Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Changing of the Guard

Tomorrow the two older kids will be trading "chore zones".

The soon to be 15 year old boy has been in charge of the kitchen for 3 years, and the 16 year old girl has had the bathroom and living room in her care for the same amount of time.

The deal was, when you "get it" and do everything without being reminded (and do it well) you will be set in charge of training your replacement. I must say Boy was ready last year, but Girl still needs a little work.

Boy now is outraged when he enters the kitchen to see a single un-rinsed glass of milk on the previously cleared counter, crumbs left over from a late night snack or garbage spilling out of the trash. His appetite is directly connected to his commitment to a clean kitchen... "No, let's not have tacos tonight Mom, too messy." or " Yeah, burgers on the grill!" But he is a teenager. Some nights he'd agree upon a 7 course meal regardless of the work involved.

I'd say he gets it. He owns that kitchen.

Girl does not yet own her zones, but the change will be necessary once the soccer season starts. She is the only child in the house not on any team this summer. She will be needed to clean up after supper while the rest of us make a mad dash for the park(s).

I'm a little nervous, when I first relinquished my full time dish washing duties, we got sick alot... I'm not saying it was the Dish Washer's fault, I'm just saying... I'm a little nervous.

We have a chore system. It works fairly well but tomorrow, I'm going to try something different with the 2 traders. They need to learn to think about what needs to be done, not just do what they're told to do. THEY are going to walk through their new zones and decide what needs to be done and how often they need to do it. I will let the previous zone owner give suggestions and Matt and I will, of course, require a certain amount of cleanliness but ultimately, they are making the choices and have to deal with the ramifications of a poorly maintained area. I'm hoping this will help them own their zones in sooner than 3 years.

If you had cleaning supplies listed on your gift registers for them, make sure you make the change.

I guess they'll have to make new signs as well.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Call me a freak

If I had a job, this is what I'd love to get paid to do.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

De Junking

I mentioned our big dejunking project yesterday. We started upstairs. I have no before picture because that would be really embarrassing. (I can talk about bowel movements but not the state of my upstairs - that should tell you something)

But, I'd be happy to share with you the after. This is 16 years (more or less) worth of toys and games that we plowed through. I think I did a big purge a few years ago so maybe it's not 16 years worth of stuff anymore. But still, it was huge! 4 big bags went into the garbage, I've got 1 in the back of my van for donating and we sorted and emptied 5 "blueberry bins". All that's left upstairs is one big bin for "one piece toys", a box of Lincoln Logs, a bin of Brio, a bin of dress-up stuff (why? I'm not really sure) and a bin of Sesame Street remote control race track. All the games and puzzles went into hanging bags .

Whew, I'm glad that's done!

Now onto my homeschool bookshelves!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Inertia Sucks

We've been doing hands on school this week. Dejunking to be more specific. I have an entire list of areas in our home that will be simplified by the tasks involved. Since the undertaking is too burdensome to leave to one poor soul, everybody is pitching in whether they like it or not.

We have modified our schedule to include a new read aloud not offered by our current curriculum. Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends. It's painful but pertinent. To practice our newly acquired skills we've all been working together.

During a much needed break yesterday I was catching up on some blogging while Sammy rode his bike in the front and Isaac sat along side the sidewalk and watched. I could see them from my position in front of the computer.

Isaac always has an arsenal with him where ever he goes, usually sticks. An occasional nerf gun, but mostly sticks. "This one" he says with a grin, "is a light saber AND a sword" depending on the circumstances and the opposition I suppose.

I must also add that we had just finished our marathon of "Indiana Jones" by watching the last movie "The Last Crusade" on Saturday night.

Making a pass in front of my window on his bike Sammy raises his hand to wave, at just the same moment Isaac thrusts a stick right into the spokes of the bicycle's front wheel. The scene played out in slow motion...the bike stopped instantly...Sam went over the handlebars and crashed to the ground, lay there for just a moment, and jumped up to finish his wave.

A little scrape on the elbow, he informed me "It's not dripping blood Mom, I'm okay".

That, my dear boys, is inertia at its finest. Class dismissed.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Elk Burger and Bowel Movements

I fried up the Elk Burger last night along with some hamburger and used it for tacos. It was good. Tonight we'll use the rest in our spaghetti.

I also spent yesterday hooked up to a Holter monitor. A painless test where electrodes were taped on my skin and the wires were hooked up to a little beeper like device I could tuck in my pocket. I was sent home to "go about my regular daily activities" while the monitor kept track of my heart. I was asked to keep a diary of activities and symptoms. There was a list of certain events I was to record. I was really trying to not have to record "bowel movement" but eventually it couldn't be helped. If I would've known THAT was a requirement I would have taken care of things before the testing started. I though of just doing it and not writing it down, but I figured that they were professionals and could probably tell (?) and if I didn't record it, maybe they would have thought I lied somewhere else in the diary... I know Everyone Poops (I have the book) but having to actually write it down and have it be scrutinized and then to wonder what that looks like on the EKG machine... Aren't you glad you don't live in my head?!?

Matt of course thought it would be fun to have to record one of the other events, I promptly nipped that in the bud and said he could wait 24 hours.

After my 24 hours were up and the super glued patches were removed I just had to pack everything into a ziplock bag and return it to the valet parking attendant at the hospital and it will be delivered to the cardiac department where it will be analyzed and reported on.

I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The unveiling

Today when we established that the paint was dry we removed the paper from the windows.

The little boys helped. They happily obliged when I told them they could just rip it off.

Notice the difference in colors? We thought it would be fun to leave the original seating capacity and bus number up so I taped over them before the paint was applied. The header over the door will eventually be removed so it wasn't painted. (Just in case you were wondering)

Here are the other colors we plan to use. The walls will all be Lush Greenery and the cabinets will be painted Beach Blanket. Oh, and this is our counter top. Does it just shout "relaxing, calm, and peaceful" to you, or are those only the voices in my head?

I can't get over how shiny it is!

Today Matt is going to do some more electrical work and I've got to catch up on the laundry. (Just in case you were wondering)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Gettin' Busy on the Bus

There was no snow this morning when we woke up so we decided this would be a great time to paint the inside.

I finished taping all the windows while Matt scrubbed down the front section of the bus and wiped down what Hailey and I had scrubbed last fall.

We removed everything else.

Then, Matt painted. Gloss white just from the windows up.

He still has a little strip from the windows to the ceiling to do, but ain't it purty? Even through the fog.

Here, I'll show you again...See the difference? I love a nice shiny white ceiling!



Friday, April 18, 2008

Lub Dub

What do you get when you cross your heartbeat with this?

An exhausting week of being aware of your heartbeat, a trip to the ER and follow-up testing with your wonderful family physician.

Turns out, I have a bit of a behavioral issue with my atrium. It seems to think it can beat when ever it darn well pleases and not when it's supposed to... Not life threatening just un-nerving. Premature Atrial Contractions. (PAC's).

It feels like this...

lub-dub/ lub-dub/ lub-dub /ba-lub (pause) DUB! ba-lub (pause) DUB!/ lub-dub/ lub-dub/ lub-dub ( just like the rimshot, only not funny) and when it happens every 5 seconds or so, it can cause one to feel as though they were aroused from peaceful slumber by someone screaming WAKE UP! RUN! FIRE! Someone else described it as a feeling of impending doom.

When I followed up with my doctor this morning he asked me how I was feeling at that moment. I relayed to him the sensation of the screaming night visitor and told him I felt extremely anxious. He posed this question: Do you think the anxiety brought on the heart stuff or did the heart stuff bring on the anxiety?

I'll have to think about that one.

It was funny though, in the ER everyone was asking me if I'd consumed a lot of coffee. HA! That's the thanks I get for quitting !!! Maybe my heart is having temper tantrums. Come on Atrium, you're 38. Don't you think you're a little old for this?

I'm feeling better knowing that this will not be the end of me. And my heart has settled down quite a bit. I've made several changes in my habits in the last few weeks, maybe my body just needs time to adjust.

The "impending doom" guy I talked about above...When his heart acts up he drinks a glass of warm water, jumps up and lands on his heels. I'm going to file that somewhere between

"What cats really think" And " Where babies really come from" in my memory banks, you never know when you'll need it.

Humorous Pictures
see more crazy cat pics>

humorous pictures
see more crazy cat pics

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Meat Fest and Word Pictures

We were given some elk steaks. A huge ziplock bag full. Frozen.

I had no idea how to cook elk steaks, or how they would taste.

I thawed them yesterday (all of them) and Matt grilled them. These elk steaks were (I'm assuming) processed at home, the plate on which they rested creaked under the "Flintstonian" proportions piled upon it.

Do not confuse "Flintstonian" proportions of elk with the "Seuss-ish" pile of pancakes I'm known for creating.

They were wonderful! The teenage boy was in heaven when I told him, "Go ahead, have more." and Matt was equally satisfied. The littler boys thought it was good, but I don't really give their opinion (concerning meals) merit as some days they do not like anything. Hailey carefully dissected hers according to the rules of her latest Biology book. I shushed all negative comments to promote full consumption of the meaty feast.

Overall, it was good. Not game-y or strange. I'm not known for having an adventurous spirit when it comes to food, but I'd eat this again.

Now, what to do with the ginormous bag of elk burger..... Any suggestions?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Life without stimulants

I decided to give up coffee at the beginning of March. A couple of weeks before that it was the creamer I quit.

It was not a decision I made lightly. Me and coffee have been buddies for years. It started as a necessity, to get me through the night shift I worked while in school. I'd choke down the TORKE from the department coffee pot around 3 am and it kept me awake until I get home. Except that one time when I got stopped on the draw bridge by a boat, that's a story for a different time.

Sometime after that it became an experience not just necessity. The cup, the habit, the smell, the quiet (I was now able to rise before the kids and enjoy it)...

Years and years went by with me and my morning coffee with just a splash of milk. I was happy.

Then I met "French Vanilla Creamer". Aldi brand. No other would do. I realized I was addicted.

I quit, cold turkey in February. The Creamer, not the coffee. The experience was gone, the plain coffee was bitter and nasty, sweetener tasted so artificial, milk had lost it's allure, I was ruined. But caffeine was mandatory, what was I to do?

Herbal coffee boasted of a natural energy boost, without caffeine! Not too bad mixed half and half with my regular brew. (If you could get past the initial smell of "freshly opened paint can")

Two weeks of that and then I got the flu. As long as I was going to spend the week medicated, I might as well kick the habit for good. No coffee since then.

there seems to be no oomph in my life no punctuation nothing but get through the day do what has to be done survive and function take naps go to bed early wake up late do it all over again no ups no downs just steady slow foggy haze

I do admit, without caffeine my mornings are much better...no headache while I wait for that first cup of coffee to brew, less irritation if someone wakes up before I've had my fix.

But the day, it drags, my get up and go has got up and went.

A glass of water? An apple? Exercise? HA! I scoff at you who would advise such foolishness.

Tea? I have some good stuff, It'll do, but am I trading one addiction for another?

Pepsi. I do admit I sneak one of these occasionally.

Is it possible to live a stimulant free life?

Why do I want to?

Saturday, April 12, 2008

In The Meantime

I guess God knows when I've had enough.

He sends me peace...

...and joy while I wait for Spring.

Oh, how I would've loved to see how that happened!

Want a Snowball?

Yesterday ducks and flooding...

This morning, snow...

I'm getting a little bitter.

I picked the wrong week to stop drinking coffee.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Family Handyman

Last week 2 of my kids plotted out our lot. They ventured outside with paper, pencils and a tape measure. Returned enthusiastically to transfer their measurements to graph paper...

They were very accurate, only a couple of feet off. (I've re-measured everything and I can't find those feet either)

Because a piece of paper that big would never survive in our house (and, because this is what I do best) I graphed it out on a spreadsheet.

(You can click on the images to make them bigger)
As I was plotting all the little extras I realized, when we moved in, there was nothing but "House" and "Garage". Matt added everything else.

I'd love to post before and after shots this morning but that will involve scanning and photo albums. Remember those? The non- digital kind? An exhumation and good dusting off of those will be a wonderful project for the snowy weekend that's being forcasted.

Note added after original post: If you're wondering HOW the bus fits into our lot, I added it here just for fun.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Investigator

What do you get when you:

Surgically conjoin 2 remote control toy Jeeps (making one POWERFUL double rear wheel driver vehicle)
Add an infra-red wireless "nanny-cam"
Add a longer antennae to the vehicle
and broadcast the signal on your TV?

The Investigator!

I've been trying to find a way to capture the fun on video to show you all. But for now, words will have to suffice.

It's night time and inside the master bedroom (where our only TV lives) the 7 of us crowd around to watch. Matt handles the remote control of The Investigator like a pro. Outside The Investigator roves up and down the sidewalk, under the cars parked in the driveway, and out into the yard. On the TV we "see" what it "sees" through the night vision camera. Occasionally, The Investigator gets stuck and needs a little boy to run out and nudge it along. The footage is vaguely reminiscent of "The Blair Witch Project". But not creepy.

If you're adding this to your ever expanding list of "Why did you do that?" 's. Just like the bus, and the rear wheel drive Escort in the garage...

Why not? It makes life interesting.

What does your family do for fun?