Monday, January 27, 2014

Photo dump...

Hi folks.  Sorry about the serious lack of bloggage these last few weeks.  Things have been busy, but in a great way.  I've started writing a book.  No clue if I'll try to get it to go anywhere when it's done, but it's been a great creative outlet.  So I've been soaking up most of George's naps writing the book instead of blogging.

Here's the photo dump of the last few weeks:  
 Ethan and I picked up this NYPD car at FAO Schwarz when we were there in November.  We saved it for George for Christmas, and it was a huge hit.
 What my lazy, cold dogs do in these super chilly days we've been having way too many of lately.
 Ethan trying out my new glasses (looking very science-y with his goggles on also). 
George discovered that the printer makes fun noises, and he can now reach the buttons.  Pretty sure we're going to start blowing through more ink than usual.
Getting more of the floor done in the upstairs room... 
 ...Enough so that I was able to move my desk up there.  Yay for having my OWN work space where I can CLOSE THE DOOR!!! 
 Marley, checking out the view of the barn from my new "office."
 George has decided that Marley is an excellent stuffed animal.  Marley has decided that she simply doesn't care.
 Can we all have a round of applause for the hair George woke up with the other morning?!
 Ethan's the one with the awesome fashion sense, pulling off the bright yellow plaid shirt with a patterned tie.
George thinks that running shoes are excellent fun.  I've been using them enough lately that I almost believe him...almost.

I'll try to get these posts out more often.  

Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, December 23, 2013

Ice, Ice, Baby...

Yesterday turned out a lot better than it could have.  Every time I went outside with the dogs yesterday, I could hear branches and whole trees falling in the woods around the fields.  It sounded like a super sized Bigfoot guy was crashing through the woods all day long.  But we were only without power for a short time, and only a couple sections of fence were damaged (in the photo below).  And since we don't have any animals in the fields yet, the fencing can wait until Spring to be repaired.  It was just amazing to see what Mother Nature is capable of.  Our whole property looked like a Dr. Seuss book.  Trees curled over, dead flowers encapsulated in globes of ice, and stalks of hay and blades of grass that were individually wrapped in crystal clear ice.      

I hope you and your homes are all safe and sound also.

Thanks for stopping by,

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Winter wonderland...

Glad we got our snowshoeing in yesterday, because this morning I woke up to see a balmy 14 degrees BELOW zero on our thermometer.  Super excited about getting firewood in today... Oh, if only there were a font for sarcasm.

Anyway, yesterday Hubby and I (and George) took advantage of the incredibly gorgeous day, and went out to explore our new backyard (and our neighbors', and some State Forest Land).  

We were on our way back in the middle of the woods and George yelled out, "chicken!"  As Matt was mid-sentence, trying to tell George that there weren't any chickens out in the woods, a partridge flushed up and scared the crap out us.  "Son of a bitch!  I need to start taking him hunting with me!  He saw that thing before it even moved!"  is what my husband's reaction was.  For the love of God, only a man would have I-need-to-take-my-baby-hunting as a reaction to this situation.  Don't worry.  NOT going to happen.

As well as finding out that my baby has fantastic eyesight, the trek gave me a chance to try out my new boots.  They passed their test with flying colors.  Couldn't be happier with them.  Nice and light, and much warmer than I thought they'd be with their super thin lining, and I got them for $10 cheaper than what they're currently listed on Amazon for (which is already $109 below their original list price).  YAY!

It's the little things in life that bring me joy, Folks...  

Thanks for stopping by,

Friday, December 13, 2013

School struggles...

*Disclaimer:  This one's going to be a lengthy one.  Go ahead and grab yourself a cup of coffee and a cookie, or 12, and settle in...

For the last few months I've only gotten to interact with Ethan when he's a frazzled basket case at the end of the school day, and then he's off to his Dad's for the weekend.  Let's just say that I haven't been seeing the best possible version of him lately.  He's been having a really rough time at school, and since he's 9, and lacks the maturity to know that he needs to just go for a run at the end of the day an clear his head, he's been bouncing off the walls instead.  He's been trying my patience, to say the least.  So when he gets like that, I try to remember this...     
This picture is from back in November when Ethan and I went on our adventure together to New York City.  It was so cool to spend 4 solid days with him, and be able to see what his brain was capable of.  He was so interested in everything.  He was just as enamored with the Statue of Liberty as he was with FAO Schwarz.  He asked so many questions, some I even had answers to.  He read the Google directions for me on my phone, and navigated us into the city, and back out again on our way home (and I didn't have to turn around ONCE).  And yet he struggles soooooo much at school.  His brain works so well, but just not the way that the other kids' do.  It's triumphant and heartbreaking all at once.  I see his potential.  I see what he's capable of doing and being.  And I have no doubt that he'll be just fine when he grows up and can be done with school and choose his own path.  But he struggles with getting that across at school.  He works slower and with more frustration than the other kids.  And since he's graded on the work he finishes, his grades flat out suck.  He's at huge risk of having to repeat the fourth grade.  If I got him a diagnosis of ADHD and a bottle of Ritalin, he'd probably pass with flying colors.  He'd be calm and focused, and also qualify for an IEP to work with him one-on-one.  But I don't want to.  I'm not in denial about the way he is.  I'm actually quite honest with myself about it.  But I sort of feel like there's not a 9-year-old boy on the face of the planet that isn't hyperactive with a short attention span.  I know that my kid has it worse than some other kids in his class, and also not as bad as others.  I have frequent meetings with his teacher, and she has let me know that he is not the worst of her problems.  So, until he is, we let it ride without the drugs.

But over the last few months we've been batting around the idea of home school.  Our thought is that with a year or two of homeschooling, he'd be caught back up academically, and also have that extra time to mature a little more, before sending him off to middle school.  It would prevent him from having to stay back a year.  I mean, how do you tell a smart kid, who understands the concepts taught in class that he has to stay back a year because the work he's doing doesn't prove that?  But it's not a decision we're making lightly.  It's a big deal.  Huge.  Potentially life-changing.  AND there's no guarantee that it would even fix the problem.  He might still go on to middle school being the immature one that can't focus in class. So I've been stalling.  Not doing anything about it right now.  Just thinking, and weighing pros and cons.  I finally worked up the courage the last time I was in Montpelier, to stop at the State's education office and talk with the homeschooling coordinator.  She gave me this giant packet with everything I'd ever wanted to learn about homeschooling in it.  It's been sitting on my desk for weeks now.  I've opened it, and read through the overwhelming amount of information, and I'm still no closer to making a decision.  It's awful.  I feel like I'm going to screw him up either way.  I feel like he's going to be totally screwed up if I leave him where he is, and have him devastated by the stigma attached with staying back a year.  And I also feel like I'm going to screw him up by taking him out of the social setting of school.  Well...not so much lately.  Lately he's latched onto some "friends" at school that I wouldn't be so sorry if he didn't see for a year or two, or... ever again.  But I don't feel like pulling him out of awkward social setting is going to help him learn how to deal with them either.  So the fact that I dislike his friends isn't being weighed in our decision, as difficult as that is to push aside.

Pretty much everything else is being considered though.  The good, the bad, and the ugly, right down to the fact that we'd be spending more money on food, because he wouldn't be eating at school anymore if he were home-schooled.  And also that we'd have an opportunity to learn together.  Some of it with traditional school work, but also about life skills that aren't taught in schools.  I have so much to learn about how to make our fields good again, and about fixing a tractor (when we get a tractor to fix), and expanding our gardens, introducing new chickens to our flock, and maybe other animals too, since we have the room for them now.  I have tons of projects left to do on our house.  And he could be doing these things with me, and learning with me as we go.  He wouldn't just know how to make a volcano with vinegar and baking soda or do algebra, but he'd also be learning how to apply those lessons throughout his life.  He'd learn that you can use that same volcano mix to clean out a clogged drain, and that algebra can be used to determine how much we should charge for a dozen eggs after calculating up the grain price, and amount consumed by each chicken.  

What would you do?  Would you leave him in public school and hope for the best?  Would you pull him out, and hope for the best?  

Thanks for stopping by,

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Getting our free tree...

Yesterday Ethan only had a half day of school (why?  Beats the hell out of me) so we spent part of the afternoon decorating our Christmas tree together.  He always pick the ornaments with the most glitter.  It looks like a flock of fairies blew up in my dining room.  I know that glitter is supposed to be fun, and happy, and cheerful, but I think that whoever invented it was part of the mob.  Because you can't hide from it.  It can find you anywhere and sneak up on you when you least expect it.  I clean a LOT, and I know for a fact that there will be glitter from yesterday's tragic fairy incident in my house FOREVER.  After vacuuming, and mopping, and vacuuming 4 billion more times, I'll look at myself in the mirror some time in March, and there will be a tiny spec of gold glitter on my forehead.  And I'll do what I do every time, and have the spider-on-my-head freak-out, and yell howinthefreakingfu*kareyoustillfindingme?!

Anyway, glitter bombs aside, it turned out to be a pretty great little tree.  It's has skinny branches, and didn't support very many ornaments, BUT it was from our own property, and it's helping celebrate our first Christmas in our new house.  So it's perfect.

 Bringing it home
 Sunset across the field the night we got our tree.  We have an impressive amount of gorgeous sunsets and sunrises here on this property, and they still blow my mind every time.

Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, December 9, 2013

New runner for the stairs...

Good Lord.  It's very nice to see you again.  Our internet was down for the last 5 days.  FIVE!  And in those 5 days I realized how embarrassingly dependent I've become on the Wold Wide Web (and how, now that it's back, I have zero intention of changing my ways, and plan to use the ever-loving bejezus out of it today to let it know just how much I appreciate it).  BUT, I did manage to check a rather impressive amount of items off my to-do list in those five days, including some things that hadn't even made the list yet.  So behold, our newly made-over stairs...
Our original plan was to replace the stair treads with wooden ones that matched our new hardwood flooring.  But those babies would have run us about $70 EACH!  No freaking way.  Maybe when we're old and retired, and our boys have finished college, so we'll have disposable income again.  But I doubt it even then.  By then we'll hopefully be spending some of that dough on a vacation, and won't care about our painted stairs back home anyway.  
This is what our stairs looked like when we bought our house this summer.  Be so thankful that you can't smell that carpet from where you are sitting right now.  It still gives me nightmares.  The day after we closed on the house, My husband and I sent the kids to my Mom's and spent all day long tearing out every scrap of that seriously barf-inducing carpet.  I'm not kidding.  The ENTIRE house was covered in it (even one of the bathrooms.  Major yuck), and it all smelled like every animal in the world had come in and used it as their personal plush potty.
My Mother-in-law then spent an entire back-breaking afternoon pulling all the staples from the stair treads.
Then I painted the treads.  And there they sat, with their first coat of paint, and bare middles showing for the last 4 months...until our internet went down and I found myself with a wee bit more time freed up for actually being productive.  In my defense though, I actually finished the hardwood flooring in the upstairs bathroom last week BEFORE the great crash, thank-you-very-much.

So anyway, if you're interested in doing such a project, I pretty much followed this tutorial from Jenny at Little Green Notebook.  I loved the runners she used from IKEA, but IKEA doesn't ship their rugs, and it would have totally defeated the purpose of a budget-friendly project to get in the car and drive to the nearest IKEA (200 miles away).  So I found these runners online at Urban Outfitters, and so glad I bought them when I did, because the pattern I got isn't available anymore.  I love the floral one that they have, but it wouldn't have worked for this project.  I needed something with a continuous pattern, since I'd be hacking them together, and I didn't want the seams to be super visible.  This project took 2 full 8ft runners, and about 2/3 of a third runner.  So plan on buying 3 to do a full set of stairs.  An electric staple gun is freaking awesome also.     

Thanks for stopping by,

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Finding a tree...

It's not very often that the four of us get outdoor time together during this time of year.  With Ethan not getting off the school bus until 3:45, and George's afternoon nap going until 4:30, and it getting dark somewhere in between, our window has been pretty nonexistent.  But lately George has been protesting his afternoon nap, and today was no exception.  So we took advantage of the time we had together during dwindling hours of daylight this afternoon, and went in search of our Christmas tree.  Another perk of this new property is that we probably won't ever have to go buy another Christmas tree again.  It might not be as pretty, but FREE is pretty darned gorgeous, if you ask me.
We seized the moment for a photo op' in front of our barn.
Ethan pulling George in the sled...
This, folks is what serious amounts of joy looks like on a small person's face.  He was laughing so hard that he was screaming (but only while Ethan ran while pulling him.  Walking was much too boring).  Can I just say how freaking excited I am that I'll FINALLY have someone else to go on roller-coasters with me?!   
We followed the highway of deer tracks around our fence line.
One of the candidates.
On the way back home.  Losing daylight.

By the way, that little orange snowsuit that George is wearing was the best $2.50 I've ever spent.  It's an L.L. Bean one, in nearly new condition, and it was on clearance at Goodwill (I didn't even know that Goodwill had clearance sales until I found this thing).  It was such a good find that I bought it before we even had the baby.  Ha!  Seriously, I wouldn't joke around about an LL Bean snowsuit for less than the price of a Happy Meal.  We filled out our adoption paperwork, a girlfriend of mine was pregnant around the same time, and that gave me double the excuse to go shopping for cute stuff.  It hung in the closet for a year before we had a baby to put it on, and another year until the baby was big enough to wear it.  So glad that the timing/sizing worked out so that it fit him when he needed it.  He's seriously freaking cute in it.

Anyway, we found a tree.  Next day of nap protest this week we'll go back out and get it together.  More pics to follow...

Thanks for stopping by,