Friday, January 30, 2009

Snow, Ice and Piglets

What a week! It began snowing Tuesday morning. Then it was sleet and freezing rain. Then more snow. The power went off at 4:oo AM that night. It just came on again at 6:00 P.M. This evening. 

In the midst of all this, Papaw was trying hard to get the pig barn done before the sows were ready to farrow. You may notice that much of the building materials for this barn are from that barn we tore down in the fall. 

Thursday we moved the two sows, and all the fat pigs to the the unfinished building because the sows looked to be getting close. If you have never tried to herd pigs, I can only say that is chaos. We aren't set up yet with chutes to move the pigs, so we were leading them with feed and attempting to herd them. At the time it was quite frustrating, but I am sure that the whole thing would have appeared quite comical to anyone looking in from the outside. 

Then tonight, almost simultaneously with the power coming back on, Charcoal started having piglets. The building isn't complete, but she and the new little ones are snug and secure in a pen with a warming lamp. 

It has been an exhausting week. All I can say is thank God it is Friday, and thank God the electric is back on. Word is that another snow storm is headed our way early next week. I do believe this is why I moved away from Northeast Ohio wasn't it?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Her First Sewing Project

Lydia and I both got sewing machines for Christmas. Lydia wants to learn to sew, but she doesn't want me to teach her. She wants Mamaw to teach her. It is just as well. My sewing skills are limited to a middle school home ec class and a couple beginner 4-H projects. Mamaw is a bit more accomplished. 

My machine has been used to mend some items. Lydia, however, has been stealing away to Mamaw's every chance she gets to practice, and create her first project, a skirt. It is a simple, one seam, elastic waist skirt. Lydia did almost all of the sewing by herself. Mamaw added a decorative stitch at the bottom. 

Lydia is so proud. She finished the skirt last week, and has already worn it twice. She is asking to start the next project that is yet to be named. I better get busy, or she will soon be out sewing me! 

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Double Take

If you've been reading for awhile, and you have a good memory, you may remember this picture from March of 2007. It was taken during a walk the kids and I took to the creek. I'm re-posting it now as an entry to Five Minutes for Mom's "Just Horsing Around" contest. Entries are being accepted until February 6th. So head over there for the details. 

Monday, January 19, 2009


Bernice, the goat I thought was just in heat about a month ago, the one who was last to kid last year, who I thought was no where near kidding again even though my dad thought she was ready (man, I hate it when he is right!) had twin doelings this afternoon. Meet Evening Star and Mae. 

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Is Big Brother Watching?

Today while I was making lunch, Kellen was on the computer. He was supposed to be researching and writing about King Tut and the archaeologist who discovered his tomb. He says, "That is strange." I, thinking he is going to tell me something about ancient Egypt, walk into the office to see what he found. He had gotten distracted checking his blog stats. 

He loves to go into statcounter and see the map where visitors come from. The one he thought was strange was from Charleston WV. The strange part is the IP address is the West Virginia Department of Education. The visitor had been to his blog repeatedly. 

After Kellen got his report done, I checked my stats a little closer than normal. Yep, the WV Department of Education has been watching my blog too. Eighty-one visits and a visit length of four and a half hours today. Crazy. 

I'd like to think that perhaps this is someone who is curious about homeschooling. Who, with no agendas, wants to learn about how we spend our days. Maybe they are trying to understand the growing popularity of homeschooling. Perhaps it is a parent who is considering homeschooling their own child. Or maybe it is even a homeschool advocate in the department looking for some real life homeschooling stories. These were not my first reactions. 

It may reveal my own insecurities, but my first reaction was that I felt we were being graded, judged, and tested. Are they trying to figure out how many days we actually open our books? Do they want to prove that homeschooling just doesn't cut it? Why are they watching me? I haven't been able to get this song out of my mind all day. 

My reactions may be a bit silly. We have nothing to hide. Our kids are well rounded, educated and interact well with others. Kellen's test scores are excellent. Lydia will be testing for the first time this year, and I am sure will also do well. We meet the requirements of the law. Why the paranoid reaction?

Perhaps because I once was part of the public education system, and from that experience learned that most public educators are against homeschooling.  I expect with the growing popularity of homeschooling will come the increased desire by the state to exert more control over it. I take for granted the relative freedom homeschoolers have in this state, and do not want to see it changed. 

To my fellow WV homeschoolers, check your statcounter. I'll bet you will also find the WV Department of Education is checking out your blog. To the visitor from the department, I hope my paranoid reactions are incorrect. I hope you are just curious, or even better, an advocate of homeschooling. Either way, I think you will see that our ways are quite different than traditional school, but that they also are quite effective. Enjoy your visits to our blogs. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

And the party. . .

Lydia's party was yesterday. We kept the party smaller this year. She invited four friends. One couldn't come, and there were still 21 people here! How does that work? There is your trick question for the day.

The party was very laid back. We did have a craft activity planned, but the girls just wanted to play. I was fine with that. They ate snacks, played, made ice cream sundaes, played, and played some more. Somehow I only managed to take pictures when she opened gifts. Gift opening is always memorable, but when your siblings are Nolan and Vivian it is extra special. 

Lydia was taking her time to open presents. She carefully read every card and was enjoying reading what her friends had written to her. Vivian grew impatient, and said to Lydia, "No read cards! Me no like cards!"

A few minutes later Nolan pipes up out of the blue, "I farted a lot of times."

Ah, the joys of younger siblings.

One of Lydia's friends spent the night. They ate pizza, played twister and dolls, and fell asleep watching a movie. We made blueberry pancakes this morning. Now we are all lounging around like it is a Saturday. I think we will should all take naps. Think I can talk the kids into it?

Monday, January 12, 2009

To the Birthday Girl!

My little girl is growing up so fast. She is learning to sew and loves to help me in the kitchen. Sweet, sweet Lydia, how can you be seven already? Happy Birthday!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

How odd...

I'm surrounded by a millions things I should be doing. A certain little girl will be having a sleepover party on Tuesday to selebrate her seventh birthday. Our guests might appreciate it if the table weren't covered with laundry, and my extremely droopy Christmas tree was put out of its misery. Yet I sit here. Now, that is not all that odd. I often am lured in to the blogs when I should be doing other things. 

My hips hurt. . . from playing a video game. We played Wii Fit last night over at a friend's house. What a blast. It didn't even seem like excercise, but it sure feels like it this morning! I rocked hula hoop, which is odd since I can barely get one going in the real world. 

The weather is crappy and wet. Not all that odd. This winter has been very wet, but what is odd is that there is thunder and lightning. Some of it very close and very loud. One rumble seemed to shake the whole house. Odd for January isn't it?

I need to get to work. Have a good Saturday. 

Friday, January 09, 2009

New Babies!

The newest addition to the farm; two ewe lambs born yesterday! Despite our warnings that both of these may be destined for the freezer, the kids have tentatively named them Spotty and Zelda. Enjoy the pictures of our new lambs, but please pardon our oh so stylish morning chore attire.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Don't you know that answer?

We started back into the normal routine this week. I feel kind of thrown back into it. My tree is still up, and places still need to be found for Christmas gifts. But the world isn't stopping for me to catch up. Lydia's seventh birthday is right around the corner, and she is planning a sleep over. Band started again yesterday, and today was the first day of co-op.

Co-op was a lot of fun. The kids are always excited to get back to that and see all their friends, and meet the new homeschoolers that join us. After all the classes we eat lunch and the kids play. Vivian (2) was being her normal social butterfly and going around the gym to visit. I have my suspicions that she actually is less concerned about the social interaction than she is the snagging of better food than the food I packed. Doesn't seem to matter what I pack, she goes on her wanderings, smiles pretty and ends up with Teddy Grahams or other such treat not found in our lunch box. But I digress....

Today on her rounds she stopped for a bit with one group that often sits together. They must bring really good food, because I've noticed she always spends quite a bit of time there. Later one of the mom's, who has a son close to Vivian's age, related the conversation she had with Vivian.

The mom: Vivian, how old are you?

Vivian: Two.

The mom: Oh I thought you were three already.

Vivian: No, I two.

The mom: When will you be three?

At this point Vivian looks at her a bit strange, and says, " On my birthday." Then she walks away. I guess she thought that the mom should have known that answer already.

Friday, January 02, 2009

What a week!

The last week has gone by so fast. It has been full of friends, family, travel, and lots of food. The holidays went so fast. It is hard to believe that we will be back to the normal schedule on Monday already.

Christmas Eve we went with my parents to a Christmas Eve service. This has been a family tradition for a long time, but had been pushed aside since we moved here. Our church does not do a Christmas Eve service, so we went to a church in a nearby town. We had never been there, but a friend said it was the church she grew up in.

It is a smaller church, and the sanctuary was sparsely filled. We arrived late. Hoping to slip in unnoticed, we quietly slid into the back pew. Do you believe that we could quietly slide in with our four kids? Not a chance. Not only do the children lack any stealth skills, the pew was the squeakiest pew on God's green earth. We all sat down, "Creeee-aaaa-eee-kkkkk," and heads turned to see what the ruckus was all about. Of course there is also no sitting still with young children. The service was punctuated with many a "creak" and "shhhh" from the back row. And let's not forget the several, "I need to pee," declarations. So much for going unnoticed.

The service was fine. It was a candlelight service with lots of Christmas carols. There were other children there too, and no one seemed annoyed by our noisy intrusion. I am glad we went.

Christmas day we stayed home. It is so nice to have a day with no where to run to and no pressing projects. We enjoyed the morning opening presents and playing with the new things. Then we fixed our Christmas dinner and relaxed some more. Later in the afternoon, Tim helped Papaw with some project (the fence?) and we started packing our things to go to Ohio.

Friday morning we headed to Tim's parents for the weekend. Tim's brother Mitch was there with his son most of the weekend. We got to meet the newest nephew, Parker, and see some other family. We played a lot of games, ate a lot of food and had a great time. There is never enough time to do all we want while we are there.

Monday we left the kids with Grandma and Grandpa and headed to Akron to do some things to the house we still own there. We worked all day and still didn't get everything done. I am beginning to hate that house, but that is a subject for another post.

A plan was hatched for us to take two of Jake's kids back to WV with us that night, and for Jake and Delilah to pick up our kids from Jeff and Gail on Wednesday on their way here. As Jake and I were working out the details, I get a call from Gail. Vivian was not happy. She had been asking for me the whole day, and saying she wanted to go home. We decided that she should go home with us that night instead of waiting until Wednesday.

By the time all the arrangements were made, and we had all the kids that were going with us, it made for a late start home. It was almost midnight when we finally got home.

Vivian woke up Tuesday morning, and the first thing she did was ask for Lydia. When I told her Lydia was at Grandma's she cried to go to Grandma's house! She and I had a lot of errands to run that day and every so often she would whine for Grandma or Lydia. UGH!

Jake and Delilah arrived with the remaining children Wednesday afternoon. Vivian was very happy to see her sister. We opened presents, ate seafood stew and cheesecake and had fun hanging out. We laid out sleeping bags for the kids that were staying up for the New Year. (Nolan and older.) Kellen, Miles and Ashley played Monopoly and Tim and I watched Cars and fell asleep with Lydia and Nolan in the living room. The older kids finished their game in time to watch the ball drop. Tim and I woke up for the event, then we all promptly crashed.

Yesterday we left Mamaw and Papaw with all the kids and went with Jake and Delilah to see Valkyrie. It was good, definitely worth a rental, but maybe not worth the outrageous prices that the movie theaters are charging now. We went to a matinee, so I didn't feel too bad about the money spent. When we got back we ate the traditional pork and sauerkraut dinner, and it wasn't long until we all crashed.

Tim is back to work today. Tonight we are having a ham dinner with everyone including my Great Aunt Hazel and Terry who came down yesterday afternoon. Tomorrow the guys are going to get hay and working on the pig barn that needs to be completed before the sows farrow at the end of the month. We are expecting lambs any day now. My thoughts have turned to chicks and seeds, and I need to do a little research and order chicks for the spring. I have plans to turn the bathtub in our room to a place to start my seeds. It is back to the normal schedule with band, and co-op next week. Always something to do around here.

Hope you had a great Christmas and happy New Year to everyone.