Thursday, October 31, 2013

The ONLY thing I like about Halloween.

I think I've told you guys this before - I really, really dislike Halloween.  As a kid, I didn't really like it.  Costumes are itchy and uncomfortable.  I don't really like candy that much. 

When I was a teacher, I hated it because the kids were all hopped up on a sugar high for a few days before and after Halloween itself.  It was just glorified babysitting for that whole week, really. 

As a mom, I'm still not a fan.  The kids beg to wear their costumes weeks before the actual holiday, and they are relentless.  So I eventually give in (pick your battles, as they say).  And then they inevitably rip their costumes or lose parts of them, then freak out every time they lose a part of their costume.  They fight over who gets what trick-or-treat bucket.  And Gage usually refuses to wear part or all of his costume.  It's usually freakin' freezing on Halloween, and because Ben insists on being the one to answer the door for trick-or-treaters (he gets all dressed up in a scary and gory costume and gets the biggest kick out of scaring children - Halloween is is favorite holiday EVER), I get to walk around with the kids in subzero temperatures, basically going door-to-door begging people to give my kids free candy.

Just call me Scrooge.  Or, because it's Halloween, um....Booge.  Get it?  Boo?  Like a ghost says?  With a -ge at the end?


But.  There is one part of Halloween that I really like - carving pumpkins.  In my eyes, it's a chance to make art.  Pumpkin art.

We got to carving yesterday.  We got, like, the last six pumpkins at Albertson's.  They were completely out at Wal-Mart.  We should have gotten on that a long time ago.  Sadie's and my pumpkins had a couple of rotten spots.

We gave Sadie a lecture on not drawing a huge, intricate landscape scene on her pumpkin as she has done in years past.  I just can't carve stuff like that.  So she stuck with a simple portrait of a pretty girl - her specialty.  That, and drawing My Little Ponies. :)

Sade has a really bad cold.  She stayed home all day yesterday, and much to her dismay, felt way too gross to go to school again today.  But she stuffed a kleenex in her nose and sat up long enough to draw the design on her pumpkin before returning to the couch.  Here's her pretty girl (and the design Ben carved in Gage's pumpkin on the right):
Ben is usually wayyyyy into carving pumpkins.  We all go out and select pumpkins together a couple of weeks before, and he comes up with really amazing and creative ways to carve his pumpkins.  But he has a big architecture test today (you have to take ten huge tests and log in thousands of hours to get your actual architecture license), and he was stressed.  He did just the bare minimum.
Here's his:
A reflection on his nervousness, I'd say. :)

Micah said he wanted square eyes, square nose, square mouth on his pumpkin.  And then he kept beating up Gage and swearing (I can't claim responsibility for this one, because he kept taking the Lord's name in vain, and I seriously don't ever do that), so he got to go to bed early while Ben carved Micah's pumpkin.  Dylan's pumpkin is to the right:
Dylan's design is plaigaristic of Ben's design from several years ago.  Ben had gotten a huge pumpkin and then a mini pumpkin and had inserted the mini pumpkin into the big pumpkin's mouth. It was really cool.  I hope Ben doesn't have a big test on Halloween next year.  I miss my creative pumpkin carving man.
I really enjoy carving those designs from those pumpkin design books.  I did this one this year:
I'm such a dork.  For some reason, Ben has always cut the tops off the pumpkins, and I've always gutted them.  This year, I cut the tops off a couple of the pumpkins, and I did it wrong.  I guess you're supposed to cut the tops off at an angle, angling toward the center of the pumpkin.  I just cut straight up and down, and now my lids fall right into the gutted pumpkins.  So I had to stick toothpicks into the lids to keep them on top of the pumpkins.  You can see the toothpicks in the picture above.  Duh. 

Here are all of our punkins together:
Now that the fun part of Halloween is over, I have to prep myself to freeze my buns off tonight.

Bah humbug.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Sexy Zebra

Last week, I got a note home saying that Micah is testing below his classmates on letter recognition, knowledge of letter sounds, and number recognition.  He'll most likely have to get extra help in a special class before or after school starting in December.

And I was sad.  First, because I'm like, "Dude, can I just get a break from the special needs thing??"  It's kind of exhausting.  Dylan with his ADHD.  Sadie had speech therapy for three years.  And she's behind in reading.  Micah was in occupational and developmental therapy for three years.  And I seriously think he has a mood disorder of some kind.  And Gage is developmentally delayed and says maybe four words.  And he's three.  So, you know, it's a bummer. 

But would I trade my kids for anybody else's?  Absolutely not.  I loooooove these guys.  They are mine.  I barfed and had heartburn and felt like my legs were being ripped apart to bring them here.  I breastfed them when they were making me bleed and my toes were curling into the carpet and I was gritting my teeth and sobbing because it hurt so badly.  I've helped pick poop out of their bungholios with my fingers when they were constipated and couldn't get it out.  I've spent entire nights in a bottom bunk of a bed helping them barf into the barf bucket every twenty minutes.  I've lifted and bent and crouched and crawled and broken my body helping them.  And you know, I think you love the people you serve more than the people you don't serve.  I put everything I have into these guys.  They are my crowning glory. 

So, as snarky as I am about them, know that I really do love them with every fiber of my soul.

Anyways, I was also sad when I got the news about Mikey because I worked with him all summer on all three of those things - letter recognition, letter sound memorization, and number recognition - and ever since the first day of school, when Mikey brought home his zoophonics flashcards and number flashcards, we've been working for an hour every single day on them. 

Me:  Kay, Mike, what's this letter?

Micah:  [Long pause while he stares at the card.]  Um, C?

Me:  Nope, it's a G.  You were really close.  It looks a little like a C.  But it has a nail sticking into the bottom of it. Ouch, right? (I find it helps him to kind of draw mental pictures for him.  When we practice writing his name, I say, "Okay, start with two tall, pointy mountains.  Then a short wall with a dot on top.  Then a bowl on its side.  Then a ball with a tail.  Then a tall wall with a fat slide coming off of it."  I've done this with all my kids.)

Micah:  Oh, okay.  A G.

Me:  And what sound does the G say?

Micah:  Um, EEEE?

Me:  Nope, guh.  See the gorilla hanging from the G?  He starts with a guh.  Guh-guh-gorilla.

We do this with every card, every single day.  Now, he is making progress, but it's pretty slow progress.  So I'm all for the extra class.  Any help he can get.  And any more time he can spend away from me is usually a good thing.  Just being honest.  We need our time apart from each other.  We push each others' buttons.

Something I find hilarious is the flash card for the letter Z:
I just think it's a really weird pose for the zebra to strike.  Even a cartoon zebra.  It reminds me of those mud flaps you see of the silhouettes of sexy women.  You know the ones?  The ones that don't look like any real women that I can think of?  It makes me chuckle every time we come to the Z.  What a weird flash card.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

47 Nails

Oi vey.  Saturday was so busy. We worked and worked and worked.  But first, here's our new roof!!

It looks nice.  And I like the grey doors better with this black roof.

As usual, I learned something from this home improvement project.  I learn something new every day.  1)  Pay the money for the roof guys to do the demo.  You won't regret it.  2)  If you do your own demo, use a tarp on which to throw the old shingles. 

If you recall, we had two layers of roof to remove - cedar shingles on top of green asphalt.  My dad and hubs removed the cedar shingles and just threw them onto the grass.  When the professionals came, they laid out a tarp (kind of on top of our cedar shingle piles) and threw the green asphalt shingles onto the tarp, then shoveled the shingles and debris into their dumpster thingey from off the tarp.  Any small debris was then kind of slid into the dumpster.  So smart. 

By Saturday, all of the cedar shingles were either at the dumpster or in the bed of Ben's truck, so I raked the area where Dad and Ben had dumped the shingles, and I ended up picking up 47 NAILS.  (Yes, I counted.  Sadie was helping me, and it made her more happy about helping me if we kept track of how many nails we retrieved from the grass.)  These nails could have punctured my little children's feet and shoes!  Ben had actually stepped on one.  He hurried and jerked his foot up, so luckily, the nail only punctured maybe 1/4 of an inch into the ball of his foot.  But still.  (And yes, he got a tetanus shot before he left for China, so he's good.)

So now ya know.  Use tarps if you demo your roof.

We had two windows where the wood was warped and needed to be replaced.  Ben replaced and painted the wood on this window (he still needs to caulk it):
And this window...oh, what a mess:
It turns out that the outside trim was fastened to the inside trim.  So, long story short, Ben ended up kind of jacking up the inside of our house.  Here's a piece of the messed up wood from the outside of the window.
And look at what the process did to the inside of my house.  Ben accidentally ripped a huge chunk off our newly-painted wall:
I was like, duuuude.

Ben was able to attach the new wood outside, but we didn't have time to paint it.  And now it's been raining for two days.  The wall still has a chunk ripped out of it.  And the inside frame is sitting on top of our armoire, like so:
Our living room is so awesome.  Everything in disarray, boards everywhere, holes ripped out of walls....  ay-ay-ay.

Gage says hi to all of you:

My job Saturday (besides picking up 47 nails) was to scrape and sand the trim on two of our doors.  The paint had been chipping and looked poorly.  I think it's super fun to scrap paint chips off surfaces.  It's my new favorite hobby.  I'm serious.  It's extremely satisfying.

And then Ben painted said door frames:
They look much better.  And yes, that's a pink blanket posing as a curtain inside our kitchen window.  We're awesome like that.

No scrapeage was needed on the front window frame, but Ben gave it an extra coat of paint for good measure:

(He's so spazzy.)

Such a good boy, protecting his head when he's outside.  I'm not as diligent about skin protection as he is, but that's because he looks like a lobster after five minutes in the sun.  He's very fair-skinned.  The finished trim on the dining room windows:

I also scraped, sanded, and painted the soffat and fascia.  Look at all the colors I scraped off on this big paint chip!:
That soffat has been sea foam green, dark purple, brown, and off-white before!  Crazy!

This part of the fascia hadn't seen much paint action because the cedar shingles stack up so highly on top of each other, so it was mainly unpainted wood.  I painted it - it still needs caulking where the metal white stuff from the roofing meets the wood:

See?  Pretty fascia:
Of course my kids were really into helping us.  Which, in kid language, means stealing our scrapers, climbing up the ladder as high as they could and jumping off, and any other distracting procedure you can think of:
Yep, Gage was wearing his parka and zero undies or pants.  We're white trash.

Micah wears this part of his Halloween costume all day and all night, every day:
And he is a picture ham, like Gage.  He loooves to have me take pictures of him, and then look at them.  Cute little towheads of mine.
Rest your heads close to my heart
Never to part, towheads of mine... :)

Just a little variation on a song from....what movie??

Friday, October 25, 2013


We made these at our cardmaking group last night.  Aren't they stinkin' cute??  The pumpkin was made with three ovals layered on each other.  I love the paper embossing that Stampin' Up does.  So much fun.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

My favorite thing about fall.

It's not the beautiful leaves.  It's not just the yummy fallish food you can start to make (turkey pot pie with mashed sweet potato topping?  Mother may I?).  It's not that it's no longer so hot that you think you're going to pass out.  It's not the hot chocolate that you can now drink without feeling like you're going to have heatstroke.  Nay, it's not even wearing the sweaters.  (I love that I just found a spot to say "nay.") The sweaters come in close at second place.

It's the geese flying south for the winter.
I looooove how they honk their mean little heads off while they're flying.  (Yes, geese are mean.  They hang out at our greenbelt and hiss at you and chase your children, even when they're nowhere close to the geese.) 

They're just so joyful.  They're basically yelling at the top of their lungs.  HEY YOU GUYS!  WE'RE OUTTA HERE!  I'M SO EXCITED!  I CAN'T WAIT TO HISS AT THOSE FLORIDIANS!  AND POOP ALL OVER THEIR GREENBELTS!  AND EAT THE BREAD THAT THEY FEED ME!  YESSSSSS! (See?  They're hissing right there.)

Every time they fly overhead, yelling joyfully at each other, I stop and look up and grin like a crazy fool.  I. Love. It.

That's got to be hard, flying and yelling at the same time.  I would find it hard yelling while, say, jogging.  Especially if it was for hours on end.  I heard Britney Spears sings while working out so that she is able to sing while still dancing in her shows.  Interesting, eh?  My sis, Lex, used to be a cheerleader in high school and college, and while they were running up and down stairs, they had to yell their cheers.  Talk about an ab workout.

The only time I ever yell when I work out is when I'm doing the fit wall at my gym.

 And by the way, one will never be smiling while doing a fitwall routine.  Though one might show their cleavage if they chose to.  I choose not to. I keep myself covered up.

When I yell at the fit wall, it's stuff like, "Eeeeeeee!"  when I'm doing that one drill where you're holding on to the top rung and making your feet hop up and down the lower rungs.  I'm scared I'm going to hit my shins.  Or when I'm going, "Arrrrghhhh!"  When I have to do Russian squat kicks while doing tricep dips on the fit wall.

These are not joyful noises that I make.

When you do the fit wall, you burn 800 calories in half an hour.  I kid you not.  It is that intense.  I could burn the equivalent if I jogged for two and a half hours straight.  And I get to do it tonight.  Yay.  

Maybe if I honk while doing the fit wall, I'll find more joy in it. 


The kids brought their picture packets home from school.  Well, Sadie's never arrived home, which doesn't surprise me.  She's as forgetful as her dad and I are.  Poor girl.  Her life will be difficult.  I forget EVERYTHING.  And lose everything.

I never, ever buy school pictures, first of all because my friend Megs is a fantastic photographer and takes all of our family pictures.  Secondly, they always turn out like this:
Proof:  That Dylan is a lurpy ten-year-old with corn nut teeth that we can't afford to fix.

This one made me laugh soooooooooo hard:
Proof:  That Micah is psychotic.

This one takes the cake, though.  It looks like one of those celebrity mug shots:
Proof:  Gage wasn't in the mood to get his picture taken that day.  Hahahaha!  Ohhhhh, I get a good belly laugh every time I look at it.  I should seriously buy these pictures just so I can have this look on his face memorialized forEVER.

Gage barfed on that very shirt today at school.  He felt great this morning, he got on the bus, and then I got a call that he barfed on the bus all the way to school and a few times once he got to school.  I picked him up and brought him home, and voila, he's good as gold.  Having a great time.  Playing with the stapler at the moment.  (I'm the best mom EVER.)  I would wonder if he's mastered the art of faking sick to stay at home, something at which Dylan and Sadie excel.  (They should seriously be given Oscars for their ability to even fool their mom from time to time.  This is why I send them to school unless they're literally barfing.) But the barf on his Precious (his parka), shirt, and pants is PROOF that he felt sick even if it was at quite a handy time.

Hey, I'm not complaining.  If I don't have to hold him all day and clean up his barf, I'm good.  I'm good.

A Lightbulb Moment

I was reading my friend Carrie's blog yesterday, and I learned something new about ADHD.  Her son was recently diagnosed with ADHD (something my oldest son has).  As she and her husband were talking to the psychologist about the disorder, he taught them something I haven't heard yet.  These are Carrie's words:

"First, ADHD is due to a lack of dopamine. It is dopamine that creates the sense of satisfaction. That is why my son is always anxious to know what is next. He isn’t satisfied with the moment." 

I never knew that this was one of the behaviors exhibited by kids with ADHD. All this time, I thought that Dylan was just really...entitled. Haha! He always wanted something more. Something greater. Something bigger. I'm glad to have gotten more enlightenment to understand my little man better. I always thought, "Why isn't what he just got, or what he just experienced, enough for him??"  I felt like he was ungrateful.  And I worried that people I'm close to (since I really don't care what, like, strangers in the store think of me) thought I was being a bad parent, since it must seem that I spoil him a lot if nothing is ever enough, or if he wants something immediately after getting something.  

I'm not saying that I'm glad I have an excuse for his behavior.  I'm always going to teach him to be grateful and to appreciate the experiences he's had or the gracious gifts he's been given.  I'm always going to nudge him and tell him to say thank you.  But it just helps me to understand that this is yet another facet of the myriad of symptoms that are a part of ADHD.  
You can see Dylan's nasty Corn Nut teeth through his Halloween mask.  Sad.

Thanks, Care, for educating me a little bit more.

And guuurrrrrl, you lookin' good for having five kids.  Dang.  Now your blog needs to teach me how to do that. :) 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

For My Card Exchange Tomorrow

Ugh, I feel so gross today.  I did not sleep well.  Probably because Ben is home from hunting and was snoring SO LOUDLY last night.  Even with my earplugs in, it was like being in an earthquake while lying in bed.  Sheesh.  (But I am glad he's home.  Even though he has left me a huge mess of sleeping bags and boots and dirty clothes to clean up.  Because that's my job.  I'm The Cleaner.)

Anywho, while my man was gone, I spent my lonely nights catching up on Haven and making some cards for my card exchange tomorrow.  The theme was thank-you cards:
I like 'em.

Monday, October 21, 2013

I think we're heading to Green Hair Land with this guy...

Kay.  So.  Remember when Micah wore a green jammie shirt on his head for a year and called it his Green Hair?  And everyone was all judgie on my mothering skills because I let him do it?  (I still stand by that decision, by the way.)  And eventually I had to get rid of it (because of bathtime and laundering complications), along with a note from the Green Hair Fairy, saying that some other little baby boy needed Micah's green hair?  And how Micah was so upset about it that he said he was going to crush the Green Hair Fairy the next time he saw her?  Yeah.

I think we're going down the same road with Gage and his parka. 
We had to whip out the parkas, mittens, and hats last week here in Southeast Idaho.  It's no longer jacket weather.  That's what Julia soon-to-be Gulia told us.  (What movie?)

Try not to be jealous of our weather.  Or of the fact that my children will most likely be wearing their parkas underneath their costumes when they go trick-or-treating in a couple of weeks.

Anywho, Gage has rarely taken his parka off since we got it out of the storage room.  He wears it to bed.  Inside.  Outside.  At the day-care thingey at the gym. While he's sitting on the potty.  He cries when we take it off for bathtime and doesn't understand why we don't let him wear it in the tub.

It's hard to reason with a three-year-old.  Especially one who doesn't talk.

Last night, I was like, "Kay, dude, you have old food and lollipop stains and chocolate and all kinds of crap on your coat.  It's time to wash it." 

Oh.  The world ended for him.

He cried the whole two hours it took to wash and then dry it.

Unfortunately, I can't have the Red Parka Fairy take his coat away, because, you know, it's frickin' freezing out there.  So we get to deal with his obsession all winter.  But come summer, if he's still doing this, the Red Parka Fairy is going to take it to D.I. and call it good.  He will have grown out of it by then.

Friday, October 18, 2013

The roof! The roof! The roof is on fi-yah!

That was an EFY cheer.  We were the Roof Raisers that week.  We gave the boys in our group little hats that looked like roofs to wear on our last night.  The hats were hilarious.  Such spazzy times.

So, the house reno moves forward.  Slowly.  And that's my fault.  It's hard to find time to renovate when you have to cook dinner, help with homework, shuttle kids to activities, etc.  My day is already packed - adding painting, packing, clearing, taping, etc. is difficult.

Two days ago, my dad and Ben took off the cedar shingles on our roof.  The back side of our roof is black asphalt shingling, and the front is cedar shingles on top of green shingles.  We wanted the back and the front to match.  Dad put in 5 hours.  Ben couldn't come over until after work, so he put in about 1 1/2 hours.  Here are the results:
You can't tell that there are green shingles there, because there's frost on them.  It's c-c-c-cold outside.  Would you like to see the mess left over?:
We briefly toyed with the idea of bundling the cedar shingles to take over to the new house for firewood for the woodburning fireplace, but the truth is, we have a fire in the fireplace mayyyybe once per year.  And when I was growing up, our woodpile became mouse condominiums.  I'm kind of not interested in having mouse condominiums stacked in my garage or next to my house.  Plus the whole bundling process.  So much work.  So I think we're going to just take it all to the dump.  Unless any of you want them.  Feel free to come and get 'em.  Ben already took an entire truck bed full to the dump, and we burned a bunch in our fireplace the last two nights.  It smelled wonderful - the cedar being burned.  And the kids were looooving it.
(A merry fire.  I've always wanted to say "merry fire."  It makes me feel so Louisa May Alcottish.)

As we all know, I'm going to be the one who cleans up this shingle mess.  Because that's the theme of my marriage with Ben:  He makes the messes.  I clean them up. In fact, this seems to be the theme of my entire family.  My kids make a mess; I clean it up.  I achieved the very huge accomplishment of filling one contractor bag with tar paper yesterday.  I'm rockin' it.

Originally, Ben and Dad were going to pull off the cedar shingles and also the asphalt shingles underneath, but after that night, my dad, covered in dust and unable to get his hands uncramped, said, "Screw it.  Let's pay the roofing guys not only to put the new roof on, but to demo this asphalt.  It's just way too hard."  I agree. I scheduled with them yesterday - the green shingles come off tonight and the new ones go on tomorrow morning.

Our living room is still jacked up. We painted the trim a brighter white.  The taping process is what takes FOREVER.

We have this cute little built-in bookshelf that we painted.
We still need to give the french doors another coat.  And then we need to paint where the tape didn't work, where little bits of white dribbled down on the grey.  Sometimes I wonder why we even bother taping.

Ben made Micah a painting tape frisbee, which Micah promptly put his name on, complete with erroneous spelling.
We're getting there.  He seldom messes up his name anymore.  He used to write it completely backwards, so we've come a long way in the past few weeks. :)

We have a new curb and gutter:
 And after two weeks, we finally got the street asphalted:

Ben painted the door, garage, and attic entry grates.  They used to be a 90's kelly green, as memorialized by Dylan in his homework:
Isn't that cute?  He had to make a poster with pictures of a common noun, a proper noun, etc.  He chose "home" as his common noun and was astoundingly accurate in his drawing, complete with the sunflowers by the kitchen window, the morning glory on the porch railing, and the privet in front of the living room.

Here's a "before" photo of the house with the green accents:

I actually didn't mind the green.  It was a cute punch of color.  And I'm not quite sold on the grey:
I think it's kind of blah, but I think that's because it's kind of the color of the cedar shingles we had on the roof:
(Oh, and Ben took off the crumbling bricks from the chimney. He still needs to mortar the top row of it - those bricks are really loose.)

But I think when our roof is black, the grey door and accents will look good.

Do you like our weeping mortar over on this part of the house?  I call our house the Weeping Wonder.  Catchy, eh?
Ben primed our dining room.  And nothing else has been done on that yet. :)

I finally finished cleaning all of the windows:

The cement guys that did our curb and gutter fixed the entrance to the driveway and part of our driveway:

I wish we could have done the entire driveway, but we couldn't afford it.  Just having that slope fixed makes it look a million times better, though.  That part was really messed up.

The sides of our fireplace had a very, very thin layer of cement on them, and it has crumbled in the past six years.  Ben put these tiles on as a solution (I'm not sure I'm sold on this, either):

Our walkway is now permanent marker-free!  Daniel's mom came over with a variety of cleaning agents, all of which we tried.  The best solution we found was toilet bowl cleaner.  Once again, toilet bowl cleaner saves our skin.
She scrubbed our neighbor's sidewalk, too.  I was glad.

The seals on two of our windows are broken, and there was condensation in them.  My dad took the windows to the glass place to see if we could order some new ones, and we were windowless for a couple of days:

They ordered the windows for us, so we popped our other ones back in place just in time, before this cold snap descended upon us.  (Micah has lost his parka and I'm freaking out.  I sent him to school wearing three jackets this morning.)  We should get them in sometime next week.

And last, but certainly not least, Ben has installed a new doorbell.  Ours has been broken for probably...six years?  Yeah.
There's still lots more to do, but we're making a dent.  And by "we're," I mean Ben and Dad.  I've been precious little help, and I feel badly about that.  But the kids need food, clean clothes, and help with homework, amIright?  It's all about priorities.
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