Friday, December 31, 2010

I'm Not Sure If I'll Ever Blog Again

We just got Super Mario Bros for our Wii.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Buttering Up

"Hello, Mother, you look radiant and beautiful today." Kid says.

"Gee... thank you." Mrs F replies.

"I don't even know what radiant means." Kid confesses and cackles maniacally.

"And I like your outfit, and the way you are chopping up food." She continues after recomposing herself.

"Thank you." Mrs F returns uncertainly.

"Do you know what I'm doing?" Kid asks forebodingly.

"Yes... I just don't know why." Mrs F says.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Addiction Management Starts With Prevention

"I want a phone like that" Kid says.

"What would you do with it?" Mrs F asks.

"Play Cut the Rope for like 12 hours straight every day." Kid returns.

"That's why you don't have one." Mrs F replies.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Detox

From 2 days of rum punch

Four straight weeks of (at least) a dozen cookies a day

I told Mr F today I was getting back to badass... and I hoped it would happen naturally and overnight.

Sadly, that is not the case.

So I opted to stay in bed and avoid the counter full of leftover treats (in hopes that they might disappear down someone else's gullet).

I've emerged from my bed only to discover that The Furious Fam has finally entered the 21st century...

In a somewhat surprising turn of events it appears that Kid is a fairly brutal opponent.

(she had to remover her pants... they were holding her back)
It looks like Kid's homeschool recess just got a lot more enjoyable.

Maybe they'll let me set up my Wii Fit sometime soon...

Although from the looks of things, I doubt it.

(I suppose I should clarify that she does have underwear on... pink)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Morning

"We're pretending we're orphans traveling on a First Class Orphan Train." Kid says.

Of course you are.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Santa's Workshop

This is where you'll be able to find me for the next several hours.

Mr F and the girls are off to the mall to find me some *inspired* gifts, I'm sure.

I'm using the time to get all my covert ops taken care of.

And dream up a delicious rum punch (Mary Poppins got me thinking of that yesterday) to bring to dinner.

I hope you enjoy your Christmas Eve!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

He Knows If You've Been Bad Or Good

Apparently Kid isn't taking any chances...

This, of course, rates their *goodness*.

You know, just in case, Santa should show up tomorrow night misinformed.

Kid 100%

Baby, sadly, ZERO

Guess Where We're Going?

Thanks to our inside connection, the girls and I are off to enjoy a little theater this afternoon.

It was fantastic. I HIGHLY recommend it. Even Baby was into it and able to stay engaged throughout the whole show. It was really good, so if it's coming near you... it's worth checking out. It, of course, helped that we had the best seats in the house (literally).

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Dear Mr F

A job where you don't have to be at the office for 14 hours a day would be great.

Especially the week before Christmas.

It's kind of been a lot.

But I did it.

I really hope you mean it when you say you are taking next week off.

I'm getting kind of lonely.

Even if I do have this to keep me company....

It's also kind of sad that you don't.

Monday, December 20, 2010


Because I don't want you to lose sleep over it ;)

although I probably will....

Dad's wife: DONE
Littlest Sister: DONE
Little Brother: DONE
MOM: 1/3 done
StepDad: DONE
Tiger: DONE (this was a priority for the girls)
Older Brother & Girlfriend: DONE (ish)
Nieces: I know what I'm getting just need to get it.
Little Sister: ditto
Mr F: 2 major gifts down... need other stuff. Santa likes to give Mr F hand lotion, FYI. And gum. Deal with it.
Kids: I've ordered the main Santa stuff, but I need to get to Target for little things (Baby is getting make-up... I already regret that idea).

I also got out my first batch of xmas cards.

Oh and shoveled our front walk (after Fed Ex lady reprimanded me... thanks for that, Mr F).

And I got groceries.

Long story short, I've kicked major ass today.

Thank you, Meijer (If you didn't have the worst check-out scenario in the world I'd actually recommend you).


It's Monday.

Christmas is on Saturday... right?

Just got in from our whirlwind trip at 2AM last night.

The cat was bouncing off the walls (literally) until well after 3... despite having fortuitously viewed a Jane Goodall communicate with animals dvd just last week.

I tried to communicate that I was tired.

Maybe if he was an African Grey Parrot he would have understood (they're psychic).

In the end I think he was picking up on my leniency (and guilt) and so he stalked my face (hidden under the covers to protect its delicate flesh) like it was his prey (it was).

Anyway, back to the important stuff...

It's Monday.

I have a very few things for Kid (It's kind of hard to shop for them when you are with them all the time).

The wrong thing for Mr F (that I had cancelled but showed up anyway).

And NOTHING else.

I need to ship things and ideally have them arrive before Christmas.

I'm having a heart attack.

The thing is, I don't even have any ideas.


Know of a great, universally appreciated gift, that ships for free (or cheap).... let me know!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Over The River And Through The Woods

We're heading out to Eastern Pennsylvania today. My Nana and Grandad are celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary (they are both nearly 100) this weekend. It looks, for now, that we are going to make it there and back without battling an Alberta Clipper... having done that in the past... I can assure you that is a very good thing.

See you Monday.

P.S. I haven't bought any Christmas presents yet. I'm starting to get a little nervous.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mad Homeschool Skills In The House

We received a book and cd with our curriculum set called "Geography Songs", and I'm not sure who loves it more... okay I am... me. (I do have some rockin' dance moves that go along with this song) I originally looked at this with disdain... fearing these songs were going to be terrible or cheesy... and while maybe they are... they are also catchy as all get out. There are several more sets in this series (including several on math facts) and I'm definitely going to hop to it and order these up. Kid, who generally gets pretty frustrated with the notion of memorizing facts, has been able to memorize the songs almost instantly... and enjoy it at the same time. We don't just now know the names of these 15 Middle Eastern countries, we can also (both) now identify where they all are on a world map. So... score one for homeschooling... because... this is not something that they are covering in 2nd grade at the public school.

Out Take:
Watch Kid's face... she is barely containing her rage at Baby in this one! She said she wanted me to put this one up so you could all see what she has to deal with.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

She's Nothing If Not Thorough

Baby walks into the kitchen.

Her hand is firmly placed down her pants in her butt crack.

(Just setting the scene)

"What are you doing?" Mrs F asks.

"My butt itches." Baby replies.

"Oh. Okay, well, your butt is germ-y... so... I need you to go wash your hands." Mrs F explains.

"OKAY!" Baby yells enthusiastically and runs top speed for the bathroom.

Several minutes later Baby emerges from the bathroom.

"I washed my hands, Mom." Baby announces.

"Great, thanks." Mrs F replies.

"Don't worry, they're not germ-y, I used your toothbrush!" Baby says excitedly.

Monday, December 13, 2010


We've waited a shockingly long time to see some real significant snow in Michigan this year.

I mean... it's been disappointing.

Finally, we heard a storm front was coming through.

Excitedly we headed to Trader Joe's to stock up on the necessities (meatballs & chocolate croissants).

The storm came...

Not exactly a blizzard, but a good couple of inches.

And that's just what our very own (yes you read that right... very own) sledding hill needed.

(If you've been reading for a few winters you will recall that Mrs F loves her some sledding... really... if there's even a dusting of snow you are pretty much guaranteed that I will be donning my snow pants... believe it... and making a go of it)

Mmm.... big COLD, RED, WET cheeks...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Lack Of Contact High

Mrs F stumbles into the kitchen after a bad few hours with a nightmaring Baby (I think one was about cookies... fyi).

"Jabber Jabber Jabber." says Mr F

"jabber jabber jabber jabber jabber..." He continues, into infinity, always maintaining a 3 foot radius around me.

(If you know Mr F you know the man can talk... and he doesn't do it quietly)

"You are very talkative this morning." Mrs F manages, after listening for a good 20 straight minutes, while trying to measure coffee.

"Well, that's because I've been up for 2 hours with no one but the cat... jabber, jabber, jabber, jabber...." Mr F responds.

"Yeah. I get it." Mrs F says.

"When someone says that you are very talkative... it means... Stop Talking."Mrs F explains.

"Ooooh. I get it." Mr F says through a mouth of toothpaste (in the kitchen people...).

"Apparently, you don't." Mrs F replies.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

It's Getting Harder...

To both live my life and write about it at the same time.

I feel very different from the person I was three years ago when I started all this.

In ways that are harder to talk about.

I don't want to alienate the friends I've made... but... I think that's getting hard not to do.

The things I think about are much more serious... much less frivolous... maybe less generally relatable (or maybe not...).

Sometimes I don't know what to say (here) without seeming like I am trying too hard to avoid the obvious.

Sometimes I feel like you bought a different book only to find in Chapter 20 that it isn't what you thought at all.

And maybe you don't like it. Or won't.

But I just am not the same.

Sometimes I see old posts I wrote 3 years ago... and it's like I was on Crack back then.

Like looking at a photo album from college.

Things were easier.


Less weighty.

And, yet, this is a good time in my life.

Better (on a deeper level).

Just quieter.

Less talk, more action.

I think.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

11:15 PM

"What are you still doing up? It's after 11." Mrs F asks.

"You said I could read until I fell asleep." Kid replies.

Monday, December 6, 2010

It Came!

Our big box of books and curriculum arrived on Saturday!

Kid was immediately sucked into her first book selection and kept asking when Monday would come so we could start.

I'm really happy with our curriculum choice. Everything looks great.. most of the reading is Newberry award winners. I'm also happy with the way the readers (self-reading) progress, the first selection she can read easily now, the ones from week 36 are above her level. I think she'll be really proud of herself when she can look back at how much her reading skills have grown in that time. It's pretty amazing to see where she'll likely be 36 weeks from now.

There is tons of geography woven throughout all of the other lessons and we use this markable map several times a day. Kid really enjoys this, and has gone on to label every place she's lived, been, etc. I also really REALLY like the lesson plans. I got everything organized by week, and it's all pretty easy to use. I also really appreciate their constant reminders not to over do it, or get to literal with their assignments. (I can err toward that myself...) They emphasize comprehension and give questions (and answers... which is nice since it means I don't have to read her readers... I do have a couple of other things to do each day) to talk about after the readings as discussion points, but do not want the kids to sit down and fill these in themselves. That was kind of an aha moment for me since I probably would have had Kid do that and I can tell you now, 4 hours under our belt, that that extra bit may have pushed this from enjoyable to Hell. Also I enjoyed that after our Chimp reading they asked "How do chimps use tools" and they expected an answer like "They use stones as weapons." but Kid said "They have opposable thumbs."

I picked up Kid's things from school on Friday and found a Handwriting Without Tears workbook, so I ordered the Teacher's Manual and we'll pick that up where she left off when that comes in.

I feel really good about the Kumon workbooks for now. I set a timer for 30 minutes to make sure we don't go over that (that would cross over into the TOO LONG and GETTING PISSED zone... and we don't want to get into the anger zone... not with the wolves and all). She did about 25 addition, 10 word problems, and 10 geometry problems in 20 minutes this morning, which I think is the prefect amount of time for her to be focused on one thing. She got way more math done in 20 minutes than she was doing at school. She does need me to sit next to her and keep her from straying off task... but... she didn't get mad (the work isn't difficult at this point) and when she said she was done we stopped. She had asked to do math first thing to get it over with. I also know we need to get the spelling, and language arts work done then too. So we might alternate these. We'll see how it goes. I want to leave time for her to do writing and drawing as she is inspired to do (I'd really like to set up something like THIS to help foster that. Or I should say to help keep my dining room table from getting over run with papers and supplies as is currently the case.)

I do not want to fall into the trap of just repeating what they were doing at school... since that obviously didn't work for her. This is a hard balance to strike... and my head is a battleground these days. I kind of wish I had just gone ahead and bought the LA & math curriculum from the same place, since I've been shocked at how much less they assign than I naturally would... but after one day... I can see that they are right. It was just the right amount without pushing her over the edge. She was able to maintain her interest, which meant she was actually paying attention (unlike school) and we were able to have relevant discussions about, Chimps, Archeology, Geography, and our book readings. More is not better. I always have the temptation to do more... 1 chapter assigned?... let's do 4! So this curriculum and following it is a good move for me. I just need to try and come up with a similar schedule for the Language arts and math... work hard to go against my nature and just do a little bit a day.

Oh and I did manage to workout today. So maybe things are looking up for me, now that I'm not spending all my energy worried about what to do with Kid... just 95% of my energy.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Kid was walking around the house pretending to give a video tour (I don't know where she gets that...)

"This is my sister, she's great." Kid says.

"Well, she's not great, but she is fun, active, and very over energy." She continues.

So true.

Friday, December 3, 2010

What We're Doing

Maybe I'll make another blog just about this whole process.

A homeschooling blog... aka... what the heck is that lady doing?! blog (but I'm afraid it'd have to be invite only! I'm too fragile right now!).

Otherwise this might start to take over for awhile.

Hey, remember when I used to exercise?!

Except instead of watching me lose weight you'll probably be watching me gain it... I can't help it... cooking IS science.

Anyway, our curriculum...I'm going with Sonlight (yes I know that it's Christian... but it's literature & history based and we're not doing the bible study aspect... I just got the core component and am mixing in the other things I want). I liked the focus (kid loves her some history) and that the lesson plans are included. For me and my kind o'crazy perfectionism (and over the top need for documentation) I think this will help keep me in check.

We've got a science curriculum coming. I'm some what fearful of this. I just think adding experiments into my day... ugh... I don't know... is a lot to manage. Mr F said he'll handle it. But... ahem... Mr F says he'll handle a lot of things...

We're working our way through some Kumon math workbooks I got at Barnes & Noble. Once I can tell what level she's at (they've only been doing review of addition & subtraction up to 20 at the public school so far) I'll go in for an appropriate curriculum. But for now, better to be getting practice every day and slowly working up, then start out too hard and freak out in frustration and refuse to do it EVER AGAIN (Kid hates math did I mention that?). I also got her an abacus at IKEA the other day. Hello! She loves it. Last night she used it to add up all the cookies I baked for the Cookie Bazaar, and to figure out how many years until Mr F turns one hundred. So that's good. Learning should be interesting & fun. She uses that thing all the time.

I picked up some language arts workbooks (writing, spelling, reading comp stuff) just to flush out where it might be needed. And let me say this 2nd Grade spelling book... is a revelation... they were doing insane spelling words at school. This book is kind of too easy... but... again... my goal is to just start out a little BELOW (this is an anxiety disorder I'm dealing with here) and not challenge her right now... just establish a routine and what kind of work is stimulating and interesting, and THEN start slowly introducing more challenging work. Her number one trigger is frustration, so we need to keep things LOW PRESSURE and EXTREMELY POSITIVE. We need to rebuild self esteem, and feelings of self competency, and self worth. We're talking baby steps.

The good news is that you can cover a lot more material in a much shorter period of time at home than at school (believe it folks). So I will not be surprised at all if by June (should we still be doing this) she has not only caught up, but has moved beyond the schools curriculum goals.

I also found a great history program from PBS on Netflix, and she's been watching an episode a day and then giving me the synopsis. We then fact check in our big DK History of the World book (she loves that book... TONS of illustrations of beheadings!).

Until our curriculum comes and I get that sorted, she's been reading simple small chapter "Easy Reader" style books and then (and really I think this was genius) I copy the cover of the book with our scanner, and she writes out a book review on the copy. I told her it was so we could keep track of whether it was a good book or not, this helped cover both reading comprehension and a writing exercise and she was more than happy to do it.

For science, we're keeping a Weather Journal. I thought she'd like this and it would be another sneaky way to get writing in... but she's on to me... so I think this might be a weekly thing. She records the date, the weather conditions, and then draws a picture of something weather/nature related from that day. We also just found an awesome Chimp sanctuary's blog which has TONS of short videos of the chimps playing, eating, etc. I bookmarked that, it should be fun to check in and see what they're up to.

So that is that. In case you were wondering. Much less connect the dots, and word searches than school... but... I don't think that we're doing so badly for a random quickly cobbled together program.

And that doesn't even count our discussions on menstruation (fun! I enjoyed that... not), a prison's effect on property values, and why Dad working at a cupcake shop wouldn't provide a viable income for the family. Oh and coupons... SHE LOVES COUPONS... she couldn't believe that you could pay less if you had a coupon... which of course led to a whole discussion on marketing.

Other than that, I have a big spiral binder and I write down what lessons we did for each subject. We are not required to do that, but I think it will help me feel that I have actually *done something*, and could be helpful in lieu of a transcript should we end up at a private school.

(What is Baby doing during all this?... well, she spends an inordinate amount of time standing on a step ladder in the pantry lip syncing Christmas songs into a xylophone mallet... her favorite song?... Wham!'s Last Christmas)

Wishful Thinking

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Danger Zone

"You seem happier, you were pretty mad earlier."  Mrs F says to Kid.

"For a second I went past my 'Lock Up My Anger' zone."  Kid says.

"Oh, you have a 'Lock Up Your Anger' zone?"  Mrs F asks.

"Yes, I actually have another zone that includes hitting and kicking." Kid replies.

"But don't worry it's guarded with twenty thousand walls."  She adds.

"Twenty thousand walls?! That's good."  Mrs F says gratefully.

"And twenty thousand wolves."  Kid adds.

Even better.

This led to an absolutely hilarious discussion on anger management.  I told Kid that when I'm really angry walking on the treadmill helps me to feel better.  She said "So is that what you are doing when you are yelling at Dad in the basement?  Walking on the treadmill?"  Oh I had a good laugh about that.  

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Today Was Better

I appreciated all of the awesomely supportive comments.

I really do.

Some of you made me cry... in a good way.

So, thanks!

This whole time has been insanely stressful and complicated (feelings wise).

I've taken something away from her that she liked... and how much that means (rightly or not) to her is hers alone to decide.

We're talking about it.  

A lot.

I talked to the private school admissions person today.

I told her that I don't want to rush right into another school.  I thought Kid needed some downtime, and that we'd come look at the school in a couple of months.  I want her to be able to choose the school for the school's sake and not just to jump from one to the other because that is easiest.  I want her to feel (even if we're ultimately guiding the choice) that she does have some say.  I don't want her (or us) to make a decision in reaction to leaving her current school.  I want us to make a real thoughtful decision about choosing the RIGHT placement for her.  We just can't do that now.  We need some time to bounce back.  I also think taking a couple of months, and spending the time really exploring what type of learner she is, and what kind of environment she really needs, and what kind of teacher... is going to be an invaluable piece of information as we move forward.  In order to advocate for her in the best way I can, I need to be the expert on what she needs.  When it comes to schools... we're just figuring this out.  I don't want to pay $12,000 to a school that isn't going to get her where she needs to be going.  

The admissions lady said ...

"She's very lucky that you are able to take the time to do that."

And that made me feel pretty good. 

You know, especially since they are pretty interested in our money.

I'm not overreacting. 

And I'm not just reacting.

It's not easy (really it's not) but in time this is going to all be worth it.

Next Fall, we'll be able to make a much more informed, confident choice about what we're going to do for schooling.

And, heck, until then the extra sleep isn't anything to sneeze at. 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Today Was A Good Day/Bad Day

Reviewed Kid's school experience, symptoms, and other stuff with psychologist.

Referred for psychiatrist and immediate medication.

Complete validation that she needed to be pulled out ASAP.

And that she is never going to thrive in a traditional school.

So that was good.

It's good to be validated.

But it's also HARD.

It's hard to hear that, even thought we know it's true, that your child will have a harder life.

That she has a harder time being happy.

That she has a harder time. Period.

And that she does indeed have "severe OCD and anxiety".

Even though I knew that.

There is still some sadness.

There is some relief too... this is something.

This is something.


And you're wrong. She can't snap out of it. She can't be like "everyone else". She is not like you were or your children (unless you are trifitmom... and then YES she is) She isn't going to change. She is going to do weird things when she is nervous and act strange... and yes wouldn't it be great if she didn't?... yes, but it would be a hell of a lot better if she didn't feel the way she does inside. And she's not going to suddenly start doing things the way all of your children do them if I just stopped babying her. P.S Not all children are resilient. In fact some children are the exact opposite of resilient. Just like some adults are. We're all different.

Just wanted to get that off my chest.

Oh, and tonight Kid decided to unleash the wrath she's been brewing.

She wants to go back to school.

Simply because I don't equal 23 kids.

And no matter what... I'm not going to.

But I am someone who recognizes that being smart and fitting in are not the same thing.

In fact, you could probably guarantee the kids that don't...

Are the smartest.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Day One

More on all of this later... but.... as of today we're homeschooling.

I just could not send her back to a woman that had not one positive thing to say about her.

So, after much debate and looking at the next 10 year investment in private school (nearly 200K for Kid alone) we decided to give free (or closer to it... I've already ordered $700 in curriculum, and signed her up for $400 worth of classes for next trimester) a shot. Even if we can just finish out 2nd grade that is a major savings to put toward another year's tuition. And we'll know for sure that we've tried everything, and paying the big bucks is worth it.

So, we're trying it.

Curriculum arrives next week.

Today... the zoo.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

I Guess It Was A Success

Last night was the first night (EVER) that we didn't have children with us.

My mom had her annual "Sweetie Santa Sleepover" for her granddaughters, and assumed that my girls would join in the morning (like usual).

But Kid was kind of interested in the sleepover... and very interested in not missing out on the night activites (hot cocoa and a movie) and for some unknown reason Baby was VERY interested in sleeping over.

This is a child who has yet to sleep through the night without parent intervention.

But she does love her eldest cousin... and... had been making her gifts all week... and wanted nothing more than to sleep with her.

So we packed them up and my mom drove down to pick them up.

Before they left Kid (who has not yet made it through a sleepover said...

"I'm not so sure about this"

We reassured her our phone would be by the bed! She could call and we'd get her at any time! You might really like it! You can sleep with your sister!

Then Mr F and I didn't really know what to do with ourselves.

We hurried downtown to see 127 Hours. Yikes! Mr F could barely watch it. Be forewarned if you have body injury/self mutilation fears... this movie is NOT for you.

It was fucking freezing out.

Mr F wanted to move back to North Carolina. (we jest).

We wandered around a bookstore looking at things the girls would like.

We went to a fancy dessert restaurant... even though I was just wearing my dirty yoga pants... whatev.

We laughed at a lady wearing one of those crazy fur rich lady hats.

We commented on how weird it was not to have to be home at a certain time.

We went home.

There was nothing on TV.

"You know, I really don't need my kids to be away at night." I said.

Mr F agreed.

We got ready for bed.

"Do you have your phone!" Mr F said anxiously.

"By the bed." I replied.

"What about the house phone!" He continued.

"By the bed." I replied.

We got in bed.

We looked at the clock.

"They're probably asleep by now." I said.

I opened a book. (about Mormons of course)

Mr F watched videos of the kids on his iPhone. (for real, peeps)

When we thought we might have crossed the hump of the kids freaking out (1 AM) we went to sleep.

We both slept fitfully, worried we might have to get up and drive the hour plus drive in the middle of the night.

But they never called.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Sweet Baby Jesus

I just got roped into being Kid's Brownie Troop "Cookie Mom".

I'm already regretting it.

Obviously, the fact that none of the other moms volunteered was a warning sign.

I just had an hour long training... and it still doesn't make any sense.

I've never seen more forms in my life.

The system is frick fracking crazy, and as redundant as humanly possible.

What have I done?!

What have I done?!

But just so you know... if you need cookies... you know who to come to.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here's hoping I don't murder Mr F before dinner.

Mr F has made the faux pas of confusing eating turkey with having experience cooking turkey.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Busy Hands

We've been trying to get things all picked up and clean today. While were not hosting Thanksgiving, I don't know... it's just time to do a deep clean... I'm hoping to start going Christmas on Friday! Plus, there are some things you just want to take care of before the slush starts to make its way inside. I'm not doing a company clean like the rest of you, but I am in charge of the turkey for my family's T-day eating enjoyment, so I have all the prep to get done today for that. I'm about to rinse the bird and submerge it in the brine I cooked up last night (been sitting in our natural cooler... our back stoop... do not add warm brine to a cold turkey!!!). While I waited to get that all ready I decided to scrub all of the floors... late Fall has a done a real number on them... really need to get everyone to commit to using ONE DOOR before winter starts (I'm talking to you Mr F). The kids always want to help scrub floors (why?... I do not know) and so once we were done I kept their cleaning cloths going...

Here they are wiping down all of our knobs and door knobs with washcloths soaked with hand sanitizer. I'm not a huge fan of disposable cleaning products and this works like a reusable clorex wipe. I wish I'd thought of this idea BEFORE we all got our 2nd cold in 2 weeks.

PS... Do not confuse the Method brand "wood for good" spray bottle (which is polish!) for the Method "wood for good" cleaner in the squirt bottle!!! You will crack your head open if you accidently clean your floors with the spray... not that I know anything about that personally ;) But, YO! it's really slippery if you do that! Killing two birds with one stone nearly killed me!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Shaking With Fury

That teacher... I have NEVER run into a woman so disengaged from the children she teaches.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

It Must Mean The Second Coming Of Christ

"Get up! Dad is going to Church!" Mrs F yells.

"I'm doing it for you." Mr F says quietly.

No, he's doing it for the coffee hour and the photography club.

Oh what? I didn't mention we've been going to Church?! Ah... There is a good story about that...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Put A Fork In It

Yesterday Kid's teacher shamed her during her spelling test.

She said something to the effect of...

"You have to start doing your tests faster. In the older grades, if you aren't done on time, they mark all of your answers wrong."

Um... okay.

Number one, I've gone through quite a bit of schooling myself and have never found that to be true.

Number two, SHE HAS TEST ANXIETY, and I'm pretty sure that didn't help.

Thanks for making this an even bigger issue.

So it came as no surprise that in the end she got 30% wrong because she was so nervous.

She messed up words she knew with 100% confidence at home.

This is just not the right teacher, not the right setting, and not the right curriculum for her.

Despite the teacher making comments all year to her, do you think she has ever once contacted us to talk about Kid's timing issues?


She picks her apart in the classroom without doing anything to help her succeed.

The fact that, unlike all of the other kids in the class, Kid has never taken a test, nor needed to spell correctly before this year has never been considered. Frankly, she is doing pretty well considering the drastic change in curriculum.

I have gone in after school FOUR TIMES this month asking for her to please send Kid's desk work home at night so we could get it done, instead of letting it pile up and overwhelm her.

Has she?


When I was in the classroom two weeks ago, the teacher actually said to the kids "You know what to do... multitask."


No wonder Kid is having a hard to time getting her desk work done.

This is second grade.

But like I said, despite going in and asking her to send work home because falling behind was stressing Kid out, to which she responded "Oh yeah, she does seem to get worried."***, I'd like to point out that the teacher HAS NEVER once contacted us to say Kid has difficulty completing her work. All of the work that comes home has stickers and smile faces. The only reason I know about it is because the pile of unfinished work makes Kid so upset she tells me about it.

Conferences are on Monday. How much do you want to bet she doesn't mention anything about Kid's difficulties?

*** which is a serious problem in and of itself, since I told her that Kid has an anxiety disorder BEFORE school even started.


Thursday, November 18, 2010


Yesterday turned into a rather bad day.

Kid and I got into it over spelling.

I was not/am not proud of my own behavior.

She can push my buttons.

But, my reaction was beneath me.

I know better.

And, I should have done better.

I apologized.

We hugged.

We ate some pumpkin gingerbread.

But, you can't take away what you have said.

And, so, I'm still not over it.

She told me...

"Mom, when you see me tantruming, than you might want to change your tone."

I laughed, and said...

"It's not always that easy. When you hear my tone, you might want to stop tantruming."

She laughed.

Which was generous of her.

Because, she was right in the first place.

Once I came upon some woman's wisdom, somewhere out on the internets. The gist of what she wrote, or the part I took away because it rang so true, was that when your children are the most repulsive to you, that is when they need you the most. It has proven a very hard standard to live up to. One I fail at more times than I'd like. But something that I think is important to reach for. Yesterday I failed. Today I'm hoping to do better.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Things I Don't Like About Getting Older

The fact that it takes my face well over an hour to wake up in the morning.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Quick Updates

Kid is home sick today.

40 days until Christmas. What?! We still have our Halloween decorations up. Time to take those babies down, I guess.

We had a great weekend. Spent time with family. Mr F and I even had a dinner out (without our Klingons). I literally can't remember the last time we went out without them (for real).

Finally switched out our god awful hall lights (turns out they only had 25 Watt bulbs in them... which explains the cave like darkness) for some new ones. Two small school house style and a small chandelier* for the entry way.(All three lights were $140 total) Golden boobs we are coming for you next.

I reupholstered our headboard last week. Came out great. $12 total. Now we just need to paint over the pepto walls so that it doesn't look like a clash-o-rama in there.

Candy cane Hershey's kisses are back. Yo!

Got in 5 - 60 min cardio workouts last week. Feels good. Shooting for a repeat. Of course, sick kids won't help me on that front.

Kid has a 1st Trimester spelling review on Friday. 40 words. Already had one tantrum (not counting the one I had when I found out). Pray for us...

*this house is getting a more feminine touch if you haven't noticed. Mr F got the last house.

Friday, November 12, 2010

So Apparently...

Saying you need to see a therapist is a conversation killer.


Oh well. There is no shame in my game.

I did get in touch with her and we can catch up in two weeks. Which times out to be after Kid's conference, so I'll be able to paint the most thorough picture I can of the situation. Side bonus, she frequently works in the Ann Arbor public schools, so she'll know if what is going on with Kid's teacher is par for the course or just plain wiggity whack. I'll really appreciate getting that insight as we move forward. She was also invaluable to me last year when I needed some help assessing Kid's OCD ticks, so I'll be looking forward to her guidance in that arena as well.

On to other things....

I just love our yard! Our house is set up into a hill, so that from every window you see tree tops. It is so uplifting to look out at all those trees every day. From our big family room, which is lined with windows on three sides, you feel like you are sitting in a tree house. 

(bad pictures, but that's just the view I have from our kitchen counter... and it still kicks ass)

Look even Mr F thinks so... I just looked up and saw him walking along our roof. If our yard is good enough background for one of his fancy car photos... I guess that's saying something.

(He's got some kind of Audi convertible today, if you are wondering. I can't tell if it's that 180K one or not ... yes for real... isn't that completely insane?)

And it's such a nice confirmation of our move.  Honestly, people, there has not been one moment of regret.  Even with the whole school debacle, this was the right move, at the right time, to the right place.

The entire time we were in West Asheville our surroundings really depressed me. As a stay at home mother, what I can see from my windows has a profound effect on my spirits. I spent a lot of time bemoaning the abandoned gas stations, the non-stop out of control barking dogs, and the general shitty-ness of our old neighborhood (especially considering the price!). Sometimes I wondered if I was making it up... could it really be that bad? Yes, my friends, yes it was. There is not a single part of our town that bears any resemblance to that, not even on the "other side of the tracks". When we walk around, it charms me and cheers me up. Your environment really does matter. And, hell... at just about half the price... we're feeling very lucky indeed.

So that's my take away house hunting tip for you. How nice your house is matters, of course... but most of that you can fix and improve upon if you want to. What you have to look at matters too... and most of that will be outside of your control. Take some time to look out of the windows before you buy! A super charming house will still suck your soul out if you have to look at your neighbors garbage every morning from the kitchen sink. I gained a new perspective on that this time around. We saw a beautiful, big, stone craftsman, and it was hard to not want to love that house... but... I really paid attention to what was out the windows... and it wasn't pretty... and it wasn't going to change anytime soon. So we moved on. And I'm glad we did.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

That Explains A Lot

I noticed something interesting this morning.

I think it's a key to what has been going on for me lately.

Try as I might to get myself on track, I just have not had the motivation to workout.

Which is very different than my usual self determination.

I am really not one to sit and live with a problem.

I am by nature a problem solver.

#1 Last week Kid had a pretty good week at school.
Socially things started to turn around.
So, academically, I still have my questions (serious ones)... but we can live through that.

#2 Last weekend I worked out for the first time since living here.
Then I worked out EVERY SINGLE MORNING since then.
I felt like I was suddenly back to the old me.

#3 At the breakfast table Kid told me about being reprimanded for day dreaming. Then she revealed that she isn't allowed to take snack time if she isn't done with her "morning work"... then has to eat snack during recess... thereby destroying what social success she has made, since she can't play with the other kids.

#4 Kid goes to school, and instead of gearing up to workout, I decide I need a rest day.

#5 Recognize a familiar feeling.

#6 Realize that ALL ALONG the stress I'm feeling about Kid's school situation is what has been keeping me from working out. It has been sucking my soul out and draining all my energy... leaving me... not depressed... but well drained... and stressed. And I only have so much energy to expend outside of regular daily activities... and if I feel I need to be dealing/worried about Kid and what to do next... that pretty much uses it up. And I just do not have the energy to worry about Kid 24/7 and also workout.* I just don't. I'm not a superhuman.

#7 Call my old therapist to get myself back in her schedule... since I clearly need a safe place to let this stuff out. I need a place where I can work on my feelings, and sort out what feelings are my old injuries, and what are justified in this situation. I need help assessing my motivations and keeping them in check with what is best for Kid. I need help making a smart, viable plan for how to fix what is going on. Sometimes you need an outside person to reflect your feelings off of. This is one of those times.

#8 Immediately feel like working out.

*Which is saying a lot about how much stress I am under. Even during the intense seizure watch times, during our house selling in Asheville... I still worked out. This is different. This time I don't *know* what the right answer is... and it's killing me. I second guess myself and my motivations and the school and Kid EVERY SINGLE DAY... multiple times a day. This isn't a cut and dry situation with a clear solution.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

It's Over

We finished LOST last night.

We pretty much cried continuously for an hour and half, muttering...

"What does it mean? What does it mean?!"*

And I'm still processing what the hell it means.

I mean I get the obvious... but...

Why did Penny & Juliet get to be there?!

What does it mean?!!! What does it mean?

*Special nod to SuperDad for introducing me to that, now, commonly used Furious household phrase.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Same Story, Different Year

The time change is kicking my ass.

You'd think gaining an hour would negate the wonkiness of the change... but... no.

I didn't actually gain an hour. I was just awake an hour longer.

And, sure, I appreciate that the sun is on the verge of rising when we get up (for now).... but.... the darkness that sets in an hour earlier in the evening?!... not a fan.

Not a fan.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


After a long week of work Mr F came home a bit early on Friday(4 PM... shocking!) and we all curled up on the couch and watched this gorgeous remake of Heidi on Netflix.  We loved it.  Mr F and I cried.  (For what it is worth we cry nightly during Lost).

(Seriously, who doesn't love Max Von Sydow?).

This morning we got up and out early to catch the free movie showing of Ramona & Beezus at our local movie theater.  I had been both excited and nervous about this movie.  We love, love, love the entire book series, but I worried that the way they had interpreted and combined story lines would piss me off.  Um... needless worry, outside of John Corbett being John Corbett...  I LOVED IT.  Mr F and I cried.... a lot... even after the movie.  (see previous disclaimer).  

Now, the kids are hiding in leaves while Mr F tries to rake them. 

It's very very scary (as you can see.  Baby's fake fur trim is just terrifying.

I'm inside where it isn't 30 degrees working on this...

Yep, that is how lame we are.

That's it.  We're in that sweet spot between holidays, when we can actually just relax and enjoy our weekend together.  It's rare, and fleeting, but it's making for a good, good, time.  

Friday, November 5, 2010

Belated Birthday

This beauty turned 8 on HALLOWEEN 



I love her more than ever.  Really, I do.  I think she is totally awesome.  

I'm trying to lure her into being my best friend by teaching her sexy cheers for her spelling words.  

I think it's working.

You should come over at 5 PM on school nights.  It is hilarious.

I could go on and on about how much she means to me.  

She knows (which I consider a great parenting accomplishment... I didn't grow up knowing that in the unquestioning deep way that she does).

Last night I said...

"Do you think anyone loves their kids as much as I do?"  

"Nope." She answered confidently.  

"Why don't they?"  She inquired.  

"Because the level of love I feel for you would kill most people."  I replied.   

Thursday, November 4, 2010

7:55 AM

"What are you doing?" Mrs F asks.

"What?" Baby returns defensively.

"I'm just carving a pumpkin in my mouth." She continues.

(please excuse the mostly lame picture oriented posts of late... this is Mr F's closing week at work again... and... well... that means me+kids for 16 hours straight every day which = tired, very, very tired)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

We Knew This Day Was Coming

One reason we bought this house is because of the huge yard and abundant mature trees.
What we didn't know is that all of our trees would be late leafers and plot against us in dropping a majority of their leaves in about a one week span of time. Last week's massive wind storms certainly helped them along.

This isn't even all of the yard...

You know what I'll be doing today.

Somehow I don't think this little lady will be much help...

2 hours
5 huge tarp-fuls of leaves dragged all the way around the house and down the hill... with the added weight of Baby in the mix!
And all I've done is *mostly* clear the area around the deck...

In my defense some of the leaves in this area were more than a foot deep!

Please note the amount of leaves versus that house... that is a lot of leaves!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Let Me Just Say

We got our kittens 2 months ago.

And, by now, we could have bought Kid that horse she *really* wanted.

Monday, November 1, 2010



the other goddamn cat (I say that with love)

is shedding tapeworm segments


Self Competency... AKA $75 Service Call My Ass

So one of the annoying things that the movers damaged is our dryer...

They put something on top of it.

If we hadn't paid a ton for full coverage we'd just be sitting here slightly annoyed.

Since we did, we of course want this baby fixed.

Along with our dining room table, side table, and as piddly as it sounds... our stainless garbage can (I will note that I would never have made a big deal about that personally... Mr F did).

Well, despite paying more than the total amount it would cost to fix everything for the insurance, the moving company is taking their sweet old time repairing everything.

The other day a furniture repair guy showed up and took pictures and took our tables... but... he doesn't know how to fix the dryer. He suggested I call an appliance repairman to come out and give us an estimate.

Well, I could do that.

Or, thanks to the internet, I could figure out how to repair it my damn self.

Done (it's amazing how motivating NOT having to call repair people... my own strange form of social anxiety... can be).

Now I just need the moving company to pony up for the price of the part.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Highbrow Halloween

This costume, sadly, went over everyone's head. They had to have a costume inspired by a book. The teacher actually took the book and leafed through it... like she had never seen it before. Hmm...


Thursday, October 28, 2010

And If I Can Do That... What A Gift It Will Be

#1 I read this, and it pretty much summed up my feelings on homeschooling.

#2 Dark green carpet may not show dirt... but... it shows EVERYTHING else.

#3 I went into the school to talk to Kid's teacher. I asked her how Kid was doing socially. She said "Fine". When I told her she was actually having a hard time adjusting, blah, blah, blah, and that there were some mean kids, etc., the teacher responded with....

"Well, we all have our hardships."

(FYI, that was not an acceptable response.)

I also had to bear the heartbreaking disappointment of seeing that the kids' desk were all prepped for the next morning with their stacks of worksheets. I know we get about 10 home everyday... but... I didn't know it was this bad. I wouldn't wish a boring non-stop paperwork job on an adult... I certainly am not going to sit back and resign a year of my child's life to that. REALLY. This is the actual learning style of that classroom. They walk in, sit down, and work on worksheets ALL DAY. It's raining... no recess you say?... no problem... they don't have free play... they have FUN WORKSHEETS to do in their desks. SERIOUSLY. These kids are SEVEN YEARS OLD.

So yeah...

#4 Kid is coming out of that school before Christmas. That I can goddamn guarantee you.

I talked with Kid about some choices. I talked to her about another private school. "They don't have any worksheets there." I said. She was excited, then said slightly concerned, "What about fun worksheets, like coloring ones?" "Honey, at this school you can draw whatever you want." She had a huge smile.

I may not know what we're going to do next. And I may not know how it will be. But I do know it will be better than what she's doing now.

As I said to Kid, while walking home from school....

"There is a difference between being *happy* and not being *sad*.

We can't control everything. We can't protect our children from all hardships. God knows, we know that.

But, you can choose to change the things within your control.

You can choose happiness, when happiness is a choice.

And if I can teach my children anything.

It's that.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Spelling Lesson

I let Kid stay home from school again today. I just thought she was tired and needed to sleep and just let today be an *easy* day emotionally. (Plus, I was really tired from staying up late watching Lost...just kidding).

When she woke up (2 hours after she would have had to get up for school), I told her we would do a practice homeschool day.

We started with the assignment her teacher had emailed me. Then we went on to practice her spelling words.

When we introduce new spelling words I usually give it in the context of a sentence.

So when I told her "kicked", I followed it with...

"I accidentally kicked you in the head." (As if that isn't what came to your mind first, too)

Then Kid said...

"Which actually happens all the time at school."

"Except... it isn't an accident." She finished.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Kid woke up early to snuggle Dasher for awhile before he was put down.
She was doing pretty well until we had to get out the carrier. Then we all started to lose it. Well, not Baby, she did fake cry to keep us all company though.

The hardest part for her (and me, honestly) is the empathy for him. Just feeling so overwhelmingly sad that he only got to live for 5 months. It is very hard not to anthropomorphize animals. But, we talked about it (for days) and we wondered if we would have adopted him even if we knew he was dying. Wouldn't we have brought him home and given him the best possible 2 months he could have? Love him, and let him live out his days sleeping and playing with his brother? Wouldn't we have wanted to make sure he didn't suffer? Of course we would have.

His short life was, sadly, inevitable and we need to focus on the quality of life he got to have. That he did not know he was dying, as we did. And was able to die peacefully and humanely in the arms of a loving family member. However short, he did have a good life for the few months he lived with us.

Right before he left with Mr F this morning, I gave him a pile of treats (he had stopped getting up to eat regularly). While he was eating he lost his kitten tooth. It was both a gift for us... a little physical reminder for Kid to hold onto... but also just a sad, sad, statement that he was losing his life just as he was losing his baby teeth.

Mr F had the unfortunate task of taking him to the vet to be put down. Mr F said "How many animals must I bury?!". This just feels so cruel after losing Canine last year.

Unfortunately, this is the dark side of pet ownership. And as I said to Kid, the natural world isn't a fair place.

Heartbreakingly, Tiger is roaming around the house crying out. I didn't think he'd notice yet, but he's definitely acting as if something is wrong. Or maybe he's just mad that I gave the last of our treats to his brother...

We still need to work on not anthropomorphizing Tiger, apparently.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Good Guess... But...

"Do you know where my party is going to be?" Kid asks Baby.

"At the... jail?" Baby whispers cautiously.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

This Has Been A Long Time Coming

The carpet is finally here!
It took Mr F and I an amazing 3 hours to empty all four bedrooms and the living room. How many weeks do you want to guess it will take us to put it all back? 3? 4? Our bathroom, dining room, kitchen and playroom look like storage units. I feel like we just moved in again.

This is what we put in our livingroom. It is a very dark moss green with a cut & loop texture. I love it. The color choice was very difficult. We needed dark to hide dirt (sliding door to outside) and the texture to hide wear and tear (there is a major walking path from the front door to the dining room cutting through here. We took our cues based on the staining of the previous carpet. It wasn't pretty and we do not want to pay this much money any time soon!

For the bedrooms we went with a light grey... touch of taupe... short pile carpet. I wanted a neutral but am not much of a fan of beige and didn't want to go the cream route because of the kids. This tone (being more cool) is well suited to our intended bedroom palate of cool pink, grey, and Kid's light blue. This short pile is unbelievably soft. Seriously.

Both of these are SmartStrand (made by Mohawk) from Lowe's. And they were not that expensive. We had looked at a high end independent store first and we could not afford their Mohawk SmartStrand and what we could afford was terrible low quality rough stuff. This is the same carpet we couldn't afford there and the price was lower than the cheap crap. SmartStrand is more stain resistant than Stain Master but have no added chemicals to make them that way, the stain resistance is part of the strand composition (as the name implies) instead of treated carpet, so they are super soft (also less fumes). We went with the highest end pad which is a solid pad instead of the glued up bits style... less glue... less fumes and off gassing. Plus it won't break down unevenly overtime. It is also the only pad you should leave down when you re-carpet if needed. So the little bit more (under $200 extra over traditional pad for the whole house) will more than pay for itself if we need to re-do any of these rooms.

And I'd like to give Lowe's a nod for giving us 10% off our entire purchase even though we never did get that coupon in the mail. Mr F told them about it and they gave it to us anyway.

And the installers (hired by Lowe's) did a great job. This is our 3rd time getting carpet in the AA area and this is hands down the best installation (even better than Merkel).

Everything looks so clean now... what with the lack of large bodily fluid stains and all!

On the unfortunate cat front... we've decided to put him down on Monday morning. We want to be sure we don't let this go on into suffering. Right now his movement is clearly inhibited but he can still eat a little and go to the bathroom in his litter. He can still be petted, but he can't move off the floor or play... just watch his brother. With the rate this has progressed, and the emotional toll of watching your pet die, we think ending this sooner rather than later is best.
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