Saturday, October 31, 2015

The News.. - I'm pregnant! Almost 9 weeks now!

 We're very happy, because we've been hoping for one more addition to our family. We're a little scared, because even though Jake has been going out on as many as 5 interviews a week and has some firm leads, he still has not received a job offer (that matches our needs - for example, he HAS been offered work, but it would have him traveling 9 days out of 12 and currently offers no benefits. That's more travel than we can currently manage as a family.). But because he IS going on so many interviews, I'm confident that it won't be long before he's back to work!

So Jake is working on the new bedroom (a space under our porch that is getting converted and properly set up as an indoor space) while he has time. I'm sitting tight, because I still have many of the baby items that we'll need for the next one, and although I got rid of my maternity clothes last time, I'm waiting to buy until I actually need them. I know I'll take a size XL, but I don't know what blend of cold weather/warm weather clothes I'll need just yet. Though, with a June baby I should err more toward warm weather, I suppose.

Meanwhile, pregnancy fatigue and preg-nesia are smacking me around a bit. Mom Naps are becoming a daily institution, where I used to revel in being awake and doing things while Tristan napped. The big kids are a wonderful help, and surprise me often with their thoughtful gestures.

I've been riding my bike less, and using the throttle power more when I do ride. I'm trying to keep riding though - do I get credit there?  ;)

Friday, October 23, 2015

There's an app for the college bound!

Have you ever wanted to get a big list of available scholarships for college, narrowed down for your parameters, without doing long searches online or looking them up in possibly outdated print books?

There's an app for that!

In this article, you'll find that "they" have developed an app that will help you find scholarships that you (or your kid) should qualify for, and the app only costs $2.99. The app developers goal is to reduce the number of unclaimed scholarships every year (free money going begging!).

I'm going to check it out!


I know, it's been quiet here. I have some potential news to share, but because it's potential I can't share it yet.

So... if you could keep your fingers crossed in a general way for us, and pray for good things, I should have some good stuff to write about next week!


Monday, October 12, 2015

When it's time to take the easy road.

My dryer was fixed recently, right before the weather turned from hot, breezy and dry, to cool, damp, and unpredictable. I gladly threw my wash into the dryer during the yucky weather and thought no more of it.

But recently the weather, while not hot, per se, has been sunny and clear. Yet I kept putting all but two or three loads into the dryer. Why?

It's currently an in-between weather state right now - too cool for effective outdoor drying, too warm to fire up the wood stove. But once the wood stove is burning, I have a feeling there will be line and rack dried clothes in our home again, because it will be faster to dry them by the fire than in the tumbler. It's an in-between state in life as well, since my daughter is in physical therapy 3 afternoons a week and I'm working to get my homeschooled son into opportunities to see and meet friends.The toddler has been both very active and very snuggly, making it hard to get some things done.

I'm tired. I'm moderately frazzled. The rest of the house has been a mess because of the energy I've diverted to first hanging laundry and second coping with managing everyone's schedule. I have more things on my plate than I'm used to, and something had to give.

And that's OK.

Sometimes it's better to use the labor/time saving devices when your time is at a premium. Even if that means that it costs a bit more money (thankfully not much more, as we have a gas dryer), it's worth it. It saves me the mental process of tracking the weather, making sure the wash is hung before 9 AM to give it enough time outside, rotating things on indoor racks to encourage them to dry before tomorrow morning.

Sometimes the easy road lets you reach the destination. Without it, you might end up lost and not getting where you need to go. Take the easy road now and then, if it means you'll be able to cook dinner and hug your kids. Or if dinner is the thing, it's OK to eat pancakes with yogurt for dinner so you can take care of other things.

Once in a while, give yourself a break. You can do more later.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


I don't have a huge readership here, but I hope there are enough of you out there who might be interested in this and willing to signal boost.

There is a group called OpenStax College, and they offer college level textbooks for free in pdf form, and for the cost of printing a hardcover version (around $50).

Of course, there is a catch. These books are considered "generic". They're peer reviewed, but open source, which always seems to catch a side-eye reputation, despite many open source solutions being superior to the paid alternatives.

However, if you're a homeschooler looking at upper grade high school materials, these are free, good, and clearly written.

If you are a teacher at the local community college, see if these would work for your courses. Statistically, your students are the ones pinching the pennies hardest - help them save that money for the pricey transfer school!

If you have children in a high school that is struggling to provide textbooks to their students, bring this up at the school board meeting - the print version isn't free, but usually cheaper than McGraw-Hill and Prentice Hall. Or see about getting locked Kindles to download coursebooks? You can currently get a 6 pack of Kindle Fires for $250, and they could hold ALL those free books!

This is a list of the schools currently using at least some of the OpenStax textbooks in their programs. I'm tickled to see Harrisburg Area Community College is one of them!

What do you think? Worth knowing about? Tell a friend!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

High school freakouts

This was on my personal FB page, but man, it was long enough for a post! So...

Next school year is holding many stressors for me (and Catie too, I guess). Catie will be going into high school. There are three possibilities for her.

She could go to our local public school, which is not our best option. It's not a failing school, but it's a little rough around the edges. I think she could do OK-ish there, but I'd be concerned that the environment would mess her up. It's the same crowd she dealt with in her middle school before we transferred her to Holy Name, and I don't know how much they've improved/matured in the last two years.

The second is to send her to the Catholic high school. Academically, this is the best possible option. Socially, it's a great option - we know the kids, the discipline is excellent, all over a great school. The problem is tuition - $6300ish a year. Even though the grandparents have offered their help, that's a lot of money to ask help with. Scholarships are available, but can be hard to get - it's a matter of filing the forms before the well runs dry.

The third is a remote possibility, but one we learned about yesterday and want to learn more about. It's a brick-and-mortar charter high school with a focus on the arts, audition only for admission. Since it's a charter school, there's no tuition to worry about, but a lot of fundraisers are part of the package. Catie is very interested in this, but she has no real background in theatre (which is one thing she would look into), and she doesn't have a portfolio of artwork as yet (which is another field of interest) but she has some flair in her drawing. I told her we would check out some free improv classes and she could see how she feels, and she could always audition for the school and see how she does.

So we have to treat these like Schrodinger's schools, and plan for her to attend each of them and be attached to none. I have to help her organize the application for each, apply for scholarships for the Catholic school, help her prepare for an audition in the busiest season of her school year, and comfort her if the public school is the ultimate end. And that's just what I have to do - she's going to be wired like a bomb with tension about all this.