Tuesday, September 30, 2008

It's Tuesday

The dogs next door are howling because a police car just zipped by. They sound sad. Poor things...Mr. Nelson is just watching the windows and wondering why there is howling. Another couple of police cars zipped by...hope it's nothing serious.

I feel sort of tired and blah...the weather is having an effect on me as it's an overcast, chilly day. I woke up and looked out the window and there must have been a drop in temperature as the window was all foggy. Strange.

The gals are doing good at their school work and I'm learning how their minds work and how important repetition is for kids. It works with songs as well. I like that.

I just wish I didn't feel sleepy. I've got a few things to do and then, it's a few outside things we have to do.

Things I didn't know about me

You Are Rowlf the Dog

Mellow and serious, you enjoy time alone cultivating your talents.

You're a cool dog, and you always present a relaxed vibe.

A talented pianist, you can play almost anything - especially songs by Beethoven.

"My bark is worse than my bite, and my piano playing beats 'em both."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What I found while looking for leaves and Fall Foliage

Monday, September 22, 2008

Whirling weekends...

We had a good weekend...not too stressful or anything. It was actually really nice as I got to do a few hours of schooling for the kids, we played/did art at the museum and then went for a hike at Valley View park. There is a large park area by the Veterans Hospital. The park is then next to a hiking trail that reminds me of Griffith Park in California, only better. It has streams, gorgeous trees, birds, somewhat peaceful feel (you can still hear cars going by) and it feels like you have escaped the city even if it's just a half mile walk and your in a groomed park area. I'm beginning to really love it as it's not an hours drive like Canoe Creek or Shavers Creek (both are love at first site hiking areas). Valley View hiking is more like you need to tell yourself to bring a trash bag and start picking up the garbage people "accidentally" drop. Sort of like a neglected cat or beautiful but muddy and slightly dented Mercedes Benzes. Poor thing. A little more TLC and it would be really nice.

Anyway, I like it and it's a wonderful respite in all the bustle of life. Plus, there are some interesting wildflowers about and sweet little bridges to cross. It can be a bit disturbing as there is a sign saying to enter at your own risk...most hiking is risky but why put a sign like that? I know, to cover any sort of problems, I suppose.

Well, other than that, I did some artwork as well. I'm very pleased with how several art pieces are coming out. I want to do more and will be soon. I've nearly finished all my swaps, thankfully. Plus, I have one last piece to finish (it's for my youngest daughter for Christmas). I want to make something for my eldest as well and my sis/niece. I can't think right now, as I feel sleepy. Today was chore day and I got a lot done, thankfully. Jon made bacon over the weekend and it really greased up the kitchen. Yuck.

More homeschool books arrived and I'm really feeling like we're in a good groove/place. I just feel so supported (never really felt like that elsewhere) and we can move to our own beat. Such a pleasant feeling, really. Plus, I found out there is something called Catholic Saturday school, so we may do this. I feel bad about not taking the classes for me but there is next year...too much happening this year, honestly. I feel good about a lot of things and I feel like stuff is being settled into a good routine. Also, Jon cleaned the guinea pig cage and this is a huge help. I want to redo their cage and make it less open (as the base is just a board and their litter/pellets fall out...yuck) and more secure.

But right now, I'm tired and ready to sleep. I just hope tomorrow is as productive. Funny how a little hiking in nature and doing some art gives you such a pleasant joy.

sheltered by the trees

looking at the stream, originally uploaded by emily999.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Friday, September 19, 2008

Red Squirrel in Fall

Red Squirrel in Fall, originally uploaded by emily999.

My work on ebay

Happy Kitty

Happy Kitty, originally uploaded by emily999.

I feel like this when we've got internet connection. It went out again, today but right now, it's working! :)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Finally, on-line

I don't remember when it was I last posted...but it's been sometime. Our internet was down as we were connecting everyone to a network here at home. There was a special formula to get the stuff hooked up and we didn't know this...until, yesterday. Jon put it all together (I couldn't understand the directions over the phone...I tried miserably to get connected). Thankfully, things seem to be moving along well.

Right now, the gals are on-line doing pbskids.org. I love this site (as well as starfall.com) for educational type games. They are really zipping along having fun and learning. When they were going to school outside the house, they never got a chance to be on the computer or else a very short time. It was disappointing as I do believe kids should get as much computer time as possible (helps with skills in the future and helps them to be a part of the bigger global picture). There are a lot of safety features and having us all in the same room, is an added plus.

We have some museum time today. Looks like the free art classes are starting to pick up and I'm very pleased with this. Also, we had a good meeting on Tuesday and some things were resolved...and to my surprise, a different way of working with space was suggested. We shall see if everything works.

Otherwise, I'm trying to get a few swaps I have going, finished. I did some experimental pieces and though they look fine, I feel I could do better. Plus, I didn't realize there was a size restriction and they are bigger then what was intended. So, it's back to the drawing board.

In the process of creating my experiments, I found out my sewing machine does work. It was really odd, as the bobbin winder didn't work before and when I cleared it off (it was a tad lint covered); it started working! I was very pleased and have been sewing a bit more. It still needs to go to the repair shop (the thread holder was snapped off by a curious kid, sometime ago).

We did a little hand sewing last night. Lydia was doing well but got frustrated and started saying she NEEDED to use the sewing machine. I'm so sure. Of course, I didn't allow her too and she kept staring at it like it would solve all her problems...this made me feel, even though she's younger than the recommended age, I will get her a child sewing machine for Christmas. It won't solve her patience problem, but it will give her that feeling of control, learning a new skill and pride in her abilities.

It's amazing how kids think. I remember the same curiosity with my mom and her sewing machine and wanting one for myself. I'm glad I'm passing this interest to Lydia and Norrie.

I'm getting used to the homeschooling schedule and actually am enjoying it. It's a lot less stress than what we had before for many reasons. I'm going to find a Unitarian type religious studies program for them. I still want to do the Catholic background but I'm not sure what is available for their age...will have to talk to the local priest, if anything. I like doing Unitarian studies because it gives a global approach to beliefs and focuses on the positive.

Well, these are my goals and I think they are more than enough for our home life. I'm just glad things are progressing well with the internet...boy, I started to feel like I was on an island, again.

Hope everyone has a great day! :)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Photo from Pittsburgh Zoo

huge fish tank, originally uploaded by emily999.

We went there about 2 or so weeks ago. We loved the fish and penguins best. I wish I could capture the fish better...they were really amazing.

Today, we went to Roaring Springs. I wanted to see where I was going to give birth and then, we took a side trip to "The Spring" in Roaring Springs. Oddly, this was probably a bit better then the aquarium at the zoo. It was less crowded, had more variety of fish and of course, ducks. It was very pleasant and relaxing. There were several trout, huge bright yellow fish, and smaller red/orange carp.

Plus, the water was so clear and clean and I forgot my camera, hence the fish photo from the zoo. I want to go back and when we do, I'll bring the camera for sure. We fed the ducks and will probably bring bread next time...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Never took my nap...

yet, I'm not too grumpy. :)

It is raining as if our entire town suddenly floated off under a waterfall. Haven't seen it rain so intensely...I like it, but wish this had happened when we had that dry period about a month or two ago. Ah, well...

The birds outside are singing and chattering because it's a warm rain and they seem to sing any chance they get. We should all be more like the sparrows.

The girls were in a peevish mood and so out of sorts. I we went for a walk but I guess they just felt so blah from being cooped up inside all the time. Even the museum has lost it's wonderful feeling for them. I made sure to have them do art and create things and this helped. Apparently, the museum was packed earlier this morning (Family Fridays are a hit) and there was a bit of a mess once I arrived at 2pm. So, I had to do more cleaning with more people arriving all the time. But it was a good chaotic feeling. Thank goodness, I had someone to cover for a few hours...I need to get some 4 hour coverage in the morning or I'm going to have very grumpy kids (or I'll have to call the grandparents more often. Hopefully, this is something that will become a routine, actually).

I feel a bit down because I haven't been doing too much art lately, I guess. It's not because I don't want to but the time factor. I know things will calm down once I get a good routine going for the kids and school work. This isn't the problem either. It's a strange feeling like I want to get my hair cut differently or I don't know what. A make over? ha-ha I guess it's sort of a feeling I wish we were already finished with a few projects and could hibernate in winter feeling.

I did finish two mini quilts for the girls (they started embroidering their names) and I got them finished. I'm working on some swaps and am nearly finished. Then, I have to help the girls finish their work assignments for September. Then, I'll be clear for another month...and can work on my longer projects. But first, I have to make dinner. I need some new recipes as I'm tired of my regular stuff...spaghetti and beans or grilled cheese sandwich. I haven't made a soup in a while. Of course, Lydia just pulled out the strawberry jam. So, I guess PJ's are it.

It's really raining...

I had the kids decked out in rain boots and ponchos...even Mr. Nelson was covered. I had my umbrella but I think I'm going to get myself a poncho and boots too. My feet aren't soaked but they were getting there. Plus, it's chilly to walk without a poncho or some rainproof gear.

I'm tired but feel good about going for the walk. We were starting to get cabin fever a bit, I think. Now, we can relax a bit and not feel stressed out. We did some school work already and that made the walk better, I think.

I notice with the school work, when I teach Lydia, Norrie gets jealous and when I work with Norrie, Lydia gets jealous. So, I try to do the same thing (math or writing at the same time). This helps and makes it so they aren't in direct competition for my attention.

Can't believe how much rain is coming down. I had read the weather and it said PM storms but as soon as I woke up, it was raining. I woke up early and feel like a nap, now.

I'm thinking of getting contacts again. They seem like a good idea as I get so warm and my glasses keep fogging up or slipping off my nose. Very annoying.

We've almost got all our materials, finally. I'm just waiting for phonics/math and art I think. This is the longest wait, I must say. Yesterday, we did some type of testing for the gals to see where they're at, etc. It was at Panera Bread. I've never been there and it smelled really good...got some decaf coffee. It was nice as we also got some samples. Might go back there some time.

I feel like I've got so much to do, and I do. But it's not too huge to do, just a matter of precious time. At least the dryer is fixed, finally. This has made life a bit more bearable.

One thing that is really annoying about the museum is we don't have internet access. This has got to be the most tiresome thing as I have to take home anything I want to look up for grants and update websites, etc; I have to do so from home. If I could do this at the museum, it would be a huge relief/time saver. I applied for a grant and haven't heard from them yet...If I got this one, we could do so much there and kids would have a few computers as well for art, etc.

As for baby news, things are progressing nicely and boy, is this kid moving around! It's a great feeling and reminds me to slow down, not to stress too much. I'm excited and oddly, even though I have a lot to do, I feel like it's all doable and not a burden.

This sleepy feeling is calling me and I may take a nap after we read for a bit in bed. I have to watch the museum in a few hours and it should be fine. I'm expecting a big turnout as it's a really wet and rainy day. Tomorrow is supposed to be rainy too.

I actually looked at my garden yesterday and instead of just random plants that seemed to plant themselves, I was surprised to see tomatoes growing! It was a nice discovery as I thought everything worth growing had died off from the lack of rain. Hopefully, they'll make it and I can have a few tomatoes. This last dry spell was so annoying...I think it made the animals more aggressive about finding water and they attacked all moist plants (even the watermelons I tried to grow). Strange. I'll have to try a different garden plot for next year as we had so many chipmunks, it looked like a neighborhood had moved in. I wonder if it's because there are too many people using pesticides and these critters have no place to go. This is one reason why I'm not too mad at the critters...It's a shame more people don't realize when they use pesticides, they are hurting themselves as well (we use the same air and water, after all).

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Let us, then be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labour and to wait.

-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Thunder storm

We had a huge thunder storm that woke all of us up at about 4:30 am. It was really loud and yes, we were all scared. It made us jittery...even the cats were wide eyed. I had to make some tea and get myself to relax. I'm feeling a bit tired right now. Might try and rest for another 30 minutes if I can. This is one reason I really love homschooling...I don't have to go and take the kids out in weather like this...or at least, not too much.

Right now, I just want to lay down...Lydia is very talkative in the mornings and will chat a storm. But she's feeling grumpy too. Last night was a doozy in terms of moody kids. Anyway, I'm off to have a little break...

Friday, September 05, 2008


It feels, at times, like I'm a half inflated balloon. I just feel tired or in need of a good nap. The gals are bouncing around the house and that's fine, I just wish I could bounce too.

The weather has turned a bit darker, windy and cloudy...it's still hot, however. I sometimes wish we had a pool to lounge in for a few hours. Not a huge one but something just to sit in and float. I'd even take a Japanese type tub.

Otherwise, I'm having a good day with the kids...mostly reading and my throat is all tired. It's actually very nice because we have a lot of new books to read and the work we do for K and 1st grade is a lot of fun with good supplies. It took me about 5 or so hours to get the hang of it, and now I feel like I can do this. The cyber school even gives teaching ideas for language and math. I wish I had had a book like this for Lydia when she was in K...I'm using some of the techniques for both of them. It feels so good to know what to do and not be left to what a teacher suggests or on your own. It impowers the parent, oddly, guiding me with examples and insight. I really think all schools (private, public, cyber, homeschool, unschooling, etc) should have a simple guide book (sort of like a what to expect while you're expecting book) for teaching basic stuff like writing,reading,etc. It makes you feel like you're not on an island floating around and not having any idea of what you're doing (at least, that's how I felt).

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The wild chippie, sort of

The wild chippie, sort of, originally uploaded by emily999.

Here's a pic of the chippie that lived in our house for 7 days avoiding capture while living on dog food/water. We put peanut butter on the trick door and this lured him in nearly instantly. He was freaking out while I took his picture but would stop every now and then to nibble peanut butter. Silly chippie.

We released him by the trees and he zipped around and went straight into our garage. He's an odd chippie, apparently.

Warm days...

It's been a warm streak for the past couple of weeks with only one or two days of rain (and boy did it rain!). However, it's warm again and dry...so very unlike the East and reminds me of the West so much. Good clothes drying on the line days...

I'm glad as Jon just finished cleaning out the guinea pig cage...it smells a lot better. Tomorrow I have to do Odie's cage and the house will be, oddly, clean. We got half of our supplies for the cyber school and the computers are set up...we look a bit like a computer lab in here. lol But I like it as it feels cozy and a good feeling having the kids have their stations for working. I'm starting to feel positive about all of this. Last night was another story. Today was much better with getting the books and some of the supplies. There is so much you get as well...lots of new things like books and every subject you can think of; music, history, art, science, language, etc. I'm just very impressed.

I feel good there is a once a month "show us your stuff" assignment. Basically, a writing assignment (basic for K and 1st) that we turn in to show progress, etc. Other than that, it seems pretty straight forward. I was surprised at the supplies and primarily at the quality...very good and I know the gals are very excited. I'm pleased as it's even better than I expected.

We're lucky this old house came with two nearly identical desks...I was going to paint them white but they actually look a bit charming in their old dark colors/stain. They're from the 30's and actually make the seating area look mature and sophisticated for the kids. I like it.

It's funny how you worry so much and then everything just sort of works out for itself...at least most of the time. That's how I feel about this cyber school. I was stressing out so much about books/supplies being behind school work. As it turns out, we're doing good and just need to get a rhythm for schooling. Thank the stars.

Once this weekend passes, I think a lot of things will calm down (we're participating at the Lakemont Festival this weekend...a lot of work and this is another stressor...thankfully, there are some very dedicated people involved. I'm still recovering from the Fancy Nancy Tea...it was so fun but SO much work! Next time, I'll plan that better).

We went to the Pittsburgh Zoo on Monday and had a great time. I was surprised at how old the zoo looked/felt...I knew it was at least in the 1930's...but found out it was originally made in the 1800's. It just felt sort of quaint and a bit intimidating with the cages sort of open and not open. Gave me a weird dream-like feel. I guess it was the way you have to take an escalator up to the top and then meander down these paths that turn left and right. Just felt sort of odd and maybe a bit too natural (lots of overgrown everything which was explained as letting it have a natural feel. It reminded me so much of the time when I was in 6th grade and we went to the Griffith Park for our last day of celebration. We found an abandoned zoo and cages while exploring...everything was overgrown and sort of wild feeling with these 1920's-like cages everywhere). The funny thing is we went on Labor day and it was PACKED. It was a bit crazy with mom's screaming at kids, people looks sort of dazed and confused and for some reason, the monkey exhibit smelled really, really badly and everyone had this sort of trapped-in-hell look. Plus, it was at least 90 degrees in the "fake humidity". I'd say the zoo needs some grants to get fixed up, actually. I hope the monkeys weren't getting a whiff of that stink...good God.

The drive was a bit much but not as bad as I thought (2 hours). Also, I really thought Pittsburgh was going to be flat and industrial. It was a bit industrial but mostly hills! At times, it felt like we were driving in Hollywood hills or something...at least now, when it's warm. Very picturesque and old timey.

Anyway, I feel like we're still getting over this weekend. I feel things are going well and routine will be part of our day soon. I have no idea if I'll have anyone signed up for my art classes...I'm looking forward to this as well.

I feel pretty good otherwise...I wasn't so hot earlier but it was mostly from the heat and doing so much dang laundry. I need to do some art for myself and my swaps. Then, I'll feel a lot better.

Well, it's getting late and I feel a bit tired...didn't get a nap yet. Hope everyone is having a good week.

where they ever that small?

where they ever that small?, originally uploaded by emily999.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Jellyfish at the Pittsburgh zoo

Jellyfish at the Pittsburgh zoo, originally uploaded by emily999.

This was one of my favorites...

just yawning...

just yawning..., originally uploaded by emily999.

how we felt after all the walking/heat. It's a cool zoo originally created in 1893 or so. Some of the bear enclosures were from 1937 and were part of the Great Depression recovery program; Civilian Conservation Corps.

I always find this amazing for several reasons...1. my grandfather participated in this, 2. the work is usually still standing to this day 3. You can find the work nearly everywhere...parks, zoos, even post office murals. Amazingly familiar and a wonderful historical marker of times people struggled through.

stage-like performing penguins

stage-like, originally uploaded by emily999.

Sitting on the rocks

Sitting on the rocks, originally uploaded by emily999.


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