Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday, Oh Friday, Where Have You Gone?

Seriously? I'm checking out the clock on the computer and realizing it's minutes from Midnight. Where did the day go? Okay - fine, I know it ticked by second by second into minute by minute into hour by hour. I'm good at math -- I get it. But where did the day go? It feels like just moments ago I was opening my eyes. And here it is, ridiculously late and I am seriously needing to get some sleep but I just can't bring myself to admit it's time to go to bed!

Of course, we had a great day and got so much accomplished. Of course I feel good about the items crossed off our list, and I love that I managed to do our day without yelling once. I didn't even raise my voice other than to call over the noise of all the other people in our house today. (At least, I don't think I did. Hmm.) Regardless, it was a good day. But it went by so fast!

What exactly determines a fast day verses a slow day? On days when I am sick and all I need is for the day to tick by with alacrity, it creeeeeeeeeeeeeeepppppppppps along slowly while I glance at the clock every few seconds. Then, other days, it seems that every time I glance at the clock, I've spent hours. How does that happen?

Perhaps it is because of the clocks. Do they meet together the night before and determine ahead of time how our time will go? Do they huddle up, yelling at the microwave to detach it's big butt and get into the meeting pronto before somebody comes downstairs and they all get caught? Perhaps my watch is the ringleader, since he is the one with me all the time.

"I'm telling you guys - she's getting cocky. I just know she thinks she's got everything under control. It's time to throw her a curve."

"Oh, no," says the school room clock. "There is so much in their day. Let's give them a break. Slow down and make sure there's plenty of time to get it all done."

"Actually - that would be nice," the microwave concurs. "They all visit me more when the day is dragging. Something about slowing down time makes them eat a lot more."

"Now boys," sighs the patient stop watch. "I've been around the block with this crowd and I'm telling you, they need to be rushed. Timing them is the only thing to get some of those kids to move!"

"What are you talking about!" screams the watch favored by Dawson. "The kid never stops! I don't know how he gets any math done -- he is just go, go go!" A closer inspection of Dawson's watch reveals a whirring that shouldn't be occurring. Perhaps his assessment can't quite be trusted - the kid might have made him go a little crazy.

"Listen, gang. I'm with her all the time. I'm telling you - she feels too good. Like she can handle anything these days. It's time to shake it up." My watch, the traitor, is bent on my sanity's destruction.

"Well, if you think that's wise . . . I guess I should trust you. I'm only the lowly toothbrush-timing clock, anyway. I just think it's really great of you guys to include me. I know I'm an upstairs clock and all and that you really don't have to invite me to these meetings since I really only count twice a day, and let's face it with some of these kids it's only once a day and I'm not really sure they are even looking at me then, so I guess I'm not really important enough --"

"Are you kidding me?" the microwave sighs. "I didn't rip myself off the wall to come over here to listen to your ridiculous whining. Keep it up and we uninvite you. Again."

"OKAY! I'm telling you - it's time." My watch is getting impatient. He's certain he is hearing little feet moving above his head. And evil grin creeps across his face. "Do you hear that? Kids are up. She won't sleep well. It's always more effective when we speed things up and she is tired. She really respects us clocks then. She really feels our power."

"Well, if you're sure . . ." the timer is in on it, but trying to sound hesitant. She doesn't like to come across too evil. After all, one drop on the tile floor and she'll be in the trash can like her Uncle - the first timer to try and subdue our crew. And, to be honest, she isn't convinced he was simply dropped.

"Okay - so we're agreed." The footsteps above are getting louder - definitely a Rutherford out of bed. My watch is in a hurry to close the meeting. "We shave off 15 minutes from every hour tomorrow. Do it when she isn't looking, but make sure it isn't all at once or she'll notice. She may be tired but she isn't stupid."

"Okay, okay." The other clocks agree and quickly return to their posts.

And thus, my day flies by and no matter how efficient I think we're being, we are no match for the clocks. Where did their power come from anyway?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ewww - Tuesday as Monday

Scott has one of the only set schedules at the hospital. And whenever he considers transferring to a new floor, he always ends up staying put because of the Monday - Friday night gig he's lined up. So, we actually have a set weekend, although for us it's Sunday and Monday. So, Tuesday is our version of Monday. And what a Monday it was. Blech.

We spent Sunday morning worshipping with Kainos 101, snagged lunch, and then headed over to Cedar Crest College to watch dear Carrie Moore in a play, The Goddesses, Part 1. Definitely a great inspiration to watch if you're female. Definitely a kick in the pants if you're male. Afterwards, Carrie arranged a tour of the theater and then took us on a tour of the campus. It was fantastic. We made it home to eat Sloppy Joe's out of the crockpot and then after putting the littles to bed, Scott read aloud while Shelby, Dawson, Isabelle, Tucker and I urged him to keep going until we finished the book around 10 pm.

Monday was a pretty casual Monday for us. Dad taught Scott and Dawson how to change the oil on Big Red (pinching pennies everywhere!) and I learned how to change an air filter. Calc 3?no problem. Combustion engine? completely lost. Then I went to the eye doctor and Dawson took Scott and my dad to the movies to watch "A Christmas Carol." All three raved. Jenna was in town with Sadie so we all stayed together to visit, and before I knew it it was 5:30 and we were just leaving my parents. Of course, the fact that Tucker took a marker to the neighbor's trash can, white vinyl fence, siding, and basketball hoop emblazoning each with a bold "TUCKER" didn't help us leave any faster, either. (We tried everything to clean it off, but in the end, the fence is still signed. The neighbors won't let us fix it, either.) The kids got up in bed, exhausted after the late night and day of hard playing/bike riding outside and Scott and I watched TiVo while eating a pizza. Yum. He took a brief nap while I folded laundry with Elias. Scott left for work (night shift) and I went to bed.

This morning started out pretty great. I came down with Elias and we played for about 15 minutes before he went to sleep in his swing. I did morning chores and finished up around the time Aidan came down. We snuggled up together to read the book, "One Morning in Maine" by Robert McCloskey. (Aidan chose to sit in Abigail's car seat, which we had brought in the night before to clean once we discovered her diaper had really, really leaked. Anyway, it was reassembled and waiting for Scott to return home with the van and Aidan decided that it was the perfect place to sit and read. I, myself, prefer the couch.) Eventually, we were joined by Tucker and then Keats. Abigail was let out of her prison (er, uh . . . I mean crib with a net over it to keep her in one place) shortly afterwards and eventually the older three trickled down. And that's when it started to change.

I say the older three came down, but really I should clarify that it was the nasty, grouchy, crabby versions of Shelby and Dawson and the "I'm too tired to really do anything" Isabelle. Their attitudes were more contagious than the Swine Flu, and eventually all 8 kiddos were in a mutiny.

"I'm hungry."

"Where's my milk?"

"I want my jeans - are they clean yet?"

"Do we seriously have to do school today?"


"Mom - he won't give me back my bear!"

"Mom - that isn't even his bear!"

"Stop touching me!"

"Eww! You're breath stinks! Go brush your teeth, you swamp monster!"

"I can't find my hairbrush - who took my hairbrush??"

"Why can't I dump the Lego bin yet? I want to!"

"Where's dad - he would say yes." (For the record - no, he wouldn't.)

"Abigail smells bad!"

"GROSS!!! Elias threw up all over me!"

"Who put my hairbrush in the diaper pail?"


Ahh, the sweet sounds of a cheerful family working together to accomplish a day filled with ambitious, yet completely attainable, plans.

Order was actually restored relatively quickly, but the damage was done. My peaceful mood shattered, I never really got back into the groove of the day. Sure, we got just about everything done on the goal list, but it sure wasn't smooth. It truly reminded me of the Manic Mondays of my teen years - trying to get back into the swing of doing *blech* when I had had such a great weekend.

Time heals all wounds, right? Perhaps one night of sleep will reset all our attitudes for tomorrow. Let's hear it for Wednesday/Tuesday!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Peanut, Peanut Butter

Do you remember that song from childhood? It was a ridiculously long song about how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich which you could make even more ridiculous by adding more and more to your sandwich for long car trip amusement. You know - back before the days of PSP and portable DVD players. Quite frankly - even back before the cassette-tape walkman! You have to remember those car rides!! Dull as dirt and no-seatbelt laws, so your parents had to find something to keep you sitting down. Of course - I look at the seatbelt/car-seat insanity of today and fondly recall the days of clown-car stuffing that would happen to take everyone in the neighborhood for an ice-cream cone in one car to save on gas. But I digress.

So anyway, the chorus went: "Peanut, Peanut Butter . . . and Jelly (sung using a super-deep voice)" and repeated. I have had it stuck in my head all day. And I mean literally ALL DAY. See, we finally ran out of our All-Natural-Just-Peanuts-and-Sea-Salt-Made-Here-Ourselves peanut butter so we broke open the tub of honey roasted peanuts we've been hoarding for this moment. The moment we were going to try making our own peanut butter.

Now, my friend Kelly is my favorite hippie. Behind Kel would be Elle, also a lovable hippie. But I have learned that I am actually considered to be pretty hippie myself. I don't really think of myself that way, but I guess I can see their point since I had told both Kelly and Elle that I was planning to try making our own peanut butter and they both sounded . . . well, surprised. I guess we are pretty indoctrinated that all chicken is born cellophane wrapped on styrofoam and all peanut butter arrives in little plastic tubs marked with a number 1 inside the recycling triangle on the bottom.

But, I grind our own wheat and that's not too tough. I make our own cleaners, and several people now use my recipes to clean their own homes. We buy raw milk and I now make both our own yogurt and our own keifer. Why should peanut butter be too hard?

Well, it wasn't. I poured 3 cups at a time into our food processor, turned the blade on, waited 3 minutes, and Voila! Creamy, delicious peanut butter. For $6.49, I made 7 cups/4.5 pounds of natural peanut butter. And the real test was to try it on Tucker, who loathes natural peanut butter. (He is a real big fan of the Skippy variety.) And after one bite, Tucker passed me back the spoon and said, "Please, mom, may I have some more?" ala Oliver. Success!

Next on our hippie list? Making our own clothes detergent. I love my Charlies Soap, but I would love not having to order my giant 5 gallon bucket every year.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Back to Normal

A week without Scott simply made for a very interesting week here at home. Last night, our final night before his return home, found Shelby, Dawson, Tucker, & I heating up marshmallows in the microwave to watch them blow up, painting the final parts of our projects, and watching the Eagles game -- all until 10:45 pm. We have definitely not been keeping Rutherford hours. Even so, I didn't make it awake long enough to know the Eagles were beaten. And by those dratted Cowboys, too. Just salt in the wound.

Our goals for this week are definitely simple. Doctors appointments (in a family this size, someone always has an appointment!), school work (including Physics and Astronomy), daily chores, and catching up on reading/resting since we did little of either while Scott was gone. Simple plans, but I know they will encompass a lot of hours.

It is difficult, occasionally, to see where all of the effort goes when there is so little to physically see after a week. I mean, I can look at the log to see how much school the kids actually did, but it isn't as obvious as, say, painting a step-stool. I can see the finished stool every time I go into the kitchen as a very visable reminder of a goal set and accomplished. I think the struggle that comes with raising kids and homeschooling is that you don't really see the progress for days , weeks, or sometimes even months. You know they are being taught since you're the one doing it, but you aren't always sure how much they "got it." And the confirmation of learning always comes at times you least expect it. Such as hearing the six-year-old announce: "I feel quite aggravated that the velocity of this car is so held back by friction." Double-take huh? I thought you were just coloring while we studied!

And, so, we will begin a more normal week. Back to bedtime around 8 pm for everyone, back to daily naps for Abigail, back to finding the joy in the small accomplishments that make up our days and weeks.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A Missing Piece

Boy, are we ready for Monday! Scott has been in Nashville since last Sunday. Well, he left us last Sunday. He didn't make it to Nashville until Monday. Until he has surgery to clear a blocked nasal passage, his ENT has grounded him. So off he and Chip went on a glorious roadtrip while I stayed home and manned the troops.

We've had fun, though, and managed to get heaps done. The main project we didn't do was paint our new front door, install the deadbolt, and put the trim down along the base. We did, however, manage to winterize the air conditioner, clean the backyard and prep it for winter, clean the bird feeders and fill them for winter, paint our dining room benches, begin painting the rocking horse for Saie's birthday (finishing it tomorrow), keep niecey Sadie for 3 days, clean the installed carpet on the stairs, cull more stuff out for our third garage sale this morning, have friends over Friday night until midnight, completed building our Trebuchet, watch a couple of movies, get to the library, play outside A LOT while the weather has been great, go to a football game (pee-wee league, nothing too exciting), keep up with the laundry, meals, & daily chores, do school EVERY DAY, run a couple of errands, took Elias to the doctor, wrestled with the insurance company over adding Elias, had our cable repaired in order to have our TV, internet, & phone service restored (eep!), get to the dairy to buy our milk, harvest some produce, . . .

My evil plot was to keep all of us so productive that we:

1 - Didn't have time to really miss Scott
2 - Were out of our routine enough that we didn't miss Scott
3 - Were so tired by the end of the day we collapsed into bed and fell asleep before we could miss Scott.

It mostly worked. Of course, as I type this, I'm forced to admit we just miss Scott. Life is good. With Scott, it's great.