Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday afternoon...

Nothing exciting to blog about today. I am just between assignments and taking a break from writing (what I really want to do is nap, and maybe I will do that next) and doing dishes, so I thought I would pass on that Brie did go to Oklahoma with the baby, and she is now enroute home. She called me about ten this morning to let me know they were on the road and she thought it would be about 9 hours driving. I figure I will start looking for them around 8 pm or so.  Sounds like they had a good time, which is what counts.

I wish I could say I have been productive with my baby-free time but I haven't been.  I have spent the entire weekend mostly wallowing in being sick. I do feel a bit better today, which is nice, but I have to be careful and not overdo--because I have a tendency to do that, and keep more of a steady pace going. I have the kitchen about half done, and the school work has a good start on it, so I will just keep plugging away as the day goes on. Eric is sleeping, Aurora and Patrick are in their rooms (napping?) and Rei is dozing on the couch.  What a bunch of slugs we are today!

The weather hasn't warmed up as much as they thought it would, and we are under the threat of severe thunderstorms for later, so I hope the roads aren't terrible for Brie. We have grey, gloomy, overcast skies so far, and mild temps (around 55 or so). It's still bright enough I can sit in the front room with no lights on and see comfortably to read, but it gets dimmer as the clouds move and shift.  Baby Skye is 6 months old as of yesterday, and that seems so odd--the time just flows by so quickly! And Eric's term ends this week, so he will be both returning to day shifts and being done with school for a few weeks. It's gonna be nice to see more of him when he's awake!

Ya know, a nap is sounding really good right now, so I think I am gonna lay down for an hour or so...  I think I am looking forward to March and more of spring!

Friday, February 25, 2011

It's just not fair!

Liisa went home, winter returned (we had snow last night, and freezing rain a couple of days ago) and yet they are talking 70's again for Sunday, along with thunderstorms...  I went to the clinic on Tuesday afternoon after struggling for about 10 days with UTI symptoms, and sure enough, I have one. Started on antibiotics on Tuesday evening, and am still feeling punk from that. Then yesterday I started with a runny nose, and by this morning also have a full-blown cold.  I don't have time for this stuff!  I have a project to work on for school due this weekend, I have regular assignments to do, and I have chores to catch up on that were set aside while Liisa was here. I hate being sick!  Aurora and Patrick are also sneezing and congested, and I think Skye is too--she was a crabby-pants yesterday, and she has been coughing a little bit (although it may be imitation too).  That will bear watching.  She did have a mild cold earlier in the season and weathered that really well.

We found a karaoke joint for Liisa so she was able to get her singing fix in on Wednesday night.  I didn't really feel up to being there (although the people watching was fun, and some sing with more um enthusiasm than talent); I was the designated driver and Liisa and Eric imbibed a bit. We didn't get home until almost 2 am, and I had to be up at 5 to get Liisa and the boys up and moving (Liisa has a tradition of taking Rei and Ryan to breakfast, and Patrick went too this time; they brought food back for Aurora), and I had to have Liis to the train station by 6:15ish so she could be to the airport on time.  Her flight got rerouted and instead of a direct flight back to Minneapolis she made a side-trip to Detroit's airport.  She got home safely mid afternoon yesterday instead of late morning as planned.  We did have a wonderful visit, and it was sad to send her home. She kept asking me why I was making her leave...  yeah right!

Eric is off to the gun range this morning to shoot for work, then he'll come home, nap, and head back to work for his last weekend of overnights for awhile. He returns to day shifts on Wednesday. Brie is tentatively planning to drive to Oklahoma for the weekend to go see her friend Juntao with the baby. She is trying to convince Aurora to go with her so she has help, but Aurora is, at this point, hesitating. And if she does go, it's going to need to be a short trip, because Aurora has school Monday, and I think Brie has to work too. Skye is napping here beside me, and I am not sure exactly where Patrick is. He might be in his room sleeping...  I never know when he's home and when he's not unless I go looking because he tends to be somewhat ghost-like around here--floats in and out with minimal contact.

I think it's time to go find some more coffee and then get going on school stuff even though I really have no desire to do more than curl up in my bed with a book and a blanket.  So tired of feeling punk!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A beautiful Sunday!

I just have to laugh a bit--Liisa is just giggling that while we have 70 degree weather down here, and are sitting outside in the partial sun, Minneapolis is being pounded by a winter storm and they are getting about an inch of snow an hour.  What a difference 600 miles sometimes makes!

The kids had travel league this morning and we all went. Neither Rei nor Aurora did as well as they'd have liked, but Liisa, Skye and I all cheered for them. Eric acted as assistant coach for Coach Ray and it was fun. Best of all it was at a local (relatively speaking) lanes so that we didn't need to be on the road so early to get there.

I have one Christmas gift (belated) done, and the other is about a third done...  Missed my self-imposed valentine's day deadline too, but that is life.  I wish I had nothing but time to sit and do what I enjoy versus all that needs to be done, but that isn't real life on any level. I really enjoyed the last project and look forward to finishing this next one. They are wonderful and it's gonna be tough to part with them!

I am really looking forward to sewing soon too. I have a few projects to get going on--one for a gift, the other as a contribution to the silent auction for Aurora's marching band. Speaking of Aurora, she was co-most valuable player for her team at their end of the season pizza party, and they gave her many accolades for her hard work this season with the team. It was an emotional night, and I was so glad that Liisa, Skye, and I could be there with her for it. She has done well for herself, and was ranked 5th overall for their section for the season.

Eric has the auto race on.  I can't understand the interest or value in it--going round and round in circles.  Blech! I am gonna check some homework out, then cross stitch I think. We are planning to go out tonight for a family dinner with Liisa to celebrate her being here, as Eric has to work Monday and Tuesday nights, and he bowls Wednesday. Liis leaves early Thursday morning. I really love having her here!  It's gonna be hard to send her home.

Can't think of anything I want to add, so I guess I will switch gears to homework.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Just a quick one...

Today is another gorgeous day, and I am so excited that Liisa will be here in about 5 hours. I am caught up on my homework (not that I was behind, but now I can enjoy her visit while staying on track) and my house is sorta coming together.

We went to Lowes the other day and got the flooring needed to replace the soiled carpet in the closet. We also got an armoire for the front room to house blankets and provide storage for guests. I am so happy! Eric started putting it together last night with Patrick, however he didn't get it done. Po decided to baptize it this morning and Eric is (pardon the pun) pissed...  Po also peed on the end of the couch after Eric spent hours cleaning the carpet in the family room and the furniture edges...  Oh, and he peed on my new chair too, up in my bedroom, while I was changing the baby in her room.  I am so ready to open the door and let him run! (I won't, not really, because he is loved by members of the family, but there are times I dream of it because I feel so helpless in the face of his deliberate naughtiness!) Anyhow, we are slowly getting ahead of the game, but some days I feel like I am on the losing side of it.

Eric still hasn't put our new desk together, but we do have it upstairs now. It's on the agenda for the weekend I believe. Sometimes there aren't enough hours in the day to accomplish everything on the list, but step by step it is getting there. We have buds coming up in the garden--Eric thinks it's the Hyacynth bulbs. There are buds on the lilac bushes out back, and the tree looks a bit taller too. I just have to keep reminding myself that Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither will my surroundings.

Skye is napping, so I think I will finish cleaning the bathroom and folding clothes.  Cannot wait to see my girl this afternoon!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Getting back to normal?

This has been a hugely busy week! Given Aurora qualified for the state tournament for high school girl's bowling, I spent the beginning part of the week getting ready to leave (laundry, packing, working ahead on homework), then was informed we were leaving a day earlier than planned.  Neither Brie, nor Eric were able to go with us, so it was just Aurora, Rei, Skye, me, and a teammate of Aurora's who went with us.
We got to Rockford, IL on Thursday mid-afternoon, because Aurora had to be there to practice, then got booked into the hotel (a lovely full-service Holiday Inn). The kids immediately wanted to go swimming, however we didn't have things for Skye to swim in, and needed to find a walmart or something to get some swimmers and some bathing products for her. It had been a long drive (5 hours) on top of the practice etc, so we ordered a pizza and sodas in, and the kids spent time swimming, hot-tubbing, and playing ping-pong while Skye and I watched. We made it an early night.

The next day was the semi-finals, during which Aurora bowled 6 games. She was dissatisfied with how she did overall; she had a couple of rough games, with lots of splits and some missed spares (primarily 7 pins), which had her in tears a few times. Between lines she held Skye as a good luck charm and hugged her close. I am sure some spectators thought she was Skye's mother (or that Rei was Skye's father--he was amazing with her and a huge help to me all weekend). Bottom line is that she had a 185 average for the 6 games (she did have one 216 game, and a 198 game), but that as two pins lower than her season average, and she missed out on moving to the finals for Saturday by 14 pins.  She was heartbroken, but the rest of us were so proud of her.  She is her own worst critic, and there was no convincing her that she had done well and we were proud of her.

The one coach took us out to dinner at Steak 'n Shake, then we ran to walmart to get swimmers and stuff for Skye. The weather on Thursday driving up was cold and yucky, and they had a lot of snow on the ground. It was 7 degrees when we left the hotel on Friday morning for the competition and snowed off and on all day...  Yuck! We still ran in sweatshirts (and a blanket for Skye) so that we didn't need to deal with coats--the stroller was bad enough, but they were gracious with us having it there and tucking it aside/out of the way. Oh, back-tracking a little, the noise was stupendous, but Skye was amazing there.  She didn't fuss or cry, she napped a little but dealt with it all (so much to see and so many people to watch!). She continues to be a pleasure to take places!

When we got back to the hotel, we all headed down to the swimming pool.  It's a heated indoor pool and I loved it!  Warm, comfortable, and very enjoyable. Skye loved playing in the water and kicked and splashed like a fish (or a mermaid, heehee). We passed her from person to person, and by the time we had been in the pool for an hour or so, she was so worn out she couldn't even splash any more! She sat on my lap on the steps, thumb in her mouth, stroking the water and dangling her feet...  Sooooo cute! 
We had toyed with heading back on Friday night after we knew Aurora wasn't moving up in the standings, but the coach said that since the room was paid for, we might as well enjoy being there and relax some.  I was glad of that as I prefer to drive during daylight than in the dark.
videoWe again had a fairly early night, and leisurely packed up our belongings on Saturday. We left the hotel around 10, went to Denny's for breakfast, then got on the road around 11. We were home just after 4:30 Saturday afternoon.  We found out later in the day that one of the bowlers we know quite well (she bowls on base), was the individual champion for the tournament.  I know Aurora continues to hurt that she wasn't able to go on, but to my way of thinking, she went farther than any other girl at her school this season, and she did her best. She didn't let her worst game get her down, and bounced back to do really well in the second series. And we did have a lot of fun.

I was able to get my second assignment done and turned in (posted) on time, although it was really hard writing it when I was so exhausted after the drive home.  The glare on the snow and road from how overcast it was (little to break the monotony of the sky, road, and fields, color-wise) left me with a headache, and I was so glad to be done driving.  Aurora's boyfriend came over which was a comfort to her, and it was nice to return Skye to her mother, although I am again babysitting today (Brie is at Drill all weekend). Anyhow, that is why I haven't posted at all this week--it's just been too busy!

Now I need to get the house ready for Liisa's arrival on Wednesday. She is flying down, and taking the train from the airport to Scott, where I will meet her. Can't wait to have my girl here for a week!  It's going to be wonderful! I need some Liisa time!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Another update:

Aurora's team fell from second place to third place in the final game, and lost second by 4 pins (or as Eric said, one picked up spare). However, Aurora did really well, had a 1313 series, with an average of 218, and she came in 2nd place individually, qualifying her to go on to the STATE tournament next weekend.  So very exciting!  Now comes the dilemmas...  Eric had this weekend off so he works next weekend, and Brie is scheduled to work Friday too.  Sooooo.....  How to get them to the state tournament to cheer? Eric is going to be talking to his supervisor and others about making a trade, while I am not sure what Brie is going to do. In the meantime, I need to start looking for a hotel room...

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Just a quick post before I get back to schoolwork

I am bumming today.  Aurora is bowling in the high school girl's sectionals today and I really wanted to be there, but I was having trouble finding the research articles I needed for my assignment due tonight. I ended up getting really frustrated (really? the first primary source to come up in my search is from 1910????) so I ended up taking a break and playing some everquest with Eric. Today I am devoting to finishing up assignments while I have a quiet house mostly to myself (Rei is off with Ryan for a bit, and Patrick just got home from work).  We have gotten about 3 inches of snow again, on top of the ice we had, so it's shiny and slick out. I actually slid through part of one intersection as Patrick and I were coming home, and I spun my rear tires at a number of stop signs before I could move forward.

So far the girls from Mascoutah are running in 2nd place (top 2 teams go to state). Hopefully they can keep up the momentum. Brie, Skye, and Brie's boyfriend are at the tournament, as is Aurora's boyfriend too. She has quite the cheering section there!  I am there in spirit.  I crocheted hair ties for the girls in purple and white so they would have matching ones. I hope they like them and are wearing them.

Ok, enough of a break. Time to get back to Microsoft Word...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Precious bouncy baby girl!

This was my greeting when I walked into the room from taking my pictures. She loves me!
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Ice on the bird feeder.

There was more and longer icicles that hung down to near the base, but the hungry bird knocked them off to get at the seed.
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About a half inch of ice on the tree branches.

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Ice claw standing back a bit.

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Snow on the canopy of the swing.

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Some chipped ice near the back door.

It's about two inches thick, and is very slick taking the dogs in and out.
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My icy maple tree in the back yard.

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Ice off the hanging plant.

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Snowmaggedon Non-event...

The weather forecasters were predicting the storm of the century, the city of St. Louis crippled for a few days, feet of snow falling after freezing rain....  Yeah right.  It was a bad storm, and there has been damage north and west of us; there is power out in some towns here in Illinois. But for us, we got about 1/2 inch of ice, about 3 inches of sleet, and so far, 2 days of school being closed. Now we do have cold coming in--it hasn't been below zero here since at least 1996, and all of the schools around us are closed again tomorrow (because the roads are still icy, we haven't had any plows or sand trucks through our addition, and of course, the cold tomorrow). In some regards I want the kids to go to school, but on the other hand I am fine with them home too. 

Today was a rough day. Eric got frustrated with the kids for their lack of contribution to chores around here, and he blew up at them, which resulted in finger-pointing as to who has (or hasn't) done what. Lots of yelling back and forth among our more volatile family members.  I took cover in my room with the door shut, after trying a couple of times to intervene (and getting yelled at in the process), so I stayed out of it. Rei helped to an assortment of chores (as much to stay out of the way as to stay in good graces), and Patrick slept through much of it. Eric didn't get much of a nap in before he had to get up for work, and then he left early to be sure the icy roads wouldn't hold him up or make him late. Had to laugh when he called me to say he left his uniform shirt here at home (put his fleece coat on over his bullet-proof vest) and left his cell phone too. Brie graciously ran both to him at work for him while I kept Skye by me. In some regards I am glad she did it and not me--I don't necessarily trust my van on ice, despite the newer tires on it.

We have been enjoying our bird feeder in the back yard, and the suet trap thingy. We have two pairs of woodpeckers that are eating the suet--two larger red-headed woodpeckers, and two smaller ones. We have also had cardinals out there, which I really enjoy, along with lots of little birds of various sorts. Po has taken to guarding the tree when he is outside, and he doesn't necessarily appreciate the birds like we do. Leina could care less.

Skye is working really hard to try and crawl. Today I had to just laugh watching her, cuz she can get her knees under her and her butt up in the air, but her tummy remains firmly on the ground and her hands aren't sure yet what to do. When she is laying flat she does the army crawl, without going anywhere, and when she is on her back she not only rolls over, she also digs her heels in and scoots a little. We never find her in the morning where we put her to bed the night before in her crib. We started feeding her rice cereal on Monday. I made it up and fed her the first time of it because Brie wasn't sure how to do it. It was fun and she did well.  Yesterday she didn't eat as well for Brie, and we didn't give her any today. We are taking it slow with her.

I feel like I am starting to catch up on a few things. I have my assignment done for today and I am prepared for Saturday's assignment too. I have to help Eric with some research and stuff for his online class, which I hope to deal with tomorrow.  It is a social psychology class, and I am familiar with most of the concepts being taught. He actually had classes cancelled for last night, which was amazing! I can't remember when he was last home on a Tuesday night! He will be missing Thursday night's class because of work though, which kinda sucks, but can't be helped when he is working nights.

Brie is having a bad day with electronics today. She threw her phone and now the screen is broken. She called in to warranty it out and they said her new one would be here either Friday or Monday. She is going crazy without a phone, but she's the one who threw it.  Then her laptop is messed up too. It seems like the geek squad never fully repaired it last time she had it in, and she didn't take it back like we suggested repeatedly when she complained about it being broken. Now she has a virus on it that won't let her access her add/remove program files, or her antivirus files, and is basically a heavy paperweight. She has my broken laptop in her room now to do her math homework on for tommorw night's class for her; I told her I wanted to get ready and call it a night soon. I am weary!

There is a part of me that feels guilty tonight that I made it a fend for yourself night for dinner. I started my homework assignment early this afternoon, but when the loud discussions began I couldn't concentrate on anything. Then, Eric was napping, so I worked on finishing the dishes. I went to return to my studies after Eric left, but then he called and needed his stuff, so I ended up babysitting along with doing my assignment.  Dinner was near the bottom of my list as I really prefer not to be posting my assignments close to midnight (the deadline). Anyhow, I didn't cook. I made everyone fend for themselves, which they started asking about at around 9:30 p.m.  Now Patrick just stopped by my room to say he's headed out for the night--to go hang with friends,  at 10:30 at night!  Apparently this one friend doesn't work OR go to school, he just lives at home, and his girlfriend does go to school, but whatever...  I don't get it.  When I was his age I did go out a lot, but rarely was I leaving at 10 pm or later to go out.  I must be getting old!

If  there is school tomorrow they kids are going to be under special precautions because there was a bomb threat written on one of the walls that said the school was going to be blown up on the 2nd (today). No school due to the weather, so it was (apparently) a non-issue, but tomorrow the kids have been told no electronics of any sort, no backpacks, no instruments, and everything is going to be gone through with a fine tooth comb to gain entry.  And it's going to be bitterly cold with below zero wind chills.  Fun! The school will be on lockdown all day as well.

I am getting really drowsy, and I still need to call my spouse before I go to bed, so I guess that's it for now. Aurora and the girls bowling team have sectionals on Saturday and we are (I think) planning to be there to cheer for her. It's near Carbondale, so it'll be a drive of sorts, but we have to support our kid!  Keep your fingers crossed for them!