Friday, November 30, 2012

I made it!

NaBloPoMo! Thirty days! And I didn't even blog about dryer lint.

I did blog a lot about this though.

but who could blame me?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

weight and BMI

My BMI today is 22.3, which is utterly normal weight. I feel like I look utterly normal too. I wear a size 10-12 and I'm five-eleven, 160 pounds (180 cm, 72.5 kg.) Somewhere in the back of my mind though, I remember that 24 year old girl who ran 3 miles a day, had no children, and lived on romaine lettuce, Parmesan cheese, Pop Tarts, and cheap chianti. Who occasionally felt "fat" at 121 pounds (54.9 kg). Her BMI was an emaciated 16.9.


Here's Keira Knightley at a BMI of 17:

Yes, I was that skinny! That is the minimalist butt and ribcage my dear husband fell in love with. How, I do not know, because he greatly favors the looks of this lady here:

The lovely Shakira, who at five-two and 127 pounds (157 cm, 57.6 kg) has a BMI of 23.2. I guess he just kept encouraging me to have babies until I got curvy enough. I've got a few more BMI points to eke out - I guess those are for the next babies. After all, the hips don't lie.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

scrat hat splat

Bede has a hat he always wears. It's an unassuming brown beanie with a tan brim and he is never, ever parted from it. He's got it there in my sidebar photo and pretty much every picture taken of him since about 2009. It, along with an enormous pair of men's chinos, rolled up and belted in, was the first article of clothing he was willing to wear - before that he was naked all the time.

It is his Scrat Hat, and it defines Bede.

I have sad news.

"Mom, can you fix my hat?"

No worries. I've already cast on for a new one.

Monday, November 26, 2012

School daze

Here is Dorothy looking over her father's shoulder. Picture is unrelated to post.

Keeping the Bigs on task is difficult.

I used to be an unschooler. Unschooling has many definitions, but we hewed to the most basic: only self-directed study, no other-led directives. The kids did what they wanted, and if that meant they were uninterested in a subject then they didn't do it. For us, that meant I had two daughters who were accomplished sketch artists, avid binge readers of fiction, and consumers of internet meme culture. They also had more academic interests: Faith was into birds in a big way and Abby was interested in wildcraft and biographies of famous Americans.

But they were woefully behind in math and had no real notion of history or formal science. This sis common, in unschooling, to have huge gaps in knowledge when compared to a conventionally educated child. Many homeschoolers are perfectly fine with that, but I was not. So, a few years ago we started schooling. For us that has meant, basically, math, with a few forays into history and biology. But always math, where they are either at grade level or above now. However, this year we are trying something new: Oak Meadow. It's a bit rocky. There is more writing than the girls have ever been required to do and they are struggling a bit. When they do write, it is excellent, but getting it out of them is frequently unpleasant because they daaaawwwddddlle so. I'm committed to at least twelve weeks and we are on week 4. We shall see. I think it will come easier with time, and I think these are valuable skills to have.

Next year Faith wants to attend the co-op at our church. Abby may go as well. It's once a week, but all day. They'll need some school muscles for it, which is what I'm building now. Further on down the line they both want to go to college and they certainly need school muscles then.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

the old woodstove

This came with our new house.

I think the previous owner had it installed somewhere but I don't know where. It's full of ashes.

What should I do with it?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Christmas is coming!

Advent begins December 2 this year. Last year was the first year we have ever had an Advent wreath at home, and it was so lovely. Ours is a Jesse tree theme, with a symbol and a scripture verse for each day of Advent. Then we all sing O Come O Come Emanuel. The kids love it, because kids love ritual. Last year Sean was gone for much of Advent, visiting his dying father. He missed out on quite a few nights and he's looking forward to it this year.

I put up our tree, see

So that makes it official. No Nativity set until Advent, though.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

keeping it real

Dorothy insists I sit and Just Be for a bit. Thank you, little girl.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Those bumGenius Elementals

Here's one on the girl. Nice trim fit. Ain't she cute?
Not much blog in me tonight. Friends visited and I'm tuckered. I need to make the final grocery list for the feast on Thursday.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Laudamus Te, and a little hat

We got the first issue of Laudamus Te today. It is so beautiful and perfect. It is truly a companion for the Extraordinary Form Mass, containing a missalette and all the propers for Advent, in Latin and English. Just perfect. I recommend all my Latin Mass peeps get a subscription posthaste.

As you can see, it is quite diminutive, about the size of a paperback book. It fits easily in a purse or pocket. The paper is smooth and white, but not glossy. It feels good. The whole thing is Good.

Anyway, get a subscription. It's going to be a delight for us. Sean and I may need two subscriptions, in fact, so we won't have to share!

Speaking of diminutive things, I knit this darling little hat

which is, unfortunately TOO little for Dorothy's noggin. O well! I should know better than to knit form-fitting things for such a fast-growing person.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

children at Mass

We went to Mass today, like we do every Sunday, and I sat in the narthex with three of my children. I usually sit with two, but Trixie has been having asthma flare-ups recently so I thought it best she stay away from the incense smoke. Anyway, there we were, and today I really felt blessed to be at a church that just oozes with children. Off the top of my head, in our small parish of perhaps 150 families, I can think of at least 20 families with five or more children. There is one family with eight kids and two with nine! My seven just fit right in.

The kids aren't an afterthought, they are one of the reasons we're there. There's no nursery, everyone attends the same liturgies. These kids have been to Mass every Sunday of their lives so they are remarkably well behaved. It's pretty quiet. But when Mass is over and they all come pouring out, all loud and happy, it is one wonderfully joyful noise.

Here are my bookends.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Friday, November 16, 2012

the quest for the perfect cloth diaper

I've cloth diapered 7 babies now.

I've changed over sixty thousand diapers.


I have used almost everything, from pinned flat diapers with wool soakers to fitteds with nylon covers to pockets to prefolds with wraps. My current diaper for the diaper bag, where convenience is more important that cost (since I only need a few), is the bumGenius Elemental.

It's a one-size fit, which means it adjusts to fit from 7 to 35 pounds. I have my doubts that it will fit my kid at 35 pounds, but I'll see about that. So far the pros are easy to put on and take off, great fit with no leaky leg gaps, and clean-washing. Cons are drying time. I'll update in a few months as I use them more.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

a happier boy, homeschooling, selling on Craigslist

  • That Boy is much improved.
  • The experimental kids-look-it-up homeschool week is, ah, rocky. I still tell them where to look, and then later, what to do. Oh well. It's a nice way for me to keep records anyway.
  • Faith is so very into ponies. When she does something she does it with every fiber, and in her mind it's as if she has always been. And as though she never really liked other things. I gotta say, just between us? I'm getting sick of ponies.
  • I'm selling some cloth diapers on Craigslist. Bah. "I know you're asking $50, will you take $20?" Uh, no! $50 is already half price. Argh.
I sound grouchy, but I'm not.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Officially an Android fangirl

Yesterday I lucked out and scored a new Nexus 4 on launch day before they sold out (in minutes!) As I've said previously we need a new carrier for our cell phones out in the sticks, and since we have prepaid Virgin Mobile phones with no SIM to switch that meant buying brand new phones. I feel very decadent buying a $300 phone! Wow.

But what a great phone it is! Since I'm also counting it as a camera it takes a bit of the sting out of the purchase price. I'm going with Straight Talk as my carrier, and using the AT&T network. $45 a month for unlimited everything. 


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Who's a clever boy then?

This is Sam.

Sam wants you to understand the situation from the scorpion point of view. Nobody was living in the house, much less the air ducts! Can't we all just... get along?

I told Sam that his buddies are welcome to live outside in my woods but we were afraid we would reflexively kill them if they live in the house. Especially if they live in our similar-to-leaf-cover bedsheets. Totally involuntary response on our part, you understand. Safest for all if they vacate.

Except you, Sam. You can stay.

Monday, November 12, 2012

tough day

Agitation and ire today for reasons unknown from the Bede. He is 'stuck' today, and very inflexible. He yells at us, and contradicts what we say. I wonder, is he in pain? I don't think so. He tells us when he hurts. But maybe that is it.

Yesterday was tricky too. He was contrary at Mass, but not as much as today. We have a rule - no food anywhere but the kitchen or dining room. This is not a new rule, and has in fact existed for Bede's entire life. But today he is very angry about it. I had to put away his favorite box of crackers, his reaction to which you see here.

His interpersonal skills are completely unpolished. He has very functional communication abilities, but conveying a bad mood really just results in lots of yelling of NO! YOU BE QUIET! and AAAAAAUGH!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

the view, furniture

The view from the loft at the new house. We think we're moving before Thanksgiving, but I'm not holding my breath.

Hey! I bought a sofa. I wanted busy, bright and loud, like us.

I think I got it!

Also bought an ottoman (same print) and a chair-and-a-half. Let the lounging begin. It'll be here on Tuesday.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

the cuteness!

I met my milk recipient! So impossibly adorable!

It's good to know my milk is going to such an excellent example of ADORABLY CUTE BABY SQUEEEE!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Sometimes I even let them out to play

Since Gilbert loves Minecraft so much, everything is Minecraft. He's dressed as Steve, and had just told me he was headed out to punch some trees.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

the sons

Unlike my other children, Bede is completely unschooled. Being severely autistic meant for years his communication deficits made it impossible to "teach" him anything. However, he figured out how to read at age 2, and has been learning like a house afire ever since. Here he is manipulating a 20th Century Fox logo he built in SketchUp to say "Walt Disney Pictures." No one has ever shown him how to use the program; he figured it all out.

 Here is the ever-chipper Gilbert doing his math. He's working his way through Miquon, but what he really loves is Life of Fred. We save that for Fridays. One of my favorite things about Gilbert's math pages are the doodles he draws. He always has some Goldberg-esque machine with little stickmen.

Earlier there was a knock at my door. I opened it up to see an exterminator, who asked that I keep my kids inside because he was spraying for box elder beetles next door. Poor lil bugs.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

back to normal

Well. That's over. We'll see how it goes. My candidate didn't get out of the primaries and both of the bigs left me unimpressed, so I guess I didn't care that much.

I took the kids with me to vote (I always do) and got to cut in line because of the baby. Which was nice. Maybe they just wanted to get babies out quickly because if they start crying everyone is miserable? Who can say. In any event, I gladly took the chance to cut.

Today the big girls have finished their math book! Since we homeschool year round the milestones come at irregular intervals. Which is a contradiction, I realize, but I'm one-handed here and I hope you understand. So tomorrow, for their reward, they get to... start their new textbook. Yeah! There may also be a token or two of my esteem.

Here is Faith doing the last lesson.

Appropriately enough she is wearing a Dalek t-shirt. EXTERMINATE!


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Navigating the wireless wilds

So when we move, we'll need a new cell carrier. We currently have prepaid service from Virgin Mobile, which uses the Sprint network. It's great, but we have no coverage in the sticks. So we have to switch.

I am leaning toward AT&T. They have good coverage where we are and Sean and I could share a plan. It will still be more expensive than we are currently paying but I am considering getting rid of our land line when we move and going all wireless. That would even it out.

We can pay $160/mo and get unlimited talk/text along with 6GB to share. I currently use about 100MB a month, so I would use that for a hotspot for my laptop and the kids' computer. That would cut down on the satellite internet as well.

I realize this is all very boring. Here is a photograph of the long-and-getting-longer Abby.

We're buying a new couch.

Sean will be hard to convince to drop our land line, but I don't see the advantage. If anyone has any convincing arguments for either side please let me know.

A side effect of switching carriers is getting new phones. I'll confess I'm pretty pumped about that. I take about a hundred times more pictures with my phone than I ever did with my camera, largely due to Dropbox and auto-upload. So getting a phone with a boss new camera is a Big Deal. Sean doesn't do subsidized contract equipment if he can avoid it, so we'll both be buying. I am leaning toward the new Google Nexus 4.

Goodness this is a boring post. Here is another photograph, of the little girls playing outside.

Not a very good photograph, but isn't it more interesting than cell phone plans?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Dorothy, and talk of scorpions

First a picture or two of Dorothy, to soothe the easily spooked:

So, yeah. Scorpions. I saw one about a month or so ago, and had planned for it accordingly, e.g., no beds on the floor anymore, clothes and toys kept picked up, check shoes before wearing, and so forth. Then the guys who are doing some interior work got into the ventilation system and WHOA NELLY. "It was like Indiana Jones in there!" said Terry. So I was right. When you see one scorpion there are definitely more.

Today I will find out what to do about them. The acute problem and the chronic one will likely have different solutions. I'm pretty confident that I can keep them down with boric acid and diatomaceous earth once we get rid of the ones currently partying in our air vents. Also very glad the house only has central h/a downstairs.

So far in my life I have dealt with fleas, wasps, mice, meal moths, cockroaches, ants, black widows, rats, ticks, and now scorpions. Never bedbugs or lice though!

(Yet. Shudder.)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

All Saints costumes

Round Two of the costumes. We have a Michael, Jeanne Delanoue, Lucy, John the Baptist, guardian angel and Francis. Whew! Next year no doubling up unless I have nothing to do with it. I'm available to help with ONE (1) costume each.

Friday, November 2, 2012

All Souls Day

Today, we pray for the dead.

De profundis clamavi ad te Domine!
Domine exaudi vocem meam.

Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord!
Lord, hear my voice.

Thursday, November 1, 2012