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
-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


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!