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Laura
07 April 2011 @ 10:17 am
I felt like doing something crafty, so I thought I'd engage the kids in some painting so that I could do some too.

I forgot that the set-up and clean-up times FAR exceed the length of time that they are actually interested in painting. I did not get any painting done.

First I sent them outside to find some fist-sized rocks while I did the dishes so there'd be a clear sink to wash up in. Then we washed and dried the rocks.

We took the rocks to the carpet and compared their textures, sizes, what we could see in the details of each one, what shapes they were, what their natural shapes suggested so that we might paint them that way.

I cleaned the kitchen table and put an old shower curtain liner down as a drop cloth, let them each choose 1 rock, and went down to my art room to get craft paints, palettes and brushes. I squirted a blob of each of several colors into the palettes. I gave each kid some brushes (all exactly the same, from my Hebrew school days, so there'd be no need to trade painty brushes!), and they enthusiastically applied paint to their rocks.

Suddenly, I felt so hungry I was nauseous, so I ate a graham cracker. When I turned around, they needed smocks. So I ran downstairs and grabbed 2 old t-shirts, quickly covered each kid with one, and washed my hands.

I turned back to the un-chosen rocks, but when I heard a giggle and turned around to see Danny shaking a paint-coated brush, I rapidly washed his brushes, palette and hands. I removed his smock and took him downstairs and set the tent up so he could play. When I got back to the kitchen, Rebecca announced that she, too, was done, so I washed her and her equipment. That's when I noticed that she had been painting her rock on the cloth, and it was basically sitting in a puddle of paint.

Shower curtains are plastic, and would probably protect the table from getting paint on it. Shower curtain liners, however, are some kind of cloth, and if you create a puddle of paint, it just soaks right through. Sigh.
 
 
Current Mood: restlessrestless
 
 
Laura
29 March 2011 @ 05:24 pm
Tuesday is babysitter night most weeks. Last week and this week, I chose to "hide" in the computer room and do art instead of going anywhere. I had been going to the library, but to be honest it's kind of noisy there, and the chairs are really uncomfortable. Some day they'll have a new building but until then, my art room is nicer, and quieter!

Anyway, here I am. I was going to crochet something for you, Katy, to match the toilet seat and tp covers I made for you. But I put that cone of cotton yarn...somewhere...and I do not remember where! I've looked in my 2 stashy places, but no joy. I have a clear memory of picking it up off my art desk and putting it someplace, because it was just sitting out taking up valuable real estate, but now...?

I decided, in that case, that I would try to sew something. My list of resolutions has been good guideline; time to practice machine sewing! This tutorial for a little clutch looked easy and cute, the first couple of times I glanced at it, but when I went back and read it more closely, I discovered that 3 things made me kind of scared to try it. First of all, it instructs me to "topstitch" in several places. Hrm. I don't know what "topstitiching" is, though it sure looks like she's just...sewing.... Ok, well, I can just sew and maybe it'll work out ok. Then she says "use your zipper foot." I am certain that I do not own a zipper foot. I'm not sure what a zipper foot is, but I could probably find one at Joann's, or more likely, I could ask a salesperson at Joann's and she could find it for me. And the instructions don't call for the zipper foot until pretty far down. So I could maybe start with....cutting fabric pieces. Well, that stopped me right there. I actually started to sweat. I think I'll crochet something instead!
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Current Mood: intimidatedintimidated
 
 
Laura
24 March 2011 @ 05:44 pm
Finally woke up today feeling well for the first time in a couple of weeks! the predisone did the job on the rash but lowered my immune system so I caught a cold, which settled in my sinuses and made me feel like I was trying to think with a ski mask on my brain. Very unpleasant! But I slept well last night and woke up feeling clear-headed for a change. I think the neti pot helped. That thing is VERY uncomfortable to use, especially for someone like me who can't stand getting water up the nose, but it really did help clear out my sinuses. When the tree allergies kick in, I'll definitely use it again.

Ok, back to the pita bread and vegetable prep...why do my pitas come out like little buns instead of puffing up hollow in the middle? I may never know, but a hummus sandwich will still be yummy! :)
 
 
Current Mood: chipperchipper
 
 
Laura
09 March 2011 @ 10:24 am
Last weekend (like 2/26 or so) I noticed tiny little red pinpricks on my thighs when I went to pee. They were...odd... but there weren't too many so I ignored them at the time. Two days later, my legs (and then upper arms, ankles, stomach...) were covered in lumpy hives that started itching around 2pm each day and kept spreading and increasing in angry red itchiness til bedtime. In the morning they were merely lumpy and less red, then they'd start itching again in the afternoon.....by Friday I was done with that. It was GROSS looking and itchy as hell, so I took it to the doctor, who of course couldn't guess what might have caused it. I hadn't gone anywhere unusual or eaten, used, worn, washed or come in contact with anything new. So she prescribed a high, tapering dose of prednisone and a steroid cream.

I started taking the pills on 3/5. It's a 10 day course, 50mg on the first and 2nd days, 40 on days 3 and 4, 30 on days 5 and 6...etc. Today is day 5. Yesterday I started feeling some side effects.

Extremely irritable, angry and unable to make a decision and follow through. Mood swings. Anxiety. Unfortunately, these are similar to the feelings I get when the depression breaks through (last time I felt close to this way was the day the GPS was stolen). So I am completely discombobulated. I was calmly entertaining suicidal notions yesterday, though merely entertaining, not inviting them to stay or move in or anything, they had their tea and biscuits and polite conversation and then they moved on. Today the insanity or more outward-directed, like, maybe I'll murder someone, but not on purpose, so then I guess it wouldn't be murder but only manslaughter. Nobody is in any actual danger. I will not harm the children.

The rash is doing pretty well. It still itches occasionally, and there are still marks and some lumpiness especially on my thighs, but it's definitely clearing up.

I just hope I can survive the next 6 days.
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Current Mood: confusedconfused
 
 
Laura
08 March 2011 @ 09:37 am
Cereal and milk

Internet

Half n half (for coffee, tea, and oatmeal)

Gas for the cars

Yarn (but I sure don't need to buy any more)

Postage for a reasonable number of AFA swaps each month

Protein and veg for dinner each night

Something to send the girls to school with in their lunch boxes

Chicken food/supplies
 
 
Current Mood: cynicalcynical
 
 
Laura
I knew it was going to be busy, but wow.

Got Sarah out the door, got the littles ready so I could bring Rebecca to school. She was excited to go back because they had had winter break and Becca was sick for the last 2 days of school before break. I did a quickie car clean-out because after drop-off, Danny and I were headed to the dealership for Mavis's 30k checkup. When we got to school, I let the teachers know that Rebecca and Sarah had had lice over the break, but they had both had 2 treatments, and no new "stuff" had appeared. The administrator took us aside and said they needed to recheck her because they had a "no nits" policy......and of course she was able to find 2. So that meant that I had to take Danny AND Rebecca to the dealership. Sigh.

We got the F&S and checked in. I wasn't having any trouble with the car, it was just due for a LOT of maintenance. Too much, if you ask me, but honestly it seems to run a little better now that it's had all of its filters and fluids changed!

We sat in the waiting area for a little while, the kids chased each other around the showroom cars for a little while, the watched a little tv (yay, the waiting areas has DirecTV with kid channels!) ate some snacks, and then we walked through the snow and ice (but it was sunny and felt above freezing) to the shopping center across the street. Danny got a much-needed haircut, but they wouldn't do Rebecca because of the nits (grumble). So we walked over to the CVS in the strip and bought more lice shampoo and a better comb. Walked back to F&S, and I was told that they needed to do this one unplanned maintenance thing, and that it would take another couple of hours. So we colored a little, watched a little bit more tv, and headed back over the snow and ice to the McDonald's across the street (I swear, I think F&S should petition the city to have a signaled crosswalk installed!!) where we ate a nice slow lunch. By the time we got back, it was being washed, so the kids spent half and hour climbing in and out and pretending to drive a showroom minivan, and then we were able to pay and leave.

So FOUR HOURS and >$1k later, we got home, with just enough time to rest for a few minutes (Danny continued the nap he had started in the car on the way home) and then we had to go pick up Sarah. But first I called and made an appointment with the pediatrician re: the Lice Problem.

Today being Tuesday/Date Night, I set the kids up with some snacks and got the house baby-sitter ready, then did chicken maintenance, and bagged up the trash since it's trash night. When Sydney got here at 4:30, I gave her quick dinner instructions and dashed off the the pediatrician's office with the girls. They were both inspected (as was I!) and while 1 or 2 nits were found on all of us, they were all found to be empty/dead. The doctor told me to inspect and remove any nits that I find, but she didn’t expect that there would be many as there did not appear to be a live infestation in anyone. And she gave me a note that it's ok for Rebecca to come to school!

Got back to the house at 5:30, helped Sydney get everyone settled at the table with their dinner, and dashed out again. Well, no. I drove at a leisurely pace and sat alone at a table in a little neighborhood pizza joint for 30 minutes, reading and generally spacing out whilst waiting for Jordan to come share a nice greasy pizza with me. We shared our days and then headed home a little early, just in time to see that both littles were in bed, and Sarah was in the tub. Just need to get Sarah into bed, and make a couple of lunches, and collapse!
 
 
Current Mood: tiredtired
 
 
Laura
08 February 2011 @ 11:49 am
I went out to the chickens this morning. They needed food and water, and also the light had gotten unplugged, and the frozen mess on the bottom is thawed. I brought out a new bag of shavings to keep their feet dry and just added it over the top. This terrified several chickens, including an ameraucana, who came out the big door, Betty, who cowered in the far next box, and a 'dotte who flew out into the run. I finished laying the shavings down, fixed the light, gave them the leftovers from dinner, and picked up the 'cana who was standing next to me looking like she didn't quite know where she was and plopped her back in the coop.
I brought the waterer, the light bulb that they flapped into and made it go out, and the empty shavings bag up to the house, threw out the trash, got a new bulb, refilled the water (yay the outside spigot is thawed!), replaced the bulb, hung the water, and the 'dotte was still just standing where she had landed, hip deep in snow. I went back, got the shovel and chopped enough snow out so the run door would open, then walked out through the thigh-deep (on me) snow, grabbed the hen, who put up no protest at all, and popped her back into the coop. The run is going to need some serious strengthening this spring.
 
 
Current Mood: workingworking
 
 
Laura
04 February 2011 @ 04:01 pm
Rebecca LOVES preschool.

We started her at Gan Keshet, which is a 2-year program located in our synagogue (which shares a parking lot with Sarah's school) in September. She adores it, and I love knowing that even if I'm lazy, she gets to do art, celebrate Shabbat and holidays, and go outside to play in the snow (or at least run around in the Social Hall) 3 days a week. Her teachers wrote her a glowing report, claiming that she is the enthusiastic heart of her classroom "family." And when we drop her off, Danny desperately wishes he could stay too!

How could I possibly think of not sending them?

Well, $365/month is one good reason. Right now, we pay over $800 a month for Sarah and Rebecca to go to school, and Rebecca is only going 3 mornings a week (TWF). Next year, if Danny started in Gan Keshet, I would probably have to find a job. And that would mean that they would have to go 5 8am-3pm days a week, minimum. That would cost over $1700/month for the two little ones. We got a little bit of scholarship for Rebecca this year and might get as much as $400 next year, but $1300 is still a LOT, even with the 5% sibling discount. Plus Sarah's, which is bound to go up next year. And there is NO guarantee I'd be able to get a job that would make it worth it, with the hours I would need. I'd have to take home $11.25 an hour to break even, assuming a 40 hour week!

The other reason is that, despite how much Rebecca loves it, I have no particular love for this school. In particular, the director (I adore the teachers) is an inflexible, micromanaging control freak.
- Before school even started, she sent a letter reminding us of the state law against leaving children in a vehicle, "even for a minute," and if anyone was found doing so she would call DSS and report it as "neglect." There is no such law in this state, and as someone who has had DSS called on her for "neglect," I find that threat particularly jarring.
- When our car was broken into last month and I had no way to get Rebecca to school one day, I asked if she could go on Thursday instead of Tuesday. No, that is not something that their program allows.
-We had a closing to refinance our mortgage, but it got moved at short notice due to a snowstorm, from Thursday at 9 to Wednesday at 1. Could Rebecca stay an extra hour, until 2? No, she would have to be picked up by 1:30 (we took the 2 of them to the lawyer's office with us). You can't work with me at all under extraordinary circumstances? We've had many snow days, on which the school did not open at all, and we will of course still owe the full amount.

So I have to pay more than we can afford to be consistently rubbed the wrong way by the preschool administrator? Hmm. The alternative, of course, is keeping them home another year. Rebecca will start kindergarten in fall of 2012. She'll be 4 in less than 2 months, and Danny will be 2.5 at the end of this month. The older they get, the easier they are to be around. The two littles get along really well together, and as they grow up, they'll get better and better at playing together. I'm on Zoloft now and will probably be able to handle it better. And if we're only paying for 1 kid to go to school for a year, we might be able to get out from under some of this debt while be able to pay for a class or two, or a morning of babysitting once a week, so that they have things to do and I can escape now and then. One of my resolutions this year is to spend more time outside, and I would do that now if there weren't 4 feet of snow out there!
 
 
Current Mood: frustratedfrustrated
 
 
Laura
30 January 2011 @ 11:10 am
I agree, Kate, I never update FB anyway, but even when I do, I'd rather have an archive. I don't want to post about stuff the kids do and not be able to read about it a year later. So I ought to update here more often!

My random thoughts today:
I am BORED TO DEATH of snow. So tired of it. I'm not one to complain about winter, because I can't stand the heat and humidity of summer, but really...we need a thaw.
I accidentally bought tp that reminds me of dorm life. It's really scratchy. I only bought it cos it was on sale. Though it is nice that it doesn't leave lint behind...
I'm cutting way back on swap-bot. It's just too much nonsense. I'm going to keep swapping on AFA though, because that's actual art and a community of people who I kind of know, but I don't need any more bookmarks and crap like that. And speaking of AFA art, I need to finish my Betta paintings and get them into the mail!
I wanted to get a real Betta to use as a model, but that just hasn't panned out yet. Don't feel like spending money on a whole new fish setup. I got a fishbowl from a freecycler, but I don't feel like schlepping around looking for fish supplies and a good fish (Dave's didn't have any nice looking ones). Too much damn snow.
I also really need to finish up the Zentangle montage I made for Jordan for his office. The art is done, but I need to cut and matte the larger ones. It's on my list! Along with Bettas, amulet bags (started one last night; I'm trying my hand at pin-weaving), Spring ATCs, brooches, 6" granny squares, and finishing a purple crochet teddy for Rebecca. As Part Endert (z"l) would say, it keeps me off the streets!
 
 
Laura
Nar, n. A branch that has been knocked down from a tree due to all the snow.

Vardegan, n. A tiny tree with no branches; a stick with leaves on it.