5/21/2019

A Little Random (Because it's about all I can manage)


  • One the last things we did in San Antonio was visit the Legoland Discovery Center. It's basically a Lego store with 2 rides and bigger bins of Lego to play with. The boys still had fun, so I'll call it a win, but for the price? Geez, Louise, no. What fascinated me was the clear delineation between the "boy" side and the "girl" side of things. I mean, there were no signs "Only boys can play here" or anything like that - but it was still marked. The create and race or hill test your car area was done in bold red and black with some yellow stripes. Primary colors. Dark. Masculine. And cars. So yeah boys love cars, right? The girl side was all lavender and light pink with big pictures of the Lego Friends girl characters with speech bubbles talking about how amazing it was to have friends like these. But what really cheesed me (to the point I thought about a whole post titled "The Misogyny of Lego" but finally decided against doing so) was that every. single. table. in the girl area had the well of random loose Lego with instructions next to it. Were there instructions on building a car? Nope. Just wells full of axles, wheels, tires, and other random pieces. The rest? Totally up to you. On the girl side though? Here's how you can make a heart. Oh let's make a house! This is a flower box for a window. Because...girls aren't creative enough to play with Lego on their own and just build something? I don't know. What I do know is the ONLY place there was a single instruction in that place was on the VERY VERY VERY girly area. Ticked me off.
  • In that same vein, I remained annoyed listening to parents - moms in particular - tell their girls who wanted to build cars but who were not having immediate success, "Oh, let's see if we can find Dad, he's good at that." or "This is hard, let's go over here and build a heart." Oh. My. Word. People. Do you even HEAR yourselves???
  • For the record, youngest boy was struggling a bit with his car, so he brought it over to me to get some help. And we sat down by one of the big Lego pits and figured something out together. To be honest, I didn't know what I was doing either, but it's Lego for crying out loud. The whole point is that you play with it until you get something you like.
  • I guess I managed that whole ranty post after all. Scusi.
  • We did our standardized testing last week once we were home. I'm grateful that Virginia is somewhat lenient in their homeschool requirements, but I do wish they were a tad more equitable with the standardized tests. Why homeschoolers have to do them EVERY year when public school kids don't do SOLs every year boggles my mind. But whatever. They're done. It was awful. We drink rum and move on.
  • The kids don't drink the rum. Just to be clear.
  • The abortion thing seems to keep getting more and more polarized and every time I think geesh, neither side can get worse...I am proven wrong. If I hadn't already been spending serious time praying for this country, I would be starting. I hope more people are. Because it's reaching the point of ridiculous, heartbreaking, and possibly scary.
  • I am borderline terrified about the next Presidential election cycle.
  • Which is ridiculous, because in the end, I know God's got this and He wins. But man...I don't want to live through Revelation. I just don't.
  • And no, I've never been optimistic enough to be pre-trib. I would love to be, but ...yeah no. I don't see it.
  • Semi-random (but not really) question: if you knew someone despised your spouse -- like wished they would catch fire and burn in agony for hours despised them -- would you continue to try and maintain any sort of relationship with that person, up to and including a brief smile and wave at church?
  • Yeah, me either.
  • Nothing I have tried thus far, including explaining how much it hurts me in small words of one syllable, has gotten the memo through to hubby. It's annoying.

5/10/2019

It's not a vacation. But it also kind of is?

Yesterday we flew down to San Antonio. We'll be burying mom's ashes tomorrow morning, but that left us with half of yesterday and all of today to fill.

Why so early? Well, Dad was coming down because he wanted to be sure everything was set and to be on hand for any final details, so we wanted to be here to support him however he needed.

In the end, he didn't need us (and really, the boys aren't super conducive to helping because they don't really have a dog in this fight. They loved my mom. She loved them. But the death of a grandparent is a lot less to a child than to the parent whose mom it was.)

And thus...vacation of sorts.

Yesterday we went and saw the Alamo and hiked along the riverwalk a little. We'd planned to hop a boat tour, but it decided to rain, so we postponed that. Maybe on Sunday.

Today we toured the other four Missions. There were probably other choices that could be made but 1) I love the history of that era - it's the history I most remember from my own childhood and the Spanish colonization/Conquistadores time is one that I find super fascinating. And 2)? It's exactly the kind of vacation my mom would have planned. It seems only fitting that we do that (vs something like Sea World or the Lego Discovery Center) when we're here to inter her remains.

We finished with the Missions around 1, had some BBQ for lunch (because Texas) and then headed to the Botanical Gardens.

I have to say, the San Antonio Botanical Gardens are a delight. If we lived here, I could see us holding an annual pass and spending many a random hour or two walking the paths.

This evening, since all of Dad's siblings have arrived, we had pizza and conversation down in the hotel lobby/breakfast area. It was nice to catch up with aunts and uncles who I haven't seen in ...a very long time. And I think it's nice that they're here for my dad. (My sister thinks they're intrusive and shouldn't be here and basically spent the whole evening at a table far removed from everyone else having a panic attack.)

Tomorrow is the graveside service. I'm not sure about after - lunch, for sure, and then who knows. Maybe just casual time in the hotel pool? Sunday I think we'll try the boat tour again and then we fly out in the afternoon.

It's not really a vacation. But in some ways it has been. And it's weird to try and decide if I can say I enjoyed myself because, well, no. But also yes.

4/27/2019

STEM...STEAM...STEAHM?

Here in the Sleepy School for Exceptional Boys, I do not push STEM/STEAM. I get no end of crap from some people about this, but I stand by the decision. Even as a former STEM-based career professional.

Even as a FEMALE STEM-based professional.

STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) was started as a push to get kids (in particular, girls) interested in STEM careers early. I had no issue with that, honestly, even though my literature study for my PhD pretty much showed that early exposure and interest didn't really translate into a future career in the field. (Or even future interest in a future career in the field.)

And somewhere along the lines, the arts got mad that science, technology, engineering and math were getting all this attention (read: money) and suddenly was ended up with STEAM.

Which had me scratching my head and wondering what the actual purpose behind the "movement" was. Are we hoping kids will develop and maintain an interest in STEM because of the future of technology in our career paths? Are we hoping to try and solve the pipeline problem with women in these fields?

Then why in the fresh hell is Arts part of it?

Don't get me wrong, arts matter.

The arts are important.

But it's a lot easier to get girls in particular interested in the arts. So...why STEAM? Seems to me, all the teenage boys, minus the few exceptions who would already have been there, will flock to the STEM parts and the rest - majority girls - will glom on to the Arts.

In my mind? Let's just throw in an H for Humanities.

Then we've covered all the bases.

Or as we called it when I was little: school.

Of course, that means that we've decided to just let little Johnny and Susie decide for themselves what's interesting to them and pursue those careers based on their interest and formative experiences (Hint: It's less likely to be a STEM career for the girls unless the old boy's club gets a kick in the nuts or the girl in question is willing to put up with a lot of BS.)

Regardless, around here we do school - that's STEAHM. And I hope my boys find interests that produce sustainable careers long term - be that in a STEM field, the arts, or the humanities.

4/22/2019

And the hits just keep on coming

Eldest was up all night barfing every 30 minutes.

It was awesome.

This morning I'm figuring out how to clean a mattress.

I'll let you guess why.

He seems to maybe be keeping water down now. So that's a bonus.

Youngest is not (touch wood) having any issues.

Yaaaay.

4/21/2019

In which Easter is a bust

I mean, He is Risen, indeed. So there's still that. (And really, it's enough, yes? More than.)

But still...

Grief is a weird and fascinating thing. (If by fascinating I mean really f'ing annoying.) Mom loved Easter. I'd say it was probably her favorite holiday - because what can compare to Christ's death and resurrection paving the way for us to receive salvation and spend eternity with God? Nothing. That's absolutely right.

Regardless, I find myself missing her more now than I did when she'd just died.

So, in keeping with that during the lead up to Easter, hubby and I talked and decided on going out to eat rather than trying to have the big shindig at our house as we usually have in the past. We poked around and found a place in Occoquan with a special Easter brunch buffet, that, on perusal of the menu, seemed like it would offer everyone something they'd enjoy.

So today dawned as have the last several days with youngest's eyes nearly glued shut owing to his severe issue with maple pollen (which is currently ravaging the area.) We dosed him up with Zyrtec, ate our resurrection cinnamon rolls (quite tasty this year as I used a new recipe that adds a layer of pecans at the top, so you get a little gooey crunch on the top, not just the sweet from the melted marshmallow inside), and made our way to church.

Now, I will admit, our church at Easter is already an issue for me. Rather than the usual 4 services, they do one big service at the high school that's basically across the street. This used to take place in the auditorium. This year, for whatever reason, it was in the gym.

The. Gym.

Skirts are not conducive to sitting on bleachers.

Anyway, we find a spot and get through three songs before youngest is an issue. (Ends up being that he was irritated with me that I was making him stand for the music rather than just letting him color like the kids around us were doing. Well, I'm sorry - except not really - if you're my kid, you at least pretend to participate in the service. You just do.) Battle of wills commences and, when it's clear that I'm not going to win without an amazing scene getting made, I take him out leaving hubby and eldest to enjoy the service while youngest and I sit in the little cafeteria area outside the gym and discuss good choices that Jesus approves of.

Service over, we get in the car and head to the restaurant.

I should have known, to be honest, just from the way getting seated worked (with reservations! It's not as if we showed up on Easter and just expected to get in.) that it was not going to go smoothly.

When we were gathered (minus two -- hubby's youngest sister is apparently visiting friends in Vegas and our putative brother-in-law who we've yet to meet didn't come either, leaving hubby's middle sister to bring the baby on her own. At this point, I want to see how old the baby is before we meet the father. It'll be an interesting experiment) we waited.

Usually at a buffet/brunch type thing, the server stops by, gets drink orders, and gives you general instructions. So we waited for this. And we waited. And we waited.

And we waited.

Did I mention both hubby's mom and my dad are type 1 diabetics? Mother-in-law is low and getting lower. So finally, and and father-in-law just go down and get food.

They pass someone who works there on the way and mention that's what they're doing and that then prompts a server and drink orders. But she doesn't say what sorts of drinks they have, so in trying to order something for the youngest I have to go through four options before I get to something that's carried.

We decide we might as well also go get food. So as in laws return, we all toddle down to get in line. I let my family precede me, and kind of bring up the rear while helping youngest with his plate. I glance over at the omelette station - no one manning it. Maybe they ran in the back for something? I don't know. Fine, I'll put a hold on that. So I pick up the last plate and file through the chafing dishes of mediocrity.

There are biscuits, pancakes, french toast, gravy, seafood newberg, steamed veggies, meat swimming in some kind of sauce, chicken swimming in another, sausage/bacon/ham, and chilled shrimp. There's a table that clearly used to have fresh fruit, but no longer does. And the afore mentioned unmanned omelette station.

We get food - sort of - and tromp back upstairs to start to eat.

Except no one has silverware.

The drinks haven't arrived yet, so we think we'll ask when those come. And we sit and stare at our plates. And wait. And stare. And wait. And stare. The drinks finally come and we ask about silverware.

And the kids start eating with their fingers.

Then the adults do, too.

Silverware did finally arrive.

Plates at the buffet never did.

Really it was all a disaster. And kid behavior was subpar. And no one really enjoyed the food or the dining experience. And it was crazily expensive.

So really, I'm kind of glad that Easter has come and gone this year, because as thankful as I am for my Savior?

Today sucked.

4/12/2019

A Camping We Will Go? Updated (and again)

The boys (this includes hubby as he's one of my merry men) are slated to camp tonight and tomorrow with their Trail Life group.

It is currently pouring.

With scheduled thunderstorms from 5pm - 5 am.

As of this red hot second, hubby's response is "what could go wrong?" I sent him a picture of Beaker from the Muppets getting electrocuted.

I mean really.

Tomorrow (and tomorrow night) still look promising. The Friday night portion is "optional". I think it would behoove everyone to hang at home one more night where we're safe from things like lightning strike and deluge before venturing out into the woods.

But what do I know?

I will say I'm a little bummed as I was looking forward to having the house to myself for such an extended duration of time. I mean, I have always planned to go hang out for part of the day tomorrow, but even with that, the possibility of just how deep the quiet might get with no one but me and the pup rattling around? I don't know what to do with that much excitement.

Ah well, there's still Saturday night.

(I mean maybe I'll still get tonight if hubby doesn't get his head removed from his rear and decides to actually give the thunder camping a go.)

Update: Whelp, the rain has stopped (and has been stopped for a bit) so the boys are off and are, probably as we speak, pitching their tent. Hopefully it'll be pleasant for everyone. I'll find out tomorrow when I swing by for a bit.

Update Deux: It's been raining (somewhat heavily) off and on all evening. A few conversations with hubs via text and it seems as though things are going well enough, if damp. No thunder as yet, so maybe it'll all be fine. They were off for s'mores last I checked, and then likely to bed as there's not a lot to do out in the forest in the rainy dark.

4/06/2019

Let me explain. No, is too much. Let me sum up.*

So many things upon which I've thought to write a post this week. And yet, none of them have made it here.

Various reasons:
1 - I'm not sure who actually comes here (haha - no one, I realize that) but there USED to be family members who I'd told about this place and, well, I don't need to vent about certain things where they're going to read it and want to talk to me about it. If I wanted to talk about it with a person, I would do so. If I wanted to blow off steam so random strangers would commiserate, I would blog.

2 - Time. I've had some thoughts about politics and the general state of what is and honestly, to do those thoughts justice I would need considerably more time to get them out in a cogent manner than what I usually find myself having. (I have the app. But it's just such a pain the booty to do THAT MUCH typing on a phone. I mean, I guess if I didn't care about spelling and grammar and the odd word that my phone *thinks* I meant instead of what I wanted to write, I could do that. But let's be real.)

3 - Does it really matter? (Answer: nope. Not in the slightest.)

There are probably more, but that's good enough for now.

Anyway - today promises to be a laid back morning followed by an overscheduled afternoon/evening. My sister (one of the topics of "need to vent but probably shouldn't") needs me to help her unpack at her new place. I'm glad she's unpacking (she moved in early January) but.

Hubby scheduled a date night and had already lined up a sitter before I mentioned the thing with my sister. For more of those various reasons, it seemed better to try and work both in rather than ducking out of one.

There is also mulch to buy and spread and a dog that needs grooming.

So I guess we'll see how much actually gets done.