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.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Living in a Trailer

I think the reason I can stand to live in an RV is because I try to keep in mind these ideas:
  1. The equity we will have in our home when it gets finished will allow us to explore different business options. We have a few in mind. Or, not! We will just have lots of equity to sit on.
  2. We will have the perfect house for us.
  3. It's helps me to appreciate what I already DO have. It's kind of like camping (in so many ways)... but think about when you go camping, and you get all dirty and have to pee in the bushes (or use a nasty pit toilet), when you come home, you just really appreciate a flushing toilet and a nice, hot shower, no matter what you thought of your bathroom beforehand. I will LOVE my house when it's finished. Love it.
I can't really think of anything else right now. Because right now, I'm still recovering from the fact that when we left for Bakersfield yesterday, "someone" turned off the kids heater (a radiant heater that we had to put in the kids' area), and we ran out of propane, so the trailer heater wasn't running. It was raining. It was cold. It was 48 degrees in the trailer. Luckily, we had more propane, and in an hour or so, it was almost 60.

This morning, Kacy tried to open our door to leave for the bus stop. Something broke off, and the door wouldn't open. I got Ryan up and the only solution he came up with in a hurry was to open a window and reach through to open it from the outside. The kids got to the bus stop on time, but what a pain in the butt! Seriously- if I want to go outside, which I do frequently, I have to open the window and screen and r-e-a-c-h for the handle outside.

I think it's time to visit the RV repair place.

But, maybe my expectations are too high. After all, some people live in ice caves, which are colder than 48 degrees. So I should stop whining, right? We did get warm eventually. And as for the door, do I really NEED to be able to get out of my trailer with ease and convenience? Because on the plus side, I don't have to worry about the kids leaving without permission, which they tend to do while wearing clean clothes, only to go literally roll in the dirt.(Dirt angles, anyone?) Which reminds me of the laundry I need to do, at the laundromat, because it's rainy and wet outside, and a clothes line just doesn't work in the rain. Plus, a valve broke in my washer, so I have to manually turn the water on and off for each cycle. Which, I've been doing, just grateful I didn't have to drive 35 minutes to the laundromat.

I hate the laundromat. It's super-fun to take little kids to a laundromat.


And, after that one burnt my clothes in the dryer, I've been a little leery.

I wonder what other "adventures" we will have this week?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Desgin Boards (and my Friday picture)

... Friday Photo Fun... well, I haven't really been taking pictures lately. And I probably won't for awhile, but only because of the house.

Speaking of, here is a thing we did this week, besides all the photographically boring details like install the pressure release valves and drains on the water heaters... that's SO INTERESTING... not. Things like that are boring. But, this? This makes it seem like the house is actually going to be finished, and it nails down some of the design aspects that were still floating in our heads.

 We came up with the idea of tinting drywall compound and plastering the drywall with that instead of painting. Turns out it's not an original idea, but hey. Ryan bought some liquid cement dye in the same color as we used on the front step. That's what you see in A. Too orange. For B, we used three drops of green food coloring (no joke, you can use that stuff) and a lot less "Buff" color, with a better result. But not perfect. We also picked up some cement color in Brown, and that's what C is. It looked exactly like chocolate pudding at first. D is less Brown, but it's too pink for our taste. Ryan was adding various amounts of sand to the compound all through this, and the texture of D was perfect. Lots of sand. E had lots and lots of sand (a 1:1 ratio, if not slightly more) and the color was almost just right. The stained wood (F) is what our window trim and baseboards is going to be. It's on the outside of our house, and will be put on most of the wood in our house. It's Cabot's Austrailian Timber Oil in Jarra Brown. (I think Jarra... not so sure now.)
The finished product: Where the wall has dried (it's a little lighter in color) will be our wall treatment. Has some texture and dries rock hard with all that sand in there. It'll be hand troweled by US and will have an imperfect, old fashioned look to it. Same wood stain, with a skinnier piece in a paint color called "Pavement", which will be some trim and the doors. The tin will be on the ceiling in the kitchen/dining/loft and around the back of the bar/island.

Ryan is shooting for Wednesday to have the inspector come out for the BIG INSPECTION. Wish us luck!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Just Stuff, Apparently

Last Tuesday, we played at the park before playgroup started. Jessie had to use the bathroom (only after she noticed it...) and I told her it was nasty and that she should try and wait until we went to playgroup. She persisted, so I relented. I took her in there, and as I lifted the lid, she looked in there and backed away with her hand out in the "No, stop" position saying, "I tan wait. I tan wait. Dat's gwoss." Apparently, the three fully grown men who needed to use the bathroom in the twenty minutes we were there was just too much for her to handle. (I tried to warn her...)

Friday Ryan and I spent the day working on the house. That means I swept and cleaned, and he did some technical stuff. Apparently, we will call for THE BIG INSPECTION next week.

Friday, Ed fell out of one of our outhouses. Ed's quote: "I was hiding fwum Jessie because we were playing hide and seek and I just fell out!" He got a nasty bump on his forehead, and a few other scrapes and bruises (our outhouses for the workers are elevated quite a bit). Ryan called it his "third eye." Apparently, I need to teach the boy better places to hide.

Saturday at the chili cook-off, Ed B.(not my Ed B.) asked me if I brought chili. I told him I couldn't this time because I had no food in my trailer and had spent the day in Bakersfield doing laundry and grocery shopping. (True fact.) A man that I didn't know, in a power chair, gave me twenty bucks. I tried to give it back to him saying that I couldn't take it, I don't need it, but he insisted. Ed B. later laughed and laughed at me. Apparently, the words "no food in my trailer" take on a whole new meaning to some folks in my neck of the woods.

Sunday during church, I noticed a stray hair from the hair cut I gave Ed. As I was trying to make it blend, he told me, "Don't touch my fird eye, Mom." If you saw me, you would then know that apparently I can't NOT laugh when I'm supposed to be reverent.

Jessie brought a satin purse with sequins on it to church. It was just her size, and in the shape of a bow. She carried it around for quite awhile, and when I ended up with it, I checked it's contents to see what the heck was in that thing. She had filled it full of rocks. Apparently, it's her "wock cowection."

Sunday, I found out the man who gave me twenty bucks at the chili cook-off knows Ryan. Not in a good way. Apparently, this man isn't too fond of law enforcement, or my husband.

And, apparently my kids are all deaf because half the time I feel like I'm talking to myself. And then, yelling for the fun of it, even though it's no fun.

And lastly, I stopped drinking diet sodas. Apparently I miss it just a little, because last night I dreamed I was drinking a Diet Pepsi, on the rocks, with a straw. I could taste it! So bubbly and refreshing... but I woke up scared that I actually had one. I'm determined to go a month without sodas. It's just a little thing on my way to my old fitness routines. Because apparently, I'm getting old and can't eat whatever I want to anymore. 

Friday, January 14, 2011

*friday photo fun*

This was not taken this week. Because I haven't busted out the ol' camera since I was practicing taking macro shots of some shaved chocolate. I should get those off my camera... it's been a long time. This is Kacy and Will, fresh out the bath. Kacy sucked her fingers until Kindergarten (especially when tired), and Will only sucked his thumb for a few months. Then he had a pacifier until he was 16 months old, when I hid it. He loved that thing.
(Ed and Jessie had pacifiers, too, but they both ditched theirs around 9 or 10 months old.)

***Educational quandary: fixed for now. Not involving homeschooling, or the charter school (but what an interesting option!), and it will probably involve me picking them up from school to give us some more time. For now, everything will stay the same (as I do love the teachers at the school, and I do look forward to a little free time) except that we will be supplementing at home, and I'm going to have to make more of an effort. And when the house is done and Ryan goes back to a morning schedule, he will be home more, too. And he had plans for all kinds of shop and outdoors things. So, if I can just be patient for a house and a touch more disciplined in my intentions, it'll all work out. I'll update in awhile after I give it a go.***

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Homeshooling, Part TWO (of Two)- My mostly last post on the topic.

Kacy, age 2, with her dad's safety glasses.

After reading the comments left yesterday, both here and on Facebook (you know who you are and I thank you), and talking to a friend yesterday, I still have one more person's perspective I'd like to hear before I make a decision on what the heck I'm going to do.

And as far as extra/electives/music/art goes, I think EVERYONE can benefit from those things. Unfortunately, being a benefit is not the same as a necessity, and therefore it is a weak argument. Maybe I have a snobby educational attitude, or I'm "high class" in that area... I don't know. (I guarantee I'm high class is no other area! Love, A Redneck.)

I don't think my kids are special or different than anyone elses. Well, that's not entirely true. I've got one who can be a huge weirdo.

And, I also don't think that being "smart" means GATE and MORE WORK. I want my kids to be interested, but not pushed, (but pushed), worked and challenged, but not overburdened with busy work, and honestly, I want them to have time to read a book they want to read, ride a horse they are responsible for, learn to scrub a toilet and clean up after themselves, practice the piano, and still have time to just chill with the fam. I notice that Kacy and Will are gone for 9 hours, and once they get home, we have about 30 minutes of uninterrupted time to just be. Then it's dinner prep, dinner eating, after dinner clean-up, bath time, and then bedtime. And most of the time, I'm telling them what to do, and what not to do. And I'm really busy.  I would love to have two or three more hours in the day with the kids. It just so happens that my kids ride a bus for two hours a day. I COULD pick them up and drop them off, saving us an hour a day. But then I think of mileage. That's 45 miles a day, or about 900 miles a month.

Time is an issue, more so than the lack of "fun stuff" at the school. Because if they were home by say 2pm, I'd have a few extra hours to supplement. I do always have Saturdays...but not Sundays because those are filled with church and then extended family time, and it's a day of rest. Everyone needs one day a week to just "be."

Anyway, as of RIGHT NOW, these are my pros and cons about homeschooling (as private school isn't an option for me. The closest one in an hour away.)

*we would have TIME. Time for art, time for music, time for sports, on top of the church stuff we will be doing soon.  (This is number ONE!!!)
*my kids will be home more, and see their dad more.(This is number ONE POINT FIVE!!!) Dad has shift work. Shift work is not normally held during school hours. There are no "weekends." This would allow the school age kids to see their dad more than an average of two nights a week and a few hours Saturday morning. 
*we could go places. (see above). When your family has no holidays/weekends that line up with everyone else (namely bakers and schools), it makes family stuff near impossible, lest you get the evil eyes and guilt trips for taking the kids out of school for a day or two.
*I don't think smart=more work. My kids are no geniuses, but they do "get it" and move on relatively easily. It would be nice to just keep them moving on. When I heard the fifth grade teacher say that the kids who don't need extra help play Boggle for enrichment activities... I just kind of died inside. I can't explain it. And, there aren't enough kids at the middle school who are at grade level or above to give them a flex time teacher. The low performing students get extra help while the regular performing students get... get this... to do their homework... at school.)
*I have taught school, and I will probably NEVER teach again (hello, California politics!), and I am still fairly stern and no nonsense. Unless we are supposed to be having fun. This could be a strength in how organized I am, spotting problems, finding resources, and in my expectations for proper group behavior.  (I am so NOT an un-school person- we all need limits, bounds, and expectations upon us, or we will never rise to the occasion.) I could be the ultimate private tutor- I'm only a whisper away, and I'm FREE! Like an old time governess! Okay, I just thought of Mary Poppins. Not what I was going for.
*My kids' school has declining enrollment and budget cuts, and it was mentioned at the board meeting that there will be lots of combination classes. Not fun for the teachers (because they HAVE to teach both grades independently) and not fun for the kids- how can one teacher (even if there were an aide) be split so much? The ratio of 1:15 or 1:30+ over two grades seems extreme. Know that California's budget crisis plays a small part in this. (Well huge, actually- if they funded schools properly, there could be teachers for the "extras." At this point, there are barely teachers for the basics.)

*when would I wax my eyebrows? Still having two kids at home right now, when do I wax them anyway, right?
*public perception. I remember watching the a news clip of the National Spelling Bee once upon a time, and the winner was homeschooled. And it was painful to watch. I think she may have been kept in a closet, because her reaction was weird and obnoxious, and everything a homeschooling kid is perceived to be. Socially awkward and inept. Since then, I have decided that apple doesn't fall far from the tree, you know what I mean? But I struggle with the idea that my kids might be "one of those" who doesn't function well in public, or can't sit still and listen for periods of time. (But maybe since I know that, I can avoid it?)
*people thinking I'm "one of those people." Because I sometimes still think that myself.
*expense- it could be pricey to do what I want to do with obtaining curriculum and paying for a sport here or there, and oh! the field trips I want to take! So many places. 
*how far would I go? Just high school? Through high school? 

I will still ponder this subject, and take my time in deciding. (Although, I'm pretty sure where I'm leaning.) I will be registering Ed for Kindergarten next year. But after fall, I have no plans. I may or may not keep them out of our public school. (How would that work with me on the board?)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Question of the Day

What is important?

This has been on my mind for the last few months concerning education, my kids, and my little family. How important will their K-8 education be in the long run? Is high school more important? College? Life experience?

I need to know.

I went to a great school. Well, several really. In grades 4-8 I attended Rio Bravo-Greeley. Granted, it was a different era financially, but I wonder if that even matters? Before the standardized testing came out, before No Child Left Behind... we had fun. And we learned. We had band. There was wood shop, home ec, study hall, enrichment, Spanish, and lots of PE and a great sports program. (I love playing sports!) There was only one period of each, because we were a very small school. We took field trips. We had electives- some of them required (so not truly "elected courses") and not so fun, and others to give you something to look forward to because you weren't sitting in a chair yet again. 

It seemed that almost everyone succeeded, and had fun. We had things to look forward to.

But, is this important? Maybe it doesn't matter, and high school electives will suffice. Will it matter to my kids when they are almost 34 years old whether or not they had fun in school? That they liked school?

If you have any thoughts on this at all, please share. I am truly at a loss. What do you think is important in education? Reading? Math? Friends? Lunch and PE? (Two of my favorites for a long time.) What would you do if your kids were at or above grade level, but there is no GATE or enrichment, no dedicated arts or music program?  (The elementary teacher incorporate crafts, but none of them actually teach ART, as far as I'm aware. I may be wrong. And they sang for a Christmas/Holiday program, and it was fine, but that's not music.) Am I being too picky? And, say they leave the house at 6:45am and return at 4pm, with 30 minutes of homework to do. Which I know will go up to an hour very shortly. Does that seem like an extraordinary amount of time for reading and math? 

I might be crazy. A true possibility.

I could supplement at home, which has always been my attitude about education anyway. But I didn't anticipate my kids being dedicated to their public education for 10 hours a day. When do I supplement? Between dinner/chores/bath time? Will the kids get burnt out? When do they have time to be kids? Be with the family?

I might home school.

I just freaked myself out.

I might not.

I do have a teaching credential...

I need some more opinions.

Please help my brain settle down before it explodes!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

"When is Your House Going To Be Done?"

Ah, my most favorite question in the whole wide world. 


While having a short Facebook conversation with a sister last night, (hadn't talk to her in almost a month- that's ridiculous), I started thinking about Spring Break, when it was, and what might be going on in our lives. I wrote that I see no reason we can't have drywall up by the end of February. That's almost a full 7 weeks away, and since we are hiring drywall people, it'll go fast. Spring break is near the end of April. I figure eight weeks after drywall is up, all the flooring, paint, and most of the window trim should be finished. Our door trim is different, and the time for that will be before drywall. Tiling the showers? I've recruited some professional help in the way of a friend to help me get started. 

Then, after I got done thinking all these time line thoughts, I began to be encouraged. It is VERY discouraging when people say, "Finish work takes FOREVER." Is that because most people try to do finish work themselves, and so they remember it? Or, is it because they move into the house (or already live in the house) and it's a huge pain in the patootie to live around even minor construction like flooring and baseboards? 

And, define FOREVER. Like, a year? Three months?

Because in my world, FOREVER is living in an RV with your kids and hubby for five and half years. (That's at the end of February.)

And, after it's all done, and we are moved in, and I have laundry and an oven, and ROOM TO MOVE AROUND, and I can start thinking about a garden, goats, and horses, this whole experience will seem like a drop in the bucket of life. 

So, when will the house be finished? You'll know when you are invited to our many housewarming parties we have planned. I can see no good reason why it can't be done by the end of May- just in time to move in during summer vacation and take the summer getting settled in.

(And from a blogging point of view, I'm anticipating the blogging to be scarce as my busyness goes up. But when I do blog, it should be fun house stuff. Wires are not fun house stuff. It looks like... wires. But the finish work? That will be interesting. I  know I like virtually snooping in other people's houses for ideas.)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Report Cards (And other stuff)

For the record, Kacy's report card comments said, "Kacy continues to do outstanding work this quarter. She continues to do well in all areas. She still needs to work on addition and subtraction facts to 20. We will be concentrating on independent reading in class this quarter." She got a "3+" in all areas except math, where she got a "3." A three is grade level, and the + means "strength." (I can't wait for regular grades.)

Will's report card said, "Will's focus has improved. He is a good reader and super in math. Love his sense of humor and creativity." Will got a 3 in reading, spelling, and phonics. He got a 2 (Working toward grade level) in written language, and a 4 (Exceeds grade level) in math. He improved his "ability to stay on task," but is still struggling with "Demonstrates organizational skills." No surprise there- the boy wouldn't remember his head if it wasn't attached. We both struggle with Will's organizational skills.

Ed starts Kindergarten this fall. Can't WAIT to see what his comments are. He's probably going to be one of those kids who is super well behaved at school and saves all his energy for me. Actually, I think he could use the stimulation and will be just fine. *crossing fingers.*

What will I do with just a three year old at home? I've never experienced one kid before. When I had Kacy, Will was born 15 months later, so there was no "only child" thing. Plus, she was a baby, and that's really different than a sweet and sassy Jessie. I tell you what, there are a few shops in our favorite desert town that I'd like to visit to see what they have. This fall, baby!

A report on my New's Years Resolutions: It's been a whole week. A report would be lame. Except that I have eaten a thing from nature everyday! (Fruit or veggie in nature.) This is huge for me. I am ignoring my mail completely thus far, so to me, it counts as being organized in my mailbox. At least I know where it all is. I looked at a racing calendar just yesterday, and nothing struck me as interesting, so I'll wait a month or so and see if anything else pops up. As for staying sane, I'm still here! Contemplated joining a gym in Bakersfield (what, doesn't everyone drive 80 minutes one way to the gym?) and going once a week to help kick out the fitness boredom and maybe motivate myself to do better at home. But really, like a lot of other things in my life right now, IF I JUST HAD A HOUSE, it would be unnecessary, and fitness would be so much easier. A regular size fridge to hold more fresh food, room to cook said fresh food, and ROOM TO MOVE.

But I'm tired of the phrase, "When the house is done..." I utter it all too frequently. On the plus side... the positive side... um, ya, the house just needs to get finished already. This BPME (I think those are the initials) inspection is a huge one, lots of details. I hate details. I also hate the self check-out at Home Depot when you've got four kids running around and it's either that, or walk down to the only manned register that has a line a mile long. Give me options, people. I've spent tens of thousands of dollars at your place. Where is my princess crown? Anyone? Anyone???

Have a nice Friday! (Or, whatever day it is when you are reading this.) I know I will. The kids are off to school having a great time, Jessie is still sleeping, Ed is playing quietly on the floor, Ryan has the day off so he can focus on the house and see the kids later tonight, and the weather is rather warm at 39 degrees this morning, so if it warms up some more I might go for a walk/run. (I'm ignoring the fact I have a ton of laundry to do and the laundromats are so far away...)

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Let's review my resolutions for last year.

Practice the piano more. Verdict? I did well for the first few months of the year. Then it got HOT and my piano is in a shed... 

Write more.Verdict: whatever.

Take better photos. Verdict: Found our "better" is very subjective. I think I've improved, and there are a few shots I've taken that I think, "Wow! I took that! Amazing." Then there are all the rest... not so great. But overall, I'm happy with the improvement I've seen in myself. My 365 project died on day 11 though.

Run a 10k by my birthday and maybe a marathon in October. Verdict: HA! Ha ha ha ha ha. That should have read something like: "Eat more chocolate and try to survive." Then I would have been successful!

This year I've lowered my expectations. 
Here are some things I'd like to work on this year.
*stay sane while finishing the house.
*get some form of exercise at least three times a week. This would be more than I did last year. (The Wii counts, right?) Pick a 5k to walk/run like I did two years ago- that seemed to work well for me.
*get my mail/paperwork organized and keep it under control.(A challenge!)
*perfect the homemade tortilla. (This should really read: learn how to make and then perfect. I've only done it once, and they were okay! I need a house where I can roll stuff out though.)
*Did I say stay sane yet? This is a big one. We are fast approaching 5 1/2 years living in the trailer. 
*eat something grown from nature everyday. Sometimes this is easy, sometimes I can go several days without eating a fruit or vegetable. Amazingly sad.

With that, I better go eat an apple.