Monday, December 17, 2007

Bah Humbug

It's beginning to sound a lot like Christmas around here. Fighting, bickering, screaming, deal making and chaos. I don't think I like Christmas, in fact I know I don't, as much as I once did. Five children equals five active volcano's. Oh sure they simmer and smoke quietly until we get down to the last two weeks. Then they explode, spewing chaos everywhere. School is never done around here, we have lessons in everything we do. Right now I am learning about peace talks. They on the other hand are practicing open warfare.

Andrew is trying but still blows steam and spews nonsense. He is now 15 and calming down. He can however be goaded into and argument by Evan or Emma quickly. I have noticed how as Andrew has gotten older his gifts have gotten smaller but more expensive. He will be 16 by next Christmas, I have already told him not to expect a car. Well that's not entirely true, he will get his usual Matchbox car, a family tradition.

Evan is not trying anything but my patience. He forgets his chores mid chore. Argues, with everyone including the dogs it seems. Evan is 12, oh yes the joy of puberty has come to roost here again. Evan is harder to shop for, he is a tween. Still loves to play with toys but more interested in older kids stuff, video games, mp3 players and such.

Caleb, well Caleb is something. He has been trying, and getting better at social interaction. I saw a shirt that was perfect for him the other day, it said "Dear Santa, I was framed.". Caleb is 10, no signs up puberty, but plenty of defiance. Caleb has never been easy to shop for, he will not say what he wants. Santa has never been big with Caleb so no finding out that way. We know he loves Lego's, and any building toys. He also loves chemistry sets and chess boards.

Emma is all about the argument and drama. Should an argument break out mid chore she is very happy. A dramatic moment can be had, she storms up the stairs crying loudly and yelling "Thats it, I am going to my room I am not doing my chores.". This never works but she tries anyhow. Emma is 8 and very sweet most of the time. Emma is still easy to shop for and happy with pretty much anything you give her.

Kate is just Kate. She will fight with anyone in a heartbeat. She tries to help out and do her chores. She sings and dances one minute and slugs and kicks the next. She is our "Katie Kaboom" for good reason. Katie is 5 and enjoying every minute of it. Katie wants a bike this year, that's it that's all, a bike. I have a feeling this will be the only easy year with her.

The closer we get to the big day the more tension mounts. The kids have tried. The pressure seems to be too much. It is cold outside, well cold for Vegas, the kids don't want to go out as much. The tree is too much of a temptation, must move the ornaments around, crawl behind it or under it. This has been a long year and this is the big moment before its done. We have in-laws to dine with Christmas eve then our home for Christmas day.

Now I must go upstairs and finish folding laundry, figure out how to mop the floors and keep kids off of them. Check and make sure the tree is not crooked again. I hope we make it to the big day without a massive blow up, the tree still standing and my sanity at least somewhat on this side of reality.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all. We will be spending this day at home and enjoying a meal later in the evening. Mark works today so dinner will be around 7:00 P.M.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A sister lost - Never forgotten

I really don't like this daylight savings thing. It leaves me dragging, I don't stay motivated and am more distracted. I don't like it getting dark earlier, it makes me want to sleep more. I was going around the house gathering towels to wash, not moving with the speed I normally would. I walked into my bathroom to gather towels , I looked up on a shelf and noticed a box. I dropped my armful of towels on the floor and took the box down. I looked inside the box, it was full of letters and cards from my parents house. I walked into my bedroom and sat on the edge of the bed, oh well the towels can wait a bit longer.

I pulled the letters out, some were from my paternal grandfather. These were from when my grandmother had been diagnosed with cancer to her death. I never knew a lot of things about this. I live in a don't ask because we won't tell family. I learned a few things I had never known. One of which is the strength my grandparents had during this time. I set these aside. I found a card from my brother, he is estranged from the family. The card was to our mother, signed Love Lewis. I set that one aside.

I came across a sympathy card. I couldn't remember who had died. I then pulled more out, all sympathy cards, then one caught my eye. One of sympathy a the loss of a child. At first I could not recall a child being last in the 1980's then it hit me. My sister, Linda. Every emotion of the day she passed hit me at once like a giant wave. She was young, in her 40's, she had a brain aneurysm. She left behind a husband and three teenage children.

I then remembered just a few months before she passed, our last visit with just the two of us. I was living in Reno at the time. I was going through some things and she called one day and said she was coming up. We spent a week together, it was great. We got to talk about everything. We hit every second hand shop and antique shop in the Reno area. She was an antique nut and I learned a few things from her. I remembered having some cheese and crackers with a nice glass of wine on the back patio. Watching the birds hit the bird feeders that hung under the grape arbor. We talked about her kids and what she hoped for each of them. We talked about our future, we also talked about death. A very odd subject for Linda. We talked about what I had been going through, it was a tough time for me. She told me not to let "these" people get me down, that I was better than that. We talked about her problems with "these" people and the don't ask we won't tell policy our family had. I learned her husband and children were her world and that was great.

Linda was born premature in 1947, she was the youngest premie to survive in Orange, Texas at that time. Linda was my confidant, although she was 17 when I was born I could tell her anything. She never judged and never told. When I moved from Kindergarten to first grade she bought me a Barbie tent, I still have that little red and blue tent. She was forgiving of any arguments in the family. She loved to have holiday dinners at her house. She was a great cook. She also loved to garden. She made these sweaters, that were knitted on a machine with angora woven in. I still have mine and my mothers. I keep them in a safe place so they will stay in one piece. We drove back to Las Vegas from Reno. We drove at night, she told me to be careful and if any rabbits got in the way not to swerve and get us killed. She said she wanted to get home alive, that she hadn't seen her husband in a week. She also told me I would learn when I was in my forties that sex was important to a woman in her forties. That totally cracked me up then, now I understand what she was saying. I am so glad we had that time together. I will remember it always.

I miss her to this very day. She has grandchildren now. I know she would love that so much. She told me she was looking forward to the day she had grandchildren to spoil. Her kids are grown and I hope happy adults and they are wonderful parents. I hope each of them remembers to spend some special time with each other because you just never know. I think I will plant some morning glories to remind me of her. I know just the spot.

Maybe daylight savings time has one good point. It slows us down enough to take a walk down memory lane.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Out with the old

I woke up this morning around 2:30 A.M. I knew something had woken me so I laid there until I could figure out what it was. Pop, pop, pop, this is what had awoken me. We had our bedroom window open and this sound was drifting in from across the valley. I realized what it was, I also realized my husband was now awake listening. I told him, they are imploding the Frontier. He asked if I knew why, I said oh you know "out with the old, in with the new".

I laid there and listened to this pop, pop, pop, for what seemed a long time. It was in fact only a few minutes. I could hear dogs from a great distance barking. I was amazed at how far the sound had traveled but even Vegas quiets down at some point. The pop, pop, pop ended and another sound followed. The building falling, it reminded me of a large animal laying down. I imagined what the dinosaurs sounded like as they laid down their death. Then the dogs stopped barking and everything got quiet. I felt a great sadness at this quiet, a deep loss.

I remember when the Desert Inn was imploded, and the Landmark and others. Always out with the old in with the new. This is sad in a way. No more of the Flamingo, the hotel Bugsy Sielgel purchased in the 1940's. The Sands, the Silver Slipper, hotels owned by the Late Howard Hughes are now also gone. The hotel and casinos that had some of the greatest performers are now gone. When Las Vegas celebrated its 150th birthday in 2005 they had a hard time finding memorabilia for it. Well no kidding, we get rid of all our old buildings, and things as fast as we can. I find this sad. This is not my Las Vegas anymore, I miss the old. I used to love when we drove past the Desert Inn, it had a huge golf course and was surrounded by trees. I always thought it would be a great place to play. A child sees everything as a chance to play. Out with the old in with the new.

I finally dozed off, but in my mind I started thinking of another question that has been asked a lot in our family.

North or South, go or stay.

Monday, October 15, 2007

What the?

What the heck is the problem with my kids and toilet paper? This morning Kate was in the bathroom. I hear the all too familiar yell for toilet paper. I was busy so I sent Emma up to get some for Kate. First Emma went upstairs and came down to ask what I had asked her to do. Then here comes Emma with the roll in her hand to put Pogo out to potty. Kate is still yelling. Emma finally gets it to her and I don't think about it again. Later I run up to my bathroom and there is no toilet paper in my bathroom. Emma had taken ours and given it to her sister.

Now understand something, toilet paper is in full stock in this house at all times. We have eight people living here and four bathrooms. I buy toilet paper in bulk. Retriever toilet paper is an easy task. All bathrooms house four rolls at a time. The paper is stored in an easy to reach area. Come in my front door and head straight you will cut through the living room and go into the kitchen, from there to the dining room, my dads bedroom and one bathroom. There is a huge walk in pantry where one supply of toilet paper is stored. Come in the front door head to the left and down there is the family room, another bathroom, laundry room and a bedroom. The downstairs bathroom has a supply storage area. You guessed it more toilet paper is stored here. Now come in the front door head left and up you have more bedrooms. At the end of the hall is a closet with six shelves, again toilet paper is stored here in the largest quantity. Easily reached toilet paper. Emma had gone to the end of that hall and turned left into my bedroom gone into my bathroom and removed all or our toilet paper. SHE PASSED THE STORAGE CLOSET TO DO THIS. I don't think I will every truly understand how children think.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sick Kids = Cranky Kids

All of the kids have colds. This makes for a very cranky household. I am hoping my dad doesn't come down with a cold. He will get his grapefruit tea going. This consists of taking white grapefruit and slicing it then putting it in a pan with water and simmering it. You then get a cup of it and sip it. You put it in the refrigerator at night and back on the stove in the morning. Remember to add water to the mixture to replace what has been consumed. The entire house smells like this "tea", not a particularly bad smell but not a good smell either. I make something similar but I use lemons. We also add honey, my dads is straight up. I have to admit, his colds don't seem to last as long. By the third day of this tea being heated up and a bit more water added, this stuff is stout. I don't think any virus could live through it.

We tried to medicate Caleb tonight. This is about like grabbing a bear out of hibernation and talking him into taking a small cup of foul liquid. In fact I think the bear is less frightening than a sick Caleb. I have already had one battle of the wills, this resulted in red sticky medication all over him and the floor. The medication has always been an issue, No matter how many strides we make with other this this is still a problem. I guess this is just one of the joys of Asperger's. Evan is easier, his doesn't manifest this way. As long as I didn't get any medication on his face he was cool

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Lights Out

The copper wire theft problem in Las Vegas has been hitting us lately in our personal lives. The freeway I drive almost daily has been hit. I take this same freeway to my Brownie troop meetings every Friday, now half of that is dark. The track we walk everyday is dark half way around. Now our house has been hit.

I can not figure out how these people steal wire from the lights on the freeway. This is Las Vegas, the freeways here are never empty. This is a town that moves 24/7. I know someone has to see something. Mark insists that people figure it is workers and just move along. I have decided to question anyone I see on the freeway pulling wire out of light poles. I can understand the walking track. The parks close at 10:00 P.M. here, so plenty of privacy to do what you want from 10:00 P.M. to 5:00 A.M.

My house I can't figure out. Someone must have disturbed whoever tried to rid us of our wiring. Other than the breaker box being a bit torn up and wires pulled out no damage was done. We easily pushed the wires back in returned the inner panel and closed the outer panel. I have now installed a lock on the box. This means getting the keys down whenever a breaker pops.

Whatever happened to the busy body old ladies from my childhood? We need them, they could patrol the city just sticking their nose into things. I can clearly remember not being able to do anything without one of these women right there to stop me. My friends were plagued by the same women. These were usually older women whose children were grown and gone. They had plenty of time and energy to notice trouble and stop it before it could get going. We were all afraid to defy these women, they had a direct line to our parents houses. I think we are letting a valuable resource go unused. They could patrol at all hours, butting in and putting a stop to this problem. I can envision some thief trying to do his/her thing and an old lady grabbing him/her by the ear and marching them home.

I remember one from my childhood. Mrs. McManus, she was a woman to be feared. She was a tiny thing, with a thick accent.
She could not have been more than 4' 2" but could halt the biggest kid in school with one word.She had survived her childhood in a concentration camp, nothing scared her. We knew not to even think something wrong in front of her. She was always outside tending her garden and watching us kids. She had a built in radar too. Her daughter and I played together. I knew her and knew she was kind but I still feared her. We need more people like her. She would put a stop to this.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Oh Brothers

My house is quite often chaotic. That's one of the things l love about my large family. This morning was no exception. The children are allowed to wake in stages. Caleb was the last to come down this morning. I was reading an article when he came into the room, I glanced up and back to my article. It took my brain a nanosecond to register something new had been added to Caleb's face during the night. Geometric shapes, and a black mustache . Bright bold stars, hexagons and octagons also a few squiggly lines. Now at the moment three boys share that room. The culprit should be easy to find. Wrong, no one is admitting anything. This isn't like words or letters, it isn't written on paper. I have no way of telling if this is done by a left handed person (Evan) or right handed person (Andrew or Caleb).

I sent Caleb to the shower. He came down with muted shapes, but still a face full of geometric designs. This is funny to a point. This might be fine with most children but an asperger's child finds no humor in this. Even if he did the art work, once he wants it off it should just come off. He also has a very nice black mustache thanks to some artist in the house. I know it wasn't the girls as he would have hearts and kitties and puppies, all in pink and purple. The girls also can not open their door or the boys door without waking an entire house up.

Caleb has been in a foul mood for hours now and shows no sign of letting up. Outbursts are loud and hateful. I am trying my hardest not to fall for this and lose my temper with him. He will simply look at me and use the good old "I win" statement and walk off. I learned this very early on with him. When Caleb is like this his rat terrier, Dori, is much more protective of him and follows his mood. The other children avoid Caleb's wrath and the other dogs avoid Dori's. When Caleb has calmed down this evening I will attempt to remove the art work myself. He is not good about his face being washed, handled and some days looked at.

Friday, September 28, 2007

The Grub

The grub has grown to about 4 inches now. One of the boys says it looks like the things from the movie "Tremors". I really don't want some man eating, vibration feeling grub with a bad attitude around this house. I have visions of this grub hatching into a huge beetle, similar to the one I battled upstairs a few months ago. Caleb holds this grub and talks to it. He is much more chatty with it than he is most people we meet. Perhaps if people wore bug outfits he would be more inclined to speak to them.

Caleb loves bugs, we have a huge spider web on the side of the house that is home to a daddy long legged spider. I had to take down a lot of the webbing the other day when a well intentioned child threw chicken scratch into the web. Caleb was sure I would kill the spider, I gently shooed it out of the way and took the food loaded web down. I noticed the spider is already busy building a new one. I also noticed that spider is getting big. I am not really afraid of bugs. After three sons it is hard to be afraid of much of anything.

Andrew and Evan and even Caleb feel I am very unfair for not allowing a scorpion in the house. I can't stand scorpions, no way to warm up to them. They said they could always sneak one in. Not happening I have a radar for these things. Should one get in the house and escape I would not handle this well. One house evacuated, tented and sprayed. I don't care who's pet "Fluffy", the scorpion is.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Happy Birthday Emma

Emma is 8 years old today. Emma is our fourth child and first daughter. She has decided to have strawberries and cream for her birthday as we don't eat sugar in our house. They are allowed cake on their birthdays but she said she would rather have a healthy birthday. I am so proud of the young lady she is growing up to be. This is her day, and she has the day off from school work. Happy Birthday Emma.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Sleep deprivation

When we bought this house we were thrilled that it was one of only three houses on a deep cul de sac and surrounded by a high block wall with a business park next to it. We liked this because, one our kids could play more and not bother as many people, two not as many people could bother us. Down the one side of us is a nice grass area with huge pine trees, then a building with various businesses.

This has always been great until five nights ago. One of the businesses alarm keeps going off, all night long. The people get there around 9:00 A.M. and turn it off. We have been up for hours by this time. My poor husband goes to work at 5:00 A.M. and returns home at 7:00 P.M., twelve long hours of work two hours to drive back and forth. I don't know how he is doing it. I am ready to kill someone, the kids are at each others throats and no one is in a good mood. I called the business, a realtor's office, and explained that we could not carry on this way. The woman was very nice, and apologized. She told me she would have to call the owner so he could call the alarm company. That didn't work at all, towards bedtime last night that darn alarm was blaring again. Hubby called the police, nope sorry nothing they could do. I would like the number of the alarm company, this way I can bug them all night long.

I think that if this alarm continues tonight I am taking the kids over first thing in the morning and we are camping in the office until something is done about that alarm. This is the time of year the ac is off, windows are normally thrown open. Now we are sealed in like a tomb and still can hear that alarm all night long. Tonight will be night 6, I feel that by tomorrow morning there is going to be an extreme danger in mood swings around here. Yes a sit in will work out just fine. I tried the be nice over the phone thing, now I will try the be nice in person thing. Be warned, if this does not work it will get ugly. Two adults and five children lacking sleep is not a pretty sight. The third adult sleeps on the main level so hears nothing. Not only will I park kids in the office I will bring their school work, let them try and teach five cranky sleep deprived children.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


We ran across several items of mystery while cleaning out one of my dads backyards. The first one was good for a laugh. It was two signs with the phrase, DO NOT HUMP, printed in large block letters. Evan asked if my parents were hippies, this was worth a great deal of laughing on my part. Hippies? My parents? LMAO not likely, in fact they were first in line to complain when some hippies moved in down the block. I saw no problem with these strange new people but what did I know, I was only about 6 years old. I noticed the other day the signs are in the boys room. I asked what they intended to do with these signs. Evan said his sisters will want to date one day and he will simply tape these to their backs. I can see the future is going to hold some serious fights between three over protective brothers and two no nonsense sisters.

Another mystery was a very strange grub. This was a little white fellow about half an inch long found under a board. Now having three sons I knew this grub would be coming home with us. Home he/she ( how does one sex a grub?), came. We looked at the grub tonight he/she is now three inches long. My husband and I are thinking this is a palo verde beetle grub, (mentioned in previous post). Caleb thinks he is just wonderful. I had him put into a plastic critter keeper with a good lid. Should this prove to be anything not mom proof he/she is secured.

The third mystery was a suitcase and wooden box in the old wooden shed we tore down. I asked my dad about it, he had no clue. We opened the box first to find various items, keys, photos, makeup and some jewelry. The suitcase had some of the same photos and a whole lot more. Two birth certificates, tons of letters, photos and cards. No one in the family knows who these people are. I know this one was named Kimberly Davies and her baby was named Jennifer Davies. I know Kimberly had a rocky start, ended up a single pregnant mom at a very young age in the 70's. I will try and keep up on this mystery as the houses get finished and rented out.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

North versus South

I have lived on the southern end of Nevada my entire life. I did live on the northern end for three years in my twenties. My dads family is from the northern end. I have spent my life traveling back and forth for visits.

My husband and I have spent almost our entire marriage treating this end as a temporary thing. Saying we would move north when we could.
We have always made friends easily enough but knew they would be temporary. Knowing we would move north soon. Our last house was treated as temporary as is this one. That is the way it has been until about ten months ago. I finally decided it was time to settle in. The children are involved in their things, the girls in girl scouts. The boys have their friends and activities. My dad came to live with us seven months ago and discussion of moving north came up again. I tried to ignore it. We have people here we love, activities, a life. The problem is we hate this end of the state but love so many people here. The traffic is a nightmare getting from one side of town to the other can take over an hour. Just three years ago it took twenty minutes at the most. Crime is going up yearly. We just had a purse snatcher jump our wall. His mistake was I was outside with my kids. I picked up a piece of re-bar and told him to go right back where he came from. He dropped the purse into the backyard. The dogs made quick work of it. The heat is a bit too much for us too. Still hitting 100's in September.

On the other hand. We think we like the cold better but lets face it we don't know. I haven't live up north in twenty years. We think 54 is cold. I read where the fog froze right in the air in one area up north. OMG! Fog can freeze? The northern end still has a smaller town feeling and very nice people. These are not however "our" people. Hubby is a state employee so he can transfer. He is testing for Department of Safety, still a state job. Snow is another issue. I have not driven in snow in years my husband has never driven in it. I have a son getting to driving age. Do I dare turn him loose in the snow? This will mean new warmer clothes, lets face it no way our "winter clothes" will ever make it in an area that gets below 0.

The kids have very mixed feelings. What about friends? How will we get to know people? Can we really play in the snow? Can we still be home schooled there? Will the dogs get lost in the snow? Can we have our own rooms? Can we have a club house? Can we ride our bikes? (This is something we no longer allow due to traffic.)

It comes down to North versus South, up versus down. Do we really want to pack the belongings of nine people and move?

Happy Birthday Andrew

My first born is 15. I can't believe he is 15, I can't believe he survived to this age. His father and I sometimes wondered if he would. I look at him now and can't believe he was ever tiny. He was 7 1/2 pounds and 21" long at birth, now he is 6" 5" and 230 pounds. OMG he will be driving soon, our insurance rates will never be the same again. I will never be the same. He has the day off from studies, except his unit studies group, he is free for the rest of the day now. This year was simple gift wise, the Dangerous Book for Boys, an mp3 player and some music. Next year I know it will be hopes of a car, deluded hopes but still hopes. Happy Birthday Andrew.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Happy Birthday Caleb

Caleb turned 10 today. I can't believe he is 10. He wanted a chocolate cake from Costco, this is no ordinary cake it is the ultimate chocolate cake. The family calls it the sin cake, something that good has to be a sin, lol. He wanted a book from his dad and me, not just any book but the ultimate boys book. We bought him "The Dangerous Book for Boys". This book has things that boys love, how to do almost any boy type thing. He can learn about great battles, how to skin a rabbit, (ewwe), what to use for invisible ink, just about any boy thing. He has been reading it all day. For a kid that didn't want to learn to read and fought me every step he is really into that book. Happy Birthday Caleb.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Labor Day Weekend

I was trying to drive in this town yesterday with way too much traffic. We got to Costco to discover it was packed. On the way home more traffic, more than usual. I had the radio on when I heard it was Labor Day weekend. I said how much I hate this weekend out loud. Three children immediately wanted to know why. I had to explain because this is the last one for the summer, we get large amounts of people in that want to do nothing more than block traffic. My dad would later agree with me and remind me Memorial weekend is bad too. I don't think it is.

By this time of year we have had it with the heat, so tempers are just too short to have packed roads and more drunks than usual on the road. The heat seems to have lasted too long by this time, we want it gone. We check in with the weather daily to see if we have any chance of lower temperatures. I am talking 98 instead of 107. Even the dogs are short tempered. We all seem to know fall is close and want it here quicker. School has started so fall should be here too, cooler temperatures = cooler tempers.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

School has started

School has started here in Nevada. School has started here at the Shepcarpclan household. We are using thematic units this year. Kate, the 5 year old, is in first grade this year. She took her placement for math and will be doing second grade math. Emma is right on target. Caleb has taken off in reading and is now reading everything, what a huge change for him. Evan is as usual Evan. Doing great in history, reading and science and holding his own in math. Andrew has found his brain this year and will be joining us. Andrew is soon to be 15 and I think will make it into college courses by January. OMG I can't believe that. He is ready, I may not be but he is. This week is space for our thematic unit, I decided on this due to the lunar eclipse Tuesday and meteors Saturday morning.

I sat the kids down last week and we came up with unit topics for the year. Among my favorites where, great plagues and adventures. They were thinking when we study flying we could actually try flying. October will see things like Poe and Nevada history. We are adding religion this year, we will learn a little about each religion and belief. We come from a very mixed family so we want our children to be open minded. We attend a unit studies group weekly, been doing that this summer. This gives them a chance to get together with other kids and learn things. Caleb tried to give a lesson in homemade bombs, I put a quick stop to that. I am pretty sure anarchist is his secret life goal.

People ask me why I home school. We started out this way when Andrew was 5. He had fallen into a camp fire when he was 4, at 5 his skin was still too new to be on a playground. Now I home school because I love it. I love teaching my children and sometimes learning things with them. I love being there when they learn something new or finally get something we have worked had on. Homeschooling is easier on Evan and Caleb. Sudden change and crowded situations are hard on both of them. We have groups we get together with, and girls scouts. School has started and my life is now very very busy but I love it.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Caleb is my third child. He was born with red hair and has managed to keep it. Caleb was a quiet baby. His father, his pediatrician and our families did not believe me that he smiled or spoke. He only smiled late at night when it was just the two of us up for his feedings. I would take him into the living room and sit in a rocker and nurse him. He would smile then and for months only then. He spoke very little and never to anyone until he was 3 years old. He walked when he was over a year, potty trained at 3. He would not just do things, he seemed to have to work it out then just get to it.

My favorite memory of Caleb was when he was about 4 years old. We had a doctors appointment and I stayed outside with him. We found a little patch of grass full of dandelions. I picked one and blew the cottony seeds everywhere. He watched me but said nothing. Then he picked one and tried it. Then he looked at me, I mean looked AT me, in the eye. We had connected, and we blew dandelions for about an hour while my husband took our oldest in to the doctors.

Caleb was 5 when he started school like most children. I was homeschooling through a charter school back then. He was to start testing to see where he needed to be started. The teacher took him back and was only gone 5 minutes. He returned with Caleb in tow. I thought, OMG the child refused to speak to him. The teacher was laughing. When I asked if it went well he told me Caleb had invoked his constitutional rights not to be tested. I informed him my home was a dictatorship and demanded he tell me where my son had learned this. He just laughed at me, this teacher was really getting on my nerves now. He said they could not force the child to test. Caleb tested two weeks later when he was good and ready. I was then informed he was a very bright child and educating him could be a problem.

Caleb then spent that entire year with a teacher that he disliked. Now if Caleb dislikes someone he flat out dislikes them. Should it get to be too much Caleb then puts a wall up and this person is no longer on the planet. I have a friend he is like this with, she has never done a thing to offend him as far as we can tell but he really dislikes her. My husbands mother is not a favorite of his either. She is a good person and very kind to him. Still he has no attachment to her, he will usually act like she isn't in the same room. I can insist he acknowledge her and he will and he will be civil but there is nothing more to it.

It took me a long time to understand when he would come up hug me and tell me he hated me, he really meant he loves me. Somewhere he had gotten a wire crossed. He has learned to control his temper and his outbursts but they still plague him when stress builds up. He is an amazing child and I love that he is the way he is. He loves with all of himself just like he can dislike with every ounce of himself. He has insisted he can not read but we recently was quoting facts from a book written for state employees on how to handle and transport nuclear waste. Yes he can read he just doesn't want anyone knowing, well he lets me know he can read.

Now he is 9 years old soon to be 10. He still loves to blow dandelions and grow plants. Now he wants a vinegarroon. This is a whip tailed scorpion. NO WAY is this happening. He tells me this is a opportunity for scientific observation. Smart kid, as I have stated. He has a rat terrier that is with him almost all the time. I am pretty sure she would not love this new addition either. I think I will look into some more plants for him, exotic ones. He wants to be a medical botanist when he grows up and I am pretty sure he will make it. I just hope he realizes he needs to test in college and can not refuse to read or write for professors. He may also be just as happy being an anarchist.

Caleb sees things differently and does them his own way. I love that about him. Yes he can blow up and get frustrated, but he will usually keep at something. I can always take him and find a field of dandelions and he will quiet down and blow cottony seeds into the air for as long as we have them there to blow. We don't have to speak to each other, just quietly spread seeds all over the grass. I don't pull dandelions when I spot them on my lawn. I leave them there to let them grow. They represent one special day with my third child. This is a child that may not say a lot to people he has just met or sometimes to people he has known a lifetime. This is a child that will spend three hours with a foal that won't come near anyone else but him. Him speaking quietly and this foal with its neck wrapped around his head grooming his hair. Animals take him him right away. Little girls his age follow him around just wanting to be near him. He on the other hand puts his hands in his pockets and does his own thing. This is Caleb.

Monday, August 20, 2007

This week

We gathered around the table Saturday to plan this week. Finish up dads two houses and yards. Get water on to both houses, have a plumber out to roto rooter both houses. Get air condition up and running to one house. Have fence people out to do estimates on new fence and repair one existing fence. Fencing decided on was chain link. Confirm the dumpster, get permit for dumpster. Get in touch with rental agency find out if smoke alarms must be hard wired in. Find an electrician to repair a light carpet installers tore out of hall ceiling in house two. Rearrange storage unit.

Got up this morning, despite a dose of antihistamine the night before, and headed for storage unit. Got there and moved three boxes. Dad declared enough done for now. I stood there thinking, OMG no way we did this for three boxes. Great news the 40 year mattress and box springs are getting tossed. Not because they are as firm as a giant bag of water but because the bed set holds a standard double, this set is a double extra long. What ever reason is fine by me as long as they go.

Got email from chicken husband (my new name for him as of this morning). He has decided to join DPS, did not go over well with me. When we first started dating my first question was, " Do you have any desire to be a street cop?", his answer was "No". I can see this is going to lead to some heated discussions as the week goes on. DPS does not always mean street but as he emailed me the information I am thinking it might in this case.

I need to call fencing companies for estimates and make sure I catch them there. Should they arrive without me at the houses they may think I expect them to install fencing with a torn down wood shed, a six foot high twenty foot long wall of loose cement cylinders. Those will be gone, thus the dumpster. I must also return an empty color ink cartridge, I did not have the empty one when I purchased the last set of cartridges. The gentleman that does the refills is great at his job but a bit overprotective of his cartridge's. I must also get on the phone with plumbers, call one company my dad likes and request a man named Jack. I do hope this does not take a great deal of explanation. My dad had this gentleman install one of the toilets and prefers to deal with him again. Companies are not always understanding in the dealings with the elderly. They really should get that way.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Hard questions-harder answers

I find my children can ask some very hard questions. I also find the answers to be even harder in some cases. Questions like, "When I grow up will I find someone to love?" "If someone took me and you couldn't find me, would you keep looking?" "When I grow up will I know what to do?". Today my five year old Kate asked me another one of those questions. " Mommy I have a question. What would you do if someone hit our car while you were pumping gas and Emma and me died?" My first response was, "what a terrible question". She insisted on an answer. I told her I would be very very sad. That was not the truth. I couldn't tell her, I would die right then and there. A part of me would no longer exist. I would continue on in life I am sure but a part of me would not. I have known women over the years that have lost children. I saw in all of them that part that no longer lived. There are no easy answers to questions children can ask. Oh I have books to answer questions like"Why is the sky blue?" or "How far is it to the moon?" Children don't always ask those questions. I have been asked questions far tougher than any mid term could ever be. "Why do people kill each other?" "Why do some people hate other people because they look different?" "Why do some parents hurt or kill their children? Didn't they love them anymore?" The answers are sometimes just not there. Some are there but too complicated to explain.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I need an out

I need an out, this is a code I use to let my husband know I have had enough. We started this when the youngest was two. I wouldn't have to say anything more, just "I need an out". I didn't use this much until recently. I have added two more people to my household since February, making it a total of nine people living here.

I need an out soon, very soon. I have been in a grouchy mood for two weeks. Running between my dads two houses and mine. No air conditioning in one of his houses and no water running in either house adds to the stress. I am happy to say one house is now packed and empty. The yard on the other hand is a different story. The other house is going to be a challenge. It is packed but must be unpacked and then repacked. Junk and any mice must gone from the boxes before being moved to a storage unit.

My dad is a collector. A common thing I am told among those that came from the depression era. This means I have found balls of string, rubber bands in balls, paper clips, rocks, plastic bags in huge numbers. I have yet to understand this. Canned food that I know should not and will not be eaten. My mom passed away 15 years ago, I am still sorting her clothes. I have boxed her old shoes and given them away. I found clothes that belonged to my dad when he was in his 30's, he is now 78.

My dads one house, the one I grew up in, has been broken into many times and many things stolen or broken. One bedroom I finally made it to the closet to find a broken urn. I didn't want to upset my dad so I called one of my nieces and asked her if her mom had ever mentioned what kind of urn our mother or my grandfather had been put in. She didn't know and neither did my sister. I finally asked my dad, he told me he knew it was there but could not remember who's it was. He was sure however that my mom and my grandfather were in leather pouches and in boxes but he was worried they had been stolen. "Oh God, don't tell me we have other relatives here". I asked, more like pleaded, could this be one of our former pets remains, he didn't think so. There was no broom in this house or dust pan and none in the other house. I couldn't just leave those on the floor, I took two old envelopes and scooped up as much as I could into a plastic container. Some of it got onto my hands, I didn't think I would ever get that off my hands, or at least I imagined I could still feel it on my hands. I brought the mystery ashes home and stuck them in a cabinet. My kids were a bit worried at first. Now they love nothing more than to tell company we have a dead relative in our cabinet. I still haven't found my mothers ashes or my grandfathers, I still have the other house to go through. No one in the family is sure who this is here.

I need an out.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

What is wrong with boys?

Today is laundry day, well almost everyday is, but today is big laundry day. I started out early asking the boys to strip their beds. It is now 3:00 P.M. and they are finally stripped. Are boys allergic to clean? While I was picking sheets up off of their floor I noticed an old fish bowl full of bird seed. I dared to ask why the fish bowl and not the convenient zip lock bag it came in. I was informed by my nine year old son that was just a silly question. I also noticed something moving in the room. I know better than to investigate. I know its not one one of the birds they are in their cage. Maybe the toad I never can see it with all the rocks and plants in the tank. I asked the boys. The answer is, "oh the bug got loose, we can't find it". What bug? "The bug we caught at Grandpa's". Oh no, this can't be good. WHAT BUG? The answer? "A palo verde beetle". This is a rather large beetle(3 to 5 inches) with a pincher on its head and wings. I have pulled the birds and the toad out of that room and am going up with bug spray. What is wrong with boys? A lizard, a snake even the toad would be fine, but oh no we have a beetle on the loose. At least it wasn't a scorpion.

Boys, Girls and Dogs

This entire week is not going well. Today is only Tuesday and I see no hope for the rest of the week. The morning shot by too fast. I turned on my stove to cook lunch and the igniter failed to click, a huge ball of flame quickly came from the burners. Time to find the pipe cleaners and clean out impossibly small holes in the burners. This is a job that the husband is supposed to do weekly. The last time I saw the pipe cleaners they had all been turned into stick figure dolls. I hope the boys made these. The boys don't care if I take the legs or arms off the dolls, the girls on the other hand will take this personally.

The boys are fighting. One argument leads to another today. The girls on the other hand have disappeared upstairs to try and sneak into my room to watch the tv. The rat terriers and the corgi are getting along today. The roommate blew yet another job today, this just sets the entire household on edge. A year of living here, this was supposed to be six months at most. Her goal, stay here while getting divorce, get a job get an apartment. Three jobs later she is now unemployed. Nice enough person just terrible at interviews.

It is hot outside today, 108 and dry. The cicadas are the only things enjoying the heat. All of my tomato plants have died, the grape plant looks terrible. The peppers and brusselsprout plants are doing ok. I need to get moving with the house and dinner. I have a meeting tonight so no walking club. I have a feeling this bad mood will bleed over into tomorrow without a way of blowing of steam today. I used to clean when I was really mad. The husband would come home see a very spotless house and know to tread lightly. With nine people living here it seems impossible to get the house that clean. No sooner do I get one room done and someone is behind me undoing it. I had better go before this wireless keyboard takes flying lessons. I must keep backspacing to correct what it fail to type. I am thinking time to replace the batteries or have sore finger tips from tapping heavily on each key.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Cleaning out- old memories

My dad became very ill in February resulting in a long hospital stay. When the hospital felt he could be released, not an opinion I shared, he came to live with us. They let him out unable to walk with a draining leg wound and a but unaware of what was going on around him. He has since recovered and other than needing daily help with his compression stockings and making sure he eats well he gets along fine.

Now we face cleaning out his two homes. They sit side by side, one was lived in for 40 years the other the last 10 years. This has taken months of work just to get part of one home empty. Along the way I have come across things I had never known of or forgotten. Things he won't part with, even though I see no use for them. Now my home is piled with boxes, my garage over filled and working on a storage unit. I have found letters from my paternal grandfather to my folks about my grandmother when she was diagnosed with cancer and to the end of her life. I have learned more from the letters than from any family talks. Birthday, anniversary, and birth announcements have brought back many memories. Rocks tucked here and there, we are rock collectors from way back, bring back memories for my dad and myself. Scarves my mom wore, handkerchiefs also stir up memories. I will have to blog on those with photos as they brought back so many memories. Now we must make up our minds once and for all, stay here in the southern end of the state or go north. My dad is from the northern end of the state and longs to return at the same time he drags his feet on this. My husband and myself prefer the northern end but are open either way. We are stuck in Nevada as my husband is employed by the state.

We still have another house to go through. I look forward to seeing more things and yet dread it at the same time.

Thursday, August 2, 2007


I have started walking with a group. So far our group consists of three of us but its a start. The first evening we put in 2.2 miles. Last night we managed 3 miles. This morning when I woke up, OMG my legs are not on friendly terms with the rest of my body. My shoulders are sore from swinging my arms while we walk but not as bad as my legs. I will be out there again tonight. One of the women I walk with sets the pace. Not a slow pace, no a very quick pace. Two laps in last night and I thought I was going to die. Advice to younger people, do no let yourself get out of shape. Even if you are out of shape get in shape before 40. Trust me it is harder as you get older.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Off day and getting in shape

The kids and I overslept today. We had rain, a rare event, and it was so overcast that the house stayed dark. My dh had gotten off to work at 4:00 A.M. and we slept until 9:30. When I did wake up I found I had a pounding headache from sleeping so late. The entire day has been off. The wire keyboard quit working, I had to go buy batteries for the wireless. I really don't care for the wireless as it goes through a lot of batteries. I am extremely grouchy today. My kids seem to be about the same as all they have done is argue. I have my walking club tonight too.

My family and I started to get into shape about six months ago. I was not sure how this would go but it has been a huge success. The entire family didn't need to get into shape. Andrew, Evan, Rachel, (the roommate) and myself were the ones that needed to the most. Six months now and Evan has last 50 pounds, Andrew 30, Rachel about 25, I have lost 100 pounds. I now walk every night. I am now up to 2.2 miles at a very quick pace. I have to say I am so proud of the boys, they look great and feel great. This entire family is now a sugar free, mostly organic no junk food period family. Dh is now running to stay in shape. I have started getting rid of all the large clothes we have downsized from. I noticed that Andrew, the 14 year old, no longer has the mood swings he used to. He did have some sugar last week and was a real jerk. He told me he will never eat sugar like that again, he could see the difference in himself. Evan turns down anything not healthy on his own. Now that this family has read up on what goes into a lot of our foods we are very careful about what we eat or drink. Even the younger ones read labels, lol. Caleb, the 9 year old, will tell anyone in the store what is in the foods they have picked up. This leads me to dragging him away from some very freaked out people. This is just Caleb, he gets going on one track and is hard to detour.

Monday, July 30, 2007


Today is Monday and time to get moving for the week. Today we have laundry and cleaning. This week will be spent trying to get ready for the school year. A friend of mine wanted to know what we would have to do. She figured we home schooled so we just started, nothing more. Wrong, we must purchase supplies, plan out lessons, decide on what to use for each child. A back up plan is always useful also.

This school year will also have to work around an addition being built onto the house. We will be expanding my dads bedroom and bathroom and turning it into a casita. The living room will be expanded, taking out the garage. The main level will be expanded up to include a new master bedroom and bathroom, study and sewing room. The current family room, in the lower level, will be turned into a media room classroom. The cement in the backyard will be gone, a dog area added and an enclosed patio and outdoor kitchen put in. This must start after August because August usually means monsoons for us. It will be so nice when it is done.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The rain came and went

The rain came and went. The news is now showing water running in the washes and detention basins. I can't help but watch and think "duh, that's what they are there for". I keep checking the online weather report, nothing listed but clouds. I don't think they know what it is going to do. The rain came two days earlier than predicted so now they just list cloudy.

The kids enjoyed the rain, they played in it. The two hens had a good time also. They dogs on the other hand wanted nothing to do with it. I do hope this means we will see more storms in August. You will deffinantly not hear the childrens song,"Rain, Rain Go Away" around here.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Where is the rain?

It is 9:39 at night and 96 degrees with 26% humidity. This may not seem like a high humidity rate to some but for us it is up there. This is the desert, very dry. My daughter Emma was 3 years old before she saw her first rain showers. I took her out in it and she was not sure what to make of it, the brothers knew to enjoy it while it lasted.

It hasn't always been like that here. When I was a child we would get rain every 4th of July. Not enough to spoil the fireworks just enough to make us worry it might not let up before nightfall. By the time it was dark enough for fireworks to be lit off the rain would be gone. The humidity levels would make the smoke hang lower in the valley.

By August the monsoons would come in. I loved the monsoons, still do when we get them. The thunder and the lightening can be amazing. The rain would flood some areas but those of us and our parents that had been here long enough knew to stay out of the streets and not to drive in it. All the kids in my neighborhood would run out to play in the rain. Our parents would warn us to stay out of the middle of the street in case a manhole cover was moved by the flooding. We were told we could be sucked down one and be killed.

Some storms would bring a power outage, these were the best times( well for us kids at least). We would open all the doors and windows until the rain had stopped. Then all the neighbors and kids would get together in one yard with lawn chairs and chat and have a good time. Meals were generally cold leftovers, very few houses had gas stoves. Should the power remain out until night we would all sleep outside on our lawn chairs. We would talk quietly and watch the lightening still going on in Arizona, yes you could see it from this far away. Soon the kids would fall asleep. Sometime around 4:00 A.M. our parents would wake us to go inside, the house was cool enough now and the power may be on. We would all complain wanting to stay out and chat and play. Looking back now I realize our parents had stayed awake all night and kept watch over us, usually our mothers our dads having gone inside to sleep in the hot muggy houses.

I am hoping soon my kids will get to experience the monsoons we had when I was a child. We have been in drought conditions for so many years now it seems we may never see them again. When we do get the rains in August they are not quite the same and people inevitably end up getting their cars stuck in the flooded areas. So many people move here every year from all over the country, they don't realize in the desert when it rains quickly we flood. Fast moving water going wherever it can towards the washes and then to the lake.

It is cloudy out now but I know there is no rain tonight. The air does not have that energy or smell. Soon I hope.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


My two youngest are my daughters. Emma is 7 and Kate is 5. Emma has always been very mellow and laid back, gets along well with everyone. At least she is that way until her and Kate decide to not get along. Then it is all out war. I have had to peel daughters apart. Hair pulling, screaming, kicking vicious little things. Their feuds are few and far between but when they do fight it is all out war.

Each girl has her own little dog. Emma has Pogo a fat, little, heavy min pin/ rat terrier mix. Kate has Motor, a very small rat terrier. When the girls fight each dog takes his girls side. This has led to some altercations between the dogs. When the girls get into grappling matches each dog will grab the other dogs girl and try and pull her off.

The three boys are all older but during a girl feud not the brightest. They will try and take sides or make peace. This results in the girls turning on the brothers. I can not understand why these brothers have not learned to stay clear. I have learned this quickly, I simply find a quiet place, yea right in a house with five kids, and read a book or blog. As I type away now two little girls are having yet another sister war. Caleb, the 9 year old brother, has finally gotten both to quiet down and play with him. This may work out or the girls may decide instead to get along with each other and take out the brother. He has found a box of my moms old scarfs and handkerchiefs and is going through them with the girls. Poor boy, I owe him big for making peace for tonight. I think I will go and get them to bed before another war starts over some pretty lacy scarf.

Friday, July 13, 2007


Katie is our youngest, she is 5 years of age. The photos are of her as a baby at about seven months. Katie or Kate, depending on the day and the mood, is a force all her own. She is the youngest of five children. She knows exactly what she wants and accepts nothing less. Today she sent me into a panic. She walked up and asked if she could watch the Playboy Bunny on the computer. On the outside I remained calm, as I have learned to do with five children. On the inside I was in a panic, we do have older children. Two of those older children are our 14 year old son and 12 year old son. As soon as I could find my voice I asked her where she had seen the playboy bunny, she informed me the one daddy and I had been watching. I could not help but start laughing, she in no way found this funny. I realized that the Playboy Bunny was Bugs Bunny. We had found some old Looney Toons on the computer and had watched them. She was happy at least for a while to sit and watch old Looney Toons, I was happy that it was just good ole Bugs Bunny and not the other bunny.

Plumbing is not our friend

We purchased an older home four years ago. We knew it would need work and looked forward to putting the time and work in. We were not however prepared for the plumbing. This is a tri- level, meaning one part is main floor one part underground and the other part upstairs. Our first plumbing problem was an upstairs toilet. Hubby plunged and plunged, nothing. OK, time for a trip to the hardware store. Oh so many choices so little logic, on the husbands part. He wanted to purchase an electric auger, good idea for later projects but not something you can use on a toilet. Then he spotted the C02 cartridge plunger. This takes a C02 cartridge and explodes a blast of air down the plunger and into the toilet, sink or whatever forcing the clog to go away. The ultimate guy thing. Once we got home the hubby could not resist going straight upstairs to use it. I had to follow because I just knew this was somehow going to be entertaining. Looking back I so wish I had used the video camera for this one. He skimmed the instructions, loaded the cartridge, aimed and shot. He had not read the instructions enough to get to the warning, he had also failed to get the plunger completely over the whole in the toilet. This resulted in what was in the toilet, you don't want details here remember we have five children, to blow back and all over him. I had stayed out in the hallway to watch, a good thing too. I could not stop laughing, he was not finding this funny. Trust me it was hysterical, the look on his face, the way he shuddered. The children all found this very funny too. Needless to say that plunger is no longer in this house. I kept it for a while and whenever a toilet would back up I would ask him if he wanted to use it, he would just give me a dirty look and walk away. We still have plumbing problems, one day I will post about the rubber ball dropped down a shower drain from upstairs that clogged in the lowest level pipes. That was only 16 hours of work before a child spoke up and told us what was clogging the pipes.

Monday, July 9, 2007

This is my first attempt at blogging. I have a feeling this will take me a while. I can't decide on a template or what to say. Photos, songs, videos are a whole other problem. I might get farther if I wasn't sitting in a room with three of my five children bouncing around and throwing themselves on me. I will attempt more later but the dogs have now decided to join in the circus so I must get everyone off to bed.