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.

Friday, July 27, 2007

We have winners!

Time to announce the winners of my first book giveaway. I used the Random Number Generator to select the winners. I had to randomize a second time for 2 more numbers, because 1 winner did not have a way for me to contact her, and the other had chosen a book already won by someone else. Once I filled specific requests, (only 5 winners who had limited their prize), I just gave away in numerical order.

I will be contacting you some time today. Anyone who does not respond with his/her mailing address by midnight of August 3 will have his/her prize put back into the pot and I will draw a new winner for that book. So check your email!

Without further ado, here are the lucky few:

  1. Anastasia has won The Ultimate Gift.
  2. Natalie Marie has won Learning to Breathe Again.
  3. Anonymous (monk5 [at] charter DOT net) won Too Good to Be True.
  4. FreeFall was won by Amanda.
  5. ShoeAddict (Kristen) gets God's Little Devotional Book for Parents.
  6. Straight Up is awarded to Hippolyta.
  7. Grace will be receiving In This Mountain.
  8. Norah's Ark will be on its way to Shannon.
  9. Ladybug is the winner of The Covenant.
  10. The Red Tent was won by lifeasamama.
  11. Rick is the lucky winner of 100 Greatest Songs in Christian Music.
  12. Michelle wins Tales from Dust River Gulch.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Idol Chatter

Emily and I drove to Sacramento last night to take in the American Idol tour concert. Even though we didn't have floor seats, we still had a good view of the stage, and the big screens also gave us some closeup shots of the performers. Em definitely had a good time.... plenty of screams and whoops from her throughout the night, mostly whenever Blake or Chris R. were on stage. Those two did a very cool number in which both of them did a bit of beatboxing. Blake did his fabulous version of You Give Love a Bad Name; it was even better than the first time. We were also treated to Phil's *awesome* rendition of Blaze of Glory. He totally rocked it. Emily and I both agreed that Phil had the best stage presence of anyone, although Blake seemed fairly comfortable interacting with the crowd as well. As far as the rest of the guys went, Chris Sligh was able to show us his mad skilz on guitar, and Sanjaya served mostly as window dressing for the show. He was showcased very little... and that's OK. :)

Now as to the girls... When they first came out, one of my first impressions was that Haley was a bit overdressed (for her, anyhow). As the evening went on, her wardrobe began disappearing. Emily said she was just too "Playboy bunny." I am inclined to agree. On the other hand, Gina looked and sounded great. Kiki looked quite glamorous, and I think she's been going to speech therapy. I watched her singing/talking on the big screen and her lisp was not noticeable. She did a great job with I Will Always Love You. Melinda was fabulous as well. She was showcased performing Natural Woman. There were several group performances ... fun stuff! All of these performances led up to the last few songs of the night by Jordin. Jordin seemed to be having a little bit of trouble with her voice. Her first song was I Who Have Nothing, and there were a couple of spots where she cracked a bit. She also did Broken Wing (big surprise there, huh?) and of course, ended the show with This Is My Now. I absolutely love that song. Afterwards, there was the obligatory encore, which involved each performer returning for 30 seconds or so of one of their showcase numbers, and then everyone joining Jordin for This Is My Now. All in all a fun night. Emily was quite jealous of the folks on the front row, especially after Blake jumped down from the stage to the small barricaded section between the stage and the front row. Folks who got seats to the very side of the stage were also treated to lots of handshakes from the performers. I guess we know what to try for if we can't get floor seats for any other concert we get to attend there!

If you'd like to see a much better review of one of the other stops on this tour, look here.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Time for a giveaway

dog days giveaway

EDITED TO ADD: Due to shipping costs, I will need to limit this to visitors from US and Canada. And please leave me some way to contact you! There are a few people who have left comments that have not left a blog address or an email, so I have no way to contact you if you've won.

I've been meaning to have this giveaway for a while now (even before the move), but Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer has given me the push I needed to finally "git 'r done." Anyone who has read my blog for any amount of time knows that I love to read. I have a selection of books in very good condition that I will ship to the winners of this giveaway. Just let me know which books you are interested in by number or name (or say ALL of 'em!). I will draw names Friday and try to post the winners before we head out to the homeschool conference in Modesto, so to be considered, you'll need to post your comment before 6am Pacific Time. 1 book per winner, unless there aren't enough entries.

1. The Ultimate Gift, by Jim Stovall (hardback). The basis for the movie of the same name, it's about a young man who must endure some interesting challenges and situations to claim his inheritance. I wrote about the movie here.

2. Learning to Breathe Again, by Tammy Trent (paperback). This is Tammy's story of her life after losing her husband in a diving accident. Very moving!

3. Too Good to Be True, by Trish Perry (paperback). I won this book in one of Camy Tang's giveaways a few weeks ago. It's an light and easy read, perfect for a day at the beach or the park with the kids.

4. Freefall, by Kristen Heitzmann (paperback). From the back of the book: "When a young woman stumbles out of the Hanalei Mountains on the island of Kauai with no memory of who she is, Monica Pierce knows she's been brought there by God. Her brother, Cameron, reluctantly agrees to investigate the mysterious circumstances surrounding the stranger's arrival. He suspects her injuries were no accident, but he's far from convinced she's an innocent victim. And there's that nagging feeling he's seen her somewhere before. . . ."

5. God's Little Devotional Book for Parents (hardback). Pretty self-explanatory, I think!

6. Straight Up, by Lisa Samson (paperback). This was a free copy sent to me by Lisa to review. It was the first one of her books I'd read and I wasn't as taken in by it as most people. Since then, I've read several more of her books that I enjoyed much more. I'm sure one of you will love it.

7. In This Mountain, by Jan Karon (hardback). Book 7 in the Mitford Years series.

8. Norah's Ark, by Judy Baer (paperback). Loved this book by the author of The Whitney Chronicles.

9. The Covenant, by Beverly Lewis (paperback). This is book 1 in the Abram's Daughters series. Great read!

10. The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant (paperback). Very interesting telling of the story of Jacob's daughter, Dinah.

11. 100 Greatest Songs in Christian Music, (paperback). A look at some of the most popular songs in Christian music from the last 25 years or so. Subtitled, The Stories Behind the Music that Changed Our Lives Forever.

12. Tales from Dust River Gulch, by Tim Davis (paperback). For the kids. Cute stories with a wild west flair.

When I start organizing my bookshelves again, I will probably have a kids' book giveaway, so check back in!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Anyone still here? Anyone finished Book 7?

I know, it's been a while. I have been trying to keep up with things around here and limiting my time online. I can't even begin to remember what we've done around here in the last week, so I won't even try to write about anything more recent than the last day or 2.

I took the kids to Borders on Friday night to the Harry Potter Deathly Hallows Ball. Some of our neighbors were going (they had pre-ordered there at Borders, unlike me... I did the Amazon pre-order). The kids had a a great time participating in some HP Trivia and enjoyed free samples of drinks from the coffee bar (not coffee drinks). Things started getting pretty crazy around 11:45 or so, so we came on home.

Emily had me take her to the BX late yesterday morning. She bought her own copy of Deathly Hallows and began reading it shortly after we got back. Brian dragged me out to the garage to help him get it cleaned out so I could park in it. My book arrived about halfway through the process and I hated putting it aside until we were done. I finally began reading around 5pm, but had to stop several times for dinner prep and the meal. Once we were done eating, it was nothing but Harry, though. I finished up around 11 or so. No spoilers here from me, but I am convinced JK Rowling is a pure literary genius. Loved the book. I will definitely reread it at a more leisurely pace the next time.

Today I have a TON of laundry to fold and put away. Part of the work we did in the garage yesterday involved going through the bins of outgrown clothing and sorting into items for Goodwill, stuff for the younger kids to grow into, and stuff they can probably wear now. I was washing and drying laundry anyway, but with all the things I pulled out of the containers, I just about tripled my laundry work. Much of today will involve a "fashion show" with the kids trying on clothes.

Oh, and Rory has caught up with Campbell in the height department. Actually, she's just a tad taller than him. Only took her 3 weeks. When I took her to the vet this week for her next series of shots and her microchip, she had gained 8 pounds in 3 weeks as well. I'll try to take pictures to post soon.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


Oh. my. holy. heck. I have not laughed SO HARD at a movie since I don't know when. If you saw John Waters' version, put all thoughts of it out of your mind. The two movies are worlds apart. This was truly a first-class musical, with show-stopping dance numbers and great vocals. Nikki Blonsky wowed us with her pipes... she has a great voice. And for someone who didn't take dance lessons, she sure handled herself on the dance floor.

John Travolta was an absolute hoot as Mrs. Turnblad. What a far cry from the slovenly character Divine portrayed in the original. Travolta had some great song and dance numbers... he was so much fun to watch. It must have taken some getting used to dancing with the fat suit on. Loved Christopher Walken as her husband as well. The two of them had a few really fun scenes together.

Can't believe we were lucky enough to get a FREE sneak preview of it tonight. That was one movie I wouldn't have felt cheated to have paid to go see.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

HP #5 review; could be a movie weekend

As promised, here is my take on the 5th Harry Potter movie. In short, I liked it; I liked it much more than I thought I was going to. For me, this was a movie that connected more with my emotions than the previous ones. Almost from the beginning (but not quite that early on), I felt very connected to Harry's emotions in the film. Seeing him surrounded by those he loved and who loved him hit me almost as deeply as him.

This had to have been difficult to make, being that this was the longest book in the series so far. But it didn't seem that anything important was left out. Emily was disappointed that more of the humorous episodes from the book weren't used. While this movie wasn't without its funny moments, there definitely weren't as many as in the first four.

Loved Luna Lovegood. The gal who played her was *perfect* for the role. Can't wait to see more of her in the next movie. Oh, and the special effects were great as well. There are plenty to be had... I know that certain scenes were done where everything but the actors was CGI; very realistic CGI!

I'm looking forward to seeing this one when it is out on DVD, to catch anything I might have missed.


Hoping to catch the 9pm showing of Waitress at the base theater tomorrow night. Can't beat the $3 admission. I've heard good things about the movie and thought I was just going to have to wait to rent it.

Also, the base is showing a free preview of the new Hairspray Saturday afternoon, so we may be going to see it. The previews have looked pretty good. If I have to look at a guy dressed like a woman, I'd much rather see John Travolta than Divine any day.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Movie time

We're heading out today to see the latest Harry Potter installment. I'm not expecting as much from this one as the others, mostly because the book was so different from the first 4. I did not reread the book this time, so most of the essential omissions won't be glaringly obvious to me. I'll be sure to post my impressions later today or tomorrow.


It pays to let companies know when you're not pleased with their service/product. Last week, I opened a package of dog treats (a "Buy One, Get One Free" pack) and found *5* pieces in one package, 13 in the other. I called the number on the back of the package, was able to talk to a live person fairly quickly, and in less than 5 minutes, was promised a coupon for free product to atone for this package that did not meet quality standards. The coupon arrived within the next 2-3 days. Can't beat that.


I'm still planning that giveaway for readers. I just need to dig out from under a little more here before I can get started. There will be a dozen or so titles offered; hopefully a little something for everyone.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Settling in and settling down

Still getting settled in the new place. It's only been 2 weeks and most of the rooms are together. Still left to unpack: 5 "mirror packs" of things from the walls of the old house and 2 boxes of books, papers, and "stuff" from the schoolroom/office. Being that there isn't a "schoolroom/office" in this house, I am holding off on those items until I am able to sort through all that is already unpacked and get it organized. I'll be reboxing some books and storing them in one of the storage areas here or in the garage in order to make room for our school things. I'll probably be looking for some kind of drawer-type storage I can keep here near this table/desk, since my old computer desk is in storage (too large for these accommodations).

One of the things I have done a little of and hope to finish up is cataloging my books with Library Thing. I think I will wind up getting a paid account. $25 isn't bad for a lifetime of being able to keep track of all my stuff. This thing just speaks to my anal side (Eww. That doesn't sound right.)

The house phone finally works. Took over a week for Comcast to fix it. Part of it had to do with them not disconnecting at the other house for some stupid reason. I still have to call and talk to them to make sure we don't get double-billed and are credited for the 10 days with no service. I think a month free would be great compensation for the frustration and inconvenience.

Rory is settling in very well. She is learning the routine quickly and knows that right after she finishes eating, she is supposed to go outside; she heads straight for the back door after she's done. We keep the door to the laundry room (where the dogs' food and water are kept) shut, so she will go there and sit (and alert us if we don't notice her) if she gets thirsty during the day. Campbell is learning the fine art of doggie play and the two of them can often be found chasing each other outside or rolling around on the floor in the living room. Rory is growing quickly and is almost the same height as Campbell now; it will be interesting to see how things change as she gets bigger than him!

Can't believe this summer is almost half over. Just 6 more weeks until Emily goes back to school. I've really enjoyed not having to take her to school every day. I guess I should savor these days while they last.

Monday, July 02, 2007

New house, new addition

If you're reading in a feed reader, you won't see the blog header change. You have to see it... so go look. I'll be here when you get back.

Questioning my sanity yet? (As if none of you were before. Yeah, right.) So yeah, we have a new addition in our scaled-down home.

Here's how it went down: the movers came to pack us up last Monday and decided that they would be able to get it all done that day and move us into this house the very next day. Packing went quickly, moving day not so quickly. The guys didn't finish up until after 7pm. Thankfully, we all had beds to sleep in, even if the rest of the house was a mess. I worked feverishly on Wednesday, trying to dig out from under the boxes in the living room, most of which were books. Brian worked in the morning and got home just in time to head to Sacramento to pick up the new addition from the airport.

Meet Rory. She's a 10-week-old merle Great Dane, and the entire family is in love with her. Even Campbell likes her. He's learning how to play... they are a lot of fun to watch. (Please ignore Campbell's shaggy do... he needs a groom; that's on my list of things to schedule this week.)

Earlier today, Rory climbed on top of him and laid down on him, with nary a complaint from him.

Crate-training and housebreaking are going well. She is a total doll and I'm already totally attached to her.

Anyhow, so far we have the kids' rooms all unpacked and together, and I finished the kitchen today. Tonight we had our first home cooked meal in over a week.

We are without a landline phone right now. When it works, we have the Comcast Digital Voice service. It worked for 3 days and then Saturday it was no longer working. When someone calls our number, they get a recording that says it is not in service. Comcast is "working" on it.

The kids are in heaven. There is no shortage of playmates... good ones, ones I don't have to worry about. They spend so much time playing and not sitting in front of the television, video games, or computer. It is *lovely*.

There is still much to do here, but just having the kitchen done reduces stress levels considerably. My goals for tomorrow are to get laundry put away, unpack the boxes still sitting in the living room, and work on the master bedroom and bath.

I'll leave you with a few more pictures of the "baby."

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