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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Those things that call me....

So, I'm gearing up for my internet fast and I already know it can't be a complete and total abstinence.  I just have too many things I have to keep up on and while I'll be limiting myself HUGELY, I also know I can't just walk away totally without a hundred different balls being dropped.  Those balls falling would impact me negatively.  I'm not exactly sure yet what my parameters will be, but I have a few days to make up my mind.

What I really need is for new things and projects and to dos to stop assaulting my brain and I need time, space, room, whatever to wrap up some old things...

This owl obsession thing.  I bought the pattern and the yarn is headed my way.  I want to do a couple of these owls...just know...see how it will look ;)

This Harry Potter sweater....Mine is is green.  A young man is patiently waiting for this to get done.  And I'm ALMOST to the H.

This quilt for a June bride.  Was supposed to get done before JUNE wedding.  Let me tell you what.  Trying to sew with a baby crawling underneath you....close to the petal.  Yeah.  No dice.  I just couldn't get it done in time, but I'm two rows away from sending it off to the machine quilter!

My rooster now has a comb and a foot, but I have to hit the pause button to make a female companion for a gift.  That's my next project.

I also have a pair of longies to make and a ripple to wrap up (one more ROW woo!!) then onto another for my fabulous cousin.

And then I have real, non-yarny life to contend with.  Homeschooling, cooking, cleaning, farm animals and all that good stuff.  I also have a couple good books to read.

So my internet "diet" (I guess it's a diet since it's not abstaining totally) will hopefully enable me to have a few finished projects rather than a huge pile of undone.

We'll see ;)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

White Noise and Christianity

I've got a friend that shares my faith, and my sense of humor, and that's a rare thing.  I can't even remember what we were talking about exactly when the words "Yeah, that whole 'Jesus is my boyfriend thing' came tumbling out of her mouth and I just laughed.  Every time I think about just in random moments of being exasperated about something, I will think about this and crack up.  I actually got Noah all riled up one evening as I was laying in bed with him, doing our nightly cuddle, thought about it...and just started laughing.  It didn't help that she texted me a picture of a "Jesus is my BFF" shirt either.  No, we aren't being unholy, we are laughing at the surface stupidity that people replace a real relationship with God with.  It's like being "Facebook official"  Everyone KNOWS you like that dude, but you only interact on Facebook or text, so how real is it?  I'm sure you know what I mean.  Having a Jesus and me BFF charm isn't going to do you much good if that's all ya got....

I love God. He loves me.  We've got that down.  I also love to grow in knowledge and wisdom, so yeah, my bookshelves are packed with, you know. GOOD CHRISTIAN How-to manuals...(just as a side note,I totally mistyped that at first.  My blog almost read hoe-to-manuals, and yeah...that's kind of funny all things considered)

And let me tell you...

I am FED UP.  I am DONE.  I am so flipping sick of the call for Christians to basically "Get your shit together so you can be a better witness."  Really?  To who?  Martha Stewart? News flash, just because I'm a Christian doesn't mean I have my shiz together more than anyone else on the planet.  The pressure to play a look a crushing, suffocating, demoralizing....and NOT CHRISTIAN.  I just read about the need for a Christian woman to practice "good self-control."  I am just reeling at this. On the surface, that looks awesome doesn't it?  I mean, self-control is a good quality.  It IS something we should strive for, but y'all being a Christian is not about getting to a good place to please God.  It's about asking HIM to HELP us get there.  It's about the gut-wrenching realization you aren't going to get "good enough" in order to make God throw you a "Good For You" party.  That has never been, and never will be, the point.  We are like little pitchers and we aren't supposed to change up the water for lemonade, bit by bit.  We're supposed to pour out a bit of us and replace it with a bit of him, little by little, as we allow Him to creep into every area of our hearts.  It's a submission, not really an action on our parts....and yet, all these Christian Lifestyle books read like Chilton's manuals.  Do this, and then do this...a good Christian is organized and cheerful, and has her laundry caught up and bakes bread and earns an income from a vineyard that she sits in while she spins wool and flax and wears purple.

Then you apply this to parenting and you know what?  You might as well just throw in the towel because nothing you do will ever be righteous enough to please the "Good Christian Parenting" experts.  Why? Because your children are GOING TO STUMBLE.  They are HUMAN.  Yes, we can guide them and teach them and walk and talk and preach and practice and all that good stuff, but I'm telling you right now I'd rather see a child in humble submission after committing a sin then pretending it never happened or backpacking on my faith until they are old enough to "know better" and then falling down so hard and with such injury that they never want to try it on their own.

I have absolutely no idea why Christianity is such a business.  Why there is book after book after book telling you how to do it.  How to look it, how to be it or at least play the part.  It's absolutely maddening.  The more I dig in deep with my Bible, the less appealing all the "How to" white noise becomes. It used to be my main reading material and I have to tell you I think that really messed up my relationship with God.  I felt like I surely wasn't doing something right if I wasn't the perfect homemaker, at the perfect weight, with the perfect hair, and the perfect schedule, and hated, (HATED) sewing my own clothes, or using coupons, or whatever else was expected of me.  I was less inclined to bless my husband FOR REAL, and more inclined to do only the things that the world could see (and let's face it...the biggest blessing for a man isn't something ANYONE else should see.. you know what I mean?)

All I can say, is that I'm tired.  Not of my faith.  The deeper I go...the longer I live...the more in love with God I am (He's not my boyfriend yet though.  He's not on Facebook yet, so it just can't happen...)  But the further up and further in I's so apparent how much of Churchianity is so deeply ingrained in our culture, our society and our people.

All I know is this train ain't rolling through here no more.  If I am reading something that makes me feel AT ALL like I need to do something better...without asking me to submit that "thing" to God, for HIS direction, and HIS guidance....If it doesn't ask me to pray about something before making this move....forget it.  I'm dumping that sucker in the trash.  Because I'm tired...just so tired of it all.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Ninja Shopping: Homeschooling Edition

I was going to do a quick Facebook post, but then I realized it's a lot of information and since I have like 3 readers that need to know this information, a blog post it is ;)

So, before I get started I would like to assure you, I am not on a bender and I didn't just win the lottery or something. Yes, I am talking about shopping a lot, but that's because this is the time of year we experience the greatest money hemorrhage.  School stuff buying.  So I am getting a lot of packages and my mailman probably hates me and I am overwhelmed trying to keep it all organized because I shop in a zillion different places.  You will find me with multiple tabs open...Amazon, Ebay, Rainbow Resource, Vegsource...comparing prices anally.  If I can get something for $1 less, I'll do it.  If I can buy an ecode for a place I am purchasing stuff from, I'll do it and I make myself crazy, but I am crazy already so what's a little more?  That's like being a little bit MORE pregnant...right?

Today, my main focus has been on gathering materials for hands on stuff for the younger kids.  So I've been looking all around at monthly subscription clubs, craft clubs, book clubs, that kind of thing.  I've signed up for like five I think and here's why...

Most of these have offers where your first kit is either free (just pay shipping) OR it's greatly reduced.  They count on you either loving it and staying with it, or forgetting to cancel before the second shipment and that's fine...they can catch people in that net if they want...but not me :)  I have a system.

Number one, I will be putting up these "monthly" boxes and only pulling out one at a time, even though they will most likely arrive in quick succession, so I'll have several different kits to do with the littles for the first part of my homeschooling year.  Secondly, the kits, at full price, aren't something I'd pay for because you aren't just paying for the STUFF, but the work involved in assembling it.  That means your first kit or box really isn't going to cost any more than if you had purchased the items piece meal and made a kit yourself.  My thing is, getting these different boxes will give me inspiration to create my own later on.  I will even reuse the boxes if possible and I'll be able to asses the hits and misses without having to spend a whole lot of my OWN time doing so.

Now, in order to keep track of what I've ordered, I have created a special folder in my email for "Homeschool Trial Stuff.'  I put the welcome emails in there immediately so they aren't lost among the clutter of my inbox and the plan is to go in and cancel as soon as the first box arrives . (Unless it's absolutely stellar and is worth the cost.  I will weight the time it would take me to create something similar and see if it's something I'd be better off just having sent every month.  I do plan on doing ONE box per month right now, for Mallory and Noah's school time.  Once Roo gets a bit older and less needy, my plan is to DIY this a little more.  Right now, my brain space for being creative is quite limited and I'm not above getting help where I need it)

So the blog that has the best breakdown of monthly kits is This blog  She has reviews of about every single box out there, plus any promo codes that will make the boxes cheaper.  HOWEVER, if you don't see a code on her site, don't assume there isn't one out there.  Remember, ninja shoppers never, ever, ever see a spot for a promo code and leave it blank.  ALWAYS search for a promo code.  The other day I was bummed that one on a site had expired, did a quick google search and found out the current promo code was better than the one I had missed!!  Score!

I also found a monthly trial through Highlights kids for Eli. It's called Top Secret Adventures and it was like $3 shipping to try it out.  We'll see.  It was something that looked cool, so I decided $3 for a whole kit of fun stuff was well worth it.

As far as all the other homeschool materials I'm getting this year, I always check between Amazon (we have prime, so shipping is fast and free), Ebay (if Ebay has it for less, including shipping, I'll go with them) and Rainbow Resouce (they have a bargain center for books that are "damaged" for significantly less than retail.  I've seriously got a book with a bent corner before...big deal right?  Once they are here for five seconds, all the corners are bent so this is a non-issue.  Great way to get quality curriculum for super cheap!) and then  This website is an old school forum, but I've purchased off there many times without issue.  Besides, if you use Paypal, you are protected for the most part.

Later on this week, I'll be going to Goodbooks (Goodwill, Barnes and Noble style) to look for some fill in books and just to have the fun of looking through the hoards of books they have.

I'm still on the hunt for other coolish things to add in, especially for my little hands-on learners.  Anyone out there care to share ideas with me??

(P.S. Kelli, I know you're reading this.  I got a Montessori book too!! It's on the way!!)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Road Tripping To Deadville

Now that we're back from vacation it's time to blow up my blog with pictures from the coolest part of our vacation: Our Walking Dead Road Trip.  (See, it has capitals?  It's officially THAT cool.)  I know a couple people in my circle would like to make this trip too, so this might be a little heavy on the details, but hey....when you've got this kind of information to share, might as well right?? :)

Alright, so a Walking Dead Road Trip?  What's that??  We knew this show was filmed not too far from our house and since we are fans anyways, it seemed like a cool addition.  Thankfully the internet provided us a massive list of GPS points so all we had to do was plug them into the phone and listen to directions.  Jamie had made a huge list that took us in order of locations so we wouldn't be traipsing back and forth across the state.  It flowed really well this way, even though things were out of order.  I am going to post in the order we saw them in, not in the order these scenes appeared in the actual show.

Our first stop was a little weird.  We're driving and we think "Surely we are lost..." but the navigation was telling us we were on the right track.  We turned off a main road and towards this subdivision when it yelled at us "Your destination is on the right..." So we turned and there it was.  The daycare.  It was then we realized it was going to be a cool day.  This daycare, listed for sale, was just right there, off the road, but totally looked abandoned and decrepit.  I was in awe thinking how did they find this place??

The next stop was also confusing because the GPS was wrong.  Totally wrong (well the coordinates we had) but as I scanned the scene, I told my husband "Over there...that looks REALLY familiar.." We drove to this parking lot and this was the view:

 Do you recognize this??  I did.  We couldn't figure out how to get down there, so my husband walked through the parking lot I took this picture from and down a hill.  He found a bunch of guys talking so we loaded back up and drove to what appeared to be the entrance.  The man we found was super nice and confirmed 'Yep, this is the Woodbury Zombie arena."  He gladly walked us through this ginormous warehouse where they manufacture industrial water tanks and on the other side was one of the coolest filming locations we visited.  He explained they were working one night, with these big floodlights on and this dude just came up and asked them if they could film there.  They did their thing from 11 pm to 7 am.  The stairs in the picture of the ones Michonne walked down when she busted back into Woodbury and those cage looking things held the arena "biters."  How cool is that?!?!

After this crazy cool photo op, we headed to the next location, where we did a drive-by:

The high school where Shane sacrificed Otis.  School was in session, so we didn't stop to take a bunch of pictures.

Then....a really creepy out of the way place....

Wow, totally abandoned and again, we were kind of in awe about the work that went into scouting these crazy locations.  This was just an abandoned hotel in the midst of suburbia.  It looks so zombish, but it was on a main road!!

Next stop, let's see Morgan.  Or not ;)

The sign that said something like "Keep Out, I Mean It.." Was hanging up when you peeked into the windows.  Crazy.  This is where we rang into another few people doing the same thing we were doing!  They were from Alabama and informed us that "Woodbury" had had an Andrew Lincoln siting that morning, in the town's coffee shop!

Less than exciting, but a cool thing to see was the waterfall thing where they all went after the farm was raided by zombies....There was a sign on the entrance that said to call if you wanted in for pictures and it implied it would cost a pretty penny.  We just snapped one from the side of the road:

Then we found the church.  I made the kids pose on the front steps and I LOVE this picture!

After the church we decided to find Woodbury.  We were so excited when we rolled though town.  We ended up going to a park in town to eat lunch and let the kids blow off steam.  After filling our bellies, we drove back, parked and looked around.  It was quite nice for a post-apocalypse town!

Everywhere we went people were so accommodating and very eager to share their "Walking Dead" stories.  I got coffee in the coffee shop that Andrew Licoln had purchased his the same day and of course, that was a bit of fan girl giddiness for me.  

We went to one more place that wasn't nearly as exciting....the actual studio.  On the road there were cops and a whole road blocked off for "extras parking..." so they were filming somewhere on site that day:

If you're reading this shortly after I post it, it won't have the GPS coordinates up yet (have to get them off a flash drive AND my son is still working on the video he took during...I'll post an update when those are included!)

Ninja Shopping: Yarn Edition

In my world, this would be heaven.  Just...sigh.  Yeah, I love yarn.  It's a weird obsession but I can assure you there are millions of women just like me (and men, yo!) that share this affinity for bits of colorful string.  If  you've don't believe me, feel free to take a gander on one of the web's biggest social media websites, Ravelry.  It's insane and huge and full of yarnies, male and female.

So, I love yarn, but I also love saving money.  If you saw my yarn stash (a picture?  Get real!  The CIA is watching me now and any suspicious activity is recorded.  They would put surveillance on me faster than and foreigner buying chemicals off eBay...)  You'd wonder how on earth I could afford such a gluttonous amount of yarn and still have food in the house.  Although it may mean less yarn for me, I feel it's time to share a few secrets with my fellow fiber fiends ;)  You too can have a copious amount of yarn in your house for mere pennies ;)

1.  Never ever ever pay full price for yarn, unless it's a yarn that never goes on sale, ever.  The only place I'll budge on this is Knit Picks.  They already have lovely prices and offer free shipping after $50, but I do have to tell you....wait until SOMETHING is on sale to get the items that aren't.  They routinely clearance out discontinued yarns and colors, making it well worth your while to wait a bit.  I recently scored some mega clearance cotton/linen yarn because the color was being discontinued.  I think it was $1.20ish per skein when it's usually $3 or so.  Also, they have huge sales right around Cyber Monday, so if you love Knit Picks, this is the time to hit it!

2. Persue destashes.  I used to pass over destash posts that listed the really hoity toity yarns in the title.  I figured I couldn't afford anything they were selling (or rather, I wouldn't choose to afford it.  I don't get the $23 sock yarn thing.  Yes, they are gorgeous, but seriously..I just can't pay that much for something I'll wear on my feet. Just won't do it) but I digress.  The point is sometimes in these higher end destashes you'll find some of the basic acrylics and cottons and what have you listed "just pay shipping."  See when someone gets bitten by the "good yarn bug" those craft store basics are just an annoying reminder of how much better their yarn tastes have become.  They don't care about making anything from these yarns, they just want them to go to a good home.  I've scored a LOT of good basic yarn this way...yarn I'm not too fancy to use ;)  Like...Vanna's Choice for $2 a skein, shipped to me.  Now, that's not a huge savings over buying at the craft store with a coupon, but even with a coupon I have to drive 30+ minutes, plus I can only get one at the 40% off.  The savings really add up!  If you love a particular yarn, always check the destashes for it.  My favorite yarn is listed right now for a bit more than I want to pay, but I just snagged 5 skeins of it for $12.00.  It retailed for $10 per skein.  I made out!!

3. Know where to shop for the best deals.  I have two websites I'd like you to get really familiar with.  The first is Little Knits  Just last week they were clearancing some really, really nice yarn for $11.00 per bag.  Dudes, that is wayyyy cheaper than even box store yarns and it was seriously nice stuff.  They frequently have sales where buying by the bag saves you up to 80% of the retail costs.  It's just wowish.  The second website is  Now, the first time I looked at this website, I wasn't impressed.  They didn't have anything that interested me.  But I still looked.  It's yarn porn right.  I was SHOCKED when I started looking through the worsted weights and found Bernant Cotton Tots and Lion Brand Cotton ease for $1.25 per skein!  They are a business that deals with both estate sales and stores closing so the inventory is always changing.  They also run specials where the bargain yarns are further clearanced by up to 60%.  Wrap your head around yarn that's already 75% off retail and then marked 60% off the marked down price. Cha=ching.  Super nice yarn for mere pennies.  (Really, less than a buck sometimes!! Not kidding!)

3. Buy in bulk.  There's another website worth keeping your eye on BUT you have to buy at least $50 AND the shipping is $12.95 regardless of your order.  Smileys Now before you freak out and think "That's ridiculous" keep your mind open.  Once I ordered hundreds of skeins of yarn, coop style (I ordered, had it delivered to me and then sent the yarn out to the new owners) and we all got a great deal.  Since the yarn is so low to begin with, getting to $50 of merchandise means getting a LOT of yarn.  They don't always have the best stuff, but they also do yarn closeouts and sometimes there is something you just cannot pass up.  I was super pissed when I realized this place had, at one point, my beloved Jaeger Roma for 1.99 per ball in all the colors.  I would have gladly ordered $50 worth of this yarn had I known it was there....(By the way, if you're epileptic or might be, this site might cause you harm.  It's the worst website design I've ever seen!!)

4. Keep an eye on the Ravelry group "Yarn Sales."  This is where I found out Joann's was having a mega clearance sale, with 50% off the clearance prices, making the yarn I scored .88 per skein (plus an extra 15% off that with my teacher discount card)  I also happened to see a post when a yarn company was selling a yarn for $1.38 per skein on special, with free shipping after $30.  That yarn is now $4ish dollars, so it was a really good deal and I LOVED the yarn.  I don't get too excited about yarn sales until we're in the $1-2 range regardless of the original retail price.  I just feel like anything that cost a bunch in the first's not something I'm comfortable with.  Yes, I like to knit, but I like to eat too!!

5. Thrift shopping/sweater harvesting.  There's an entire group that goes into the basics of harvesting high end sweaters for yarn.  I have an impressive stash of cashmere yarn from unraveling.  When you think about getting a sweater's worth of yarn for $4ish dollars, it can blow your mind.  You have to know what to look for, so if this is an option you'd like to pursue, spending some time researching the dos and don'ts.  You'd be really surprised at what loveliness you can find cast off in the thrift stores!  I haven't bought a LOT of yarn from the thrift store, but a couple skeins have come home with me ;)

6. And speaking of thrift about Shop Goodwill  I used to look at the yarn and think "'s all crap.." but I recently stumbled across an auction that had a couple knitting needles that caught my eye (more on that later)  It was a full bag of neutral colored yarns in a brand new knitting bag with knitting needles.  I put that lot in my watch list and looked at the locations other auctions.  You see, with Shop Goodwill, the shipping prices will seem outrageous to you.  That lot I was watching had a shipping cost of $14, making it a crappy deal in the end.  However...what most people don't know is that the shipping price stays the same if you win more than one auction.  Sooooo...I bid on two.  In the end, I paid $28.00.  Only $28.00 which included the shipping.  I got MANY, MANY balls of Lily Cream and Sugar (which I use for washcloths), several skeins of acrylic in white and cream, 2 brand new knitting bags, a set of size 13 straight needles (brand new in the package), a set of size 3 DPNS (brand new in package), 7 skeins of Red Heart Super Saver with the Hobby Lobby tags on them (not my fav yarn, but as I'm making toys I'm finding it's actually the perfect yarn for the job) and....those knitting needles.  Addi Turbos. Dudes, if you know knitting needles, you realize I just got everything else in that box for free because those are pricey little suckers.  When I bought mine in the local yarn shop they were $17 a pair.  And I got TWO, brand new, all that other stuff, and it all shipped to me for less than the cost of the new knitting needles.  Yarn shopping ninja at your service!!

7. Obscure places.  Tuesday Morning has yarn.  Did you know that?  It's all high end, discontinued.  I don't get too excited about it because again, it's more than I like paying, however when they put those magical orange or pink stickers on them, then it's in my range.  Just got two skeins of Louisa Harding Kashmir for 2.29 a ball.  That's a GOOD price.  I've recently been enlightened about Big Lots (see that post a couple pages back) and it's really good stuff for $1 a ball.  Apparently, from what I can gather, Christmas Tree Shoppes also sells the Gala mixed fiber and some Dollar Stores also carry this type of yarn.  Back when Peaches and Cream went out of business (so sad) Dollar Trees across America were the place to find the remaining stock.  People were going crazy buying it all up!!

8.  Etsy.  Search "destash yarn." You're going to find some real stinkers trying to sell cheap yarn they got from Smileys or Big Lots.  Those people suck and I hate them.  However, some people really are destashing and you can find some amazing deals if you are willing to wade through the crap.  I have purchased a bunch of nice stuff for $15 or so per lot!

9. Free is always good.  One time, on Craigslist, a lady was clearing out all her yarn.  She had SEVERAL BAGS listed and I inquired about ONE, as I didn't want to be a pig about free yarn.  Well, she was insistent I just take it all, that way she wasn't sitting around waiting on a bunch of people to come get multiple bags.  I gave a lot away, but some stuff, even though it wasn't to my liking, I kept and traded with people who would like it (On Karma Yarn Swaps, a group on Rav)  Put feelers out on Craigslist and Freecycle or like groups if you're in need of yarn..

10.  There are many, many other websites that run amazing specials ( or Webs has a deal of the day and they are always a good deal) but I specifically focused on places I have actually used myself.  Keeping an eye on the sales group will give you a good feel for where to check daily.  Little Knits for example, they threw that $11 a bag yarn up out of the blue and I was just checking on the site and happened to notice it.  It went FAST.  (In case you were wondering WHAT yarn was $11 a bag, it was all Nashua.  Snowbird, Grand Opera, Champlain and Granite...nice stuff!!)

And those are my ninja yarn shopping tips for yarnies on a budget.  My yarn stash is significant...and yet I have seven children, animals, a house that we're remodeling and we haven't eaten Ramen for dinner like ever ;)  A nice stash can be built up if you are patient, diligent and if your significant other doesn't oppose you on it ;)

Choose Your Own Adventure: Teenager Edition

I've spend the better part of the last few days selecting next school year's curriculum and agonizing over the decisions I've had to make.  There's nothing like looking through hundreds of good choices to make you feel inadequate and wishing you had more time to do all the cool things available.

This is also the time where I feel a little mournful.  It just goes with the territory.

And I have a high schooler.  He's entering the 10th grade this year and all the things he HAS to do are hanging over both our heads.  It's overwhelming.

The thing is, after some self examination, I realize I am leaning towards jealousy of some kind when it comes to my teenager.  You see, he has resources available to him I could only dream about as a child.  While we aren't rich by any means, we do not skimp when it comes to our children's education and we will jump though fiery, poison shooting hoops to make sure every possible opportunity is pursued.  I wish with every ounce of my being that he would see this buffet set before him and would take advantage of it.

When it comes to his character, I have zero complaints.  His heart is good, for the most part, and he really does appear to be a responsible, productive member of society.  But he's got a little of that having the cake and eating it too mentality.  For example, he wants to spend hours on filming, but not on schoolwork....which is what will ultimately propel him to a place where he can go to school for film.  This is so hard to make him  understand and's hard to explain to him.  In order to do that thing you love you need to spend more time on things you don't...and it doesn't really make sense logically.  You'd think if you want to do something you'd have to spend time on that actual thing, not the other stuff that has nothing to do with that thing.  But that's how the world works and it's really hard to paint that picture for a child who doesn't understand it.

So today, inspiration struck.  I need to write a book.  You know those cool books from our youth that allowed you to pick the way the story would go based on different choices that had you flipping to different pages with different outcomes.  I need to write a teenage edition that goes something like this...

"You're in your room. You have 2 hours before dinner and you know you need to do your math homework. You really just want to kill a few bad guys with your wireless remote...

-You choose your math homework, flip to page 24.
-Pfft.  Math is boring.  Bang, bang, shoot em up, flip to  page 56."

Page 24 reads.  "Congratulations, because of your diligence in completing all assigned school work and your efforts in your academic responsibilities you have been accepted to college to pursue your dream of going to film school and by the way here's a cool scholarship that will keep you from paying for college for the next 40 years.  Well done!"

Page 56.  "Please fill out 37 forms to receive your monthly allotment of food stamps.  Rumor has it that Wal-mart just a huge shipment of 78 inch TVs for display and the boxes are still out back. Hot DAMN, you always wanted to build your own house and now you can!  Don't worry about the rain, you need a bath anyways.  Don't you wish you had chosen your homework instead?"

Our children are growing up in affluence, to a certain extent, and I don't think they quite realize they are living off someone else's success.  They have seen their Dad work his tush off to get to this place, but they don't remember the lean years with much clarity.  Every day we push them towards the ideal that hard work is necessary to achieve all those things in life that are the most important.

And some days I just want to throw in the towel. That's just the plain, honest truth.  I go through all the possible scenarios...I make lists and schedules and check lists and then teeter between my responsibility of teaching them to manage their time and my gut feeling that they have to experience certain consequences for themselves as a reality check.

One thing I do know.  Parenting is really flippin hard.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Ties That Bind: To My Husband on Father's Day

Dear Jamie,

So, we did get you a card.  It was cutesy and I know it came in the house with the rest of our Walmart loot, but the truth is, we can't find it. As soon as we do, we'll present it with fanfare but you do know it couldn't have possibly been enough words for my liking.  You know how much I like words, and since I like them so much, that's what I'm giving you this Father's Day.  My hope is that you'll like them a little more than the sack of cherries we got you ;)

You said something to me last night....about how TV Shows kind of piss you off because the married couples actually have time to spend together, even though they supposedly have kids.  Those kids are never around and they have time to hang out, talk, and you know, be married.  It's unrealistic you said, but really what you were expressing was how often we lament the lack of one on one time together, because let's face it....we don't get to nearly as much as we'd like.  We're parents.  That's how it goes.

And I know you think that those times draw us closer together as husband and wife, and they do, they really do, but Jamie you have no idea how close you draw me with the time you spend as a father.  You had my heart before children burst onto the scene, but once they did....that's what I really started to know you.  That's when all you are started to shine and when you started wrapping my heart with a million tiny strings that meant we'd be tied together forever.

Every time I walked into a room and saw you snoozing away with a sleeping baby on your chest...

Every time I heard squeals of delight and came to inspect, then saw you were at the center of my children's happiness....

Every time I caught you in the act of teaching these kids something and having fun with it.......

Every time you knew something you could do would change their world for the better and did it.....

Every time you've held one our new babies and stared at them in awe like they were the first.....

Every time you've taught a child to do something when it would be so much easier to do it yourself...

Every time you could have said "Kids, I'm trying to study...." but let them play at your feet because you would not allow your career to interfere with your role as The Dad.

You have always sought to serve your family and are keenly aware that the time we have with our children is, in the grand scheme of things, very brief.  You remind me often, but you're better at it than I am.....I get so caught up in the here and now and if it weren't for you, I'd miss it.  You've taught me to slow it down a bit and pay attention to these fleeting moments.

You know, Jamie, romance is all about showing the other person how much you love them.  It's spending time together and making sure the other person really sees your heart, but all that time you've spend with them instead of me....I saw you.

I saw you pass up time to spend doing something you love to build birdhouses with Eli.

I saw you spend over an hour with a teenager on the edge, even after a blowup and I saw you move him to tears.  You wouldn't let go no matter how hard he pushed you away and you stood that precious ground until his heart was softened and that relationship was restored.

I saw your fabulous teal toenails after a spa day with your diva daughter and the delight on her face as you showed them off.

I saw you wresting all over the un-vacuumed floor after noticing Noah was in dire need of some rough and tumble time.

I saw you rushing to get your work clothes off after a long, painful day of school to get working on the list you made to ensure you served everyone in between your long hours of study...making sure all the children got a little bit of you, on their terms, even though that meant nothing on that list served you.

I see you taking the kids fishing when I know how much you enjoy doing it alone and I've seen you hand your most prized possession to your young son without a second though. Every time I'm looking for you, I find you with one of our precious children, investing in their lives.

No, we don't have a lot of alone time.  We never have.  We started this parenting gig not too long after we got together and from that day, we decided these children would be the center of all the reasons we do everything we do.

What you don't realize is that every second you spend with your children, you are spending them with mine.  With me.  My heart is tied up with theirs and your love for them shows your love for me.  It's not quiet and softly-lit one on one bubble baths with champagne, but that loud, obnoxious craziness that only a house full of children can provide...and even above the noise and the chaos...I see you as only I could when you shine the most...

When you're being The Dad.

I love you more than I could ever express and am so thankful that you are the father I get to be a mother with.

Happy Father's Day.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Big Lots? Big Deal!

So a while back I heard a rumor.  This rumor indicated that Big Lots, the discount store sold....yarn.  What??!  For real?!?! Yes, yes they do.  But, when I went to check things out I was less than impressed.  Every single skein was labeled "mixed fibers." Boo. Hiss. Snort.  What was this crap?  And why was there so much of it and what was it anyways? Wool?  Acyrlic?  Mixed??  I left it all behind, no worse for the wear.

But then, I did some digging. I'm not sure what sparked it. Probably someone mentioned in somewhere (On Raverly) and so I started reading . And reading.  Well....what I learned was uhm, interesting.

You see...this yarn isn't crap.  It's actually the mill ends of luxury fibers from hoity toity brands of yarn and the "mixed fibers' label is just a generic label that's slapped on for resale.

And resell the do.  For $1.  ONE DOLLAR per skein.

And so I did what any responsible knitter does.  I checked it out.  Some may have come home with me.  A lot may have come home with me although my intentions were simply to check it out.

HOLY COW.  If you knit and you are adventurous, it's time you went to your local Big Lots and had a bit of a dig, because if you know fiber and you know what's what, you are gonna DIE.  I mean just DIE. Your brain isn't going to know how to act when your hands are touching alpaca and silk and the label reads $1.  You're going to feel dirty and shameful, not because you load up your basket, but because they are only going to ask you for ONE DOLLAR to take each of those home with you.  It's madness.  (By the way, the two Big Lots here in Augusta?  Give them a bit of time to restock.  Trust me.  If you're up in SC...have at it. I won't be making the trek.  Yet.  Bwhahahh!)\

Here's what you'll be looking for:

There will most likely be tons.  There will most likely be BIG balls of acrylic.  Pass that shiz up.  Go for these.  Touch, feel, see if you can guess what you're getting.  If in doubt and you love it, take it home and do a bleach or burn test, but for the love of Yarn, do not let the good stuff sit unappreciated.  Seriously dudes?  I KNOW I got alpaca and silk.  My hand is trained.  Also some cotton and other stuff.  I still can't believe my  haul (pictures you say?  No.  I would, still camera-less and I briefly thought about taking some on Jamie's phone, but then he'll have all these yarn pics in his gallery and he'll be reminded everyday his wife may be a little nuts.  Happy, but nuts!!)

And I was SUPPOSED to be on this thing called a "yarn diet."  I'm sure that's self-explanatory, but oh well. I have no impulse control apparently.  However, my yarn haul was cheaper than a hair do, still fits in my closet and will most likely be divided up and given away again at some point if I can't find anything the yarn wants to be.  So it's like I'm prebuying gifts.

And on that note, y'all want to hear about some recent toy scores?  Do ya?

(And as a side note, I was thinking about keeping up with my blog during my internet fast, as a way to record what I'm up to during it.  No Facebook, no email, but journaling on here.  Do you think that's cheating if I am not technically using the internet for other stuff?  I'm curious about thoughts on this!!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Faster and Fasting

I stood in the airport this weekend with the father of a newlywed daughter.  I lamented how fast life was going, not just the big stuff...but the days crammed full of stuff. Just stuff.  He said "And how old is your youngest?"  And I laughed when he said "Welp, it'll get slower in about 18ish years!"  He should know.  He has eight children, two jobs and a wife with two jobs and I could see it in his face...He knew EXACTLY what I was talking about.  Life is like a merry go round that keeps going faster until you beg for relief, or fall off on your rump.  I'm taking the easy way out so as to avoid landing on my arse.  I will graciously ask the conductor to let me off for just a few brief moments so I can catch my breath.

This has been a long time coming. My mind is suffering sheer exhaustion.  I am overwhelmed and over stimulated most days.  Something's got to give. And so, with full fanfare I've decide what that would be.

Dun-dun-dun....I'm taking an internet fast.  I know!! I know.  Craziness.  When I thought about all the stuff I'd have to do to prepare for this, my mind went a bit crazy!

I have to get all my library books on ILL NOW, so I'll be able to get them, arrange for Jamie to do Bountiful Baskets, make sure all my school peeps have my contact information, set an away message on my freelance boards, print out all my knitting patterns for current projects since I usually just look at a screen , finish 9 articles to finish out a contract, write down a ton of names/numbers and addresses for various things, order homeschool stuff and anything else we'll need for our month of downtime (Amazon anyone?? Can't be without my good stevia.) So much.  Just so much to severe the ties the internet has wrapped around me.

I'm not anti -internet at all.  I am just anti-time suck.  Yep, I get sucked in.  So many wonderful articles to read, blogs to follow, projects to look at, people to talk to and at the end of the time my brain is anything but calm and settled.  It's like it will not stop.  I can find something I love and then drive myself crazy looking at all the better things.  And then something even BETTER comes along and it's crazy making.

So what do I hope to gain from this?  Time.  Sanity.  Reality.  I want to be the manager of my time.  I want good enough to be good enough rather than one thing out of a bilion that I'm "giving a whirl."  I want my creativity back. I want to know that those I interact with are people I *WANT* to interact with and not just because they are a convenient person to interact with because we share the same internet space.  I want to know how much of my life is authentic and how much is lived for display purposes.  I can't answer those questions without doing this.

So from July 1st-August 1st, you won't be seeing me online.  Like at all.  If you need me, you'll have to use good old fashioned phones, letters or texts (hahahah!!!)  I am not stamping and stomping away, just slowly backing up to see, for myself, how much different life would be without so much "connection."  I'm all about connection but it's a good test to see how much effort one must put into REAL things to keep it real.  I'm sure it will suck.  And I'm sure I'll miss a lot, but hey it's good practice for the apocalypse right?

What would you do if you were without internet for a month?  What preps would you have to make?  Anyone?  Bueller?