Sunday, November 30, 2008

Settling in to a Maine Winter

I wonder if i will continue to enjoy winter. So far So good. I have lots of sun and a toasty stove. Seems to make a huge difference. Today I moved the extra rocking chair over by the stove. I plan to set the sewing machine up here as well. Must be toasty whilst i create. The boys are love loving the snow. Especially Harland! They were all out for hours yesterday. They did an awesome job getting wood from the barn and stacking it in the porch. It is a lot of work because the barn is far away, but they took some sleds and made an assembly line of sorts, it worked great. They will be at it again today because it is best to get it done when it is not 5 degrees outside.

Mike is working again today. They had a major ice over snow mess at the mountain and needed some extra help so he has been at it all weekend. He did have Wednesday and Thursday off, but now he will work 7 days in a row. YUCK! he never complains, and we need the money. What a guy.
I was recently considering a parenting mistake i have made. "Why have I raised my kids to expect so much at Christmas???" Now please understand my boys are not spoiled, by any means. But I am trying to downsize this holiday considerably. I really think they will be fine. to be honest they couldn't even come up with things they wanted....AGAIN! But still, they are used to opening great and grand amounts of things. I will fully admit it is my own fault. I just hope they aren't disappointed. I guess it's all in what you make of it. I mean really, they are getting ski passes! Any way, less is more, right? I know i don't need any more STUFF to find places for!
Harland and Indigo had a little camping trip in the play room. Too cute. They love these darn blankets! (thanx gram) I just bought some Thomas fleece to make bigger one's for them for Christmas. How can i not they are so stinkin easy to make. I'm planning to make a tiny one as well for Indigo to take in the car. He was with me when i bought the fabric and he had to hold it the whole time we were in the store. I know he will love it!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Winter Epiphany and other tales

So Wednesday marked our first official snow. Of course i had to go into town, but i have all wheel drive. By the time we were on our way home, 10:00 ish it was really coming down hard. I could tell the roads were starting to get slippery. The kids were so excited! We got home, brought the groceries inside and put the snow clothes on. Harland would honestly stay out all day if you let him. They came in for lunch soaking wet and freezing. I now know exactly whose coats are water proof and whose are not. In the mean time I called Mike to let him know it was getting bad. He was up on sugarloaf. The snow was so bad there he actually had to leave his van down at the entrance and get a ride to where he was working. Guess we are buying 4 studded snow tires this week. He left right away. It took him over two hours to get home! He did take the longer, less hilly way and there was a minivan flipped over. The kids went back to play in the snow around 2-3:30. By this time it had started to turn to rain. Only one child minded...guess which one. So here is what we know. We aren't prepared! we only have one snow shovel and no salt or sand. Mike's van sucks in the snow. Waterproof boots aren't always totally waterproof. Mike fixed the leak in our bed room! We have a new leak in the play room. no big deal except the roof is too slippery to get up there. We have a wonderful neighbor who is going to plow for us. Yay! Our driveway is huge! 6+ inches of snow + frozen solid ground + heavy heavy rains all night long = big giant muddy then icey mess!
That is not the epiphany. Here it is. For the first time, since mike and i have lived together, i can still heat my house when the power goes out. no more power outage panic! Not only that, I can also cook! On monday our power was out for almost 3 hours. it was like 15 degrees outside! we were toasty and i made dahl and rice for dinner. no problems! how awesome is that! I Love that wood stove! no worries!
We got some amazing news this week. Anna, our land lord said we can farm some of the land this spring. just 1/2 acre but that is plenty to get us started. we probably won't do a greenhouse yet but maybe before the season is up. i am so excited! so are the boys. At the absolute least we can cut our grocery bill way down. we are planning to sell at the farmer's market as well. we have some big ideas, we will see if we can pull them off.
Thanksgiving was great. we had dinner at home, just the family. i made tofurkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, Tssimes( sweet potatoes, potatoes, carrots, prunes and sweet cinnamon broth) gravy, cranberry orange sauce, collard greens, and rolls. lots of work but lots of yum! We were all very much stuffed in true thanksgiving spirit. The boys also did the oral ("oro") presentations. Very impressive. Gaynor's was for Maine studies/History. He did the Abanake Indians. Forrest for history did Leaf Erickson and the true discovery of the Americas. He chose to do a power point presentation. Harland did Dinosaurs. It is too funny how he does everything just like his brothers. Their next assignment will be due Christmas day and will be on three different celebrations. The rules are, no computer, must be 3 minutes long and contain 3 visual aides. should be good.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Library fund raising Bake Sale a huge success!

So the boys wanted to do this Craft Fair/Bake Sale to benefit the New Vineyard Public Library. It's in the town we used to live in. We don't go there too often any more, but when we lived there the boys were there every day it was open. Sandy, the Librarian is wonderful! She does some remarkable stuff with the space and resources she has. She also lOVES my boys! The first time I saw this library I told mike it was as big as my van! It is by far the smallest library I have ever seen. But that doesn't stop Sandy. She ran a great "Story camp" over the summer. Like story time with an activity and maybe a guest. Harland loved it! Forrest volunteered to help. 17 kids and older helpers and even some adults would cram into the library every tuesday to see what Sandy had planned. It was too funny. Any way. Small library, maybe but a small library with a huge heart. So, all that being said, this was a cause that we could sink our teeth into! We baked and baked! All our favorite vegan treats. We made mocha and pumpkin muffins, pumpkin oatmeal cookies, Ginger cookies and Cinnamon Buns! plus Sarah and Andy (Marble Family Farms) donated some yummy home made loaves of bread for us to sell. We also made playdough and put four colors in a baggy and Harland sold these. The deal was any one could have a table and donate what ever they wanted out of the money they made to the library. My boys and I decided to give them everything we made. It ended up being $50 even! WOW! even i was impressed! Sandy was so happy she gave us all hugs. My boys felt great and they should be proud. They worked hard! We can't do much in the way of donating. Even time is hard with the kids. But, Bake we can do and so we did. Even Indigo behave the whole 5 hours we were there. Remarkable considering the size of the space we were in. He even took a nap in the Ergo on my back! LOVE THAT THING! check out our pics.

me kneading the dough for 3 dozen cinnamon buns! it was so much i had to do it. notice, Forrest's fancy, yet somewhat annoying photography!

sitting at the table rolling UP!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Our second real snow, but it's allready gone

Every time we have so much as a flury, Harland starts yelling, It's Christmas! It's Christmas!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

just some pics

Gaynor is working on an Oral Presentation for his Maine Studies/History project. He is making a story board with a time line.(all his idea) So yesterday Harland decided he too needed to do an "Oro presentation" but on Dinosaurs. So his brothers helped him search online for pictures, which he cut and glued onto poster board. Today he will do research for facts to add to the poster. So cute. So here they are working hard.

Our first real snow, all though it didn't stick. I love Indigo's face while he is watching Forrest catch the snow flakes. He really loves his brothers!

Monday, November 17, 2008

He is 14!!!!!!

I know this is a little late. Sorry Dude, it's been a little hectic. I try to write a letter to my boys on their birthday. For this big teenage milestone, lets do a blog! First i want to say how it pains me to hear moms complain about having teenage children. Forrest is an absolute joy to have around (always has been). He has his moments, don't get me wrong but i don't think they are necessarily "teen specific", just child moments. He is an amazing help to me around here. He does anything and everything we ask usually without complaining. (dishes being the exception, but who can blame him YUCK!) He even offers! "Hey Mom, do you want me to take the kids for a walk so you can get some stuff done?" Wow!
What he's into. BOOKS!!!!! anything and everything, all though right now he is reading Breaking Dawn the 4th in the Twilight series. He also loves Darren Shan, author of Demonata. He actually just won a contest on Darren's blog(a blog-stalker just like his momma, i'm so proud!) and will be receiving autographed copies of his new book and a one of a kind t-shirt worn by mr. shan also signed. How cool is that. Recently we went to the library to pick up Brisingr, the third in the Eragon series (written by a homeschooled young man!!!) I waited in the car with the other boys, out comes Forrest, skipping (yes literally) holding the book over his head with a giant grin. I looked over at the lady in the car next to me and she was laughing too. it was really funny. We are constantly reminding him to talk about "real people" not fictional charecters! Forrest spends his tuesday mornings interning at a little organic farm with two of the coolest people. Sarah and Andy are great mentors and friends to forrest. He really loves going there. Forrest loves to write, i really think he will be an amazing author. He is working on his fist novel right now, It is official novel writing month after all. ( what you didn't know this??? who did?!) Forrest is trying really hard to stop saying crap so he now says "shnazz" its goofy. but better than crap. Music! he loves any and all (country excluded) he is dying for the Twilight soundtrack, but for now he digs, paramore, panic at the disco, System of a Down, Flight of the conchords, Mc Lars, Flobots, the list goes on and on. Juggling, all things juggling, scarves, beanbags, devil sticks. Reading, oh wait did i allready say that?? Playing his Wii which he and his brother saved for themselves. Heroes (the tv show) skipping stones in the river, going on adventures in our woods. Being a super polite, interesting, articulate, funny, kind, caring, well adjusted, young man! I am a little sad that he is growing up, the time has flown. I am, however, more excited to see the man he is becoming.!! You Totally Rock DUDE!

Forrest reading a chemistry book he got for his birthday from Auntie,

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Large Families get a bad rap!

In the past two days I have read two different articles/letters complaining of large families and the effect they are having on the environment. I take offense. First off, isn't it interesting that a family with 4 children is now considered large? More importantly, where are these people getting their information? The fact of the matter is, large families are more likely to live a "greener" life, if only out of necessity. For instance. Cloth diapers, The environmental reasons for using cloth are obvious. The financial savings are also great, and multiplied by each successive child to use the same cloth diapers. Carbon foot print you say? Well large families are less likely to go gallivanting around town every minute. (we go to town to run errands once per week) We also watch our budget more closely as we have more mouths to feed.Yet I still can feed six for less than $130 per week. This means less extravagant traveling, spending, using, consuming. We are more likely to breastfeed, and for longer durations. We are all about the hand-me-downs. When my family of five lived in the same building as a couple with no children we put out one bag of trash per week to their two or three!We use dish rags, and cloth napkins, and real dishes. Disposable items are a waste of money(and land fill space) We usually eat out less and are more likely to have one parent home full time.This makes finding the time to do the green thing easier. less travel, less spending less consuming.....A smaller carbon foot print! is that possible? Large families don't usually live in those giant mansion like homes. They turn their heat down and put on a sweater, they shut lights off, they even watch less TV! We simply can't afford to. What did i just say? We REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE! Not because it is hip or green but because it is necessary, the rest is just an added benefit. Now studies are saying our children seem to be more well adjusted, than those coming from average, or small families. Children from large families are found to have less illness, and even less chronic disease! The divorce rate is even lower for adults who come from large families. I guess all the arguing is good for something! I have always said having four is easier than having two. you learn to let go and relax. Children become more independent. Please remember, the population is actually declining, not increasing! Who will pay into taxes in the future, taxes that will pay for your social security? Who will grow up to be the doctors, who will take care of you, find a cure to your disease? Who will grow up to be the world leader that bring the change this world must have to survive? The children, my children! You should be congratulating and thanking us, not ridiculing us.

check out this article it's from Brittan but still relevant