Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Indian Summer?

Bring it on! The weather is amazing today. Shorts and tee's all the way! Finley trying to steal some of Cheo's ice cream.

Finley, Cheo, Alden and Meryl

Maybe I need to get these girls some friends their own age? Nah....

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Nickled and Dimed and Fed Up!

My children attend public school. PUBLIC. As in Free for All. But it is so damn expensive. Just this week-

-Food Pantry Day- If you bring in at least 3 boxes of cereal you can wear face paint to school. That's 12 boxes of cereal! Just so my kids can paint ($3 for face paint!) their faces like everyone else.

-Pennies for Books- On Monday you bring in lots of pennies. On Tuesday you bring in lots of nickles, on Wednesday, dimes, Thursday quarters and on Friday, you see where this is going, bills only. The class that brings in the most money gets to have their photo taken with the Assistant Principal dressed like Pippi Longstocking. Yeah, well. Except she weighs about 300lbs, so not exactly Pippi Longstocking. On that one the kids had to use their own money, thank you very much.

On Saturday we skipped the school "carnival" where it was encouraged that each student buy tickets in advance. $100 per kid being the recommended amount so they can participate in many of the activities.

You can't opt out of the book fair because it takes place during the school day when the kids attend library! Heck- Didn't we just send in "pennies" to buy books for said library? Again, I refused and the kids had to use their birthday money.

Sadly, the Friday night Pasta Dinner sold out before I got tickets. Boo-hoo. This is a fundraiser for the 5th grade. Generous tips are appreciated for the servers since the meal *only* costs $7 per person. I've heard parents dropping $100 bills for their children to serve them over cooked pasta. Jeez, it's about time the kids did some of the work!

Instrument rental is about $250/year but you buy the music books and stand. I'm sure he'll need more appropriate clothing come performance time.

For the little girls, the parents take turns brining in snack. This week is Finley's turn. This is the grocery list I was given-

2 packs 1 gallon zip lock bags
2 packs small bowls
2 hand sanitzer (of which we sent some in at the begining of the school year!)
4 packs of forks
4 packs of spoons
100 5 oz cups (For this price we could buy a set of coringware plates, silverware, cloth napkins and real glasses. Wouldn't that be 'using our resources wisely?')
2 packs of paper napkins
2 loaves of bread
2 red peppers
2 cans pineapple
1 jar applesauce
1 bag oranges
2 boxes each of graham cracker, ritz crackers and teddy grahams (Are they even still around?)
4 cans of non-frozen juice concentrate
1 tub of raisins

Cha-ching! $$

Oh, and $15 for image making day, $12 for the field trip to the museum and another $15 please for classroom supplies. Don't forget to send in two pumpkins per child and extra apples please for using in painting. It drives me batty. And we aren't even talking about the hours spent volunteering for things that I always thought the teachers did. Photocopying, laminating, cutting and stapling, measuring beans and corn, shelving library books, cleaning rooms and organizing supplies. (I'm not bad mouthing the teachers here. They have their hands full too. Heck, they've got my kids!) I guess I should be happy I can do these things, but today, I'm just feeling broke. And overwhelmed.

And frustrated when I learned that a neighbor just asks the school to waive all her fees and got free tickets for the carnival. Isn't it great that the school will support her in her time of need. NO! Her family takes two all-inclusive vacations a year where she proudly says she pays the extra money for a nanny so they can take advantage of the free drinks. She shops at the hoity-toity grocery store in town. I shop one town over where it is much cheaper, but you schlep your own groceries to the car. Her vacation consists of packing her kids off and enjoying the warmth of the beaches. My vacations consist of camping with the mosquitoes at Storyland.

Bleh. I am feeling pretty disgusted with my town, my neighbor but mostly with my miserable attitude about it. Sigh.... Thanks for letting me vent.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Quiet House

While I know the level of noise and chaos in my house are pretty typical for a house with 4 kids (and friends) I still love the times when it is quiet enough I can notice things like this:

Finley is reading a Hanukkah book to her doll and dog. She gets the ideas correct "some put a penny in, some take a penny out" and "when it drops I win" and has the tune somewhat correct. It is nice to catch them they don't know I'm watching.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Family Weekend

It's not often that Cathy is home for a full weekend. This weekend she was home both Saturday and Sunday. We took full advantage of this by not doing a dang thing around the house. The chickens continue to have only small 6'x3' section of outdoor space to escape from the rain. (Well, they could also go in the coop of course!) The grass did get cut but the basement floor still needs to be bleached before it can be painted. The basement walls are framed and the "lovely" wood panelling has been cut to size but still need electrical outlets, heat vent, etc holes cut before it can be put up permanently.) So what did we do?

Well. Saturday was this.

Lots of hula hooping. Lots of good music. Lots of garlic foods, mostly local. I had a great spinach burrito with hot salsa and roasted garlic. We all tried garlic ice cream. We had popcorn that had been grown by a group of 4-h type kids. It was "safe" as Logan said, "from garlic."

Eyeing the wares.

I seemed to end up carrying these two an awful lot. Everyone but Finley got their face painted. Meryl was insistent she be spiderman. The people doing the face painting tried to talk her out of it (this was the sort of place where commercial cartoon characters are frowned upon. Just the fact that she *knew* about spiderman showed just how awful I was doing as a parent!) but she held her ground. I was quite pleased with her stubbornness in this situation.

We finished the day with everyone zoning out in the car with their non-organic, non-locally harvested, full of food coloring lollipops. No garlic in sight!

Sunday was this. First annual event in which I hope we can participate for years to come. Avery rode her bike to the event with the rest of us but participated in the event in my bike with the little girls. She then rode her bike home the event just fine. Go figure. The kids were just happy to have skipped going to the parish house for services.
The afternoon was Avery's soccer (Her team was slaughtered, but since they don't keep score it doesn't matter. She had a grand time but is getting frustrated that she isn't the best on the team. And she is not the best. The assistant coach has a kid who is far, far, far beyond where Avery is. I think it was better when Avery couldn't tell who the good kids were. But Avery is far better than most of the kids. This is a situation I've never been in as a parent. Usually I've got the pathetically miserable kid who doesn't have a clue. It's more fun to be good!), playing with neighborhood kids and an unexpected visit from my parents.

Life is good. It would be better if the chickens were dryer and my basement was done but it's okay. Plus I've got plans to eat some chicken with a lot of garlic in my near future.