Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Instead of Wordless Wednesday, I present you with Way Back When-esday

This was Halloween, three years ago. Take note of the beat-up couch and ugly drapes. Thankfully, we do not own either one anymore, nor do we live in the same house, so I'm all nostalgic now. Don't you love how thrilled Owen looks to be dressed as a mouse? Also, this was the last Halloween that Josie actually donned a costume and allowed me near her with a camera. She is going to kill me for posting this, which makes it all the more fun. Apparently, I'm a rebel at heart. Who knew?

Edited to add~ The more I look at this picture, the more it looks like Alex's arms are...weird. I have no idea what he was doing, but he does actually have forearms...and hands, even. This picture makes him look like he has flaming flippers coming out of his elbows. I have some mad photography skillz, y'all.

Monday, October 27, 2008

First, to answer the burning question from the comments to my last post: Why, if having two of my children in public school is causing me to have heart palpitations, do we have them there in the first place? Well, the short answer is that I had to go back to taking in daycare children. The high gas prices and the rising grocery bills were making things VERY difficult around here, and while I had complete confidence in my ability to homeschool multiple children while simutaneously taking care of several active toddlers (I am SO lying right now. Pardon me while I repent. Okay, I'm back.) I began to notice that the parents of those active toddlers? Did not seem to think that I could do the job. Every time I had an interview things would go great until I mentioned that I homeschooled, and then I would watch the light fade from their eyes and they would make a hasty retreat. So we prayed. And prayed some more. And then made the choice that for right now, until we can get past the financial situation that we were in, we would put Grace and Alex in school while they were still at the elementary level and there was less possibility of them being lured into a life of crime and cronic facebook addiction. I'm hoping to bring them back home again next year. If I survive this one.

And speaking of Grace and Alex's school, they had their annual fall festival Friday night and I was viciously attacked by a huge inflatable castle. It actually deflated twice, both times with my three youngest children inside, but the second time it deflated right on top of my head. Apparently, it kept coming unplugged, but I think that explanation is very fishy. Once is an accident, but twice? It just cannot be a coincidence. I think that someone was trying to do us in, or at the very least cause us to have an ongoing fear of inflatable bouncy things. And while the castle was making it rapid descent on top of my head and the heads of three of our precious offspring, do you think that my husband tried to help us? No. He just stood there and held the kids shoes. I was appalled at his lack of heroism. You would think that he was rendered helpless by laughter or something.

That's okay, though. I will get him back. The next time he lies down on the floor and the children attack him like they are crazed lions attacking a poor, defenseless caribou ( Do lions attack caribou? What exactly is a caribou? Did I just make that up? Sudenly, it sounds weird. Caribou! Probably, I'm spelling it wrong. Cariboo? Karibough?) I will not help him. I will let him lie there and be pummelled because they are convinced he is a jungle gym. And then maybe I will go get a deflated plastic swimming pool and throw it on his head. You know...just so he will be more sympathetic next time.

Oh dear. Revenge is wrong, isn't it? Sigh. Okay. Y'all just go read someone else's blog while I go repent. I'm getting really good at it.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The One Where You Find Out Just How Lazy I Really Am

When I mention to people that we homeschool Josie, I am usually met with wide eyes and a startled "OH!". This is usually followed by, "You are so brave! I could never do that! She's in HIGH SCHOOL!" I can only assume that these people have never heard of all of the curriculum choices out there for high-schoolers, or they would never be so amazed. This is me, after all. Homeschooling a high-schooler must be fairly simple, or I would be WAY more whiney.

By the time they are this far along, they are pretty much self-teaching. This is a typical day with Josie:

She rolls out of bed whenever she wakes up. (This part annoys her father to no end. We are working on it.) She wanders downstairs in search of breakfast, and I ask her, "Have you started your school work?"

She shakes her head no.

"Well...go do that." I tell her, and she wanders back upstairs with a bowl of cereal in her hand and a rather glazed look on her face.

Several hours go by.

She emerges from her room again and announces, "I read a chapter in my Literature and Economics books, and I got an eighty-seven in math and a ninety-five in Spanish." (She does part of her school work on the computer. The program even grades it for me. It's like I'm obsolete!)

Then she wanders off muttering something about designing a web page and writing some fan fiction.

"Okay!" I tell her. "Good job!"

And that's pretty much it. Occasionally, we have what I like to refer to as a "Math Emergency", in which case I send her to her father and they argue about it until they reach some conclusion that means her math gets done, and that's really all that matters to me. As long as she learns how to do it and I don't have to re-learn how to do it, I'm happy. So far, I have managed to keep my promise to myself to never do algebra or geometry again. It is a trauma that I do not care to re-live.

Contrast that day with a typical day with my two middle children, who are attending public school for the first time this year.

I get up at 6:30 and fix their lunches. They get up and eat breakfast, and then they brush their teeth and get dressed. This is followed by the morning panic of "Did you sign my agenda? What about my homework...did you see if I put it in my backpack? Help! I can't find my shoes! Oh, I need money for my field trip and then more money for lunch and candy for the fall festival that is next Friday and my library book and I think I have lost my jacket." Finally, I shove them out the door, only for them to return seven hours later with the afternoon panic of "I've got to write my spelling words three times each and read my book to you and do a math page and then tomorrow I have to remember to bring my song flute and our cookie dough fundraiser is almost over and we haven't sold nearly enough and then I have a book report due tomorrow that you have to help me with because I need to collect things related to the book to show the class when I make my presentation, and have I mentioned that they are selling yearbooks? I need money." Then we spend the rest of the evening drilling spelling words and trying to make a musical instrument out of common household items.

By the time we go to bed, I am exhausted.

When we homeschooled everyone, we got it done during the day and then the evenings were free. I am all about the free time. Now? I relax on weekends like regular people. Where is the fun in that?

I should make a t-shirt that reads: "Homeschooling: The Lazy Person's Alternative." I think it would bring scores of children home from public schools!

Probably not the image that we should project, but hey! It works for me.

Edited to add~ I feel compelled to say this...homeschooling is not completely a piece of cake. It's just that you can usually finish it and have actual time for your family at the end, whereas when the kiddos are in school there just never seems to be a moment left over, kwim? I don't even want to do extra-curriculars any more, because I can't figure out how to do that and still breath and go to the bathroom. Life was just...smoother when we homeschooled all of them. And there you have it. As with anything else, your mileage may vary.

Monday, October 20, 2008

It is forty-eight degrees here this morning, and my little daycare boy will not keep his clothes on. When it was August and so hot that I threatened to die on a daily basis, he remained clothed. Something is definitely odd about this child. No wonder my children love him so.

(While I typed the above sentences, Owen stood beside me and told me a riveting story about how he had some talking marshmallows that kept escaping from their cages. If my posts ever appear choppy and weirdly worded, it is his fault. Remind me to ask him later if he ate the marshmallows after they escaped, because I don't want to find them stuck in my tennis shoes like last time.)

Anyway, it is cold and it is Monday and I did not sleep more than maybe three minutes total last night and my husband just called and informed me that he is hanging from a window many stories up in the air in downtown Atlanta at this very moment doing something for his job (he is a sheetmetal worker) that I do not understand. All I heard was the phrase "hanging from a window" and now I am all freaked out. Why couldn't he have been an accountant like I told him to? No one ever listens to me, and look where it gets them. My wisdom is wasted.

In other scary news, Halloween costumes have been purchased at our house, and we are going to have a cheerleader, a racecar driver, and Thomas the Train roaming the streets come October 31st. Hmmm. That wasn't very scary, was it? That's actually on purpose, because I really don't want to celebrate the more upsetting side of the holiday. I choose instead to focus on the candy. That's what it's all about anyway. I should just dress them up as giant Hershey Kisses every year and be done with it.

Oh, for goodness sake. I give up. Not that this entry had any kind of a theme or anything, and it doesn't appear that I'm going anywhere with my random sleep-deprived babbling, but Owen is back now to tell me that the Great Marshmallow Revolt of 2008 is taking place in my kitchen and I need to join him in his quest to protect our home. He has taken two marshmallows and broken them in half, sticking the sticky sides to his head in an apparent attempt to illustrate the horror of the attack. I tried telling him to be a man and protect us from the onslaught, but he just looked at me like I had lost my mind. I suppose I must go to battle.

Is snack time like this at your house, or is just us?

Never mind. I don't think I want to know.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Yesterday the daycare children (of which I presently only have two) came in with ziplock bags of cocoa puffs for breakfast. Owen took one look and decided that he, too, would like to partake of such a delectible meal, and who am I to argue with peer presure? Since I own both ziplock bags AND cocoa puffs, I quickly made him up a bag and mentally high-fived myself for getting out of having to actually cook anything. I didn't even have to use dishes! Or utensils! My joy, it was overflowing.

As soon as I handed him the bag, he plopped himself down on the floor facing my kitchen. Immediately, the daycare children sat down beside him, and they all three commenced crunching their cereal while staring at some point on my kitchen wall to the left of my dishwasher but slightly avove the doorknob of the pantry. I looked too, but didn't see anything but the wall. So I sat down beside them and stared for a minute, wondering what in the world we were looking at. Finally, I asked them.

"Mom," Owen replied, looking at me as if I were a very slow creature that he felt obligated to tolerate, "We're watching a movie. This is our popcorn."

Of course.

They proceeded to sit that way for FIFTEEN MINUTES, y'all. Fifteen minutes while I signed on and put up my Wordless Wednesday picture (and shockingly, you were all correct about the dry-erase marker culprit. However did you know?) and my living room was totally quiet except for the crunching of cocoa puffs and the sipping of sippy cups. I was flabergasted. But the experience left me with one persistent thought, one nagging idea that just won't let go of me no matter how much I try to ignore it. I don't think I'm strong enough to withstand the pressure.

I've just got to get me a bowl of that cereal.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I am beginning to wonder if Owen has lost touch with reality.

The other day he came out of the bathroom looking concerned. Knowing that there are many alarming things that could happen when a four-year-old is alone in a bathroom, I asked him what was wrong. And this is what he told me:

"See, there was this bug in there. A really BIG bug. And it crawled all over the floor, and then up the sink, and then it TURNED ON THE WATER! But it just turned on the hot water, and I knew that it would burn my hands so I had to turn some cold water on, too. Then the bug was mad. I finally just left it in there because it was freaking me out."

"Well...yes. That would freak me out, too." I assured him, "But...Owen...was there REALLY a bug? Because we kill bugs in this house. That's why God made shoes."

"Yes! But it was REALLY BIG! You can't kill it with a shoe. You would have to kill it with a truck."

Thinking at this point that one of those horrid flying roach bugs had gotten into my house again, (if you have never seen them, they could seriously carry away a small child. Ben once stood on one for a full minute, and when he moved his foot, it casually walked away without even a dent.) I ran to the bathroom armed with one of Ben's steel-toed boots. I slowly opened the door, intent on erradicating my house of this horror, and saw...nothing. Knowing that this is my little half-bath with very few places that a roach of that caliber could hide, I was beginning to think that I was being played. I stuck my head out of the door.

"Owen...are you POSSITIVE that you saw a big bug in here? Was it maybe your imagination? Because, sweetie...if there really is a giant roach bug in here, you can forget dinner because I will set up camp in this bathroom until I squash that sucker flat, and you know how crazy Mama gets over these things. So please tell me the truth, because pb&j might not have to happen if you are just delusional."

(Notice how I have just overlooked the fact that the child told me that a bug turned on the hot water? That part did not even register with me until later. I heard the words BIG BUG and everything else just went right over my head.)

"Well...maybe it wan't that big. Maybe it was just like an ant. Or a bee. Or a fly! I hate flies. Or maybe I was just thinking about a fly, because of that bug you ate the other day. Or maybe it was a giant baby! There's a giant baby that follows me around and tries to eat me....."

At that point, I escaped to the place in my head where I go when my children babble incoherently. But first, I had one brief moment of clarity.

Owen is probably going to be a writer. Or an artist. Or some other such thing that requires endless imagination. And I will be one very proud Mama.

If he doesn't give me a heart attack first.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Nature's campaign against me continues.

This morning while I (say it with me, people) was waiting on the porch for my daycare kids, I was once again attacked by a flying creature. Seriously, from now on I am waiting inside. The outside is dead to me. I mean it this time.

There I was, standing in my bare feet and wondering how exactly I had forgotten to eat breakfast, because honestly y'all, I don't forget to eat. Eating ranks right up there on my list of favorite things to do, right under reading but slightly above watching HGTV. So I was mystified by this, and apparently I had my mouth open in wonderment or some other such appropriate emotion, when an insect flew RIGHT IN MY MOUTH. I started choking and sputtering, and tears were streaming down my face either in desperation because I was choking on a bug or horror that I was choking on a bug, I can't be sure which.

This, of course, is when my daycare family rounded the corner and proceeded up the path to my door. They were greeted by my tear-stained face and frantic coughing fit, and I'm surprised that the mother didn't take her children and run because by all appearances I was dying. Would you leave your children with a dying woman? I am not entirely sure about her maternal instinct right about now. And then, internet...and THEN, when I calmed down enough to explain my plight to the woman, do you think that she offered me any sympathy whatsoever? Do you think that she gave me her shoulder to cry on while I regained my composure and accepted the fact that I had just EATEN AN INSECT FOR BREAKFAST??? No. Do you know what she did?

She laughed at me.

And not just a little laugh, either. She was doubled over on my front porch, in complete hysteria. I am grievously offended.

This is the woman that showed up at my house the other day in her bare feet because she had left her house and driven all the way to mine, and did not notice until she got out of the car that she wasn't wearing any shoes. It was raining, people. How in the world did she not notice that she was shoeless while she was loading up two toddlers into her car, much less while she was driving? And did I laugh at her? Well, yes, but only after she left. The point is, I was nice and did not tell her that I thought that she was kind of dingy, and only laughed behind her back when I called my sister-in-law to tell her about it. Why could she not give me that same dignity? I fear I am scarred for life.

But as for the insects of the world, I'm never trusting them again. If, in the future, I do venture outside my front door, I will keep my mouth firmly closed. I will not even TALK outside again, and I may not even breath. Which I guess will limit my outside time somewhat anyway. But at least I will be safe from suicidal bugs.

Honestly, I was not THAT hungry.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

More birthday pictures, because I have a kidney stone and don't want to bore you with news of how I want to rip my kidney out of my body and throw it into the nearest landfill. So instead, take note of my poor photography skills! See how the streamer is attacking Grace's head? And how I have cut off all of Alex's body except for his arm and now in the future we will only know what his arm looked like? The talent, it just oozes from my pores.

Here is Owen, showing you that he has broken his front tooth. Isn't it lovely? And then, as soon as this picture was taken, he fell over backwards as if in a dead faint. No one knows why.

And look! Grace and her headless cousin! At least I can blame this picture on Josie.

Last but not least, here is Ben's contribution. He wanted to get all creative and artsy. "LOOK!" he insisted, "It's all old-looking and stuff!" And that would be true, except that Grace and "Bruce" are playing with a Nintendo DS, and somehow I don't think that those were around when the world was young. Sigh.
Oh well. I hope you are all impressed with the mad skillz we've got going on over here. I'm off to await my kidney transplant.

Monday, October 6, 2008 computer's gone crazy and the interenet connection keeps leaving me. But, I had to post photographic proof that I actually have an older daughter, because she usually runs away from my camera screaming. This is Josie holding my nephew, "Nemo". It was my older nephew's birthday party, and as you can also see from the picture, law enforcement was on the scene. Of course. Because what nine-year-old's party would be complete without that? Since I am frantically typing to avoid disconnection, I will let my sister-in-law explain it here.

Edited to add...If you feel so inclined to comment on Nikowa's blog, please do not mention in the comments that I am her sister-in-law. I mean, it's not like she doesn't know, or anything, but there are relatives who read her blog that I really would prefer were not reading mine. 'Cause I'm all shy like that.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Some mini-posts, because I am tired.

1. Grace did not win her election for Student Council Vice-President. Our neighbor won, because he rapped his speech. I am proud of him for his creativity, but I'm glad that Grace didn't think of trying it...especially since I had to write her speech. (I tried letting her do it, but this is what she came up with: "Vote for me. If you want to, I mean. I'm sure that everyone else is great, too, so if you would rather vote for them it won't hurt my feelings." Obviously, assistance was needed.) She'll have to find someone cooler next year, because my rapping skillz are severely limited. Yo.

2. Remember when I mentioned in passing recently that I needed to tell you about my great sock buying adventure? Well, it wasn't actually an adventure, but there was sock browsing and purchasing, and great fun was had by all. We spent about thirty minutes staring at a wall of socks, trying to find some that would not become all holey after two weeks of wear, and trying to decide if all of the female's in my house should just buy one kind of sock and share, or if we should all have our separate socks even though we all wear the same size and I cannot be trusted to remember that Josie has the ankle socks with the grey toe and Grace has the ankle socks with the pink toe. How confusing is that? I hate socks.

Anyway, while we were in the middle of this riveting activity, our old Sunday School teacher came up behind me and apparently wanted to be all friendly and have a conversation and such, and do you know what I did? I proceeded to tell him all about our sock buying quandry, as if he cared. The poor man now knows all about the holes in our socks and why this is driving me crazy, and the fact that I hate matching socks and would really rather clean the toilets than do so. I'm thinking that he is very glad now that he is not our present Sunday School teacher.

Clearly, I am socially challenged.

I'm thinking that I should limit all of my human contact to what can be accomplished through the computer. At least then, someone can stop reading when I start babbling on about the merits of colored socks versus the practicality of just buying all white ones and throwing them all into a collective sock container and having the family forage for something to cover their feet.

Kind of like you all just probably did. Stop reading, I mean. Not stop looking for socks. Okay, maybe the written word is not working out for me so much anymore, either.

3. Owen came up to me yesterday and climbed into my lap. "Mama," he began, "I think we need some babies."

I fumbled around trying to think of a way to tell him that was just not happening , but how do you say that to a four-year-old? Finally, I said, "No, Owen...I think you're going to be my last baby."

"I don't know, Mama" he told me, patting my stomach. "You look like you might have a few in there that need to come out!"

If there was ever incentive for weight loss, your child thinking that you are about to give birth to a litter of babies is probably it. And now that I have reminded myself of this conversation by blogging about it, I'm going to get off of this computer and do some jumping jacks to work off the four cookies I just accidently ate. Ya'll pray I don't rupture anything.