11 November 2016

Family Math Night

We spend a fair bit of time complaining about the amount of money the school throws at sports while shirking the needs of academics. You can tell we’re not a sports family πŸ˜‰ So when they do non sports activities we try to go and support them in it. Family Math Night was one that sounded great but we didn’t think there was anyway we could make it. 8 makes all things difficult.

Then my sister-in-law was there and able to take The Goblin Child in to meet her father and enjoy the night. I stayed home with 8 and enjoyed not having to try to wrangle him at Family Math Night.

Math/ teaching student from the nearby college came and set up lots of games for the littler kids from preschool through elementary. They did a great job of scaling the games down to the pre k level. And she brought home more candy as a reward. Yay. Just what we needed during Halloween week.

10 November 2016


This summer, the children and I, painted our back door purple. We loved it. Unfortunately it forced me to really notice the bare rotting wood of the door frame. I had noticed it before and thought about colors but never got to it. We had talked about the sad state of the trim for years. At first, years ago, we wanted to paint the whole house then finish up the trim. But it became apparent that between children and work it was not going to happen. So I decided to paint the trim.

The windows and door in the back of the house went smoothly enough. I looked at all the little windows around the house, sitting at ground level, rotting, and thought that they needed paint the worst. I decided to do the big front windows instead. It was vanity, they are the most visible and I wanted to see them with a pretty purple accent, it would be so pretty.

I got to the first window and started scrapping. The first thing I encountered was a big plug of caulk in one corner. I don’t look up real close at them often, surely we had noticed this but never paid any attention. I started pulling, yanking away at it. It went deep. The plug turned out to be huge. A stop gap fix to a problem, done years ago then left for decades?, that would soon leave a hole through the side of the house if not attended to.

The wood of the trim had long ago rotted. The hole filled with caulk and left. The caulking was not adhered to the frame and caught all the water that ran down the big window, funneling it into the hole it was meant to fix. I pulled until I had to be right behind the drywall in the front room. Once I was no longer pulling loose pieces out the wood was still soft and powdery, in the advanced staged of decay.

I was horrified and didn’t know how to fix it so I did what any intelligent adult would do. I called my dad.

I know not everybody is lucky enough to have a Union* educated Master Carpenter for a father but I am. He knew exactly what to do and gave me careful instructions. The job I did is not up to his standards but the hole is plugged. Hopefully not in a way that keeps making the problem worse this time. It’s sealed up water tight and covered in a few good coats of paint.


Now, this part at least, is finished and my major goal is accomplished before the temps drop lower or snow flies. Almost, I did run into one other problem.

20161109_134727I found this happy little family in the corner of the window as I was cleaning it up for painting. I couldn’t evict them, so there they set. The window is scraped and painted. All except for their corner.


*I’m always horrified when people are anti union. Would they prefer to have there houses built by some uneducated idiot who was flipping hamburgers at McDonalds the day before? Or by someone who is schooled in the trade? On one hand you have to pay a little more, on the other your house falls down within a couple of years. It is especially amusing? frustrating? to hear people who are benefiting from union wages and insurance complain about how they had to pay a little out of their, very good, wages for the privilege. I suppose they would rather not pay dues and be receiving minimum wage instead? Thank you, rant over. Maybe.

5 November 2016

Another Beautiful Fall Day

Although the heat is unseasonal and a little disturbing it makes outside work much more pleasant. We spent a busy but enjoyable day out getting the garden cleaned up and playing on the hay bales with the cousins, depending on who you might be.


1 November 2016

We Survived!

I’m not completely sure how, sometimes it was touch and go but Halloween is over and we are still alive.

The holiday started early with a trunk or treat in the big city. Main street was shut down and local businesses and clubs pulled cars, and motorcycles, in and decorated them. They did a great job, the Kiwanis club is awesome for doing this. 8’s favorite was theΒ  feed store, they had a stock trailer instead of a trunk and were dressed as a horse, a chicken and two pigs. 8 stood and stared, they weren’t like the horses and chickens he’s used to. He kept saying “neigh” and “bock” and they kept giving him more candy. I don’t know what anyone else’s favorite were. I was busy following an over tired 8 around as he through himself to the ground and crawled around. Neither one of them took naps that day and by evening they were tired and more than a little rotten.


Halloween was a very long day. Because small towns are awesome, 8 and I got to go along with the preschool trick or treating. They went to the nursing home then to all the businesses downtown. It was quite a walk and as much fun as we had many of the kids were exhausted by the end. I was exhausted. 8 needed carried most of the way and my arms are about to fall off today. Back at the school we left The Goblin Child to enjoy her school party without us butting in.

After lunch it was home for naps then up and right back to it. As soon as school got out for the afternoon we joined friends and went to the Methodist church for their trunk or treat and hot dogs. It is such a nice church, they are very active with a preschool, summer bible camp and now this. It was nice not to have to run clear home and then back in after supper and let us start, and finish, earlier. Going around our tiny town the children overflowed their buckets. People were giving out the good stuff too, hardly a tootsie roll in the bunch.

30 October 2016

Halloween Movies

The legend of sleepy hollow is my all time favorite. Both the old cartoon which is the measure by which all other versions are judged and the newer movie with Johnny Depp. I spend lots of time trying to convince the children we should watch it. Again. My greatest sorrow was in realizing Brom was short for AbrahamΒ  after we had already named our youngest child. Ichabod was ruled out as a name for obvious reasons as well as it’s sad meaning but Abraham we could have done. I suppose legally changing his name would be going a bit far.


I wanted more movies like Sleepy Hollow. Not scary but with the full beauty and ambiance of fall, the history, horses would be asking a little much but would be nice. So my always dedicated husband searched.

He found The Others. It had the ambiance, the history, no horses unfortunately. It was pretty good, there was only one problem. Unlike Sleepy Hollow it was scary. I could handle it though, if only because I had my husband to hide behind. By the end I was ok with it and did really like it and no nightmares.


The we watched The Woman in Black. I think he forgot the not scary part of my request. I really do hate ghost movies. This was just dark, terrifying, I didn’t watch it, with my phone held in front of my face the whole time trying to ignore it except for the times I couldn’t and peeked. Many times he warned me to be sure not to look. They added really unnecessary elements like stuffed monkeys and dolls, things that completely creep me out, aside from the ghost its self. On the bright side there was at least one horse and the scenery was beautiful.



Now Halloween is upon us and, as I am ready for Christmas music, it is unlikely we will continue our search for other great Halloween movies this year. That does leave plenty of time for next year though.

29 October 2016

The Bugs Of Our Lives

20161028_1201178 stood looking in fascination, still and watching for a whole moment at a time. He had found a moth enjoying flowers still not yet frozen. As he watched another joined the first and a huge bumble bee buzzed loudly past. We watched and talked about butterflies and how bees are owie bugs. The moths were quite docile, nearly allowing 8 to pet them. We have a bit of an obsession with bugs around here, bugs and spiders. I’ve mentioned our pet spiders, Charlotte, Moxie and Eatith, but I haven’t gotten around to our bugs yet.



This has been a good summer for learning about bugs. We got to see a freshly hatched cicada, and found it’s skin recently shed. I found a lady bug pupa on the leaf of a pepper freshly picked from the greenhouse. Ladybugs are our friends, I carefully saved it and set the leaf on the back porch. The next day I thought how strange it was that a ladybug had stopped to visit the cocoon. When it was still there in the afternoon I looked closer and realized it was a freshly hatched Ladybug from the pupa.


The Goblin Child even tracked down the sound of a crickets song. The cricket sat and continued its song as we watched in fascination.

27 October 2016

The Joys Of Doing Dishes With Children

I turned away from the sink to take care of something in the microwave. Back at the sink 8 had been “helping” clean. Water was splashed across the floor, clean dishes were returned to the sink and the job was taking much longer than usual. With my back turned I heard glass clanking and the chair scrape as he climbed down.

Turning back to the sink I found a beautiful waterfall. Created and left. Enjoying the creativity, and happy that he had left, I took a picture then returned to cooking supper realizing later that I forgot to shut the water off.


17 October 2016


It is long standing policy in our house hold to let spiders be. Large Wolf spiders scurrying across the kitchen floor are relocated outside. Adorable little jumping spiders are admired and cute crab like spiders left alone. Outside the huge barn and garden spiders are named and watched in awe as they consume flies and wasps and other pests. The only exceptions to these rules are scary looking spiders that look like they might be brown recluses and anything shiny and black no matter the size. I am terrified of Black Widows.

I threw away a perfectly good vacuum once after sucking up a Black Widow. I have nearly died of heart attacks after coming into entirely to close of proximity to them. I hate them. Maybe worse than Brow Recluse but only because they are more easily recognizable and I have recognized them way too often.

The other night we were making a final sweep of kids rooms making sure everything was put away and down for the night. The lights were off, with only the faint glow of nightlights to see by. I saw, very clearly against the white of the door, the outline of a large spider. Interesting I thought, the outline had to be of barn spider type, it certainly wasn’t our usual house pet. I walked over, to the other side of the kitchen, and turned on the light.


Back across the kitchen again I took a closer look. I didn’t need to get very close to recognize the huge, shiny, bulbous back end of a black widow. Now, I kill spiders. I am perfectly capable. I don’t run in fear or scream like a girl, very often. I took off running through the house screaming, somewhat quietly, even more than I wanted the spider gone I didn’t want to wake children.

My big, strong and, most importantly, male husband, who had just taken out his contacts, popped his head out of the bathroom to see what the commotion was about. Or maybe see is the wrong word here. He wanted to know what he was supposed to do about it, he was dressed for bed and could hardly see. I told him tough, he’s the man he gets to kill spiders. I should get to play the girl card once in awhile.

He, very willingly all things considered, went to rid our house of this scourge. I coward at the edge of the kitchen as he inspected it once more then smashed it to bits. After the joyous slaughter we ventured closer to inspect it. We couldn’t see a red marking but there wasn’t much left of it either.

He spent the rest of the night trying to get me settled. I was in tears, that horrid spider had been close to my babies. Who knew how long it had been in our house, close to us. I was completely freaked out. Have I mentioned I hate Black Widows? This one had been huge, bigger around than a quarter and that was just her body.

Possibly the thing that bothered me the most in the long term, because I have stepped foot back into the kitchen, was hearing my mom’s voice coming out of my mouth as I ran screaming. Not that I don’t like my mom. I’m happy to acknowledge our many similarities. But screaming with her voice as I ran from a spider was a little too glaring a reminder that in the end, no matter what we do, we all turn into our mothers.

16 October 2016

The Night Daisy Got Whipped By A Racoon

Probably one night of many, but the one that we know about.

Daisy was barking, loud and frantic. I was trying to put 8 to bed and it was annoying. He kept saying Daisy, Daisy instead of thinking about settling down. She spends lots of time barking, we usually assume Coyotes and wish she would be quiet. Especially when it’s right outside our bedroom window.

My hard working husband was going up the backstairs, I asked if he could yell at Daisy while he was up there. He stepped out the door then rushed back in cussing and grabbing his rifle. He charged down the stairs gathering ammo as he ran. Daisy had been standing outside our back door barking frantically, really very worried and upset, at a racoon standing happily eating her dog food. Right next to the house. She had been helpless to do anything but stand there and yell at it and it didn’t care. The racoon had run off a ways when the door opened but he didn’t doubt it would be back.

Daisy was in the house by then cowering happily away from the big mean racoon. I was called up the stairs to see, outside the window, the racoon, back again, contentedly chowing down on the remaining dog food. He was big. Apparently bigger than Daisy wanted anything to do with. I left my coon hunting husband to work in peace. Unfortunately he missed, vehicles everywhere and a running racoon in the dark but as far as we know the racoon hasn’t been back.

Of course the dog food is gone, that could have something to with it.