Saturday, July 22, 2006

Too hot outside? How about the air conditioned ER?

According to two thermometers I encountered this afternoon, it was 100 degrees here. Now, I'm not one to squirm when the heat index soars; after countless summers in Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina and Georgia, I am no stranger to heat. I can do it all: sticky hot, dry hot, curling-my-stick-straight-hair hot, even the infamous "I am scorching my lungs with every breath I take" hot.

I realized today, though, that I am a novice. After all--I suffered all those Southern summers with air conditioning.

Here in WA, a/c is a seldom-used luxury that home builders don't even throw in on the 3,000 sq. foot McMansions. Needless to say, my 1,500 sq. foot townhouse isn't appointed with such. Thankfully, the builder did throw in a lovely garage with concrete floor, as well as a window on the other side of the house for cross-ventilation purposes. Ahhhh ... the good life! Lounging in the garage, water-coloring with the children and listening to "Treasure Island" on CD (again).

When we tired of the decadence of garage living today, my little family and I packed up the sunscreen and headed to our friends' house. They are blessed with a large-sized inflatable kiddie pool, as well as a batallion of other water toys to delight the under-9 set on a blistering day.

This seemed like the perfect way to wait the too-hot day awa. And it was. Until the fateful moment when Logan misjudged the size of a rather large stone he was lugging and somehow managed to chunk it on his hand. I was thrilled to hear him scream (really! He has a frighteningly high tolerance to pain, so acknowledging is good!), but more than a little troubled when I noticed that his middle finger was facing the wrong way. YIKES!!!

So we ended our sweltering day in our van--which boasts a fabulous air conditioning system--and our doctor's emergency appointment room--also more than adequately cooled! Logan is none the worse for the wear, though he suffered a dislocated finger (not his first) and a compression fracture on his hand (first time in that body part). He took it all in stride. Honestly, I think he was as happy as I was to have an excuse--albeit painful--to sit in the frigid air long enough to peel one's shirt from one's back.

Hey, I'm not advocating this as the perfect way to spend the fiery days of summer. But it sure beats hiding in your garage!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Room schooling

Today we utilized our schoolroom for the very first time! I have to say it was a little odd having everyone in one spot. Normally I have one working over at the kitchen table (that's usually 4yo Logan, who will color, cut, tape and paint to his heart's content for hours), one on the couch with me (most likely 6 yo Atticus, who is my lap reader) and one sprawled on on the floor (that'd be 8 yo Jo, who can read and write in positions that yoga devotees spend years trying to master). What a switch to have everyone in one spot, even though we weren't always doing the same thing!

We started off at 9:30 this morning with "Hey Andrew, Teach Me Some Greek!" It's been a fun program to use. We're all learning at the same time--even me, because I most certainly never picked up on the Greek alphabet in school! Everyone hit the wicker couch for a reading of the primer, which they all adore. (Confession: after a dozen read-throughs, I no longer adore it quite so much!) Then we sang the alphabet, which even Logan has mastered. The "big kids" (as Logan calls them) went over to their desks to work on the workbook pages corresponding to today's letter--delta--and Logan and I stayed on the couch. Since he really needs to cement those English letters before he moves on to Greek, I've been matching the Greek sounds to the English alphabet. Therefore, today was the letter "D" for him. He happily made the "What Do Dinosaurs Do?" cut-and-paste book I had printed out for him, filling in witty things like "This dinosaur is ...." (answer: squishing a balloon)

After Greek, Atticus got to work on reading a Three Cousins mystery to add to his library list for that coveted summer reading prize (a free paperback book). I offered him any cozy corner he could find, but he chose to stay in his litle desk (can you say "novelty"?). Logan got interested in the castle dig kit he had recast yesterday afternoon, so that gave Jo and I a chance to finish the Times Tales program--which we did. She passed through each flashcard with flying colors, and was so proud of herself that she decided she needed a scratch-and-sniff sticker from the bin. I, of course, agreed--and gave her TWO. ;-)

We all came back together for a math puzzle. Instead of gathering around the coffee table--our usual spot--we were in the middle of the schoolroom floor. It felt different, but not bad. Maybe we need a coffee table out there, too.

We finished up with Spanish, which has to be done in my bedroom upstairs because that's where the Rosetta Stone is installed on my computer. Logan decided that he didn't want to go upstairs just yet, though, so he set up his big wooden blocks in the schoolroom and worked on a masterpiece while I sorted books onto shelves.

Not bad for an easy-going first day summer schedule.

And I'm still grinning!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


I just realized that I hadn't posted about this little guy. Everybody, take a second to say a prayer of thanks for the gift of Simon, my friend J's new baby boy. Simon entered the world Saturday in a beautiful, peaceful homebirth which I was honored to attend. A very special prayer of blessing over their whole family!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Half a House

I currently have no living room.

Well, to be honest, the living room is there, it's just under a fairly thick layer of sawdust and cluttered with big saws and trimmed planks of wood. In other words, it is there, but it is useless.

We are replacing our carpet downstairs with some nice, easy-care laminate flooring to hopefully rid me of the daily chore of vacuuming dog hair and kid dirt in order to keep some semblance of clean. Of course, that will replace the vacuuming with dry mopping. But seeing as how that's Jo's chore, I'm more than willing to make this trade. ;-)

In addition to not having a living room right now, I am also without a dining room. All of my living room furniture is currently living there--the stuff, at least, that isn't in the garage. Speaking of the garage, the new schoolroom (completed except for final wiring) is filled to the brim with the items that will be housed there, as well as the big carpet remnant that will complete it's livability. In other words ... it's useless, too.

So--no living room, no dining room, no garage. In other words, half a house.

I'd like to think I'm handling it all with ease and characteristic unflappability. Truth is, I'm not. The urge to finalize plans for this coming fall is overwhelming, and there is no way I can concentrate on any of that fun stuff when I am snowed in under a pile of wood chips and couch cushions. My cousin has sent me some of the most fun unit study materials for American Girl books that I'd love to be contemplating, but instead I'm trying desperately to create enough wiggle room in the garage to begin putting the carpet down in the school room. Frankly, I'm getting frustrated!

By nature I am a fairly patient person (some people say a little *too* patient), but God has surely dished up a big ol' plate of Hurry Up and Wait for me right now ... and it doesn't taste very good!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

School room

My back is aching. My legs are sore. My arms are stiff. And I can't wipe the smile off my face. Why?

We have a schoolroom!

I spent yesterday afternoon emptying the room, rolling out carpet padding and carpet, moving everything back in and stapling things to the walls. The end result--one mostly complete schoolroom that is compltely habitable as we speak.

In other words, if I felt like it, I could march my littles downstairs right now and cuddle on our donated wicker couch with a good book!

I have no idea how to post pictures, so I can't share any with you. I'll make a point of figuring it out so that I can give you a peek into our new room!