Thursday, December 24, 2009

So, my birthday is over. I made it to 41 with no problem this year. My husband arranged for us to meet my family at a pizza parlor, and then surprised me by inviting my friends too.

So now that my birthday was over, it was time to get a tree. We usually get our tree at a local home improvement store. Our timing was right too because the trees were 50% off and our tree wound up costing $7! When I was little, we lived down the road from a Christmas tree farm and would get our trees from there. After my parents divorced, we didn't do that anymore. I always liked the tree farm and hope that for at least once, we can give our kids the experience of going to the tree farm and picking out a tree to be cut.

This tree was the first thing that we hauled home in the new van. Now we could have tied it to the luggage rack on the roof, but we didn't have any twine (and I do realize that we were at a home improvement store that sold it and/or bunjee cords, but we just chose not to buy any) so we put the third seat down in the back and maneuvered the tree in. Unfortunately, for Heather, the tree pinned her seatbelt to the floor when we turned a corner on the way home and nearly strangled her. We did manage though to get the tree and the kids home, safe and sound. We waited a couple of days to put in in the house and decorate because Kevin's computer desk was still sitting in the corner that we wanted to put the tree in (Kevin's idea, not mine, just so you know that I didn't "make" him sacrifice his computer corner). When the tree was finally set up, we decided to decorate it on a night when Kevin's folks were here. Kevin's mother (who has Alzheimer's) used to really enjoy decorating for Christmas. So we thought watching the kids decorate the tree might ignite some kind of spark. She seemed to enjoy it a little. There were some ornaments that we thought she would have loved in the past. There might have been a hint of a spark, but it faded nearly as fast as it came.

Now here we are, at Christmas Eve. So far, today has gone by faster than the days of the past two weeks. I made some fudge for the neighbors and then had the kids deliver those today (Kylin proudly wore his "Santa" hat). After going to the first house and saying "Merry Christmas", Kylin told Heather, "That was being friendly!". The kids are anxiously awaiting the morning when they can find out what all of those presents contain. Heather is at the age, where she's more "ok" with waiting. Kylin is not there, at all. In the past we've had something for them to open on Christmas eve, and we do have something. I bought the kids a game (LIFE), but I didn't wrap it because they were with me when I bought it, so it wouldn't have been a surprise. So tonight, we're watching "UP" again (probably the cutest yet saddest PIXAR movie I've ever seen), and having the traditional pizza and pie. Then we'll probably try to play the new game with the kids. Kylin may or may not finish it. We'll see. He isn't a real game player (but Heather is). Hopefully the kids will be abl eto get to sleep tonight. We have an early morning, a VERY early morning to rest up for.


Friday, December 11, 2009

My Birthday Surprise!

So today sort of begins my birthday weekend. I'll be 41 on Monday. My husband has been out doing some birthday/Christmas shopping this past week, which had him coming home late from work a couple of times. So tonight, when he came home from work, he asked me if I wanted to start my birthday celebrating tonight. Of course, I'm not going to say "No". So he handed me a metallic red box. I opened it, and it was full of metallic red confetti, and at the bottom of the box was a single car key. I realized that it was a car key, but just couldn't fathom that I was getting a car on my birthday! So he took me outside and parked on the street was a 2004 Ford Freestar mini van!

The car we have been driving, a '94 Oldsmobile for the past two years. In that time, it has slowly had things go wrong with it. As of now, both front power windows no longer have power. The side passenger window for a long time wouldn't stay down so it's now held up with duct tape, (but still tends to come down so I have one of the kids hold it in place when I drive over railroad tracks & speed bumps). The radio antennae stopped extending so I couldn't get the Christian stations on the radio. And the air conditioner stopped working. And by now, the engine hasn't been sounding too well either, and Kevin hasn't felt very comfortable with me driving it with the kids to church and back (driving through rural roads to get there). So he, with the help of our neighbor, test drove and picked out a van, with low miles (always a plus). And tonight, I'm back in the mini-van club!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Cat Chronicles: "Paws II"

Just a note to start this entry. I am really not a cat person. I grew up with dogs (we had some farm cats, but I didn't care for them because they scratched more than the dogs did). My dad had Dachshunds, so I guess I'm more of a "little dog" person. However, I married a cat person. My husband has always had a cat (and he has plenty of cat stories of his own). Those cat loving genes were passed on to our daughter as well. So for the rest of my life, I will probably have a cat living in my house.

Apparently, according to this picture, all you can really tell about Paws is that he's totally black and that his eyes were open when the flash went off. We currently have 5 cats in our house, and they each have some interesting personalities, so I thought I'd devote a blog entry for each one.

So, as the title states, this one is about Heather's cat "Paws". When Heather was about 6, she started talking about "when I get a kitty, I'm gonna name it Paws". For three years, we heard about this cat that she was planning on having. She didn't seem to have any particular kind of cat in mind other than just having one of her own. When she was almost 9, and it was a hot day in July. Heather was coming home from church camp that day. I had gone to the teacher supply store when someone walked in and said that there were some free kittens in front of the grocery store next door. I left the store to check out these kittens, and saw a little orange tabby snoozing amongst the little black fluffy siblings. I made the impulsive decision to take him home (which surprised my husband because impulsively bringing a kitten home is something he would do......and has done). So Heather came home from camp and found this cute kitten in her room, and he was the "Paws" she had waited for. This little guy had a place on her bed to sleep and he even blended in with all of the stuffed animals.

Unfortunately, that little guy didn't stay with us long. We only had him for a month and he wound up having to be put to sleep. Heather grieved for several days over him. Kevin started to check the newspapers again for free kittens and found an ad for "rubberized" kittens out in the Thurston area of Springfield. So we drove out to see them and see what "rubberized" meant. The lady giving them away demonstrated by holding them in hand, just under their little armpits and sort of dangle them, and swing them a little before cuddling them. They were the most relaxed kittens we'd ever seen. Heather picked out this little black ball of fur with bright blue eyes, and he became "Paws II" (we eventually dropped the "II"). It turned out that he also had a little bit of white fur between two toes, so I guess his name fit.

We brought him home, and discovered that he liked to beg for food (scrambled eggs). He doesn't do that now. He's kind of passive. Anytime he sees other cats get into a fight, he likes to go and be a spectator, not a participant. He's not a mouser, he'd rather play with it, however he is a bird catcher (gross & sad). And I have never seen a cat so proud when he's being pet, like this one. He acts like he's the king of the house. He's also the only cat in the house who may actually figure out how to open the front door to let himself in and out, and it wouldn't surprise me if, one day, he figures out how to ring the doorbell to let us know that he wants in. He certainly has tried.

Even though he's Heather's cat, he seems to have bonded with Kevin more (it's ok though because Heather has bonded more with Kevin's cat "Aslan")

So, that's the tale about Paws. Not the most exciting or amusing one, just kind of a lazy one.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Bagel's "Wordless Wednesday"

Um, yeah..........Well so much for "Wordless Wednesday". I need to say a few words about this cat. I'd like to know what Oscar does that is so tiring that he needs to sleep all day...........on my bed. I know for certain, that he wasn't spending hours wrapping these presents to tire him out.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

December is Busy and so am I!

(the picture on the left was what I discovered while typing this blog. Don't worry, my kitchen is clean and I normally don't allow cats to be on the counters or in the sink. But they sneak up there anyway thinking that there's something for them)

Well..........we've already cruised through the first week of December and Christmas will be here faster than I'll be ready for it!

As tradition has been, on the first day after Thanksgiving, we put away all of the fall decorations, and bring out the Christmas ones (as seen in this post's pictures...........the paper bag at the bottom is not one of the decorations.... in case you're wondering........we just haven't moved it yet).

I have probably said it before and will say it again, this year has gone by faster than any other year in my past. Not only am I getting ready for Christmas, but I've been sewing quite a bit too. My kids needed some more winter sleepwear (especially my son, whose legs grew longer than his pant legs in the past 6 months). Then there is always school to oversee, errands and more errands to run, and regular household chores. Just really busy! I joined a group on Flickr in which I am supposed to post a picture of my self (or at least have a part of myself in it) every day. I haven't been always able to do that every day, because................I'm busy..........and so is my husband. He's been putting up our lights and he really, really likes to have alot. For us, this is the time of year, in which if the Christmas lights are on, we don't turn on any vacuums or hairdryers. A small sacrifice for a beautiful display. I'm very glad to have a husband who likes to put up lights!

So today, was one of those busy days. My daughter had a Jr. High youth group Christmas party at 1:00. I needed to do grocery and Christmas shopping. The party was only 2 hours long and I needed more time. So I awoke early (earlier than the time my husband wanted to wake up on a Saturday) and headed out the door just before 10. I cruised through one store, found most of my groceries (so we won't starve, should the forecasted snow arrive) and was back home in time to put them away, and eat something (cereal) before delivering my 13 year old to her party.

My first stop in my Christmas shopping venture was to one of our shopping malls, to find a few requested items. I had hoped to get a few items from our local university's store, as my son has become a fan, (and our team is headed for the Rose Bowl, so I wanted to see about getting commemorative t-shirts). That store was FULL of people so I decided to go back later this week.....when most of those shoppers are at work.

I think that probably the funniest moment of the day, was when I was at the Christian bookstore. A man came in and said rather loudly to the lady behind the counter, that only in our town "would you find THIS store next to THAT one!". "THAT" a Victoria's Secret. Those two stores had been next to each other for years (the Christian bookstore has been known by different names) and I never saw the irony. Maybe I was too busy noticing the irony of the church down the road from us that shares a parking lot with an adult bookstore (I have no idea which one arrived in that lot first).

After my visit to the mall and a local ShopKo, it was time to pick up my daughter and then take her shopping. She wants to buy Christmas gifts for family and she has two friends who have birthdays this month. So we ventured toward the other mall, stopping at a couple of craft stores on the way (my daughter had the same "excitement" at those stores that I used to have when my mom would take me to the fabric store when I was little. She was very bored). I tried not to take too long in gathering paper for scrapbooking (after the holidays).

Once at the mall, we walked all over the place. Visited several stores, found gifts, and tried to avoid bumping in to people. By the time we were finished, we were both very tired, so we treated ourselves to a latte/hot cocoa.

Now we're home, resting our weary feet, and legs, and the plastic. Our house is lit up (though not quite bright enough for planes to see yet).


Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Perspective of the Vertically Challenged Spouse (or short person)

What prompted the idea for this subject was my needing to get a bottle of V-8 juice off of a high shelf, put there by my husband. When we were putting groceries away, he put the juice on the shelf closest to the ceiling in our laundry room and even though I had a step stool (the kind that has a fold down seat on top), I still needed to climb on top of the washing machine, to reach it.

This isn't the first time I've had an issue like this. To clarify, I'm not a little person (like on TLC's "Little People, Big World"). I'm just an average short person. I'm 5 feet, 3.5 inches tall. I just barely still qualify to buy "petite" clothes (the pants tend to be slightly too short if I buy them in that size so I buy "Average" and hem them a bit). My husband is nearly a whole foot taller than me. So he's looking at life and looking at things from a different perspective, literally. Putting away groceries that I would regularly use, more than he would, is just one of our differences. Just as he's not thinking to put things lower, I dont think to look for things higher than my eye level. There have been several times when I've looked in our refrigerator for what I know is a full jug of milk or juice, that should be there, and isn't. I can look everywhere, within my eye level or below and not find it until maybe I happen to look up and find the item on top of the fridge. What usually happens in this case is that my husband will need something in the refrigerator that is in the back, so he'll take out the milk or juice that is in front of it, put it up on top of the fridge, and then forget to put it back. Since I'm not looking up high for milk or juice on top of the fridge, I usually don't find it until the beverage is warm (or until it falls on my head when I open the refrigerator. No brain injury yet)). It's something for us both to improve on.

My need to adjust to living with taller people didn't start when I married. I was born to taller parents. My dad was nearly 5' 11", and my mother was nearly 5' 9" (she wore 3" heels most of the time and wore her hair rather poofy which made her look taller). When I was little, it was assumed that I would be taller like my parents. My mother calculated my full height when I was two, using a formula she found in my baby book. Using those calculations, the results showed that I would be the height that I am now. She reconfigured it several times because "certainly she can't be THAT short!". But, my paternal grandmother's gene pool kicked in (she was just over 5' 2") and I never became a tall person. My grandma would tell me several times, "I stopped growing when I was 12 and so will you" and "You'll never be taller than me".

Well I did stop growing when I was 12. Until then, I was a little taller than all of my friends, and then when I stopped growing, they all started. Within one year after my 12th birthday, all of my friends were significantly taller than me. From then on, I felt the need to remind the adults at church and school (actually the same place) that I was still the same age as my friends. Because I was shorter, it was suddenly assumed that I was younger. When we went on field trips and had to take separate cars, there were many times I was sent to ride in the car designated for "the younger students". If we had to stand according to height for a picture or class presentation, the shorter row was referred to as "the younger students". A friend of mine who went to that same school always remembers that I was a stickler about letting folks know that I was older than my friends. She was surprised that it didn't seem to be an issue with me now. Well when you're grown, and so is everyone else, no one is mistaking you for being a 6th grader when you're in high school (and when you turn 40, you really don't mind if people think that you're younger!).

Living with a tall parent was a challenge for both of us. My mom would put things up high because that is where she'd look for them (just like the situation that I live in now) and I rarely ever did unless she told me to. When I would walk with her, she took longer strides, so I had to race walk to keep up with her. She heard a song about short people on a tv show, and liked to tease me by singing that song. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a song about tall people to sing back to her. I think that being shorter hindered my mother from seeing me as an adult as well. She really didn't see me as an adult, until I was 26, when I married. Until then, I was little and still viewed as a little girl. I think that my aunt's view of me was the same as my mother's because once I married, she didn't know how to relate to me or talk to me at all.

People who had known me since I was 2, assumed that I would be tall like my mom and would assume that I was in 6th grade and would say "Oh, you have plenty of time to grow" and "You're going to be tall like your mother" and when I'd say that I quit growing, they'd ask, "Well how old are you now" and I'd say, "Twenty", to which they'd stop smiling and say "oh".

Now being short or "vertically challenged" (as a former co-worker told me once), has brought on some interesting requests. We're asked to look under things more because I guess it's easier for us or because we're closer to the ground. The oddest request that I've ever had was from a tall female coworker. I used to work in a grocery store deli, and we saw alot of male customers or venders during the day, and this coworker always managed to see someone who she thought was cute, and she wanted to look her best when he came by our counter (we were wearing greasy aprons and smelling like fried chicken, jo-jo's & bleach, how could we really improve on that?). Anyway, any time "cute" guy was heading our way, she'd ask "Lisa, quick! Look! Do I have boogers up my nose?" Yes, that's right, apparently short people can be "booger inspectors" for tall folks. I never did put THAT on my resume!

I guess that being shorter is also something that is sometime envied a little. Something that my mom told me on many occasions, was that "at least you won't have to worry about finding a husband who is taller than you". I guess she was right. I found one who is quite a bit taller. Tall enough to get the things off of those high shelves..........the things that he originally put up there.

I don't have a picture to coincide with this blog entry. I thought that I could take a picture of myself next to my actual height on the measuring tape, but I just don't feel like taking the time to do that. I could also post a picture of my husband and myself to show our height difference, however, he really doesn't like me to post pictures of him because he doesn't think that he photographs well (I think that he looks fine, but I'll respect his wishes..........for now). Lp

Friday, October 9, 2009

Which Would Be A Better Description?

This morning, I commented to Kevin that I was "going to make breakfast for the scholars". He thought I had said that I was going to make breakfast for the "stallers". I suppose that both terms would adequately describe our kids. They are still students, but they certainly try to find ways to postpone school. Lp

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Fall Weather is Soup Weather

All through September, we had Summertime weather. The kind of weather that maybe has a crisp chilly nip in the morning and is 90 degrees by dinnertime. Picnic weather.

We're now in the first week of October and the weather has drastically changed to being very cold if, not close to freezing at night (and despite this, my husband is still too warm, wearing shorts, and still has the AC on in our room at night). When the temperature drops, I start thinking about soups. For the past week, I've made some soups and a large batch of spaghetti sauce for the freezer, and this year, some of the ingredients came from our garden.

I also found an article in the latest issue of Better Homes & Gardens (publisher of my favorite cookbook), on how to organize your freezer better. So I'm working toward a goal of having an organized freezer and utilizing as much space and still have easy access to everything in there (without having something fall out, landing on my foot), using the ideas in that article. Hopefully in my next blog (or the one after that), I'll have a picture to post of the newly organized freezer. So this week, I'm working on round two of cooking for the freezer. Today's feature: Split Pea Soup (one of my husband's favorites). Ep

Thursday, September 10, 2009

This picture is of one of the sunflowers from our garden. We had hoped that they would grow larger so we could harvest the seeds. However, that hasn't been the case. So for now, we just have pretty sunflowers in the garden.

It's hard to believe that Fall is pretty much here already (or at least the weather is). The months that have passed since I turned 40 seem to have gone by faster than any other time in my life.

We've had a busy summer. Busier than usual. Kevin had planted a garden in April and we had planned to keep up with is and harvest as much as we could. We also made plans to clean the garage, get rid of the clutter (the kind that we wouldn't want to take with us if we ever moved), and trips to the Goodwill came up in our planning. Back then, we also started talking about taking a trip to Eastern Oregon and Crater Lake. The last few years for us have been somewhat financially tight and stressful. This year we finally seemed to catch a break, and life seemed to be getting better. Then on the day after Father's Day, my husband started to not feel well. It started with nausea, and then progressed to abdominal pain, and fatigue. He'd still be hungry and would eat, but right afterward, he'd be in pain, and sick and go to bed and sleep the rest of the night until morning. Then he'd wake up still sick and feeling like he hadn't slept. So, that meant that he couldn't always help with parenting after he came home from work or if he was home from work because of being sick (who has the energy to deal with a child's tantrum or meltdown when they feel like crap?). So this illness has been going on all summer. He's seen at least 4 doctors (one of them a specialist), and had pretty much every test done, and we still don't know why he's sick. There are some days when he seems to be fine and then he'll eat and be sick for a few days. It's frustrating for both of us.

We put our summer projects on hold until he's feeling better (of course, even when we're feeling totally great, do we really want to clean the garage? lol). I had been continuing a fairly flexible school schedule during the summer too, but even that just became too much and I decided to take a break until the local schools started up again. It was one less thing to think about. I wanted to harvest & preserve as much from the garden so Kevin wouldn't feel like his early spring efforts went to waste. I froze quite a bit. Our front yard flowerbeds had been neglected all summer, so this week I finally tackled that job. I'm sure our neighbors will be pleased.

This week, we started school. We originally planned to go on our trip next week, but since Kevin is still ill, he wouldn't enjoy the trip. So hopefully by next year, this will be behind us and we'll be able to go on a trip and everyone will be able to enjoy it. My kids aren't that thrilled to be doing schoolwork again, but they do like getting their work finished earlier in the day. Then they have time to read what they like or work on projects or hobbies. There's a bit of a chill in the air and that adds to the "back to school" feeling.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

A "Snack" on Sunday

Last Sunday, while my husband was working in the yard, he save a little hummingbird from our cat "Paws". The little guy had a broken wing, and we discovered that it was illegal for us to keep him, even if to nurse him back to health. Kevin named the little guy "snack" since he was nearly "Paws'" snack. Kevin took the little bird to a wildlife shelter and the lady there said that it would have to be euthanized. Apparently, for a hummingbird, eating coincides with flying. So even if a person caring for a hummingbird put a little birdfeeder in the box or cage with it, it wouldn't know how to eat because it wouldn't be able to fly. So it's unnatural to just eat without the flying. We hated to see that he was going to have to be put to sleep, but it would be more painless than being crushed in the jaws of a cat.

Good by little "Snack"

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Triggered Memories

Today, my daughter and I went clothes shopping, for her. She turned 13 earlier this week, and besides having all three "High School Musical" movies on her birthday list, she also asked for gift cards to certain stores. So I have a teenager now, who is more interested in her clothes than she used to be. For the first 10-11 years, I didn't have to take her clothes shopping, and she wasn't really interested. I could go to the store and if I saw something that I thought was cute or had a "Winnie the Pooh" character on it, I could buy it, bring it home and she'd think that it was so cool. Now, she has an opinion about what she likes and what she wears. So now, even though she doesn't like it, she has to go through the racks and try things on to see how they fit and look. And I can rarely pick anything out that I think she'd like, even if it's in the Juniors dept. because what I like, she usually doesn't. So today, I'd hold up something that I thought she might like, and if she looked like she was having to think of a way to let me down gently, I quickly put it back on the rack. I did pick a few that she liked (but they didn't fit right when she tried them on). By the time we were ready to go to the fitting room, I noticed that the majority of items in the cart were bright pink (her new favorite color) She did come out of the store though with a pair of pants and 4 tops and a "High School Musical" quilt that she was very happy with. Just in time for Fall. Then we went to the local earring store geared toward selling costume jewelry to preteens & teens, and found a pair that she liked (and she knew that I would never ask to borrow them). We went to another store to look at shoes and two other stores to look at CD's.

We were only gone for about three and a half hours, and we were both exhausted. So this had me thinking back to when I was her age. When I would go and visit my grandparents (on my father's side), there would be at least one day in the visit when we would "go to town". My grandparents lived in a small town and the closest shopping mall was in the town I live in now which was close to a half hour drive away from them. On the "town days" we'd spruce up, put on our nicer clothes, and drive in to town and make a day of it. There were stores still in the downtown mall (walking from store to store was outdoors) and then there was the indoor mall. We'd manage to shop at both places. At the indoor mall, my granddad would sit in the middle of the mall on the benches with the other husbands, waiting for their wives to bring their purchases to them to take out to the car, while the wives went back to shopping. I'd almost always come home with new clothes. My parents were divorced and I lived with my mom, who didn't make alot of money, so the new clothes were always appreciated. Anyway, we would be out shopping all day, and then we'd come home at around dinnertime and my grandma would make some supper and then we'd relax in the evening.

So, after today's afternoon excursion, I started wondering, was my grandma as tired after our shopping trips, as I was today after being out for just the afternoon. If she was, she never showed it. I'll have to call her and ask her. She'll probably chuckle at me. :)


Friday, July 24, 2009

My Girl is home!

Today is the day we've been waiting for here. Heather is home from camp! When the bus arrived at the church, Kylin was VERY excited. During this whole week, he pretty much had his parents to himself. And for as much as he probably liked that, he's used to having his sister to entertain him or to relate to. Heather was VERY tired. She was kept very, very busy at camp. Once in the car, Kylin had no trouble fitting back into the norm of finding things to correct or contradict about his sister. After we arrived home, she called a friend, I sorted her laundry. Then we went to the DQ for Blizzards to celebrate her homecoming. I brought home a Peanut Buster Parfait made with chocolate soft serve for Kevin (at his request) to enjoy after he came home from work.

Tonight, I made mini pizzas for the kids while they watched "Finding Nemo" (Kylin's choice for Family night). Heather was really too tired to watch. She was parked on the couch under a blanket, ready to doze off.

While everyone was watching the movie, I went out to pick the blueberries as I had noticed the other day that the bluejays, seem to be getting a free meal in our yard. After I was through picking those berries, I was passing by the garden on the way to the house and notice that there were more raspberries, green beans and some tomatoes ready to be harvested as well. So I spent some time in the garden taking care of that. I still need to go back as there are more than could fit in the bowl that I had.

And finally, something that I've been thinking about off and on for most of the week. Today would have been my mom's 66th birthday, and thinking about that just made me wonder what she would be like now. She passed away 13 years ago, about 3 months before her first grandchild (my daughter) was born. At that time, her skin was still pretty smooth, and her hair was salt & pepper gray (more salt than pepper I think). I wonder if it would be all white now, and if so, would she be coloring it or let it be whatever it naturally is? I wonder what kind of grandmother she would have been to my kids? And how often would she remind me of what kind of a kid I had been when I was my daughter's age and make the constant comparisons? Before she died, she would call me every day to see if I had listened to Dr. Dobson that day on the radio. I didn't have children yet, but I bet that if she were still alive, she'd probably really urge me even more so to tune in to his show. She'd probably come over alot, if not every day, to see what was new. I think that she would have probably gotten quite a kick out of Heather. I think that with Kylin, she'd probably shake her head in bewilderment at least once during the visit and comment about his energy. She would have loved them though. I think that she would have liked them too. If she were still here, she probably would have wanted to ride out to the church with us today to see Heather get off of the bus from camp

Happy Birthday Mom.


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Stay Cool!

The A/C is finally in!!!
Kevin hadn't been able to find anyone to help him build a platform for it, so he installed the mounting bracket in the window sill. Hopefully by next year, we'll be able to build the platform to better support the unit. But now, we're enjoying a cooler house. It's been in the 90's for the past few days and it's supposed to stay that way for another week. Yaaaay!!!

Today, I visited with my friend Carrie and her husband. They were house-sitting for his parents, who live near me, while they were camping with all of their grandchildren and nieces & nephews who are around the same age.

Tonight, Heather and I taught in the 2s & 3s class at church. We had only two little boys, and they seemed to play well together so it was a fairly calm time. Toward the end of the class, Kylin was brought by his teacher to my class because he was spinning in circles and singing his songs about 911 calls loud enough that the teacher couldn't finish the lesson. Generally disruptive. So she brought him to me. Once we arrived home, I told Kevin what had happened and he spoke with Kylin about how he is expected to behave in church and in public.

So that's pretty much about all for today.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Another hot day

Sooooo, today, it's really hot, in the 90's, and we don't have the A/C. It's the kind of hot in which you can just sit on the couch doing nothing, and you sweat anyway.

Kevin was home today, not feeling well. Yesterday, he had a CT scan to see what is causing all of this pain in his left side and abdomen. A doctor who he hadn't seen, called back with the preliminary results which indicate that nothing is wrong. Various friends are saying that it sounds like gallstones, and tell him to insist on getting an ultra sound. He can't get into see a doctor until Monday. I'm prepared to take him to the ER if he feels the need to go before then.

I did venture out today and bought paint for the kitchen. I'm hoping to do that project next week while Heather is at camp. I did buy some Otterpops for the kids while I was at the store too. For as much as I'm trying to avoid sugar, I'm having a bit of a "sugarfest". Frozen popcicles certainly help a person keep cool.

I did get some sewing done as well. I have a project that I'm working on and maybe after next weekend, I'll post a picture of what it is.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Babbling Blog

I'm trying to blog more often. However, when I do, I always feel like I should blog about some event or something major that happened. But I've seen people blog about everything under the sun (I've read some blogs that have me thinking, "Whoa, I don't think I could share something THAT personal!" But some folks do).

Today, Kevin took the car to work. We only have one car to share and usually on Mondays & Fridays, he takes it to work, and the other days, he'll take the bus and leave the car home. When we first married, we had two cars, however, mine (a '77 Ford Grenada) was no longer running. He had a little Nissan pick up ('84 I think) and it was not an automatic, and for some reason, the seat wouldn't move forward very well, so I couldn't really drive it. So Kevin did the majority of the driving until we had a baby on the way and needed a working car with a back seat. The only time we had two cars was for a 9 month period when Kevin had another truck and I had a minivan (the nicest car I've ever had and by then we had two kids and needed more room). Anyway, we're back to one car. Maybe one day, I'll blog about my car history.

So this morning, the kids and I went for a walk. I try to get a 30 minute walk in every day. I started taking my son with me because he's just so full of energy, I thought that perhaps a walk would help burn some of that. I started taking my daughter with us because, well it's exercise and can go toward PE credit. Kylin, likes to announce every car that comes by, and what make and model it is. He likes to also announce everything he sees in every yard, on the street, every berry vine, etc. Heather, is anxious to get back home and for the walk to be over. The one thing that does catch her eye when she's out is a cat. She loves cats!

Also during the morning (and sometimes it's in the afternoon too), we do have school during the summer. It's not a tight schedule, due to errands, and Regal Cinema's showing of free movies two mornings per week (free air conditioning on those hot days when you don't have an A/C installed in your house). Yesterday, was our day to see the free movie. It was also the day that we went to the library. And the day to go to the store and get some last minute things for Heather to pack for camp (She's packed & repacked a few times already, and I still need to check and make sure that she packed everything that she needs). And we had to return the last of the soda bottles & cans collected to raise money for her to go to camp.

So after a busy day like yesterday, I'm happy to be home today. Just happy to not have to be anywhere. I can get some much needed things done, like blanching and freezing the produce from the garden, and try to get some areas organized. The only place that I needed to go to was church tonight. Heather had her youth group and Kylin had a boys class (which I sat in on with him because lately, he doesn't want to go and acts up in class sometimes, but he can't stay home with Kevin because he's a handful and Kevin hasn't been feeling well at all). I also had to turn in Heather's money & paperwork for camp. She's all set to go now. On Monday, she'll be off to have fun.

So now, we're home from church, the kids are asleep in bed (I know that Heather is, and I think that Kylin is because I haven't heard from him for at least an hour). I did have to drive up to the local little market (Dari-Mart) for more milk (chocolate milk for Kevin, which Heather heard about and said, "I hope he shares!"). I bought myself a little ice cream too. Now it's time to sleep. I have no plans to go anywhere tomorrow. However, we'll have the car, and when the car is here, there's always a reason to go somewhere.


Friday, July 10, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy July

So Summer arrived without much fanfare, at least not here. We're still having some school during the summer so the kids won't have a harder time getting into a routine in the fall. Heather leaves for a week of camp in just over one week. It'll be a quiet week here. I'll miss her and Kylin will too. For as much as Kylin gets easily annoyed with his older sister, he does miss her when she's gone. On the other hand, Heather is very excited. She has a whole week of fun and no interference by her brother.

We recently had Kylin tested to see where his strengths and weaknesses (in behavior, academic and intellect). It's called an SOI (Structure of Intellect). He scored extremely high in art and drawing (we knew he would). There are some exercises (Sensory Integration) that we were given to work with him on so as to stimulate his brain to make some connections that it hadn't been. The first one that I tried on him was pretty much like massaging his hands. He was in a sour mood to start with, and he wanted me to "be done", but at the same time, his eyelids were drooping. He was calm for at least an hour. Maybe I should massage his hands just before he goes to bed. Maybe he'll get to sleep quicker!

Something that I thought I'd do, since we have a trip to Crater Lake coming up and alot to do before that trip, is to put my "to do" list on my blog (everytime I write one down on paper, it gets lost or else someone throws it away).

So, here it goes:

-Make reservations, and send invites & order a cake for Heather's birthday party
-Get a gift ready for Nephew #1 (he's turning 2 near the end of this month)
-Finish shopping for Heather's birthday and for her week at camp
-Purge broken or neglected toys out of the kids rooms
-Sort through older magazines & donate to friends or the library
-Buy or make valences for the dining room & kitchen

-Paint dining room & kitchen
-harvest and preserve the produce from the garden
-Clean out garage
-A trip or two to the Goodwill to donate
-Make a new school schedule for the new school year
-Make lesson plans for the Fall semester
-Get cooler cleaned and ready to hold snacks & beverages for the trip
-Shop for snacks for trip
-Gather some DVD's for the mini player (which the kids will be more interested in while traveling)
-Pack, pack, pack

This list is more or less a list of goals for me before the summer is over. Some things (like the painting) may not happen until after we get home. My husband has been not feeling well for the past 3 weeks, so I've been a bit busier taking care of my own chores as well as some of the ones he'd normally be doing. He's been to the doctor (actually 2 so far) who gave him some meds. I hope that they work. It's a bummer to spend your summer feeling sick.

So that's really the end of my report. I'm off to cut out some fabric to make more pj's for the kids!


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

My Son's 911 Incident

Here's something funny that happened today. Kylin didn't want to go to church tonight. In the past, if he doesn't want to do something, he'll threaten to call the police or call 911 (and we have told him every time that cops aren't going to come and let him skip school, or make his sister do what he wants etc). So today, he dialed 911 on his cell phones, that have no service. He didn't know that even cell phones with no service can still call 911 (and I didn't realize that he was doing so). So a little after 5:00 this evening, a Lane County Sheriff's deputy showed up at our door investigating 8 incomplete 911 calls coming from our house. I called Kylin to the door and asked if he had called 911. He said that he did so the car would be towed and then we wouldn't be able to go to church. Having a cop show up at the door sort of scared him I think. The officer told him that calling 911 when it wasn't an emergency was a crime. Kylin was a bit shaken up after that (a real cop showed up at the house and seriously spoke to him!) and he was very mellow and cooperative the rest of the night!. And we did go to church. He is embarrassed about it now and doesn't want us talking about it. I told Kevin about it when he came home this evening and he thought it was really funny. I had to fight off the giggles in the car driving to church!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Just a little over 11 years ago

About a month after our daughter's first birthday, my husband & I discovered that she was not going to be an only child. When we found this news out, we were still in our duplex, surrounded by packing boxes, because we had just bought our first house (which is the house we still live in today) and we were moving that week. Two new starts, a new house and a new baby. So during this pregnancy, we discovered that it was going to be a boy, and that he had a cyst in his brain. The cyst issue eventually resolved itself in a few weeks, but not before 3 more ultrasounds and a meeting with a genetic specialist.

Also during this pregnancy, my step-father kept telling us that this child would be so different than our first one. Hard to imagine because we only had the one, and she was a happy little kid. What would be "different"? We were hoping that this one would be quieter, because our happy firstborn was a rather chatty little gal. So our son was born, and he had a high pitched, screaming cry. Once he calmed down, (thanks to having a nice warm bath and being swaddled), he was just a quiet baby. So all through that first year, he didn't cry alot (unless he was hungry or teething).

Something that we did notice is that he was very observant. If we gave him anything thing to play with, he didn't really play, but he would just study every aspect of the item and when he had nothing left to study, he'd toss it on the floor. This continued into his toddler years when we would give him a piece of paper to color on and he would just study the paper and then drop it on the floor. Something also changed when he turned 1. He suddenly didn't want to eat anything, but peanut butter sandwiches. Overnight, literally, he went from being willing to eat anything, to refusing everything and only having PB sandwiches. For the next 3 years, anytime that we took him anywhere to eat, I had to have a PB sandwich in my purse for him to eat while we ate something else. In restaurants, we just felt like folks were watching us and wondering why we would let our older child eat something ordered from the menu and not do the same for our younger one.

He screamed about everything too, shrill piercing screams. He screamed if we were going to certain restaurants & stores. He screamed if we didn't carry him from the car to the house once we came home. One day, we came home and the boy screamed to be carried and my husband decided that the boy could walk to the house by himself. So Kevin pulled up a chair and sat in front of the garage until finally, the boy started walking toward him, at which point, Kevin moved his chair closer to the front door, which would then frustrate my son. He finally made it into the house by himself, but not with out screaming so much and so loudly that I was sure that the neighbors were going to call us in for abuse. We had a kid who would rather be waited on than have to do anything for himself (he's still kind of that way).

Other differences included, not speaking. He was 2 1/2 and still hadn't even tried to speak. I finally started singing simple words, sentences & phrases to him and he would mimick them back. Every 6 months, his vocabulary would expand a bit and he would finally start to put a simple sentence together. He also didn't interact with other children. I'd send him to Sunday school and he pretty much kept to himself and was the only one who didn't do a craft. Sometimes I'd keep him with me in the main church service, sometimes I would leave him at home with his dad.

So here we are 11 years later. He's an 11 year old boy, who still thinks more like a 6 or 7 year old, and he's nearly as tall as me (I'm not considered tall). He just recently received a diagnosis for being on the autism spectrum. Something that we pretty much knew but waited until now to get. He's certainly not the quiet child, he's full of chatter (mostly about things that interest him such as cars, trains, states, countries, flags, the weather, a favorite movie), and sound effects. We've been homeschooling him from the very beginning and I think that has actually helped him. He's not one to sit still for long periods of time and he has a few "tics" that would be distracting to a classroom full of kids. So he does all of this at home, for his parents and sister to hear. He's quite an artist as well and has impressed several folks with how well he draws (yes, he finally stopped analyzing the paper and started drawing on it).

I don't think that my step-father had this in mind when he said that the second child would be different from the first. We love our boy, and wouldn't have him any other way. And that boy is 11 years old today and he's "cool and very smart"

Friday, May 8, 2009

He'd Rather Draw

At 9:00, I told the kids that it was time to start school. My son, who had been drawing pictures (of cars) asked, "Does that mean I have to stop drawing pictures and do school work?". I asked him, "What do you think?" and he answered, "no?". Nice try kid!


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Over the weekend, my husband took advantage of the beautiful weather (in the 80's) and took care of some much needed yard work and patio cleaning. Our Saturday included a trip to a local landfill, or "the dump". Our son has never been to a landfill (it was a regular occurrence when I was a kid), so he was very excited (and he likes to hang out with his dad after a week of being at home with his mother and sister). So here is a picture of my guys, just before leaving in our neighbor's truck. My son is holding his latest di-cast truck to show that "the truck is in the truck". Anyway, he was having a good day.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Oregon in the Spring!!!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A Few Funny Quirks and Other Things

Our 10 year old son, Kylin, doesn't always hear things in the way or manner that they were spoken. He also tends to use words or phrases that don't always mean what he thinks they do.

A couple of examples:
A few months ago, something came on the TV that the kids didn't need to see, so I told them to "avert your eyes". Kylin repeated it as "INVERT" your eyes. Kind of hard to do! He has it straight now though. Several times if there is something that he shouldn't see or doesn't want to see, he'll say "avert your eyes!".

Another example happened yesterday. I gave him the job of cleaning the toilet and it quickly became apparent that he needed some more guidance in that job. So my husband was showing him how to clean it and when I walked by the bathroom, Kylin said, "We're organizing the toilet!". Lately, we've been doing some decluttering and reorganizing and cleaning, so he assumed that "organizing" was synonymous with "cleaning". I guess he's partially right. But the joke for the rest of the day was "how do you organize a toilet?"

Since this weekend was the time to change the clocks ahead, Kylin also reminded us that it was time to check the smoke alarms. The boy thrives on a schedule and remembers when things are supposed to happen, like checking the alarms. So Kevin checked them and the boy is happy and won't remind us again until November. I wish that he was as much of a stickler about the need to do his schoolwork.

Heather has been known to say and do some funny things, but she's at the age where she'd be mortified if I blogged about them. I'm sure that I've done things unintentionally to embarrass her, so I really try not to do it on purpose!

However, the most recent thing that I did with Heather was to take her to see Kutless in concert. Concerts I had been to in the past were for Don Francisco, B.J. Thomas, Charley Pride (I was really little then), and Weird Al Yankovic. Fairly mellow, great acoustics, not too loud. The Kutless concert was held in a church that was built with the intention of having concerts, but this group and the opening acts were rather loud (and there was a lot of screaming...something else I wasn't used to). It was so loud that I felt the audience was absorbing the volume. I had to laugh at one of the groups though. Long hair shaking all over the place and screaming rap (I wasn't expecting that and neither was Heather). I was sitting in the back, where parents sit. My first concert as a parent. I felt a little old (but I'm not old, I'm only 40, and that isn't old!). We're going to see the Newsboys in a couple of weeks. I like them, and I'm hoping for better acoustics and hoping that the opening acts won't scream at me....too much.


Friday, January 30, 2009

The End of the First Month

So January is coming to a close and I'm already feeling that time is moving too fast........because it is.

We're enjoying the dining room set immensely! About a week after the dining room set arrived, my father-in-law brought over my mother-in-law's curio cabinet and it's sitting in the dining room now (as shown in the above pictures). Already the way the house looks is improving!

The next few pieces of furniture that are due to come soon are "new" dressers for Kevin and I. So I've moved my dresser into my son's room (because he's been lacking a real dresser for a few years, because he was too rough on the last one he had, I think he's ready for a real one again....I hope). So I'm currently living out of a couple of suitcases that are sitting in our closet (which one of our cats seems to want to use as his bed). We're also getting night tables. So mine is emptied out and moved into my son's room. My intention is to paint before any new furniture moves in, because right now, we actually have space to walk around and move the bed in order to paint walls.

The fast that I mentioned in my last post is nearly over (just in time for SuperBowl and all of the treats that go with daughter has requested Oreos........I will try to resist those.......or most of them!). It's time to shop for some sugar (not much though)!


Thursday, January 15, 2009

January 15, 2009

It's nearly 2 1/2 weeks into the new year. We're back on our "schedule". School is back in full swing. As I'm typing, my son is giving me the verbal inventory of his CARS collection (it's not the first time I've heard it either). My church is doing a "Daniel Fast" which means that we are fasting caffeine (missing my coffee), meat (not a problem right now as I'm a vegetarian) sugar (really missing this too), cutting back on tv etc. So far, one week into it, we're doing alright. At the beginning of the fast, my husband (who is not participating) offered to buy me a coffee (and I let him, it was my last one) and then made a joke about being the little devil on my shoulder trying to tempt me into breaking the fast. Before anyone might possibly get offended by his doing that, he was joking. In the past, he's been rather understanding and has never intentionally tried to get me to break the fast.

The table and chairs that I mentioned in my last post have arrived. They are sooooo nice and they were so well taken care of that they seem practically new.

I discovered that I like Hummus this week. I was at a ladies Bible study and one of the snacks that was brought had it. Very tasty!

On a lighter note, at 9AM today when I announced that it was time for school to start, my son was rather distressed because his clock was about 5 minutes behind so he thought that I should wait for school until his clock read 9:00. He said that the other clocks in the house were experiencing "technical difficulties".


Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year! Welcome 2009

So, the first full day of the new year is nearly over. The 3 packages of cookies (chocolate stuffed Oreos, Nutter Butters, and Keibler Grasshopper cookies) are now gone (hallelujah! no longer a temptation to snack on!), the Christmas decorations are packed away and the tree is out. Our dining area (where the tree was) looks rather empty......for now (my father-in-law is giving us his dining room table as he's getting a new one, and as soon as he finds out that our tree is down, he'll bring it over).

New Years Eve seemed to be rather long. Maybe it was because this year, we told the kids that they could stay up until midnight. They were very excited and had certain foods that they wanted to snack on (hence the cookies!). We thought we'd try a cheese fondue this year as well (Kylin reminded me that he didn't want to dip anything in cheese sauce......he has issues with sauces on his food......except for macaroni & cheese). I also made some artichoke dip (very close to what serve at the Olive Garden). Kevin declared it very tasty. The kids chose the movies to watch. By 9PM I was beginning to wonder how wise it was to let my son stay up so late. Kevin and I were already tired and Kylin was pretty sugared up and busy. Kevin took a nap at some point and I read a book until about 11. From then on, we watched Dick Clark's New Year's eve special and the kids watched the ball drop in Times Square.

We had hoped that the kids would sleep in this morning. I think they managed to sleep until 8. We would have liked for them to sleep in longer, so we could sleep in longer. We have 2 more days to sleep in (I can't on Sunday), and then Kevin's vacation is over, he goes back to work and the kids start school back up again. This "vacation" of Kevin's was so busy that it really doesn't feel like we had one. Maybe the next time he has vacation time, we can relax a bit more.

On another note, my desk seems to be the place for the cats to take naps. As I'm typing, I have one cat snoozing on my monitor, with her tail swishing across the screen, and another cat who is snoozing so close to my mouse, that when I'm using the mouse, the cat decides to rest his head on my hand like it's a pillow. I'm not a huge cat fan, but I tolerate these "rugs". They are a bit entertaining at times.