It's funny how life works out. Mark and I have been struggling along through Pre-Algebra this year. It is a constant battle between us. Even Jack and Emma clear out when we start in on Math. jack has been known to state, "Come on Emma. Let's go they are getting ready to have a fight." What makes the math battle just a little bit more difficult is Mark's firm belief that "MOM is Wrong, Always!" Which can make my job explaining why his answer is wrong a bit difficult. It is not that Mark is terrible at math, on the contrary. Math is just the one subject in which he actually has to study. I am constantly trying to pump up his self-esteem in this area. I work with him prior to each test stating affirmations and positive thoughts. I was reading a book last night after we had stayed up late studying when this quote jumped off the page at me.

"You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do." --Eleanor Roosevelt

This struck me as a quote I should share with Mark before his test. Then it dawned on me. This is not only applicable to Mark. It applies to me as well. I am the one who is currently afraid. I am the one who cannot bring herself to quilt for fear of the unknown. I needed to face my own fears and just jump in. So today I did.


Why Princesses Do Not Discover New Worlds.

Today is Tuesday Take Home Day. What this means is that all the paperwork the kids have done over the past week, plus any office communications come home. I am flooded with papers of all shapes, colors and sizes. Today was no exception. Jack and Emma were enthusiastic and wanted to show me everything, all at the same time, of course. What would siblings be without the rivalry? Through the chaos, the ever mounting piles of papers and the chattering over this and that I stumbled upon one paper that I wanted to share. It appears that with Columbus Day, Emma's class had a discussion and learned all about sailing the seas with Columbus. After the lesson they were given a ship to color and told to write a paragraph. Their paragraph had to tell if they would or would not like to have sailed with Columbus. This is Emma's (with slight some slight editing for spelling)

I would not liked to sail with Columbus because I could not change my clothes. I would have to drink warm water. It would be disgusting. I would not like to be on a ship with 40 other people. I would not like it one bit!



I am getting closer to my organized sewing room/office/wii room. My machine is up and I have loaded a practice quilt. The only thing is I am completely FREAKING OUT. Why? I have no idea. I just stand there, absolutely TERRIFIED of starting again. I just don't know if I am afraid of failure or success.


Art Show

The kids have been bring home tons of artwork. As a mom I never know what to do with it all. Many of you know I frame my children's artwork, at least my favorites. Others get a rotational spot on the refrigerator. Still others end up in the keep-sake boxes. Then there is a pile of them that I never know what to do with. I hate throwing them away. They put so much time and energy into them, I hate to just toss it. I decided I would start taking pictures of them to save the memory! I have selected a few to share with all of you.

A mountain road. by Jack

Halloween Monster. By Emma

Leaves. By Mark

Emma's city. By Emma

Jack. By Jack.



"You need a reason to be sad. You don't need a reason to be happy."
Louis Sachar (Sideways Stories from Wayside School)

While listening to Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar we heard this quote. It was spoken by a character, D.J., who's never ending smile is a mystery to his fellow classmates. Throughout the chapter his classmates try to guess why D.J. is always smiling. D.J. responds with the above quote. I found it humorous and a bit alarming that when my youngest heard this she immediately doubted it. She asked, "Mom, is that true?" When my reply was a simple, "Yes." I was stunned further by her exclamation, "People cannot be happy for no reason! It's just not right!" Ah, the life of "type A" persona.



Where we live, we are on a septic system. This is something new to us. We have not lived with the likes of this, and we have much to learn. After along discussion with Jay, the septic guy, who I must say was quite nice and very knowledgeable, despite lacking a few of the more commonly used teeth. Jay said that the misuse of said septic system could result in a "back-up". I was quick to head his warnings.

We went out and bought a front load washing machine. I have heard various reports from people and it seems you either love-'em or hate-'em. Since I have never found true love with an appliance, and the machine continues to do all that I ask of it I am quite happy with mine. The front load washing machines use considerably less water than the normal top-loader (as they are referred to in "the business"). Less water in the septic tank means less chance for the dreaded "back-up" to occur.

The kicker is I tend to do most of my laundry on Saturday or Sunday. That now is no longer possible. I again heed the warnings of Jay, who states most emphatically that the septic system cannot handle 10-12 loads of laundry in one day, even from a front loader. Now, my laundry is spread out over the course of the week. Initially this plan did not sound as horrid as it does now. Now, that I have been doing it for a few weeks I realize the madness of it all. I am doing laundry all the time! Did you hear me? I SAID, ALL THE TIME! This goes against all of my natural procrastinating abilities. I let the laundry build until someone says, I have no clean, "(insert item of your choosing)" and then I resign myself to do laundry. Now, what's the point? Now, I must be proactive. All of the skills I have built up towards putting off my least favorite tasks. All wasted. What good is college if you cannot put to good use all of the skills you learned there? All that money, excuse the pun, down the drain.


It really was a great plan.

Our new house is surrounded by large wonderful hardwood trees. We have a large variety of oak trees with some sweet-gum, sassafras and quite a few chestnut trees. The trees are large and mature and will provide some great shade come next summer. They are just starting to change and drop there leaves. The chestnut trees also are dropping their nuts. We have hundreds of chestnuts scattered all over the ground. I am constantly driving over them when I come in and out of the driveway. They are scattered on the sidewalks and throughout the grass. The mower does not like them. They come flying out from under the mower at incredible speeds. They are amazing projectiles and after a few near misses I decided that we should pick them up prior to mowing. Genius! I know.

The kids were not as keen as I was on picking them up. Jack and Emma moaned and groaned. To make the complaining more tolerable, I offered to give them 1 cent per chestnut. I gave them each a box and let them go at it. They puttered about for several minutes and acted like finding a chestnut was possibly the hardest job I have ever given them. I thought I was really being generous. This was a great plan. I loose a few pieces of change and get my yard picked up. After all I could have just made it a chore. The chestnut pick-up only lasted through the front yard. Apparently, it is not mentally stimulating enough for either child. They left me boxes of chestnuts on the porch, to bored to even count their haul.

Never fear they did count. 785 chestnuts! In just the front yard alone! Never would I have guessed that there were that many. To top that I am sure they did not do a particularly thorough job. There are still more. The more amazing fact is that now they are all back on the ground! Let me explain. In order to count them they dumped them out of the boxes and assembled them into groups of 10. Practical, concise, and right in the middle of the driveway. Here is the kicker. I did not discover that they were all scattered onto the driveway until after I payed them. Then I had no leverage to make them pick them up again. After an afternoon of cajoling and praising their hard work, I was left to clean up the mess once again. Why am I not surprised? Not only that but I am out $7.85! It really was a great plan.


Coming together...sort of

Unpacking, unpacking and yes, more unpacking. This is the theme of my last two weeks. It seemed as though I would never see the carpet. The kids helped where they could. Slowly the boxes dwindled and the floor it turns out is wood. This week I decided to dive into Jack's room. I have been dreading unpacking his things for weeks and put it off as long as I could. Jack is a pack-rat. A fact that I have serious issues with but I won't bore you with the details. He has several boxes in which he has tried to unpack himself. The problem as I see it, is he has to many things and they are just so interesting. He starts out as grumpy as any child who is forced to do a chore. He grudgingly opens boxes, only after many threats and attempts by Ginger to make off with found objects. After unwrapping only one or two items in a box his demeanor changes. Suddenly, he is completely absorbed in looking for that one particular thing he hasn't seen in 9 months. Needless to say when he finds it, unpacking is pretty much over. Therefore, Jack has every box in his room open, yet they are all still full. Dragging Jack along for the "FUN" I dive headlong into box after box until we are down to the last remaining pieces. The last box in Jack's room, "OH HAPPY DAY!" I realize quickly that I have little to no idea what the pieces in the bottom of the box belong to. I enlist Jack, who by now is deeply lost in his own little world of Lego's. I show him piece after piece and ask what it belongs to and where I should put it. The more I talk and ask questions the more Jack becomes annoyed and disgusted until finally he yells, " Where is my red bag?!"
His red bag? What is he talking about and why is this important? "I don't know what you are talking about." I reply, more than a little perplexed.
"You know! The red bag that has the Velcro that used to hold the Larry tube." he states matter of fact.
"OH. Now I remember. But I have no idea where it is." I answer, more than a little relieved that I have figured out the red bag.
"I need the red bag!" he shouts at me.
"Jack, you don't need the red bag right now. Right now we need to finish putting the rest of these pieces away." I state in my most Motherly voice.
"They all go in the red bag." he states.
"They cannot all go in the red bag. I'll admit I don't know what a lot of these pieces are but I do know that they don't all go together." I said.
"Of course they don't. " He states absentmindedly. "The red bag is for my miscellaneous pieces."
Of course it is. I not only have a pack rat as a son, but I believe my son has just progressed from junk drawer to junk bag.


Gruesome Ghouls

Happy Halloween!
Here are some images of what our Halloween looked like. I must admit the costumes get more technical every year! And lots bloodier.

Jack was involved in a serious hit and run! They even left tire marks.

Mark apparently picked a fight with the wrong person and paid for it with an knife to the head and a few bullet holes!

Never one to go with the crowd, Emma added two costumes. Alien-Cat was her result. Hope everyone had a great time. We sure did!