"Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of. but do it in private
and wash your hands afterwards." --Robert Heinlein.

We've moved!

For the next two years (Summer 2014-Summer 2016) I'll be blogging our family's adventures in China at www.chinesemileposts.wordpress.com

Monday, June 29, 2009

Friday, June 26, 2009


Remember that elementary school teacher you had, the one who turned 29 each year? I think I should be that crazy lady. I didn't have a hard time turning 30. I mean, it wasn't ideal. Especially since I still think of myself as a 22 year old. And I think Jed and I both still look younger than we are (maybe that's wishful thinking, but, a lady in Virginia was shocked to find out we had 3 kids, she thought we were newlyweds), it's just that we're married and toting around 3 kids that gives away our true age. So 30 wasn't horrible, but 31...? I'm not sure I can handle continuing on into the 30s. So maybe when people ask I'll just tell them I'm turning 29 for the next 30 years.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Getting Lots Done

I have this weird illusion that our family vacation/reunion at a cabin in southern Utah will be uber-productive for me. I keep wanting to pack odd things like my binder full of recipes and my sewing machine and a stack of books taller than me. I'm not going to... Jed already has issues with how much stuff we're driving halfway across the country. But I think things like, "I'll sew a tote bag while were there with my new pattern." In reality, we'll play games, hike, and mostly sit around being lazy while we chat. There's also a good possibility that we'll be doing this stinky, since, according to the last report my sister heard, there's still no running water at the new cabin... something to do with the septic tank. Also, I've been informed that the electricity is solar-powered with a back-up generator and our electrical use will be limited. Hmm... no one told me all of this before we agreed to the trip.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Car Pockets

Here is Jed modeling it since our car is in the shop getting the A/C fixed.

Following this pattern, I finished Buddy's car pocket project. Now I just have to make Princess Sparkley's before all of our trips.

Notes: The hardest part was all the cutting. I am horrible at cutting straight and that is why I am never going to be the awesome quilter I aspire to be. That and the fact that I've never really made a quilt. And for some reason, once the white puffy paint I used as road stripes dried, it turned green. I have no idea why. Buddy seems to be okay with it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


So, we didn't find a place to live in Virginia over the weekend, but I'm not going to focus on this, I'm going to focus on all we did accomplish over the weekend.

-Jed bought a new laptop for him for grad school.

-Baby X's check-up with his cardiologist went well, he doesn't need another check-up for about a year.

-We left our kids for the longest time we've ever left them (Saturday morning to Tuesday late afternoon). *

-We took the Metro into DC (something I'm hoping to do a lot with the kids) and just walked around, it was like we were already regulars and not huge packs of family reunion tourists in matching shirts and rented bikes.

-We got a good idea of the neighborhoods in the different cities in Virginia where we could end up living.

-We ate a delicious dinner at Maggiano's and got to hang out with Jed's sister's family.

-We drove over about a billion speed bumps in all of the different townhome neighborhoods we were looking in.

-We saw license plates from 38 states and the District of Columbia just on the DC/Virginia part of our trip.

-I read a book (starting it on the plane there, finishing it on the plane home).

-Jed and I learned how to rock out on Rock Band. I prefer the base. He prefers the drums.

-I was released as Primary President at church. (I knew it was happening while we were on vacation so halfway through Sunday School on Sunday Jed leaned over and said, "It's 1:45 in Kansas right now, you aren't Primary President anymore.")

-I had my first birthday cake to start this year's birthday celebration extravaganza early and it only had 4 candles!! Hoorah! **

*Jed reminded me that when Baby X was about 1 1/2 months old he and I flew to CA and drove to AZ for a wedding and the big kids went to my mother-in-law's for a long weekend.

**I remembered after I wrote this post that I actually started my birthday celebrations last week before I left town with a birthday donut and only 1 candle.)

Friday, June 12, 2009


I wish I could say I was busy packing up boxes since we move in just over 1 1/2 months. We have started gathering boxes. And we've packed up a few boxes of kids books since it was sort of Baby X proofing as his new favorite past time is removing all of the picture books from the shelves and scattering them throughout the house. But that's it. Jed tried to convince me the other day that really, we only have three major things to pack: books, clothes and toys. Then I started naming off kitchen supplied, cleaning supplies, bathroom stuff, furniture, etc. I don't want to think about it anymore.

What I am busy doing is trying to figure out where to live in Virginia. Getting stuff ready for our big vacations this summer and the many many hours my kids will need to be entertained in the car. Trying not to think about my impending birthday. Maneuvering around the many piles of stuff that have gathered in my house. Trying to fix our car's A/C. Getting partway through this car pocket project and then getting sidetracked. And a little bit frustrated because a Yahoo search of my real name brings up this blog. How? I don't have my name linked to this at all. Argh... there goes anonymity. Although all of you readers who don't know my real name still won't know. But people who Yahoo search me, (I'm pretending it's more than just me and Jed) can find it.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


image from here

We drink a variety of milk at our house. Jed used to drink skim milk (yuck), but now drinks soy milk. Me and the older kids were drinking 1% milk. And in January, Baby X transitioned to whole milk.

To sort of ease things on the milk buying front, I started buying 1/2 gallons of 1% for me and had Princess Sparkley and Buddy move back to drinking whole milk with Baby X. I figured they are skinny enough that whole milk would be good for them.

But I wasn't drinking milk fast enough on my own to beat the expiration dates, so it became whichever milk there was more of in the fridge is what Princess Sparkley and Buddy got to drink. So if there was more whole milk, they drank it. If there was more 1%, they'd have 1%.

For the past week they've been drinking whole milk until last night at dinner. I poured Princess Sparkley some 1%. Her reaction was that it was gross and tasted like water. She tends to complain a lot about what her milk tastes like, no matter what, so I was sort of blowing it off. But then I had to laugh because compared to the whole milk she had been drinking all week, 1% probably did taste like water. That's how I feel about skim milk compared to 1%.

What kind of milk do you drink?

Monday, June 08, 2009

Nancy Drew Birthday Party Insanity

Since Princess Sparkley's birthday is just a week after we move to Virginia, I promised her several months ago that she could have a party with her friends from school and church before me moved. Today was the day. I may have gotten a bit carried away since I too love Nancy Drew.* All the white boxes are where I've removed our names.

The invitation.

PS didn't want to go with the typical, 1950s Nancy Drew cover, those books seem a little scary for her. These Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew books are currently what she's loving, so we modeled the invite after one of those books. Sort of.

The invite, once it was folded to resemble a book.

The inside of the invite. The font is 6 or 8, hence the need for a magnifying glass.
Click to enlarge and you should be able to read it.

I punched a hole in the top of these, typed the girls' names on them and had them draw their picture in the little box. These were their detective badges.

When the girls showed up at the party we made plaid headbands (more reminiscent of the recent Nancy Drew movie starring Emma Roberts). I bought the headbands (and most of the party favors) from Oriental Trading Company and we used glue dots to attach some plaid ribbon. They aren't fancy or fantastic, but will work great for dress-up. You'll have to scroll down for pictures of the girls at the party to see the headbands on them.

Each girl took home a Sleuth Kit.
The Sleuth kit included:
a pink pencil that said "Girl Detective"
finger print ink pad
a clue notebook
small flashlight
tin box (Altoid tins, painted and with a magnifying glass depicted on the front) full of lemon Jelly Bellies since Nancy (at least in the movie) carried around a tin of Hannah (her maid/nanny's) Lemon Bars or Blondies.

We were supposed to do some fingerprint art ala Ed Emberley, but I forgot, and it was so windy we didn't really want to deal with paper any more than we had to, so I folded the sheets up and added them to their sleuthing kit to take home.

The "cake" was sprinkle donuts with craft lollipop sticks in them to look like magnifying glasses.

Hunting for clues. I hid 8 clues around the park, each leading them to the next spot and finally to the little tent structure at the top of the tall slide, where the presents were hidden.

Our Girl Detectives.
(and Boy Detective, although Buddy's stuff all said "Dog Detective")

*To give credit where credit is due, I got a lot of my ideas here and here and here and here.

**The picture of PS was turned into a cartoon here, thanks to advice from this reader.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Air Conditioning

Growing up, we didn't have air conditioning. We lived in a very pleasant part of southern California where it was only hot for a couple of weeks. It was even, at one point of my childhood, voted 7th best American climate, or something of that sort. Towards the end of high school, or maybe even later, my parents got air conditioning.

Living in Kansas means you have to have A/C. Last summer, and the summer before we spent good chunks of time without the A/C working because there was a leak somewhere in the system that no repairman could find or properly fix. Plus we spent a good amount of time wondering if maybe we were just crazy and it was working and we were being too wimpy about the heat. We'd walk into the bathroom (the room with the lowest vent) and put our hand next to the vent and say "it feels sort of cold, but not really cold. I don't know." Finally, towards the end of last summer they got it working completely and it's still going strong. Cross my fingers.

Now the A/C in our car has died. Our car was in the shop for two days a week ago and another day this week (once they finally figured out what was wrong, it had to go back in to get fixed). On our way home from St. Louis Memorial Day weekend, the car was acting up (enough so that when we took it back to the mechanic they could register the problem and repair it) and I was crossing my fingers that the A/C was connected to that and would magically work again. But now the car is fixed and the fan is just blowing warm air at me. Argh.

Eventually we'll have to take it in. But I hate taking the car in. Hate spending money on it. Hate being without a car while it's being repaired. And I don't really want to draw attention to it since Jed wants to be a no car family. His big dream was to move to a city big enough that we could sell the car and rely on a Metro or something. Not my dream. Please air conditioner, start working.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The fam

[Imagine a row of stick figures representing members of my family here]

I'm going to put this on my blog since I won't put it on my car and I love them. I don't like having stuff on our car that makes us identifiable. I don't know why. Anyway, I already have a "Baby On Board" sign that the kids got me for Christmas that I'm planning on "losing."

{1-7-11} For some reason, this post is one of the most popular pages of my blog.  But the stick figure family sticker website has shut down and now there's nothing to see.  Sorry folks.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


I love mysteries. I don't read them quite as much as I did as a kid, but for a good portion of my childhood, my biggest goal was to grow up and write kid's mystery books. Then I reached about 17 and realized that writing mysteries would probably be a bit harder than writing a non-mystery and I gave up on that dream.

Now, blah blah blah years later, I find myself planning a Nancy Drew birthday party, and I need to write clues leading the group of little girls around the park from one clue to another, the ultimate clue leading them to the missing birthday presents. Yikes. I am glad I gave up on that dream of of writing mystery novels because this task alone is more than I can handle. I've made a list of possible places to hide the clues several times, and then I decide that's good enough for now and walk away from the computer figuring I'll let the creative juices flow and fill in the clues later. There are still no clues.
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