Friday, October 31, 2008


My husband has taken up a hobby while he watches TV. It's productive. Good for both the environment and our pocketbook.

Me? I have a hobby while he watches TV too.

It's enormously productive!! Hey, just let me live in my dream world for a few minutes, k? Some day I'll enter a Tetris competition and win millions and help him retire early.


I have, however, managed to figure out how to show you video... maybe. Try this, it's not my best video ever, but he's so darn cute. He was showing me in slow motion how he ran across the room!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Moment to Boast

So, my 12 year old is all signed up to take the SATs in December.

Crazy, huh?

Turns out the kid is really smart. I don't know where he gets it from. His GT teacher (Gifted and Talented) says he is eligible through this program of Johns Hopkins University to take the SAT. Why would he want to you ask? Good question. Well, there are a few reasons.

First, a nice practice run. I remember as a junior in high school having NO idea what the darn test would be like, and thinking it was truly important (not knowing I would balk at college and not follow through) I was awfully stressed over it.

Second, standardized testing has its place, and each standardized test on the market serves a specific purpose. Any and all tests Dustin has taken so far have measured his ability on a scale. The scales have topped out at 12th grade level. So, if his scores are at completed 12th grade level, then we have to wonder, how much further could he do that just wasn't tested?

Currently I believe he is taking a college level Algebra course. In seventh grade, which lines him up to take college level Statistics as a senior, with the high school paying for it, saving him hundreds of dollars. He is taking this particular class because he is really smart he worked very aggressively in a program that allowed him to work at his own pace. He actually wanted to work on it more than he did, regularly he asked me to help him with it (it was online, so he was able to work at home) and I said no, I was busy. To the point that when his teacher called last spring, I thought he was going to tell me that Dustin no longer qualified for the program!! Instead, he shared with me the potential of putting him, and one other student, in this excelled program. Who knew?

Anyway, so the SAT thing is another step. Johns Hopkins University actually has programs, through what they call the Center for Talented Youth, for students who score well. So, these scores will never reach his college applications, but they will go to Johns Hopkins, the school, and me.

I guess I'll keep you posted!

Friday, October 24, 2008

The paint

So, some input on what we were up against.

See the light? It used to be over about 14 inches. They apparently used part of this room when they built on the room Bill and I have, and didn't re-center the light.

So we did.

See the boards? They didn't want to tape the joints. So they boarded them. Nice, huh? And then, get this, they caulked them. Crazy. This just means instead of rolling the whole ceiling you have to use a brush on the boards and each side of each board. Then you can roller in between. There are three boards, just so you know.
They wanted to put a door over this closet. It's what's left from what they took from this room, they kept it on this side. To put a door they didn't want to custom, so the door was about three inches wider than the opening, and they trimmed it out, and painted the trim, that's right, and about an inch of the blue paint on either side. It took four extra swipes of primer to cover the mess of it, but we did!
This is the closet we re-did to get rid of the sliding doors that broke. It also gives a closet for kids, and a closet for MOM!! In a house with 3 bedrooms, 4 kids, and no basement, storage is at a premium.

But we never bought the trim for it. It's next on the list.

They painted the outlets. Blue. So we have to change them out.

This little eyesore still exists. Another throwback to the 70s, we need to buy a plate to cover it.
So, before:
The ceiling:
And done!!:

We don't need no stinkin' drop cloth!!

Oh, ok, we did.
The best part... the second coat of primer and the paint I did ALL BY MYSELF!! I was very proud!

Oh the paints that I would paint...

OK, wanna see?

I thought maybe. This is my husband, trying to rid the old wall of old wallpaper paste:

"Daddy, I can do that!!"

"I don't know Zack, what do you think?"
Dustin: "Can I help?"
Dustin: "Not what I had in mind, but I guess I can move boxes."
"Dad, I think we should keep this hole."
Dustin was rewarded with a chance at a power tool, the drill to remove screws holding in the shelves. Little id we know 90% were stripped when they were put in, so he couldn't get them out with it. he was a good sport though, and worked at that last one with the pliers!!
Next post will have paint!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


The primer anyway. Today...

I buy the paint. But, it's a half day of school, so I don't expect to get the paint ON.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I KNOW that room isn't going to primer itself!

I KNOW that just half of the rolling is left to do.

I KNOW I have time left to do it before school gets out.

So why am I blogging?

Because I am TIRED!!!

You see, another legacy of the 80s my generation has to deal with, is the love of wallpaper that people who were decorating had. Why did they love it? Because it covered things. This particular builder didn't even want to tape the joints of the sheet rock, so I am looking at 1 inch boards over every ceiling seam (3 to be exact) which means you can't just roller the ceiling. And we ended up needing 2 coats of primer to be sure the base was evenly colored, because the people who painted the medium shade of blue on the trim painted the wall a solid inch beside the trim too, figuring it wouldn't matter, because they used (wait for it...)


So, now I am taking a much deserved break. Unfortunately, my Google reader only has 2 more posts up since this morning. *sigh* So it will be a short break.

Monday, October 20, 2008


"Mommy, see that picture of me and Daddy on the tractor?"

"That picture? Honey, that's Daddy and Dustin on the tractor when Dustin was a little boy."


"Yes, did you know Dustin used to be little?"

"Yes.... but Mommy?"


"I like tractors!!" (picture a pouty lip stuck out a mile)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Fun with Friends

My dear friend S needing a sitter for a bit turned into a great photo op! We are fully in the middle of fall, and their back yard has a few large, and beautiful maple trees (my mom is scoffing somewhere at hearing that! She hates to rake their leaves!) that are shedding their leaves in glorious living color! Zachary and her boy, J, had a wonderful time playing together!

They have several kids, and an enormous fenced in yard, so they have accumulated a ton of outdoor toys, including TWO playsets, for a total of THREE slides! A three year old's paradise!

Her boy is just a few months younger than Z, but there's a big difference! J's favorite word is "Mine!" He does it in the nicest possible way, but it helped to be at their house this time, because having him point to something and announce, "That's mine!" didn't faze Zachary a bit (like it does when they are together at our house)!

We did have a wee bit of trouble, you see, they have a door from the house to the backyard, and also a gate from the driveway. We wanted to grab a sweater from my car for Z, and didn't want to go in for fear that Mommy would be suspiciously absent! So I tried the gate, and found the sliding latch a bit rusty. I went to the door against my better judgement, and found that someone upon our going out had hit the lock, and we were STUCK!

I thought fast though, and realized the little piece of rope J had been playing with might just do the trick! I wrapped it around the slider, and with that bit of grip and leverage we were out!

Note to self: always check those door knobs! Especially at other people's houses where you don't know the tricks to get in or out!!

J was catching some serious air as he bounced!!

The good thing about J is that he has no problem sharing or taking turns, just so long as you know the item is his as you use it!!

They even were sized well to share the swing, they were so cute!

I have to throw in here a picture from that afternoon, we sure got our outside time! We were going from Melissa's to the park, and in the neighborhoods there you can actually walk places, unlike here. Well I was afraid my "no nap today" toddler wouldn't make the walk back after the playground, so I drove along slowly to allow the kids to walk to the park! Dono did well, but didn't think twice when Brian offered him a ride!
Fall is my favorite season!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Desert of Maine

So, in a last attempt at summer fun, literally the day before school started, My mom and I took the boys for a walk in the desert.

No deserts in Maine you scoff?

Not true. There is actually one such phenomenon, right here in the pine tree state. My friends, I introduce you first to the lovely landscape that graces most of our area:

Yep, we have a LOT of trees!! Not just pine, but really, there is vegetation almost everywhere. And in the fall they put on their most beautiful colors!

So, it would behoove anyone out there who might be planning a little trip to where "the way life should be" is, to stop by and see just how cool nature can be! In the middle of all this forest, down a somewhat winding road through, oh yes, trees, you come to a building. Go in, pay a couple of bucks, and walk out the other side and into this:
This is no gravel pit, people, which is what I honestly expected. It begs to be touched, it's soft and almost silky! It took less than a minute for Brian to remove his sneakers, and only moments after that the rest of us were carrying our shoes, too!
It was a vast carpet of softness, like nothing I have ever experienced!
It was originally farmland, and in the 1900's they switched their focus to sheep farming. The sheep ate through the topsoil in one little patch, and uncovered this soft sand. The wind, rain, erosion, and natural way of things took it from there. After the sand had taken over so much, over 300 acres at it's largest point, of course the farm was shut down. They turned it into a tourist attraction, even building a little water spring house along the brook. The sand kept blowing, however, and the spring house?
Well, it's buried now! Really, check out this tree!!
Surreal. We had a great tour guide, they drive you around on a little bus kind of thing,
and he did a great job of explaining how it all happened, and the fun details like the man who brought an ultrasound equipment thing and could tell them that the spring house filled evenly with sand, and is being preserved in mint condition!
He also told us that for a while they had a real live camel, but it was problematic, so they have swapped to this:
I think the most amazing part, however, is that the forest is striving to reclaim the land. It's a living, breathing (albeit very slow) science experiment, the trees drop their leaves or needles, those break down, decomposing to a rich compost soil, and then as the nearby weeds and plants shed their seeds, more and more can grow. the desert is down to just about 50 acres, if I remember right!
And you may be wondering about ants... there weren't any to be seen at first. Then as I waited for mom to walk back along the trail we had driven along, I sat in the shade. that's where the bugs are, and frankly I can't blame them!!
The tour guide said he and the other employees take turns throwing bright, shiny, colorful stones onto the sand for kids to scavenge for, so the boys of course went looking for pretty souvenirs!
Not content with the rocks, mom also treated them each to another souvenir, and Michael wanted to make a sand sculpture. They have different colored sand throughout the desert, depending on the mineral content, all of it as soft as can be. For a small fee, you can fill a little bottle, stamped with the desert's logo, in layers. It was very beautiful.
I wish I had taken a picture of just it, because we didn't do well enough getting the air out, and now it's all a uniform color, still pretty but not the same!
So, now you know. My mom is, well, 20+ years older than me, lived here her whole life, and never knew about it. One of Maine's best kept secrets, I guess!!

Saturday, October 11, 2008


There's so much to tell you.

But I can't.

Life's a ...well, Life's rough. I've decided to take a step back. I think I finally can. Refocus on my children, because my husband and I, well, are in large disagreement over how to handle some things. So, while he sorts out his thoughts, because that always takes him F O R E V E R and figures out how to bridge some of this gap (I've been working on bridging, at least desperately trying to) I'm going to drown myself in my kids. Smiles. Hugs. Kisses. Stories. And, well, laundry, cuz kids who don't have clothes is not so good. Some baking. Some cleaning out of bedroom closets. You know, stuff for my kids.

I'm tired of worrying about other people. There is so little one can do for others. I'm starting to take the perspective that I have Jilled it a little. Let me explain.

When I was a teenager, there was a lot going on that was hard to take. Messy divorce, nasty non speaking terms, new religion, big stuff for a hormonal obnoxious teenager (I admit it). My mom didn't have a lot of the perspective about this religion to use it to her advantage in counseling me. For example, our church leader I believe is a prophet of God in our day. While he doesn't receive revelation for little Marie Jones necessarily, he does for the general direction of the church, and who should lead it, and where our focus needs to be as a group. Before Christ there were prophets, after Christ the apostles were prophets, why not today?

Anyway, these prophets counsel youth should not date until 16. Then, only in groups of friends, not just one boy and one girl, until they are at least 18. The idea is not to get too attached to one person when you are still a kid. Be friends, have fun, but don't put yourself in positions to take things further than you should.

Good advice, no?

My mom wasn't in a position to say, "Well Honey, the prophet tells us we shouldn't X Y or Z."

Already, with my oldest at 12, it's a handy thing to have.

Not only that, but you follow up with, "So why don't you pray about that and see what sort of feelings Heavenly Father gives you about this."

But Jill? She knew. And she had a listening ear. She was hugely instrumental in my life for a year or so. And then? It was too much. We both realized, as I turned a corner, I was looking to her to tell me what I should do.

"He who is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant." That's from the scriptures, though I never remember where. It basically means, to me anyway, we shouldn't always have to have someone tell us what to do. Parents aren't supposed to constantly tell their kids do this do this do this. They are to guide, and then let them choose for themselves, and know they will goof it up, and then help them learn from it, and move forward, always progressing.

Jill and I both knew, her probably sooner then me, that I reached a point where I wasn't bouncing ideas off of her anymore. I was asking her to tell me what to do.

And that wasn't right. Enabling is automatically seen as a bad thing, if you are enabling someone to do really awful things. But what about when you enable someone to simply do... nothing. To stop growing, to stop learning. To not feel. To not think for themselves. Isn't that just as bad?

I've been in some pretty deep things lately. And it isn't right. It stops me from being able to function as I need to. It stops others from having to do the things they need to. Isn't that enabling? Enabling people to hide from the world, to hide from their choices, to hide from their faults, well I think it stops them from progressing.

When I was gone so much this summer, my children suffered. They didn't suffer unnecessarily, it was necessary. They didn't suffer in vain, they grew and developed levels of compassion heretofore unreached by any children their age I have ever encountered. They didn't suffer against their will. There was only one day, that's right ONE DAY in the whole messy awful thing that they said, No mom, please come home. It was the evening of July 31. I wouldn't have been home before bed, I would have been there when they woke up, and they readied for the first fair on August 1.

I couldn't. I told them, "I promise I will be at the fair when you get there."

Savannah died at 3 am. I had just dozed off for a nap in the room, so that I wouldn't fall asleep at the wheel. My leg was nudged, and I could hear soft crying, and I knew. The angels, the THOUSANDS of angels, had finally taken her with them that night. And we had all known she was waiting for Beka, who had arrived around 7 the night of the 31st.

My children suffered. All children suffer, the world is a sad place, some suffering is abhorrent to us, other is seen as the way life goes. Ask any one of my boys if they would do it differently, and they will say no, not unless Savannah could still be alive. They loved her. Michael wanted to go with her so she wouldn't be alone. Dedicated love for a friend.

But it's time to put them first again, above all else. Above stupid sarcasm, above grown ups who can't figure out how to talk to each other, above steers, above scrapbooking, above friends who PMS and brother in laws who have no compassion.

And I'm looking forward to it.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

One more day...

Just ONE more day, and then the fairs are OVER! 3 more hours in the car, maybe 4 more hours in the bleachers watching cows, a few more hours sitting in the barn people-watching, one more basket of fries, and then the end.

Thank GOODNESS!!!!

The suspense isn't even bothering me about whether or not the steers will sell. There's just no way to know. Sunday at 6, we will either load them, or say goodbye and pocket the cash.

It's weird. And I'm over it. I'm too tired to care!!!

Friday, October 3, 2008


Today's top story: Dustin wins first place in the Kid's Pull at the Fryeurg Fair, 2008!!
He was offered an opportunity to pull the steers he trained last year to show in 4H. He sold them to someone who lives not far from here, and he brought them to Fryeburg for the week. So, he asked Dustin if he would like to pull them in the kid's class today. Dustin said sure, and learned that they only put 200 lbs. on the drag for this class. The owner says they pull alot more than that, and sure enough, they weren't fazed at all by the weight!!
They are all given 3 minutes to pull the 200 lbs. backand forth as much as they can, with the ring being 150 feet long.
Here they have made their first turn at the end of the ring, easy peasy!!
Here there is is a minute and 41 seconds left, and by gummy if they haven't sauntered to the other end again already!!
And down the other end again, we're in the home stretch now boys!!!
Just a little more...
Six more seconds, give a little more boys!
Because the whole drag didn't cross the line or turn, here they are measuring from the back of the drag to see how far...
588' 6"!!!

Not bad for a couple of dairy steers!

They never even broke a sweat. I may have, but that's another story!!

My wonderful boy and the wonderful steers he trained so well (and Darrell worked so well for a year) also won the Fair President's award. it comes with a trophy, and a premium, and is given to the youth teamster, ages 9 - 16, who pulls and demonstrates most appropriate use of the goad stick, careful and good turns, and overall sportsmanship.

Oh yeah. We rock!

I mean, yes, um, it was a grest competition, a good job done by all.

But Dustin ruled!!