Tuesday, August 30, 2011

PicVids - August 2011

We had a busy month.

From July 29th to August 1st, the kids and I were up in Seattle...
Uncle Steve took us to Ivar's on Friday night. Yum!

On Saturday was the family reunion. Someone appears to have been demonstrating poses for Savi to imitate.

Sunday we visited Nana and Steve at their house.

Much fun was had by all.

Nana let the kids pick some of the flowers in her beautiful garden.

Back home again, we get a few days to hang out before heading out again.

The weekend of the 7th was Brittany's wedding! At the beach! 

I'm not including pics of Brittany's wedding in this post. If I remember to, it deserves a post of its own.

Kyrie showed herself quite adept at befriending three or four random kids on the beach.

Ah, my cute husband.

Ah, my silly son.

This was the mega-engineering project that we all worked on at the beach.  Much of it was already in place. But it was awesome.

Did I mention we were camping this weekend?

Father-son bonding time over Angry Birds

In case you can't tell, he is, very very softly, doing "This little piggy" on Julie's toes.

Elijah lost his first tooth!

Julie has some silly moments by herself.

Julie has some silly moments with her sister.

And with her brother.

You think she's waving at you, but she's actually giving the hand-sign saying she wants to nurse. Or, possibly, she's just discovered how to open and close her hand. It's hard to tell at this age.

Oh, and Julie totally started walking, but apparently I don't have any videos of it yet.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Funny Things Kids Do


Elijah: "Julie, how about instead of eating that pen [as he takes it away from her], you eat this graham cracker [as he hands it to her]?"

This is not revenge on Julie's part. Really.


At the library:
Me, to Elijah: "I think you would like this Hardy Boys book."
Elijah, looking at how thick it is: "No thanks."
Me: "It's about two boys having adventures and stuff, and having to find the bad guys."
Elijah: "Ok, let's get it."

Getting Elijah to read a book is almost as difficult as shoring up this dam's leak.


Savi: "Look Mom, the ipad put red dots under my name."
Me: "Yes, that's because it doesn't know your name is a real word and it thinks you misspelled it. Here, let me see if I can fix that."
Savi: "No, I like it like that."

Someone at the reunion taught Savi some poses... or tried to?


Savi: "Mom, can I have just one more beer?"
[She meant root beer.]

Who doesn't like beer? I mean, besides me and half my family?


One morning I told Gabe to go get some clothes to put on. He came back holding up pajama bottoms in one hand, and a pillowcase in the other.

He may have learned the futility of chasing birds this day. Or he might not have.


Savi: "Mom, can I have some coffee?"
["I mean tea."]

Savi wanted tea because Kyrie had some; Kyrie wanted to pose because Savi did. I want to call this a "stork pose". Clearly it's a classic that should be added to the repertoire of all professional models.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Umm... Blog Award.

So I guess I've earned my first blog award? Actually, it is not quite inconceivable that someone else awarded me a blog award before (I'm thinking of you Tienne) and I just didn't do anything about it. I probably wouldn't do anything about this one, too, but I've spent the last five days (a) being sick with a cold, (b) pouring over the blog Like Mother Like Daughter and being inspired to attempt to clean my house1, and (c) pouring over homeschool curriculum2.

So, basically, I'm taking the lazy way out and just posting this award that I got:

I got this from my cousin Lisa. Yeah, so, umm, I guess I'm also supposed to nominate some other blogs and let them know that and whatnot, but I'm just going to have to be a spoilsport and not do that. Almost everyone on my blog-reading list either (a) has more than 100 subscribers or (b) hasn't posted in months or years. So tough luck on that.

But, thanks Lisa. Due to your kind award, I got to, like, not put any effort into writing today. ;)

1. I spent a little over an hour yesterday cleaning my living room. I never got past the five or so square feet behind the couch. And I still need to go back, hopefully today, to do some more in that same section. Pitiful, isn't it? But I am so inspired by the idea of even that little section being really clean. If it takes me a whole week's worth of an-hour-a-day cleaning to finish the living room, I think it will have been worth it.

2. If you have never done this, you probably have no idea how difficult it is to settle on something. I totally thought I had, and then Ken asked to see what I had selected - which totally delighted me to have him involved - and he noticed several things that I hadn't, which made me decide to go through the work of comparing some more curriculum. So I've got four browser tabs going with different curricula, and I go through and compare them subject by subject, making notes for myself in Evernote. They're all so complicated, and it's hard to get a thorough feel for what I'd be buying without holding the books in my hands. I need something like the MACHE conference that Dad used to tape, only out here in Oregon. And at a price that would make it worthwhile for me.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Walking the Environmental Walk

Back some time ago, I was having an email conversation with one of my brothers that touched on, among other things, environmentalism. I believe strongly that we need to take better care of the planet than we are doing. It occurred to me, though, that, other than our regular recycling, I'm not really doing much that is specifically environmentally-friendly.

Now, I have my reasons. Composting is time-consuming, and because of Ken's carnivorous tendencies, most of our food waste has some meat in it, which I understand is not good to compost, especially in areas with meat-eating wildlife. And we have a whole pack of coyotes living in the quarry on the other side of our backyard fence. Giving up the car would mean not getting out much, since taking 5 kids on public transport requires lots of effort. And since most of my friends do not live somewhere I can reach by public transport within a reasonable amount of time, giving up the car would mean giving up on some people I am very close to. And so on and so forth.

In an effort to go beyond talking the talk into walking the walk, I asked God what I could do to be more environmentally friendly. Use less water.

I asked several times over the course of a couple weeks, and every time, it was like there was this tiny whisper of a thought: "Use less water. (But don't go overboard)." So I started trying to think of ways to use less water.

And immediately ran into a brick wall.

  1. I love the high-performance showerhead that we recently got, and while I might possibly be convinced to give it up, I don't think Ken could be.
  2. Again, I could possibly be convinced to adopt water conservation techniques, but I don't want to, and I'm pretty sure Ken would object strenuously if I suggested it.
  3. Any other attempt to reduce our water usage basically means doing less cleaning. Laundry; dishes; baths, those are pretty much our major water uses. I already make all of my kids share the same bathwater, and I try to do only full loads of laundry because I have to pay actual quarters for each load.

It seemed like any of my options would lead to some way of me failing as a wife or mother, so I didn't see how I could save water. But the thought would not go away. It kept nagging at me and bugging me for several months. Every time I did dishes or washed my hands, it would come back to mind. Finally, one day, when I was washing dishes and the thought was nagging at me again, in an effort to relieve my frustration with the thought, I reached out and turned the faucet down a little.

And there was peace.

I was like.... "Seriously, God? Seriously?!" I mean, c'mon here. We have seven people taking showers and baths, flushing the toilet down umpteen times a day, washing hands, seven plus loads of laundry a week, tons of dirty dishes that require sinkfuls of water to clean them...how can turning the water faucet down ever so slightly make any difference? As I thought about it, though, I realized that all that other water that we use is needed. This tiny bit of water that is the difference between having the faucet on medium and having it on low - that tiny bit was superfluous. Not being able to do anything about the rest of the water we use didn't mean that this comparatively tiny amount didn't matter. I also belatedly noticed that it was when I was running the faucet - i.e. when I was doing dishes or washing my hands - that I had been bothered by the thought that I should use less water. That thought was not occurring to me when I was flushing the toilet or taking a shower.

So there you go. Now I'm trying to keep the faucet down low and use less water.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Comic 1

In lieu of any writing today, I offer the first comic I drew. I'm sort of vaguely thinking of making them into a series, but that would require, well, effort, so we'll see.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Marathon Running

I discovered some months ago that one of my cousins had a blog. I checked out the link, figuring it was probably full of the random personal thoughts that most people put on their blogs. Instead, I found a post about how to run two big races on back-to-back weekends1.

I thought she was insane I mean, she was on a different wavelength than I was.

I haven't been able to get that image out of my head ever since, though. I'm obviously overweight and out of shape, but I'm pretty healthy all-around, and I tend to think of myself as reasonably strong. But two races in a row? Can people even DO that? It made me realize that, even if my cousin's standards are on the high side, that maybe my standards are on the definitely-too-low side.

Insert the last two weekends.

Let me skip all the long whiny details and just say that on the first weekend, I packed the five kids into the van2 and drove up to Seattle for a family reunion. The following weekend we all went camping on the coast for Brittany's wedding. (A highly successful, and very hippie3 affair.) In between these two weekends, I thought to myself, "Gee, this is a lot like running two marathons in a row."4

That's not the only time that running has come up lately. My other cousin blogged about her adventures with running. Jen @CD blogged about running(take #2). Every time I try to do a Wii Fit workout5, I think about how my only real successful6 attempt at establishing an exercise routine was when I started walking on a treadmill and eventually found myself running and liking it. And my new friend from Spanish class brought up the Race for the Cure.

I think I've even dreamed about running.

The only problem is, I have no idea how to make this happen. I don't think even a collapsible treadmill would fit into our tiny crowded apartment. I don't think I can afford a gym membership, and even if I could, the hassle of babysitting and driving and whatnot means it probably wouldn't happen very often. There's no time that would be convenient for me to go walking/running around our neighborhood without the kids, and with them, I can't even maintain a brisk walk, much less a run.

So I guess I will put it in God's hands... it's up to him to make this possible, since he has put the desire in my heart.

1. I think this was the post about runing two races.

2. Remember all those bags of clothes that I decluttered, and then got in the way of looking for Tire Jack? I still haven't found someplace to donate them to, so I had to carry them all back inside and pile them up in my bedroom, so that I could fit all our bags and stuff into the van. Just so you have *some* whiny details. Also, Kyrie threw up within a half hour of leaving for Seattle, and Savi got carsick on the way back down. So there.

3. It was a beach wedding. The day was windy, so everyone's hair was blowing around. Someone pointed out that all the bridesmaids had long hair, and all the groomsmen had hair just as long.

4. If you don't think taking five kids out of town sounds like as much work as running a race, you probably haven't done it before. This is also why I haven't posted in awhile, although I suspect no one noticed.

5. Which should be 5x/week, but is more like once every two weeks.

6. I call it successful because I did it 5 days a week for about 5 months. Then it died an abrupt death with the simultaneous onset of a Minnesota summer and another pregnancy. I just couldn't stand to wear shoes in the heat and didn't think I should be trying to run without them. Although I might reconsider that thinking in light of Jen's comments about the Born to Run book.