Friday, June 24, 2011

Busy Summer

Wow these weeks are flying by. The kids got to do a gymnastics camp this week which was one hour 4 days. It was great. The kids are so coordinated and it was a treat for them to participate with the other kids. Also they got to use cool equipment and expand their skills.

We're moving in the morning! Here's an inspiring story of how we got to rent a place month to month for just $600 a month. I had called every place on craigslist or the classifieds under $1000. Nobody wanted to rent to us month to month. On Saturday we were driving around in the car looking for any more rentals. We called on one and the manager Bill told us he would do month to month. So on Monday I went in and begged him to take $1800 cash. He seemed surprised at my eagerness to pay that much when he usually just asks $1200. Today I went in to sign the lease and he said that he didn't understand what I had meant by month to month. He usually doesn't do that but since I'd already given him the money he was going to go ahead and do it.

And that is the story of how we're moving into a trailer and I'm grateful. It is just a few blocks from my St. Augustine granola friend. That M can now play every day with Pie-rum, as she calls him, is a huge bonus. It is a win win. If we get the house soon Yeah! If it takes a while we'll get to live by these friends even longer. Yeah!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Digging a hole

Good news: I'm posting our June movie early.
Bad news: the reason I'm posting early is because I don't
know what life has in store for the rest of the month or

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Meldrum Salad

This is the best salad ever and I got the recipe from R. Meldrum who made it for the Hope Lodge dinners we use to do in Gville. Good Times.

1 head of red leaf lettuce
1/2 purple onion soaked in water (I soak it after I have cut it up, and feel free to use less onion or use 1 whole shallot since they're smaller and milder)
2 oranges zested, then supremed/sectioned
1 cup croutons or sugared almonds
1 granny smith apple cut up into matchsticks

1/2 tsp orange zest
1/3 cup orange juice (I just collect the juice as I am sectioning the oranges)
2 Tbs vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 Tbs sugar
1 Tbs dry italian mix (Good Seasons)

The apple and the orange are the trickiest parts of this salad. If you have one of those things that cores and spiral slices the apple that may be the way to go. Otherwise cut the apple in half, and cut out the core. You may think to quarter it but that makes it harder to cut the slices later. Anyway, so you have it cut in half, then cut it into thin slices and cut those slices into thin slices. The matchstick size really is the perfect size for the salad because it stays on the for the best.

The oranges... First zest them into a bowl that you will use to mix up the dressing. Then use a sharp knife to cut off all the white pith. Then using the knife, cut down each slice between the endocarp and the partition. As you cut off the sections let them fall into a bowl for the salad and try to collect the juice for the dressing. I even squeeze what's left after sectioning the orange, into the dressing bowl....

So there you have it! It's really surprisingly delicious. I served this at my sister-in-law's bridal shower and even the ladies who didn't like salad liked it enough to ask for the recipe.

New friend

Today we drove north to hang out with a family we've known of for almost 3 years. They have a deaf son 2 years older than G and all of their other 6 children (4 birth, 3 adopted, 2 deaf) sign. So we've been hoping to hang out with them. Also the mom is Chinese and the dad is Caucasian so the biological kids look just like me!

At long last the reality was achieved and we arrived only 40 minutes late. Hurray for a friend that says, "Let's do this every Wednesday" and who says "Stay all day" and who has teenage kids who want to hold the baby and watch the kids because they think they're so cute! Hurray for every person in the house being able to sign with G. Hurray for 2 dogs, 4 rabbits and 4 chickens for M to wash, pet, feed, and altogether enjoy!

It was a great day.


I'm trying to get the kids into a tumbling camp this summer (1 hour for 4 days). There is a 5 and up class I'd like them both to go to. I wrote this to the instructor and had some "Aha" moments as I described why it would be good for them to be together even though M is only 4.

"I think nobody would know she's not 5 if that was going to bother someone because she
is so tall and able to follow instructions. Also, G seems to do better when she's there
because he can hear some but he knows she can hear and can look to her to know what
to do. I never realized that until yesterday when we went to a program at the library. They
were so cute and the both followed along with the dancing just fine. G looks at her both
to fill in the gaps but also as a big brother to make sure she's on track. Man I love those kids!"

Also I was writing with my new sister in law about watching movies and came up with this argument for why they should be careful about what they show their son.

" You can't choose what he sees outside of your home, but you can choose what he is shown in your home and what he sees to be acceptable because you laughed, or paid for it."

This reasoning keeps us from going to a lot of activities we think the kids might enjoy but that we don't want to give our full stamp of "this is so good for you we paid for it." Like Monster Jam, or the rodeo or Barbie on ice.

Why did "sheltered" become a criticism of parents? I think that is my job.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Party like it's your Happy Birthday 4th!

Gotta love the exercise band M has taken to wearing.
It went all according to plan! The only "crisis" was that we forgot the pinata. P volunteered to go back for it (1 hour round trip). Hurray for kids getting along. Hurray for so much wonderful weather and so many good friends.
This little guy in the middle is M's special buddy. Between church and homeschool things in common, it'll be fun watching them grow up.
M and I made this pinata together. In the past I have made them with paper mache. This one is just cereal boxes and tape. Despite the fact that you could see the candy through the cracks it held together through every child having a turn. I'm not a fan of actually hitting the pinata (it just seems wrong to have a themed party where you beat the object of the theme ex: Dora the Explorer, get candy for doing it) and so I built it with strings that would rip off the bottom. When we got to that point and each child had a string P counted to 3 and we ripped off the bottom. Squeal! It was awesome.

Somehow it was an amazing day. We had a party for M in St. Augustine from 11-1. Then we drove to Gainesville to have "Birthday Cake Ice Cream" with Grandma, Grandma, Grandpa and L. Then we went down to the park to attend a farewell that was part reunion. I say "Somehow it was an amazing day" because it was a very busy day. But it was so full of friends and fun. We're so lucky.

"Check it out!"

Last day of school with his teacher.

G continues to amaze me with his speech acquisition. Today when I have him his "new" shoes he was so excited he told M "Check it out!" It's phrases like that, that we never taught him, that make me glad.

Thursday we had a marathon day at the beach. Some awesome friends came by and we got to meet them and play. Then we went to get G from school and played for another 3 hours! In the beach setting G's at a real disadvantage because it's a dangerous setting and he can't wear his head gear. So when he's out chasing a wave, and get's too far out, mom freaks out and he's in trouble before he knows it. Luckily he's got good sense so I've only had to call him back for a time out, rather than having to go out and rescue him. I'm so grateful for his sense of self preservation.

I have a really hard time paying attention to my kids when I am with friends. That's an important deficit to recognize. That day at the beach was not so bad because G was at school and M stayed close. So my inattention didn't get us into trouble.

Pin the Fin on the Shark!

Tonight we got to see some of these same awesome friends. Luckily P was there because I wanted to hang out. And I got to hang out. I'm so grateful for his willingness to pick up my slack and let me enjoy my friends. Hurray all around.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

"The house looks clean"

That's what P said when he came home today.
"The house looks clean" I replied.

The last few days have been a big crazy. We're trying to find a place to rent month to month while the short sale process goes through (hopefully). In the midst of this, my land lord calls to ask if a friend of his can come by to see the place because she might like to rent it after we're done.

Having gone to see several houses recently where there were people living in them my mind is filled with all the criticism the realtors load on them. Whenever they say "Oh, look at all this junk.... " I think and sometimes say "eh, I'm not the most tidy myself."

So here I had the dilemma of being the person to be judged. Lovely.

On top of that is my need to be packing up so we can move.

The cherry on top is that bP has reached the lovely stage of crawling around the house pulling things from every surface in reach.

So I tried to tidy up but all I really wanted to do was pack. So I did a combo that in the end resulted in putting the clutter from the floor into a storage bin. So bad.

The lady came, looked around, said nice things, chatted, and finally left.

So now I have made a vow to finish the cleaning or packing that I didn't quite finish. And it isn't even so hard because now that it's consolidated, rather than scattered across the floor and under the table etc... I feel like in the end this was good for my overall home management.

The goal is that tomorrow the house will actually be clean.

Educate Yourself!

I love "Lilo and Stitch".

I've always felt like history was a big mystery to me. Look at that rhyme with only one matching vowel. Good old English you are a train wreck. So I've conceived ( "i" before "e" except after "c") a method for learning about history through reading biographies. This is not a new approach I am aware. My own special spin on it is that I will read a totally milked down biography from the children's section first, then I will search for the most read (by that community) biography that the library has, and I will put it on hold.

The genesis of this method is that I can browse the biographies in the children's area while keeping an eye on my children. Then I can do the other steps all at home so I never have to leave my kids alone, or try and go into the stacks with them.

I'm starting with Abigail Adams.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Short Sale

Moving on. We are making an offer on this house. Notice that it is listed as "Sale Pending"? That's us! Wild. Some things I love about this house are:
-Proximity to inter-coastal water way and a beautiful place to walk along the water.
-Screened pool (small but screened and a pool)
-4 bedrooms so you all can come stay with us.
-3 bathrooms one of which is gutted, but totally within our ability to finish
-Just down the road from some of our favorite people in St. Augustine.

So here's to hoping we can get it for something close to what we offered. We've decided to embrace the short sale process. He haven't decided yet if we'll move or wait it out here. Decision decisions... So put in your prayers for us so you can come visit us here!

Songs of their childhood

Each of my children have had special songs. With G it was intense and as I would put him to sleep I would hum "Oh My Father" on his head.

M had a love of Men's chorus from an early age. From 3 months on we would sooth her in the car with a recording of BYU Men's Chorus singing "We'll Shout and Give Him Glory". And when we couldn't find the CD we got to be serenaded by daddy. In her 2-3 years P would hold her and rock her to sleep singing this song and "Baby M----- Girl" to the tune of "Baby Signing Time."

Poor bP. The song of her childhood is "P----, you don't have to cry! You don't have to cry today."
Luckily she has M for a big sister so she gets sung to a lot. The words sometimes even get changed sweetly. "P----, you don't have to cry! Your big sister M is here."

Friday, June 3, 2011

Mary Poppins Fruit thingy

I like to call it cobbler, but I know that technically it is more of a crisp sort of thing. And I present to you the recipe I have developed that produces an awesome texture.

4 peaches quartered and sliced
1/2 cup of freeze dried apples (like the kind you buy for food storage)
mix these together and top with a mix of:

3 T butter
3 T sugar
1/4 t cinnamon or nutmeg or pumpkin spice (whatever floats your boat)

Bake for about 30 at 350. Awesome.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Splash Park

Because it is apparently not enough to go to the beach, the city of St. Augustine has built this lovely splash park at the St. Augustine Pier. It is lovely. There is a playground with sand right next to it and the conscientious parent discourages the mixing of sand and water.

If you get all fun-ed out of the fountains and play structure you can go to the beach!

On Wednesday we went with G's class for a field trip and happened to stumble upon the Farmer's market held there weekly. Nice!

Christiansen Pancakes

My sister M got this recipe on her mission in Spain. It's a classic.

Christiansen Pancakes

2 c. four
3T sugar
1T baking powder
1/4t salt
2 eggs
3T oil
1 1/4 c. milk


No I mean enjoy, like make home made syrup and really get the most out of this delicious recipe : ) Or if you're feeling very extravagant take an apricot and dice it. Boil it with 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water. Enjoy....

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Moving on

Well that dream house just isn't going to happen. So what's next. This cycle of hope and despondency, acceptance, moving on... It's been a learning experience. The kids are all still sane and coping well.