrink them to a useable size. 

I have to say that I ♥♥♥ self-striping yarn. I picked up some more smaller sized double-pointed needles (dpns), a thin book on sock making for beginners, and a few small skeins of sock yarn for the next socks I plan to tackle. I am planning on sock making for the forseeable future.

This batch of yarn, too, is not the yarn of my transgression. Indeed, that yarn came at the next stop; my local Wal-Mart.

Since being completely remodeled a few months ago, the craft section has gotten considerably smaller.  I was happy that they didn’t get totally rid of the fabric and yarn, though.  And, they have added beading and jewelry making supplies, which is great, considering I have supplies for that as well. I haven’t gotten into that craft yet, though, since I’m knitting.  I also promised my hunny that when I was done with the baby stuff, I would finish his “lap blanket” (which will be a full-sized blanket at the very least, if not a queen size).  I cannot, in clear conscience, move on to jewelry making until I get the blanket done.

In a total moment of weakness and while seriously crunched for time (because I spent over an hour in Hobby Lobby looking through pattern books), I sped back to the craft section.  And lo and behold, they had nice sock yarn skeins for a buck.  Yes, that’s right – 2.47 ozs of bliss for $1.

In solid colors!

Given that I had just come from Hobby Lobby, which didn’t have *any* solid colored sock yarn, and given that I wear socks with pants, mostly in the non-sweltering months here, I tend to primarily wear solid colored socks.  While I appreciate and am excited to wear the striped socks that will eventually be made, there is something very utilitarian feeling about having the opportunity to make socks that will be worn perhaps more frequently (than striped).

It was the combination that got me, truly.  Finding the elusive solid colored sock yarn for $1 – well, I can’t even describe the shivers that overcame me as I stood there in sheer delight.

Now I have another stash of something under my bed. And, unlike stashes of the past, I really feel like this yarn will get used sooner than later.  Socks, while more challenging at this point, seem to be more portable and easier to take places than other, larger projects. I can work on them and not get hot (like making a blanket), and there seem to be infinite patterns to help avoiding boredom. 

BUT. This motion in reverse has me considering another step in the backwards direction: magazines.  😆  I have years and years of crochet magazines, but not knitting.  Since knitting is my new endeavor, I wonder if I would enjoy a knitting magazine like I did with my crochet magazines.

This, in turn, leads me to think about an electronic subscription, but I’m not sure if it would be as enjoyable.  I enjoy seeing the glossy pictures and the easily being able to flip through the pattern.  Would I miss that experience? Even as I write, that “bad” part of my brain is telling me to give the print issue a try first, and then move onto digital, if it seems like that would work better.

Someone talk me down! 😆 Ah, well. 

You know, even if you go in reverse sometimes, every now and then you can still end up where you want to. I’m feeling optimistic that this is what’s happening here.  I’ll keep you posted!

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