Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Wishes

I wish for you all the happiest memories your heart can hold, all the sweetest gifts your mind could wish for and the biggest hugs from all those you love. Merry Christmas Everyone!

We are off to my parents for Christmas eve and Day, we will return sometime shortly after, depending on weather conditions and the moods of my teens.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Simple


Just a few pictures of two things that caught my eye yesterday. I was waiting, not too patiently, for Hubby to get done with a business phone call. The guy on the other end of the phone would not stop talking, and I was getting restless. Hubby and I had things to do, places to go, get off the phone! While I waited the sun crested some trees behind our house, and ended up shining right in the kitchen window. There is only one reason I enjoy this time of year, and that is the sun is low enough in the sky to shine right into my kitchen. During other times of the year the sun is blocked by a fairly deep overhang. Right now I can get my sun fix just doing the dishes. (That is when the sun decides to finally grace us with it's presence, which is pretty infrequent lately)
So, this is my Love Thursday post. I love, the sun, and the light it brings to my kitchen this time of year. I'm a simple person, really, I am. Hush now, all you people who know me!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Bah Humbug!


I love Christmas, but I hate winter! When I got up this morning it was 25 degrees below zero outside, I won't even whine about the windchill, it was just plain awful. Over the weekend we got over 13 inches of snow. I don't mind snow, if it's just snow and no cold to go with it, but this is ridiculous! I do however like pictures of post storm havoc. This one is off the south side of the roof of my house. The day before we had wind gusts to 40+ mph out of the north west, and this is what happens. No, school was not canceled this week. School has never been canceled here since Miss 15 started. It was called off once during Mr 19's (formerly Mr 18) school career though.

Speaking of Mr 19, he had an interesting experience this weekend. Due to the storm he stayed on campus all weekend. The storm hit his city early Sunday morning and left them with a big dumping of snow and lots of cold weather. Since he can't plug his car in (if you don't understand what I mean by that, you live too far south!) he has decided it best not to start it until the temperatures get above zero, so instead he and his room mate walked to get a meal. Brrrr!
After he went to bed Sunday night, and just an hour past midnight the fire alarms went off in his dorm. He lives on the ninth floor, no elevators during a fire alarm. By the time they got to the bottom floor there was an awful smell. A sewer pipe had burst, and flooded the basement of the dorm. Gross! School officials hustled the students out the door of the dorm, in minus 40 degree wind chills and wearing only their pajamas, and ran them to the nearest dorm to sit in their commons area until Mr 19's dorm could be cleaned up. It took all night. The students got back into their dorm at 11 a.m. the next day. It's finals week.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Complete The Sentence

Feel free to play along in the comments section or on your own blog.

Today I: took Miss 10 shopping for Christmas gifts, she didn't make a lot of progress, I did laundry, made supper, drove and drove and drove some more.

Tomorrow I will: try really hard to stay warm- we are under a blizzard warning. I hope to finish decorating, bake and wrap some gifts.

I'm looking forward to: some time with Hubby tonight, sitting still and having a drink.

I could pass on: this would be a long, long list. Lutefisk ranks right up there, as does liver and onions, rap music.... I'm one picky woman.

Newest song I like: I am so ashamed: Hot and Cold-Katy Perry

Last show I saw: I can't even answer this, I haven't seen one in years, and even then it was just local theater. Oh wait, I saw Missoula Children's Theater Rumplestiltskin. Does that count?

Something aggravating: children and adults who cough and sneeze and don't cover their mouths.

One thing you may not know about me: I'm a control freak

I can still: listen to 80's hair bands without getting annoyed

Gift I'd want if money was no object: My sister moving back to ND, a vacation alone with my Hubby, somewhere warm.


Tag, you're it!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Little People




Last week was a busy week. I was fortunate enough to have SuperSister and her daughter staying with us. I tried to chip in and watch the little monster whenever I had a free moment so that SuperSis could get some work done. It was a blast. My niece is part fireball, and kept me on my toes. We were all lucky enough to get in on her first few steps in life. She is determined to walk before her first birthday, which is on Christmas Day. She was brilliant with our fat cat, and he never once got frustrated with her (A miracle in itself). Like all kids her age she has the most interesting idiosyncrasies in her personality. She gets frustrated with her limitations, and with ours, and makes the most interesting noises. She loves to repeat sounds she hears, even if it's a doorbell, music or a siren, and she's got great pitch.

The day after SuperSis left for her in-laws, I got to babysit my nephew for a day. It was fun chasing him around the house for a while, but he was feeling rough, and wasn't his usual self. Although that was ok, because I got lots of snuggle time that way. We ate lots of peanut butter and ice chips. We also built lots of block towers and knocked down lots of block towers.

The pics are of the two of them. They both had to thoroughly examine the Christmas tree. My arms got tired holding them up to check out each ornament. But it was worth it. Having nieces and nephews is an amazing experience. But the bonus part is that I don't have to keep them overnight. So other than having my own big babies who are coughing, wheezing and sneezing, (and keeping me up!) I get to sleep at night, but still snuggle up the little ones during they day.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Verdict


The verdict is in, and Miss 10 has decided she loves her new room. The photos above were taken just after we finally finished everything. It took forever! The artwork wall is picture that she has done in various art classes. The dots around the curtains and doors are from Target. They added just the perfect touch. The colors and layout of the room are the workings of a mind with a bit of ADD, but also with the help of a mother who didn't let her go hog wild. It's perfect for Miss 10 and really suits her personality.

We've been busy enjoying spending time with SuperSister and her daughter. More tales to come about the niece who growls, and sings, and dances.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Irony

Remember when I wrote this post? And I whined and complained, and then whined and complained some more. And then at the end, I said there was more to the story, but didn't want to bore you? Well, now there is even MORE to the story.

Yesterday Miss 15 was ill, so didn't coach swimming. So Miss 10 had to be in Sally's swim group. Sally's group is just half a level above the one Miss 10 is normally in. Well, as of yesterday Sally has decided that Miss 10 should be in her group. So, irony.... you got me again!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Hairless

In my world, I stress. I stress about ridiculous and minuscule things. I stress about all the big things, and all the medium things in between. I stress about the kids grades, hubby's job, pretty much anything that can be stressed about no matter how tiny, I stress about it. I'm not sure if it's an inherited issue, although it doesn't feel like I grew up with anyone as anxious as I am, but there are days when I even drive myself crazy.

Lately my days have been full, Hubby's days have been full, and our lives have been swamped. Because of that, my stress level has been (self imposed, I know) high. My neck and shoulders pay the price for all that tension and eventually I head to the chiropractor for a little help. Today was one of those days. I headed over and listened as my neck and back cracked to all high heaven and I was very grateful. Where as Hubby and Mr 18 whine like crazy about how incredibly painful the chiro is, I love it. It's a great relief when I leave, and it's never painful during an adjustment.

I headed for groceries, carried heavy bags and put things away on high shelves. I stretched under counters, into cabinets and behind things that I was too lazy to move. I think I just shot any of the progress the adjustment would have made. Then I looked at my to do list, and I stressed, then I looked in the fridge and there on the shelf next to the milk is a bottle of limoncello. Do you think it's too early in the day to start drinking?

Our weekend was supposed to be incredibly productive. Friday night Hubby and I made a list of things to accomplish. (yes, I'm one of those people!) Then Saturday came, and I spent half the day doing Miss 15's hair and makeup for a formal dance, I had to whip up an appetizer for her to take along and we had to go to mass where Miss 10 served. Then a big mix up caused Miss 10's plans for Saturday evening to fall through, and her heart was broken. So instead of working on my list, Hubby and I played games with Miss 10 all evening. Sunday morning I woke up early to get started on that list. I got a few things done when we had a guest arrive unexpectedly and stay for 2 hours. At 3:00 we had a banquet to attend that lasted over 2 hours. So that list, yup, you guessed it, it's still not done, or close to done. I'm going to tear my hair out!

So when you see a hairless woman walking down the street, all hunched over with a dazed look in her eyes, that would be me, stressed, drunk, and in need of an adjustment.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Advise Me!

Miss 15 is a swim coach. She is not the head coach, she is just a coach, she is also a swimmer, meaning when she is done coaching she goes straight to swim with her group.

Here is where I'm having some "issues" that I'm hoping someone can give me a little perspective on:

Every day I take Miss 15 to the pool about 3:10. She is always the first coach there so she sets up both pools, meaning she puts out 4 lane ropes minimum in each pool, she puts up two sets of backstroke flags across each pool including moving the very heavy poles (8 total) to their spots and then stretching flags. As other coaches arrive some of them help, but generally Miss 15 has at least half the work done, if not all of it. The Assistant Head Coach, Sally, never arrives in time to help set up. I know this, because she is at the same place I am at that time, picking up her kids from school and bringing them to the pool. She walks out at the last minute just in time to start coaching her group. Meanwhile the pool is set up, and Miss 15 and the other young coaches have been in charge of all the early arrivals of swimmers and watching them, keeping them safe, helping put on caps and goggles etc.

In spite of all the work Miss 15 does before hand, Sally always has some smart mouthed remark at the end of Miss 15's coaching duties. Yesterday she complained, loudly, about Miss 15 releasing her students too early from practice. (She did not, another coach has previously told her her group should be done at that time. However, it was not the head coach) In fact, Sally made Miss 15's swimmers stay with her group for the extra 15 minutes until she thought practice should be done. Miss 15 went and swam with her group. Sally then made it a point to complain LOUDLY as Miss 15 was swimming that Miss 15 hadn't taken down the lane ropes she had used, even though Sally's group was still in the water and using them. So Miss 15 hopped out of her swim time, and went and took down lane ropes.

Here is my dilemma. Do I interfere? Do I talk to Sally, or the head coach and find out exactly what they want from Miss 15 and her group. Or do I keep my mouth shut and let what happens to Miss 15 and her job just happen and let her deal with it on her own. The head coach has never said anything to Miss 15. But, Sally, already has issues with Miss 15 in other areas of life, in general, she just doesn't like her. Sally and I don't necessarily get along all that well, in case you hadn't guessed. I feel like Miss 15 gets bad mouthed by Sally at every opportunity in spite of all the hard work she does. Sally also has been known to interfere with Miss 15's coaching when what she really should be doing is coaching her own group. I won't start with Sally's aversion to Miss 10 and her irresponsibility in that area. I'll save that for another post.

What's the consensus?

Monday, November 17, 2008

One Down, One To Go

We returned from our State Swim trip on Saturday evening. It was good to walk in the door knowing that was the last trip for high school swimming for a little while. It's not that I don't love watching Miss 15 swim, because I do. I like seeing her in the water and having fun outside of the water as well. What stresses me out is knowing that there is a chance she will have another heart spell and that stresses her out.

We've started her on medication again. After her ablation we thought the problem would be taken care of, but alas it was not to be. She suffers from supra ventricular tachycardia and lately we have been trying hard to get her meds straightened out to prevent any episodes at all. We were able to go a full two weeks without an episode that lasted more than a few seconds, so we thought we were on the right path.

On Friday, during the warm ups for the state meet, Miss 15 had a "heart spell." She got out of the water and worked on controlling it, and her coach helped as well, but by the time I got to the meet and the coach found me, Miss 15 was completely wiped out. Her heart races so fast that to her body it feels like she has ran for miles. We had her lay down and attempted to keep her warm. In spite of all we can do for her, we can't make her recovery time any shorter and she had to scratch one of her events. She was devastated. All year her only goal was to swim at the state meet, and now she was being denied one of her events. She was heartbroken, and I was for her. She was able to participate in the Parade of Athletes, though. Fortunately a couple of her team mates put their arms around either side of her and practically carried her through it. We were very grateful for her friends at that point. Luckily Miss 15 was able to recover a bit by the time her next race came around, and she was swam her backstroke event. Although not her best time, Hubby and I were so happy that she finished the race and was able to get out of the water on her own. Miss 15 was upset, naturally, but eventually realized that it was all ok.

Later that evening, along with the other team mates who didn't make finals, Miss 15 enjoyed cheesecake for dessert, a big meal of chicken alfredo, Cheetos and soda, all things that she had given up for swim season.

Overall the season was trying, rough at times, but successful. Miss 15 improved considerably this year, and she learned how to work really hard. We are thankful for a coach who understands her limitations, but doesn't penalize her for them. And we are glad it's done....

BUT... today starts another season, this one includes both girls on a USA swim team. Miss 15 is coaching for 2 hours a day and swimming for 1. Miss 10 swims for two hours a day. Guess who Miss 10 is being coached by. You got it, Miss 15. I may have to wear a referee uniform and stand nearby at every practice.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

20 Years

I've never forgotten before. In all the years we have been married, I've never forgotten the anniversary of our first date. I've nearly always planned a special meal or at least a small token of time together to celebrate. But this year, the date simply passed by and it never crossed my mind. I was standing in front of the washing machine sorting clothes and thinking about the many hundreds of times I had done the exact same thing, and for how many years I had been doing it. Suddenly my brain caught an inkling of a thought that had flitted through my mind. I stopped and tried to catch it. I knew it had something to do with November. But what was it?

You know when you have a certain thought that just tugs at you, and you know it's something you are supposed to remember, but it's just out of reach? I spent time this morning trying hard to figure it out. Finally I just sat down, actually sat still and it came to me.

Twenty years. I have now been with Hubby for 20 years of my life. That is half of my life. It's hard to fathom, but it's also hard to imagine life without him.

Yesterday Miss 10 was teasing us, Hubby kissed me after he got home from a long journey and she was all grossed out by the sight. Hubby asked her why that was bad, why he couldn't kiss me, and told her that I loved him, it was ok, why did she think I married him anyway? Her reply, "Well apparently someone knocked her over the head and made her think you were some hot guy that she liked!" We laughed, sometimes she's just so funny and quick.

But the truth is no one had to knock me over the head. No one could be more spoiled then I have been for the last 20 years. I am lucky and I'm hoping for at least triple that many more years... Happy 20 years of being together Hubby!

Happy Love Thursday everyone.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Drivin"

There are things you do for your kids, and you wonder why... For instance:

Over the past weekend Miss 15 was swimming in her regional swim meet. It's a pretty big deal, but not life changing. Also last week, we had a major snowstorm in parts of our state, not where we live, but where we are traveling through to get to said swim meet. The interstate was closed in places along with smaller highways and various areas of no travel advised. The swim team left the day after the storm was on it's way out of the state, and only hours after the interstate had been opened up again.

Hubby, Miss 10 and I hopped in the car on Friday night and started out for the swim meet as well. The roads in our part of the state are perfect, but after about 110 miles they turned into a mess. We debated continuing on, but persevered anyway. Miss 15 and her team had made it, so we really felt we should be there to cheer her on in her quest.

Mr 18 on the other hand decided that he had to come home for the weekend. There was hunting to be done and nothing was going to stop him from that enjoyment. He traveled completely across the state to come home and make a mess of my house. On the way they got stuck once in front of his grandparents house when they were making a quick pitstop. By the time they arrived in their hometown his car was encased in ice and slop.

Hubby, Miss 10 and I watched Miss 15 in her swim meet, sitting in the pool area for 3 plus hours before we hopped back in the van to drive home. We had a total of eight and a half hours in the car that day, plus all the sitting at the pool. My tailbone was raising a protest with the rest of my body by the time we arrived home on Saturday night. Why do we drive on horrible roads to watch Miss 15 swim for all of 6.5 minutes? Because apparently we are insane! And because we got to watch Miss 15, as a sophomore, swim one of the top 50 free times in our region.

I added up the total miles we all managed over the weekend driving from town to town in three different vehicles. Between all of us, we put in 2,264 miles. What is wrong with us?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

And They Do

I don't listen to a lot of music, I can't really find my niche. I like a little of everything, and not a lot of anything. Hubby says I'm just hard to please.

I can't remember when I first heard it, a song by Trace Adkins called Then They Do.
It is one of those songs that makes me literally sob. So beware before you click on that link. It just about kills me to think of being in this house, and the kids all gone.

What made me think of this at this moment? The election. Yup, one small point in time has my mind reeling with the possibilities. Mr 18 got to vote for the first time. Although I'm nearly certain we had opposing opinions I was so proud that he took time to cast his ballot. Then on Tuesday night Miss 10 had an assignment dealing with the election. Nothing unusual for a 5th grader, but her avid interest in the election has blown me away. In the weeks preceding the election we discussed the candidates, the issues, the reasons people feel certain ways about a person, etc. She had and still has the most insightful questions. There were times as the states were being "given" to a certain candidate that she could spit out the number of electoral college votes that particular state had. I was floored. I was also sad, because it's a mere 3 years until Miss 15 can vote and only 8 until Miss 10 does, and by the time they can vote, they have gone, and my job is over. It's sad and exciting to think about that.

In the small theme of songs that can make you cry, here's another one. Where it does make me sad, it brings Hubby to his knees, Nate, I bet it will for you as well. Grab a tissue.

And this one... reminds me of my grandparents. And my grandfather who has been gone much longer now than I care to think about, and if my memory is right, it was on this date that he had a stroke that he never recovered from. He was probably my favorite person in the world when I was a child. I miss you, Papa! (Mom, don't even click there!)

What songs get to you? And Borgen girls... what is your favorite memory of Papa B? I remember being chased around the kitchen table with his dirty face, and his teeth out, squealing with glee. I also remember riding in the tractor or combine with J.J. and getting in trouble 'cause we laughed... A LOT!

Friday, October 31, 2008

It Must Be Bad

Last Friday I got to finally get a haircut and a color. Shhhh, don't tell though, everyone thinks this is my natural color and it changes changes shades randomly all on it's own. I hadn't had a cut since June, and was very anxious to get it done.

I had been growing my hair out for a couple of years. I have really thin hair, so it didn't exactly end up like a gorgeous cascade of locks. It was more like a thin strand of blah hanging down my back, plus I curled it all, every strand, nearly every day. It was a lot of work. I did like being able to french braid it when I had to spend days outside in 30+mph winds and when I had to spend days in the humidity of a swim meet. But mostly by the end of the day it was just flat and droopy.

So I had been warning Hubby that once I turned 40 I was chopping it off. It's just too much work. When it came time to hit the salon I gave my stylist the word that she could do what she wanted with the length. I also told her what I wanted with the color. She decided to do an inverted bob, which means the front is longer than the back. She cut about 8 inches of hair off the back and it comes just to the nape of my neck. The front nearly touches my shoulders. I left the salon and cried. It wasn't so much the cut, but the color was horrible. To me it looked like I needed to wash my hair, I had stripes of dark and light, and it was plain awful.

By the time I got back to my mom's house I knew I had to do something. Mom convinced me to call my stylist and tell her (thank you mom!) that I did not like the color. Luckily Madame Stylist had no problem having me come back in to get it fixed up the next morning. In fact when I walked in the door, she agreed with me, it did look awful. She added and subtracted some things and the color is much more to my liking. I was so glad she fixed it, and that she didn't charge me a thing!

The cut is another story apparently. Whenever I go somewhere and see people who haven't seen it they say, "Oh, you cut off your hair."

"Yes, I did."

"Do you like it?" They'll ask.

"I'm still deciding." Is usually my reply, because I am. I love having to do a lot less work. I don't necessarily love the look, but I thought it was just me, getting used to a new hairstyle is hard.

But... no one has yet to say, "Oh, it looks nice!" or "I like you haircut!" or any such utterance of any similar words.

So my only assumption can be... It Must Be Bad...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Argh!

This photo is supposed to be the 3rd photo of the last post... so go read the post before this to completely understand what this is. For some reason, every time I try and add it to the previous post, the order of the picture changes... and I am not taking time to figure out why... I'm lazy that way.

Progress








I know you have given up on me. I've been so slow at posting recently. The computer hasn't been on my to-do list much these last few days/weeks. Right now my to-do list is consisting of a little home remodeling. No huge projects, but projects that in order to save money, Hubby and I pitch in and do as much as we can before the professionals come in to finish up what we start.

The first picture is of Miss 15's room. (Maybe I've posted that before. In my weary brain I just can't remember.) We had ripped up the carpet in what used to be Mr 18's room, and began choosing paint colors, carpet, etc. to transform what was once a very smelly boys room into a teen girls idea of what her room should look like. Since I was doing the work, bringing home the paint chips, and generally own the house, I got to have a say as well, and I was able to "lead" Miss 15 in the directions I wanted her to go for her room. But, in the end the decision really was hers, except for the carpet. The second picture is the after photo of the same area of the room. We did not paint all the walls the gorgeous shade of robin's egg blue, but only 2 of them, it is gorgeous in her room.

*In order to see the photo I talk about here, you'll have to go to another post, the one entitled Argh! Sorry 'bout that.
The third photo is of what used to be Miss 15's room, but is slowly becoming Miss 10's room. Yes, that is the paint color she chose. The interesting choosing of a young girls mind. Hmmmmm, I know what you are thinking "Wow! That is really bright!" Yes, yes it is, in fact this room has 2 windows and when the sun is shining in them, now that I have it painted this color on 2 of the walls, it feels like I may need sunglasses. But, bear with us, we do have a plan in mind, and it is a tween room, color is their friend! Lots and lots of color. The carpet has also been installed and the painting and wood polishing has been completed as well. Stay tuned for photos of the final product if I ever get it done.

We also had an egress window installed. Hubby dug the 5 foot deep hole, and early this week the concrete cutter and contractor finished up most of the project. I am in charge now of painting (Yes more painting) the trim that was put up in the window. The room it is in looks spectacular, almost like you aren't even in a basement. This will eventually become Mr 18's room and we will be moving his things there as soon as we move Hubby's office into what used to be Miss 10's room, and that won't happen until I once again get that room painted and polished. Sigh... it's a never ending vicious circle of home ownership.
So I am ending this post and headed to Miss 10's current room which is actually the office and putting things into Miss 15's old room so that Miss 10 can have her new room and.... confused yet?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Festivus For The Restuvus

At the school Miss 10 goes to, we don't do Halloween parties. (I know! It's simply horrible.. wink wink!) Instead we have a Fall Festival. All of the grades party together for about an hour at the end of the day. It's really loud, it's very busy and it's highly stressful (for the organizers) for about an hour. We have parent volunteers to man different stations and for those who can't volunteer we ask for donations for snacks and supplies.

I have been the co-chair for this event for about 6 or 7 years now. I know, I'm just glutton for punishment, aren't I? But we have to put in 30 hours of volunteer time per family, and this usually gets us off to a good start. Typically I put in about 9 to 10 hours of time doing the planning, shopping, prepping and actual partying. None of it is stressful until the actual party. Then I'm running around making sure everyone has what they need, and delivering things to classrooms and cleaning up, and generally feeling pretty much on the verge of a heart attack.

Tomorrow is our Fall Festival. We are gathering all the grades in the gym, dividing them up into mixed age groups and then spending 10 minutes at a station totaling one hour. We will have 6 stations total. We have done some great stations in the past, and try to cater to each age group. This year we will have 2 relay stations. They are always the biggest hit of the festival. One of them involves putting on old, big, baggy, clothes and the other I'm still planning. Why am I still planning something the day before the event? Well, because the station we had planned involved apples, and no one was willing/able to donate apples for us. We can't afford enough apples for each of 120 or so kids, so I am stuck doing last minute planning. Not that a relay is all that difficult to plan, but I'm hoping for a brilliant revelation of something new and exciting that caters to ages 5 through 12. Sigh....

In other news, the play was cute, difficult to hear, but cute. Miss 10 was amazingly loud enough for everyone to hear (One of the few) and she wasn't shy, she wasn't totally out there for the world to see, but she wasn't shy, and that is what we hoped for. It's a huge, huge step for her.

Meanwhile, I am in the middle of this festivus, home remodeling projects, and I leave on Thursday for a trip for a few days. So I'm feeling a little stressed, and cranky, maybe I just need a drink~ a stiff drink.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Lights Camera....

I spent two hours sitting in a cold gymnasium yesterday watching a group of 66 children audition for The Missoula Children's Theater directors of Rumpelstiltskin.
I've seen these auditions before and they are always fascinating.

This year Miss 10 was once again auditioning. Typically I stay to watch so that every so often I can make eye contact with her and remind her to smile, STOP TALKING, or sit still. She has been in their shows before, playing a duck in The Frog Prince and a doll in Pinocchio. The last two years she hasn't been able to perform however. Last year she didn't get a part, and the previous year we were at the state Cross Country meet during the performances. So this year she was anxious and nervous that she wouldn't get a part again.

If you haven't had the privilege of watching a MCT show, you really should take the time. The cast is set, the practices are done and the show goes on all in less than a week. Sure, it's not a big Broadway performance, but it's entertaining anyway, and the kids are always adorable. It's nothing Tony worthy by any means, but it's a chance for the kids to perform, learn and create, and really can you ask for more?

I was incredibly proud of Miss 10 during the audition. There was no sign of the usual shy routine from her. She didn't duck her head when she was supposed to give her lines. She didn't shuffle around during the tiny little dance number and she didn't mumble her name when asked. She actually tried very hard to do exactly as the directors asked. When she was supposed to be sad, she was droopy and glum, when she was to be overly jubilant she was big and expressive and when she was supposed to be mad there was stomping of feet and crossing of arms with a big old pout thrown in for good measure. More than one parent commented to me on the big change in her. It was a good feeling. Even if she didn't get a part this time, I was thrilled to see the side I know of her showing up to others.

The directors rated, debated, wrote down, moved kids around, made lines of children, made circles of children, listened to them sing in groups, watched them memorize a short dance routine and perform it, paid attention to who listened to precisely the right directions, watched who spent the entire time screwing around and after two hours they magically cast the show with the the exact right people in the exact right parts. The kids we know to be performers got the big parts, the kids who typically are the ones we are always asking to be quite, listen or sit still got the "villager" parts in the background. It never ceases to amaze me how the directors can pick out those kids in a mass audition like that.

Miss 10 did get a part, she's not the star, but she's not a villager. She's in a small group as a Wizard. She has a small speaking part and just enough lines to memorize to give her a little challenge and a brief moment in the spotlight.

Our week will be insane with school from 8:15 to 3:20 and rehearsals from 4:00 to 8:30, but it's only a week. We can survive one week~ I hope.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

NOT FUN!


It is the 12th of October and once again Mother Nature has decided we deserve a little wake up call. Here is what my yard looks like this morning. Miss 10 and Hubby just went outside to build a snow man and try to rescue some of our trees. Miss 15 and I are inside pouting and whining. We are under a winter storm warning until 1 a.m Monday morning. Great. We had a power outage early this morning. Fortunately it was back on within 2 hours, but it did get chilly, and I was glad for my down blanket.

Miss 15 got back from a swim meet last night. Their bus ride down and back was in lots of snow and freezing rain. I spent 2 days with my fingers crossed and prayers in my heart waiting for them to return safely. They were on the road for 6 hours each way. The good news is they are home safe, and Hubby and I are a little more relaxed. In other good news she qualified for State in another event, the 100 back.

Miss 10 is beside herself with glee at the thought of being outside in the snow and playing. She's insane really, what kind of person actually wants to go outside in the snow? Right now she has been outside 3 times since she got up, and she's only been awake for 2 hours.
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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Over (Home) Work

Miss 10 has been working very hard at school lately. She's anxious to "catch up" with the other kids in the subjects that she struggles in. I mentioned not too long ago that we had reviewed her IEP and changed it to focus more on Math. She is doing better already, not well, but better. We have made modifications for her in spelling and math, the rest of the subjects are just like everyone else.

In the last few weeks, little things keep getting added to our homework schedules. This is for the whole class, not just Miss 10. I'm not opposed to homework, I don't mind helping out when needed, and Miss 10 and I do extra things just to get her on par with everyone else. What I do mind is the level to which the extras are starting to interfere with life outside of school.

Band started last week: Great, I love band (I was a band nerd, what can I say?) So Miss 10 has started and is enjoying playing the tenor saxophone, although it is nearly the size that she is! This requires practice of course: 100 minutes per week. That's fine, we decided on 20 minutes a night/5 nights a week. It works better to have free nights to be able to switch as we need.

Reading: One of the ongoing reading assignments at school is to read 15 minutes a night, I'm all for that as well. We get a calendar every month and record our minutes on that.

Typing: Don't get me started. This is something that was just added to our schedule. They are to practice AT HOME 15 minutes a night every night of the week.

Did you keep track of that? So far, without any homework from the school day included, that equals 50 minutes of homework! Essentially before homework even starts, we have worked almost an hour at other homework. Now, typically Miss 10 also has to study 20 spelling words every night, we pre-read all the reading book stories a week before the class covers them, I pre-teach the math lesson each night, we do flashcards of multiplication every night (Miss 10 can't memorize, can.not...we have to teach her to figure them out by adding) usually there is a minimum of one other assignment a night, sometimes 2. That's just school work. Miss 10 also has to eat supper as a family with the rest of us, (Oh the horror!) she must shower every night and she needs to have her bags and anything else she will need ready for the morning the night before. Do you see any problems with this schedule?

Where does the time to play or be involved in any outside activities take place?

When do you find time to spend together as a family?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Apparently I'm It

I've been tagged by Allen Fieldhouse, so you are stuck with it. Blame her, not me!

Trios: 3 joys, 3 fears, 3 goals, 3 current obsessions and 3 random facts:

Joys
1. Adorable nieces and nephews coming to visit before they get too old! (AHEM!)
2. Watching my kids experience successes that they have worked hard for.
3. The love I get from Miss 10 just because she has a sudden urge for it.

Fears
1. Mr 18 being away at college and knowing one of his suite-mates is 21.
2. Hubby's job; too much machinery, too much driving, too much danger.
3. Flying

Goals
1. Getting the girls bedrooms all painted, re-carpeted and them transferred over to their new rooms ASAP.
2. Getting Hubby's new office painted and his stuff moved in.
3. Installing a new egress window downstairs which will lead to a bedroom for Mr 18.

Current Obsessions
1. Reading books and magazines and anything else I can get my hands on.
2. Getting Miss 15's medication working properly so she can continue swimming.
3. Miss 10's education and how I can make it better/easier/more beneficial for her.

Random Facts
1. I despise putting gas on my vehicle, the smell sticks to me and I end up with a migraine. I beg anyone to do it for me.
2. I hate with a passion shopping for clothing for myself. Shoes, hooray! Clothes, BOO!
3. I only have 9 songs on my Ipod touch because I can't make up my mind!

I tag my sister, La Reveuse, and whoever is reading right now! Ha!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Keep Out!

I have a list in my head of things that I know shouldn't be allowed in my house. They are things over which I have NO SELF CONTROL. Mostly, it's food, naturally. I know my weaknesses, but that doesn't mean that I always have control over them.

Some things I've learned: I've been able to learn to live without more than one soda a day. Soda, specifically Diet Mountain Dew, got me through college. Dairy Queen, I worked there for a couple of years, and I swear there is something put into the ice cream that creates addicts, for years after I worked there I craved it every single day. When I worked there I ate it, every single day. In some strange twist of fate when I worked at DQ I never gained a pound, not a single pound. It was some sort of miracle. My Grandma Borgen's cooking, she was the best cook, and now that she has gotten to the point where she rarely cooks anymore, I've gotten to the point where I don't have to stuff myself to the point of unbuttoning my pants. I can't list the amount of foods of hers that I gorged on every time she made them, but I would walk miles to have one of her home made doughnuts again.

We eat fairly healthy here in my house. There is a fruit and vegetable on the table for every meal, oftentimes more than one. We don't deep fry anything, I rarely bread anything I cook, and I've gotten good at tweaking recipes with cream, butter, etc. in them. I don't elimate them, that would be a waste of a good recipe, but I can modify the recipe a bit.

There are things though, that shouldn't even be brought through my door:

real potato chip~ it doesn't matter what kind they are, if they are in my house, I have an overwhelming compulsion to eat them

potato chip dip~ again, any kind, if it's in the house, and there are chips available, I eat it. If it's at someone else's house, I eat it. I have no self control!

Toffee covered peanuts~Menards carries the giant containers of these, Miss 15 and I have finished one in less than a week. Someone help me!

Hot Tamales~ we actually keep these in the van to eat and try to stay awake on long trips. I made the mistake of buying one for the house... and then I made the mistake again, and again.

Brach's (and only Brach's) chocolate covered malted milk balls~I hate the bridge mix, too many things to weed through to get to the malted milk balls! (If they are the candy coated Brach's chocolate malted milk ball eggs that are available at Easter... oh my!)

Lindt Chocolates~ Although I have solved this problem, I keep my chocolate in the bedroom, that way I have to walk farther if I really want one, and usually I'm much too lazy for that.

I am sure this list could be longer, but you've probably seen enough, and I'm hungry now!

So, what are your weaknesses? You know you have them. What can't you keep in the house for fear of eating an entire box/carton/package?


Thursday, October 2, 2008

End of Summer


Well, it's here, the end of summer. The end of warm weather, sunshine, barefeet, capris, t-shirts, sunglasses and walking in the grass. Sigh... Today though, is gorgeous, warm and sunny with little wind, and not a cloud to be seen. I'm busy enjoying it because the forecast is calling for rain, cold and windy. Hooray....

Today though we are headed to a Cross Country meet where Miss 10 will run. It's almost too hot to be running, it should be about 81 when the races start. I'll need to cool her down with a dousing of ice water when she finishes. It will be our first CC meet since Mr 18 graduated. I think I may not be in shape to run around and watch them from different perspectives like I used to. But, I'll work on it, maybe. Maybe I'll just watch her start and finish. After all, last year I nearly missed the finish because I had ran off to watch her come by in another spot, and she's faster than I am at getting back.

The warmth today reminded me of our favorite vacation spot. I looked back at a few pictures, and longed to head to the lake again. Above are some of my favorite views from our rented cabin at Kavanaugh's on Sylvan Lake in Minnesota. The girls talk often about how they really want to go back. I want to go back too. So the pictures, are my Love Thursday post. Because of all the vacations we have taken (not that there are very many!) those were the ones we loved the most.
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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Picture Day

While we were out of town this weekend I told Miss 10 she could pick out a new shirt for picture day at school this week. It's a big deal because it is also uncoordinated dress day, meaning they don't have to wear their school uniforms. That is a BIG deal.

We went to the mall, something we don't have in our small town, and went on a quest for a new shirt and a fall jacket. We hit every store that might have something for her as far as jackets, no luck at all. There were lots and lots of winter jackets, but nothing for those chilly days that aren't actually cold.

Now on to the whining about clothing. Miss 10 is a girl, she's not a complete girlie-girl, but she is not a tomboy either. Because I am an awful mother, I don't buy her things with names splashed all over the front. Outside of Old Navy (which for whatever reason had nothing available for her age group) every store we went in had Hannah Montana, High School The Musical 3, Cheetah Girls and some other garbage all over their clothing. It was infuriating! Who buys those things? If it didn't have trash spread all over the front, then it was a little too "bad girl" image for Miss 10 to be allowed to wear: off the shoulder shirts, low cut tops, you get the picture. My daughter is 10 years old...she's not about to go out of the house dressed like a floozy. (oops, dating myself there, aren't I?) She also doesn't constantly want to wear clothing from her overflowing supply of sports t-shirts. She only will wear those for actual sports practices. She was frustrated and I was frustrated. Not a pretty picture.

We did end up finding a cute clearance baby doll aqua colored shirt. Although it wasn't exactly what she was looking for, we amped the cute factor with a new sparkly silver headband. Hopefully the fake smile she is famous for stayed in her pocket, and didn't make an appearance for the pictures.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Full Plate

We had hoped to be a little less busy this fall. With one less child at home, you would think that it would be a little easier to keep up, but really it isn't.

Beginning on Saturday and leading until this upcoming Sunday we have quite the list:
-3 swim meets, 2 of which we work at helping with set up, tear down, timing, etc.
-2 potluck suppers where luckily I am not planning them, just providing for them.
-between the 4 of us we will be traveling two to three and a half hours out of town on trips 4 different times and in 6 different vehicles.
-the tearing apart of one bedroom to be painted, re-carpeted and moved into
-the painting of said bedroom
-tearing out carpet
-5 swim practices
-2 cross country practices
-jobs
-1 meeting with a teacher
-3 much, much earlier than normal morning alarm clock days
That's the extras on our list, on top of the normal day to day homework, meals and cleaning. It's not that we can't keep up, because we can. It's just the excuse I am giving you for not putting up a new post now and then. Oh, that plus the fact that no one comments so it feels as though I am talking to dead air. Hello??? Hello???

Friday, September 19, 2008

Baby Steps

In the grand scheme of things Miss 10 is a normal 10 year old girl with little quirks that turn on my radar and make me take notice now and then. She's so different from the other two children that live in my house that I sometimes forget that they are alike in many ways as well, more physical then anything, but other ways too. Like their sense of humor and what makes them get incredibly frustrated and their love of completely annoying the crap out of each other.

Today Miss 10 was doing some of the announcing at mass. Why is that a big deal you ask? Because you see, it's in front of a big group of people, it's not in her comfort zone and she has the option of saying no. Which she has, many times. It's not like this is something she has never done before. She has gotten up in front of the church and done things before. She serves at mass, she has done a reading at mass, she takes up the gifts, etc. But, this was with priests she had gotten used to, priests she knew well enough to shake their hand after mass and maybe, on a good day, speak to.

This summer we got 2 new priests. Miss 10 has not spent much time with either of them. Last weekend she served mass for the first time with one of the new priests and it was different then they used to do it. She worried and stressed and all three servers did make mistakes. To her, that's devastating, making a mistake in front of lots of people. So when her teacher asked her on Monday if she would like to do some of the announcing, I fully would have expected her to say no. That would be typical. But she didn't, she said yes! It feels like a big step, it feels important, like a little of her shell broke and she's taking those baby steps on her own without me forcing it. It feels like a Fabulous Friday moment, and she was awesome!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I Don't Feel Different





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I don't feel any different than I did on September 16, but apparently I am supposed to. I didn't wake up, look in the mirror and see a new crop of wrinkles and age spots. Those have been there for a while now. I didn't gain 30 pounds over night. I managed that after having 3 children. So although physically I don't feel any different now that I've turned 40, I guess mentally I am supposed to be more mature. Sorry folks, it didn't happen. I still laugh at inappropriate body noise humor. I still think and act the same way, maybe 50 will make all the difference.

On other notes, I had a wonderful day yesterday. Hubby stayed home and spoiled me all day long. You can see what I did most of the day in the first photo. I sat with me feet up enjoying a little sunshine. Well, I did that until the kids got out of school, but pretend it was all day. The photos are from the picnic Hubby took me on for lunch. Isn't the view gorgeous? And that's only one direction, I was surrounded by those stunning views on all sides.

I requested no parties from Hubby, just time alone with him, so the picnic was perfect. Although getting there was a pain. It's not far out of town, but we ran into road construction and had to sit and wait for a pilot car. While we waited we debated whether just to turn around and go somewhere else, but in the end we were happy we didn't. We had the place to ourselves, the sun was shining, the wind helped to keep the bugs down (although we did have to move to the back of the pickup, apparently ants still come out in the wind) and the company was just what I asked for.

Later we shared supper with BabyBrother and SuperSister-In-Law. Nephew came along, too, but didn't eat much, so he didn't really get to share supper, but he did love dessert!

I was spoiled and loved and Mr 18 even called. (After a little coaxing from Hubby I believe) I received birthday wishes from family and friends and Miss 10 and her friends put out an interesting display of black and death. So in the end, turning 40 was the same as turning 39, really just another day. I'm still the same me reveling in the luck that has brought me this far in life.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Fair or no?

A simple question for everyone. Miss 15 is taking an advanced science class this year. We opted out of the advanced English in order to afford her more time away from homework. With swimming, 2 advanced classes and geometry, she worried she'd never have two minutes to take a shower.

Don't know why I told you all that background, but the question has to do with science class. On Friday Miss 15 and her partner soaked an egg in vinegar in order to dissolve the shell. Today they had to rub away the shell, not on a boiled egg, on just your normal every day run of the mill egg, while they were attempting to do so, the egg broke. Because their egg broke, they are being docked one letter grade on the experiment, and they have to start over. If the egg breaks again, they are dropped another grade. And this grade doesn't include the rest of the experiment and their conclusions and hypotheses they draw from it. So as of right now, without any questions done or anything, they are starting from a B. To me, this seems wrong. How many times have eggs broken? Rub the shell off of an egg and don't break it? That alone sounds incredibly difficult. But is it right to drop them a letter grade because it breaks?

In other news, Hubby stayed home the entire weekend. It was blissful and wonderful just having him around. Especially since he took care of me and my cold. Even Miss 10 couldn't get enough and followed him around all weekend.
It's good to have 2 parents around. Especially for me!

Friday, September 12, 2008

DONE!

The good news has arrived!! Harvest. Is. Done!!! Can I get an AMEN!

Hubby has worked his tail off, and now there is still lots of fall work to do, but the crops are in the bins, so that means the money is out of the field and stored away.
Marketing the crops is still to be done, but mother nature has much less of a chance to harm it now.

But, the best part for me, Hubby will now be home more often, which means I will have some one to tag team homework with me! Aaaah, life is good!

Soon I Hope

Stay tuned... Soon, very soon I hope, I may be able to print some good farming news. I'd tell you about it now, but I'd jinx it, so I can't even say it out loud. Neither Hubby or I have spoken of it for days now. Yes, I am superstitious. But if not today, it will be soon.

And I have the bottle opener ready to go, and the wine chillin'. Keep your fingers crossed.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Meet Me In The Lounge

This morning Hubby and I took Miss 10 to school together. We had a meeting scheduled, an IEP, to discuss Miss 10. I have heard other parents really dread their IEP meetings, but I have never felt that way. This time I made Hubby come with me. My reasoning is this, if I die someday soon in some weird accident, then he needs to deal with these meetings and all those little things that come with having a child with learning disabilities, ADHD, etc. He needs to know what to expect and who he will be dealing with. Her problems aren't just going to go away, they'll continue for her entire life. He was pretty quiet throughout the entire meeting, but now he knows what to expect, right?

Our meeting took place in the teacher's lounge, basically a room the size of a mid size bathroom with an eight person table in the center, a microwave stand in the corner and a chairs pulled close together. Teacher's lounge doesn't conjure up that image does it? Our parochial school doesn't have a lot of funding for much as far as a nice secluded relaxing spot for the staff.

Besides Hubby and I the meeting consisted of Miss 10's classroom teacher, Mrs. J., the school principal, Mr. L., the LD teacher, Mrs. B., and the head of our local special ed, Mrs. C. Mrs. B and Mrs. C are both new to their positions this year, they have not dealt with Miss 10 in any way before this. Mrs. J. is a veteran teacher who both my older kids loved with abandon. The principal has been helping with Miss 10 for years, and knows her fairly well by this point.

I go into these meetings fairly nervous, not dreading them, but nervous anyway. At home Miss 10 is a yo-yo on a string. She jumps around, she talks non-stop, she's always got a story to tell and she can't get it out fast enough. She is emotional, nervous, jittery at times and we usually tip toe around emotions and are just waiting for the next meltdown. Every year I wait for these aspects of her personality to start causing problems in the classroom. So today, after we had gone over background information, that was again the first question I asked, "Is Miss 10 a problem in school or in class?" Other than Hubby and I everyone started to laugh, and all said the same thing, "are you kidding? She's a joy/angel/sweetheart." And then I melt just a little because I am so relieved!

Today's meeting was productive in many ways. We struggled until third grade just to get her tested so she was eligible for services. Last year the LD teacher was worthless, there was no progress made by her with Miss 10 in any manner. This year we wanted to be sure to get a headstart with areas she struggles with.
I was so impressed with the new LD teacher, she is a former classroom teacher with many years of experience, and the new head of special ed (I hate that term) happened to graduate from college with me, and I really like her. Hubby and I are hopeful that things will be much better this year.

Meetings that are full of so many different people typically produce few results, and I don't know how the results will be long term for this one, but I have high hopes. This meeting felt like a group of friends, Miss 10's friends, all trying incredibly hard to find ways to help her, to make school less of a struggle and more of a success. No one made us feel like we weren't doing enough at home, instead the principal made a point of telling everyone how very hard we work at home to get Miss 10 through each year successfully. As the meeting progressed ideas were flowing from everyone, and they all had such good things to say about Miss 10 and what she is capable of accomplishing.

We are lucky to be at a school the size of ours, to be at a school where teachers and staff know the students who go there. The people at our school not only have to help, they want to help, they have genuine feelings for their students, they care about their home life and they work with them not only on school work, but with any aspect of their life that a student might struggle with. Hubby and I are fortunate to be able to send our kids to a school with so much to offer. They may not have a lot of money to work with, but they make up for it in many other ways. Happy Love Thursday everyone!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Shameless Bragging


She was terrified she wouldn't do it, she worried herself to pieces. It's been a rough start to the swim season with her heart, BUT... today she qualified for the State Meet in the 50 free! Hooray! And she was so emotional she cried, which made me cry, but it's all good! Way to go Miss 15!!!

Those braces... they come off in one week! 2 down and one to go!

After looking closely at this picture I realized that anyone who doesn't have swimmers will think I am some dork and can't buy my daughter a decent swimsuit. So, here is an explanation: the suits (there are two of them!) that she is wearing are "practice suits." The girls tie them in various places after they are all stretched out and faded and unsuitable to wear, then they layer them, this produces more drag when they practice. The theory is that this helps them build a little more strength and then when they put on their (2 sizes too small, seriously!) racing suits, they will be that much faster. Personally I think the thought is a contest to see who can wear the most shredded swimsuit. If you think this is bad, you should see drag week when they put on holy tights and ripped t-shirts with their suits. Strange people those swimmers.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Hillbilly Deluxe

I've never looked more beautiful then I did yesterday: covered in dirt, my hair up, old faded jeans, work boots, rubber overshoes caked with an inch of mud, a too big sweatshirt that used to belong to Mr 18, muddy gardening gloves and sunglasses. I was h.o.t.t. But I was working in dirt, so that's just the way it had to be, but isn't that quite the image? Plus we were driving along the back roads with a pickup box full of potatoes and onions. Whooeee! Hillbilly Central!

The picture is of Nephew, BabyBrother and SuperSisterInLaw in the back of the pickup. We all drove to our potato patch and picked and dug in the dirt for a few hours. We didn't finish, but we are much closer than we were before. Hubby and I were lucky to have good help. They will be paid in potatoes and onions. Who could ask for more than that? It's a sad state of my life when I tell you that I had a blast dragging them potato picking with us.

It wasn't an overly warm day, but we didn't freeze and the bugs weren't biting, so I won't complain about it. Nephew was a gem, and had so much fun playing in the dirt. I can't believe how he didn't run off, my 3 kids would never have done that. They would have been off across the field and over the hill before I could have turned around.

It's nice to have our own source of potatoes, because at $5 for five pounds it feels a bit ridiculous to buy them at the store when I just feel guilty eating them. But not guilty enough to stop eating them. Instead I try to limit it to once a week, twice in the winter when I need that comfort food. I have tons of recipes for potato dishes, but sometimes the more simple they are, the better. Here's Miss 10's favorite way to prepare potatoes.

Peel potatoes and slice them in half
Pat potatoes dry
Place potatoes on a stoneware brownie pan that has been smeared with a teaspoon of butter. (Use aluminum if you must, but it won't be the same!)
Melt 2 to 3 tablespoons of butter
Pour butter over all potatoes
Sprinkle with Lawry's seasoning salt (Miss 10's favorite) or if you want a little tiny bit more kick, sprinkle also with Montreal Steak Seasoning (Mr 18 dies when I do this, he's a bit of a pansy when it comes to pepper or spices, even Taco John's is too spicy for him)
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes to one hour depending on the number and age of your potatoes.


Serve and Enjoy!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Cousin Love

I know it's been forever! Sorry about my lapse in posting. We've been busy living life here, and over the last 2 days, we've been loving up my nephew. We got to babysit while SuperSister-In-Law and Baby Brother were working. I was able to spend at least 8 hours a day with my nephew, and it was such fun! He is about 17 months old now, and talking up a storm. He'll try any word you say. I restrained myself though and didn't teach him any of those fun words that he could spring on his parents later.

When the girls would get home from school was when my nephew really came alive. He loved sitting on the couch and sharing a snack with Miss 15. The second day he was here and Miss 10 came home from school he was thrilled! He couldn't get enough of her and spent a long time hugging and kissing her. She was laying on the floor and he jumped on top of her and really slobbered all over her. They had a blast.

So the photos above are of the girls with their favorite boy cousin! Happy Love Thursday everyone!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Harvest Helper

Hubby has been incredibly stressed trying to get lots of harvesting done this week. Beginning on Sunday we have a big chance of rain, and dropping temps, weather that isn't conducive to getting the durum in undamaged.

My Dad has generously agreed to come up and help for a few days. Hubby has had a friend come out after work for the last two days as well. But essentially he has been on his own this week since Mr 18 traveled across the state for college. Labor Day at our house is always celebrated by actually doing labor. It's the middle of harvest and there are no last chance camping trips or cookouts here. We have called some friends looking for someone who can help this weekend, but either they have work of their own or other commitments to take care of.

I got Miss 10 to bed tonight, emptied the dishwasher, put away laundry and did all the usual night time preparation that needs to be done, then, because it's Friday, I poured half a glass of Shiraz, grabbed my book and I actually sat down to do nothing. Miss 15 got home from her evening of work and play at the football game. (the pep band had to play, but then after halftime she was free) I began hearing loud noises outside, I thought someones motorcycle had a serious problem and apparently they were trying to fix it under my front window. I was too lazy to get up and see what it was, then I began hearing voices and wondered if some of Miss 15's friends had decided to stop by. Moments later I heard footsteps on the porch, the front door slamming open and someone grunting and falling through the doorway. It was Mr 18, home with loads of laundry a few changes of clothes, his pillow, phone and a smile! He said, "I hear you could use some harvest help." Surprise! Hubby is very, very excited for the help and I was very excited to see him myself. It's my Fabulous Friday moment!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Energy To Spare

She has an exuberance that I can't match and an energy that goes beyond my weekly dose, let alone my daily dose. Miss 10 loves my attention. If I will watch her do something, she does it with 100 times more vigor than she would if I wasn't watching.

The last few days before school started we had the pool set up in the backyard. Miss 10 had one last hurrah in the pool before I took it down. I brought out the camera and told her to just go for it. The lighting was spectacular and I got some amazing shots of her face and all the little freckles she has. I got some of water dripping down her hair and her eyes sparkling in the last sunlight of summer vacation.

This picture just looks like her energy with all the water drops flying through the air and the splash she's making as she twirls around for me. I took about thirty or forty shots of her playing. She had a blast posing and I heard, "Look Mom! Look! What if I do this... or this? How did that turn out?" repeatedly.

I can't keep up with this child, some days I don't even really try. How I wish I had her energy, but I think when I was pregnant with her, all my energy was transferred to her and she has a double dose of it. So instead of the labels she has been given, let's just say she is "overly energetic" and leave it at that.

Keep it up Miss 10, in the future your energy will serve you well!

Happy Love Thursday everyone!


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Me

homework helper chef
chauffeur personal shopper
secretary mom





Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Moving On....

So sorry about the tear inducing post from the other day. I guess in some part of me I figured if I was busy crying everyone else should be too. So today, no tears, that's my vow, for me and for you.

Miss 15 and Miss 10 are both already back in full school schedule mode. It's early nights again for them at our house. Fortunately they don't fight me too much about this. In fact Miss 15 is often on her way to bed quite early without even a second glance back. She has started early morning swim practice. This morning I had to drive her there by 5:45 a.m. I know many people in the world are up this early most days, but we aren't known for being early risers at our house.

Last night after Miss 15 was home from swim practice we made a delicious supper. We all three sat down together. For whatever reason the girls both decided they needed my attention at the same time and they started talking, loudly, the noise got louder and louder as each of the refused to yield to the other. My ears started to bleed as I tried to listen to both of them at the same time. Finally I calmly requested that they "KNOCK IT OFF! ONE AT A TIME!" and it was quiet, for 15 seconds, and then Miss 15 decided to egg on Miss 10 with some sort of nonsense about her being weak, needing to work out, etc. Miss 10 stood up and punched Miss 15 in the arm. As I stared open mouthed and wondered what in the world these two crazy girls were doing, Miss 10 sat down, and Miss 15 kicked her in the shin! Have we gone back in time? Are these girls only 2 and7? Aaah, single parents, how do you manage?

It happens every year during seeding and harvest. The kids, sensing perhaps that there is only me to deal with, test every limit possible. I can predict it, but I can't stop it. They push all their limits until I have to scream and yell, then settle into the routine they are used to and all is well. I wonder why the testing has to happen at all though.

Supper last night, delicious and easy sandwich. Want the recipe? My apologies if I've posted this before, but here it is again:

Apple Bacon and Peanut Butter Panini's

1/4 cup peach preserves
dash cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons peanut butter
8 slices applewood smoked bacon
8 slices whole wheat bread
slices of thinly sliced Granny Smith or similar apple (I use what's on hand, it's all good)
2 tablespoons melted butter

Mix preserves and cayenne pepper. Spread on one slice of bread, top with 2 slices bacon and slices of apple. Spread peanut butter on 1 slice of bread, place on top of bacon and apples. Brush butter on outside of sandwich and place in panini press or indoor grill (such as a George Foreman) Grill until crispy. Enjoy!





Sunday, August 24, 2008

Left Behind


I thought I was ready. After the summer we had, I thought my emotions would be in check, and my heart wouldn't break, but they weren't and it has.

Mr 18 left for college yesterday at 9:45 a.m. By 11 a.m. I was still in tears. Over the course of the summer people would ask if we were ready for him to leave. Our response was always, "oh yes, more than ready!" But we lied, all summer, we lied. We weren't ready.

Friday was spent finishing packing, doing the necessary banking, paperwork and preplanning so that Mr 18 could get out the door on Saturday morning without us. Unfortunately our schedules don't allow for time for us to drive him 7.5 hours across the state to his college of choice. Fortunately he has two friends also going to the same school. They will have to all help each other as only 1 of the parents can manage the trip.

Saturday morning came all too fast, and Mr 18 was showered and ready to go. I'd been in tears before this, but promised myself that I wasn't going to put him through his mother crying right before he left. Apparently I'm not good at keeping promises, because with his hug the floodgates opened up, and I sobbed. As he said goodbye to the girls and to a sobbing Hubby, I sat on the couch and cried into my hands. Mr 18 returned for another hug before walking out the door. We all stood to wave goodbye at the window. (of course Mr 18 forgot something and had to come back in the house, noticeable was his heaving chest and red eyes)

As he drove away we all waved, the girls retreated into their bedrooms and shut their doors. Hubby and I spent some time crying in each others arms before we each went to one of the girls, with boxes of Kleenex in hand. After calming the girls, (Miss 15 didn't need all that much calming, she headed outside to clean the car that she will now inherit as her own when she gets her license) I went out to the back deck with a cup of coffee and cried some more. Any emotion that I thought I had control of was out the window at this point.

When I dropped Mr 18 at daycare for the first time at a young 10 months of age, I cried, when I took him to kindergarten on the first day of school, I cried, when I made him switch schools in second grade, I cried. But those were tears of 6 to 7 hours of not having him with me. These were tears dedicated to 18 years of giving up my heart and soul to everything he ever needed. They were tears of a broken heart because he was doing exactly what he was supposed to do and what I spent all these years leading up to, he is supposed to leave. He is supposed to grow up and live his own life. I had 18 years to prepare for this day. I wasn't ready.

Left behind on his bed, when I could finally walk into his not-so-empty room, was his blankets that he has slept with since he was a baby, and the Elmo that he has slept with since he was 2. They were laying on his now stripped bed. Again with the tears and the emotions that apparently aren't controlled at all. I wonder how hard it was for him to leave them behind, and I wonder how hard it was for him to leave us behind.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hugs!

The girls and I spent yesterday at home, trying to relax when we weren't called into action for one thing or another. It's been a rather stressful and busy week, so yesterday we wanted to just "be" if it was possible. Sure, I still had to drive Miss 15 to two swim practices, work at the school for a little while and go to the Open House at Miss 10's school, water and deadhead plants in 95 degree weather, but other than that we tried to relax.

We spent some time just sitting together, going over the details that we would need to know for the school year. Like the fact that Miss 15 can't fit her swim practice bag AND her backpack in her locker with her books all at the same time. Yet she isn't done with school until 3:20 and practice starts at 3:30. So how does she get the swim bag? Plus I am picking up Miss 10 at that same time, and if I'm not there when she gets out there are serious problems. So we debated that for a while, we still don't have a magic solution, so for now I will have to drop the bag off in the lobby of the pool, on my way to pick up Miss 10, and let it sit there until Miss 15 can retrieve it. Anyone else have a brilliant solution? We're all ears.

The Open House at the school went fine. Miss 10 isn't a fan of so many people milling about, so we did not eat the picnic supper, but we did go to the room/teacher visitation. We were able to drop off her backpack full of supplies and unload it before we left. Miss 10's teacher, Mrs. J., was Miss 15's favorite teacher of all time, so we are hoping for a good year. When Miss 10 entered the room Miss J. gave her a nice hug. Naturally Miss 10 responded lukewarm with a look at the floor and a shy smile. She doesn't mind the hugs, she likes the attention, she just doesn't know what to do with herself in situations like that. We are working on eye contact and speaking clearly so she can be understood. I hope this is just a phase.

Mr 18 has managed to lose his medication, his wallet and misplace very necessary getting to work keys in the last 3 days. It's been interesting to say the least.

Hubby and Mr 18 are putting in long, long days harvesting. Tonight brings a big chance of rain, if we get it now it will take LOTS of money out of our paycheck due to loss of quality in the crop. If you're so inclined say a prayer that this time of year the rain skips us. At least send us good thoughts.

Last night I helped Miss 15 polish her nails so she would be bee-yoo-t-ful on the first day of school. She's a sophomore this year, I can't fathom where that time went, and she was bee-yoo-t-ful by the way, and part of me hates that. Darn boys!

When I tucked Miss 10 in last night, after shaving her legs for the very first time. (Yes, I know it's early, but the poor child has the hairiest legs in our household, even more than Hubby and Mr 18, it was just time) As we said good night and I leaned down to hug her, she wrapped her arms around me and wouldn't let go. I told her I loved her hugs, but this position wasn't the best for my back. So she knelt up on the bed, wrapped her arms around me again, and held on. "If I don't let go Mom, summer stays, and this is the best part of summer, hugging you whenever I want to." ...

Happy Love Thursday everyone! May your hugs last all summer long!


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

School Starts Tomorrow

a little sadness
end of summer vacation
maybe a small smile

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Here We Go!!

The first of the many series of parent meetings that I will need to attend started today. I had a swimming parent meeting with Miss 15. Official practice starts tomorrow; captains practices were all this week. (There you go La Reveuse, a semi colon... just for you.. heh!) Miss 10 had to go along because there was no one home to stay with her and I didn't know how long the meeting would last. She was not happy with that plan, and let me know in many ways during the meeting. Not that I blame her at all, we were in a small room with no air conditioning and it was 94 degrees outside, there were at least 70 people in the room and not seating for everyone. What fun!

Over the course of a school year I attend many different parent meetings: for band, for CCD, for Miss 10's parochial school, for high school swimming, for USA swimming, etc. The list is endless. However at each meeting I am always astonished at how few parents actually bother to attend. Not that I make every meeting I am supposed to be at, but I make every effort possible. Hubby and I have even split up events when the scheduling is to close for me to make both, or when I've had it with meetings and just send Hubby to one, but I try not to do that very often. There's a reason I'm a stay at home mom, so I can do the meetings and volunteerings that are necessary with three children.

As I was saying, it's shocking to me how few parents attend the meetings, and it's always the same parents at each meeting. Then when something isn't to their liking, it's the parents who weren't at the meetings that are the first to complain. Logic, it's baffling isn't it?

So today was the unofficial start to the school year for us. Now that swim season has officially gotten under way, along with 3 day a week 5:45 a.m. practices on top of regular practices, for the ENTIRE season (sigh!) we have jumped on the wheel and started spinning once again. It's always an exciting time, and in some ways I love the scheduling and routine of it all. I know what day is what and when to get everyone into bed and when to get them up. It's more relaxing in some ways to have that routine established. But oh how I am going to miss the spontaneity of summer vacation, and the less stressed out Miss 10 without homework. Welcome to the school year family!