Friday, July 31, 2009

Unveiled... Kinda

I'm about to break a fairly strict rule I keep on this blog. Aside from really little ones, I don't post current pictures of my girls. Or me, but that's an entirely self-image-related issue.

In any case, get ready, because this is your chance to see one of mine in all her glory. Ahem.


I heard a knock at the door last week. I knew it was one of the girls, who had been out playing, and between my minuscule center-of-gravity and the obstacle course that is the laundry in the hallway, I was reluctant to answer it. I decided to humor her, whoever she was, and when I opened the door, I saw this:

Please don't ask about the potty seat on the front step, or why that weed burner hasn't been put to good use where it sits.

Oh my. Can you say "Bob Marley?"

Does the twinkle in her eye tell you which one she is?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Healthcare According to Obama

Anyone else noticed that I haven't really posted much politics lately? Usually I just can't help but vent here, but lately, there's just TOO MUCH.

EVERYTHING the politicians touch turns to dust. Worse, to cyanide-laced swine-flu. (Can you do that?) I'm worried that if I start, my head will just explode, and that will be bad.

HR 3200. <-- Actual text. A big, 1017-page pdf.

HSLDA's brief summary.

Mat Staver, of the Freedom Foundation and Liberty Counsel's page-by-page summary follows. Tell me Hitler wouldn't have been rubbing his hands in glee, if he'd had this law and our current technology? What an easier job he would've had...

I like how the National ID Card is in here, along with immediate electronic access to any and all of our bank accounts. That'll be so handy.

I ALSO like the subtitle, if you call it that. Right on the front page, Emphasis mine: "To provide affordable, quality health care for all Americans and reduce the growth in health care spending, and for other purposes."

"Other purposes?" *Cue maniacal laughing* Other, unnamed purposes...?

Pg 22 of the HC Bill MANDATES the Govt will audit the books of ALL EMPLOYERS that self insure!!

Pg 30 Sec 123 of HC bill - THERE WILL BE A GOVT COMMITTEE that decides what treatments/benefits you get

Pg 29 lines 4-16 in the HC bill - YOUR HEALTHCARE IS RATIONED!!!

Pg 42 of HC Bill - The Health Choices Commissioner will choose your benefits for you. You have no choice!

Pg 50 Section 152 in HC bill - HC will be provided to ALL non US citizens, illegal or otherwise

Pg 58HC Bill – Gov’t will have real-time access to individual’s finances & a National ID Health care card will be issued!

Pg 59 HC Bill lines 21-24 Govt will have direct access to your banks accts for electronic funds transfer.

Pg 65 Sec 164 is a payoff subsidized plan for retirees and their families in Unions & community orgs (ACORN).

Pg 72 Lines 8-14 Govt is creating an HC Exchange to bring priv HC plans under Govt control.

Pg 84 Sec 203 HC bill - Govt mandates ALL benefit packages for private Health Care plans in the Exchange

Pg 85 Line 7 HC Bill - Specs for of Benefit Levels for Plans = The Govt will ration your Healthcare!

Pg 91 Lines 4-7 HC Bill - Govt mandates linguistic appropriate services.

Example - Translation for illegal aliens.

Pg 95 HC Bill Lines 8-18 The Govt will use groups i.e., ACORN & Americorps to sign up individuals for Govt HC plan

Pg 85 Line 7 HC Bill - Specs of Ben Levels 4 Plans. #AARP members - Your Health Care WILL be rationed

Pg 102 Lines 12-18 HC Bill - Medicaid Eligible Individual will be automat.enrolled in Medicaid. No choice.

Pg 124 lines 24-25 HC No company can sue Govt on price fixing. No “judicial review” against Govt Monopoly.

Pg 127 Lines 1-16 HC Bill - Doctors/ #AMA - The Govt will tell YOU what you can make.

Pg 145 Line 15-17 An Employer MUST auto enroll employees into public opt plan. NO CHOICE

Pg 126 Lines 22-25 Employers MUST pay for HC for part time employees AND their families.

Pg 149 Lines 16-24 ANY Employer w/ payroll 400k & above who does not prov. pub opt. pays 8% tax on all payroll

Pg 150 Lines 9-13 Biz w payroll btw 251k & 400k who doesnt provide public opt pays 2-6% tax on all payroll Pg 167 Lines 18-23 ANY individual who doesnt have acceptable HC according to Govt will be taxed 2.5% of income.

Pg 170 Lines 1-3 Any NONRESIDENT Alien is exempt from individual taxes. (Americans will pay).

Pg 195 Officers & employees of HC Admin (GOVT) will have access to ALL Americans financial and personal records.

Pg 203 Line 14-15 HC - “The tax imposed under this section shall not be treated as tax” Yes, it says that. Pg 239 Line 14-24 HC Bill Govt will reduce physician services for Medicaid. Seniors, low income, poor affected.

Pg 241 Line 6-8 HC Bill - Doctors, it does not matter what specialty you have, you’ll all be paid the same.

Pg 253 Line 10-18 Govt sets value of Dr’s time, prof judg, etc. Literally value of humans.

Pg 265 Sec 1131Govt mandates & controls productivity for private HC industries.

Pg 268 Sec 1141 Fed Govt regulates rental & purchase of power driven wheelchairs.

Pg 272 SEC. 1145. Treatment of certain cancer hospitals – Cancer patients - welcome to rationing!

Page 280 Sec 1151 The Govt will penalize hospitals for what Govt deems preventable readmissions. (Incentives for hospital to not treat and release.)

Pg 298 Lines 9-11 Drs, treat a patient during initial admission that results in a readmission-Govt will penalize you.

Pg 317 L 13-20 PROHIBITION on ownership/investment. Govt tells Drs. what/how much they can own.

Pg 317-318 lines 21-25,1-3 PROHIBITION on expansion- Govt is mandating hospitals cannot expand.

pg 321 2-13 Hospitals have opportunity to apply for exception BUT community input required. Can you say ACORN?!!

Pg335 L 16-25 Pg 336-339 - Govt mandates established of outcome based measures. HC the way they want. Rationing.

Pg 341 Lines 3-9 Govt has authority to disqualify Medicare Advantage Plans (Part B), HMOs, etc. Forcing people into Govt plan.

Pg 354 Sec 1177 - Govt will RESTRICT enrollment of Special needs people!

Pg 379 Sec 1191 Govt creates more bureaucracy - Telehealth Advisory Committee. HC by phone/Internet?

Pg 425 Lines 4-12 Govt mandates Advance [Death] Care Planning Consult. Think Senior Citizens end of life.

Pg 425 Lines 17-19 Govt will instruct & consult regarding living wills, durable powers of atty. Mandatory!

Pg 425 Lines 22-25, 426 Lines 1-3 Gov’t provides approved list of end of life resources, guiding you in death.

Pg 427 Lines 15-24 Govt mandates program for orders for end of life. The Gov’t has a say in how your life ends.

Pg 429 Lines 1-9 An “adv. care planning consult” will be used frequently as patients health deteriorates.

Pg 429 Lines 10-12 “adv. care consultation” may incl an ORDER for end of life plans. AN ORDER from GOV

Pg 429 Lines 13-25 - The govt will specify which Doctors can write an end of life order.

PG 430 Lines 11-15 The Govt will decide what level of treatment you will have at end of life

Pg 469 - Community Based Home Medical Services=Non profit orgs. Hello, ACORN Medical Svcs here!!?

Pg 472 Lines 14-17 PAYMENT TO COMMUNITY-BASED ORG. 1 monthly payment to a community-based org. Like ACORN?

Pg 489 Sec 1308 The Govt will cover Marriage & Family therapy. They will insert Government into your marriage. Pg 494-498 Govt will cover Mental Health Svcs including defining, creating, rationing those svcs

PG 502 Sec 1181 Center for Comparative Effectiveness Research Established. – Hello Big Brother – Literally.

Pg 503 Lines 13-19 Gov’t will build registries and data networks from YOUR electronic med records.

Pg 503 lines 21-25 Gov’t may secure data directly from any depart or agency of the US including your data.

Pg 504 Lines 6-10 The “Center” will collect data both published & unpublished (that means public & your private info)

PG 506 Lines 19-21 The Center will recommend policies that would allow for public access of data.

PG 518 Lines 21-25 The Commission will have input from HC consumer reps – Can you say unions & ACORN?

PG 524 18-22 Comparative Effectiveness Research Trust Fund set up. More taxes for ALL.

PG 621 Lines 20-25 Gov’t will define what Quality means in HC. Since when does Gov’t know about quality?

Pg 622 Lines 2-9 To pay for the Quality Standards, Govt will transfer $$ from to other Govt Trust Funds. More Taxes.

PG 624 “Quality” measures shall be designed to assess outcomes & functional status of patients.

PG 624 “Quality” measures shall be designed to profile you including race, age, gender, place of residence, etc

Pg 628 Sec 1443 Gov’t will give “Multi-Stake Holders” Pre-Rule Making input into Selection of “Quality” Measures.

Pg 630 9-24/631 1-9 Those Multi-stake holder groups incl. Unions & groups like ACORN deciding HC quality.

Pg 632 Lines 14-25 The Gov’t may implement any “Quality measure” of HC Services as they see fit.

PG 633 14-25/ 634 1-9 The Secretary may issue non-endorsed “Quality Measures” for Physician Services & Dialysis Services.

Pg 635 to 653 Physicians Payments Sunshine Provision – Gov’t wants to shine sunlight on Docs but not Govt.

Pg 654-659 Public Reporting on Health Care-Associated Infections – Looks okay.

PG 660-671 Doctors in Residency – Gov’t will tell you where your residency will be, thus where you’ll live.

Pg 676-686 Gov’t will regulate hospitals in EVERY aspect of residency programs, incl. teaching hospitals.

Pg 686-700 Increased Funding to Fight Waste, Fraud, and Abuse. You mean like the Gov’t with an $18 million website?

PGs 701-704 Sec 1619 If your part of HC plan isn’t in Gov’t HC Exchange but you qualify for Fed aid, no payment.

PG 705-709 SEC. 1128 If Secr gets complaints (ACORN) on HC provider or supplier, Gov’t can do background check.

PG 711 Lines 8-14 The Secretary has broad powers to deny HC providers/ suppliers admittance into HC Exchange. Your doctor could be thrown out of business.

Pg 719-720 Sec 1637 ANY Doctor who orders durable med equip or home med services MUST be enrolled in Medicare.

PG 722 Sec 1639 Gov’t MANDATES Doctors must have face to face with patient to certify patient for Home Health Svcs.

PG 724 23-25 PG 725 1-5 The same Gov’t certifications will apply to Medicaid & CHIP (your kids)

PG 724 Lines 16-22 Gov’t reserves rt to apply face to face certification for patient to ANY other HC service.

Pg 735 lines 16-25 For law enforce. proposes the Secretary-HHS will give Atty General access to ALL data.

PG 740-757 Gov’t sets guidelines for subsidizing the uninsured (Thats your tax dollars people)

Pg 757-762 Fed gov’t will shift burden of payments to Disproportionate Share Hospitals (DSH) to States. (Taxes)

Pg 763 1-8 No DS/EA hospitals will be paid unless they provide services without regard to national origin

Pg 765 Sec 1711 Gov’t will require Preventative Services including vaccines. (Choice?)

Pg 768 Sec 1713 Gov’t – Nurse Home Visitation Svcs (Hello union paybacks)

Pg 769 11-14 Nurse Home Visit Svcs include-economic self-sufficiency, employ adv, school-readiness.

Pg 769 3-5 Nurse Home Visit Services - “increasing birth intervals between pregnancies.” Govt ABORTIONS anyone

Pg 770 SEC 1714 Fed Gov’t mandates eligibility for State Family Planning Services. Abortion & State Sovereign.

Pg 789-797 Gov’t will set, mandate drug prices, controlling which drugs brought to market. Bye innovation.

Pgs 797-800 SEC. 1744 PAYMENTS for graduate medical education. The government will now control Drs’ education.

PG 801 Sec 1751 The Govt will decide which Health care conditions will be paid. Say RATION!

Pg 810 SEC. 1759. Billing Agents, clearinghouses, etc req. to register. Gov’t takes over private payment sys.

Pg 820-824 Sec 1801 Govt will identify individ. ineligible for subsidies. Will access all personal financial information.

Pg 824-829 SEC. 1802. Govt Sets up Comparative Effectiveness Research Trust Fund. Another tax black hole.

PG 829-833 Gov’t will impose a fee on ALL private health ins. plans incl. self insured to pay for Trust Fund!

PG 835 11-13 fees imposed by Gov’t for Trust Fund shall be treated as if they were taxes.

Pg 838-840 Gov’t will design & implement Home Visitation Program for families with young kids & families expect kids.

PG 844-845 This Home Visitation Prog. includes Gov’t coming into your house & telling you how to parent!!!

Pg 859 Gov’t will establish a Public Health Fund at a cost of $88,800,000,000. Yes that’s Billion.

Pg 865 The Gov’t will MANDATE the establishment of a National Health Service Corps.

PG 865 to 876 The NHS Corps is a program where Drs. perform mandatory HC for 2yrs for part loan repayment.

PG 876-892 The govt takes over the education of our Med students and Drs.

PG 898 The Govt will establish a Public Health Workforce Corps to ensure supply of public health prof.

PG 898 The Public health workforce corps shall consist of civilian employees of the U.S. as Secretary deems.

PG 898 The Public health workforce corps shall consist of officers of Regular & Reserve Corps of Service.

PG 900 The Public Health Workforce Corps includes veterinarians.

PG 901 The Public Health Workforce Corps WILL include commissioned Regular & Reserve Officers. HC Draft?

PG 910 The Govt will develop, build & run Public Health Training Centers.

PG 913-914 Govt starts a HC affirmative action program thru guise of diversity scholarships.

PG 915 SEC. 2251. Govt MANDDATES Cultural & linguistic competency training for HC professionals.

Pg 932 The Govt will estab Preventative & Wellness Trust fund- initial cost of $30,800,000,000-Billion.

PG 935 21-22 Govt will identify specific goals & objectives for prevention & wellness activities. Control YOU!!

PG 936 Govt will develop “Healthy People & National Public Health Perform. Standards” Tell me what to eat?

PG 942 Lines 22-25 More Gov’t? Offices of Surgeon General -Public Health Svc, Minority Health, Women’s Health

PG 950- 980 BIG GOV’T core pub health infrastructure including workforce capacity, lab systems; health info sys, etc

PG 993 Gov’t will establish school based health clinics. Your kids won’t have a chance.

PG 994 School Based Health Clinic will be integrated into the school environment. Say GOVT Brainwash!

PG 1001 The Govt will establish a National Medical Device Registry. Will you be tracked?

The bold might actually be added in by Rick Joyner. This list is from an article he wrote and someone sent me via an email link. The article is religious/prophetic in nature, but even if that's not your bent, don't overlook this very real threat!

I'm trying to keep my head from exploding. Really. Is this our America? Is this the "change" Obama promised? Part of it certainly. A diabolical part.

Three things:

PRAY. This is it. Will this generation of American Christians face judgment having not "done all to stand" against this? In the email I got, my friend wrote,

"...let us begin to earnestly pray for God to intervene in America. I believe that the intervention of God primary includes the awakening of the church to the wisdom of God, to its divine mandate, the emboldening of the church to lift its voice not in fear or in political reaction but with the Spirit of the Lord empowering it to speak and declare the truth in righteousness.
The Kingdom of God never ceases to advance. Even when the enemy seems to be gaining the upper hand, His tactics will always backfire on him. I believe that the church is about to awaken in America. Let us earnestly pray together for the Lord to lift a standard of righteousness against the flood of darkness."

I couldn't agree more.

CALL YOUR CONGRESSMEN. Don't know who they are? Check here. Call the capitol switchboard (202-224-3121), ask for their office, and give them your opinion. If they get nasty, or try to argue with you, don't let up. If they hang up, call again. Email. Fax.

TELL OTHERS. Your friends. Your email list. Your facebook and twitter folks. Your pastors and neighbors and everyone else.

Where Do I Start?

***Update below***

Cindy alerted me that the Congress is trying to destroy America.

Well, no, I already knew that.

Specifically she alerted me to HR 2749 that is being voted upon about now, and while I can't confirm that for sure, it is on the roster to be voted upon in the House, possibly this moment.

I blogged before about this, or a similar food safety bill, that purports to "save us" from all potential threats in our food supply, but in reality is special-interest mega-corporations using the laws (by the way, isn't that called fascism??) to slam down the little guy, the market farmer, the home poultry producer and gardener, for heaven's sake.

Natural News has some good information on it.

Do what you can, what you will. Call your congressmen (Capitol Switchboard 202-224-3121). Find out what they are doing did or plan to do. Expect lies, expect rude aides, expect to vote them all out of office as soon as possible. Wow, expect mealy-mouthed capitol switchboard people, after you let it ring 4 dozen times.

***Aw crap (I say that a lot, huh?) They already voted on it. The aide didn't know how my congressman voted, but took my mailing address so they could send me whatever form letter would be appropriate.

Have we had enough? Have YOU had enough?

I'll post again shortly.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Apricot Jam, Maybe?

This is going to take me FOREVER...

Yes, these are apricots from our tree. *sigh*

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Adventures in Town Continue

Remember last week, when I left my wallet in a parking lot and nearly got a speeding ticket?

I'm glad to say I avoided *both* of those scenarios today, thankyouverymuch.

Though I did forget to buy gas, until my gas light was on. I was in town, though, so that wasn't too dangerous. I went to a gas station that offered "pay at the pump for a carwash", filled the tank ($45 worth!), and was perplexed when it never offered me a carwash. Especially since my kids have been harassing me about washing our van since we got it. I pushed the little 'speak to attendant' button, and she brought me my receipt, and instructed me to go through the drive-up window for the carwash (yes, the convenience store has a drive-thru. But you can't buy liquor or lottery tickets through it...[huh? the liquor I understand, but...]). This I did, got my "code" and crossed to the carwash. It was a touch-free, but I got the "works" and the kids enjoyed the many times the high-powered spray rounded our van. And the prewash, and the undercarriage, and the 'hot wax,' and whatever. I inched out through the blow-dryer, and noticed something in my side mirror.

My fuel door.

Sticking out.

Not closed.


Sure enough, in my trying to figure out why the gas pump wouldn't sell me a car wash, I had forgotten to replace the gas cap. I might've said, "Aw, crap" again.

I pulled into the 90-degree shade by the vacuums, turned off the engine, and called my husband. He wasn't sure if the tank might need drained or not (are you kidding? I haven't gone to Costco, but I've bought a bunch of clearance dairy stuff which is sitting in ice in a plastic table cloth in the back. Oh please, Lord...), because there was definite moisture inside the neck of the gas-tank-thingy. I asked if we should call our mechanic, and he agreed, so I hunted down a phone book (I actually waddled up to the same drive-thru window. It was nearest, and the kids were in the van, ok?), and called him. You know you have an honest mechanic when he responds to your inquiry about draining the fuel tank with the suggestion to stop by the auto parts store for a bottle or two of Heat. He didn't think I had "more than a quart, maybe" in there, and was far less worried about it than I was.

So. "Washing" the inside of my fuel tank this week, getting off for an extra stop and $7.40. Leaving my wallet in a parking lot last week, retrieving it without any loss. Getting stopped by a cop and coming within a hair of a BIG fine, but getting only a warning. I didn't tell you about overdrafting my checking account several hundred dollars a few weeks ago. Discovered by accident that my bank will automatically pull money from my savings account to cover it.

What is with all this? Is God trying to teach me something? Like, I have no brain? Or that He'll save me from myself? That I am (very) weak (minded) and He is strong?

Or that I should be put in a padded cell for the last month of pregnancy?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Outdoor Kitchen

Have you seen the many posts of different families setting up their 'outdoor' kitchens? Seems like everyone has them, and for once, I succumbed to a fad. :)

It was only about 102 (inside and out) on Saturday, and that didn't get any better by cooking. Did I even cook? I don't remember. That kind of heat melts my brain cells.

Anyways, on Sunday I was looking around trying to decide how to make life a *little* bit simpler in that area, thinking about an outdoor option for cooking. The back of the house gets the shade, but it is also harder to access and I'd be setting up shop in the flower weed bed. That rear door got some rain under it's threshold or something, and it's HARD to open these days. The front has a long, covered porch, but it gets all-day sun, and I could probably cook without any appliances in that area. The "side porch" is fairly small, but it's just outside the dining room and would be handy. If it were level. And the chickens stayed away (yeah, right). And the old barbecuer moved. But there was no outlet.

Ah, but there was one just inside the sliding glass door. I could just run the cords in.

Hubby didn't like that idea, so he went to the hardware store (any excuse!) and bought an outdoor waterproof outlet and other electrical odds and ends so he could cut a hole in the house. He loves doing that kind of thing. Before long, he had it installed and 'heat' on it, jacked up the porch and leveled it, moved the barbecuer, and I set up a card table, plugged in a little electric burner, and my big roaster-thingy.

I browned some sausage, then some onions, on the burner, then made up a watery spaghetti sauce, into which I eventually broke some spinach lasagna noodles. I 'baked' a pan of cornbread muffins in the roaster, followed by 3 bread-pans full of lasagna, followed by the rest of the cornbread muffins.

And stashed a couple of each in the freezer. Yes!

The 'baking' did take longer (I might not be doing it right -- do you remove that liner for baking or not?), but it did the job, and I was so happy to at least have a slight breeze upon me while stirring up dinner.

And a baby gate does a fairly good job of keeping chickens off the porch.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Apparently It CAN Be Done

As of yesterday, my Granny was great-grandma to SEVEN great-granddaughters. My 3, my brother's 1, 2 cousins each had one... until one of them had their second girl this past weekend. No boys in the bunch (although one of the cousins had had a stillborn boy some years back).

The other cousin (who'd had the stillbirth) had her baby early this morning, and IT'S A BOY!

I'm somewhat amazed, myself. I wasn't sure it would happen. :) Now, there are still no boys with the same last name as Granny (she had 2 sons, 2 grandsons, but so far they have girls), but at least there's a Y chromosome in the lineup now!

His name is Liam Daniel.

His parents aren't believers, in any sense, but I praise God for his safe arrival, and pray that God might draw them all to His heart in time.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Aw, Crap

I'm sorry to use such strong language, especially in the title. I really am. But it really applies.

Today I woke up, not sure if a certain homeschooler bible study was going to take place or not. Eventually I determined that it was not. Which kinda bummed me out, because I thought I'd stop at the nearby WalMart to pick up a set of cheap sheets for one of the kids (2 kids, 2 beds, 2 sets of flannel, only ONE set of cotton summer sheets) and some cheap towels (darn birth supply list.. TEN towels? Sheesh!). Since they're doing their back-to-college sale, it was a good idea. Even laundry baskets were on sale, and I'm always needing those. :]

But since the bible study wasn't happening out there, I made arrangements with another nearby mom to take our kids to look at some fish (we're easy to entertain around here). I was late, because I couldn't find my wallet ANYWHERE. I knew it was 'safe', because I'd written a check to the midwife on Monday here in my very own living room, and hadn't left since then. We finally found it, and met her and her kids at "the fishies." She has 4 kids; 5 year old twin girls, a 3 year old boy, and a 1 year old. I tossed around the idea of going to the OTHER WalMart anyway, since my errand list for Friday was getting mighty long as it was.

When the other mom offered to come with us, I decided to do it. I mean, I've never been a part to one of those "two crazy moms and alllll their kids taking a field trip to WalMart." I mean really.. I don't know that I've ever been so cliche, so stereotypical. We stopped at her house for a drink of water and to use the potty, and she fed us before we took our family-rigs to that one store.

We browsed around, I got what I needed, plus bananas, and we made it through the checkout lines, all with only several minutes of one of the 'babies' screaming, kids fighting, or begging - or, my favorite part, my older girls climbing on to her cart (you know the ones with the extra-kid seating, making them all long and awkward?) for a ride, so the poor woman held her youngest (who was pinching and pulling hair to her siblings earlier) in one arm, and maneuvered the cart with five - FIVE! - kids holding on or riding here and there. SHE got some looks, lemme tell ya... :)

So we made it through the blistering heat to the vehicles, and parted ways from there... I handed out bananas in the back of the van (*note to self, check for peels*), and carted us all home.

Hubby was let off early today (so they don't have to pay the overtime for his long day yesterday?), and was home when we got back at 3, and was setting to work making a door for the chicken coop. Another door. One that withstands the wind better, we hope. He needed hinges though, and wanted to know where my wallet was.

In the van, of course.

Or not.

In the diaper bag?


Maybe in the laundry basket full of new towels?


Uh oh...

This time I wasn't sure it was so safe. I was pretty sure the cart was empty when I abandoned it in the parking lot, but the advertisement was there... what if my wallet was still underneath...?

Uh oh...

WalMart hadn't seen it.

The bank put a hold on my debit card.

American Express did the same.

I wondered about the $200 of grocery money inside, but was thankful that I didn't still have a dozen or more unused and ignored credit cards hanging around in it. I wouldn't have known where to start jogging my memory on those.

So I'm praying I don't have to open a new checking account, since I've used all of 7 checks out of the four boxes that I just ordered last month, and that someone *honest* will find it... soon?

Some blessed Bryan grabbed the cart - which was still where I left it, apparently, some 2+ hours later, and found my wallet. He called (I think our phone # is on our checks), and was very kind. He and his family were even going to deliver it to my house, until noticing my address wasn't right in town. I asked him if he'd give it to the WalMart customer service to put in their safe, and he did so.

I looked up the name on my caller ID and found his mailing address, drove to WalMart, retrieved my wallet, bought a Thank You card, stopped at Lowe's for Hubby, went to another grocer hoping for some 'red band' cheap bananas (ended up buying pasteurized milk and honey nut cheerios. I am so naughty, I know), then drove towards home.

And got stopped by a cop, having not slowed enough to go through his town. *gulp* I was glad I had my driver's license with me by this time, and though he said I was 15 over (1 more mile and I'd get a $150 ticket!), he let me go with a verbal warning. I'm so glad. I mean, reaching over to the glove box (for the insurance and such) with this belly, after this day (I didn't tell you about the part where my potty-trainer pooped in my new friend's backyard, and I ended up with it on ME, having to scrub my dress before leaving to WalMart the first time), that was enough punishment, really. I will be much more careful. I will use the brakes, even though it screams "wasting gas!" when I do (I miss the ability of my stick-shift to slow itself via the RPMs). And tomorrow, when I'm home all day buried in laundry, I will at least be glad that I have my wallet, and that I can't be pulled over for speeding.

I should've called this post, "Close Calls."

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Passing The Test

Yesterday I had a midwife "home visit." My other midwife didn't do this, and only got a little lost at midnight while I was in labor. :)

Yesterday, and the days leading up to it weren't the most relaxing. I mean the floors needed swept shoveled. The counters were (are) cluttered. The dishes were piled up after prepping for a potluck and being gone all day Sunday. There's a spare piano in the dining room (still). One couch was (is) piled high with laundry in various states of folding (or not).

And worse:

The Laundry Fallout from cleaning my room on Saturday. I must say, if it weren't for homebirths, I really might never thoroughly clean my room. I'm sorry. I know that's wrong, and maybe immoral, but it just doesn't make the part of the list that actually ever gets done, you know? It's upstairs, never 'visited,' and I just can't justify ignoring something more pressing for that. Maybe someday that will change.

Anyways, because the room attracts things like off-size kid's clothing, and the baby's outgrown things that need put away, and things the kids drag through and leave, not to mention my own piles of clothes that "used to" fit, clothes that "might" fit again, clothes for butchering chickens and clothes for going to church (I do designate between the two, unlike with the shoes), maternity clothes, summer clothes, winter clothes... You see how ugly it can get, right? And some things that *might* have been clean, were no longer, due to being too near traffic or so far from it that dust was settling.

Let's just say that the washer ran from 8 am to about 2 pm with barely a pause yesterday. And the hallway is still nearly impassable. All four LONG laundry lines were filled all. Day. Long (oh, I also took it upon myself to boil Organique's diapers this weekend to hopefully dissuade a recurring rash, and then went ahead and did the little baby diapers too, since I'll be needing those shortly).

Thankfully she was late. I managed to shovel AND sweep the kitchen/dining areas, and even cleaned my bathroom. In case she'd see that for some reason. *sigh*

She didn't, by the way, but that's not the point of this post. I was tired. Overworked. Overwhelmed. In short: "the usual." :] But I was home, sweating and drinking water.

I took the nice plastic cup she offered and went to do my duty in my nice, shiny bathroom. I was happy that it had a very "pale ale" look to it.

And even HAPPIER when my specific gravity (dehydration level) was good! So was the pH!

If you knew me back in academic times, you would know how dependent my psyche came to be on getting good grades. I know, that's a whole 'nother post and problem, but let's just say that I don't think those two spots on the tester-strip have EVER been good in this pregnancy. And the gravity one is especially important.

I passed! See? If I'm not a). running around trying to get everyone to an appointment in time, or b). doing errands all around town prior to an appointment, then I DO drink plenty (I KNEW I did. I mean, peeing ever 3 hours at night must count for SOMETHING, right?). I don't drink so much during errands because, well, if you've ever taken 3 kids, a pregnant belly, and a grocery cart into a public restroom stall, you'll know it's not something you want to do at every stop.


You may congratulate me on getting an 'A' on my pee test, if you like.

Friday, July 10, 2009


My midwife wants her clients to walk 30 minutes per day, all or most days.

She once told me 3 days per week, since I do a fair bit of physical activity as it is.

I can't say I meet this goal. In fact, my pelvis would like to note that 30 STEPS per day would be sufficient torture for IT.

Last Sunday had been very warm, but some storms moved through the area, bringing a nice, cool-ish breeze in the evening. There were still clouds to the south (which usually move east), but the low sun shone through the clouds from the west. I asked Hubby if I could slip away for a brief walk, and he agreed. He was busy mounting pumps and motors and gear-boxy things onto the frame of his work truck so it would be "neater" in the back of his truck, and that the 150-lb things wouldn't dent everything when he took a corner or bump. I'm still asking myself why he doesn't apply this organizational skill within the confines of our home, but that is another post entirely. :)

I tucked my cell phone into the breast pocket of my long-sleeved cotton blouse and was glad my maternity jeans didn't billow up in the wind (not that I have anything else that fits my lower portion any more). I waddled up the driveway, around the fancy neighbor's house, and toward the road. Our total driveway is about a quarter mile. As I walked to the top of the 'hump' that crosses the irrigation ditch along the road, a few big splats of rain began to fall. Argh. I checked the clock on my phone. Five minutes. I pondered whether I should just take a rainy walk, but decided against it as the drops were coming a little quicker with each tick of the second-hand on my phone's digital clock face.

I turned and waddled back down the hump, and a blast of wind hit me from the back (I'm so glad it was from the back), bringing even MORE huge raindrops, and they started to get me quite wet. In fact, they hurt! I waddled as fast as I could, watching the waves of showers cover the driveway with a wind-tossed layer of water. I alternated between crying "ow!" and laughing aloud at such a predicament. With my left hand I held the back hem of my shirt taut and away from my skin, which helped keep the soft-air-style rain from raising any more welts. I shrugged my shoulders up high to help protect my neck. The Fancy Neighbor had a small willow tree, I was aiming for that.

I waddled and wailed, and the wind kept at me. My entire backside was drenched, water running into my socks and shoes. It ran forwards from my shoulders, soaking much of the front as well. My hair pinned up and underneath a bandana was getting wet. It was COLD. Cold enough for that sharp intake of breath that doesn't really want to release. Closer to the neighbor's...

Then a good portion of the rain let up. And no, that was not a blessing, because in it's place came hail. Big hail. As-big-as-the-fattest-pea-in-your-garden-big. Ouch! Ow, ow, owie..! By now I really wasn't laughing, though crying crossed my mind. Finally I made it to the leeward side of the tree, which certainly didn't stop all of the rain or hail, but was the best I could manage. I looked at the remaining distance to our house, the many potholes in that part of the driveway bursting with the impact of what was filling them up, and wondered about calling for help. That still seemed too far away. Now I was shivering. I thought about the neighbor's house right near me, and really didn't want to knock, as I'd end up dripping all over her beautiful home. I thought perhaps I could hole up in her garage, but it faces south (from whence came the wind and rain and hail) and I'd still end up making tracks through her home unless she opened the garage, and then it would be another waddle in the weather to get there. I have no doubt she would've been more than hospitable (and not let me use the garage), but I couldn't bring myself to knowingly elicit the compassion due to such a pathetic creature. I was glad that all of her main windows faced away from where I huddled.

Then over the din I heard something, and pulled my phone from my back pants' pocket (where I'd put it at the first sign of rain, mere moments before) to answer Hubby's call. My breathless greeting was followed by, "Are you out walking in this?"

"No. I'm at the neighbor's, under the willow tree!"

"Oh, you're at the neighbors?"

Worried that he thought I was safe and sound, I repeated louder, "Under the willow tree. Will you come get me? F-f-f-fast?"

It seemed like a lonnnggg time before I saw the van make it's way toward me, splashing through one lake after another, but the girls said Daddy ran out of the house and drove the van away very quickly. He pulled near and reached over to open the passenger door, which I closed because I didn't want to mess up the front seat. I went to pull open the sliding door, which was locked of course. I made several tries before Hubby got the right button (poor man, I'm sure he felt terrible!), then I crawled in and stood on my feet while leaning over the folded-down seat nearest me. And I didn't really drip at this point; I poured. And started to laugh again, a bit. He pulled as near the door as he could (darn that garage full of tools and motorcycles!), and I achingly crawled over the furniture to get to the other side of the van. He helped me out and I ran through another sheet of water (*note to self. Put a rain gutter over the porch, even if it's just 2 feet long) to get to the door.

I'm sure the whole ordeal was no more than 15 minutes (including the nice part), but it was a very memorable 15 minutes. It took me as long to change my clothes (every article was sopping wet) and dry off.

You can be sure I'll inform my midwife of the hazards of asking me to walk outdoors for any period of time.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Last Saturday

On Independence Day we didn't do the "usual" thing.

And that turned out to be great.

We'd waited for several days for word as to whether Hubby's parents were hosting The Annual Fourth of July Barbecue, as they always do, but since Mom was on call - and the home health agency she works for has been very busy lately - they weren't sure what they would do.

We slowly made a few plans of our own, mostly consisting of attending the Tea Party at the courthouse in Town at noon. Our own little town was in the throes of it's yearly festival, but we hadn't made it out the door for the parade or anything else that morning. Truth be told, I was having a hard time. Too much to do, not getting NEAR enough of it done, hurting physically, and feeling like no one noticed or was interested in helping. And I wasn't worried about dusty baseboards, lest you think my standards are so high (ha ha. ha.).

My mother-in-law called about 11:30, as we were loading up into the van, to let us know that Hubby's older sister was going to have The Barbecue at 4:00, and we could bring our own meat to grill and a salad to share. I discussed it with Hubby, and while we left it open to possibility, we recognized that going to Town for the Tea Party, and then returning for the necessary supplies before going back to Town made it somewhat unlikely. That's a lot of planning and driving, at 30 minutes each way.

So we made our way around our town (everything within was blocked off), passing restored tractors and floats on the country roads, and arranged to meet at the Tea Party with some cousins. The Tea Party wasn't as big as I would have liked or expected (or as it was in April), but I passed out fliers from about the UNCRC, and got some good local information of my own.

After this, our cousins went looking for lunch and headed towards our town for it's festivities, so we killed some time before heading there ourselves. Hubby lamented that it "just wasn't the same." After all, this would be the first in his 31 years that he hadn't spent this holiday with his folks and family. I suggested that we try to make our own meaningful traditions, and he let me off at a grocery store where I got nitrate-free hot dogs, corn-syrup laden buns for $.39, and the makings for s'mores. Thought we might have a weanie-roast.

Then we had to stop at a fireworks stand.

Our usual plan-of-action for shopping for fireworks is that we don't. *Maybe* a box of sparklers. Hubby abandoned this usual plan, as he had to abandon the usual barbecue.

Then we drove to our town, where he found another fireworks stand that he wanted to check out. This cost us even more.

Trying to reach the cousins who were supposed to be in the neighborhood was futile. They must have tossed their phones into an irrigation ditch. Or left them in their van. We circled City Park a few times, looking for their vehicle but coming up empty as well. Which was fine. We really didn't want them to share our weanie roast anyway. ;)

We came home and Hubby decided against a wood-fire, opting to attempt resurrection for our "grill." The girls got out the "worm dirt" dessert we'd made the day before, and we set the big picnic table Gi-gi sent with paper plates and all the fixin's. And the pasta salad I'd made the night before (wow, for once I come across almost prepared, huh?). The grill sufficed for the hot dogs, and we fired up the propane camp stove (on which we scald the chickens) and cut a sucker from the nearby plum tree for roasting marshmallows. So much for preparedness. The girls thoroughly enjoyed all the sugar and fun, and towards dusk Hubby drug a piece of wood (or something) onto the lawn where he began to set off the little fireworks he'd bought.

He laments that it isn't as easy to render them explosive as it was when he was young. *sigh* (And you wonder if I'm hoping for a son? :))

One "package" he bought was almost all fountains, and the girls were enthralled. I have several brief digital video clips of them - all three in their little dresses, jumping, clapping, yelling "yay!" and dancing around. For. Every. Fountain. I decided that was worth $65 after all.

We went to bed late, the girls watching the 'big' displays from City Park, and the bigger one from Town from their bedroom window.

It was just wonderful.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Blessings Overflow

For years, Gi-gi has been talking about getting her piano to us so we could begin Big Sister in some type of musical education. It's been mostly talk, and the details of her brother's horse trailer or someone's U-haul never quite make it off the drawing board.

Truth be told, the piano is/was promised to my brother, but until he moves to the correct side of the Continental Divide, he's outta luck. In fact, the piano doesn't go far. Gi-gi bought it from an across-the-street neighbor back in 1950- or 60-something. It was a wreck, then, and she spent a summer refinishing it. It's the piano my mom and siblings learned on, the one my brother and I played, and after my mom died in 2000, it was moved a half-block away to Gi-gi's duplex, where it has been since.

Some months ago some cousins were desperate for more room in their small house, and offered us their Old Beast of a piano - missing several notes (and retaining some I *wish* it would lose), and we took it. Apparently no one wants a 6,000 lb antique piano - not charities, no one. We said sure, bring it on. Gi-gi was dragging her feet anyway.

Denting in some corners (of the house) and chipping paint off of other areas, we (by "we", I mean "they") wrangled it into the living room where it and we have enjoyed it's stay.

Then early last week, Gi-gi called and left a message, saying she'd been calling around and pricing piano movers, and she was sorry for the late notice but they were bringing the piano on Thursday (and we could send back her organ). Wednesday evening found Hubby and I (and 3 little sets of helping hands) trying to move the existing one out of it's spot. We discovered it had a broken caster after it tore through the metal strip along our carpet edging, and gouged a few chunks out of the vinyl. That thing is heavy.

The piano movers arrived, bringing Gi-gi's piano, and they got it into position without a hitch. I asked them if the piano store refurbished old pianos, blah blah blah, and they backed away with their hands extended, repeating, "no, no, no..." Hm. They were very smug in their knowlege that they and they alone posessed the handy piano dolly which leaves no gouges in vinyl.

So now we have a piano in the living room, and another one nearby in the dining room - as well as a gigantic picnic table Gi-gi has also wanted us to have (I think it's younger than the piano). "Hey, with that big truck, toss this in too, wouldya?" I suggested that the picnic table would be great in the dining room as well, but Hubby nixed the idea. *He* doesn't have to constantly push chairs back into the vicinity of their table all day long...

So now the mystery of what to do with the "extra" piano. The givers of it suggested that if Gi-gi ever came through, or we decided we didn't want it, to toss it out on the lawn and have a bonfire. I could never do that, of course! That thing can't be "tossed" at all. ;) It is perfectly positioned to go out the sliding glass door, but from there I'm a bit worried. It might crush the small porch outside, but even if it didn't, the "stairs" from there to the grass are not-quite-carefully placed, somewhat-flat-ish, cemented-in boulders. I'm sure they'd tolerate the weight, but they don't seem very conducive to piano moving. And then there would be the problem of a great expanse of lawn between there and anywhere else...

Monday, July 06, 2009

Crib Problem Solved

For a couple weeks I've been watching the local craigslist for a crib. There really wasn't much, but I checked every day or two.

Last Wednesday there were two postings, and when I went into town Thursday I called each of them. I made arrangements to view one of them, and left a message with the other. The one I viewed was... not what we liked. I mean, it was in great shape, and even had an attached 3-drawer dresser topped with a diaper changing area.


It was the same brand/manufacturer as our Death Trap crib, and though it had all it's bolts and screws and casters, I recognized those recalled drop-side latches. And shook my head at the poor gal's timing - just that morning the radio was talking about the same cribs... The "safe" latches, the ones that weren't recalled, have been proven "unsafe" now, and ARE recalled. I didn't mention this to the gal, but took down the model #s to get more information.

Before leaving town, the other guy called me back, gave me his location, and I drove to a very academic preschool center that actually had THREE Cosco white steel barely-used cribs for $65 ea. Apparently they'd briefly offered baby/newborn daycare, but couldn't handle the way parents would just leave their babies so long. The cribs have sat unused since then. I liked what I saw, so I bought one after calling Hubby.

We (well, Hubby) set it up that night and we caged in Organique again. I've really enjoyed not having to police the bedroom at naptime until she falls asleep! She didn't like it at first, but has settled into it very well.

And I like it. It's clean, sturdy, well-made, and I'm thrilled to have it. And far from longing for "new" things (I suppose that would be more typical for a first-time mom, not fourth-time!), I'm happy to buy used so there is a track record for it's use. I can research the statistics and recalls for an item, and be more-or-less secure that we aren't the guinea pig population.

God is good!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Happy Independence Day

When I was growing up, we referred to this holiday as "The Fourth of July" or simply, "The Fourth." I always enjoyed it, but it was a loooonnnnggg time before I understood the history behind it (good public school student that I was).

With my girls, I've always referred to it as "Independence Day" and we've talked about it's history and what the fireworks are commemorating.

It's among my top-3 favorite holidays, and I love it. The only downer: Everything on sale in the grocery stores this week leaves *me* no bargains. Except maybe watermelon.

But anyways. It's point and purpose and traditions are sacred, to me. Unlike so many other holidays, - some we celebrate and some not - this doesn't just "happen" to fall on the same date as some ancient pagan feast, nor do it's celebrations have their roots in pagan ritual or symbolism.

No, this one, to me, is as clean as they come. :) Freedom. Liberty. Self-government. The path to whatever God has called me to not road-blocked by an oppressive dictator or government. I'm praying that our citizenry will consider that, as they eat potato salad and risk blowing their limbs off today. That their celebrations will draw them from their infatuation with Michael Jackson's death, or the Gosselin's divorce, and something will awaken in their hearts to the future we could have if we, as a country, still embraced those virtues.

Glenn Beck wrote a little message asking us all a favor, and I thought he put it well:

Hello America,

Here it is, another Fourth of July. Traditionally, this is a day to gather with friends, maybe fire up the barbeque and play with kids until the sun sets and the fireworks start. But in thinking back on the meaning behind this day, we must never forget that our nation was baptized in the blaze of a very different kind of "fireworks." Yes, this is a day of rest and relaxation, as well it should be, but this year…I'd like to ask you a favor. At some point during the day, I hope you'll take time to think and reflect on what it is we're truly celebrating on the 4th of July -- our Independence Day. Of course the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4th, 1776 but it's so much more than that. On this day, 233 short years ago, a small group of men dedicated themselves to a higher purpose, an ideal they believed in so greatly, they signed their name to its expression and in doing so put their very lives at risk.

Never has a simple act of signing one's name carried such weight, such a profound commitment. By signing the Declaration of Independence, 56 men stood in direct defiance of the British government. They became marked men, and willingly so. As I was doing some research on the significance of July 4th, I came across some interesting facts about these men. Today as we all enjoy the freedom our forefathers guaranteed us, join me in honoring the extraordinary sacrifice of 56 extraordinary Americans.

Of the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence:

Five were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes burned to the ground. Two lost sons serving in the Revolutionary Army, and two more had sons captured. Nine fought and died in the Revolutionary War.

If you ever feel like your lone voice can never be heard, that the political system isn't set up for "regular" Americans to change the course of history, remember: The signers were flesh and blood, mortal men with a divinely-inspired aim.

Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists, eleven were merchants, and nine were farmers and large plantation owners. They were well educated, smart enough to know that by signing the Declaration of Independence, they were signing their own death warrants. They did it anyway, and God bless them for it.

As we enjoy our liberty on this 4th of July, or any day of any month, we must never take that liberty for granted. Too many have given too much. In the words of the Signers themselves, "For the support of this declaration, with firm reliance on the protection of the divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."

Their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor -- I think that's a price paid worth a few minutes of reflection, don't you? But let's not be solemn in that reflection. I say rejoice and share this information with your friends and family, especially your kids. The Signers asked for nothing in return for their pledge, but I say that we show our thanks with a pledge of our own: To remember, to be grateful, and to carry on in their spirit. America is the greatest country this world has ever and will ever know, and it will stay that way so long as "we the people" remember that just like in 1776.

It's US that surrounds them, and we'll never back down.

Happy Independence Day, and God bless America.


Friday, July 03, 2009

Further School Organization

My previous rantings on organizing school, schedule, and chores.

Making the decision as to our 'method' of homeschooling this year was a big step towards organizing school time, as were the particular decisions regarding what subjects to cover and each textbook we ordered (wow, did you see that? I still have issues...).

Once the subjects were decided upon, I had to determine the time required and assign them each a time slot in the schedule. This was challenging, because for the first time I have two "official" students, studying at very different levels and abilities. Not just someone I could play flashcards with during a lull in instructing.

I took the advice of the Managers book and set out a couple goals. And since I was using those one things, I figured a 'calendar' wouldn't be a bad idea either. This might seem small to you, but I've thoroughly enjoyed my children's naivete in this area. Christmas break? They don't know it exists. Holidays? Summer vacation? Weekends? No, they do their schoolwork when I tell them to (well, you know what I mean). We could start the next project or book (for math) whenever the previous one was done without it being "an issue" for it's flying in the face of tradition. No one "expects" a break, just because the clock or calendar calls for it. Yet, we still take time off when we like (including Christmas and Thanksgiving).

Do you see the link in my sidebar for Donna Young? I use that sometimes. And let me tell you, there's a lot on there that either wasn't there before, or just not that I saw. I found and printed off a school year calendar, found Memorial Day next year, scratched out some weeks during Thanksgiving, Christmas, Springtime, and counted backwards 36 weeks. Which caused me another episode of hyperventilation, because that put me at August 24, a mere 16 days after my due date (which is nothing, I remind myself. Just a random date that will be meaningless in the end). THAT should be fun, huh?

I marked it on the calendar anyway, and put little "Q"s at 9 week (quarter) intervals. Donna Young also offered me assignment sheets and lesson planning pages and "courses of study" sheets and reading logs and more. And heck; if I can print off a lesson planner, as opposed to, you know, actually leaving my house, you know I'll do it. So I did.

I still need to await the delivery of nearly everything, and I can't start planning out math until I have a better idea of where she'll be by then (I have grand hopes of covering more ground yet), but I'm looking forward to having every day laid out ahead of time.

There is some risk, I see, of my expectations being unreasonably high. That now, because I have "a plan," that things will therefore flow without a hitch. I DO know better than that. I'm trying to remind myself that the plan, the schedule, the organizing is our safety net, to get us back on track when the inevitable happens, and not some guarantee of success.

I might be so bold as to ask you to pray that it helps, though. Especially in August...?

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Organizing "School"

What, you thought the chores and a master schedule would be sufficient? Apparently not. The Maxwells put out another book since I'd bought out their store Managers of Their Homes and Managers of Their Chores 2 years ago, and I decided it would be worthwhile to check it out. It's called (wait for it... you'll never guess...) Managers of Their Schools. Yeah, whooda thought, right? I ordered it on a Saturday, and it arrived on a Saturday. And I read it on that Saturday.

It did not disappoint. Like it's predecessors, it talks a lot about the benefits of having a schedule/chores/homeschool, and walks you carefully step-by-step towards forming a plan that will work for your household in that area. It reinforces the importance of prayerfully submitting your ideas to the Lord, and while they give lots of details about the nuts-and-bolts of what works for them, they're quick to point out that your family may be led otherwise.

They talk extensively about record-keeping and legal matters - and let me tell you, if I lived in Kansas, I'd be locked up by now! My goodness! Who does the state think they are, anyway? Um, yeah, recordkeeping isn't my strong suit. "You want proof of my homeschooling? Here, Big Sister, read this.... Good. What time does this clock read? What's 11 minus 7? Measure this in inches. Shade half this circle. How much money is this? Ta-da!"

Yeah, apparently that wouldn't fly in Kansas. They want hours, man, documented hours! So, while those parts aren't terribly important to me, the information they share might be helpful to you who live under Nazi rule other regulations.

Join me on a brief but important rabbit trail (wait, if it's important, is it a rabbit trail?)...

A few weeks ago I was pleased to make last-minute plans to attend a homeschool convention. The last (and only) time I went was 2 years ago, while pregnant with Organique (I hardly looked different this time around. Same look, same clothes, same... profile) - yes, when I was introduced to the aforementioned materials. In any case, I was pleased to see a workshop offered that was about choosing curriculum and method for your homeschool. I attended it, took copious notes, and then left feeling no more secure than when I'd entered. I already knew about Unit Studies, Charlotte Mason/Literature-Based models, Unschooling, Textbook-based, Classical. The speaker clearly laid out examples and pros and cons of each. And as I looked at those pros and cons, and at my life for this next season, I was not pleased. While I'm the type that will make *no* decision far quicker than I'll make a *possibly incorrect* decision, that time has come and gone, and I have to figure something out. Worse is the fact that in homeschooling, I don't think there exists a *just right* decision. At least not one that is black-and-white, true-in-all-situations. And oh, I just hate that. I really like to be "right" with this kind of important stuff. My problem was that the method/s I am/was attracted to were obviously not something I could accomplish with any success this year. At least I know myself well enough to know that. Worse, what looked "doable" goes against my grain.

Which of course helped me postpone any 'decision-making' for a little while longer.

Enter the book.

One thing I did NOT expect was the information on textbooks and textbook-based homeschooling. They recognize that this method is kinda the black sheep of the homeschooling world (my words, not theirs), and while they don't mention *what* they used to do, method-wise, their testimony is intriguing, at least. They spent their first 12 years of homeschooling with a non-textbook method, at which point God led them back around to the initially-discarded option of using textbooks to meet the needs they felt were important. The last 11 years (as of book-writing) have been textbook-style, and they don't regret it at all. I won't give their reasons here, but they give a compelling argument in their favor (or at least, to keep them as an option). They also included 'testimonies' from their kids - their older 3 had no or very little textbook instruction, while the most recent children have used them for some time. While the older children (adults now) are quite grateful for their education (and they're successful people), they do think their younger siblings are getting the better deal. The currently-schooled have no complaints, they enjoy their homeschool, their textbooks, the system, just fine.

This really struck me, because ever since college (where I majored in Elementary Education) I have been sold on the notion that textbooks are dull, boring, clipped-and-chopped from it's original 'true, natural' state, that they're not much fun and stifle a 'lifetime love of learning.' I've picked up the same sense in the homeschooling world, and until now, have had no reason to challenge that. This challenge has come at just the right time for me to make *some* decisions regarding homeschooling this year, and to make those with a little less guilt than I might have otherwise.

With bated breath I perused some *gasp* textbook catalogs handed to me at the convention. I read through the resources the Maxwells have used and recommend, and their reasons. I researched online. And slowly, with prayer and Hubby's blessing, began to make some decisions. It wasn't easy. It still isn't. I don't know if I'm just completely brainwashed and biased, or if I really am treading on thin ice (but it's only this year. I'm only taking one year at a time here!), but talking about it is harder than reporting my weight to the midwife. I want to squinch up my eyes, hold my breath, and just barely squeak out the words. I've ordered textbooks. Not just for math. Other stuff too. But I remember that there's no way I'm going to be able to work out a 2nd-grade's worth of lit-based education with everything else that's on my plate - I'm not sure that I could anyways! - , and I know that this is better.

So - another thing I might need 'talked down from' from time to time...

Maybe eventually I'll even be brave enough to tell you what I ordered...

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Organizing the Schedule

After organizing the chores, I realized that though I loaned out my MOTH book, I still had materials with which to make a new schedule (I'm SO SMART to have made extras and filed them last time! And SO SMART to have finally remembered that and actually found them!)! So I sat down with the worksheets and began listing the things everyone must do in a day's time, and how long those things might take. It occurred to me that it might be a silly exercise, considering that on or around August 8, a huge (ok, probably 9 lb or so) monkey wrench will be thrown into the mix, but interestingly enough, the last time I was so bent on organizing a schedule was when I was about this pregnant with Organique. Is it nesting? Do I just work better under pressure of a deadline? Am I just hormonally desperate for *some* sense of structure and control of my world?

Sorry. That's not the point here, is it? As I was saying, I did the worksheets, then picked out four nice colors of papers to label and cut out all those little squares. There wasn't much sense picking a fifth color for the monkey wrench, since I still don't know whether to use the extra-dark pink or the bright blue - but either way most of the squares would say "nap" or "eat" anyway. I didn't have the 'right' paper to work the schedule on, but I made do with the back of an old printed, final schedule, and finally adjusted and readjusted everything until it looked suitable.

I included our intended "school schedule" so it's hard to say whether or not it will actually *be* suitable in real life or not. That and getting the kids up at 8:00 is just not working well when the sky doesn't darken until 10 pm and they're NOT geared to sleeping otherwise. Yes we have blinds. And a blanket over them. But it's HOT, and the windows need to be open, etc etc etc. I'm glad we're on the waning side of daylight hours.

The schedule includes meal and chore times (the chores, of course, are laid out clearly in their chore packs), and a few blank spaces. Blank spaces for Organique. And when I see them, I think, What in the world am I thinking? What will I do with her when I need to teach Little Artist to read? And Big Sister is doing her math? And she already did a highchair activity, and had a snack, and...? And oh my gosh, I'm going to have a newborn, a 2-year-old, a 5-year old who needs to learn to read, and an 8-year-old 2nd grader and I'm homeschooling?!??!? *cue mad run waddle around the house while pulling out hair and wailing*

So yeah, I need talked down occasionally. Frequently.

But the schedule will help.