Saturday, December 22, 2007

Don't faint

Yeah, here I am, just a mere 2 days after my last post. Can't believe we are just 3 days from Christmas. No pictures taken here, no cards sent out. I won't make excuses like "too busy" or "no time"... fact is, time got away from me and I just didn't think about it enough. Maybe there will be some New Year letters/cards sent out after the 1st.

I think I finished up the last bit of shopping needed to get us ready for Tuesday. I imagine there will be quite a bit of wrapping left to do Monday. Brian has several items in his truck... we took my van in for an oil change earlier this week and had to transfer all the stuff I was hiding in it into his truck beforehand; we never got the chance to move anything back.

The kids and I went to see Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium at the base theater tonight. It was a cute film. I probably wouldn't pay full price to see it, but base prices are OK ($4 adult, $2 child).

Oh gee, I forgot some of the best news. We *finally* bought a new mattress set this week. Actually bought it Thursday afternoon and had it delivered late yesterday afternoon. Oh my holy heck, it sleeps great! It is a Sealy True Form and I am amazed at how comfortable it is. It is similar to the Tempurpedic in that it is a memory foam mattress, but doesn't carry the same hefty price tag. Brian also felt like the Tempurpedic was not as comfortable. In addition, we got a few memory foam pillows and are hooked on them.

One last item... go look at Franklin's blog and read his last few posts about the experiences he is having with his youth group in Omaha. Talk about keeping it real and taking it to the streets!

Looking forward to a fairly quiet day here tomorrow, just church and hanging out at home.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

I'm losing my mind

Or at least parts of it. These days I can't seem to remember things for very long.... things that make me say "Oooh, I need to say something about that on my blog!" I think I've had that thought at least a half a dozen times this week, but when I try to remember what it was about, I come up almost empty-handed. I'll just have to see what does get dredged up from the gray matter and try to make it worth your time to read.

The adult choir's Christmas program this past Sunday went well. From the conversations I heard afterwards, one of the most talked-about songs was a gospel number called "Go Tell." It was mostly a solo with choir backup... and it really was an awesome number, if not for the sole reason that until the day before, the soloist and choir had never practiced the number together. She is a college student in Fresno and drove home for the weekend just to sing this with us. She'd been working on her part down there while we practiced with a CD here. She totally nailed it, ad libs and all.

The choir took our show on the road the following night and sang a few songs at an assisted living facility where one of our members is the activity director. We are also slated to sing at the local Six Flags this Saturday afternoon. (I am not sure whether I will be making that trip or not.)

The rainy season is upon us, and large portions of our back yard turn into small lakes. This makes for no small chore when the dogs need to come inside from their many trips out. Rory absolutely hates having her paws cleaned and dried off, but she is learning to submit (in a fashion... if you call trying to drag me out of the room while I have one back paw up and in my hands). The Swiffer Wet Jet, she is becoming a dear friend. That, and my Hoover Steam Cleaner. Of course, it wasn't mud stains that I had to drag it out for this past Sunday afternoon. No, it was chocolate pudding mix stains. Rory snitched a box out of the pantry and opened it in the living room. Rory is certainly all girl. She loves chocolate (yes, I know it isn't good for dogs) and leather. Unfortunately, she isn't content to carry leather, she prefers to chew it; I find myself removing Joel's baseball glove from her mouth several times a day.

Seen at Kerflop earlier this week: Holiday gift tags to print and use. I totally love these! I could picture using them when the kids are older. I especially like the one that says "Shopping for you is so hard, you should give me an extra gift for even trying. I mean that in a loving way."

Speaking of shopping, that is pretty much done for, except for a few stocking stuffers. I should be able to get those taken care of in the next couple of days.

It's off to the races now.... or more accurately, time to chauffeur Emily to school.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Alive and well, just busy as....

You fill in the blank. If you're the rhyming sort, feel free.

It's been a long month since my last post. I've been swimming across an endless lake of creamed corn, but finally reached the other shore. Let's hope there are no more of those in the future!

We have two Christmas performances down (Halle's children's musical last Sunday, and Emily's choir concert this past Tuesday evening) and one left to go tomorrow. Tomorrow morning is the adult Christmas choir's turn to sing. We had our last rehearsal today. I think it will be awesome. I'll have to be there at 7:45, and with Brian in Sacramento today/tonight, he probably won't make it home until then at the earliest. This means the younger kids will be getting up early to get ready and go with me. Won't that be fun!

I'm almost done with my fall reading challenge list. I am finally starting the last book. Of course, I've been able to pick up a few extra along the way as well, so that is always good. Books not on the list that I finished since the last update are:

  • Alaska Twilight, Colleen Coble
  • The Book of Jane, Anne Dayton
  • Joshua's Family, Joseph Girzone
  • In Search of Eden, Linda Nichols
  • Bachelor's Puzzle, Judith Pella
  • Crimson Eve, Brandilyn Collins
  • After the Leaves Fall, Nicole Baart
  • Searching for Eternity, Elizabeth Musser
  • Pushed: the Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care, Jennifer Block
  • Mosaic, Pieces of My Life So Far, Amy Grant
Wow, makes it look like I've done nothing but read for the last month, but that is certainly not the case! In addition to that reading, I designed and printed graduation invitations for my husband's senior nurse anesthesia residents, as well as programs for their graduation ceremony held a little over a week ago. I also did the newsletter for the base homeschool group and uploaded it to our group site. Aaaannnddd... I designed the program for the school's Christmas concert, to the point of even making last-minute changes the day before the event. That last little job at least earns me "service hours" towards the 20 hours we are required to do a year. It's 20 hours or $200 (or $10 an hour for every hour under 20 you don't get in).

The tree is up and several presents are wrapped and under it. I was worried how Rory would handle it, but once we moved the one ornament she seemed most interested in (and it was a puppy ornament, go figure), she has seemed to pretty much leave it alone. I was afraid I wasn't going to get into the Christmas spirit this year but it seems to have arrived at last.

Tomorrow afternoon is a cookie exchange for the ladies at church, but I am doing a rare thing for me and opting out. I tend to be one of those people who tries to do everything.... not that I can't say no when it's something I don't want to do, just that I like doing as much as I can. But after being gone last Sunday night for 3 hours at the annual ladies' Christmas dinner, I think I will just stay home. With the running I've done today (rehearsal, groceries), I think I'll need to be home to get some laundry taken care of tomorrow anyhow.

So there you have it. Just a couple of hours left in the evening before I need to start getting kids bathed and ready for bed. I'm sure there are plenty of other things I should be doing other than this.... but they can wait a little while longer.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Help, I've fallen behind and I can't catch up!

At least that's how it feels. I have been wanting to post for what seems forever, but there just hasn't been a good time. Either that, or the body just wasn't willing. I'm fighting some kind of crud (I think I'm winning now) and also single-parenting this week. Brian is in Missouri visiting his mom and will be back after work on Friday.

I had to take Emily to the doctor yesterday. She called me from school and said she couldn't hear out of one ear and was dizzy. Turns out that ear had quite a bit of fluid build-up and was rather red as well. She's on high-dose Amoxil for 5 days (1 gram TID ... 3x a day for non-medical folks).

The kids and I went to see a free sneak preview of August Rush on Saturday. Freddie Highmore (Finding Neverland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Arthur and the Invisibles) shows his stuff again... His character travels the gamut of emotions in this film and Freddie makes it believable. I am wondering what kind of roles he'll be getting once he gets out of the child actor years. The music in the film is wonderful. Robin Williams was scary.... he played a Fagin-esque (how's that for a new word?) character who collected street kids in an abandoned theater and had them playing music on street corners to earn him money. Once you suspend belief and get past the whole idea of a mystical kind of ESP/awareness, it is much easier to enjoy the whole premise of the movie (young boy looking for the parents who never knew he existed).

I've managed to work on that reading challenge list some more. Just one book left to read from my original list (Barefoot). I really enjoyed How Starbucks Saved My Life... it was an easy read and just made so much sense. (And if you've ever wondered what it was like to work as a barista, you'll get a firsthand account.) Other books I've managed to get through are Split Ends, by Kristin Billerbeck, and The Oak Leaves. On the nightstand: Alaska Twilight, by Colleen Coble. For the carpool lane: The Book of Jane, Anne Dayton.

Friday, November 09, 2007

It didn't hit the fan, but might as well have

Yet another crazy busy Friday evening... took Emily to pick up a friend and dropped them at the mall to see a movie, then grabbed the kids from home and got a quick bite to eat before heading to Celebrate Recovery. Brian is out of town (left yesterday and comes back tomorrow), so I was running PowerPoint for him. Left CR early so I could pick up Emily; got to her friend's house and she asked to spend the night. OK. Fine. I'll pick her up tomorrow after 1 or so.

Here's where the fun begins. To properly set the stage, I should explain that I got little sleep last night because I was letting Rory out every hour and a half or so... intestinal issues, to put it delicately. We left the dogs in their crates when we left the house a little after 5; got home around 8:30 or so. I need a HazMat team for the laundry room now. First ever episode of dirtying her crate and I know she had no control over it (no pun intended). I had to pull out her crate pad and try to hose off the solids out in the back yard (with no light to see by). Then I got her into the upstairs tub for a semi-shower... mostly to clean between her toes and clean her undersides. I used an old quilt for a towel. (I wonder what other Dane owners use to dry off their dogs after a bath?) I gave the laundry room floor a lick and a promise. The rest of the house looks like a cyclone hit it; no, a cyclone would have sucked up some of the crap.... I don't have a description for the rest of the house. My original plan was to spend some time working on it tonight, but I am ready to call it a night and just hit the bed with a book to read. The rest of the house will have to wait.

Yeah, I'll think about it tomorrow. After all, tomorrow is another day.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

A chance to win and reading challenge update

New meme seen at Jenni's... First 3 people to comment and leave this promise on their blog will win a little something from me sometime in the next few months. Kind of a "pay it forward" thing, it seems. You'll need to give me your contact info (mailing address) if you are one of the first 3 (I'll check to make sure you've posted your pledge before notifying you and asking for an address)... so if anonymity is important, this giveaway isn't for you!

In other news, here's an update on the reading challenge. First, my original list:

  1. Oceans Apart, Karen Kingsbury
  2. Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe.
  3. The 5-Minute Face, Carmindy.
  4. When Faith Meets Fame, Guideposts.
  5. Blameless: A Novel, Thom Lemmons.
  6. Alpha Girls: Understanding the New American Girl and How She is Changing the World, Dan Kindlon. I actually gave up on this one. It was a total snoozer.
  7. Paula Deen: It Ain't All About the Cookin', Paula Deen.
  8. The Sleeping Doll, Jeffrey Deaver.
  9. Sunrise, Karen Kingsbury.
  10. Life's Healing Choices, John Baker.
  11. It's All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff, Peter Walsh.
  12. How Starbucks Saved My Life, Michael Gill.
  13. Down River, John Hart.
  14. The Other Mother, Gwendolen Gross.
  15. Keeping the House, Ellen Baker.
  16. Barefoot, Elin Hildebrand.
  17. 74 Seaside Avenue, Debbie Macomber.
  18. The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold.
  19. Still Summer, Jacquelyn Mitchard.
  20. The Memory Keeper's Daughter, Kim Edwards.
Books I've read not on the original list:
  1. Abide With Me, Elizabeth Strout.
  2. A Family in Full, Vanessa Del Fabbro.
  3. Miss Invisible, Laura Jensen Walker.
  4. The Next Thing on My List, Jill Smolinski.
Loved the last 2 books... definite recommendation from me. I'm currently working my way through The Oak Leaves, by Maureen Lang. It's my carpool read, so it's taking a little longer to get through than others. I may wind up bringing it in the house this weekend, since I'll be finishing up everything I have in the house to read. Oh wait... I have 2 of the books left on the original list waiting for pickup (unless I ran out of time on one.. ack). Maybe I can get to the library today to pick them up. I also have one impromptu book ready as well; the last book from the original list is still pending (I am number 3 in the holds list). I guess I will get a lot of extra books read waiting for that one!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

More than just a laundry list

So tonight I actually have more to say than just a laundry list of the weekend's activities. Maybe not a whole lot more than that, but at least something more. We've had our usual share of activity, including Noah's flag football game Saturday afternoon. A little trip to the mall with Emily (thankfully she was spending *her* money, not ours!) and a whole lotta housework this afternoon.

Tonight Brian and I played a game with the younger kids called Kids Battle the Grown-Ups. We've been trying to find time to play it for a while now; Halle and Joel got this game as a birthday present from friends back in Omaha. Let me tell ya, it really was fun. The game is a virtual tug-o-war between the adults and the kids, with each side getting to pull the "rope" closer to its side of the board with each correct answer (or incorrect answer from the opposing team). There are cards designated kids/adults, containing 3 trivia questions on each. There are also "Who Knows?" cards that are opinion questions, giving everyone a chance to see how well they know the others in the family. Some of the "Who Knows?" questions we got tonight were: "What famous person can you imitate the best?", "Who was the best President of the United States?" and "Who is the hardest working person you know?" By the way, the kids beat us. I'll challenge them to a rematch soon.

I pulled 21 movies out of the kids' rooms this evening. They are forever taking movies upstairs to watch before bedtime, but for some reason, most never make it back down here. Latest favorite DVD is Meet the Robinsons. I keep finding myself humming Little Wonders, by Rob Thomas. I foresee an ITunes download in my future.

I caught the last half of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition tonight. What a gorgeous house! I love stone on a house... What really got me was the room they built for the dogs. A while back, I told Brian I thought when we built our house after settling down, it would be neat to build a dog-friendly room... a place the dogs would enjoy being in when we weren't at home, with access to the outside. Brian thought I was crazy. Well, maybe I am, but obviously I have company. That's exactly what the design team came up with for these folks. It was almost like they read my mind. (OK, I will admit I would never have thought to put in toilets for the dogs to drink from. But I guess you wouldn't have to worry about them running out of water, would you?)

Hoping the fact that the clocks went back an hour last night will mean the kids fall asleep faster tonight and wake up more rested in the morning. Maybe that will work for me, too.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

November already?

Wow... hard to believe there are just 2 months left in the year. 2 more months and I will have a 16yo. Pass the Geritol.

The kids had a great time last night. I stayed home to hand out candy while Brian made the rounds with the boys and some of their friends. Halle went around with one of her friends and her mother. Amazingly enough, I had candy left over. There really weren't as many kids here as I expected there to be. I think a lot of kids go to their church "fall festivals". Our church had one, but the kids wanted to hang with their friends here, so we didn't go. Maybe next year. It really sounded like it was going to be a great time.

Favorite costume(s) of the night: a family who came as Shaggy, Daphne, Velma, and Scooby. (All they needed was Fred to make it complete.)

When I walked down the street to pick up Halle from her friend's house, I arrived just in time to meet her coming out the door in tears, headed to find me. She had gotten a new wire at the orthodontist yesterday (this time going all the way to the back teeth instead of just on the front 4) and popped it out chewing a tootsie roll. Her dad and I were able to get it put back into place, but I'll be calling the ortho this morning so he can check it out. She doesn't have braces on any teeth on bottom besides the front ones and the last molars, so these wires aren't attached anywhere else along the sides; makes them easier to pop out. She's finally going to have to place some limits on the types of foods she eats.

Flag football game tonight at 6.... I missed Noah's last game because of choir practice, so I'm looking forward to this.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

No excuses

Yeah, yeah, yeah.... I know. No excuses here. I just haven't had a whole lot to say or a whole lot of time in which to say it. Now that Noah has started flag football, we have just one more thing on our plate. Actually, I guess that would be at least 2 more things, sometimes 3; one night of practice, plus 1 to 2 games a week (Thursday evenings and/or Saturday afternoons).

So to ease back into this posting thing, I'll go with something easy: an update on my fall reading challenge progress. I'll post the original list with the completed books in strikeout:

  1. Oceans Apart, Karen Kingsbury
  2. Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe.
  3. The 5-Minute Face, Carmindy.
  4. When Faith Meets Fame, Guideposts.
  5. Blameless: A Novel, Thom Lemmons.
  6. Alpha Girls: Understanding the New American Girl and How She is Changing the World, Dan Kindlon.
  7. Paula Deen: It Ain't All About the Cookin', Paula Deen.
  8. The Sleeping Doll, Jeffrey Deaver.
  9. Sunrise, Karen Kingsbury.
  10. Life's Healing Choices, John Baker.
  11. It's All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff, Peter Walsh.
  12. How Starbucks Saved My Life, Michael Gill.
  13. Down River, John Hart.
  14. The Other Mother, Gwendolen Gross.
  15. Keeping the House, Ellen Baker.
  16. Barefoot, Elin Hildebrand.
  17. 74 Seaside Avenue, Debbie Macomber.
  18. The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold.
  19. Still Summer, Jacquelyn Mitchard.
  20. The Memory Keeper's Daughter, Kim Edwards.
11 out of 20 books read so far. I am working on Alpha Girls right now. UGH. We'll see if I finish it. That's the one by my bed (it is good for getting into a sleeping mood, that's for sure). I have a new book not on my list in the van to read in the carpool line... Abide With Me, by Elizabeth Strout. Carrie recommended it, so I added it to my request list at the library and got it almost immediately. I just started it today during the kids' music lessons and am over halfway through it. I only have 3 other books on my list that are actually here at the house, plus 2 waiting to be picked up at the library. I guess I'm still in line for the other 4.

Oh, and before I forget... notice the header? I won it in the Dog Days of Summer giveaways back in the summer. The giver was a bit backed up and wasn't able to work on it till last week. It's a definite improvement over the one I improvised in Paint.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Stop the insanity

This week has been crazier than crazy. I don't think I can even begin to remember everything about the week that made it so. It was full of the usual commitments and appointments, although we did miss our Tuesday night small group; Brian and I were both coughing a bit and didn't want to subject anyone to it. I'm not sure it was something contagious, though. Mine seemed to be that usual sinus/allergy thing I do every fall/winter, where I wind up losing my voice. My voice was gone on Wednesday and started coming back on Thursday. I'm still not back to normal yet and not sure when I will be. Hopefully I will have enough of a voice to at least sing tenor on Sunday if I'm not 100%.

Because of the coughing crud, we decided to reschedule Halle's sleepover for another night. To celebrate her birthday today, we went to the movies in the afternoon and then to Outback for dinner. Her movie choice was The Game Plan, and it was so much better than I was expecting. I really liked it. I thought "The Rock" did a great job with his role. It looked like he had fun with it. The little girl playing his daughter (she plays the President's daughter on Disney Channel's Cory in the House) was fun to watch. And despite the predictability of some of the plot points, there were enough unexpected moments to make up for it.

After dinner, we went to see the football game at Emily's school the football game at Emily's school so that we could hear her sing the National Anthem. Her choir director (I'll call her Miss S) is in charge of providing the talent for this and had asked for those choir members who were interested to sign up. As Emily was leaving class that day, Miss S asked her if she had signed up. When Emily responded in the negative, she was told, "Well, do it!" Tonight was originally intended to be a duet, but the other girl could not learn the harmony part quick enough, so Emily did it solo (and a cappella). She did a very nice job. I hope she'll get a chance to do it again, although I don't think she would say the same!

I have a ton of housework and laundry to catch up on this weekend. Truthfully, I think I'd rather sleep. (Anyone who knows me IRL knows that is a totally out-of-character statement, so it just speaks to how tired I really feel!)

Monday, October 08, 2007

When it's time to change...

You've got to rearrange... (Quick, what's the origin of that phrase?)

Yes, we finally got around to the rearranging of the furniture. It involved moving around 500 or so books on and off of shelves, unhooking the cable and internet, and several unsatisfactory furniture placements until we finally reached one we liked. Now, to just get the couches cleaned off and the stuff piled on them put away. We didn't finish getting the furniture in place and the cable/internet reconnected until around 10pm, and we just didn't feel like working any longer. At any rate, I am rather pleased with the layout, although looking at it this morning, there is one change I might make... and it is fairly minor. Just switching the positions of a small bookcase and table. I will probably get my neighbor's opinion before I do it.

So what we basically did was go from having one long room here to dividing it up. It wasn't something I thought I'd ever really do, but it is growing on me. We moved the computer tables from their old spot to the corner nearest the kitchen (we actually closed the door between the kitchen and this room and have it blocked off by the computer). If you need a reminder of the layout here, here's a link to the floor plan of this house. Our house is a mirror image of the plan. The computer and printer are in that corner behind the door that opens out from the kitchen to what is labeled "dining room." I have a small 5-ft. bookcase to the right of my computer desk and then underneath that window in the dining room is a big coffee table (those are the 2 things I am thinking about switching, although the bookcase would be moved to the left of the window, rather than under it). We moved the television into the corner of the living room nearest the entry, and used the couch as a divider between this end of the room and the living room. It extends from the wall closest to the entry and is backed by the piano (which used to be on the wall where the 5-ft. bookcase is now). We took a 7-ft. bookcase out of this room (it was here in this corner, next to the "dining room" window) and moved it into the dining/school room. We had 2 small bookcases in there that we took up to the second floor landing outside the master bedroom. The loveseat used to be in front of the front window and it is now along the outside wall down at that end of the room. Once we get everything put away and hang stuff on the wall, I will try to take pictures and post them. I think the room will look very cozy when we're done.

Happy Columbus Day!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Playing catchup

So last Sunday I was ready for the weekend to be over, and tonight I am actually ready for it to start. (Although I dare say this weekend will be full of all kinds of work around the house again...)

It's been a jam-packed week of activities, none of which included moving furniture. Of course there was the usual running to and from Emily's school, with occasional stops for Starbuck's on the way. I don't think I ever told about the morning I drove through Starbuck's after dropping Emily off. Rory was in the front passenger's seat and wanted to share my hot chocolate with me. The barista volunteered a cup of whipped cream to entertain her. She *loved* it. And I was able to drink my hot chocolate in peace.

On Wednesday, the kids and I attended KUDOS (Kids Understanding Deployment OperationS) with our neighbors. The kids got were issued "uniforms" (desert-colored t-shirts with the KUDOS logo on them), got some camo face paint, and went through "out-processing", where they received dog tags, "passports," and some other gear (including a pocket Bible). They got to see chem gear, satellite equipment, and walk through a C-5 airplane (these are huge cargo planes that are large enough to carry 6 Greyhound buses, plus passengers upstairs). They learned a little bit about some military customs (coin checks), saw examples of ordnance (land mines, mortars, etc.), tried on protective gear, and manned a fire hose. All that, then they received a "homecoming" complete with flag-waving and music. Our neighbor and her children were decked out in some of her husband's flight suits, so they definitely looked the part. They were actually interviewed by an NBC station (one that we don't get here, for some reason).... I am waiting to see if there is ever anything put up at the website to see from that. One of the local papers also interviewed my friend and published a picture of our group walking across the tarmac after deplaning the C-5; one of her kids and Halle are very easy to see in it. Unfortunately, this newspaper only allows subscribers online access, so I couldn't even see the article online.

Today the kids were treated to some fire safety lessons. They got to go through the base fire department's "fire trailer," which offers a simulation of the kind of smoke you could have if your house were on fire. The kids were able to see (or not see, as the case may be) how difficult it was to see anything through the smoke (the fireman explained that "real" smoke would be even harder to see through) and practice getting down under the smoke and evacuating the trailer by exiting a window and using a fire escape ladder. In addition, the older kids were able to operate some simple liquid fire extinguishers.

And while we're on the subject of fire safety: A friend sent an article to our homeschool list about a news story about the usefulness of smoke alarms. It appears so many children sleep through them, that they really don't do the job they are intended for. If you or someone you love has children, please read this news story.

I wound up not attending our homeschool group meeting last night... I opted for praise choir rehearsal instead. This weekend, the church is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a large outdoor service and I will be helping out by adding my voice to the praise choir. We'll have to take 2 cars on Sunday, because I will need to be there at 8:30 (service starts at 10).

I was able to serve at Celebrate Recovery tonight by being part of the 3-person worship team for it. I really love using my voice like this... a few people were talking to me afterwards tonight about it and I said that I felt about singing the way Eric Liddell (the Christian runner in Chariots of Fire) felt about running. He said, "I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure." When I sing, I feel God's pleasure. Is there anything you do that causes you to feel His pleasure?

I guess I've gone on long enough... you know this week will be more of the same, plus getting ready for a birthday sleepover next Friday night for Halle's 9th birthday. Hopefully we will get a lot done as far as cleaning and rearranging furniture before then!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sunday night stuff

Hard to believe the weekend is actually ending; harder still to believe that I'm actually ready for it to end. It was no day of rest today. Everybody worked in some way or fashion (although the kids finished up much quicker than the adults). The younger ones cleaned up their rooms and I worked on the living room. I managed to get my desk cleaned up and also ran the carpet cleaner. Brian worked outside, picking up the back yard and weedeating/edging, and Emily mowed. Brian also mowed and edged our neighbor's yard (her husband is deployed).

We had the above-mentioned neighbor and her kids over for dinner tonight as well. Brian grilled a tri-tip that we'd been marinating for a couple of days. Mmmmmm. It was delish.

Said friend is helping me figure out a new way to rearrange the furniture in the living room. Hopefully we'll have time to get it done next weekend.... it's possible that we could work on it in stages during the week. One idea actually involves moving the piano out of here and onto the landing between the two floors, while moving the bookcase that currently occupies that space to the upstairs landing. That would free up one wall in here. And now that we have the Macs, which are both wireless, we aren't tied down to keeping the computer desk next to the cable modem and router. That gives us a bit more flexibility with where we place them.

This week is going to be rather interesting... tomorrow afternoon the kids have an "enrichment" class with our church homeschool group in order to prepare for a field trip to Sutter's Fort next week. This event just got added into my plans today; I'd originally written off the whole field trip idea because the logistics of going to Sacramento and being back in time to pick Emily up from school were nigh impossible. However, I just found out that Emily won't have school the day of the field trip. So YAY... we get to go somewhere! (You wouldn't believe the cool field trips we miss out on because we have to be here to get Emily from school.)

This is getting so long, I'll bullet the rest of the agenda for the week:

  • Monday night: Christmas choir rehearsal for me; kids' musical rehearsal for Halle.
  • Tuesday: piano/guitar lessons in the afternoon (Halle and Noah), AWANA for Halle, small group meeting for me and Brian.
  • Wednesday: base field trip for the kids where they will get a taste of what it is like to deploy; orthodontist appointment for Halle immediately following.
  • Thursday: Base homeschool meeting in the evening.
  • Friday: Celebrate Recovery in the evening... I am supposed to be part of the worship team.
I have a newsletter to finish up before that homeschool meeting Thursday night. All that and trying to get the week's schoolwork done.... I sure do understand why some folks advocate "better living through chemistry!"

Thursday, September 27, 2007

3 down, 17 to go

Well, I've finished the 2 Karen Kingsbury novels on my list. Those are almost always a quick read for me. I really liked them both. I'm not sure I've read one of hers I didn't like yet. I've also finished Blameless. That was one I had in the car with me this week. I've always wondered how folks could have more than one book going at a time, and I finally figured out a way it works for me. I keep one on my nightstand and one in the car; the latter one I read while I'm in the carpool line at Emily's school. Blameless was an easy read, not an extremely involved story. Think of it as an adaptation of Job for modern times. It was OK; I would actually have liked there to have been more to it.

On my nightstand now is Paula Deen's memoir. My exposure to Paula is pretty limited, as I do not watch The Food Network, so I've not seen her show. I did see her in Elizabethtown, though. And to my knowledge, I've only tasted one of her recipes.... that was just a couple of weeks ago at the ladies' breakfast at church (for inquiring minds, it was her Baked French Toast Casserole). So far, I am thoroughly enjoying this selection. It is delightfully written in southern dialect, complete with dropped g's on verbs ending in g, and colloquialisms that set me chuckling. The funniest thing about it is that Emily came in to talk to me last night after I'd been reading for a while and she stopped me in the middle of our conversation to ask, "Who have you been talking to? Your accent is back." I guess I don't have to actually hear southern to speak southern!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Fall into Reading

It's that time again! The kids and I just made a library run yesterday, so the books I got then will be part of the list; I'll also add the books that are in my "request hold" list.
  1. Oceans Apart, Karen Kingsbury
  2. Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe. This is one Emily is reading in her Advanced English class. When her teacher described it to us at Back-to-School Night, I decided I wanted to read it.
  3. The 5-Minute Face, Carmindy. Talk about "fluff." But after watching her on "What Not to Wear," I'm interested in what she has to say.
  4. When Faith Meets Fame, Guideposts.
  5. Blameless: A Novel, Thom Lemmons. This is a guy whose family I went to church with up until I got married. (He was there too... it's just that he was a bit older than I was, so I didn't have much interaction with him.) I've wanted to read one of his books and just happened upon it while browsing the "new books" shelf yesterday.
  6. Alpha Girls: Understanding the New American Girl and How She is Changing the World, Dan Kindlon.
  7. Paula Deen: It Ain't All About the Cookin', Paula Deen.
  8. The Sleeping Doll, Jeffrey Deaver.
  9. Sunrise, Karen Kingsbury. This is the first book in her new series. I actually got to read the second one first, as it became available sooner.
  10. Life's Healing Choices, John Baker.
Those are the ones I have right now. I actually finished #1 on the list yesterday. I read during lunch and while in carpool, and after getting home from Christmas choir practice last night. (It made me forget about the season premiere of Heroes. Guess I will have to watch it online!) Still on my hold list:
  1. It's All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff, Peter Walsh. This is the guy from TLC's Clean Sweep show.
  2. How Starbucks Saved My Life, Michael Gill.
  3. Down River, John Hart.
  4. The Other Mother, Gwendolen Gross.
  5. Keeping the House, Ellen Baker.
  6. Barefoot, Elin Hildebrand.
  7. 74 Seaside Avenue, Debbie Macomber.
  8. The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold.
  9. Still Summer, Jacquelyn Mitchard.
  10. The Memory Keeper's Daughter, Kim Edwards.
I think this is a much more doable list than the one I had in the spring. I am sure I will wind up with much more fiction on it as I run across new things, but these are the ones I am currently planning on reading.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Up and running

We bit the bullet and got a new printer today.... another HP and it is incredibly fast. Even better, it is networked so that Brian can print something wirelessly from his laptop. We were never able to do this before; we always had to unplug the printer from my desktop and connect it to the laptop. This is just too cool.

It was a nice day today. The kids all enjoyed a lot of outdoor time with their friends. I helped Brian get the shed put together and also managed to get a couple of loads of laundry folded. In addition, I got to visit with one of the neighbors and help her finish a jigsaw puzzle she'd been working on for a while.

We were so busy with all the running and doing that we opted for takeout for dinner (Godfather's... mmmm). Tomorrow instead of eating out after church, we'll come home and Brian is going to grill.

The kids are all bathed and tucked in for the night, and I will be following suit very soon.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Some day my prints will come

So I am still learning the ins and outs of life with a Mac. My old HP printer (old as in 6 or 7 years old) isn't doing too well with the Mac. I cannot use it with it hooked up to the Airport Extreme, which is sad, because we really wanted to put it on the network so that Brian could print wirelessly from his MacBook Pro as well. It took some searching to find a driver I could get to work even with the printer connected directly to the IMac, and even still, it is incredibly slow to process the print job. I think we will be looking for a new printer. I had kinda been wanting one that does duplex (two-sided) printing, but I don't want us to spend too much money on it. We'll have to see what we can find. We've always had good experiences with HP printers in the past, but I'm wondering if there are other printers that work better with Macs.

Still left to do: get all the pictures and documents off of the old Windows desktop and onto this one. We may just get an external hard drive so we can have a safe place to keep extra copies, just in case anything were ever to happen. We can transfer the files to it and then copy them to this computer.

I guess the only other dim spot in this new computer life is that Messenger for Mac isn't as full-featured as the one for Windows. It doesn't offer video chat, which was something I was looking forward to doing with my mom and my sister. It does have IChat, which I think uses AOL screen names, so if they will sign onto AIM, I might be able to video with them there. Of course, neither of them have web cams (at least, I don't think they do), so they'll be the lucky ones who get to see and hear the goings-on around here!

We had the first rain of the season last night and today. Too bad the shed Brian bought is still sitting in the box in the back yard! If the weather is nice this weekend, maybe we can get it put together. I am enjoying the cooler weather; our days are in the 70s and nights in the 50s.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Mac mama

I know... where have I been? It has been crazier than usual around here. The end of last week was fairly busy, what with Emily gone to her school retreat from Wednesday till Friday. Then Brian and I had the Celebrate Recovery kickoff at church on Friday night. We got there early to help set up, so we were basically there about 4 1/2- 5 hours.

Saturday was Joel's 7th birthday. We had a great time at the base bowling alley with a few of the neighbor kids, a couple of friends from church, and a couple of kids from our "backyard neighbor" family from the first house we lived in out here. Joel said it was the "best birthday ever." He even rated it higher than the one he spent at Disney World!

In news almost as big as Joel's birthday.... my IMac arrived yesterday! It is up and running with no trouble at all and I've managed to get my bookmarks and email addresses all transferred quite easily (thank goodness for Plaxo). I kinda miss my "right-click," but have begun learning the Mac way of doing things. I have so much more space on my desk now. Hopefully I can keep it uncluttered.

Monday night, Halle and I both went up to the church for rehearsals for the Christmas program for church. She is going to be part of the kids' musical and I will be singing in the adult Christmas choir. I missed the first rehearsal last week, but it won't be difficult to catch up. Thankfully, I don't have to learn it all by ear; we all have songbooks with musical notation. That certainly makes it easier for me, especially since I sing alto.

Tonight, Halle attended her first AWANA meeting while Brian and I attended a "growth group" from church. Our group is made up of about 6 couples... not too big and not too small. I'm looking forward to getting to know people better. Halle had a blast at AWANA and is busy working on learning her memory verses so she can get her first book and t-shirt. She has several "checkpoints" to complete, each with 2 verses to learn.

Tomorrow is hump day and means we will be on the downswing.... Brian has a meeting tomorrow night, though. Thursday will be Emily's early-out day at school (1:45), I may be attending worship team rehearsal that night, and then it will be Friday and time for Celebrate Recovery again. Oh yeah... no shortage of things to do here. Hopefully I won't put off blogging for another week!

Oh, I just remembered more news... Emily was chosen for Daybreak, the select choir at her school! Yay, Emily!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

6 years ago

(This is an edited repost from 9/11/06.)

We were on our way to Disney World to celebrate my youngest’s first birthday. We left Dayton, OH early that morning and landed at Newark around 8 a.m. After we arrived at our departure gate, we went to find drinks/breakfast for everyone. On our way back, I remember looking out the window and remarking to my husband, “That looks like the Empire State Building.” (At this point, I had no idea we were so close to NYC.) As we got a little closer to the end of the terminal, we could see a large crowd gathering around the windows. The first tower had just been hit. We could see the smoke billowing from the building.

At this point, we had no clue as to whether this was an accident or intentional. Seeing the second tower hit a few minutes later seemed to answer this question for us. From somewhere overhead, an announcement was made that all flights were “delayed”; shortly afterwards, that was amended to “canceled.” It shames me to remember that my initial reaction was a selfish thought of how our vacation had been ruined. I think at that point, all I could really think about was *my* family and how the events had immediately impacted us. All I knew was what I could see from my vantage point across the river; I had no news coverage or commentary to tell me anything more.

We had nothing to do but stand/sit and watch until the loudspeakers boomed once more, announcing the evacuation of the airport. We joined a mass exodus to the airport grounds, carrying/pulling our carry-on luggage, including a large carseat. We had 2 kids in arms and 2 walking, and we were trying desperately to keep an eye on the 2 walking so that we wouldn’t get separated, when we heard a voice next to us say, “Don’t worry, I’ll make sure they don’t get lost.” A very nice gentleman could see we had quite a bit to handle and helped us keep the kids close by us on the trek outside.

Once outside, we sat on the ground for what seemed an eternity. I have no clue how long it was; it may have only been an hour or so. However long it was, we were finally told that we couldn’t stay there indefinitely, but that everyone had to leave the airport grounds. To say the situation was stressful was an understatement. Here we were in a strange city at least 600 miles from our home… and we needed to find a way back. The lines for buses were horrendous, the taxi lines even more so. Brian noticed a man with a sign that said, “limo” on it and asked the man if he had room for us. He asked us what we needed, and we told him we needed to find a rental van or a place to stay for the night. He said he could help us with that. So began our introduction to Reggie Jackson.

It turns out that Reggie was a retired NYPD officer. He led us to his Mercedes sedan and loaded our things into the trunk. He drove us to one rental place, which wanted $200 for a van that they wanted returned to that office the next day. We really didn’t want to stay in Newark… we wanted to get *home*. He drove us to yet another place (it seemed to take forever) and waited while Brian talked with the rental agents there. We were able to get a reasonable rate there (and a van we could actually drive to OH, rather than just around Newark), and Reggie helped load our things. He’d spent at least 3 hours with us by this time. When Brian asked him how much we owed him, Reggie said, “$20.” We were overwhelmed at his generosity, and thankfully we were able to get him to take a little bit more than that. I think we count Reggie as our 9/11 hero. Things certainly would have turned out a little differently without him.

We only made it to Western PA that evening before stopping for the night. There were detours because of supposed bomb threats on bridges. We were still not sure of everything going on. Somehow I think that hearing the news on the radio was different than actually seeing it on television. We made it back to Dayton the following evening. Our luggage made it there that weekend. We weren’t sure when we’d attempt air travel as a family again… we bought our luggage-totin’ Yukon XL on the 20th of September.

Brian’s leave was canceled and he went back to work at the base hospital on Thursday. We were thankful that he wasn’t deployed anywhere until much later; he spent 3 months in Oman that next March through June. By the next year, our family was flying together again.

6 years later, we remember the day we all wish had never happened.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

She writes

Sorry it has been so long. My mom even called a couple of days ago to make sure we were still alive out here. Still alive; still running to and from Em's school; still trying to keep up with laundry, housework, grocery shopping, and music lessons; still working on honing our home school routine. In other words, not much has been happening worth writing about.

Until now. Don't take that to mean I have something earth-shattering or mind-blowing. It's just that I finally have something to say that isn't just a blow-by-blow of our day. (OK; you can pick yourselves up off the floor now. And quit checking the forecast for hell.)

Item Number One: If you have the opportunity to go see No Reservations, grab it. Emily and I went earlier tonight and it was so worth the time. It won't solve the world hunger situation, but it really was a good time. Aaron Eckhart was a treat to watch (when isn't he?) and his scenes with Catherine Zeta Jones were great. The soundtrack was awesome as well. Michael Buble's rendition of Sway, plus lots of the late great Luciano Pavarotti, including Nessun Dorma.

Item Number Two: I came across a blog post a couple of days ago that really struck me. What's funny is that it's one of those passages that conjures up a lot of different emotions. Have you ever read anything that both convicted you and made you kinda mad?? I suppose the whole mad thing is just because it forced me to admit all kinds of unpleasant things about myself... and who likes to admit those kind of things?? I don't want to copy and paste it here; you can find this passage on any number of blogs, so I think it would be redundant for me to do that. I'll just give you the link where I read it. Please go read it, especially if you are a mom. And if you're not a mom, I still think you will take something away from it. Even though the person who wrote it was referring to the job of motherhood, I think it applies to us all... whatever we do in life.

Now, for those of you who tune in because you love hearing about our days, weeks, and months... Brian is gearing up for yet another TDY, this time to Virginia. He leaves in the morning and will be gone until Thursday. Emily leaves for her high school retreat on Wednesday and returns on Friday. The rest of us aren't going anywhere (unless crazy counts as a destination... no, wait; Scratch that. I can't go there and leave the kids alone.).

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Halfway through the week

3 days down, 2 to go. And Brian has Friday off. (Good thing, since he has to work in Sacramento again on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.) Today was incredibly hectic; we worked through the morning to get schoolwork done, then headed to the commissary for groceries and stopped off at the house just long enough to get most things unloaded and put away before needing to head out to pick Emily up from school. I had a little bit of free time before it was time to fix dinner, then I had to take Emily shopping for new tennis shoes. We got back with about 1/2 an hour to spare before the little kids' bedtimes.

Tomorrow is Emily's short day at school (out at 2). If I can work it, I think I will make Thursdays my regular grocery shopping day. That way I can drop everyone off at the house and head to the store *alone*. There are few things more annoying than being bombarded nearly constantly with "Can we get...?" and "Can we have....?"

Seen over at Dee's earlier today, yet another personality test:

I'll buy that. The profile also says that I "have the ability to see the forest and the individual trees concurrently, whereas most people are capable of seeing either the forest or the trees." I like that.

Over the weekend, my dear hubby wrote a very sweet post at his blog about an important date that occurred earlier this month... I have to say that I am looking forward to seeing what the next 21 years bring!

Oh, forgot to mention that last night was the Back-to-School Night at Emily's school, where we got to meet this year's teachers. She has several who are new to the school this year... actually 4 out of 7. Of the new ones, I think her world history teacher has the potential to be the best one. After hearing his methods and plans for the year, I wished I could sit in on the class! Her choir director is also new (the former director resigned after last year because she was getting married and moving away from the local area). She's a new college graduate whose mother is one of the school secretaries and whose sister is a senior at the school. Could be a potentially thorny situation, since her sister is also in the choir! But she seems very nice; I was excited to hear that she is hoping to make the spring concert kind of a Broadway showcase. Last year, every song the choir sang was some kind of sacred song , and I was wishing for a little variety. So much of last year's repertoire seemed so high-brow (either in a foreign language, very classical style, or high-church). I think it's good for the kids to get to sing a variety of genres. The other new teachers are her geometry teacher and Spanish 1 teacher. The geometry guy did not make a good first impression on me... we'll have to see how it goes with him. Emily isn't feeling the love either. The Spanish teacher seems OK. He's another fairly young one; I think he's been teaching for about a year.

Anyhow, I'm sure I'll be saying more about Emily's life at school. Tomorrow they are having a site blessing a few blocks from the campus... they are set to begin construction soon on a new high school facility. Right now, the campus currently supports students all the way from infant to grade 12. The new facility will be just for ninth through twelfth grades and they are hoping to finish it in time for the next school year. That would be great if Emily could get her last 2 years in the new school.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Testing, testing

It's been a while since I've done any online "tests," so here's the results of the latest, seen over at Robin's site:

Click to view my Personality Profile page

Can't say I'm too shocked at the results. According to this test, I am an ESFJ. "ESFJs are social butterflies that value relationships, supporting and nurturing others. Never one to shy away from social events, they are often the host. They are great encouragers of teamwork. ESFJs are responsible, dutiful, observe traditions and follow rules (Oh my holy heck, yes. I am the rule-follower.). ESFJs have a deep concern for others and often end up as caretakers. They are sensitive to criticism (dare I say TOO sensitive??) and have a need to be appreciated for the good they do for others. ESFJs are understanding, generous, have a quick wit and a knack for composition and beautification."

Other ESFJs: Don Knotts, Danny Glover, Mary Tyler Moore, Sally Field, and Sally Struthers, Desi Arnaz, and Jack Benny.

The multiple intelligences results weren't shocking, either. Words and music. The two things I can't live without.

Musical Intelligence Common Characteristics
  • Have good rhythm (some would argue this point... I probably wouldn't give them trouble)
  • Can easily memorize songs (easier if I have the music in front of me)
  • Notice and enjoy different sounds
  • Often singing, whistling or tapping a song (yep)
  • Talented with an instrument or singing (depends on who you ask; Emily would argue the point)
  • Can tell when a note is off-key
  • Often have a song running through their head (yep)
  • Have an unquenchable passion for music (oh yeah)

Verbal Linguistic Intelligence Common Characteristics
  • Notices grammatical mistakes (all too often)
  • Often speaks of what they have read (oh yeah)
  • Likes to use "fancy" words
  • Loves word games (totally)
  • Cherishes their book collection (you betcha!)
  • Easily remembers quotes and famous sayings
  • Likes puns and rhymes (yep)
  • Enjoys writing
  • Enjoys foreign language
  • Always enjoyed English class (oh yes)

Friday, August 24, 2007

Another Friday night

Just another Friday night on the home front here... Our second day of school went much better than the first. No more doggie mishaps in the car (they didn't go along for the morning ride this time, but I did take them along to pick Emily up). The kids here at home were a tad more patient and were able to share me a little better today, so that certainly helped the stress levels in that arena!

I had to run to the youth center this afternoon to get Halle and Noah registered and paid up for music lessons. Halle is getting ready to start piano lessons back up with a new teacher there. She hasn't had a lesson since a little while before we moved. Her former teacher used to come to our house, but since she isn't military, that makes that set-up a bit problematic. I was able to get her into a time slot with a guy who also teaches piano to a couple of the neighbor kids. Noah is going to begin guitar lessons with him next week as well.

After that, Emily and I headed to Staples to get more of the required school supplies. Oh. My. Holy. Heck. I have never seen so much stuff! It won't even all go into a backpack. She's got 3 or 4 one-inch 3-ring binders, plus one two-inch binder. These were all *required* by different teachers.... does each one think he/she is the only one asking for this stuff?? Then there's all the textbooks. How did I manage 4 years of high school without a backpack? And let's not even talk about the tally. We still have to find loose-leaf graph paper one day this weekend, because they were sold out and I didn't feel like entering another store after we finished.

Brian has spent the evening at a meeting at church and the kids and I have been hanging here. Well, Halle hasn't... she is next door at a sleepover. I visited with another neighbor for a half hour or so and helped her work on a jigsaw puzzle before coming back home and sending her 3 kids (who were all over here) back home to get ready for bed.

This is Brian's moonlighting weekend, so he'll leave in the morning before anyone gets up and will be in Sacramento until Monday morning. Meanwhile, PG&E is doing some kind of work on the power supply to the base tomorrow and we will be without electricity from 7am to 1pm. I imagine Emily will sleep through most of the outage. I've told the kids to plug in their handheld video games so they'll be charged, and I have a stack of books I can read. The kids' main playmates will be gone for most of that time, hiking with the Boy Scouts, so if things get really rough, I may look for a movie or something to go to. I guess the bright side to it all is that I'll have a good excuse for not getting the vacuuming done!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

It will only get better

So today was the first day of school for everyone here. One of the best things about today was that I didn't have to wake up Emily. Last year, I would go in her room every morning to wake her; most mornings she would get up right away, but there were a few in which I would go back 15 minutes later to find her back asleep. When I told her last week that this year I wanted her to be responsible for getting herself up, she agreed without any argument. Yay for me! Even though she was up a lot later than she probably should have been on the night before her first day, she still got up on time, so that was a definite plus to the day. (Of course, she did come home and fall asleep on the couch after school... and it was only a half-day!)

We let the dogs come along on the ride to her school and all was well until about 5 minutes before we got home. Rory ralphed in the front floorboard under Noah's feet, then climbed into the middle row and had a runny BM in the floor there. We had to finish the trip home with the windows rolled down! Thank goodness for the rubber floor mats in those two rows! Certainly made the cleanup when we got home much easier. She's been fine the rest of the day... but I didn't tempt fate by letting her go with us to pick Emily up!

Not only was Emily's day a short one, but so was the one here at the house. I am still waiting for my books for Tapestry of Grace to arrive, so we haven't begun that yet. Today was spent with mostly "bookwork,": handwriting, math, Wordly Wise (vocabulary), and Reading Detective (reading comprehension and analysis). Things seemed even more hectic than our usual first days, with everyone wanting individual attention all at once. It seems to be like that every year.... it always takes us a while to find our rhythm, but today was especially so. Halle, who loves math, had a bit of a meltdown when she couldn't remember some of her multiplication facts. We really should have kept on with math through the summer, as I had planned... that probably would have prevented that, but with the move and the kids getting to know their new friends (none of whom had much of a structured schedule this summer), I let that slide. Joel started a new level, so he will be doing a little bit of review anyway. Noah is nearing the end of his book; we will do some review to make sure he still remembers what he was working on before we finish it up and he begins the next level.

Anyhow, we were able to get that work done with enough time left over for me to fold a couple of baskets of laundry while we all listened to Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince on CD, getting the laundry done before needing to leave home in time for Emily's 11:30 am dismissal from school.

Now I have a list of supplies that Emily's individual teachers have requested her to have: 3-ring binders, white-out, hole punches, index cards and storage, stapler, geometry supplies (compass, protractor, graph paper). I'll probably work on getting these things either tomorrow afternoon or over the weekend.

Tonight is the base homeschool group's first meeting of the year. Since I volunteered to take over the Scholastic Book Club ordering for the group this year (the former holder of this position moved... in fact, I live in her old house!), I need to be ready to give a little talk about it to the rest of the group.

Here's hoping tomorrow goes just a little bit smoother on the homefront.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Is it really only Wednesday?

For some reason, it just seems like it should be Friday already. I guess that's just wishful thinking, since school starts tomorrow for all of mine. Back to regular bedtimes and rising times for everyone! Emily waited until the last minute (like most teenagers) to read the book her Advanced English teacher assigned for the summer and write a one-page report on it, so her day today has been spent following Jem and Scout's adventures in To Kill a Mockingbird.

I finally made it to the post office to mail the books from the Dog Days of Summer giveaway. It only took 3 1/2 weeks! $40 later in media mail postage and mailing envelopes later, the books are on their way and hopefully will be in their new homes by the weekend, or at the latest, the beginning of next week.

I've been meaning to mention an article I read in the local paper this past Sunday in the editorial/opinion section. Entitled Truth or Travel (at least in the local paper), it was about the struggle to travel or vacation with a "large" family. I searched online to see if it was available and found it here under the title Hotels v. Big Families. I could relate completely to everything this guy said.

And in the deep thoughts section of my brain... here's a "thought for the day" I received in my email this morning:

When you re-read a classic you do not see in the book more than you did before. You see more in you than there was before.

— Clifton Fadiman

Friday, August 17, 2007

Ready for the weekend

These last 3 weeks have been rather crazy, what with Brian being gone for 13 out of the last 16 days. The kids' playmates were also gone for part of that time, which makes for longer days as well. But all is back to normal (or some version thereof) now.

See the pretty flowers Brian sent me yesterday for our 21st anniversary? I love the colors.... the flowers are actually a little more purple than they look in the photo.

He got home a little after 8:30 last night. The 3 younger kids were spending the night next door, so we went over to see them before they headed to bed. Our house was rather pleasantly quiet after we got home, since Emily was the only one here besides us. It was kinda nice not having to wrangle kids to bed or wrestle them out of ours.

The dogs are doing so well. I took this picture of them napping together yesterday.

Of course, they don't spend all their time together napping:

This is one of their favorite pastimes, tug-of-war. You never know which one will initiate it, although Rory is probably the main instigator. Sometimes she reminds me so much of a child, the way she will get a toy and just go over and dangle it in front of Campbell as if to say, "Look what I have..." I have as yet to get a really good picture to show how much she has grown and how much bigger than Campbell she is now. Earlier this morning she was standing on top of him and his back was fully underneath her... he only had to lower his head. I wonder how long it will be before he can just walk under her without even brushing her stomach?

Rory went to the vet at the beginning of the week. She was just under 40 pounds. That was a weight gain of almost 15 pounds in 3 weeks! Her puppy class graduation is this Sunday evening; she'll get to show off what she's learned, including her new trick we have been working on this week. She now does a "high five" or "gives paw".

If any of my regular readers remember me talking about my friend Jenny (the one we met on our second Disney cruise, and who met up with us at Disney World last Christmas), she has finally joined the blogosphere. Go give her a look-see!

Don't know what this weekend will bring. It is our last weekend before Emily goes back to school on the 23rd. Hopefully we'll find time for some fun.

One more picture of the puppy before I go:

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Best intentions

Prizewinners, I am sorry... I still have not made it to the post office. I haven't even picked alternate winners to replace the folks I didn't hear back from. I will do my best to get it done in the next couple of days. Hubby gets home this afternoon, so maybe I will be able to do it tomorrow or Saturday.

Speaking of hubby, he found out a few days ago that he has to turn around and leave again on Monday. This time he will be headed to San Antonio and will be gone until Thursday (our 21st anniversary). There is also a chance he may have to stay until Friday.

I've been trying to work out our school plans this week. I finally ordered Tapestry of Grace's Year 2 Redesign and have been going over the book list to see what we already own, what we can get from the library, and what I'll need to purchase. I will probably only buy half a year's worth of books at a time to break up the cash outflow. In some ways, this will be similar to Sonlight, but in many ways, it is quite different. We'll be doing a bit more "hands-on" work than we used to, but I am hoping the kids enjoy it and that it will help them be more interested in the material and help things "stick" easier. One thing we'll be doing that we haven't done in the past is keeping a notebook that will organize each kid's work. It will probably take a lot of trial and error to find the organizational method that works for us... this is where I'd love to have someone who has "been there, done that" just tell me what to do.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

High School Meme

I've seen this at several blogs lately and finally have a little time to do it.

1. Who was your best friend?
I really don't remember. I don't think I had one.

2. Did you play any sports?

3. What kind of car did you drive?
Didn't have my own, but once I had my license, if I needed to go somewhere, I could usually borrow my mom's '77 Ford LTD II. I called it "The Land Yacht." Forget trying to parallel park in it!

4. It’s Friday night. Where were you?
Either babysitting or at home with the parents.

5. Were you a party animal?
Heck no.

6. Were you considered a flirt?
See #5.

7. Were you in the band, orchestra or choir?
Concert choir and Moderne Chorale (select choir of Juniors and Seniors only)

8. Were you a nerd?
Yes. Good grades, glasses/contacts, honor society.

9. Were you ever suspended or expelled?
Not even close. Look up "goody-two-shoes" in the dictionary and there was a picture of me. I even babysat for the vice-principal.

10. Can you sing the fight song?
Yes sirree... both verses and in harmony.

11. Who was your favorite teacher?
Probably Mr. Beaver, my choir director and voice teacher (I took private lessons from him). Also Mr. Mosley, my world history teacher my sophomore year.

12. What was your school mascot?

13. Did you go to the Prom?

14. If you could go back, would you?
Not for a gazillion dollars.

15. What do you remember most about graduation?
That it was outside and it started raining right at the end, when I was supposed to give the closing prayer... so everyone just took off instead. (Yes, *prayer* in a public school... how times have changed!)

16. Where were you on Senior Skip Day?
At Kentucky Lake. A lady from church invited me to her "cabin" (an A-frame house) for the weekend, since she knew I had no place else to go.

17. Did you have a job your senior year?
Not really, unless you count trying to help my mom and dad out at their floor covering store.

18. Where did you go most often for lunch?
Since I didn't have a car, I didn't usually go off campus for lunch.

19. Have you gained weight since then?
Can I plead the fifth?

20. What did you do after graduation?
Went home. I don't remember doing anything special.

21. What year did you graduate?

22. Who was your Senior Prom Date?
Didn’t go.

23. Are you going/did you go to your 10 year reunion?
Didn't go. We had just moved from OH to FL (Ft. Walton Beach) the month before, and even if we could have made the trip from there to MO, I had a 5 1/2 month old baby whom I couldn't leave.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Books galore, not much room for more

I've spent several hours the last couple of days cataloging my library into LibraryThing. With 522 books entered, I still have one bookcase left to enter, plus some books that are in a box in the garage. (I had already entered a bit over 100 when I started this time... I decided to go ahead and take the $25 lifetime subscription to help keep track of what I have, what I lend out, and what I sell/give away.) Because I have so many and space is limited here, I have to decide which books I am going to box up and put away until we settle down for good, which books I am willing to sell/trade/give away, which books I want to keep on the shelves now, and which ones I don't have room for at the moment, but will need in the next 3 school years. It's a tedious task... thankfully, I like that kind of tedium.

Speaking of giving away books... I plan to mail out the prizes from my giveaway tomorrow. Unfortunately, I haven't heard from a couple of people, so I will have to select new winners. Hoping to do that soon; I'll contact them before I announce them here. Also, one winner was gracious enough to decline her prize, as she had won a few other giveaways.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Dogs and dollars, anesthesia scholars

A Great Dane is not a cheap animal to love. I knew that intellectually when we brought Rory home. That fact was made much clearer to me this weekend when I had to buy her a new crate and crate pad, since she has rapidly outgrown the one she was shipped in. $225 later, she has a room of her own in which she can stretch out. She hasn't fallen in love with it yet, but Campbell likes it a lot. He goes in and lays down every chance he gets. I think he likes her pad... it's a thick egg crate material with a lambswool cover. I'll probably get one to fit his crate eventually. Maybe Santa can bring it for him.

Anyhow, a little humor goes a long way in cushioning the financial pains and strains of loving one of these "gentle giants," so I'll share with you all the Dane Owner's Checklist. I have already heard some of the comments mentioned here, and my baby isn't even BIG yet!


Brian leaves for Denver tomorrow for the annual AANA convention. I get to play airport shuttle again in the morning. He'll be gone for a week or so. I still don't have all the info. I'll get it later tonight, probably. He may have another meeting to run off to a few days after he gets back, as well. August always seems to be a busy month because of the convention and getting ready for school.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Celebration at Robinznest

In celebration of her 100th post, Robinznest is giving away a free one-year subscription to your choice of 1 of 4 great magazines over at her place. Go read her 100 things post. You can also enter to win, but you really don't want to spoil my chances of winning, do you??

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Road trip

Brian and I headed northeast to Sacramento today with the 3 younger kids (Emily stayed home with the dogs). We had planned to attend the homeschool conference in Modesto yesterday afternoon and today, but decided to save the money on hotel and conference fees... plus, I just wasn't feeling all that great about leaving Emily alone for 2 days and 1 night with the dogs. (Yes, the base is very safe... I think I was worried more about the dogs than I was Emily!) Anyhow, I'd been wanting to go to A Brighter Child (a homeschool supply store) for a while now, and today provided a good opportunity for it. I was able to pick up a few things for school this fall; now I just have to figure out where to keep it! And I'm not done yet, either. I still have some decisions to make; hopefully I can get it figured out in the next couple of weeks or so.

Once we finished up there, we headed over to Arden Fair to have a look-see. We spent quite a bit of time at the Apple Store... hopefully they didn't have to mop the floors after we left; we were salivating at the 20" IMacs and the MacBooks. I think it is safe to say that the question is not "Will we switch to Macs?" but "When will we switch to Macs?" I'm pretty sure it will be before the end of the year.

I imagine tomorrow we'll be working around here... we still have a couple of boxes to figure out what to do with, plus we haven't hung anything on the walls yet. It would be nice if we could at least get started with that. I know I have some laundry to do as well. Of course, there won't be a whole lot of time to work on it, what with church in the a.m. and then Rory's puppy class at 6pm. But we'll see what we can do.

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