Wednesday, 29 February 2012


I just took a US Citizenship test at
Yes, I passed. I'm ashamed to say I missed 5 or so of the 96 questions, as most were pretty basic (which ocean is on the East coast?). I missed the term lengths of Senators and Representatives, and who wrote the Federalist papers; I don't remember what else.

But it bugged me that some of the questions were simply wrong. The answers were more along the lines of what you are taught in Elementary school than what you'd find if you actually study history. For instance, they asked what did the Emancipation Proclamation do, with the correct answer of "freed slaves." Well, that was the general idea behind it, but it actually did nothing, as the President of the Union declared that slavery was illegal in the Confederate States (over which he had no control at the time). At least the wording on another question was more correct, when they asked what was one issue that led to the civil war (the answer being slavery), rather than what caused it.

But anyway...

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

and so it goes

I see that you are still checking in regularly, so perhaps I should, too.

Bob has just over 1 week left of his current classes, and so far he has an 'A' in both.

Naysha, Riah, and Ced have begun the 3rd grade math book. William and Ella are both still doing pre-school stuff. I had tried to start Ella on math, but her logic button just hasn't been switched on yet. Even with her letters, she will do excellently for a little while, and then suddenly forget everything she's "learned" over the last 6 months. So to avoid frustration, I keep letting her color and cut and glue. William was having very poor hand control, so I bought a set of stencils. He traced various letters, numbers, and symbols for a couple of weeks, and now he is doing much better.

I finally made a prenatal appointment. I'm a terrible procrastinator; I'm 18 weeks already! I've been dithering because there are at least 4 places (besides home) to give birth in this area. I want to be where I will be left alone, but have backup if needed. So ideally I would have called or visited all the hospitals/birth centers and got some sort of clue, then cross-referenced with doctors who are on my insurance plan, and set up an appointment with my PCM (primary care manager - insurance speak for my regular doctor) to get a referral to the OB/GYN of my choice. Well, that didn't happen.

Saturday there was an insert in the newspaper about women's health, with a full page article about a group of doctors at Mercy (a Catholic hospital) who are general practitioners that also do OB care, so that they can take care of your everyday concerns, your pregnancy and birth, and be the child's doctor after he's born, too. That sounded pretty interesting to me, but then I saw something that really caught my eye. The article said that women who want a low-intervention labor, with a holistic approach to health and delivery, have that option. So I got all excited and decided to call them on Monday. Sunday afternoon I started thinking (about time, right?) and looked up my information with the insurance. One of the doctors in the group that I'd been reading about IS my PCM. I'd picked her more or less at random back in December when we realized the doctor in Huntsville wasn't going to work for us.

That's a good thing, too, because when I called to make the appointment on Monday (yes, I actually did), the appointment clerk suggested I call the insurance first to make sure that doctor was taking new patients. When I told her I was already assigned to this doctor she set up the appointment, but said that the doctor was "full." So I wouldn't have been able to get in if I hadn't already set it up with the insurance. Phew. I'll go in Friday, which will be about 19 weeks, so I hope that will count as my 20 week appointment and we'll go ahead and get the sonogram and stuff. Time will tell.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

How we're doing

A few updates are in order, I suppose.

The cat is very catty. We took her to the vet 2 weeks ago for shots, and they found ear mites, so we have to give her ear drops every couple of days. And we have the scars to prove it. She isn't very cuddly, but she does have a routine of sitting on my legs at night while we play on our computers. She still loves to chase pipe cleaners across the house, and when she wears herself out she sleeps on Taryn's bed (Taryn being the one person who shows an allergic reaction to cats). She hasn't caught a mouse yet, but she does show interest when they scuttle across the ceiling. Last week she went into heat, and made us all miserable. She peed on our bed 3 times, prowled around making strange sounds all day, stopping only to stick her rear in the air.

I still haven't seen a doctor or midwife. I am beginning to think I feel movement, but nothing definitive yet.

We have been on our diet for over 2 weeks, but we haven't been 100% purist about it. Our plan was to avoid all processed sugar, pork, and restaurants. Well, we did go out to eat twice; once to McD's and once (today) to Applebee's to use our Christmas gift card. I have relented on sugar a teeny bit - we use regular ketchup, peanut butter, homemade pickles, and chocolate pomegranate. We only have a couple of bites of any of those in a day, so I still say we're doing okay. Also, I wasn't thinking when I picked out some supplements, and they are in gelatin capsules. We weigh in occasionally with Wii Fit, and it looks like Bob and I have each dropped a couple of pounds. A couple of days ago we checked the budget, comparing January to February so far. If Feb continues as it began, we will have saved $180 in one month on food and gas. But January included a trip to my parents' house, and we ate out a LOT. So we are disappointed that the savings aren't greater. I feel better physically, but Bob doesn't yet. Taryn's allergies have dropped considerably, and the children do seem a little less excitable. So we're keeping at it as much as possible.

Bob is back in school, and while I help edit his writing, I am not taking over anything. Both of his teachers this semester are very hard-nosed, expecting perfection the first time. So right now we are mainly trying to keep on top of schoolwork without losing sight of housework.

Speaking of school, we have also stepped up the lessons with the children, focusing on Math and Reading until after the state tests in April. Then we'll be free to explore other topics. Cedwryck is just behind Naysha on reading, and they and Riah all work together on Math. With the move we had ditched the textbooks and just used flashcards and the whiteboard, but I got the books back out recently. They were very glad to see them, and are whizzing through. I think we will be working third grade math within a week or two.

That ought to do for now.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Taryn's new camera

Well, Taryn turned 13 in mid January. She's a good girl, and is growing out of her pre-teen funk, and she really wanted a camera. I think I talked about our options back in December.

So anyway, I did what research I could, and we finally made a decision. We wanted the Nikon Coolpix 8200. Then we had to decide from where to buy it. B & H, an online store, had the best price. A local store wasn't far off, and we could have it right away. Bob has ordered from B & H several times before, and wanted to do so again. Then we had to decide to order it "now" (before Christmas) or wait for the price to drop after Christmas and the new year. We decided to wait.

The price was the same after Christmas, so we waited for New Year, when Nikon usually releases its new equipment. Well, then the price went UP. So I decided to go ahead and get one, but the delivery date would coincide with our trip to Oklahoma for Cedwryck's birthday. So we waited a little more. Then when I remembered to order, they were out of stock! So we waited some more. Then, I finally got it ordered. What a relief!

The day it was scheduled to arrive (just over a week before her party), I waited anxiously for the UPS truck all day. I didn't want Taryn to beat me to the door and thus see the name of the sender, which I assumed she'd recognize. Listen, look, wait. Well, we had to go out for a few minutes about 6pm, and came home expecting to see the box by the door, but it wasn't there. So we waited until 9:30, when I checked the online tracking status, and it said the package was delivered at 5pm! So we got out the flashlights and looked all over the porch, the carport, even the storage building entryway, and then started to branch out. Bob finally found the camera, out of its box, and chewed on, under the clothesline. Oh, he was upset!

The box was destroyed, the user's manual, strap, battery, etc. were all scattered about the yard, and the camera was beyond repair.

So I began looking at my options, and we finally settled with calling both UPS and B&H. UPS sent their man out the next day to pick it up for return and "to be inspected." He told me he knocked on the door and got no answer. Well, I know the delivery guys are really rushed to cover a lot of ground, and he can't stay very long waiting. But I also know how anxious I was to be the one to the door, and I doubt that there was an actual knock. Part of the problem is that he parks his truck at the end of the driveway and walks up, thus adding to his rush AND making it harder for me to hear the motor.

Anyway, they sent it back, and though delivery took 2 days, the return took 4 or 5. And then B&H had to go through their return system, and then it was another 4 days to send it back. So, she didn't get it at her party, but she did eventually get it.

She is being very stingy with her pictures, so I can't show any sample shots, but it seems to be working well for her.