Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Not so great pictures-not so tasty dinner

So, my computer bit the dust and Shane had to get me a new hard drive or mother board or whatever- which he did. And he was able to recover a bit from the old one- luckily the only thing I was too worried about were pictures. He got most of them but they are not on my computer yet so I am using his today but he put the pictures somewhere new and I can't find them. I am sure he will laugh when he reads this. I've searched high and low and the only thing I could find was this aerial shot of Jetty Island where he goes kiteboarding. He's working on a website for it so there it is. It just seemed boring without a picture of some sort.

Things here are going pretty well. The kids and I have little colds but nothing too bad. We had really nice weather yesterday. It was sunny andvery warm. It felt nice to be outside. But today is rainy and cold and right now it is getting misty. It is very cozy and makes me want to start a project and drink tea. Or read a book. Actually, I just started reading The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand on Sunday. I was talking to Shane about Ayn Rand the other day as there was an article about teh 50th anniversary of Atlas shrugged in the Journal and I was saying I thought she was too cold and utilitarian and eventually he had to ask if I had actually read any of her books and I had to say no. He thought Fountainhead was a good one to start with so I am reading it. Its long so we'll see how I do. I prefer articles because I can get through on in a cup of coffee.

The kids are still enjoying "Precious" as they are now calling the kitten. I'm not sure when they'll settle on one for good.

I am bummed I can't get to my pictures because I took one of a dinner I made last week and it ended up being a funny story. At least I was amused.

I was going to be working at the Museum of Flight for a wine tasting event and thought I'd make a nice big lunch -it was a 9x12- so Shane could just pop it in the oven and have leftovers for dinner. I had a recipe for chicken and artichokes with a sherry-cream sauce that I have had at Shane's mom's and it is tasty. I decided to pour it all over a bed of wild rice mixed with quinoa and some other tasty things and he could just heat it up all at once. I got it all done and in the fridge with instructions for heating and felt very good about him being taken care of while I was gone.

I called on my way home to see how everythin was going and Shane told me about the dinner. He did as the instructions said and dished up bowls for everyone. Of course they moaned and froaned about the foreign looking food but he told them they had to eat it all and then they could all watch a movie. Then he took a bite. He said he was really glad he had not dished up too much for himself, as he would have to eat it all too. He said it was so bad they finally negotiated down to one bite of chicken and then they could order pizza. I was glad he did because I was really hungry when I got home. I tried the chicken first and it was definitely a little off. I did use marinated artichokes but rinsed them really well- I thought. But I undercooked the rice medly a bit so instead of a nice chewy texture it was more of a gummy hardness. It sounds better -or worse-with the picture but oh well. Later.

The wine tasting turned out to be one of the better events. It was actually a party for Providence but they were advertising a winery - MaryHill- in Eastern WA who donated all the wine. It got good reviews from everyone - esecially the Syrah. I didn't try it myself but I am curious to now.

It was a nice group of people and they had a live band so it was more entertaining than some parties. They had a wedding reception on the top floor last month that was really pretty and fun and had a great view of the sunset. So that was lively. But this was nice too. An older gentleman and I found common ground in that we both liked to read a particular article in the Sat/Sun edition of the Wall Street Jurnal. Which was handy becdause it gave us something to talk about while I tried to wrestle the Boston shaker for his Manhattan. The shaker won this time. Oh, and I got to donate my pour spouts to the Hilton when and the other bartender didn't realize I had brought my own spouts- because they never have enough- and threw away all the bottle tops. At least they weren't the expensive ones. But that was all. And Shane had leftover pizza for me when I got home. And I bought myself a new pair of Josef Seibel shoes. My old ones were really worn but still so comfy so I broke down and ordered a new pair.

So next posting I should have pictures to put. On Sunday we are having a neighborhood costume party and I'll remember to get pictures. I didn't at our get together last month, which was really fun again. But we are moving it indoors this time to our next door neighbors garage so we'll see how all the kids do. Shane is going as Anakin Skywalker because Trudy had made a really nice costume for Cameron a couple years back. I am not sure what I'll go as. Either Madam Butterfly- because she also had a kimono- or Princess Jasmine because Shane brought me a silk sari from India. I think the kimono would be more comfortable. Trudy also brought over wings for the girls and is making a Robin Hood suit for Cyril. So if you need a costume call Trudy. I did.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Just to catch everone up on Kateri's ear appointments I thought I'd post some info here. I just went today to pick up the records from her first test so I can take them to her appointment at Children's Hospital next month. So I got to read the doctor's notes as well. They should just give you a copy as a standard practice. Then you wouldn't have to go back and drag four kids with you to sign a form that gives permission to realease the records to yourself. I would have just faxed it but the machine is out of ink.

Anyway, I took her in last month after expressing some concerns with her speech with our regular doctor. I asked for a referral to have her hearing tested so DR. Josh gave me a name to call. The Otolaryngologist- that would be a great Scrabble word-wrote in her report that Kateri was a pleasant, well-developed, well-nourished, alert, oriented, and conversant 4 year old. I was very releived. She also asked if I'd taken her in for speech evaluation at the local school district. I'm not sure why I find that so irritating but I did.

Then they did the hearing test and discovered she has mixed hearing loss in her right ear. Her speech reception threshold level for her left ear was 10- which is normal- and her right ear was 40, which puts her in the moderate hearing loss range. They called it mixed hearing loss. I am not sure exactly what that means. That it is mechanical as well as something else that I forgot. So they referred her to Children's. She got tired of the tests- it was 2 hrs long-so hopefully they won't have to repeat all of it at Children's. I don't know how it translates to what/how she actually hears. I have to say I felt a little vindicated when reviewing the test with the doctor. She mentioned they may want to prescribe a hearing aid for that ear.

It has made me mor conscious of how I talk to Kateri. I was whispering to her in Liturgy to do something and then realized I kept talking into her right ear. Not that that is the reason for all the delays to do as she is asked but it could be a contributing factor. I'll update after her next appointment on Nov 12th.

Kateri thought it would be funny to wear Pippin's PJ's . So I put hers on him. They thought it was pretty funny.
Sometimes I wondered if it was just hard to hear through all that hair.

Last night she was telling Shane how she wants to go to Hatteras again and to go to the "hairport" to go on a "hairplane". I think her head could be a "hairport."

Monday, October 15, 2007


I was thinking of dedicating an entire blog to funny things Cyril says. But I just want to get some recorded before I forget - currently I only have 2 in mind- but I'll try and remember to write them down sooner as they occur from here on out. And someday I'll set up a separate section. Maybe for all the funny things kids say.

This gem happened yesterday at lunch. We were on our way home from liturgy and I suggested we go out for lunch. I knew the kids were all starving and figured that would help them be still and maybe- just maybe-Shane and I could talk durring a meal. It had its fair share of interruptions. The kids took turns needing to use the bathroom. Kateri's turn turned out to be a false alarm but my food was still warm so it was ok.

When I got back Shane leaned forward to tell me Cyril's Deep Thought. In between bites of pepperoni pizza he discovered an amazing fact and announced to Shane while chewing and shaking his head in disbelief,

"I can't beleive that in less than 5 years, Pippin will be 4."

Move over John Candy.

For the record Pippin just turned 2.

This exchange between myself and Cyril was a couple weeks ago.I did write it down while still laughing so that I wouldn't forget it.

I had made some pasta for lunch and the kids were all happily eating at the table. Cyril finished his plate.

"Are there more noodles?" he asked.

"Sure", I said, "They are on the stove."

He got up to dish some onto his plate.

"You might want to heat them up a little", I added as they had been sitting for a while.

"Heat up what?" he asked sitting down at the table and starting to eat.

"Your noodles. You might want to heat them up for 10 seconds or so. They might be cold."

"What noodles?" he asked, still eating.

"The ones you are eating" I said wondering where this kid had come from.

"Oh", he said.

He finished eating. Apparently they weren't too cold.

Friday, October 12, 2007

A Little Robin, Brown and Plain , Flew into Our Window Pane

Stunned. upon the rocks he sat
For all the children to look at.

The funny thing is this was the second bird in three days. The first one flew off right away leaving only a cluster of feathers on the window as evidence. Cyril couldn't beleive how it could have survived but got some proof two days later when I heard the familiar thud. I looked out the window and saw the robin sitting in the gravel. I called the kids down to see and they of course wanted to get a closer look. I was surprised when it just sat there, obviously very dazed. The kids all crowded around it and Audrey got some bird seed- which it didn't touch. The kids all wanted to keep it. I was just hoping it would be well enough to fly away. Kateri touched it and it didn't budge. Then all of a sudden, thankfully, it took off into the air. It's strange because we have grids on the windows and even a happy birthday sign taped up on the particular window this bird collided with. Maybe we shoulod put up some shades.

We haven't had much luck with Chilean wines so I was surprised by how much I liked this one. I tried it at a friend's house and then got some to go with dinner the next night so Shane could try it. He really liked it too. He said it tasted very solid and traditional and made him think of an old library, maybe with a crackling fire and leather couches and a hint of tobacco smell. I added that last part of the description. Regardless of who said what we both liked it. And it was only $10 at QFC. I was reading online reviews and somebody said the 2004 Cabernet was better than this one -2005.

Monday, October 8, 2007

The kids are in Kitty Heaven

Snowflake is the name of our kitten. We didn't think we'd be able to get one so young so soon but I got a call from my mom saying the boys had found a kitten at the property while raking leaves. She was doing well and had a nice disposition. But they didn't have room for her at home so they were in a quandary. Then she read my blog and called to see if we'd procured a kitten yet. We hadn't so yesterday they brought her over. Needless to say the kids were extatic. She is pretty cute. It is a bit of work making sure the little kids don't love her too much. I was planning on the kids just spending hours busy with her. But right now it is still a bit of "cat sitting" on my part for her protection. And supervising the kids' visitation rights.

Audrey came up with her name. We'll see if it stays. She seems to like the set up the kids prepared for her. After getting her settled we left the big kids with her in the garage. Shortly, Cyril came running in all excited .

"The kitten just peed in her littler box. It was so cute!" Potty training is exciting. Especially since it means I don't have to clean it up. She even pooped half way in her litter box. I am not sure how the other half got smeared everywhere but it was a great opportunity for my brother, Sandor, to demonstrate how to bathe a kitten.

The kitten does seem to prefer Audrey. Probably because she holds still and is calm when she holds her. The other kids are a little jealous.

So, here we are. We own a pet. I'm looking forward to letting her turn back into the outdoor cat she is. And to Pippin stopping getting into the kitty litter- the clean stuff in the box. I don't ant to encourage Snowflake to use the garage floor anymore. Right now I'm look for a good vet to get all those cat things checked out and shots started.

Maybe getting a full grown cat would be more my thing. Except kittens are the best part.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Shelob's Lair

Audrey and Cyril were pretty quiet for awhile today and when I went to check on them in Cyril's room this is what I found. They helped themselves to some yarn and decided to make a spider web. Then they trapped some of their toys in it. I thought they did a pretty good job. And it kept them busy and co-operative for over an hour.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Cyprian's Birthday

It is hard to believe Cyprian is two. He still seems like such a little monkey. We didn't have a big party for him, which was good because now that he is 2 he's finally decided to start acting his age. To such a degree that he screamed for about two hours- even though I was holding him, before finally going to bed. So we didn't even eat his ice-cream cake until after lunch today. He enjoyed his card from Great-Grandma Mac - who very thoughtfully included enough gum and balloons for him to share. He opened that earlier in the day so he had several hours of gum-chewing-balloon-blowing-sticker fun before he reached his limit.

MMMmmm. This gum is so tasty.
I likehis monkey cheeks in this one. He is wearing the necklace Audrey made for him. She also made a really cute card that I put in a safe place and haven't found yet.
This was the next day. Yes, the candles are pink. That is what you get when your older sister has a birthday just before yours.

Grandma Trudy and Grandpa Ron stopped by in the evening on their way home from Leavenworth. They came bringing more balloons and airplanes and a new outfit for Pippin. And chocolates. Hand made ones that have- had - no preservatives and had to be consumed this week. They were delicious and you could taste the real butter and cream. So we did all have some birthday treat after dinner.

And now we've officially entered the Terrible Twos. It really did seem to all hit yesterday. The contrariness, the fussing, the stubborn tantrums. I think the next couple years are going to be very long. I am so glad we think he is so cute. He has also been giving up his naps lately. which usually translates to very fussy evenings and acceptable bedtimes- 9:00 or so. It makes it hard to work with the big kids and I'd try and save that for his nap but now we just have to fit it in wherever. Luckily, Audrey is very independant and can do a lot of her work on her own but I really need one-on-one with Kateri and Cyril so progress there is a little slow.

I finally decided to stick with the Saxon math and ordered the 3rd grade for Audrey. I wasn't sure but Shane really likes the older grades and they say you should pick a program and stick with it by the 4th grade- as different programs introduce different things at different grades -so I figured we'll stay with it. And I already have grades 1 & 2 for Cyril.

I ordered a set of English from the Roots Up to start with the kids. Audrey is really excited. She likes different languages. She is enjoying her French class a lot. We had bought a Latin computer program a couple years ago so maybe I'll get her started on that again. Then she can see how it ties into French. The only thing about it is it uses the classical pronounciation- which is what I learned- but it makes more sense to use the Church Latin. But for reading and writing its fine.

Speaking of language and such, I've been reading a very good bood called "Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum" which has been very helpful in planning out what to study when, and why. In the introduction she talked about the speech by Dorothy Sayers called "The Lost Tools of Learning" . It is amazing that even in the late 30s, education was already being reduced to accumulating and memorizing facts as opposed to teaching people how to think. I loved her refering to a degree as the "Free Man's" Degree. Meaning he was free and equipped to go and make his own way in life. Instead of here is what we have certified you to be capable of.

Too much good stuff to list here but the talk is only ten pages if you want to read it.