Wednesday, May 29, 2013

the look

If I didn't already know which was which, I don't think I could tell you.

still cute

Saturday, May 25, 2013


This article on math resonates with me.  I agree 100% that it is wrong to try and teach children academic material younger and younger in the hope that they will get it.  Duh!  They will just be more confused from an earlier age.  I knew from my musical teaching that when a kids starts doesn't mean they will be good from an earlier age.  It just means they will spend longer struggling until they have the maturity and coordination to get it, if they stick around that long.  Some kids will grasp things earlier.  That's fine.  But math is too important to daily living and rational decision making, to have such dismal general sentiment. 

G doesn't take math at school.  That wasn't deliberate the first year.  But now going into the 3rd year I absolutely don't want him participating in FCAT prep and being drilled to do math.  I want him counting stacks of $20s, and $5, realizing that it takes a lot of them to reach the goal amount for paying the taxes.  Math is magical and simple.  Having a real appreciation of dollar amounts is critical.  Who really needs to add 6 figures in their monthly life?  Who even does long division as part of anything but a math assignment?  Why on earth does a 3rd grader need to learn anything beyond fractions (for pizza) and division to the 2nd decimal place (for money)?

I maybe sound so anti-math.  I'm actually just anti making people hate math.  I love dealing with math in practical applications. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

More pics!

Heaven Forbid

We've got this frustrating dynamic going on between my desire to have a birthing center birth, and the establishment medical community monopoly. 

I did have the baby by the way, and hurray that we're doing great!

We have good insurance so our out of pocket for the birth center birth was to be $960.  On the budget, money saved in an envelope, done!  But then to have the ultrasound done, at the outpatient lab of the hospital because none of the imaging centers in town do obstetric ultrasound, $300 because it's under a hospital and that's how our insurance company handles things done in a hospital.  And because he's a male child and we subscribe to circumcision we had to make a million calls to find a pediatrician that would 1) do a circumsision, 2) do it in the first 2 weeks, 3) even see a baby not born in a hospital for the firs 2 months...  And we finally did. 

Today I went to that pediatrician and things were fine.  Then I got home and they called to say that the baby needed blood work done and I had to take him to the hospital.  Sheesh I guess I'm just cheap because I don't want to pay hospital rates for a lab.  So I called the lab my insurance covers, and they also said the test had to be done in the hospital.  And I called the insurance company and they said if the hospital does it, it will be subject to dreaded hospital charges.  Back and forth, also with the midwife because I was 99% certain that the blood work was the standard newborn stuff she was going to do tomorrow.  But the pediatrician's office was doing a good job of following up, aka it felt like they were hounding me, to have orders sent to the hospital 45 minutes away, which would have the same hospital rates as the hospital 15 minutes away. 

It's lovely that with G, for all that we had problems later, we didn't have to deal with all this crazy stuff when he was born.  G-town was better set up for hippy types like me.  The pediatrician I went to worked with the birth center and it was all good.

And I'm thinking it's no wonder that home-birthers don't bother to jump through these hoops.

Monday, May 20, 2013

New Movies! No baby

I put up 2 new movies which is good because they're always cute.  But even better since I'm 8 months behind on that project and about to be way more behind on that.  If I can get a few more done that'll be great! : )

Sunday, May 19, 2013


A friend of our family, who is a librarian at G's school, recently gave us a really old set of Technic legos.  P was so inspired by it that he bought this tackle box to organize it.  He even used his allowance to do so. 

P's allowance is a funny thing.  He never used to have one.  We never were on a budget, then when we were, he was sort of exempt, but never spent money.  Then when he was working in Jacksonville, he had lunch money that was enough for him to have a little extra.  Then when he started working from home he realized he wanted to have some money for things like tackle boxes for legos.  So he asked for an allowance.  90% of the time he just uses it to buy treats for the kids.  He's so great.
We have this little sunk down area by the fireplace.  It's one of my favorite places in the house.  It's really an elegant step down lounge and bar, I guess.  But for us it is the toy area.  The bar area has low counters that are perfect for the kids.  I recently put down some plastic lamination in the bottom of the (unplumbed) sink so the kids can use it as a lego bin.  I saw "Escape from Witch Mountain" when I was a kid and remember a scene of a fantastic playroom with a soda fountain kitchen.  So it seems particularly magical to me.

It's interesting going back through movies that I felt were formative in my childhood.  Some of them are so inappropriate!  Others are just weird.  I watched "Maid to order" the other day because I was curious about her transformation from spoiled brat to... better?  Weird.  I think a lot of movies don't help kids learn how to deal with the real world.  They are escapist and that's not like, a good thing.

still waiting

2 of my 3 were born on Sunday so I was hoping today would be the day.
Oh well.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Just when I thought the internet was boring!

The governor has a line item on his budget giving half a million to a special interest group.  Nothing new.  But in this instance it is for deaf education.  Deaf education as it is practiced in 2 private schools that serve 190 students total, getting an additional $2631 per pupil.

So it got me back into the discussion that I haven't been interested in for 3 years.  Deaf education.  I'm interested in G's education.  We've been blessed to have a smooth transition to a wonderful situation for him.  He goes to the state school for the deaf a few hours each day.  He talks at home and signs at school.  He goes to private speech therapy willingly, and signs at church.  He walks this line of hearing and deaf, and sometimes it is hard. 

M's main exposure to school is G's school.  Today we attended a party with the elementary kids.  Several of the girls M's age were sweetly curious about who she is.  I try to remind M to sign so they know she's cool.  So they know she's a potential friend.  Luckily one very outgoing kindergartener V goes to the same speech therapy office as G, so M and her are hugging friends.  And V's friends become M's friends too.

Today we went to a bottle rocket event at the library.  (Our library has the coolest programs for kids ever.  I love those librarians.)  So there was G, chatting it up with the other hearing kids, and the librarians, totally comfortable.  Did they understand everything?  I don't know.  But he felt comfortable. 

After much discussion on the budget line item, I just think it's typical lobbying.  The advocates for these 2  schools got the line written so that only they would get the money.  G's school gets a lot of money too, and I'm so grateful.  I think the leaders of those schools are jerks, but as far as government funding, they are only doing what others have done before them, serve their own interests.

And it is important for deaf kids to have choices.  Like more than one kid to be friends with.  The thread of the discussion got me thinking about kids who come to the school late.  Maybe their parents weren't able to decide that signing was necessary until they were 4 years behind in speech acquisition.  Maybe they just couldn't move, and didn't want to send their kids to a residential situation.  Even by 3rd grade, those kids who come from small programs, or even mainstreamed, have spent 7 years being ostracized.  And even if they miraculously have on grade language skills, their social habits will be so messed up. 

We were able to get G here to start Kindergarten.  He's already had 3 years with the expanding cohort of kids.  His kindergarten was 5 boys.  Now there are 20 kids in his 2nd grade split between 2 classes.

In pre-K he was the only child in his year that signed.  There were 3 kids in the 3 years above him that were deaf and signing, but G was at and above their language level.  And he couldn't even be with them because he was pre-k and they were in the grades.

It's amazing how wonderful our life is.  We don't have to fight for anything.  G's getting wonderful access to friends, language, legos...  M's face glows when she plays all the twinkle variations with no mistakes.  lP is learning that a gentle hand on mom's arm, and a quiet voice will get her almost anything, but not a second visit from mom in the evening.  P's personal cell phone tower replacement came in the mail today.  The song bird clock my Mom gave me for my early birthday present is delightful and pleasantly surprising (we're never home for the Jay call!).  Now we just need to have a baby.  Did I tell you his name is going to be B? 

Still Waiting

I'm still pregnant.  Sometimes it seems like this will never change.  But obviously sometime very soon it will.

Monday was my due date and we walked the mile around our street loop.  Tuesday I took 3 small kids on a beach walk and didn't even die.  Today I raked leaves, which needed to be done, and I'm glad I don't have to worry about it for another year. 

Our oaks and magnolia tree drop their leaves in the spring, not the fall.  It's one of the ironic, magical, confusing things about raising kids in Florida.  None of the signs of the season are accurate.  We go to the beach all year.  There is never snow.  Leaves fall in the spring, as the new growth pushes off the old.  Azaleas blossom to hail the spring.  But I still haven't figured out when crape myrtles bloom.  It just happens but doesn't seem tied to a seasonal change.
 lP likes to come into the office, because she's too young to be forbidden yet, 
and ask for her picture to be taken.
 It's a rare treat if I can catch her with a smile and not an enthusiastic variation.
We are so blessed.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Good times with the awesome 3

Dancing with Dr. Fizzy from
Wearing Capes with super powers.
My favorite quote of the night "I pee my diaper and I have super powers."

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Customer Service

I needed to contact Amazon yesterday and had the best phone customer service experience ever.  I was logged into my account because I was looking at the account to see that the $41.99 on our bank account doesn't match anything we've bought.  So then when I go to find the number to call but can't find one.  There is a yellow button that says "Call me".  I clicked it and was given the option to have them call me now or in 5 minutes.  I clicked the "Cal me Now" option and my phone range instantly.  After 10 seconds on hold I was talking to a real person who already had all my account info loaded up.  So I didn't have to wade through any automated menu.

I imagine it's an extension of the typing chats you can do on many websites for customer service.  But this was way better.  Way to go Amazon for having a good idea and doing it.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

positive family dynamic

P and I were trying to come up with movies the kids could watch that had positive relationship dynamics.  We came up with "Lilo and Stitch" and "The Emporer's New Groove".  None of the Princess movies.  No romantic comedies.  No wonder people have such messed up relationships.

What's even sadder is looking at the movies listed as good for families.  Wow...

I think that some sports movies portray positive family dynamics.  Like... the one about the first integrated, collegiate men's basketball team.  The coach had a family and didn't beat them.  But the players get hated on...  "Glory Road" that's the one.  My sister L gave it to us.

Independence Day maybe has some family dynamics that resolve nicely.  But it's not a kids movie.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

20 pounds of chicken

When I was expecting, having, newly postpartum with lP, we didn't get any meals.  We were in that luxury condo 20 minutes north of town, and P didn't want anyone to come over.  It wasn't a comfortable place or time.  Also, with my mom visiting people assumed we didn't need any meals.  We were given some lovely bread, and jam, and an orange cake and ice cream.  Some determined sisters found a way to get past P's objections. 

Later I was talking to someone and found that P had accidentally or deliberately let people think I was just that prepared, like with 20 meals in the freezer.  It was sort of a dark time for me.  I wasn't that prepared.  I had bad postpartum anxiety, which I realize I always get.  In that situation it translated to a deep loathing of our downstairs neighbors whom I imagined to be constantly thinking us too loud.  And probably they were, but who cares.  I did and it was not healthy.

So this time I am actually trying to have a lot of food stored away.  I've got 2 heat and serve type meals.  Lots of seafood since my mom will be visiting.  3 bags of burritos.  5 lbs of strawberries (left over from the amazing batch of strawberries we got a few weeks ago).  Cheese, Cheese, Cheese.  Deli sliced ham.  Several loaves of bread. 

I was thinking of canning some chicken, because hey, nothing sends you into labor like having pounds of precarious raw meat and trying to make it shelf stable for the first time, just for fun.  I just couldn't get my hands on a pressure cooker, so I didn't get my hands on the jars and chicken.  Then I found split chicken breast at Save a Lot for $0.99 a pound.  It was like I was back in the year 2000.  I love split chicken breast.  I hate boneless skinless.  To me, boneless skinless is like rubber.  Blech.

I haven't been able to find split chicken breasts for a long time.  Like years.  Sam's doesn't sell it.  I don't know why publix doesn't sell it.  Winn Dixie also didn't seem to ever have any when I looked.
So I've been thinking I didn't like chicken for the last year or so.  Actually it was that I couldn't find the chicken I like to make.

So I bought $20 of this gold and brought it home.  I baked it up on cookie sheets.  Then I used forks to get of most of the meat.  The rib portion, I let cool in a bowl until I could pick it clean.  I like to let the chicken chunks sit in the juice and soak it up.  Then I put 3-4 lbs into a gallon bag and freeze it flat, so hopefully it can be broken up later.  It wasn't until I was almost done processing all of it that I realized that I'd bought 20 lbs.  Duh, $1 a lb...  But that's a lot of meat!

And considering that we don't even use a pound per meal, we've got meat for 20 meals, even if they need more prep.  We also have Sonny's BBQ sauce in the fridge, so bring it on. 

Sunday, May 5, 2013


A frequently repeated conversation in our house is:
"I'm thirsty"
"Hi Thirsty"
"No!  I'm thirsty..."

I feel like we've been through the appropriate phase of "Mom I'm thirsty" and we reply "Mom can I have a drink please?"  She's old enough now to take some responsibility for asking for things she wants.  She often does the same thing with telling us she's hungry. 

Sometimes these things come to a head and if forces me to look into why it bothers me.  Like last week with the gift giving friends.  In the case of telling feelings and relying on others to come up with the solution, that's a life long skill to be learned called 'asking'.

In college I had a roommate who would say things like "I need a ride".  The roommate with a car wouldn't give her a ride if she didn't ask.  Part of me feels like it's rude to not help someone out with something they need.  But it's also rude to not own your need enough to ask.  The roommate with a car was a return missionary and probably had a lot more experience with people stating needs, not asking.  Now that I have kids I get it.

In relationships this unwillingness to ask, is emotional laziness, and unwillingness to admit that you need something the other person has the power to give.  Like saying "You make me crazy.", "I need a ride" says "there is a problem and it's someone else's job to fix it.

This passage in the Doctrine and Covenants, section 9 is really cool.

 Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me.
 But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.
 But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong; therefore, you cannot write that which is sacred save it be given you from me.
 10 Now, if you had known this you could have translated; nevertheless, it is not expedient that you should translate now.
 11 Behold, it was expedient when you commenced; but you feared, and the time is past, and it is not expedient now;

Oliver Cowdery wanted to translate scripture instead of just act as scribe.  Heavenly Father tells his that he needed to study it out in his mind first, then ask if it was right.  Heavenly Father even says that if Oliver Cowdery had studied it out, then asked, he would have been allowed to translate.  But because he didn't go through the process to grow in spiritual communication, he missed the opportunity.

So I think it's important to think of your needs and wants, consider who might supply them, then ask. 

Saturday, May 4, 2013


 Usually you can't even see the stream.  Usually it's 3 feet lower than the current splendor.  Woah!
We got more rain in 24 hours than last year during 3 days of Tropical Storm.  It's been intense.
This poor little deer apparently got separated from its family.  Yesterday P got footage of it in the back yard.  Who knew deer squat like dogs...?  Then today it was soaked and caught between the water and this fence at the border of the slope on the south side of our house.  So sad.  Then later M thought she saw an alligator so we went out to see.  Unfortunately we scared the baby deer and it took off into the water.
We have a lot of these lovely dishes that cry "Kids live here!"  I like how colorful they are.

I spent a lot of today at home.  It's rather amazing how long the day is when you don't go anywhere.  Nesting for my 4th child takes the form of cleaning out the car and toilets.  Next will be the grout.  Things I haven't dealt with for a while, and don't want to have to after baby comes.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Customer Service with a capital S

G's CI has been acting up a little lately.  He often asks "What did she say?" in the car.  I thought maybe this was just a sign of his having come to hear more and being annoyed that his CI is on the left side and M is on the right side.  But his CI also seemed to be on setting 1 (the softest) more often than it should have been.  Usually we keep it on 3.  Then a button went missing.

So I emailed his Audiologist in Gainesville Monday night.  Tuesday she said we could have a new one ordered if Medicaid would pay for it since it was out of warranty.  It came today at 10:00AM.  Less than 48 hours after being ordered, it was here, programed to G's MAP, ready to plug and play.

It took us over a year to get the CI once I decided we wanted one.  I've been amazed at the service we've been provided in the last 3 years.  So grateful that it has been so smooth.


Last night G surprised us all by having his upper incisor fall out.  I'd known it was loose.  He was getting tired of me asking about it.  So I stopped asking.  Apparently he could turn it completely around...Gross!  So if finally came out and as he said "I can't believe it!  I didn't Cry!"

lP has been having a tough time lately.  She's growing out of napping, but will take one most days and then stay up past 11.  Most of the time she just falls asleep in the car on the way to get G from school.  Some days she rarely, but we take a picture each time, she falls asleep in a more 
precarious location.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Things we learned today

1) We learned that the 20 or less check out aisle in the middle of Walmart is also the tobacco aisle, so it can take a long time...

2) We also saw that some parents are willing to freak out at their kids, for asking for things, throwing and breaking merchandise that was presumably meant to bribe the children.  Then after children cry and older brother apologizes to crying sibling, those parents give in and get their children the asked for items. 

M was traumatized by the lady who yelled at her kids.  I was glad it wasn't me.  One day when M was acting out and kicking the items I'd asked her to clean up, I said "Do you need me to yell at you?"  And she said "Yes, I like it when you yell at me."  Clearly she has not been properly yelled at.  Or so I like to think.  She was out of it.  She seriously gets in this zone and it's like she is pushing boundaries out the wazoo. 

I never go to Walmart except when we've ordered something online and have to go pick it up.  Then because we're going we buy whatever else is needed.  Ah the joy. 

P ordered a cool fishing tackle box that I'll have to go pick up in a few weeks.  He has a very clever plan to use it for storing G's expanding lego collection.  A friend recently gave us an amazing Technic set with motors and cool parts.  Anyway it's going to be great.  But it means we have to go to Walmart again.