Monday, November 29, 2010

Monday morning...

Cyber monday.  It's all over the news.  I have shopping to do, but don't think I will do most of it online.  I do need to run out and get some fabric however, as Jesse's sister and her husband (who was a friend of Liisa's and she introduced him to Jesse's sister) had a baby yesterday morning. I need to get a gift made and mailed for him: Ephram Gregory.  I saw pictures Liis took at the hospital yesterday afternoon and he is beautiful. Of course I am biased: I think all babies are beautiful.  Even the ugly ones are so ugly they're precious!

We had our Thanksgiving dinner last night and it was very nice.  We had dinner for 11 (if one counts Skye too) and we actually had enough chairs for everyone--we raided the garage for an extra table and some "older" chairs we hung on to for extra seating. I used the turkey recipie by Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond (a blogger I follow, and now a cookbook author), and was so pleased with how it came out! I also made 2 loaves of bread in my bread machine, baked 2 pumpkin pies (I made the crusts from scratch), and we had homemade cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes (with runny gravy--still haven't mastered that yet), homemade candied sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, and, stuffing (with and without onions).  I was cooking basically from 11 am til we ate at 7 p.m.  Eric did an awesome job of steam cleaning the carpets on the main floor for me while I cooked (getting ready to set up the tree, and cleaning up after Midnight's accidents), and then he put all the left-overs away for me.  I had hoped the girls would do the dishes, but no such luck. I am gonna do the bulk of them up today... (it was after 9 by the time we were done eating and the kids were all invested in watching movies with their guests versus doing chores). I honestly think I was asleep before 10:15 last night!  I was worn out!

Aurora didn't say too much about her Thanksgiving with her mom, other than it was "no better, nor no worse than other holidays there."   It was a fast trip, from Wednesday evening (her mom picked her up around 5:30) and she came home Friday night around 11 p.m.  She was a bit frustrated with being home so late, because she had to be up and ready for a bowling tournament on Saturday morning by 7 a.m. She also had (has) a cold, so she was somewhat worn out.  She did fairly well in the tournament, but the team itself didn't do so fantastic.  Eric and Brie (along with Skye) went with her as her cheering section, while I really enjoyed having the house to myself.  I focused on working more on my quilt block embroidery, I knit on an afghan I am trying to finish (I started it 3 years ago October on my first trip down here with Rei to visit Eric and the kids when we were dating), and I also did some chores and finished reading a series I have been really into. It was amazing to have the house quiet, and to complete some things uninterrupted, only multitasking on those things I WANTED to multitask on.

Today we are back into the swing of "normal". Brie and Eric are at work, Skye is napping beside me on the bed, Patrick is still abed (for whatever reason, he hasn't been working last week or this week--not sure why), and Rei and Aurora are at school.  I have a list of things I want to accomplish today, so I am going to need to take advantage of Skye's nap to get some things done.  The biggest thing on my list is getting my winter term set up for school.  I am going to register for just one class for starters towards the sub-specialty of Children and Adolescence (I need 5 classes for the certificate); Brie is taking 4 classes in the winter, and Eric is taking 3, along with working, so I don't want to overload myself (and babysitting) by initially doing more than one.  Maybe spring I can do two, but we'll see.  In this way I can maintain my student status, continue to network for an internship, and figure out what I need to do for MY life.  I also need to get Rei's appointment set up with the cardiologist for his Echocardiogram and EKG (for the pulmonary fistula he has), and I also need to set up some other appointments as well, for dental appointments, eye appointments, and so forth.  I have my list!

Liisa just called me on her way home from the vet: her female coon hound has been peeing indiscriminately the past few days, and has been tetchy, uncomfortable, and out of sorts. She thought SweetTea had a uti, but the vet says she is experiencing female incontinence. They are putting her on a pill for her bladder (like humans take!) and that should help.  Hopefully it will be a short term thing (half a pill every 12 hours), but if not, then it will be a regular part of her routine.  Liisa is such a good dog-mommy though. She is taking it in stride, and she is doing what she can to be sure her big girl is comfortable.  It makes me wonder if we need something like that for Midnight especially, although Po is being naughty too.  He peed yesterday on my couch cushion and floor, on the freshly shampooed sewing room carpet and chair, and he has been marking things upstairs again too (now that Brie broke our gate at the landing he can get upstairs easier). Midnight I can somewhat understand, because he is elderly and he can't generally help himself. Po, however, is young and should know better.  He is just being territorial.

Ok, my day is starting to get away from me.  Time to start making my phone calls!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Ok, so thanksgiving is tomorrow, but I don't know if I will get a chance to blog tomorrow or not.  Skye is sleeping next to me, Eric and Brie are at work, and the rest of the kids are still sleeping. It is a totally gross and disgusting day outside: cold, heavy rain, cold temps (just above freezing), windy; and a perfect day to be inside. For the moment I have the tv on, and am enjoying watching some of the pre-holiday talk shows for ideas for decorating, gifts, and meals. Realistically I probably will never use any of them, but it's still fun to dream.

I am still fussing with my cold. It's a cough that won't go away at this point, and I am so very tired of it. I feel better otherwise though. Just don't make me laugh or talk too much! I am also back to trying to figure out how to juggle chores and babies.  Skye has decided she wants to be sitting up "like people" (to quote Rei) rather than being laid in a reclining manner, and she is very impatient with lying down. When awake, she wants to be stimulated, interacted with, and participating with what ever is going on. She has little patience for being put down so grandma has two hands to do things with. When she naps, I try to rush through the things I need to do, so when she is awake I am free to play a bit. Skye seems to grow and change every day. She loves to coo and babble, she is starting to laugh spontaneously at things, and she is such a happy baby as a rule.  She has, however, developed this terrible high pitched squeal that she uses to indicate her displeasure, and she has a way of letting you know when she is unhappy about things. She has her cries that indicate things like being wet, scared, hurt, or sad; but she also is starting to let you know when she is angry, frustrated, or just plain annoyed.  It's fun to see how she is starting to experience things and share them vocally as well as with facial and body language.

Aurora has to go to her mom's today for the holiday. She will be home Friday night. She then has a high school bowling tournament on Saturday morning that she has to be home for. Brie is working much of the holiday, and Eric has to work on Thursday too. I think we will probably either do our dinner on Saturday or Sunday, so I don't know what exactly I will make for tomorrow. Patrick, for whatever reason, is off all this week, and he is dividing time between home and friends. He went out yesterday and got in around 5 am, just before Eric left for work.

I'm not planning to do any black friday shopping this year, although I have enjoyed it in years past with my sister and family. I don't have any specific things we need so I will just get things as they come along over the coming weeks. I am not feeling too terribly psyched one way or the other for Thanksgiving this year. Mostly I am just looking forward to being with the family I have here, and talking to the family across the country as we are able to. The Heikkila clan is gathering at my brother's house for the meal tomorrow, and I miss some of those days. Mostly I just want things to be cozy down here, and I want to have time to enjoy it.

I am thankful for all that I have, and for the changes we have had that have brought us to this point. I am content with life as it is unfolding, and while I miss the past, I am also looking forward to what is to come. It's important to me to live in the moment and leave the regrets behind me, so that is where my focus is for now. I am grateful for my family and friends, for my health, my talents, and my faith, and I am thankful for those I have in my life to share things with.  Even though the weather stinks outside, I am warm, happy, and loved.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Sunshine and (hopefully) feeling better...

We are headed into a very nice weekend, weather-wise, and it's a busy weekend.  Eric is working all weekend, although he is home sick to day (he unfortunately got my cold from last week, and he feels like death warmed over now too--got sick yesterday). The kids have bowling on Saturday, and we also have Jesse and his buddy coming down from Mpls sometime that afternoon (they are actually flying in Saturday morning, but will be running around with a friend of theirs, who happens to live in St. Louis, for awhile in the morning). The house is in dire need of some tlc, and I will admit to being disappointed in the kids.  I had asked ALL of them to pitch in and start getting things cleaned up--esp. since they have been having regular gatherings in the living room with friends for movies and video games.  No one has done anything, although I have been given verbal promises from all of them.  I guess I will be cracking the whip today after school.  I really need things decent for our company this weekend.  Jesse is coming down to get the CRX with his buddy; they will be driving back on Sunday.  It's just a quick visit, but given we will also have Aurora's mom arriving on Wednesday to pick her up for Thanksgiving, and it is important to me that things be tidy when she comes in.  Maybe it's just vanity, but it's important to me that my house gives a good impression to people.

I feel like I have lost a week due to being sick.  I have 9 more quilt blocks to embroider, I have a shawl finished that needs blocking, I have pieces to cut out to finish the quilt tops, and I have a few outfits for me that I really want to get made up.  Eric and I are planning out our christmas gift plans, and I am still hoping to go to Minneapolis for the holiday.  Right now it sounds like Brie is planning to stay home for the holiday if we go but I would bring Skye with me.  That feels a bit awkward, because it will be Skye's first Christmas. So we still need to talk more about it before any decisions are made. Aurora has to go to her Mom's for Christmas this year, so we will do ours here at the house, probably on New Year's eve again like we did 2 years ago.  Actually, that worked out nicely for us, plus we could get gifts during the after Christmas sales...  Always up for saving money!

I don't know where the time is going to.  It's moving so fast though. I am pleased to announce that as of last Friday, Rei was passing all classess except for one (English is, and always will be his downfall).  I am pleased to see him working hard though. Aurora got her ACT scores back, and while I thought they were very good, she was a bit disappointed and wanted them a bit higher. Brie has registered for 4 classes starting in January: three classroom classes, and one on-line class.  I have some concerns about how she is going to manage everything, but she seems to think she can do it.  I will be watching Skye (apparently).  I really don't mind watching her, especially on the days Brie works 6a-2p. Then I feel like I still have some time to get stuff done without having to multi-task. Given her classes will be evenings on Tuesday thru Thursday, I will be losing those evenings for myself, at least 'til Skye falls asleep.  Patrick talked about possibly returning to school, but I have seen no action on that front, so my guess is he is going to continue on as is...

Skye just woke up, so duty calls!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Hey it's Monday!

The baby and I are sitting here on the bed, the sunshine is streaming into the bedroom and feels lovely, and I am trying to find some energy to go downstairs and start tackling some chores.  I am on day 5 of this horrid cold, and my energy level is nil right now, but I have a simple crockpot meal I want to put together and have come slowly all day long so that is step one on my agenda.  Then step 2 is to clean the kitchen.  Eric pitched in last night and did a load of dishes in the dishwasher, but given I have kept to my bed/bedroom most of the weekend, not much has been done downstairs other than "living."  The kids have gathered down there, Eric has been in and out, and I will admit, I boycotted doing anything other than trying to rest and take care of Skye.  Considering how much I have napped and slept these last few days one would think I would be bouncing with energy, but I'm not.  My muscles ache from coughing, and I am so tired of sneezing and blowing my nose...

Enough complaints.  Skye is being wonderful, and I am grateful she is an easy baby.  Eric has been wonderful too, and I appreciate him so much.  Saturday night he took us all out to Olive Garden for dinner for Aurora's birthday, and that was lovely for the most part (Brie decided she and Skye wouldn't join us because it was too late for her to be out with an early day on Sunday). Then, last night, Eric ordered Pizza for dinner, because he didn't have the kitchen ready for cooking in.  He has taken good care of me though, and I appreciate his patience with me. 

Goals for this week include catching up on chores, getting as many blocks embroidered as I can so that I can sew the two quilt tops together, getting my FAFSA form filled out for financial aid for the school year (so I can get enrolled in my next classes), and getting laundry put away (I need some empty baskets again!).  It's Eric's long week at work, and his last week of classes too, so I am gonna be on my own quite a bit.  Oh, and my last goal is to try and get healthy.  I am so tired of being sick!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I know, it's Thursday...

I am not necessarily happy that I have gotten to a once a week blogging pattern, but things remain busy around here, and time to myself continues to be a premium.  Added to it today, I have a cold/sinus something or other.  Basically I feel blech.  Congested, scratchy, achey, headachey and just wanna veg out.  Today I did the bare minimum of what needed to be done, and Skye and I laid low.  Fortunately she is a good baby and not a lot of work, so she was content to just be by me and coo and smile, or sleep. 

Despite this being Eric's short week, he picked up an overtime shift on Monday (10 hours), and he has an 8 hour training day on Saturday, another supposed day off.  Brie is at drill all weekend so I will be having Skye 12 days straight; the kids also have bowling and travel league again this weekend.  Rei and Aurora both did well bowling last Sunday for travel league, with scores in the mid to high 170's.  Aurora has brought some of her scores up into the 200+ range, which thrills her to no end, and she is hoping that she will maintain a 200 average for the high school bowling season, which began on Monday. In fact, her, Brie, and Skye just left for the bowling alley for practice this evening. 

Anyhow, life marches forward around here, and there is constantly something going on.  We are going to be going out to dinner for Aurora's birthday this weekend; She had a nice birthday and a good weekend last weekend, although it was sorta quiet for her.  Otherwise everything is status quo for the rest of us: Patrick working and hanging with friends, Rei and Aurora doing school stuff and bowling, Brie working and parenting, Eric finishing up his last couple weeks of this term at school on top of working lots; and me keeping track of everyone else's schedules and hanging with Skye.

Have a good weekend, and lets hope for rain!

Friday, November 5, 2010

just a quick update:

I had written yesterday about the downsized SUV I was interested in...  Eric never called them back to see what kind of offer they were willing to make on it, so I am letting it go.  I know and can accept that realistically it is unfeasible for us to add another expense onto our budget right now.  I just was kinda hoping as it was everything I had been looking for.

I got my sewing machine back last night all cleaned and maintained.  I am excited to get going on my projects and see them come to fruition.  I took 9 of the quilt blocks I have finished to show them off at the embroidery club meeting last night and they were very well received.  I am not sure if I will have the second quilt top ready for the next meeting in December, but we'll see.  Hopefully I will have both of them done though, God willing.

Anyhow, babycakes is waking up, so it's time to move on with our morning.  Her lovely morning nap is about over.  Busy weekend ahead between Eric working, the kids having bowling and travel league, and the normal weekend stuff besides...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Almost Friday again...

and it's again been a busy week.  Rei was home from school on Tuesday and Wednesday because of a migraine headache and stomache issues.  At one point I wondered yesterday about appendicitis, but his pain in his gut wasn't localized enough.  Needless to say he is back to normal.  I am babysitting a regular 40 hours a week with Skye, and that is going well.  She and I are starting to get a schedule/routine down, and I truly appreciate that.  I can't remember if she is 9 or 10 weeks old today, but she is growing well, and is such an easy baby.  She was 10 lbs 6 oz. at her appointment on Friday, and is now 21 inches tall.  She's starting to fill out nicely, and she is becoming quite the armful.  Hasn't lost any of her newborn cuddliness as of yet though--still tucks her knees up and curls in tight, and she sleeps in a "frog" pose when she's lying down.  She's really strong though and it won't be too long before she starts rolling on her own. She is also starting to reach out and bat at her toys (we have a hanging rattle set on her car seat handle), and she likes to make noise with her wrist rattles.  Skye got three shots and her oral polio on Friday and we had a rough evening thereafter.  Her one leg especially was very sore and her cry was quite pitiful and heart-wrenching. We gave her baby ibuprofen to try and make her more comfortable, and she was better by Saturday.

I have been feverishly working on embroidering some quilt blocks for some gifts I want to make.  I ran into a snag on block number 10--redid it twice at the 100 minute mark (of a 204 minute design) and ended up tossing it out.  Eric and I took my sewing machine in to be serviced yesterday when I realized I was coming up on the one year mark of having it (November 13th), and they kept it overnight for cleaning and minor repair (the needle-threader wire needed to be adjusted/replaced).  I have used it well this past year and wanted to be sure that it was still working at peak performance before the warranty ran out.  Eric decided to get me the three year extended warranty on it (the "gold standard"), which includes all parts, labor, and routine maintenence for the next three years, so my "toy" will remain in good operation.  We decided that it was worth the expense, given both the value of the machine, and all I do with it.  I was going through withdrawal last night though--not only do I still have 3 blocks to finish of one theme; I also have 12 to do of another theme.  Then, I need to put the quilt tops together!  I am keeping track of the time it takes me to make each embroidered block (for my own knowledge), and while part of me wonders if I am cheating by mechanizing the process, another part of me recognizes that this is just another art form that takes time, effort, and some talent to acheive the final look I am going for. It's mechanized, but not commercial, if that makes any sense (it does to me!). 

Yesterday Eric and I ran to a car dealership after Brie got home from work. I had gotten one of those "promotional thingies" in the mail (this key may start a brand new 2010 Chevy Impala that you can win!), and I was curious.  Obviously, someone wins it, and I often wonder how often I have blown my chances by just tossing something out instead of taking that chance...  Needless to say, none of my guarenteed winners were winners (I now have a website to go to, to enter a code, and then I can choose one of an assortment of "gifts" that is my "guarenteed" win); we did look at the vehicles they were selling however, and found one we really kinda like (I am in the market for a new vehicle--my van runs, but that's about the best you can say for it). It's a 2004 Chevy Trailblazer, in a navy blue, with lots of bells and whistles. The price on it was $13,900, but I also had a "guarenteed discount" of $3,500. from the dealership (part of their promotional package to sell off these trade-ins) and the salesman who was working with us said they would guarentee "deals" and "deep discounts".  We decided to see what they would put together for us, and Eric is going to call him back later today to see what they will offer us.  More than likely we will just walk away from it (no loss either way), but there is a very slim chance that if the deal is good enough we'll go for it.  I can trade in my van if that sweetens the deal, however, with both Patrick and Aurora looking to get their licenses soon, we may hang on to it for another running vehicle...  I am NOT holding my breath, however, and will be fine with however it turns out.  Eventually I will need a better vehicle, but I can manage with what I have for now.

This is Eric's long week between work and school, so we have really enjoyed his last two days off.  Today our focus is going to be on his homework and my chores, sharing Skye between us, then when he goes off to class, I will go off to my embroidery club meeting (and pick up my sewing machine!). Tomorrow will focus on more sewing, babysitting, and the normal parenting that needs to be done...  The usual around her for us!