Wednesday, June 29, 2016


I can't get over it.  Bill received a juror summons for our county a week or so before we moved, for just after we are leaving for our year.  Since we were moving, it was just a matter of changing our address to my parents', since they are in a different jurisdiction.  Until he received the summons for their district today.  For August 1st.  When we're in Washington.   And year-long travel doesn't disqualify you.  You can postpone, but have to give them a date in the next six months you can serve.  I'm so freaking unable to deal with this right now.  So thank you, Colorado.  I'm sure there was no one else at all who could serve.

What Did I Just Read?

So, today I was reading in the bathroom.  Not a great supply of reading material, so I read the bath colors package.  Should wash off easily...test on small area....follow directions (really?)....PLEASE KEEP THIS PACKAGE AS CLEAR LEGAL PROOF OF THE ORIGIN OF THE PRODUCT.  WHAT??????  Now in my head there is some kind of bathroom patrol who will have me arrested for not retaining this package as clear legal proof.  I cannot imagine a scenario where my bath colors need to be legally proven.  So bizarre....

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Shapes in Nature

Out at Garden of the Gods yesterday, we spotted a couple of really cool shapes in the plants.  
NB spotted this cross in the pinecones.  It truly was really cool, and I'm glad that he not only spotted it, but that he pointed it out to the rest of us.  Sometimes we're too concerned with other aspects of a hike (like not falling) to notice these little tidbits.                  
K liked this cactus for its flowers, I liked it for its heart shape.  I told her we should print it off with a caption, "Home is Where the Heart Is."

Working Through Webelos

It's been a few days since we moved into my parents' house, so it's time to work on Webelos again, right?  Anyway, there are requirements that are just easier to accomplish in a house.  Like listing all the geologic materials you find in your house.  So we did some work on Earth Rocks!  Yesterday we visited Garden of the Gods to take a look at a great geologic site, and today we did an experiment taking us through the rock cycle.  
Balanced Rock.  We've been to a lot of really great geological sites, and inevitably there is a feature named balanced/balancing rock.  But I do so love to see the balancing rocks and how nature is just so amazing.          
K did a good job looking at the rocks and seeing their textures.  We watched some great videos on YouTube about geology.      
This is our simulated sedimentary rock.  We got this experiment from this video.  Who doesn't like working with Starburst?      
The melting process in its beginning stages.  Fortunately my mom has a hot plate, which is actually quite large, so all four of us got to melt ours at the same time.      
Three hours in, and I quit.  It was close enough, I felt, and I just didn't want to hover over it any longer.   Overall, we've enjoyed working on this elective adventure.  We've got more to do, but so far, so good!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Contained Chaos

We're out of the house now, and in my parents' house.  I thought I was doing so well.  Boxes were labelled, I kept an inventory of everything, I had stuff separated according to whether or not we were going to take it with us on our trip.  Ah, the devolution of my organization.  Blah.  
The storage room.  When we first started this venture, I felt like our stuff would fit the space just fine.  Perhaps we left a bit much empty space (to make it easier to look at our boxes on the shelves), perhaps we don't have nearly enough shelves.  Perhaps we just have too much stuff still.  Who can say?  But the junk just keeps going....              

My parents have an in-law suite in their basement, which is what we're using.  We're using the kitchenette as storage.  A lot of it is our camping stuff, plus the chairs to our table until our table is set up and ready to use.









The living room is actually not so bad.  Very crowded, especially considering we have their couch and our couch sharing the space that just held their couch.  Plus we added my desk, another couch over by the kitchenette, and our tv stand.  Their poor house is groaning with the all the added junk.







The boys' sleeping quarters.  We brought all our Sterilite dressers in the house, but we've still got clothes strewn all over the place.  Oish.









The other side of the room, where K sleeps.  Still a disaster zone.










Oh, and the largest mess of all.  So sad.  Must work on this.  According to Bill, I have 10 days to lazily organize it all.  Hmm.....

Thursday, June 23, 2016

HOA Woes

Whoa, HOA, whoa.  My goodness are these just scams of companies.  In the closing papers for our house, there was a fee for HOA docs.  I provided most of the docs to my realtor, who passed them along to the buyers.  Apparently, I was missing the most recent financials.  So the closing company got that one sheet for the buyers.  $193.  Holy stink.  That's outlandish.  The transfer fee for us leaving and the new buyers now being responsible for the HOA fee?  $275.  FOR WHAT?????  What a racket.

I have never really been a big fan of HOAs.  And it continues to amaze me that more and more neighborhoods are built with these governing bodies.  We are abdicating personal relationships with our neighbors for a ruling body that tells us what we can and cannot do with our property.  All so that my neighbor doesn't ruin my property value.  A faceless, soul-less group whose sole purpose is to enforce rules based upon some group's idea of what makes a desirable neighborhood.

And what is more enfuriating than someone telling me what I can or cannot do with my property, whether my property conforms to their sense of beautiful or not?  They don't hold themselves to those same standards.  They don't necessarily maintain common grounds to the same standards they hold homeowners, maintenance has gone entirely too long before being addressed.  And the letters they send out to homeowners take such an aggressive and hostile tone.

I will be glad to be done with this nonsense.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Missed Opportunities

Missed opportunities have been weighing on my heart of late.  Change is hard.  I've lived in eight states, seven of those before I was a teenager.  Change and I are no strangers, but we're not friends, either.  So being on this side of the change, worrying and wondering what the future holds, I'm left pondering what I've not yet accomplished, things I've left undone or not fully taken advantage of while here.  
These are my gorgeous raspberry plants.  I've had them now for several years, the amount you see in the picture is more than the total number I've gotten from my many plants combined over the years.  This is a mere fraction of what awaits.  I've worked hard on these plants, and yet I have to leave them behind.  The effort I've put in is going to reap benefits for someone else.  Oh, how I wish that the harvest was mine for the taking, but I have to walk away from it.  It's hard.   

What else do I have to walk away from?  What other missed opportunities are there?  I am beyond sad that I won't get to see my Cub Scout den progress and grow this year.  There were a lot of things I had wanted to do with this house that have never materialized.  I have friends I would have liked to spend more time visiting.  One of my friends told me over the weekend that it was as if we were breaking up.  

 But, I have bold new adventures on the horizons.  Sights to see that I would not have experienced without this hardship.  Experiences and opportunities that I can only imagine.  Adventure awaits....

Lost My Enthusiasm

It's our last week in the house.  We spent this weekend packing up and taking over to my parents's house a lot of the big furniture.  We have our matresses, a TV stand and TV, a fish stand, and our kitchen table.  I'm wandering the house wondering what I'm supposed to do until it's that chaos of last minute getting things out of the house. I could weigh more stuff to take on the trip.  But I've honestly lost my enthusiasm for that.  I have five more people's dressers to weigh and account for, and I can't muster the energy for it.  I need to go through my plastic containers and see what would be useful on the trip, but I couldn't care less right now.  Pack the toiletries, or dump them?  Oh, what's easier?  So many things on my plate, so few I give a rip about doing. We're trying to eat our way through our pantry and freezer.  We already sold the big freezer, so it's not as daunting a task as it could be.  The pantry is emptying out as well, but there's still a bunch of stuff in it.
That just doesn't seem like a ton for a family of seven, but at the same time, it's staring me in the face every day.  Some of it just has to go to the 'rents' place.  Can't help it.  No way to eat 15+ pounds of rice this week.  No.Way.  What about the bread flour I haven't used in forever?  That can probably be tossed.  The whole wheat flour?  So sad, but that's a goner, too.  AP flour?  Yeah, that's hittin' the road with us.  Why the hell do I still have so many flours?  Oh, I have cake flour, too.  And corn meal.  The cake flour will be used to make some truly bangin' cookies (they are so darn tasty), if the urge overcomes me.  I do so love those cookies.  That urge may actually materialize!

I need to get on packing up the final stuff so I can get down to cleaning.  My least favorite thing.  Possibly.  I may dislike other things more, but this is what's on my plate now and I have no appetite for it.  I'm taking applications for those interested in donating their time and skill in cleaning this joint!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Camping in July

Turns out, I'm not so excited to tent camp in July in Utah.  I love Dinosaur National Monument, don't get me wrong.  But my body absolutely hates the thought of 100+ degree days.   Bill found a misting fan that I pooh-poohed at first, but it's beginning to sound like something I would really want.  On our walk last night, Bill was checking out the weather for our various campsites on his phone.  This week the first few ones are all hitting the 90s to the 100s.  Blech.  At least we'll be near water at all of them.  Bill's big plan for Dinosaur is to go to the visitor's center and just hang out.  I also want to go to the box canyon and check out the homestead again.

I also found a fish hatchery in the area that would be cool to visit.  We have a wildlife refuge around here that we like to visit.  It's home to a bison herd and also has black footed ferrets.  The Ouray National Wildlife Refuge is home to waterfowl, and it also hosts the fish hatchery.  I think we'll have a great time exploring places outside the park, seeing what else is in the area.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016


Me oh my.  Things have gotten real.  This morning I made two reservations.  Neither of them being for our first, second, or even third location.  I should get on that.  BUT, I have just committed us to being international travelers.  Of the North America variety.  Late July will find us in Banff, Canada!  We haven't been out of the country since our honeymoon, so it's pretty exciting.  

We applied for our passports in late April and we got them in such a hurry!  We have friends who live in Northern VA, and they had to make appointments to get their passports applied/turned in.  We walked in, no appointment, no other people in line, had all the paperwork filled out and such, so we walked out within 20 minutes.  About two weeks later, they showed up at my parents' house (we had them sent there in case they showed up after we moved).  That was simply amazing!  And so now we get to put those bad boys to good use before we pick up our trailer in the fall.  Yeah!!!!  

The other reservations I made this morning are for Silver Falls in OR.  I got National Geographic's Guide to State Parks of the United States for research. NS did one of his reports on Silver Falls, telling us about the waterfalls and such.  When I looked at their campground for reservations, the tent pads were all kinda small.  Bill called them up, though, and the ranger he spoke with said our tent should fit.  It'll be snug, but it'll fit.  So I hopped right on it, since there were only two sites.  We're in!  

Now I just need to get on the rest of the trip.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Library Reading Program

I'm not a fan of incentive programs.  Feels way too much like bribery to me.  When I was getting my teaching license, they emphasized that we want kids to have intrinsic motivation.  Get good grades because that's what you want, you're possessed of a nature to do a good job.  That's what we want.  We want our employees to do a good job whether we're hovering over their shoulder or not.  We want our kids to help out in the house because that's what needs to be done, not because we'll pay them for picking up their filthy, nasty socks.  BUT, the library offers some kick butt incentives, and my kids (as K put it) were born to read.  They can't pick up prizes until June 8th, but my three oldest have already finished the entire 1200 minutes of reading.  

 Do you know what 1200 minutes of reading over 60 days looks like?  That's 20 minutes a day.  I don't know where that number comes from, but that's the number schools have been using for years (check out this video).  When G was in 2nd grade and still in public school, he had to fill out his monthly calendar of reading.  20 minutes a night.  I had to sign off on it.  He would read Biscuit Goes to School.  I have nothing against that book, really and truly.  It's reading level is a G (Fountas & Pinnell), which is 1st grade.  Hmm....  Not horrible, but not on the level he was reading normally.  He would seriously ask me every five minutes if his 20 minutes were up.  As soon as they were, he would put that book down and get out Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief (level S, 5th grade).  I was so sick of the way he would read just to fulfill a requirement--just to get the unpleasant task out of the way.  I took to just signing the form without recording minutes.  But the minutes were needed, I was told, so that the precious matrix could be filled out.  So then I just took to lying.  I was not going to follow him around the house surreptitiously recording his time.  Dude, I have better things to do with my time.  All for a stupid freaking matrix.  At the end of the month, those who had read the required amount of time got a free pizza from Pizza Hut.

Have I mentioned I hate incentive programs?  We're all like little trained monkeys trying to get our treats.   But the library incentive program.  We get activities out of that.  We can go to the pool one day free.  Yeah!  The kids get a ticket to the amusement park.  Yeah!  And they all get to add three more books to their own collections.  That's a program I can get behind.  

 And I do recognize the irony of hating incentive programs while planning the party the scouts earned by living all the points of the law.  Stupid incentive programs.....

Screen Free

In the mass chaos surrounding putting the house on the market, we missed Screen Free Week.  It was the same week as putting our house up, so it would have been great to participate, especially since a local rec center gives free passes to those kids participating.  Oh, we would have loved to have gone to the pool every day!  Well, little miss decided we should do our own screen free week, and so that's what we just finished up.  Turned out to be a lot harder this year than in years past.  I've had some great ideas for camping, but haven't been able to fully research them.  I've been weighing stuff for the trip (what?  You ask?  Check it out here.) like crazy and just keeping track on index cards.  I ended up not being completely screen free.  June 1st was the first day of the library reading program, so we signed up online.  The kids tracked their reading online.  I did email another mom for a meetup.  By the last night of our week I had pretty much thrown it completely out the window.  Sigh.  But my kids followed it, and they did a great job.  We incorporated the Webelos requirement for Castaway--use as little energy as possible (not their own body energy, the other kind!).  The kids figured out that we don't need nearly as much electricity as we use.  I'm hoping they keep most of the lights off now that they've figured that out.  I, on the other hand, need light for my tasks.  Huge, honkin' flood lights.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Digging in the Past

We've got our first camp location picked out--Dinosaur National Monument in Utah!  We've been before, and we loved it, so it's exciting to get to see it again.  Since we'll be hitting the fossil trails, I thought we'd go ahead and squeeze in the Wolf adventure, Digging in the Past.  I had not originally planned on this one, but it makes sense.  We spent only two days on the adventure, but each day was longer than a regular den meeting would be normally.  My kids are dino-crazy, so they had a lot of fun with it.  I set my two oldest up with the Den Chief training, because I want them to have experience working with younger kids, helping an adult with activities, and practicing the skills of encouragement and generosity.  G is being Den Chief for J, so he worked with me to get all the activities and projects together.  He worked so well with J, encouraging him and showing him what to do.  Beauty in motion,

The picture doesn't quite convey it, but there were two VERY different techniques being utilized.  Care and caution vs. reckless excavating.  I leave it to you to guess which was used by which kid.  
We all like to participate in any fun activity, so we actually had two dino digs going on.  K and NB have decided to be a den, since they're both Webelos age, so they worked together on a dino dig.  It was really exciting to see the imprint from the plastic dinosaurs we used on the plaster.  Everyone agreed, however, that though it was a fun project, we were never doing it again.  They had to clean up after it.  If I were the one who cleaned, they would ask to do it several more times.  Lesson learned.  Thank you, BSA.  Oh, and if other scouts are reading this, my kids ALL hated the layered snack.  It was too sweet and they really didn't like the way the animal cracker got mushy in the jello (we didn't let it sit long enough in the pudding for it to really get mushy there).


I was all excited when our youngest came home from the park bearing today's mail, because we had letters from the school district.  I was psyched because these should have been our, "we've received your paperwork" letters, but alas, such was not the case.  It was the, "hey, fill out paperwork" letters, which means what I sent them is lost or misplaced.  BUT, my favorite part of this whole thing is the fact that since I have five children, I received five letters.  It is so frustrating that I can't get one letter acknowledging my homeschooling of all my children.  School budgets are cut, people acknowledge the need to reduce our reliance on paper, but here we are, sending out five separate letters, five envelopes, blah blah blah.  I still get the emergency phone calls when a school my child would be attending IF any of them went to public school still, just cuz I'm in the system.  Such inefficiencies.  But I still fill out the surveys on the GT program, cuz I think that one sucks and I still let them know.  Honestly, why do I still receive these things?  Why can't they clump my family together in one envelope?  Why is waste mandated?  And don't say for privacy--all the letters are addressed to Bill and myself.  Grrr....