31 January 2008

Energy Update

We got our electric bill today, and I was a little disappointed. In December, we were home a ton, had many a christmas bulb plugged in, and it was cold. In January, I started my un-plug campaign, kept the heat turned down, and started to be down right anal about hot water. We only barely shaved kilowatage off of our monthly usage. My dear hubby pointed out though, that we did indeed shave off a whole day's usage. Like we just erased one day of usage simply from making minor changes. So, I guess that's pretty good. All the more reason to hope for Spring when we can turn the heat off all together!
Oh, and our new sitter is the best thing in the world. We are so blessed. No tv today, good naps, she is using cloth diapers, and feeding them that which I have left for lunch. She plays with them and reads to them and has a great laugh. AND, not to mention that every toy is picked up and dishes done when I get home from work. She is the greatest.

24 January 2008

A working mom's miracle

Okay, so childcare is a major pain in the ass.
I worry every second that my kids are away from me that something is happening to them that I don't agree with or want them to be exposed to or that they are safe, loved, well fed, etc. We are not the most fanatical, radical people that I know, but we do have some beliefs that I guess are not really mainstream. We try to shield our children from violence, too much junk food, and we demand safety, read books, sing songs, and write. We want our care givers to do the same for our children, all at a bargain price. I am after all, a school teacher, and Evan doesn't graduate until May.
Shortly after Christmas break, we took our kids out of daycare which we were mildly happy with but that was bleeding us financially for everything we were worth, and for the past two weeks they have been in at home daycare that came highly recommended. Upon our initial visit, everything seemed fine. The lady had several kids, one family I know. She has 3 kids that seemed happy, well adjusted of her own, and she has been watching kids for 17 years. Her references checked out fine.
Well, over the course of 2 weeks, things have gone downhill. The kids watch TV seemingly all day, even in her giant SUV. When they do go out, one of her car seats is one of those plastic booster seats from a restaurant (I firmly instructed O to never, ever sit in it, and told her, too.) They have not sang one song, listened to music, or read one book. One day, Ollie wrote his name on a piece of paper. The have eaten pizza at least 2 days for lurch, and McD's at least 3 others. For breakfast, they eat sugar cereal out the wazoo, and snacks are cookies and chips. No, there's more. Yesterday, Ollie told me that she LEFT Eli without an adult to go pick up her kid. The sitter took the older kids, and left the babies asleep. When I asked her about it, she said that her mom was there, but we were freaked! We trust Ollie. He's smart, observant, a little obsessive about right and wrong, and honest to the core. Sooooo, I have been praying, praying, praying,
And, an Angel fell from the sky. A trusted mom friend of mine has agreed to come to my house and stay with the boys. We can afford her. She is kind and generous, patient and playful. She has a beautiful laugh and high standards. I can make the kids lunches, regulate car seats, and I know in my heart that she will never leave them even for a second. I am thankful for her beyond words. Beyond words.
At the end of the day yesterday, I met with some girlfriends and got a free massage.
Truly, I am blessed with good friends and people. Sometimes life has storm clouds and tight tension of uncertainty and worry, and other times gentle breezes of fortune and happiness.

20 January 2008

The Age of a Thousand Questions

Inevitable, notorious. Delightful and intriguing.
Just to mention a few: Why do rockets have fire coming out of them?
What do skunks eat?
Can a polar bear smash our house?
How do you make candy?
How did God put me inside of you when I was a baby? W
hat does "WXPOMJ" spell? Is that a real word?
I thought kids just asked, "why?" ...... is he a scientist or is he just testing how much I really know for my eventual overthrow?

18 January 2008

-Mom, where is all my Halloween candy?
(oh geez, he had handfuls that he hasn't once asked about since then. It's January. The candy is long gone. Eaten and given away to teenagers with the right answer in class, so don't panic Ollie, don't freak out, please, oh please don't have a melt down!)
-I am not sure honey. It's been so long. It's all gone, I guess.

16 January 2008

Ollie (Emphatically, scowling, and stomping, maybe even rubbing his eyes): I'M NOT TIRED!
Me: Oh, baloney!
Ollie: (Still scowling): I'M NOT A BALONEY!
(The poor kid, I've said this to him umpteen times never once imagining that he thought I was actually calling him baloney. I don't even think he knows what baloney is as we have never eaten it at our house.)

13 January 2008

Those good 'ole 'ole timers

The old folks have it right. It strikes me as fascinating that trends are cyclical in our society, and fads and ways of thinking come in and out of style. My mom spread the word to granpa recently that we were unplugged and trying to cut corners on electricity. He concurred that shaving pennies off the electric bill does indeed help. A conversation with my step-mother led us to her mom who, when she gave up housekeeping was said to have piles of saved containers from butter and tin cans from veggies. She, too was from the depression era and saved everything. So those weird quirks of old folks who know how to save money and electricity, grow their own food, make a delectable soup from bacon grease and potatoes, are hitting the young folks. We are often clothed in sandals, but the mentality is the same. Grandparents often know how to construct toys from two sticks or twine and tin cans. Recycled, reused, and reduced. They know how to purchase less and look for bargains. Somewhere throughout the generations, the rebellion came in the form of buy, buy, buy and then throw away, and it's time to get back to our roots and learn from the past. The frugal, non-wasting, resourceful attitude is back on the charts, and trendy though it may be, I hope it is a trend that this time lasts. Off to wash my hands in cold water.

06 January 2008

Ghosts of New Year's Past

Pre-kids, New Year's was always a party. Pictured above, we and some ole' high school buds met in St. Louis to rock out with YMSB. From left to right: The Doug, Tiffany, Jamie, Me in Blue, Erin, and in the back: Dustin, Evarooskie, and Paul. Ahhh, good times.
Above is us two crazy kids sprinkling confetti at the turn of the millennium at Windows on the Cumberland. Not sure who was playing, put it looks like we were having fun, no?
This New Years we finally did something fun again, and went to Huntsville, AL of all places to hear Donna the Buffalo. And though getting a taxi was a bitch afterwards, the show itself was great fun. A perfect way to ring in the new year.

05 January 2008

Energy Miser

Being energy conservative is my environmental goal for January, and I am looking for practical changes everyday. We already do simple things, like recycle, use canvas bags for shopping (all of which are recycled from garage sales or freebies from work), wash our clothes in cold, and have unplugged just about everything imaginable. I want to see a difference in our energy bill, and I'll let you know how it goes. Today, I unplugged our rarely used microwave and started to rinse the dishes in cold only. Brrrrr. (I am pretty sure the microwave is a pity microwave that our parents gave us in frustration and disbelief that we could live without one.) I have to be practical about things as we have 2 young kids, but any other shavings off the electro-field appreciated. Evan called me an energy miser today, and I blushed at his romantic comment.

04 January 2008

A conversation:

Evan: Ollie, what did you have for lunch today?
Ollie: I don't know.
Evan: Was it taco bake?
Ollie: I don't know.
Me: Was it pizza?
Ollie: I don't know.
Me: Was it saucy?
Ollie: I don't know.
Evan: Was it crunchy?
Ollie: I DON'T KNOW.
Me: Let's play 20 questions, and you tell us when we are getting warm.
Ollie: Is it warm in summer and fall?
Us: Yes.
Ollie: Can you wear shorts when it's warm?
Us: Yes.
Ollie: Is it warm in the car?
Me: If the heater is on, yes.
Ollie: Is it warm in a truck?
Me: If the heater is on, yes.
Ollie: Is it warm in a van?
Me: If the heater is on, yes.
Ollie: Is it warm in a house?
Me: If the heater is on, yes.
Ollie: Is it warm in a restaurant?
Me: If the heater is on, yes.
Ollie: Is that 20 questions about warm?
(Continue dialogue for several hours straight, and welcome to 4!)