Monday, August 31, 2009

Planes, Trains and Soccer Games

Oh, what a weekend. We had so much fun this weekend that, by 6 p.m. Sunday, I had no voice. My allergies had gotten the best of me and even whispering was hard to accomplish. I shudder to think that my family enjoyed those hours of silence, but I think they actually might have.

Saturday morning was crisp and sunny so it was just right for a girls' soccer game. A is loving soccer. It's a hoot to watch. Four goals and 8 little girls running every which way. Gotta say the four goal game is a little confusing (even to the parents), but there is definitely more scoring and less time out.

A as the "Shark" in the Sharks and Minnow game during training time.

A has scored numerous goals each game and is thrilled to announce the number at the end of every game. However, her math skills can be a little questionable.

She would say that the best game thus far was Saturday as we finally had "snacks" after the game. As a added bonus, Nana came to the game and we went to Scooters afterwards for Hot Cocoa. Guess the weather people didn't get the memo that it was still August. It was somewhat chilly.

The boys headed out early in the morning for the Air Show. They spent the day seeing all sorts of planes with letters and numbers. As they would say B-17's, F-16's etc... The day was highlighted by the Blue Angels. The weather was perfect, the crowd was fun, and they found a perfect parking spot in the mass of humanity.

The Blue Angels in Flight and C beside an A-10 Warthog.

C talked to the Air Force Academy recruiters about wanting to be an Aeronautical Engineer. They gave him some cool "stuff" including the requirements for admission. His words, " Good thing I have a few years to get strong, the sit ups and push ups could kill me." We told him he could always opt for an great Engineering school, but just stay away from those with bad football teams.

Guess you could say my hubs was steering him away from Iowa State and Rice.

Sunday morning after "Pancake Sunday" at church, my kids favorite, we opted out of the lake to go to the train station and see the "Disney Christmas Carol Train." Wow!! What a movie.

The line for entry was two hours. Only regret was that I did not have a book to read while I stood in line. Good thing there was lot to see in the Train Museum as 2 hours is a long to stand when you are 5 years old, or 12 for that matter. The kids and Dad explored while I stood and came up with lists of things I'd love to do this fall around the house along with crafts and books I should read.

A glimpse at the outside line-this was the short one. 20 minutes or less for the "Sneak Peak" of the Movie. This was after the inside line of 2 plus hours.

Once we got our upclose on the train, the wait was worth it; A Christmas Carol in Digital 3D makes the streets of London, Scrooge and Tiny Tim really come to life. Our sneak peak of the movie really got us excited for the November 6th opening. We might even stand in line for tickets for the first show!!

We decided as a family to make this Christmas Season a Christmas Carol Season. We are going to read aloud the Charles Dickens book, go to the Movies as a family, and then get tickets to the Local Playhouse production of the play, too!

I'm not really a Jim Carrey fan, but when I heard him say in the promo that A Christmas Carol is a wonderful story of redemption it got me are excited to tie this movie into some family devotion time. Great story of redemption...huh kinda reminds me of the real story of Christmas and the redemption that Christ gives us.

What a great weekend.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Restoring Joy

Today was a day of affirmation for our family. A day that I wept for joy over the fact that God was affirming a decision we had made about A's education and that he was giving us even more than we had asked for.

Deciding to Redshirt A this year from Kindergarten had been a decision we wrestled with for months last year. There were days I was convinced we had to send her. Days I knew that I could not send this young child off to all day every day school at barely 5 years old.

I think part of the reason I struggled so much with the decision was that we had made one poor educational decision already for Kindergarten years ago with our oldest. We'd sent him off to all day Kindergarten at a school that was not the right place for him. It was very tough year.

Thinking that I would make a poor decision again almost stalled me from choosing. But in my heart, I kept hearing nudges to hold her out one more year. Who cares that she's tall, it doesn't matter how smart and sharp she is today, this is a long term decision.

Decision made after much prayer, consultation and discussion. Redshirt and send A to Preschool one more year. Today our decision was confirmed with red flashing lights and fireworks.

Today was meet your Teacher Day at Preschool. A has Miss Judy for Preschool. The same teacher that our oldest had eight years ago. Miss Judy, the teacher that saw so much potential in C and nourished that potential, praised his little personality and made C love school. A is going to be so blessed this year.

Our experience last year at Preschool was not stellar. We had rushed into a new school for the ease and comfort of this being our third child. We didn't do our "Due Diligence" or see if the school met our needs or that of our child. It didn't. So many of the memories we've made as a family with our Preschooler were absent last year. No "Show and Tell," No "Letter of the Week," No "Thanksgiving Feast with Pilgrim Hats," No Christmas or Valentine's Day Party, No Fall Festival or Pumpkin Patch experience, No Mother's Day Tea.

I felt like our child was just passing time. She didn't love her teachers. She never talked about the classroom or the other kids. No playdates. We just didn't have the experience I was hoping for. The only thing A really got of Preschool last year was the routine of the school experience.

I'm convinced that had we sent A to kindergarten this year it would have been a struggle for her to get excited about it. She wasn't loving school. She was just going.

Thank You God for Today. She was bubbly and excited. She was thrilled with the cool sink to wash her hands, the art center, the kitchen to play house, the circle time rug filled with color. The teachers who were so excited to see her. She glowed. She was happy.

The first thing today we walked in the room and Miss Judy gave me and A a huge hug. She said when she saw A's name on the list she wondered if she was C's little sister. She remembered all the little things about C. His love of airplanes, his funny personality, his cute smile. She said A looked just like him. How thrilled she was to have her in the class. My little shy A went right over to the art center and started to color a Veggie Tale picture. She said, "I'm going like it. Do I start today?"

Thank you Lord for restoring joy to our little preschooler's heart. To getting her excited for school for Show and Tell, for Art Centers and Field Trips to Pumpkin Patches. To Teachers Who Love You Lord and Love Our Little Girl without even knowing her yet!

There is a Bible verse that talks about restoring days/eaten away. Renewing the time spent with joy. That's what God did today. He's restoring last year with a fresh start. He's giving A a redshirt year that will build her up for the future. We are going to create great Preschool Memories this year. She's going to get on the right foot for Kindergarten next year. She might have been ready today intellectually, but now she's for sure going to be right next years socially, spiritually and intellectually.

A can't wait for next Wednesday when school actually starts. We can't wait either.

Joel 2:25 and 26 (paraphrase)

I will repay you for the year the locust have eaten will praise the name of the Lord your God who has worked wonders for you.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I've achieved the Century Mark (or my 100th Post)

I've known this day was coming for a few weeks. This would be my 100th post. That is the post you are suppose to come up with 100 things about yourself and list them for the world to see. My palms are sweating just thinking about it.

A 100 things to know about Jill....
  1. I'm 42 years old
  2. I love Birthdays, especially my own, especially if there is cake. White Cake. Buttercream frosting.
  3. As a child, I would plan my May birthday starting the July before. OK, maybe June.
  4. I still do this in my head today. Next year my birthday is on a Saturday.
  5. In my head, I'm still in my 30's.
  6. This comes from getting married later and not having my first child till I was almost 30
  7. By the time our youngest goes off to college.....we'll be ready for the rocking chair
  8. I had a great childhood, great parents, blessed life.
  9. Can't remember a time I didn't believe in Jesus as my savior
  10. Couldn't imagine there were people who didn't go to Church or love Jesus like us.
  11. Thought the Pastor lived in the church and that he only worked on Sundays.
  12. I was very naive when I went away to college
  13. I pray my children are too
  14. I'm still pretty naive and I like that
  15. I call it selective knowledge
  16. We went on great vacations when I was kid
  17. Skiing in Colorado, Water Sports in Minnesota, Train Trip to California, Florida, and of course the time we took our foreign exchange student from Finland to Chicago for a wedding and got lost and arrived at the wedding as they were ushering out the family.
  18. Some of my best memories are from these family vacations; especially if it included weird hotel rooms, food poisoning and pooping dogs on snowy front porches.
  19. My brother and only sibling is 5 years older than me
  20. Our best times were spent on ski slopes and in the back of station wagon fighting. Today, his family lives a block away from us and are our best memories are from our family lake cabin.
  21. He took me on my first "date" to a movie. I think it was Star Wars movie
  22. He told me never to date anyone who didn't open the car door for you. My Husband did on our first date!!
  23. My mom and I went on "coke dates" every week at the grocery store cafe or Burger King.
  24. Even when we were struggling as mom-teen daughter, I loved these moments
  25. My dad used to take us on "midnight runs" for ice cream
  26. They were normally at 9 o'clock at night
  27. He had strawberry ice cream, mom had black and white sundaes, and I had rainbow sherbet.
  28. I was lactose intolerant as a baby through my young childhood.
  29. It came back on me in my early 20's but was gone during the crucial teenage years. God must have known I'd need the calcium.
  30. As a result, I've never really like chocolate too rich and dairy filled for me.
  31. My favorite all time candy is "Chuckles" which is hard to find except for care packages from Chicago that my in laws send my way.
  32. Family traditions and rituals really do shape you; I'm trying to make them with my kids
  33. I took Piano lessons up until the time I broke my arm in 5th grade
  34. My teacher said I probably should not come back after I was healed.
  35. I was really bad
  36. I broke my arm doing a "penny drop" off the neighbors jungle gym
  37. I ran home and said I broke my arm
  38. My dad said it's fine, time for dinner, lets eat Spaghetti
  39. Broken Right Arm-Right Handed. Tears at the dinner table.
  40. Shortly thereafter off to the hospital; Broken arm; two places, huge cast
  41. I had the best grade that quarter in handwriting. My mom wrote everything
  42. I was Raggedy Ann that year for Halloween with a big cast. Cute.
  43. Guess I might have been overly dramatic in the past, thus that disbelief of injury. I've forgiven my dad. My middle child is the same way. We have a rule no blood, no bandaid.
  44. That's the only broken bone I've had...thus far.
  45. I've had stitches only once, for a cut on my hand at age 40.
  46. Don't try to get avocado pit out with a knife jabbed in - especially not when the avocado is in the palm of your hand at the time. Let's just say lots of blood. Fantastic neighbors took me to the ER in their brand new White Lexus. I prayed the whole time the towel would hold the blood.
  47. Was a brownie, junior, and cadet Girl Scout as a child. My mother was our leader. She saved the day one time when a Tornado struck our town during a meeting and she had a flashlight in her purse. Totalled house, but not the school. All Safe.
  48. Now I'm a Girl Scout Leader and my daughter is a Junior. Youngest daughter thinks she is a brownie even though she's not in school yet!! She's just been to a lot of meetings.
  49. Hate camping and the " great outdoors." We only do "lodge camping"
  50. Girl Scouting has given me lots of great memories as both a child and now as an adult. Favorite all time is wilderness survival camp when it rained for 6 of 7 days. Maybe that's why I don't like camping.
  51. High School Yearbook Editor, Active in Youth Group, Soccer Player, Candystriper
  52. Went to National Youth Conventions: Mountaintop Experiences and Cute Boys
  53. Drove a really ugly yellow Olds Cutlass Supreme in high school. Very yellow, It was given to me when my grandfather died.
  54. Drove a beautiful green Mustang in college. Given to me when my other grandfather gave up driving.
  55. Nearly totalled when a teen ran into me at a high school where I was doing a practicum.
  56. Learned to drive a stick over Christmas Break one year and then took a Honda to the U. Let's just say I was stuck a few times on hills and at stop signs. Wish I had a stick today.
  57. Changed my major in College the First Week. Started in Architecture. Why? Too Much Math.
  58. Switched to Teacher's College. Fearful of Talking in front of a Group/Kids scared me
  59. Ended up with Degree in History
  60. Not Very Marketable, but A Great Education
  61. Love Politics
  62. Worked on Governor and Senator Races; my candidates tended to loose, but I believed in the causes and candidates deeply.
  63. Personal Aide to A Governor for 18 months; Statewide Travel
  64. I've been to lots of county fairs, parades and pig roasts.
  65. My foot was run over on the 4th of July during a parade. Thankfully, my parents had come to watch and were feet away from the accident. They drove me to the hospital. No doctor at the hospital; he was at the parade. He came later on a Harley Davidson.
  66. Canvased a Neighborhood on our First Anniversary as the election was 3 days away! Thanks honey.
  67. Meeting a Sitting President (Bush 41) is Cool. Seeing President Reagan Up Close. Way Cool
  68. Was a Nanny for a family a few nights a week in college.
  69. They advertised for a "mature woman" and I applied; They were thinking older & wise, Got me instead.
  70. I don't like social settings all that much. Pretty shy. Hate Parties and Crowds. Love People. Don't ask how I did politics. It's a work thing.
  71. Cannot for the life of me remember people's names. Faces yes, names no.
  72. Meet my husband at Church Singles Group, First Date Big 8 Football Rivalry Game. Thanks Mom and Dad for the Tickets.
  73. Engaged 2 months later, married 1 year later; almost 16 years ago.
  74. He was 27 and I was 25 when we married. First Child two months shy of my 30th
  75. Lost our first baby to miscarriage at 10 weeks, 15 months later welcomed our son now 12
  76. Didn't believe we'd have a child until we brought him home from the hospital
  77. First Daughter born 3 years later brought pink into our home for the first time. Second Daughter 4.5 years later increased the pink in our house; and the barbies and the laughs.
  78. Worked for 7 yrs part time as a Christian Bookstore Manager. Love to Read. Take a Book with Me Everywhere Just In Case.
  79. Love the fact that I am home now with the kids. Always wanted to be a wife and mom.
  80. Went to Norway with my In Laws to See Their Homeland. Beautiful Country/Great Trip. Someday when our ship comes in we are going back and taking the kids. Family history and culture too important to forget.
  81. My hubby is 1st generation American. I'm a mixture. Kids are now a melting pot.
  82. My mother throws English Tea Parties for the Granddaughters to teach culture and they love it. She has a closet of dress up clothes and fancy china for the occasion.
  83. Have Never Been To Canada. Traveled to England and Germany in College with my grandmother. Been to Mexico with a friend a few times in college. Barely escaped a Mexican Prison when I smart talked the Border Crossing Guard on time. Right Kath?
  84. Would love to go on a cruise to Alaska with my husband.
  85. Loved to snow ski as a child/young adult. Married a Texan who does not like cold
  86. Would love to go skiing again and take the kids. Let hubs stay in the lodge. Maybe my brother and I will take all the kids and the spouses will sit and enjoy the fire and hot cocoa. My sister in law doesn't really want to ski either.
  87. Thinking about going to school to be a nurse once the kids are in school.
    Already have a degree in History; but I'd need to take all the science and math classes. I love to watch Medical Shows on TV and have been known to diagnosis many an illness in friends. Just call me Dr Quinn Medicine Women.
  88. Someday I want to write a Fiction Book. Need a Laptop first
  89. My hubby thinks I need to write first, then laptop oh, and learn how to use a comma!!
  90. Can't really write a fiction book sitting in my house. I need a quiet nook filled with books. Maybe an English Country Cottage too. A Girl Can Dream can't she. I would compromise with a laptop and roaring fire at lodge in Colorado. One week all to myself.
  91. I'm addicted to Diet Pepsi. Fountain variety is my favorite. Can't understand how southerners think that Diet Coke is the way to go. Yuck.
  92. I'm a list maker and scheduler. I've even been known to write things on my to do list that I've already done that day just so I can cross more things off.
  93. Spent 8 years in Bible Study Fellowship; one year as a Leader. Best Bible background ever. Now I spend my Bible study time with my favorite leader: Beth Moore and with a great group of moms from my kid's school. Getting in the word with friends is the best.
  94. Learned to knit last summer thanks to my MIL; desire to be a better knitter than I am. Have big plans for this fall and winter projects. Notice I didn't say big skills.
  95. Might learn to quilt one day. Just afraid there is too much math involved. Mom are you reading this?
  96. Started blogging a year ago after spending months reading others write. It's become my scrapbook/journal this year.
  97. I'm on a break from scrapbooking right now. Still grieving the months of pictures I lost when our computer crashed. Too hard to look at the missing months right now.
  98. Looking over my life thus far I am amazed at how blessed I've been. How abundantly God has blessed me with people who love me, grace, forgiveness and sheltered me in his arms. Always.
  99. I can't wait to see what it's store for my life and family over the course of the next 100 posts.
  100. Who knew I had a 100 things about stored in this brain; or a 100 posts for that manner. WOW!

Regular posting to resume soon. Not nearly so personal or long. I promise.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Destined for Greatness Only Rain Delayed

Poor A! Her first soccer game was cancelled tonight due wet field conditions. It's been rainy this week, and this afternoon, when a downpour started around 2 p.m., I started to worry that her little heart was going to be crushed.

She's been wanting to play soccer her "whole life." Last spring, we were all ready to sign her up and realized she missed the cut off by 6 days. Born 6 days too late to qualify for the team. Come on people she's destined for greatness on the field.
A's cousins are all soccer stars. She's heard all about their games, their cool uniforms and of has been waiting on the sidelines for "her turn." Her siblings gave up the quest for the game long along to pursue their loves of baseball and dance (not the same child). Little A might just have soccer in her veins though.

I played soccer in high school and college and coached a team or two in my day. I was not a star as that was my brothers role. I like soccer, but it's a little too slow for me and there is too much running involved.

A's been practicing in our backyard for the past few weeks. Once we got her uniform last week, she has to practice in all the gear; uniform, socks, shin quards, cleats. Don't you know they make her go faster and kick better.
She's not thrilled with the color of the uniform. She was really hoping for purple, but she's decided she'll wear purple pre-wrap in her hair. You want to accessorize just right for games you know.
Yesterday, we were practicing in the yard and she told me with the cutest look on her face that "I can't wait to get on the field and show them how great I am at soccer, won't that be cool Mom?"
This afternoon, when I got the email that our game was cancelled, I dreaded telling her. I knew she was going to be crushed. All day she'd been asking how much longer till her "Game." After school pickup this afternoon, I crouched down to her level and told her I had bad news, no game toinght.

Her response; "It will just be another few days until my game, guess they have to wait to see how great I am at Soccer, huh Mom." Just a few more days A. Saturday morning, we can't wait for you to get here!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

WFMW: Freezing Summer Sweet Corn

My husband and I are both city kids. He grew up all over the country, but mostly in big cities or large metro areas. I've only lived in a mid-size metro area and a college town. We know next to nothing about agriculture even though we live in the middle of the Midwest and are surrounded by the richest land and fertile crops and livestock.

We are blessed to have friends who have moved to the big city after college, but grew up on farms and still have parents/siblings, etc living on the land. As a result, we get some great produce this time of the year. Tomatoes so fresh you could eat them like Apples, Sweet Corn that makes you smile, and Zucchini so yummy.


Last year, our friends shared with us some of their sweet corn crop and showed us how to freeze it for the winter so you can enjoy the fresh sweet taste all year long. Let me just say that we are now so spoiled. No more Bird's Eye Frozen Corn for us...we've tasted nirvana and can never go back.

This past weekend was "Corn Weekend". Here's the process.

First Shuck the Corn Cobs. Guess really first is find some good sweet corn either from a nearby farm you pick yourself or at a farmer's market.

Clean the Corn with a veggie brush to make sure there are no loose strands of the corn husk, Use a handy dandy Corn Zipper by Kuhn Rikon to get the kernels off the cob and then squeeze some of the juice into a bowl. You can use a knife, but this new tool this year worked like a charm. Just remember to clean it off often so it doesn't get gunked up.

In a large stock pot over a medium heat, place 10 cups of corn, 1 cup of water, 1/2 a cup of sugar, a very small handful of salt and cook the corn until it comes to a boil and then let it boil for about 10 minutes.

Let the corn cool in 9x 13 pans until it is no longer steaming and is cool to the touch.

Place about 3 cups of the corn in Ziploc Freezer Bags; Quart Size. Lay them flat on a cookie sheet and place in a big freezer. Let them freeze solid.

To use the frozen corn you can either defrost in the microwave for a few minutes and then cook on stove top or you can place frozen corn on stove and slowly heat it through.

We just ate our last bag of sweet corn last week from our 08 bags. It is a family favorite. No need to add anything to it.We estimate that a cooler full of corn produces about 10 or 11 bags of 3 cups of corn each. Not the most scientific measure but when you get in the midst of making all this corn it's easy to loose track. We made about 35-40 with 3 coolers full of corn this weekend.

Eating fresh summer sweet corn all year long works for our family. To check out more WFMW ideas see We Are That Family.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

First Day means Freedom and Scruffy Puppy

M on the first day of 4th Grade. C on the first day of 7th Grade. Both kids had also had the obligatory picture with the "sign" and the backpack photo on the steps. Tradition!
Yesterday was the first day of school. According to both kids it was fun and boring. Great to see friends, find out who was new in class, meet the new teachers and for C find his way around the 7th grade part of the building.

The boring part was hearing all the rules, filling out the forms and not really doing anything all day. Guess the filling out forms was the mother's boring part along with writing all the checks for PTA/PTO memberships, activity cards, lunch accounts and so on and so forth.

At least today, M said they would have "real school". C just gets to go to his even day schedule of classes and hear the same rules speeches again. I'm anxious to hear about Gym Class and the rules for clothes in 7th grade. I still remember my lovely red polyester outfit from Junior High Gym. Yuck!
On top of all that they served hot dogs for lunch at the elementary school. M says that ruined the theory that the serve great food the first week to entice you to try the food. She went with her lunch box today! At the junior high, there was the "deli line" and they, for the first time in Monday history, had pepperoni. For the past two years that has been C's complaint at his lunch with the principal. Pepperoni only on Tuesday and Thursday. Yesterday was a "miracle". C of course thinks that maybe his pleas have at last been heard and he will leave his mark on Middle School.

A and I enjoyed the freedom to go to Walmart and enjoy a fresh pretzel and drink without her having to share. It was so fabulous she said. Then Dad called at lunch time and invited us to meet him at the mall and have lunch at her favorite place and cash in that gift card she got for her birthday from us to Build A Bear (BAB).

She was so excited; Lunch at Burger King at the Mall had never been so good! She commented on how great it was that she picked BK as they were located just down the hall from BAB. Who knew?

Her new Scruffy Puppy in a Sleeping Beauty Pink Dress could not be any cuter. The fact that we got to see her face the whole time as she went about picking out just the right animal, outfit and shoes. Precious.

A with her new "Scruffy Puppy" giving it a bath and outside the store posing with the big Build A Bear and Annabell's Puppy House. A had picked the name herself and then later remembered that it was the same name as her Nana's doll that she still has from childhood!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Last Blast of Summer

School starts for the big kids on Monday. Just when the weather starts to heat up around here the school doors open. What's wrong with this picture?

We are trying our best to fill our days with as much for as possible before routine is forced upon us. While I love the new notebooks, pens and color coded calendars that a new school year brings, I've been loving summer this year.

We've spent countless hours at the pool, at the Lake House, and just hanging out. We've dined al fresco on our back deck, had friends over to play and C has played countless rounds of golf. We've enjoyed the summer and it's laid back attitude. No big plans, no huge responsibilities, nothing, Nada that could not be put off for another day. Just like Summer was intended.

I've been prompted lately in my heart to carry this summer attitude into my fall planning. To not over schedule. To not take on more volunteer jobs or responsibilities than I can handle. To enjoy my family and the season.
With A red shirting kindergarten this year and C entering 7th grade, I'm beginning to realize that very shortly this season will come to an end. Next fall, I will have no one at home during the day with everyone off to school. I'll have plenty of time then to volunteer and do projects for church, school, or myself.
This fall I want to have a little summer every week.

* A free day each week with A to play or go somewhere.
* Fall dinners al fresco on the deck with the deck lights on and the grill fired up.
* Evening games of soccer in the backyard or Scrabble contests over a bowl of popcorn
* New projects started on my knitting needles: felted purses, cable knit scarves and maybe just maybe I might think about sewing again.
* Teach A some reading basics and work on letters and sounds. She'll get some of this in preschool, but I'm thinking she could be reading by kindergarten if we worked at home too.
* Work with the Girl Scouts to give back to our community in some big way: I might even teach them to knit !
* Teach M how to latch hook. We have a pillow kit to start with.
* Challenge C to practice golf this fall so that he can beat his grandfather next spring.
* Encourage my kids to invite friends over more. I want to be a welcoming house. Less activities scheduled should free up time for more of this and give me time to make snacks and keep the house up and ready for visitors.
* Be consistent in my morning devotion time, don't just do my Beth Moore Bible Study actually spend time in the Word for the sake of growing rather than learning.
* Find time to have a date night once in awhile
* I'm looking forward to a new year. I know for some a new year starts in January but I also think of September as the beginning of a new year. I have my fresh Desk Calendar all started with perfect color coding and lots of open blanks that I'm hoping to keep that way!!
Come on Fall Bring it On!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Our Pampered Life

Our air conditioner decided yesterday to take a vacation. Granted it was 8:00 at night and the house was relatively cool at the time of it's departure, but still not the thing to do Mr. Air Conditioner when it's August in the Midwest.

I realize that this has been a relatively cool summer. In fact I've been known to complain that it is too cool for the pool or lake. However, school starts next week so I know hot days are ahead. That's how we roll around here, school is in session and the temp reaches 95 plus. We go on summer vacation and the temp is too cold for the water park to open.

Back to reality. It's getting hot in here. The windows are open, but there is no breeze. We slept great as it got down to about 62 outside, but the reality is the repairman is hours away from coming and we are not use to the sweltering in our house.

We are one of those families that goes from heating to air conditioning with no windows open ever. Our allergies are too bad to keep them open in the spring with the pollen and flowers and the fall is worse for some our noses and sinuses.

In college, I was very popular with my sorority sisters because I brought a window air conditioner into my sleeping room. I think my parents figured the cost of the unit and the extra power was cheaper than sinus infection medicine and trips to the Health Center.

Guess you could say I'm a pampered princess.

No air conditioning in August is roughing it more than Girl Scout Camping was two weeks ago in an air conditioned lodge. People, I need me some cool comfort!

So far today we've gone to Old Navy for Back to School Clothes, Sam's for Food Supplies and Lunch, and sat in our car with the air blasting. Now we are sitting in a house with the shades drawn, no lights on, and ready to watch HGTV's Design Star on our DVR.

Roughing it I tell you.

For those of you who have no air ever or grew up like my parents did sleeping on the front porch and frying eggs on the driveway, I sympathize with you. Glad I was a child of the 80's and didn't have to suffer. Oh, we did have the 70's that we had to live through with goofy clothes, hair and music.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Go, Go Daddio Daddio. A Bowling We Will Go.

The Scorecard (is that what it's called?) We had nick names for everyone.... I can't divulge for sake of revealing identities. Let's just say that A's name was J.... One of her little friends from the lake used to call her by the wrong started with a J for over a year. Every time she would call her this name. Never the right one. For a joke, we now call A that name once in a while. She loves it!

My children have lead a shelter life. I love that they have not been exposed to a lot of the "stuff" that the world has to offer. I consider it pure joy that my kids would rather listen to KLOVE, go to a Big Daddy Weave Concert, swim in pools and lakes with most of their bodies adequately covered, and still think that the word "stupid"is the worse curse word.

I just don't think of us as snobs. But today after church and lunch, we had a fun family outing to a local bowling establishment (only later was I told that "bowling alley" was the correct term) and I realized how little of "Real Life" my kids have been exposed to.

C and M ready for some bowling fun

Guess you could say that we must lean towards upper class recreational activities while living our middle class suburban life. Golf, Swimming, Baseball, Soccer. My kids have not been introduced to games like Bowling, Table Tennis, Shuffleboard, Shirts and Skins Pickup Games of B-Ball. They have missed out!!

When "Daddio" as we called him on the bowling scorecard got a strike, M with all her enthusiasm and excitement she could muster screamed out "Dad got a hole in one!"
Wrong sport honey!
I, of course, continued with the theme that we are more of a golfing family than a bowling family when I told C not to be discouraged that his score was so low. He was not using the gutter protectors as his sisters were and it really impacted his game. I said he'd be thrilled with his low score of 30 after 7 holes/frames if this was a golf round.

A with her yellow ball. She loved this little ball, Just don't ask her to hold it for long. It's heavy people!

Shortly thereafter, we added the gutters for C too. Just to help him keep up with the girls high scores. When Daddio said that he hoped not to get whooped by a 5 year old in Bowling, I offered gutter protectors for him too. He refused!

A was having the time of her life. She doesn't put her fingers in the holes, rather she just squats down and pushes the ball. Good thing daddio was nearby to give it a little extra umph sometimes. You might say you could sign the song "When the Saints go Marching In" waiting for her ball to go down the lane. Not that I tried or anything.

Not to sound to high and mighty myself, but I choose to sit this game out. Bowling is just not my thing. At my husband's old office, they still talk about me and the company bowling outing. After 3 or 4 recent (last 10 years) games when I barely made 40 for a the day, I realize that big heavy balls and narrow lanes are too much for me. I'm not too proud to admit defeat.

It has nothing to do with a fetish over wearing someody else's shoes!!

The shoes. Love how A's are the Velcro kind. M and A could have used that too. The laces were old and tough to tie, and their mother was a little too groused out to touch them over and over again.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

WFMW: Back to School Edition/First Day Photos

My back to school idea for Works for Me Wednesday is one I stole from Family Fun Magazine a number of years ago.

I take a piece of cardboard and write on it the child's name, the grade they are entering in school, and the year. I take a few stickers from my scrapbooking supply and make the "poster" cute. Then the child holds this sign in a picture on the first day of school on our front porch.

Now, for every year I have a picture on the first day of school, a way to keep straight what year it was, and the grade they were entering.

Last year A got her first sign and it said A's First Day of Preschool 2008. We even took her picture outside the school building with this sign too. She was so excited to have her own sign!! After years of begging to hold her sister and brother's sign, it was thrilling for her.

I figure when all the kids have gone through school, I'll have an awesome photo collage with their pictures and signs.

In addition to the sign photo, we take a backpack photo every year on the same step. We take this picture with the child standing sideways so we can see their size. At the end of the year, we take the same picture and it's amazing how tall they've gotten in nine months time.

First Day Photos with Signs works for me. For other WFMW ideas check out We Are That Family.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Back to Reality: Still Wishing for Vacation Mode

We spent the last week at our family lake house having what we called a Staycation. It was fun, relaxing and filled with some great family time and memories. Sprinkled in the week, we were able to pull off a gathering of our Mom/Kids Bible Study group at the lake, a visit from out of town family, the championship tournament of C's golf league (yeah 5th place), a Girl Scout overnight at a Lodge an hour away, and a party for C's Championship Winning Baseball Team and their families.

Wow that was exhausting and fun.

Gearing back up to reality is not as much fun. I realized when we returned that I did not have a calendar. I'd bought a desk calendar last July that ended this July. Guess that means I have no plans for August or beyond.

School starts in two weeks. You say that it's still summer. Tell that to the school board. It's been so cool here this summer that a few days last week it was actually too chilly for the lake or the water park we went to only to find out it was closed due to cold weather. Yep, it was July!!

I'm thinking that the weather will warm up right when the yellow school buses start coming around the neighborhood and football season starts.

In addition to reality this week, it is someone's Birthday. A princess in our family is turning 5 and her mother still needs to plan a little gathering for her friends. I think that the Lake is calling again. What's better for this sweetheart than some sand, water, and maybe a s'more or two.

Hopefully, by Birthday time, I'll have some groceries purchased and the laundry put away from our trip. No promise though.