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Friday, February 29, 2008

Happy Leap Day!

My husband was explaining leap year to the kids today. He did well and it seemed as though the kids were really following him. When he was done talking my son asked "so does that mean we get to drink root beer all day?"

The boy had misheard 'root beer' for 'leap year' and pretty much didn't care why it was a holiday, he just knew he could get behind a day that existed to celebrate root beer. I sense a new family tradition. And now we have to have root beer floats tonight.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

How sometimes I am wrong.

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Charter came out today and fixed our internet/cable problems! The reception numbers on my modem (caused by a bad cable wire and splitter, I guess) have been bad for awhile but everything has been working until lately. Our area had some weather complications that affected everyone's service and I guess I was the first one to call and complain so they looked into my situation closer this time. I say this time because I have actually been in contact with them three times this year so far. Not to knock Charter though. Their phone tech service has been excellent and patient. They wanted to send someone out last time I had problems (bad modem) and my cheap butt didn't want to pay for the monthly insurance or the potential hourly rate if we didn't get the insurance. And since I always seemed to make the internet run... I didn't listen. Now it is up and running and as fast as the speed of thought. I am not kidding. I actually thought it was fast before. So I am pretty darn happy right now.

Now I can actually comment on blogs again and browse through pages without crashing 500 times. I have so much work to do tonight, but it is going to be so very, very hard to be disciplined because I just want to play.

Oh, and the person in the bookstore with the cute little four year old boy that was talking really loudly and fast, and made several uncomfortable references to jedis chopping off heads? The kid who sweetly said hi to everyone who walked in but when they tried to further engage him in conversation, muttered "I want blackbeard" in a creepy muppet voice. (Referencing a finger puppet in the store.) The kid who was so hyper he probably hadn't napped, eaten in awhile, or get to run around and blow off steam appropriately before his mom brought him to the bookstore to hang out for an hour during his sister's dance class? Yeah, that was me and my boy. Sorry folks, my bad.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Clothing, nausea and how none of this has anything to do with actual pregnancy.

Nausea woke up the last couple mornings at 6:30 a.m. This must have kicked in some sort of pregnancy relapse hormone because I dealt with being awake at a very dumb hour on a Sunday morning and the illness by cleaning out my closet. The only time I ever combined nausea and manic over-organizing was when I was pregnant. I am not worried though. I laugh in the face of pregnancy. Ha! See?

Since my OB believed the slightly crazed threats during my last c-section I am pretty convinced he went through with ending my ability for the joys that only nine months of being inhabited by an alien can bring. (I was not a glowingly happy pregnant woman, if you couldn't tell.) He did, however, ask me to confirm my decision one time too many for my taste in a very cold operating room, with a very shaky anesthesiologist who I believe was trying to inject my spine with a pencil-sized needle for 25 minutes. And when the anesthesia wore off mid tubal (oh yes, it did) - I steeled myself with the mantra "never again, never again, never again". See - so THAT is not happening.

It is just a weird virus that causes nausea and cleaning. And I have my mom's genes to blame as well, since whenever she is sick she moves her furniture around, as in she moves it all by herself. Like dressers down stairways. It is weird. And as I age I am becoming similar. Oh well, mild OCD insanity is better than being pregnant. Sorry mom, on both accounts :)

But this weird trip down pregnancy lane wasn't even my point when I started this post. It was supposed to be something witty and funny about trying on clothes. Like laugh in the face of a spare tire sort of thing. Because cleaning out the closet leads to the re-discovery and trying on of clothes. So I decided to find outfits to wear to this. Since it is being held in one of those buildings that is built to house homeschoolers who gather to glorify the sanctity of all that is holy and all that, I want to sort of blend in and not stir anything up. So that immediately takes away my guinness, concert, and artsy t-shirts. And the abstracty one that sort of looks like a painted devil face. That would be bad. Besides I should shoot for something maybe more put together.

I showed hubby and he said he liked my choices. I pointed to my middle and stated how I wished I could get rid of that. He noted since I only had two weeks I better just embrace the tummy. I happened to call it baby weight and he happened to point out that our baby was four and that I only weigh about 10 pounds more than when we got married. I told him that I gained it right after we got together and I had to point out that he IS sort of a baby. And then it was like all back to babies again. See how that came full circle?

See, really this is all about my miracle son. The one that only exists through stubborness. Even as a zygote, he got his own way. I was breastfeeding the daughter, FAITHFULLY on the pill but bam! Felt a bit nauseous and thought I'd take a test just for kicks. If I had actually thought it would be positive I would NOT have taken the test. But surprise! My doctor's reply to this was "that is nearly impossible odds." And my husband's reaction was "have we even you know?" And I think that no, we didn't actually, so that shows how stubborn my kid actually is. He defies logic and biology when it comes to getting his way. (Don't get me wrong, I really like him and glad he chose us as a family and all.) But this is also why I still get nervous at lingering nausea - even after experiencing (like without anesthesia experiencing) the end of my pregnancy days.

So that was my past two days. All nausea and pregnancy jokes and spotty internet service so I couldn't even google the odds of pregnancy. And then there is an insane part of me that thinks "ooooh, a baaaaby." Yeah, that is why the tubal.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Just hanging out.

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Internet is still spotty and I can only get on blogger randomly. I guess it is a problem all over the area but Charter is of course mum to the reasons. So that makes me re-assess having so much of our lesson stuff connected to online activity. Although I recognize that this is temporary and has only been going on for three or four days. A very long three or four days. I guess I just need to have more stuff printed out and planned ahead of time. Or, we can just take it easy like we have been. Hmmm.... lots of work ahead, or just take it easy? Tough choice.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Things are just supposed to WORK....arrrggg!

My internet service or network seemed to have caught the same damn bug that my family has wrestled with this month. OH. MY. GOD. IT. HAS. BEEN. drivingmeoutofmyfrickinmind!!!!! (There, my blog should be at least rated PG now!)

This is the first time I have even been able to sign into blogger, let alone post on the blog. I haven't been able to get into forums, google half the crap I NEEDED TO KNOW (like stuff about iodine. I needed to know about iodine last night and could I google it? NO.)

It is still not perfect. It could be better. But at least it is improving. I will blame it on all of youtube being routed to pakistan (WTF was that about anyways? Censorship backfiring or something?) and other internet issues like that. I assume the people in charge there had a bigger headache than I had over my lack of browsing pleasure.

Okay, end of rant. Phew. Glad that is over.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Melting

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A morning of ideas!

It is before noon and my brain is working!!! A moment of silence to appreciate this please. In college I used to write papers using the cram my head full of info on the topic the night before and wake up the next morning with the paper outlined in my head technique. I missed that trick. It has evaded me for awhile now. But today, yeehaw, we're back baby.

Not that I have reworked the space/time continuum or anything. I just figured out a better plan for our days. A plan that has me all happy feeting around the house this morning, drinking tea and talking fast to the hubby. It all started with the arrival of this..

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Artistic Pursuits art curriculum. The new preschool book and the first in the K-3 book series. Website here.

Okay, here is the part where I disclose a dirty little secret. These last two months, my kids have been sleeping in. And not just the extra half hour variety of sleeping in, but the serious kind of eat lunch for breakfast kind of sleeping in. (While I admit this isn't the most fun dirty secret ever, I have to protest that as I have been sleep deprived for roughly seven years now, maybe for my whole life if we want to get really real, this is a very fun secret for me personally.) So, I guess I have somewhat exploited the new found snooze time. But, now the sun is coming up earlier and I feel spring in my bones and I am over it. But how to get the squirrels from their cave without turning on the dread noise machine (TV)? Ah, this is where my plan begins.

Art breakfasts! Woohoo! See, you are excited aren't you? Not feeling it? Oh well, guess you have to live here to feel the joy. But seriously, I have this vision of waking up the kids and bringing them to the table for a combo of easy/fun craft project and easy breakfast food. This accomplishes not only getting their mind working happily, creatively and gets their tape fetish squared away first thing - but it allows me to exploit their busy minds and sneak in stuff like pumpkin bread, fruit and oatmeal for breakfast. Cheap and healthy fare that makes mommy happy. Then we will do the bath thing and transition to a real 'art lesson', then math. That is as far as the plan hatched in the night. But I think it could really help liven it up around here.

Oh, and I signed up for this. It is just an all around good morning.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Labels

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What are we? On so many blogs, boards, and in real life we are asked to define ourselves. As a culture we've developed language to make this process as simple as possible. To discuss ourselves without saying much. If I was to say I am a secular, homeschooling, artist, freelancer, heterosexual, liberal - these serve as words to align those I speak with as to where they fall on the spectrum of identifying with me. I sort of don't buy it all.

I look at these labels as a sort of re-creation of clans or feudalism. A way to identify the enemies and make a group conform to expectations, with the strongest presences of the group being the ones who set the definition of a particular identity. Think of some of the strongest examples of identity groups. Fundamental religious groups that have a very identifiable set of rules to live by, dress, speak, gender-roles, even go so far as to signing statements of faith to agree to abide by these rules. It is easy for a person to get so caught up into following these rules to the letter that their identity is totally engineered by a list. A list of rules someone else came up with. Not to pick on just religious folks though, we all fall victim of this. The word liberal brings the same potential of misconception or identity traps as the word conservative.

I don't believe that this is all shady conspiracy. It evolved to make things easier for people to make alliances, to understand one another, to focus our own thoughts around the broadness that is life. But I do believe it is flawed. Misidentifying ourselves and others seems to be the root of most arguments, misunderstandings, assumptions. It is the root of identity crisis, feelings of personal failure, even over inflated ego.

This is the first time I have thought about this on this level for awhile. It used to just bug me how people identified themselves through their career. You know the second question you ask a stranger? "So what do you DO?" Not meaning, what do you enjoy, what drives you, makes you happy. But what do you make money doing. Which would be fine if we all made income through the things that we love. The things that should be defining our existence to each other. Now I guess it all bugs me. All the labeling. I think it makes it harder to actually see one another.

So who are we? We are silly people. We look at life as something to be enjoyed. I am never totally right and I am often wrong entirely, and that is a thought that doesn't unsettle me in the least. I think living in a way that brings as little harm to ourselves and others should be top priority. And we should strive to leave a room in at least a little better condition than when we came in. I don't know how to say that with a label.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

My photoshop trial is almost done!

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I only have two days left on my thirty day free trial and I am so bummed. I own Photoshop 6, but it is on my dinosaur computer and the new version makes the program fun again. No lingering work memories attached to it. I haven't felt like any of the previous versions of Photoshop have been worth the money to upgrade. Finally it is time.

I was planning on buying it after this trial, but we might have to buy a new business computer instead. Still new computer stuff which makes me happy, but not cool new software. Oh well, I guess I should be working anyway.

Northern Exposure

I picked up my MIL from work tonight around midnight. (She chooses not to drive, and I respect that. Some people shouldn't.) I have such a love/hate thing with being out late like that. I hate it because it wakes me right up, and so I find myself on the computer at 1 a.m. writing about insomnia. Surfing blogs. Thinking about poetry, sitcoms, front loading washers and any other thing that manic overtired minds think of after scraping their car for a half an hour to pick up their mother-in-law in the middle of the night. Did I mention it was my MOTHER-IN-LAW. Like as in, I get a reward in heaven type of thing. (No, she is not on the internet. I am safe.)

Oh, what is it I love about being up late outside like that?
I love how at midnight the four feet of snow we have piled up in the backyard seems magical and exciting in the bright moonlight. Driving down the street that isn't even plowed to the road anymore, just white flat roads of snow, is fun and thrilling. Trying to see around the literally seven foot tall drifts on the corners. Not being able to see homes because of the banks of snow piled up from the plows. An adventure. I feel like we should all buy snowshoes and walk and drive snowmobiles everywhere. Just give into it all and be like the folks on Northern Exposure. Which I am so breaking out my DVDs of the first two seasons and watching them ALL tomorrow in celebration. Then we could all be quirky and deep and shallow and funny, instead of cranky and freaking out about how much snow we have all the time.

This is not a typical winter. But other than the almost-flood that happened a few days back (that was a bit freaky as only four feet of water whooshing down the highway can be), other than that, it is all kind of amazing. Snow that is piled over little kids' heads doesn't happen very often. Strange that more snow is lifting my February grayness. And we are supposed to get another FOOT tonight. Must get the kids outside and get pictures. I have some pics of a winter where the snow was over my head when I was about my daughter's age. The combined photos of my childhood big snow experience and hers would make a cool scrapbook page. Guess I better go to bed if I am contemplating snowsuits in the morning. Shudder...

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Knitting for sanity

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Knitted art apron and cap.

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The hat is sort of large. It ended up more "strawberry shortcake" than artistic beret. But that probably appeals more to the girl anyway.

I have a love/hate relationship with knitting. I love to do it, it soothes me and I get a great sense of accomplishment from it. I hate it because I don't like the cryptic knitting instructions, so I try to make up my own stuff. Then it all comes out looking sort of grannyish. But I like it anyways. I also get sort of insane about finishing a project. I sort of can't stop until it is done. This is bad when there are other things to do.

I liked the idea of a knitted art apron because I was picturing the soft absorbability of a knitted dishcloth. And I used up the leftover yarn from a blanket I knit for Christmas. My daughter was worried about getting the apron dirty, but since it was leftover yarn, and cheap yarn to begin with, it is actually a lot less than the cheap canvas aprons from the hobby store. I don't count the labor cost. It was therapy.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The days that felt like weeks...

Home with sick kids. Act 2. Scene 48. Setting: Everyone is still laying around like zombies except the mother who is trying to keep a tiny shred of sanity and hope alive. The feeling on the set is a disturbance in time with every five minutes that passes seeming to take a few hours, but there isn't enough tangible energy to make any real use of the extra time. Much chocolate is consumed by the mother. Many small busy work projects are started, and rejected, then started again.
Ready, set, action...

A bonus of winter is the awesome branches of our trees are visible.
Camper Down Elm
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Birch
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Yarn is warm on a cold day.
Me knitting.
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Her learning to weave.
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That about sums up the last two days. What about the boys you wonder? Oh, hear that moaning sound? That would be them.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

We left the house!

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My husband and I actually got out of the house today while his mom volunteered to watch our sicklings. He was still maybe a bit too sick, be we went anyway. About an hour at the bookstore to just browse and sip drinks. Best Valentine's present for me ever. Time alone with the man and some new magazines. Two things not to be taken lightly.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Perspective

At about 3:45 this morning I was up with random health related issues with the kids. Two weeks or so into this and I was feeling all Groundhog Dayish about it (movie, not holiday). I actually started to compose a rant post in my head for the blog and thinking on that saw me through to morning. The day brought an overall health improvement to everyone. Children moved off the couch. Hubby is on day two of his antibiotics and feels more in control due to that. I was still feeling grouchy and tired.

Fast forward to around 1pm and we were watching a special on St. Jude's hospital. My husband and I were openly weeping together. The day shifted right then. We are so incredibly happy and actually, healthy. Nothing like perspective to show us that every tiny moment counts. Even the slightly damp, smelly and groggy ones at the butt-crack of dawn.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tough Cookie



My six year old is the most stoic creature I've known. She will deny illness in the face of a 104ยบ fever, with her face in a puke bucket. This totally freaks me out. It is something I don't actually understand on a genetic level. It is like we don't speak the same language when it comes to illness. I admit though, I STILL call my mom if I don't feel well so I can at least hear someone say, "oh you poor thing". (Sorry mom.) I mean, don't get me wrong, I am a mother so I don't really get sick days - you know what I mean. But I still like the 'idea' of getting babied. Not my daughter. It is as if she can combat an illness with denial and grit.

I was checking on her after she went to bed and was dabbing her HOT forehead with a cloth, murmuring soothing mommy phrases like, "you'll be fine" and "I'm here sweetie". When she got all Exorcist on me and growled "Leave me alone, I am fine!" As I backed away I heard 'the noise'. This is the only indication she ever gives when she is about to be sick. Not quite a cough, not quite a moan. I ran to get a bucket as she dutifully held the sick in her mouth! (yuck, I know, sorry but WTF? This is not something I require!) until I came back with the bucket. She mumbled thanks, then laid back down to go to sleep. I swear this kid could break an arm and set it herself, and go back to climbing trees.

I don't know how many times when I have taken her to the doctor that they ask, so does this hurt her, that? And I always have to say "I don't know" because she will not say. Never has. I always get a nice long measuring stare for that response. I worry that maybe she has such a high pain threshold that maybe she can't tell that she is uncomfortable or hurt. Who knows? But if the military allowed their soldiers to wear tutu's and tiaras she'd probably make a heck of a marine.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Sleep? Why?

Instead of sleeping, I am doing highly important blogthing quizzes and finding miniature tutorials that I will probably never do. For whatever reason, two weeks of familial illness of the non-serious but irritating variety has led me to this. I am still pondering the meaning. I am a tortured genius after all. See...

You Are 96% Tortured Genius

You totally fit the profile of a tortured genius. You're uniquely brilliant - and completely misunderstood.
Not like you really want anyone to understand you anyway. You're pretty happy being an island.


I am an island, I am an island, I am an island. That could be my new mantra. Oh, and this. I am an orange crayon, baby. But why is my orange crayon description illustrated with a green crayon? That really irritates the tortured genius in me.

You Are an Orange Crayon

Your world is colored with offbeat, confident, and stimulating colors.
You have a personality that's downright weird - and you wouldn't change it for anything.
Loud and expressive, you voice your opinions fearlessly and strongly.
And while you have a strong personality, you can be friends with almost anyone.

Your color wheel opposite is blue. Your confidence is something blue people truly envy.


Now, off to learn how to create a fimo orange. Seriously cool link here.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

A bit off-kilter

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It is close to midnight and here is my son. It seems the illness that swept through our house over the last two weeks has left us all a bit out of synch. He is the second late night reveler we had tonight, as his sister just fell asleep a half hour ago. Sigh, I guess sleep patterns will go back to normal when the level of activity during the day resumes its typical manic pace. Spring would be nice and I am feeling a bit grouchy at the groundhog tonight, even if there is something sweet about an unexpected evening spent coloring with my child.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Caught the cold.

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Comfort. Vanilla ice cream for dessert.

I guess I shouldn't bash my husband's tendency towards drama when sick, since it seems I am also a big baby.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Today's the day we're going to win the lottery.



I found this little video of my boy and have to share. He is a youtube junky. The “snape, snape” part is from here. The Potter Puppet Pals rule. I think the first part is from a video too, but don’t know it. Or maybe he is picking up on my positive intentions I am sending out into the universe. Oh yes, I read The Secret. Come on, like you haven’t tried it too? Hey, the lottery is up to over 100 million tonight. I so bought a ticket.

Oh, and he does use that squeaky voice often. And yes, at times it does cause me to drink.

Update: I know this is hard to believe but we did not win the lottery last night.

Friday night pizza. On Tuesday!

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The mess.

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Finally an acceptable crust.

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The comfort food.

We needed Friday night pizza tonight. Trust me. Right now hubby is laying across the couch sure the cold he has is going to kill him. Kids are grouchy. And I am bummed because I have to start a freelance job tonight. Not to sound ungrateful. I like earning money from home. But I would so rather just “play” on the computer than “work” on days like today. And my throat is sore too. I’m glad the pizza was good.

Oh, and my kids call this pizza, “Daddy Pizza” even though daddy doesn’t make it. I do. There are only two accepted pizzas in our house, daddy pizza and pizza dude pizza. Mommy pizza is a bad word. (I had a lot of bad crust experiences before finding the right recipe, my poor guinea pigs.) So I guess I deserve it.

Book Meme

Tagged by Maria from Eclectically Yours for the book meme floating around the blog world.

Rules:
1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.

Book closest to me is The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.

Sentences are:

There is something enlivening about expanding our self-definition, and a risk does exactly that. Selecting a challenge and meeting it creates a sense of self-empowerment that becomes the ground for further successful challenges. Viewed this way, running a marathon increases your chances of writing a full-length play.

And there is a cool quote in the margin that I have to include. Just because I can’t follow rules. I am bad like that.

“There is no must in art because art is free.” - Wassily Kandinsky

I have seen this meme on almost every blog I visited today so if you stumble upon this and haven’t been tagged yet, then consider yourself tagged by me.

Monday, February 4, 2008

True Jedi

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Daughter (speaking): In my own little universe, I have been working toward becoming a true Jedi.

Me (thinking): OMG! Me too! I knew I could trust you.

She was just playing with her brother and stopped their game long enough to share that gem with me, then moved on to continue her training.

Edited to add: I read this post to the girl and she wondered who had said "Me too." When I told her it was me, she looked at me all wide-eyed and said, "you have your own little universe too?"

Totally.

Weekends = Playmobil

What follows is more than you ever wanted to know about my obsession with playmobil toys.

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This is my personal set. I think of it as a wizard’s inn/tavern/school. It is hacked with a mash of barbarian sets, bunnies, nativity, random characters and a little from here and there. My kids are trained on what to look for among their own sets and give to me.

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Here is the wizard’s tower where two of the wise men are hard at work doing marvelous experiments. They created a lovely stout last month that brought the inn much fanfare all around the kingdom.

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I bet you never knew what the wise men did on the off season, did you?

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And here's the daycare for the patrons of the inn. The standing baby is Trouble O’Mally. He is powered by a four year old kid, speaks in a squeaky voice and pretty much trashes the joint when I am not looking.

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Here is the garden. Created by Nina, the cool chick who runs the kitchen. It is tended by gnomes who bite.

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Here is an air view of the kitchen and garden.

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The guy sitting in the chair with a mug of coffee is Wizzy the owner of the place. Stupid name, smart wizard. I mean, he’s got a pretty good gig going and pretty much gets to hang out all day, drinking coffee and ale and visiting. Notice Joseph is the coffee guy. He doesn’t have to be, he just likes it, as he gets a kick out of serving people their morning “Joe”. Ha, get it? Yeah, I know, he has a sort of dorky sense of humor. But we like him anyways.

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This is Mara the young apprentice. She runs the school where the local kids come to learn about evolution and other mystical evil stuff like that. And a little quantum physics for kicks. Simone is beside her. She is a powerful sorcerous and is married to a guy named Marcus (who can’t decide if he is High King or a Pirate.) That bugs her.

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This is Marcus in pirate form. (My husband and son alternately trade castle set and pirate sets, hence his career indecisiveness.) Marcus is also under the delusion that the chick next to him is his wife, not Simone since she actually looks more like the “real” me. And he claims she lives to swab the deck. Don’t ask, he’s sick. And he is wrong since I am the Cleopatra-looking sorcerous dammit. My playmobil set. Mine.

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This is Nina in the kitchen. (Yes, Nina and Simone, like the singer, but more like from the campy movie Point of No Return.) Nina dresses like a belly dancer and has a non-playmobil son named Wolfgang (hanging in the babycarrier around her neck). She found Wolfy under a rock with his brother Amadeus, but sadly Amadeus disappeared. We suspect the necromancers castle (dss’s set) has a hand in it. As he is always trying to turn the good loving citizens of the tavern to the dark-side.

As you can tell, we like really like playmobil. It is a family-wide obsession that began as a carefully planned out decision. A decision based on how much stuff we can tolerate in our small space. When dd was born she came with a lot of stuff. I mean the crib, changing table, mountains of clothes, diapers, swing, etc. were already making us feel like we lived aboard a space shuttle with all needs just an arm length away. But the toys were what almost broke us. They were everywhere.

As she got older we realized we had some control over the toys of her future (it takes awhile, but we catch on). Somehow we stumbled upon playmobil and it just felt right. We chose a theme that would work for boys and girls, castle/knights, and started to buy sets while the kids were very young. Hubby has a connection with an awesome little toyshop in a nearby town. (Hey, I don’t ask if he brings home the goods, you know?) So he’s privy to sales, discounts and discontinued stuff. Besides, most little sets aren’t too priced too steeply if you are buying them a bit at a time. We also kept family members in the loop when they wanted ideas for gifts, etc.

Our plan was to start using these things as gifts over a course of a few years as the kids got old enough. It was a good plan and we mostly stuck to it. Where we failed was we couldn’t stop giving and gave them all out over only one year. (The first round at least, we still buy some here and there but are more in control.) We didn’t wait until boy was actually old enough and he broke a couple at first. And we didn’t stick to our vow to stay with one theme. Who knew they would come out with a cool magic girl castle too? And pirates...there must be pirates. Oh, and a few vikings and barbarians, since there has to be someone to battle. But, they all still sort of worked together. Anyway, the end result is we have a lot of playmobil and not as much superfluous kid stuff. A lot of playmobil. But it works because we love it and it fits our space and lifestyle.

Yes, I do play playmobil at least once a week with my kids. Yes, they all actually know all the details I just shared about my characters. No, they don’t actually live little dramas in my head, but I sort of wish they did as that could possibly help me finish a Nanowrimo novel at least once. It is true that I don’t always join in playing as much as the others, as sometimes I like to be elbow deep in mod-podge. Or cleaning the kitchen. This all may seem strange to others, but I know you can’t please everyone. Especially since even after all the above mentioned dedication to the craft, my family accuses me of not playing playmobil enough!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Addiction

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Yesterday we received a shipment for chai. Four 3.5lb bags of Big Train Green Tea Chai and it should last about two and a half months. When our small town bookstore added a coffee shop my husband had nightmares of never seeing me again. He likes books but plays video games more, and he HATES coffee. Books and coffee somewhat define me.

Then he discovered chai. Not real chai, the kind that is made from tea bags and spices. Pre-mixed sugared-up chai mixes are his crutch. Either the above kind or Cafe D’Amore Tahitian Vanilla Chai. A very specific addiction. This shipment might seem like a ridiculous expense. It is in fact my attempt at being frugal. It is 1/5 of the price of a bookstore drink and it really cuts down his visits there. Oh, yes, he still gets them there too.

At least he quit Mt. Dew. Oh, and as to his fear of my reaction to the bookstore/coffeeshop opening? I just drink plain old coffee or tea, mostly made at home, and haunt the library. Who has extra money with all that chai to buy?

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Sick with envy.

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It’s Groundhog Day, my all time favorite holiday since all it entails is talking about the weather. I find myself wrestling with at least two of the seven deadlies. The first is gluttony, since it is Saturday, cold and my husband brought home snickers bars. When chocolate is in the house I get all twitchy and anxious until I eat it. The other stems from reading a bunch of new blogs today. And the sad fact that other peoples’ talents have me seeing green. How can so many people have such cool blogs?

While browsing it was like opening a door only to find another hallway of doors, all opening to one amazing room after another. At first it was fun, then it was overwhelming, then I started to feel like I was at black tie party dressed in jeans. I love blogging but I honestly don’t know why I do it. Maybe this is an addition to the why blog meme I answered a few days ago. The mind unlocking a few days off schedule.

What unsettled me is how so many blogs have such an amazing sense of purpose. Some are such brilliant homeschooling/education resources that you could use them as outlines to better your life with. Others are crafting blogs that cause me to immediately dive into my ridiculous closet full of art stash and start doodling as I sit in front of the computer, all voyeurish and full of awe. Then others are snarky, mean and fun, these I call my husband in and we laugh over the crankiness of other people.

Bah - I am tired after a couple restless nights of kids with colds, and that tends to make me all dramatic. It isn’t like I can become a homeschool maven overnight, I need time in the trenches to have advice to give. I do a lot of projects because they give me a sense of purpose and accomplishment and so I keep track here, but I mostly use the net to get inspiration not give. The answer is I blog because it is fun. I like it. I like putting up pictures and writing a few lines to capture the moment. It is actually that simple. But I will still keep lurking around on blogs learning, laughing, and even hoping that some of the genius is catchy. Now, where's that chocolate?

Friday, February 1, 2008

Imaginary Friend Hotel

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My kids asked me for the tape today. Don’t think I am mean. I HAVE to ration tape. My kids have an addiction to it that they are unwilling to address. Anyways, I knew they were up to something as they kept taping small objects to the walls. On closer inspection I found out they were small doors. Some had names on them - Shimmer, Les, Magic (red door), and Strawberry. My kids informed me they were doors to their imaginary friends' homes as they live in our walls. (Insert creepy music here.) The nameless door belongs to Morph, my son’s “friend”. I asked where the doors were to their long time imaginary friends - Uniqua and Pablo (Backyardigan names, but they look just like my kids I am told.) I guess they have to come in the front door because they are too big to live in the walls. I am so having nightmares tonight.

How one thing leads to another.

Playing with Corel Paint with the kids.
roses

Sketchbooks
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We worked on some “do art” lessons geeArt16 today. We made our own sketchbooks which was really fun. Boy luvs the stapler. (luv = the spelling I use for crush or obsession.) Anything that shoots sharp metal objects has a special allure for him. I decorated my cover in my best highschool doodle style that brought music from The Cure to mind. (Since my highschool experience is sort of dominated by both doodling and The Cure.) So I was humming “Boys Don’t Cry” and “Love Cats” until I visited Katherine’s blog here.

Then I had the lyrics of “Hallelujah” in my head from the quote that started her post. So much so that I had to check for it on youtube. That led to me finding a version of the song that k.d. lang sang. So then of course I had to go to itunes and buy it. Because I luv her more than my boy luvs staplers. Don’t get me wrong. I am straight. Yeah, I know, I don’t get it either.



Wow, I just found another version of the song. If you like it at all check out this one, here. Embedding was disabled on it, but it is worth the click over.

I've always liked tag.

I was tagged by Katherine from Our Report Card and got the questions for this meme from Regularmom on her blog. I am sort of new to the public blogworld, so I don’t have anyone to tag that hasn’t been already. So if you venture by, by all means feel tagged and stop back to let me know you are playing.

How long have you been blogging?
Four and a half years, but I only recently created this blog where I am merging some of my old blogs together. I had multi-blog disorder. I tried to have a blog for each category in my life and sort of micromanaged it into being a chore. Now I am letting it all hang out, not caring who sees this multi-purpose blog. So welcome to my house folks, ignore the mess and we can be friends.

What inspired you to start your blog, and who are your mentors?
This is an example of how I started, a working parents guilt. It was my attempt to hold my kids close as I sat in my cubicle at work, especially in the dark mornings when I was alone at the office. Here is a quote from one of my first blogs, now defunct. The post was titled Lion Kisses. (This is where my screen name comes from by the way, my girl had a mass of yellow curls as a toddler and an amazing lion-like roar. She was babylion and I was her mommylion. She named me.

“My girl looked directly into my eyes yesterday at lunch. She has these huge green eyes that I am dazzled by. She's two and infinately brilliant. She said "mommy, you came back to me", in a sort of resigned way that spread an ache through my heart that I would carry for the rest of the day. She thought I had been hiding in the kitchen all morning when in reality I was back to work after my eight week maternity leave.

From her perspective I must seem to be against her. First, I gave birth to a small competitor and once she started to feel a bit more comfortable with his jellyfish self and we lost our general squeamishness of her clumsy and somewhat dangerous attempts at bonding with him, I vanish. Then, I left her alone with a brother who takes a bottle with the grudging anger of a vegan forced to live on veal for survival, and a daddy who is also trying to adjust to my return to the old 9 to 5. (More like 5:30 to 4, and it is a cold and dark 5:30am).

I leaned over to kiss her curly soft baby hair and try to get her attention from the tv long enough to satify my needy mommy self. She ignores me so completely that I fear for the millionth time that she has a hearing problem. But I whisper for her to give me a lion kiss and she smiles and looks at me again and spares me a quick but sweet kiss that tastes like yogurt. For some reason lion kisses are always too good to ignore.”

When I started blogging it was very private, like an online journal. I didn’t have time for my paper journaling which I had done my whole life, and this what took place of that. I was actually very naive of the blog culture out there. I worked for a newspaper so I knew of them through there. So I didn’t start with any mentors. It wasn’t until we slammed headfirst into homeschooling that I really became immersed in the blogging world. There are a lot of resources online about homeschooling, but the best are the blogs. I’ve been a lurker on too many to name really. It helps when taking such a counter-culture plunge when there are documented others also doing so and succeeding. It wasn’t until VERY recently that I started to feel comfortable about sharing my blog online. It took me awhile for the private journal feeling I had about it to fade. But now I am over it and ready to play.

Are you trying to make money online, or are you doing this just for fun?
I frickin love money. I don’t deny that. I make some money online now, through art and freelancing graphic arts/writing. I might venture into ebay this year, cause it sounds fun and I am addicted to money just poofing into my paypal account. However, I don’t really offer a product with my blog, it is the place that organizes my thoughts, crafts, homeschooling, and updates friends and family about our world. Besides my hitcounter is like, in the teens. That isn’t enough to make trying to please a public worth it now, is it? So, no - I don’t blog for money, just for the fun. But I am not against anyone who can and does, so rock on with your bad moneymaking selves.

What 3 things do you love about being online?
Community • Clarity • Sanity