Monday, July 23, 2012

Big Changes

I don't even know how to go about starting this post or even what to write. It will most likely be fractured, miss-spelled, badly punctuated, etc.....
I've thought long and hard as to what to write and have decided to keep it short and simple.
I fear writing anything mostly out of fear of judgment. But as the year goes on, it'll be obvious anyway. The decision we as parents are making can be shot at by either side.
I HATE CRITICISM. I dislike critical people who give their opinions when they don't ask questions and try and find out the why first. If people try and understand but disagree, I am ok with long as it's done in love and is respectful.
That being said. We are bringing Precious Jewel home next year to Homeschool.
Mr. Smiles is staying in Public School and Good Lookin' is starting Kindergarten this year in Public School and I am excited about their year ahead.
I love the start of a new school year. I have LOVED all of the kid's teachers the 3 years they have been in our local public school. I LOVE our local public school. That is NOT why we are bringing her home. God has been so gracious in the teachers Precious Jewel has been blessed with these past 3 years. I want to state that up front.  We have a list of reasons as to why we are pulling her out and have sought out advice from families in both the Public and Homeschool community. We have literally spent a year or more praying about this. We feel, that at this point in her life, it is best she is home for a time.
I've already ordered a chunk of Precious Jewel's books and Christmas has begun to arrive in the mail. She is getting excited as new boxes are opened and books are examined.
So, there it is in a nutshell. I'm doing what I said I'd never do again...homeschool.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Before and After

 It's Done!!!!
(At least the living room; I still have to finish the stair well).

I love it!
It's warm. Welcoming. Inviting.

Excuse the overly tired looking picture of me and just look at my niece instead. You kind of get a picture of what it looked like before we painted.
I tried to find random pictures so you could see the color and the carpet. The carpet looks good in these pictures, but in reality was badly stained and dirty. And when we ripped it up, It looked like a dirt pile underneath. Nasty.
Now Nathaniel and Ben can both roll around on the floor and I won't have to worry about pulling out the nebulizer or giving him a bath.
Yellow was everywhere. It wasn't a bad yellow; just not what I would have EVER picked to paint in my house...all over. One wall maybe, but everywhere?

We took out the TV; put the recliner in it's place and turned it into a reading corner.

Whenever I get the stairwell done, I'll post that too.
I am excited.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Getting the Job Done!

It's finally happening. This is the 4th house Luke and I have lived in since we got married and started our family and it's the FIRST house I am getting to decorate as I want. (Insert little happy dance here.)
We've been wanting to re-floor the house since the allergist said our carpet is a big part of the boy's allergy problems, but re-flooring a house is crazy expensive and other things like, well bills, had to come first.
Well, LOWES had a large flooring sale about a month ago and combined with Luke's discount and some other order we were able to get the floor I really wanted for about HALF the normal price.
He came home from work one day and said, "what do you think? You want to rip it up and put down wood?"
Do I? YES!!! No more nasty carpet.
Then, to my utter shock and surprise, he suggested that while we were at it, I might as well pick out paint and just re-paint like I've been wanting to since we moved in almost 4 years ago. I went the next day and began picking out paint samples (which I discovered is a much harder job than I thought).
Fourteen samples later; yes, 14...we agreed on one we both liked and started the job of painting over the nasty mustard yellow that we've lived with and I have loathed. (I should have taken a picture of all the samples on the wall. It looked like one big ugly patchwork quilt). It was wonderful not worrying about a drop cloth or covering the floor. I was saying "so long" to that carpet and we dripped paint everywhere.

Then began the process of ripping up that old nag and hauling here out of here.
 I want to put a plug in for child labor here. My kids worked their little rear ends off for an entire week pulling the hundreds of carpet stapes out of the floor. I blissfully rewarded them with Half-Price Sonic Slushies every day and trips to the creek. They cleaned up that floor to the point we could nearly eat off it.
At first, we weren't going to rip up the stairs carpet. But after pointing out that a person was going to go from wood floor to carpet when they hit the stairs to an entirely different carpet once they got to the basement, I had Luke talked into us re-flooring the stairs too. Then I told him I would just paint the stairs instead of laying wood down and save us a couple hundred bucks and he was all for it.

We got all excited....until we hit the hallway with it's 2 closets, 2 bedrooms and a bathroom.
Some choice words were muttered late at night after innocent ears were tucked into bed because this hallway alone took us over a week to finish.
Just so my mother and grandmother don't think that they need to sign me up for an episode of Hoarders, I will say that my children only lived in this chaos for about 3 weeks.

The bedroom/playroom/I sleep in there with sick children room became a minefield of all our living room possession.
Laundry, well, it simply didn't happen until my husband and kids pointed out that they were all lacking socks and underwear and a couple of the boys had simply skipped the underwear for a day or two. Then I payed them in Netflix time to wash, dry, fold and put away 10 loads of laundry in two days time. I was again amazed that a 6,8 and 9 year old could "cheerfully" take over laundry duty when unlimited TV time was promised (as long as they continued folding and in between episodes putting it all away).

I meanwhile spent the last week doing this:

.......and this with an almost 40 pound 3 year old clinging to my back like some kind of little tree monkey.

I may be re-visiting the chiropractor when this is all said and done.
But in less than 24 hours time, I think we can move back into our upstairs and bask in a work well done.
I'll post pictures of it all put back together.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The "Black Woman"

So, this post may be politically incorrect, but what 3 year old understands what that means anyway.
You'll see what I mean after I share.
About a month ago while we were out playing in the yard, Nater Mater came to me sobbing. I couldn't understand him other than "Black woman get Abby!" before he buried his little face into my knees and tried climbing up the front of my skirt. He is a natural born Eeyore and I wasn't too concerned about his latest bout of tears, but I was a little confused.
"Did you say a black woman is getting Abby?"
"Yes!" came the wailing from my now slobbery shirt front.
"A black woman has Abby?"
Yes! She is going to bite her!"
This took a minute to decipher because he was crying so hysterically.
"You are saying a black woman is going to bite Abby?" (I just wanted to clarify mind you. Sometimes 3 year olds can be hard to understand even if he/she is your own child and I've been un-scrambling his speech for 2 years now.)
"What black woman honey? What do you mean a black woman is going to bite Abby? There is no black woman that we even know and they certainly don't bite."
We live in a predominately white and Hispanic community and I was trying to scramble as to how my 3 year old might have picked up on any prejudices. We only know a couple of people who are black and one of his favorite teachers at pre-K this Spring was an astonishingly tall, unfailingly polite, and sweet black teenager who greeted all the 3-5 year olds with a "Hello Mr. or Miss So-and So. How are you this morning." Nater Mater hadn't even seemed to notice his skin color...just the fact that he had to crain his neck back to look up at him. We'd even run into him at Walmart and Naters had happily given him a hug when the kid had extended his had for a "High-5." 
So I was a bit confused when he was so hysterical about a black woman biting Abby. The story just didn't add up
"Where is a black woman biting Abby?" (Abby was nowhere in sight mind you).
My next thought: was there a homeless person who had by chance found our little road (that not even GPS can manage to get right) and saw our house tucked back in the trees and decided to make camp in our shop? That seemed pretty far-fetched. I mean we have had escaped convicts in the area in the past couple of years and helicopters searching our woods for them, but I'm pretty sure none of them were black and none of them had ever stumbled upon our place. It had just created for an exciting day where I phone my friend a couple of miles down asking if her kids were as excited as mine about low-flying helicopters. Then of course my mind took a leap for the worse and thought that maybe there was an escaped convict that we didn't know about and they maybe were in our shop and how in the world was I going to get ahold of the handgun we own since I was too scared to use it. Would a 22 take a person out? I wasn't afraid to use that thing and the last time Luke had taken me shooting he had said I had been a decent shot.
I started walking towards the shop yelling for Abby with the other two boys in tow who were now convinced that a strange black woman was in the shop holding Abby prisoner. I was beginning to feel an utter failure in the diversity department and kept telling the boys that no one had taken up residence in our shop because no one can ever find our house if we haven't already led them to it!
We got to the shop just as Abby was coming out the side door with a feed scoop in her hand. Nater Mater sobbed all the louder and lurched for her nearly knocking the two of us over. She was just as confused as to what he was all hysterical for as I was.
We finally deciphered that he had seen Abigail go into the shop where just a few days ago I had killed a black widow spider when we had been getting food for the dogs. It is only the 2nd black widow I had seen since moving here and I wasn't that concerned. Abby had apparently been terrified and had regaled her brothers on how I had killed the venomous monster just before it had nearly bitten us. (Not so). The only thing that had gotten close to it was the 2x4 that I had smashed it with.
But she was convinced that we had nearly been bitten and had just escaped a ghastly death. Her brothers, in wide-eyed belief were totally taken the point that even now, a month after the whole incident, Nater Maters is still convinced that a "black woman" lives in the shop waiting to claim her next unsuspecting victim.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Independence Day

Since we live right next to a creek and our little neighborhood pool decided not to open this summer, we are finding ourselves out wading instead of swimming in the water and hunting down nature for cooling off entertainment.
4th of July afternoon we met the cousins and Grandmama for a "creek date." This is the first time Grandmama has joined us and it was so fun with her along. She is, after all, the person who is in charge of the Arkansas River Watershed and not only did we do a little exploring up and down the creek, we all got a little bit of a hands on education for the afternoon.

                                                                     Collecting Snails

                                (Precious Jewel kept blinking and squinting...hence her lack of picture). ; )

                         It really was sweet to watch them help each other and discover new things together.

For dinner we met for the annual cookout held by Luke's dad. (I'm pretty sure he's a better cook than I am). He does everything in the Green Egg and in Dutch Ovens and it is FABULOUS.
                                                                      The Boys...
                                             .....and the Girls. (we are definitely outnumbered!)
Once we had finished stuffing ourselves, we headed to the annual fireworks show at the Natural's Stadium. I was looking forward to the first year where I didn't have to cover the eyes and ears of a terrified toddler or hide in a bathroom or closet.

At nearly a hundred degrees at 8:30 at night, we sat sweltering in the stands chowing down on snow cones and waiting for it to get dark enough for the fireworks to start.

At just after 9:30pm with kids beginning to get antsy and sweat trickling down out backs, the show began. The Arkansas Naturals put on a great 4th of July fireworks display and Nater Mater alternated between "ahhhhh!!! Look!!!" and hiding his face in my shirt with his hands clamped over his ears. But, he made it through the entire show with no tears this year!

                                                       Happy 4th of July everyone!!