Thursday, June 19, 2008

Is it Worth the Savings?

The economy has made things tough for a lot of people lately, and our family is not immune. Thus far, we are not talking foreclosure like so many other families around us, but with the rising cost of gas and groceries, we have decided it is time to tighten up the budget a little here and there. We are trying to combine errands to conserve gas. We are choosing to eat at home instead going out as often. We have also decided that certain grocery items might just be luxuries, not necessities.

For example, bottled water can get awfully pricey for a family of 8. If you consider that the best price for Sparkletts (my preferred brand) is about $1/gallon, and each person should be drinking about 1/2 gallon per day, that adds up to at least $120/month just for water. We decided it was time to seek an alternative. Will headed over to our local Wal-mart, and called with the choices he found. After going over the pluses and minuses of each item, we decided on this and a package of these. Altogether they will filter 160 gallons of water, and would provide a permanent replacement for just about half the cost of one month worth of bottled water. It seemed like a no brainer to us.

We followed all the directions included in the package. We soaked the filter. We disposed of the first container full of filtered water. We then filled it up, and prepared to enjoy our new, economical, filtered water. I tried to enjoy it. I really did. For 3 days I sipped at the weird tasting stuff. Slowly I found myself drinking more soda to avoid the water. I finally had to break down and tell Will that I am apparently an incurable water snob. In fact, it was so bad that I thought I was actually getting diarrhea from the water. That might sound crazy, but there did not seem to be any other explanation for my recent issue. UGH!!

Well, today Kyle noticed that it seemed like the Brita water tasted like it had chlorine in it. He and Will even came up with a plan to find out. They broke out the chemical testing kit for our pool. First Kyle tested our tap water, and found that it has three times the level of chlorine in it that is in our pool water. Now granted, we have a salt system on our pool which means there is less chlorine than the average pool. However, there still has to be enough chlorine to keep all the ickies away. Next, Kyle tested the filtered Brita water. The box claimed that the filters would reduce the chlorine in the water, and they do. The problem is that they only reduce it to the same level that is in our pool water. I don't know about you, but I don't think it can possibly be healthy to be drinking 8 glasses of pool water everyday. Perhaps the new water really is the source of my tummy troubles.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

They're at it again!

Kids really do say the darnedest things, and mine have been on a roll lately.

Justin was watching a cartoon yesterday (I honestly don't know which one; oops!), and after hearing the name of the dog on the show he said, "That is a VERY unfortunate name!" I have no clue what the name was, but there is no doubt about Justin's opinion.

Grace has only recently be given the honor of traveling up to the second floor of our house. It's not that the stairs are a problem for her, but rather that she is a problem for all of the items once she gets there. Our second floor consists of one LARGE loft, and that's it. We have affectionately named it "Kid Land" because that is where toys, game systems, etc. live in our house. We don't keep these things in bedrooms (eliminating much bedroom chaos and bedtime distractions). The bigger kids (Justin and up) are not allowed to bring their toys downstairs. Then, when one of you decides to drop by unannounced, you can't see the disaster that inevitably exists in a home with this many children. That gives me some peace of mind, and the children are thrilled not to be nagged by Mom nearly as often as they would if the mess was on the main floor. So, back to Grace. She can only be upstairs if one of the older kids is directly supervising her. Oh, and just in case you were wondering, Grace does have a bevy of toys on the first floor. We aren't evil enough to keep all toys away from the under 3 set just to keep a neat house. In fact, she has even earned the nickname "Hurricane Gracie" because of her amazingly fast ability to cover the entire first floor with her playthings.

Well, yesterday, one of my big kids decided to bring Grace upstairs with them. That was fine until they got caught up in the activities of their other siblings, and left Grace's supervision to Justin. Let's just say there is a different level of respect from a 2 1/2 year old for 11 and 13 year old siblings, than there is for a 5 year old sibling. Grace spent the better part of an hour screaming at Justin, spilling whole bins of toys on the floor, and taking anything and everything that he picked up and claiming it as "MINE!!!" Finally, I could not stand the assault on my ears any longer, and called Justin and Grace downstairs. I was waiting at the bottom of the landing as they worked their way down. Before I could ask any questions Grace mustered up all the indignance a 2 1/2 year old is capable of, put her hand on her hip and informed me that, "Justin is annoying me!!"

Heaven help us!!!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Kayla the Multi Talented

Kayla has had an awesome week!!! She received 4 awards at the 8th Grade Awards Ceremony. She was honored as a member of the California Junior Scholarship Federation. She was chosen as Student of the Year by her PE teacher. She was included on the Principal's Honor Roll for maintaining a GPA of 3.5 or better for all three years of Middle School. Finally, she received a Presidential Acknowledgment for maintaining a 4.0 GPA for all of Middle School. Wow!!!

The school held an recognition assembly for all graduating 8th graders on Friday morning. It was a bit chaotic, and more than a little warm, but we were proud to watch Kayla graduate from Middle School. It is a pleasure to parent such a self-motivated kiddo. We know she will continue to do well as she looks to the future.

PS High School water polo practice starts at 6:00am on Monday. Do I get some sort of award for leaving the house at 5:30am every morning, all Summer, to take her there?!?!

PPS I almost forgot to mention Kayla's latest hobby. She saved her money for a nice digital camera, and has been having lots of fun taking shots of the local flora and fauna. (By the way, she also took most of the shots in the "Ball" slide show below.) Here's a sample of her work...

Family Fun

The 6th McC Kid

In case your wondering who the extra kid is in the ball slideshow below, I thought I'd take a minute to fill you in. When Will was married to his late wife, Karen, he had the honor of being a Step-Dad to her son Kyle. He raised him for 8 years, but when his wife died, Kyle's Dad insisted on him coming to live with him. That was a really hard thing for Will, but he had no legal recourse. We have worked hard to stay in touch with Kyle over the years, but it has not been easy. He was in an environment that did not support the idea of him maintaining and building bonds with our family. Fortunately, he is older now, and has chosen to be part of our family. In fact, he is living with us right now. The kids are thrilled to FINALLY have their oldest brother around, and this time has been a great way for Will and I to catch up with Kyle after such a long time apart. This is such proof that God's timing is ALWAYS perfect.

Cup/Mush/Wiffle Ball

Hiatus Over

I'm not sure if it's the arrival of Summer Vacation, the fact that we've been hanging out in the pool an awful lot lately, or the idea of one of my faithful readers putting out an APB on me because she was so concerned; but I am feeling inspired to blog again. I'm not sure how regular I'll be here, but I can assure you that it it will be more often that the 3 months that passed this time. 8^)

Rylee Rae