Friday, October 30, 2009

Pumpkin shortage

Am I the only one who never heard about the nationwide pumpkin shortage this year? And am I the only one affected? Apparently. But despite the fact that the farm we normally buy from did not have pumpkins this year, we managed to still get a few. But because of having to hunt for a farm with pumpkins we got there much later in the day and by then the sky was overcast. Our pictures are mostly blurry. But the kids had fun and that's what counts, even if we don't have the photos to prove it.

I don't know if you can see it online, but way off in the top of this picture is a little blob. That's Zoe. When they got in the fields, they just took off running and there was no stopping them. Gotta love pumpkin farms!

Monday, October 26, 2009

They are all asleep.

Even Scott is asleep. I love the quiet of the house at night. I stay up late even when I'm tired because I just need the time of calm. I am not a morning person so by the time I get up and start moving and thinking clearly, the house is already loud and busy. But night is an easy time for me. I love the quiet, the air, the stars. I go and sometimes sit on the porch with the cats just to soak it in. And I can read. I hardly ever get to do it with the kids around.

I really have nothing interesting to say. Just that it's quiet and lovely here. I hope it is where you are as well.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Too, too much

Today has been too freaking busy. Zaven had the ACT. Caly and a friend went out with my mom. Zaven had an Upward Bound class after the ACT. Caly's friend came over to our house after they went out with my mom. Zoe and Quinn are both clingy because of getting over being sick. They are both also very loud. Not screaming and yelling loud. Just talking as if I'm mildly deaf. After them sitting in my lap and talking at that volume all day, I may become mildly deaf. Somehow it's 8 at night and we haven't had dinner or fed Caly's friend since she came. Caly just burned dinner. It's salvagable, but the house stinks now. Caly and her friend really want to have a sleepover. All the chores I asked Caly to do yesterday are still not done and I'm not willing to budge this time. Her friend can't spend the night. Today has already lasted too long. I want all the kids fed, the friend taken home, my kids in bed, and the house quiet and clean. Of course there's no chance of that last part. The place is a wreck. But I'm going to do my best to have the rest happen by 9.

Friday, October 23, 2009


Zoe is feeling better-ish today. Her fever went down and (with the help of medication) stayed down all night. She did throw up this morning, but I think it was because I gave her the medication with only juice, not with food. She's been fine ever since, although quite tired. She's just laid on the sofa most of the day and watched cartoons. Zaven's ear has cleared up so right now it's only Zoe and I who are still sick. I'm mostly better and I don't think it will be much longer before I'm well. As colds go, this one wasn't too bad.

Now I have to go buy juice. We are out and Quinn is certain that he'll perish from the lack of it.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Wait and see

So far, most of us are fine. Zaven's cold is mostly gone but he may have an ear infection. It doesn't hurt, but he says that he can't hear as well out of one ear. Hopefully decongestants will take care of it. Caly, Quinn, and I are doing well. Not perfect, but much better than yesterday or the day before. Zoe, however, has spiked a fever. 103.5

Now I know this will sound stupid, but I hate to take a sick kid to the doctor. They feel bad and tired and they want to be in bed, plus there are all those germs that they don't need exposed to when their immune system is already taxed, not to mention all the germs that they'd be spreading to other people in the waiting room. It just seems like a bad idea. Emergency rooms are even worse because of the crowded conditions and the long wait. Of course doctors don't do housecalls anymore. So the plan is this. We gave her a warm bath to help bring the fever down. Then we dosed her with Ibuprofen and juice and we're going to wait and see. So far the fever is down to 101.4 but I'd like to see it below 100 before I go to bed tonight. Then of course I'll be getting up every few hours to make sure it isn't going back up. If it goes back up that high, I'll be bringing her to the ER. I really hope it doesn't come to that. Our ER has a history of telling me to give my kids Ibuprofen and call the doctor in the morning, which is what I plan to do anyway. I can't tell you how annoyed I'll be if I get her out of bed and drive her into their germ-laden waiting room only to have them tell me to do what I'm already doing.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

It's only been a day since I posted...

...but it feels like a year. I don't think this is the swine flu. I'm pretty sure I already had that when it first made the news. This feels more like a regular old cold, not that those are fun. Zaven and Caly are past the worst of it. Zoe and Quinn don't seem to be having as hard of a time as their older brother and sister did. I, on the other hand, feel like hell. I hate being sick. I catch everything that comes around, though. Before I had allergy testing I caught things because the allergies weakened my immune system. Now I take allergy shots and I don't get sick as often as I did. But I have to get my shots in the doctor's office so I'm exposed to sick people every week. So even though I don't get sick as often as I did, I do get sick more often than most people. I'm also a big wimp when it comes to colds. I can handle childbirth and kidney stones and broken toes... but when I get sick I lay around and whine and feel bad for myself. It's not pretty. So yesterday and today I mostly just complained and moaned. I think I'm past the worst of it. I feel a lot better than I did 24 hours ago.

On an unrelated note, I noticed for the first time yesterday that the 'patient' (*read that as victim) in the game Operation is completely naked and the only reason you can't see his genitals is that his fat belly covers them. I've played this game for well over 3 decades and just now noticed. Behold my amazing powers of observation.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

And of course I am sick.

We all are. So much for the power of positive thinking.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Cheap Candy alert! and it's Fall Break all over again

Quick! CLICK HERE for $2 off coupons for 24 oz. or larger bags of Nestle candy and Wonka candy. There are two different coupons that can each be printed twice. That should cut a nice bite out of your Halloween budget.

Meanwhile, we had a bit of interesting news today. Week before last was Fall Break for our school. That's how Caly got to leave town for a week with my mom. Not all schools do Fall Break. It's basically just like Spring Break - a week off of school. But no one goes to Florida or the Carribean.

Last week was regular classes. This week is supposed to be regular classes, too. But I just got a phone call from the school. Classes have been cancelled the remainder of the week due to a large percentage of the students being sick. So we get to do Fall Break all over again. The problem is... Zaven and Caly were among the students who missed school due to being sick today. So far, they're not too sick. Just a low-grade fever and coughs and sniffles. But I imagine that we'll all get it before it's through. Not my idea of a vacation.

But I'm crossing my fingers and trying to think positive. We won't get sick. Of course not. That would be silly.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


This is the first week of really cold weather this year. Technically, it's not even "really cold" yet, but it's cold enough to have a fire in the wood-burning stove. Because we live in an old house, the change of seasons means a lot more to us than it does to most people. Our insullation is so-so, our heat is a wood-burning stove, and being the only heated building on an 86 acre farm, the change of season also means an invasion of all manner of living creatures. Typically, we get a few mice at this time of the year. We also get bugs.

Bugs are designed to lay eggs in the late summer and those eggs are genetically programmed to hatch if the temp drops low for a while and then comes back up. Nature's plan is that they would lay dormant for the winter and hatch in the spring. But because of how we heat our house, waiting until the nights are more than just a little chilly before bothering with putting in a fire, that hot/cold/hot thing also applies to our house. So things hatch. And this time, what hatched was not something like ladybugs. We had a nest of hornets in the attic apparently. And they hatched in Zaven's room. He got stung on the arm once. We attacked them with chemicals and killed what Scott estimated as a hundred. We moved Zaven and Caly downstairs for a few nights until we were sure they'd all been found and killed. But today Zoe disobeyed Scott and tried to sneak upstairs to play. She got stung on the sole of her foot. Ouch!

Bad as it is for her, it's no picnic for the rest of us. She is a major drama queen, so she's been laying in my bed whining about her foot for hours. It's not that I don't have sympathy. But I can't give her more medication yet or do anything for her. And she isn't hurting so bad that she can't be distracted from it. She's been out of bed to eat pizza, pet the cats, get crayons, tell me a joke, etc. Each time she is fine until she remembers that she's hurt. Then it's the end of the world all over. I'm not too sure how bad it really feels at this point. She's been known to cry for 20 minutes about a cut on her hand but not even be sure which hand is the injured one.

I'm hoping she'll get bored and fall asleep. We gave her benadryl as well as ibuprofen so she should be able to nap.

***edited to add that I was right. She quit whining completely as soon as Zaven and Caly got home and I told her they could decorate the porch for Halloween.


Every October we decorate our porch for Halloween. Part of it is just to celebrate the season and the joy of Halloween. But part of it is so that we can really get it clean. We are pack rats by nature and also we have two dogs and God-know-how-many cats. The porch gets cluttered and cobwebby and covered in mud, toys, boots, chalk, tools, and just about anything else you can think of. October is our month for getting it in order.

This afternoon we drug everything off the porch and swept it clean. Tomorrow we'll probably hose down the walls but we didn't get to that today. Instead, we started a fire in the fire pit and burned all the branches we lost from the trees in the last big storm, plus some of the left over wood scraps from the bunk beds. The kids loved the fire. Plus the air was crisp in that lovely October way.

Tomorrow, we'll actually wash the walls and scrub the concrete and then finally decorate the porch. Maybe Sunday we'll go get pumpkins.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

For a few months now, I've not been doing couponing at all. Money is tight so it seems wasteful to even go so far as buying the newspapers in order to get coupons for things I already have a huge supply of. I don't need more toothpaste, deodorant, or air freshener. They raised the price on our Sunday paper to $2, which means that most weeks the paper won't pay for itself based only on the grocery coupons.

But lately, supplies of a few things have been running low. Also, Christmas is coming so I'd like to stock up on a few things to give as gifts. So I've been thinking that I might start back up. A nice compromise for me is to print out coupons online. Some of our local stores take them now, and even though I'm paying for ink and paper, I'm not spending as much time on the process of finding what I need. I print them out only as I use them. All in all, it seems to be working. I will still occasionally buy the paper (when I know there's a high dollar coupon for something I actually need). But I'm not doing it every week. The thing to remember about all this is that you have to do what works for YOU, which isn't always the same thing as what works for everyone else.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My son the stunt man.

When Caly got home from her trip, she wanted to try out the new features of the bunk bed that we'd added while she was out of town. She hadn't seen the bucket so she immediately climbed up in the top bunk to pull something up. Quinn climbed up with her and then started trying to climb up on the rails so he could jump down on the mattress. Caly told he NO, and he started fussing and said, "He hit me! Quinn hit me!" He learned to say that a few months ago because when Zoe would say it, she'd get attention. So he told Caly that Quinn had hit him. She said, "Really?" as if it were a real possibility. And he proceeded to demonstrate. He threw a punch (closed fist) at his own chin, but stunt man style, just missing it... and yelled "Whoa!" and fell down on a pile of pillows as if it had really knocked him down. It was hillarious. He's such a ham.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Eric Carle

I have a fondness for The Very Hungry Caterpillar. When Quinn was born, he had several outfits with phrases from the book on them. He was so cute, and we all joked around about how, just like his shirts and the book said, he was always 'still hungry'. My boy had a BIG appetite and was always wanting to nurse. While Caly was on her vacation, she was able to go to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. So of course, she wanted to look at the first edition of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. She was surprised to find that the museum has three first editions. A first edition of the picture book as she knew it and a first edition of this hand-crafted version made of felts and fabrics with the text in both braille and printed words. She described how the colors were more muted but still there. The third first edition had no colors, pictures, or printed text at all. Instead, the pages had been embossed with different textures to make up the caterpillar and illustrations. She said the pages were huge, so that you'd be able to feel all the details of the story, and the text was all braille. She said she just wanted to hug Eric Carle when she saw it. I kind of want to, too.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Caly is home!

She had a great trip and really loved getting to know her family. We only see them every 4 or 5 years so she didn't have a good feel for who they were. It was really fun to hear her tell stories about them. I spend most summers living with my cousins when I was her age, so it was neat for me to hear how they'd changed or how they were just as I remember them. She really wants to keep the connection and visit them more often, or have them come and visit us. I'd like that too. It's hard being so far from the people you grew up with.

I'll try to post a pic or two once I download them from her camera. Hopefully they all came out. It's a new camera that we bought for a steal but I don't know how good of a picture it takes.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

I need to do some things.

Probably I should start with taking a shower, and then maybe follow that by dishes, laundry, cleaning up the toys that are everywhere, oh and sorting through all those stacks of paper covering all available surfaces might be a good idea.

But man am I ever feeling lazy today. I'm gonna chug some caffiene and take that shower and then see if I can work up the energy to be even vaguely productive. All I really want to do is sit at the computer and maybe eat a slice of pumpkin pie. We don't even have pie, though. Add shopping to the list.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The long lost pictures.

At long last, here are the pictures of the bunk beds we built. Like I said, it's really more of a loft bed. The bottom mattress will be on the floor.

We put in a pulley system for Zoe to bring toys up to the top bunk, so she doesn't have to carry things while climbing on the ladder.
The walls are made with dry erase board. In the top bunk there are dividers so it looks a lot like the panels in a comic book.

There's a hose that runs behind the bed from one corner of the top bunk to the opposite corner of the bottom bunk so they can whisper to each other.

We put green fabric on the ceiling of the bottom bunk so that Quinn wouldn't just be staring up at plywood. We also added a hook for a bucket to keep the markers in.

He also has a curtain that opens and closes so that he can have a private area. The fabric is sheer but with the lights on the outside it's hard for us to see in and easy for him to see out. We used the same type of fabric on the tent for Zoe, but in a lighter color to let in more light. The curtain fits behind the ladder when you pull it back.

We also left one wall off the bottom bunk so that he can see out the window and have a bit more light.

His dry erase board doesn't have dividers so it's perfect for bigger projects. So far that's mostly large scribbles but Zaven and Caly have both been adding drawings of their own. We're using washable markers that they clean up with windex on a cloth. That way there aren't fumes or the risk of them accidently ruining their blankets or clothes.

All in all, they really like it. It's more of a play area than a bed for Zoe, but Quinn sleeps in there quite nicely. I'm going to add lights, but I want something battery operated until I'm sure that Quinn is old enough to understand not to pull on the wires, bite them, etc. I also want LED because they use a lot less electricity and don't get hot. I actually bought a couple of those push-button ones that you stick on the wall, but Quinn won't quit taking them apart. He loves anything that lights up.

A busy, busy world

When I was a kid, I had a copy of Richard Scarry's Busy, Busy World. I loved that book. But who knew the title would be so apt for my life? Since I last posted, I've been running about a hundred errands and also going on a few road trips. Caly and my mom are on vacation together visiting my extended family in New England. Last weekend I drove them to the airport... in Nashville, TN, about a four and a half hour drive in the wrong direction. Why? Well, it was going to be a couple hundred dollars cheaper and also they could only get a direct flight from Nashville. All the other flights had 3 or 4 (or more) hour layovers. Since they're only going to be there for a week, they didn't want to spend two of those days stuck in an airport. So last weekend I drove them down to Nashville, got a room for the night, and had a day to myself to explore... only I was feeling kind of yucky and it was raining the whole time. I mostly just did a little shopping and a lot of slow driving towards home. But it was nice to be on my own. I've always enjoyed time alone. I think that's the one thing that's hard as a parent. Time alone is much more rare. I'll be driving back there on Saturday to pick them up. I'm looking forward to it, although this time I won't be spending the night. But it'll be nice to see them again. It's only been a few days but I miss Caly. And somehow, it's different for my mom to be half-way across the country instead of only an hour away. I don't see her often, but I know that I can. Right now, I can't. So I miss her too, even though I wouldn't actually have seen her during the week anyway.

In other news, my computer is in it's death throws. It's been in bad shape forever. In fact, a few months ago I bought all the parts for a new one and even assembled it. But the power source was defective so I had to send it back for a new one. I got the new one... and it's still sitting in the box. I want to do it when Quinn isn't around because I DON'T want him to know how to open the computer case, or even that it can be opened. On the other hand, I do want Zaven and Caly to be there. They love gadgets and making your own computer and hooking it up falls into the nirvana category for them. The problem with all that is that there never is time when they're home and not busy but Quinn isn't home. But things are coming to a head so I may have to break down and do it on my own. We'll see. I'm hoping I can make this one hang on long enough for me to move over all my important files (read, pictures of my kids) before it quits. I back it up every now and then, but I'm always afraid I missed something.

We also finished the bunk bed. It looks fabulous. Technically, it's a loft bed. We just have a second mattress under the loft. Right now the bottom mattress is a toddler sized one. Quinn is still in diapers so we're going to wait until he's dry all night before putting in the non-plastic-covered mattress. But other than that it's done. I even made a curtain for him and a tent to go on the top bunk just for an added precaution. Quinn is fearless and I'm certain he'd be happy to try to walk one of the railings or something like that. But with the tent on, there's no chance of that. He calls it, "Climbing the tree," when he goes up to the top bunk. Zoe has staked that out as her own, although she won't actually stay in it all night. We're going to add a few small LED lights for her up there so it won't be as scary. The problem is she likes to sleep with the light on if she's in a bed by herself, but Quinn can't fall asleep with a light on. Plus, if we leave the door to their room open then the light bothers me. But she'll adjust eventually. It may take a while, but it'll happen. I should be able to post the pictures tomorrow. We'll see if the computer cooperates.