Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thursday already?

Wow this week has just flown by! I have so enjoyed it! I had to post this picture I took yesterday morning of Liisa working with the dogs. She jokingly called herself the "dog whisperer" because every time she got out the box of training treats for her puppies, Leina and Po had to get into the act too. She said sit, and all 4 sat at the same time, looking expectantly at her for their reward. Even Midnight has gotten into the act and has sat on command a few times!
Yesterday Liisa and I stole away for the afternoon, leaving the dogs with the other kids, and we went to buy a lace circular knitting needle for me, to get our nails done (she gets acrylic tips so she doesn't bite her nails; in the time it took to do a full set I had a mani-and pedi-cure!), then we grabbed lunch at Steak and Shake (they don't have them in MN). Afterwards, we came home and I continued to fuss with a migraine headache (finally gave in and took my rx med), I started a lace project which I subsequently had to rip back out (4 hours down the drain, all for a stupid mistake!), then Eric grilled, we ate, and we watched tv with the kids and drank Margaritas. What a fun night!
This morning we all basically slept in (Eric isn't feeling well--sinus stuff on top of a slight hangover), then Eric and I made a huge breakfast/lunch for the family--waffles, bacon, eggs for those who wanted them, coffee, and juice. It was delicious! (Now to deal with the sticky, greasy cleanup....). Not sure yet what we have on tap for the rest of the day as it is mostly cloudy outside, and sorta humid. Tomorrow we will take the train to the airport in the morning to go get Jesse picked up, then we will enjoy some of the festivities at the park for Homecoming. I just cannot believe how fast the week has gone! I have loved having this time with the kids and just being together! Eric and I were commenting last night how wonderful it is that everyone gets along so well.
That's all for today! Not sure when I will post again, maybe this weekend though after Liisa and Jesse leave Sunday.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Just a quick update

because I have to be sure Eric is up in about 15 minutes, and then I need to get dinner started. We are having a wonderful visit with Liisa. The dog-babies are all getting along fairly well with each other, and we are making a point of being sure they each get individual attention as well as respite from each other. There have been a few "minor" accidents on the carpet, but nothing too horrid to deal with, and they truly seem to be accidents. Taking it all in stride! We have been to the pool twice so far, once last night after dinner, and once this afternoon after lunch. Eric even went with Liisa and I to the pool as he woke up around 11:30 (as per usual, booo) and we thought perhaps cooling off at the pool for an hour might help him sleep better when we got home. He went back to bed at 2 and seems to be sleeping pretty soundly.

Brianne got safely off to the hotel for her orientation and paperwork stuff, and today was her "ship-date" to go to Fort Leonardwood. She has been keeping in touch by text message and facebook, and we will get her address out to family once we have it too. Aurora is now in "band camp" for marching band. They have 2 parades this weekend for Mascoutah's homecoming, so they have been diligently practicing. I actually got to watch them march on my way home from the library: I was stopped at a stop sign and the band marched in front of me. Brings back memories of all the years I marched in the band too. She comes home tired, but ok. She also started running again with the cross country team, and that too has been wearying for her--she is complaining she is out of shape! (Of course last night at the pool when I was still in the water and the kids were all getting out because they were cold, she implied that I could handle it because I was "well-insulated", whereas she was not.... heeheehee).

It looks like we are in for a heck of a storm tonight--it has gotten so black out there and windy. No thunder or rain as yet, but my guess is it is coming. I have "battened down the hatches", and decided not to refill the bird feeders til it passes; my new big feeder has some "beak holes" pecked in the acrylic sides from hungry birds, and I actually found one of the sides on the grass below the tree--someone exuberantly pulled it out of the feeder and the seed was all over the grass! My hummingbird feeder has become a huge hit with the bees--and they have drained it dry! Not sure how to keep the bees away from it while keeping the hummingbirds happy. I am open to ideas.

Eric is up now, so I am gonna go--just wanted to say I am happy to have my girl here, and that things are going well all around!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Your horoscope for Sunday July 26th

"You may feel a lack of ambition today, even if you have specific
chores that should be done. You aren't feeling the need to jump in and attend to
your duties before heading out to play. Be careful about avoiding your
commitments now, for you probably won't be able to have much fun if you take the
irresponsible way out." (AOL Horoscopes)

Wow is this spot on today! After working yesterday morning, running errands after work, then coming home to finish steam cleaning the main floor, I am exhausted! I have absolutely no desire to do anything at the moment! Brie had friends over late last night and they were all sleeping in the living room when Eric got up to start his drive to IN, and when I went down a bit ago to get coffee, Reimond was still sleeping on the living room floor. Liisa called to say she and the pupkins were on the road as well, so the ETA for everyone is here around 6ish. When I went downstairs, I asked Brie if she had called her Sgt. yet because we need to know what time she has to be at the hotel for, and she hadn't checked yet. I also asked if she was done in the laundry room, as she had said she was going to finish up that last night; the answer was negative to that too. /sigh! I need to finish up the laundry room stuff, I need to still make up Liisa's bed, and I need to touch up the kitchen floor (after Eric shampooed the sectional on it now it needs some work); And I want to get my own bathroom cleaned and my floor at least vaccuumed. But my mojo has done got up and left...

From what I have garnered second and third hand, the kids had an ok time in IN. Nothing too exciting happened, and there wasn't a lot of activities that they did. They went bowling, and visited with family. Patrick played a lot of Pokemon on the gameboy, and Aurora read, cross stitched, and watched tv. Sounds like what they do here at home to me! And they got out of helping with all the cleaning to boot! I wouldn't mind a vacation like that personally! A part of me is sad I am not riding along with Eric, as it's a fair distance to drive by yourself, but he's a big boy and we have chatted on the phone to help pass the time. He is really into listening to talk radio, which I find incredibly boring, but oh well, to each their own. That's why I am so glad I have my zune--makes the time go by quickly and I can listen to what I like.

I guess since it's ten-thirty I should just get going on my day. Once these chores are done I will be free to play, and that sounds extremely appealing to me! I have been reading though some lace patterns and would like to start some gifts for Christmas, and I would also like to finish up my one cross stitch project. My goal while Liisa is here is to just enjoy her company for the week, and finish up some handwork so I can start some new things next month!

Speaking of projects, that teaching class I took on for yesterday and next week? Well, it was supposed to be a level 200 class, to help one guest make a simple dress. She decided, since it was just her anyway, to use a different pattern from the one that was "approved"--a Vogue pattern that is close to being "couture"--a very tailored, fitted dress, that she wants to alter as we go. I got a little nervous looking at it and the directions; I have sewn Vogue patterns before, and I love their lines and their challenges, however, it is not a step up from beginner pattern, and it is one I would have preferred to have time to study and read through oh a dozen times or so, so that I would feel comfortable helping someone else to make it. While she was cutting it out, I did read the directions a number of times, and then, because we used up most of our 3 hours for class time just getting it ready to be sewn (cut out, markings in place), I walked her through the directions verbally so she would do as much as she can on her own at home. We will focus on the fitting portions and the finishing next Saturday during her second three hour session (this is NOT a 6 hour pattern!). I didn't panic, and I didn't freak out, but a part of me wanted to. This is a bit outside of my comfort level for a first adult class! Still, I taught her a few things she didn't know before, and I think the pattern is lovely and will be attractive on her when complete. But keep your fingers crossed for me--the hard part is still to come!

That has been my weekend to date. Now back to the trenches for more touch-ups! (edited to add, I just don't understand the formatting here--I wanted to block quote the first paragraph, but the rest won't go back to normal! I get so frustrated sometimes with this!)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Some days it seems like it never ends...

My goal for this past week has been to clean the carpets. I have diligently focused on this goal, and have completed two of the three areas on the main floor. But the dogs are really NOT happy with this state of affairs, and I am ready to toss one of them out on his butt! I blocked off the living room with the furniture I removed from it all by myself last night. I steam cleaned the entire area, taking about 2-2.5 hours to be sure it was thoroughly cleaned. Sometime in the night the "pest" pushed his way past my barricade, made his way into the living room, and peed on the non-working tv that was on the floor at the edge of the carpet (the tv is too big for me to lift on my own, but did help make up part of the barricade). It was ghastly! It hit the edge of my newly cleaned carpet, got under the tv, and, I am guessing, also got into some of the vents etc. that were on it as well. So today I again had to reclean that edge of the carpeting, along with another suspicious area that I found nearby, so said carpet is still wet and I am unable to put things away.

I am just so tired of dogs being dogs. They are housebroken, they know how to go outside, they know how to let people know they need to go outside. So why, oh why do they need to mark in the house? I want nice things. I want things to last! I am trying so hard to take care of what we have. I am so burnt out on cleaning up messes. Part two of this rant is that another of the dogs has discovered that she can knock the cover off of the garbage can and she roots in the trash. Worse, she won't eat on the linoleum, which is bad enough. No, she has to carry her "food" onto the carpet and eat there. I came downstairs yesterday to coffee grounds strewn everywhere because she pulled the styrofoam "take out" container from the bottom of the trash to the living room and anything attached to it fell where it pleased. Sometimes I just want to cry! We try to keep the pantry door shut but not everyone remembers (God knows I am equally guilty of leaving it open). But the worst part of it was they had just been fed and all had food in their bowls! There was no need to root in the trash! I get so frustrated sometimes!

As of right now, most of my living room is in the kitchen or the hallway, and I need to get to the dining/sewing room. I'd like to get that shampooed tonight. I also have my fingers crossed because they are predicting rain for us for the weekend. We had a heckofa storm last night with lots of thunder, lightening, and rain (along with the mud that goes with said downpours) and I am dreading mud on the newly cleaned rugs as well. I'm sorry. I shouldn't come here to vent. I just find it so incredibly frustrating sometimes!

On a positive note, I have reconnected with a friend I lost touch with many years ago, via the medium of facebook. I am so thrilled to have her back in my life, and time will tell how our friendship will evolve and change now that we are both older and "wiser". This is NOT the one I have sent emails to and phone calls that I talked about in an earlier post (which I have never received a reply to), although I hope someday to renew that friendship as well, but rather a friend I lost touch with when life got to be too hard to juggle everything with because of drama and other things. She was once someone very dear to me, and I am so glad to hear that life has finally settled for her in a direction that makes her happy and content. Talking to her today made me very happy!

On my prayer list today are Eric's sister-in-law, who had surgery yesterday for a rotator cuff (I believe) injury that just has not healed right (in her shoulder anyway), and for my brother-in-law's mother, who just lost both her brother and her sister-in-law to cancer this past week. While her own health has stabilized, this news is hard to bear for her, and she too needs lots of love and support. And I am also praying for my dear friend who is struggling with a blood clot again. She had pulmonary emboli and almost died from them just over a year ago, so this is quite scary news too. Any kind thoughts offered on their behalves would be appreciated.

I think it's time I head downstairs to start some dinner, then get going on my cleaning spree. I spent much of today doing errands or sitting on the phone, so I have things to get done tonight. It is gonna be a busy weekend!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

So today really is Wednesday...

I am not sure why, but I have been totally confused in my days of the week this week, and I was operating under the assumption that Monday was Wednesday all evening long. Then yesterday, while I knew in my head it was Tuesday, somehow it felt more like a Saturday to me. Wow! Today though, I am sure it is Wednesday, because Eric left for school on schedule, and he works tonight, and I work tomorrow morning (as does Brie, actually).

I am very pleased with myself because I got the first set of major projects done off my list: I totally cleaned out the front room and shampooed the carpet in there; then I totally cleaned and organized the entry way and coat closet. What a great feeling it was to have that done! I have been planning to to it for almost a year, and to have it done makes me feel great! Now lets hope the rest of the family cooperates and stops using that area for a drop and go zone! I really need to figure out a better place to keep the bowling stuff--I realize it cannot go into the garage because of the temperature changes, and I also realize lugging everything up and down the stairs is a pain, but I get so tired of all the bags collecting dust and dog hair in the entryway. Oh well, everything else is cleaned and put where it belongs, so I guess the bowling stuff won't be too bad there.

We are kinda at a loss as to what we are going to do for this weekend for Brianne. Her mother is adamant that the kids cannot be picked up any earlier than Sunday at 1 p.m. and there is no way that Brianne can go with on that drive to get them. She needs to get checked in to the hotel in St. Louis on a very set time table, and while she will be able to leave for a bit to go out to eat etc. (which is when we would have her bbq here), she cannot stay out terribly long or late. A 12 hour drive just won't work for her. And she doesn't want to do it on Saturday without the kids, because that is partially why she wants to have it, so everyone can be together. I don't know what to say. I do understand their mom's desire to have all of her time with them that she can get, and I don't begrudge her any of it, but we didn't know that Brie's time table would get moved up either so that it would affect her being able to see her siblings before she leaves. Brie is heartbroken right now and I feel so bad for her. On some level it isn't fair, and she is hurt by it. (Having that party, along with Liisa, and then Jesse's arrival is all impetus behind my cleaning spree...)

The weather here continues to be Minnesota-like; we have had highs in only the low 70's and while it has been overcast the past 2 days, rain has been relatively non-existant. The irony has been that it's started to sprinkle each time I have set foot outside (to take out trash, to sit on the swing and cool off), but the minute I go inside it stops... Go figure! Currently it's 68 and very comfortable, almost chilly! I actually needed a blanket along with the sheet last night but it was wonderful sleeping weather. I do hope we get a good soaking rain at some point because the ground could use it (although my shampooed carpets could stand the dogs NOT being muddy-footed). I guess I am on the fence with that one. Looks like things should be back in the upper 80's by the weekend though. I actually hope next week is sunny and nice so that Liisa, the kids, and I can spend some time at the pool and doing things out-of-doors!

I hope everyone is having a good week so far; mine is going productively and for that I am thankful!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Donut Seeds????

I was talking to my family in MN yesterday because they had a lot of excitement going on, and Justin got on the phone with me. He was highly animated because they had been at the County Fair in Waseca, MN and my son Tony drove a "demolition" car he helped Jesse (and friends) build for the races. According to Justin, "Daddy drove reeeeaaalllyy fast, and it was way cool and he got a big trophy!" Their car was the last one running, sans oil and tranny fluid, and Tony, being the hot-dogger that he is, drove it backwards and in circles in front of the grandstand and the judges after he was the only driver left driving (going around the dead vehicles to do so). The boys won $100 and the trophy pictured here with Tony. I was sure excited to hear about it, and wished I could have been there to see it myself. Liisa was very excited when she called me to tell me, and the boys were all over the moon!
Anyhow, back to Justin. After telling me all about his exciting day (going in the moonwalk, climbing things, and generally exploring the fair), he told me I needed to send him "Donut seeds" because he wanted to plant them and watch them grow, after which he would eat them (the donuts he grew). I explained I didn't have any donut seeds, and he insisted that I did:"Grandpa Eric has some in the garage in a cupboard Gram! I sawed them there!" Well I promised I would ask Grandpa Eric about them and if I found any I would send them to him right away. He seemed content with that but told me he needed "lotsa donut seeds cuz I really like donuts!" What a little nut! Eric is clueless as to what he might have seen in the garage that looked like donut seeds, and we have laughed ourselves silly over this. I toyed with sending a small baggie of cheerios as donut seeds, (don't they look like little donuts?) but he knows what they are, and I don't want to fool him... Still, I would like to send him something. Justin also was frustrated with me that I didn't say hi to him at the fair, because I said I had seen pictures of him from the fair that afternoon, and if I was there to see him doing those things, why didn't I say "Hi"... I tried to explain the concept of pics posted on facebook where I can see them, but he didn't get it.
Eric just got in from mowing the lawn. It has been amazingly quiet here being down two kids. Aurora often watches tv up here in the loft, so the silence is deafening, and Patrick is often on the gaming systems in the living room, with Reimond running between them. Some of Patrick's friends (whom Rei has been running with too) have continued to come by and collect Rei or hang out here, even with Patrick being gone, so things are not totally dead, and Brianne has had friends over daily as well. She has gotten her orders and is leaving earlier than we had planned: she needs to be at the hotel next Sunday (7/26) for Monday departure. She was heartsick because the kids were not due to come back until Sunday, so she has been working with her mom to see if they can be picked up a day earlier. It sounds like the plan would be to grab them on Saturday (although their mom said *if* she goes for it, it will have to be late, as she has plans ) and then we would do some kind of BBQ here on Sunday afternoon after she gets checked into the hotel. Liisa and the pups will arrive that Sunday sometime as well, for an 8 day stay, so it's going to be a busy weekend!
I worked today and will work again on Thursday, and then teach on Saturday. Eric is off today but picked up an over time shift tomorrow, then again is off Friday through Sunday. I have a honey-do list from hell for the two of us to accomplish, and I hope we can get through many of them before the weekend... At least the carpets getting done. Looking at the time, I guess I should get going on things! Eric is out of the shower and I should pay attention to him...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A beautiful Saturday morning~

It is a gorgeous morning here, almost "Minnesota-like" in temperature and breeziness. It's in the low 70's so far, clear air, white fluffy clouds, and is perfect in every way! I have the windows wide open all over the house, (have had then so for the past two days now), and it's an invigorating type of day! I got my main floor totally vaccuumed, dusted, and mopped (in prep for the kid's mom coming to get them for the week), so right how I am sitting in my clean living room, enjoying the sounds of the birds at my feeder in the tree outside of the back door. As I look out the window I see between 20 and 25 birds flocking both the feeder and the ground under it, including some fledglings who have their beaks wide open and are squacking loudly to be fed. It makes me smile! If Eric weren't sleeping I would run and grab my camera and take a few pics, but not today. Everyone and their brother are out doing yard work right now too, and I hear hedge trimmers, edgers, and lawn mowers running in chorus out there. I really don't have any "planned" chores for today, but maybe I will tackle the front closet as you enter the house, and of course, finish up the laundry (Rei cleaned the boy's bedroom on Thursday and the laundry room is now a toxic disaster area... lol). Sure wish I could have a clothesline here--it is a perfect day for hanging out bedding!

Patrick and Aurora left for IN yesterday after going out to lunch with their mom and Brie. When they called last night to check in with Eric they said they "forgot" to bring with good clothes for church... At almost 18 and 16, one would think they would know what they are going to need to have with them! And I made sure Patrick had a variety of clean clothes ready to go (marathon laundry started after Rei's cleaning spree). Bah! Kids! Brianne is at drill all weekend, and she will be getting her final instructions for her AIT training so we will have set in stone dates next week for when she leaves. Kimmie came over yesterday to visit, so her and Rei went to a movie last night (they saw "Public Enemies"--Johnny Depp--and said it was the most boring movie they have ever seen!). Kimmie spent the night and they are now off walking. Perfect day for it! The house is deliciously quiet and I have no complaints at all!

Got a surprise last night. I was upstairs, enjoying having the house to myself and immersed in playing Everquest and talking to Eric on the phone, when the doorbell rang. Outside stood the neighbor girl with Pekeiko cradled in her arms, a dog leash attached to her harness... Apparently the dining room (ok, sewing room as I prefer to call it) window's screen got push out from the frame by the dogs at some previous point in time (I was unaware of this) and she must have let herself out the window (I had it WIDE open for the breezes yesterday). The catch is, she is in heat, so now the question becomes, did she find a male to scratch her itch with??? Grrrr! My guess is perhaps yes, because she was acting decidedly out of heat last night (after almost a week of yowling and carrying on)... We shall see! I don't remember what the gestation period is for cats, but if we end up with kittens I will NOT be pleased! I do wish they made screens more secure than they do as I noticed we have a few that have been pulled out of the bottom edges of the frames (by the dogs I am guessing), so that we can only open them a little bit (and still run the risk of letting bugs in at the same time). Leina has herself planted in front of the one window she can have access to here in the living room, and she is even laying in front of it when she doesn't have her nose poking out of it... (I have it open about 2.5 inches so she can't reach the screen).

I just got a call from work asking if I would teach a dress-making class for a lady on Saturday. The person originally scheduled to teach it has a schedule conflict and can't do it, so I said I would. Then I came to find out that it is a two week class, so now I will be teaching on Liisa's last Saturday here! We need the money so I won't say no, and my guess is her and Jesse (along with Rei, Patrick, and Aurora) will be able to find things to do to entertain themselves for 3 hours, but still... And I don't have my full work schedule for that week as yet either, but I think I will go ahead and let it be what it will be as I don't generally work more than 5.5 hours a shift, and while it had been one day a week, lately it's been 2. I don't mind that too much. I had a chat with Reimond last night about the value of money, how I only make $8/hour, so if he asks for $10 for a movie, that means I have to work 70 minutes to earn it (not counting the deductions for taxes etc...) I pointed out that money does not come for nothing, and if he wants money he too needs to find things to do to earn it. Now after all the work he did in his room, I was willing to pay for his movie with Kimmie (he spent about 3+ hours on it just on Thursday), but it is something for him to keep in mind, when I only generally work 4 to 5.5 hours a week... I think it was an eye opener for him when looked at from this perspective.

Liisa is getting excited for her trip down here, even went out and bought new collars for the pupkins so that they will look pretty for Grandma! (They are not allowed to wear them til they travel so they stay clean and pretty, heeheehee). She's bringing 2 screw in tie-outs so we can put the puppies out a bit (beyond their multiple walks) so that we are not trying to alternate 5 dogs on one tie-out, and she'll bring a kennel for them too. They graduated from Puppy school and did well, and she had them "fixed" on Tuesday (as Rei said when really small, they were "sprayed and neutraled"). They are showing no ill effects from the surgery and should be well healed up by the time they come down. I too am excited for their visit, and that is also a part of my cleaning spree around here... My goal for next week is to get all the carpets shampooed and that front room totally cleaned! Always something to do in a house this size though...

My coffee cup is empty, so I guess it's time for a refill; I just put Po out and his first act was to charge the tree and scatter the birds... He seemed quite proud of himself, and they are now sitting at a distance scolding him... I also need to shower and change (am in my lounging pants I made and a tank top--somehow the "naughty kitties in the sewing room" design on them feels appropriate)! I hope everyone has a productive and wonderful weekend!

**** As an aside, and in case anyone was wondering, my brand new computer is fixed, and they did end up replacing the hard drive as it WAS faulty (so we didn't need to pay for anything--the repairs were covered under the warranty). I also got my replacement battery for the laptop on Thursday afternoon (with a 5 hour charge on it!) and my replacement power cord came last night, so I am now again up and running computer-wise and as happy as can be. Two computers repaired for the cost of $ 2.98 (for the two mailers to send back the battery and power cord respectively) and the gas to drive back and forth. When we get my computer paid off, the next goal will be to get a new tower (perhaps system) for Eric as his is outdated and runs slowly, and then a new laptop (his screen is pixelating, and the laptop itself is more of a portable computer than a laptop). It all takes time though, and we will do it as we get to it. So nice to be connected again and now Eric and I can once again play Everquest together!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

just a follow up to my earlier post.

Things are quieter now. Eric got up after only 3.5/4 hours of sleep and was crabby. I was crabby too (PMS) but we were both better this afternoon after he got some rest and I had some down time. Reimond has gone with Brianne to see the premier of the latest Harry Potter movie (the midnight showing--never have seen a child so eager to get homework done before he leaves the house!), and Patrick is at a friend's overnight, so it is just Aurora and I here. We went and put gas in the van (it was on empty> go figure! I only drove it to and from work twice this past week since Eric filled it up in MO where gas is cheaper, and once round trip to the store in town for dinner supplies). Then her and I went to IHOP for dinner. It was nice! Eric has class tomorrow before he comes home, and I will be working, so we will get home around the same time more or less in the afternoon. Then he is off til Friday night.

I am very disappointed in Rei's grade for his english class. Despite some solid B's on some assignments, he has others that are missing, and I don't know if he can recover from this. I am so upset about it. I have tried hard to stay on top of things, but the honest truth is the teacher has not followed the letter of his IEP by letting me know what his assignments are, so I have to rely on what he is telling me, and that is not going well at all. Now it's too late. I can hope that he does well on the final, and that the grade he gets for this last project is good, but I don't know what this means for the coming year. Part of the issue is that he doesn't know how to do some of these basic skills that I take for granted (like writing an outline or organizing material to write a solid paper), but I don't know how to teach this to him, and they are expecting him to know how to do it. I don't know what the answer is, but I am going to call the school and see what our options are in getting him some remedial help. I AM upset with him, because I don't think he totally gave it his best shot, but on the other hand I did see him working harder this summer than I have seen at other points in time. Grrrr! It just makes me sick to my stomache. He will for sure be considered a freshman again in the fall, and this is probably for the best... It just makes me so very sad. The paper he did is due tomorrow, and is complete, and he will do the final on Thursday. Keep your fingers crossed he does well.

Anyhow, I am going to make it an early night tonight. I have to be up by 7 for work, and I am tired. Sometimes it is hard to be a parent!

Just checking in.

I really don't have much to blog about today, but I work tomorrow and Thursday, a whole 5.5 hours each day, so I thought I would pop in today and say "Hi". I am focusing on catching up on laundry because Aurora and Patrick need to pack, and Eric needs clean uniform t-shirts. I have been looking around the main floor and I really need to do something about cleaning the carpets again and the furniture (sectional). This poor couch has seen better days and we really need a new one, but until we are in a position to get one, cleaning it will need to be my priority. Fortunately I have both the little green steam machine and a full sized Bissell steamer. I have that on my agenda for next week, when Eric is off most days and the kids are gone (Rei will be home but he is easy to relocate out of the living room for a day or so).

One of the things I have been taking stock of is how much stuff I still have in boxes that I have not touched in a year's time. It isn't because I don't use it or want it, it's because I have limited access to it! I don't know which boxes some things are in and given how they are stacked cannot always get into them on my own. Or, I get into them enough to get what I need out, but then close it up and put it back without removing the rest. I really need to start reviewing what I have and getting it put away. This is true for the garage, the dining room area ("Sewing Room"), and our bedroom. That may be a focus of Eric's "Vacation" after our anniversary. Poor guy, he doesn't know what I am planning for him yet! I will try to make it fun though!

Too many people around now to be able to concentrate, so I guess I will just post and move on with my day. Maybe more later today!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Happy one year anniversary to me!

This is my one year anniversary of being a blogger, and I have really enjoyed it. I have spent some time looking back on the posts I have written, and overall I am quite proud of myself. I accomplished what I set out to do: record the changes we are experiencing as we come together as a family, share the highs and lows of making a drastic life change, and keep in touch with those I care about most--my family and friends! It has been quite a journey, and I know that it's no where even close to being finished, but it has been a very full and rewarding year. Thank you to all of you who have followed my ups and downs so faithfully, and who have commented to me either here or by email about what you have read. Your support and encouragement has sustained me, and I love getting responses to what I write here. Although I ultimately have done this for me, it is nice to know that I am not talking strictly to myself. As I told Eric, sometimes my best "thinking" is done in writing. The process of putting it down logically and coherently makes me organize my thoughts and allows me to draw conclusions and figure things out. The input I get from others is just "frosting"! I do appreciate you all for participating in this new endevor with me.

Nothing too profound to write tonight as I am racing my laptop battery--which one of us will finish first... We discovered Brianne's charger works on my laptop, so that will facilitate my not losing all my bookmarks etc. so I can check them at least once a day and recharge if (when) she's not using it. I will be sending out both the old cord and battery tomorrow when we run a few other errands, and I hope I will have the replacements by the end of the week. In the meantime, I have been actively playing on my PSP (playstation portable), a final fantasy game that is fantastic and frustrating in equal measure while Eric enjoys the benefits of Everquest on the computer (his desktop).

Reimond was throwing up tonight around dinner time and went to bed by 8 pm or so. Not sure what that is all about, but when I just checked on him he said his tummy is still feeling sick. Poor kid doesn't look good either. I hope he is ok for school in the morning. I am gonna try to encourage him to go regardless, as it is only for 2.5 hours, then he can go back to bed. Last day of summer school is Thursday.

Reimond found a baby bird that survived a fall when his(?) nest got blown out of a tree. He brought it home in the hopes of trying to raise it (with the full support of Brie and Aurora) but after they ran to the pet shop to get special milk for it, my brother Erik recommended putting it back near where it was found for the parents to find and take care of. The kids did so, much to my relief (I really had visions of Pekeiko making a snack out of it). I applaud his gentle heart, but knew this was for the best--unfortunately he had to hear it from my brother the animal expert and not take my word for it first...

Brianne has received orders for AIT that specify she is "leaving" (needing to be at the hotel) on the 28th rather than the 29th as she had planned. She has drill next weekend, so either way she will know for sure after that, but it is the last week of July. It's going to be odd having her gone, but I have lots of stamps to send her cards and notes.

We have had a ton of rain today, which negatively affected the All-Star festivities over in St Louis. I was teasing Eric that he missed out because there were players and celebs at one of the VA hospitals he works at signing autographs and stuff for the vets as a thank-you for their service. He said no biggie--it was probably nuts anyhow. He returns to nights on Monday night, so we will be back to him being up all night and sleeping what he can during the day. Oh joy! He isn't looking forward to the heat of the day (despite the air conditioner being on) keeping our room temp up, esp. with the kids being off school. We will do our best to accommodate him though cuz he comes first!

Another anniversary that just occurred to me is that I am coming up on one year that I have been (to all intents and purposes) unemployed. That sure has been an adjustment for me to make. I still check the ads and website weekly to see if there are things I am qualified for out out there, but so far, picking remain really slim. I am blessed to have had this time to solidify my relationships with all the kids, but if I am honest, I am ready to stretch my brain a bit more. Hopefully in this coming year something will come along for me! I have faith!

I guess I should probably get this posted as the battery is getting lower by the minute. Thanks for reading! Have a great week!

P.S. This is entry number 150~ I had 53 postings in 2008 and this is my 97th posting in 2009... How cool is that!!!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Just a quick update...

My computer woes continue. Best Buy called to say there was indeed a hardware issue with my new desktop tower, and despite us dropping off the recovery discs for it, it wasn't reading them. After a call to Gateway, it turns out they neglected to send us the system restore disc along with the recovery disc, so now we are awaiting the delivery of that. Once it is here, we will take it to Best Buy, and they can (hopefully) get it up and running good as new. Adding insult to injury however, my 3 year old laptop had some wires near the power source plug (that attaches to th computer) break and fray, melting a hole in the insulation cord and causing it not to charge the battery when plugged in. In turn, the battery is getting a heck of a work out so it isn't holding a charge terribly long. Fortunately for me I bought an extended warranty on that one too, and they will replace the battery and power cord free of charge. I just need to use a preprinted label to send them in, and they will in turn send me the replacement parts... I will probably do that on Monday. Thus I am stuck using one of Eric's computers--currently I am on his laptop, which really isn't made for sitting on laps--man does it get hot fast! I hope I will have working computers by the end of next week!

I worked yesterday for 4 hours at the cutting table, and got many complicated customers who needed help; today was definitely entertaining though--I got paid for sitting and knitting on my socks for 2 hours this afternoon! I was demonstrating knitting in general and sock knitting in particular to entice people to register for the classes we offer, including those I will be teaching. Then, after I was done, I went and had the most wonderful pedicure at a new nail salon I decided to try (I love pretty painted toes but struggle to paint my own). I picked up some new patterns for sewing after work as well (we had Butterick patterns for $1.99 each, and I love their patterns). I really plan to start making some summery tops for myself as teeshirts are just not cutting it, and I would like to be comfortable but also "age appropriate" (whatever that means, hehee).

Things are going fine here. Aurora is done with her classroom segment of driver's ed, although she is apparently "Not Graduating" from it because there are things they (meaning the instructor) did not get to during her behind the wheel portion. Eric is pissed because all along we have felt like we (okay he) is supposed to be teaching her the skills and they just verify that she has them instead of the reverse, with him taking her out to practice. Rei is sitting on a D I believe for his English grade, however, he as gotten some nicely solid B's of late, so if he does well on the final, perhaps he'll get a C (but I doubt it--I just hope he passes!). Patrick has a friend of the female persuasion who has been around quite a bit; she is a lovely girl and we approve. Kimmie is also back in town and was here visiting the end of this week. She looks good and says things are going ok for her. She is currently staying at another friend's house (her parents are not yet in town). Brianne is still gone more than she is home and she continues to work only minimal hours. Patrick and Aurora will be headed to IN on Friday (17th) and will come home on the 26th. Eric will need to go get them on his own as Liisa will be driving down here to visit for a week, arriving that day and staying through the 2nd. Jesse will then fly in on the 31st and will drive back with her. Cannot wait to have my girl here! One of the patterns I found was for a wedding gown that she could use for her reception (if she wears my mom's dress for the ceremony). For $2 it was worth getting even if she doesn't use it!

Eric is back from cutting the grass at the church and is in the shower, so I should go. I want to chat with him some as he left when I got home. Have a great rest of the weekend!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Happy (belated) 4th of July!

Here are a bunch of photos from our weekend trip to my sister's lake place, just north of Aitkin, MN. We had so much fun! These pics are not in any sort of chronological order, because I took almost 260 photos, but I picked some of my favorites to post here. The picture of Alexis and I I took myself, when we were out fishing on the 4th. Alexis "helped" Auntie Kris to catch a sunfish, and Justin too caught a fish. It was very exciting for them!

I had a couple of firsts for me at the lake: I went for a ride on the tube for the first time (Aurora talked me into it and said she would go with me...) First attempt, we dunked almost immediately, because I was too far forward and swamped the tube. Then I couldn't climb on easily so we had to be towed in so I could use the ladder; try 2 was more successful, and I even let Rollie gradually increase the speed of the boat as I got more comfortable with it! Aurora laughed at me, but it was worth it. I felt quite proud of myself!
Aurora and Patrick rode together and had a ball, and Patrick rode by himself, incurring a spectacular 360 flip as he held on when he should have let go--letting go only because he felt his shorts leaving his body, heeheehee. He had a blast! These next few photos are some random ones of the cabin and of the swing down on the dock. We had 18 people staying at my sister's cabin, and there were more people at Rollie's brother's cabin. Most of my clan was there, as was my sister's family, and my brother Neal and his family. We all helped to contribute to meals and clean-up, and we spent our days swimming off the pontoon, fishing, tubing, 4-wheeling, lighting off fireworks, chasing dogs (Liisa brought her puppies) and Hank, my sister's corgi, was busy herding both puppies and babies around!

We grilled, we socialized, and we had a blast! I have not seen such big grins on the kid's faces in ages!

This is Rei and Jocelyn on the innertube. Colin actually laid low this weekend as he had hurt his back, but his girlfriend Julia was very active with all of us! She is such a sweetheart!

Aurora spent a big part of her time herding the puppies and the little kids.

This is Patrick and Aurora tubing together on the tube; they were far braver than I ever was, going really fast and bouncing over the waves and wakes!

Our days were so full for the two days we were there (actually it was slightly less than that, we got there Friday around 2, all day Saturday, and left around 11 on Sunday. We packed so much into our days though, it felt much longer! Patrick went off with Rollie's niece and some of her friends to play beach volleyball, and then Steve ran him out to join us on the lake for fishing; On the second day of fishing Patrick was slow to catch anything, then caught the two biggest fish we caught! Aurora was more prolific, catching 10 fish, mostly sunnys, rock bass, and a small bass.

Here is a picture of Patrick getting ready to drive the ATV; Aurora drove too but I didn't get photos of that--didn't realize she was headed out~

We all took turns holding and enjoying the little ones. Justin took to swimming in 12 ft deep water like a champ (we all wore life vests). Alexis tried swimming, and even got in up to her armpits, but then announced "too cold, too cold, I done!" very emphatically, and she got lifted back into the boat, where Uncle Rei wrapped her up to warm her.

This is one of my favorite pictures. I wish the rest of the kids could have been in the water with us, but Rei had Alexis on the pontoon, and Patrick and Aurora were on the speedboat tubing. The water felt frigid upon entering it, and I caught much ribbing for hooting and hollering as I got wet! Once I was used to the water I really enjoyed it and hated getting out. I am terrified in deep water, so it took some getting used to being in the life vest too, but once I started to relax and trust it, it was very fun!

This is Patrick with the second of the fish he caught. He was quite proud!

These last two photos comprised our ride back to the cabin on the 4th. We had a nearly full moon rising in the east,

and a gorgeous sunset to the west. It was a magical weekend, and I so enjoyed it!

The drive back to Mascoutah was killer. It was 13.5 hours long, and I drove it all myself. Aurora offered to drive, but I still am not comfortable with being the supervising parent driving, and Patrick doesn't have a valid permit either. When we got in, my legs and arms felt like rubber and I was exhausted. I was so glad to be home, and today I have kept things very low key. It has been wonderful to just veg out. I have caught up on my emails, I have posted most of the pics I had taken on facebook and myspace, and I now have posted things on my blog. I feel quite prolific today!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I'm procrastinating.

And what a shock that must be! (heehee). I have "wasted" about an hour or so on the Ravelry website looking at patterns for sweaters and shawls and socks etc. I am in need of a new project, but am not sure what I want to make. In all honesty, I really don't need to start something new until I finish a few things I have in progress, and if I do start anything it needs to be some garment sewing that has been calling out to me. I want to get the house in order before we leave for MN tomorrow, and I am expecting that everyone will pitch in and help. I hate coming home to a messy house after being gone for a bit, so that is my rationale for getting the house done early. Plus, Eric has the rest of today and tomorrow off...

It will just be me, Rei, Aurora, and Patrick headed up to MN. Brianne was invited to go but has decided not to come with us. She is hoping to perhaps pick up some hours at work, and she has a new guy in the picture too, so I am sure she is planning to spend some time with him. I would love to have her come with us, but I understand why she isn't coming. Kristi has a really nice dinner planned for us for Friday night, and sounds like she is looking forward to our arrival. It will be my sister and what family of hers will be able to come up, my brother Neal and his family, me and the kids, Liisa and Jesse, and maybe Tony and his family. I am really excited to see everyone! My mom decided she will stay home, as she is taking care of my brother's dog, and Andrea has to work on both Friday and Sunday, so she will need to be home the better part of the weekend (I am hoping they can at least come up for Saturday).

I had a fun conversation with Liisa last night. Tony and the kids rode bikes over to her house (Justin got a new Tony Hawk bike for his birthday, complete with pegs, hand brakes, and safety gear); Jesse took Justin off in the bike cart, and Alexis ran to Liisa and said "Hold me, Hold me!". When Liisa picked her up, she pointed after the bikes and said "Run!" lol..... Liisa told her there was no way she was going to run after the bikes, that they could wait 'til the boys got back. Miss Alexis is awfully cute sometimes! It made me giggle! Justin is very excited to show me his new bike and he was thrilled to hear that I will be there on Friday. Can't wait to see the little ones!

Eric is on the phone, and is on his way home from work so I guess I will fly. I am proud to recognize that my blog is almost a year old now! Very hard to believe that I have done this for a year, and what a year it has been!