Friday, September 22, 2017

Friday bullets, September 22, 17

I'm not sure how much I have for you from this week, but I'll give it try.

  • Re-entry from our vacation really threw us off our stride this week. It took us a good two days to settle back down into our groove. It was a great vacation, so I'm not sure why that is. Maybe it was spending time in a place that we've been going to for years and coming home to a place that still feels very new. I don't know.
  • I know everyone is saying it, but the weather is crazy. I do not enjoy low 90's in mid-September.
  • Olive is still growing. I know I mention this every week, but my goodness, it is extraordinary. Want to see? First, here is Olive's puppy picture from the breeder, right before A. went to pick her up.

She's so tiny, she fits right in the person's hand. Here is the picture A. took two days ago, copying this pose.

I don't know about you, but I find this hilarious. I particularly like Olive's expression in the second one.
  • J. is reading Anne of Green Gables (possibly one of my very favorite books ever) to the six younger people at bedtime. Anne has quickly become Y.'s favorite book character. She adores her. She will happily talk to me for a long, long time, extolling Anne's virtues. I love this more than a little bit.
  • G., L., and Y. have decided that their new favorite game to play is to run a school for their stuffed animals, to teach them (the animals) to read and to arithmetic, and I think at least one of them has thrown some science in there, too. I love this, mainly because they are creating workbooks for their animals which includes all the work they have each been recently doing in their own schoolbooks. You can't force this kind of reinforcement on a child. Then tonight, L. had an easy reader out, and was reading it to her teddy bear. She did more reading tonight in one go, than I can usually get of her when asking her to read to me. 
  • I discovered yesterday that poor H. has really been brooding all the past week about Grandpa and our good friend who recently died. She is still so very sad (and a little scared) about it all. I have a sneaking suspicion that this is at the root of the increased seizure activity we've been seeing over the same time period. I've known for a long time that extreme emotion triggers seizures in her. But, the silver lining is that she was able to tell me about her feelings and we were able to talk about them. That has not always been the case.
  • P. keeps sharing horses that are for sale or need a home. Dang fencing. We do have someone coming out tomorrow to take a look at our property and help us to figure out what should go where.
  • In my quest to figure out this fancy camera, and really learn how to use it, I bought a guide specifically for the brand of camera I have. And I suddenly remember why I avoid photography. I just cannot wrap my head around the terms and what they mean and what you do for them. F stops, exposure, noise... aaaahhhhh. Who can recommend a good book which really explains all these camera terms in a way that I can understand it? I don't know why I have such a hard time making sense of this stuff; I'm far from stupid. If I could just find the right book, it could make all the difference.
  • The vaguely mustardy-tan color walls in my bedroom are making me less and less happy. The idea of painting at this point in time also does fill me with joy. I will continue to try to ignore them. I'll focus instead on the fact that they are intact, which admittedly, is a big step ahead for us in terms of bedroom walls.
And that's it for today. Enjoy your Friday.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Children, dogs, and carpet

As you know we have a couple of dogs, and more than a couple of children, and an entire second floor of brand new carpet. I will admit to the combination making me a wee bit paranoid. Especially when, first thing in the morning, you hear your dog making a certain noise. A noise which says ugly, horrible things are soon going be spewed upon your new carpet. A noise which causes you to leap out of bed and across the room at a rate that would make a fire fighter proud.

This is how I was awoken yesterday morning. I hear the sound. I leap into action, dragging the dog into the bathroom and onto the easily cleanable laminate flooring. I think I have made it all in time only to look behind me and see that the spewing was actually happening as I was dragging. It's not pretty. In fact it's a two foot long swath of yellow ugliness on my new carpet. Bad words were not said because a small child happened to be in the room at the time. I know I need to do something about it soon, or all hope of ever getting it clean will be lost.

I send the small child down for supplies. In this case, Dawn dish soap, paper towels, a bowl, and a plastic bag. A month or so ago, there was a little incident with dripping blood, and the water and Dawn combination took it out. I had no idea if it would work on my current ugliness, but I thought I'd give it a try. I am happy to report that I think it will work. I can still see where it was, but after I vacuum and go over it one more time, it should be pretty unnoticeable.

It worked well enough that I decided to try it on the two large spots on the stairs which had been nagging at me. I have not idea what they were from. (ie I didn't know whether to blame an animal or a child.) But there these two hideous dark spots were, causing me agonies every time I saw them. What was I thinking putting down carpet that wasn't dark brown? Why did I think I could keep it clean? Why did we spend the money on it? Etc., etc.

Well, look. Here is what my little concoction did.

First, take a look at that ugly stain. Two steps were like that. Bleh.

Then after I rubbed and rubbed with my mixture. I think I will sleep better at night now.

For those who want the details, I put a good couple of tablespoons in a smallish bowl and filled it with water, stirring it around, I pretty heavily soaked a paper towel, and then just rubbed on the spot(s) until it was clean. The steps were pretty wet for quite a while. Other possibly pertinent details... the carpet is 100% nylon, and we put in a waterproof backing under the mat. But so far, this magic-like mixture has removed blood, dog vomit, and that dark mystery stain that I cannot even begin to imagine what it was.

My next goal? Figure out how to get Sharpie out of carpet. Yes, Sharpie. And after only a couple of weeks after it was installed. I'm pretty sure I cannot blame any of the animals for that.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Large families go to the movies

The younger people have been going through a spurt of watching all of our large family movies. You know the ones... Cheaper by the Dozen; Yours, Mine, and Ours (both old and new), that sort of thing. I have been amused by their reactions.

They have absolutely loved them. I would say it's because they enjoy watching movies about families that are similar to their own, but I'm not sure that's it. I think it's just because they're funny. I say that because, they have also mentioned more than once that we should have as many children as they do in those movies. Basic counting evidently needs to be added back into the curriculum, because at the time they were watching Cheaper by the Dozen, the one about the family with 12 children. Like ours. They all seemed surprised when I pointed out that movie family had the same number of people that ours does.

It just goes to show what I've been saying all along. Being a part of a large family really doesn't feel any different from being in a smaller one. It is when you are outside looking in, that it can feel a bit overwhelming. I've decided that it is because when you are not a part of it, you just don't know all the members that well. It's hard to keep names and faces straight, what age everyone is, what they like or don't like, whether you should try to talk to certain people when they are hungry or not. Twelve or fourteen people you are not entirely sure about feels like a lot more people than twelve or fourteen people you know really well.

I haven't been watching the movies with them, but will poke my head in every so often. These are the movies I adored when I was younger and dreamed of living in a larger family. I know them well. It is a bit different to view them as the mother of a dozen, though. Yesterday they were watching the old Yours, Mine, and Ours with Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda. It was the scene where Henry Fonda's children are meeting Lucille Ball for the first time and are none too happy about it. I happened to glance in because there are some funny bits. It wasn't the humor of the moment that I noticed, or even Henry Fonda's extremely well-stocked liquor supply. No, it was the four (FOUR!) ovens in the kitchen. He plays the widower with ten children. I can tell you, no one needs four ovens. Not even the parents of ten children. I currently have ten at home, and we are functioning pretty well with one oven. (Would I like a second one? Yes, I would, but except once or twice, we have managed just fine without one.) This was evidently a case of the set designer imagining what raising ten children must be like and creating the set to match that imagining. Four ovens? I wanted more close-ups of the kitchen to see what else had been put in there, but the movie wasn't cooperating.

As much as I enjoy these movies, they are all based on the assumption that large families are somehow intrinsically different from families with two or three children. It's just not the case. We're not different, we are just more. More laundry and more food, more voices, more relationships, more unique personalities, maybe a little more chaos, but certainly a lot more love.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Off-season travel

We got back last night from a long weekend out of town, up at J's aunt and uncle's place in Michigan. Unlike past years, when we've gone in July and had atrociously cold and wet weather, this year in September, we had terrific beach weather all four days. Go figure.

Our days at the beach house have a certain rhythm to them. Often after people wake up and find food, many of them head down to the beach if it is sunny.



Y. and TM

Olive, who liked to dig in the sand.

Kenzie, who did not like the water.

Olive and A.


L. and G.


H., with A. and P. in the background

TM and Y.



G. and J.

Then it is time to head back up to the house for lunch.

After lunch, we either spend some time resting...



Y., working to figure out Rummikub




K. and G.


Other days we go and do things, such as head down to the outlet...

TM, posing with a dead fish we found. No, I don't know why.

Looking for minnows.



Nearly everyone in the lake.

Or we head to our favorite children's museum. And we discovered another perk of this off-season-thing is that we had the museum virtually to ourselves.

D. and TM

TM, E., and L.


J. and H.


L. and G.

L. and Y.


P. and L.


G., with stuffed chicken

L. and A.




Followed by ice cream, naturally.


L., P., G., Y., and TM



It's then time to head home to make dinner.

And of course, the day ends with good food, good family, and a gorgeous sunset.

It's back to real life today... though it's going to be tough remembering that it's Tuesday.

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