Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Glimpses of Real Life

I'm just gonna say it; "My kids are funny."  Now, I am not saying that we are a laugh a minute all day and night, but in all honesty there is a lot of laughter in our home. Sometimes, it's at our own "expense" and other times, it just because they think of the craziest things and then actually say them out loud.  Here are just a few examples:

Example #1:
Miss M  was on the DVR the other day looking for Little House on the Prairie shows on Hallmark and came across the episode where Mary's daughter is killed in a fire at the blind school. "Oh Mom, I think this might be a new episode."

I told her that I thought Michael Landon died over a decade ago so I didn't think so.

She then asked me if, when I was kid, they marked the new episodes of Little House on the TV so you would know. I explained we just turned on the TV and what was on, was on and it was all new (except for that summer rerun time)!

Example #2
I took the girls to the Muppet Movie last week when they had a day off of school. It was an experience because the movie itself is unique. Part musical, part comedy, but all pure fun.  Miss A and Miss M asked me if I knew the Muppets. I said not personally, but explained they were around when I was young.  "No fair, you had the Muppets and Laura Ingalls."

Example #3:
Mr C went to a dance at an all girls school a few Fridays ago.  He went all by himself. Solo. All of his friends bailed on him that day and he was really looking forward to going.  Don't see to many girls at his all boys school!  It was a neon dance and a benefit for children in Africa. Mr C kept trying to convince a friend to go saying that hey "it's girls and its helping little African children get computers; a win win for everyone."  The friend would not budge so Mr C went alone. 

I would never have done that and still won't.  I'm so proud of the young man he is becoming.  He is bold, courageous and ready to have fun no matter what.  Oh, and his neon shirt; bright orange. It read: Jesus Christ Save Me!  (I might not have worn that either)

Example #4:
Miss A, Miss M, and I were driving out to get Mr C from Golf tryouts the other day.  They were giggling and talking about "life." I heard the funniest part of the conversation and almost wet my pants; Miss A first said, "I thought that Kaylee was dating Travis.  How can she like Carson? Is she cheating on two boys!"  Miss M responded,  "Yes! She's a triple cheat."
Now I've changed the names to protect the not so innocent, but I thought they were talking about a Disney show or a book.  Instead, it was real Sixth Grade drama.  When I asked how Miss A, a first grader, knew the parties involved I loved what Miss M had to say; "Geez Mom, she's my sister, we talk." 

We later had a discussion about gossip versus talking, but I love that these sisters are having those kind of conversations.  Sisters.  Friends.

That's real life around these parts; a little crazy, part silly and just innocent family fun.  Wouldn't have it any other way.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Busy week and deep thoughts bring a chuckle to my heart.

Last week was a lost week in many ways as the girls had off Monday and Tuesday, Mr C had conferences on Thursday so he was out at 11:30 and had no school on Friday, and then Miss A had her school musical on Friday too so that meant there was only one day in which to "git er done" around here!  I took that as my chance to eat lunch out with a friend.  Who cares that it became brunch/lunch and was nearly time to pick up the kids from school!  It was a refreshing break and I loved it.

Needless to say, when I had chance to get things done off my to do list, it was working at lightening speed.  Not only did I have my 40 bag challenge awaiting me, I had a number of volunteer jobs that needed my undivided attention. I find on those days I work best if there is music in the background, the fireplace roaring, and a big glass of ice tea awaiting me.

I listened while I worked.  It sounds a little like Snow White (whistle while I work), but I got to listen to some great sermon podcasts and some great talk radio.  What was really amazing was how a lot of the "talk" I heard dealt with standing firm in the faith and not giving into compromise or worldly standards.  Every blog I read talked about this wave of political correctness and how the world is chipping away at what is right.

Now while a part of me wants to just pack it all in and head to Little House on the Prairie or Amish Country, I know that that this is not what God is calling me to do!  If He ever did I might have to bring along Air Conditioning........just saying!

However, He does call my family and I to stand firm. We are to know the Truth and not fear standing up for it in the world around us.  As a sweet way to affirm that this is truly God working on my heart, my husband just happened to pass along an email he'd gotten with a great story about compromise. Not only did it confirm that it's ok to have standards, convictions and lines in the sand it also made me chuckle a little bit. 

Nothing like a little humor to bring a lesson home. I've not shared this story with my children yet; I'm waiting for the moment that I need to "preach"' a little life lesson, but trust me it's stored away in this momma's heart and mind.  I know it's a lesson I'm still learning as a Christian living in the World, but not Being of the World.  I just know that I'm grateful that God uses moments like this to work on my heart and gives me opportunities to see that His ways are always best.

 I'm thinking a batch of brownies might just be in our future! 

Dog Poo Brownies (I'm not sure who deserves credit for this story; I got it from the Christian Businessman's Association weekly email" Fax of Life".)

A father listened to all the reasons his children gave for wanting to see a particular PG-13 movie: it had their favorite actors, everyone else was seeing it, even some church members said it was great, it was only rated PG-13 because of the suggestion of sex-they never really showed it, the language was pretty good-they only used the Lord's name in vain three times in the whole movie, the video effects were fabulous and the plot was action packed. Yes, there was the scene where a building and a bunch of people got blown up, but the violence was just the normal stuff, it wasn't very bad. Even with all these explanations for the rating, the father wouldn't give in. He didn't even give them an explanation for saying, "No." He just said "No."

Later that evening, the father asked his kids if they would like some brownies he had prepared. He explained that he had taken the family's favorite recipe and added something new. They asked what it was. He calmly replied that he had added dog poo. He stated that it was only a tiny bit and that all the other ingredients were gourmet quality. He had taken great care to bake it at the precise temperature for the exact time. He was sure the brownies would be superb.

Even with all the explanations of the perfect attributes of the brownies, the kids would not take one. The father acted surprised. There was only a small amount of poo, so what could the problem be? He assured them that they would hardly notice it at all. But they all held firm and would not try the brownies.

He then explained that the movie they wanted to see was just like the brownies. Satan tries to enter our minds and our homes by deceiving us into believing that just a little bit of evil doesn't matter. With the brownies, just a little bit makes all the difference between a great brownie something really gross. He explained that even though the smallest amount of dog poo makes the brownie totally unacceptable, they seemed to having no problem watching a movie of similar ingredients. The people who make movies and TV shows would have us believe their entertainment is acceptable for adults and youths; but they are no more so than dog poo brownies are good to eat!

Now when this father's children want to do something or see something they should not, the father merely asks them if they would like some of his special dog poo brownies and they never ask about it again.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge

This Lenten season, I will, besides cleaning out the clutter of my heart and mind in preparation for Easter's glorious celebration, also be cleaning up the "stuff" that's overtaking our drawers, closets, and other spaces. I'm taking Clover Lane's 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge.

Over the next six weeks, I'll be collecting at least 40 bags of stuff to giveaway, toss, or donate to the Goodwill. I'm all over this idea. I've been reading Clover Lane for a number of years and have always loved how uncluttered and organized her home and life seems to be. I figure if she can do it with five kids; I can easily do it with three kids. 

Here's my list of the areas I plan on tackling over the next 40 Days. Once I've finished cleaning an area, I'll report back how many bags we're generating.  I'll be honest that because I work best in short little bursts, I'll probably not tackle the entire room in one sweep.  While I love progress, I'll probably work a few small projects on busy days and then tackle the big ones on days set aside for nothing else but cleaning.

The Kitchen: Pantry, Cleaning Supplies, China and Specialty Items, Art Cabinet, Junk Drawers and Paperwork Storage

The Family Room: TV Cabinet full of DVDs and CD's,  Bookshelves

The Computer/Study Room: Computer Armour full of old computer games, files and gadgets; Mr C's Desk

The Dinning Room: Hutch Clean out (this has become scrapbook storage #2 and GS stuff) Dust and Reorganize decorative shelves, top of the hutch; seasonal decor hideaway- must go

The Laundry Room: Cabinets and Coat Storage, Hooks and Laundry Organization.

The Big Kids' Rooms:  Drawers, Under beds and Closets

Miss A's Room: Storage Solution to Barbie Overload and American Girl Doll Stuff, Closet, Drawers, Nightstand, Books sorted and donated

Master Bedroom and Bathroom:Closet Purged and Organized, Scrapbook Nook, Dressers, Bathroom Storage Purged

Kid's Bathroom: Organize the Drawers, Sort through the Hair Stuff (two girls, enough said)
Guest Bathroom: Clean out Medicine Cabinet and purge the First Aid Kit

Basement: Kids TV Room; crafting, gaming all organized and purged; Storage Areas: Purge Seasonal Clothing and Kids' Clothing donated; Weight Room and American Girl Doll Dreamhouse Organized

Whoosh!  That sounds like three years worth of Lent!  I'm thinking I won't have any trouble coming up with 40 Bags in 40 Days.  I'm not even putting the Bonus Room on the list, I figure I'll need a real Spring Cleaning Item to look forward to and this will be it!

Sadly, I gave up Diet Pepsi for Lent so I can't even count on a caffeine high to get me through all this stuff!  I'm hoping that the "cleaning high" I'll get will be similar to the endorphins you get from running a marathon because this is sounding like a marathon to me!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Winter Time Fun: Visiting a Museum

Winter boredom can arise even when the weather outside is mild and your plate of "to-do's" is long.  There is just something about being trapped inside most days that makes you feel a little stir crazy.  To conquer that winter dull, we try to break things up a bit and take family outings. 

Saturday, after a morning of rearranging M's room (more to come), we snuck the kids out to Chick fil A and a visit to the big city Museum that had traveling exhibit of costumes from the Movies.  Real Movies. Epic Motion pictures.  Miss A had been begging to go see a stunning Red Ball Gown for months. Miss M, who loves to doodle and sketch, thinks fashion design might be cool to look into as a career. Mr C, well he doesn't share any of his sisters' interest in costuming which is why we "whisked" the kids away without telling them our destination!

We figured that lunch at Chick Fil A would buy us some time at the Museum.  We know the way to a teenage boys heart!  Thankfully, Mr C is such a good sport.  He found his own fun at the Museum.  He not only dressed the mannequin. but also tried his hand at the old ties; everyday experience of tying a necktie really helps. Mr C also talked his sister into buying some candy at the Old Fashioned Soda Fountain.  You see, food really is the way to a young man's heart.

We had a fabulous afternoon outing at the Museum and finished our day with the girls watching "A Tooth Fairy" while having a sleepover and the big kids watched "Moneyballs." Perfect.

Love a boredom buster day!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Seasonal Decorating the Front Door: St Patrick's Style

I'm not really one for seasonal decorations.  I don't redo my fireplace mantel every month, though I do ogle over those who do it with gusto.  I put up fall decor in September and replace it with Christmas decorations after Thanksgiving.  That is because it's sacrilegious to decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving.  One holiday at a time.  However, the day after Christmas, I start to get itchy to get my house back in order and take down the tree and return my home to "normal." 

One exception to the holiday theme decorating is my front door.  In years' past, I've had numerous wooden or metal signs, frames, hearts, American Flags etc.  My only handmade item was a beautiful quilted Christmas hanging that my mother made.

Last year, I ventured into wreath making; and made one for the Spring and another for the Fall.  They are the perfect amount seasonal/fashionable and fun.  Since then, I made a burlap Heart for Valentine's Day (and have plans for the Easter Season and Summer swimming in my head).  However, the next season that I really needed some decor for was St Patrick's Day.

Now you might be curious why a Norwegian/German/ English family (my husband would like you to know he's not the mixture-he's 100 % Norwegian, I'm the Mutt) would celebrate a traditional Irish Holiday.  We aren't even Catholic!  However, as Norwegian as my husband is, he was born on this completely Irish Holiday.  He's a St Pat's Birthday Boy! Mr C is a March Baby too; born on March 20th! 

If that isn't enough reason to decorate our door with the Irish Flare, I don't know what is! Plus, I found some adorable fabric in green and white that would make a great wreath.  All this to say our Front Door it is now all Irish.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Valentine Cookies and Homemade Cards

The girls and I got to create a little bit of Valentine's fun.

On Sunday, Miss A and I finished her little valentine's cards for friends.  We'd looked everywhere for Pop Rocks to give away, but settled on a homemade shovel with "I dig you!" and a packet of Fun Dip.  By the end of writing her name all 22 times, she said she was exhausted.  Next year, maybe we'll have to "stamp" her name on the card. Hate to think she's got writers cramp at seven!

Monday night as a way to escape going to the Skating Party (it's cold and flu season, yuck), we made homemade sugar cookie cutouts.   I'll be the first to admit I'm not really a baker, but I think I've finally found a cut out recipe that I like for sugar cookies.  Again, it was the blogoshere to my rescue.  Nonly have I found a great new recipe, but a great resource for all things cooking/baking!

As the cookies were baking in the oven at one temperature, Pioneer Woman's Perfect Pot Roast was cooking away at a different temperature thanks to my new oven!  The aromas of the Roast and the Sugar Cookies made the kitchen smell wonderful.  The cookies were perfect for all the frosting and sugar crystals the girls put on them.  I mean "all."

Thankfully, we have some great neighbors who received a delivered plate of cookies.  That way the sugar overload could be spread around.  Next time, we are going to try dipping some Easter Cookies into melted chocolate on the end just like they do on Pioneer Woman's Food Network show.  At least, that's what two girls in our house think we should do (the boys would probably definitely agree)

The pot roast was perfect and was paired with the best mashed potatoes ever.  It was a pre-Valentine's dinner that made all the boys in the house fall in love with me again. I'm just saying!

Finally on Tuesday, Miss A had her Valentine's Day party at school and she loved it.  We had some great games, an easy craft, and more cookies to decorate. She has the sweetest little girl friends. First grade is the best!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

We "Rocked " The Valentine Box This Year

I would say the Dad and Miss A really knocked it out of the park this year making the Valentine Box for school!  Having been at the school now for nine Valentine parties, we kind knew that some people go way out to decorate boxes for the classroom exchange.

When Mr C was in 1st Grade (his first at the school having only moved to our school in April the year before), I had just sent a small brown bag with his name on it and few stickers. Thankfully, we were actually out of town on the day of the party or it would have been shameful.  There were rockets, robots, Hummers and army tanks that looked like they could take over the island of Manhattan.

The next year, we wised up a little and Mr C had a great box (in our eyes) and in the coming years he'd have a Bi-Plane, a Launch Pad, and a Rocket Ship.  Miss M's First Grade box really rocked: A Flower Garden with pencils as the stem and foam flowers on top.  It was stunning.  So much so that we convinced her to use for 2nd and 3rd grade too. 

In fourth grade, Miss M protested and said the flowers had all died so Dad and she made a fabulous Pink Pig. It was so adorable. Last year, Dad was hoping that Miss A would want to copy her sister and carry on the Pig. Yeah, not so much.  So we made an adorable IPOD with a play list that rocked.

This year, however, Miss A and Dad made the box to rival all others.  They made an acoustic guitar.  It was so Rockin' that Miss A said she'll use it for 2nd grade and maybe 3rd grade.  Some of her friends said that she must have some real creative parents.  It was fabulous.

Thanks to a large box of Russell Stovers candy we'd gotten for Christmas from a neighbor, we had the perfect box to carry off this large item. Throw in an old wrapping paper roll, black duck tape, fasteners, embroidery floss and some poster boards and it was a box to be showed off.

Miss A said that she was so proud of her box and her Dad.  When we delivered it on Monday along with her "I dig you" shovels (handmade by mom) and Fun Dip and heart pencil sharpeners, she had a smile on her face that was contagious.  She loved it all.

The only complaint was that it doesn't really play music, but it sure looks good.

Valentine's Day: Chinese Takeout is a Winner

For the past 14 years, give or take (minus one time when we were traveling over the 14th), we've ordered Chinese Takeout for the family for dinner on Valentine's Day.  It all started when Mr C was a baby and P and I celebrated with a nice dinner out a few days before Valentine's Day.  We wanted to do something with C on the actual day.  P suggested that we order in Chinese Food.

Chinese takeout on Valentine's Day is now our family tradition!

While we go out to eat a few times a month (maybe once or twice a month is more accurate), we don't really do take out dinner very often with maybe the occasional pizza  If we are all home for dinner, I normally cook a real meal.  Making take out dinning a real treat, this year I even had plastic plates and silverware so that the mom (or more likely the dad) didn't have to do the dishes afterwards.

We did have formal stemware on the table because in my kids mind it's not a special occasion if there isn't Sparkling Apple Cider to drink.  P and I shared a lovely bottle of Pinot Grigio from our fabulous wine store, Trader Joe! 

Another great family tradition that we have between February 1st-14th is a secret valentine that we do special things for such as leave treats on their bed, give extra hugs and kisses, and all over share the love!  This year I got smart.  On the same day we drew names from a bucket, I had a bag of small little candies, note cards, stickers, and toys that you could take anything from and give away.  That way those with little resources or access to "stuff" weren't burdened with coming up with ways to trick mom into going to the store!  

I speak from experience.

It's fun to see on Valentine's Day who our special friend has been these past two weeks.  Amazingly, the "doing" must have stepped up a little this year as two of five were convinced I was their person!  Miss M told dad she was shocked he was her secret valentine as "the gifts and cards were so good I thought it was Mom for sure!" 

We had a fabulous dinner and conversation around the dinning room table.  While we had our celebration end a little early in the evening to fit in BB practice and dance, we still  had a chance to enjoy opening cards from Grandparents and each other.  We had a huge laugh over the Spanish card that Mr C got and the fact that both Mom and Dad and B & B gave Miss A the same exact Hallmark card.  It was a perfect way to celebrate Valentine's Day! 

The kids were thrilled with their gift: Mario and Sonic at the London Olympic Games for the Wii.  We'd enjoyed the winter games so much we can't wait to try our hands at gymnastics, track, and equestrian.  Mom was thrilled that she scored this game at Walmart on a price match and saved 8 bucks!  Wow, the bargain shopper comes through.

To finish off the evening, we enjoyed some pineapple and strawberries with chocolate sauce.  You've got to have chocolate on Valentine's Day right?  At least that is the thought of some members of our family.  I'm still more of a jelly bean and Chuckles girl!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Minds vs Mines: It's Only One Letter Away

Mr C and few of the boys in his freshman class meet with a recruiter from the Air Force Academy last week after school.  The recruiter was there to talk to the boys about what they needed to do now if they hoped to gain entrance to the Academy for college.  I love that not only are these boys thinking ahead, but that the school had the foresight to line something up now so that they arent' scrambling their junior and senior years.

Mr C has always talked about becoming an aeronautical engineer so the AF academy would be a good fit for him if that's still his career dream.  The retired Air Force officer who meet with the boys gave them some insight on physical fitness, team sports involvement, math and science classes, and ways to be involved in the community and school that would look good for admissions. 

The fact that Mr C is going to be getting his Eagle Scout will give him a big leg up.  Let's also just say that the ACT/SAT scores they expect are really high.  I think 98% of the freshman class at the Academy graduated either 1st or 2nd in their High School class. Yikes! 

While Mr C is still considering the Academy and thinks that their programs have among the best to offer him, he's also talked about looking elsewhere.  I was telling him last week about some friends of mine who have siblings who have graduated from the Colorado School of Mines and that they have a great engineering department.  We've also looked at other Aerospace Engineering programs and other engineering schools.
It's still a long way off!  I know it's really not, but I'm not going there in my mind yet.  He's still a little boy! Don't try to burst my bubble.

Anyway after the meeting last week with the Air Force Academy, my husband and Mr C were talking a little bit about the schools in play.  Mr C told his dad that he's going to start looking into the Colorado School of Mines to see what they have to offer.

Mr P said that would great, he's always dreamed of a Mime in the family.
Mr C thought for a moment and said, "I'm not going to be a Mime, Dad
P shot back "Well, it's just one letter off" 
No C said, Mimes is two letters off"
P retorted, "Mimes is one letter off"
C replied, "No it's two, the "n" and the "d"."
P says, "There is no "d" in MINES, son"
C says, "I thought is was Colorado School of the MINDS, I don't want to work in a MINE!"

I think poor Mr P almost wet his pants from laughing too hard!  I love that boy!

Knitting Projects Await Me

In January, my favorite knitting shop has it's annual sale with 20% off all in-stock yarn.  This year, I took advantage of the sale to stock up on my supply. In addition to having a little stash of "craft money" ready, I was blessed to receive a gift certificate to this very shop for Christmas from a dear friend.  Yes!

While in my mind I was dreaming of all kinds of new projects I'd love to knit, I was worried that I didn't have the skill set yet to carry them off.  After talking with the staff at the knitting store ( I love these people, they are so very helpful), I think this Spring I'm going to take a "class" and make a felted purse while I sit in the store and have ready hands to help.  I think it will be my birthday gift to myself.

This year, I decided that I should really make some blankets for two little girls I know.  You see thus far I've made six blankets and only one of those actually stayed in our house. The rest were all gifts.  How I wish those first two blankets I made (oh, they were bad) I could take back and remake, but thankfully since they were both baby gifts they probably were destroyed by spit up anyway! 

I decided that Miss M and Miss A really need their own blankets.  I'm using patterns I've done before.  That way they should be easy and faster to make.  Miss M is getting a basketweave blanket and Miss A is getting the Blythe Blanket pattern I used this spring for a baby blanket.  Each girl is getting her blanket in her favorite colors and I've promised I'll have them done by their birthdays.  Lord willing!

For my final project, I picked up some great woolly yarn in hopes of making an everlasting scarf.  I have this great pattern that mimics a Gap scarf sold this year.  The problem is that it's a 1purl / 1 knit pattern and the fact that I knit Continental style and purl English throw style makes it very complicated to switch back and forth between the two styles.  I'm hoping that my mother in law can teach me how to purl the "right " way this March.  Sadly, my muscles and brain are slow learners ( just watch me at the gym and you'll know it's true) so I don't know if I can.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

From Hockey Pucks to Girls with Basketballs, She's Ready to Cheer

Miss A is always up for a sporting event.  I think it comes to her naturally.  When she was an infant, she spent most of her time sleeping in her car seat at her siblings' soccer, baseball and basketball games. She was often the team mascot of sorts and had most of the parents and siblings on the teams ogling over how adorable she was. 

Now of course, she's the one on the field playing both soccer and basketball, but this girl still loves to sit in the crowd and cheer for the home team.  She's a great spectator and if you throw in "snacks," she is very willing to go to any type of "game." 

Miss A had the opportunity recently to spend two nights in row doing just that watching area college teams play their hearts out on the court/ice and cheer along side some of her favorite people.  On Thursday, it was her basketball team watching a local woman's team win a "big" game on the court.  Miss M and Miss A and P and I had a great time cheering and while it's amazing to see how few people come out for women's sports (even a winning team like this on was), Miss A had a great time with her friends and the girls soon became a favorite of the cheer squad that was sitting near us.  Miss A even walked away with a signed poster!

Miss M had a great time at the game too, but left empty handed having tried twice to "catch" a t shirt from the yell squad.  Both missed her by inches.  Rumor has it her softball coach is concerned that she's lost her touch and needs to hit the gym with a glove. At least that is what I thought I heard my husband say!!

Friday night when Dad came home with Hockey Tickets, Miss A again jumped at the chance to go while M and I choose to stay home and watch a chick flick (The Help).  Love that movie and book.

The boys and Miss A, however, were hooping and hollering at the Ice Arena while enjoying waiter service since they were sitting on the club level.  When a fight broke out on the ice, they texted Miss M and I to say we were missing it all!  The pictures that Dad sent our way were a great representation of how much Miss A loves to be in the middle of the action.  Mr C and his friend J were no match to Miss A's cheers.  This girl has gusto for a team!

Gotta love a girl who can cheer for teams in victory or defeat.  A good spectator is a treasure.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Poor Poor Walter....

Poor Walter.  Our friendly snowman must have gone wandering on Sunday night and decided to take a siesta on the driveway.  Sadly, when P left for the office on Monday morning, he didn't see Walter (guess it was still dark outside) and ran him over.

Now my husband is not a cold blooded killer, I'm sure it was purely an accident. My children, however, are not so convinced.  Their first reaction (besides tears and wailing) was that they always knew Dad hated winter.   They think his "burnt orange" blood has infected him so much that he would even kill a snowman!

Dad came home from work that night full of remorse and was apologetic.  He claims that Walter must have blended in with the little dusting of snow on the driveway and he never saw him. 

We've all learned a lesson.  Next snow, we are going to have to tell our snowmen friends that nighttime journeys around the neighborhood are not allowed!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Sisters Sledding

The title sounds likes an 80's Hard Rock Band, but in actuality, it's just two sisters having a blast at sledding down the hill at the school yard.  Dad took the girls up to the school on Sunday afternoon and there was much rejoicing in the land!

Miss A and Miss M had a wonderful few hours of going up and down the hill at the school yard sleds in hand.  According to P, there was much giggling and screaming and jumping of moguls.  The girls were thrilled to see that a group of boys who had been there earlier had set up a fabulous "jump" on the hill.  According to A, the "Air" you could get was out of the world.  Miss M might have even tried skiing a little bit. 

Maybe we should take these kids skiing!!

As a bonus while Dad was keeping an eye on the girls, he cleaned out the inside of my van and even found my sun glass clip!  Of course he also found the battery charger for the camera that I had lost last month.  Sadly, I'd just replaced it days before!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Snow Day: Wait It's Winter? Who Knew

It's been the strangest winter in these parts. In fact, it's barely seemed like winter at all.  Last Monday, it was nearly 70 degrees so Miss M and I walked to the elementary school and picked up Miss A after school. By midweek, they were forecasting a "winter storm event" even though we were setting another record and we were playing outside.

Thursday when I went grocery shopping for the weekend ahead, it was as if the world was coming to an end. The Grocery store was packed at 10:30 a.m. Really.  I've never seen so many people at Trader Joe's either.  I told my husband all I wanted was some wine for the Super Bowl.  I'm thinking that the grocery stores were paying off the weather forecasters telling them to illicit fear in the people and send them shopping for supplies.  Wouldn't it be a shame to run out of Wheat Thins?

Friday night, they were forecasting anything from 12 to 24 inches of snow and something very "dangerous" called Thunder Snow!  Really scary sounding, isn't it?  Of course, it didn't happen.  We ended up with a measly 10 inches of snow. Nothing really.  Way more than we've had lately, but not a blizzard or Armageddon.

That didn't stop the kids from having a blast playing in the snow on Saturday afternoon.  It really was the perfect snow for playing and the temps were warm enough that you could actually enjoy some time outside making snowmen (that is Walter with the girls), sledding, and even shoveling the driveway.  Mr C even trekked through the neighborhood to a friends' house to watch movies.  We told him to put his name in his pocket in case he got lost in a snow bank, but he didn't!

It was a great snow day with tons of homemade hot chocolate, no plans forcing us to venture out of the neighborhood, and time to start some new knitting projects while watching movies! 

If this is winter, it's not too bad.  Of course, those 70 degree temps are welcome to return anytime.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Computer Crashes and Preconceived Ideas

I think my neighbors are starting to wonder about me after all the repairman I've had in the house in the past few months.  Honestly. Since fall/winter has begun, I've had the washer repaired twice, the dryer repaired once, the furnace checked and rechecked, new appliances installed, and now a computer IT repairman here twice this week.

My laptop which is one year and twelve days old crashed last week.  At first, it was just the keyboard and the mouse that didn't work, but after 3 1/2 hours on the phone with an HP repairman in India the whole motherboard wasn't working. Nothing. 

Now having had a computer crash a few years back, I had learned my lesson and sent my pictures to Picasa and Picasa Web, I send photos to Walgreens for storage and print out pictures, and I back up my entire computer onto a remote hard drive thus safeguarding me from a total crash and losing everything.

I guess, however, that I wasn't running my anti virus nearly enough ( the IT guy thinks I should run it everyday) and a result I got a virus.  A bad virus.

So, after nearly three hours on the phone, I told the lovely man from India that I did not have the time to spend sitting on the phone by my computer so what would be my next choice.  He'd send someone to my house. For the low price of $139.99, he could send someone to fix my problem and get me back up and running.   Really.  "All the way from India" I asked, only to get a chuckle of this nice gentleman who said they would probably use someone more local.  Thank goodness.

I'll admit I was a little nervous to have a "techy" come to my house so much so that  I called my neighbor just so they would know that I would be having "stranger" repairman at my house.  I might have even said "just in case I get murdered, I want someone to know."

I shouldn't have been so quick to judge.  My repairman was the nicest gentleman ever and not only did he get my computer completely backed up he came back the next day to reset up my printer, Microsoft office, and email.  All together he was here almost 6 hours.

K is a godly young man from Ghana who came to this country three years ago to get his masters degree in computers with the goal of returning to homeland to set up a business to teach his country about technology and educate young people.  During the long " downloading process," we talked about our World Vision child from Ghana, Shakum and the future of his homeland.  We talked about how Americans are so blessed financially, spiritually and with a life with everything at their disposal and yet how easily we complain or compare or give up. 

We talked about how much he loves his Church in America, a church that is filled with men and women from Africa who love Jesus and see themselves as here for a mission.  I was amazed at this young man's courage to come all by himself to a foreign country to learn and grow so he can go back "home" again to share all this knowledge with the country he loves.

Mr K fixed more than computer this week, he restored a part of my optimism for our country and our world.  He gave me much hope for the future.  In him, I saw a hope for Shakum a little boy in Ghana who loves God and Soccer.  It encourages me to write to Shakum and tell him about this amazing young man I meet and that I hope someday he can meet too.

While the process of getting back a perfect laptop was long; the end result is so much more than I could have imagined.