Saturday, May 31, 2008

He Really Can Write

We'll have to work on the spelling, though.

Solar and Wind Power

We finally hung our laundry line. I'm sure it'll rain before the towels are dry (since it's rained just about every day for a fortnight, usually along with some hail), but we decided to take advantage of the little sun we had today. Kansas Dad is going to tighten it up a bit for me.

Another Day, Another Run through the Sprinkler

First Watermelon on the Rind

First Daughter was not impressed. First Son ate about a third of his piece. Maybe it'll grow on them.

Trek Through the Swamp to Rescue the Paper

Oh! That's a worm!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Saturday, May 24, 2008

A Week with Kansas Dad

0.5 days - attempting to discern the problem in our washing machine without success

0.5 days - traveling two hours each way to attend part of the graduation celebration for our wonderful sister-in-law, who is now officially a doctor! ("the kind of doctor who helps you feel better when you feel sick," as we say to our doubting First Son)

1 day - attempting to discern the problem in our washing machine, after the repair man expressed confidence Kansas Dad could fix it, without success, dismantling the machine in the process

0.5 days - researching and selecting a new washing machine with Kansas Mom

1 day - suffering through minor outpatient surgery

1.5 days - slowly recovering from said minor outpatient surgery while (amazingly) helping Kansas Mom prepare the house for a party

0.5 days - preparing hamburgers and grilling out while entertaining the students from his major class

Nearly every night this week - waking 2-5 times a night at the cry of a child, the weather alarm, or pain

We are tired, glad to have survived the week, and hopeful next week will be full of clean clothes and absent any surgery.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Dirge for a Washing Machine

The gentleman who listened to our ailing washing machine said, "I'd have to charge you $300, but I think you can order the part and fix it yourself." Then he left so he wouldn't have to charge us the $50 fee for looking at it.

Kansas Dad went to work taking the washing machine apart to find the part. He examined it and determined it was not broken. So he continued to look, alternating his dismantling with visits to the computer to search for information and watch videos of people fixing washing machines on YouTube. He continued until the entire machine was spread out in pieces in the kitchen and even the front porch. He found nothing wrong. Eight hours later, he was frustrated, angry, and dirty with a washing machine in pieces that should work but doesn't.

So he put it back together, praying some connection was loose and it would miraculously work again. It did not. He didn't make it worse, but he didn't fix it either.

We weighed our options and have sadly decided the washing machine must be replaced. So we're off to the store first thing in the morning. Kansas Dad did his research and narrowed it down to two choices, both with the lowest prices at the same store. We have a coupon for $25 off our purchase and will get free delivery and haul-away, so it's not as expensive as we had feared for a new, high efficiency, low water usage washing machine. It's not a good time to be without one, not when we have the money in the bank to buy one. I guess that is a blessing, at least.

Just Hanging Out

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Laundry Woes

Our washing machine has made occasional ominous noises for months now. Recently, it has even stopped mid-cycle until one of us discovers it full of soapy water instead of nicely spun clothes ready for the dryer and beats on it a few times to get it to start up again.

A load of towels may have done it in last night. We can turn it on, but it doesn't really agitate or spin anymore. Kansas Dad spent the morning taking the back off and trying to discern if the problem lay with the motor or some sort of belt, but without luck.

On Monday we'll call someone to come look at it, but not the Sears guy. He came to look at our dryer over a year ago and said it was hopeless and we should just go buy a new one (a tip that cost $60). Kansas Dad bought a part online for $30 and fixed it himself. We're just hoping someone can fix it. I'm not happy about repairs, but I'd be even unhappier paying for a new one.

I very much miss having my own washing machine, though, and it's only been 24 hours.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


How to take turns.
How to count.
How to share the spinner with your sister.
How to lose gracefully.
How to win gracefully.
How to follow rules.
How to follow the numbers with his marker.

And probably lots more.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Friday, May 9, 2008

Tired Kiddo

Kansas Dad had to work tonight, so I left First Son alone in our room while putting First Daughter to bed. When I slipped in to read his stories, I found him snoozing away. I cleared the bed and left him there. I'm inclined to just let him spend the night in our room.

On the Subject of Skills

Today First Son requested a map at the zoo. He then proceeded to show Grammy where all the sights he wanted to see were and how to get there. I've never seen him take an interest in a map and am amazed at his skills.

First Daughter, of course, insisted on a map as well, because her brother had one. She didn't do so well at using it to get where she wanted to be.

Organizational Skills

The kids pulled out all their videos this afternoon -- everything from the top shelf of the cabinet. While First Daughter slept, First Son took on the task of picking everything up. A boy after my own heart, he insisted all the videos face the same way.

A Reminder

I ran out to the kitchen for a refill on my water after the kids and Grammy had headed out for the morning and found this scene -- just a little reminder of the love in our house.

Just so you know, this is not a mess. This is the scene of fun and learning.

A Few of Our Flowers

The irises are finally blooming!


From First Daughter's current favorite book, Moo Baa La La La:

Thursday, May 8, 2008

A Sight Dear to My Heart

Ants Are Marching - No More!

The ants that settled in on the porch finally made a play for the house today. First Son kept saying, "Oh, there's another ant!" Sure enough, there were many. We lined the doorway with cinnamon (which they apparently hate) and Kansas Dad sprinkled some borax on their home. (It was supposed to be mixed with other things, according to our handy guide, Green Clean: The Environmentally Sound Guide to Cleaning Your Home. We'll try that tomorrow if they're still around.)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Puddles Are Heavenly

We've certainly had a lot of rain! So far the plants seem to be enjoying it. (We lost a few in floods last year, but worked on the flower beds a little for more protection this year.)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Eugenics Today

Defiant Birth: Women Who Resist Medical Eugenics by Melinda Tankard Reist

This was a shocking read about the pressures women feel to conform to society's standards when testing unborn children for "abnormalities" and then "taking care of the problem" before their baby is born. The introduction is full of statistics, surveys and reports. Following are a number of personal accounts written by the women themselves about their experiences while pregnant and with their children.

You probably are not surprised to learn that I am disturbed by the trend in modern medicine to test for all sorts of diseases before a baby is born for which we have no cures and sometimes no treatments at all. I suppose in some cases it's nice to be prepared, but Kansas Dad and I have always found it better to err on the side of ignorance. If the only "solution" I'm offered is an abortion, there's no use knowing. In the meantime, I can enjoy my pregnancy and relish the time we have together with baby safely nestled under my heart (as Kristin Lavransdatter always said).

This book brings to the fore some interesting discussions of the effect on society of avoiding the births of people with disabilities. The author maintains our society will suffer a decrease in compassion as a whole. Certainly it's disturbing to see the similarities with the eugenics movements (and eventual actions) in Nazi Germany. Today, it's more insidious because it's happening behind the closed doors of doctors' offices and hospitals. Even the March of Dimes supports prenatal screening as a method to decrease the rates of disabilities and premature births - not by treating a condition, but by encouraging mothers to seek an abortion.

It's also an enlightening look at the supports (or lack thereof) offered to mothers and families who choose to continue a pregnancy with a disabled child. There were some disturbing anecdotes about services being withheld (not just non-existent) because the family did not choose to end a pregnancy.

There's so much I'd like to comment on in this book, but it seems to be overwhelming me right now. Instead, I'll just encourage you to read it -- or at least just read the introduction.