Sunday, September 28, 2008

sweet reading

Jesse started something new this evening. Pay Sarah 10 cents for every book she reads to her siblings. I think this will be a win-win-win-win situation. Sarah has "something" to do. She earns money. She reads more. David and Leah are read to. All three are happy and quiet for 30-45 minutes. Sweet!

Sarah just walked in with a stack of books, to show what she read, but she could not find the Cinderella book she read to Leah.
S: Leah, tell Daddy I read the Cinderella book to you.
L: I read the Cinderella book to, (puzzled pause) me?

more sweetness...

weekend moments

"HELLOO-O! Anybody want a pepper harvest?"

(Notice my red cheeks from tending the fire. We built one to keep the mosquitoes away. They are swarming because of all the rain. Also note that mommy needs to cut my hair. ;)

Sarah doing what she loves best - moving. No feet on the ground? even better! She's had quite the jump-roping weekend with tricks, twirls and even on one foot.

David's questions now are about babies in their mommy's tummy - how they grow, the function of the umbilical cord and placenta... Last night: How does the baby get out of the mommy?
me: (thinking fast) How do you think?
D: (with little giggle) I don't know. How do you think?
me: Well, there is an opening in the mommy's body that gets bigger when it is time for the baby to come out.
That's the best I could come up with for my curious 5 year young.

"Your memory is in your brain, and that is under your hair." David Richman to his younger sister in the backseat of the car, 9/23/08.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Debatable Debate

Alright, maybe I shouldn't even post this, but I have a confession. I did not watch the debates. *ducking* Instead, I soaked with my friend in her hot tub. For me, this is a tried and true testament of dh's love for me. He let me take dinner over to a friend's house and soak in her tub, while he stayed home with our three little people and watched something really important to him. What a man!!

What bits I saw did not look like a debate, only candidates dodging questions and proclaiming what they will do. McCain spoke well about a topic he is familiar with. Obama spoke well. (I believe he is a better speaker in general.) I didn't learn anything new. Maybe this was the purpose.

Oh well, just wanted to say that while most folks were engaged with a television, I had a wonderful evening out. (thanks hon!)

Friday, September 26, 2008

oh...the money

Yesterday we decided to get Washington Mutual's 1 year CD at 5%. As of this morning, Washington Mutual no longer exists. We knew they weren't stable. Even with FDIC insurance, I'm still glad we didn't go that route. Now the question is: which route to take? I went to a "Women and Investing" class on Tuesday. We know we're not buying a house here. Our protection plans only need a bit more cushioning. So it's time we diversify and move our savings into growth plans, an exciting and overwhelming route.

One option is to just spend money, which is what I did this week. ;)

Big purchases: water filter This will pay for itself in less than a year, plus we'll reduce our plastic use. Now we might be able to fit everything in our recycle bin!
rainbow arches pure pleasure purchase here folks =) I've wanted this for ages, didn't get a birthday present this year, the kids play with them every time we visit a friend who has them, and it's the best price I could find.
curriculum David and Leah finished their first concept so quickly; I got the student books for 2, 3 & 4.
Small purchases: thrift store finds! 4 wooden bowls for play kitchen - $1, monkey drum - $.98, reversible fall jacket for David - $4, raincoat for David - $3, sweet tin pail - $.49

My favorites are the rain coat and pail. The pail has the softest painting on it. I can see it holding toys or art supplies. Dave's new coat is too big, so it will last a few seasons, plus it is blue with yellow trim. I was given rain boots for him in the spring that are yellow with blue trim. How cool is that? cheap and matching too!

Here's my pretty pail and David in his rain gear.

On the flip side, I donated 8 bags of stuff to Samaritan House and have a pile of books to give away. In May I took on the challenge to declutter 2008 things in 2008. I was just shy of 1,000 in July. Now we are at 2,118 items given away, recycled or thrown out, and still counting. =)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

when it rains it pours

It's raining, in sheets. When the rain stops, the wind blows, or gusts hard enough to rip tree branches down. And the streets are flooding. Rather, you can watch high-tide flow through parts of the city. Oh, and our yard is sprouting mushrooms. What the?? They were not there last night when I picked up all the bikes and such. Now there are four large patches of a brown mushroom popping up. Needless to say, it's wet here.

And the barometric pressure is not doing well inside. First, I only got 6 hours of sleep; silly me trying to get too much done on the computer. Then my dh stayed home for an extra 90 minutes this morning, to take a nap. I'm trying to be grateful that I could give him that, but I could use a nap too, you know. The icing of the morning was walking into the kitchen to find our dog licking something red off the floor in front of the fridge. I opened it to find two quarts of hearty veggie stew spilling out of its container and seeping out the door. Unfortunately, I spewed some pantry words in the school room and went to holler at the kids for creating such a wasteful mess. (From a good friend, swearing is done in the pantry, therefore creating pantry words.) David was crushed. He shut himself in his room. Leah ignored me and asked me to draw her a fairy. I called a friend before I lost it further. She helped me calm down as I scraped the stew into the dog's bowl, unloaded the bottom of the fridge, mopped everything up and put everything back together. Thanks to Amy, my storm eased enough so I could apologize to David and see my silver linings. I've wanted to clean that part of the fridge for weeks, and we were out of dog food. So Moe was well fed, the bottom half of my refrigerator was clean and we were all cheerful afterwards.

Now the toilet's leaking... seriously.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Jury Duty

I return from vacation to find a jury summons in our pile of mail we had held. I've never received a summons before. With everything I was experiencing and feeling at the time, I took "the court looks with disfavor upon requests for excuse from jury duty" a bit too seriously. Also, while on vacation Jesse and I took a three day solo trip to Seattle. My conscience pricked a bit at checking the I have children that need my sole care excuse. Lastly, Jesse doesn't teach on Thursdays this semester. So... I did my duty: for the term of one month, commencing on Thursday, Sep 04, 2008, and thereafter on each successive Thursday for the balance of the month of September, 2008.

You call the night before, to see if your panel is excused.
Week 1: "All jury panels are excused." (I call back three times to be sure I hear the recording correctly.)
Week 2: "All jury panels are excused."
Week 3: "All jury panels are excused."
Week 4: "All jurors on panels 040001 through 040125 must report for duty at 9am."
I'm on panel number 040161.

obligation complete
duty fulfilled

Next time I may not be so lucky. I'll check the "kids excuse" box. ;)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Room Swap

So, here is how we spent our Sunday evening.


We LOVE it!! Essentially we took almost everything from one wall of the "dining" room and switched it with almost everything from a wall in the living room. I still want to add some finishing touches. That wall is too blank for me, so the kids' photos (that you can barely see in the between pic) may move over, and I'd like a shelf for the musical instruments, rather than their red crate.

I am amazed with how different the spaces feel now, and with how much better they feel. The living room seems to have expanded over night. The "dining" room seems longer, more like a room and less like a passage to the sun/toy room. Now the question is, what to call it? When our house was built, it was the dining room, but now there is an eat-in kitchen. It's been our school room, hallway, piano room. I'm thinking library room with all the books there.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


I'm hoping to keep this short. It's the end of a long day.
Today I drove to Richmond for LLL's CSEs. (La Leche League's Communication Skills Education) I gained so much from the two sessions I attended in Pittsburgh before we moved, and was very excited to refresh my listening and communication skills. In all, it was worth my time and trip, but did not deliver the "wow" I got three years ago. I saw where I've grown - and where I still need to work. (Keeping the spotlight off myself is still there, but getting easier.) A few details were new. Remembering the general concepts was reassuring.

We practiced all the different ways to respond to mothers. Again, I got a practice statement that hit too close to home, about a mother gossiping. This time it triggered another anxiety attack. How embarrassing! I wish I could get a little ticker tape warning, "In about 90 seconds you will start crying uncontrollably, your heart will race and you'll be short of breath. Get some water and fresh air now, be conscious of your breath and watch for triggers." Instead... well I guess it would not be called an anxiety attack if you knew it was coming. ;)

Claire was there! It was wonderful seeing her. She taught me a good lesson: always listen closely to my inner voice. I kept thinking I should invite her. I didn't because I thought I was too late, a day past the registration deadline. We SO could have carpooled! We hopefully will for the next one, come April. She also reminded me what a delightful, dedicated mother she is, and pretty cool friend.

Lastly, I felt baby move last night. I guess it was early this morning, 2:30. All that squirming actually woke me up. I thought maybe it was a dream, but on the way home I felt the distinct connection between baby and bladder. oh, the joys to come!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Dancing Bean!

We have another dancer! Miss Leah's first class was today. She walked in smiling. She danced. She walked out smiling. No hesitation. No "mommy come with me." No "I don't like the teacher" or "the kids pushed me." Just a happy, happy dancer.
I realized later this was her first class, aside from homeschool enrichment. For 3 1/2 years she's gone from one of Sarah's events to another and tagged along as David began to try different outside activities, but never her own. She loves it! She's ready. She needs this. I'm so proud to watch her grow!

More Leah developments: sleeping in her own bed for about half the night, nursing every three days for about three seconds, starting a K math book, (I don't have much else to give her) reading three words, building a HUGE imaginary world around her imaginary friend Emily Elizabeth.

Here's proof of my development. ;)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Today I am 16 weeks pregnant. This is the same as the beginning of the second trimester and the fourth month. I feel like we've all met "milestones" around here.

dear baby,
You keep growing and growing! I get the babycenter weekly email for your sister Sarah's sake. She loves knowing all about you. This week you'll grow toenails. Your ears continue to develop. I should feel you move soon. You're 4 1/2 in. long from head to little behind. This is about the size of all your siblings' hands. Visualizing how big you are seems to make you a bit more "real" to them. Your brother finally admitted that you are here. His first reaction to you was, "Stop kidding with me! You're joking! Your tummy isn't big enough for a baby!" Last night he said, "Mom, the baby is growing. Your tummy is getting bigger." (Thanks, bud! ;)

dear bean,
Would you PLEASE stop growing? pretty please? Your toddlerhood is a distant memory. Now you are racing through the preschool years? You play and play and play some more, usually with a stuffed "lost" kitty or your siblings. You keep begging to do "school". We tried MBtP. You do option 1 for the activities, when there is an option 2 for David, and love it! Now you know the habitats of different animals, can identify natural and human resources and continue to point out the community workers you see as we walk and traverse town. You filled an alphabet practice book and yearn for more. You continue to amaze me with your adorable disposition! Although the adamant "no!"s of 4 have begun, your sweet "sure" still brings a smile. And where would I be without your random hugs and kisses? hugs and kisses to you my bean-babe!

dear buddy,
Wow man! You can multiply! You sure have a thing for numbers, and Miquon seems to be just the right fit. You can read! Just short, sort vowel books, but that is where most of us start. And what about your questions? The 5's Whys are in full swing! First: "What is this?" (I thought it might be an old piece of decaying dog poop you found on our walk, and asked you to put it down.) Followed by: "Why do flies lay their eggs on dog poop? Why do the baby flies grow there? Why do flies lay their eggs on people poop? Why do flies lay their eggs on all kinds of poop? Why if a fly is sitting near the toilet looking for poop will it get flushed down? Why is the push down thing (handle) on the toilet? Why does the water go out? Why do they recycle toilet water?" Later: "Why can the sun get covered up by clouds sometimes?" So you do wonder about topics other than flies, poop and toilets. ;) You have such an inquisitive mind! And imaginative too. What you create with Legos is so cool! (You cannot wait to get your Lego crane for Leah's birthday.) Your self-control and awareness is developing by leaps and bounds as you make and keep friends. Your kindness towards Leah is heartwarming, while your cooperative play with Sarah floors me. I love you bud boy!

dear begeara,
You sure shocked me this week! Double digit addition with carrying in your head? I didn't teach you that one! Now you're trying the same thing with subtraction? Slow down, girlfriend! I love watching you read. Today I almost stopped you. I thought you were in a bit over your head. But I bit my tongue. As you progressed through the first chapter, your sentences became smoother and you struggled with fewer words. You did it! Guess what? The back of the book says it is aimed at pre-teens and teens. I did a little grade level graph on it that I learned back in college. It's at 7th grade girl! And all your inventions? I think your chair/stool is waiting for further development, but now there is a skateboard in the front yard with bi-bamboo wings taped to it. =) Your art, especially that of religious subjects, is beautiful. You've begun to find creative ways to work with those younger than you. Your helpful spirit and empathy are shining through. You continue to run and jump and climb. And today, school was "good". Not "very good" you noted, but good is still good. Life is good hon. Love, mommy

dear self,
Man! Sorry it's been so long since I've written, like maybe a decade. You are doing well, better. Your self-awareness is growing. I think you're still in that cocoon of yours, but at least you are learning what kind of butterfly you want to be. You went to a playdate today. You had a short anxiety attack beforehand; you were so nervous. I'm trying to be gentle and understanding with you and your feelings, but part of me wants you to "grow up" and "get over" all the hurt. Yes, nasty rumors were spread, but they're not supposed to hurt you, just the "sticks and stones", right? Wrong. Time will help. She always does. And more prayer. And more hugs. You got two hugs as soon as you walked in at the playgroup. That helped, bunches. You've "popped"! No one today believed you, but I took pictures to prove it. You can still do locust and boat in yoga, but not for much longer. =) You're walking now and writing and knitting. You may want to start planning your lessons. Classes start in three weeks. (Just a friendly reminder.) You need to get more sleep, but don't we all. *HUGS*

once I went a walking

Ask and you shall receive. The sun was out this morning. =)

Along with our scrumptious weather it brought out walkers I haven't "met" yet. Mom with babe in stroller was standing on a corner, joined now by another mom with stroller and two more women, all doing more chatting than walking. New couple was out with their large poodle and crossed the street so as not to share the sidewalk with me. New college student crossed the bridge. Brown-and-white dog (with walker of course) was new too. Then there were the regulars: slim trim mom who jogs with red jogger and prim perfect golden, girlfriends who look uncomfortable jogging and are always talking, yellow lab with a different companion though who wore a walking cast. Talk about dedication!

With the wind, the river was rough and lapping the shores. The clouds were white and perfect and like the artist couldn't decide which type of smattering and smearing to use. There were roses blooming in one yard. (They bloom in May and October here.) A few crepe myrtle were trying to hold on to their final magenta blossoms.

One piece was missing - my walking buddy. Miss you bunches!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Crisp Memories

ooo! I love this weather! For me, this is the first day of fall. The air is crisp and cool. Thoughts of bonfires, my hoodie IUP sweatshirt, apple cider and the color orange all come to mind. I'm going to wear orange tomorrow in honor of the weather. =) A bit of sunshine would have been nice, but I still delighted in the day, even the light rain that started on my morning walk.

There may be a few more days in the 80s here, but it is nice to have my windows open, and have to SHUT them at night. I'm chilled and thrilled. :) Sunday was HOT however! With a heat index of 102, I stopped counting the hours of AC use. On Saturday morning, we were at 12. By Sunday am it was 21. At least one of the units was on all day and the ceiling fans were doing their duty too, so I gave up. I think I made it through the summer with under 36 hours of AC use! This was accomplished with a relatively cool Aug, two weeks of vacation in both June and July and living in a small, one story house that is fairly well shaded, across the street from the inlet of a river that provides breezes. I'm hoping it all added up to some savings. I'll post our comparative kw hours once I get them gathered.

So here's the memory part of my thoughts tonight. I'm pining for Paris. We went last October, and I just want to run off there now. I'd take a few girlfriends, (or maybe dhubbie again ;) lounge in the parks, stroll through the streets, get lost in the museums and dash for the RER. So, if it was 20 degrees colder, I'd dig out the scarf I knit for France and go sit on the river wall in Ghent. Hearing this song: I Will Follow You Into The Dark Artist: Death Cab doesn't help. We first heard it at the wedding we attended in Pont-de-Pany. Now it brings back everything - smells, tastes, sights, sounds. *sigh*

Here are some bits 'n' pieces of the sights for you:

Happy, delicious memory making to you and yours!

cold boys will still be boys

Please do not read further if you are not comfortable with little boys' discoveries of themselves.
Here is a conversation from our day:

D: mommy! When cold air hits my penis, why does it feel like I have to pee?
me: well, I guess your penis feels different with different temperatures
D: But when cold air hits it, it feels like I need to go pee!
me: I don't really know hon. I don't have a penis, so I don't know. Maybe you should ask Daddy.

D: (delighted, scampers off to finish dressing ;)

Monday, September 15, 2008


So, my venture into the blogging sphere is off to a roaring start. I sat today and just stared at what I embellished last night, and smiled. silly? yes. That was when I was not talking on the phone, helping to launch a new YahooGroup, strolling the waterfront of Portsmouth with David, Leah and Whittney with company, doing homework with Sarah, and doing school with David.

I've wanted this for years. It took my dh creating something and being listed on a friend's blog to get me started. Thank you for the nudging guys!

Now for something sweet before I'm out for the night. On the way to Portsmouth, my little people were coloring in the back, crayons in the middle. David's seat is lower and his arms are longer. He handed Leah the colors she wanted. At Colley and 27th I hear, "Can I be a good citizen in the car mommy?"
Chalk up another "I love MBtP" for me! We just finished our first concept. Environment ends with community, and citizens with character - respect, responsibility, honesty and kindness. I think he got it. ;)

Leah's still up. Crazy girl! Bright side, she just wrote and identified the number 100 and is pulling her own entertainment from the "preschool" basket. I do not recommend or endorse this method of learning. Sleep is an essential ingredient. =)


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Welcome Patricia

Dear Sunflower Mama,

You bring sunshine into my life. I have now created your new blog. I look forward to reading about our lives and our children.


Love Jesse