Monday, March 31, 2008

photo of the day - week 13

March 24 - the Pirates of Radiator Springs

March 25 - Mayhem loves to vacuum

March 26 - Car racing outside

March 27 - the Island of Sodor today

March 28 - my laptop is under attack!

March 29 - The trains get in a little light reading

March 30 - Bubble fun

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Library Thing

I've been busy at The Library Thing this past week. I've been adding books to my library & checking out groups. I have about 400 of my 2000+ books added so far. I no longer own that many books, but that is how many are in my booklist, which covers the books I owned in 1990 and that I have read or owned from then until 2003. Then there are the books I have owned or read since 2003, when the demands of small children made it difficult to buy books and impossible to keep track of them. My husband bought me a CueCat bar code scanner for the books I own. I've been scanning them in like crazy & have completed the shelves in our bedroom & the living room. I still have the ones in the office, which are the bulk of the books and the ones in the bathrooms to scan. Then I have to go through the booklist & see what is missing and add them, plus try & figure out what I have borrowed from the library in the past couple years.

I love the CueCat. It's my new favorite toy. I did a layout about it for a challenge at Sweet Shoppe a couple weeks ago.

If you look over on that sidebar -----} you'll see some random books from my library. If you are on the Library Thing too, I go by the same ID I use in the crochet & digi scrapping forums. Please add me to your friends.

I used to have a job

And that is all it was too, not a career, just a job & that was all I wanted, so it never bothered me at the time.

Have you seen the show Secret Life of a Soccer Mom? They take SAHMs who gave up a career when the kids were born, give them back that career for a week & then usually offer them that job at the end of the week. I haven't seen all the episodes so I can't say for sure that they always do it, but they have for every one I have seen. This has been a hot topic at playgroup. Would you go back to your career? I never say anything because I don't have a career to go back to. Other mom's in the group had careers. They were in Social Services, Broadcast Journalism, Nursing, Teaching, Underwriting, Law - specialized things you study for & then spend 30 or so years doing.

I, on the other hand, had a job. Lots of jobs actually. I have 2 degrees.  A BS in Journalism and an MA in Early Modern History.  I could have a had a career with those, but I didn't particularly want to. I wanted an office job. A nice, Monday to Friday, 9-5, paper shuffler sort of job. A job that gets left at the office at the end of the day. The kind that offers 2 weeks paid vacation, insurance & a 401k plan. The subject of the papers I would shuffle didn't not matter. I have interests & hobbies that don't pay well, so I wanted something to fund me in a regular & predictable way, so I could get on with doing what I enjoy.

The only thing I could be said to make a career of would be 'being one of the last people laid off', which is a useful skill if you seem to gravitate toward booming industries that then collapse 2 year later. I worked in the mortgage industry in the early/mid-90s and the telecom industry in the late 90's. I've held 5 'professional' jobs since college and been laid off 3 times.  Each time I was in the last round of layoffs, kept around to clean up the mess made from laying most everyone else off and arrange the details for packing up what is left.  This is due to my 3 most marketable skills - general knowledge of administrative duties & details, willingness to learn parts of everyone's job, and fearlessness in the face of new technology.  Being 'good with computers' got me all 5 of my jobs, though nowadays it's not worth squat. 

I suppose with my history the show could send me to work for a company that bought a lot of subprime loans & is now about to fold or be bought out. I have worked in the industry before. I started out with a mortgage company in 1992 during a refi boom. I was laid off in early 1995 when it ended. While I was there my fearlessness in the face of new technology caused me to drift into a sort of on site IT person. If there was a problem with the terminals or the computers or the network, I was called. If I couldn't deal with it, I called the main office. I also did a lot of data entry stuff for everyone. So when they laid off half the staff they kept me - low pay & lots of skills puts you high on the 'keep' list. Eventually they closed the office & gave me the boot too but I had 2 months notice it was coming & had time to plan.

I took my talent for figuring out any data entry program & small knowledge of networks to a local long distance company, where used both in the same sort of general administrative & help desk sort of position. I knew enough to be useful to a lot of people & paid decently. I learned about LECs, and WISPs, and T-1s and SMS/800 and Lucent switches. When the local long distance business was bought out by the big guys I was kept on long enough to convert everything and again had about 2 months warning of my official redundancy notice. Then I moved to a company that sold space on their switch to companies who resold the minutes to international calling card companies. Once again my administrative, data entry & fearlessness in the face of new technology kept me employed. I learned about programing switches, because having an uncertified switch tech full time while the certified guy is only 'on call' is a lot cheaper than paying the certified guy full time.  About the time I was actually going to get my certification (company paid) it ran into financial problems, all training was put off and the layoffs began.  I went last, working for 4 months completely alone in the office, with very little to do. I was paid very well to chat on email lists with friends & surf the web & basically be a body there in case something happened.

I took these new skills to a catalog call center, where I again ended up mixing administrative duties, a talent for figuring out software easily and my telecom knowledge into a well-paid and vaguely defined position that's duties shifted around, but I held for 4 years, until Havoc was born. It was a great job - Mon-Fri, 9-5, all the benefits, plus it was hourly so I made some kick ass overtime pay from Oct-Feb. It changed enough to remain interesting and challenging, with bits & pieces from various parts of the call center - budgeting, scheduling, telecom, monitoring.  But in the end, it was just a job. Lack of certification or education in any technical field would keep me from making a career of it and I really didn't want to.  Then i would have had to work shift work, take work home with me, have real responsibilities, and no overtime. Judging by my co-workers later experiences, I would have been laid off due to redundancy about 18 months after Havoc was born. Though again, I would have been kept around after the initial layoffs, being once more put in the position of making myself redundant and would have had 2-3 months notice of my eventual dismissal.

I'm not sure what I would have done at that point, which skills I would have chosen to focus on next. Given the job market at that time, I suspect I would have take my knowledge of various scheduling & monitoring software to another call center or IT department. At this point my knowledge is too out of date to give me an edge on the competition. While I have been watching Noggin and setting up track for Thomas over the past 5 years, technology has moved on & I have not.

I would not be shedding tears of joy at being able to spend a week scheduling a bunch of people for phone shifts or going to meetings about projections for the coming year or tracking down a wiring problem in the network.

That is how I know I had a job, and not a career.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Beware the fire ducks!!!

"what's that mean Mama?" asks Mayhem.

"No clue kid, where did you hear it?"

"On TV."

Knowing from experience that a direct question like "Who said it?" would not be answered I resorted to 20 questions.

"Was it a movie or Sprout?" movie

"Was it a cartoon or real?" real

"Did you pick the movie or Havoc?" me

"Was it Thomas or Wallace & Grommit?" Thomas (Mayhem's notion of 'real' is a flexible)

"What was Thomas doing?" chuga-ing

"What had he been doing?" chuga-ing

"Were any other trains around?" Diesel 10 and Lady

At last! A clue!

"Did Mister Conductor or Thomas say to beware?" Mr Conductor

"What happened later?" Diesel 10 fell in the river

oh, ok, now I know what happened.

"Honey, he said 'Beware of the viaduct', which is a sort of bridge. VIA - duct, with a T, not a K. A bridge, not an animal. 'Beware the viaduct', not the fire duck."

"But there were no ducks in the movie Mama." Because once the idea is in his head, there is no changing his mind.

The movie in question is called Thomas & the Magic Engine, I think. We returned it a week ago so I'm not certain. I can however pretty much recite the dialog due to the endless replay. It's an actual movie, not a collection of short episodes, which made it difficult, because quiet time is usually an hour long & each boy gets to pick something about a half hour long (Havoc usually choses the Wii).

Havoc has been choosing Prehistoric Planet, which is footage from Walking with Dinosaurs reedited into half hour shows with Ben Stiller as the narrator. We rented that on Thursday. A bit more graphic that I had thought & I get to hear observations like "Dinosaurs eat blood" and "Oh it killed him!" which are totally in context but disconcerting to hear. I've also been informed by my Christian school educated, heathen child that God made the dinosaurs before he made the people, so they could knock all the trees down for people to build houses. Then the dinosaurs died so they wouldn't eat the people. Does that mean he believes in Intelligent Design?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Photo of the Day - week 12

March 17 - Construction in the gravel pit

March 18 - Percy busy shunting trucks

March 19 - The trains have taken to piracy

March 20 - Building a big big tower

March 21 - Gathering black walnuts from the yard

March 22 - Clearing small trees

March 23 - Pruning branches

Sunday, March 23, 2008

A principle isn't a principle until it costs you something

It might have taken 5 years, but it is now time to decide whether or not my stance on certain vaccines is a firm principle or just an idea I like to adhere too. It is about to cost me something, or more specifically it is about to cost Mayhem something.

State policy says you can opt out of vaccines with a waiver & your child can still attend school. This policy affects the required attendance grades of K-12. It does not affect the optional Pre-K program that our county offers. There are only 40 spots and over 150 kids apply. They have various criteria for elimination & selection - including developmental assessment, whether the child has been in a pre-k for 3 year olds or other learning environment, transportation needs and vax status. If you are not fully vaxed they don't have to take you, assuming you don't have a strong developmental need. Mayhem doesn't have one. He is also not fully vax'd, so that drops him down on the list. Havoc was dropped down for having been in K-3, (vax status wasn't an issue last year, though he is missing one too) and ended up on the wait list, never getting a place. They have to take Havoc for kindergarten, so the waiver is not a problem for him. The waiver will probably keep Mayhem out of the pre-K program.

So, how strongly do I feel about the chicken pox vaccine? Is it a principle or merely an idea? It is the main hold up. Mayhem is missing 2 others but that is due to his delayed vax schedule & my forgetting to make his yearly appointment in January. If he'd had the appointment, he would have had the vax's then.

I'd originally thought I'd let them have a chance to catch it. It's not that I want my kids to be sick, but there are no long term studies on this vax and I really have reservations about this rush to medicate without knowing the long term consequences. I don't want my kids being the test subjects. We're probably going to get the vax. The odds of him getting chicken pox at this point are pretty slim, what with everyone else being vax'd for it.  I'm not happy about it but after thought, I'm fairly sure what I have is an idea & not a principle.

Why I am not Hybrid

In the scrapping sense, someday I will own a hybrid vehicle.  There are 2 main reasons why I won't be making any hybrid projects anytime in the near future.

1. You have to cut things out.  My issues with scissors go back to preschool. If it is a straight line, even with the help of a cutting tool & guide, there is only a 75% chance I will get it right. I'm better with fabric than I am with paper, it seems to slip less. If it is not a straight line there is a 75% chance that I will screw it up. If there is some sort of die cutting machine involved the odds go to 50%. That is why I am a digi scrapper. I can undo my mistakes without a waste of paper, ink & money

2. No one in my family would have any idea what to do with my little gift projects. We aren't 'photo gift' people. The gift would be honestly appreciated at the time & looked at then. But then it would be set on a shelf or in a drawer & become the worst type of dust collector. The worst type because it is a hand made item, made by a family member, giving a personalized gift to you. You can't just toss it when you realize 10 months down the road that you have never looked at the thing again & would like to declutter a bit. By & large they are not useful items, they are decorative & decorative just doesn't work well with my family.

I love the key plate & scallop albums Sweet Shoppe is selling. They havea birthday calendar premade set to go with the key plate & I can sort of see a use for it. But even if I had some reason for making them (all my just for the heck of it creativity is directed toward amigurumi at the moment) I would never be able to cut out the paper to fit on the album. The shape would defeat me & I'd waste a lot of paper trying to get it right.  I have to reprint, at least once, the rectangular bookmarks that I make for my dad every Xmas.   They are selling a Maya Road Calendar, that stands up. That is a possible. It's a rectangle and it's useful. But so far they have no albums to go with it, though I am sure some will be coming. It's a 5x7 so possibly some of the brag book sets would work with it.

The third, less influential reason I don't hybrid is I'd have to go buy stuff - things called Modge Podge & Kryron that are some sort of adhesives and a craft knife & probably some other stuff and knowing me I'd buy the wrong stuff. It just seems a bit complicated...

Saturday, March 22, 2008

You are an obsession, you're my obsession

Mayhem is obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine. OBSESSED. Not a day goes by where the Take Along trains are not played with. Nearly every day he requests I set up a track for him, each day having different requirements - one day a curvey track, the next with bridges, the next a 'big big track'. We have, depending on the stock at the libraries on any given week, 8-12 Thomas videos in the house & we watch about one of them a day at quiet time. I think that he has made 4 non-Thomas video requests since the first of the year - Over the Hedge, Cars (a former obsession), Madagascar and Barnyard. 

It does make him easy to shop for on holidays & birthdays. I send my family an updated list of movies we own and trains we do not and they have no problem finding him something.  He's getting Max & Monty and a new DVD in his Easter basket from my folks. At around $5 a train the Take Alongs make easy rewards for the chore chart, which explains why we have so many....

He's had other obsessions, Cars and Bob the Builder.  Bob had no accessories but we borrowed a lot of videos from the library. Cars has one movie but lots of accessories, and we own most of the die cast cars (another cheap & easy gift for both boys). The Thomas seems to be the most lasting. We got our first Take Alongs about 2 years ago and there has never been more than a week or so when they are not n play. Those weeks tend to be in the summer. Thomas rules the winter.

I've managed to do a layout a month about it, inspired by Sweet Shoppe challenges


Thursday, March 20, 2008

unbreakable eggs

I've been making these the last few days

The white one looks like an egg, but the others...I'm not so sure. I think without context, like a bowl or basket, people will probably wonder what the hell they are.

I have 6 of them completed, but the boys like to kick them around & 2 have gone missing.  I found the pattern in my "The World of Amigurumi" book. It also has half eggs, with chicks, but the boys preferred just decorated whole eggs. I'm hoping to have a dozen to put in the basket by Sunday. Then I am going to work on mushrooms

Monday, March 17, 2008

In honor of St Patrick's Day

I am making one of my Irish grandfather's favorite meals.

Muller's spaghetti with Ragu sauce.

Yeah, my family has never been much into 'cultural identity'. Pap, born in 1912, was the child of Irish immigrants & his job was to assimilate, which he did & never looked back. He married the granddaughter of German immigrants & together they went through the Depression & alone she went through WWII rationing & together they went into the canned & frozen food nirvana of the 50's. Nan's opinion was that she'd made enough food from scratch in her life, meals in boxes were a wonder to be enjoyed! 

Oh cabbage appeared (though not corned beef) and shephard's pie, with mutton & turnips, and of course lots and lots of potatoes, but Pap's favorite meals were packaged versions of Italian food & if I am supposed to be honoring my Irishness, well.... Ragu & spaghetti it is!

I admit I am delighted to have the excuse to avoid that disgusting bane of my existence - cabbage. I cannot stand cabbage in any form. The smell of cabbage cooking send me fleeing from the building, hopefully before I start gagging. I have a strong, immediate, reflexive reaction to the smell of cooked cabbage.. When I was pregnant I have to leave work for the day whenever the cafeteria was serving it. One quarter German, one quarter Irish and I despise cabbage. Don't like onions either. I do love Italian food though.  I blame my ancestors personally.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Photo of the Day - week 11

March 10 - Some kids only have a sandbox. Ours have a 14'x14' gravel pit

March 11 - Diggers at work

March 12 - Off roading with your 4x4

March 13 - This backhoe has a lot of work ahead of it

March 14 - Train parade

March 15 - The Island of Sodor today (you didn't think we'd manage a whole week without it did you?)

March 16 - We colored eggs for Ostara. These are the ones that didn't crack too much.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Not what I had in mind

I crocheted a market bag, from a Lion Brand pattern (must be logged into Lion Brand to see pattern). Somewhere along the line I screwed up. Somewhere between round 9 & 14 I duplicated a round & then early on in round 15-28 I added a couple more stitches. This ended up a full 18 stitches per round wider at the widest part. Which explains why I had insufficient yarn to finish it. I didn't discover I was off by 18 stitches until I was on round 29 & decreasing and I wasn't going to unravel back 20 rows to figure it out. Not when there were only 4 rounds left.

So this is my market bag. Not the most attractive thing I have ever done. I also changed the straps. I need 2 short straps for groceries, over the shoulder doesn't work for me.

On the plus side this thing can hold 4 gallons of milk at once!

I'm making it again. This time in ecru & I'm checking the stitch count more often.

Friday, March 14, 2008

They are registered!

DH took the morning off & accompanied us to school registration. They were registering kindergarten & preschool at the same time, in the same room and there was no way I could fill out 2 sets of forms, stand in 3 different lines and keep track of 2 small boys, who might be taken off for evaluation at any moment. DH had to be there.

He did Havoc's paperwork and I handled Mayhem's and we were out in a hour. Havoc was assessed for 25 minutes. The woman that did it then went over everything with us. She showed us the picture of himself that he drew (including an exact replica of the stripe pattern on his shirt, but minus any hand), the answers he gave to various questions "what is a window made of" (Havoc said metal, but we have sliding glass doors & no windows & have been having issues with the metal frames so it was understandable), his ability to follow 2 step instructions, to cut out shapes, to count (He only counted to 11 but he can count to 100 & was asked to count to 20, apparently he was distracted by the words on the walls and was too busy reading them to pay attention to counting) and the standard alphabet, colors things.  He did very well & is certainly ready for kindergarten.

Mayhem's evaluation was about 10 minutes and he was returned to us without a word. We had to ask him how it went & what they wanted to know. We were given a note telling us what sort of things they were assessing & that if there was a problem or any questions they would be addressed right then. So no news is good news??  Or is it? They only let 40 kids in the program & they are chosen based on who would benefit most from the 'readiness program'. I'm not sure what that means specifically. Havoc ended up 6th on the wait list last year & never got in.

Apparently we will find out if Mayhem gets in by the end of April. BUT! There are 2 classes, a morning & an afternoon. And this year they are considering doing a half year program as well as a full year program. So Mayhem could end up in say the afternoon class of the full year program, going from 1-3:30pm Monday to Friday, September to June. Or he could end up in a morning class in a half year program, going from 8:30-11, Monday to Friday, Feb to June. Or any other combination. All we learn on April 30th is if Mayhem is in the program; we won't know which until the beginning of August. That will be decided by bus routes. If there are lots of 4 years around us that would benefit from full year, we get into that one, etc. Even though I will be driving him & there is no bus involved.

At least they are not asking me for a $75 'waiting list' deposit on top of the $50 application fee, the way a couple of the private preschools are doing.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Is my angst worth the cost?

Specifically, is my vague unsubstantiated worry about putting my 5 year old on a bus with 16 year olds, worth at least $250 a month? That is how much gas would cost me to drive him to school & pick him up every day. It is 22 miles one way, in a car that gets 20 miles to the gallon, with gas at $3.15 a gallon. And this is in addition to my regular gas costs. Our county is rural, we just got our first grocery store 2 years ago & its a small crappy store. Our 'downtown' is full of small restaurants & junk-tique stores. If I want to buy some decent produce, or fill a prescription or need some socks, I have to drive another 30 miles from the school in order to do so (though due to the way the roads are laid out, I can to these places in 20 miles from my house). Apart from gas & the occasional old movie rental, there is very little I can buy "on the way" to or from school. I'm already driving the kid to preschool, so this is not speculation on my part. I know how much it costs me from experience.

Next year though he will be in kindergarten & there is a school bus. But this county is rural with a low population density and cannot afford multiple bus runs to the same area to pick up maybe a dozen kids per school. There is one primary school, one elementary school, one middle school & one high school and all the kids on the bus route ride one bus together.

They publish the bus routes in the paper before school starts, so I know from this year what route Havoc will be on next year. It is unlikely to change. The bus starts at the county line, coming down our road (We live a mile inside the county), picks up all the kids on our 5 mile long road, picks up the kids on the renamed part of this road on the other side of the intersection & then goes to the schools. About 10 miles of homes. This is not a subdivision. This is farm country. My nearest neighbors are about an eighth of a mile away on either side of me & across the street. You can see no other homes from my home. I don't know my neighbors. I don't know if they have kids and I don't know anything about those kids. There is no way to casually walk by someone's house to meet them. You have to get in your car and drive, usually up a long driveway. You have to be intrusive & assertive & determined. I am not these things. But then, apparently neither are my neighbors, because in 10 years only the people across the street have ever come over to introduce themselves.

I'm worried about Havoc on the bus. He's a shy & sensitive kid, with glasses. You know the type. The ones who get picked on mercilessly by others? That's him. He hasn't been picked on yet & I'd like to put it off . Would he be better off on a bus full of primary school kids? I think so, not just from the bullying standpoint but also because I don't think 6 year olds should be exposed to 16 year olds, to what they talk about, to how they behave. Maybe there will be some great older kids on that bus & Havoc will get along great with them. But maybe he'll get molested. Someone did, about 5 years ago there was an incident. Though to be honest that took place in a different county & that county switched to multiple bus routes the following year. But I don't want my kid to be this county's test case. I know I am overreacting and being an anxious mother. People who don't live in this county & who's 6 year olds ride with other primary school kids have full sympathy for me. People who live in this county say "oh." They don't think I am nuts or overprotective (Or they don't say so anyway) they just don't seem to see the issue. Of course the kids ride one bus. They road the bus with the older kids & eventually they were the older kids who road the bus with the little ones. That's just normal.

I'm trying to sort out how much of this is a rational concern & how much of this is mom not wanting her baby to grow up. He is in school now, it's not that. But somehow putting him on a bus is emotionally so much more for me. I cry just thinking about it. I don't mind the teacher taking away his time with me, but I just want to shout "NO YOU CAN'T HAVE HIM!!" to the bus driver. Not my baby. not yet.  And I know deep down it's just that that is the problem. There are legitimate concerns about him being on the bus, but mostly I think it might be that he's not my baby anymore. Is it worth $250 a month for me to avoid dealing with this for another year. Next year Mayhem will be on the bus and I feel much easier in my mind if they are together. 

Kindergarten registration is tomorrow. Where did my baby go?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Photo of the Day - week 10

March 3 - "Big Paints!"

March 4 - sickness keeps everyone home and getting lots of rest while watching movies

March 5 - even the loader isn't feeling up to working

March 6 - a day spend reading books - over and over again

March 7 - Sodor is back in business


March 8 - reading a new Thomas book


March 9 - gale force winds cause trouble on Sodor

Saturday, March 08, 2008

The Perils of too Many Options

or "Why you should put things back where they belong when you are finished with them."

I have a Bob the Builder DVD.  Actually I currently have 7 Bob the Builder DVD's. I am certain I own 3 of them, two we have had for over a year and the other still has it's case (I take them out of their cases & put them in a binder, but I'm not always prompt at tossing the case). I am certain that I have borrowed one from one library & two others from the local movie rental place. I know this because their cases are clearly labeled with their owner's names & the the due dates.  The seventh one though, I'm at a loss to explain. I might have bought it recently at the second hand store & tossed the case. I bought several kid vids there for $3 a DVD & I do remember tossing a couple cases. (I resell them on if the kids are not into them)  I might have borrowed it from the local video store, or even Blockbuster. Or I might have checked it out of two different county libraries.  I don't have the case, so I have no way of knowing. I can't call & ask any of them because the libraries & the local video place won't tell you what you have checked out unless you are standing in front them, photo ID in one hand and member/library card in the other.  I suppose I could be tricky about it. I could call them & say I'd like to extend my loan on this DVD & if they say "We don't have that listed for you" then I could eliminate them.

I don't know what happened to the case. It is nowhere to be found. The standard DVD changing procedure in this house is to remove the DVD in the player, set it on top of the player, put the new movie in and then watch the new movie. Repeat with every other movie until you have a stack of DVDs sitting on the player, or until the rentals are due back. Never put the movie back in it's case or binder sleeve. Never.  Put the cases on top of the TV, or beside the TV, or stack them up on the DVD player, next to the stack of DVDs, or carry them into another room for no apparent reason. I think I am going to have to declare a moratorium on movie rentals until it has been properly demonstrated, over a period of time, that the people in this house (myself included) can be responsible human beings who take care of their things.

It's not like we don't already have a binder full of DVDs we already own & never watch.  Mostly because they are scratched from being stacked up on top of the DVD player.....

Thursday, March 06, 2008

I'm really enjoying the amigurumi

I made this guy this week

He is from a Lion Brand pattern & all told took me about 3 hours to make. Those 3 hours were spread out over 4 days because the kids have been sick & I haven't had much time to just sit & crochet.

In scrapping news I did manage to get a layout done. It was for the Sweet Shoppe inspiration challenge; the theme being to redo an old layout.

This is one of my earliest layouts, donei n my first month of digi scrapping. Everything was my own creation

This is the redone layout. Credit can be found in my DST gallery, link in the sidebar.

How to get your children to play outside

Clean up the yard.

Seriously. If I take 10 minutes & put all the outdoor toys away where they belong - sandbox stuff in the sandbox, balls in the bin, construction toys on their shelves & park the bike & red car in their places, when the boys come home from school, they immediately want to play outside. It doesn't matter if it is warm, cold, raining or a driving hailstorm; they simply *must* play outside.  They've barely looked out a window for the 2 previous days when there were balls, loaders & buckets strewn across the lawn. But now that their stuff is put away, they must go out & put it back. Perhaps they are marking their territory? That would make sense, if we had neighbors. But the cows really don't care & there is a barbed wire fence to keep them out even if they did care..

The boys have shown real improvement about picking up in the house. They seem to now understand that the blocks have to be put away before the train tracks come out and the trains need to be back in their bins before the pirate fleet sets sail across the floor. Most of the time they will respond positively to a reminder to put away the toys not being used. Sometimes they even do it unprompted & then come and find me to show off "Wook Mama! All toys away!!" 

Outside lacks this progress. Winter is probably not the best time for frequent reminders. It's cold, windy & rainy and I am not inclined to stand out there insisting they put things away before they come inside. Warmer weather is coming though and I think it is time I started reminding them the outside toys must be put away as well.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


The boys have had a cough or runny nose for weeks now. Weeks. Monday it grew into something else. Havoc woke up saying the front of his head hurt, so I gave him some sinus meds & sent him to school. He apparently had the chills at school, but was himself when I picked him up at noon. He was feverish & asleep on the sofa by 3pm. Mayhem was burning up about 6pm but I couldn't find the rectal thermometer & he doesn't really get how to hold one in his mouth. Then Havoc begins shaking with cold in his sleep about 7pm (he's been asleep since 3) and when I wake him his fever is 103.3.  Ibuprofen all around.  Mayhem's fever went down fairly quickly but Havoc's lingered & I think he was scared of what he was feeling. After being in bed about an hour, he came out & lay on the sofa with us & fell asleep there. Mayhem came in our room about 2:30am, his fever returned. DH ended up sleeping in the guest room.  Havoc appeared in our room about 5:30 complaining about his sinus again. Everyone was feverish by 7am. So everyone stayed home from school. They were both listless all morning. Mayhem fell asleep about 11. Havoc asked for mac & cheese for lunch & then vegged out to Cars for almost 2 hours. Both of them seemed much better by 2.  Slight fevers returned just before bedtime & were treated. Mayhem again was up at 2:30am, feverish & in our room. I moved him to the sleeping bag on the floor Havoc had already been up and was laying on the sofa. Both were dosed. And hour later I had to get up & tell them it was not breakfast time, turn off the tv & lights & put everyone back in their beds. Havoc stayed on the sofa and apparently at some point Mayhem joined him & slept on the floor. They were back up at 6am. Both are in school today. Both are no doubt tired. God knows I am.

While all of Monday evening various illness issues were going on, I had a pot of chicken stock cooling on the counter.  I'd made it that afternoon from the carcass of a roast chicken we had on Friday. It smelled delicious & I was just waiting for it to cool a bit so I could stick in the fridge to let the fat congeal before I froze it in 2 cup containers. I totally forgot about it Monday night & left it there. I also failed to notice it for most of yesterday.  So one pot of stock ruined.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Photo of the Day - week 9

Feb 25 - Henry delivers yogurt raisins for snacktime

Feb 26 - The trains are having an off track adventure

Feb 27 - Monster truck racing track

Feb 28 - Havoc playing the punching game

Feb 29 - The Island of Sodor today

Mar 1 - Soft block tower building

Mar 2 - New homes on Sodor