Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Chickeny Goodness

If it were legal to have chickens in our lovely town, I would tell you that we have chickens.  4 beautiful Ameracauna hens.  They seem to be enjoying our icky winter backyard just fine.
 Their names are Chicken Pox, Chicken Jane, Chicken Little, and Camilla.
 There are two currently laying.  One lays greenish blue eggs, and the other lays pinkish brown eggs.
 Apparently wild chickens are forest creatures.  I never before realized how well chickens could blend into a forest setting, but seeing their colors against the dried leaves, I can see how they would survive in the wild.  Also, they are FAST.  Chicken Pox is the fastest.  If there were chicken races somewhere, I would totally enter her!

Lilyanna learned her lesson last time we had a chicken in the backyard and is wearing the proper footwear for the occasion.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

It's a good thing...

...that Todd is getting back from a business trip tonight, because otherwise Caleb might not make it through another day.  It has been a couple of those types of days with him that remind me how incredibly difficult parenting can be.

...that macarons are too expensive and too far away to get very often.  They are a delectable gluten free treat.

...that all of the kids are nearly asleep, because I need to go to bed, too (after I quickly pick up the living room so Todd doesn't come in late tonight to a complete disaster.  A semi-disaster I'm fine with.)

...that Lilyanna is so stinkin' cute.  She is as precocious with the terrible twos and the accompanying tantrums as she has been with every other milestone.  She has also recently decided that she's too cool for her high chair.  The crib, she loves.  The high chair, no dice.  (Also, she's upstairs right this minute teasing her 11 year old brother by calling him Benjabooboo. It's very cute to listen to him protest against her adorable little voice calling him by his hated childhood nickname.)

...that chickens have some instincts, because otherwise, we'd be sure to kill them off with our wacky schedules.

...that I have a blog to catch all the wispy thoughts I have floating around in my tired brain, so I can look back and remember them some day.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Comics, Coupons, and Negotiating

When we first moved to Ohio 7 years ago, I bought a subscription to the local paper in an effort to get to know the flavor and flaws of the area better.  It did help tremendously for both of those things, but after a couple of years, I switched to just the weekend papers so I could still get the coupons.  At the time a subscription only cost me about $5 each month.  Two or three years ago, they increased the cost of receiving a weekend paper to $13 and change/month!!

I started tracking the benefit of the coupons I clip and use each month.  It averages out to about $9/month.  Not enough to pay for the paper anymore.  Yesterday, I announced to the boys that I would be cancelling our subscription.  Benjamin and Caleb were horrified.  Nathaniel was, too, initially, but then he figured out how much the paper cost each year, and decided he could just get comic collections from the library for free.

Benjamin was ready to sign over his first born right there and then if I promised to keep getting the paper.  We came to an agreement that I would pay $8 each month for the paper, but it would cost him $5 each month.  He was willing to pay more just for the chance to read the Sunday comics, but I tried to use the moment to teach him about negotiation.  (He is historically awful at negotiating.  Nathaniel on the other hand seems to have a little Tom Sawyer in him.  I caught Benjamin doing Nathaniel's chores the other day, just for the chance to play Nathaniel's DS.  Benjamin owns a DS, too, but couldn't find it at the time.) Caleb wanted the comics, too, but knew Benjamin would pay.  So he disappeared for the negotiations saying, "Well, I don't care that much about comics."

Benjamin is good about earning money.  He's willing to work hard for it.  But once he gets it (after he puts a percentage in savings and tithing) it burns a hole in his pocket.  Ah, well.  I feel like he will learn the lesson eventually.  And probably sooner rather than later.  Smiths seem to be genetically predisposed towards accounting or other financial services.  In the meantime, I will try not to take too much advantage of him.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Facebook Etiquette

A while ago Facebook created a feature that let you just hover over the birthday reminders on the news feed and send a message from there without looking at the person's wall at all.  I was a fan.  The less clicking around the better for me.

I was glad that I wasn't really on facebook the last couple of days because it meant that I didn't hover and type.  My friend Sunshine had a birthday a few days ago.  The same day that her husband and two of her daughters were involved in a car crash that took the life of her oldest daughter.  They were on their way to buy a birthday cake for their Mom.

While I know it's nobody's fault, it is heartbreaking to look at her facebook wall and see all the "Hope your birthday is the best ever!" and "Have a great day, Sunshine!" comments.  Some of them were made before the accident, and several people came back and wrote apologies and condolences on her page afterwards, but there are a slew of messages still there because people just weren't aware and still aren't.

My heart hurts for her and her family.  I keep thinking how next year might be for her.  Will people forget and wish her "the best birthday ever" again because it's just so easy to hover and type without really knowing what's going on in a person's life?

This makes me feel like it's time to winnow my friend list (which I've never done before, I've always felt the more the merrier).  If I don't have time to really have some idea what is going on in the life of a friend, then I don't know that I should be listed as one of their friends.

Here are a few links to articles about the accident for those of you who knew Sunshine but hadn't heard.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Resolutions for 2012

I typically do resolutions as the kids are headed back to school at the end of summer, but there are a few things I need to do better with right about now.  I post them publicly here to keep myself honest.

Spiritual Goals:
*Read/Listen to a talk from General Conference or the Ensign every day.
*Touch base more than once a month with those I visit teach.
*Be better about saying prayers in the morning.

Health Goals:
*Track via Weight Watchers online EVERY DAY.  (I'm a cheater on this one.  And it shows.)
*Get adequate rest to keep myself healthier this year.  Seriously.  The sickness has got. to. stop!
*Exercise 6 days a week. I currently do hour long exercise classes 3 days a week, but then do nothing the rest of the days of the week.  I need to be strong enough to do all that my family needs me to do.  No more being a bump on the log 4 days a week.

Organizational Goals:
*Clean for 1 hour every day 6 days each week.  This is the most painful for me so far.  The plan is to set a timer for 15 or 20 minutes and do as much in that room as I can do.  Then I get a break to read 1 chapter of whatever book I'm reading.  Then on to the next room, etc.  I think it's achievable for me.
*4 pages each week in scrapbooks done.  I recently had to move all of my scrapbooking stuff from the basement up to the Family Room while we redid the basement.  Seeing it all again rekindled my desire to work on it.  My kids love looking through their books so often that I feel terrible they don't have more to look at.

Me Goals:
*Read some classics.  Have a few friends over to discuss while we work on whatever crafty projects we have. Me?  I have a cross stitch to work on.
*Sign up for and run another 5K but get an awesome time.
*Sign up and fund raise for the MS walk in the Spring.
*Explore a new place in Ohio.

What are a few of your goals for the new year?

Ready? Set? GO!