Monday, July 31, 2006

Kindergarten, No Egg, and Unions

I finally worked up the nerve to email the Principle of the Elementary school that my soon-to-be-kindergartner will be attending (he didn't get in to any of the charter schools we applied to). I requested a specific teacher and gave my reasons why I thought this particular teacher would be the best for my son. I also said that I understood that it would be impossible to match every child and teacher according to parents wishes, and that we would be fine with any teacher that he was assigned to.

I heard back this morning that the teachers have already been assigned, but that he's in the class I wanted him to be in! This is the teacher that I said, "if he gets her, I won't transfer him to the charter school if he gets in later". I'm feeling somewhat conflicted about that now. The charter school has uniforms and a really impressive curriculum. The charter school will also be brand new, and it is likely that there will be some problems during the first few years. The neighborhood school is established with all sorts of extra programs, it is within walking distance, and he's been assigned the the teacher I wanted him to have (I think, although now I'm hoping I didn't mix up the teachers....).

It seems the best course of action is to do nothing. It's working out fine so far. I'm just hoping that he doesn't get accepted to the charter school later, or I'm going to have to choose, and that will be hard.

No Egg
I checked several times yesterday, but there was no egg. This is the first day that there hasn't been an egg for the past 6 days. (well, that would be yesterday, hopefully we get an egg today.) Once the other two chickens start to lay, we'll really have the eggs rolling in.

I don't shop at walmart. I have been having guilty feelings about shopping at Target, because really, I don't think it is much better than walmart. Not as big, so not as bad in that way, but still bad.

There are some things that I wouldn't know where to buy (shower curtains for example) without going to some big box store. There are some things that you just can't get, or are not practical to buy at Costco. So how do I decide what my requirements for shopping will be? I would prefer to buy at locally owned stores, but there are just not that many locally owned stores that sell the things I buy regularly. There is a store that sells children's clothing, but it is kind of a boutique and is very pricey.

I think that Fred Meyer/Kroger/Smiths Marketplace (whatever you want to call it) allows workers to unionize. I'm not sure about Shopko (although I don't love shopko, I could handle shopping there if I really needed to (unlike Kmart, which I try to avoid because it is crowded and dirty)).

So is the union issue that big of a deal, would that make a store more worthy of my business? I feel conflicted on the issue, and am not sure what to do about it. I'd like to be responsible with where I spend my money though.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Vote for Pete

I had the opportunity of attending a meet and greet with Pete Ashdown on Thursday evening. I was really impressed with him. There were some people there, who in my opinion, were a little aggressive in their questioning, but he handled everything really well. I wish that I had taken notes so that I could include specifics here.

I think it's time for a change in Washington. Vote for Pete. If you aren't convinced that he will represent Utahns better than Senator Hatch, check out Pete's website and educate yourself.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


We have returned home safely from our week-long camping trip at Baumgartner Campground. It was really fun to be around the Mister's family. There are some family members who we don't get to see as often as I would like. They are really great people.

This evening Nat called to let me know that she had gathered three eggs while we were gone. WE HAVE EGGS!!!! I'm pretty sure it's just Red who is laying. She is the biggest of the three.

Nat gathered one egg on sunday, one on monday or tuesday and one today.

The camera is missing, since I packed it in a really secure place for our camping trip (we don't have pictures from our camping either because of my packing job), but as soon as I find it, I'll post some pictures of them. They are tiny and brown and very cute. Maybe we will have a miniature omelet or something.

Here is the picture!
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

No Time to Rest

While I was at girls camp, the Mr. worked on the deck. We found a flyer for it at the grocery store "free if you can haul it away".

For "free" stuff, the Mr. can be pretty determined when it comes to figuring out the "hauling away" part. Here it is (and notice the side rails in place in two spots, I did those...)Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Since we had so much dirt piled on our driveway from digging out for the deck, we decided to fill in all the flower beds and create a new bed in the front yard around the pine tree. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

This morning I cleaned out the chicken house. This was the first cleaning it has had since the chickens moved in, about 10 weeks ago. I scooped out all the sawdust/chicken poop (fertilizer, yea!) and dumped in into the compost bin so it can "finish" a little more before it gets used in the garden. Then I refilled the house with fresh sawdust (thanks dad!) and spread the rest on the ground in the run. The girls were enjoying digging in it. Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Home Again Home Again, Jiggity Jig...

I arrived home friday afternoon, and my little family had left for Idaho the day before. The house was really quiet, and perfect for nap-taking.

I have a lot that I could write about girls camp, but I am so tired from too many late nights, that I just don't have the energy. It was overall, a very good experience, and I'm glad I went.

While I was gone, the Mr. got most of our new-to-us deck reassembled in our back yard. It is going to be really nice when it is all finished.

Now, I'm off to bed. I'm beat.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

More Yard Work, Fun, and Going Away...

Yesterday, the Mr. and I spent all morning in the yard. He mowed, de-pooped, and weed whacked the yard. I weeded the garden and spread grass clippings in more of the garden to help keep everything from drying out so fast (and to keep the weeds down).

The yard is looking really nice again. I still need more grass clippings, but several beds got a new layer. The rest will have to wait a week or so until our neighbors mow their lawns again.

On thursday we went to the grocery store and saw a flyer for a "free to good home" deck/gazebo type thing. It's 8x14 feet and 8 feet tall. There's an old rickety wooden swing attached to it, which will probably have to be taken down. We finally got ahold of the owners yesterday and it was still available. We went and looked at it, and it needs some TLC (sanding and new paint or finish or something) but is otherwise in decent condition. The Mr. looked at it for quite awhile trying to figure out the best (easiest) way to take it apart and haul it to our house.

We (meaning the Mr.) will dig out a spot in our backyard next to the house, redo the sprinkler lines a little, put in some cement block footings and install the thing this week (hopefully).

I'm leaving for girls camp on monday and will get home saturday morning. I'm really hoping it's all installed by then. The Mr. is taking the kids to idaho for the weekend, so I won't see them until they come home saturday night. I'm looking forward to sitting on my new deck saturday afternoon. If anyone wants to help the Mr. this week, let him know. He has a huge project now. We've decided it will be our anniversary present this year (and we might even buy one of those small fire pits to put on it. Wouldn't it be nice to sit out there in the evenings and roast marshmallows? ).

In other news, Mr. has a new bike and my bike is all fixed up so we put the kids in the trailer and went for a short (3 mile) ride last night. It was a lot of work going up the hill. You can adjust the gears and make it easier to pedal, but then you have to pedal three times as fast to go anywhere. We need to do it more often so that it isn't so hard.

Anyway, I won't be posting this week since I'll be spending my time with a cabin full of 12-year-old girls. I'm trying not to be too excited about it if you couldn't tell. I'm sure it will be fun, I'd just rather stay home. My family is going to miss me (and I'm going to miss them).

Friday, July 07, 2006


My posts have been a little on the heavier side lately, so here's something from the home front...

My 2-year-old is a good sleeper. He has always been a good sleeper. My 4-year-old has not always been a good sleeper, although he goes to bed pretty well now (and sometimes he even wants to sleep in).

When we moved the 4-year old from the crib to a toddler bed, we had all sorts of sleeping problems. He could get out of bed, so we tried doorknob cover. Not only could he open the doorknob with the doorknob cover on it, he could take the thing apart (which was difficult for ME to do). We tried standing at the door holding the doorknob while he screamed and banged and tried to open the door (this was awful, and I don't recommend it). Finally, short of buying a locking doorknob and installing it backwards, we used a rope. Please don't call DCFS on us. We untied it as soon as he fell asleep. We were desperate (and exhausted). We tied one end of the rope to the doorknob and the other end to the cabinet door in the hall. That way he couldn't get his door open, and he eventually gave up trying and went to sleep. It seems like we did that for a couple of months before he started going to sleep without throwing fits. NOT FUN AT ALL.

Enter child number 2. We recently moved him from his crib to a toddler bed. No problems. When the crib was up, he'd go into his room after lunch and try to climb in. Sometimes he'd come up to the Mr. or I and say "bed" (with the bink (pacifier) hanging out of his mouth).

My 2-year-old is napping. I didn't even put him down, after lunch the 4-year-old said to the 2-year-old, "Can I put you down for a nap?". They walked off to the bedroom holding hands. My sweet 4-year-old tucked in his little brother and said "night night". And that was that.

Having a good sleeper is really nice.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Walmart: The Evil Empire...

Let me start out by saying that I am not completely anti-capitalism. I think if a business is run well, with a product that people want to pay for, that business should prosper and grow.

I also believe that employers should act responsibly toward their employees. Share holders and CEO's may have their place, but a few should not be allowed to become wealthy on the backs of the many people struggling just to survive.

I think what WP said about walmart representing the worst of what America is is true. We (as a large "powerful" nation) have the capability to do so much good, yet we have 37 milllion citizens who live below the poverty line (that's as of 2004 so it is probably even higher today). Again, as of 2004 46 million Americans were without health insurance. We as a nation seem to be closing our eyes to the people right here on our own soil who are not making it, and it is only going to get worse if we continue living the way we do.

Do I blame walmart for all of these problems? No, but I do believe that Walmart and other big box stores (yes, I do think other big box stores are also bad, but walmart is the biggest, and therefore the "baddest") share a large part of the problem. Getting rid of all the big box stores would not solve everything, but it would be a good start.

What's Wrong With WalMart?

In 2004, there was a report released by the Committee on Education and the Workforce (of the US House of Representatives). The report said that low wages at walmart end up being subsidized by federal taxpayers because the walmart wage is not a living wage (and I would say that this applies to any store which does not pay a living wage).

"A typical Walmart Store with 200 employees cost federal taxpayers $420750 per the following ways:
$36000 a year to pay for free and reduced lunches for walmart families
$42000 a year in housing assistance
$125000 a year in federal tax credits and deductions for low income families
$100000 a year for additional child tax credits
$108000 a year for federal health care costs of moving into state children's health insurance programs
$9750 a year for additional costs of low-income energy assistance

Now, I completely support government programs to help those who are needy, but I don't support big businesses getting wealthy while employees are being supported by the government. You might say that the employees should get more education and find better jobs so that they didn't have to work at walmart. I would tell you that that is a very egocentric view of the world. You or I, or anyone reading this post might be in a position where getting a good education and looking for a decent paycheck is standard. That's just what we do, because that's what our parents did. That's the kind of life we were taught to work for. Not everyone is so fortunate, so to apply our natures onto everyone is not realistic. Not everyone lives the kind of life where higher education is considered. You live the way you are taught to live, and very few people have the wherewithal to overcome their lifestyle-imposed limits.

Walmart sells cheap stuff. The cheap stuff has to come from somewhere. According to a frontline PBS documentary, As the single largest customer to most of its suppliers, Wal-Mart openly uses its bargaining power to negotiate lower prices from suppliers. Specifically, in its negotiations with suppliers, Wal-Mart requires that prices go down from year to year. If a vendor does not comply with Wal-Mart's request for reduced prices, they risk having their entire brand removed from Wal-Mart's shelves in favor of a lower-priced competitor or a less expensive store brand. This can put pressure on suppliers to shift jobs to factories in third world countries or reduce the quality of the product. Here's an interesting article on walmart's effect on US manufacturers.

We love to buy cheap stuff. The cheaper the better. We shop around to get the cheapest price on our food, our clothes, and everything else we buy. I myself am guilty. I love a good deal. It scares me a little though, that for a "good deal" we are destroying our economy. I will not shop at walmart. I try to limit shopping at any major big box (except costco, because they are responsible employers).

I encourage everyone to shop locally. Support the small locally owned businesses, sure you may not be able to buy as much, but at least you'll be able to sleep at night (and your pajamas will be much better quality).

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Every time I drive by the big open field just off of Parrish Lane in Centerville, I sigh and wonder how much longer it will be an open field.

Fields don't pay taxes, or at least not enough to make them valuable.

Apparently, Walmart is supposed to start building this month. It's been delayed so much that I kind of hoped it would never happen. Walmart will change Centerville, and not for the better.

Here's a Clipper article by Summer Clarke:

CENTERVILLE — Even though Wal-Mart missed their anticipated April start city officials are fairly confident — this time —the big box retailer will start construction in the coming weeks. Wal-Mart is currently bidding out the project to a contractor and has received all the necessary city approvals, according to Cory Snyder with the Centerville City Planning Commission. “When they submit their construction bond we will give them a building permit,” he said. Snyder believes Wal-Mart is fairly close to starting construction; however, he did not have the exact date for the groundbreaking. “It’s within their hands and time frame now.”