Friday, April 18, 2014

A Little Bit of Everything

A little laser tag fun. They divided into two teams and then I dropped each team off an equal distance from the house and hid a flag along the way home. The first team home with the flag and most team members still alive won. 

I went to make my bed, but I couldn't bring myself to disturb the sleeping kitties. 

An old lady thing...I never buy food storage bags, or rarely, I should say. Instead we save our used bread and produce bags in an empty tissue box. It worked well enough to keep them contained, but we would end up with several of them laying around and taking up valuable space. 

And then I found a commercial paper towel dispenser at Goodwill for $2.99. Hung on the wall upside down it is even more perfect for bag storage!

The new can/metal recycling box that Columbus made, complete with can crusher on the side. David and I both vote that the cans are going to fall out the sides, but Columbus says they won't. Hmmm...

I cleaned and purged in the old/boys mobile and at the end of the day Suagr Kind and Dawsy gave me a little!  They teased me that now I would come clean everyday if money was involved, and then I reminded them that I had only earned less than .50c an hour. 

But added with what I found on the floor maybe I have enough to buy myself a little something?

The dryer was obviously going out when we came home last month and it finally died completly this week. David and Columbus did some trouble shooting from some google pages that I had found. Hopefully they found the right problem and the parts they ordered will bring this old girl back to life. If they do I will be beyond impressed...we bought this dryer new some 13/14 years ago!

In the meantime I had socks, underwear and other little things like cloth napkins and wash cloths to worry about. There really isn't room on the line for them and it would be a pain anyway. I came up with the idea of using the metal shelving from our old refrigerator to make a little things hanger and Columbus put it together for me. So far it is working. 

When it rains it pours, the starter on the van is going out, the stove/oven isn't far behind the dryer, the septic looms over our heads, and then there is my personal obsession with getting the addition done before next winter. I kept trying to think of new ways to make money, and then it occurred to me that we didn't need a new way, we needed to build off of what we already had, sooo, we've invested some time and money into getting David's office more organized and Columbus and Einstein have been helping him with sorting, organizing, listing and packing. So far it is going well, but with ebay it always takes a week or two to realize any big changes.  It seems silly in hindsight to realize that we work together as a team for everything else in our lives, why not ebay, too?  Hopefully this newly focused effort will get us moving in a more foward and faster direction on getting some things done around here, because lately it has all been feeling like it falls apart faster than we can fix it.

All of the shelves are new, and just on the top portion of the walls so that he can still wire the lower parts for electric...right now he just has one giant electrical cord from the house to his office.

Baby Man showing me how to climb the ladder.

It's coming along and much better than it was before.  

Columbus is still taking his GED classes.  The GED test is all new this year and the changes that they've made are a complete and total pain.  Just imagine if the DMV was in charge of GED testing and you'll have a pretty good idea of what we're dealing with.  He has to take a mandatory of 40 class hours before he can retake the pretest, which as it turns out is really a pretest to the official pretest.  If he passes both of those then he can take the actual test, and get this - they still don't even have testing centers set up here yet.  His teacher said that if we had come in before the first of the year when all of these changes went into effect that he would have just gone on to take the actual test and be done with the whole thing, which was our goal, but you know that the end of our year got a little messy.  Sigh.  So far he has 25 class hours, but the class is limited to twice a week for three hours each, so it will take another two and a half weeks before he has enough hours to test again.  Sigh, again.  

I finally have Cleo scheduled for the rest of her evaluation for Aspergers.  That will be three separate appointments in Nashville.  Currently, we are working with a local organization that is supposed to help connect us to services for her, but it seems like most of the services are geared towards behavioral issues, which isn't something that we really have to deal with.  I feel at a loss of what exactly to do to help her and am somewhat frustrated, so for the most part I've decided to not push so hard right now and see what comes of her evaluation.  She can go to counseling, and that might be helpful, or it might not - it's hard to say, and there is a peer group close by, so we might at least try those two things in the meantime.

Spending two days a week in town for Columbus' GED class makes the weeks fly by, and I haven't been feeling well.  I've ended up overdosed on my thyroid medication yet again.  Doctors always want to dose me based on some textbook idea of what is right, but it is not right for my body.  In January my doctor wanted to increase my dose by 25mg's, we comprimised on an 12mg increase.  It took a couple of months, but it finally built up in my system enough to cause massive fatigue, horrible headaches, light headedness and what I call foggy brain, which just means the world moves way too fast for me to track and I feel like just sitting and drooling on myself for most, if not all of, the day.  It really, really sucks and I'm mad at myself for allowing it to happen.  I thought I had explained myself and concerns very clearly to my doctor in January, but based on my visit to her this week I had not.  She made a note in my file so that this doesn't happen again, but I seriously doubt that she even reads her notes, and Lord knows she didn't do a very good job of listening to me about it.  I guess I need to put find a new doctor on my list of things to do, but half the time that feels like jumping from the frying pan into the fire!!!

So, we slowly move forward in a somewhat new and refocused direction.  Right now it feels like we have a million irons in the fire and more needs than resources, but that is just often life.  Our mountaintop has become a peaceful place of security despite its hardships and none of us can imagine being any other place.  The kids are happy and there is contentment here as we resettle into this place that we call home.  As the sun shines more and the days grow both warmer and longer, each day becomes something of a gift that we get to open and explore up here.  

The new rage, riding bikes down the hill...over and over again, for hours and hours on end.  Up and down they go and I sit in wonder at their endless energy!!!  
They fly down and stop just before the mud pit, thankfully.

When you grow up in the woods fort building becomes an importnat part of your days.

It looks too short to stand in, but it's not - they dug a bunker under it.  Sugar King told me that by the time he leaves here in five years that he will have a complete system of underground tunnels...and if anyone might actually do it, it would be him.

Things to learn and build with...better (times a million) than anything that has a screen!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Life In Pictures & Other Things

Some of these pictures are a couple of weeks old now.  Despite my best intentions to be a regular blogger, I just haven't done it.  Life has been busy, as usual, but more so with the weather getting nice.  And then there are the days that it seems that I'm just busy doing nothing.  Which isn't to say that I actually do nothing, it just feels like it at the end of the day.  Doing school with the kids and making dinner doesn't leave much to show for one's effort.  And we've been playing a little more.  Games, stories, crafts.  It hasn't been so much an effort on my part to be a better mom, but more of a natural side effect of losing Finn.  A primal desire to make life slow down and enjoy the little things and people that make up my days.  

Right now I feel like life is pulling me in one hundred different directions and I often don't know which way to go first.  The septic, Columbus' GED class, Cleo's services, scheduling, budgeting, and just generally trying to get our ship back on course and moving forward.  It's overwhelming to me at this point, and often draining.  So, somedays I give myself, and us, a break and just don't do much other than be a mom and wife and enjoy/survive the day, or some combination of the two.  And that's probably how it is supposed to be right now.  Several months of gut wrenching trauma can't be undone overnight, or even on a Grand Adventure, so I've come to realize.  

I'm happy and content in a quiet way right now.  Satisfied to take these baby steps in finding my way in what feels like an entirely new world to me and my broken heart.  But it can also be frustrating to feel like life pushed us back and down so far that we must now slowly fight our way back to a more stable and recovered place.  And some days it does feel like a fight, and a juggling act, and so many things that I just don't want it to be.  I tell myself that these highs and lows are life, and that they are better than being flat lined and feeling nothing.  Somdays, that is a comforting thought, others it is just a painful reality that I must learn to live with.  

Spring is finally here and with it comes the perfect sunny days, not too hot, not too cold, and also the dark storms that roll in and bring all of outside life to a halt.  We watch the weather and plan our projects around it in an attempt to keep all of our life, school and work, moving forward as efficiently as possible.  The kids are starting to beg for a trip to our swimming hole on the warm days.  They seem to not remember, or care, that the water will still be icy cold.  Soon, swimming will be a part of our daily activities.  We are all looking forward to what is the best part of our summer - afternoons so hot that there is nothing left to do but escape to the only place left that will offer any kind of reprive, the swimming hole.  Even Baby Man has been asking to go.  He tells me that he is going to jump in this year - we'll see about that.

On with the pictures...some need the follow up pictures, but it is 6:30 a.m. and I can't take them right now, so they will have to come in another post.  This imprefect method is still better than no method, eh?

Apple cake making and little helpers...
One of many dark days of storms.  Tornado warnings and watches, and days cooped up in the house with kids, big, medium and little, bouncing off the walls.
Time for art.
A boy and his model.  He stayed up half the night of his birthday, well past his bedtime, putting together is new model.
We really love this dog, she's spoiled, as evidenced by her sleeping on my couch, but she was awfully cute sleeping there with her tongue hanging out.
Sugar King taking Cleo's pottery wheel for a spin.
Cleo's pottery

In an attempt at being super efficient I made two dinners in one night.  I already had both my big pots in use, so I started minestrone soup in my super duper giant sized pot thinking that I could keep thing under control.  Nope.  I ended up with a super duper giant sized pot all the way full of minestrone soup.  
Luckily, many of our neighbors are already familiar with my minestrone soup and love it, so they were pretty happy that I had done such a foolish thing.

A gift from Double Nickle Farm.  She gave us this sign as we traveled our way back home via her home and it has sat in wait for a place on our wall.  I finally got it put up!  I love it and think of her and her wonderful family everytime I look at it :)
While staying with our friend in San Deigo she had this really, really huge and awesome cloth napkin collection and I got serious cloth napkin envy.  Our cloth napkins were several years old, stained and stinky, so when we came home I started replacing them with "new" ones when I found them on sale for 50% off at Goodwill.  I finally got all of ours replaced with fresh ones for .25c each!!  I don't know why I never thought to check Goodwill for them before, because cloth napkins are actually very, very expensive when you do buy them for real new, but I should have, because they just make me happy everytime I look at them.  I know that it is silly, but....
The in compliance gray water box.  I still need to do a post on our second visit from the spetic man, but in the meantime here is Cleo and Sassy, with lazy dogs watching, filling in the box after we covered the gravel with rock and straw.  
The never ending projects and the mess they leave.  I feel like we live at a saw mill with wood constantly scattered around.
Getting ready to tie dye with Sassy's birthday gift.

David had to go to Knoxville on day and he took Baby Man with him, so I decided that would be the perfect time to start my seeds without my helper around to, um, help?  I got all of my seeds out, planted them and then found places to put the trays.  I knew that the tray on the shelf by the table would be tempting to a certain someone, but I had no other great place to put them and figured I would just keep my eye on them and him.
And then I found that someone had removed all the markers, and then I found the markers themselves in a box of paper on another shelf close by.  My little friend was nowhere to be found when I found them, so he didn't hear the choice words that came out of my mouth, but as soon as I saw him I asked if he knew anything about it?  No, of course not.  Not me, he said, maybe it was G-Man.
A few days later he proudly showed me that he had fixed it.  I didn't bother to tell him that it wasn't the way he found it, instead, I just said thanks to his satisfied smile.
Putting the seedlings on that shelf caused more problems than one.  It meant that I had to find a new place for some people's school, so I moved a bookcase from our bedroom to the "living room," which meant that I had to find a new place for the stuff that was on the word, all this, you say, for some seeds!?  Yes, actually, all this, for some seeds.  Don't think I'm not feeling overcrowed with the amount of life we pack into our little house.  And it just makes me hate on the whole septic thing that much more, so don't get me started.  But I got it all to fit in a working way.  There is Finn on the shelf in the top right hand picture.  That is his little spot in the hub of our life.  The middle picture is of all the kids right after JoJo and G-man were born...they all look so small to me back then.
I got rid of so many books when we moved to the mountaintop, but I can't help myself, and have picked up enough new ones here and there that we are about out of room for anymore.  When we get the addition done between the two mobiles I want Columbus to make shelves for one whole wall - wall to wall, floor to ceiling...that's my dream. 
Working on getting the gardens ready for planting.
Clearing more land.  Our property line ends at the telephone pole.  Once we get this area cleared the entire front of our property will be done.

This kindling box is now full of scrap wood.  I want two more, one for recycling cans and another for more scrap wood - there is plenty of it with all the projects and we also use it in our B-B-Q.  We stopped buying propane or briquets years ago and now just cook with wood, because it's free.
Our very, very small asparagus haul...I cooked them and we all got a, but it was really, really tasty and we look forward to getting more.
And it truly is...

Sunday, April 6, 2014

And the Winner is.....

The winner for the Happy Motherboy Giveaway is......

Teresa N.  

Teresa, once I get your address I will get your BALL herb shaker lids and infuser shipped off to you. 

Thank you to all that entered. It was a lot of fun and it made me feel good to just do something nice for the sake of it :) 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Motherboy Day Giveaway!!!! No Joke!

No Joke...It's a Happy Motherboy Day giveaway!!  

What? You say that you've never even heard of Motherboy Day before!?!?

That's okay, up until yesterday I hadn't either, but that's no reason not to celebrate it, right??

It happened like this:

I took Columbus to town to start his GED test prep classes and after we made the long trek down our twisy-turny mountian and got to where the class is held they informed him that they had cancelled the class.  He was pretty disappointed.  I think he was really looking forward to just getting started, because he has waited a long, long time to get this part of his life over with and moving onto bigger and better things.  Who can blame him?  

So, trying to cheer him up I told him: that's okay, I have errands to run...we can just hang out the two of us and shop.

Yeah, he said, we can have a Motherboy Day!!

Motherboy Day? I had never heard of it!!

Columbus explained that its origin came from the T.V. show Arrested Development, which is a really funny show about a really dysfunctional family.  I guess I missed, or forgot, the episode about the annual Motherboy Day dance that mother and grown son, Lucille and Buster, attend.  The two of them have an unusual relationship.  Lucille is a drunk and Buster still lives at home like a child, and while their daily lives are funny...sometimes you just want to look away, too.

So, anyway...I agreed, we would celebrate Motherboy Day.  We went to the used bookstore, and an outlet store that I had a $20.00 coupon for (who doesn't love $20.00 worth of FREE anything!?) and then we headed over to Walmart, which is where the giveaway comes in.

I was in a really, really good mood.  It was, finally, sunny and warm yesterday, which always makes me feel good, and I felt so much better after my soul purging post; A Blank Page, and the septic man had come that morning and it went really well (I'll post about it later - who wants to combine poop and grey water talk with the goodness of a Motherboy giveaway!?,) and Columbus and I were having a lot of fun.  And I was in such a good mood that when I saw these really cool little BALL items I thought - my readers would love these and I feel like doing something NICE.

So, for our Happy Motherboy Day giveaway we have a Ball wide mouth jar infuser!

From Ball: Stay naturally hydrated with the stylish easy-sip lid that features a hanging basket that acts as a drink infuser—perfect for infusing a hint of your favorite fresh flavors into water, teas, juices, and more. Follow our fun flavor combination guide below or make your own mix to flavor your drinks to your taste. Also great for infusing your favorite spirits! Designed in the USA to fit any Ball® Wide Mouth jar.

And a two pack of herb shaker caps that fit a regular sized mouth canning jar.

I had never seen either of these before and thought they were very cool!  And now you can enter to win this set of Ball herb shaker cap lids and widemouth jar infuser!!  Just leave a comment on this post!  Yep, that's all you have to do to enter to win...leave a comment.  Simple.  Easy.  Our giveaways are pretty informal - we put all the names of the entrants on pieces of paper, throw the names into some kind of container and then a lucky little person puts their hand in the container and hems and haws about which one to pull out before I finally say...alright already!!  Hurry it up and just pick ONE!!

We will go through that little senerio sometime Saturday night, April 5th, and then I will post the winner here on the blog.  Then you email me your address and I ship them to you.  Simple.  Easy.

Good luck to all of you and Happy Motherboy Day!!

And I've just got to say:  this whole post just cracks me up.  It makes me happy, and I hope it did you too.  Go hug your sons, and daughters, partner....anyone....everyone.  Be nice and love each other...because it's Motherboy Day to someone, somewhere!!