Friday, September 30, 2016

Car Accident

Wednesday marked an end of an era.  In my almost 47 years of life, I had never been in a car accident.  And then...

  I caused an accident!  ME!  I'm a careful driver, with at that point a perfect record (yes, I had a couple of tickets 20+ years ago).   And there was that time I banged into a car in the parking lot with the big van when I was still getting used to its turning radius.  But other than that, I've been great!

Really, I've been great. I'm careful, I'm cautious, I don't speed.

But Wednesday I got into the left lane and realized I was in the wrong place -- I had wanted to turn left at a road a mile down.

I was distracted by that mistake, and thinking about how to get turned around.  It was wet and misting.  The oncoming car was white without headlights and blended in somewhat to the sky.

But still, it was my fault. I turned left in front of the oncoming other car.  By God's grace (and I mean that, I am praising God!) the other driver was very alert and immediately slammed on his brakes. But the pavement was wet and he slid into the back of the minivan.  

No one was hurt seriously. That's the most important thing. The other driver and his wife were very nice about it.  It was the wife's birthday.  Gah, not the way you want to spend your birthday!  We waited 2 hours to get the whole traffic report processed. I got a pretty whopping citation for failure to yield.  The back of the minivan is something of a mess.  Actually, the dent doesn't bother me much but the broken taillight isn't great (all the lights still work, though.)  We have it at a body shop for an estimate of how much it will cost to fix it.  It is likely the cost to repair is more than the value of the van, as it is 16+ years old.

So yeah, not the best thing in the world. I went to our wonderful chiropractor this morning as my neck and back have been hurting some since the accident, though not too badly. She said my range of motion isn't right so there probably is some minor damage. I felt the minor whiplash when we got hit.

Still, all in all it was, as accidents go, a very benign one.  I feel badly that I messed up, but I've messed up before.  For all that I'm a good driver, I HAVE made mistakes.  I just was fortunate in the past that no one was there to crash into me.

We're pondering the car situation.  We have 4, so being down one car shouldn't be a huge issue. But one is the big van and today it was pouring rain again and I hate driving that beast in the rain. Naomi was supposed to go to work, but her boss cancelled on her. So that made it all easier.

We'll figure it out. We are ridiculously blessed to have 4 cars, and I know it.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Ace, the Raccoons, and new pictures

So sad news first, Ace has disappeared. We live in a rural area and many people have outdoor cats, so we hope he just decided someone else's cat food was preferable to ours.  We haven't seen him in 2 days, and he was hanging around diligently before that, so yeah, looks like he has moved on.  We haven't "found him" in the road, so that's good.

And we have new raccoons, at least 2.  One is kind of small, and one is enormous.  These raccoons are such a pain. A friend visited on Friday and she saw one ducking under our deck as she parked.  So yeah, they are living under our deck.  No surprise there, it is a great place for critters.

Here are some cute pictures from the last week or so.

Kevin took the 3 littles on a lawn tractor ride. They loved it.

Rose is just adorable.

Daniel LOVES his daddy.  

This isn't cute, this is impressive. This, my friends, is baklava!  It took awhile to make but oh, it is delicious. I just ate one small bite as it is not advisable for a diabetic, but everyone else is crazy about it.

And again, Rose is cute.

Alert people may notice I changed the name of my blog to Laraba's Blog.  It used to be Laraba's Homeschool Blog. I'll still talk homeschooling on occasion, but this is a blog about other things so yeah, I changed it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Ace the Cat

We have a new cat!

We named him Ace.

Here's the story...

More than a week ago, I tried to take our children to Carriage Hill Metropark.  It is an old fashioned farm with outbuildings and people dressed in period costumes and a lovely visitor center.

But I went on a Monday, and they are closed on Monday.

GRRRRRRRR!  (We went again last Friday, but that's the subject of another post.)

So after that failure, I told the kids we could go to a normal park to play.

At the park was a picnic shelter.  And on the tables were a cat bed, and bowls of food and water. And a cat was hanging around.

So, we came to the obvious conclusion that the cat is a stray and some kind soul was feeding him at the picnic shelter.  He was a very FRIENDLY stray.  He spent quite a bit of time on Lydia's lap.  Lydia is a total cat whisperer.  Most cats LOVE Lydia.

I talked to Kevin about the cat (who was already named Ace by our children.)  While it was nice someone was feeding and watering the cat, winter is coming. Ace had no real shelter at the picnic shelter, and the water would freeze quickly. So, we prayed about it and decided that if possible, we'd bring him home.  He could of course have left, or be difficult about getting into a cat carrier.

So on Saturday, Lydia and the 3 littles joined me to try and catch Ace. It went like a charm.  He was there.  He was very happy to go into the cat carrier. The cat bed was still there but the food and water were gone.  So...I wonder if a park employee got rid of them as they probably attracted raccoons and possums.

So Ace is here now.  It has been something of an adventure for him to meet our other cats, but he's settling in, and so are they.

One thing we don't know is whether he is fixed. He acts like he is fixed because he isn't aggressive with the other cats (though they have been a tad aggressive with him.)  He is so friendly we're guessing he was either lost or dumped by someone.

So yep, new cat. He is a very nice addition to our herd of cats.  We now have 6.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Random Post about Life

I'm just going to ramble today.

First of all, Kevin and I are very excited because on Friday, we sent in our final payment on a big debt!  That was a significant goal in our lives, to get it paid off.  So that makes us happy.

I am taking off the week from "normal" school to work on a variety of projects around the house.  The children will still work on math and they will do some reading, and I hope to organize the papers we've generated thus far.  A fair number of people I know started school after Labor Day, and we started August 1st, so we can take a break.

Naomi and Lydia both have outside the home classes that march on. Naomi's English class at the local community college seems to be going well, though she hasn't gotten her first paper back yet.  She writes very well and has a phenomenal grasp of grammar.  She could seriously be an editor, she is that good.  Having said that, she has never taken an English class so of course she has to learn what her teacher wants and there may be some bumps along the road.  I am sure she will do well with hard work and natural ability.

I just went through the children's winter coat situation. It looks like everyone has a coat. That's good news.  Now I need to figure out whether everyone has snow pants and boots.

Isaac has grown SO MUCH this year.  Like, literally, 6 or 7 inches!  And every time we turn around, he seems to be taller.  He is very close to being as tall as his parents and he is only 13.  Stay tuned, he may surpass us all by inches!

I've had many 5 year olds before, but I don't remember any being as full of questions as this little lady.

I wonder, with some guilt, whether the other 5 yo's had a bazillion questions for me but I was so busy with the latest baby that I brushed them off some of the time. Maybe?

Anyway, Sarah has questions.  She asks about what makes rainbows. She asks about the world and the stars. She asks hard, complicated, challenging theological questions. I'm just going to be honest, that evenings are not my best time. By evening, I'm toast mentally.  And sometimes when I put Sarah to bed (she shares a room with Miriam and Angela), they bombard me with complicated theological questions while I'm reading the Bible to them.  Last night we talked about how God was "sorry he had made Saul king" and how God could be "sorry" when He knew ahead of time what Saul would do.  Wow.  Those are questions that challenge adult theologians. As Kevin said, sometimes it is fine to say "I don't know."  I do have thoughts on that and talked to the kids about them, about how there is the combination of God's knowledge of everything but there is free will as well. It is complicated.

Rose continues to be her own little barrel of monkeys, but maybe she is a LITTLE calmer?  

There are brief minutes when she plays with toys quite nicely.

Her room reflects the need for safety, though.  A mattress.  A tall wardrobe she can't climb.  Toys. That's it.  Her dresser is still out in the hall so she isn't climbing on it at night in her room.

I am working on Apologia Biology as Lydia was having a hard time with it.  My own biology knowledge is abysmal so I decided we'll work through the book together. It is, truthfully, incredibly interesting.  I am realizing that while I feel very busy, I DO have more time. I'm not pregnant, and I don't have a little baby to care for. Kevin's mom, since she has retired, has graciously helped us out with the kids quite a bit so I have more time to read and understand a biology book.

I'm doing more decluttering this week.  It never really ends.  I find the less we have, the easier it is to maintain the house in decent shape. On the other hand, we are effectively running a school here, so we do need quite a few books and other educational materials. We have a very large family so we have many clothes. It is obviously a balance.

It is mid September and our pool is cooling down.  It is now 70, which is colder than most of the kids can stand.  Angela is the notable exception. That girl is like a polar bear. She is incredibly thin and can't have much body fat, but she is very rarely cold.

I took over dumping chlorine in the pool this year.  I was very consistent and we had a great year. We didn't have any major algae blooms. So that was a win.

It has been a great pool year.  We had a very hot summer and the children swam a LOT.  Having said that, caring for the pool is hard work and I am always extra aware of the need to protect the littles when the pool is open.  So in some ways, it'll be nice to close it and cover it for the fall and winter.

Speaking of fall, I'm looking forward to it.  I used to be a hot weather person but now with chiggers driving me insane during the summer, I am more excited about cooler weather when fewer bugs are out there.  So September and October are now perhaps my favorite months of the year.

Happy Fall to you.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Rose Rage

Our Lydia coined the clever phrase "Rose Rage" this week.

We have experienced much Rose Rage.  She doesn't usually have a tantrum. Her cute little face crinkles up in outrage, or she just lies down on the floor in disgust. Like this:

  It is stinkin' hilarious.

  She of course isn't always full of rage. Sometimes, often, she is QUITE HAPPY.

 What could be better than hanging out in Mom and Dad's big bed with Sarah and a giant stuffed penguin?  It doesn't get any better than that.

 And here are our boys, just up in the morning. I have started sleeping in until 7 a.m. most days.  I hear the boys come down (usually the girls are still asleep) and I drag myself out downstairs.  Daniel usually looks like he could use a few more winks in the sack, but he is not going to be left behind by his brothers.

They don't look too lively, do they?

 Well, I wasn't too lively when I snapped this picture either :-).