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.

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