Saturday, April 29, 2006

Of birds and books

Noah came running to tell me of some unusual birds he saw in our back yard this evening. When I went to look, I saw about 8 or so quail, scratching about in the dirt. I'd seen one earlier last week on the roof of the garage and had looked for a picture online. I'll share here:

These birds look just how I'd always pictured a quail would look. I'm not sure where I got that impression from, but I'm pretty sure my first introduction to the quail was when I was around 7 or so and started reading Trixie Belden books. Trixie was part of a club called the Bob-Whites. I suppose she and her posse were the 50's version of Scooby and the gang, without all the veiled drug references.

Anyhow, I'd don't think I ever bothered to try to find out just what a bobwhite quail looked like until now:

I don't think I'd ever mistake a bobwhite quail for a California quail. I'm still trying to figure out why the image of a California quail was the one I had in my head, since I'd never set foot in the western US until last year. My best guess is that I must have seen one in an old Disney nature flick as a child.

So now I'm thinking about those old Trixie Belden books. I never could get Emily to read one. Maybe Halle will want to read them soon. If not, I'll just have to re-read them myself.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Sunny days

We have had a couple of incredible days this week. I think maybe the rainy season is finally over. It was around 80 degrees today, with just enough breeze to make it really pleasant. The kids and I drove to Lodi with some other homeschooling families to go to a small zoo there. I have to say, it was so not worth the time and gas. The kids were quite unimpressed; after having the Henry Doorly Zoo a mere 15-20 minutes away from us in Omaha, they were not too thrilled with the shabby pickin's at this place.

The back yard is still not done. It appears that the patio isn't fully dry. The landscapers are supposed to be painting it, but haven't started yet. (I know, seems weird... I sure hope it looks ok when they're done; but then again, I'm not paying for it.) They have scraped the yard clear of any ground cover, though. It was about 98% weeds, anyhow. I don't know what they are going to do next. I sure hope they have something to put down; I'd hate to have nothing but dirt and cement in the back yard. Hopefully we will see some more progress (maybe even completion) tomorrow.

Tomorrow afternoon will be movie time again. We may wind up splitting up. One group wants to see Stick It, while another wants to see RV. Actually, everyone wants to see the latter, but a few of us also want to see the first one as well. Tomorrow is a killer day for new movies. Akeelah and the Bee is also opening tomorrow as well, and it's another one some of us want to see. Let's just hope all the movies get to stick around long enough for us to see them. Yeah, we're just movie junkies.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Three Ts

Testing.... Emily completed day 1 of the Stanford 10 test today. Although she is in 8th grade, she is testing with the freshmen. She felt like today's tests weren't too difficult. She said she finished all of them with plenty of time to spare. Sounds like she's just like her mom. Fortunately, she has it easier than I did; when I took standardized tests as a kid, we couldn't have anything to read with us, but had to just sit and stare at the walls waiting for time to be called. She said they had a bunch of books and magazines they could look at, or they could write in their notebooks. Lucky her. The only tests left for tomorrow are science and math.... and get this: she gets to use a calculator. So we had to run to the BX today and get her one. Boy, have times changed! I feel like one of those old-timers who tells stories of walking 2 miles to school barefoot in the snow....

Ticks.... The kids and I took the dog for a walk today, down a path in a very grassy area. Not long after we got home, Joel told me he saw a spider on the kitchen floor. Nope... a small brown dog tick. We killed that one just before sighting another one. I found one more on Campbell and another on the carpet not far from the kitchen floor where the first 2 were found. I found one crawling on the back of my leg during dinner. Needless to say, we all got baths tonight. Thankfully, Campbell is on Frontline Plus, so I'm not too worried about him. I don't plan on taking that walk again, though. We'll stick to sidewalks.

Time.... In just one week, we'll be in Malibu for the Pepperdine Lectures. We're looking forward to seeing Jim, hearing Mike Cope and others, and participating in some great worship. Maybe if we're lucky, we'll catch sight of some celebrities (maybe we should go hang at Starbucks and see who walks in or goes through the drive-thru).

And speaking of time, it's time for this mom to get ready for bed. Until tomorrow...

Monday, April 24, 2006


What a busy weekend... I missed the first hour of Noah's ballgame on Saturday. Mr. Geek Squad was back out, trying to set up our file and printer sharing (something he forgot to do the last time he was here). We had been trying to get this done all week, but things kept happening to put off the appointments (all on Geek Squad's end... family emergencies, "I came, but no one answered the door" (not hardly), calling in sick). Saturday at 12:45 was the first appointment available after the last missed one, and I was thinking that surely it would be a straightforward thing. Noah's games are only 15 minutes away, so that would give me time to get there by 2:30. Nope... the guy didn't leave until 3:15, and he still didn't get the sharing set up. My computer isn't letting the others have access, and he doesn't know why. Grrrr. I guess my computer is a virtual 2yo who doesn't like to share. (BTW, Noah's team did win their game.)

Yesterday was a long (but good) day. I did spend the entire day over in Antioch. We drove 2 cars to church so that Brian could come back this way with the kids. He managed to get the front yard mowed (can't do anything with the back until the landscapers are done). I spent a little time visiting with another family from church during my free time between lunch and Pepperdine praise team practice. Then the praise team spent about 2 hours practicing our songs for Friday afternoon's session, this time with mikes. We'll have one more practice next week, and then it will be time to head south.

After praise team rehearsal, it was time to head to the fellowship hall for the spaghetti supper/teen auction. The auction was a lot of fun. It made me miss our NCS auction back in Omaha. I haven't heard what the total earned was, but some of the teens brought some good money. One pair of boys auctioned off for $350. (Brian helped drive the price up there, but we dropped out after it hit $300.) We did "buy" one teen boy.... haven't decided yet what we'll be having him do. Maybe help wash/clean out the vehicles.... We made it back home a little after 9 and were in bed shortly after 10.

If the weather cooperates, today is the day the patio gets poured. I'm not sure what else the landscaper is supposed to do, but he told me one day last week that we should be using the back yard by this weekend. I'm more than ready.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Still pluggin' away

We're chipping away slowly at the Rubbermaid tubs of stuff, finding places for what we can and making plans to get rid of what we don't need/use anymore. We are accumulating a large stack of things in the garage that we plan on putting in a garage sale later this summer. We haven't been back down to the old house for the last load or 2 of stuff there. Hopefully that can get done in the next few days, but finding time will be hard. Tomorrow is opening day for baseball, and we'll be at the fields a good part of the day. Opening ceremonies are in the morning, then Noah has a game in the afternoon.

On Sunday, we'll be at church for most of the day. I have praise team rehearsal for Pepperdine at 3pm, followed by a spaghetti dinner/teen auction at 5. The teens are raising money for their summer mission trip to Tuba City, AZ. I'm looking forward to watching/bidding.

Plans tonight: Watch King Kong and maybe get started reading a new book.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Life, laundry, and a link

We're still unpacking. We have a load or 2 left at the other house. What makes it slow going is trying to "do life" while finding time to unpack and put away (which involves figuring out where things go). Laundry and housework don't wait. I did 4 loads of laundry yesterday and managed to get them all folded and put away. That doesn't include the one I needed to start at bedtime after the dog ralphed on my quilt... I could have saved the quilt by tossing him on the floor, but I figured it was easier to throw the quilt in the wash than to spot clean the carpet. So I just patted his back while he was sick, kinda like how a mom would hold her daughter's hair back for her in a similar situation.... guess I just can't stop being "mom," even for a dog.

I'll leave you with a link to a website with some pictures of art made from driftwood. I got these pictures by email and then decided to see if I could find out just where they came from. The page also has a link to the artist's website, where you can see more, if you'd like.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Getting things done

So I wouldn't feel totally embarrassed if someone were to walk into the house right now. What we have inside is mostly unpacked and put away. We still have quite a bit out in the garage to go through, not to mention about 4 loads of things back at the other house. But things are quite livable here. The wireless network is finally up and running (thanks to Geek Squad). We had to use a range extender in order for the kids' computer to connect to the network. It took Mr. Geek Squad nearly 2 hours, so it wasn't a simple, straightforward thing. Made me feel better about not being able to do it myself!

The landlords have a landscaping team here working on the backyard. They are putting in a large patio in back and on the sides of the house. So for approximately the next 2 weeks, we have to take Campbell outside on a leash in the front yard. It's not as convenient as opening the back door, but loads more convenient than the 2 months we spent in the 3rd-floor apartment last year!

We finally had our interview with the principal of the Christian school on Tuesday of this week. It seemed to be a mere formality. Emily has been accepted and will start there in the fall. She gets to take SATs with the current students in a couple of weeks. {You know she's looking forward to that.}

Last note: Anyone else planning on going to see The Wild? The previews make it look somewhat like a Madagascar wannabe... I suppose we'll see. I'm loathe to think that Disney would ever deliberately steal someone else's idea. The kids and I will probably go later today.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Settling in

So it's been a busy week or so around here. We've been in the new house since last Friday night, and it's starting to feel like home. The movers did a great job getting the big stuff into the house on Saturday, and we've made several trips back to the old place to get more of the "little" stuff. We still have a few trips to go, but the great thing is that we're able to actually find places for things here instead of just putting things away "just for now."

I didn't get the computer hooked up until last night, and the new internet account wasn't working until this morning. I have lots to catch up on, but can't get too distracted from the job at hand.

Nice to be "back", though.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Where's a good massage therapist when you need one?

Yesterday, the kids and I hauled out 4 Rubbermaid tubs of books and 2 laundry baskets full of movies and books. I got all of these books shelved (and there is still room for more!) .The only remaining books in our current house are ones that might be hidden in the kids' rooms (I know Emily has some Harry Potter books in hers) and one bookcase with homeschooling materials. Today's plan is to have the kids pack up toys and other non-clothing items from their rooms. We may or may not take a load to the new house. I'm falling behind on stuff here, like laundry. I have a large basket of clothes awaiting folding and more that need to be washed.

We did decide to go ahead and have the pros move us, so that is being done this Saturday. We'll get as much out of here as we can on Thursday and Friday and will probably be spending Saturday night in the new house. Phone service is already on and cable is being activated on Thursday afternoon. We'll get the internet service going shortly afterwards.

I think I'll book a massage appointment when this is all over.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Man, this time change is kickin' my hiney! I've never had this much trouble adjusting to setting the clock ahead, but this time I'm having a harder time getting to sleep at night, which means I'm not getting up as early as I'd like. I guess it doesn't help that I spent the afternoon and evening yesterday working on stuff at the new house. The kids and I headed over there yesterday afternoon with 3 Rubbermaid tubs and 2 small rolling suitcases full of books, plus a small laundry basket of games. We managed to get those things put away and then Brian met us there when he got off work. He and I got the other 3 kids' beds put together (we put Halle's together on Sunday) in time for us to leave that house a little after 9pm.

Today we have a moving company coming to give us an estimate on moving the big stuff (couches, tvs, refrigerator, freezer, washer/dryer, dressers, desks, entertainment center) for us. We decided it wouldn't be fair to ask Brian's students to give up their only days off to help us move, plus we don't want to worry about the liability issue if something was to get broken. If the price is right, we could have all the big stuff moved by the weekend.

The kids and I will load up more books today, as well as any stuff from their rooms that they want to go ahead and start putting away. Hopefully today we'll be able to make more than one trip before Brian gets off work.

Sunday, April 02, 2006


Number of trips made today to the new house with a full trailer: 2

Number of mattresses currently in the new house: 4

Number of bed frames currently in the new house: 3

We also managed to move the Clavinova, 3 bookshelves (minus the books), 4 4-ft. tables and folding chairs, almost everything we had in the garage (2 storage cabinets, 2 shelving units, a slew of Christmas totes, and several Rubbermaid totes of outgrown children's clothing). Tomorrow after church, we'll get Halle's bed taken up there, and possibly even our bedframe (we'll keep our mattress/boxsprings till we make the "real" move). We'll probably put all the beds together so that the kids and I will be able to start bringing in some of their stuff they don't *need* here at home. I can also work on getting a bunch of our books on the library shelves as well (upon examination today, we decided that library wall is more like 12-14 feet wide.... *insert big smile here*).

Number of hours of sleep I'll get tonight: ????

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