Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Well, we made it through Christmas.
The flooring was put in the week before Christmas so we did not get our tree up until then. SO I put the tree up the week before and put the few ornaments we had been given/the kids had made on it. Then the kids (on their own) found random hangable items around the house and placed them on the tree. We were probably the only people with a belt, random plastic bracelets, Mardigras beads, and mini-flashlights handing on their tree. It looked festive and so I left it.
We left a small assortment of cookies, cheese puffs, and eggnog for Santa, and a carrot for the reindeer. We also left notes for Santa...who did write back. When we tucked Josie in, she instructed us to go to bed as soon as possible so that Santa could come.
Since Christmas was on Sunday we were those mean parents who let the kids do their stockings and Santa gift in the morning, and then we had breakfast, getting dressed, church, and then lunch prior to actually opening any of the gifts under the tree. We got lots of games and interactive toys so we have had a lot of fun playing. One of the best gifts is having Jim at home during the school break.
I will try and share pictures soon.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Just details left

We had laminate and vinyl installed on Friday. We still have to finish up painting trim and baseboards and the like, but I am so glad to pretty much be done. I will not be rushing to get ready for an installer. I don't want to slack off and leave something unfinished, but at least I will not be staying up until 1am so that I can paint a ceiling prior to new flooring going in.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Will break for workman....

The flooring installers will come sometime this week (not quite sure when). We got the old carpet up and out.The kids have become adept at prying up tack strip and pulling our staples. I don't know that I am going to get all of the painting done prior to the flooring going in, but I am going to get as much done as possible.
My real thing right now is that I do actually have a life outside of remodeling. Saturday Jim and I treated ourselves to massages, we went to a kid's birthday party, and we went to a holiday concert... and those things were on top of trying to get house stuff done. I don't know whether the flooring guy will come on Tuesday or Wednesday, but I will just get done what I can and go from there. Just one more coat of paint on the living room walls and then it is on to trim. If they come to work on the floors I might actually take a nap....

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


My goodness I have been busy! We actually had appliances installed the Tuesday prior to Thanksgiving. So here they are.
We have been working on painting the other room where we had already taken out the carpet. It was paneling too so good bye to dark wood.
We picked out a sheet vinyl for the kitchen. We had already purchased some laminate flooring for other areas of the house so we are trying to get it all ready for the installer.

I am realizing how much of major redecorating is a sort of a domino effect...we have to get the old carpet up (and paint prior to new flooring going down) so the areas have to be clear, and we have to have places to put things so we are going to use the kitchen to put the heavy furniture in (moving them short distances) which means that we cannot put the vinyl down (don't want to put a piano on new vinyl or move a piano over stairs or down a hallway).
I'm basically madly painting and packing up to clear the living room to get ready for the next step.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Looking more like a kitchen

On Friday afternoon, after much sweating it out to try and get people to the house and coordinated (it's like a domino thing has to happen before the rest can happen) there was a flurry of work after 2pm. The rest of the cabinetry was installed and finished to the ceiling. The counter tops were brought in and installed. The microwave was installed (he had to work a bit because the venting didn't quite line up with the old vent, but he worked it out.

Josie was thrilled because the microwave guy had his daughter with him and she had a playmate for awhile (the boys were a bit jealous).

On Saturday we looked at flooring options (no decision yet), looked at a light for above the sink, and we bought and installed knobs on the cabinets. I got all of the cabinets vacuumed out, wiped out, and I am in the process of putting down shelf paper.

Hopefully the rest of the appliances will go in easily.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Soooooo much brighter!

The above is a really old picture of the kitchen when we first moved in (none of my kids have been in high chairs for quite awhile now....)

Below is a picture of what the kitchen currently looks like.

It's not done, but this is definitely progress.

Jim took some time off (and had Veterans day) and his parents came up to help. We tore out all of the original cabinets. Took up the flooring. Threw out the old appliances. Then we sanded the walls and started painting. The Shaker saying, "Many hands make light work" is definitely true!
Monday morning the electrician came and did some work (including dealing with some things in the next room...but that is another story. Just consider if you get progressively blind as you age, that another option to adding additional light fixtures to your dark wood paneled room is to actually paint the paneling to a lighter color. The room was up to three separate and distinct light fixtures.)
Monday the guys came and put cabinets in.
Today the oven and dishwasher arrived.
We are sort of in a holding pattern until the counter tops (and a couple things that somehow did not get ordered with the cabinets) arrive.
I AM very excited because the microwave is supposed to be installed tomorrow morning. It will infinitely expand our food options because right now I am choosing between cooking with an electric skillet, an indoor grill, a toaster, and a coffee pot. There is a lot you can do with those items, but a microwave will allow so many more options until the range is installed.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


When we moved into the house about 4 years ago, we swapped out a mostly not working electric stove-top for a gas stove-top. Now with the kitchen remodel, we are ditching the sketchy double wall ovens for an entirely gas range (and don't give me a hard time about going from two ovens to one...once, when I spent 13 hours cooking every single piece of meat in our freezer after accidentally leaving it ajar for a 3-day weekend did I use both ovens- so I can easily get by with just one oven).
Since the gas was plumbed straight through the built-in cabinet, we decided it was time to have it placed in the wall. I talked to the guy at 7am this morning. I thought they might come and look at the job and then come back to do the job...

First he double checked that all cabinetry was disappearing and then he started knocking shelves out of the way and sawing out the front so he could get at the wall. Several times the slightly smaller helper was actually in the cupboard.
He double checked several times about whether we had any other things powered by gas (no) and turned off the gas at the meter.
He briefly asked what I was going to cook on (electric skillet, microwave, crockpot, toaster, etc.).

...and in about 90 minutes (including them running out to get materials) we had a pipe in the wall (and Jim has wall repair to do....)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Almost everything...including the kitchen sink!

Progress this weekend includes...

  • mostly clearing the kitchen

  • most of the dining room is sanded (my arms may fall off....I will finish it up on Monday)

  • between the husband, the kids, and a bunch of screwdrivers all handles (which I wanted to save) are off and the drawers and cabinet fronts are on the curb waiting for trash day

  • we have ordered appliances

  • we have a kitchen sink and a faucet purchased and in boxes in the house

I am progressing on and trying to remind myself to take it one step at a time.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

We survived....

I have to start this with a little story about the first time that Jim and I went tent camping. It was at a place that was very appropriately named "Cape Foul Weather." It rained the entire time we were there except for about 5 minutes in the middle, and then for the amount of time it took us to pack up and leave. We later found out that it was the location where the Coast Guard does their high seas training....

So flashforward to this weekend and the first time we went tent camping with the kids.
The tents and cots were provided because we were at a boy scout camp. This was the fall campout for the cub scouts. It had been running to about 80 degrees during the day and only dipping into the upper 40s at night. However, there was a cold snap in the Southeast and the low point happened to coincide with this weekend...

I was worried about the temperture and I did go get the coldest weather sleeping bags I could find for the kids.....

It wasn't too bad in the evening, but with all of the activities the council planned by the time we got back to the tents we had loopy tired cub scouts. The tents were on platforms and had raised cots. I am sure that they are delightful in the summer, but in the winter that is a lot of cold air coming up from the bottom.
We could only have up to three cots in a tent so for our family we had Daddy's tent and Mommy's tent.
Josie and Doug decided to be in Daddy's tent. Doug snuggled down in his bag and only had a little bit of chilliness in the middle of the night. Jim threw a couple of towels over him and he was then fine. Josie got chilly but Jim pulled out every trick he knew and she made it through the night. He had his big coat on top of her. He gave her a heat strip in her bag. He put something under her to help.

In mommy's tent for all but about 2 hours I had Andy in my sleeping bag with me. We unzipped his bag and threw it over the top of us with our heads underneath. I didn't sleep much, but I was very glad when I saw that it was light out and time to get up.

After the morning activities and check out we headed home for warm showers and a nap.

Fortunately someone found that during the night in a nearby town there was recorded a temperature of 32 degrees so that means that every boy who slept outside (no going into the cars) during the campout gets their Polar Bear badge. It is small consolation for such a chilly night and I now REALLY appreciate my warm house and especially my electric blanket.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Halloween Costumes

Our Halloween costumes take a bit of

explaining... We are (thanks to Everquest) a barbarian shaman, a fairy princess, and a drakkin paladin.

Finally! Pictures

I finally got around to getting some of the pictures off the camera (which happened because I needed to make room for more pictures due to Halloween costumes....)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

It really will happen!

The tear-out and remodeling of the kitchen is scheduled to happen mainly in November; however, today I found out that a 40 ft. semi really can make it around the corner and up our hill. We had cabinets delivered because Jim finalized the plans (and they shipped them) for the cabinets.

I am feeling a little cramped around the house because we have one room that is basically empty (and sealed off for sanding). That furniture is in the living room (which got rearranged in that the TV is on a different wall now to reorient the room). I have boxes of flooring and underlayment stacked up. There is an area where I have a huge 5 gallon bucket of paint and various painting tools out. Now there are also cabinets. They are mainly in boxes waiting to be assembled. At least some of them are wrapped and on a pallet and sitting in our carport (as far away from an openings as I could get them. This weekend Jim and I will decide if that is where they stay.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Making progress

I am super busy! I am trying to take pictures....but I have not gotten them off the camera to here yet.
Here is what has been going on:
  • Finished my last interviews
  • Scheduled more observations
  • I'm trying to proofread (but of course this is not my favorite part....)
  • painted the hallway
  • painted the stairwell
  • we removed the banister and Jim and kids cleaned 40+ years of grime off it
  • sanded one wall of paneling (I have miles to go, but it is a start)
  • repaired the ceiling (this was mainly a Jim thing) where the beams were taken out
  • Andy removed a few cabinet doors
  • Jim made the arrangements for the cabinets and we actually have a bit of a timeline now

Monday, October 10, 2011

It's a God thing

We went to Lowes to buy the stuff for me to start working on sanding the paneling (many, many square feet of paneling....) and happened to walk past an end cap with flooring on sale. It was the best price we had seen so we went home and measured. We knew we at least needed to do the room where the gold carpet had been, but we hoped to be able to do the living room and the hallway too.

So I went back today and the price worked out to be within what we were expecting... in fact it was $0.70 under what we were hoping for (how's THAT for planning). Not only that, but after I pulled off the package to go talk to the flooring guy with there were exactly the right number of packages on the pallet in the special display. So they just used the forklift to take it all up front and load up the back of the truck.
It was kind of cool to watch him lift in as far as he could (so as not to hit the camper shell) and then use the prongs of the forklift to push it in.

It feels like progress. It will be a bit before the flooring gets put in because we will do the walls (and ceiling...this is the room we pulled fake beams out of a long time ago) first. Then we will do the other areas when we can clear the furniture back into the dining room.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Echo Room

We have started some major home projects (some that were already in the works). We got the hallway painted (it makes me happy every time I walk down it). We got some other wall prepped for painting.

We also....took out the gold carpet!
I'm sure that it was very nice, very vogue at some point. Now it is on the curb to make way for updating. Before we put in new flooring we are going to do some other work in the room. (Woohoo me and a sander for days and days and days attacking the paneling. I'll keep you posted).

Now that the carpet is gone the room has nothing to absorb the sound and it has a lovely echo to it.

The kids LOVE it.
Josie has christened it the "echo room" and so far there have been battles, dance parties, singing practice, etc. occurring in the room (It's been slightly more than 24 hours since we tore it out).

I'll be interested to see how they feel about it when I tape plastic over the doorways so that sawdust doesn't get everywhere.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Using my resources

I am very glad that as a grad student at a university with a College of Education I have access to kits, books, and other materials in a curriculum library.

That way when your six year old is lobbying to build a physics lab in the backyard with a zip line running between the second story deck and the lab, you can appease him with simple machine kits you have checked out from the curriculum library.

My other six year old requested a grappling hook so that he could swing from room to room in the house...I am not quite sure how I am going to deal with that one.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My roller coaster

Life is kind a roller coaster at the moment.

The kids are basically good, but we are fighting colds. Hopefully we are settled into the school's only been almost two months already.

I am working to keep up with a class I am taking. I am also trying to collect data for my dissertation. I have made progress with the data, but I am sort of at the mercy of the participants and their schedules. I also had hired someone to transcribe my interviews and his cell phone keeps going to busy. So I am dealing and dealing, and trying not to freak out...too much.

Monday, September 12, 2011

New to us car!

Thanks to the power of the Internet (and having connections in the right places) we have traded the Silver Honda Odyssey minivan for a few years newer Gold Honda Odyssey! Because it's a newer model it has power doors and another seat belt and more room.

Tiger Cubs

Doug and Andy are Tiger Cubs this year. They are both very excited about getting to wear the uniforms and they REALLY want to go camping.

We have had a couple of den meetings, but tonight was our first pack meeting. They got their Bobcat badge, which is the first patch any cub scout has to earn regardless of when they enter cub scouts. They had to learn and understand 8 things, including the Cub Scout promise and the Laws of the Pack.

Various packs have different ways of honor scouts who level up in some way...and the Bobcat is considered a leveling up. In our pack the kids get to "paint" the faces of the parents and the patch is pinned on upside-down until the parent sees the Cub Scout do a good deed.

Well, with Jim working in another city (and having two meetings today) mom was the one who got her face painted. The "paint" was a washable marker. Andy ended up with green. Let's just say I looked "lovely" at the end of it and that at least he only had one minute to make his masterpiece.
Doug, opting not to help his brother do my face and not to paint his little sister's face, found a random parent in the audience and did her face. She was a good sport and I thanked her later. Ironically, her son was in a wolf den and was new to scouting... he opted to do his little sister's face.

At the end of the meeting I was talking to the Pack Leader. Doug, on his own, helped clean up folding chairs. I was very proud of him and told him so by flipping his patch right-side-up. His little chest swelled and he had to run tell the Pack Leader (and then he was extremely helpful after that).
Andy helped Josie with some things after we got home, so I guess I need to sew on some patches now.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Some elaboration

We have had a few rough weeks here.... thankfully everyone is basically okay and there have been good things.

I'll start with the bad and then list the good so we are left with the happy thoughts.

  • Jim had a week with high blood pressure. He got checked out and everything (heart, etc.) seems fine...he just needs to watch the salt and the stress levels.
  • The mini-van got rear ended. The insurance is totaling it. So Jim is currently in a rental car awaiting their offer so that we can figure out a new (to us) car).
  • Andy has had some rough days in school, mostly due to him not wanting to focus. I met with his teacher and hopefully things will improve.
  • Doug is currently running a fever (doesn't seem really sick, so hopefully this thing will be short lived).
  • Josie managed to get a huge splinter in her hand, but it is healing
  • We went to a birthday party and Josie fainted/passed out. We went to the ER and it appears that perhaps she was choking (she had just bit into a chicken nugget) and it might have caused her heart to race or to skip a beat or something. They did a full brain scan (she got to go in the "doughnut") and said everything looks okay. It was just a bit scary because she fell over completely backwards on to a tile floor.
The good things are
  • We have been working out how to redo our kitchen
  • We got to go to some fun activities on campus
  • The boys are now Cub Scouts and this last weekend we got to go fishing

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Is it over yet?

Let's just say August has been rough....

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Frat boy

Doug has this nick-name...we call him "frat boy"

He likes to joke and play. He says that dad taught him to be silly.

He has a little social butterfly. He is so people oriented that he will find a friend anywhere we go. It does not matter if the child is older or younger...he will play or interact with him or her in some way.

He also seems to sense that he is cute. He likes interacting with college age girls. If we are entering a building on campus, he will run back and hold the door for college girls.

I figure that some day, down the line, he will have valuable social networking skills for some job.... but for now he has the nickname "frat boy."

Monday, August 8, 2011

Ah, the joys of twins....

S we went to open house at the boys' school AND...

There was some confusion about which child was in which classroom. It sounded like something got switched in the computer.

I'll be interested to see where they are at the end of the first day.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

I'm impressed

School starts this week (do you hear mommy cheering!).
I think the boys are ready...for the most part. Doug is mostly saying that he is ready to go back.

So at dinner tonight I asked all three kids if they would name three goals they wanted to accomplish this year.
Andy impressed me the most with his goals. Here are his goals:
  1. To work on being more focused this year
  2. To get better with his handwriting
  3. To get better at Reading and Math

I like that he is reflecting on how last year went, that he knows what he needs to work on most, and that he is specific with at least two of his goals.
I can hardly believe that we will meet teachers at Open House and school starts this week.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Romantic at heart

Josie is for the most part a little tom-girl; however, she can be girly-girly too. She loves to wear dresses (and a hat) to church.

Recently, Jim and I celebrated our wedding anniversary. Jim and I actually went out on a date. If Josie had had her way then daddy would be in "Sunday best" with a bow-tie, and mommy would be in a dress, with make-up, and "those heels I've been saving" (Josie's words...not mine). We did dress up, but opted for a little more moderate then heels and bow tie wear.

So a week later, when Jim came home with a cake from a new bakery in town, Josie decided on her own that the cake was for mommy and daddy's anniversary.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

God sometimes forces me to clean out!

Sometimes in my life (like Noah and his flood) God has forced me to prioritize and clean things out.

In the past I have had some incidents with water (a leaky storage unit, water from a cracked humidifier, etc.), but this time is it something more pleasant. A student who is leaving to do student teaching in a foreign country in the Spring, was looking for housing in the Fall. She is a student I happen to know from previous opportunities I have had on campus. So we have cleaned and moved things around and we will have an undergraduate living in what was our guest room. It promises to be an interesting Fall semester!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Rev Jim

Our minister was on a trip Jim preached. His verse from the lectionary was about the mustard seed. So Jim talked about the necessary conditions for our faith to grow. His "soil" was being in the word, such as spending time in a devotional each day. His "water" was small accountability groups, such as a Sunday School class. His "light" was the Holy Spirit/Jesus.

He through the children's message to me....I brought a balloon and likened a balloon to our faith. It may start out small but when we let God work within us, our faith grows.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


It is fig season here. We took probably about 20 pounds off the tree in one picking. Josie loves eating them straight off the tree. I dipped a bunch in chocolate and we took them to two different potluck dinners we had. We got lots of positive comments on them.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Summer...It's flying by

I compose blog posts in my head...but obviously they do not usually make it to the blog these days.
I have been uber busy.
  • We (Doug, Andy, and I) were involved with a summer enrichment camp (Doug & Andy attended while I supervised teachers).
  • We have been enrolled in swim lessons.
  • We have gone swimming on our own.
  • We have visited friends and relatives.
  • We have tried to keep the house a little cleaner than what I manage during the school year.
  • I have done a little data collection for my dissertation.
  • Doug and Andy are learning to ride their bikes without training wheels (we need fine tuning but basically have it).
  • I am also that mean mom who is forcing the children to do some school related work during the summer so that we are not losing what we learned.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


You know that you are bowling with small children if...
  • you hear a big whump every time the children toss the ball out into the lane.
  • the ball is rolling so slowly it gets stopped by the pins.
  • the ball is rolling so slowly it starts rolling back towards you.
  • the child gets a spare because the ball bounces off one pin and hits the second pin that is part of the split.
  • The ball gets stuck in the gutter between the edge and the "buddy bumper."

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Two weeks of partying!

Josie's birthday is four days before Doug & Andy's birthday.
The past couple of years we have had a "unified" party.

This year things sort of crept up on us and I suddenly realized we needed to make some sort of decision.

So Josie had a party at our house last weekend. I wish I could say that I have lots of pictures, but I completely forgot the camera at all.
Her party was on the eclectic side. She had cupcakes in ice cream cones and then also ice cream cones with ice cream. She had "pin the ear on the bunny" (That is what she wanted... not the tail, just the ears). She picked out the blue T-Rex pinata because she said it looked like Godzilla. We planted flowers in pots the kids had painted because it seemed like a nice take home party favor. We also decorated crowns. I did discover that many 3-4 year olds are not used to be being blindfolded.

Doug and Andy, to accommodate their diverse interests, are having a "Time Adventure" themed party. So we have two giant boxes (from an appliance store) that has a dial on it to make it a time machine. We have six time periods to visit.
  • We will assemble dinosaur bones in the prehistoric period.
  • We will pin the nose on the Sphinx in Ancient Egypt.
  • We will use catapults to knock down a tower during the time of the knights.
  • We will battle with balloon swords and axes (I'm hoping I can pull this off) for the time of the Vikings.
  • We will have a treasure hunt and find a pirate pinata during the time of the pirates.
  • We will shoot off balloon rockets in the future.
I'm looking forward to it. Andy is having a pyramid cake that I am assembling. Doug has a castle cake because I happen to have a bundt cake mold.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Charity, volunteering, donations, etc.

With everything that is going on locally I have to keep reminding myself that it is not all up to me. Through this experience and the experiences that I have had being a graduate student on a budget, I feel that I have learned some important lessons about donations, volunteering, etc.

1. When people are aware of a need they pull together. Many of the people and schools who lost things probably could have used the help prior to the storm, and yet now that it is plainly evident that help is needed other people offer an overwhelming amount of support.

2. The Shakers were right that "many hands make light work." I have to constantly remind myself that it is not all about me and that I do not have to single hand-idly save the world (thank goodness).
I may hear of a need but that does not mean that for every need I should run out and respond. I need to give other people the chance to respond and then I can help where I feel most called. There is a lovely Max Lucado quote that goes "Say no to the important so that you can say yes to the crucial" or something like that.

3. Sometimes you have to be the receiver. People can be generous and they want to help. Sometimes you might find that people want to help you and it can feel strange if you are used to being on the giving end of things. Some people do not want to accept "charity." However, you are allowing an opportunity for someone else to act like Christ.

We went out to eat to celebrate something and met a student with whom we had a passing acquaintance. She lost everything (car, apartment, etc). We offered some help. She was hesitant to take it. When I explained that it would not be charity but just her allowing us to help, she was more receptive. In our materialistic and competitive society we do not always teach people how to graciously accept help.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Well, I've definitely had better weeks

It has been a trying week to say the least, but not all bad.

So the bad stuff first:

1. Doug has been home running a fever all week.

2. There's nothing like being stuck in a basement while tornadoes rip through the area while a child is running a 103 degree temp and is maxed out on meds he can have.

3. While Doug did not officially get diagnosed with strep (I think the doc did not want to swab his throat a second time after the puke two days earlier), Andy was diagnosed with it and I (for the first time in my life) was diagnosed with strep.

The goodish news:
1. We seem to be improving health-wise and we are some of the fortunate who have both power and adequate water. (My favorite thing to do when a child hits 104.8 degrees is to throw them in a shower...that requires power and water).

2. My professor whose house was in the direct path of the tornado is fine and at least one of her housemates is fine (have not officially heard about the other one). If you want a testament to a miracle, the only house left standing one their street is their house...and they are nuns.

3. We have seen people banding together for the greater good, and that is refreshing. I know that some areas of the country may have moved on to happier news (such as royal weddings), but there are many people in need after the severe storms. We are counting ourselves blessed and have been doing what we can.
It is true that they need everything...and I do mean everything. Right now the needs are food, water, shelter, blood donation, etc. But next they will need household items, clothing, books, toys. There is also need for school supplies. At least two schools are damaged beyond repair and one will not be able to reopen before the next school year. So even school supplies are needed.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Why make it complicated

Josie and I were watching something on the Disney channel today. She saw and advertisement for dressing like a Disney Princess.

Josie: Mommy I want to do that.
Me: Where are they doing that (I wasn't watching the TV that much).
Josie: At the Disney store so it is at Disney World.
Me: That is pretty far away from us.
Josie: No problem, we just take a plane.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Detail oriented

I find it so interesting to see my children's personalities expressed in their actions.

Early on I saw tendencies in Doug towards him being particular, detail oriented and....well, some might say anal retentive about things.

He is particular about lining up his little green army guys and creating bases for his Lego Storm Troopers. He used to line up his Hot Wheels in a long straight line and he would even "park" them.

He also has this tendency to be able to find coins when we go out somewhere.

Put these two tendencies together (detail oriented and finding money) and it resulted in this.

Doug, with no coins anywhere in sight, turned to me the other day and proceeded to tell me which coins have bumpy edges and which are smooth.

I was a bit impressed.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Good Fortune

We went out for Chinese food at our favorite Chinese restaurant. The kids love getting their fortunes. I do not remember what Jim had, but Josie had something about developing a new relationship in the next month. Doug and Andy each had something about celebrating good news (different fortunes but very similar messages).

My fortune said that my feet would touch many soils in my lifetime.

Andy, who was sitting in my lap while I read it, looked at me and said,

"I guess you're going to see a lot of dirt, mom."

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spring has Sprung

Sure signs that it is Spring in the South
  • Colorful flowers on stalks, bushes, and trees.
  • Every car is a yellow car...all the same shade of pollen yellow.
  • Every week there is some sort of thunder storm with possible tornadoes
  • The ants don't build hills...they construct mountains overnight.
I do like it here...but while I love the fruits and vegetables that come into season and the fact that it is a comfortable temperature here (not as damp cold as Winter and not so hot that you do not want to be outside like in Summer), Spring is not actually my favorite season here.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring Break

Well, Spring Break has come and gone for us here. Tomorrow it is back to reality.
Did I do everything I wanted to? No...of course not.

I did get to spend some quality time with my family.
We visited the local model railroad club. We went swimming. We picnicked in a park. We treated ourselves a bit. We had friends over to play. We went to the library. We visited Nana and Pop where we hunted pirate treasure, fished, bounced in bouncies, climbed trees (well...the kids did the last two things), and played. We slept in a bit and occasionally stayed up a little bit late.

In general we had a good time. So despite the fact that I am now playing catch-up on laundry (as I suppose it is not technically catch-up), cleaning, and getting ready to face the week... it was a good break and I am thankful for my husband and my children.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I'm feeling overdressed

Somehow my children love to run around half naked....

Hopefully I am not the only one with born strippers.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

We can mess with their minds!

We have, for some reason or other, accumulated several pairs of fake glasses. I usually leave them with the dress-up box and occasionally the kids will find them and put one on.

Tonight Doug found a pair and Jim started calling him "Harry Potter." So yes, it was amusing that every time Doug would put them on Jim would ask where Doug was and when Doug would take them off Jim would ask where Harry was (Doug thought this was hilarious).

However, I think that it is even funnier that when Doug, with his glasses on, came up behind Jim he grinned at me and then pulled the glasses down to make sure that I realized that it was really him and not someone else.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Josie seems to get sort of stuck on one or two foods. She adores chocolate and would eat fruit until she exploded, but she will not eat much when it comes to sweet breakfasts (a third of a donut, one small pancake, not big on poptarts, etc.).

First it was corndogs.
Next meatballs, she wanted them for both breakfast and lunch.
Then string cheese and/or pizza.
She went through a chili stage where she wanted chili on hotdogs or on chips.
At the moment she is stuck on grill cheese sandwiches with ham in them. She usually wants them for both breakfast and lunch. I did talk her in to a quesadilla the other day. It's basically equivalent to a grill cheese sandwich. I must say that I have turned out some beautiful grill cheese sandwiches recently.... I guess that's what I get for getting so much practice due to her craving.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Funny what they figure out

I was tucking the boys in to bed. We were discussing what tomorrow holds for them.
  • They have dental appointments (which my kids like the dentist so no worries there).
  • They have a field trip
  • Doug pipes up and adds, "we only have to practice our sight words for homework."
Three days out of the week we have a homework sheet to review and usually on one day (or more depending on how long it is) we have some sort of hand-writing sheet to complete. However, by Thursday we have completed all the specific homework pages and I only make them practice their sight words. I guess Doug had noticed that this coincides with it being Thursday.

Monday, February 21, 2011

I might be confused...

One of the "rewards" the kids can purchase with their play money is to swap beds. It is $20 a piece...So tonight Doug was willing to pay for himself and Andy. Andy discovered he had enough money and then Josie wanted in on it. I do not know if Josie actually had the cash, but Doug was so excited about it he shelled out the play money for her too.

So it started out that Doug was going to be in Josie's bed, Andy in Doug's bed, and Josie in Andy's bed.

Then, Josie couldn't sleep so I let her move to my bed.
Apparently she changed her mind because next thing I know, Doug appears and Josie has reclaimed her own bed.

So in the end Andy is in Doug's bed, Doug is in my bed because he didn't want to go to Andy's bed, and Josie is in her own bed.... this is almost like her swapping a bed anyway since she usually migrates to my bed during the night.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Out of the mouths of babes 2

We went to a Mexican restaurant after church on Sunday.
Doug said, "I want the burned beans."

Translation: Re-fried beans.

Out of the mouths of babes

On Saturday morning (4ish) Andy joined Jim and me in bed due to a bad dream.
Then around 6am Josie came waltzing in to climb in bed. It was a tad crowded so Josie and I went to her room and promptly fell back asleep.

At around 7:30 am everyone started waking up.
Jim woke up to find that he was no longer in bed with his wife but with Andy.
Andy woke up and told daddy....

I came to get in bed with you because otherwise it would be just you and God.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Play money

The play money system is working well. The kids get really motivated (or at least Doug and Andy do) when they get low on money so I am getting more active participation in chores. As long as I remember to pay them right away, I do pretty well with keeping up with the system.

It has also been interesting to see how my children spend their money.
Doug- he has a little trouble keeping up with his "wallet" (mostly because he sets it down where ever he is standing). He mostly spends his money on computer or TV time. He likes to pay for eating in front of the TV when I will allow it. He doesn't think to ask his brother or sister to help out with paying for something like eating in front of the TV.

Andy- he is a little better about saving up. My "quantity" boy likes the idea of having a lot of money in his wallet, but still gets enticed in to spending. He is probably the most motivated about earning money, but he has been the most interested in "work" all along. He really likes having "20s" in his wallet (right now a 20 is the biggest denomination).

Josie- she likes the money and she will spend it on things. She has a bit of an advantage because I do not make her pay for TV or computer time while her brothers are still at school.

This weekend we pulled out my tent. It is still in good shape....and for $75 in play money they kids got to sleep in it downstairs on Saturday night....well, sort of. They did okay at first, but sometime after midnight Josie woke up and freaked out and started crying. This woke up Doug and Andy and got them upset. So everyone ended up in their own beds.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Roller falling

Andy went to a birthday party at a roller skating rink last weekend. The little boy whose party is was skated well enough to own his own skates. For Andy it was the first time ever having wheels on his feet....

To his credit he grinned every time he went down and he got up and tried again. The rink had a coned off area for people learning and they allowed parents with soft shoes to be on the rink (Which was good because unlike the rink where I grew up there was not bar along the wall).

I was very glad that I only had Andy to deal with, because by the end my shoulders and arms were sore from helping him. I was actually sore for two or three days afterward....

Andy would have liked to stay longer, but eventually the music got to him. For as loud as he is, he does not like loud noise.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Play money

It all started when I was driving back home with the kids. Andy said, "We should make some play money."

So I asked, "What would you buy with it?"

We had a small discussion about how you could not really spend it in a store, but then we decided that it could be currency around the house.
So we started talking about a list of what you could do to earn money and what you could spend it on.

Now each child has a small "wallet" made from construction paper. The "Bank of Mom" has printed out $1, $5, $10, and $20 dollar bills on colorful cardstock. We have a list with suggested tasks to earn money (everything from making your bed, unloading the dishwasher, brushing your own teeth, to doing your homework quickly). We also have a list of things you could buy with the money (TV or computer time, dinner choices, sleeping in your sleeping bag, etc.). I may need to adjust amounts some depending on how much they earn daily and how easy I want it to be for them to earn certain things, but so far they are really excited.
I was never really good with keeping up with the chore chart, but perhaps this will put more responsibility on them and make it more exciting.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snow days

Some how snow days are quite a different deal when you are the parent and not the child.

We have had two..... I am looking forward to them being back in school tomorrow.

And yes, I was that mean parent who made them do at least a little bit of school-type work on their snow day.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

What they want to do when they grow up

It is interesting to hear what my children want to do:
Josie- she informed me the other day that she wanted to be a girl builder (I think she means construction worker), a cheerleader, or a girl police officer. I think she settled on police officer, but within the last few days she fine tuned it to a girl ninja police officer.
She also vacillates between telling me that she will never marry and will always live with daddy and me, and informing me who she is going to marry. I am not quite sure why she is concerned about this at age three.

Doug- He first wants to be a football player for the university I attend. (He has also informed me several times that when I finish my program and am looking for a new job that onr job I could consider is being a cheerleader there.) He used to want to drive trains after that, but due to his current favorite online game (Lego Mars Mission) he wants to be an astronaut (the kind that is in charge and gets to drive...not necessarily a scientist).

Andy- He really has two ideas. He wants to be the first astronaut artist.
Then, you know the Coke Zero commercial that asks why there are not time machines? Andy seems to think that this is an important point and he intends to right this wrong. He is going to invent the time machine.
On his own he decided that after he invents the time machine the first "time" he is going to take it to will be the starting date of World War II and he is going to bring along a lot of fire power so that he ends the war before it starts. I am not quite sure where he got this idea, but he has been quizzing me about World War II whenever he thinks about it. We have also been having conversations about how changing the past might change the might be time to watch the movie Back to the Future.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

It's been a bit- so happy 2011!

I have been busy....Christmas has come and gone. We survived.
I did not get out a Christmas letter. I did do a bunch of baking (and my waist shows it). I semi-decorated the house and now have to put stuff away.
I did a bit of work on my dissertation but I seriously need to do more.
I spent a bunch of time enjoying having Jim home for two weeks and I spent some time just being with my children.

We had a few mad Nerf gun battles, I build countless Lego kits (I suppose I could count them but I would probably regret it...had to empty out some bins to make more Lego storage), have played a bunch of games with the kids (since we got a lot of games appropriate for Doug & Andy).

I have hopes for the New Year. I am not going to make resolutions as I like the idea that if you need to change something you should do it right away. I do have a few ongoing missions that continue into the new year.
  • Lighten my load (I want to get rid of things I do not need and that just clutter up the house)
  • Finish my dissertation (it is the gateway to many things)
  • Continue to grow spiritually (God put some serious messages in my life during 2010 so I need to not just pay attention but also take some action)
Have a happy and blessed 2011.