Wednesday, January 30, 2008

We call her the "Mitten Fairy".

Have you ever experienced a series of events that seem to be completely unrelated but then later you find out they were all connected?

I've joked in the past about the "Mitten Fairy". She lives here, I'm sure of it. She steals ONE mitten leaving the other behind. She moves papers and books while I am sleeping. She leaves the lights on and has been known to undo all my attempts at organization.

Here is one recent example of her mischief...

Yesterday at dinner we noticed the milk was not very cold.

I lit a candle on the table after dinner then went downstairs to do some laundry. When I returned the candle was no longer lit.

My printer has not been working well. Paper jams. I've never had a paper jam in this printer.

Seemingly unrelated incidents.

I blamed the Mitten Fairy, mainly to keep my sanity.....Until I noticed a lego guy in the refrigerator.

Time to investigate.

The fridge was turned OFF, the freezer was turned to low and #5 smelled of burning hair
Caught Ya!

His bangs and eyebrows were a little singed.

I better check out the printer.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

You, too, can own a bus!

The give away is now over, no more comments will be allowed. Thanks to all who entered. Winner will be picked at noon today! Good luck!


I was shopping last night (for the canned goods to stash on my bus) and I saw this...

Isn't it cute?

"Perfect!" I said (aloud even). I'd love for you to have one too.

Rocks In My Dryer is hosting a Bloggy Giveaway. Check out the hundreds of other bloggers giving away free stuff.

All you have to do is comment on this post and I will randomly pick a winner at noon, on Sunday, February 3rd. How easy is that?

I've been having so much fun blogging and reading other people's blogs and finding new blogs and learning how to cross out what I don't really want to say, but I really want to say, but I don't want you to know that's what I want to say learning a little" Html" that I thought it would be fun to do some "get my name out there" stuff.

If that's a turn off to you but you'd still like to win the bus. Fine, go ahead and enter anyway, I'll understand if you never comment again.

You'll need to enter your email address in the comments so I can contact you if you're the lucky winner. I'll ship your bus to you and you can convert yours too if you want!

Good Luck!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Painfully slow progress

This weekend "we" built most of the bunks.

First "we" secured a 2x3 to the bus floor for the stud walls to attach to.

Then Matt built the walls and used the already existing metal rail (where the original seats are attached to) to help with the stabilization of the lower platforms. Real bus guys love that rail. Think about it. It makes sense.

The lower bunk on the drivers side will overhang the storage box in order to house a baseboard heater.

Matt wanted to just do the same thing on the other side for symmetry which sent me into a frenzy of panic. I don't know what it is, I do trust his judgment, but I'm thinking he doesn't get the storage dilemma faced by a largish family. I mean, you could get at least 6 cans of soup there, between the wheel and the little wall! Think about it. It makes sense.

After he gave in just to keep my eyeballs from blowing out and bouncing across the room saw my point we headed to Home Depot again for the wood for the platforms, hinges and hardware to be able to do this to the top bunks.

Now, I'm off to the store for the 6 cans of soup that I will store under the bunk bed forever just to prove to myself that I did not fly off the deep end. And stall construction making the progress painfully slow. Ya never know when an emergency might arise and we'd all be happy we had that extra space...

The headlines will read: Camping Family of 7 Survives Freak Summer Storm by Eating Canned Goods Mom Stashed Beneath Bunks

Think about it. It makes sense.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

ESFP vs. ISTJ (He Bleeds Green and I Bleed Gold)

Click to view my Personality Profile page

Click to view my Personality Profile page

We think differently. We each took the same personality test. In theory we should compliment each other. Our reality is interesting.

We celebrated our anniversary last Thursday by going to the "RV and Camping Show" at the arena and then out to dinner with my parents. We parked in the Lambeau Field parking lot. I have lived here for over 23 years and I have never parked there. (I learned how to drive in their lot, so I guess I did park there...probably just parallel though.) I grew up within walking distance so it was never necessary but, since the temperature was predicted to drop rapidly over the course of the evening, Lambeau it was.

Would you believe I never stopped to take a picture of it either? Growing up within blocks of the Stadium was really a hassle on Game Day. Venturing out was difficult. Our street had "No Parking Day of Packer Game" signs up and to make things worse, all streets surrounding the area were "One Way" . One way before the game and the other way after. I used to wish I had a sign on my vehicle that said "Stop waving that blaze orange stick at me, I don't want to park in your yard, I just live down the street!"

ANYWAY, I finally took some pictures.

We really enjoyed the RV show. We got lots of ideas on interior design details. This was my favorite.

3 hours and -17 degrees later this was the scene. Watch the snow blowing over the box seats, it looks like smoke. And listen to how we communicate. I told you we're opposites. At least we're both Packer fans. We'll always have that.

18 Years Ago...

January 20 is the 20th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar. There are 345 days remaining until the end of the year (346 in leap years).

The Top Ten as listed for this week in 1990.
#10- Two To Make It Right - Seduction
#9 - Love Song - Tesla
#8 - Another Day In Paradise - Phil Collins
#7 - Free Fallin' - Tom Petty
#6 - Just Between You And Me - Lou Gramm
#5 - Rhythm Nation - Janet Jackson
#4 - Downtown Train - Rod Stewart
#3 - Everything - Jody Watley
#2 - Pump Up The Jam - Technotronic
#1 - How Am I Supposed To Live Without You - Michael Bolton

In Other News...
47th Golden Globes: Born on 4th of July, Driving Miss Daisy win
U.S. 64th manned space mission STS 32 (Columbia 10) returns from space
Barbara Stanwyck, [Ruby Stevens], actress (Big Valley), dies at 82
Miloslav Istvan, composer, dies at 61

Gas was $1.14/gallon

Other notable events for the year 1990, not limited to January:

Emma Watson (Hermione of Harry Potter) born in April, 1990
Ike Turner is sentenced to 4 years in prison for possession of cocaine (Who Knew?!)

Top Movies of 1990:
  1. Home Alone
  2. Ghost
  3. Dances with Wolves
  4. Pretty Woman
  5. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  6. The Hunt for Red October
  7. Total Recall
  8. Die Hard 2
  9. Dick Tracy
  10. Kindergarten Cop
But most importantly of all...

HE married ME!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Winter Wonderland

It's been an absolutely beautiful winter! If it's gotta be cold, we might as well have snow, and lots of it.

Since we have exactly 2 hills in town appropriate for sledding, the dangers involved in sledding on this particular hill,

and the fact that we don't always have time go sledding my kids have found a way to entertain themselves at home.

They discovered last year that the deck stairs make a fairly decent sledding slope. This year they added their own special touch, as only siblings can do. A way to wrestle, tease, annoy, and compete has been added to the simple activity of sledding.

We do take them to REAL sledding. Honest. WITH friends too.

But I guess, the same stuff happens there.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Reason # 37 to homeschool

He's a reader! I'm absolutely giddy. I can't fathom how anyone can witness a child reading for the first time and NOT write about it on their blog...or buy space on a billboard...or put a sign on the front of their house...or record 2.47 minutes of it on their digital camera before their memory stick is full and then actually wonder if they should post that on their blog too.

Sam can read.
Mom is glad.
Mom will blog.
Mom can see us read.

This particular reader is 6.5 years old, not by any means an early reader. He is #4 in a family of 5 children. He is the only one who has learned to read under my tutelage and I'm a little envious of those who taught my older kids to read. But I thank them

Sam is six.
Mom can teach.
Mom will say thanks.

The other day after his meeting with me, he picked up his little box of readers and said, “I’m going to go read just for fun.”

Sam has fun.

He went into my bedroom and spread out all his books on the bed and let his little brother pick out the ones he wanted to hear. They laughed hysterically at lines like “Matt is a rat,” and “Don is a fat ram.”

The bed is soft.
Iz picks books for him to read.
We read to Rex.
We do not scream or hit .

I hope I never forget this moment.

Mom sobs.

Monday, January 14, 2008

A Perfect End to a Not-So-Perfect Weekend

This weekend was frustrating. I think I've started speaking a language that no one else in my family understands. Either that or the Latin program they've been plodding through has finally sunk in so much that they have abandoned their native tongue all together. I say something and everyone just looks at me like I'm a crazy woman...or ignores me.

We were to deep clean Sunday afternoon. All the kids KNOW what has to be done, we have a system. I had just as much to do as them so I mistakenly thought we'd all be busy together. We took a break to burn paper have a bon fire while they played in the newly fallen snow, we took a break to watch the outcome of the Chargers/Colts game, and I made a nice crock full of chili for lunch. Every time they stopped working, it was like torture to get them going again.

And then there was the bus... Matt and I are not on the same page when it comes to design. He and I are very different in the way we think. Normally this adds confusion depth to our relationship, but in cases where construction is involved, it's downright messy.

It's turning out great, but it's a slow process when we have to explain, and re-explain, and try to draw out, and not yell, and take each others needs into account, and explain, and draw, and affirm, and..... I think you get the idea. Honestly, we'd compliment each other perfectly if we had the communication thing down pat.

So, here's the master bedroom.The queen size mattress will fit on top and underneath will be oodles and goobs of storage. Just how to access that storage is still under discussion.

I love to micromanage plan everything out before I even think about starting a project and He is more of a "Just Do It" kinda guy. He would have gotten a lot more done if I would have just left him alone.

I'm just glad we're not building a house!

On a brighter note, I realize that miscommunication and confusion have been frustrating couples for centuries. Here's what I will be doing for the next several Sunday nights to cement that in my mind.

For the first time on US television, Masterpiece presents adaptations of all the Jane Austen novels and a new biopic of her life.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Pass the SketchUp

I've been playing with a free program called SketchUp. I'm not very good at it but I think I've accomplished what I set out to do.

This is the Plan... roughly.

And here's another view with the chairs turned, the tables up, and the overhead compartment and bookshelves removed from the seating area.

I heard about this program from the Ball family, another family in the process of converting a school bus. Despite the fact that someone in their family is much more artistic than me, we seem to be quite similar: their bus was purchased within weeks of ours, they home school, and they also have 5 children.

We went to Home Depot after the Packer game to buy wood for the bunks. Due to the fact that it was snowing buckets and the reality that most people in our town were AT the game, the parking lot was deserted and there were only a handful of shoppers in the store. Matt saw this to be the perfect opportunity to pass gas in every aisle we visited. As a wife and a mother of 4 boys this behavior does not surprise me in the least, I'm just surprised we didn't do donuts in the parking lot on the way out.

Hopefully, I'll be able to post real pictures tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Kindergarten Confessions

My 14 year old son revealed something startling to me this week.

In Kindergarten, he cheated.

I don't know why he decided now was the time to come clean. His recollection of the events leading up to the crime were fairly detailed and his confession was endearing.

Endearing enough to share here, with all of you.

In order to move forward in the class, 5 things needed to be mastered: Your address, phone number, counting to 20, reciting the alphabet and tying your shoes. These accomplishments were recorded on a page the shape of a house with 5 rooms drawn onto it. When you were successful at demonstrating all 5 of these skills you got to take your house home. He had done the first 4 without any significant effort during the early weeks of school. Still, one skill left his house incomplete; tying his shoes. Summer was approaching and the neighborhood attached to the bulletin board was getting smaller and smaller.

Another boy in his class, Greg, was trying to help by giving him a step by step walk through of the whole process on the "shoe tying board". Unbeknownst to Greg, my son took the board to the teacher and claimed the handiwork as his own.

I'm sorry Mrs. Schneider. I assure you, he is perfectly capable of tying his shoes today and I truly believe that Greg was an innocent bystander.

While honesty and integrity are being taught less and less today I believe my first two children had a sound start with you for a teacher. Even though you didn't catch him, he obviously knew what he did was wrong and felt the need to own up to his criminality. A little slower than I normally insist on, but a confession is a confession, and I hope you will find it in your heart to forgive him.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Cracking the whip

This is the year! Finally, I will stay organized.

"How can you be so sure?" ask the hoards of friends and family who have watched me organize and fall apart time and time again.

Well, this year, I have a blog. I have proof that I took the time to organize. Anyone who dares to jeopardize my organization attempts will be referred to the blog as proof that I can do it and pictures of how it needs to stay.

"Clear the table" I'll say.

"But I don't know where to put all that stuff." I'll hear.

"Check the blog" I'll say.

I started small. School supplies go here.
A drawer for pens and pencils.
A drawer for colored pencils.
A drawer for crayons.
A drawer for markers.
A drawer for Sharpies and dry erase markers.
A drawer for scissors, glue and miscellaneous things.


I worked for the first day. Then I found pencils in the marker drawer, glue in the crayon drawer.

Woodworkers Depot. Brass label holders. $1.69/piece. Clearly labeled.

No more excuses. Violators will be exposed. Here. Check back often.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Unacceptable behavior

On New Year's Day I woke to this. Sweet children, camped out, crashed after the celebration

Which included Chex Party Mix, fizzy water, Pringles, 20 Questions, Welch's Sparkling Grape Juice, a huge knitting needle turned bazooka and Febreeze (Don't ask)

And, a little mess from sweet kittens...

A manageable little pile of dirt from an overturned poinsettia. Innocent enough. Easily swept. Little did I know that it would lead to something completely against the rules.

This morning I woke to this...

I turned the corner expecting to find another manageable mess. Instead I found this.

Then this...

Then this...

And finally, this...
How many times do I have to tell the kids to put their shoes AWAY!