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!

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