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2004-06-02 - 4:14 p.m.

Last night, for the first time since we moved back to VA, I was happy to tuck the little ones into their ACTUAL beds as opposed to makeshift ones on the floor! (Or in MY bed!) We ALL slept well, and I MOST enjoyed having out bed to ourselves for a change!! It was great to NOT be kicked in the back by the toddler who is the one who rolls around all the time. About two weeks ago she split her lip rolling off the couch. Murphys LAW- as we hadn't allowed any of the kids to sleep on the couch, but were tucking them all in on matresses or bedding on the living room floor. The one night I broke that rule to subdue the two toddlers fighting who were sharing a bed, toddler #2 awoke on the floor screaming with a bloody lip. Westley rushed her to the ER where she received 4 stitches. Fortunately her lip has healed VERY nicely and she was a surprisingly coopertive brave little one when I took her to the Dr. to have the stitches removed. After the initial resistance, she understood when I explained she could either control herself, or the Dr. and nurse would have to tie her down so she can't move and they can take out the stitches. She said "I will cooperate!" And she immediately opened her mouth wide "AHH", and sat that way until the Dr. and nurse came back in the room to look at it! It was the funniest thing- the dichotomy between her behavior before and after my chat with her!

It was so nice to have one of the bedrooms finally completed after the past month ( a little more actually) of my husband busy caulking and touching up every last detail on the walls, installing all the fixtures in the house, and completing the finishing touches on the electrical. (Well ALMOST!)

Westley had hoped to focus on one room at time... but then it made sense to just hang ALL the lighting fixtures when he was on a roll with that task.

He did complete the laundry room first- some weeks ago now. So I HAVE been enjoying use of that. We have a fantastic new washer that is high efficiency, meaning it uses both less water and MUCH less soap than traditional machines. Its been run ALOT this past month. Westley did note a lowered electric bill just yesterday, so he is hoping that the washer and dryer alone have a significant impact on our energy costs. Well keep reviewing the next few months to verify if that is the case or not. I am SO HAPPY with the new laundry room as it makes it MUCH easier to regularly keep up with the laundry now that it is centrally located in the house rather than being in the basement! The new laundry room is upstairs near all the bedrooms- which just makes SO much more sense! And I THINK to move it along as I can HEAR the BEEP of a completed load, and I SEE the machines/laundry all the time rather than HIDING it downstairs to be forgotten.

Yesterday I took the little girls to Katerina's school picnic at the park for the Futura program she attends for so called "gifted" kids.

They had fun, and her teacher actually said something nice to me about how beautiful the girls are, and how happy they were to have the suprise of Katerina returning to the program.

I wasn't expecting a warm welcome as just last week the program had a mock trial and invited parents to attend while specifically stating "Do not bring small children."

Reading that invitation was enough to make me DETERMINED to go to the event will ALL the little ones ! Which of course I did. I was mentally prepared for the intro I received at the door by the above mentioned teacher in judicial grab who greeted us as we approached the classroom

"Your NOT planning on taking them in THERE?"

At which I replied, "Yes I am"

She said, "You can leave them in the hall"

And I responded "I will do not."

She asked "Did you read the memo?"

"Yes. This is the only way I can attend."

"Are you aware of what we are doing today?"

I answered,"Yes. It's my understanding you are attempting to present a realistic portrayal of the American judicial system. There is not a courtroom in America that would say children are not ALLOWED to accompany adults into a courtroom"

The teacher was obviously flustered as she said, "Yesterday we had a crying baby in the hall... And WEll then, if there is a disruption we will just have to declare a mistrial."

At which point I decided not to argue the ridiculousness of a child being the cause of substantial disruption to a court proceeding and instead tried to allay her fears and said something about how if my children are disruptive I would take them outside, but she needn't fear as they are accustomed to sitting through church for an hour quietly on a weekly basis-- so this should be EASY. And I marched in and sat down with only a few mumbled comments more (by me) to the nearby parents who undoubtedly heard the exchange.

I had SOME self control. I spared her any legal mumbo jumbo.... about public access... etc....

I didn't mention many courts also offer CHILDCARE... or many of the other things I could have pointed out to her...

In any case, it reminded me of the time Westley and I flew somewhere and has requested to use his miles for a first class ticket upgrade for our whole family, only to be told there were no seats available. I recall cringing when he initailly told the customer service person we were traveling with the baby and toddlers BEFORE asking for the upgrade, and thinking we were setting ourselves up for poor customer service. I've experienced that type of NON kid friendly customer service before. This was by the way UNITED airlines. Westely thought me paranoid when I later told him of my suspicion after he ended the call. That is he thought me paranoid until we were on the flight and discovered all of first class was empty except for ONE gentleman-- one who looked at us kindly in overhearing the tirage of my irrate husband who went off on the customer service people at the service counter where we got our boarding passes when they ALSO refused the upgrade despite Westely having SUBSTANTIAL miles on his frequent flyer business class acct... He used to fly almost weekly to the west coast, and to Europe on occassion for work.

In appeasement, a flight attendant, and I note she was a very kins African American woman who I think was a bit more sensitive to discrimination than the other UNITED staff... discreetly came over and offered to bring Westely a first class meal and a complimentary drink or two. He was glad of that kind treatment of her-- but at the time said it didn't make up for the unexcusable LYING of the other staff who we surmise were told NOT to book children on first class! (I'll bet excepting if they are famouse children.)

It makes me wonder, why AREN"T parents a protected class? I think that should be the next big civil rights movement.... maybe I WILL have stellar law career making a BIG difference in the world! Even thought I missed the chance to sue Georgetown and set precedent for Universitys actually treating students as the contractual party they ARE-- ones which schools owe a legal OBLIGATION to.... maybe I still have another opportunity to effect societal change... Hmmm..

Reminds me- I should look up that Canadian case of the MAsters student who sued his college for failure to grant his grades in a timely fashion. I wonder how it has proceeded! It was a victory of sorts when the judge even agreed to HEAR the case a few years ago. Nothing comparable has yet happened in the U.S. as far as I know.

Enough law ramblings.

Today I spent most of the morning weeding the garden and trying to read the stake markers whose text washed off in the rain. I wasn't sure WHAT I planted! I discovered cabbage and beans growing nicesly. I thinned out the melon and radish which are taking off. I weeded a few more patches of unknown veggies: Cucumber? Eggplant? Watermelon? Squash? I can't tell what's what!

IT will be fun to watch it emerge!

At the onset of our outdoor excursion this morn around 10am, while the 4 yr old and I were weeding a strawberry patch, the 2 1/2 yr old decided to jump in the big muddy rain puddle in our once gravel, and now mostly dirt and grassy, weedy driveway. I repremanded her to no avail, and the 1 1/2 yr old sheepishly joined in the puddle hopping. I decided it wasn't a huge deal- just a little muddy clothes and shoes, so I let them romp. That is, until upon looking over after pulling out a patch of weeds, I saw the 2 1/2 yr old LYING DOWN just COVERED in mud from head to toe!! At that point I DID lose patience. She was stripped, given a hose down and one quick spank on her cold bare butt... and then while she stood naked dripping I pulled out the kiddy pool from the milk cottage it was stored in.

The 4 yr old did a great job holding the hose to fill the pool while I ran in to get diapers and swim suits and a few water toys.

Although it wasn't a HOT day-- it was warm enough for the pool.It was a wonderful temperate day! So the toddlers played in the water for the next 2 hours while I weeded within a few yards of the pool. It was terrific as I was close enough to watch them and got much more done in the garden than I anticipated!

Weeding tired me out so I have basically taken this break of writing while 2 of the 3 little ones nap and the older 2 do homework this afternoon. Off to move the muddly clothes to the dryer,that is unless they need a second washing, and to fold the HUGE pile of clean laundry amassed today while I heat up spagetti and sauce for dinner. I made a big batch of sauce and froze it weeks ago, and am glad for it tonight as I'm too tired to really cook! The microwave will come in handy tonight. My goal: Dinner in twenty minutes!

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