Saturday, December 20, 2008


someone certainly has been slacking. Is anyone still out there? This house project has been more challenging than I anticipated. It is coming along fine with occasional little glitches that get corrected quickly enough and properly to boot. So what is my problem?

The constant cleaning of everything. Never knowing if we'll have electricity. The constant blowing of fuses. Having to reset the clocks multiple times daily. Shoveling a driveway with an enormous dumpster so I can park across the street and the workers can park in the yard. Not having any space that isn't toddler proof. When you are writing a weekly check for $15K it is really hard not to spend $2 on wasteful things like coffee or a quick bite. The inconsistent work schedules that disrupt our lives. Some crews start at 6:59am promptly. Others show up at 2pm and work until 7pm. Did I mention the constant cleaning? If I spend 45 minutes cleaning the kitchen so I can safely cook the I don't have 45 minutes to wash the (filthy, sticky, grimey) floors.

Blah. If you can't say anything nice don't say anything at all. Maybe that's why I've been so quiet.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

I need this holiday to be over. I've bought halloween candy twice now. And still I have nothing to give out to the trick or treaters tonight. I've must have eaten at least 300 pieces of candy in the past week. And each and every piece has to be sneaked (snuck?) past 4 kids and Cathy. It is hard work I tell you.

We had the annual pumpkin carving hell last night. Doesn't Finley look like she knows what she is doing? What? One year olds shouldn't be given knives? Pumpkin carving is hard and to expect kids to come out with these amazing creations is unfair. We got through it. In our lovely dining room with hanging quilts and no lighting. Yup- no lights! We have our outside skating/sledding floodlights in the kitchen now. Great ambience.

I also need this election to be over. How much more time can I spend singing along with these guys? Just another thing I've gotta sneak 'cause Logan knows bad language when he hears it!


Monday, October 27, 2008

Flat Logan and Flat Stacy

Logan had a Flat Stanley Project for school this year. Unlike his Felix (the bunny) who only went to Hawaii (Thanks for the adventures GUL and GAM!) this guy has to travel on his own for 7 months before making his way back home. Sadly, the first person we sent Flat Logan to dropped the ball and he has never been heard from since.

Never fear. We'll try again at home. This time both the older kids joined in and we have sent Flat Logan off to Australia and Flat Stacy (that would be Avery's) to California. We hope they have wonderful adventures, that we get at least a few postcards while they travel, and that they arrive back home safely sometime in the spring.

Bon Voyage!

ps- Logan's Flat Logan is wearing a t-shirt that says "Animy King", which translated means "Enemy King." I'm sure that matters!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

More Randomness

Halloween is approaching. We had two parties to attend yesterday and it went surprisingly well with 4 costumed kids and one adult. There tends to be more drama with costumes when belts don't fit and tiaras slid, etc. But my kids were pleasantly resilient with their costume difficulties. I like this photo of Meryl because I see Avery's face here. All four at the town's party, which is really geared for the 1-5 age group.

With a house that has no heat and no insulation we go outside to warm up. Here we are drawing in the sand, since markers, paper, etc are scarce at our pared down house.

Who says its cold in here? The babies are least affected by the cold. They sleep with me and are toasty warm at night. The older kids are cold in the mornings at breakfast but handle it well. Cathy and I (well, mostly me) are such wimps. I hate being all bundled up inside.

The house is coming along, slowly. All windows and doors are in their correct location. Rough plumbing is done and the inspection is on Monday. We have our vanities and sinks, lights for inside and out; we've even decided on fixtures for the bathroom. BUT the electrician will be here last Monday. No, he'll be here last Tuesday with a double crew. Wait, he will be here on Wednesday morning at 8. We really hope he'll show up this week! Notice the contractors sign in the photo, but don't take it as a form of endorsement!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Hard to believe it has only been 3 weeks we've been doing this project. Feels like a lifetime. There are reasons that most families of 6 don't live in a 200sf studio apt without no kitchen or bath. Living in the basement is hard, but I know it will be worthwhile in the end, as long I don't kill someone first. I want things to keep moving fast because it is cold living in an unheated, uninsulated plywood house. Here are the most recent changes in the house.

I love how this has opened up dining room so much. And the morning light is amazing!
We are still keeping busy with regular things too. Or at least trying.

Fishing at the pond in our woods. (No hooks, no bait, just a chunk of wood on the end. Much safer this way!)

Stopping for hugs in the meadow.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


New stairwell. Beauty, huh?

View from the stairs.

View from behind the dumpster.

House Update

This is a photo from the end of September.

Originally I had thought I might post a few photos each day so you could see the progress. Um..not gonna happen! I have to call the day a success if I've kept everyone alive and brushed my teeth at least once. Right now we have a shingled roof (with a big gap where the ridge vent goes, actual windows in the wholes where the windows will be in all but a few places. The floor plan is laid out in 2x4s and I have to admit I had the briefest thought about leaving it open and putting up a hoop at each end! The stairway work starts today, which means lots of dust and debris in the dining room and kitchen. All my kitchen supplies and food have been whittled down to 4 milk crates of stuff.

Maybe I shouldn't let Finley watch the workers so much. She's picking up their dressing habits!

Thursday, October 2, 2008


I spent a bit of time in Logan's classroom yesterday. In short, it was a tornado. Complete chaos, disorganization and lots of waiting around. And he has THE sought after teacher for 2nd grade. Ms. Frizzle if you will. Lots of fun, a room packed (and I mean packed) full of things. Yes, they are interesting things but I couldn't pay attention to what I was supposed to and I'm almost 40, not 8 years old. They get a list of spelling words every Monday with a test on Friday. But they don't work on the words once during the week. Metacognition. Labyrinth. Museum. Those are words for 2nd grade? He can barely read and they say he is doing fine but his spelling words don't match his reading level.

Avery has been telling us that they never have time to go to recess, have circle time, do share, etc. She says that they have to do things over and over because "the boys don't get it." So they practice lining up. They practice coming in from recess but don't actually do recess. Most days when she tells us what she did it is "Wait for the boys." And she came home in tears yesterday because she got in trouble. For grabbing her granola bar back from a kid who took it at snack.

I've decided that they are just managing large groups of children and any learning that takes place is incidental. But what do I do? Homeschool with the freaks and religious zealots? I could never unschool but I can imagine homeschooling. In theory. But I read my local homeschool yahoo groups and they are nuts! Opposed to the use of capitalization and punctuation? Yikes! I can't write well but I think I can get basic ideas across.

My kids aren't joiners so I can't just cram in some academic stuff in in the morning and then let them loose on activities in the afternoon which is what I would love to do. Logan says he likes school. But he also says he doesn't have enough time at school or at home. He wishes for more time to play star wars legos, spy on neighbors and play with friends. We both wish we had more time to just sit and read together- read Harry Potter, read the Star wars stuff, do projects and generally just be. Avery has found some books that she likes to read (BOB books) and that she likes to be read (Junie B. Jones sadly). She like to work on spelling words and gets the first ten of Logan's words each week and is doing pretty well.

This sums up my feelings about school right now. Big Sigh.

Monday, September 29, 2008

More Randomness

The house is coming along. We had serious water damage over the weekend and much frustration. Water was running in from 3 light fixtures and in every room except one. The basement had water pouring in from the duct work. Once they re-tarped the roof the leaking slowed and we had no more water coming in even with heavy rain and winds. The ceilings will now need to be replaced (which was partially in the plans but not to the extent now needed.) And the house has the lovely smell of wet plaster and insulation. Yum!

The two gable ends and the back wall are up. It towers over the home next to us which feels and looks weird.

On to the day to day stuff-

Meryl and Finley are learning to hug and kiss each other. Often it includes the smashing of heads and teeth on skin. Such fun.

Avery made this drawing in Logan's closet. It says "Milk Chocolate Dark Chocolate" I don't know where she gets it from. Honestly!

This has been such a hit.

The peppers and tomatillos are in. I have 3 plastic grocery bags full of tomatillos that I picked today and at least another 5 bags worth still growing on the 3 plants. (The 2 plants on the rental plot. The garden at home has one plant that has, maybe, 6 tiny tomatillos on it.) I'm not sure how to eat so many at one time. If I had the time I would make a ton of raw green salsa because I can eat that quickly. But making it is so time consuming. I may just make a huge batch of cooked green sauce to save for enchiladas over the coming winter.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Back yard view- No Roof. Day 1
End of Day 3. The "roof" is now the under flooring of the upstairs. It looks like a great big dance floor up there.
This is our living room ceiling where a guy fell through the first day.
This is our hallway ceiling. For 2 days it just looked out to sky.
We have about a googol of these in every room!

The rain is coming tomorrow so I'm getting buckets ready now.
I'll keep the babies in life jackets. Actually we are surviving but we've had our moments. We had a gas leak scare and it was 47 degrees in the house one morning which is cold if you won't wear pants (Logan and Avery). But with the floor now on we can be in the house safely, but noisily. The babies napped in their cribs this morning, which was good.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

And Some Days Are Like This

Our wishes for everyone- Peace, Love, Happiness and More Space.

Yes, we are the trailer trash neighbors. Kids run around dirty and half dressed. We drink our morning Schlitz on the steps. We train our kids in the fine art of tagging. But we have fun doing it.

(Don't worry Mom- We don't really drink out Schlitz on the steps. We keep it in a paper bag out back!)

The yard is full of lumber. The (crab)grass is on the way out. We have 4 more nights to sleep under our (rotting, leaky) roof. The attic is empty. The numbers, and thermometers and bird feeders are mostly removed. We've freecycled some of the shrubs.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Some Days Are Just Like That

Did I mention that we have 5 days to empty out attic, clear anything unneeded out of our house, empty the yard of plastic crap, clear the deck of everything, move the trampoline and find activities that will keep us out our house from 6:30 am until 4pm 5 days a week for 3 or so months?
Can you say PANIC? Oh yeah, and Finley isn't really enjoying her new found climbing skills. Up is a lot easier than down! Click to enlarge the photo and see what her face really looks like.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Gender Funneling

I've been accused of always dressing the babies like boys. Which is not true at all. I just try to dress them so they can move easily and be comfortable. So after one rather testy "Finley is so handsome today." comment from Cathy I went all out and dressed them in these silly get ups. So ridiculous.
Why babies shouldn't wear skirts.

I love this picture of Avery. She does care about how she appears to others. So when I can catch her moving she seems more like herself. I don't care that half her head was chopped off. It's nice to see her smile. Don't worry- She'll grow into that nose! ;)

Saturday, September 13, 2008


I'm not sure what happened to the color scheme. I'm sure Meryl was involved.

The rabbits are back. We hadn't seen any since the flooding until today.

Finley can now climb up on chairs. But can't get down.

Logan is playing little league.

Avery does talk in school. She even raises her hand. But she didn't call out when Mrs. didn't call her name. Even though Avery really wanted to tell her that we have the same fancy scissors at home.

We are all too tired. The neighborhood has been playing manhunt almost every night this week. (Basically it involves parents standing around with alcohol while the kids play a boy vs girl tag game over the span of several blocks. Lots of running, screaming and general mayhem. All in the dark.)

The babies have both been waking between 6 and 8 times a night. EACH!

Cathy flew the couch today from 4 am until 2pm. Boring.

We ate breakfast for all 3 meals today. Waffles for breakfast. Eggs for lunch. And blueberry pancakes with (local, yummy Honeypot) peaches on top. Can't get any better than that.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

One Hurdle Cleared.....

many more to come!

We got approval from the town for our building permit. Whew. We were concerned they might question the number of rooms being called bedrooms, which would require a new septic system. At about $20K to replace we are beyond thrilled.

Now I need to get my attic cleared out and remove any plants I want saved from the front before they get ruined in the lumber yard it is about to become. Anyone looking for a mature holly bush?

Also any advice/experience with a heating unit placed in the attic? Everyone I know is doing it but I've been reading that it is a big no-no due to moisture and creating ice dams.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

8 is Gr8!

Yes, we did celebrate in our own way.

The face of eight.

A round of mini golf.

Fine dining at the Grist Mill.

Okay. A quick gobble of pizza followed by vigorous running, wading, and climbing. A favorite activity here is searching for coins in the waterways.

Sometime I hand over the camera. Sometimes Meryl lets me see.

Home for ice cream cake.

And the most perfect gift of all. MONEY!!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

School is In!

Today Avery started kindergarten and Logan began 2nd Grade. Avery was very anxious and I wasn't sure how it would all work out. She didn't want to talk about it since she wasn't going to go at all, so no need to talk about it! But the morning prep went great! We were at the bus stop early (and it was late, so we waited for 50 minutes!)

Waiting, Waiting, Waiting. There are 17 kids at our stop.

This is Avery's 3rd grade friend. We had made plans for them to sit together. Avery started to get "wet eyes" when the bus came but she knew she just had to get on the bus and look for him. When she got home she said it really helped. She is willing to go back tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

If They Could Talk

What makes you think I dumped the apples?

Fudgicle? I'm not sure what you are talking about.

She gave it to me.

I don't have anything in my mouth! Really, nothing here.

I'm just turning down the speakers.

Well why did you put a chair on the table if you don't want me to climb up?

I'll thank you not to sit on my lap with that in your diaper.

Chair? Sit in what chair? I'm comfy, thanks.

It is all in the accessories.

Quick, I need a tissue! (Oh, wait, she can talk.)