Spring Break

When we were planning Spring Break originally, Nick wasn’t taking time off. I’d thought about going to see my parents or staying here…and then at the weekend we had a Teen Regional Weekend for church.  Plans changed.

 

Nick looked at the schedule and realized this was a great time to a) do our family vacation (a mini one this year due to other travel going on later in the year) and b) to go see the Magna Carta (on display in Houston). So we added that to the schedule.

 

Meanwhile I realized that my much postponed visit to see my bff needed to happen during that week, too.

 

So our break became one long car ride with interruptions here and there.

We started off our break with a Holcomb Family Dinner at Nick’s parents house.

Cousins all watching a movie

Cousins all watching a movie

Adults all talking about "boring stuff" (according to the kids)

Adults all talking about “boring stuff” (according to the kids)

Saturday, this happened:

There's free time! We should Bedazzle something! What do we Bedazzle? Our Phineas & Ferb shirt!

There’s free time! We should Bedazzle something! What do we Bedazzle? Our Phineas & Ferb shirt!

Saturday morning Pokemon obsessing

Saturday morning Pokemon obsessing

Floppy David is floppy

Floppy David is floppy

Then on Sunday we started the first leg of our journey… to College Station, where I spent a lot of time sitting around while the kids went exciting places, like the ice skating rink.

Ben & Greg start off pretty close to the wall.

Ben & Greg start off pretty close to the wall.

David is a speeding blur!

David is a speeding blur!

Now Ben's got it going on.

Now Ben’s got it going on.

I did break free and run off with Steph for a while to do some catching up and shopping. My favorite thing we saw:

I am absolutely certain that we do.

I am absolutely certain that we do.

While I was gone:

Time for Poker!

Time for Poker!

Then on Tuesday we drove down to Houston to tour the Houston Museum of Natural Science and to see the 1217 copy of the Magna Carta.

At the Magna Carta exhibit, there were many good things for the kids to do hands on.

At the Magna Carta exhibit, there were many good things for the kids to do hands on.

The chained books made the kids excited: "It's just like your Library screensaver!"

The chained books made the kids excited: “It’s just like your Library screensaver!”

The Writ of the Magna Carta (the instructions that travel with it)

The Writ of the Magna Carta (the instructions that travel with it)

The 1217 Magna Carta

The 1217 Magna Carta

The parts of this chair that look like wood are actually carved and polished stone.

The parts of this chair that look like wood are actually carved and polished stone.

TRILOBYTES are EVERYWHERE!!

TRILOBYTES are EVERYWHERE!!

Alligator?

Alligator?

Mineral that formed in the shape of a dragon

Mineral that formed in the shape of a dragon

We had lunch nearby at a place that only did sliders and sides.

We had lunch nearby at a place that only did sliders and sides.

Our skyline view

Our skyline view

These chili fries taste weird. Yeah, that's cause they taste like curry!

These chili fries taste weird. Yeah, that’s cause they taste like curry!

Sliders, sliders, and more sliders

Sliders, sliders, and more sliders

On Wednesday, we drove back to Tyler, dropped Nick off, then the kids and I drove to Quitman to visit the cousins at the park near their new house.

Teeter-tottering with the cousins

Teeter-tottering with the cousins

Wandering down the nature trail

Wandering down the nature trail

Sitting on the cute front porch of the historical building.

Sitting on the cute front porch of the historical building.

That's a really tall slide!

That’s a really tall slide!

On Thursday, we did a bunch of laundry, repacked, and headed up to Colleyville to see Kay. Unfortunately, she was unexpectedly still in Houston.  We spent several hours trying to amuse ourselves on our own before she made it back.

On Kay's trampoline

On Kay’s trampoline

In Kay's backyard

In Kay’s backyard

Then the girls had to go to gymnastics class (and yes, at this point we were wondering why we were even invited up, and by the end of the visit there was unpleasantness), so we took the kids to the park.

Climbing at the park

Climbing at the park

My spider boy

My spider boy

David in a teacup?

David in a teacup?

 

 

The sleeping arrangements were weird because the bed was broken.

The sleeping arrangements were weird because the bed we were supposed to sleep in was broken.

The next morning we had a muffin cook-off.

Iron Chef: Muffin Battle

Iron Chef: Muffin Battle

Our plan for the rest of the day involved the ginormous amount of books to go through and then take to sell at Half Price Books.

These are the books I'm taking home. There were about 20 other bags & boxes that I didn't take home, but did dig through.

These are the books I took home. There were about 20 other bags & boxes that I didn’t take home, but did dig through.

After Half Price, we went to Cost-co to celebrate Pi day the cheap way.

Happy Pi day!

Happy Pi day!

Then we went back to the house for movies and a frantic search for my debit card.

Sometimes it's easier to take photos of kids when they are facing the other way.

Sometimes it’s easier to take photos of kids when they are facing the other way.

In the evening before bed we had one final bit of happy Pi-ness:

Happy Pi Day!

Happy Pi Day!

 

Saturday we got up and drove over to McKinney for the Dallas UCG Regional Teen Weekend.

Church a la research center

Church a la research center

We had church and a Bible study earlier in the day, then in the evening there were separate dinners for the pre-teens/families and for the teens. After dinner, the teens had a dance and the pre-teens/families were left on their own for entertainment.

This is so obviously my kid. We sat across from each other and read. People thought it was weird. ;)

This is so obviously my kid. We sat across from each other and read. People thought it was weird. 😉

Savage Raccoon Greg

Savage Raccoon Greg

Sweet Owl Greg

Sweet Owl Greg

Rainbow Loom bracelet making station.

Rainbow Loom bracelet making station.

Our dinner companions

Our dinner companions

Touring the Heard Museum in McKinney

Touring the Heard Museum – they were sweet and let us tour as long as we had enough adults to take all the kids through. Nick and I took some extra kids whose parents were chaperoning the dance.

Our hotel for the night. Ben thought it was beautiful

Our hotel for the night. The younger kids and I went back early for sleep while Nick stayed behind and waited for David’s dance to be done.  Ben thought our hotel room was beautiful.

The next morning we got up and had breakfast back at the Heard Museum before going for a little hike on the nature trails.

The Heard Museum's Research Center

The Heard Museum’s Research Center

Part of the Bluestem Walking Trail

Part of the Bluestem Walking Trail

Part of the Bluestem Walking Trail

Part of the Bluestem Walking Trail

After the trail (which the kids didn’t go on because it was FREEZING!), we headed out to Garland to the Skatium.

Roller skating in Garland

Roller skating fun

David is a blur on roller skates, too

David is a blur on roller skates, too

After the skating, we had one last meal together before we left for home.

Lunch with friends at the roller rink

Lunch with friends at the roller rink

Greg and Theron

Greg and Theron

And that was the end of our Spring Break. 🙂

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Merry Christmas!

...from Lisa and the boys

…from Lisa and the boys

Stuff and Nonsense

I never feel like posting anymore.  I’ve been cleaning house and going to church and cleaning house and doing PTA stuff and more of the cleaning house.  I haven’t been subbing, because there is apparently a three-strike’s-you’re-out policy behind the scenes at the elementary school and I said no three times last month (one doctor appointment for me, two days of sick kids).  My friend M has a brain aneurysm and had to have surgery, one of our parents (I can’t say who; I’m not allowed) turned up positive for a kind of cancer.  All three of my kids have had Fifth Disease this month at various times.   I saw my doctor for my annual physical and the answer to most of my questions was “weight loss would help with that.”

 

So… yeah.  I’ve started several little projects: I’m uploading all my CD’s to iTunes.  I’m taking advantage of Library Things free month thingie and uploading my library again and trying to update that.  I’m letting Picasa identify all the people in all the photos left on my hard drive and tag them.  I’m back to some scrapbooking again, trying to use up all of the already pre-printed photos before I start just putting together photo books online in the future.  I’m selling stuff on local sales sites on facebook and using the money to spruce up the house, since I’m not getting substituting jobs.

 

Sorry I’m full of sadness today.  I think this year is getting to me.  Or maybe it’s all the beginning trumpet music from the next room.  Who knows.  I am just so tired.

 

Mental Health Day (a cross-post)

I am starting to think that what I really need is a mental health blog.  Or to combine all my little blogs into one big blog so I can stop repeating myself from different angles.  Who knows.

A friend of mine committed suicide this weekend.  We weren’t close lately, hadn’t been for a couple years, but once upon a time I lent her all my books about depression and gave her my number and talked to her about my experiences with therapy and brain chemicals that just don’t work right . Through her, I lent her husband the book “How to Help When Someone You Love is Depressed” that I’d gotten for my husband ages ago.  She still had a few books that hadn’t made it back to me.  I guess they never will.  These aren’t the thoughts one generally shares, I know, but somehow they are the ones my brain is holding onto right now, instead of blubbering insanely about how sad it all is and how hard I tried to help her and how I failed to keep up and how I regret it and how I am never ever the person I mean to be when it comes to other people and how I should have kept up with her when she went silent.  Because once I get started with them, the tears start, they don’t stop.

THIS YEAR.  I CAN’T TAKE THIS YEAR.

One of my good friends from junior high died this last year: breast cancer.  My ex-boyfriend from high school was accused of sexual misconduct with a student and I can’t quite bring myself to admit that I really do think it’s something he did, because then I’d have to admit out loud to my family and other people how awful he was (in college I had girls email me out of nowhere and ask me to join their therapy group because ….) and they don’t need to hear that.  Then there was my mom and the hospital last summer. And another ancient friend’s husband died unexpectedly from pneumonia.  Another one’s brother died and I somehow totally missed it and I feel awful about it, but don’t know what to say now.  Another friends son had a terrible car accident months ago and is only now walking.  And then the husband of a girl here in town that was one of those friends-of-a-friend that you always hear about that you feel like you know even though you’ve actually never met them?  The one you’ve heard dozens of stories about?  Yeah.  Her husband died trying to save someone after a car accident. And now this.

I told my spouse that I needed a Self Care day.  He was busy, of course, because we are NEVER not busy these days, and said the wrong thing and that made me cry more.  He apologized and said the right things later but I ….well…  I am broken at this point.  And thanking God or the Universe or Whatever I’m Believing In This Week that I asked the doctor for those anti-depressant, anti-anxiety meds way back in October.  Because I don’t know what or who to believe in these days, but SCIENCE seems like a good thing.  Quantifiable, you know.  I don’t, I just don’t know.  Nobody is available on a Saturday to talk, so I’ve been making due with a bunch of movies (The Decoy Bride I need to own and Wild Targets I’m going to rewatch and A Good Woman I’m in the middle of, but it’s kind of bland so far despite good reviews – I’m thinking I just don’t like Scarlet Johanssen) and a bottle of wine and a box of chicken quesadillas.

Thank you for listening and thinking about me.  I know we don’t see/know each other in person, but you mean the world to me, you really do. *big big hugs*

October already!

I can’t believe it’s already October!

School started for the kids back in mid-August, which meant I did lots of shopping and resting and shopping some more.  Then PTA stuff started back up.  I’m homeroom parent coordinator, so I’ve spent lots of time making a database of which parent is willing to help with which activity for which grade (as well as all the contact info, which flummoxes me a bit because the school already has most of that info in a database somewhere; why must I copy it?).  I started volunteering a couple hours a week in the school library helping check in and out while the librarian teaches classes.  I also help out with shelving (I bring in my own kneeling pad & am allowed to scoot around in the wheeled chair when my knees are bad) and in the computer lab.  It’s more fun and life-affirming than you can imagine.  My husband thought it might wear me out, but it actually has been energizing me because it gives me a couple hours out of my own head.  Plus I get to talk to kids about books!  What could be better?!

Let’s see, what else?  My sinus CT came back normal (I was on steroids and antibiotics at the time; of course it looked normal) so I’m keeping the suggested surgery at bay for a while longer.  I got a staph infection at the gym (I’m pretty sure it was there) the first day I went there.  They now have bleach wipes for everyone to use after using the machines.  Yay.

Once that was gone, I went back to my primary care doctor for a physical.  He said I was the healthiest he’d seen me in ages and that we should go ahead and do those vaccinations he’d been holding off on for a long while.  So I got a flu shot and a TDAP.  I immediately started feeling weak and dizzy, but I HATE shots, so I didn’t say much.  I told the lady doing my blood draw that I felt weird and she let me sit for a while first and eventually I was good to go.  Three days went by and while my flu shot side (the nurse labeled them) stayed small and red, the TDAP side swelled and swelled and was very hot.  I had a fever the first couple days, then it left and a stiff neck set in.  I called my doctor’s office a couple times but my doctor was out of the office & there was a holiday weekend involved, so I finally saw the doctor about a week later.  He said I’d had a really bad reaction to the vaccination and put me on another round of steroids.  (Even now, a month later, I can still feel a marble sized lump under my skin on that site.)

Since I’m mostly doing all right lately, I’ve started a new food tracking program.  I’m using LoseIt.com to track my food and exercise (I used to use SparkPeople, but it felt so competitive and just like too much to do).  I’ve discovered a few things the past couple weeks (I tracked for a week without changing anything first, just to see what that looked like.): 1) After entering my age/weight/activity level and letting the program run its calculations, I found out that I apparently don’t eat enough, so my body’s been in starvation mode and b) once I started eating as many calories as I’m supposed to have, I started losing weight.  So far just a week of eating more (and making sure that that “more” was a healthy more, not a candy bar or soda more) and I’m down 1.7 pounds.  No extra exercise (although it counts weird things like housecleaning and music making as exercise) involved.  We’re going on vacation this next week, so eating well will be trickier, but I’ll also be moving around more, so that’ll even some things up.  Still, I’ll be trying checking out menus/nutritional values and trying to keep as close to on-track as one can while on vacation.

How’s the RA?  It’s coming and going.  When I’m being good and resting like I ought to it mostly stays pretty quiet.  When I’m running around like a crazy person (the last couple weeks: friends came to dinner, we went out to dinner, my kids birthday party, book fair at school, field trip for MDO, PTA movie night, playing a duet at church, family dinner night out), then it creeps up on me and unleashes its wrath: hot swollen ankles, knees, and hands; a painful back, shoulders, and elbows.  I’m hoping that this upcoming vacation week allows me to slow down a little and catch my breath and rest my limbs.  🙂

Food, Fitness, & Faith, day, ummm…

Well, around day 11 I got a fever and tried to rest by not exercising.  Didn’t help. Food wise I did okay.

Day 12 I was still feverish.  I also tried to rest by not exercising, but I HAD to work the school book fair, so that wasn’t really restful, was it? I did okay at breakfast and lunch was a salad at the school (oh happy day!)  Sadly, dinner was at the pizza buffet with my mom watching me eat (she hates that I eat practically nothing at a buffet, so I tried to eat more to make her happy, which makes me unhappy.  it’s a bad cycle.). 

Day 13 I was feeling better, walked a bit back and forth and back and forth to my mom’s house.  Ate next to nothing for breakfast. Lunch was a sandwich and chips shared with Greg from the fancy Fresh grocery (running errands can be fun if you do it right).  I spent an hour and a half at the sink washing dishes, which completely wore me out.

Day 14 was a busy day (and a “no exercise” day because it was the Sabbath) with early church, dinner at a friends house, then a late youth group planning meeting afterwards.  I did a lot of fast walking here, there, everywhere, trying to meet all the needs of Hospitality. 

Day 15 I realized that if I was going to get back into exercising that today needed to be that day.  But I woke up completely drained, kids had to be corralled into doing their work, Nick was literally at work, and by the time I was awake and alive enough to do anything, dishes & laundry beckoned.  I worked on that (not finishing, no) until it was time to leave for the  super-extra-long rehearsal (I’m playing clarinet for the ensemble playing “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” at a local high school).  Came home, at dinner, collapsed in heap.

 

And now it’s Day 16.  I’ve woken up late, everyone’s late this morning, in a panicked rush, and I’m posting this because it’s been sitting on my desktop for days and I’ve been adding this in dribs and drabs, so no photos. 

Question: Should I start over on the book or continue where I left off?  Most of the other ladies in my group are doing worse than I am and one is starting over.  I just don’t know.