Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Sesame's Suite 4.0

Subtitled: It is Never this Neat

I never got AB's room at our last house finished before we moved to this house. I had the same bedroom for 21 years and she's on bedroom number four in six years. She had no zero input on the first two rooms and a moderate amount in her yellow bird room in the last house, but she had opinions about this room. She requested it be "history and nature themed." There is no such category on Pinterest. It's not completely done but it's coming together.

This is what I see when I walk in the doorway. I got Florance Flamingo from Tarjay Boutique.
Her door is decorated with hearts from last Valentine's heart attack. 

SHE HAS A CHANDELIER IN HER ROOM. I wanted a chandelier in her nursery and Christopher said no. I've asked about putting a chandelier in every room since with no luck. When we were looking at this house I saw the light and almost signed the check on the spot. 
I haven't decided what to put on the wall to the right of her bed. I also want to get a blue or jute rug but I haven't found one yet. I'm terrible at buying the right size rugs and curtains. I needed a rug for the upstairs hallway and found this one on clearance. It seemed long enough in the package but I was mistaken by about 6 feet.
Long gone are the days of carefully placed knickknacks and sentimental items of my choosing. Part of me wishes I could do the whole room in my way but it is fun to see what's special and important to here right now. On her vanity from Oma she has two figurines she painted, a postcard we sent ourselves from St. Thomas, a letter from the Tooth Fairy, an ornate pen box with a piece of foam in it, and a little baby Jesus from a random nativity.
I put the bulletin board up recently because she taped Frozen pictures on the wall like a girl with boy band posters. She still sleeps with Memere blanket and anywhere between zero and seventeen stuffed animals. I got the leopard blanket on sale at Ikea when we went to visit Katie. AB has since decided she prefers tossing the blanket on the floor when she goes to bed which is annoying. It takes a long time to get the duvet insert in the duvet cover and she could at least pretend to use it. She hoards so much under her bed and between the bed and the wall. She loves turning tissues and toilet paper into things for her stuffed animal friends. She puts "very special to me" rocks and sticks under the bed and always has pipe cleaners on the floor. 
The pièce de résistance is the accent wall that covers the nature theme she requested. In the beginning, I envisioned a field with a few deer and trees. Elizabeth was here when we did it and as things generally go with her, we went off the straight and narrow path down into the jungle on the side of the path and ended up with a mountain scene. They're hard to see, but I hung little birds from the ceiling in front of the painting, We will now look at the same wall from three different angles. 
Elizabeth free-handed the squirrel. I traced a rabbit on the wall by the door and have been too scared of messing it up that I still haven't painted the mouth on it yet. 
She hasn't mentioned wanting more history in the room so I haven't brought it up. I'll never repaint over the accent wall so in 7 years the wall will be old news and we can check the history box.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

chit chat about nothing

I have two, with a pending third, things in the books for next week so our schedule is about to get full again. What kind of wild life are we living with THREE events in one week? Counting the couch repairman coming as a "wild life" is a bit of a stretch, but such are the times we're living in. 

Annabelle was recently asking for specifics about adoption while we were driving with the windows down. "I was wondering how you pick a child. Is it like a deli? Or is it more like a pizza delivery? Or like a restaurant where you order? And can you turn down the sound of the wind for me?" The answer is no to all those questions. 

We were on our morning walk and she was chatting as she usually does. "I can't wait for spring to finish so summer can start and finish and then fall can start." "What's going to happen in the fall?" I asked. "I'll get to do school and learn lots of new things and it will be so fun." I think she meant she'll be excited for the homeschool groups to start back up, but we're still doing school for this year! She does not seem so excited about doing it every morning. 

AB spent a significant amount of time on Tuesday evening crying. She would not tell me what was wrong, but she requested I "leave and shut the door' when I went to check on her in her room. She lay on her bed, crying and sniffling. All she could get out was the quarantine might have something to do with it. Yesterday I was in the other room and I heard her pause her story multiple to say something. I thought she was talking to me but she said she wasn't. Later on, she paused the story again and said, "Dear Lord. Please help me not to have a loose tooth." Then later, "Dear Lord. Please help me not to believe I have a loose tooth." I had to break it to her that losing teeth is going to happen, regardless of how much she prays for the contrary. We're in for a long road of it if she gets so upset at the thought of losing teeth when she doesn't have any loose ones. Hopefully getting money from the Tooth Fairy every time will make it a little easier. 

We pay a yard crew to do our lawn. They do the grass and we do the weeding, trimming (when the trimmer works), etc. The other day they were over at the same time as I was out watering the tiny plants in my garden. One of them said something about how he had used bug spray last time he was over and for me to let him know if I didn't want anything sprayed. He gestured to my flower garden and said, "Did you plant something there?" "Yes, I put flower seeds in a few weeks ago. Is that a problem? Should I have done it somewhere else?" Why would I ask if it was a problem? It's my garden! I'm too much of a people pleaser. Oh, my garden in my own yard is possibly in your way? Let me dig up the whole thing and move it somewhere more convenient for you. While I'm at it, how about I take down any pictures from my walls that aren't your style? Lawn Guy stared at me. He only wanted to know if he should spray it or not. 

I'm am a very frugal person but this quarantine is turning me into a woman who wants to press buy now on purchases left and right. I have wanted to purchase many unnecessary items but the latest is a new low. The Jawzersize promises me a chiseled jaw in 60 days. Reduction of double chins! Free shipping on US orders! SIGN ME UP. I could work on my jawline while Annabelle uses her jaw to tell endless stories about her perspective on the day she was born.

Friday, May 8, 2020

day in the life, quarantine edition

Tuesday, May 5th

5:45am- Christopher's alarm goes off in 15-minute increments until he gets up at 6:30.
6:45- My alarm went off but evidently I turned it off and go back to sleep.

7:43- I was awakened by Annabelle in the doorway asking for breakfast. She must be going through a growth spurt. She used to lay in bed and cuddle and we could start the day slowly but those days are gone. She skips all the morning sentimentality and asks to eat instantly. I sent her in the kitchen to get the cereal while I get dressed and made the bed.

8:02- She tells me we have no milk but I had the foresight to buy an extra gallon and put it in the outside freezer. I go out there but there is no milk to be found. I look in the kitchen refrigerator but it isn't there. I go back out to the garage in case I missed it, but missing a gallon of milk in a mostly empty refrigerator seemed unlikely. I later learned Christopher threw it out because it went bad.

8:12- We decide to fry quail eggs instead. I had never eaten quails or their eggs, but I bought them on a whim at the grocery store then side-eyed them for several days without trying them. It seemed like the day to try them and they were surprisingly good. AB likes to crack eggs but we didn't know quail eggs have a thicker shell so she banged it harder and harder until it exploded on her hair and my shirt.

9:00- We went on our daily walk and met a new neighbor and his dog. He gave a lengthy explanation of the meaning behind his dog's name.  

9:45- We started the school day with reading and handwriting. I called the furniture company about a rip in the couch and the woman told me to text her a picture of the rip so she could assess the damage. I do it immediately but she never responded and I didn't think any more about it. 

10:30- The kitchen sink leaked and soaked my new kitchen rug. I took everything out from under the sink and used all our rags drying it up. Linus escaped out the back door and charged around the yard like a wild animal. I got him back in the house and made myself an ice coffee. I seldom drink coffee in the morning but I could see where this day was going and I needed to brace myself.

11:15- We went out on the deck to practice reading Ollie the Goose. Christopher came home early and Annabelle read to him.

11:50- We finished making our tin can telephones. We experimented the day before with paper cups because we only had one empty can, but I emptied another so we could do it the real way. We were unsuccessful and heard nothing through the cans.

12:00- I made lunch while Annabelle listened to Samantha, made paper dolls and requested a pre-lunch snack of crackers. While we eat lunch she kept listening to Samantha so I could read my book.

12:30- The sink leaked again so I took everything out again and dried it down again. I went to put the wet towels in the laundry room and discovered that one of the cats (my money is on Lucy) peed in the laundry basket. Generally, when they have accidents it's because their litter box is full. I changed the litter but the bag I put it in had a hole so it spilled all over the floor. Meanwhile, AB was in my room cutting out paper snowflakes as one does in May.
I turned around and these jokers were relaxing on the table
 like they're the ones who had a stressful day.

12:58- I made a second ice coffee.

1:00- I got a text from a random number saying they didn't need a picture of my couch. That explains 
why Sharon never responded hours before.

1:02- I cannot explain why I looked this up, but for the next fifteen minutes I researched artificial eyes. 

1:15- I needed to print something for school but Annabelle used the last of the printer paper for her snowflakes. She's used several small trees worth of paper since January.

1:25 to 5:30- We finished school, played in the living room, reading Ollie, made a phone call, dug out the slipnslide, found the pump, inflated the slipnslide, handed out snacks, did laundry, watered plants, prepped supper and attempted to blog. Tuesday afternoons are supposed to be my afternoon off. I try to keep it free for reading, crafting or whatever I want to do. I try not to do cleaning or house-related things but sometimes it doesn't work out well. Every time I started to do my own thing I got disrupted by something. I got more frustrated than I should have and raised my voice before deciding to give up on my afternoon off. 

6:23- We had roasted brussel sprouts and carrots and chicken marsala for supper. Annabelle asked about America's allies and Christopher's deployments.

7:15- I was desperately in need of alone time so I let the others clean up from supper while I planted my flowers and went for a walk. I listened to The Giver of Stars while I walked. It was so good. When I get back, I took a shower then did devotions with Annabelle and put her to bed. We've had the Jesus Storybook Bible for years and years but never read it for two reasons. One, it's extremely popular and I have an issue with getting on some very popular trains. Two, I could never get past the illustrations. I HATE them. I think they're horrendous and a blindfolded child could do better. If the illustrator ever reads this, I mean no ill-will against you! I'm sure you're great! The pictures are just not my type of art. My refusal to read it was the very definition of judging a book by its cover. But a few months ago we exhausted all our other Bible storybooks so I started to read it. Low and behold, it's pretty good. That may be why it's sold millions of copies and has been translated in 38 languages. A few times a week we do this prayer journal as well. 

9:30ish- I do a few things on the computer then we watch two episodes of Community. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

(not much of a) wild Wednesday

I tried all day yesterday to blog but every single time I sat down, the cat ran out of the house or the laundry needed to be switched or Miss No Personal Bubble was three inches from my face.
We celebrated our anniversary last week by wearing fancy clothes and eating takeout in the dining room. I hadn't worn the dress since I was slightly smaller so it didn't zip all the way in the back but no one else was at Restaurant de Personal Dining Room so it didn't matter. Annabelle ate in the kitchen while facetiming with Grammy and Elizabeth. It worked out well for all involved. Somehow we've been married for nine years but it feels like two. It's gone by SO fast.

Annabelle wrote us this card. "Der mom and dad. Hop you hav a hape anovrsre." 

Poor Sesame was getting droopy and sad last week from missing her friends and her normal life. I've tried to keep as much of a normal schedule as possible while adding in a little extra fun, but I can't replace her swimming, ballet or playdates. Several times I'd find her laying on the floor in her bedroom or the living room, staring into space. I decided we needed to get out of the house so Monday we had a Mommy Sesame date. We needed to go grocery shopping anyway, so we drove an hour and a half to a town with an Aldis and an open park. There were very few people at the park so we weren't in anyone's way. It made me so happy to see her splashing around. She kept telling me, "This is the best quarantine day I've ever had." 

Reading for pleasure has finally started to click for AB. She loves the Ollie the gossling books and we've read all the stories our library has in the series. She likes to sit in one chair on the deck with I sit in another and she reads to me. It's still not completely smooth sailing but it's much better than a few months ago. I don't particularly enjoy teaching reading but it's very rewarding that she's getting into it. 

Other than that it's been "normal" shelter in place life. Our state has eased up some and technically we're allowed to go out as we please, but the numbers are still rising so no new stores opened up and we're not going out any more than before. We are now allowed to resume getting tattoos which is not something I ever consider getting, but quarantine Sarah is getting restless so who knows what a wild Wednesday night may bring. I don't understand how we're to maintain the preferred 6ft apart when getting a tattoo but I'll keep you posted if I try it. Maybe I'll get AB's anovrsre letter tattooed on my forehead.  

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

nine on the twenty-ninth

Today is our 9th anniversary.

We had planned on having a lovely supper with our anniversary twins William and Kate at their humble castle but the virus disrupted all our plans. We were all looking forward to seeing other adults and talking to someone besides our children, but we'll try again next year.

I tried coming up with nine new things we did or experienced this year but I could only think of four. Four is also the number of pictures we took together this year. The number gets lower every year despite my best efforts to take more.

1. We bought a house. Several times a week I think how much I love this house and I can't believe it's ours. The locale is not ideal or one we'd pick, but I love the house. It's been so fun to create a life in a home we own.
2. It hasn't been the best of years as far as events in our personal life. We've had sicknesses and drama and frogs and our first miscarriages. 
Ignore the bug eye sunglasses.
I forgot my sunglasses on the boat when we went on an excursion so I got these at a little shop.
They're so big they need their own sunglasses.

3. We're quarantining together for the first and PLEASE GOD LET IT BE THE LAST TIME. He's still working so we haven't had the level of togetherness many couples have, but I wouldn't say this virus has brought out the best in us. The other night I moved to the other couch because he swallowed his soda too loud. It was a low point. But we've been consistent with playing more family games in the last several weeks and
 I hope we continue it if we're ever free to resume a normal life. We started a new Saturday tradition of getting coffee from the drive thru then going for a walk around the pond. We've always been fans of family walks but having a designated time and place has made it a little more fun.

4. This is a real stretch when it comes to firsts but like I said, I'm really scraping the bottom of this barrel. We finally got a white comforter. I had wanted one for years but never gotten one's white. White shows stains like no other. But I found it on sale at TJMaxx then found the blue bird pillow on sale at Pier 1. It was a $28 pillow I got for $3.28 so I basically made money on the purchase. The comforter has gotten dirty because we have cats and a child who constantly has dirt on her somewhere, but I love it.

Things worth noting-

Christopher's sewing needle phobia has not improved since last year. Even though I have accidentally lost several needles, AND FOUND THEM ALL, he has no confidence in me when I get out my cross-stitch. Just this Sunday I couldn't find my needle so I was shaking out all the blankets and pillows on the couch. AB asked what I was doing so I whispered, "I dropped my needle but don't tell Dad." Just then Christopher walked by, saw the blanket laid out, and asked what was happening. I told him not to worry about it. I had it under control! But blabber mouth Sesame called out, "She lost her needle again!!" I cannot trust her to keep my deepest secrets. Turns out the needle was exactly where I had stuck it in the couch for safe keeping so it all turned out fine. I ALWAYS FIND THEM.

When Christopher has trouble screwing the toilet paper holder into the wall, he abandons the screws and superglues that sucker to the wall. 

He refills my water bottle with large amounts of ice and fresh water every night. For some reason, I do not like refilling my water bottle. I don't know if it's the untwisting the lid or what but I don't like doing it. I'll ask my therapist about it next time I see her.

When I was sick after the cruise I asked him to get some sudafed from Walgreens. He bought back five different medications for me to try. If I ask him to pick up cough drops on the way home from work he'll arrive with four different brands so I have options. 

I hope AB marries someone who will refill her water bottle. They're the best kind. 

Friday, April 24, 2020

school days

Everyone (by that I mean no one) has been asking how homeschooling is going. People are clammering to buy my soon to be released how-to book entitled Starting Strong on Monday but Phoning it in by Thursday, How to Homeschool in 386 Steps will be published. 

Just kidding! It's more like 586 steps.

I spent HOURS UPON HOURS in July making a daily schedule. My goal was to have everything written out in great detail so if I got pregnant and was too sick to teach, it would be easy for someone else to pick up the load and know what to do. My color-coded, alphabetical order loving self was so proud of my handiwork. It got lost in the move and I could never recreate it to its former glory. Then I got pregnant and miscarried which eliminated the original need for such a detailed schedule so I went to a basic schedule. We do math and handwriting first because any subject with large amounts of writing are a trial for both of us.  It's not that she can't write, it's that she likes to form the letters her own way. Handwriting usually goes like this:

Me: Pay attention to which letters go to the sky (the top line) and which go underground (the bottom line). Some only go to the top of the house (the middle line). Do you see what I'm talking about?
Sesame: Yep. Can I have a snack?
Me: No. You finished breakfast half an hour ago. Write the letters.
Sesame: does some questionable lettering
Me: What is going on here? The top line is right here.
Sesame: I thought you meant this top line.
Me: No, this top line. The one that's above the line you're writing on.
Sesame: Whoops! Sorry, Mom! I guess I'm not really paying attention. I thought this was the top line.
Me: What's happening now? K has straight lines.
Sesame: I thought it would look good if I added some swirls.
Me: Add swirls on your own time. Start at the top and do it the way I said.
Sesame: Hi, Lulu! What are you doing? Do you wanna play?
Me: Lucy, it's not playtime. Get off the table. Annabelle, do the K. Why is it going underground?! K's don't go underground! 

Despite the very bumpy handwriting road, we've made some progress this year. She's gotten to the point in reading and writing where she'll sound words out and write pages of notes that are nearly impossible to read but so sweet. Our anniversary is coming up and she made this helpful gift chart for Christopher. No frogs. No snakes. Yes cats. She knows me so well.
The other day she lost the privilege of listening to her audiobook. She said she was bored so I told her to find something to do. She decided to write Classical Conversations Latin words. 

We spend the rest of the morning and early afternoon doing a combination of grammar, geography, science, reading, history and art. Reading hasn't fully clicked in her brain yet, but it's getting better. Her new thing is to read the nametags of cashiers and baggers at the store then tell me their names in the car. It's nice to know that all my hours of sounding out letters are sinking in.
I make as much of the learning as hands-on as I can. We do math and writing/spelling with chalk. We use acorns and pinecones for addition and subtraction.
AB has NO issues with drawing and art. She colors while eating breakfast all the way to drawing pictures when I read a story at night. She puts all her papers in a green basket and by the end of every week, we have to weed through because the pictures are overflowing. We've studied specific pieces by various artists then painted the same piece using acrylics or watercolor. She then paints her own landscape/still life/whatnot in their style. These are a Picasso head, Monet waterlilies under a bridge, and landscape.
For history, we read the American Girl looks and learn what was happening in the United States during that period. I found a website that has lapbooks for each character so we make those as well. So far we've read the Felicity, Kirsten, and Josefina books and next week we'll start Samantha. 

She also does swimming, piano, and ballet lessons all of which are currently suspended. My teacher's paycheck is also currently suspended but I have access to the student's father's bank account so it should all even out.