Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Living Providently

Rediscovering the joy of building/demolishing

Curtis helped make wholewheat blueberry waffles

Jonathan and I have been Provident Living specialists in our ward for the last six months. Food storage and emergency preparedness is not a new concept for us, but we have refocused and updated our efforts. Now we get to practice what we preach by living on less and rotating what we've stored (using up the old stuff first). Jonathan's pay was reduced 40 percent for at least the next four months. Overnight, we have scaled back in every way we can think of: canceling all the non-essentials so we can just pay the bills. Two-weeks into this, I am already noticing that the changes we have made have many positive effects and I just want to enumerate some of the blessings:

1. No extracurricular activities means less craziness and busy-ness afterschool. I have more time to help with homework and cook inexpensive meals from scratch.

2. With more time at home, I have noticed the boys playing together more. Curtis and Trevor are getting out old toys, like Lincoln Logs, and playing with them together instead of constantly bickering. Instead of paying a professional, we are having our own spontaneous social group at home.

3. No more ferrying kids around after school means the family car is available for Jessica to use afterschool to go to work. She is now helping out more with her own expenses, like insurance and school fees, that she took for granted before when we paid for most everything.

4. Being careful with everything I spend and give to the kids--this is a long overdue correction of carelessness and overindulgence for the whole family (no more cold cereal snacks).

5. That leads to being overall more grateful for all that we have: a deep-freeze full of meat and produce, and a pantry full of dry and canned goods. No credit-card debt or car payments. That Jonathan still has a job when others have been laid-off.

6. The kids have been very supportive and for the most part not complained about our changes in diet and lifestyle. We are lacking nothing as we have all that matters.

Princess Jessica's sad tale

                                   Princess Jessica and Prince Aaron

                              Royally crashed royal blue horseless carriage

Once upon a few weeks ago, Princess Jessica was anxious to exert her independence and visit the charming Prince Aaron in the land of Port. She embarked on her first solo, long-distance trip in her royal blue, horseless carriage. She traveled over the mountains and through the woods for a few hours until darkness fell and fog engulfed her. She came upon the city of Salem in her dark and foggy (and tired) condition. As she approached a green light at the freeway entrance, she misjudged the distance of the stopped car in front of her and skidded her carriage into the back of the other carriage. Luckily no one was injured (except for hubris). Unfortunately the royal blue, horseless carriage was totaled and towed to an impound lot. Princess Jessica was very upset and scared, especially after being yelled at by the other party (they were on their way home from the hospital with their newborn baby). A kind and reassuring police officer escorted her to the Salem police department where she waited for her kind Uncle Mike from the land of Port to rescue her.

Princess Jessica managed to enjoy the rest of her weekend with the Andrei clan and Prince Aaron's lovely family. The following day, on the other side of the mountain, Princess Jessica's mother spent hours on the phone with insurance agents, towing companies and police stations to determine what to do with the royally smashed, horseless carriage. Late on that Friday afternoon it became obvious that the insurance company was not going to spend a dime or lift a finger to help us relocate the royally smashed carriage to a junkyard. It would be necessary for us to personally come to take care of the details: pay the towing fee from the crash site, pay the $30/day storage fee, including the upcoming weekend when they would be closed, remove Princess Jessica's belongings, and relinquish the title of the carriage. As Jonathan was the true owner of the royal blue vehicle with his name on all the official paperwork, he made the drive over the mountains and through the woods Sunday evening to the land of Port. Princess Jessica accompanied him on Monday morning as it was time to leave Prince Aaron in the land of Port and return to reality. They visited the impound lot, took care of the above details (with the addition of driving to an ATM because they would only accept cash), and returned safely home.

Now Princess Jessica is riding her steed (bike) or borrowing the family carriage to drive to work afterschool (she's back at Cold Stone). I'm not sure why, at sixteen, she must learn so many lessons the hard way, on her own, but learning she is. And she is still living, happily.

Freezoree AKA freeze your rear

Here's some pictures from last month's snow campout, between Sisters and Bachelor
Jason and his buddies built an enormous igloo, about 5 feet tall and wide enough for 5 boys. It took them until dark to complete it the Saturday before the campout, but they had a blast.
This is the smaller one that only took half a day to build.
Jonathan in the entrance to the snow cave he and Trevor and Trevor's friend, Josh, built. The Saturday before the Freezoree, a group of boys went to the snow park and built shelters. This one is a quinzy (sp?). They piled tons of snow into a hill, then dug ground level in and up for the entrance, then widened the inside big enough for three to sleep in.
Trevor shows how spacious his snow cave is. You can even put your feet up!
Here's a view from the outside.
Troop competition:
Human ladder with Trevor chosen as the climber because of his special skills
Our troop was one of only 3 that could build a fire in the snow (Jonathan gave them pointers ahead of time).

Curtis under water

Curtis sunk underwater because he was inbareist because he for got to do his homework.two weeks ago. (Curtis wrote this. inbareist = embarrassed)