Welcome to my little ol' blog. I'll be upfront about it: I don't blog very often any more. If you found your way here because you read my book "Trailer Life," have a gander! But it's easier to keep up with me on Instagram or on my Facebook page. I have this long, drawn out theory on why I'm a terrible blogger, but that is a story for another day. Enjoy the ramblings of my life from the last 8 years or so.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year's Eve!

Kacy's biggest accomplishment for 2008 is starting Kindergarten. She is a great student, and an awesome big sister. Her favorite color is still pink, and her favorite food is macaroni and cheese, "but not the orange kind in the box. I like yours, mom." Her favorite thing to do is go outside on the playground at school. She is really growing up, and is a good example to her brothers. She is entering that school age goofiness that is so annoying and so funny at the same time. Ah, the memories!
Will's big accomplishment for 2008 was improving his speech all on his own. He still sometimes sounds like an auctioneer with how fast he talks, and sometimes you still need some context clues. But mostly, he is doing so well! And he is one smart guy, even though he doesn't let you know it (like a certain sister). He's observant and loves babies. His favorite color is green, his favorite food is little hot dogs (I would have said ice-cream...) and his favorite thing to do is "help my dad to build on the house."
After a rough start, Ed has managed to keep all his teeth in his mouth, and has avoided any trips to the ER. He went from chipping his teeth climbing out of his crib, to sleeping like a big boy in his own bed, and it only took 10 months! (Heavy sarcasm with the 10 months thing- that was a LONG time.) He is so- Ed. His favorite color is red, (although on Christmas day he fought over the blue flashlight and the blue robot... hmmm), his favorite food is doughnuts, and his favorite thing to do is "play in my bedroom." That's funny- he doesn't really have a bedroom. He doesn't seem to know the difference, which is another good reason to be in the trailer while they are young.

Jessie's big accomplishment for the year was being born. I'd say that was a pretty big thing- she's growing up so fast. I'm enjoying every minute of her. She's a proficient crawler, is starting to pull herself up on things (mostly to her knees) and has all but scrapped the baby food. Her goals for next year include walking, and growing at least two more teeth (uppers would be nice) so she can enjoy more table foods. She told me this, of course.

Ryan (this is me speaking for him, having not talked to him about this): another year down on the highway patrol, another year down as the YM president, and another year building the house. This is the year things really got rolling. He wants to go gang-busters and build like there is no tomorrow so we can get the house finished by the end of the year.

Me: I was talking to the Principal's husband about living in a trailer while building a house because he did it to, but only for one year. She told him we had four kids, and I said "But we only started out with two." He just chuckled and said "Well, life happens I guess, whether or not you live in a trailer." And he's right. It might be a little different and quirky, but what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger. Whoo-hoo!

Tonight the kids and I had a party. We used toilet paper for the streamers (because I forgot real crepe paper...) had noise makers, headbands, and watched the ball drop. We had little hot dogs and macaroni and cheese for dinner. (Is it still macaroni if you use corkscrew pasta? I'm not so sure.) We made a confetti cake. We danced to Pat Benetar's "Heartbreaker" and "Hit Me With Your Best Shot". I set the clock to EST. Ed kept saying "This is the best party, mom!" only it sounded more like "Dis is da best potty, mom!" It was fun.

Christmas recap

On Christmas Eve we went and sang at an assisted living center where my aunt Kristin is the patient care director. The boys did NOT sing. Ed actually caused much grief. Here is the first round of singing. My cousin Caley has a three and a half octive range, and April is close- maybe a full two plus a few? AND she can play the piano and sing at the same time! Others from left to right: cousin Jennifer, Will, me and Ed, Kristin, the boy in front belongs to the girl next to Kristin (who happens to have THE SAME NAME AS ME. Karrie is not uncommon, but K-A-R-R-I-E is.), Caley, and at the piano is April.
My grandma Norma M. and Jessie.
After the singing in both the regular area and the Memory Care section, where Ed told me the singing was too loud, we went back to Kristin's house. The kids help make and decorate cookies. After that, we went to the Bunting's house for lots of food. The next day the kids woke up to what Santa left them. We went back to the Bunting's for breakfast at 9am, present opening, and then dinner at 3pm. Then we went to Aunt Kendra's house for my side of the family. My parent's house is being remodeled, and it's off limits to large groups right now. Kendra let us crash her house where we were overwhelmed with gifts and food. We ended the night driving home in the snow and ice. We spent the next day recovering and trying to find a place for everything (we are still working on that.)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Just because I'm tired of looking at my picture

I feel I ought to write something. Just because I'm tired of looking at my picture every time I turn on the computer.
We had a great Christmas. The week of was very busy, but we all survived. The kids received lots of toys and clothes from their grandparents. If they keep it up, I will never need to get them anything! Next year we are going to institute a handmade holiday. Our house may possibly be finished by then (the snow and ice we had all last week didn't help any progress, and now Ryan is waiting for these really long, special order timber framing screws so he can set those rail road ties...). A house would make homemade and handmade a lot easier- but, if it doesn't happen, we will do it the year after for sure. I am already thinking of what I could start now, so October/November/Dec. doesn't come around and I get the "it's too late now" syndrome.

We are going to have a News Year Eve Party! Just me and the kids. I hope to find the ball dropping thing on TV at 9pm so we can go to bed. (We party hard!) We are going to make a confetti cake, have macaroni and cheese (their pick) and I may try to make sparkling jello... we'll see what the Walmart has to offer.

We ate "homemade" bacon. We tested some of the bacon Ryan cured/smoked and it's good. The pigs that were harvested aren't known for their fat bacon, but like Ryan said, you could really cure any piece of pork and get the same flavoring. It might just be more "meaty". He says that someday (when the house is finished) we might get a sow and a boar and breed them, and then sell the offspring and keep some for us. He'd also like to have fresh goats milk and a donkey named Kevin roaming the front yard with the chickens. We are going to name all our packing mules after our nephews. Just to mess with them, because we're mental that way. I'm not about to milk a goat, but the rest sounds jim-dandy to me.

Now, I have to go take a nap and think about the details of one of the most important rooms in the house that is not the kitchen: the laundry room.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I am going to H-e-double hockey sticks for lying to my mother-in-law... because Ryan accidentally told his mom that we were getting a family picture done, and it was supposed to be a surprise. So he covered up by lying. And then I avoided it until last Sunday night. Does it count that I didn't look her in the eye? Probably not. But anyway, I got suckered into buying a package at Olan Mills in the KMart in Ridgecrest one day. It was torture for us all, but we did it. And everyone in the fam is getting copies. I didn't pick this shot to reproduce for the 8x10's for everyone, but now I wish I did. Everyone looks just slightly better in the one I did pick. But look at Ed. He had a GREAT time with the picture lady and her fuzzy duster, the popping lights, and her saying "I'm gonna git you!" This was the first shot of the session, too.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Our Christmas Decorations

Kacy provided us with ALL our Christmas decorations this year. She made these at school. I am NOT in the Christmas mood yet. I have wrapped almost all the presents, but I need to find a place to put them. We didn't put up our little tree this year because Jessie takes up it's floor space. It's one or the other, and I choose the child.
The elf is scaring my boys. Ed says it's a "monner pig" and Will came up to me and in a quiet voice says "Mom. The elf's eyes follow me when I walk." I say "Really?" and he goes back to the elf and walks past it again. He starts slowly, and then speeds up and over to me: "Mom. It does! See? The eyes move!" The elf is life size. And, I can see the pig mistake, a little in the face. It's eyes don't move though...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thank-you, Ozzy.

I think Ozzy (Black Sabbath) sums it up best when he sings "I'm goin' off the rails on the crazy train!" I am on that crazy train. Here is our day today:
  • Got four inches of fresh snow last night, which covered the iced-up road. Road not cleared until the sun did it's job. Took Kacy to school because bus did not come, again. Drove 25mph on the ice. It took forever to get there.
  • I went to the dentist. I have one cavity on one of my wisdom teeth. Nice.
  • Went to "the mall" and did a little shopping. I hate shopping. But seriously, my kids need jackets. The three older ones got these Carhartt jackets (Will is modeling, above), and after the initial investment, I should only have to buy one a year as they get passed down. (Hopefully. I also plan on holding on these babies for my grand kids/visitors. They last forever. If Ryan can't ruin one, then they pass the test.) They look great! Now, they need boots. Kacy really likes hers, even though it's not pink or purple.
  • Picked Kacy back up from school. Went home to find the power back on. Water still out. Maybe I forgot to mention that part- no utilities this morning. It was 18 degrees when we woke up, and 25 when we left for Bakersfield. I realize that our storage water in the RV is OUT. Jessie needs a bottle and the toilet needs to be able to flush. So, I call Ryan, who happens to be butchering some pigs today. Didn't I marry the man that can do anything? He gets that from his Dad. He tells me to try and fix the pipe, and if I did, he would be impressed. A challenge!
  • Find tools, but not a fitting. Go to hardware store to get supplies. Stop at grocery store for three gallons of water, just in case.
  • Fix pipe by the light of my car- reset well pump and watch as the pipe I "fixed" breaks at a different point and flies 10 feet in the opposite direction. It's probably my fault for man-handling PVC when it's 30 degrees outside. The kids were sitting in the car watching me do this. They hated it.
  • Having no water means I don't have to do laundry, dishes, or bath time. Ryan is going to fix it when he comes home tonight. All the hardware stores up here close at like 5:00pm. Everything up here closes before it should.

What our house looks like today. Hard to make any progress when everything from the house to the tools is under an inch of ice and three inches of snow. But, isn't it pretty? In that "I'd rather not really be there because my feet are freezing, but it's a nice picture." kind of way. It's all about proper footwear for the snow. Not that we have any.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My thoughts on snow, of all things

I might like snow more if I had the right equipment. Like jackets. A water proof/wind proof jacket would be nice. Something for my head and hands would be nice. Uggs? Is that the true purpose of Uggs? Because my experience with them in CA is that they make your feet sweat and get smelly after a winter of wearing them with no socks. I'd look into electric socks. A four wheel drive vehicle that had dents and scratches and rust so that when I slid off the road or into a tree, no one would really notice. It'd have 5-point seat belts for safety. And reflectors glued to it. Everywhere. I'd invest in one of those shoe dryers for sure. For now though, especially after hearing of living in 15 degree and -8 degree "highs" with snow, I'm grateful for the couple days of fun, but glad it's not a longer "treat". Cuz my feet are fah-reezing.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Snow Day

The first sign of a snow day. Will and Kacy stared at the snow for at least 20 minutes.
Will was self motivated to get dressed and head out first. We have no snow clothes because it just does not snow here that often. And the lack of storage in the trailer, and the fact that the kids grow so fast right now I'd have to buy new snow gear every year. I can barely keep up with normal clothes! So, wearing his slip-on Vans and a sweatshirt, Will headed out. He lasted about five minutes. The rest of them got dressed and headed out also. Kacy lasted the longest. Ed was frozen after three minutes, crying "Ow Mom! I got hurties! I got hurties on my hands! Dey cold!" I took him into the trailer and he sat by a heater vent in a blanket. Fifteen minutes later he was healed. It snowed about 11 inches. School was cancelled. Our power/internet/direct tv are all on the fritz. My feet have not thawed out yet. Ryan has been working lots and lots the last few days. People are still trying to get to work and of course they are spinning out everywhere. Skiers are enjoying it, and all the smart ones carry chains, and use them. It's the not-so-smart ones that cause road problems. And somewhat unrelated, it was not until I was in college that I knew what snow chains were. I always thought you hooked up chains to your car bumper and drug them behind you. Which didn't make much sense...So I never used them or saw them before, okay? Now I'm all educated about the snow chain.

Ward Christmas Dinner

We had our ward Christmas Party last Friday. The Santa visits went a little better. Will stayed behind my legs. But, he did talk to Santa. When Santa asked Will what he wanted, Will said "It's a secret!" How do you wrap a secret?
Kacy wrote Santa a note. It says "I want a Dora doll for Christmas." This was so she wouldn't have to talk to him, but she ended up being okay with Santa after all. (I was playing with photoshop, and in a bad way... in what application might one need the "plastic wrap" filter?)
At first she wasn't sure...
But it all turned out okay!

Ed grabbed his candy cane and fled the scene before good pictures could be taken.

Friday, December 12, 2008

About Me

Some things about me, by me. Because I want to remember what I thought of myself when I get really old. Like 35. Just kidding. Like 95.
  • My favorite shoes of all time, in the whole entire world, are pictured above. I bought my first pair in Spring of 2001.
  • My favorite music that makes me happy is "girl power" music, apparently. (According to the playlist put together by Pandora. Hey 95 year old me- Pandora is an Internet music thing. Trust me.)
  • My favorite vegetables are butternut squash with goat cheese, baked yam fries, roasted asparagus, steamed broccoli, and peas.
  • My favorite meat is a cheeseburger. That totally counts as meat.
  • My favorite soda is Diet Pepsi.
  • My favorite drink is cool water, no ice.
  • My favorite household chore is vacuuming. Unfortunately I have not had carpet the last three years, and when our house is finished, it will have hard flooring.
  • I can eat a large Little Caesar's Pizza by myself, on a good day. I currently restrain myself.
  • I have anxiety attacks when I walk into a clothing store to shop for myself. For reals.
  • I hate mail. It's the thing that I'm worst at: taking care of mail and paperwork.
  • I want to exercise. But I don't. Many reasons. Three big ones: 4 kids 5 and under, live in a trailer with no floor space, and mountain lion scare.
  • I yell too much at my kids. Actually, I yell at my girl (baby doesn't count) hardly at all. The boys have been unofficially declared hard of hearing. Hence, the yelling.
  • I am a somewhat type-A personality. Except when it comes to a clean car and my kids wearing clean socks. Then I don't care. But I will admit my desire for "A's" was met when I found out my blood type is A+. It's a sickness.
  • I stress unnecessarily about things that end up turning out just fine.
  • I don't really like fruit, except for berries. Any berry. I guess apples are okay.
  • I can eat a whole box of Cookie Crisp in an afternoon.
  • My worst subject in school was biology. My favorite subject was PE. Followed closely by lunch.
  • I made a job for myself this year- now I have to decide whether or not I want to do it. It's the preschool thing.
  • I love to read.
  • I am crazy. Not in that BASE jumping way, not in a street racing way, but in a "I had four children in less than five years and live in a trailer (for over three) and yet I'm still relatively sane about it." Maybe I'm just highly adaptable, not crazy.
  • If you were to see me at a dance, I'd be standing against the wall, trying not to make eye contact with anyone. I spent many a slow dance in the bathroom because I wasn't asked to dance. And I was too scared to ask someone myself.
  • I consider it a small miracle I ever got married. Only because I never thought about it growing up. I'm not sure what I was thinking of, I just know it wasn't about having a husband.
  • I buy Christmas presents for myself. I prefer it that way.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Rail Road Ties

We had a building "thing" come up: we have to set 30 posts on footings above grade before any framing can be done. That part we knew. At first we were thinking that we could build a retaining wall later, and then we thought of forming up a cement wall and then covering that with rocks. Ryan found a railroad tie supplier and bought some- they are solid oak. Too bad they are soaked in creosote, or else we'd mill them into flooring. I like the idea of wood- it's softer than cement and rocks. (Looks-wise.) So, this retaining wall has to be done before we can get a framing crew (Yea! We are definitely going that route!) so the crew doesn't mess up the dirt with all the trampling around that will be inevitable. How I look forward to that trampling around!

A Visit with Santa

This took a lot- Santa was a great Santa and distracted Ed while quietly snatching him up for the photo op. He had a bell in his hand that he had Ed ring, and he played "Hi-5" with him.
I am sitting on Santa's lap. Totally uncomfortable. His idea, not mine. Ryan said he was a dirty Santa, and then I told him that I thought he was the same one that worked in the town's Christmas park, and he said "Oh, he's cool. Nevermind." Still... see my straight hair? Nifty.
Jessie and Santa. Enough said.

Where's Will? He wouldn't even come in the room.

Nature Pictures I Shot, Just for Fun

Waterfall (controlled by man, I don't know the whole story) Decemeber 10, 2008.
Sunset in Bakersfield on Sunday, December 07, 2008.

Monday, December 8, 2008

You tum on wit yo tum on, you don't fight fair...

*Ed has taken to singing "Hit Me with Your Best Shot" by Pat Benetar around the house. It sounds like this: "You tum on wit yo tum on, you don't fight fair, dat's otay, see if I tare! Knot me down it's all in bain, I det right bat on my feet a-den. Hit me wit yo best shot, hit me with yo best shot, Hit me wit yo best shot, fire a-wayyyyeeee." It's awesome.

*Will asks some of the weirdest questions, besides the everyday "What is that and how does it work, how is it made?" Like: "Mom, how do they make the stuff in boxes?" followed by "Well, how do they make boxes?"

*Kacy is getting very comfortable at school and thinks she is impervious to rules. She's testing maybe? Bored? I know she likes school, but I am wondering if she's a little bored. I have the inside information as I do the assessment for her teacher to help her out. I assess Kacy, too. She knew the most. The little boy who sits next to her did very well also- he has a bowl hair cut and I love it for some reason. He kind of had a slow start but is doing REALLY well now. I don't want to be a pushy parent and get her all burned out, but I wonder if she could use some more of something.***I have to edit this: I sound like I think she's a genius or something. She's not. But she "gets" things quickly, and she remembers everything. (That has come back to haunt me...) After observing her classroom, I sometimes just wonder if she gets bored repeating the same things over and over. Oh well, she can learn to be patient. Because I'm not going to home school her. And for the record, one of my favorite kids in her class is the one who eats paste. Okay, not paste, because that's old fashioned, but he seriously ate a glue stick once. I thought the substitute was going to vomit. It was great.***

*Jessie is officially, really, effectively crawling. And she started pulling herself up on things. She laughs ALL THE TIME, especially if she is playing with a toy and you call her name.

*I am in need of a makeover. I hate my hair. I hear my grandmas right now saying "You have those beautiful curls! Don't touch them!" and then the chorus saying "Do you know how much people would pay for perms that look like that?" But people don't get perms anymore. And what's the point if my hair is always in a bun? I wear it down for church on Sundays, but honestly, the trailer life isn't nice for my meager beauty routine. I'm wondering if getting a flat iron would actually work. If I ironed it straight twice a week... I wonder how much time that would take. And then do I get a style to go with it? I've never had a style before. Bangs? No bangs? It would have do double duty for both straight and curly. I have not been happy with the last few pictures I've seen of myself. And I also have a church dress problem. I look sloppy and out of season- I had no sweater, a just below the knee skirt, and my Dr. Martin sandals on Sunday, and it was raining and was 50 degrees. My boys have no church sweaters. I haven't worn nylons/pantyhose since I was a senior in high school. That was 13 years ago. Not once in 13 years. I'm scared. But I really want to look nicer. Not in an expensive, "I'm obsessed with shopping and name brands" kind of way, but in a "I thought about what I put on and did not just pick up the least wrinkled/least stained piece of clothing off the floor." Is that too much to ask? It might be. Nice hair and a put together look...

*Ryan and I were talking about the wild life today. Our "neighbor" (he lives a little less than a mile away) came over and asked if we'd seen any mountain lions. He has seen two, and the one he saw last night attached his donkey. Then we talked about how we want a donkey or two, and the first one's name will be Kevin. Kevin the burro. Even if it's a girl. Then we went back to the mountain lion problem, and I have decided to use my brain and decide against taking walks with the kids for awhile. Not that we have been doing that much lately.

Friday, December 5, 2008

For Jimmy

I wasn't privy to the conversation, but apparently Ryan and Jimmy were talking and Jimmy mentioned how cool it would be to own a Porshe. Like, the ugly one. Here you go, Jimmy- if you want contact info, I have it for you. Nothin' like a pea green 1971 two seater to lure the ladies.

On another car related note- Ryan and I saw our first bio-diesel truck. Or rather, we SMELLED our first bio-diesel truck. It looked like any other flat bed beastly pick-up, except it had an extra black tank on the bed against the cab. (Not uncommon where we live anyway.) After about five miles of smelling Burger King, and NO BK for miles around, we decided that guy was running on french fry grease. And it smelled GOOD.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Simply Healthier

I posted my first official post on my health blog "Simply Healthier". Hmm... posted, post, health, healthier, that sentence is not pretty. Not pretty at all. It's about sugar. There is just so mush to know! And to say! I think I'm going to have to do one topic a week. Or one topic every two weeks. I'll just have to see how it goes.

I suppose I could turn in my rough draft of my paper now. It's due by midnight, so I have some time to loathe it some more. I'm just not feeling the love for this topic. That's why I posted a new post about health on my healthier blog.

I love my new free background on my blog. I fear change. But I did it, and I'm so happy with it. I'm going to talk to the blog fairy some more.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

3 things

Ed's new "tute" blanket- my mom made this tag-a-long for Jessie, and Ed hijacked it. If he wasn't so manly, I wouldn't feel right about letting him carry around a pink blanket. I think my mom is going to make him a blue one.
Happy 29th birthday to my Mother-in-law. Since we won't be seeing her today, here is a blog tribute. She is working at the temple and then setting up Nativities for the tri-stake thingie. She makes the best desserts. Ever. She's also a good cook for regular food, and will taste anything (like her son). She is more than willing to re-arragne her schedule to babysit (which often makes me feel bad, because she also takes care of two grannies...). She loves the temple, and it's always fun to see her there, because the lines of mother-in-law/daughter-in-law are gone, and it's more like friends/sisters. She'll offer to change poopy diapers. I don't like to let her do that becuase she does enough already, why would I punish her with THAT? She enjoys her grandkids, and keeps wanting us to come back every Sunday. She lets Jocelyn and I visit and ignore our rowdy kids. She's very patient. I don't think she yells. Anyway, Happy Birthday, and we'll see you on Sunday! (This is an old picture with Kacy. Kacy would have been about 7 months old.)
Jessie is nine months old today. She just barely started crawling- barely. It's like a Frakenstein crawl, if that's possible. She likes table food, and not veggies. She is still a very happy baby. I couldn't ask for a better baby. I don't know what else to say about her, except that as far as babies go, she has to be one of the best. And I'm not just saying that, because most of my babies have been easy (it's the toddlers that kill me- and that lasts until they are three and a half...) but she is so happy to just sit and play with toys. We are entering the phase where she tries to pull herself up on things, and I'm so worried about her hitting her mouth on things.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Causing trouble-social commentary gone awry

Well, I suppose I've ruffled a few feathers, and part of me thinks it's funny. Only because a disagreement is leading to such contention. Funny, how using my first amendment rights of free speech, has lead to this hot topic. I have people I have NO IDEA who they are getting snippy with me.
Just to clarify: from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary: Gossip: (1) a person who habitually reveals personal or sensational facts about others. (2) rumor or report of an intimate nature.

I take no responsibility for comments left by others. I take full responsibility for my post, and after reading, and re-reading, the only thing I might need to apologize for is the part where I say it makes me gag that the poster said not to judge her, but then she goes on to judge the off-duty cop. So it bugs me, okay? NOTHING else I said was a personal attack. I've tried to keep it rational and even tempered, but it's not working. All I want to do now is stop reading my comments, and drink a diet Pepsi. And write my paper. (Ugh- that's giving me a head ache just thinking about it.)

If I need to defend my personal blog, I would say this about the post. I read a post on someone else's blog. I left a comment (CHP paid by DMV fees, not taxpayers money, maybe the cop was following her because he genuinely cares about the seat belt thing, not because he's a jerk. Agree that it was lame of him to try to follow her down the street. End of comment.) Use a summary of her post as a springboard for a social commentary on perceptions of cops. Never used her name or linked her blog, because that would have been rude, weird, and unnecessary. I now find it odd that so many people are commenting, both who I know and don't know. I don't think I have a cyber gang who is bullying anyone, what I do read from the comments is many people with personal experience about kids falling out of cars, getting hurt, etc. I don't get it. Well, I do, but that's too much psychological and sociological explaining. Peace ladies, let it go. No one is a bad parent, we are all learning together. Accept it. Love it. Help your friends.

This has gotten way too contentious for me, I stand by everything I said, I feel bad that people have hurt feelings because I disagree, I've tried to make this light-hearted... and yet the people who are hatin' are still coming back. I'm done with this subject and will say no more. The Spirit (that warm fuzzy happy feeling that makes you feel good) left a few comments ago. I probably won't read anymore comments, unless it gets to over 25, and then only out of sheer curiosity. That would be a record for me!

Why I could NEVER do this for a job

I was forwarded a link to a blog by a girl I don't even know, but she lives in my hometown and was complaining about/hatin' cops. Basically, when she drives down the street at 15mph to get her kid from the bus stop, her three year old sometimes doesn't sit in a seat, or sits in the front seat. Not that big of a deal, except that a chippie picks his kid up at the same time (off duty) and gives her dirty looks. (The thing that makes me gag the most about the post was that she says not to judge her for not putting her kid in a seat all the time, but then she rags on the cop for the looks because he's perfected parenting... um, about the judgement thing???) But anyway, this guy tried to catch her doing it again while he was on duty, and it didn't work out for him. It sounds like he was totally going after her. And most people commenting are like "Doesn't he have anything better to do?" Than what? His job? I clarified that they do not get paid with taxpayers money, but rather DMV registration fees. And really, MOST CHP's are so anal about seat belts. But for a good reason. It's all fun and games until someone's brains pop out of their head. Or they are air lifted to a hospital with major injuries because they took their seat belt off for just a minute. And seeing little kids being injured really disturbs them. I have heard MANY stories, and been sheltered from just as many, in the last nine years. Just saying. Everyone hates cops until they need them. I could never be a cop because: I don't like people hating me. I don't like smelly people with bad teeth. I don't like to drive that much. I don't like blood or crying people or brains on my pants. (Seriously, washing someone else's blood out of your husbands pants before the stain sets is not cool.) So, the next time the fuzz pull you over for not obeying the laws of the land, just deal with the consequences of your choices. They'll be there to put your femur bone back in your thigh, or your brains in your head.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Anything but THAT!

In order to avoid the English paper I am supposed to be working on, I have vacuumed all the crevices of the trailer, sorted through all the clothes for the season, played outside with the kids, started my new blog (that I have had since July. I JUST HAD to start it now.), and done two loads of laundry. And now I'm blogging. Anything but work on my last paper. I should just do it. The problem is, I have a hard time starting. Once I start I usually do okay in terms of finishing. I need to remind myself that I took this class "for fun" so I can accumulate units so I can "maybe" teach English one day, IF the need arises. And it is my last paper. I wish I had kept track of my grades so far for the class, just so knew how much effort to put into it. (How lazy is that?) The title of my paper will be "The heart of the dark wilderness; a journey of faith" I think. The literature piece it is analyzing is Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown". I will be analyzing the symbolic imagery and choice of names in this allegory as they relate to the loss of faith in human kind through a Puritan heritage. Somehow. The worst part of this is that I got to choose the story, and choose my thesis. I think I made it too hard for myself- I should have just picked the same ones everyone else did and do a social topic about feminism or domestic violence. But NO! No, that would have made sense. Now, what else is on my list of things to do to avoid doing what I need to do?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving and a new blog!

So, I am completely hideous about taking pictures lately. I will get better. It's a personal problem, in that I truly don't take good pictures. And I love my point and shoot camera for ease of carrying around, but I really prefer the D-SLR because I hate the constant flash thing I have going on. But since I haven't been taking pictures anyway, I guess it doesn't matter.

I hate shopping for clothes. I need a day to go shopping by myself (or with someone who will be very patient and say, NO! Your butt just grew two sizes with those pants! and run back and help me get stuff. I'll still hate it, but I NEED to. I've been pregnant most of the last five years and have not bought myself a pair of jeans since I've been married (8.5 years). My friend Amy gives me her hand-me-downs, and I've been wearing the same two pairs for ages. I happen to love them, but one pair is baggy in a "saggy bottom" kind of way, not the cool surfer way.

I am starting another blog. It's called Simply Healthier. It's gonna be about health stuff. I meant to do it back in July, but I got a little busy. I'm making it a priority. If you are interested, go HERE. It's a work in progress, and I hope to have all the graphics part of it done by tomorrow night. You can read my research findings and opinions on health stuff. Note that it's not called "Simply Skinnier". Diet and exercise will be the main focus, with healthy recipes, and whatever else crops up. But the sole reason is to help motivate myself to be healthier. Because frankly speaking, when I eat like crap, I feel like crap. And I live 30 miles from a gym. And I have four kids. I love food. And I live in a trailer with a toaster oven outside and no space for floor excercies. So it'll be real. And simple. Keep your peepers open for it...if you are interested.

And for the record, Kacy is thankful for "the whole entire earth", Will is thankful for motorcycles, and Ed is thankful for Granny's house. (Did he just make the connection that we had Thanksgiving dinner at my grandma's house? The food was excellent this year- a deep pit turkey that was the best yet, funeral potatoes, roasted asparagus (my contribution), and lots of other yummy food. My mom makes this dessert with chocolate chips, coconut, a crust and caramel that is WONDERFUL. NOT healthy. I loved every bite.)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Dirt Work, part II, and more

Here is one area of the completed dirt work. I am guessing that it is around 2 1/2 feet high- it varies a little depending on where you are standing. It is so nice to have the "mountains" cleared from our land. Ryan sealed up the subfloor. He caulked the joints and then put water sealer on. The next step is to dig 30 footings for the steel posts that will hold up out wrap around porch. The footings are two feet square by one foot deep, and that seems EASY after the footings for the house. I told Ryan I would happily dig the footings if he had the forms right there to stick in right away. Something we learned from digging the footings for the house- we dug them at least three times. The soil was terrible. Ryan did more digging than I did even. We were both sick of dirt. I think that's why it took so long. But this is exciting, because as soon as that's done, we can start the framing process. And those cement retaining walls that I had posted about earlier needs a correction. They won't hold dual-pac units. They will only hold the outside portion of the AC. Whatever. That's what I get for being technical.
Ed got the hose again today. "Hey Mom! I'm muddy!" I let him play in the water for awhile today because he couldn't hurt anything, besides getting himself wet on a kind of chilly day. He is talking so well now, it's crazy how his language has exploded in the last few weeks. He speaks in complete sentences, and he speaks fairly clearly. It just amazes me, and is one of my favorite things about kids- observing their development.

Other news: I'm gonna be a super-stah! Ya right... SOMEHOW I said "Yes" to being in a play. Here is how it went:
Ed B; "Hey Karrie, I'm doing this play called the 10 Virgins, wanna be in it?"
Me: "Sure! I can stand on a stage." (me remembering being the virgin Mary holding the "sweet 8 pound baby Jesus" (ED) on the stage. I sat there, holding my own kid. No speaking. Easy!)
Ed B: "Great! I'll get you your part soon."
Me: "There's parts?"
Ed B. "Well, ya, and singing."
Me: Heart stopping... "There's singing? Like in a big group?"
Ed B: "A couple of spots, but mostly it's solos."
Me: "Um, I can't sing..."
Ed B: "Oh, sure you can. It'll be fun." And he turned around and left.

And that's that. I'm going to do it, because I said I would. But holy smokes, I'm already nervous about it. I'm going to take singing lessons. If I'm going to do this, I don't want to make a fool of myself. I need a huge shot of confidence though. Where can I buy that? (Now, you KNOW I've thought, "Too bad we weren't a drinking religion, then the liquor would ease my fears and a drunk audience would think I sounded great. And then they'd forget the whole performance." Alas, we are the driest religion on the planet. And really, it's better that way. But still...) Did I say I can't really sing? I have a good voice for a choir. I suppose I'm okay when I'm alone in the car, belting it out. But put in front of anyone, and I'd rather die than sing. Advice please. Right now I'm thinking singing lessons with my friend Angie, and my cousin Caley. Lots of practice. And I'm going to work on having an attitude. Fake it 'till you make it, right? So if I pretend I'm really outgoing and confident, I should do just fine. Right? RIGHT? This is so not me.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dirt Work, part I

Three of the kids trying to get their Dad's attention.
Ryan used this skip loader to move the mountains of dirt back around the house. I don't know why it's called a skip loader. His dad came up yesterday and operated out tractor while Ryan spent more time on the loader. The dirt is all pushed up around the house and extends 12+ feet. It is all smooth, and I'll post pictures of that tomorrow. With the next step described- I told Ryan that I would be MORE than willing to do the next step if he gets some things ready for me. More on that tomorrow. This is a rare night home for him (he averages one night a week right now...) so we are going to celebrate by going into town and having dinner.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

We've Been Adopted

It's official-we have been adopted by this kitten. This sounds so weird to say, but I was SO shocked to see this kitten in our little yard. I have seen many critters, and this is the most shocking. Probably because every other critter I've seen has some sort of scary self defense thing. I'm seriously so surprised that a coyote didn't eat it. Last Friday this cat (it doesn't have a name yet) showed up and hasn't left. The poor thing has been HANDLED by the boys. Ed was holding it around it's neck, running with it, while it's poor body was swinging wildly from side to side. Then he puts it down and the dumb thing rubs all over his legs. Kacy wants to name it Cutie Pie. Right now it's just called That Cat. Both Ryan and I are allergic to cats. I never thought I was a cat person anyway, but you know, I like the independence. I have enough dependents right now. It is not allowed in the trailer, and we are going to feed it just enough to keep it around. It's our first "barn cat". I want it to live under the trailer and catch all the mice and rats and keep those nasty things out of my trailer. It shouldn't be hard to catch them- I've practically stepped on the rats. I know that sounds gross, but really, they aren't the nasty power line rats. They are actually kind of cute. Really. I wouldn't want to hold one (eew-germs!) but they don't freak me out.

Jessie moves around the trailer by laying on her back, arching her back, and pushing. She slides on the back of her head. She also has her second tooth in, and is again sleeping through the night. It seems like every one of my kids has an 8 month old "thing" where they stop sleeping through the night. I think it's because they start moving around so much while awake, and they start doing it at night, too. She now just rolls over onto her belly and falls back asleep.

My preschool project is under way. I won't bore with details, but I am determined to get this thing going. It seems perfectly reasonable, and I'm working with a good principle. Meaning she is giving me creative independence for now. There is so much to learn, and right now I'm concentrating on learning codes and regulations. (So boring!) I e-mailed the principal to tell her what I was up to- I've almost completed a rough draft of a program description. I need her input before it's finished. Next will be the financial stuff. That's a headache already- it makes my head spin. I hope to have the framework for the entire program completed by the time Christmas Break is over. Then I'll be ready for the grants that open up in the spring. If you are wealthy and want to talk to me about donating money... I'm here for you. :) I was thinking a neat fundraiser would be a duathlon or a century ride. We've got the scenery for it. We've got the roads. I've got the phone number for the biffys. I've never organized a sporting event, but I think I could do it with a good committee. We've got the lake, and some awesome dirt trails for either running or biking. I've often wondered why there wasn't a triathlon up here. I'll have to think about that one. That could be a good project to organize for the next year. Maybe May? Who wants to be on the committee?

Friday, November 14, 2008

My "awesome" parenting skills: BACKFIRED!

Oh, this boy. I love Ed. As much as he frustrates me, he makes me laugh just as hard. Today he was playing with our one and only water hose. He turned it on and said "Mom! I did it! I made a mud puddle!" I turned it off and gave him the "Don't play in the mud and don't touch the hose" lecture. (The only reason was that I didn't want the hassle of cleaning him up, and Ryan didn't want his plywood all wet. We are trying to get that dried up.) He said "Otay!" and then as soon as I was far enough away, the hose was on again. With him laughing. I went over to the hose AGAIN, turned it off, and said "NO HOSE, ED!" just as sternly as I could. Then, on sheer impulse, I decided to squirt him in the face with the water, hoping that would make him not like the water so much... not a chance. He laughed and said "Do it again, mommy! Do it again!" Ryan was laughing hysterically. And Ed? He was dripping wet in the face, grinning from ear to ear. Loving every minute of it. I give up.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

House stuff

The picture above was supposed to be last. These are our two dirt mountains, and I promise they are more than 8 feet high. They are quite sizable, and all the dirt came from digging out our house. This is the dirt that is going to require a front loader to fill in. See below.
One of the retaining walls. It's not pretty, but it doesn't have to be because it will be back-filled up to the top with the mountains of dirt. Our whole house needs about this much dirt moved. The cement truck backed into one part of the forms, and that caused some grief. But it all worked out in the end. It always does.
Top view of this area. This will be underground, and will house the outside portion of two dual-pack units (AC and heating). It's quite big- at least 8 by 12 feet. Our wrap around porch extends 12 feet, and this portion of the decking will probably be a big metal grate or something. Ryan probably knows for sure. There is also an access door into the crawl space.
The mini version on the opposite side of the house. This one is only for access into the crawl space. Again, like Ryan said, it isn't pretty, but it doesn't have to be. He built up some plywood forms and said that metal would have been better, but it all worked out. Because, say it with me, it always works out in the end.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Student of the Month

Kacy was awarded the Student of the Month for her class today. Her teacher said some very nice things about Kacy, like she is a great student because she always pays attention, cares about her work, and cares about her classmates. She said she wished all her students could be more like Kacy. I feel sorry for Will. Will is going to do great in school, I know it. But, he's no Kacy. And, we have a very small school. And, there is that whole "Oh, you're Kacy's brother?" My younger siblings got that, and they didn't like it. Because no matter what, you just are never sure what the teacher is thinking, and most kids assume that they'll never measure up- think of Marcia and Jan Brady. I was very impressed with Will's behavior at the assembly, he was perfect. Unlike Ed. Anyway, Kacy's other two awards were both for perfect attendance for October and the quarter. The boy next to her got an award for most improved. His teacher said that at the beginning of the year he thought that being a good friend meant that he could touch a lot of the kids all the time. I was cracking up, because it's true. He's a very nice kid, but he couldn't keep his hands to himself. He'd tap his pencil on people and their papers and just bug the kids. He would tap them on the shoulder all the time. But he has gotten a lot better. Good job, Miss Kacy!

Karrie the Grant Writer/Program Starter

I have an affliction. It's a type-A, overly ambitious personality. Sometimes it gets the best of me. Last week I decided to open a preschool in my community because there isn't one. There used to be a state preschool ran by the county, but it was for low-income families only and was three hours a day, which hindered enrollment, and the program was pulled. There are no centers in this rural part of the county. I put together a business plan (I've done this once before when Kacy was born, and it's always in my head) and thought about my different options. For profit or non-profit, both have different advantages and disadvantages. Where to house the full day program, what ages to serve- those two year olds in diapers are difficult. Especially if I had a room full of Eds. And then there is the demographics- ARE there enough kids to support a program? On this last question I emailed the superintendent/principal of Kacy's school because they mentioned on their website they have a concern about declining enrollment. All I wanted was some numbers. Instead, her reply is this: "We need to talk. Soon. We could get a grant for next year!" I slowly closed my laptop and stared out the window for a full five minutes. That was NOT the answer I expected. I talked it over with Ryan and then emailed her back explaining that I still had Jessie at home, and that any program I was a part of needed to accept two year olds so I can take her with me, and that it also needed to accept any income so that Ed could attend. We met today to collaborate. Unfortunately I was not on top of my game due to waking up at 4:30 am (thank-you Jessie) and not being able to fall asleep. Anyway, she really wants to have a preschool on campus and is tossing around ideas. She thinks she has a room to use. She has a file with some information from Riverside County she gave me. I read it, and it's a research report that has a few useful statistics in it. But mostly she has nothing. I took the file and didn't really know what to think. What is my role in this? She mentioned getting grants. Am I only a grant writer? I like to be in control and working in a preschool under state and federal guidelines can be stifling. And part of me really wants to own my own business. It's in my genes. But the other part doesn't want the sole responsibility for everything. I didn't know what to think of my newly changes plans. This morning I was all set to open my own preschool/daycare, and by 9:45am I was in the principals office having someone change my mind. By noon though, I was all set. The deciding "make me feel at peace" factor was Kacy's awards assembly. She got student of the month, and her teacher said some very nice things. I know I was a huge part in her being ready for Kindergarten, and I want to give the rest of my kids the same chance. It was almost like getting an "A" in being a good mom. I like "A's". So, it's come to this: I am going to volunteer my time to get a preschool at the elementary school. It's going to be a big project, and it will rely on funds that I will have to find, and if everything works out well, we will have preschool for all in our community. Looking at the file she gave me, I've got a lot of work to do, but I'm excited.

A shout out to Angie for watching my kids while I helped Kacy's teacher today and met with the principal. THANK-YOU!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Feeling better

*I found my personal empty tank stemmed mostly from an empty brain. I know this because as soon as I started writing my paper, I started to feel a lot better. That, and Ryan ran a few errands for me today, which helped a lot. My homework was to read the play "A Raisin in the Sun" and then answer one of the three prompts. I didn't like any of the three prompts. So I was stuck. I ended up with a four and a half page paper with the title "Pride Before the Fall: Hey, Director! What's my Motivation?" detailing that although Bennie and Mama seem prideful, they are just immature and dignified (respectively) and that only Walter is truly motivated by pride. Whew! Can I just say that I'm glad the rough draft is over? That's the hardest part for me.
*I was able to buy Kacy some pants at a second hand store, as well as Ed so that they won't be in shorts when it's freezing outside.
*Playgroup was futile today in terms of playing, but everyone signed up for a date, so that's good.
*And, I voted. I probably won't be on the winning side of anything, but I figure I'll be entitled to complain. That's my rule: if you don't vote, you don't get to complain.
*Kacy said that "We should have root beer at least once a day."
*Jessie has a fever again and doesn't feel good. That's why I'm blogging- she fell asleep on me and I can't move. That's my story and I'm sticking to it! (She really does have a fever...)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Running on Empty

My car can only go about one more mile... long story short, both Ryan and I are responsible for letting the gas tank get too low. He took my car past TWO gas stations this morning, twice, when he went to the office. He brought it back, and I drove to Kacy's school to help out in her classroom. I get in my car to go home and notice the gas light came on, so I head on out to the gas station. I didn't know I forgot my wallet at home. So I drove home, wondering where I'd run out of gas. The nearest gas station is about 14 miles from our house. There is no cell phone reception for the nearest 10 miles to my house. Ryan is going to get me fuel in a gas can, so I'm not worried. But I hate running on empty. And I'm doing it in my life right now. I am looking at my calendar and my list of things to do and I just can't get them all done. I can not even finish my thoughts at this moment because I don't even know where they are going. I have a gift certificate for an hour massage- maybe I should consider using it.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

I am just grumpy. Knowing that, let me say that I could give Halloween away. Only because of this: it is just one more event that reminds me I don't have my act together. I didn't sew any great costumes, I didn't buy any great costumes, and the kids don't really look like they dressed up. Kacy was Little Red Riding Hood, and she looked the part. The boys wanted to be Army guys, so I bought them desert camo pants and tees, figuring they could wear them again. Kacy likes to dress up, but the boys freaked when I put the new clothes on them. What is with them? I'm afraid they are a bit like me- they don't like change. New clothes=change. They were all REALLY good at the Trunk-or-Treat though. Ryan had to work, so it was me and the kiddos. Kacy took Ed around to the cars and they got their buckets filled with candy. Will wanted me to go with him, but I couldn't as I was passing out the candy. My car decorations were lame. I have issues. Kacy was perfect- she helped with Ed, and then politely asked me if it was okay to stay in the parking lot and visit with her friends. I nearly choked. I'm not that surprised, but it just showed me how she's growing up and I like the direction it's going. Of course I told her "yes," how could I not? Will stayed and helped me pass out candy. He caused me no grief about running around. Ed was on his monkey leash, and besides his wardrobe malfunction (his pants were too big and spent most of the night around his ankles...), he was great. He ate four hot dogs (not the buns), and then sat in the back part of my car with his candy between his legs, eating away. Jessie spent the night in my baby backpack watching everyone. I kept thinking "Is this worth it?" All the scrambling, the not so great costumes, the calories? I got my answer on the way home when Kacy said "Mom, I had a lot of fun tonight. I can't wait for next year. Do you think next year you can make me a princess dress, but without wings? That would be the best." Next year she's going to be a princess, and the boys are going to be Army guys again. Except next year they'll carry guns. It make it seem more complete. Or a helmet? Flak jackets?

**Unrelated mommy moments I want to remember- Today in the car, Will was sitting up front with me. He was playing with the mirror and said "Hey Mom, see those bumps on my tongue? Those are my taste buds. That's how I taste food. See? " (Picture it- go ahead- a four year old who didn't brush his teeth this morning, but DID eat orange candy pumpkins in the car, sticking his tongue out as far as possible.) Then he said, "Hey Mom. (It's always Hey Mom.) What's that thing hanging down in the back of my throat?" So we got to have the uvula conversation! He thought it was so cool that milk could come out of your nose if the hanging down thing didn't do it's job. He said "Ah ha ha- that's cool! And gross!"
Last night in the car we were listening to George Strait and the song said something about "in love". Kacy asked me what that meant, so I told her it was a love different than how you love Mom and Dad, a love like you want to marry someone. She leaned over, touched my arm, and said in a quiet voice "Mom, Spencer says he is in love with me." I said, "Who?" She replied, "You know, Spencer. He says we are going to get married someday, but I don't love him that way. I love him because he's my cousin. Mom, who AM I going to marry?" I thought it was cute that Spencer is holding out for Kacy (he's got EXCELLENT taste), and I was impressed that Kacy knew the difference.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Dirty kids, an addiction, and adopting/adapting

#1- Why are my kids so dirty all the time? Today at the bus stop, I told Kacy to tie her shoes, because I was holding Jessie and could not. So she plopped down and her pink jeans looked like they hadn't been washed in years. Then we get ready to go to playgroup and the boys go outside before me. The dog was out, and between the boys and the dog, the boys ended up filthy and nasty in less than three minutes. My reputation is on the line! I either don't take notice that my kids are filthy, or I don't care. And the fact that I had a sweat shirt on and they didn't- it makes it look like I care more about my own comfort and hygiene than theirs. The complicated truth is that they didn't have sweat shirts on because the brand spankin' fresh laundry I did yesterday was covered in dog slime and dirt. So they were removed. The complicated truth is that I also just can't keep up with my kids. AND because I read other people's blogs and see these cute pictures of kids in the pumpkin patch with the girls hair all perfect, coordinating outfits, and no dirt anywhere on the boys makes me both envious and inadequate.

#2- I am considering taking a blog hiatus because I think I'm addicted to the Internet and spend more time with my computer than with my kids. It all started innocently enough- I was going mental with the cartoons my kids watch, so I busied myself with blogs. Now I'm intertwined with these lives of people, some of whom I've never even met, and I'm wasting time. I can't quit online completely because our playgroup is online, and well as my English class. But I'm gonna cut back.

#3-Go vote. Pick a side, and vote the way you feel is best. I've gotten just a smidgen of flack from both sides of Prop 8, and have also remembered some people who read this (or who will in the future) haven't ever met me, and only know me from my ramblings. So here's the naked truth about how I feel about it: I have decided not to be a fence sitter. As a law abiding and participating citizen of the state I live in, I have to make a choice between marriage between a man and a woman, or marriage between any two people. I am making the choice to vote for the man/woman marriage. Now, if it doesn't pass (I don't think it will...) I will not be upset. I will not make any outcries. I will not pull my kids out of public school. Funny thing about not getting your way is that it teaches to adapt. Not ADOPT, but adapt. I will not change my mind about WHY I am voting the way I am (adopting), but I might have to work harder as a parent to make sure my kids are taught what I believe to be right. I don't believe in drinking alcohol. Do I condemn my friends who do? Do I make a big deal out of it? Does it make me a bigot because I don't believe in drinking alcohol? Am I brainwashing my kids by teaching them not to drink? I say "No". I hate politics for this very reason: 90% of people cannot disagree on something, and still be friends. They can't argue without remaining rational. And on the issue, rationality has all but flown out the window. Okay, I think WAY too much. I'm going to Costco and buying ice cream.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

On the menu tonight...

Steamed butternut squash with goat cheese. YUM!
Let me just say that I love the winter squash family. They can sit on your counter for ages, and never go bad. They are good for babies. Put a little garlic salt on them and you are set! This is how I prepare my butternut squash. (I need to try roasting them in chunks with Olive Oil and some kind of herb!) First, I cut off a hunk that I want. If it contains the seedy part, I scrape that part into the trash. Then I put the hunk on a plate (or if my ONE plate is otherwise engaged, a Pyrex dish) with a bit of water, maybe a 1/4 cup? and then cover with that dreaded plastic wrap and nuke it in the microwave for about 7-8 minutes, sometimes longer. You know it's done when you can easily scrap it out of it's hard outer shell. I then sprinkle it with garlic salt (that should be a food group, garlic salt...) and maybe put other things on it. Sour cream as a side dish for Mexican food, cheese, or BBQ sauce; my favorite topping was the Manchego cheese. Manchego is a hard goat cheese. Nutty in flavor- it's a special treat for Ryan because it's so expensive. I got it today for $20.00 a pound. Did I say it's a SPECIAL treat? Oh, but it's SO GOOD.

I got that cheese when I went to the grocery store without my kids. Thank-you Marcie! I didn't even hesitate when she offered. I try to go to the store when I'm near, and today we had a Primary Presidency meeting. I was also out of food. I told the boys to get ready to go to Vons, and Marcie offered to keep them. Usually I weigh the option with "Will my kids torture me or her more?" Not today. Today I flew out the door without looking back because I knew my tired boys would make me miserable. And I went so fast! It was quiet and nice. Ahhhh.

And for the record, this is what I did today:
Primary Presidency meeting
made some phone calls
sewed up Kacy's hood/cape for her Red Riding Hood costume
dishes, twice
swept the floor
cleaned mold out of a hand-me-down freezer
picked up construction debris and filled up our dumpster
took out the house trash
laughed when Ed said "Look Mom, it's duh ribber!" when it was actually the lake. We argued before I gave up and said "Yup, it's a ribber, Ed."
Made dinner (see above, plus grilled beef/turkey burgers), grapes, and cheese
fed/watered the dog
and before I go to sleep, I will bathe four kids, sweep the floor again, pick up toys, go through the mail, and work on some homework. Hey, I might even shower because I need it. I just rubbed my face and dirt came off of it. I am less grimy than Ed, but not by much. Gross. Even putting myself in the same category as Ed gives me the eebie-jeebies. Shower for sure.
Let's add this: Get peed on by Jessie, because she was wrapped up in a towel after her bath, sitting on my lap while a caught a snippet of news. NICE!

Monday, October 27, 2008

I'm scared and a little sickened

...about our country and the news media and Obama.
#1- our country is full of ungrateful, selfish brats. Is it really common thought that we deserve so much? We have SO MUCH. Electricity, running water, shopping malls, cars, fuel, food that is regulated for our safety, schools, daycare (because you know if you can't afford it, the gov't pays for it...) ah- the list goes on and on. I am so sick of the news saying that Americans are so dissatisfied with the way things are going. I am so sick of Obama saying "We need a CHANGE!" What kind of change do we need? Seriously- maybe because I'm totally wacky here in my little world, but I don't believe that every American deserves everything. I believe you should work for your stuff, and honestly, flat screen TV's and iPods don't count as stuff. (You know my hubby is in law enforcement, and he "gets to" go into houses sometimes to help the Sheriffs and he has said that he can not believe that people will live in nasty, dirty filth and claim to be poor, but have newer cars and plasma TV's and what appears to be four years worth of Tuesday DVD releases from Walmart.)
#2- News media- see above. They perpetuate it all.
#3- Scares the crap out of me (nice, eh?) that this man can't produce a birth certificate showing he was born in the US. I cannot enroll my kids in school without a REAL live birth certificate, yet he could very well be the president. No regard for the rules, so what is he gonna do as president? He wants to change everything Bush has done, so what's that? Let back in the terrorists and raise taxes? According to his tax plan those in the lowest tax bracket will make money from tax returns. ya- they won't pay any into the system because they don't make enough, AND they'll get a refund. No joke, not kidding.

Understand that I was raised with this background: You work hard, you move up. Spend wisely. Your car should never be worth more than your house. One grandpa built houses and farmed a little. My grandparents were frugal and made a little money on wise investments. My other grandpa served in the Navy during WWII and then started his employment with Standard Oil in the mail room. He and my grandma rented a room from a Russian lady in San Fransisco where the bathrooms and kitchen were down the hall. He stuck with it and retired from Standard Oil/Chevron as the Land Manager of the Western Division of the USA. He talked to me a few times about not being snotty about what job you have, that employment and self sufficiency is very important. My dad owns his own small business, and there was two years of my childhood that he didn't get a paycheck. We lived off of a small early retirement account that he had from quitting his job as a diesel mechanic foreman. He started working there when he was 17 or so and swept the floors. He left a foreman and then opened his own shop. He worked hard. (Too hard...) It infuriates me that hard workers are expected to pay for services for lazy people. And those who are genuinely poor, and TRYING to do their best, they will get help. Because most of us help each other out. Everyone I know would help a neighbor in a heartbeat if they were able. I was also raised in a church that has it's own welfare program, where members of the congregation donate money that goes into a food bank of sorts. This is then passed out in both food stuffs and sometimes cash to help those in a rough patch. We also have an employment system to help people find jobs. And it really seems to work well. No one is a "lifer" on this system because our church is all about being self reliant and getting out of/staying out of debt.

I think I'll quit the politics for awhile. Your getting this because I'm worried, and confused about how so many people can be so screwed up in their thinking. Yes- I may have just called you screwed up. Not really sorry- if you are going to vote for Obama I think you need to re-evaluate how much you like the Constitution. And screwed up if you think you deserve more than you do.

ONE more thing- did you know that you have to have parental consent to use a tanning bed if under the age of 18, but not to get an abortion? And that the clinic doesn't have to tell the parents or a relative? Again, does this make sense? CA is putting a proposition on the ballet to require parental/relative NOTIFICATION (not consent) of abortions. And opponents think this is hideous and violates rights of minors. This does not make sense. In case you were wondering, I am voting NO on all bond measures, NO on rehabilitating drug offenders with no jail time, and yes on marriage between one man and one woman, and yes on parental notification for abortions, and NO on mandatory "chickens spreading their wings" cages. And because I believe that McCain is a democrat and Obama is a Marxist/Socialist I will vote for McCain. I can live with a Democrat. A foreign born Marxist who wants to change everything about America? NO THANK-YOU.
I'm sending a Thank-you card to Bush. He has kept me safe. And given me tax rebates. Gracias!

Okay, I'm done and from now on it'll be about my kids, our house building, and what happens to us from day to day. Now, on to bathtime and my homework...

Look at me! Look at me!

I am not a "Look at me!" person- and it's a little silly that these two pictures have me in them. But I was working (this "work" was not hard, but like laundry, is tedious. My feet hurt after a few hours and the sun was a bit much. But, it wasn't hard.), and Ryan was the one taking the pictures. So was his dad- it was a complete role reversal while they were waiting for Cherie and I to get the insulation going. And, I will admit that it is completely unnerving to have people just start taking your picture. Now I know how annoying that can be, but that's not going to stop me from doing it. This is the cellulose insulation. It's messy stuff. Clean in the way of no fumes, no chemicals. It's all recycled, and I'm so GREEN. I like this picture because of the background- check out the sage in bloom. It's the most vibrant yellow!

Ryan shot this from up on the stairs. You know that weird metal structure in the middle of our house? (See below...) It is the skeleton of a floating staircase that wraps around a fireplace. Ryan climbed up there and shot this- please ignore the construction mess in the background. All that foil insulation (that gave me a most awesome farmers tan!) is now covered up, and the grey cellulose insulation is covered by 1 1/8 inch plywood. We now no longer have to balance on the floor joists! Hey dad- If I were you I would seriously consider putting this foil stuff in the walls before you insulate- it adds an R-value of 9 to the walls, and you know the better the house is insulated, the less you have to pay. And grandma M- if you are reading this, I am this close (think of my thumb and pointer finger about 1/4 inch apart) to coming over to your house and checking out your attic for insulation. Your energy bill should NOT have been that much! I could seriously insulate your attic in a day.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Our sub-floor, explained

That shiny stuff between the floor joists is Reflectix foil backed bubble wrap. It is a great radiant heat barrier, and in a floor like this gives an R-value of 14. Up on a roof it is 9, and around walls is 8. It's very thin (less than a 1/4 inch?) and easy to work with. Let me tell you from my personal experience that this stuff is RE-FLEC-TIVE. You know those old tanning thingies that you can hold so your neck gets tan? NO? (Never used one myself, just saw on TV) Or a solar oven? Or even the front windshield sun blockers? That's similar to this stuff. I am tan! The hardest part of this project is balancing on the floor joist, and then squatting up and down, and up and down.
Here is just part of the sub floor, to show the sleepers Ryan and his dad put in. The foil stuff sits on top of this. Yesterday Ryan ran a line so we could have an ice maker. We have not had ice in over two years. The first year of trailer life I attempted, but we just don't have the room, so I gave up completely. Plus we have more mouths to feed= less freezer space. It's the little things! Anyway, as of right now, all this is filled with that foil stuff, and tomorrow morning I'm supposed to start stapling it all down. Not really excited about being back up on those floor joists. But it's almost the last day. Friday we are supposed to put on the sub floor and blow in cellulose insulation. It was breezy today, and if it's that windy on Friday, we will have to postpone. Or think of something different.
Our helper Jessie- this was to keep her safe from the boys. I tried keeping her in the stroller with shade, but she quickly let me know that was unacceptable. Today she sat on our picnic blanket in the shade while we worked. And can I just say that my boys are the filthiest kids on the planet when they are made to watch us work for four hours? They are gross. I patted Ed's head and dust came up out of it. Oh! And I have to document two moments of maturity for our boys. The first was with Will. George got out of his cage this morning before we woke up, and got into yesterdays trash. He spread plastic bags and labels everywhere. I told Will he needed to help me by picking up the trash. He did it. He didn't complain. He did a good job of it without me having to remind him of his task. WOW. The second moment of maturity was with Ed. I was SO HAPPY- this is just a little thing, but SO BIG to me. I couldn't see Ed, and Ryan spotted him over by our trailer. I still couldn't see him, and told Ryan I was going to test Ed. So I yell "Ed, where are you?" and he answered "Wight here!" mimicking my tune. I was so happy because not too long ago he used to hide from us and NOT respond when we called his name. Sweet relief- I may not lose him after all.