Saturday, May 31, 2008

He's an idiot!

Oy! Where to start?

I'm frustrated with Mark. (I'm always frustrated with him, no?) But I don't generally dwell on it. I don't have the energy or desire to dwell on things that suck, so I usually just suck it up and let it go. But I'm dwelling right now. Things with him are piling up, slowly but surely, and I'm trying to not think about it, but it's not working out very well.

First is this whole Singapore thing. Did I write about that? He wants to take Chloe to Singapore in January, to visit his girlfriends family. Over my dead body! He is NOT under ANY circumstances taking my baby girl half way across the f-ing GLOBE to visit ANYONE! Thankfully, she would require a passport, and there is essentially no way he can obtain a passport for her without my notarized signature. He asked me about it - I told him I had concerns but that I would think about it. I don't have to tell him right away that there's no way in hell I'd ever even consider it. Chloe will be upset with me, but at five years old, heck, let her be upset.

And then there's the fact that he hasn't paid child support in 6 months now. I told him today I need a day when I can expect it. I feel like a collections agent. He told me the 27th of June, he'll pay one month's worth of child support, and after that he'll pay an extra $125. That means he'll be caught up by..... NEXT June. And of course, that's IF he pays each month, which is not terribly likely. I told Andrew I was going to talk to Mark about paying, that he needed to, and soon. Andrew said he'd just as soon sign papers to adopt Chloe and then Mark wouldn't have to worry about paying anything anymore. I love my husband. :o) I love that he loves my baby girl as much as if she were his own. He's a wonderful man.

So Mark's car is broke. Not sure what happened, but it doesn't work anymore. So he's driving his aunt's truck. It's this beat up old 1980's pickup. As with most pickups, it has 3 seatbelts across the bench seat. For whatever reason, he sees no reason to put her in a carseat anymore, even though the law says he has to. And if their whole family is going somewhere, she shares a seatbelt with Felicia. Awesome. He drives like an asshole, she's not properly secured in the vehicle. I asked him about it, and he told me exactly what the seatbelt arrangement is. I told him that's not legal, nor is it safe. Then I called the police. Unfortunately, there's nothing I can do. I'd have to go to court and get a court order saying he has to put her in her own seatbelt, in a car seat. So in essence, I'd have to spend several weeks getting a court order to say he's legally required to obey the law. WTF? But the police can't do anything about it, unless they happen to pull him over for something else and notice that she's not properly restrained.

So my current plan is to type up some documents, one stating that she will NOT be vaccinated for personal philosophical reasons, the other that she WILL be homeschooled, by me, and I'm going to have him sign them, with my dad - who is a notary - present, to have it all legally notarized. Those are the two things I can see him using against me out of spite. Once I've got that, I'll look into court proceedings regarding delinquent child support and then this whole order to obey the law crap. I don't want to do this. I really don't, because it's a pain in the ass, honestly, but he can't just keep not keeping up his end of the bargain. Or better yet, he's welcome to stop keeping up his end, and we'll just take Chloe full time. It's not like he does her any good anyway, he's a terrible influence. Did I mention the whole "eat the crap out of you" thing? She told her friend she was going to "Eat the crap out of her" when she was mad. I asked her about it, she said her dad says it. Lovely. She's good, at least, about not saying things once she's told not to. I just don't make a big deal out of it. But still! What the hell is he teaching her?? (Of course, with my language so far in this post, I'm sure you're thinking the same about me! I promise, I'm much more careful around five year old little ears.)

Add to that the fact that I'm watching my little baby crawl around and happily destroy my craft room, and I'm just so BLAH right now. She's growing up so fast! How did this happen? It's exciting, but so sad at the same time.

:::sigh::: I'm going to go knit. And make my baby giggle. And stop dwelling on icky stuff! I'm usually really, really good at thinking positively. Maybe it's just hormones....

Homesteading Women

I have a rather passionate fascination with women of the early 1900's, the homesteading years here in the West. You always hear about the men- the miners, the ranchers, the trappers and cowboys and such, but you don't get to hear too much about the women, and what you do find to read is often fiction - you never know how much is actually true.

I'm reading this book called Homesteading Women. It's an oral history of women who grew up in that time period, either as small children or as wives, and it gives their take on what life was like. The author did a wonderful job of asking women all the right questions, everything I'd want to ask them myself. For instance, most of those women, when they reached puberty, had no idea what was going to happen to their bodies, that they would menstruate, etc. Some kept it from their mothers and eventually their husbands, because they thought something was wrong with them and they didn't want anyone to know. Can you imagine?

They talk about the chores and the housework - washing laundry in a copper kettle with a washboard, tending to a 3-acre garden, cooking over coal and woodstoves, caring for the children, having babies at home, etc.

The best part of the book though, is the end. (I skipped 3 chapters or so because I couldn't wait.) She asks the women about what satisfactions they have in their lives, and if they had any disappointments. These women, who are now in their 80's and 90's, talk about their lives, in retrospect, and it is so uplifting in some ways. One says she found plenty of satisfaction in the work she did every day. You may as well learn to enjoy your work, because you're going to work plenty throughout your life. No use grumbling and complaining about things that must be done. Every single one of them that had a family named their children as their greatest satisfaction. Regarding disappointments, one said something along the lines of, 'When something difficult happens in your life, it is a tragedy. And then you look back on it later and realize it wasn't so much of a tragedy afterall.' Another talked about not dwelling on the bad things. "I think everybody has disappointments, but I've found one thing out: as you go through life, leave the bad stuff behind and take the good with you, because if you pull all of it, you get to where you can't take one step forward. "

"Your kids are the only thing you'll ever have that's your own. Maybe some woman can come along and take your husband, or somebody can steal your car or your money out of the bank or something. But I say nobody can take your kids away from you."

Many of them talk about how women today simply couldn't hack the kind of life they led, and they're undoubtedly right.

What these women have to say is so valuable. This book is a little piece of solid gold! The women in the book lived an entirely different life from what women today are living, but one thing hasn't changed - the way women feel, who we are inside, our love for our children and the pride we take in our accomplishments, none of that changes even when the times do. Another lady notes that women today are simply too hard to please - they are always dissatisfied, no matter what they have or what they do, they want more. I see that so much! I'm probably guilty of that too, to an extent, though not like some who are perpetually unhappy. I think you just have to let yourself be happy, be satisfied, with what you have.

When I'm an old woman, I want to be able to look back on my life with satisfaction, like most of these women do. Sometimes it's hard, because my day to day life seems so mundane and unimportant - cleaning, cooking, changing diapers, teaching, playing, working outside. But ya know, I enjoy every day. I truly do, even those chaotic days when the kids are making me crazy and I'm all stressed out - i go to bed at night and I'm fine with it. There's a line from a country song: "Doing what I love, and loving what I do." That pretty well describes my life, and I think from that, I'll have a tremendous satisfaction.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Grammy's House

We finally got to take Tori (and her mom and baby brother) to Grammy's house.

This baby bunny is asleep on his back in her hand. She has such a knack with animals. :o)

This rope swing is hooked up to the horse's hot walker. It goes around and around, though quite slowly. Chloe swings herself back and forth and around while she rides it. Tori just sat there. She seemed very bored. LOL

It was fun to see another kid get to do some of the stuff Chloe does out there. Chloe struggled a bit... okay, a lot... with sharing her Grammy with someone else. She actually ended up kind of throwing a fit, and then when it came time to share her toys at Grammy's, she had a hard time with that too. I can't say that part was very pleasant. My mom is great though, and did a pretty good job of calming her down. Chloe at one point told my mother, just to be sure, that she was OUR Grammy, not Tori's, even though Tori liked her. LOL Silly girl. :o)


Busy day today in the kitchen. I need to make bread, cook peaches to make baby food, make ham & cheese hot pockets for Andrew's lunches and probably a giant pot of spaghetti. We'll have that for dinner, and I'll freeze a few packs of the sauce for dinners later. I also need to get my floors mopped, change the cat box, and work on burning pictures to CD's a bit - I haven't backed up my pictures since sometime in early 2007, before Cora was born! We might have Chloe's friend Elizabeth come over to play. How do I get things done with Cora crawling now?

Baby Jail!

Poor thing, she worked so hard to learn how to crawl, and now we stick her in baby jail and she's stuck. Ahh the rough life of a little baby. ;o)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


My birth mother called last night, soon after I'd read an email she'd sent. My biological grandfather, her dad, had a stroke, is unconscious, and they don't expect him to recover. Even if he regains consciousness, he would be paralyzed. My grandmother made the decision to remove him from life support, which will likely be done today. I didn't know him well at all - we'd only met maybe three times. I didn't meet them until I was 20 years old, and they didn't know I existed before that. He had very kind eyes though, that's the one thing I'll always remember.

And yesterday, my mom told me that my dad's mom isn't doing well... we've known that for awhile, but apparently she's getting worse. She suffers from alzheimer's pretty bad, as well as a whole host of other general medical problems. And her husband, my step-grandfather, has skin cancer.

I'm not really close to any of these people. I care very much about their well being, and it makes me very sad that I'm going to lose Dwight (my bio-mom's dad). But it makes me sad too that I didn't know them better. My dad's dad passed away a few months ago, and I never really knew him either. I have lots of grandparents, and even one great grandmother still, but I'm not terribly close to any of them. My mom's parents live here in GJ, and we see them occasionally, but they still aren't like those 'real' grandparents that kids grow up being completely attached to, ya know? That's what makes me the saddest.

I'm glad it's different with my mom. My little girls see her three or more times a week, they all adore one another. Chloe (and Cora as she gets older) will know exactly what kind of woman their Grammy is, so that when her time does come (hopefully many, many years down the road) they will have wonderful memories to hold dear for the rest of their lives. And when I'm a grandma, I hope it's the same.


Enough depressing stuff. Here are a couple pics of my current WIP's:

The zigzag lace scarf:

It's slow going on size four needles and sportweight yarn, but it's turning out to be a rather pleasant knit. I don't make scarves very often. This one is intended to be a gift, though I'm almost tempted to keep it because I love the way it's turning out! It's hard to see much detail in the yarn in the pic, but it's navy blue with flecks of red, white, and a bit of grey. It's a silk/lambswool combination. Absolutely lovely to knit with.

And this is the sweater currently on the needles:

I finished one of the front pieces in two days. It should be a quick knit once the scarf is finished. isn't that colorway splendid? I love it.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Wild Asparagus

On Sunday, my mom, the girls and I walked around their neighborhood and collected wild asparagus. They live out in farm country - there aren't many houses, mostly wheat and corn fields, and asparagus grows wild along the irrigation ditches.

We got about 4 pounds. Not bad! I brought it home and canned most of it yesterday, made hot pickled asparagus. Most people haven't heard of it, but everyone in my family loves it. I'm not sure yet how it turned out, you have to give it awhile to actually pickle, but hopefully it's good! 4 pounds of asparagus, and all I got was 4 quarts, plus enough fresh asparagus for a meal. It doesn't go very far.

I also turned a pound of peas into baby food, and have peaches to do today. I was a busy girl in the kitchen yesterday.

After I get my oil changed on the van today, we're supposed to take Chloe's friend Tori out to my mom's to see all the animals. After that, Jessica is supposed to come over so I can teach her how to cast off her knitting project (if she finishes it, that is.) I love teaching my friends to knit. Unfortunately, none of them are as sucked into it as I am yet. I've been working on a sweater of my own design, but I'm going to take a break from it and knit a scarf with some yummy silk-tweed yarn and a fun pattern I found on Ravelry.

Amazingly, I don't really have much to say right now! LOL We've just been so busy doing stuff outside. It's warming up again though, which means the bees and wasps will be out, so we might be stuck inside more of the day now, we'll see. I don't want to get stuff, and I really don't want my girls being stung. And those wasps are mean little suckers! :oP

One quick pic of little miss mobile:

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Springtime babies

There are babies everywhere! Baby animals, that is. :o) I love springtime for that reason. We went out to my mom's yesterday and there was a little 2-day old baby Buckskin horse on the way. He was gorgeous - if I ever own a horse, I want a buckskin. It was fun watching him walk around on wobbly legs.

Out at my mom's, she's got a litter of baby rabbits that are old enough now we can play with them a bit. Even Cora got in on that, with one little finger extended to quickly and gently touch the bunnies and say "ooooh". The barn cat is pregnant with her first litter and is looking might chunky... we're not sure how long it'll be before she has hers, and we're hoping they are nearby enough that we can play with them and tame them.

And of course there is Mary. Mary is the reason we went out to my mom's yesterday afternoon in the first place. Mary is a sparrow hatchling. Chloe named her. She's so tiny... her little body is still naked in places, and she just sits there and opens her mouth up and chirps, waiting for her food. Mom found her on the ground in the back yard. If she'd have left her there either her dogs would've eaten her or she'd have accidentally mowed over her. So she's in a box in the garage with a heating lamp, being fed a mix of soft cat food and hard boiled egg yoke with tweezers every 30 minutes. I doubt she'll survive, which is very sad, but at least my mom is making an effort, right? Chloe had a very, very hard time leaving her at my mom's when we left. We're going back to visit this morning. I hope she's still alive. It sounds like it's very difficult to raise a baby bird. Great educational experience for Chloe though!

Speaking of Chloe... We took down the co-sleeper that we've had up against our bed since Cora was born. Actually, we just put the bed part down, so that it's now a baby jail (aka playpen) since Little Miss Mobile is into everything now. Chloe came in last night in the middle of the night because she "had a bad dream". (All that really means is she woke up, realized she was alone, and didn't want to be.) She came in and asked where she was supposed to sleep. She had that pathetic tone to her voice, the one where she's almost ready to cry but is trying not to. I felt so bad. Usually I snap at her to go back to bed, but I just couldn't. She obviously needed some cuddles. So I moved Cora over between Andrew and I, moved the dog to the other end of the bed, kicked the cat off, and Chloe climbed in next to me. It was crowded, but somehow, it was sweet too. I love when Chloe is cuddly - she doesn't do it very often. She grabbed my arm and tucked it around her and was snoring again in less than 3 minutes. Sweet little girl. So grown up, but at least sometimes she still needs me. :-)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

My stupid little brother

I'm sure you're dying to hear the story, so I'm going to share it. I'm so irritated with him!

My mom got the mail yesterday, and in it was a check for my little brother, along with a ticket that he had paid. They informed him that he must have his parent's notarized signature, so they couldn't accept his payment. He never told them about the ticket. It was a 4 pt speeding ticket for going 19 miles over the speed limit. The kicker though, is that it was from Route County. "Where is Route County?" I asked my mother. Ahh. It's Steamboat Springs, this cozy little mountain town, supremely popular for skiing and snowboarding. He had asked permission to go there one weekend to visit some girl he knows there. My parents said no - he's hardly responsible enough to drive that far, he's 16 and has only had his license for a few months! Well, apparently he didn't care what they said about it, he went, tried to be a bad ass, got pulled over, and now is screwed. He'll have to go to court - in Steamboat.

Add to that the fact that this is his third ticket - one other for speeding and something for passing improperly, and he's over the 6 point limit required for suspension. He's going to lose his license. I think he thinks it won't happen to him. And heck, what does he care, I'm sure he figures my mother will drive him around all he wants like she did before he got his license. I sure hope she doesn't. They bend over backwards to give that kid EVERYTHING he wants, trying to keep him happy, I guess, and he's just abusing it all.

I hope he wakes up some day soon and realizes he can't get through life by mooching off of everyone else and never taking responsibility for his own actions. He frustrates me to no end. I love my little brother - really, I do - but I don't like him much these days. He needs to grow up!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Who needs pie, anyway?

Tomorrow is my husband's birthday. He once suggested that I make a pie (like, over a year ago.) I assured him that one day I would. I decided this was the perfect occasion. Mind you, I have never made a pie before. What self respecting housewife doesn't know how to make a pie?

My mom gave me the recipe that everyone in her family uses. A, B, C and D ingredients, mix together, refrigerate 10 minutes, roll out. That's all it said. Easy enough, no? So I put everything into my kitchenaid and let it run. The result looked like someone smashed a whole box of soda crackers and put it in my mixer. I refrigerated it, and waited for either my mom or Nanny to answer their phones. Nanny answered first. "Oh, no, you can't do it THAT way." She advised me to start over. Attempt #1 went into the trash.

I followed her directions on the second attempt... only I mistakenly added too much water. And I'm not quite ready to talk about how I nearly set a whole carton of soda on fire. Needless to say, I was frustrated. Attempt #2 went into the trash. It was about this point when I started crying. No, no, not crying. Bawling, I think, is the word. I used the nearest tea towel to mop up my tears, and continued. The third time through, I had pie crust dough. I put it in the fridge for a few minutes.

[The whole time I was doing this, Chloe was BEGGING to help me. I don't think I've ever baked anything with her home and not helping me. I finally snapped at her to go watch TV. :o\ She came back in a few minutes later and said "You're having a hard time, aren't you mom?" I said, "Yes, honey, I am, I'm sorry I snapped at you but this pie is frustrating me." At this point I was just putting the bowl with the pie dough in the fridge. "Mom, you can't make a pie in a bowl. Put it in a pie plate, and then it will be a pie. That'll fix it. I promise."

:o) Aren't kids great? Just when you want to strangle them, they say something sweet and cute like that.]

"The rolling out is the easy part" my mother says. Just roll it between wax paper, peel one side off, put it in the pan, and pull the other side off. Great. I tried it. It didn't go so well. I scraped it all out of the pie plate, and started over. Nanny called to check on me. "Don't roll out the dough any more than you need to or it won't be flaky. The less you handle it, the better." Great, thanks for telling me, as I roll out the dough for the second time.

I put it on the pan. It doesn't go any better, but now I'm terrified to do it all a third time, so I use extra bits of dough and patch all the little cracks and holes, trying to make it look like pie crust. Good enough, whatever.

So I put in the pie filling (which I canned myself, last fall) and then it's time to do the top layer of crust. Actually, that part went well. It was the only part of the whole damn pie that did. I put it in the oven. No one could suggest a length of time to bake it. "Till it gets golden brown on top" they said. Half an hour went by. 45 minutes... at 55 minute I took it out. The edges are brown, the middle looks anemic. Awesome.

I hope my husband appreciates the effort. If it tastes awful, at least we have some vanilla ice cream in the freezer. He can have that for his birthday dessert.


And to add insult to injury, this is what I saw when I looked out my kitchen window while my stupid pie was baking:

That's my peach tree. :'( The one with the two cute little peaches. The awful wind we had today blew it right over, broke it in half. I'm really, really sad about that. I was really looking forward to watching that little tree grow.

I'm not even gonna start on what an idiot my little brother is, that's a whole 'nother blog in itself. Oy.

I know I said I'm not a hot bath kind of girl, but I need a bath, a glass of wine, and some peace and quiet. Hmm. Maybe a bottle of wine would be better...

AI thoughts - finals

Jo's right, I haven't blogged about Idol in awhile. I guess I've just been busy blogging other things. :o)

So tonight we get the results from the final show. I called it way back that it would be the two Davids in the top two, though I thought Jason instead of Sayesha for the third. (Hey, two out of three isn't bad!)

I desperately want David Cook to win, and I absolutely don't think he will. Little David is just too popular amongst all those little girls, and little girls with cell phones hold tremendous power. Actually, Cook disappointed me last night a little, I thought he could've done better, though I still enjoyed him. It annoyed me that Little David did Imagine again - yes, it was great, but he should've done something new.

So that's what I think. And either way, whether Cook wins or not, I think he'll get a recording contract, and I will absolutely buy his record. Little David reminds me so much of a mix between Elton John and Phil Collins that I just don't think I'd ever listen to him. Sounds like something my dad would enjoy. I can't believe he's only 17 - his song choices are more like those of a 50 year old.

Ah well, I guess we'll see what happens!

Celtic Beanie

Hooray, it's finished. This was my first attempt at double knitting. It's cool enough looking just like that, but the great thing about double knitting is that it's two thicknesses of knit fabric, and is completely reversible.

Neat, huh? The part isn't so neat is that double knitting SUCKS. It's quite miserable, really. In the time it took to make this hat, I could've had two and sewn them together, and enjoyed the process much more. It's sooooooo slow. This hat is ridden with mistakes where I swapped colors, or twisted my yarns. It's essentially like knitting two hats at the same time, only you're knitting one inside out, and you have to alternate every other stitch. It gets even more complicated when you add in a colorwork pattern like this celtic knot. Sadly, it'll probably just be a camping hat, as I don't think it's good enough to wear in public. My original intention was to make one for Andrew, to keep his head nice and toasty next winter while he's working out in the cold. Then I decided to knit one for myself first for two reasons: I wanted to try out this brown yarn and see how I like it for next-to-skin wear, since I have 8 skeins of it and thought about making a sweater. I also wanted to practice this double knitting thing before I made him one, so his didn't suck. Yeah, well. He's gonna get a regular ol' single thickness hat. I won't be double knitting again any time soon. I'm glad I tried it though.

Pattern: Celtic Beanie from Son of Stitch & Bitch by Debbie Stoller
Needles: size 8 circs & dpns
Yarns: pink is Lamb's Pride worsted, brown is some unknown yard sale yarn, 100% wool

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Crackin' Coconuts

Chloe wanted a coconut at the grocery store. Well, either that or a bag of cherries. Coconuts were $1.50 each as opposed to $6 a pound for cherries. So a coconut it was.

When we got home, we had to figure out what to do with it. I Googled "how to open a coconut." I came across a site that informed me just how easy it really is to do. All you have to do is take the blunt side of your machete and smack the coconut a few times. Right, so let me just go grab my machete real quick and we'll get right on that.

I tried my kitchen chopping knife. Amazingly, I didn't break the knife. I didn't break the coconut either.

So we drained out the juice - the easy part - and then I took matters into my own hands. I took that sucker outside on the porch and bashed it against the corner of the concrete step. And do you know what happened? That darn coconut bit me! It cracked just enough against my poor, defenseless little pinky that it pinched the heck out of it and wouldn't let go. After freeing my finger, I went inside, got a tea towel, wrapped it around the coconut and gave it my best thwack against the step. And poof! It cracked right in half.

Yeah, so I thought the hard part was over. That internet site said all I had to do was freeze it for 30 minutes and the flesh would peel easily away from the shell. Well, I'd hate to see what it's like unfrozen if they call that easy. Another half hour of work and I finally had two empty halves of a coconut shell, and a bowl full of chunks of coconut flesh. Chloe and I both tasted some. We then promptly spit it into the sink. Yuck. What the heck am I supposed to do with all that raw coconut now?

I called my sister in law. They're supposed to be good with raw fruits and veggies, after all. She told me there really is no use for a coconut. She admitted that they taste terrible, unless you get one and eat it in a tropical place, like Hawaii. Well, that's useful.

So if anyone has any suggestions on how to use a bunch of raw, unpeeled coconut, please do tell. I hate to waste it, but that stuff tastes awful. I like the sweet kind - you know, the grated stuff you find on frosted cake doughnuts. This is definitely not the same.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Eatin' Greens

A basket full of spinach and lettuce. Yum! Chloe picked all the spinach off, which she loved. I steamed the bigger spinach leaves and turned it into a few dinner's worth of baby food. The lettuce and remaining spinach should provide salads for lunch and dinner for a couple days.

It thrills me to no end that I can take a handful of seeds, give them the proper care, and turn them into wholesome food for my family. Silly, I guess, but it's one of those simple little things that brings me immense pleasure.

I'm happy to report that two of my tomato plants have lots of little flowers, and the other five are at least growing and have not died. (For awhile there right after they were transplanted, they looked very miserable.) My beets are showing their happy little leaves finally, and the peas are blooming. The corn is tall enough now to be thinned, but I haven't gotten that far.

I'm really not a very good veggie gardener, but I don't care - I love it anyway. :-)


It was a fun homeschool day! We went fishing, just the girls, my mom and I. We caught three fish. Chloe had no problem picking up the fish and holding them, and even watched a little bit while my mom cleaned them. I was impressed. I'm calling it educational. LOL We got some great sunshine, had a picnic lunch at the lake, and Chloe played in mud and water to her heart's content. She also got some good lessons on being careful about fish hooks - we nagged her constantly about it. Thankfully she didn't get stuck, and learned to watch out for them.

She did some plastic canvas sewing this afternoon. She got frustrated so we put it away for now, but she at least got the basic gist of it. Definitely educational, don't you think?

And she spent a good portion of time creating a treasure map, and then made up parts for Cora and I to play while she was the captain and located her treasure. Cora was the naughty troll. LOL It was cute, and fun.


Oh oh! I forgot to mention that our wee one is officially crawling! Not fast, but she has the basic concept down. I love this stage - so much fun. Chloe better watch out before long though, she'll be following her sister everywhere she goes.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

"Me" things

A dear friend recently expressed concern over the fact that I don't do much "for me". The truth is, I often feel selfish for how much I do that is "me" stuff. I think sometimes that I ought to be spending more time doing things with my kids, or cleaning, but instead I can often times be found doing the things that I love.

The thing is, my "me" things aren't the same things other women do for themselves. I don't want to go out for a pedicure or a massage, or go out at night with girlfriends. I don't even really enjoy taking baths all that much.

The things I love are simple, and are often productive, and are usually things my family can get in on too. I truly love knitting - that's pretty obvious, I'd say. Throughout the morning, before the baby wakes up, I alternate 15 minutes of knitting with 15 minutes of housework. By the time Cora's up, I've knitted for an hour and cleaned for an hour - or more, if she's a sleepy head - and I feel good about it. I knit every so often through the day - a row here, a row there, or sometimes several rows if the kids let me. And I truly enjoy every minute of it. And of course there is scrapbooking, interior decorating stuff, and all the other crafts I do. And I recently bought a sketch pad and some colored pencils because I'd really like to take up drawing.

And camping - oh, camping. I bought a book today- The Best in Tent Camping: Colorado. I actually got goose bumps while I was reading through it. I really, really love camping. And so often, camping encompasses several other hobbies: wildflowers, photography, history, cooking, hiking, fishing - even shopping! It wouldn't be any fun without my family there to share it with me, and those are all things I love to do. I'd rather go hike through a forest than sit alone in a coffee shop or have a massage.

I told Andrew today, "A pedicure costs approximately $40 and provides maybe an hour of relaxation. Knitting a sweater costs about the same, and it provides all the relaxation a woman could possibly need for up to a month!"

On Andrew's weeks off, I don't hesitate to make him take over a bit with the kids - or at least help out. And he's more than willing to, thank goodness. A lot of times he's outside hanging out with us while I garden and pull weeds. He kills the bugs when we're camping. He does a ton when he's home, and that relieves a lot of the burden of two weeks without much help.

I know a few people who actually don't have hobbies. Can you imagine? I have new hobbies every day. Some are short lived - I learn and try and do and then I move on. Others are hobbies that stick with me forever, and even if I take a break from them, I always go back eventually. I am a perpetually busy person. It's just who i am, I guess. I've had dozens of people tell me that I make them tired just talking about what I did in one day. I have a lot of energy, I have a ton of interests, I have a brain constantly thinking about the next thing I'll make or create. I like it that way though, I really do.

I guess after all this, what I'm trying to say is that I really do a lot of things for myself. They aren't necessarily the typical things that most women thing of when they think of "me time", but they're the things I most want to do. If on the off-chance I have some time to myself without children around, I mope around the house pitifully because I don't quite know what to do with myself. My list of hobbies is endless, and each of them brings me happiness and joy and usually relaxation, even if it's not the typical kind.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

toads, peaches, and shoes

Look at him, isn't he cute?!

We won't talk too much about how I screamed when I first saw him... I just wasn't expecting something right underneath me to MOVE while I was weeding. He scared the heck outta me. But after that, we decided we could get along.

And look what's growing on our new peach tree:

Yes! There is a peach growing on our peach tree! There are two of them, actually. LOL Hey, I'm happy, at least there are a couple. I hope they turn out good so that we can enjoy them. I'm sure there will be more next year.


I copied Dani and did stepping stones with the girls. They're 8" stones, Chloe's gonna need one of the 12" ones next year! We've got a couple that we've made previously, but I like the footprint thing. Hopefully I'll remember to do it every year, we'll see. Chloe decorated hers, I did Cora's.


And in other news... Hubby bought me a pair of hiking boots. :o) I'm so excited. Up until now, the nicest pair of shoes I've ever owned is a pair of Adidas with purple stripes that I got when I was 17.

I'm sure you're dying to hear the story behind my Adidas, so I'm going to tell it to you.

I moved out of my parents' house when I was 17 years old. I had that whole "I can do it by myself, I don't need you" pride sort of thing going on. And I'm happy to say that I did do it, though it wasn't easy. Anyhow, at one point, I went to visit my dad at work and I was wearing these ratty old Wal-Mart brand sneakers. They had holes in them, were falling apart, and I'd had them since I was 13 years old. I skateboarded nearly everywhere, and you could tell by taking one look at my shoes. So anyway, he gave me $60 and told me to go buy myself a new pair of shoes. I had a hard time accepting the money, though I knew I wouldn't be able to afford a pair of shoes without it. I swallowed my pride and took the cash. I found the Adidas on sale for like $50 or something. I had never had such a nice pair of shoes, and I loved them tremendously. And in fact, almost 9 years later, I still wear them. It's sort of a fond memory of my dad, in a weird sort of way. I wonder if he even remembers that.

So anyway, yeah, I have a fancy new pair of hiking shoes. I'm so excited. I want to go hiking now.

Friday, May 16, 2008

How does your garden grow?

I'm less than thrilled with the progress my garden is making this year. I'm going to blame it on the soil - we tilled up some new soil, and didn't alter it at all. Hopefully next year we can add some bags of topsoil to it and things will go better.

My spinach is doing well though, and I have some radishes coming up. Last night we had both of those in our salad. Cora ate some spinach too, and loved it.

Chloe and I planted corn on a whim, mostly because she said she wanted to. I didn't think it would do much, and it's the only thing in the whole garden that we've planted and it's nearly all come up. There are only four rows, probably only enough for a few dinners, if that, but at least it's growing! The peas and beans aren't doing so well - not enough of either sprouted to really produce enough for us to plan on for meals. I do have a couple heads of lettuce, and one of my tomato plants has a ton of flowers on it, so we'll at least have salads to eat for awhile. I would like to get some cucumbers in in the last space I have available, because I think it would be fun to make pickles. We've eaten a few strawberries now, and I have a couple sitting on the counter for Chloe. I'm hoping they produce enough so that I can get a quart, and then make some strawberry freezer jam.

If nothing else though, it's kind of fun to go out each day and see what's new, and pulling weeds is sort of therapeutic, as long as there aren't bees and wasps and yellowjackets out there to torment me.

My flowers are doing splendidly. I need to take another picture of the front perennial/bulb bed - the difference just a few weeks makes is incredible! Andrew got me two big barrel-type pots and some clematis and morning glory for Mother's Day. I need to figure out where they'll go and get them planted this evening. Then everything will be all set, I think.

Here's a quick pic of the trouble-maker:

She is so funny. She's still not crawling, but it's amazing how well she gets around for not being able to crawl. She does this sort of inch-worm thing, or she scoots on her bottom. And she's already getting into everything! She emptied the trash can yesterday, and she clears my coffee table every time she gets close to it- she just pulls on the table runner and everything slides right off. Whenever she does or sees anything interesting, she makes an 'o' shape with her lips and says "ohhhh". It's so flippin' cute. On the computer yesterday, she created something like 150 desktop shortcuts to a video of herself. We looked at the screen and couldn't see anything but all the shortcuts. We we laughing hysterically. She's so funny!

She turned 9 months old yesterday. :::sigh::: How does the time go by so fast?

and last but not least, an FO pic:

Another soaker, the last size medium I'll make - we have three now. A couple half-balls of stash yarn, both lamb's pride worsted. It's hard to tell but it's sort of a teal color, and then the white. I stole the pattern for the faire isle from a pic on ravelry, it was pretty easy to figure out. I'm still learning when it comes to color knitting, but I think it looks alright.

I think I'm going to go ahead and knit up a swatch to get the gauge for an EZ faire isle yoke sweater. I don't know how far I'll get on it since it's almost summer and knitting a sweater in the summer is no fun, but I'm excited to at least get it started. :o)

'Tis all for now!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Homeschooling at Arches

I was thinking about this every so often as we went along on our trip. How much homeschooling actually got done in the three days we were at Arches National Park?

She got some reading in by reading some of the signs that pointed us to different sights. There was also a junior ranger activity book that she read a few words from. There were tons of vocabulary lessons, words like "cairn" and "erosion" and "pioneer". And speaking of pioneer, she had a couple of great history lessons - we saw the cabin the first white settlers lived in, and the nature walk we took with the ranger covered lots of info on American Indians of the area, what they ate, how they lived. As for science, she had lessons in geology, biology, entomology, botany. There was lots of information about sandstone, and the way all of these formations got there. We watched a video about it at the visitor center, and she actually took away a good amount of information. We learned about how the desert crust is actually alive and how it helps plants and animals survive. She actually got to pick up bones of small mice, rats, and such that were dropped by owls, right under one of the arches. (Thanks to the ranger for showing us that. It was rather gross, but fascinating.) We saw lizards, chipmunks, jackrabbit, even a snake. We saw several bugs, and learned at the visitor center how different bugs, shrimp, and other critters live in pot holes. She got to watch ants move a big chunk of something straight up a wall in our campsite, an awesome display of teamwork. She also got to see a black widow up close before we killed it. The ranger showed us lots of different edible plants, and Chloe totally picked up on some of those, including the Pepper plant and Indian rice grass. She learned how to identify quite a few different plants actually. She got plenty of socialization when she got to play with a little girl from Australia a few campsites down, and the interaction with the ranger I think would count as socialization too. And then there are the 'values' things she learned - teamwork, patience, taking care of the earth.

So much to learn! If she were to look at that stuff in a text book, she wouldn't take away half of what she got from actually seeing it. And we did it all in three days.

I love homeschool. :o)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Camping :o)

Before I start, let me warn you, there are 30 pictures on this post. Please don't hate me. I started with 175. I thought 30 seemed reasonable. If you have a slow internet connection, you probably shouldn't bother. They are, at least, resized though.


So! We're back from our camping trip. We had a wonderful time.

Arches National Park is in Moab, UT, only about two hours from home. I'd never been before and thought it would be a good place to go. I was right. :o)

Izzy helped navigate.

It was an easy drive. We left early since I'd read that campsites fill up fast. We arrived ten minutes after eight and got the last camp site that was available. We were lucky! We set up camp first thing so it would be all ready for us when we got back. Cora's never been camping. She did great!

And then we were off to see the sites. In no particular order:

Partition Arch

Tunnel Arch

Pine Tree Arch

Turret Arch

Landscape Arch - one of the most famous arches here, and one of the longest spans in the world.

Balanced Rock

On the way to Sand Dune Arch, through the slots.

Chillin' under Sand Dune Arch

Skyline Arch

Double Arch

Delicate Arch - the most famous arch in the world, Utah's unofficial state symbol (it's on EVERYTHING in Utah.) We only walked to the viewpoints. It was a three mile hike to go up to the arch, and that's a little risky with a little baby who gets bored fast sometimes.

She was happy most of the time though.

We went to the Windows arches for sunset on Tuesday night. It was gorgeous. The way those rocks seem to glow when the sun hits them just right is incredible. We sat right under the North Window and watched the sun go down. It was cold and windy, but it was still really beautiful.

Here's a picture of the girls in the tent on Monday night.

We were waiting out the rain. At some point, we decided it was a better idea to wait out the rain inside the local brewery while we ate dinner, instead of trying to cook something out in the yucky weather. It was a good idea. We were almost ready to give up and go home. Andrew and I were both cranky butts that night. But the rain quit while we were eating, so we decided to stick it out, and were so glad we did.

Random scenery shot. These rock formations are aptly called "fins".

After the third or fourth time we drove by this particular formation, I decided I wanted to stop to get a picture. If you could name this rock anything, what would you name it?

I think Phallus Rock would be appropriate, no?

Here's a shot of the Wolfe Cabin, named after the man who first settled in the area and lived here for 12 years.

Sleepyhead little girls. They slept until almost 9:00 the first morning! Cora slept right between Andrew and I all night, and stayed nice and toasty warm. Izzy slept on Chloe's 'bed', so they were snug too. It worked out perfectly.

"Mom, can we pleeeeeeeeeease burn marshmallows tonight?"

Before we left today we took a hike called "Park Avenue". There weren't any arches to see, but a primitive trail took us through all kinds of neat formations, balanced rocks, and tons of potholes. We looked and looked, but couldn't find any cool bugs in the potholes. It was a really nice hike though, probably my favorite of the trip.

The Three Gossips, Chloe's favorite formation, for whatever reason.

So that's it for camping pictures. If you actually made it this far, you're awesome. If not, well, I understand. Since I don't have a real homeschooling blog yet, I think I'll make homeschooling notes tomorrow - let me tell you, this was such an educational trip! I learned a lot. I think Chloe did too. We did a ranger hike Tuesday morning. The ranger took us up to the Windows Arches, and talked about what it would be like to live there 1000 years ago like the Indians did. We learned about edible plants, hunting, medicine, making clothing from Yucca leaves, making tools from animal bones and plants and arrowheads from churt rock. It was fascinating, and the ranger knew a lot. I think Chloe gained a ton from that walk.

Alright, I still have some unpacking to do before I head to bed tonight, I just wanted to get this pictures up now, before I slacked off and never posted them. Thanks for reading!