Thursday, October 30, 2008

I'm really restless today!

I'm not sure what exactly is up with me. I am just feeling restless and at loose ends. It's once again a beautiful day, warm, slightly breezy, heading for 70, and I am not sure what I want to do with myself. There is plenty to do around here... Eric and I bought a steam cleaner the other day so that we can touch up all the carpets, the main floor couch, and the upstairs futon (three large, hairy dogs, three fuzzy cats, and 5 teenagers all take a toll on beige furniture and carpets), but we are out of cleaning solution, and I have no car, so that is out... We cleaned the living room carpet on Tuesday and oh, wow, did it come out nice! I was thrilled! Can't wait to take on the rest of the carpets! And as an aside, for anyone with pets, we have a Dyson Vaccuum, the "animal", and it is fantastic! It cleans so well, has such great suction power and capacity, it makes vaccuuming a dream! As you can tell, I am enjoying some of the housework I am doing... (heehee).

Eric is as work today, the kids are at school, ('cept for Brie and Cliff--not sure what they are up to as I haven't seen them yet today...), and it just feels too quiet. Maybe I just need to put on my Zune (mp3 player--music and podcasts etc) and dig in somewhere... We are going to turn the "dining room" (as it is listed on the house floor plans) into a sewing room for me, and I am really eager t0 get going on that... I have the wall quilt all designed I want to make for the bowling alley raffle quilt (to raise money for the youth league) but have no place right now to cut it out or sew it up. It is calling to me something fierce! I did start a new sweater (knitting) on Tuesday night at the bowling alley, for me, made out of egyptian cotton in a lavender color, and that is lovely to work on, but I'm too restless right now to knit. Cleaning and sorting is calling to me loudly, but I am feeling ambivalent about it at the moment... just restless I guess.

Had to laugh: on Tuesday night I got a call from Patrick as we were leaving the bowling alley (so 9ish), asking if we could pick up some oreo cookies, some cream cheese, and some semi-sweet baking chocolate, which he NEEDED for a class presentation at school the next day. Everything on post was already closed, so we ended up running to walmart... Eric bought me a bouquet of lovely fall flowers while we were there... We got home and Patrick presented me with a recipe to make "truffles" that needed to be made "now" so he would have them for his Creative Writing Class (don't ask! heehee). I read through the instructions, and Eric announced, "well, have fun with that hon--I am headed to bed!" It was now after 10 pm and he had to be up at 4 am... So, I got out my food processor, and Patrick (with my help) made truffles 'til midnight on Tuesday night (process the cookies to a fine powder, mix well with the cream cheese, form into 1" balls, dip into melted chocolate, and sprinkle with reserved cookie crumbs... Then chill for an hour until firm and refridgerate in a covered container 'til gone...) Once Patrick had the hang of what he was doing, I sat on the couch and read, keeping him company til he was done. They actually were quite tasty, and he even saved a portion for home, but it was a putzy, fussy project, and one not suited to doing so late at night (he was right though--there is no way he could have gotten them made before school...) I guess they went over well at school too, so I hope it helped his grade. Hmmmm.... bribing the teacher with chocolate.... Maybe Rei should try that too!

I am soooo tired of pets right now I could spit! Pekeiko is in heat and is driving us all nuts; Po is "marking territory" like he's mining for gold, and my cats are just being pests... Midnight and Leina too are being frustrating by being underfoot, and then there is the growling and rough-housing and shedding... I shouldn't complain, but they DO drive me nuts sometimes, especially when I feel like Eric and I are the ones cleaning up after them for the most part... I swear, my next pet is gonna be a rock! One of these days I'll take pics of the pets and post them... Just haven't gotten around to it as yet.

I was really proud of myself: yesterday I called the customer service line at yet again, and finally I got some satisfaction! I had ordered an Ott Magnifying attachment for my Ott floor lamp (for ease in cross stitching primarily, but it will also help with other fine handwork), as they had a special 4 day sale for all Ott products at half-off. I ordered the wrong one for my lamp, and while they got it here in amazing time, it didn't work on my lamp. Called the company, was told they would even exchange it for the correct one, and I sent the wrong one back. Second call, yes they had received it, no it had not been credited or exchanged yet... Third call, a week later, still no forward progress, but I could purchase the correct one (at the now 40% off price), and they would eventually credit the wrong one back to me, but I said no to that and reminded them they had said they would do an even exchange... So I waited another week and called yesterday: profuse apologies, no it hadn't been done yet, but yes they had my old one in the warehouse AND they had the correct one in stock; terribly sorry ma'am, we will send out the correct one, and even expedite shipping for your patience and inconvenience... Hopefully, the new one (the correct one!) will be here tomorrow or Saturday, Monday at the latest! Sooooo Happy! I can soon work on my Mandala again without dealing with magnifiers over my glasses!

I picked up my Blackwork Dragon yesterday from the Arts and Crafts center. I am happy to have it home, even if it didn't win anything, and had a nice letter of thanks for submitting it. That made me feel good. They also provided dates for next year's show and said to keep it it mind as I do things over the coming year... I certainly will!

I think perhaps that I need a fresh cup of coffee, drunk outside on my swing, along with my notebook and a pen to realistically plan out what all I want to get accomplished... I know I need to make a couple of shopping lists (groceries, household/cleaning supplies), and that may just be what I need right now... Then I will pop in my ear pieces, put on some bouncy music, and get going on the chores... Always good to have a plan!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday Musings...

It's a quiet Sunday around here. We have gorgeous weather today (unlike what we had most of last week, and in direct contrast to MN's sleet and snow)--a high predicted of 68 and sunshine! I am really enjoying today and plan to get outside again shortly after posting this update...

Eric is working today, and the kids were up late last night, so I went to church by myself. I swear they are gonna think I am nothing but an emotional wreck there: I usually take the time after communion to offer my prayers, cares, and thanks to the Lord, and since moving down here, I often find myself being "emotional". I don't set out to cry, but the tears flow of their own accord. Today was no exception. I was offering up prayers for the comfort and well-being of both Jenna's mom, who is dealing with end-stage liver cancer, and for Rollie's mom, who is dealing with lymphoma, as well as for their families, and I was praying for Reimond and his scheduled cardiac evaluation coming up in 2 weeks, when they began playing a hymn that my father used to play on the piano and we would sing together (when I was young we often had imprompteau hymn sings around the piano with either my mom or dad playing). Of course the anniversary of my dad's death is coming up too, and I have been missing him dreadfully, so it all combined in my soul and the tears once again flowed down my cheeks of their own volition... I feel so dumb when I get emotional out of the blue, and I have been so good up until now--no tears of worry over Reimond, no perseveration on my fears... But it all came to a head today and if I am honest, it felt good to let it go in prayer. I also talked at length with our wonderful assistant Pastor, Jan, and she is such a blessing. She was just who I needed to talk to in that moment after the service: a shoulder to lean on and a willing, caring ear to bend. She reminds me of a couple of girlfriends I have that I trust implicitly, and it was a comfort to share these things with her. I am so glad I went to church today, even if it was by myself!

Aurora had a busy day yesterday: she ran in the sectionals for cross country (Patrick was there, and eligible to run finally, but the coach benched him anyway--apparently felt it wouldn't be fair for Patrick to run this when he has missed so many other meets). Then, she came home, showered, and had to head back to the school for a marching band competition... She got home just after 11:30 last night, and was exhausted but happy: her school took third place overall, and had (if I'm remembering correctly) two thirds and a second place in the various categories they were judged on. They had a decent day for it--neither too hot nor too cold, and slightly breezy.

Today is Cliff's 19th birthday. He, Brianne, and Reimond are off to meet up with some friends of his in Lebanon for a birthday party that got planned in his honor. I told him to enjoy--this is his last year as a teenager! This makes the 10th and final birthday I need to keep track of in the month of October... Hallmark must absolutely love me! Which reminds me--I have Halloween cards to get addressed and mailed out before Friday...

Here are some pictures to share of random things from this past week:

Okay, so this one is over a month old: it's Batman sleeping on his back. The irony of this pose is that Eric was sleeping in almost the exact same position on the opposite end of the bed at the same time (he was cat-napping too)!

This is a full arched rainbow that appeared in the east just outside of our front door on Friday! It was absolutely stunning, and I have rarely seen one that completely arches from end to end... It was huge and very beautiful! These pictures truthfully don't do it justice, but I wanted to share them anyway. A nice reminder of God's promises, and one I sometimes need to be given. Friday had been a cool to the point of being cold, bleak rainy day, so the rainbow came as a total surprise--"out of the blue" as the saying goes!

This is a sweater I knit for our "Lil Miss" Alexis. I used a pattern I found online from an online knitting magazine called "The Knitty". The pattern design is called "Helena" and I am so thrilled with how it turned out--looks just like the picture from online! I made a size 2 and my hope is that it will be a little large on her so she gets some wear out of it. Now to decide if a). I am going to knit a hat to go with it out of all the left over yarn; b). if I am going to just mail it as is for her to wear now; or c). if I am gonna hold onto it til I get the one made I want to do for Justin and then mail them both at once (maybe for Christmas?)...

This last photo is one of our "oh so mature" birthday boy, just because it made me laugh when I saw it... One of the kids (Aurora?) was playing with my camera I see...

That's all that comes to mind right now, so I guess I will head outside and enjoy the beautiful afternoon (at least what's left of it), as tomorrow the cold returns with a projected high of a balmy 48 degrees (heeheehee)... So much for teasing, eh?

Monday, October 20, 2008

More updates

I got a call from Reimond's doctor's office today. While there was no evidence supporting Marfan's Syndrome, there was apparently a "vessel that is not connected properly" in his heart, and he needs to see the pediatric cardiologist. To that end, we have an appointment again at St. Louis Children's hospital on November 7th at 8 am. Luckily that is a school release day, so he won't need to miss class to go, but Eric did say we would need to leave the house around 6:30 am to get there on time because of rush hour traffic over the bridge. On the one hand I am very concerned, but on the other I thank God that this has been found before there were some sort of cardiac issues that arose from it that might be problematic. I have no idea of what the level of severity of this is, or what the possible outcomes will be; that is information I am guessing we will get once we see the specialist. I am trying to put the most positive face possible on it though, and Reimond is doing fine with knowing we have to go see the specialist. It is also comforting to know that I talked to my sister a little bit ago. When my niece was 9 she had a hole found in her heart (they call it a PDA) and it needed to be sealed with a coil. Kristi and my mom have been talking about coming down to see us, and that was one of the weekends they had been toying with, so they are going to see if they can come down here to be by us while we see what needs to be done. Eric is supposed to work that day, although he is going to look into whether he can trade that day for another; if he can't go with us, it will be comforting to have my sister and mom be here. (Most of you who read this know that my dad died of heart disease, from complications associated with a routine angiogram, and he died on November 7th, 1994, so this is particularly difficult for me. All prayers and support are most welcome!)

On a separate note, tonight was the opening of the Arts and Crafts show at the Air Force Base, and I had entered the Blackwork Dragon I had made for Eric for Christmas this past year (2007). It didn't win any awards, but it was really fun to see it displayed, and when I arrived for the opening, I was asked if I was one of the "artisans". I said I was, and was given a name tag to wear that identified me as such, which I thought was really neat! Then I got a wonderful surprise: Eric joined me there, still in his police uniform and everything! I hadn't expected to see him there as he worked 'til 6 and when he came up behind me, it made my night! I was so proud and happy to have him there to share in my excitement. This is a picture of my entry, for those who haven't seen it:

The quote says "The future belongs to those who dare" ~anonymous.
There were many lovely things there on display from all genres of crafts and arts, many of which I do, so I got lots of ideas for next year...
It was wonderful to be a part of this and to see my handwork on display.

Lastly, the issues with my van "may not" be as serious as they looked at first blush: it looks like the "tension pulley" may be what fell off, and the part to replace it isn't horribly expensive. A friend of ours, as well as Jesse, said that it can be reattached with just one bolt, and then the belt put back on, and that Eric *may* be able to do it himself. We will see when he gets his next day off, and take it a step at a time. It would be a relief if it isn't to major an ordeal to fix the van so that it is useable for a bit longer... Keep your fingers crossed for us~

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Misc. updates...

I have a bunch of little random things today. No long stories, no pictures. Just a few updates and such!
Friday Reimond had his echocardiogram at the St. Louis Children's hospital. Wow, what a complex that is! Reminds me of the maze of clinics that makes up the University of MN hospital system or the Mayo Clinic! It's a part of the Barnes Jewish Hospital system, which includes Washington University and so forth with multiple specialty clinics everywhere. I was quite impressed and the Children's hospital is beautiful, on a slightly larger scale than our own Children's hospital in Minneapolis. The tech who did the test was an older man who was quite entertaining (he kept threatening to shock Reimond) and it went very smoothly. My guess is the results are fine, but they will be read and sent to Rei's doctor on Monday. This was done as a final "rule-out" for the Marfan's Syndrome that he had seen the medical geneticist for back in July.
Reimond got his first in-school suspension, which he needs to serve on Monday... He forgot to take his concerta before school, forgot he had some at school in the nurse's office, and he was "severely off task" in his tutorial. Apparently he was redirected, got done what he was supposed to do, and went looking in his binder for his book he was reading; when it wasn't there he said "damn!" Apparently that is grounds for in-school suspension ("Cursing"), and he was written up and sent to the principle's office... The assistant principle called me and told me about it; she said he was NOT being a behavior problem in class, but was off-task, and that they are very strict on their language policy. Because this was his first offense she was cutting him a little slack and rather than giving him 2 days ISS he would only need to serve one day. I did suggest that a part of his being really off task might be related to anxiety over the echocardiogram, which he had Friday after school, and she agreed it might be, and said he was a very neat kid, who was very polite with her in her office, and did a nice job of taking ownership for his behavior and brainstorming other options... Hopefully he'll learn from this!
Aurora is marching today in a Band Competition; she had to be at the school by 5:30 this morning to get to whereever it is being held. She was having some mixed feelings about doing it, because of how early she had to be up primarily, but she got there in time, and we are waiting to hear how they do. She raced in Cross Country on Thursday and as it was at "home field" Brie, Cliff, Rei, and I were there to root her on (Patrick was too, with his team, but he was ineligible to run). She gave it her all, but came in 26th; Mascoutah had first place for the girls, and they came in 4th for the team standings for both boys and girls. In two previous races she missed medalling by one runner (came in 16th when they gave medals to the first 15) so she really is doing quite well. It was fun to be a part of it, and it was really nice seeing all the parents and grandparents that come out for these races.
I just got off the phone with Jesse about my van... On Wednesday when I was out running errands I didn't like the way it was handling: there was a lot of play in the steering wheel, and at 65 mph it was really shimmying. Today when I went to start it to take the kids to bowling I heard a high pitched whine and grinding sound, over and above the roughness of the engine (I've needed exhaust work done on it for some time so it sounds like a race car), then a crunch, and silence. Not good, I was thinking, but the motor itself sounded normal, so I put it in reverse and started down the driveway... No steering! The steering wheel was basically locked up and really hard to turn! Jesse says I most likely blew the power steering pump and the belt, and that I will need to replace that. I have also been having trouble with the shifter and he said that has been going as well for over a year and a half (since before we went to Colorado), but that may need to be fixed too... I talked to Eric shortly after it happened, and now we need to make some decisions about what to do--do we put the money into fixing it? Or do we just look at getting something smaller and more economical (used, of course, at least for now)... Guess we need to start looking at what our options are. I am just glad if it had to go it went out in the driveway and not on the freeway or one of the county roads in the middle of nowhere! As an aside, we called the bowling Alley and our friend Jennifer came up and picked us up so the kids could bowl, and then ran us home again. I am so appreciative of that!
On a very sad note, the kids were quite dismayed to learn that the neighbor's dog, a little pomeranian-chihuahua mix, was found dead in the woods behind the houses. Apparently "Copper" had gotten out the night before and when they looked for him yesterday they found him early afternoon, deceased. At this point they are wondering if he died of hypothermia, as it had gotten pretty cold the previous night, and it's pretty damp in the woods (marshy); he didn't have any marks on him that would suggest coyote or other predators... He was a cute little dog, and the kids will really miss him.
I think that's it for today. We are finally having fall-like weather down here, the leaves are turning color, and it's getting colder. We have sunshine though and it's a gorgeous day, so I hope we can get a few things done outside later today, once Eric gets home from school... I am ready for fall!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Minnesota during October

is a beautiful month. The weather is generally mild to cool, the colors are spectacular, and everything has an air of anticipation--for the coming winter, for the holiday seasons, for change... I was so happy to be able to be up there for a few days and share in that atmosphere, especially since southern Illinois has continued for the most part to be hot, sunny, and generally summery still (we have had some cool nights, great for sleeping, but the days have been definitely shorts and teeshirt weather).

Bingo and I left for Minneapolis on Thursday, Oct. 9th, about an hour after he got out of school. It was a slightly later start than I wanted to make, because it put us into the heart of rush hour traffic in St. Louis, but oh well... We survived it. We had perfect weather all the way north until we hit Cannon Falls, MN, when the rain started to fall. Then it drizzled and dripped the rest of the way in to Liisa's house. We arrived at 1:15 am, 9 hours and 45 mins after leaving IL, a new record for me! (generally I take about 10-10.5 hours to make that drive because of frequent rest stops for gas when driving the van). Eric had let me take the 2008 Pilot and what a dream that is to travel in--comfortable, easy to drive, and great on gas mileage! Liisa and Jesse were up and waiting for us, and had beds ready for us to fall into (ok, I had a bed, Rei got the couch). We settled pretty quickly to sleep.

Friday morning we got up with Jesse, and Rei took off to run errands etc. with him, while Liisa and I moved at a more leisurely pace. We ate breakfast, then ran over to Tony and Andrea's to go see the babies. Justin was thrilled to see me and immediately took me on a grand tour of their new "apartment"--the basement of Andrea's mother's place had been turned into an adorable 2 bedroom apartment for them! Alexis tool a little longer to warm up to me, but when she did, I became her "new best friend"... When Rei and Jesse arrived, the kids both mauled Rei, which he adored! We spent the better part of the morning and early afternoon there, reading books, playing with toys, and just hanging out, and I was in heaven--oh how I have missed "my" babies!

Friday afternoon Rei had an appointment to meet up with a part of his "harem"--some of the girls he was friends with who were waiting impatiently for his arrival. I dropped him off at the high school, then needed to meet back up with him when we discovered he had left his cell phone at the house. I then got conscripted to drop them off at another address so they could gather with other friends, but I was happy to do so. I got back to the house to find that Andrea and the babies had come over, and we had a nice afternoon enjoying a beautiful fall day, sitting in the back yard, drinking a beer, and watching the kids play. Liisa is a "cool aunt" because she kept all of "grandma's toys" for the kids and there were things to play with and ride on all over.

Friday evening my friend Erika came over with LeeAnn Chin for dinner, a few bottles of wine, and an assortment of treats. My friend Jill also came over, and it was a lovely evening of girl talk, looking at wedding pictures, and just hanging out. Andrea had to leave as the babies were getting tired, but the rest of us hung out til past midnight! It was low-key, relaxed, and exactly what I had been hoping for! Rei, in the meantime, continued to bounce from groups of friends to groups of friends, and he ended up going to a late movie at the $2 movie theater with his side-kicks Alex and Christian; I had to pick them up after the show was over, so it was another late night for us--I think it was around 2 am that I finally fell asleep!

Liisa has not made huge changes to the house as yet from when I left it, however, she has continued to knock down plaster walls and re-sheetrock. It is definitely a work in process, and they are pouring their hearts in to it. It does seem wierd to see it so open and roomy--they have a one bedroom apartment's worth of furniture in that house, so there is space galore compared to when I was there. I like it, but found myself missing things the way I had had it (like places to put things in the bathroom!). It was familiar, and yet very different too! The dog kennel in the dining room is a new addition from when I lived there, and is a big hit with the little ones:

Saturday morning Liisa took Rei and Alex with her in the hearse to go up to Jesse's land near Princeton, MN, for Jesse's annual Birthday Bash and Lawnmower Races. I'm sure the foot hanging out of the back door raised a lot of eyebrows on the hour and a half drive up. I know Justin was concerned that someone had "lost a foot" and he was checking everyone in attendance to see if they had two feet or not...

I went out to breakfast with my good friend Debbie, and we had such a lovely, relaxed conversation. We sat there for 3 hours, and it was time well-spent. We figured out that we have been friends for 20+ years, and over that time have shared and grown so much. It's true what they say about old friends being the best kind of friends to have--they understand without needing a lot of explanation or back-story, and they can relate, correct, or advise without fear of being misunderstood. I was so blessed to be able to spend time with these ladies this weekend!

After breakfast I picked up the babies to take them "up north" with me to Jesse's party. The baby sang the entire way up, punctuated by a few squeals to be sure I was paying attention, and Justin chattered as well. I am thrilled with how well he is speaking and enjoyed every bit of his conversation!
There were riding lawnmowers to ride on, races that were run, and picnicking to do; there were friends and family to visit with, kites to fly, and lots of fresh air and activities... It was perfect weather for being up there. The forecast had been for rain and drizzle, but the reality was other than a tiny sprinkle around 3:30 when we got up there, the weather was highly cooperative, and the day was overcast and breezy, but neither too hot nor too cool. Justin found a frog that he held after Alexis proved to him that it wasn't "scary," and he had great fun chasing me with it (I totally abhor frogs--I can look at them inside something but don't let them get near me!), so he found that terribly entertaining; there were also lawn games to play, soccer balls to kick, even a pool table was set up! We had a bonfire after it got dark, and Jesse really had a nice turn-out of family and friends show up. Tents were set up as many chose to spend the night, although this year I decided to head back to the cities--last year Rei and I stayed and slept in a pickup truck tent--I woke up stiff and cold, and decided not to do that this year...

The scenery up there was spectacular. Jesse owns ten acres of land on the Rum River, which runs through the back of his property. I took these photos from the small "landing" area where Liisa has a glider sitting. It's so peaceful there too. Some day he hopes to build his house up there, but for now they have a large garage on the property that has electricity to it, and in the "office area" they have insulated and made a small "living space" for when they are up there. For the party Jesse rented a "Port-a-potty" that had running water and an automatic towel dispenser! Gets fancier every year!

Tony took the babies home before it got dark so they could be bathed and put to bed on time (poor Andrea had to work), and Rei, Alex, and I left around 7:30. We were getting tired and the boys were planning a sleep over at Liisa's, so we headed back to the city early. Once home, we all crashed relatively early and slept really soundly!

Sunday morning Rei again had plans with friends, so off he went to meet up with people, and I went to the Mall of America to wander a bit. Primarily I window-shopped, but it was so nice to see familiar sites and selections! Southern IL has malls, but not THE MALL... Then it was off to finally go see my mother. She and I went through wedding pictures and she chose the ones she wanted and I burned them onto a disc for her. We had a lovely visit, and it was so nice to see her and my brother Erik. Liisa came over and joined us for a bit, which made it even nicer! Then off I went to my sister's for the early evening. I had asked her to trim my bangs, and she offered to touch up the color too (yes, I am chemically enhanced!) so we made a night of that. My brother Neal brought his family over for a bit, so we all had a lovely visit and a couple of glasses of wine, and it felt good to just be with my family. My nieces pointed out to me that they ALL like getting mail, so I guess I need to buy stock in Hallmark--which is fine. We joked about having fond memories of our Aunt Aili who would send us cards, a dollar, and a stamp any time we wrote to her. She's been gone a little over three years now, and she is much loved and missed! Kristi did a great job on my hair. She decided to add darker low-lights to my hair color to even out the tone some, and while my husband at this point isn't thrilled with it being a bit less blonde, I promised him the darkness would wash out and be more even in the near future... I really like it as it looks healthy and shiny!

My older son called me and asked if I could go over and spend a little time with him after I was done at Kristi's, and since Rei was still socializing, I figured "why not!", so off I went to Tony and Andrea's. Justin was still up, so we had ice cream together, and I helped put him to bed. The little sweetheart wanted me to sleep in his bed with him all night long, so I laid down by him for a bit while he explained to me that I had made the blankets on his bed (two quilts I had made, one for Tony as a teen, and one I made for the couch when I did daycare). He was so sweet to snuggle with and it made me happy to be by him. Tony and I had a wonderful visit as well, and I am so proud of the grades he is getting at school. For that matter, I am really proud of Liisa too--she's in college at Normandale and getting amazing grades, and Tony is at the Dunwoody Institute getting a certificate in Welding. To see the two of them continuing their educations thrills me to no end and I am so proud of the adults they have become!

I met up with Bingo back at the house, and we headed to bed, again at a fairly reasonable hour. Neither of us was necessarily looking forward to the drive back to IL, because we had had such a wonderful time, but we had family waiting for us to get back as well, and I was really missing my honey. Monday morning dawned cold, grey and rainy, and continued that way through most of Iowa. Then, as we moved south it got warmer and more humid. It was not a good day for driving, and of course, we were both "just a little" overdressed the further south we came. It was good to be home once we got here, but it was hard to leave MN as well. I know Rei really revelled in his freedom and in being among all of his friends and family; I did too. I understand how hard it is to be so far away, and to not really have roots here yet. The difference between us though is that I understand it's only been 2 months, and it is gonna take time. Reimond is still struggling with that. We need to be patient and take it a step at a time. As I told Eric, I love him and his children dearly, and I have no regrets making the move down here, but it still doesn't negate my missing my "family" and what I left back in MN too. I hope Reimond can eventually reach that point as well instead of being sad part of the time... It was a wonderful trip, and I have many wonderful memories. I cannot wait til my family comes down here to visit us!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Just a quick note today:

We were naughty and didn't go to church today. We planned to, had the best of intentions, but then Brianne informed us that we were needed to attend an Army National Guard Picinic today that her company was having at a local park. This was her drill weekend, so it was mandatory attendance for her, and her family was invited to attend as well... Being invested parents/family members, we decided to go with her as the day was gorgeous, the weather inviting, and a picinic sounded like fun! We had a good laugh as Aurora looked at her dad and asked "why all Army food was so bad..." It wasn't *that* bad, quite honestly: Hamburgers, spagetti, assorted chips, sodas and water, cake... There were guys tossing a football around, kids with wiffleballs and bats, lots of little ones running around the play ground, and even a dunk tank to dunk the commander (he and another guy were both good sports when Cliff and Rei dunked them numerous times--you bought balls as a fundraiser to toss). Eric and the kids climbed a tree (and got scraped up in the process), and I knitted and visited with a couple of lovely young women who were there. Eric and I even took a walk along the walking trail (about a half-mile long) and that was really nice.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Stupid smoke detectors...

Early this morning I was rudely awakened by a "beep". I thought at first it was Eric home and setting his car alarm. Then I heard it again, and looked towards the window and the alarm clock--it was only 5 am, he wasn't off for at least another hour, and there was no car in the drive other than mine... I put it down to the neighbors and rolled over... Only to hear it go off yet again, and Midnight, Eric's elderly dog, jumped up onto the bed with me all worked up! I turned on the light and got up (and get the dog off my bed), to realize that the smoke detector was "beeping" at regular intervals. The beeping in turn woke up Leina, the black lab, who started barking loudly outside my door. I came downstairs to be sure everything was kosher--nothing smoking or out of whack, and I called Eric to see what I needed to do to turn the dang thing off! In the meantime, being in the kitchen signalled Leina that she needed to go outside, so I tied her out on the leash while I waited for Eric to call me back. When he called he was of the opinion that the battery was probably low, and should maybe be removed. Cliff got up with all the noise (the rest of the kids apparently slept through it!), and he pushed the test button on the smoke detector down by the bottom of the stairs, setting it off... Midnight was scared and practically glued himself to my leg as I walked around. After talking to Eric, I let Leina back in and headed back to bed, reassured that nothing was smoking or smoldering in the house. Whatever Cliff had done testing the one at the foot of the stairs reset the one in the bedroom and the red light was no longer blinking at me, so I went back to bed...

It reminds me of the time my African Grey Parrot, Edward, learned to mimic the smoke detector in my old house. We had to have one at the top and bottom of each stairwell for daycare, and unfortunately the one was almost immediately on top of the stove! Anything fried set it off, and the parrot learned to mimic this sound, which I learned for the first time at 2 am one morning as I awoke to the sound of the smoke detector going off. Wearing glasses things are always blurry for me when I open my eyes and I remember stumbling through the house sniffing for what might be burning and finding absolutely nothing. Once tucked back into bed though, it went off again, so up I got and walked the house a second time. Got back into bed, and sure enough, it went off a third time! As I got up though I realized that it "went off" and was followed by a whistle.... Stupid bird thought it was a great game to get me moving! I"m not sure what broke him of doing it after a few more late night scares, but he eventually extinguished it from his repetoire of sounds/words. Maybe it was me stopping doing daycare, and hence we removed that one to another spot...

Ironically, we have had no further beeping of the smoke detector since early this morning, and I have been listening for it...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Sorry for the delay--I've been sick!

I was at the clinic today and the cold from hell became bronchitis and a sinus infection, so I have been down and out for the past week or so--not so sick I was stuck in bed, but not healthy enough to keep up with everything either. I have been stuck in slow motion for awhile now and I hate it. Hopefully these meds will kick in quickly and I will be my old self soon--I have a trip to Minneapolis planned for the 10th thru the 13th and I need to be healthy!

This past weekend was Homecoming at Mascoutah High, and the kids got involved in fine form. Aurora especially went all out, wearing her dad's silk shirt, bell bottom blue jeans, and platform boots for "retro day," as "french dressing" for favorite salad dressing day, and all in warpaint for Friday; Patrick was "thousand island dressing," and he too did purple for Friday, and Rei just did the purple as well...

(sorry, it's a little blurry--took it before I had even had any coffee!)

There was a parade Friday afternoon at 1:30 pm, which had a decent turnout of parental and neighborhood support. It started with a police car and fire truck with lights and sirens, and the middle school marching band marched, as did the high school. There were flatbed semis in the parade with sports teams on them, there were pickup trucks with other teams and the homecoming court, and even a few creative floats were towed on trailers! I videotaped most of it. I had hoped to put it here, but it's too big to be hosted. Oh well, I tried!

We followed the parade back to the school where we found Bingo by the speed limit sign with his class. He was thrilled that I was taking his picture--in fact his look said it all ("Who are you lady, and why are you taking my picture?") Eric found it amusing.

Most of the kids attended the football game that evening, and they had a great time: the Indians soundly trounced the Eagles and the kids were pleased.

Saturday we had another busy day. The kids had youth league bowling in the morning, and Rei very proudly broke 100 every game he bowled (as Eric said, "he showed consistency"). He and Aurora were happy to get their new bowling shoes, thus Cliff and Brianne were also able to practice (Aurora and Rei had been borrowing their bowling shoes). Aurora was not as pleased with her scores as she was fussing with the cold from hell, and Patrick had not gotten home from the sleepover he had been at in time to join us for bowling... We got home to find that Aurora's dress STILL had not been delivered to us (we had special ordered it and paid for express shipping) so I got on the phone to Dillards to raise cain... Turns out they had never put the express on it, nor was it ordered from a store in St Louis as we had been told. Instead it was coming from a further distance via FedEX ground. They were able to track it for us and said it was on the truck, scheduled to be delivered Saturday afternoon ((the dance was Saturday evening), so we waited with baited breath... It arrived shortly after 2 pm and when she tried it on, it was perfect. Thank God! We would have had one heartbroken little girl otherwise...

Saturday late afternoon and early evening was spent getting the kids all "beautified" for the dance. None of them had dates, so they went together in a group, and met up with friends there. They all looked wonderful!

Sunday we kept it low-key to get everyone rested up for school/work Monday, and Monday Eric worked his last evening shift for orientation. Today is his first 12 hour shift, 6 pm to 6 am, and boy do I feel sorry for him--he never got a nap in today as planned due to his running me around to my appointments, and then he had to get tabs for his two cars. He says he'll be fine, and I believe him, but I still don't like it that he's gonna be so tired. I will let him sleep the day away tomorrow so he is ready to do it all again tomorrow night.

Tuesday night was league bowling for Eric. I generally go with him to be his cheerleader (and to socialize with some of our friends who bowl), but this time I went with another of the wives to a "Tastefully Simple" party. It was crowded and I only knew one other person there besides the woman I went with, but the samples were good and the children running around were adorable (and made me miss my grandbabies!). I was the only person present who had actually been to Alexandria MN where that particular party business originated (the town, not the home-based business). Don't ask how Eric, Brie or Cliff did: none of them were happy with their scores that night.

Anyhow, that should catch y'all up to date with where we are at. It's time for me to finish playing Mom's Taxi for the kids: Rei to and from Confirmation class, Aurora home from her cross country meet (Patrick rode his bike), and it was exciting to hear that Patrick had his fastest time this year for the three mile: he made it into the 18 minute mark (he isn't sure of his exact time)--under 19 minutes anyhow. The kids need to finish homework and showering etc, so I guess it's time to wrap this up for today!