Posted in Around the House

Now: With Video!

We got a webcam this week; did I mention that?  My parents are in Germany and wanted to be able to talk to us & see us (they miss Greg, who of course has been at his Nana and Pa’s since just after the webcam came home).

So the webcam, it is full of weirdness, and also we cannot seem to stay away from it.

Here are some of our videos:


Me (rambling in response to a video Ben made earlier about animals that got deleted):


Greg (we recorded him dancing before we discovered there was no audio at first):

Posted in Organizing

The Week that Wasn’t

I have to admit, when I looked at last weeks calendar in the days leading up to it, I was cringing.  Every night we had something we had to go to, people to see, things to do.  It was supposed to be rush, rush, rush, followed by a weekend of quiet rest.

Well, it didn’t happen that way.  On Monday Nick realized he’d forgotten to call the cub scouts and remind them about the meeting, so that got cancelled.  Tuesday the kids came home and said that the PE Exhibition for school was just for the cloggers and we are not them, so we skipped it (although we did still have piano lessons to go to).


Wednesday we didn’t have a busy night planned, but a busy day.


A friend dropped off her child while she took another one to a marathon doctors visit and another friend and her children came over to play.  Everyone had a great time, ate lots of muffins, and played a lot of chase.  🙂
After the other family left, Greg and his friend had a picnic lunch on the back patio before her mom came to pick her up.DSCN1265
I was just going to sweep and mop Wednesday afternoon, but after you move all the furniture to do that, you get to thinking “Hmm, does it have to go back the way it was?” and so I just shifted everything around a bit more. Everyone says it looks a lot more welcoming. I agree. There are more photos from various directions on the flickr feed, of course (and you can just click this one to get a bigger version, too).

Since we didn’t have an evening activity we headed out into the yard and helped Nick with the gardening. We planted several kind of flowers: cone flowers, zinnias, and some other kind that looks really similar. Nick doesn’t love the flowers, but he knows I do, so he put them nice places for me where I’ll be able to see them out the kitchen window and when driving in from the street.

Thursday was a super busy day.  First of all, St. Patrick’s Day.  We got up, tuned the TV to the Holidays: Irish music channel, and tried to Irish dance (I took lessons as a child). DSCN1286 We had a traditional Irish breakfast: oatmeal pancakes (dyed green, of course), fried eggs, and bacon.  The big kids school has a dress code which does not include the color green, so they made a rule that no one can be pinched for not wearing green. Ben wore a little shamrock pin we made, though David was having none of it. Greg wore a green shirt & I made him a special shamrock sandwich for his lunch.
After I got all the kids to school, I headed over to have coffee with my friend M & J, which was lovely.
Came home and baked brownies and a strawberry cake for scouts, then picked up kids from school.  For our after school snacks, I had the kids make rainbows, then gave them a pot of gold (vanilla pudding – the off brand is really gold colored) to put underneath.  🙂  They LOVED it.
That evening was the Blue and Gold Banquet, where the kids get their awards for the PInewood Derby.  One of the other dens brought lots of decorations to put out, so we helped with that. DSCN1298 A man came and talked to us about his dog and another one came in with all the badges & awards he’d gotten over the years on the way to becoming an Eagle Scout.  When awards time came, David was very cranky, as his car had broken on the track and couldn’t race, but Ben was ecstatic: he got 1st place for style and 1st place for speed in his den.  🙂DSCN1318

Friday morning Greg and I did a lot of laundry.  Then I ran off to my doctor’s appointment (I’m all good!) while Nick and Greg ran errands and picked up the big kids.  We packed up soon after to head over to Nick’s sisters house for dinner.  It was supposed to be a big event with several other families, but two of them ended up having to cancel, so it was just Mandy’s family, Mark’s parents & grandma, and us.  The kids had a fabulous time with their cousins.  🙂

Saturday we had a nice quiet morning at home. We played games and took a walk. It was very peaceful (yes, it can be peaceful with three boys!). That afternoon I started getting texts from my best friend saying she was thinking of visiting, alone, that evening. So after church and various church related meetings, we headed home and hung out with her for a while. She and Nick talked gardening while I got guest space set up and the kids showed her everything in the house and all their latest tricks on the trampoline and sang her all their songs and did all their dances. Then she and I escaped their orbit and went out for a late dinner and some live music. We ate far too much, laughed lots and lots and took exactly one photo the entire time we were together (my camera battery had died and her memory card was full, so we were left with bad camera phones). p_00162 (2) We came back home and watched A Room With a View and stayed up far too late.

In the morning we sat outside with our coffee on the front porch and talked with the kids while Nick made breakfast. After breakfast I got a chance to show her all my latest things: jewelry, household organizational stuff, art, etc.) before she had to run back home and take care of her family (a three hour drive *sigh*).

After she left I decided to use all my leftover manic energy to clean the garage, something that has been on the To Do list for weeks. Eventually I enlisted the kids help, and then Nick helped me put together a shelf (he spent most of the day at work). I also put together the kids workbench that they’d gotten last November. When we started the day there was barely a path through the garage. By the time we were done there was enough space for the kids to ride bikes around inside it. 🙂 I still have some boxes to go through and purge, but the whole place looks so much better.

After Nick got home from work, we worked in the garden for a while, the kids popped some little firework poppers, and Greg learned to fly a kite (he’s never done it before!).
IMG_2059 Then we headed over to my mom’s house for a movie night on her big screen TV. The kids loved watching The Seeker and now David’s all excited about reading the books it was based on. 🙂

So in the end we had a busy week, just not the one we’d had planned.

Posted in Around the House, Books, Computers and Internet, Crafts, Everywhere But Home, Family Time, Friend Time, Parenting, What I Love

Spring Break

This last week was our spring break from school. I’ve already told you about Monday and Tuesday, so I’ll start today’s story with Wednesday. We didn’t make any big plans for Wednesday, since that was the day that we were swapping out D for B at Nana & Pa’s house, but it turned out to be a big day anyway. My parents came up to town and told us that they’d decided not to make us wait for a month to get our new van (which is their old one), they were going to sign it over to us right now. 🙂 And so we began our day long journey to get the car retitled, re-registered, and in all ways made our own. We ended up visiting the registry twice, once with just me and my dad and once with both of us, my mom, and two of the kids as well. By the end of the day we’d gotten it done. G and I spent the rest of the afternoon emptying out our old van, then vacuuming it out, scrubbing it down inside and out, then cleaning all the windows we could reach, all so Nick could start driving it as soon as he came home. (D spent the afternoon catching up on three days worth of Animal Crossing.)

Thursday morning we visited with my parents a bit, then went home very quickly for D’s early playdate with his best friend C. They had a great time playing video games, riding bikes & skates, and wrestling on the trampoline.
While the kids were playing, I once again worked on some jewelry (a post on all of that coming soon). That afternoon my mom watched the kids so my dad and I could also go out and check out a netbook at Best Buy, which they did not have in stock, and to buy a camera, which they did have. We spent some time updating his regular laptop and getting it set up with the camera software and then learning the new cameras ways before going home for the evening.
B came home just before dinner, bearing sundaes from McDonald’s. My in-laws got a tour of the new van and all it’s shininess before they left.

Friday morning B’s friend A came over for a playdate. I made some more jewelry. They spent quite a bit of time playing the Wii, but we also had a picnic in the backyard, since the weather was beautiful for it. We experimented with playing baseball/tee ball in the yard.

After he went home, Nick and the kids and I went out to the bookstore to get the kids their celebration books for having great report cards (and we may have picked up a couple things for ourselves as well. maybe. possibly. what? we never ever do! Leviathon & Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld and Good Eats: the Middle Years.). D got the second Percy Jackson book, B got three Magic Treehouse books (#20, #21, and a research guide about Knights and Castles), and G got two Barbie books (one 3 Musketeers and one Fairies) and an audio book about the movie Toy Story. Then we headed out to tour the big new exciting store in town: our local markets version of Whole Foods.
It’s called “Fresh” and wow, was it packed with people. It’s a beautiful store, filled with lots of things our regular stores don’t carry: lots of organic, whole grain products and a huge array of cheeses, meats, and ready-to-eat foods (for which there is a balcony seating area outside).
We amazingly managed not to lose any children, nor to knock down any displays, though we did pick up a lot of stuff that was knocked down by the little old lady near us, as she had a large purse and was trying not to hit my kids with it, and since we were behind her in the herd (seriously, it was so packed that you pretty much followed the same people all through the store) we did the picking up. We eventually made it back home and Nick and the kids tidied up there while I went over to help my dad with his new netbook, which he’d picked up that morning. I did all my computer magic over the course of a couple hours and got him hooked up with all his software and file needs and headed back home to start reading my book. Bwahaha. Nick went over and spent the evening hanging out with my dad.

Saturday we hung out with my parents again in the morning before we left for church. The kids climbed ropes and played on the swings. Nick and D and Dad played chess. It was a good morning. We went to church, listened to our new pastor (who was a fabulous speaker, lots of discussion of Greek words, loved it), and then kids had snacks while my m-i-l and I practiced our duet on the big piano (which has keys that are very hard to press compared to my piano at home). We headed home, I changed clothes, and headed out for Girls Night Out. Nick and the kids stayed home and did whatever boys do when their mama is away (hung from the ceiling? shot themselves out into space in rockets? who knows! It was Boys Night In!). I had a lovely time with my lady friends and this time we managed to get a photo of all of us together (something we’ve never managed in the two years we’ve been meeting).
Came home and couldn’t sleep, as I am always excited after a night out, so I stayed up late finishing the book I was reading (the second Percy Jackson book; trying to keep up with D), never realizing that the clocks hadn’t already been set ahead for daylights savings time.

Yesterday we all got up unreasonably early. The day turned out to be one of those ones were everything goes wrong. G ran into my room yelling that D was throwing up from atop his bunk bed, B was asleep below, mercifully, or there’d have been extra mess. I got up, cleaned up the mess, got the boy into the bathroom, then looked at the clock: 5:45am. My husband, who was mysteriously in the kitchen and not at work (he’s been working a lot of overtime lately), hugged me and told me he’d reset all the clocks already so I didn’t have to. I tried to go back to bed, but couldn’t since I had a snuggly, wiggly boy (G) in there with me. So we all got up, ate breakfast, then sat around reading until it was time to leave for the last basketball practice of the season. David and I stayed home because of his icky tummy. He played more Wii and I wandered here and there doing chores and trying to finish up another necklace. The laundry that I thought was clean was mysteriously dirty, the necklace that I “finished” I turned out to have left a bead out of.

After the other kids came back home, we tried to go to the zoo and got verbally assaulted by the director of said zoo for bringing in a check that wasn’t signed by me — it was a gift membership from my in-laws, which I had filled out paperwork for and brought in with me, but he refused to listen one word I said, no matter how polite I was. It was a disaster all around, so I decided to take my children elsewhere. We got to the frozen custard place and discovered that my two-for-one coupons had been left in the hallway when we were swapping stuff around between the vans earlier in the week, but by then I decided to just make the best of it and we paid full price. The custard was perfect and by the time I’d finished venting to my husband, my best friend, and finally to my mother-in-law (who is going up to talk to the zoo about their communication skills today) I was feeling much better. We had a movie night with the kids, watching an old Valerie Bertinelli movie about a robot dog, which they loved. The movie ran late, so the kids ran late getting into baths and storytime, so it was nearly 9:45pm before they went to bed. I made their lunches last night and set out clothes for them so they could sleep in this morning and it’s just now time to get them up so that’s the end of this post.

Posted in Around the House, Everywhere But Home, Family Time, Friend Time, health, Parenting

More catching up

I realized the other day after the fact that when I posted about President’s Day that I still had a week or so of posting to do and now it’s been a couple weeks since that and I have A LOT of posting to do. I’ve been doing that thing again where you start a post, realize that you need to have your calendar close by or your photos already uploaded and since you realize that you’re woefully unprepared, you close out of the post unsaved and promise that you’re going to post TOMORROW. Well, I have a lot of “tomorrows” to post for and who knows how long I’ll manage to stay awake at this point, so this may be more summary than actual posty goodness.

We’ll start will February 18th, as that is the first day on the calendar post-15th that I have a) something written on and b) photos for. In the morning, G, my mom, and I hit Lowe’s for the second time in a week, this time in order to buy those fabulous kid-size-but-very-sturdy gardening tools that we’d seen earlier in the week. We also scored some Gerber daisies (two varieties, it turned out), which we later planted in a small grouping in the front yard.

That afternoon we picked the kids up from school, drove out to my in-laws house, and prepped & decorated for a family dinner.


The next day we got up, got ready for the day, and then G and I headed up the hill for his best friends birthday party at the local community center. Fun was had by all, including me (I got to talk at length with an interesting woman who’d held a similar ministry position to mine back in the day)! 🙂

After that we headed out to church, then back to town to visit with my parents. Sunday was, again, basketball and more basketball, followed by Nick working overtime and the kids and I cleaning up the house and catching up on laundry and such. Monday was President’s Day, which I already blogged at length about in my last post. Tuesday was my appointment with the rheumatogist, which I blogged about here. In case you don’t follow that link, the long and short of it is: new meds and I have to see another doctor about my pre-hypertension. Yay. I spent the rest of the day cleaning and taking kids to piano lessons and Greg got to spend the night with his Nana and Pa.

Wednesday I hung out with my parents a bit, which was weird all by myself. I went home and cleaned house until it was time to pick up kids. Around 4:45 we met up with some other scout parents and took a group over to the Lady Apache Basketball game (well, I took the kids, but Nick and his dad and G eventually showed up there). DSCN0953

Thursday I had my appointment with my PCP, wherein I found out that due to family history, I needed to start on a beta blocker and watch my health more closely. Yay. Friday was a normal day with kids going to school, homework being done, chores, etc. We drove down to CS Friday afternoon/evening. Saturday the kids played ping pong and watched movies. My friend Sarah and her new baby came over to visit, which was lots of fun.
G loved playing Peek-a-boo with little Serenity. 🙂

Sunday the kids went fishing at the park, then we drove back home in the afternoon.
Monday was a regular day for us, with the kids at school and later B had scouts. Tuesday marked Nick and I’s 14th anniversary of our first date, so we had the babysitter come over after piano lessons, so we could go out to Sonoma Grill and the bookstore afterwards.

Wednesday, March 2nd, the car wouldn’t start, as we’d miscalculated the gas mileage (our gas gauge does not work). I walked the kids in to school, a 45 minute round trip. This, of course, put us in the marginal zone for being late for our 2nd glass appointment (the replaced glass from last week having cracked once we tried opening the window). They said that the guy was running a bit late anyway, no worries, he’d be there by 11am. Well, by 11am we had a friend lined up to help us fill our gas tank. The glass guy was, of course, terribly late, so while we waited we had a playdate at our house.
That family left after lunch. The glass guy, despite being only “45 minutes” away at 10:30am, showed up at 2:35pm. Needless to say, we won’t be doing business with the Glass Doctor again.

Thursday the 3rd all the kids went to their various schools & I had lunch with my friend Em and her daughter H. We discussed the Wii game Animal Crossing in great detail, as my whole family is obsessed with it, and H. is an expert player. That evening I went out once again with B’s Tiger Cub den (and one other), this time to tour the local TV station during the evening broadcast, which we were supposed to appear on, but due to scheduling and technical difficulties, we did not appear on. Ah well, the tour was interesting and the kids had a pretty good time.

Friday, March 4th. we went over to my friend JP’s house for a playdate. G loves her daughter K, so all was well there.
Afterward we spent the afternoon cleaning up before hosting a family from church for dinner. We had a fabulous time with our friends and the kids loved making a movie “show” and videotaping it for our later viewing pleasure. 🙂

Saturday was a church day, then afterwards Nick headed out to Men’s Club while the kids and I headed out to Pizza Hut with Nick’s parents and sister and her girls. Sunday was yet more basketball, Nick working more overtime, and us cleaning more of the house. Monday was the first official day of Spring Break. D has spent several nights at his Nana and Pa’s house. DSCN1093 The younger kids and I made a picnic lunch and toured Mrs. Lee’s Daffodiil Garden before heading our to our friend’s house in Gladewater for the afternoon. We played at their house, then played over at R’s school playground before coming home for the evening. DSCN1130Today we spent the day playing video games and hosting a playdate with one of Ben’s friends DSCN1159and missing our D. Tomorrow he comes home, though, and B will get his turn at Nana and Pa’s house. 🙂

That’s it. Hope that was coherent enough for you. More photos can be found at, of course.