Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Not Entirely Car Idiots

Several months ago, I wrote about how Dave and I are not car genuises.  We've had to call a tow truck twice and both times all our car needed was a jump.  The tow truck driver - the SAME tow truck driver, I might add - actually shook his head in disbelief the second time we called him and probably laughed hysterically the whole way back to the shop.  


I am writing this post to redeem our reputations as car idiots.  We are not as idiotic as we thought.  

The original problem was that when I turned the key, all kinds of clicks and beeps sounded and I felt like I was in an alien movie.  We thought that the battery had died because the boys had gotten in and played around with the controls.  

Not so much.  It's happened about three times since then.  One time, Dave just let the car sit for a few minutes and then it started up fine.  Another time, I just took another car and we jumped the car using a portable car jumper thingy machine, courtesy of the inlaws.  

Finally, Dave had had enough and decided he was taking it to the dealership to find out what the issue was once and for all.  I fully expected them to tell us nothing was wrong and to stop letting our kids get into the car and push buttons.  Nope.  Actually, the battery had been leaking acid from the positive side for a while.

We are not idiots.  

Our battery is an idiot.

Thank you very much.  That's all I have to say.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Million Updates

I'm suddenly inspired to write on my family blog...to write about something other than marriage.  I have a passion for marriage, but I just can't think about it 24/7.  Also, because I've been inactive, I'm getting slightly inundated with spam comments about buying shoe lifts so I guess I should start writing real stuff and maybe all those sites will go away.  Since it's been several months since I've written here, here are a million updates on our life in no particular order.  

1) We started homeschooling.   Really, we are just doing preschool (Sonlight 4/5) but I'm trying to use this year to just get into a routine.  That way, when it's "official" school next year, it won't be such a huge switch.  Right now I'm basically doing exactly the same thing with both Ethan and Noah, with a few accommodations for Noah's shorter attention span and extra math work for Ethan.  They're both also learning phonics and hopefully at least one of them will be reading this year.

2) We went on two vacations this year.  One to Deep Creek Lake, Maryland with the rest of the Spence clan.
 And one to Duck, North Carolina with just our little family of five.  
3) I quit breastfeeding.  I couldn't take the pain or the drama of not being able to figure out what was causing the pain anymore.  8 months is too long for painful breastfeeding.  I cried.  I hate nursing and I still cried.

4) I gave away all my maternity clothes and baby stuff.  That should answer any questions of "Are you going to try for a girl?"  And I cried again.

5) Isaac is suddenly an almost-toddler, complete with climbing up the stairs, playing in the toilet, unraveling toilet paper and escaping via the garage door and crawling halfway down the driveway before I realize it.  I completely forgot about this stage. 
6) We took the boys on our yearly trip to the pumpkin patch, where we spent 3 hours talking to the farm animals, eating hot dogs and funnel cake, running through the hay bale maze and going on a hayride to pick out tiny pumpkins.

7) I decided that one reason I love having boys is the haircuts.  I can do them myself.  Now granted, it's a stressful occasion and I wind up covered in itchy hair, but everyone generally looks decent.  I even managed to tame Isaac's hair.  (See above picture for comparison.)
8) Dave is still very busy with real estate and has hired a wonderful assistant to help him out.  He's got a new website too. 

9) In home renovation news, we completed the details of the kitchen by rearranging the light fixtures that hadn't ever been changed since we gutted the kitchen and changed the layout.  
We also got rid of the high counter-height table that we bought pre-kids without ever thinking about how impractical it would be once we had said kids, and we replaced it with a normal table.  We love it.

10) Both boys took swimming lessons together.

11) And Dave literally almost drowned during a recent whitewater rafting trip.  Yep, I was almost a widow and it's just so not funny.  We don't talk about it. 
12) We had a pretty awesome farm share this year (last year's was less than amazing).  Highly recommended...very professional, reliable, fresh & clean produce.  And we just purchased 1/4 of a grass-fed cow which I'm pretty excited about.  I'm actually considering crossing over and buying a "cow share" to start drinking (or giving the boys) raw milk.  (For anyone not in Virginia, selling raw milk is illegal so you have to buy a "cow share" and then you are entitled to the milk from said cow.)   But I haven't decided on that one yet.  I'm still slightly brainwashed by the mainstream health advice in that area that I could possibly die from drinking raw milk even though people have grown up for centuries drinking nothing but raw milk.  Still processing.

13) Noah still sucks his thumb.
I have been instructed by my pediatric dentist that his bite is being affected and we need to work on weaning him off it.  Yes, agreed.  However, this is easier said than done.  We're mostly down to only sucking it at bedtime (as opposed to all day long when he was bored or lonely or tired or hungry). 

14) Following in the footsteps of his older brother, Isaac had ear tubes put in after nearly constant ear infections.  
After getting a rash around his mouth after eating a peanut butter sandwich (not remotely the first time he's had peanut butter), I had him get the pediatric allergy blood test and we're still waiting for the results of that.  He's also had lots of bad eczema that I've never been able to completely get rid of, so I've suspected a food allergy for a while.  We'll see.  If so, Isaac will join his big brother as the proud owner of yet another Epi-Pen Junior.

Well, I think that's mostly it.  I'm sure I'll think of other things and if I do, that means I'll have something to write about!  In the meantime, go check out Warrior Wives.  

Monday, July 2, 2012

Patio Makeover

Dave has been dying to do this home improvement project since we bought this house.  

Here's the before:

And the after

Come on over!!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Car Geniuses We are Not

We have a garage.  It's awesome.  

What is not awesome is that sometimes, the boys sneak into my car and push buttons.  

One day a few months ago, I packed all the boys into the Pilot, hopped in, turned the key and...nothing.  Not one sound.  Ugh.  I called Dave and thankfully, he was able to swing by the house and attempt to jump start the battery.  Neither of us has ever done this.  Consequently, we had to pull out the car manual and go through it step-by-step.  It didn't work.  Ok, we thought, it must be something worse than the battery.  So we called the tow company to haul it to the dealership.  When he arrived, he asked us if we had tried to jump it, we replied in the affirmative.  Apparently, we must have appeared clueless because he decided he was going to pull out his trusty transportable battery and try to jump it.  It worked.  $30 later, he was on his way.  

Fast forward to last night.  

The car was working just fine in the morning when I backed it out of the driveway so that a dump truck could dump a pile of dirt and a pile of rocks there for the patio expansion project.  At 6pm, I went out there to go to a hair appointment, hopped in, turned the key, and all sorts of bizarre things happened.  It was like something from E.T. or Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  All the dashboard lights lit up and flashed and when I turned the key, it emitted alien-like clicking and chirping.  What in the world?  

Dave and I determined that it must be the starter because the battery is only 18 months old, no kids had had access to leave doors open or lights on and because there was actually noise coming from the car.  So, at 9:25 last night, we called the tow truck.  Guess who showed up?  Yep, the same guy from a few months ago.  Guess what he did?  Yep, he pulled out his trusty transportable battery jumper and jumped it.  Guess what happened?  Yep, it worked.  

Oh my gosh, this is so embarrassing.  What makes it more embarrassing is that yes, he remembered us.  In fact, he got out of the tow truck and said, "Didn't I just come here a while ago?"  "Yes....," Dave answered.  The guy shook his head, "You guys are killing me."  

Dude.  We need a serious lesson on how to jump a car.  It really can't be that hard.  And it would absolutely save us from yet another non-tragic-but-mortifying-car-situation.  Ridiculous.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Guinea Pig Parenting

Oh my poor firstborn child...born with the curse of being the guinea pig in parenting.
He's the one who gets to experience all our trial and error the majority of the time.

We've had sort of a weird dilemma for a few weeks now.  Ethan, at age 4.5 is obviously potty trained.  He's been potty trained since he was 3.  But randomly, he's been peeing in his pants a few times a day.  I *think* it's because he doesn't want to stop what he's doing to go potty.  I started out just having very serious conversations with him about it and reminding him to go throughout the day.  Still happening.  So then I moved on to actually disciplining him for it.  I figured he needs to know that this is an important responsibility.  Not working.  And the disciplining is actually creating more problems.  Now he's lying about peeing in his pants and hiding his clothes if they're wet.  Whereas before he was just careless, now I feel like I'm actually causing him to stumble in other ways...dishonesty, deceit, shame.  So we're done with the disciplining.  I'm going to end up disciplining him for three things instead of one, which isn't really solving anything.  I made a sticker chart today; if he's dry all day and remembers to go, he gets a sticker.  If he's wet at all, he gets no sticker.  When he gets 10 stickers, we will go to the store and pick out any car he wants.  I honestly have no idea what to do.  I'm assuming this is just a phase, but I feel like he doesn't really get that it's important to not wet your pants.  

Any other suggestions?  Anyone else had this happen?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

6 Months Old

In all the busyness of starting up a marriage blog (which, by the way, is like having a part time job), I forgot to mention that Isaac turned 6 months old.  

Apparently, he can sit. 

He's feeding himself a bit. We're only nursing 3 times a day and he sleeps 12 hours at night with two naps during the day.

He's a VERY busy boy and will be crawling here any day.  Trouble.  Yesterday at my inlaws' house, he scooted himself over to where Ethan and Noah were playing and started grabbing toys.  They were not too pleased with this new development. 

So stinkin' cute I can't even stand it.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


After we had Isaac, I kind of lost my mind for a while.  If you read my marriage blog, you'll know that I was blessed with full blown postpartum depression.  Horrible stuff.  I'm thankful for God and that God allowed people to invent medication.  Anyway, not my point.  In the middle of that insanity, Dave and I decided that we *needed* to send Ethan and Noah to preschool so that I could catch my breath with three kids.  

Now that things have settled down and I'm a pro at this three kid thing (HA!), I've been able to logically process what kind of education I want for our boys.  (And by the way, when I say "I", I mean "we" because Dave is fine with anything, although slightly more in favor or homeschooling.) The more I think about it, the more convinced I become that homeschooling is the right starting choice for us.  Here's why:

1) I want to individualize their education to suit their learning styles and their needs.  Having taught in a public school for several years, I know that it is almost impossible to teach every single child in a way that is uniquely created for them.  But I can do this with my boys.

2) I cannot for the life of me understand WHY children must spend 6 hours of their day - plus homework - doing school.  When do they get to be kids?  When do they get to be BOYS and roam free and get dirty and get out that crazy energy?  I want them to learn what they need to learn and then just PLAY while they have the chance.  Your childhood is over so quickly.  

So we're still sending them to preschool next year for the pure socializing fun of it, but I also purchased a curriculum to use informally in the meantime so that when they aren't in preschool the next year, it will hopefully be a natural transition back to the home.  I fell in love with Sonlight as soon as I saw it.  Although there are worksheets where necessary, the majority of it is literature based.  It's just an enormous package of BOOKS!!!  My boys love to read so it seems like it will be a natural flow right into schoolwork.  The books are so solid, so interesting, so rich.  

Today the box of school books arrived and it was awesome.  Memories from my homeschooling years came flooding back.  Memories of boxes of aBeka books that I used to grab and page through and smell (I love the smell of new books).  It make me excited to start a new school year with a fresh new book.  When the FedEx lady handed me the package, I seriously almost cried.  Happy tears, don't worry.  

The boys were just as excited as I used to be and immediately sat down to look through everything.  This is going to be great. 

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