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.

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