Earlier this week I get an email from Gray's teacher (She's the college chair at the school I work at) asking if I'd be willing to say some closing words for the Parents meeting (which occured last night). I said of course, what was the topic of the evening so I could pull something together. Her response was it was still under construction, but she did know that the choir teacher wouldn't make it and couldn't lead the singing. I promptly volunteered to do so. (I can't play a physical instrument, but I've ALWAYS LOVED SINGING) I've had a song stuck in my head for the last two weeks, it's simple, it's a round, and it's a circle dance! So the meeting occurred. Leading singing is MUCH different than being a singer, and I'm new to it, but I learn something each time and I think I get better each time. The parent's completely flubbed the singing of the round part, but the song is so amazing, it sounds awesome anyway. And it was truly awesome and many people came to me (including colleauges!!!) saying how much they enjoyed the song and the dance. I even got a compliment from someone who's opinion I value who said that she always enjoys the things I talk about and I should do more. *happy dance*
Thing Number Two
When school started Gray's teacher asked me if I would be willing to teach Handwork to First Grade, I'd be released from Kindergarten early, my boss was okay with it, so I said yes. I love teaching Handwork, and honestly, First Grade is my FAVORITE. Today was my first day with them. I even managed to keep it a secret from Gray, so he was quite surprised when I came in the door. Now, because of...um...well life in general. I had ZERO plan for them today. I literally put it together in my head while in the Kindergarten in the morning. I threw myself open to the Universe and said "I got nothing. Help!" And pulled something quite good completely out of my ass while in front of 13 children and their teacher. I made up two stories on the fly and the children really seemed to enjoy the activity I brought as well as the stories I told them. In the afternoon at pick up I talked briefly to my colleague and said "How'd I do coach?" "You did so well, didn't you see how quite they were while you told them your story? You are such a class teacher! Your class is going to be quite lucky once they find you." And I've just been kinda beaming the rest of the day.
OOOooo, and a bonus Thing Number Three
One of the members of the Board came to me and said that they MIGHT be able to grant my request for two tuition remissions. Which would be INCREDIBLY awesome. Between that and what I make, we will almost break even.
Bonus Thing Number Four
I'm going into the girls classroom on Monday (Not telling them either) to get their class started on Cross Stitch. Their teacher has NO CLUE how to do any sort of handwork and got the glazed eye look when I tried to give him a crash course on it yesterday afternoon. So, Monday? Math with Fiber.
Now, I shall fall down, go boom, and die for a few hours. My night of swimming in High Tech is over.
Although, not done with the Geekery, it's Rose City Comic Con this weekend. Wil Wheaton is in town! We are going to go!! Without the kids!!! Woot!!
Elli comes in brandishing a leek at Joe.
"Go put that leek away!"
Joe says an aside to me: "That is a leek right?"
Me: "Ha! She took a leek!"
Joe: "I'm appalled to the core of my being that I knew that was a leek."
this week we traveled to the 42nd Ave neighborhood in the NE section of Portland to visit Roses Ice Cream. It's an old fashioned dinner that also serves burgers, fries, and normal greasy spoon food. Joe is currently en-route to San Jose, so he loses out.
Good thing to note about this neighborhood. lots of families out walking with their kids.
Gray: mint chip. Four spoons
Gwen: rainbow sherbet. Five spoons.
Ike: mint chip. Three spoons
Elli: black walnut (takes after her grandma...my mom loves that stuff) Five spoons.
Jen: Chocolate peanut butter Two spoons.
Overall, standard American ice cream. Nothing out of the ordinary. We got sundaes this week, the hot fudge and caramel sauce came out of number 10 cans and are overly sweet with no discernable flavor beyond sugar. Needless to say, the kids loved it...And I feel like my teeth are rotting out of my head. Bleh. too sweet. Closer to Fenton's than Cloud City, but the I've cream is better there than here.
I had an idea. We now live in a town we know nothing about. We need to explore while dragging four kids with us, and we need a way to keep them happy. I think I figured it out.
We'll explore Portland by seeking out the best ice cream shop in town. So tonight's entry? Cloud City Ice CreamRating system 0-5 spoons with 5 being the best ice cream you've ever had...and 0 is stuff headed for the compost pile
Joe: sea salted cookie dough. Think Ben & Jerry's, but with sea salt. Four spoons.
Jen: Nutella. starts with chocolate, ends with smooth hazelnut goodness. Four and a half spoons.Ike: organic mint in a gluten free waffle cone. Clean mint flavor. Four spoons.
Elli: Circus Friends. vanilla ice cream with sprinkles and Mother's frosted animal crackers. Four spoons.Gwen: Bourbon vanilla. Two spoons.
Gray: Organic Mint. Five spoons.
Yesterday, while I was sitting at the table with Gwen working on sight word memorization, Elli comes over to us and puts Cookie (our last surviving mouse) on the table and says "He's dead." Since he was curled up in a ball and not moving, I conceded that her statement was correct....and a hasty funeral was put together quite quickly.
Charlie the dog is the last animal standing. Good dog!
I've put a moratorium on further animal acquisition until we figure out:
A. If we are moving
B. Where we are moving if we are, in fact, moving.
I have to admit. This is somewhat difficult for me. I want another cat. And I'm thinking a full size hamster or rat this time around in the rodent department. We have two cages, so we shall see.
I thought since it's been a month since my Essure installation, I'd give an update.
The prep classes all stressed that the installation itself is relatively painless. Which is was. The aftermath?
Jesus Christ on a Pogo Stick! Fuck me!
The cramps were awful. I was aware of my Fallopian tubes...its not normal. Let me tell you something. Fallopian tubes are NOT something you want to be aware of, it sucks. I was on Vicodin every 4 hours for the first 48 hours...then I switched to 800 mg advil....another 24 hours and I switched to 600mg and stayed there for a few days. Each day the cramping and pain got better. But I started every morning waking up super early with cramps and needing a pain killer for it for 2 weeks after the procedure. The rest of the day was fine...but those early morning cramps? Awful.
Oh. And did I mention that my period started 4 days post procedure??? Which they didn't warn me about because it showed up super early and was caused by those lovely hormones that played havoc on my guts? I've never been a bad menstrual cramp person. I'd have twinges now and then, but never really needed anything for it. This time? Oh yea! The cramping continued to my back. Never had that outside of labor before. Ut.
After two weeks, no more pain. I'm still aware of my Fallopian tubes on occasion, like when I'm suffering from lower abdominal distress and Montezuma's got me good. Not pleasant, but not bad either.
For awhile there I thought I made a HUGE mistake and wondered how I was going to convince my OBGYN to rip those fuckers out. But after the daily pain subsided. It's fine. I'm interested in seeing how it affects my cycle. Might make it more regular...might change the flow (GYN warned me about that AFTER I emailed her asking what was up and why did I have my period again so soon???)
All in all, if by the end of three months I'm sterile? I'm happy.
I decided I wasn't going to let that hill get me down this year. See, after that experience, I drove back and forth between the two for the rest of the summer. I decided, this year, I was going to walk like a normal human being. At the beginning of the year I changed my workout at the gym. I crank up that treadmill to the highest angle it will do and I walk. Slowly, but I walk steadily up that damn thing.
Currently, I'm attending a Teaching Conference at the College. As usual, we are using some of the space at the School down the hill. I figured out that after lunch, everything I was scheduled to do was at the College. I parked my car at the College this morning and walked down the hill. Go me. I went through the morning and then joined the exodus of people walking up the hill to lunch. I didn't try to keep up with people, but I steadily and slowly walked up that damn hill, the whole way, without stopping to catch my breath. I got all the way back up to the College...and I was only slightly out of breath Two or three deep breaths put me in the right.
I don't exactly believe everything that Steiner said 100%. Some things are just so damned out there I just go. "Okay dude. Whatever. Maybe I'll figure it out next time around (His Cosmology is falling under this category, let me tell you.) But his description of Karma rings true for me. I think it explains why when you meet some people there's an instant click of friendship or that brief flicker of "About damn time...I've been waiting for you!" On the other hand it may also explain why some people, even though they seem perfectly nice, just give you the heebie geebies and you don't want to be spending any time with them (this might explain some people's reactions with their in-laws =)).
I have been blessed several times with that instant snap of close friendship and more recently with that "Where the hell have you been? I've been waiting!"...but never have I found a friend and kindred soul...by a letter.
I found an envelope in the mail today addressed to "The Crunchy Mom". The return is from a nearby street in the neighborhood. I thought this was a bit weird. I didn't recognize the name...do I have a stalker? How would some random person know I'm a crunchy mom? I open it up. It's from a woman in the neighborhood. She's moved to the area recently and is looking for new friends. On a walk she spies my van which has a bumper sticker on it that reads something like ('cause I'm too damn lazy to go outside and look it up right now) "Crunchy, hippie, liberal, leftist, homeschooling mom" Which makes her go "I need to meet this mom!" But she doesn't want to knock on the door 'cause that's weird. So she wrote a letter.
This is pretty cool. I love the way the Universe works. I'll call her later when we aren't quite so toxic. Although, now that I think about it...she may appreciate an invitation to someone's house who is dealing with chicken pox. =) I know I would!
Ike wanted to make GF Cinnamon Buns. Okay. Took too long. And the pan I used was too big. But...they aren't bad. A bit heavy. Not sure I'd ever make 'em again (I'm not a huge fan)...but I think he might!
We used ATK's Quick Cinnamon Bun recipe with the leveaners at 1.5 times the amount listed and Gluten Free Mama's Almond Flour Blend and 2 tsp's of xantham gum. It worked. He's happy. That's fine with me.
The good news is...the kids FINALLY managed to catch Chicken Pox. After multiple exposures over the last few years, Elli has spontaneously developed it. Ike is already feeling crappy and itching...so I suspect it will whip through here like wildfire. Joe and I have had it as kids. I had such a light case as a child that when Ike was a baby, I got myself checked for antibodies, which eventually came back positive...so I have the immunity. Though I am likely to be prone to a small flare.
The bad news.
I'm supposed to start my student teaching internship on Tuesday. I've called my mentor and asked about the School's policy regarding my attending and she's going to get back to me. Dang it. It's never a good time for children to get sick, but something as serious as this?? Right before I start something seriously important? Oh well. Life is what happens while we make plans. It'll be alright.
So. It's January. I look around...my house is a mess (shocking I know) and I see so much....STUFF. I'm really beginning to feel the weight of stuff in my life. I'm tired of taking care of it.
But there's the sentimental attachment to stuff. It's hard to let go of that.
Then I realized I could capture the stuff with a picture. So. This morning. I decided to let go of two items that have huge sentimental value...but are in essence. Dust Collectors.
First up. This...thing.
I made this in wood shop (remember when public schools still *had* wood shop??) in (wait for it) 6th grade. I was so proud of it....and it wasn't until I saw the other side
That I noticed that this thing has been doing nothing but collecting dust in some house of mine or my mothers...for over 30 years. Yea. Time to go.
Then went this.
I took a ceramics class my Senior year of high school...this is a mask of my own face. Gwen is modeling it for me. Yea. What in the hell do I do with it? I checked the date. March 29, 1990. Right. Done nothing but collect dust for nearly 24 years.
With a sigh. Both are now gone. And it's okay.
2. Make a post (including the meme info) and talk about the icons I chose.
3. Other people can then comment to you and make their own posts.
4. This will create a never-ending cycle of icon glee.
5. I can't promise to pick in a timely manner, but I will do my best.
What ghost_light picked for me:
I found this one while pregnant with Elli and Gwen and loved it for pregnancy posts. It just shows a pregnant body in a really cool way.
So one day I realized that Chez Geek cards make damn perfect icons. So I scanned a bunch. I choose this one for those time when you really need to pig out....or I'm talking about food.
Meme Icon. I am a sheep sometimes.
This is a new one, I just uploaded it. Zombie pic. I could of totally used this for a post I made last Saturday after having a grand total of 2 hours of sleep. Sometimes you just feel like you are shuffling around.
Joe's license plate. For those times when I want to bitch about his car. Probably not the best icon to have as it helps track us down/privacy thing...but WTF. Oh. And it's not Pounds per Square Inch....its the roman alphabet equivalent for the greek letter Psi (pronounced PeCee) and the Psi*Psi is some physics equation that is a constant (I think)
1 cup sweet butter (2 sticks, room temp)
1 cup margarine (2 sticks, room temp)
1/2 cup sugar
1 T vanilla
4 cups AP flour
2 cups finely chopped pecans (8 oz or 240g)
Preheat oven to 350. Cream butter, margarine, sugar, and vanilla
Add about 3/4 of the flour and blend. Add nuts, blend. Add rest of flour, blend.
Form into 1-1 1/2 inch balls. Go ahead and pack them on the sheet...these do not spread.
Bake 15-20 minutes
Roll in powdered sugar immediately and place on cooling rack.
To make these gluten free, add another 4 T of butter. Change AP flour to a GF AP Flour (Better Batter, Tom Sawyer, and Gluten Free Mama blends all work well)
If you use a #70 scoop you should get 100-110 cookies
That child, I swear, whipsaws me from one emotion to another. Check this out.
First of all one day this week, he sets up my sewing machine and says he wants to sew christmas presents for his sibilings. He learned to use a machine in school last year and can handle straight line sewing. So I let him at my fabric stash, set him up and let him sew. He made little bags for his sibs and did a pretty good job.
A couple of days earlier I caught him outside and the play structure looked like this. Do you see a problem? Let's look at a closer picture of that cross beam.
Yea. He sawed right through it and I caught him as he was part way through the other side. Tells me he decided to saw off those sections because he was tired of hitting his head on it. He didn't realize that that crossbeam helps keep the structure true. Now the pressure from the rest of the structure has broken the half sawed cross beam. Grrrr....it's replaceable...but still! I give him high marks for seeing a problem and attempting to solve it. I just wish he'd find solutions that didn't include destruction. He cooled his heels in his room for quite awhile, while I calmed down.
On Thanksgiving, Elli went outside and made ART!
She found a bunch of stuff lying around my Gram's house and put this sculpture together. It was actually quite cool and the top few pieces swayed and quivered in the breeze. Neat! Girl can't tell the difference between a M and a W, but damn! She's got that touch.
Grayson showing off his cupcake. Joe and I took all four kids to a cupcake decorating class. First time I've ever worked with fondant. Neat stuff!
I took the kids to the Exploratorium. I loved this house as a kid.
And right outside the Exploratorium the Rainbow Warrior was docked.It was a good day that day.
Joe and I decided to have a just us date today. The girls are at Grandma's playing Barbie, the boys were left at KidsPark at noon. We drove to San Francisco and immersed ourselves in Londontown. We danced, we sang, we ogled, we ate, we laughed. We shopped. I went with a shopping list with 4 items on it and got three (a new bonnet, glass pen kit, turkey quills, and more watch necklaces. Couldn't find the necklaces) I also bought a hat pin because I needed one. We got to the naughty show at Mad Sal's, but arrived too late to get tickets for French Postcards (darn it). No less than 2 people came up to me and asked if I bought my sweater coat at Renn Faire and that they were sad they hadn't bought it. I didn't take any pictures of us, but we will go back with all four children, possibly with friends, and I'll take some then.
3 Tennant Doctors
1 Smith Doctor
1 Baker Doctor
Mad Eye Moody
Edgar Allan Poe
Queen of Hearts
We missed HRM and the Prince Consort and Father Christmas.
I also saw a small sign, tucked into the corner of one of the shops that read:
He who works with his hands is a laborer
He who works with his hands and mind is a craftsman
He who works with his hands, mind, and heart is an artist.
I need to put that up somewhere.
First up, we have shopping for clothes at Costco. The girls saw these coats and wanted one. Gray decided to get into the act and demanded the pink one. That's my boy!
Three weeks ago, our "female" mice had babies. Here's all the remaining five in my hand. The all gray one is Ash. Gray and white is fog, The black and white directly underneath is Oreo, the other black and white is Star and the dark one is Thirsty. We took them to the Vet where she squeed like a little girl "OMG!!! They are so CUTE!!!! I've never seen mice so small!!!" She gave us the unfortunate that all but Ash are definitely boys and she's not sure about Ash either. I have about 5 days before they start killing each other because male mice are territorial. If I can't find homes soon, I have to decide if I'm going to euthanize them and give them away as snake food. Or hope for the best. Personally, I think a trip to the freezer is kinder. (Which is actually what happened to the OTHER half of the litter. Shhh...don't tell the kids.)
Elli got her first pair of glasses. I and most everyone else think she looks adorable. She thinks she looks ugly. But honestly? She's adorable. Suck it up kid.
And finally, some signs that it's getting cold. One morning after I made the bed, I went back into my room later and found Magic all cuddled under the covers with her head resting on my pillow. Awwwwww.
I really like the attached restaurant. I enjoyed the wine bar and the sushi bar. The hand-tossed gourmet organic pizza looks great too. However, since this is a children's museum (or at least it's supposed to be) can you PLEASE add more child friendly and gluten free options to the menu?
a frustrated hungry mom and her four hungry children
Joe took the non-sick children on a bike ride today. After about an hour, I got a phone call. "Come get us." I drive over to where they are riding and this is what I see. My baby sitting in the middle of the road, bawling, covered in blood, tears, and road. He was going down "the big hill" and lost control of his bike and got smashed up. A quick visit to the ER (less than an hour!) got him x-rayed and examined. (He was holding his wrist funny, so I thought he might have broken it or his thumb). He's good. Covered in road rash. Not the first, and won't be the last. My little dare devil. (And yes, he was wearing a helmet, so no head injury other than road rash. Good thing too.)
Love the school.
I got "hello"s and "great to see you again!"s and hugs from various staff and faculty members
I lined up 2 more days to sub this month in kindergarten
I got to finally meet the second grade teacher (the single teacher I hadn't met last spring) (if I get a job here, he'd be Elli and Gwen's teacher)
The commute sucks
Teacher left me NOTHING for them to do for 2 practice periods!
I forgot lunch, which then gave me massive headache, but not until after school
I broke the rocking chair (oy)
It hurts to be there.
I'm glad to add to the resume and I'm glad to have a chance to integrate myself into the community. Honestly, this is my first choice school for next fall if the librarian gig falls through. BUT I feel dreadfully inadequate to the task of being a teacher. Today, being left with a class, all by myself, really let me know, how much I don't know. I know I would be supported by a mentor...but daaaaymn...it's just so much. And an 8 year commitment to these kids to begin with!! I mean, you have to teach so much and there's so much I don't get about how I'm even supposed to attempt it!
Does every new teacher feel like this? Just. Ut.
Resume writer! Woot!
So I'm getting a piano sooner than I expected.
I have a small living room. If we put the piano in there...I need a smaller sofa. So we decided on the Ektorp Love Seat in a washable denim like cover.
Yea for new furniture!
I went on the Pill when I was 17. I had irregular cycles for 3 years. As I got older my period got more and more erratic. When I was 17 I didn't have a cycle for 6 months...and then I hemorrhaged for 6 weeks. My first trip to the OBGYN resulted in exploratory surgery and a prescription for birth control. I was told at that time that I was infertile. My ovaries didn't function correctly and that I would need fertility drugs whenever I decided to have children.
At 17 I was more than happy to be on the Pill and to know I was infertile. I was young, horny...and getting absolutely no action. But I liked knowing that, even if I didn't plan to have sex, I wouldn't get pregnant. I knew a baby would be a disaster. I watched my Mom struggle trying to raise me without a good education. I was determined to get one.
Flash forward to 2008
I've been on the pill constantly for 19 years. I tried once in college and then once again in Grad school to go off and repeated my high school experience. With an added bonus of a D&C in Grad school. We did, indeed, have to resort to fertility drugs for Ike and the girls. (Pills for Ike, shots for the girls). Then in 2008 I got a CPAP for my moderate sleep apnea that I have had my entire life. Two weeks later I ran out of my BCP. Since I was infertile, I didn't worry about getting pregnant. I knew I had a month or so to get an Rx, and I didn't worry about it. About 3 weeks later I noticed I had a LOT of cervical mucus. Three weeks after that I discovered I was pregnant with Gray.
I seemed to develop some weird breakthrough bleeding, and adverse side effects of the pill. I thought, well, maybe the CPAP has fixed the hormonal problems that caused the abnormal cycles. At the end July I quit taking the pill. Joe had a vasectomy...no pregnancy worries. Oh my god. What a difference. My sex drive came roaring back. Erogenous zone woke up. Orgasms got stronger and easier. WTF??? Oh...and my cycle is semi-regular. My last cycle was 36 days. It was on the outside of normal, but damn good for me! Big bonus! I'm sleeping better.
I never knew that birth control could so adversely affect my sex life. I wish they would warn us about it when they give it to us. It's been entertaining watching my body get used to not having an outside force making it do something. For the last two weeks, my drive has been roaring high. Yesterday I noticed it was down to a purr. I went Oh No! Don't go away! Then I looked at the calendar and realized I passed the fertile peak of my cycle. My body is oh shit. No baby this month. Time to flush. Which makes sense. Our sex drive is highest when we are more likely to conceive.
I don't plan on going back on the pill if I don't have to. I'm enjoying my body running on it's own steam! I'm enjoying it, and so is Joe! =)
I found out yesterday that my YMCA has a Family Yoga class on Tuesday afternoons right before Gray's swim lessons. Since I'm looking for any excuse to exercise whenever I go to the gym, I decided we'd all go.
Ike, bitched and moan like you wouldn't believe "No! I don't want to go! That sounds boring!Blah, blah, blah"
I coerce him to go and I kid you not, less than 10 minutes into the class he turns to me and says "Can we come every week? This is fun!"
Then when I told him there's a second class on Saturday Mornings he said "Can we go?"
Mom for the goal...=)
I thought about it and realized that I needed to post pictures here with my phone and then come back and annotate them. Easiest way I know to do this. They are not in any proper order, I'm just posting them.
We spent a night in Jackson, WY on our way from Salt Lake City and Yellowstone. The night before was the super rough one with Gray up in the night puking his guts up. Earlier he had enough energy to go down the Alpine Slide, but after that he didn't want to get out of the car. This was taken on our way to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone. We were driving to get to the highway and stopped when I saw this. That arch is made from shed elk antlers. What you can't see is that there's one on each corner of this park. Ut.
We took a ride down an Alpine Slide. It's something a ski resort carves into the hill side so that there's some way for them to make money during the winter. Runs right under the chair lift on the left. In the Winter it's completely covered in snow and you'd never know it was there. This is the first time I ever rode a chair lift. Fun! Gray wasn't feeling well but well enough for a ride.
Gray rode down the slide with me. So I only managed to snap a picture of Gwen as she went last.
You can tell they are so enthused to be at the Grand Tetons. I thought it was beautiful. They were "NO MOM! We don't want to have our picture taken!!" "Too bad, get out of the car"
I saw this as I was pulling out of that parking lot and thought it was hysterical.
On our way out of West Yellowstone, we found there is a Wolf and Grizzly refuge. This picture is not zoomed, the wolf came that close to the window. Beautiful!
A HUGE mushroom on a tree I spotted as we were leaving a rest stop somewhere in Montana.
The really, really, really cool Dragon on A Merry go round for Missoula.
As we left Missoula for Kalispell my van flipped 100000 miles. Woot