Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The February Catch-Up


February began in the snow that January ended with.  Along with that fun we managed some sewing - little zippered pouches still being about the most satisfying project ever. I could whip these out in about 30 minutes once I got in the groove. 


There's always some interesting art project going on... this time it was Amy's hand painted white and photographed as a statue...? I'm not quite sure what she was going for here, but it did look cool. 


Then we celebrated Quila's birthday. At the time we thought it was her first birthday, but her vet visit later suggested that she's probably more like 3 than 1. Either way, a good time was had by all. 



More school and such... Caroline is such an eager student, even though I never really planned any formal "school" for her once we switched to homeschool - just be a kid and all that. But she's so smart that we've done lots of handwriting practice and math stuff, too. 


Rollerbladers always....


And one day we went to Petsmart, only to have this guy get very attached to the idea of a Bearded Dragon as a pet. Yeah, cute and all, but no, sorry Buddy. 


However, I was feeling generous this particular day, and agreed to two hermit crabs as a consolation prize. Seemed like a good idea at the time. Of course after getting them home in their tidy little habitat I read up on them and discover that actually would rather live in much more deluxe quarters with very specific care requirements. Right. (Four months later, one is still hanging on - the other shed the surly bonds of earth back in April... we've jokingly talked about setting the remaining guy free but, er, that's probably not quite right either). Right. 


Then there's this:



Mid-month the kids and I went over to my folks' for about ten days.  Don traveled to Oregon in that time for a science conference, so we all enjoyed a little change of scenery.  However, a trip to Kohls showed perhaps my kids need some real friends....


Quila came with us again and continued to amaze with her adaptability and how well she gets along with my parents' cat, Spencer (who you may remember was originally ours, way back before we moved to Oregon). Cats are so interesting with their unique personalities.  Quila has been consistently terrified of my boys Ollie and Humphrey but is perfectly comfortable with Spencer, and vice-versa. Go figure.



Even though February wasn't a very wintry month, we did get one pretty snowfall while we were away. 


Back home after President's Day, we took a morning off school to go get all the kids haircuts, a speedy and successful mission, and followed that up with a lunch out.  Lots of fun, and it was nice to realize how these sorts of things are suddenly getting easier after a looooong run of having a child under two on hand. I remember this same liberating feeling once William passed two - that suddenly we could do things again, not being restricted by hungry, sleepy babies or run-crazy-through-the-store toddlers. 


Assorted helpers with assorted projects...


Then a big project: overhauling the master closet. Again, I could do a whole blog post of before pictures but since we are summarizing here, let's just go with the fact that it was full of schtuffff and like all the closets in this house, the walls hadn't seen a coat of paint in 25 years. 


The weekend that I ended up doing most of the dirty work (like removing the popcorn ceiling) I had a mysterious fever and didn't feel great - and I was SO worried I was coming down with the flu, but thanks to Dr. Google and a trip to urgent care I got a diagnosis of mastitis and quickly felt better on antibiotics. All my years of breast feeding, and only now get mastitis. I frankly was ecstatic that it wasn't something all the kids were going to catch. 


Do you like my safety glasses?


The last day of the month found us back at the aquarium, this time with me as chaperone. Honestly, not my favorite place, but we fortunately avoided the crowds and had a really good time. These giant spider crabs were very cool. 


And that was February in a big nutshell! I'll continue sorting through the mountains of digital pictures and keep going with March next chance I get.  Till then! 

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Catching Up, Finally

Is there a statute of limitations for catching up on missed blogging time? In the many years of keeping this blog I don't think I've ever fallen so far behind. I have spent a good chunk of time here this afternoon review my pictures from January (what month is it now? May? oh my!). Let's review, shall we?


January began at my parents' house, where we had been since a few days after Christmas. As I mentioned much earlier, I wasn't a very happy camper during the Christmas season, but in the time after the holiday, days of deep cold and bright sunshine, my mood steadily lifted and we had a happy start to the new year. 


These were also the days of M insisting on shorts and rolled sleeves, despite days of temperatures in the single digits. I can laugh now, because he is currently insisting just as fervently on sweatshirts and jeans, even as temperatures climb into the 70s. Ah, two year olds!


We returned to our home base and promptly turned in our withdrawal letters to the district office and officially became homeschoolers! That was a terrifying decision, mainly just because it felt SO awkward to cut the cord - never even really saying goodbye to teachers or anything... but I think it was better that way; a clean break. The kids have never looked back. 



With a deep snow still on the ground, we fell into a lovely homeschooling routine right from the beginning of earnest work in the morning followed by outdoor recess and cozy afternoons of reading. 


Ollie and Humphrey kept busy by looking for Quila to chase (she's on the chair in this picture below):


Our kitchen table has never been so busy - meals, school, crafts - we are here all day. 



The rollerblading bug also bit hard about mid-January, with A and W renewing their interest, C getting her own blades, and even M getting into the action with the little strap-on roller skates. 


D also took everyone on a field trip to the aquarium, followed by some power-point presentations just to make it all school-like and official. 






Even Daddy couldn't resist this new allowance for skating in the house. (In the dead of winter, one has to make some concessions.)


Quila continues to be everyone's favorite classroom pet...


I also did a lot of furniture moving this winter, not all of which do I have representative pictures of. One big change (or chain of changes, perhaps) was to move my desk up to the HUGE master bedroom, since I never really used it downstairs. I then moved my sewing stuff and an unused table to the "art room", and cleaned up the corner of the basement where all my sewing stuff was. Happily, I have found it easier to do projects with my things on the main level. 



We  also overhauled this small closet next to the kitchen. It's not quite a coat closet and not quite a pantry, but it seriously needed paint and new shelving, so - check. I also painted the door white and it all looks terrific now. 


And shockingly I think that brings January up to date. I will be back with February soon!
Thanks for sticking around!!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

February


Sometimes when you are just SO far behind that you don't even know where to start, a picture of a cat is really the best thing. We are been SO busy, but really in the most wonderful, unstressed way, compared to the other sort of stress we all felt when we were still in real school. I continue to sing the praises of homeschooling to myself and whoever will listen on a daily basis and I simply love how our routine at home has unfolded. I can hardly believe it's the middle of March already! 

This blog has regrettably been more at the back of my mind than truly On My Mind, so it's been easier and easier to let the weeks slip by without checking in. One of these days I'll get my pictures organized, sorted, rotated, and distilled into some appropriate representation of what we do all day. I'm still toying with the idea of a youtube channel as well (Amy REALLY wants to do that). 

I feel like I only pop in here to make promises of posting more, but I hope to make that more of a reality as we continue to refine our routine here. We've been doing lots of work on the house (painting, mostly) but that takes up a lot of my free time. There's been schoolwork and prepping schoolwork and some travel and some family visiting. There's been snow and sun and lots of cats, art projects, building blocks, Minecraft, and everything in between. Lots to cover, not to mention large metaphysical ponderings on education, family life, and parenting. Whew! No wonder I'm scared to even begin. Ah well, someday, and until then, sending you out all lovely spring wishes and hope to be back here soon!

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

After Much Evaluation...


... I've decided to keep my blog exactly where it is. Despite my absence here during the month of January I actually did spend a fair amount of "blogging" time investigating the options that are out there for a self-hosted blog and my own domain name. And for many reasons, including my general lack of tech-aptitude, I got fed up with trying to make the changes necessary to switch over to a "real" blog and have decided to stay with my nice comfortable friend here on Blogspot.

As part of my plans for the New Year, I have been thinking through various ways I might contribute to the household income. I'm not a direct-sales girl. While I would love to make and sell things, in a creative manner, I believe the market is already flooded with all the things I'd be inclined to produce - zippered pouches in cute fabrics, etc. I love making and yet I often feel as though I don't have an original bone in my body, which makes any true art seem unrealistic. And I'm coming to realize I'm not nearly social enough to have any sort of success in the world of social media - things like building a brand through a blog/Instagram/website/Facebook combo. I rarely post to Facebook anymore. Instagram I find lovely, but I don't like oversharing, and this little blog is really the only voice I feel comfortable with putting "out there."

So, while none of this really answers the question of What I Want To Be When I Grow Up, it does mean I have renewed enthusiasm for keeping up my blog here, just as I've been doing for almost nine years. Thanks for sticking with me!

In other news, we are already in our fourth week of homeschooling and it has indeed been wonderful. We get enough "work" done every day to satisfy the wannabe-teacher in me, and the kids and I have been having a ton of fun around the house, simply enjoying each other more and shedding the stress built up by years of doing the school grind. I've got so much I want to say on all of it, but I'll start with what has been one of my most surprising observations, and that is how much better the kids all get along with each other. Amy and William in particular have been on much better terms than they were when they were at school. I might have thought we'd run the risk of all getting on each others' nerves, especially with the amount we have truly been just in the house, but it's quite the opposite. It's been a very pleasant stretch of weeks and I hope they continue in this same direction.

If nothing else, a morning like today makes it all worthwhile: We finished our work, then went outside in the mid-morning to enjoy the brilliant sunshine and clear blue sky, sledding down the awesome hill in our backyard, over and over again, all together.

Friday, January 12, 2018

2017


I simply must close out the year 2017 in a proper fashion. December devolved into a miasma of holiday stress with a heavy twist of viral illness, and I mostly would like to forget the weeks leading up to Christmas. However, we were healthy and happy just in time for the big day and celebrated a lovely quiet Christmas at home, followed shortly thereafter by a nice long stay at my folks'. All the beautiful snow over there plus day after day of brilliant sunshine helped clear my funk of a mood and things have been looking up ever since. 

In very large news, I also would like to share that we just completed our very first week of HOMESCHOOLING! I've been thinking about this for, oh, six years now, at least? And though it felt incredibly awkward to go full stop in the middle of the school year and leave teachers and friends maybe a little bewildered, it feels even more right now that we are doing it. I have tons of thoughts to share, both in our reasons for taking the plunge and on my reflections of the experience this far, but I am going to defer those. My hope for this blog, and my writing "career" is to take it all in a more earnest direction, including moving to a new platform and reassessing my content and ambitions for what I share here. I haven't started any of it yet, or course, but I have big plans. I will let you know where and when I "move" and apologize in advance for what will likely be a quiet period while I figure out this homeschool gig and get my writing/blogging ducks in a row. 

In the meantime, I extend my most sincere thanks for being with me here, and wish you all a very blessed 2018. See you soon! 

Monday, December 18, 2017

12.18





December is not my friend. Sorry to miss some days of my promised daily blogging. But I'd like you to meet my new friend! This is Quila! Like Chester, Quila is a rescue from Aruba. Once getting hooked up with the rescue groups on that island I'll admit to becoming a little fixated on their other available rescued animals; the work people are doing their to help the animals is really admirable. This girl's picture just spoke to me and it seemed to fit, we couldn't keep the Aruban puppy but we definitely could find a spot for an Aruban kitten. So here she is! She came home right at the beginning of the month and she's such a sweetie. So far Ollie and Humphrey have not been terribly kind to her but she is SO lovey to people, and especially the kids. Just what we wanted in a pet, since O and H don't really give the kids the time of day. Quila has been camped out in Amy's room which both parties love - now Amy has a snuggle buddy at night and Quila obliges so sweetly. We sure love our kitties here and are happy to have a new addition! 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

12.12

Pardon the hiatus. December 12th? Really? We've all had a terrible chest cold here with Matthew especially hard hit and it's been several nights (and days) of not ever getting to actually put him down. Better now. Back to Novemeber we go. 

Very shortly after M's birthday came Thanksgivng. This year we stayed put; my parents came to us and stayed over for a few days. So nice! All simple and easy and pleasant. Great weather, sunny and cold. The menfolk did tons of raking and yard work, I made dinner with some good helpers: 



I took pitifully few pictures the whole weekend. But Mom did make sure we got a big group selfie: 


Another treat was getting the chance to go shopping with just my mom and my girls on Friday. All we did was cruise slowly through AC Moore and it was so enjoyable. 

That's about it for TG. Here's a few more random pictures of my boys to finish off November, no explanations needed:.