Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Shoe Boxes

We just got the 2011 Operation Christmas Child update, and James and I had to fight over who got to look at it first! :) Every year, they put awesome pictures and stories about the children receiving their shoe boxes and the impact that the program has. They also include pictures and stories of how the shoe boxes are transported. The highlights? Cartons of shoe boxes strapped to a yak, to be delivered in inner Mongolia. Cartons loaded precariously in a small canoe, being paddled into the Phillipine jungle. And my favorite...boxes dropped by helicopter to the remote islands of Madagascar, found only via smoke signal!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

This morning I had to take the truck in to get it re-inspected. For some odd reason, we still take it to a certain car dealership at which I used to work. It was the worst job ever, not because of the job itself, but the work environment. When I started there almost 9 years ago, everyone was miserable. Everyone hated their job. When I left, everyone told me I would be back. Yeah, right! But guess what, everyone who was miserable back then is still there, and they say it is even worse now. Someone I used to work with saw me in Service and brought me upstairs to see everyone. There were a few new faces, but mostly people I recognized. They all sit in the same little cubicles, filing the same paperwork, and probably complaining about the same things. I don't miss that at all!

P.S. Don't tell the Safe Parenting Police, but I took the kids wading in the creek today. I managed to find a pair of rubber boots for each kid (and myself!) and in we went. Tyler only fell in twice, and he doesn't appear to have hypothermia, so I think we are good to go.

Monday, February 27, 2012

I'm Tired Of School (And How We Got Here In The First Place)

Last week if officially hit me: I am sick of this semester already. I know, I know...he'll be done soon, and for that I am very grateful. I am just tired of Jeff being gone two nights a week, with homework in between. The kids have been getting upset when he leaves for work, or when he has school. They want their daddy, and they want him NOW! I keep reminding them, and myself, that it will be over soon. Yay! And when that day comes, I plan on throwing a big ol' par-tay. I will invite you, and the mailman, and the termite guy (even though we don't have one). I will even invite my brother's neighbor's cousin's half-sister's goats ex-owner, for crying out loud! A few days ago, I told the kids that I wanted to plan something special for Daddy since he was graduating. Katie suggested a cake. Of course! James suggested 'renting a clown.' I think that is right up Jeff's ally...ha! Seriously though, this has been a long time in coming.

And while I'm on the subject, wanna hear how Jeff ended up in school anyway? Did you know Jeff never even planned on going to college? He wanted to join the Air Force, but he was too tall, or maybe too of those. His plan B was to work. Jeff's high school career was less than stellar in the grade department and he never liked school. He scammed his way through the system and graduated when he was 16. He got credit for living at the farm, shooting prairie dogs, drinking Mountain Dew and eating Fireballs. No joke. He also took two periods of Teacher's Aid where he was in charge of the attendance records. There was one or two kids who he didn't get along with for whatever reason, and he would carefully erase their attendance mark here and there before scanning the card, then fill it in afterward. The offending student would get a phone call to their parents for their lack of attendance. That is how he earned enough credit to graduate early. He moved out at 16 and lived at the farm, where he was living when we met in 1998. I was going to college, and around that same time, his grandpa told him he should go to college and make something of himself. No one in his family, aunts, uncles, etc...went to college. He decided mostly to pacify his grandpa that he would apply, knowing that they would never accept him because of his GPA. Guess what? He got accepted. No problem, he thought. I'll still never be able to pay for it. Guess what? He got a full ride to pay for tuition, books AND living expenses. At that point, he ran out of excuses about college. The only problem was, he had to declare a major. He had no idea what he wanted to do. He picked up the book, flipped through and saw 'Computer Aided Drafting.' He thought it sounded interesting, from the short description provided. He wrote it down and went with it. Well, it turns out that he loved it, and was (is) very good at it. He was working many hours at the farm, and taking 19 credit hours per semester. He kicked some academic butt, bringing home almost all A's. There were times he wanted to quit, like when we took Algebra together. (He managed to avoid Algebra in high school...not sure how that's even possible) I wouldn't let him quit. I actually tutored him through that class, if you can believe that. It was the blind leading the blind. He soldiered on, in the mean time saving money for a laptop. Back in ye olden days, laptops were quite expensive. He wanted to have one so he could do his work at the farm and get ahead. He saved up $2400 and I remember going to Circuit City with him to buy the thing. It cost more than both our cars put together I think! It also cost more than our wedding, come to think of it. It wasn't long after that his grandpa came into town to visit. Thinking his grandpa would be proud, Jeff told him how he had saved for the laptop, and how he had been working hard and getting good grades. His grandpa looked at him, rather unimpressed, and said 'Well, I hope you don't end up being a bus driver.' That made smoke come out of my ears to say the least. But Jeff didn't give up. He finished up his Associate's Degree in CAD shortly before we got married. Once we moved here, we realized that a two-year degree was not going to cut the mustard and he needed to go for his Bachelor's degree in Engineering. The past ten years have been one class at a time, two or three classes a year, working toward the goal of a Bachelor's degree. So there you have it, the life and times of Jeff as a college student. I know God has been working from the beginning to put Jeff where he is today, but I am glad that this phase of that is almost over. We are all going to enjoy not having to share him with homework time anymore!

Friday, February 24, 2012

What A Morning (Complete With Random Pictures)

Katie recently asked if I had any cowboy boots that would fit her. Is the pope Catholic, as we say in our family?! Why, yes! Of course I have boots. James kindly offered up his spurs, which incidentally don't feel good when stepped on in the dark.

This is how I felt this morning, but a little less festive. Details following.

Handsome Cowboy riding his bucking tire bronco 

We went on an impromptu pretzel picnic at the greenbelt yesterday. Pretzels are a culinary delicacy in PA, especially with mustard. Tyler and I shared the Jalapeno mustard. That's my boy!

This morning when I went to do my farm chores (ha, ha! and by that I mean let out the chickens) I noticed that the pipe in the back yard (which ties in to the sewer) had signs of overflowing. That can't be good. I kept an eye on it and when my washer went to drain, water was pouring out of the pipe into my yard. That pretty much confirmed what I already knew: Houston! We have a problem! Jeff said to call the water people first (who, incidentally are Jeff's favorite people in the whole wide world...not!). I called them, and before I could tell her anything, she cut me off and took my address. She told me someone would come out and hung up. Um, hello? Are they coming out today, tomorrow, next Christmas? But all I heard was dial tone. I hoped for the best. Ten minutes later, no joke, I saw the water peeps cruisin' through the hood. That was fast. They checked whatever they check and the guy comes to my  door to inform me that it is not their system. I wanted to cry a little. I told him what was happening and he said 'oh, let me see if I can fix that for you. I have a tool in my truck for that.' Then I wanted to hug him. He went out to his truck, got the tool and went back and plunged the pipe. Voila! It was fixed. I think he should be cannonized or something...sainthood, here we come! He said something was dropped down the pipe to clog it up. Yesterday we had a whole passel of kids playing in the backyard and it seems that one of them must have taken the lid off and dropped something down the pipe. I am so glad it wasn't any worse, and now am going to post a guard of ninjas around the pipe so nothing else gets dropped in. :) I told Jeff that God works in ways we don't understand because he used the water people to save our bacon! (Jeff has a rocky relationship with the water people because they raise their prices and we are always over the quota, but that's a whole 'nother story.)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

What is wrong with me!?

OK, you don't actually have to answer that. I mean, there is only so much room in the comments. And alternative and catchy title for this post could be: Fermentation, I Just Can't Quit You. I am currently caring for a bowl of bubbling whole wheat levain that is supposed to turn into a lovely sourdough starter.  I do believe that sourdough might violate the pact I made with my friend Erin to STEP AWAY FROM THE FERMENTATION! A while back I tried to make sauerkraut. I ended up with sauerkraut hooch. A few months later, Erin tried fermented pickles and also ended up with something strange and 'off'. We decided that as intriguing as the whole idea was, we should stay away from it and keep each other from going back to the dark side. Now here I am trying to carefully follow the instructions to feed this growing thing on my counter, with the intention of eating it once it gets 'ripe' enough. Incidentally, Tyler got into the bubbling brew this morning and took a big spoonful thinking I had something special going in there. I don't think it was what he expected!

On a side note, this morning we had preschool here and ended up ditching the activities and herding the kids out into the sunshine. It was quite lovely! It is amazing how relatively low maintenance kids are when they have a friends to play with and a yard to play in.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Warm(ish) Weather = Picnic!

Random rain barrel is optional

Monday, February 20, 2012

Day Off

James has the day off and we have basically been piddling around doing random stuff. We assembled this tractor kit James got Tyler. It is broken already. We should have bonded it together with titanium or something so it would have held up to the rigors of the mini-beast. We played outside for quite a while. I built a cold frame. It almost works. I have to make a quick modification once the drill battery charges up, and I will be putting that baby in the garden! I think I am going to plant lettuce first and see how it goes. So far this morning, the kids have had breakfast, second breakfast, snack, and first lunch. Yesterday I made bread and that means that James asks for a sandwich every 4 minutes. That kid is a bread-aholic. Or maybe a jam-aholic. Or both. This afternoon I am hoping to paint the trim around my kitchen window. Jeff has still not warmed up to the color, but I love it! And since this post is going nowhere fast, I will sign off and go attempt to accomplish something. :)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Like Mother, Like Daughter

There are times that it kind of freaks me out how much Katie is like me. Yesterday, we saw a dead rabbit on the road. She was determined that everyone get to see it. On the way back, she told me that we needed to let James see it again. The kids saw vultures circling in the air, and Katie told me to 'hu-wee up!' She said she hoped that the vultures didn't get it before we got to see it again. Later, she told me 'Mom, I forgot to tell Grammy about the rabbit!' I'm sure she's heartbroken about that. But you see, she comes by it naturally. I am also morbidly interested in the inner workings of things. For the most part, guts don't freak me out. A little known fact is that while I was always the last one picked in gym class, I was a hot commodity in my anatomy class. I found the dissecting  part to be fascinating business and didn't mind doing it. The other students wanted me to be on their team so they didn't have to do the dirty work. There was this kid named Dennis who was the class clown. He was never particularly friendly with me, until we had to dissect sheep's eyeballs. He was so repulsed that he buddied up with me so I would do it. I decided to play a practical joke on him. Did you know that the lens (is that spelled right?) of an eye is remarkably hard and slippery? Well, I found that I could shoot it like a missile out of my rubber gloved hand. I shot the lens at Dennis and he FREAKED OUT!!! He's probably still in therapy today.

Friday, February 17, 2012

It's a Conspiracy!

When the kids are napping and I am caught up need a break from housework, I come upstairs to sew. I have been listening to Pandora, which I think is mostly awesome. You can tell it what type of songs or artists you like, and it will choose songs based on your input. It is nice, because I can listen to a random mix of people like Johnny Cash and Bob Marley and 80's dance music. There is only one problem, and that is that despite my having NOTHING related to hip-hop or whatever she is, they keep playing Rhianna every 4th or 5th song. I'm about ready to go postal! Its gotten so bad that when Jeff is home and it comes on, he cracks up because it happens so often. She can be pretty raunchy and I wish they would get the point and stop playing on my stations. I mean, after about 50 thumbs down, you'd think it would be obvious. It must be a conspiracy to get me to like her, but that ain't gonna happen!

On a side note, yesterday we got a check from H&R Block for a grand total of $2999.00. We figured out that the pesky little decimal point had been moved and instead of our $29.99 refund check, we hit the jackpot! Not really, as we were poised to call them to straighten it out when the UPS man showed up this morning. He had an URGENT MESSAGE sent overnight from our math-challenged peeps at H&R, stating that a mistake had been made and apparently multiple checks had been sent out in that amount. Oops! Who needs math anyway?

Thursday, February 16, 2012


  • James went to Sparks (AWANA) last night. He loved it! He didn't start at the beginning of the year because he was adjusting to Kindergarten and all. It is a late night, but he seemed to be fine this morning and he's currently taking a nap! Katie goes to Cubbies and she loves it! She is super excited that the 'Cubbie Carnibal' is coming up.
  • Jeff only has 2 weeks or so until his midterm. That was fast! He is slowly chipping away at his homework each night, and he 'officially' turned in his graduation request forms. I can't wait for the final approval.
  • I have been drawing some more. Katie said to me this morning, 'Mom, you bring that thing everywhere now.' (my sketchbook) I have been bringing it along in case I have the opportunity to draw. I have done a few things for the retreat, and last night I drew a picture of James while I was waiting for the kids at AWANA. I was in a zone I think, and trying to ignore the stampede of Stockade boys at church, when I look up to see them all standing around me staring at my drawing. Eek!
  • I'm happy to say that the chickens have been drama free for weeks now. The injured chicken now has a big scar on her back and the feathers never did grow back in, but they are all getting along swimmingly with no pecking. I think putting the bully chicken in lock-down for a week really did the trick! Its about time to order chicks again and I can't wait! 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Craziness With A Side Of Rant

In a moment of insanity, I decided I needed to paint my kitchen and living room. The ceiling had never been painted and Jeff hung crown molding a while ago and that, too, needed to be painted. Also, if you haven't heard, kids are kinda hard on stuff. The paint we put up 4 years ago is starting to look a little dismal. I decided that if I was going to go to the effort of doing the ceiling and crown molding and the chair rail, I should paint the rest while I was at it. Crazy, I know, but it would have had to be done soon anyway. I only took this on with the help of the Blessed Mother, the BM for short...ha, ha!!! aka my mom, who has entertained my children while I painted myself into a fume and fatigue induced stupor. Yesterday I got most of the kitchen knocked out. I chose this robin's egg blue meets aqua for the bottom, light blue/aqua for the top. Now Jeff has a thing about me painting. Mainly, he wants me to paint every surface in the house white. And I want to paint every surface in the house not-white. He has tolerated my adding color to the house, with varied approval ratings. This time, I was sure he would declare it 'alright,' which by Jeff standards is about as good as you can get. Instead, what did I get? Oh, yes, I got the 'Are you kidding me?! It looks like a kid's bedroom!' I hope it grows on him. I like it. It makes me want to lay down on my floor and take a nap. Or maybe that's the fumes and fatigue talking...

The kitchen so far
On a side rant note, Valentine's Day.....oh, my goodness! So, I decided to do some very cute non-candy Valentine's Day cards for James. I figured with 22 kids in his class, he would be coming home with too much candy as it is. Let me tell you, I was shocked when he came home with his bag o' loot! I would say probably a half to two thirds of the kids gave out goody bags full of candy and cheap toys. He got three big boxes of conversation hearts and a couple of those big candy sticks with the gumdrop candies attached. Only one other parent went the non-candy route, taping cool pencils to the cards. Seriously people, its basic math. If each kid gives out a card with only 1, ONE!, piece of candy on it, your kid will still come home with 22 pieces of candy!!! If each kid gives out 5 pieces, that's over a hundred pieces of candy! That's a little crazy if you ask me. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Crazy Dreams

This week hasn't been a stellar one in the sleep category for Jeff and I. On Tuesday I couldn't sleep for the longest time, then kept waking up. I dreamed that we were all at some old mining camp with the extended family and an odd assortment of friends from long ago. There was snow on the ground, and all the sudden our green pet duck came flying down the hill on a log and I went running after it. The duck sailed into the swamp below and I went after it. I got caught in some trees and was stuck. No one was in any hurry to rescue me. Jeff even looked at me and went back to socializing. Eventually they said that help was on the way, but it never came. In the meantime I looked down to see armadillos swimming underneath me and I was convinced they were as vicious as crocodiles. Finally I jumped to safety and that was all I remember. Its pretty crazy what the mind comes up with. Last night I had a dream that Jeff's dad showed up and wanted to be a part of his life again. That one woke me up right away. I'm hoping for a dream-free night tonight.

Thursday, February 09, 2012


There are times that I feel like I am going to explode from all the cuteness. There are also times I feel like I am going to explode from all the (non) cuteness, but that's another story. Here are a few things from the last few days that made me feel all sorts of warm and fuzzy:

  • Tyler waking up from his nap to see it snowing. He started yelling It 'nowing, Mama! It 'nowing, Mama! He climbed into the window and stood there, in his cute little dinosaur jammies, watching in wonder.
  • Katie collecting the eggs the last few days. She skips out there in her rubber boots and brings in the eggs. When she comes out of the shed, she carefully juggles her precious cargo so she can have an extra hand to close the latch. Then she walks in as fast as she can, because she knows she's not supposed to run. When she comes in, she announces which chicken laid each egg, and who that egg is for. She almost always says they are for 'Daddy and you.' 
  • James setting up an obstacle course in the backyard and running through it on his stick horse.
  • James turning around as he is walking into school to blow me a big, loud kiss. Its awesome, and probably won't last much longer.
  • James exclaiming over and over (quite loudly) in awe of the dinosaur exhibit at the Franklin Institute. He then declared it 'Just like on (Curious) George!'
  • Tyler begging to see the 'nake' that Daddy fed to the birdy. The kid loves worms (but calls them snakes). 

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Speaking of Art

So, my friend Trish left a comment on the previous post that got me thinking...or rather having disturbing flashbacks...of my art school days. We had to draw naked people, and a lot of them. Little known fact here, people: did you know that normal folks will not pose naked for an art class?! Shock!  $25 or $30 an hour is not enough to make people get nekkid in front of a room full of 19 year old art students. The type of people you get for models are probably fit into one of the following categories:
  • Live in their parents' basement and tell them they are going to 'work at the library'
  • Skeletal 60 year old men with the shakes who show up nursing the remains of a 2 liter bottle of Dr. Pepper (true story...and he was one of the regulars)
  • Artsy-type girls who smell of patchouli and have dreadlocks
  • People that can't hold a job anywhere else and need the $$
Here are a few other things you are just dying to know about our anatomy class models. (Is it sad I am writing about this or what? I should maybe get a life...) OK, so some models are divas. They are very strict about what poses they will do, and how long they will pose before taking a break. They even demand that the heat be turned up! And here I thought a birthday suit was rated down to -30 degrees. A lot of the models, disturbingly, would wander around and check out everyone's renditions of them. Is it just me, or is that just plain weird? I mean, what are they going to say 'Hey, I really like how you shaded that dimple in my left butt cheek!' or 'What?! I don't have lunch lady arms! Here, give me that eraser!' I always thought that was very, very odd. Another thing about the models: some would sit there and read, or stare off into space and never talk. Those are the ones you liked. Because its a lot easier to just focus on the academic drawing part when you aren't worried about someone telling you which bar they went to last night, or the latest book they are reading. If you look at the model as an object, it is a lot easier to manage. And the one thing I hoped for the most during my anatomy classes? Folds! Fat! Rolls! Because guess what? Rolls cover a multitude of...err...other things, things that I don't care to see, let alone draw. Yay for pleasantly plump models!

Monday, February 06, 2012

My Artsy Side

So I think you might know that I like to make stuff. Long ago, in a land far away, I went to school for Art. I spend glorious hours drawing and painting and developing photos in a dark room. (Very therapeutic by the way!) I even threw a few pots, although I never managed to turn out anything spectacular in that class. I went to school for art. And then I had kids. There is something about kids (maybe the noise? the constant needs?) that makes it difficult to get inspired and focus on a project. Sewing is one thing, because you can just sit down and sew a few seams here and there. Anyway, this part of me has been sad and neglected. Then I volunteered to do the Women's Retreat decorations. If you know me, you can laugh now. (Candi! ;) I HATE women's functions. Like, I reaaaaally hate them. They are not my thang, for numerous reasons. Anyhow, I must say that the women's functions at our new church have been quite enjoyable. They also have an 'in-house' retreat, which is the only reason I would go. Oh, that and I have to do the decorations. So, to get to the point (yes, I think I have one...) I am getting to bust out a wee bit of my artsy side and do some drawing! Nothing fancy, but it has been so much fun. Jeff thinks I am spending an inordinate amount of time when, and I quote, 'the computer could do the same thing.' Oh, sweet Jeffrey. He doesn't realize that a) I am having a blast, and b) this is where my OCD comes alive. I will always think there is a 'better' idea. Whatever I draw I will always look back on and say 'Oh, I should have done this,' or 'I don't like that.' Part of my issues. Nevertheless, it is fun, and I hope to find more excuses to use this side of me. 

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Guess What's Sitting On My Table?

A bird. In a Miller High Life box. Classy! I found a little chickadee in the yard yesterday that has an injured wing. I knew that James would be beside himself with excitement over the prospect of a bird to care for. A while back, I told him about how my cousin and I found three little barn swallow chicks in my Grandparents' barn in Minnesota. We kept them in a box and fed them worms and tried to nurse them back to health. Since then, James has mentioned a few times how he wants to find a bird like that. Sometimes he will even chase them around trying to catch one. All the kids were excited about the bird, and we made it a little box to hang out in. I happen to have the perfectly colorful Miller High Life box left from my thrift store score, so we used that. Last night, Tyler asked to pray and he asked that the 'little birdy fwy up in the sky!' So cute. Hopefully the bird is not too traumatized by the kids and recuperates. Katie is scared it will die, and I tried to explain that that was a possibility but that the bird has a lot of energy which is good. Too bad I have zero expertise in wild bird recuperation...although I did give it some chicken feed! :) P.S. This morning I heard some noise and thought Jeff was up. Then I forgot all about it. I came downstairs with the kids to find the bird hopping all over the kitchen floor. We had put it on top of the fridge overnight, and somehow it managed to escape the narrow crack in the box and get down from the fridge without being able to fly. Not sure how that happened...

And here is the reason I would like to fire my photographer! Whenever I ask Jeff to take a picture of something for the crafty blog, I get this! Amazon woman or midget. As if I need any more issues about myself! This time I made him promise to take normal pictures, and he just threw these in at the end. 

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Chicken Myths Busted

Since having chickens, I have learned that people have a lot of misconceptions about them. Here are a few:

  • Chickens have to have a rooster around to lay eggs. (No...only if you want fertilized eggs. Hens will lay eggs, regardless. They will just never hatch any chicks.)
  • Chickens lay multiple eggs a day. (No, laying an egg is a lot of work for a chicken. They lay an average of 5-6 eggs a week. Did you know that according to my reading, at any given time a chicken has multiple eggs in various stages of development in the chute? Interesting.)
  • All chickens lay brown eggs. The ones you buy at the store are bleached. ( varies by breed)
  • All chickens lay white eggs. The brown ones are dyed. (Yes, I wake up every morning and carefully dye each egg to an individual shade of brown or blue. Not!)
  • Chickens lay one egg a week. (see above)
  • And one of my you actually eat the eggs? Um, yes. They are eggs and they just so happened to be way more fresh than the ones you buy in the store. There is a lot less potential for contamination when they go straight from the nest box to the fridge. (P.S. Did you know that eggs are coated in 'bloom' which naturally protects them from bacteria entering the porous shell? Eggs can actually stay fresh without refrigeration because of the bloom, and apparently in Europe they don't even refrigerate their eggs. In the U.S., they scrub the bloom off and coat the eggs with some sort of oil or wax to replace the bloom.)

Friday, February 03, 2012

Was That A Compliment Or....??

Today I did my shopping-trip-on-steroids. You see, I try to do all my shopping once a month (except for milk and fruit). I make up a menu and a list, and go nuts. My saintly mother (que the angels singing) is kind enough to watch the midgets so I can get it done in less time with more sanity left at the end. So today, I hit Walmart, BJ's, the Amish Market, Redners and the thrift store....all in 3 hours. Wooo! I came home laden with various groceries, household supplies, and a set of plates I paid 8 cents each for at the thrift store. Seriously, I think paper plates are more than that. It seems that my dishes have taken a beating mostly due to the wild card we call Tyler. He is hard on everything, plates being no exception. Someday I will have a nice set of matching plates for people to eat off of, but for now, not so much. I picked the kids up from Mom's and headed home. My initial plan was to put all three of them down for quiet times/nap times, then unload. James offered to help, so I modified the plan. As it turns out, all the kids wanted to help. I decided that while it might be easier to do it myself, it was a good exercise in responsibility for them. They all tried to carry the heaviest things: a ten pound bag of onions, a case of baby wipes, etc. Then, Tyler took it upon himself to crawl in the back of the truck and help out. Next thing you know he flung a whole case of tomato sauce out the back. The box busted open and twelve cans of tomato sauce were rolling willy-nilly down the driveway. I was dodging around, trying to catch them all before they went in the road. I put them back in the box as Tyler flung a few other odds and ends out the back. I got him out, shut the truck, and I head a voice say "Its better than watching TV!" I turn to see my neighbor standing there, chuckling. He had been watching the whole time and said we were very entertaining. I'm going to assume that was a compliment.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Random...bla, bla, bla....

It seems this week has flown by and I haven't blogged much. We're still here. This morning I was scheduled to teach preschool, but Tyler decided to get up in the night and, uh...'get sick.' He woke up right as rain, but Katie took her turn and now she seems fine. I am realllllly hoping it was a fluke thing, and not a virus. In other news, James informed me that they are writing sentences in school. That made me very excited because soon he will be writing awesome phonetically spelled sentences for me to read. I am also quite happy to say that I think my love of reading has been passed on to the kids. James brings a stack of books with him whenever he needs 'to entertain myself.' He brings them to the bathroom, his quiet time, and in the car. Tyler has been bringing books to bed. I found a secret stash of missing books in Katie's room too. Good times! Yesterday we had art lessons and the weather was so nice that we modified things a bit. I have learned (slowly...) that it is better to let the kids play before we start. I used to have them sit down and do their project, then play, but they come over with such excitement about playing. Now, they play first and it seems to work better. It goes like clockwork: the boys find something, anything, that looks like a gun. They start shooting stuff. I remind them of the rules. The girls run around and hover over Tyler. Tyler is not amused. Emma runs around doing the potty dance. (EVERY WEEK!) I make her go to the bathroom. Now, all I have to do is look at her and say 'Emma!' and off she runs to the bathroom. Yesterday, she came out and must have said my name. I didn't hear her, and she said, a little louder 'Uh, Aunt Megan....hello!!!! I can't turn on the sink!' Oh, yeah, how can I forget I have to turn on the sink for her every week. She cracks me up. Anyway, after letting all six of them run around in the sunshine, I had them stand on the patio and I traced their shadow with chalk. Then they got to fill in the details, much like a project we did recently. They really had fun with it. After that, we came in and made sculptures out of Model Magic. For some reason, at the mention of 'sculptures' and 'clay' they got really excited. High times around here, I tell ya! Now that I've blathered on about nothing in particular, I think I'll hit post before I bore you all to death. Oh, too late? Sorry. ;)