Sunday, February 26, 2006

Geocaching!

Last night, while transcribing a go lecture (of all things), I came up with this brilliant idea for a new series of caches. This is going to be a series of foreign language caches, each one being a puzzle in a one certain language. The coordinates will be given in that language somehow, but in such a way that babelfish isn't too helpful , or not even helpful at all. I am open to any suggestions how to do that. I have some ideas, but am interested in any others.

I know lots of people who speak foreign languages, so this is going to be a fun project. I guess I should order more ammoboxes.

After people have done the first six caches in the series, they can find a bonus cache. Each of those six will have part of the coordinates, can put them together when you find all the parts in the six caches. Today, I started the project by hiding this bonus cache. It needs to be hidden first, since we need to know the coordinates to put in into the other caches.

It was a cold and snowy day, and I hid it locally, was a nice hike. I just love love love being out in the woods, all by myself. Well, unless you count the ammo box :)

I was supposed to go to go club after that, but more and more snow came down, and I decided that maybe it wasn't such a good idea to go after all. So I was stuck at home, forced to do things here.

Worked on updating our travel bug map and white board, since I had gotten woefully behind. Travel bugs are fun, Kate's is our family's most well traveled bug. Her penguin has been to France (Paris) and back, and now is in Ontario. One of Tara's has been to Peru and back, Erik's still is in Spain. Fun to have so many international bugs now.

Now it's late, I have played and studied go, and kids have worked on the driveway. We have at least a foot, if not more.

Gotta love New England weather...

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Baking!

A few days ago, Tara baked this cake. Baked from scratch and decorated by her. No help from me, apart from getting the cake out of the pan. So cool!



They are enjoying some of it now, it's almost gone. It's a chocolate cake with strawberry frosting. Yummy!

Maybe not my kind of of girl after all...

We always put out sunflower seeds on our deck, for the enjoyment of blue jays, chickadees and squirrels. Watching them is a favorite pastime for Sylvia.

This morning, she was watching a squirrel and exclaimed 'Squirrel!' I was studying a go book and absently said 'Yes, we like squirrels'. She enthousiastically replied 'Yummy!!!!!!!'

Hmmmm, I had kind of hoped that my vegetarian lifestyle would rub off on her...

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

My Kind of Girl

When Sylvia got a card and chocolate for Valentine's Day, she looked at both, gave me the chocolate 'Ohpee this!' and the card 'Thrash!'. She obvioulsy realizes what's important in life ^^. She was one happy girl with her chocolate.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Good Memories

I was looking through some older pictures to send to family in the Netherlands and came upon this one. It really made me think back to the fun we had apple picking that day, and what a blessing it is to have seven kids to share those outings with.

Looks like a nice day, I should be outside, but somehow haven't gotten myself out of the door yet. Unlikely that I will now, still need a shower before aikido (very close contact sport, can't expose them to me the way I am right now ^^). Also I am baking bread and studying go and doing 5,000 other things. Oh well. Hopefully it will be spring soon! At least I walked last night, so I did get some exercise in.

About aikido, I still suck at rolling, especially with a huge sword in my hand. It's nice to have such enormous room for improvement... I can't fall either, actually managed to fall down the stairs a few days ago (not a serious fall, just misstepped on the last few steps) and really badly hurt my little toe, very badly bruised. Actually not only my toe, but even part of my foot, ouch ouch ouch. On the other hand, my spine was fine, and I have learned that that's the important thing to protect in falls like that. So maybe I am learning?

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Happy Birthday, Erik!


This weekend, we finally had a bunch of friends over to celebrate Erik's birthday. Of course, we had had a family party on his birthday, but we will never turn down a reason to have yet another party. We ended up with 15 kids, ranging from 1yo to 14yo, quite a crowd. Lots of fun was had by all, and Erik enjoyed being the center of attention and receiver of the presents. He now has started planning what he wants for his next birthday...

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Sleep or Lack Thereof

Joining Chris and Carmen into talking about sleep. I never have needed much sleep and I have been blessed with kids who have the same lack of sleep genes. I still remember those times, when I thought you could just put the kids to bed at night and have some time for yourself. Our household is such that that time usually doesn't start before midnight.

We used to have tons of elaborate routines, but that didn't make them sleep either. One of them even used sleeping medication for a few weeks (this was after the Years Long Sleep Wars from Hell) but they didn't work on him. He wasn't able to sleep till he got some kind of anti depressant which enabled him to fall asleep at night, since the problem is that he can't find his off switch so to speak. A few months ago, he decided he didn't want to take this medication anymore, so now he can't sleep again. At least he is old enough to just do quiet things in his room now and go down to have breakfast when the night is over. He regularly totally skips nights, which is not always a good thing.

The others don't need much sleep either, but not as extreme as the 12yo. We do tooth brushing at 9am, we have all the toothbrushes nicely lined up in the kitchen, since there were too many losses when they still were in the upstairs bathrooms. They brush their teeth, they sometimes floss (like when they have been to the dentist recently) and then they disappear upstairs. At least, the older six do.

Of course, there are about 5,000 things which still have to be shared with us or taken care of or complained about. Erik will come down to tell us what he wants for his birthday 10 months from now. Kate will complain about Jane being mean to her. Tara comes down crying because Cees somehow ended up hurting her when they had a ball fight. The list goes on and on. They are supposed to be in their room and do quiet things when they aren't asleep yet. They sometimes stay in their rooms, but we still have a LOT of room for improvement on the quiet activities.

Sylvia is easier. She just will nurse and fall asleep in my arms. Don't try to put her down though, she has a finely tuned detector. So she sleeps either in mine, or in my husband's arms. She sleeps most of the night, sometimes waking up to nurse, but not that often.

Eventually most of them will go to sleep and I get my 2am sanity time. Of course, I enjoy my quiet time so much that I end up staying up too late, and have to pay for it the next day ^^

The little ones still sleep in our bed room, so sometimes they make such a mess that it's hard to get into our own bed when we want to. On the other hand, while they are making a mess, they usually are occupied and we get some quiet time. Tradeoff. They start out on crib mattresses on the floor, but usually join us during the night in our bed. In the morning we tend to have three kids in the bed and I am glad I can sneak out and move around without immediately touching someone.

The summary? Not much sleep in our household, but not that much of an issue actually. It seems to mostly work out for all people involved. But still, sometimes I dream about kids who go to sleep at 8pm. Or who would still take naps after their first birthday. But for now, I just will have to hope that my grandkids will be as good at sleeping as my kids are...

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Random Morning Activities

Just to give you some idea of my morning.

I got up and
  • Helped baby on potty;
  • Tried to sneak back in bed, but baby removed the blankets and stood at the door 'Oooopee Door!' and 'Come!';
  • Reluctantly put on some clothes and went downstairs (gone are the days where I could just stumble into the shower whenever I got up);
  • Tried to get Cees out of bed;
  • Filled washer;
  • Discovered growing stack of laundry NEXT to the washer at an almost unreachable spot;
  • Used broom to kind of get it out, ignoring all the dirt and pieces of paper and other stuff which turned out to be there too;
  • Started the washer;
  • Fed the bunnies;
  • Fed the squirrels and birds;
  • Tried to get Cees out of bed;
  • Helped baby on potty;
  • Helped Tim who accidentally plugged up the grain mill, resulting in me blowing whole wheat flour over half of the kitchen;
  • Started an egg for Sylvia;
  • Seperated Erik from Cees;
  • Started an egg for myself;
  • Put some swords in time-out;
  • Refilled soap in kitchen;
  • Gave my egg to Sylvia since she wanted seconds;
  • Started another egg for myself;
  • Helped Sylvia go potty;
  • Gave my egg to Erik;
  • Started next egg for myself;
  • Put about 42 empty boxes in the recycling (I seem to be the only one in the house who is capable of doing so);
  • Bullied Cees into emptying the dishwasher;
  • Told Erik daddy could make his next egg;
  • Finished making my breakfast and shut myself in my room to actually sit down and EAT it!;
  • Got interrupted by dh who explained to me that baby couldn't eat breakfast without me there...
So how was your morning? Next program activity is clean the house to prepare for tomorrow's homeschool support meeting. Tim is baking a cake for it. Up till now we have had him come in to complain about too much baking soda and too much vanilla. It will be ok I think, and otherwise, we'll eat less than perfect cake ^^.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Friends

Yesterday, Sylvia spent some time playing with her friend Madeleine. Then late at night, after she had fallen asleep on my lap, she suddenly woke up, didn't want to nurse (unusual) but HAD to get off me. She stumbled through the room, stopped and asked sleepily 'Madeleine????' I think she must have been dreaming about her :)

She decided to nurse after all and was asleep ten minutes later.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Quote of the Day

Kate, after feeding her fish, 'Mama? I like my fish a lot, but when will it die????? I've had it for ten years now!!! At least that's what it feels like. Three months for sure!'

Hers seems the only unkillable fish from all the ones we have had over the last few years.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Attachment Parenting

Today, we had an attachment parenting (API) meeting at my house. When we were getting ready for it, Kate asked me 'What is atachment parenting?' I told her that this is when people are nice to their kids. She looked at me in a puzzled way 'So why are you going?'

Went to the dentist today. I still hate the whole dentist thing, blech.

Dropped off my car at the garage, because my exhaust was falling off. Now waiting for the call telling me that it's going to be way more money than they thought it would be...

Considered doing an organization post like Chris at the Yellow House, but there isn't much organization here to speak of. We suffer from entropy and it's only increasing. I am not even organized to dedicate a post to it, and it's a day late anyway ^^.