Thursday, August 31, 2006

Nothin but Net

This could be convoluted, but maybe not:

As I was posting this comment on Jesse's blog, I was IM'd by one of my Online Mommies. I haven't talked with her in quite some time, and I've missed her terribly. I asked her how she was, and she told me. Then she quipped,

"I'd ask you how YOU guys are doing, but I'm afraid you'd tell me to go read your blog!!!!!!!!!!"

The irony of the whole mix has me chuckling.

So yes, Jesse, it is an issue in our modern mommy lives!


I have the same sort of group, as you know, and I just refer to them as the Online Mommies. My dh and I have met most of them. Some of them are actually RT friends we sucked into our circle. They're definitely real to us.

I do share your love / hate for the internet. It's been a blessing, but even when I want to turn it off for a week, it's how I pay (get!) my bills, hear from my Dad, get directions etc. It's like a silent phone for me.

It's back to that balance thing. You have to have a way to use your mind while you parent the little ones. The net allows that for a lot of us. My blog is away to capture these times that I will so easily forget, but also a way to keep my friends across the country. But it also allows me to complete sentences and share ideas, which even in a women's circle I am not always allowed to do. No interruptions. No hijacks. No mockery.

While it doesn't replace that cup of coffee, the internet lets you have the contact during the stretches of time when you just can't make the time to get away.

If you withold yourself online from your RT friends because you're "saving up" for RT meetings, then for me anyway, it's the same as witholding yourself in general. You can't not answer emails because "oh I might see them later anyway," when you can't be sure that you will. I know how I get when I am depressed, and when I struggle with that, I will avoid as many people as I can. I can still type in those times, dispassionately We have to meet each other where we are.

Good topic.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Crusty Land

Whatever the kids picked up at the campground is nasty, and a lot of my Mommy friends got it in their households, too. It presents as a bad cold, but their throats dry and clog in the night, so in the morning they sound like whooping cranes as they wake up. I know it hurts them, but hey are being little troopers.

That's pretty much what I am doing these days.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Yikes.

Well.

I took no pix. (well one, but it was of purple haired cuteness, nothing else)

But I had good food, and good friends.

And our kids did well on their first camping trip.

Onto the real camping............

ETA:

On the way there, we took 410 and all it's glorious views of the mountains. What tripped us out was that D was saying "Hey guys look! Wow! Puty!"

Yikes. Sentences. Gosh he's cute.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Camping week

We have a tent up in the backyard, largely just for fun, but also because we will be going on an MDC campout this weekend with a vatload of our homies. We thought it would be nice to let the kids adjust to it and see how they liked sleeping outside.

Monday night, I spent the night in the tent with G&N. We read books by lamplight and pretended we were back at the Renny Faire where the knights could protect us and we could smell the faire food. I was impressed by how swiftly the children went to sleep, and how they slept all night. Their mother, however, was more like the princess and the pea large pile of rocks.

Not the loamy, soft earth of my home, my backyard. It was like sleeping on a bumpy board, and the benefit to this experience was that I now know when we go camping for real I will have to have extra blankets support our sleeping bags. P-daddy(who had a where-is-Mommy? snuggler) and I didn't sleep well that night, and when 5AM Boobie Call came around, I was happy to answer. For the record, I heard D in the tent, in the backyard, through the closed window. So rest assured, when we say he is loud, we do not exagerrate.

Anyway, the big kids had a great time, slept through the night and were so happy with the experience that they went back in last night. Their parents, however, declined to join them. With the kids ensconced asleep in their tent, the baby tucked away in bed, P-daddy and I got down to business in the most appropriate ways parents do when they find themselves alone: we scrubbed an entire load of work clothes that had been spackled by an inkpen hidden into a shirt pocket. Despite arising at 5, I stayed up until 12.30 AM. I had just lain down my head when I heard N wailing from the backyard, through the open bedroom window.

I wandered out there to hear G groggilly soothing him back to sleep. After speaking with an incoherent, sleep-talking daughter for a moment, I went back to bed. At 3AM, P-daddy did the tent rounds, eventually bringing both children inside, while D never really recovered from the movement of the P-Daddy even after he returned to bed. (How will we ever get him out of our bed if he requires bookends to sleep?) So here we are, dawning on day two into the experiment. The parents are even more tired than they were yesterday, and the children are snoozing away quite happily, sleeping late in their own beds.

I am pretty happy with NO ONE sleeping in the tent tonight.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Renny Faire



If you want to find our family next August, this is where we will be:

Washington Renaissance Fantasy Faire



Click the title link for pix far superior to anything I could generate. I took the two larger kids, and left P-Daddy with Thumper at home. It was very unpleasant: hot, arid, noisy and dusty. We brought only water, peaches and some cheese puffs. But I couldn't get the kids to leave! They were in particular disturbed and fascinated by the fact that grownups dressed up in costumes. They see the adults in their life working working working, and I think they forget we like to play as well.

Next year we are totally camping. Did I mention it is a wee 2 minutes (if that) from our house?

N took this pic, which I think is the best of the day:



Is this the Dude who lives under the bridge? Yes, there was a troll bridge. And a machete-juggling fire eater. And real horses in real joust. Elves and fairies. Pirates. It was a trip. That's .... it was freaking awesome! Take Robin Hood, Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean and Braveheart, mix it all together and toss it onto 15 acres in the middle of the woods.

The whole theme to it (this is what kicks it for me, and if you know me....) is that this is a shire from the 1600s in SCOTLAND. So lots of kilts as well. People. For a diversion, it just doesn't get any better than that! There was the big giant Scottish clan gathering last month on the other side of the county, so we had many authentic, drunken Scots wandering about, amidst the fairies and the gypsies.

G learned how her precious Atocha coin was made, as they had a coin stamping booth. They showed the kids the blanks, and then rang the bell before the huge hammer fell. BAM! Out came the newly minted coin. G FREAKED OUT, wanting, craving, having to have one of those coins. (Mind you, she doesn't scream or rant or whine in these situations, in case you're picturing the kid from the mall last week. She just pleads with her eyes and tells me these things verbally) I reminded her that she got the last coin and that if we got a coin today, it would be for N. In the 6 year old all must be fair world, that made sense to her.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Hobbit Boy

I had to upload this one. Our child... truly a hobbit.


Speaking of hobbits, I found and uploaded my gardening journal from 2004. If you're mildly interested, you can go into the archives and see some pix there.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Got my C-family fix!


I only took pix of the toddler cuteness though.



I got to see Nikirj's new playtoy and she taught me something new to crave when she gave me a bag of kona-coated macadamia nuts. OMG. Those were tasty. They've been out of state for quite some time and it's been rough missing our buds! I was so happy to see them.

In other news,

G GOT PROMOTED TO LEVEL TWO IN SWIMMING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I did not see that coming. I haven't been expecting proficiency because I have been so focused on her just adjusting. Well, she's adjusted! She has such a different spirit when it comes to learning to swim now. She actually revels in it, and jumps right in (literally)! She's been begging to go to the next session when it starts in September, but we'll have to see. If I channel the money they charge for two kids attending this admittedly fabulous program into taking the whole family to open rec swim, we'd get a lot more swim time for everyone.

It's just a matter of deciding whether we can competently take it from here.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

harbor fairies




This was so very cool. We really had a nice "we live here!?" evening. We spent the morning painting fairy wings and Nick's new Tunic sash, but G decided to go all Martha Graham and not wear her wings or her shoes.

The kids totally stole and MADE the concert and it was fun for all of us.









Monday, August 14, 2006

Letters from Grandaddy

Unpacking the last memory box tonight, I found two letters from my Grandaddy, written in 1977. He never wrote in script, just in large, crisp, block print lettering. One read,

Dear ~L~,

I hope the tooth fairy comes tonight

Love,

Your Grandaddy

It was a letter from my Grandaddy to me, when I was G's age and preoccupied with exactly the same things that she is now. My head is spinning and my heart is aching. He never met my children, and I miss him so damned much.

P-Daddy and the rockin' out day

Something I left out of my big long post about the G-victory hike was that during the last half of it at least, I couldn't put D down. The D-meister is not a small child for his age. He's the one who looks skinny but is made out of something dense, like industrial grade rubber. Anyway, he was hot, scared, cranky and tired during the bushwhacking and the easiest thing to do (believe me at that point, it was) was to nurse him while I walked. This put an unbelievable strain on my back, as I had to hold him at waist level, while stepping over brush and fallen trees, crawling through brambles and dodging spider webs.

Fast forward to a sore Saturday, but an even more strained Sunday evening after working 8 hours on my feet cooking salmon for the masses. By Sunday night my back was crying, I wasn't moving too fast and I was kind of dreading Monday morning. I would have an extra baby during swimclass while Schnaygirl went to a very important appointment. Problem? Both toddler boys know and love the pool and for the first time for Schnaybaby, wouldn't be in it. We'd gone just Friday night, so I knew D would be a pain. The thought of restraining two active toddlers on a pool deck while the big ones attended class was not appealing. It was a close second in potential suckdom, though, to waiting out in the entrance to the pool building. The foyer is a 14 x 14 glass box with one long, wooden, slatted bench and a drink machine. It has two exterior doors, two doors into the locker rooms and one leading directly to the pool. NOT A TODDLER FRIENDLY PLACE.

Anyway, last night P-Daddy decided to stay home and he took the kids to swim while I stayed with the energy cousins. By the time he got home, Schnaygirl was back. He said "why don't you take my car to get an oil change...and then maybe go for coffee? I'll keep Schnaybaby here."

oh

my

god

Do you think he had to twist our arms?

It gets better. While we were gone, strolling GH waterfront and sampling tastiness of all sorts, P-Daddy was picking blackberries and making jam. He tired the kids out and even did the dishes. after he fed them all lunch.

He rocks. He really does.

Friday, August 11, 2006

The D-meister and the pool

We went a la familia to the open swim at the local pool tonight. G and N were showing off, relaxing and having fun with the instaplaymates there at open swim. It was nice having P-daddy participate in something that has been consuming so much of our time and energy. The water was also warm, which was a nice change from the South Kitsap pool N and I had visited a few weeks ago. That was cold!

The star of the evening for me, though, was little man D. He has not been in a pool since the day of his birth, and I thought from some of his behaviour this summer with the kiddie pools that he might not like it at all. I guess watching all the kids have fun without him for so long immured him to any fear.... he jumped in and went for it. Long after he was blue lipped and shivering, D was doing the count "uh TWO fer!" and jumping at me. We could get him to float sometimes, and he enjoyed being whirred around like a little motor boat, but his definite activity of choice was jumping in the pool.

Let's hope this is the kid who stays unafraid of the water! :)




Thursday, August 10, 2006

The path she knew

Let's just say : Score One for G.

Day 6 of vanlessness pinnacled with the news that we could pick up the van. Shnayfemme called Schnaydude to come get Schnayboy to take home, so that she could squeeze the rest of us into her sedan to go get said van. No one likes a vanless ~L~. She gets awfully squirrelly.

Anyway, while waiting for Schnaydude we took the kidlets for a little walk. Typically, by the time we got all the littles ready for the walk and started down the road to the Harry Potter Woods, Schnaydude was pulling up. Schnayboy convinced Schnaydude to join us so off we went. We entered the woods, had fun, then decided to go down this path. Then that one, and "hey what's down here?" The last time *I* had been on these paths we had C-family with us and it hadn't been cut back yet. Today was clear sailing and it was awesome. Our five minute walk was turning into a fifteen minute one, but we had until 6 PM to get the van so we were golden.

We ended up in a beautiful open gorge with a large fallen cedar crossing a rock bed stream. "I have GOT to go on that bridge!" I said, and with just that much provocation, Schnaydude (wearing Schnayboy on his shoulders) did a jig right on across. The rest of us followed, on and under, in whatever fashion seemed best to us at the time. My &@$# acrophobia nabbed me so I made nice cover of helping the baby on the low road over.

This is where the adults' good sense departed. Completely. Utterly. We decided to continue on into the uncharted, unbeaten woods rather than return to the path--with 4 kids, only one of whom was over 4. We meandered for a while, but soon the vegetation became much denser and as the forest closed in around us, the kids' imaginations took hold and they started scaring each other with stories. The toddlers, carried up and above the fern line, didn't much care until came the wailing of the ones who couldn't see anything at all but brush.

Schnaydude (Schnaydude the Tank to his coworkers) took point, stomping through the ferns and trying to find a path we just knew had to be thereand kept spouting encouraging, uplifting phrases for the increasingly more agitated children like "you think this is scary? you should have been in the jungle of Panama, trying to get through the brush with all the fire ants...."

"SCHNAYDUDE!!" Schnayfemme would bark, reminding the military veteran of his audience. That was the dance for the next hour as we crossed, oh, roughly a quarter of a mile of terrain. I would collapse in laughter at the ridiculousness of it all, because somewhere in the grownups' minds you would think it would be ok to turn back to the path. I think we were all mired in "WE STARTED THIS WE'RE GONNA FINISH IT."

Finally we broke the tree line, after a nasty last fight with blackberry vines. Poor G, who incidentally started all this, had been wearing shorts and flip flops. I was wearing shorts and birks, while the boys at least had on pants and sandals. Most of us were bleeding and battered, but we were FREEEEEEEEEEEEE. Cue the soaring victory music: It was a movie moment as we hauled ourselves into the back yard of a house I had never seen. As G stalked up the slope ranting about how "I am never doing that again!" Schnaydude asked, "Isn't this your neighborhood?"

"Uh, no, but that house is awesome!"

"Well, just avoid the guy with the shotgun sitting on the back porch, " Schnaydudey quipped artfully. Haha, right? N collapsed into a shrieking hysterical bundle on the ground, wailing in fear.

"Schnaydude!!!!" came the bark.

"Aw, it's ok Boy, you ain't in the South anymore!" More laughter from me as we headed up the slope into these people's back yard. We knew they were definitely home; cars in the yard, TV running. The house was in the center of what has to be a 15 acre wooded spread, complete with an apple orchard. It was a homestead though, a self built house. It would be perfect for my family. I was in awe. But I was also trespassing. The homeowners chose to ignore us, and we chose to beat it out down the driveway.

G instantly recognized where we were. "I know that apple tree!" shouted the 6 year old, "I have been here with Daddy!" The other grownups visibly doubted, and I admit to a certain wonder.... we were very far away from home, apple trees are apple trees and I know P-Daddy would not do what we had just done. We continued out the driveway when G saw the entrance to a service road, blocked by a small ledge of gravel. "This is it! I know I can get us home! I know it! I know THAT apple tree, I know this path and I slid down this slide, I know that house now from this side, I KNOW WHERE WE ARE!" G was dancing in intense conviction, and she knew she was going to have to prove her case. But Mom was on her side. She clearly knew where she was, so she was not very understanding when the adults wanted to continue out the driveway, which led us quite in the opposite direction.

"We just want to see what street we're on, honey," I tried to explain. Schnayfemme was the only one who made it to the end of the longest driveway in the history of the Western world, to find out it was 110th street. I did believe G, so I was weary of carrying toddler and encouraging N, who kept dropping and begging to be carried. G flat refused to go any further because she knew we were going in the wrong direction, so we had a clear hiking mutiny on the French front. Eventually, intel in hand, we headed down the path she knew.

It was just as beautiful in there as all the other paths in our Harry Potter woods. We could hear horses whinnying somewhere close, though we couldn't see them. Within 5 minutes we came upon........a beautiful, open gorge with a large, fallen cedar crossing a rock bed stream.

OHHHHHHH the dancing, the wiggling and the "I DID ITs!" that commenced. I have to tell you though, it was music to my ears. G got to truly lead, it was a good moment for her and she and I were both proud of her.

And no, we didn't get to go get the van.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Can't get ahead.

So the van was officially on fire.

The starter, which had been cranky, apparently wouldn't stop "starting" while I was driving that day. It caught fire and then baked itself so badly that I can't even change it out with a core charge. It took the wiring harness and the battery with it.

Then they said we have a "significant coolant leak" which pissed me off because in February, they replaced the radiator and the water pump, which is partly why we're mired in credit card hell. I told him he'd better have a very nice answer to me on that one because those parts pretty much are the coolant system, and I didn't expect to hear much more about it once they'd repaired that.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

ARRRRRRgggggggghhhhhhhhh

How do you explain scientific method to someone who just thinks science is "neato!"

Google actually has a search function I can respect, rather than just enjoy: http://scholar.google.com/ I have been using it heavily lately!

Hugh Sampson is a personal hero of this family.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Tagged for weirdness

Me weird? Nah.

I've been tagged by the Daily Crunchy to reveal 6 weird and interesting things about me:

(I am recycling one because if homeschooling is weird, then hey I can use it.)

1. I would be so grateful and happy if I could morph myself and my family into the world of LOST, monsters and all. I grew up in that climate and could totally build a bamboo house and live off the land.

2. I speak French without thinking about it sometimes, but would much rather be fluent in Spanish.

3. I have at least 12 years of photographs in various storage forms (boxes, sleeves from Costco developing and digital files) and still don't have framed pictures up in this house where we have lived for one year now.

4. I homeschool my children.

5. I worked as a nude model for artists while I was in college. 15 dollars an hour was big money then.

6. If I could make my living as a multimedia artist, I would be so much happier, but I am terrified to even show my work to even my closest friends. Instead, I have been a graphic designer / marketing professional, a social worker and a personal chef. In college, I edited two newspapers.

You're supposed to tag 6 more people, pass it on, so I am tagging:

NikiRJ, Rockingthistle, Pwincess Tewa, Danelle, Jesse and Danya

Friday, August 04, 2006

Why extended warranties are good

Let's just say, my van made magic smoke today. We were en route, just G and I, to her dr to get new epipen prescriptions. On the spit of land over Henderson Bay, the van started to really reek. I pulled over to investigate while smoke, not steam, billowed forth. The acrid smell really alarmed me so I ordered G to unbuckle and get to the door while I pulled into a makeshift parking space and cut the ignition. I got her to a safe distance and I checked out the situation.

Enter AAA, grateful-spirit calls to Schnaygirl who had the other two, and much bustle while we maneuvered van to shop and people to home.

So. No epipens for G, no happy pills for me.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Resolutions

The subject about which I wrote a horribly emotional post for today is being resolved. I have removed it temporarily because it was so caustic, and I have no wish to villify someone who may have had no control over events.

In a true mother's quandary, the neighborgirl was wholly responsible for what happened, and no responsible person can bring that sort of anger to bear towards a 7 year old girl.

My feelings are so hurt I can't even stand it

That damn allergy again.

We had a great day... really a great, shining, idyllic day! The kids got to their final swim class (on time) and finished wanting more. G is now jumping in just like her brother, and even submerging herself further than he is. She has pronounced "I am not afraid anymore!!" which is worth the money alone. That's all I wanted-- I think the rest will come on it's own. Even so, P-daddy and I are putting them both in for one more session because they asked, and because they will get the skills we can build on later.

We left there, drove around in the country burbs admiring amazing hidden neighborhoods. We snagged some snacks at a service station in Rosedale, (a pretty service station, can you imagine?), then went to the library. After a quick stop at the grocery, we came home.

The neighborkids of two months were playing in the backyard so mykids joined them. G came back in all excited because they were playing slip and slide, and she got to use her sporty new swimsuit. Well, GIRLIE GIRL new swimsuit. I got an hysterically funny email from a friend about housework and it contained a line that Neighborwife used last week, so I printed it out to take over to her.

As I rounded their back deck, I heard 7 yo Neighborgirl saying to G that
"Peanuts don't come in a shell anyway, silly!" My fun spirit evaporated as my stomach sunk to its current state. I came up the deck to find my kids watching Neighborgirl, Neighborboy and two young guests chowing on a gallon zip-loc bag of pistachios. For the uninitiated, G is allergic to tree nuts and peanuts. They're two different things entirely, and even while pistachio nut doesn't rate high on her list of allergens, it's produced and roasted on the same factory lines as the other treenuts that would send her into anaphylactic shock. Cross contamination is a very real issue.

This is their home, they have friends over and they can eat whatevery they damn well want. I am good with all that, truly accepting of it. All I asked of Neighborwife was that she keep my kid out of harm's way. Send her home. Just Send.Her.Home. I kind of gaped at the scene for about two seconds, before I said, "G, go home. Neighborgirl, where's your Mom?" On the way in, I found N's sandals in the doorway so I called him back to retrieve them. When I went in, Neighborwife was on the couch, clearly in hearing distance of all of it.

I tried to play it cool, I carried over the printout in my now-limp hand and gave it to her, kind of feebly making the joke I'd planned on delivery. Then I said "did you know they were eating nuts out there?" She said, "well yeah, but I thought she'd be ok if she didn't eat any." I said "She can't really be around them at all, so I sent her home." Neighborwife's friend came back into living room from the bathroom. Yay. An audience for the crazy neighbor show.

"Well, they'll be done in a minute I am sure, and they'll be back out there playing." She seemed genuinely puzzled, and I was feeling the fluttering of irrational anger coming in; I wanted out of there so bad. Internal monologue: Do not tank new neighbor relationship. G likes Neighborgirl. They're really cool. Behave. Be honest, but behave. Smile. External monologue:

"She's contact sensitive, so now that they've got nuts on them, and they'll be all slippin' and slidin' together, she will get coated too. It's ok that she goes home, it's cool, really." I beat it out of there making a lame joke about hanging the email on the bathroom mirror for Neighborman to see. I know I looked frazzled.

Why did I say that? It's not cool It's not cool It's not cool!!!!!! Do not fuck with my daughter's life. I am so pissed off and hurt. How hard is it to get the "no nuts for G" thing?? IT'S NOT ROCKETSCIENCE. I don't want Neighborwife thinking about it that hard. We live just next door. Send her home. Don't feed her. If you want to enjoy your nut snacks, please do but please send her home. It's no more alienating than having one kid standing there, waiting and watching while everyone else enjoys a snack she can't have.

So now I am here just stewing, spinning in my head. Second guessing everything I did. Frustrated with G for not going home, as she KNEW to do. I just posted today on MDC about how smart she is about the allergy. Well blow that all to hell. Never underestimate the power of peer pressure, even at age 6. Frustrated with Neighborgirl for being a smartass or a dumbass one, telling G peanuts don't have shells. WTFever. Frustrated with thie mother who just....what the hell was that??? I don'tknow what it was?? Was she stupid? Careless? Not paying any attention at all? She manages a restaurant! Her dh is a fireman! They supposedly know this stuff.

Angry with me for letting my guard down and trusting someone way too soon.

Scared shitless that we could have gotten that ambulance ride, real easy.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Sunflower House / Crop

We have sunflowers growing in three different spots in the yard. We'd lost half the sunflower house to slugs, so we had to replant. But those that lived are flowering now. Lots of sunflower seeds for us this autumn, we hope!