Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tidying up UFO's

I haven't sewed/quilted basically since I moved into this house in October 2008--yes, that's over 18 months ago.  I did make two quilts for the school auction, but that is pretty much end-of-story.  So today I took some items from the UFO bin, purchased batting, and organized four quilts to make and to donate to my church's prayer shawl ministry.  I got this super quick, quilt-as-you-go pattern from http://www.sewing.org/ (look under charitable sewing; then click "lap robe).
After I machine sew these, I hand-quilt a heart in the center square.  At the church, we attach a lable, bundle, add prayer card, and have the items bless.  I'm hoping I can finish these by Easter.  OK--maybe I'll get them done by the end of spring break.

Snack Time for Family Dog

My husband was gone for two weeks, home for two days, and gone for another week.  At the beginning of this travel stint, I purchased a 1,000 pc. puzzle for us to do at night (vs. watching television).  Normally, I find jigsaw puzzles relaxing.  I was getting close to done, and moved to the final stage of puzzle assemby.  I turned all of the pieces facing up, sorted, and organized these pieces in small rows.  See photo below.  After my husband got home, I noticed several of a particular kind of piece were missing.  I initially thought my husband took a small handful just to stir things up a little.

Much to my surprise, my dog has been snacking on pieces--presumably one at a time since she did not mess up my lines.  The kids and I have caught her holding these pieces in her mouth about a half dozen times in the past 24 hours.  The picture on the right is the "completed" puzzle.  Obviously she had been snacking much more than I suspected--about fifty pieces worth.  Wonder about the calories?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Volleyball Wins?

The girls play volleyball . . . and love it.  The season is, in theory, about six or seven weeks long.  Both girls play on "the B team," which is exactly where they need to be.  My seventh grader's team has not won a game all year.  The sixth grader's team has won a couple, and is playing well.  Both girls played at the same time on Saturday.  I told daddy to go to the seventh grader's game since the chances of her team winning was much less than the sixth grader.  That way, he may get to see each play one more time. 
Well--Murphy's law.  The sixth grader lost.  The seventh grader's team won, played again that afternoon, and won again!  The season will continue in three more weeks (after Holy Week and spring breaks).  Hooray?!?!?  I think.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Waiting for Daddy

The daddy of the house has been on a work trip for nearly two weeks.  He travels . . . alot.  In fact, he was working every other week out of state.  However, he's home every weekend.  But not this trip.  He's in Hawaii, and he had to stay for two weeks.  He was not excited about this.  I am glad, however, that he did get to do a couple touristy things.
We are typically used to his weekday absences.  But I've seen both my kindergartener and my 7th grader tear up because they miss their daddy so much.  I'm actually surprised by the older child's reaction since she tries to play cool and treat her dad like he's very uncool.  There are the subtle eye rolls and quick escapes from the room when her dad is around--I've heard these are typical teenager antics.  In some strange way, this missing should reassure dad that her outward reactions don't reflect the inward love she has for him.  He'll be home in two days--yeah!!!  Now to get the house reassembled before he returns!

Saved 40 Percent Grocery Shopping

I am so excited with my grocery store purchase today.  I saved 40% on my grocery bill (which ended up being just over $100.  This total includes the $25 for my Easter ham).  I read several blogs/website where families save way more than me . . . but remember I'm average. 
Three things I did that helped:  1) I buy an extra Sunday paper for the coupons  and  2) I spent about an hour using the newspaper and computer to plan the trip  and  3) I took my list with me.  I saved about $80--so I certainly think it was worth my time.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Eyeore Takes a Stance

I took my three children to the mall today to find outfits for Easter and their cousin's first communion.  Two years ago we did the same thing, and my then 5th grader was in tears (w/ the 4th grader not far behind) because she didn't want to wear a dress.  I took a deep breath, and off we went w/ a verbal "You WILL wear a dress to Easter mass and your cousin's communion."  We walked into the first store, and they each found a dress they liked and that fit.  That easy?!?!?
So I take my normally very passive son over to find a tie and dress shirt.  (His personality can best be described as "Eyeore."  Those who know him agree).  He informed me very matter-of-factly that he was NOT wearing a tie.  OK.  So we left.  It cracked me up that he actually asserted his opinion for the first time in his six years.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

What a (Satur)Day!

I'm a single, married parent for two weeks while my husband is in Hawaii for work.  Saturday's festivities began at 8:00 a.m. when we drove to volleyball game #1.  I returned home in time to take daughter 2 to a friend's house.  I was home five minutes before my student arrived for two hours of tutoring.  When he left, I immediately got my son in the shower, then went downstairs to make lunch before heading to volleyball game #2.  Daughter #1 who played game #1 couldn't find her kneepads for game #2 and just KNEW daughter #2 took them to play game #3 (Got that?).  Searched for kneepads; at my sandwhich in the large rental truck. 
Without kneepads, we went to game #2.  Lucky for daughter #2 that daughter #1 was still able to play game #2 without knee pads.  When it finished, headed to game #3.  I knew immediately daughter 2 WAS wearing her sister's knee pads--bad girl!!!!  That game finished around 4--which gave us a few minutes for the kids to go through McD's drive thru for supper before 5:00 mass.  After mass, we dropped daughter #1 off to a friend's house to go to a dance.  I should have taken the younger two children to a school social at the YMCA, but I'm done, done, done for the day.  I'm hoping for a restful Sunday!

Friday, March 19, 2010

"Illegal Drug Aisle" at the Grocery Store

I helped supervise my son's walking field trip to the Police Station.  It was on a Friday afternoon--and they were kindergarteners who go all day.  The kind officer who gave the "tour" was not much of an early childhood educator; the kids were not a great audience.  He talked briefly that the last person he arrested was for intoxication.  He had to explain to the children that alcohol and drugs are poison to the body, causes adults to do bad things, etc.
After school, my son and I stopped by the grocery store on the way home.  I rarely do this, but I really wanted a glass of wine.  So I was walking down the wine aisle (like I know the difference between any of them), and my son loudly poses the question, "IS THIS THE ILLEGAL DRUG AISLE?"  I am certain I heard the lady on the end of the aisle chuckle.  I love his innocence!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Geese Are Back

I ran three miles again today.  My year-to-date total is now 21 miles.  Five more to go to finish my marathon.  Oh wait, it's been so long that I forgot you do it all in ONE run not in ONE year.  Anyway, the geese are back.  I'm an animal lover, but I don't get birds--especially geese.  They are rude, brazen, obnoxious, and poop everywhere.
Sometimes I'm "angry runner."  I think things (and occasionally say things aloud) that I shouldn't.  Every time I run close to a goose, I hiss at it.  Childish, I know.  For some weird reason it makes me feel better as I am dodging and jumping over their large feces deposited in the middle of the sidewalk.

Auto Repair

Today I took our nearly 3 year old Chevy Uplander to the dealership to get brakes.  Tthe rear driver's side door is broken.  Since I was under 36,000 miles (I have 35,500--really!), the repair is covered under warranty . . . aka--it's free.  After sitting for over two hours (which I expected), they told me that they do not have the part to fix the door.  They've called for a rental car.
Long story shorter, I am driving a very large, white, extended-cab Chevy Silverado pickup.  It's HUGE!  In fact, I had to rearrange the garage to get it in.  It fills the space w/o much to spare.  I had to run to the grocery store, and I felt I took my space and half the space behind me.  I hope that part comes in tomorrow!  I just have the urge to grab my t-square, put a pencil behind my ear, and head to Home Depot!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Two Workouts Today

It's March, and I'm just getting back into running again.  I'm trying to decide whether to run at hilly 15K on Father's Day weekend or to "school" my girls and beat them in the 4-mile race.  I figure this will be one of the last years I can do this with minimal effort--I keep getting slower; they keep getting faster.  I still have endurance going for me--something they don't have yet.  I ran three miles today.  Thought about doing one more with my canine running partner, but we walked instead.
The girls got off the school bus to find a taunting email from their grandfather (he told them if they trained, he'd pay their entry fee).  So I did another two mile run.  The first mile I ran with my 6th grader; the second mile was with my 7th grader.  They both finished the mile slightly before me.  Nonetheless--I was close AND it was my second workout of the day.  If it were a race--I think I could take them, but I need to be able to walk tomorrow. 

Monday, March 15, 2010

Mom-of-the-Year Menu

My husband is out of town.  I was going to grocery shop after teaching this morning, but was asked to stay and subtitute for another teacher.  When I got home, I searched the fridge for something to fix the kids and myslef.  We had several food items that needed to be tossed tomorrow--smorgasboard for supper.  The delicacies included clam & corn chowder, blueberry pancakes, one cheeseburger, and some french bread I toasted.
Wash it down with a glass of milk, and it is a balanced meal . . . if you count the ketchup on the cheeseburger as a vegetable.  Ok--so I wasn't mom-of-the-year.  I was being frugal (didn't want to waste), lazy (too tired for grocery store after work), and avoiding fast food (which only I gave up for Lent) all rolled up in one meal.  I think average moms do this every once in a while.  Right?!?!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Least Favorite Day

Today is my least favorite day of the year--that dreaded "spring forward" time change.  I'm crabby because I spent five hours at volleyball yesterday and another two hours at a b-day party (might write about that later).  My husband left this morning at 5:00 a.m. (formerly known as 4:00 a.m.) for a two week stint in Hawaii.  I spent another two hours to & from a volleyball game, came home to eat, and another two hours at a second game.  Growl!!!!!!!!!!  It's been rainy.  I wanted to log a few miles and didn't.  I haven't done my lesson plans for next week yet (and the state inspector is coming in on top of it all).  I was hoping to work on a couple of projects, but didn't get organized enough to do either.  Whine, whine, whine.

I'm a crab.  I'm going to blame my bad attitude on the time change.  I'm grabbing a book, and the kids and I are headed to bed (after I eat a piece of blueberry pie and icecream!).  A good night's sleep is a recipe for a good week. 
I will NOT be cranky in the morning. 
I will NOT be cranky in the morning.
I will NOT be cranky in the morning.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

First time in 13 years

Yesterday I picked up a cross stitch project I started BEFORE my thirteen-year-old was born.  I was rediscovering some UFOs.  I remember buying the pattern in a wonderful cross stitch shop when we lived in Terre Haute, IN.  It's a profile picture of St. Nicholast in 32 ct. linen.  I didn't know if I would remember how to stitch it.

It took a while for me to adjust my eyes (which I've noticed that potential bi-focal thing that happens around forty years of age--ssshhhhh!).  I forgot how much of it was not the eyes, but the feel.  The above picture is after I worked on it for an hour yesterday.  I'll try posting my MAJOR progess (trying to be optimistic) since my husband will be out of town the next two weeks.  I will just be sitting around crafting and creating along with single-parent duty of six volleyball games, eight practices, two special events, church, tutoring, teaching, painting a bedroom, and other mothering duties.  I'm sure I'll have PLENTY of time.

Friday, March 12, 2010

God's Nickname

We got our first mini-thunderstorm of 2010.  My kindergartener was getting anxious (lightning hit the house next to us last spring while we were sitting in the living room).  He said he didn't like when it rained because it was too noisy and he cannot sleep.  I told him that the noise he was hearing was a little hail, and that it usually didn't hail long.
"I'm  glad mother nature gave us just a little hail," he said.  I asked him if he know mother nature's other name.  "No."  It is God--God gives us all of our weather.  "I didn't know God's nickname was Mother Nature!"

Thursday, March 11, 2010


I drove my husband's 12-year-old car on Monday and Tuesday this week.  It needed its exhaust repair (scheduled in two days), and I didn't want him driving it an hour down in Cincy.  Tuesday was one of those pick-up, drop-off yours, mine, ours days.  Two of my kids friends got in the back of this car and were amazed first that the locks had to be unlocked with a key!  No handheld button you pressed from 50 yards away.
Second shock came at the lack of room in the backseat.  It basically fit the two kids and their enormous backpacks.  We drove from tutoring to get supper, and the fourth grade boy said, "Mrs. Mean-Median-Mode?  Why is the floor vibrating  back here?"  I explained this was a car like Fred Flinstone's, and we had to run our feet on the pavement to make it go.  Then I heard some grunting/struggling and asked if everything was OK in the back.  "Yeah!  I just got my backpack caught on that thingy cars used to have to make the windows go up and down."  Sorry kids--this car doesn't have On-Star, GPS, CD player, USB port, automatic lights, OR a video system either.  So zip it!  Eat your Subway sandwhich!  And enjoy the ride!  Yaba-Daba-Doooo!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Ten in 2010

I now have reached a total of ten miles logged for 2010!  May seem pathetic to regular runners--but after a 5.5 month break, it is a start.  Remember running your first 5K and thinking what a huge accomplishment that was?  That's how I felt today.  Granted--in a couple months I hope to post I ran my first ten-miler of the year (not 10 miles for the year). 
I find many things humorous when I run.  Today, I ran without a hat.  I had "bed head" from not showering yet today.  (For those with shorter, naturally-curly hair--you can visualize what a mess I was).  I passed a woman running in the other direction--perfect blond ponytail and LIPSTICK!  I have put on a little lipBALM before running, but never lipstick.  Maybe that should be a new running goal.

Mother Used to Know Best

The weather forcast for yesterday was supposed to be sunny and high around 50 degrees.  My "teenager" wanted to wear a spring coat to school.  "It's 35 degrees--that's too cold for a spring coat while waiting outside for the school bus to arrive."  She replied that she would wear TWO spring jackets.  While I thought that was one less-than-brilliant idea, I simply repeated, "It's 35 degrees.  If precipitation were falling from the sky, it still could look like snow."  She left the house with her winter jacket on and without talking to me.

"Why are they shivering like this?"
When she got off the bus in only her short-sleeved uniform polo and her coat hidden in the backpack--it was 58 degrees.  OK--it wasn't supposed to get THAT warm. 

So today when the question came up if she could wear her spring coat---like any fabulous mother, I told her I wasn't going to discuss it.  It's 37 degrees!  She (and her sister) trotted out to the bus in her spring jacket.  Thank you, God, for my compliant little son who still thinks his mother knows best!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Fulfilling Moment

On Thursday, our family attended an informal concert for my son's school.  To be honest, when we got the note home about this "additional concert," I was like "Oh great.  Another committment."  I had to pick up my son by 2:30 (because he cannot get off the bus w/o his sisters and/or w/o mom at home), and bring him to my 3:00 tutoring at the other campus.  At 4:15, I loaded my 3 kids (the girls had Rosary Club after school) plus 3 additional to get Subway for supper.  Back at the gym before 5:00 for volleyball pictures & practice.  The other mom was bringing my oldest to the concert after the pictures and practice.  I went home to eat (gave up fast food/restaurant for lent) with two.  My husband got off the plane and got home just in time to leave for the program.  Met up with the oldest--so all five of us were seated in the pew and ready for the performance by 6:45.  Deep breath.
It was the most amazing thing I've attended at this school.  The children wrote their own songs (part of a grant with a singer/writer/naturalist).  Each grade had a social justice theme with which to work.  The songs were very Christ-centered (which was why singing in the church was so appropriate).  These kids are so pure and untainted.  The artist who worked with the children sang one of his more typical funny, up-beat songs.  He ended with a very reflective version of "Give Me Jesus."  This concert--that I was not thrilled about--was the perfect "reset" button for a very busy week.  I left completely fulfilled.  I couldn't have asked for more.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Sunshine & Productivity

I'm so excited that I was productive this morning.  First, I must confess that I was repeating "Please don't ring.  Please don't ring" from about 5:50-6:30 this morning.  I needed to get a bunch done today, and a call to substitute would have put a halt to all of it.  Anyway . . . I got laundry caught up, linens changed, "stuff" out of kitchen (and it looks clean), floors scrubbed, AND I ran.  I really do think it is because the sun is shining for the first time in a while--and I can see grass again.
All I have left to do before I pick up my son, turn in important forms, tutor, pick up four more girls to get to dinner and practice, and my son's concert is a shower.  That's the easy part!  Oh yeah . . . and my husband gets back from a week in Colorado.  What a great day!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

First Run of 2010

Well I finally got motivated enough to run for the first time in 2010.  Actually, I don't think I've run but ten miles since I ran a marathon in the fall.  That's pathetic . . . and I've done it the past couple of years.  I'm in such good shape, run the marathon, then . . . nothing.  I let it all waste away and wonder why I struggle each spring. 
Nonetheless, thank you to those blogs about running.  I also need to thanks several of my friends who are running.  I needed that motivation.  The run felt great.  Let's hope my dormant muscles do in the morning.

Monday, March 1, 2010

I'm Losing It

There are days that I think I am just plain losing it--I suspect most average parents hit this point.  Today is one of those days--but this has been going on for about a week now.  I cannot hold a thought.  I cannot complete a task without getting sidetracked.  I cannot keep up with the schedule.  I'm just losing it.

Here's a specific example.  I was bringing my daughter home from volleyball last week.  I was beat, but the low fuel light came on in the van.  It would be more convenient to stop that night versus the next morning.  I just needed $25 in gas.  The pump kept running, and running, and running.  I knew I was tired because it seemed to be taking twice as long as it should.  Suddenly at 25--the pump kicked off.  Wierd.

I looked again--I did not pump $25 in gas.  I pumped 25 GALLONS--or over $60 in gas!  Oh well--at least I won't have to stop to fill-up during the weekend.