Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Vacation Bible School for heathen kids

My kids are currently attending their second VBS of the summer, with at least one, possibly 3 more to go.  I get some grief from other pagans and some Christians for sending the boys to VBS.  Obviously, in their eyes, I have no business doing such a thing. The pagans think I should be running my own little homeschool summer mythology camp, not letting others fill my kids minds with the narrow precepts of the Christian religion. The Christians don't know what to think but they know I shouldn't be doing it. VBS is for lapsed Christians' kids, not for people firmly non-Christian.  I must say these are a small minority of Christians, generally of the 'lapsed' variety themselves.  The actual regular church going ones who are volunteering their time don't much care. If anything they are happy about it. VBS is outreach. "Converting the heathen" is one of those things they preach in church but most people rarely get the chance to do because it usually involves leaving the country for periods of time. But here I am, in their own community, with a couple of genuine heathens. The church wants to teach them about Jesus. I want some time to myself. The boys enjoy singing, making crafts and listening to stories. Everyone is happy. I'm not sure why people who are not actually involved in the process feel the need to weigh in with their negative opinions. Jesus is all love in preschool classes. The thundering vengeful god of the old testament doesn't get much play at VBS so I'm not really concerned.  Plus VBS gives me openings to talk about what I believe & what others believe.

The boys are with the Baptists this week, at the church that sponsored the MOPS group I belonged to for 3 years. Last week they were with the Methodists. We've been going to their VBS for 3 years. It is very well run. The Catholics will be doing sign ups for their VBS next week.  The VBS is at the end of the month. I used to be Catholic & went to a lot Catholic VBS when I was a kid, helped out at them when I was a teen. I have the boys signed up for the Pentacostals but I think I may pass on that. I've heard its a bit more fire & brimstone than the others.  I'm waiting to see if the Baptists up the road from us are doing VBS, they don't do it every year. If they do, and they take Pre-K (sometimes they do, sometimes they don't) I'll send the boys to that one as well, unless it is an identical theme to the ones they have already attended.

What am I doing with all this free time? I went to the gym 3 times last week. I cleaned the heck out of my house & I read a great deal. This week I've been to the gym once and spent another morning with coffee and a book driving around to shady spots to read. Today I am at home.  My endo is so painful I can't really work out, but hopefully it will go away in a few more days. With the new treatment it usually only lasts 8 days and I'm 6 days into it. I meant to go to the library today but honestly, it hurts to walk or to bend, or to....move.. actually.  I've been fairly useless as a mom the past week or so & VBS has been a blessing. Someone is interacting with my kids. All I can do is sit & read to them & usually someone sticks a knee or elbow on my stomach & my reaction is to yell in pain. So it hasn't been much fun lately.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Rural living downer #1

Nobody delivers to here. Nobody has ever delivered to here and if they weren't delivering when gas was under $2 a gallon there is no way anyone is suddenly going to decide to deliver out here.

OK I take that back. The General Store did, briefly deliver out here & they did deliver everything in the store from pizza to milk to cat food to beer, but their mark up is outrageous and then they tack not only a $5 delivery fee but a mileage fee onto the order. We live 7.4 miles away, the deliver within 9 miles and charge by the mile.  Even DH's truck gets better mileage than we would be paying the delivery guy. And the milk was $4.25 a gallon when it was $3.50 everywhere else.  A large pizza & a gallon of milk ended up costing almost $30, for which we could drive into town, get Papa John's to go and get milk from the Food Lion in the same plaza for less. Then they stopped doing it because of gas prices.

I'd like chinese food delivered, or pizza or subs or any damn thing really. I don't care that it won't be hot - nothing is ever hot when DH brings it home anyway. I just want to eat at a reasonable hour & if I could call someone they could have it here before DH gets home and we could eat before 6:45, which is the earliest he gets home if he has to stop & pick up food I've called in.

Mostly though I'd like groceries delivered. I find the whole idea of going online and ordering groceries & having them brought to my door fascinating. The same way I find most sci fi fascinating. It's another world. It's THE FUTURE and not one I'm ever going to be a part of. People bring groceries to your house! Bags of chicken, milk, yogurt & cheese. Who picks out the produce? What if you think it is overripe? Can you return it? How do you cash in the coupons? It gets complicated when I start to think about it. Groceries are a hands on affair to me, especially since I am trying to get away from using too many packaged foods.  I find the idea appealing, but as with so many appealing ideas, I don't know how I would deal with the reality.

Absorbed in books

I just blew through 13 of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum books. I read 3,4,5 and 7 over the weekend and 8-13, plus the 2 novellas, between 11am Monday morning and 10pm Thursday evening - totally ignoring my children for 3 solid afternoons.  I have no idea what they were doing from 1pm to 6pm Mon, Wed & Thurs. Sometimes they came in the room with dinosaurs, occasionally I heard them in the playroom.  I did get them snacks, but apart from that I was in Stephanie's life, not my own.

Obviously they are light reads, 3 hard back books in one day is a bit much even for me. But it has been ages since I was so fully taken into a series, especially one that made me laugh so hard I wasn't able to see the words through the tears.  I think Jasper Fford's Thursday Next series was the last time I neglected my children in favor of books in any serious, solid reading time, way. I read all the time, but most of the time it is for 30 minute segments and I am aware of what the boys are doing &prepared to put my book down & interact. This week I really have no idea what went on in my house. everyone is alive, healthy and nothing has been damaged or broken, so I assume they did as usual - played with dinosaurs, pretended to be Indiana Jones, raced in Mario Kart, watched some Land Before Time & Thomas DVDs and given the mess in the playroom, spent a good deal of time with the Imaginext pirate ships.

I'm glad it went well because it will happen again. I love to read & sometimes I get lucky & find something that absorbs me so completely I am totally unaware of my own surroundings while I am reading it. Granted, a 15 book series was a bit much, even for me but I really needed that. I feel so much better now.

I have book 14 and the other novella on order from Amazon. They should be here Wednesday. I bought all the other books in a set on eBay today. There are books I don't mind checking out of the library and there are books I must own. For the sheer laugh out loud escapism of them, I must own the Stephanie Plum series.

Friday, June 13, 2008

48 hours to myself

I've been alone in the house for 48 hours.  The males went camping Wednesday morning & came back around dinner time today.

What did I do with all this time alone?

First I scrubbed the kitchen cabinets, counters & appliances thoroughly. The way things can only be cleaned if you are guaranteed not to be interrupted during the process.

Second I completed the last pages of my hybrid album & began to print them out.

Third I completed a layout for my new CT position. :)

Fourth I read all of Face Down Below the Banqueting House. Eh.. I've read nearly all the books in this series and while I liked the first 3-4, I'm not loving the more recent ones. Some of the recurring characters are getting a bit annoying.

Fifth I scrubbed, mopped and wiped down the kitchen floor. I have deep sympathy for 19th century scullery maids. My floor is natural slate with all the natural unevenness that comes with it. So while mopping is a useful stopgap, at least 2x a year I have to get down on my hands & knees with a bucket of soapy water (repeatedly dumped & replaced), a washcloth and a scrub brush and SCRUB the bejeezus out of the floor, taking care to wipe up the excess water with the washcloth or it will settle in the crevices & leave stains. Then once the scrubbing is done it has to have a rinse with a mop and then back down on the floor with a rag to wipe up the water. My knees and arms are killing me.

Sixth I went out for sushi with a friend.

Seventh I read Hot Six.  I'm really getting into this series, so much so that I broke my own rule of reading series in order and skipped from book 2 to book 6 because 3,4, and 5 are currently checked out.

Eighth I assembled this:

my first hybrid album.  I only had to reprint 2 pieces of it. And there is a smear on the A where it wasn't completely dry & some Mod Podge got on it.  But other than that it went smoothly.

Summer Reading - library round 2

The boys are very into dinosaurs at the moment so I made a point of finding dinosaur related books this trip.

Dinotopia (not really read aloud material but they like looking at the pictures)

Here Comes T Rex Cottontail

T. Rex Trick or Treats

Pterosaurs: Rulers of the Sky

They Lived With Dinosaurs

Dinosaur Babies


Dinosaurs Before Dark (bookmooch)

plus some non dino books

Wind in the Willows (bookmooch)

Frog & Toad Together (bookmooch)

Tack & the Winter Games

Lyle at the Office

Lyle at Christmas

I'm mooching the longer books from my read aloud recommendation lists, that way I am under no pressure to return them to the library by a certain date.  We breeze through the 30 page books pretty quickly, reading 3-5 in one sitting sometimes, but they are not always willing to sit still for the longer ones.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Alone in the silence

They've gone camping.  All the males in the house are now out in the woods, by the river, doing male things....peeing on trees, I suppose..

It is so quiet. The TV isn't on. I'm not hearing the Mario Kart theme music over the shouts of boys stomping their dinosaurs around the kitchen.  No one has screamed "I'm not playing with you anymore" for 5 hours now. Nothing has been dropped from a great height onto the wood floor, nothing has been knocked over, nothing has been spilled and nobody has asked me if it is snack time yet.  I have not heard a single "no" in 5 hours.

It's eerie.

I was able to clean the kitchen cabinets, countertops and appliances without considering where to put things to keep them out of kids' reach or worrying about them accidentally getting the chemicals from the cleaner on their hands and possibly eating something. I've got a bleach gel paste covering all my counter grout lines & I am not even in the same room fending the boys off from touching it. I was not interrupted once.

Kinda freaky really.

All of their toys are put away.  There are no small stray socks or random pants laying around. And there won't be for 48 hours. I can make dinner tonight and not take anyone else's likes & dislikes into account.  I can eat it at 5pm or 7:45pm without caring about when people get home from work or need to go to bed.  I, myself, can go to bed whenever I want because there is no reason for me to be up at 6:30am, or even 9:30am tomorrow. I can play my music as loud as I want.  I can dance around the living room i my underwear if I so choose. ( I choose not to). I can go to Wal Mart and BROWSE! Actually look at things, maybe even hit Kohls or JC Penny and - really wild- try on clothing!!  I haven't actually tried on any clothing before I purchased it in over a year.

I'm a little lonely though. It's so quiet, even with the music

48 hours is a long long time actually. I may have to go turn on the Mario Kart..

Sunday, June 01, 2008

May Recap

This month I read 14 new books and re read 2 other books. 6 were non-fiction and 10 were fiction.

I created 13 layouts, participated in 20 challenges and earned 28 points at Sweet Shoppe - giving me a 40% discount in June.

I was a guest CT member for Bree Clarkson and was turned down for 2 other CTs.

I paid $2200 to get my car repaired.

We went to Day Out with Thomas and to Great Wolf Lodge.

I crocheted over half a dinosaur.

I set up the swimming pool.

The boys finished K4 and K3.

We watched all of Firefly through Netflix.

Boys Summer Reading - round 1

Captain Underpants and the Attack of the Talking Toilets

Captain Underpants and the Invasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies from Outer Space

Captain Underpants and the Wrath of the Wicked Wedgie Woman

Tacky the Penguin

Tackylocks and the 3 Bears

Tacky and the Emperor

Max & Ruby Play School

Something Might Happen

A Porcupine Named Fluffy

When Sofie Gets Angry - Really Really Angry

Sheep in a Jeep

Harold & the Purple Crayon

How My Parents Learned to Eat

A Pizza the Size of the Sun

The Toll Bridge Troll