Wednesday, May 30, 2007

More on the move

Our move date has changed... now instead of the middle of July, it is the last week of June! We actually are taking a different house than the one we were originally offered. We decided upon this one because it is located on a cul-de-sac and the back yard is bigger. We actually know the folks who are in it right now; the husband is a nurse at the hospital and the mom is part of the base homeschooling group. There is also a playground on the other side of the street, plus a bike path right there as well.

A few people have been asking about how we are going to manage the transition from 3400 to 1400 square feet. We do plan on selling/getting rid of some pieces of furniture. Anything we want to keep that won't fit into the base house, the government will pay to store it for us until we move. We'll probably be having a couple of garage sales between now and then as well.

I'm looking forward to getting settled in the new place. Thankfully, we don't have to move ourselves; that will all be handled by the pros.

Oh, and Joel's tooth came out just after I posted last night; Brian "helped" it out.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


As soon as Brian gives the folks at the base housing office the word tomorrow, we will officially have a house waiting for us on base in July. As the post title might suggest, it is a duplex. If you're the type who is interested in floor plans, you can see the first floor here. The second floor looks like this. It will be a big change.... We'll be downsizing from around 3400 sq. ft. to somewhere around 1400 sq. ft. Ay caramba!

In other news, Joel has his first loose tooth. He's been working on it for about 3 or 4 days now. I have a feeling he'll have it out within the next day or two.

I was cleaning up some dry beans that had spilled next to my desk earlier (they came from a miniature clay flower pot that had been fashioned into a pen/pencil holder) and had an uncontrollable urge to nurture my inner 2nd-grader. So now Halle and Joel know both versions of the "Beans, beans" poem. My dad would be so proud (and wonder why it took me this long to teach it to them!).

Friday, May 25, 2007

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

So how do I review this without giving away important information for those who haven't seen it? I guess I should say that the only one in our group who decided to go to sleep during the movie instead of watch it was Halle. I wasn't surprised; it really was a long movie, and the plot twists and turns could be a little hard for younger minds to stay on top of. Of course, that didn't stop Joel, who loved all the action.

Aside from one very important plot point in this film, this might just be my favorite one in the PoTC trilogy (which could very well wind up with a 4th offering). There was plenty of humor in the form of one-liners and physical comedy. I guess it might be OK to say that we get a glimpse of what life could be like with more than one Jack Sparrow around, and it was pretty darn funny. Johnny Depp did not disappoint in this one, folks. Keira Knightley got to do a whole lot more fighting and we saw a side of Elizabeth we'd only glimpsed before; I think we could say the same for Will and Jack as well. The special effects were amazing.

I mentioned plot twists and turns... we were treated to learning a bit more about the "pirate code", got a brief introduction to Jack's father (Keith Richards, of Rolling Stones fame), and sailed a course of bargains and betrayal that left our heads spinning.

I have to say that that one plot point last night was enough to make Emily say that she hated the film. Whether a night's sleep has softened that impression or not is to be found. I imagine we might talk about it on the way to school this morning if she doesn't cocoon herself in the front seat with her IPod.

Oh, and for those of you wondering.... Even with a large bottle of water at my seat, I didn't have to get up even once during this movie.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

What a Wednesday

I spent 4 hours (oops, I almost typed *years*) tonight helping with Emily's school's National Honor Society/CSF/Mu Alpha Theta/Quill and Scroll induction ceremony. The first couple of hours were spent dipping strawberries and pretzels into chocolate; the last couple were keeping the dessert table stocked, listening to the award ceremony, and cleaning up afterwards. Boy, have things changed in the last 25+ years.... when I was inducted into NHS way back in 1980, I think all that was handed out at the ceremony was maybe a pin. Then when I picked up my cap and gown as a senior, I had the extra gold tassel to show I was in NHS. Tonight, these kids got cords, satin collars embroidered with the words National Honor Society, and medals. The seniors were handed their gold tassels tonight as well. I had a chance to chat with Emily's algebra teacher after the ceremony and she told me that she is going to get Emily into Mu Alpha Theta next year if she has "to hog-tie her."

I got home in time to catch the last hour of American Idol. YAY Jordin! Blake showed such class and style in the way he supported her tonight. I'm sad I missed their duet at the beginning, and will have to look for it on YouTube tomorrow. I totally LOVED this year's song; it is PERFECT for the occasion and I can't imagine anyone doing it justice better than Jordin. (OK, Melinda could probably match her.... maybe...) I think it is so cool that Scott Krippayne was one of the guys who co-wrote the song.

We've Fandangoed our tickets for the first showing of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End tomorrow night. Cannot believe it is nearly 3 hours long. No drinks for me! I don't want to have to get up and miss anything. This is one of those instances where it would be really cool if the rumor of cable companies being able to offer newly-released-in-theater movies on their "On Demand" channels was a reality. At the $40-50 proposed fee, it would still save us some money, as 6 tickets already sets us back that much. Then when you add in the over-priced movie snacks.... cha-ching! Just think of being able to pause it when you need to visit the little girl's room, instead of having to miss a crucial scene (or instead of sitting in your seat with a bladder screaming for release, thinking..."just 10 more minutes...").

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Just stuff

Lots of random things bumping around in the old grey matter today. I figure why fight it? So hang on: this is going to be a mish-mash of topics.

Spring Reading Challenge update: Still working on those last few non-fiction selections on my list. I'm about 1/2-way through Yancey's Prayer book (replacement for Where God Was Born), and more than 1/2-way through Lucado's Facing Your Giants. Same with How to Read the Bible... and Not a Tame Lion. The non-fiction is kicking my rear, I guess. But I did finish the fiction list and have added about a dozen more titles to the read column (since my last update, where I added 9 titles)... unfortunately, I returned many of them to the library without recording the titles; ones I can remember off the top of my head are Gardenias for Breakfast, and Private Justice & Shadow of Doubt (2 Teri Blackstock novels). Books I have here at the house that I've finished are 2 more Blackstock books, Line of Duty and Trial by Fire, Lisa Samson's Club Sandwich (I think my favorite of hers so far), Judy Baer's The Whitney Chronicles, and Confessions of a Super Mom (Melanie Hauser).


The free concert last Saturday night was pretty good. We didn't bring lawn chairs to sit on the ball field and didn't want to stand up in front of the stage, so we made ourselves comfortable in the stands for the show. Lincoln Brewster was definitely better than Todd Agnew, but I enjoyed listening to the things Todd had to say in between songs. (I really think Todd's music is best enjoyed by listening to a studio version rather than live... there were lots of times he just didn't sound like he was quite where he should have been vocally.) Things got started later than they were supposed to and the kids got restless, so we ended up leaving before Todd finished.


Joel has now moved up to the next level in his gymnastics class. I had promised him a uniform once he moved up, so we got that yesterday afternoon. Maybe I can get a picture of him in it today. Because he moved up, I had to switch days for gymnastics; He and Halle's classes run concurrently now so that we are at the gym for 1 hour on Tuesdays instead of 1 1/2 hours on Mondays.


So now I've been to two different ladies' functions for church, the breakfast a week or so ago and a "Ladies' Afternoon Out" this past Sunday afternoon. There were a few more at the breakfast than at the last function, but a few of the same people were at each. Plus Brian and I attended a newcomer's class Sunday afternoon/evening, where we were able to meet some more couples, one of which is another homeschooling military family. It really looks like we will be able to be involved as much as we want/need to here.


More book stuff: I've been lucky to be on the receiving end of some giveaways on other blogs lately. Lara just sent me one of the few Francine Rivers books I haven't read yet, Unshaken. And I was the lucky winner of one of Camy's weekly giveaways, Too Good to Be True, by Trish Perry. And then a few days ago, Carrie drew my name for a giveaway she was sponsoring and I'm looking forward to receiving The List, by Robert Whitlow, from her. I guess I will stop whining that I never win anything now!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

There it goes...

Just watching the $$ fly by this weekend... We took the kids to the movies yesterday afternoon to see the latest Shrek installment. Kids loved it. We laughed as well. I liked the music; these guys have a great way of using old songs in the soundtracks. I wonder how many more Shrek films they'll be able to squeeze out before the Shrek gravy train runs out?

Then I bought 2 tickets for Emily and me to go see the American Idols tour when it comes to Sacramento in July. OUCH. That was painful. But Brian pointed out that he has spent that much taking Noah to baseball games, so it was definitely the right thing to do. All the floor seats were taken already (although there were auctions for floor tickets beginning at $90), but we still managed lower level seats that will hopefully give us a decent view.

I also reserved us a room for the homeschool conference in Modesto at the end of July. Thankfully the conference negotiated pretty good room discounts and we'll be staying at a nice place right next to the convention, a Doubletree. The kids will have their own conference to attend, so they will have plenty to keep them busy while we're attending sessions and shopping. I haven't registered them yet... that will be a few more $$ to add to the outgo.

Surprisingly enough, tonight's activity is actually FREE. We're heading out to the local ballpark (which closes at the end of the month due to not enough support) for a free concert. It's actually a full day of concerts that started earlier today, but we are mostly interested in the last 2 performers, Lincoln Brewster and Todd Agnew.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Still kickin'

We're all still alive here; I've just had plenty of other things to distract me from writing since my last post. Nothing bad or exciting, just the usual list of things to accomplish each day. By the time I've had time to write, I've been more in the mood to just see what everyone else has to say rather than post my meager offerings.


Just 3 weeks left of school for Emily. We may have a little more here at home, trying to finish up things. At any rate, we are going to continue with math through the summer and I also want to focus on writing skills as well. That's something we didn't do enough of at all this year. I think that will be just enough to give us something to do inside during the hottest part of the day.


You know I have to put in my 2 cents on Dancing With the Stars and American Idol. I don't want to say I was happy to see Ian leave DWTS, but I think he was the obvious choice. I am thinking it will come down to Joey and Apolo. I really want Joey to win. I totally agreed with Len's assessment of Apolo's cha-cha: lots of raunch.

I really think there was no easy decision on AI. I like all 3 of the top 3 for different reasons. I guess I agree with the outcome, mostly because I think Jordin and Blake are just more marketable than Melinda. I have no doubt Melinda will go on to great success, though. She should actually be glad she didn't win, as she'll probably be able to have greater input into her first album than if she had to sign the AI contract. That said, I honestly don't know which one I want to win the whole thing... I'm not a "Blaker girl," but I guess I come close. (I've got his studio version of You Should Be Dancin' on my IPod.) I think I'm leaning towards Jordin. Guess we'll find out in a little less than a week!


We'll probably take the kids to see Shrek 3 tomorrow evening. I'll also be "Fandango-ing" tickets for the 8pm show of Pirates of the Caribbean 3 for next Thursday night. Everyone in the house is looking forward to that one!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Friday night recap

The kids had fun today at the park with the base homeschool group. They made t-shirts with spray-on fabric paint and stencils (the paint was in small pump bottles). Then they had a scavenger hunt around the park. Some of the kids, my boys included, enjoyed watching a couple of moms fishing in the pond with their children. Things got exciting when a snapping turtle decided it wanted a taste of their bait. It was a nice sized one, too. We worked for several minutes trying to get the hook out of his jaw. Finally, one of our moms ran back to her house and got the tackle box with some good pliers in it and we were able to get the hook out. I set the turtle down and he high-tailed it straight back into the water. The kids were concerned he was going to bleed to death, but we reassured them that he would probably heal pretty quickly.

After we got home from picking Emily up from school, I played some Old Maid with the kids and then went in the back yard to play catch with Noah. He really threw some heat at me a few times. Even with a ball glove, my hand stung. Halle was trying to figure out how to use the pogo stick, and I tried to show her.... tried being the operative word. I was able to hop on it maybe 2 times before I fell backward and landed flat on my keister. It was HILARIOUS. Thankfully, it didn't hurt ... I guess my extra padding worked.

Brian went to a meeting at church tonight. They are working on developing a Celebrate Recovery program and he is interested in helping out with it. While he was gone, Joel had me working on trying to figure out how to put together a wooden treasure chest kit we've had for several years. It was actually a gift from someone to Emily back when we lived in Ohio. She never was all that interested in putting it together, though. The box had been opened at some point and the instructions were gone. I was able to get most of it done before Brian got home. We left off the false bottom, but I got the chest itself done and the frame for the lid. Tomorrow, Brian will glue and clamp the strips that make up the lid. Then Joel will be able to paint it.

Tomorrow, I'm going to my first women's ministry activity at our new church. The ladies are having a prayer breakfast in the morning. I'm hoping to get to meet and know some new people.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Wednesday ramblings

Ah, Hump Day, lovely Hump Day! It's all downhill from here. Although I suppose that's technically not true, since we have as many things planned for the last 2 days of the week as we had for the first 2-3.

Not even sure where to start today; I've had several topics/thoughts simmering somewhere in the back of my grey matter and I'm afraid if I don't try to pluck them out today, I will totally forget them. My short-term memory has been like a sieve lately... as in handing the tv remote to a child and then no less than 10-15 seconds later, looking for it as if I thought I still had it. On that note, I submit to you this video, emailed to me by my friend Rick (I swear, I thought he had bugged our house after I watched this!):

Guess I will get the TV stuff out of the way next. Heroes is getting better and better. I cannot believe there are only 2 episodes left. I am loving the twists and turns in the plot so close to the end. I am just hoping the ending isn't too much of a cliffhanger. Dancing with the Stars had some great dancing this week. I am totally shocked that Joey was in the bottom two. Does not make me happy one bit! And I felt bad for Billy Ray Monday night. He knows he can't dance. It really wasn't necessary for Bruno to call his dancing "crap." After weeks of enduring their criticism, that was the last straw for Billy Ray and he let Bruno have it. I think he was really hurt and I have a feeling he also regretted letting his temper get the best of him. Lastly... American Idol. Very interesting choice of Barry Gibb night. Should have made it easy for the ladies, since Barry usually sang in their range anyhow! Jordin was my favorite of the night. I thought she sounded great on both of her songs. Kiki didn't do it for me with either of hers. Hated both of them. Melinda sounded great on both of hers, but eh... she always does. I'm with Paula: she needs to give us something else to make us love her more. And despite the fact that I'm not really a beat box kind of person, I really got into Blake's You Should Be Dancin'. His second song was "a'ight," but would probably have been more enjoyable if he'd done something we all knew. I'm looking for Kiki to get the boot, but I guess Blake is vulnerable as well. I won't be happy if he goes this soon.


I don't think I've mentioned on here that we are planning on moving into base housing as soon as something is available. That could be as early as next month or it might be the fall. From what I am hearing from folks I know on base, based on our position in the list and anecdotal references about who is moving out and when, the June/July timeframe sounds very possible. It is becoming increasingly expensive to live off base around here; we spend at least $1000 over our housing allowance each month to cover the rent and utilities. Of course, there will be trade-offs. We'll be downsizing from around 3400 sq. ft. to about 1400 sq. ft. Can you say "garage sale?" I knew you could. Thankfully, anything we don't want to part with but can't fit into the house will be kept in climate-controlled storage for us. Oh, and we don't have to move ourselves. Glory Hallelujah! There's nothing I enjoy less than packing and moving my own household goods. (OK, maybe there are a few things....)


Today we have an orthodontist appointment in the morning for Noah. Then tomorrow morning, Halle gets her second tooth pulled. She already pulled the one that was loose, so that means she will be done with the extractions. Tomorrow evening is piano lessons for her and Noah. Then Friday morning we have a homeschool group activity on base. I have to remember to get to the store for some items I need for it before then. No new movies this week, so we should have a nice evening home on Friday night!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Monday morning musings

Where did the weekend go? From Friday to Sunday, we had something going on all the time, it seems.

  • Friday morning, we got together with the base homeschool group for "PE." We met up at the youth center, which let us use the gym for activities with the kids. Some of the older boys played half-court basketball, while a couple of moms wrangled younger ones into some indoor tball and kickball games. Joel especially loved the kickball. After tiring of basketball, the big boys headed to the racquetball courts; Noah wanted to give that a try, so he and I hit the ball around a little bit. It's been over 20 years since I've played racquetball, so that definitely put us on equal footing!
  • After PE, we went to the BX to pick up a birthday present for one of Halle's new friends, put a little Popeye's chicken into the kids' bellies, and then I dropped Halle off for a birthday party there on base.
  • We came home for a little less than an hour, then headed out to pick up Emily from school. Brian was actually getting off work early/on time, so he volunteered to pick Halle up from her party.
  • We had tickets for the 5:55 Spiderman 3 showing, so we made a quick stop at the McDonald's next to the theater for dinner. For the first time in a long time, all 6 of us took in a movie together. My impressions of the movie (in short form): A little long, seemed to drag a bit in parts, and/or the action was so fast and furious that I often couldn't really see what was happening. Great moral, which was spelled out quite plainly for those who couldn't get it otherwise. It certainly made for good discussion with the kids. Still worth seeing, if only to watch Toby Maguire's little jazz dance routine.
  • Saturday morning we took the 3 younger kids bowling, then lunch at BK, followed by a shopping trip to CostCo.
  • Came home from that, helped Brian clean our bathroom, then he and I went to a retirement party for one of the anesthetists from the base. We stopped off at Nugget Market for cheesecake on the way home (the dessert at the retirement dinner was a *cold* fruit cobbler... ugh).
  • Yesterday we went to church and lunch, and then I came home and worked on laundry.
This week isn't as full as some, but still plenty to do: gymnastics tonight, orthodontist for Noah one day, dentist for Halle another, and a ladies' prayer breakfast on Saturday. And the usual dropping off and picking up of Emily from school woven in between all of that.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

We're all in our places

Well, the family is complete once again. The little ones and I picked up their dad from the airport late last night (11pm, about 2 hours later than we were supposed to, due to thunderstorms in Dallas). I was able to time our arrival so that we parked and waited inside the terminal only 5 minutes before Brian came walking out of the gate area.... always a good thing when you have 3 tired/excited children with you! His baggage came quickly (albeit VERY banged up) and we were out of the parking lot in time to qualify for the free 1/2 hour of parking. Can't complain about that!

Emily has to be at school an hour early today for the National Day of Prayer. The choir is singing for something early this morning and will also be performing at various times today.

Tonight I have a homeschool group meeting, then tomorrow night we'll be taking the kids to see Spiderman 3. We're all looking forward to that one!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Holding out for Heroes

Oh. My. Holy. Heck. Last night's episode of Heroes had to be the best one yet. Didn't see it? Get thee to the website and watch it online. I imagine I will be rewatching this one. I can't believe Emily wasn't here to watch with me; we would have had so much fun last night. She is a blast to watch TV with. I texted her afterwards (knowing she was already in bed in Chicago at that point) to find out if she had gotten to see it, but her reply this morning was in the negative; her group was still at the Navy Pier when it aired. I so wish I had this episode saved on the DVR (which we still haven't used to record anything... just to play DVDs) so we could watch it on a bigger screen together after she gets back. She'll have to settle for watching it online.

I get to go pick her up from the airport tonight, though! And tomorrow night we pick up her dad. Maybe I need to figure out how to use the DVR today.... we'll miss both shows of AI because we'll be on the road during that time. Nah. I'll just look at the clips on YouTube tomorrow.

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