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Archive for August, 2010

That’s one big squash!

During the terrible week, the one of many things to be neglected was the garden.

I was a little bit afraid to go into the garden.  I imagined death and draught after the week of 100+ temperatures.  What I found was the biggest zuchinni ever, 3 egg plants, 3 bunches of grapes and a bowl of cherry tomatoes.

I should neglect that water sucker more often.

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The worst week ever!

It’s been the most awfullest, terriblest worst week.  I’d move to Australia if a plane ticket wasn’t quite so expensive.

Monday

It was our first official day of homeschool.  I was woken up 8 times before 7am.

Jacob:  Mom, Is it time to do school yet?

Me:  No when the sun wakes up.  And after breakfast.  And coffee.

5 minutes later

Jacob:  Mom, the sun is waking up.  Is it time to do school yet.

I admire his desire to learn, and my love for him was the only thing that pulled me out of bed at the crack of dawn.  Unfortunately his sister did not.  She was not happy about learning, especially before noon, her preferred time of waking up.  She spent most of the day acting as if she was two and trying my patience.  But four out of five kids happy to start the day is really more than I can ask for.

Our rocket didn’t work.

Jacob was up all night coughing and complaining. “I’m so sick.  I need medicine.  I just wish I had a happy throat.”

Tuesday

The homeschool flogging will continue until the teen’s morale improves.

Dave went to Texas.

Mike was scratching his head so much that it was bugging me.  A careful head inspection revealed nothing.  I didn’t really feel qualified to make the lice call.  But if it was lice I didn’t want to ignore the situation.  But the scratching.  Oh the scratching.  It makes my head itch just thinking about it.   Off to Walmart we went to buy the special shampoo.

A quick trip to Walmart, I blended right in.

5 kids (1 screaming, 1 pouting, 2 scratching so much I’m surprised that there wasn’t blood, and the other one begging for candy)

3 frozen pizzas

1 huge pack of hotdogs

Lice Shampoo

Hair clippers

and a gallon of milk.

All I needed was to be barefoot and pregnant, maybe wearing some low-rise jeans with my butt hanging out.

We went home and I had a one page tutorial on being a barber.  All I’m going to say, is Mike’s adorable long locks of sweetness are gone. I won’t even subject you to a picture.  It’ll grow out eventually.

And the laundry began.

I thought this was a perk to homeschooling the kids, that they’d never get lice.

Wednesday

and the laundry continues.  It amazes me that in the middle of the summer my children sleep with easily 5 blankets each on their beds.  You would think I kept our air conditioner set at 72 degrees rather than the cool 85 the thermostat claims it to be.

Thursday

Nathaniel thought it would be a great idea to eat a chocolate bar for breakfast.  He couldn’t open said candy bar.  So he decided to climb onto the counter and get a steak knife.  A little over kill if you ask me.  No one asked me though.  I was still sleeping. I was woken up to screaming and blood.

I’m a little squeamish about blood and skin and pretty much anything to do with first aid.  My father-in-law gets many first aid calls.

Can you come over and see if Nathaniel (cause it’s always Nathaniel) has injured himself enough to deem an emergency room visit.

I call for two reasons:  Partly because I would hate to sit in the ER for hours on end to find out that we really didn’t need to go to the ER and because I have learned that I can’t trust my judgment on these things.

Thank goodness Dave was home.

We rushed to the ER.  Even though there wasn’t another person insight (except for our friend Becky, who happened to be there too.  Hi Becky!) we still waited 2 1/2 hours.  If I would have known, I would have saved myself $75 and waited an hour for our pediatrician to open.  Alas, 6 stitches later we headed home, to the laundry.  The never-ending laundry.

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Last month I did a review of ebeanstalk.com.  I’m going to stand behind my positive review.  I do love the idea of the website.  I love that all of the toys are learning toys.  I love that they not only categorize their toys by age, but also by development, which comes in handy not only for baby gifts and toys but also toys for elementary kids.  I also love the absence of character toys.  For pimping their website on my blog, I was sent the Cosmic Rocket. Which looked pretty darn amazing.  The kids were very excited!  We decided to save it for our first day of learning.  What better way to kick this years science off, than with a rocket launch!  I received a few emails about hurrying up and posting about the test toy.  Something about how they specifically choose my blog to market to their target audience, they should have considered that my blog goes in spurts, weeks of daily posts and then months of nothing. It’s a good thing that I promised this post for today, otherwise, I would have postponed the first day of school until next week.  I figure that as headmistress, I can do whatever my heart desires. Especially after spending the weekend with a conference of unschoolers, I had much better things to do than crack a math book.  There were places to visit and naps to be taken.  Alas, a promise is a promise, we started school today (which was pretty good) and we tested out our rocket, and here’s my review.

I was rather disappointed.  I was disappointed on a few levels.

What I love about ebeanstalk is that the website isn’t marketing to sell a toy to me, they are helping me pick the perfect toy for not only my kids age but their developmental stage.  I made them aware of the age ranges of my kids: 3 to 13.  This rocket, ages 14+.  I don’t have a 14+, unless you consider my husband.  In their defense, it does say not for ages under 3.   I was really excited to find out which toy that they would pick for us, turns out it wasn’t very specific for our family.

Another unique thing about ebeanstalk is that with each toy they send out a has an accompanying card with it.  The card gives specific ways to play with the toy to enhance learning.  I was very excited about the card.  I love learning toys and I wanted to know more exciting and fun ways that I could help my kids get the most out of it.   I didn’t get a card.  This probably had something to do with the toy not necessarily being age appropriate for my kids.

The age thing didn’t really stop us.  We read the directions, which included lots of information on rockets and how our baking soda/vinegar rocket would work.  The box says that the rocket can launch up to 50 feet.  The kids wanted to take it to the local elementary school, I convinced them that the front yard would do.  Turns out we could have done it at the kitchen table.

Mike was in charge of the baking soda.

Marshall was in charge of vinegar.

by the way, if you love this shirt, I can make it for you!

After careful measuring and pouring, our rocket did this:

and take 2: nothing.  We adjusted the base and stopped the leaking.  take 3:  nothing.  take 4: more nothing.  take 8: Mike picked it up and some how shot it across the street at the neighbors car (thank goodness for the rubber tip), this revived their interest.  Take 9:  nothing.   Somewhere around take 12 we made Dave help and this resulted in still more nothing.

Somewhere around take 15, we all gave up and came back inside.

Though science was a bust, we still had fun and the kids learned a lot.  At one point, Marshall yelled at Mike to back up because there was a chemical reaction taking place inside the rocket!  We would have enjoyed seeing the rocket make it in the air, even an inch, but we had a good time thanks to ebeanstalk.com.

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Free time?

because our lives aren’t busy enough, we’ve started our own hobby business.  So far, it’s a lot of work.  That’s really all there is to say about that.  Unless, you’re interested in purchasing home school themed shirts, then we have lots to talk about.  Or really any kind of shirt for anything.  or bendy pens.  or magnets.  or shwag.  For the love of all this work, someone buy something!

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or maybe myself.

Nathaniel is obsessed with body parts.  Particularly the taboo ones.

It’s not so much the parts themselves as the words.  We only use anatomically correct words. No wee wees or hineys or thingamagics or hoohas or boobies or peepees or all the other cute words that kids use.  At our house we say penis, vagina, nipple, and butt.

I think it’s probably because no one really uses those words very often. Well, no one except Nathaniel.  He loves to use them.

Nathaniel:  I have a penis.

Me:  Yes, you do!

Nathaniel:  Do you have a penis?

Me:  No, I’m a girl I have a vagina.

Nathaniel:  You have a vagina.  My daddy has a penis.

Me:  Yes, he does.

Nathaniel:  All my brothers have penises.  My sister is a girl.  She has a vagina.

***

Nathaniel:  Wow Daddy!  You have a big penis!  I have a tiny penis.  When I grow up, I’ll have a big penis.

This conversation took place in a crowded public restroom.

***
Nathaniel:  Grandma Sharon, I’m a boy.  I have a penis. Do you have a penis?
Grandma:  No.  I’m a girl.  I don’t have a penis.
Nathaniel:  My mommy is a girl and she has a penis.  But she keeps it in a box.
I swear, I have no idea where he comes up with this stuff!

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I think a 4 week build up is sufficient enough.  Hopefully you’ve been on the edge of your seats with anticipation.  In all actuality, you’ve probably forgotten and hence, this will be anticlimactic.  Maybe you should go back and read the last few blogs.  Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

Now you know why we decided to get a dog and  a little bit about the dog itself.

Initially Buster was a lot of work for me.  Can you imagine a dog that isn’t potty trained?  Well imagine it. That was a lot of work.

Eventually he figured it out.  Coincidentally it came right after I told him that if he decided to have one more accident inside my house I would send him to the pound.

After he learned where he could go, it was a little better.  He layed around the house.  He ate all the flowers off my vegetable garden. He slept.  He liked to get into the kitchen trash and spread it all over the house.  He slept.  He was also terribly fond of dirty diapers.  He escaped the yard.  He slept.  He was like a ninja when it came to stealing food.  He farted.  He slept.

Notice that barking, cuddling, and guarding were not on that list.  He didn’t really fulfill his role in our house.

***

My Dad came to visit for a week.  I put him to work.  He rescreened all of my windows with new energy efficient solar reflecting screens.  While he was visiting I left the twins home alone with him and ran an errand with the older boys (McKayla was out babysitting).  I received a frantic phone call (this was after the 18 other calls that I had somehow missed).

Dad:  Don’t you ever answer you phone!

Me:  I didn’t hear it ring.  What’s up?

Dad:  Buster is sleeping.

Me:  He does that.  Perpetually.

Dad:  No I mean he’s sleeping.  And won’t be waking up again.

Me:  Oh.

When I came home I sent the boys out to clean my car.  Thank goodness my car is always full of toys and books and sports paraphernalia and trash and food.  I figured that would buy me a good 45 minutes.

Me:  What should we do with him? Who do I call?

Dad:  I don’t know.  I buried your dog in our backyard.  And the cat.  And that short-lived hamster.  And probably a few dozen fish.  Do you want to bury him in the backyard?

Me:  So the kids can dig him up in six months?  No thank you!

Dad:  You guys never dog anything up.

Me: We were girls.

Dad:  I don’t think they’ll dig him up.

Me:  I guess if they do, it would be a great science experiment on decomposition.

Dad:  Sure.  So you want me to bury him in the yard?

Me:  NO!  I don’t want to bury him in the yard!

***

I called my father-in-law.

Me:  Buster died.  (no hello, how are you?, just right to the nitty-gritty).

Bill:  I’m so sorry.  Do you want me to come over?

Me:  Yes.  What do I do with the body though?

Bill:  I can bring over a shovel and we can bury him.

Me:  What is with you people and bury animals in the back yard!

Bill:  Call animal control.

So I called Animal Control.  Nobody answered.

Me:  Nobody answered at Animal control.

Bill: They’re part of the police department.  Just call the police department.

Me:  I’ll wait for you

Because I can imagine that phone call with the dispatch.

***

I decided to call the vet. I just picked the first one in the phone book.

Vet:  Hello.

Me:  Hi.  My dog died.

Vet:  Oh my gosh!  I’m so sorry.

Me:  Really, it’s okay.  I was wondering what do I do with his body.

Vet:  Oh wow!  I don’t know, please hold on. Really, how can she not know?  Dogs must die every day.  Does everyone bury their dog in the back yard?

Vet:  What kind of dog was he?

Me:  A beagle.

Vet:  Beagles, they’re so sweet.  I’m so sorry.  How old was he?

Me:  I don’t know 7? 8? 9?

Vet:  Oh, that isn’t very old for a beagle.  Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry!  (she sounded like she might break into tears at any moment)

Me:  Really, it’s okay.  He was old though, definitely not a spring chicken.  So what can I do with him?

Vet:  Are we your vet?

Me:  No.

Vet:  Who is his vet?

Me: He didn’t have one.

Vet:  He didn’t have a vet?!

Me:  Look, I rescued a 7-year-old obese dog from freecycle a year ago. Really, I was misled, but was too nice to give him back.  I wasn’t sure that would keep him.  I didn’t want to take him to the vet to find out that he had liver disease and would need daily injections. Then I’d be guilted into buying expensive medications for a useless dog and forced to take care of him.  I have five kids and a husband that travels a lot! So no, he didn’t have a vet.

Vet: Still incredulous.  You’re 7-10 year old dog didn’t have a vet?

Me:  I’m sorry, I probably was a crappy dog owner. But in all truthfulness, he didn’t live up to his end of the bargain. I wanted a barking dog.  He didn’t bark.  And you know what, he was very well fed and loved.  So no he didn’t have a vet.  For all you know, maybe we’re Christian Scientists and I don’t believe in vets!

Vet: Hold on. (long pause) We can take care of him if you bring him in.  The fee is $175.00

Me:  I’m sorry, you must have the wrong line.  I’m the lady with the dead dog.

Vet:  I know, the fee to dispose of him is $175.

Me:  Really?  I don’t need a funeral, I just need him to go away!

click.

***

And then I started to cry.  Because maybe I was a crappy dog owner.  Poor Buster, maybe he could have had a few more platinum years if I would have just given him some shots in the butt. He wasn’t necessarily a bad dog, he was just an old dog.  Buster was like taking in a 70-year-old man who refuses to be lovable and just poos all over the house and constantly spreads trash all over and snores and farts.  Yes, I’m sad that he’s dead. But, really, I’m rather relieved to not have to clean poop off of my carpet any more or pick up all the trash from my living room!

Me:  (sobbing) So the vet will take him for $175.

Bill:  I called animal control.  If we want them to pick him up, it’ll be $145.37.  But it could take a while.  (yuck)  If we bring him to them, it’s $25.

Me:  Or, a black hefty bag and a dump fee would only be $11.

Bill:  Or a trip to the side of the road, would be free.

We settled on the $25.  My father-in-law sent all of us away to McDonalds and he took care of Buster.  He’s definitely in the running for father-in-law of the year.  I’m not sure if disposing of dead dog will beat out selflessly giving a kidney though.  For me, it’s neck in neck.  I’m very grateful that I didn’t have to deal with that.

Bill:  It’s done.

Me:  Thank you so much!

Bill:  Weirdest thing, Did you know that he had Stockton dog tags.

Me:  Yeah.  I never changed them.  I figured if he really ran away, they wouldn’t be able to trace him back to us.

Bill:  That would probably explain why he was also microchipped to an address in Stockton too.

***

I was all about putting off telling the kids as long as possible.  I figured we’d wait until they asked.  It could be months.  Dave wanted to tell them as soon as possible.

Dave:  I’m sorry to tell you that Buster died.

Marshall:  How?

Dave:  He was very old, and very fat.  Probably not in great shape.

Marshall:  But how?  Did he have a heart attack?  Was it painful?  Was there blood?

Dave:  No, he just went to sleep and didn’t get up again.

Mike:  Where?

Dave:  In the backyard.

Mike:  Where?

Dave:  it doesn’t matter?

Mike:  I know, but where in the backyard?  In his house?  In the grass?  Under the trampoline?

Dave:  On the grass and I’m not going to tell you anything else about it.

Mike and Marshall:  Can we get another dog?

Dave:  Some day but not today.

***

The babies on the other hand were rather sad.  There were lots of tears. 

Nate:  But Buster is my dog, and I love him.  I don’t want him to be dead.

***

Dave:  Buster died.

McKayla:  Who?

Dave:  Buster.

McKayla:  Buster who?

Dave:  Your DOG!  Buster!

McKayla:  Hmm.  Can we get a chihuahua?


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