Showing posts from July, 2017

A hike in the backyard... or finally, a day of rest

Yesterday we tried another church. This was as different from the first church that we tried as it could be. This one also has real possibilities for our family. More about that later, though. First I want to share our afternoon yesterday.
Yesterday felt like the first Sunday that we moved that was truly restful. We try to keep Sundays low-key and family oriented, but the first few after the move were anything but. There was just so much that had to be done, and the house wasn't in any way terribly relaxing. I think we have turned a corner. Well, as long as I don't look too hard at the back patio, that is. It is still very much a work in progress. 
So today, with the gorgeous weather, we decided to take a little hike. A hike I might add, that did not involve first getting in the car and driving for a while. My sense of being given a vacation house that I do not have to go home from continues. J. and I took all six younger people with us on our little adventure. (D. was restin…

Certain home environments

Sometimes I purposefully read books that I know I'll disagree with. It's good to read other ideas; to hear the other side of things. There are times when doing this will cause me to rethink some of my opinions. There are other times when doing this just makes me want to pull my hair out. It was the latter that occurred today.

I'm reading (if you can call it that, it is going soooo slowly) Standardized Childhood: The Political and Cultural Struggle Over Early Education by Bruce Fuller. It is really a look at the idea of universal preschool, written by a Professor of Education. And it's just so, so educational-ly.

When I am reading a book on education, one of the first things I do is to take a look at the index in back. It can tell you a lot. If I see out-of-the-mainstream ideas or proponents listed, I can assume that the author is open to something outside the status quo. If these terms and names appear no where... I'm can be pretty darn sure that anything outside w…

Friday bullets - July 28, 2017

Thankfully yesterday was a much less exciting day than the day before. I'm not sure we can manage that level of activity on a regular basis.

First, garden pictures... because I promised. These are all of the side garden which I spent all of Wednesday weeding. Ignore the ugly black soaker hose, which will be better when there is more growing to cover it up. I can only buy so many plants at a time.

I like to sit out here each morning (in one of those yellow chairs that in the second picture), and eat my breakfast and drink my coffee. It is lovely and quiet and peaceful. Well, at least until the children all slowly wander out to join me. Every morning, I am also joined by quite a host of small dragonflies. The blue ones are my favorites. It has been nearly a week now since I have missed either the turn to our street or the turn to our driveway. I had lobbied to put the golden lion (which moved with us) out where our drive meets the road, but was overwhelmingly voted down. It would have …

The 10 1/2 hour orthodontist appointment

Yesterday was a big day. K. had an orthodontist appointment. So as to avoid driving three hours total for a half hour appointment, I thought it would be fun to take people into town and see some friends. And then things kind of spiraled out of control.

We left as scheduled at 9 am. The appointment was for 11:15, and I knew it would take a while with morning rush hour traffic. The traffic as as bad (possibly worse) as I had thought it would be, but we made it to the appointment in good time. We made it in such good time, that I though I would just make a run through the Habitat ReStore which is just around the corner. My newest thought was that our current range is so bad, that it would be worth it to find an inexpensive used range at somewhere like the ReStore, and replace it for the interim before we can do something about the kitchen. Well, I did find something. A Kenmore duel fuel range, with a fifth burner in the center. It is the same size as our other range, and looked in fairly…

Fun in the garden

Since we had nothing on the calendar today and since it wasn't going to be blisteringly hot, I decided that doing some weeding in the garden would be a good use of time. Weeding the small vegetable garden went quickly and uneventfully. Then came the long garden which runs along the drive. I had already done some cleaning out the first week we were here, but as time passed, I became more and more aware of exactly how overgrown it was. There was ornamental grass which had run amok everywhere. Other exciting discoveries included some poison ivy in a place where I wasn't expecting it. (I'm now waiting to see if I am reactive to it... so far so good, and it is now out of that garden bed.) I also think I found some small beginnings of an invasive vine, which my best guess is called a mile a minute vine. I think I have pulled all of it out as well. 
It wasn't all flora discoveries today, there was also some fauna. At one point, I was cutting back grass, pull away a huge hand…

Project Zero... or inheriting other people's problems

This past weekend (why is it always on a weekend), L. happens to mention in passing that there is water dripping from the light fixture in the children's bathroom. What?! She was right. J. went poking around behind the knee wall on the third floor to look at the air conditioning unit, and discovered there was something wrong with the drain. So today, we got to meet a very nice HVAC guy, who came out and fixed it. It was no surprise when he said that all the heating and cooling systems were very old and ineffecient. I fear we are living on borrowed time in that department.

This wasn't exactly news, though. We were told at the inspection that these systems were old, and it was already on our radar. It costs money, but they are relatively easy to fix. The problem that we weren't expecting or anticipating was that we seem to be the source of every Japanese beetle in the country. At least it feels that way. I had noticed these beetles when we first moved in, and thought there s…

Some things just aren't funny, even if you call them a joke

I discovered over the weekend that earlier in the summer, a person who doesn't really know my family or children well was talking to one of my children, and 'joked' [I use this term very loosely] that this child's parents must not have been very happy with them, since they went back and got another one.

Just sit with that for a moment.

It is a very, very good thing that I am just now registering this, because had I discovered this in the moment, I would have done a full-on Maya DiMeo. If you have seen an episode of Speechless, then you will get the reference. If you haven't... well... Amazon may still have the pilot for free. You should watch it.) Pretty much, it would not have been a pretty sight. J. has told me that sometimes I wield words more like a weapon than is necessary (those are the posts which do not get published), and a weapon is pretty much what I feel like using. People do not hurt my children and not hear from me.

And my main point would be, some th…

Meet Olive

I know you were all thinking, "Boy, now that the move is over and everything is unpacked, things must be pretty dull in the Big Ugly Barn." Never fear. We don't really do dull around here, and always seem to have some little bit of craziness going on to keep all of you entertained. A. is responsible for this new little bit of excitement. She had been trolling Great Dane breeders for months, and eventually won over her father and me to getting one. Yesterday was the big pick-up day, so A. and P. drove to Indiana to bring home a puppy.

Meet Olive.

I'm kind of liking this way of having a puppy around. Olive is so cute and so little and so cuddly... and I don't have to do anything except enjoy her puppiness. A., on the other hand, was up the entire night because it seems that Olive is not yet terribly happy about her crate. J. and I slept very well.

Here are some more pictures from yesterday.

Considering her parents are both about 100 pounds, she is a tiny little thi…

Friday bullets, July 21, 2017

Here we are at Friday again.

We've had quite a few thunderstorms pass through this week. Poor Kenzie is missing his basement and pantry. He seems to have decided the first floor bathroom is the safest place in the house during storms, so that's where he huddles and shivers. No amount of coaxing can get him to leave. This means that some people are forced to share the bathroom with him when nature calls, and some people are none too thrilled about that.The 'broil' function on this rotten range we inherited does not seem to work. Does this surprise anyone? I'm not sure I will make it to the time we actually do the kitchen remodel with this [insert pejorative of choice here] piece of equipment. You truly cannot cook anything on it. I nearly ruined rice on it the other day. Rice is very, very difficult to ruin.D. has become rather proficient on using the riding mower.D. and TM informed me that if when we get horses, they are NOT mucking out the stalls. P. and I will hav…

Working towards automatic

My piano is now tuned. Even better, my new piano tuner was able to find and fix the squeak in the damper pedal. It had been annoying me for months. In theory, I could begin teaching again... if I had students. I have been diligent in passing out business cards and putting them on any bulletin boards I come across. It has been so long since I have been brand new in an area, I forget how many things we take for granted are dependent upon social capital. It just takes time. The piano tuner was one little step forward.

Another little step was getting P. riding again. She liked the trainer she rode with today, and the trainer was impressed with her skills, and had her jumping fences by the end of the lesson. (She has been jumping for quite some time, but I wasn't sure a new trainer would be having her do that right away.) It seems as though this could be a good fit.

But there are still so many other things that we realize we have to actually stop and figure out. Where do you take bags …

Tree climbers

Today L. and K. discovered that we have trees they can climb. There are dozens of trees in our yard, yet it has taken them nearly four weeks to feel comfortable enough to really start to explore. It's as if they didn't quite believe that all this land was really and truly ours, and that they could explore and play at will. 
So as I sipped coffee and ate my breakfast on the side porch, I had a little show of watching these two monkeys discover trees they could climb.

L. is in red at the top, and K. is in yellow coming up behind. They both went up and down multiple times. They are a little difficult to see, so here is a close-up.

I worked more in the room with no name, but am now at a point where I need more shelves before I can continue. J. stopped and got some shelves which can be mounted on the wall, so perhaps I will be back in business tomorrow. Tomorrow is also a big day, because I finally talked to a live person at one of the stables near us, and P. has a trial riding le…

The Big Wean... plus some marshmallows

We spent the day travelling to and from the neurologist. If you are wondering why I would continue to go to a neurologist that take nearly two hours to get to, I'll tell you. I love having a doctor who listens to me and takes me seriously. I told her about my hypothosis that R.'s seizures were not true seizures, but were psychogenic. Psychogenic being a fancy word for seizures brought on by mental stress and anxiety, not by a physical cause. As a result, we are going to continue to work on making R. feel safe, and at the same time, begin the wean off all the medicine she is currently taking. I am really, really hoping that being off so much seizure medicine will help her to function better cognitively. Really hoping.

The neurologist continues to be amazed by H. and R. Based on their EEG's and MRI's, they should be be having at minimum, daily seizures, and little strength or facility on their right sides. This is not the case for either of them. H. has such good functio…