Monthly Archives: April 2009

Love being a Mum meme

I was tagged by 4maze for this.  Thanks!  Caroline, I’m adding you to my blog reader, and not just because you tagged me.  😉  You have a great blog!

“Mum” is up there on my list of non-American-English words that I really like.  My first, though, isn’t really a word.  It’s saying, “Emmmm” instead of, “Uhhhh” when one can’t quite think of what to say next.  It sounds so much more feminine.

Now, for my swiftest response ever to a tag:

Five Things I Love About Being a Mum

  1. Hugs. There’s something precious about a hug, whether it’s the sort-of-shy one from my 11yo after he says, “I need a hug,” or the running, squealing, jumping variety of my 3yo, or the spontaneous grasp from my baby.  They’re all precious.
  2. Reading. I adore reading to my kids.  Snuggled on the couch, or wherever we may be, I love reading to them.  I love the shared experience, I love learning together, I love reading a good story, all of it.  Reading.  So simple, so powerful.
  3. Heritage. My husband and I don’t force our likes upon our children, and we can’t even force our Christianity upon them.  So, there is something SO very special about a shared value, a shared love, a shared interest, in my kids, when they come to that realization themselves, “Wow, I like this, too!” and then we get to enjoy it together.  Wow.
  4. Figuring out what they best need. Whether it’s a special diet, or a special teaching technique, or the way I communicate, or what, I love finding out the best way to meet the needs and reach the hearts of my children.
  5. Hanging out. It doesn’t always happen that our family’s “hanging out” time is peaceful.  Too often, it seems, we have to break up squabbles, deal out discipline, dry some tears, etc. (which is all part of parenting, of course).  But, there are some times we spend together as a family where all is peaceful, and we’re all enjoying being together, and it is just glorious, and I think, “This is the life.”  Like on Saturday, the baby and I were on a blanket in a shady patch in the back yard, Martin was playing catch with the boys, calling to me, “Look how fast he can zing it in there!”, Audrey was running around squealing, I was snapping pics (which didn’t turn out because my camera is having issues), and it was just beautiful.  I LOVE moments like those.

Now, whom to tag?  Helen (who is genuinely clever, and I love her conversations with her son), Sue (who has an interesting life and seems like she’d make the ideal neighbor… if one lived in Japan), and Jamie (who has had a rough time with losing her mother and probably could use a little lightheartedness).

Great site for homeschooling science supplies (and misc. thoughts about homeschooling science)

I came across a cool experiment to test the pH of various materials using red cabbage juice.  A huge part of me wanted to just jump right in and do it TODAY.  However, caution prevailed, and I decided to get some safety goggles, and gloves, as well as beakers.  I’d been wanting to get goggles and beakers for a while, anyways, so I figured this was a good opportunity.  I mean, kitchen glasses have sufficed for all our experiments up to now, but I have often thought it would be great to do some real measurement, plus have tools that we won’t be drinking from, later that same evening.  😉

I started at Edmunds Scientifics, where we’ve purchased a number of science things, previously.  Wesley about hyperventilated when he saw me open their home page.  “Does this mean you’re going to get _______ for me?!!??”  He rattled off a list of things he wanted.  Umm… no.

I have a love/hate relationship with Edmunds.  I love the catalogs that come in the mail;  the boys fight over them!  I love that dreams of powerful microscopes and telescopes dance in their heads, and not the latest video game.  However,  Edmunds often has some great sales (fabulous ones around Christmastime), their shipping is reasonable, and their clearance prices are awesome.  The trade-off for all of these positive things is daily e-mails from the company.  Daily.  Ugh.

Edmunds didn’t have all that I needed, though.  And what they did have, seemed to be a bit overpriced.  So, I did a search to find an online store that had all three of my items, plus reasonable prices, including shipping.  After a search that took too long, I found this place:  Home Science Tools.  Not only did it have the best prices of any of the sites I had visited, it has reasonable shipping (flat rate of $6.95), and it appears that, as a company, it particularly caters to homeschooling students.  It’s making me re-think my science plans for the fall.

They even have put together kits of required materials for eight or 10 different homeschooling curricula.

Some amazing deals:

Cow eye dissection kit (including “a preserved cow eye, an illustrated dissection guide, #22 scalpel, scissors, and a dissecting tray”) for $6.95.

A real (sterilized) owl pellet for $3.20, or accompanied by a dissection kit for only $1.30 more!

Pricier, but uber-cool, are their backpack kits.  “This kit includes the One Small Square: Backyard book, with nature activities and fun-to-read text. It also has our kids’ insect net, compact binoculars, magnifier jar, plastic collection bags, a nature notebook, colored pencils, instructions, and a sturdy backpack to hold it all.”:

Backyard Naturalist Backpack Kit

Backyard Naturalist Backpack Kit

I’m bookmarking the site, for certain.

Homemade Laundry Soap!!

As with many of my undertakings that seem “weird” and novel at first, after I’ve Googled it, I then feel like I’m actually the last person in the world to do __________ .  Hm.  Not sure what’s up with that.

In this post, I mentioned that my daughter’s skin troubles were apparently caused by our laundry detergent (made by Melaleuca, by the way, which is supposed to be environmentally friendly and natural), and I asked for your suggestions for different natural cleaners.  Daja was first on board, and she linked to this post, which gives a recipe for homemade laundry detergent.

I truly strive to be a good steward of the world that God has entrusted to us.  This has been a longstanding goal, to the point where it annoys me that one can’t go anywhere the past couple of years, without being assaulted by admonitions to be “green.”  It seems more like a trend based in guilt and bullying than actual concern, because where were all these people ten years ago, like when I tried to cloth diaper and found no book, no resource, no one I knew who had cloth-diapered (except one who used a diaper service), NO ONE who could answer my questions, and it led to a three month effort that eventually failed.  In retrospect, it appears that all I needed was borax instead of bleach, both for soaking and washing.  What a simple fix!  Bummer.  Anyways.  Bitterness aside, the good news about the green trend is that there is a billion times more resources for anyone who wants to do anything more naturally.

However…  I’m pragmatic.  I need to save money.  I’m not willing — usually — to start Natural/Organic Whatever, unless it’s an even trade, or even better, saves money.  I do make a few exceptions.  I usually buy my eggs in a paper (recyclable) carton instead of the foam ones, even though eggs-in-cardboard are $0.10 more per dozen.  I figure it’s worth the extra 10 cents to not put more styrofoam in the landfills.

I had never seriously thought about making my own detergent.  But, after Daja’s tip, and reading the post to which she linked, and researching it some more, not only did it seem like a great idea, but it seemed like everyone and her sister were making their own detergent.

It was also important for me to be able to find the ingredients locally.  It’s great that you can find anything on the internet, but that uses fuel and costs a lot, especially when you’re shipping stuff that’s multiple-pounds heavy.  Plus, I’ve found with myself, if something is not convenient, I might try it once or twice, but it’s hard to make a habit out of something that is difficult to accomplish.  Know what I mean?

So, for my ingredients, I found:

  • Borax – 20 Mule Team brand, at Target, 4 lb box for $2.99.
  • Washing Soda – In my Google searches, I found out that what washing soda is, is sodium carbonate, and if one couldn’t find the Arm & Hammer brand (I couldn’t), to try a store like Home Depot, and get it in the pool supply section, where it’s used as an alkalizer.  Voila!  My husband picked up a six pound container of pH UP, and it was about $10.50.
  • Soap – The recipe I used recommended Zote soap, but after doing a little research, it seems like most any real soap will work, including Kirk’s Castile, which I found in my grocery store for $1.99 for 3 bars.  My mom, who was/is hippie-ish, bought Kirk’s Castile when I was a kid!  That was the soap we used my whole childhood.

I don’t have a food processor in which to grind the soap, as suggested in the recipe.  So, I just got out my food grater, and used the fine grating side.  That also answered my question about how many cups of soap a bar makes, and how many cups are in a pound.  I had found several places that sell soap flakes, both commercial and handcrafted, and they’re all sold by the pound.  A bar of soap is typically four ounces.  The recipe called for 2 bars.  After shredding my own soap, I now know that a bar of soap produces 2 cups of soap.  So, each pound contains 8 cups.

So… the recipe I used is a 1:1:1 ratio of borax, washing soda, and soap.  Since I had three bars of soap, I decided to grate all of them, which resulted in six cups.  So, I just I made a larger recipe and used six cups each of the other ingredients.

Even though I have soft water, I also was very skeptical of using one tablespoon (1/2 oz) of homemade laundry detergent per load, especially when you use borax or washing soda as a laundry booster, it is suggested that you use 1/4 to a whole cup of EACH!  So, after a little more research, I have found that most recipes suggest that you use a whole ounce, which is still only 2 Tbsp (which is equal to 1/8 cup, if you have a measuring cup that small!).  I used the scooper that came in my no-longer-used OxyClean container.

Also, after a little research, I found that if I want to wash in cold water, I either need to:

  • make liquid laundry soap, or
  • dissolve the soap in a little bit of hot water first.

I’m going with plan B.  I did find a surprisingly large number of liquid detergent recipes, but they all sounded like a pain to concoct, and the results are gray goopy glop.  I’ll stick with powder, thankyouverymuch.  (On the same site with the recipes, I also found a very helpful Homemade Laundry Detergent FAQ page.)

So, how much does this stuff really cost?  I used about half a package each of the borax and sodium carbonate.  (I know the poundage is different on the packages, but the sodium carbonate is definitely more dense and fine, so six cups of that is heavier than six cups of borax.)  I didn’t measure out my final product, and I know it’s not always that 6 cups + 6 cups + 6 cups of product results in 18 cups;  ingredients are funny like that.  But, assuming they do, that’s 144 loads of homemade laundry soap for about $8.75,  or about $0.06 per load.  To compare, I’d been using both MelaPower detergent and MelaBrite non-bleach brightener (plus OxyClean in my whites and light colors, but for the sake of simplification, I’m not figuring that into the cost here).  Using the cost of “old formula”  MelaPower, it is about $23.50, including tax and shipping, for what is supposed to clean 96 loads, but for me only did about 65 loads.  And, the MelaBrite is about $30.00 with tax and shipping for 96 loads… If my math is right, that’s about $0.67 per loadSo, my homemade detergent is less than 1/10 the cost of my old stuff.

I’m still using vinegar in the final rinse water, and I need to buy my vinegar at Costco, because it’s $3.99/gallon (only 16 cups/loads) at the grocery store, and that’s $0.25/load.  I think the vinegar is about $2.50 for a 1.5 gallon container at Costco, which would be about 10 cents per load.  Still, with the vinegar, that’s only $0.16 per load, saving me more than 50 cents per load.  That’s significant, especially since I do about 10-14 loads per week.

Now, we’ll just see if it works well.  My first load is in the dryer right now.  I am an absolute stickler for clean laundry.  I want my whites WHITE and everything clean and fresh-smelling and stain-free.

I feel really good about this!!  I’m excited to see the results.

Mmmm… Shiny.

I have warring fashion spirits within me.  Part of me likes funky stuff.  Part of me, though, does not want to dress to attract attention.  Part of me likes pretty stuff.  Part of me, though, does not like typically feminine fabrics.  Part of me just wants to wear jeans forever.  Part of me, though, wants a more grown-up wardrobe.  Part of me feels guilty for spending money on clothes for me when my kids need _______ .  Part of me, though, thinks, “It’s OK to buy clothes every once in a while and you shouldn’t feel guilty.”  Part of me adores the look of crisply ironed cotton.  Part of me, though, is really, really tired of ironing.

And so on.

Tonight, though, with great restraint, I went shopping.  I had a coupon for $10 off of any purchase at Kohl’s, no minimum required or anything.  Usually, when I go shopping, I pull 10 things from the rack, eight of them look horrible on me, and the two that fit OK aren’t the ones that I really like.  So, I go home with a new piece of clothing, but I’m not really happy with it.  Or, I don’t buy anything at all.  But — and maybe it was because I wasn’t just shopping the clearance racks — tonight, I tried on seven tops, and I really liked five of them!  I only had hubby/budget-clearance to buy one.  I really wanted at least three of them!

There was one that looked better on the hangar than on me, but I still really liked the style:

Then, there was one that looked OK on the hangar, but I knew it would fit me well, and it did, but if I was going to walk away with only one top, I wanted something more exciting:

It has tiny polkadots you cant see in this pic

It has tiny polkadots you can't see in this pic

In the end, I bought the top that looked best on me:

This one has tiny polkadots, too

This one has tiny polkadots, too

It comes in a light turquoise color, too…  I debated between the two, but ended up taking home the chocolate one.  I’ll have to save my $$ for the other.

Since I had that coupon, the top cost me only $6.48 with tax!  Woo hoo!

It’s super-shiny.  I don’t think I have ever bought any shiny piece of clothing, ever.  Even my wedding dress was matte silk, and that was in 1994, when EVERY wedding dress was satin and polyester, and real silk matte (dupioni, I think it’s called) was really hard to find.  (And, though it was nearly 15 years ago, it felt like a LOT of money back then when I bought my dress… but after watching a few episodes of Say Yes to the Dress, I’m thinking I got a smokin’ deal.  But, that’s another story.)

You know I don’t shop much when I blog about the purchase of ONE blouse.

I also FINALLY found a pair of white leather sandals for Audrey, after looking in about eight stores over the past month.  I wanted all-white, real leather, and less than $15.  It seems like ALL kids’ shoe manufacturers are using only “all man made materials” now, except maybe for StrideRite, and I just can’t pay $40 for kids shoes.  But, I have to have real leather, because I need them to last all summer.  Leather holds up better, and it still looks all right, even if it’s scuffed.  I found some, finally, at Payless, for $12.99:

The little flower appliques aren’t leather, but I decided to let that slide.  Audrey will get to wear them to church tomorrow.  It tickles me to think how thrilled she will be when she sees them in the morning.  🙂

Rabbiana

A number of weeks ago, Audrey started talking about a girl named Rabbiana.  She was very specific about the name.  The first part rhymes with “abbey” and the second “a” is pronounced like she’s British.  Or speaking Spanish.  Or something.  “Ah.”  RA-bee-AH-nuh.

I couldn’t figure out a) who Rabbiana was, and b) where she got the name.  It was sort of like Rabbiana was an invisible friend, sort of like she was real, very tough to figure out.

Then, about a week ago, she stood in my bathroom and greeted her friend, “Hi, Rabbiana!”  I looked over, and there she was, in front of a full-length mirror, making faces.  It dawned on me.

“Is Rabbiana the girl in the mirror?”

“Yes.  Hi, Rabbiana!”  Audrey repeated, grinning and posing.

“Did you know that girl in the mirror is you?  It’s called a reflection.”

“Yes.  Rabbiana flek-sin.  She lives in the mee-wuh.  Awww.  Cute girl Rabbiana.”

My husband Martin said that Rabbiana is sort of like Peter Pan’s shadow — partly connected, partly with a life of its own.

Since the reflection isn’t really her, Audrey feels free to compliment Rabbiana on her cute hair, choice of outfit, sweet smile, etc.  It’s funny.

I still don’t have any idea where she got that name.  Creative girl, that Rabbiana.  🙂

Answering Your Questions Part 3 – Our Lovestory – How we met.

Daja asked me:

How did you and your husband meet, fall in love and get hitched? I’m in a love-story mood, so make it good!

Well, how we met is sort of a joke.  We answer, “We don’t know.”  At the core of it, though, is my pastor’s family.

When I was in high school, I at first didn’t like, then became best friends with a girl named Holly, who is the youngest daughter of the man who is now my pastor.  Holly and I weren’t really friends until the end of our junior year, though we were in a really small class together (16 students in our grade), and played sports together.  My husband had gone to school with Holly’s sister, who is seven years older than she is, and had known their family since that time, when he was in junior high.  Even though Martin was so much older than Holly, since he had long been a family friend, he had been to some sporting events in which Holly played, so we think that’s where he first saw me.  I first saw Martin in February of my senior year, at our school’s one formal event.  I can still picture him in my mind:  He was tall, had a full beard, almost black, wavy, longish hair, cowboy boots with his tux, eyes that looked dark from far away, but turned out to be green, and a furrowed brow.  He was so handsome it took my breath away.  But, it was obvious that he was a man, and I was a teen.  I quickly found out from Holly that Martin was just accompanying her, as she didn’t have a date, and he was a friend.  She also wore a stunning emerald green dress which I still remember, but that’s another story.  😛

I was going to a Christian high school, and in one of my classes, our teacher had us write out what we wanted in a spouse.  I know I have that list somewhere, but have been frustratingly unable to dig it out.  In the back of my mind, I held Martin as a standard.  He was SO like what I wanted, some day, when I got married.  He was (is) Godly, artistic, creative, hardworking, musical, not a loner, a good balance between extroverted and introverted, intelligent…. Plus, he was just so gosh-darn handsome.

So, he became my standard.

I never considered him as a potential husband for me, because he was nearly seven years older than me, and I thought he’d surely be married when I was of the age to be married myself.  After all, when I first saw him, I was 16, and we weren’t in relationship at all;  we didn’t even know each other.

Off to college I went…

While at Tulane, I dated a lot.  I didn’t know anything about courtship-style relationships;  I was totally on my own for relationship guidance, and felt like I was doing something stellar just maintaining my virginity.  Looking back, I could have done SO much better, but I really didn’t know any better, and honestly, I don’t know that I regret the relationships I had;  they all served to move me further to where I needed to be.  Anyways.  Out of all the guys with whom I spent time, I formed two significant relationships, one a standard “dating” relationship, and one a little more unusual.  But, I loved both of those men, both of whom I will have to give pseudonyms in a later post, one because his name is so unusual, if you Googled it, you’d probably come up with that guy*, the other because he was/is semi-famous, and I don’t know if he’d like that I was writing about him.

Next, I will answer the “how we fell in love” part, and a lot of it has to do with falling out of love with those two other guys.

To be continued….

——–

*Edited to add:  Well, I tried it, and it’s hard work to actually come up with him on a Google search.  I put in his first name, and then had to minus out a bunch of unrelated-to-him terms, and he was still only on page 4 of Google.  Still, I think I’ll stick with a pseudonym.

Answering Your Questions Part 2 – Why we chose to homeschool

I forgot to add this to last night’s post.

Jessie also asked:

Also how did you choose homeschooling?

What, you haven’t read the archives from two years ago???  😉  I posted on that very topic here:  Why we homeschool and how we got started, originally posted in May of 2007.  Continuing on the topic is this:  Why I continue to homeschool, from January of ’08.

300,000!

Lifted from this guys blog:  http://www.sssemester.blogspot.com/

Lifted from this guy's blog: http://www.sssemester.blogspot.com/

I hit 300,000 visitors late last night.

Woo hoo!

It’s not as impressive as it sounds, if it sounds impressive.  I have a lot of niche interests and I throw ’em all into the same blog, so I get lots of hits off of Google searches, and most visitors must say, “That’s not what I was looking for!” because they never return again.

Some of you do, though, stick around, and for that I am thankful.  I really enjoy the blogosphere of the like-minded.  🙂  And, the not-so-like-minded, from whom I have learned a lot.  And, who, occasionally, I’ve had to ban from my blog.  😮  Hehehehe!

I’m not on Blogspot, so I can’t do the “followers” thing.  But, according to my Technorati info, my blog is ranked 181,676 out of, presumably, all the blogs in the world.  That’s low.  And, according to Feedburner (which now, like half the websites in the world, is owned by Google), I have 24 subscribers.  That’s low, too.  But, I’m thankful for each of you!!

So, it’s a good thing that I don’t like popularity contests, because I would surely lose.  I like to think of my reach to be deep, rather than wide.  🙂

Answering Your Questions Part 1 (Phoenix weather, and ‘Did you plan all those kids?’)

Earlier today, I posted, asking for questions.  I meant to start answering them tomorrow, but here I am at home — Martin has Ethan at his Little League game, and I’m home with the rest of our kids, two of whom are sick with high fevers.  (Grant got up to 104.1° last night!  Scary.  I had him in the bathtub at 3 a.m.)  Martin is actually playing tag-team with my Mom and Stepdad, because he had to leave early to go to kinship, and they arrived late, after work, and will stay for the end and bring Ethan home.  Anyways.  All that to say that I have a rare evening in which I can blog.

Daja asked first, about the love story of my husband and me, but that’s a long story, even for me!  So, I’m giving that some thought about how to best answer it.

So, for now, I’ll start with the (somewhat) shorter ones!

Adrienne asked:

I want to know what the weather is REALLY like in AZ.  We’re considering moving, and we need to be somewhere it doesn’t rain all the stinkin time.  I’m not sure I want to smolder in the 150 degree heat though!  So, how bad is it, really?  Does the vast amounts of sunshine and lack of rain make up for the heat?
~Ade

Well, it depends on what you prefer.  We basically have six months of summer, from mid-April to mid-October.  Yesterday was the first day of 100° temps.  I heard on the news last night that the Phoenix area averages 89 days per year of 100+° temps.  I’m surprised it’s that low, frankly.  And, we only average 7.5″ of rain each year.  We can often go for 2-3 months between rainfall, then have a big storm that violently dumps 1.5″ in a short time.  I used to hate it here.  I really, really hated it.  It’s brown, hot, and dry.  I love the green, rolling rain-soaked hills, punctuated by 90 ft high leafy trees, with their roots soaking in a sparkling stream, all of which are in short supply in Arizona.  However, I don’t hate it any more.  Actually, I’m liking it better and better in Arizona, each year.  We have a vast complexity of life, both flora and fauna, and such striking vistas, and wide, clear blue skies…  Plus, travel an hour, maybe an hour and a half, and you’re in the mountains and cooler temps.  I have lived in the heart of the city (or near it), and on the fringes, and I like it on the fringes.  The scenery is much better.  🙂  In cooler climes, folks have to stay indoors nearly all winter.  Here, you have to stay indoors nearly all summer.  The summer days are literally like a blast furnace.  It’s too hot to roll down the window of your car as you drive.  It’s too hot for a walk, even at night, where it can stay over 100° even past 10:00 at night.  The norm is to travel from air-conditioned house to air-conditioned car to the pool or air-conditioned other place, and back home.  Kids don’t play outside in the summer, unless you have a pool.  (We don’t.)  Or, if I do send the kids out to play, it’s early in the morning (like around 8:00) and they have to come in 20 minutes later, because they’re drenched with sweat because it’s already over 100° at 8:20 a.m.  So, you have to get really creative with indoor things to do for kids here in the summer, especially if you aren’t into video games and vegeing out in front of the t.v., like we’re not.  But… there are lots of things to like about the Phoenix area.  There are TONS of hiking opportunities, all year ’round, both within the city, and in the area around it.  As far as cities go, it’s really not claustrophobic;  it’s spread out (which is both good and bad — urban sprawl and all that).  We have lots of amenities, some great sports teams, a fairly good arts scene, pretty much any store you could ever want — I hardly buy anything online except for books!  I don’t need to, because it’s all right around the corner.  Right now, it’s uber-affordable to buy a house in the Phoenix area!  The market has tanked, which is great for first-time home buyers.  Some friends of mine had a house next door to them just sell for $45K.  Granted, it’s an extreme fixer-upper.  But, you can get a nice house for $100K right now.

So, that’s more than you asked, as I review your question, which was ~ahem~ just about weather.  Sorry about that.

Jessie asked:

Did you plan to have “all” those kids?  Lol!  I only put it that way (being a mom of 4 so far myself) because that’s the way people ask me! 🙂

Sort of.  Before we got married, my husband and I agreed we wanted 3-5 kids.  But, then, I had ONE, and suddenly extended grace to all the parents of only children, of whom I had previously stood in judgment.  It was hard, and I was done.  Fifteen months later, unplanned, we got pregnant with Grant.  That was a shock, but mostly OK, especially since Grant was such an easy baby.  Fifteen months after Grant was born, I got pregnant with Wesley, which was NOT OK.  I wept.  I didn’t understand what God was doing to me.  I was very ill, and getting worse.  Not many people knew about it, except my husband, because I was embarrassed, because “all” I’d been diagnosed with was chronic fatigue syndrome, moderate depression, chronic bone pain, intersticial cystitis, and a few other things, but none life-threatening.  Plus, in the 2.5 year search I had undertaken to find out what was wrong with me, I had twice been called a hypochondriac by two different doctors, which was humiliating.  And, I had been raised with a paradigm that Christians didn’t get depressed, so I felt guilty or something for that part of it.  So, I didn’t share much with others about how poorly I was doing.  And, at the height of me feeling like I was barely keeping my nose above water with regards to my self, let alone my husband, my 1yo and my 3yo, I got pregnant.  I really wept.  I had to make a conscious decision to trust God because this was a child He had decided to give us, so I had to trust that it would be the right child for our family, and would have a special, specific purpose in our lives.  As it turns out, Wesley’s diagnosis of celiac disease is what led to my own diagnosis of the same, and I really feel like Wesley saved my life, because celiac disease was the core of my problem, and all the other health issues I was having were symptoms of celiac disease.  So…  After I got healed up, and once my three boys grew just a little, I started wanting another child;  our family did not feel complete.  For a while, Martin wasn’t willing;  my health was a great concern to him;  he didn’t think I could handle another child.  But, eventually, he said to me with a grin, “Wanna try for #4?”  And, we did.  🙂  When Wesley was 4.5yo, Audrey was born.  Then, it felt like we had a set of siblings with the three boys, and little baby Audrey dangling off at the end, with no sister, nor any sibling really close in age to her.  So, we decided to try for one more child, and for the first time, were really hoping for a specific gender — a girl.  And, God said, “OK!” and Fiala was born when Audrey was 2.5yo.  So…. it was like all the kids were planned, then they weren’t, then they were.  😀  And in the end, we’re back to our pre-marriage plan of 3-5.  It is uncommon to have five children and not be Catholic, or LDS, or QF, or have it be an accident.  But, five it is, all planned for, more or less, and we’re really pleased with ’em!

So, any questions you wanna ask me?

My bloggy friend Daja has had several really entertaining and informative posts answering readers’ questions.  I had never considered doing similarly until last night.  I’ve got that “101 Things” page, and golly, I’ve been blogging for more than three years, and I’ve said a lot already.  So, I didn’t think anyone would really want or need to ask me anything.  But, lately, I’ve had an uptick in the number of questions sent to me by regular commenters and lurkers alike.

So, I thought I’d check to see if anyone was wondering about anything that I might be able to answer.

If you are, click the button on the right-hand side (it will just pull up a regular e-mail with my addy in it), or comment below, or send it to onlysometimesclever at cox dot net.

If people actually do submit questions, I’ll make a post answering them.  I won’t use your name or e-mail addy, don’t worry.  (Unless you post below, with your name.  If you e-mail, I’ll assume you want a little more anonymity.)

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