Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Update

It's been quite awhile since I've taken time to post - or even write in my personal journal. The last week has been busy but overall good. Recapping will be a challenge so I'm sure I will ramble but guess that fits the name of this blog well.

The last couple of days before Christmas were spent busily baking as we had the family Christmas gathering slated to be here. We also had Jessie and her family here staying with us - our first overnight guests in our "new" house. The multiple couches were all used and I think most slept comfortably. Christmas day was full of rather mixed emotions. We had a nice breakfast - Squirrel made monkey bread and I had got an overnight egg casserole in the fridge to be baked in the morning. Both turned out well and there was leftovers. We opened gifts after breakfast - the three boys were thrilled with their new MP3 players. They spent a good part of the next couple of days figuring out how to get music on them. Then it was time to get the hams in the oven to have them ready for dinner (lunch) and get ready for company. Pretty soon most of the entire extended family - except for B's brother N and his family - descended on the house for most of the rest of the day. We did a buffet meal - ham, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, clementines, rolls and butter, pecan pie, fudge, cookies, a veggie plate...it really turned out delicious though I forgot to get peas and corn fixed. Oh yes - we did have corn casserole as well. After food and visiting there was more gifts to open followed by more visiting. Squirrel played carols on the piano and then there was much Wii playing. (Jessie's family had brought theirs along). I even got on the 4-wheeler and did donuts on the ice in the field outside the house (as a passenger). That was fun - unfortunately the camera died about that time so don't think I have any pictures.

I found out shortly before everyone arrived that Mike's grandma had passed away very early that morning. While I knew she had been sick it was only the night before that I'd found out that she was declining rapidly and would be gone soon. I did spend some time sitting in a quiet place with a cup of coffee - wished I could journal then but there was not the time.

Christmas Day and the day afterwards were bitterly cold - with lots of ice on roads and surfaces. Friday night temperatures finally warmed and yesterday morning snow was almost melted. We had temperatures in the 60's during the day yesterday - grey, gloomy scenes though as the sun never really came out. We had heavy rain and thunderstorms late in the day. Jessie and family left yesterday around noon and we went to attempt to move the chicken coop up here afterwards. It was quite a chore as far as I was concerned - B's skidloader forks were not quite long enough to completely lift the building. Eventually we did get it loaded onto the trailer, chained down and moved. Unloading it was not as difficult though it is still not in it's final home as the yard was far too muddy. Overnight there was a great deal of strong howling wind and the temperature has dropped 30 degrees - the ground is beginning to refreeze.

O.k...guess I've rambled enough...am attempting to take things easy today. I need to send some emails and want to get some stuff put away this afternoon. We will see what happens. I also want to attempt again to get pictures down-loaded onto this computer.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Beautiful Treachery

Today is the second day of beautiful, treacherous ice on the roads, trees, and pretty much everywhere else. School was canceled yesterday and we got an early start to our Christmas break. School was closed by 6:15 am - I got a call on a 2 hour delay at about 5:10 and they called back an hour later to cancel. I felt like we got a lot of settling done around the house - there are still a few boxes in the "great room/open hallway" area. However they are now up against the wall, boys computer is set up and working!! and we have play station set up also. We got out pictures to begin to hang up last night but both B and I were too exhausted to do it.

I did have to go out yesterday evening to take care of the chickens at the old house. The sad part was that Squirrel and I stopped at Suz's to get some food to give the remaining cats at the old house. The only problem was that I apparently set the food down in the back of her van and left it there. I was distracted by the 2 50 lb bags of potatoes she had in the back of her van - which are now residing in the back seat of my car waiting on a couple of strong guys to take to the basement.

My car now has a new ignition switch - B drilled out the old one yesterday - with the car sitting in the ice-covered driveway. Once I figured out that the key they gave us with the new switch would not work because it didn't have a computer chip in it the car worked fine with the old key.

I'd better get off here now - time to get bills paid, laundry folded and kitchen cleaned.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pushing

How fast to push a child is the question...Stretch drove to school this morning as he had to run the sound equipment for an elementary music program tonight and he was going to miss the shuttle buses. The original plan was for him to run sound then drive to praise team practice (if he got done in time) then drive home. However it's been snowing fairly heavily since 3:00 pm and snow has accumulated on the roads. I knew that he was nervous about the thought of driving home tonight but figured he could attempt it. (I was very nervous about allowing him to attempt it but know that he's got to learn sometime). Anyway...Suz decided that it would be better if he did not attempt it and took him home with her. Deep inside I feel that that was the right decision - he's demonstrated a fair bit of wisdom in knowing when he's too tired or otherwise not safe to drive so far. It's just hard to know when it's my "over-protective" mothering and when I need to push him just a bit more. Driving home from Squirrel's TaeKwonDo took us close to 40 min. Roads had not been sanded or plowed yet - not even the main east/west highway so I went fairly slow. I didn't notice as much ice under the wheels as I had earlier in the evening but visibility was very bad.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

To Explain...

I had to laugh at the comments on my last post - I truly had not intended to do a 1 word post but it seemed fitting at the time.

To explain...Stretch got his driver's license on Friday evening. I would not allow him to drive to the high school for the basketball game he had to attend. However he drove himself around on Sunday - he had two Gospel Choir concerts that day to be at and it made it so much easier to allow him to drive himself to meet the bus - and then drive himself home. At the same time...it is scary to have my boy on the roads "alone" on snow-covered roads. B is having a much easier time with it - and wants him to drive more so that I and Squirrel get home after school at a much more reasonable hour then when we have to wait on Stretch. I think the compromise will be to allow him to drive to where I park my school bus and then ride from there. In the evenings he will be able to get a shuttle bus ride back to near the car to drive home from there. That way the roads he will be on are less curvy and he won't be driving as far - comfort for this mommy's heart - yet the rest of us will still get home at a more reasonable time most days.

The old house is pretty much empty. I still need to get down there and finish cleaning it - and we need to move the chickens up here. Hopefully by the end of this week that will happen. Unpacking is happening - slowly. There are still too many boxes around here that need sorted through and stuff put away. However it is coming along.

B is still not back at his old job. He has been able to work in his shop for the last week and a half - beginning to get work in there. I rather suspect that that will continue for some time.

I'd better run - must change back into work clothes and head to the grocery. We are out of milk and I have a long shopping list to purchase. I won't be home again until after afternoon route.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Driving

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Update Again

We have slow internet access now - it's satellite so better than dial-up but certainly slower than what we had at the old house. Maybe I will eventually upgrade to something faster but for now we will adjust to what we have - and be thankful for it.

Boxes are still many - furniture is not all in it's place but slowly unpacking is happening. It was nice to get several boxes of books unpacked and on shelves. I even put a couple in the "garage sale" pile which is steadily growing. Once the computer is in it's permanent place I will be able to get my scrapbooking stuff unpacked and hopefully re-organized. I will have less space for it but did choose to downsize some of my books so it should hopefully work out ok. I still have all my old journals from back when I was a kid and young adult - to now. Those - though maybe they should be - will not be downsized.

Dogs are moved - as of last night. Splash is still tied up but so far Sally has not wandered too far. She comes running whenever we come outside - it's rather nice to not have her confined to the back yard. Chickens and school bus are still at the old house. Chickens will move north - bus will move but probably not north.

B still does not have any permanent full-time job options. His shop is cleaned out and he's got a couple of projects lined up to work on beginning tomorrow. We will see.

Guess that's enough of an update for now - while I'm trying to take things a bit easier this afternoon I'm still attempting to empty some boxes and do some laundry. (I desperately need to develope some sort of "Sabbath rest" but so far it's not happened).

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Quick Note

Quick note - we have a second 2 hour delay this morning. There's a half inch or so of snow on the ground covering over a good layer of ice. Yesterday morning it was freezing rain...winter appears to have arrived with a bang.

Still don't have internet access at the new house - have decided what we are going to go with - I just need to stop long enough to get it ordered and scheduled to be installed. At that point we will finally move the computer there and I hope we will be down to sweeping out this place. B wants to do be done here - as do I. However if so much stuff didn't revolve around computer access (including in some cases, boys' homework) I'm sure he would prefer not to have computer access.

Stretch has been home from school sick this week. He's got acute bronchitis...I probably could have sent him today but I've seen too many kids on my bus route sick - out for a couple of days, back for 1 then out again for the rest of the week. Since this is a short week anyway I figure he's better off at home - he's settling in - helping get some things unpacked and just resting.

I'd better scoot - bus is running and it's almost time to get moving.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Still here...

Still here....still swamped...still moving. No DSL service at new house...am frantically trying to make internet access arrangements...no decisions yet.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Moving - Sort-of

Well just a quick note - we are now moving boxes and some furniture in. There are still a few little things being finished up but the major stuff is all done. My hope is to be able to move beds either Friday or Saturday. In the meantime...I'm continuing to try to take care of two places at once - and keep up with boys' activities. I'll write more once things are more settled. Need to go call the phone company to get them to place order so phone service can be set up. Also have dishes and laundry to care for this evening yet.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Staying "home"

I'm staying home mostly today - went out to pay on the storage locker but other than that plan to pretty much stay home between routes. Of course, I didn't get home from bus route this morning until after 9:00 am. We had a driver meeting with the elementary principal after the route - didn't start until after morning announcements. Then I had to come home and attempt to get in contact with some parents on my route. We will see how things work out. So far I've caught up on folding laundry, started dishwasher and started more laundry. I plan to take a nap as soon as I'm done with this entry...and my much needed on-line visit with my sister. I hope to get kitchen tidied up, hand dishes done and lots of laundry done. Then it would be nice if I got my seating chart posted on the bus and some more boxes packed. Am still exhausted but not in as much physical pain/stiffness as I was yesterday.

The weather has been beautiful the last few days - sunny and unseasonably warm. It's supposed to change starting tonight and tomorrow - with the possibility of rain and snow showers on Saturday. I'm really hoping and praying that during the day - even if it's cold - is not overly wet so that we can start moving. Kitchen counters are in, sinks are in and hooked up, other bathroom fixtures are in...master bedroom has been cleaned with windows done. Goal for today is to finish getting tools, etc out and then tomorrow we will clean again. The basement and one bathroom really need cleaning work but again that can't be done until construction mess is done. If we can get the necessities moved then the rest can be done slightly more slowly. I know B wants it all done as soon as possible...I just don't know.

Better go - my nap is calling me.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Oops

Boy is my face red this afternoon! I've felt all week like I've been chasing my tail - just constantly on the go. Monday I was at M*n*rds in "the city" picking up stuff to finish the house. Tuesday I was at a different M*n*rds in another town an hour or so and 2 counties north of here. Both days I was up at the house after that until after 1:00pm - not getting home to this house until close to 2:00 and therefore not having any time to rest and catch a quick nap. (I voted yesterday on the way home as well). Then both evenings I've been out doing more running either with the boys or just trying to get stuff done at home. So I was pretty tired. This morning I turned in a bus conduct report on a student then went up to the house to start cleaning. I was out again until well after 1:30. I got home and had a quick cup of coffee hoping that would wake me up - it didn't so I figured I would take a 10 min. rest on the couch. I set my alarm to go off at what I thought said 2:15 and closed my eyes - fell sound asleep until my cell phone rang at 2:45 - when I was supposed to be at the middle school picking up my first group of students of the afternoon. Thankfully the phone call was the transportation department calling to find out where I was - they were able to get that group of students onto one of the other buses and I was able to make it to the elementary school on time. My route went well overall but I think I need to start making sure I'm getting enough rest.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Brief Update

Well I'm just finishing up second cup of coffee this morning. The sun is shining though it's still quite cold outside. Today I feel rather exhausted but need to leave soon to go up to the house. We are getting closer to a move-in date...Trim work is being installed, electrical hook-ups are being finished. I'm hoping that when I get there today the hot water heater will be working and that soon we will have restrooms completed. That will leave the kitchen to be finished - and the master closet. The closet is not such an urgent thing - we could move in without it being done - the lining is in and we are just waiting for hanging racks and shelves. I hope to take some more pictures today in addition to getting bathroom shelves covered, fridge and freezer cleaned. I'm not working on cleaning windows yet as there is still too much construction dust.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Laid Off

B got laid off this morning. We don't know for how long - if it's temporary or what. All we know is that for now he's out of a job. Emotions and thoughts run wild at the moment - it's been a long challenging day.

I know that God has a plan and that He has promised to provide for us. Right now that's all I know.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Few Wedding Pictures


O.k...I am finally going to post some long-awaited wedding pictures. I've been staying away from blogging because I couldn't decide what to post and I was feeling guilty about not getting the wedding pictures up. I'm not going to include many as I'm not hugely keen on having family completely identifiable on the web. However these should give those of you who've been waiting at least an idea of how things looked that day.

I think - though it's rather hard to see in these pictures - that what stands out to me most when I look at them - is how absolutely happy I look. Glowing is probably the best term for it. I normally hate having my picture taken but this day I could not stop grinning. Some of it I know is that I did things in God's order. Some of it is that I've been blessed with a second chance at love - loving and being loved. I know that marriage is still a lot of work but it's not something I expected to ever be blessed with again.

My attendants were all in "wildflower" colors - the dresses turned out gorgeous - and each girl looked fantastic in the color they wore. The guys were good "foils" in jeans and white dress shirts - and all have worn those outfits again (repeatedly). I love the way the colors looked together - and my bouquet turned out fantastic as well - also basically wildflowers.

Everything was fairly simple - the reception felt a bit "rushed" to us - I know I was overwhelmed by the number of people around and the activity. But we all had a fairly good time I think. I did go barefoot pretty much the entire day - except a couple times while walking outside. Being as I really don't know how to dance - dancing was fun.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Bus Training and Other Ramblings

I'm just finishing up my much needed second cup of coffee and a snack. We had bus driver training this morning - SWAT team training. Basically we ran through what might possibly happen if we ever had a bus h*j*cked and how the team would come in and begin to sort things out. There are so many possible variables in such a situation that it's pretty much impossible to plan for every possibility. However I think most of us drivers came away with a much better idea of what to expect in such a situation - and we managed to have a lot of fun doing it. Picture - if you can - a conventional yellow school bus filled with 20 - 30 laughing, talking, carrying-on middle-aged adults crammed into seats intended to hold small children - Suddenly there's a very loud noise outside the bus and a team of uniformed "armed" men come busting onto the bus shouting orders. That was enough of an adrenaline charge for me - I hope and pray I never have to experience something like that in real life with children under my care - with a real "bad guy". But it was good training - and far more interesting than some we've sat through.

The sun is mostly shining outside - it's a crisp cool fall morning - leaves are falling everywhere. I am thankful to be able to take things a bit easy this morning - I need to run to B's work to pick up some paperwork but think I'm going to put that off until after school. Instead I'm going to get the kitchen cleaned and hopefully some packing and baking done.

Thankfully I've found my disk for my card-reader so that soon I can download pictures again. I'm excited about that as downloading from the memory card is so much easier for me then taking it to the camera store to have them put the pictures on a disk that I later have to download after all.

Not getting my flu shot this week- between the current treatment for poison ivy and the cold I've been fighting I will be waiting about 10 days. I'm kind of glad because I didn't want to add that on top of everything else.

Enough rambling for now - coffee is finished - it's time to get some work done.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Monday Ramblings

Well....I'm not sure I have time to write this and get it posted before it's time to get ready to go back on the bus. On the one hand I feel like I've accomplished a bit today - dining room table is cleared off, laundry is folded while more is cycling through the machines, kitchen counter is tidied and wiped down, chicken soup from last week is divided into bags and frozen, meat is out thawing for supper and family room is tidied. Before afternoon route time I will hopefully be able to switch laundry loads out one more time as well as fix my hair just a bit.

The weekend was very very busy - Squirrel had his conference meet on Saturday morning. He is the 7th runner on his team so got to run "varsity" - he did very well - ran the distance of 1.9 miles in 13:58. Having said that - running varsity means there is less runners and therefore he came in almost last. However he was pleased with his time and that's most important. I was able to watch him run before I headed off to B's dad's for the auction that was held this weekend. Stretch went with Dipstick and B first thing in the morning to be there before everything started. Squirrel was dropped off around 2:30 pm. None of us made it home until well after 7:00 pm Saturday night. I think the auction went well overall - it was certainly a learning experience for me as I'd never been before. I truthfully don't understand how those auctioneers can talk so fast - it was amazing.

B bought me a large copper kettle in a stand - not for making carmel corn as it can't handle getting that hot. My current challenge is to decide exactly how I want to use this pot. I have always loved copper - plan to decorate part of the new kitchen with copper jello molds and cookie cutters. (We found some on our honeymoon at a very nice price so they are stashed away waiting to get settled). B's suggestion was to polish it up, put something neat inside it - for display and top it all with a piece of glass. It's in too nice a shape for use as a planter...we will see. Most things went reasonably ok at the auction - the tractors brought more than expected, the truck brought considerably less. B was able to get several items that he wanted and could use in his shop. At least one of them was something he'd helped build many years ago. I hope and pray that enough was sold to keep his mom and dad financially stable for the rest of their lives.

As far as the house is coming...the kitchen is now tiled and cabinets likely should be going in this week. The master bedroom is completely painted and has floor down - as does part of the "great room". The cherrywood is up on the wall in the dining area - it looks really cool. Flooring is down in both the "hall" bathroom and the mudroom and both those rooms are painted. We have agreed on a stain color to finish the wood trim throughout. I think we still have another trip to the home improvement store but not sure when that will happen.

Tonight Stretch has a choir concert at the high school. Squirrel has his very last crosss country meet this afternoon. Dipstick has boy scouts but not sure if he will be going or not. I am still fighting cold symptoms and allergies (mold count is up around here). Crops are coming in...it's unseasonably warm here - the trees are all shades of brilliant oranges and reds. No pictures organized to post - no time at the moment.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Well I am definitely down with a cold or something - running fever, the whole 9 yards. I'm driving my bus today but otherwise am staying home puttering around. I've filled a couple of boxes with books, sorted some out, taken a nap and done some laundry. I'm about to put a chicken in the crock pot for home-made chicken noodle soup. It's my favorite comfort food for when I'm fighting an illness. What's yours?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Monday

It's Monday...been awhile since I've taken time to write here. Nothing much is happening - just daily life mainly. I'm a bit "coldy" at the moment - thought it was allergies yesterday but have decided it's likely a cold trying to come on. I'm drinking fluids and taking vitamin C and trying to sleep when I can. I came home from my morning route this morning and took a nap immediately. However since I got up I have been puttering around the house - doing laundry, packing, tackling clearing off my craft desk. The craft desk can be seen again - while there is still stuff on it it's no longer a "Fibber McGhee" attack waiting to happen. The pile on the floor is still there - I may get to that before afternoon route time. The challenge is that I've packed up part of the craft room but not all of it - therefore what's not packed is no longer really organized. I feel like I'm accomplishing though and that's needed.

I talked to my girlfriend who took our wedding pictures over the weekend. She said at least some if not all of them will be in the mail today. Hopefully by the end of this week I will be able to see how they all turned out. I'm both excited and a little nervous about that. She's an excellent photographer - I'm most definitely NOT an excellent subject.

We did not have a Saturday meet this past week. That was lovely to be honest. We spent the day up at the house - cleaning and painting. Floors are not in yet but Squirrel's room has one coat of paint. Both the "little" bathroom - outside Squirrel's room and the mudroom mostly have one coat of paint on them. The family room (more of a "great room" I think) is painted and the kitchen has 1 coat - except where cupboards will hide unpainted areas. Those are being left primed. The master bedroom has 2 coats on most of it - then we ran out of paint. Lights are up in most rooms - not the "little bathroom" and not completely in the master bedroom and closet. This week kitchen cabinets should go in - as should flooring in most areas that are painted. We still must make at least one more trip to the home improvement store to get door handles and kitchen knobs. I have no good idea how long the finishing will take - we don't have trim yet to my knowledge - but am really thinking that we will be done by the end of this month. Though moving is difficult and there will still be lots of sorting and packing to do I am eagerly anticipating being able to get in and get settled. I still have lots of wood to stain and seal - have to decide on color for that yet. I am still taking pictures as we go but have not been able to find my disk so I can download them to the computer.

B is off this week - planning on spending most of the week helping his dad get things finished up for the upcoming auction this Saturday. (Squirrel has a meet so I will miss part of the day - it will be emotional for B's family as the auction is happening because his dad is terminally ill). I do plan to go up there a couple of time to take pictures of preparations and some of the antiques. To me - while it's heartbreaking on the one hand it's also fascinating to see and be able to learn about the antique tractors and stuff. I'm really hoping though that we can get at least one breakfast date in as well.

There are parent/teacher conferences to attend, cross country meets and other activities. It will be another busy week but should be interesting.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

We are on a scheduled School Improvement Day this morning - that means that we all go in 2 1/2 hours later than normal. It was nice to be able to sleep just a wee bit this morning - still had to get up to get Dipstick to his bus stop. It's quite cool this morning and the weathermen are predicting cloudy with a chance of showers. However at the moment the clouds are scattered and glimpses of the sun can be seen. I am thankful for that as the last couple of days have been rather gloomy.

Last night I drove another cross country meet for the boys - the last one that the middle school and high school have together. No PR's for the boys though I felt both ran fairly well. Stretch especially had a nice kick at the end of the race - I can't always see him take off for the last 100m but this time I could. He was pretty discouraged when we got home though - feeling rather like the other guys on the team would prefer he was not on it. Guess there were comments made about me as the bus driver (and his mother) and my appearance as well as other comments about personal stuff on a couple of the other guys. Stretch didn't share all of it with me - just enough that I could see how much he was hurting. I'm certain some of it is that he seeks to live out his faith by his actions and words rather than "preaching" - that is guaranteeded to bring in some "picking on". His character shows through - he doesn't take shortcuts on the races and practices when others do. Some of it is also due to the fact that teenagers can be just mean.

It hurts me as his mother when I see him hurting - I still want so much to be the "protective mama bear" and stand up for him. But I know that I absolutely can't do that. He's going to have to learn to handle this kind of junk by himself - all I can do is stand by to comfort and encourage and pray for him.

Guess it's about time to scoot and get ready to drive.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Poison Rashes, Cross Country and House Update



I just started my second round of steroids to fight poison ivy (actually the first time it was poison oak) - but it was just 2 weeks ago. B is likely to make me buy my fruit rather than going out picking elderberries and wild grapes. But I find it rather satisfying to gather the fruit myself and make juice for jelly out of it. I'm not so fond of the poison rashes though. We will try again to find some homeopathic remedies.

The boys have another cross country meet tonight - this one is at the high school and is joint again. I'm interested to see how a joint meet will work at the high school. Hopefully the temperature will be cool enough for good running. The meet this past Saturday ended up being really hot - and long. I did not drive the bus - felt like that would be too much in combination with siding the house (not that I was doing that much siding but I wanted to be there for at least part of the day). I locked my car keys in the ignition of the car - that was a trip to say the least. I realized immediately that I had done it but had no spare key and had to end up having someone break into the car for me.

The house is looking good - we've got siding on it now - pretty much all the way around. The drywall is pretty much finished inside and priming it for paint has begun. The kitchen still needs done but it's started. We are to the point of starting to see the end of the project - I have yet to choose things like sinks and flooring for the mudroom and kitchen. But progress is definitely being made. I'm still picking paint colors - keep changing my mind slightly. That will likely continue until I actually purchase the paint.

The bus route is still going pretty good. Yesterday was a bit of an exciting afternoon - I had one of my top emergency hatches come flying off the bus - I caught a low-hanging telephone wire with the open hatch. I was still fairly full - the kids did great. I was thankful for mostly supportive parents and no injuries.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

"For Sale by Owner"

Busy day today - I've had a "for sale by owner" sign out in the yard for about a week now - need to go down and take a picture of it (just because I take pictures of most things at some point). Anyway...we've had a couple of calls on the house asking for information and price. But yesterday the call was from a couple who had called for information wanting to schedule a time to come look at it - they are coming this evening about 5:30. B will be home - he thinks he knows the couple and wants to see them again. I'm thankful he will be here as I'm really nervous about showing the house - don't feel at all that it's ready to show or sell. There are boxes, packages and stuff everywhere - I realize that if this is the couple B thinks it is they will realize we are newly-weds and moving and make allowances. And having said that...we've spent a couple of evenings working outside trimming bushes, pulling weeds and generally cleaning up - it does look better outside. Inside needs bathrooms cleaned, kitchen cleaned and lots of picking up done - there's not more than that that I can do in one day. I am thankful for having had my family here - they did help a lot.

I am really looking forward to getting settled into our new place. I will definitely miss our fruit trees and my yard and location. However being settled in one larger, better laid out place will be a good thing - B will be able to come home and work in his shop in the evenings, we'll be able to eat together - at a reasonable hour more frequently and overall life will be able to become "normal".

Must go for now - will try to update more later...Life is busy but good.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hoops

Breathe in slowly through the nose, out through the mouth. Breathe in, breathe out...slow and easy. Continue until ones thoughts calm down, ones blood pressure drops and one can consider the hoops one must jump through to change names and info on driver's license, work paperwork, etc more calmly. I made my 3rd trip to the BMV in a week today - up until this point I had been somewhat calm about it. Today...not so much. I have to go back yet again as I still didn't have everything I need to change my name to married name and my address to new address - yesterday they would have used the marriage license to change the address as well as the name - now that I've been to the SS office to get that changed. Today...I have to have some official mail with the new mailing address on it in addition to the marriage license and paper from the SS office. Now that I've spent the last hour attempting to calm down - I realize I've dealt with 3 different employees in the BMV who have all told me something different. I have called my bank who I've dealt with since we moved here - they will change name and address based on marriage license. Then on Tuesday I can get copies of bank statement with new information on it, take that along with marriage license and SS paper back to BMV - along with new hubby B - and hopefully accomplish what has currently been not possible. Thankfully my workplace is not demanding it be done immediately which helps.

I told the girl I talked to at the bank what was going on - told her this kind of stuff was something I expected to have to deal with overseas - I remember Dad having to take care of getting stuff updated or paperwork and planning on it taking most of the day. He knew that even banking could take a long time with one having to visit multiple offices/people to accomplish one thing. I remember tagging along with him and being thankful that I had a book to read as we would go stand in one line or another to eventually get everything stamped appropriately. Here in the US I do NOT expect to have to deal with multiple trips to the same place to try to accomplish changing one driver's license. I was talking to Suz yesterday - she commented that if a business was run as inefficently as the government is run said business would go under in very short order. I have to agree.

On a different note...I'm currently unable to download pictures to the computer from my camera to post. Somehow in the wedding rush and computer getting updated my card reader software has disappeared - both what was installed and the disk to reinstall it. The good news is that the pictures that were already downloaded are fine - I just need to get them backed up to disc. Hopefully soon I will get wedding pictures that I can post...we will see.

Squirrel has had 2 cross country meets - the first one was home and the second was quite aways away. I didn't attend the second one - I know he was disappointed about that and his time. However he is still doing quite well for a beginner - just needs to stick it out and keep working at it. Tomorrow I will drive bus for a joint meet with both boys.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sept11...That date is one that will forever stay in memory. Most of us can remember where we were and what we were doing when we first heard about the terrorist attacks on the US. I know I do...I was on my way to the hospital to spend the day with my husband Mike who was fighting brain cancer and going through rehab so he could hopefully learn to come home and be "self-sufficient". That day no rehab was accomplished - he took those attacks against his country as extremely personal attacks because the planes used were owned by "his" company. He was angry, frustrated and depressed. I know beyond shadow of a doubt that had he been 5-10 years younger and healthy he would have been first in line to enlist to go fight back. Suz, who's since become one of my best friends, on the other hand had just had her world jarred by being told her husband Tim had a very aggressive brain cancer.

My heart aches today for all those who lost that day...who still lose as a result of that day.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Monday Musings

Busy busy couple of weeks...and I really should be doing peaches already this morning. I have tomatoes waiting also - from Suz. I'm waiting on a call back from the doctor's office this morning - got into some poison oak the end of last week while I was picking elderberries. The good news (!) is that it's poison oak - not poison ivy - so my "preventative" from the spring apparently works on at least poison ivy. That's somewhat encouraging. However the fact that the poison oak is up around my eyes and into my hairline makes things challenging - not something I want to mess around with. So we will see what the doctor says. And thankfully it's not something that spreads to other people so I can still drive bus and continue on with semi-normal life.

Today was a rather wild morning on the bus - checking on some bus conduct reports I turned in last week, having one of my "challenge" kids punching the side of the bus for no apparent reason while another little one was in puddles of tears...Thankfully most of this happened at the elementary school so I could get some back-up. Most of it was nothing that was a real discipline issue though.

The wedding went off fairly well I think. We had a nice time away - though it was short. We deliberately didn't plan on any kind of schedule - did some sightseeing, some sleeping and just enjoyed the time away together.

The house is coming along - the drywallers are supposed to be there starting today. Insulation is in...I'm told it will change appearance drastically as the drywall goes up. From there I've got to get paint colors finalized and get ready to get things painted. I'm not sure when flooring will go in but it would likely be easier to paint first. We'll see.

This past Saturday Stretch had his first cross country meet of the season. He did really well I think - finished with a time of 20:25 for the 5K. I didn't drive the bus this past week - am scheduled to drive for the next two Saturdays when both boys have meets at the same places. It should be interesting.

I'm going to post this and will come back later to add pictures.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Today

Today is the day....whatever is not done won't be done. Soon the boys and I, along with my best friend from OK (and official wedding photographer) will be leaving to meet the family for breakfast. My sister reserved a room at a local buffet place - my request. I figured since family is flying in that I haven't seen for some time I really wanted a meal together - busy and chaotic as it will be. Dresses are done, flowers will be arriving at the church at 12:30 (I think) and whatever else is NOT done won't be done. I've not had time to post pictures this week - and barely any time to stop and think. HA!

Hopefully next week I'll have time to simply stop and think for awhile. For now...I'm signing off. Happy Holiday Weekend everyone.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sunday Night

So Sunday night I had EMS on my property again - 2 ambulances and an unknown # of other responders - it was dark and I never did get a count of who all showed up. I've had a family living with me here this past summer (since June) - and their middle boy (13 - in 8th grade and a runner) came flying off the trampoline and hit his back and tail bone when he landed. No adults were home at the time - B and I were picking up my Squirrel from Bible study, Craig and Ginger were both at the house they are moving into (hopefully this week before the wedding!) Stretch was the oldest kid at home - inside on the computer. J & N (Craig and Ginger's boys) and Dipstick were out on the trampoline (instead of getting settled down for the night). Stretch called me - "Mom - J fell off the trampoline and he's having trouble moving"
Talk about sending fear into one's heart! Thankfully B and I were almost back to the house so I told Stretch to stay with J and tell him not to try to move. I assessed him with my limited knowledge - does this hurt, can you move this, rate your pain....and called my nurse neighbor and J's parents. From there I sent Stretch to call EMS - J was transported - with a neck brace on a back board to the local ER. Thankfully after all was said and done - X-rays, CT scans - J was sent home walking stiffly and sore but otherwise o.k. He's not to participate in gym for a couple of days but otherwise has no restrictions and no pain meds. Their insurance will pay all but $100.00 deductible for the ER and 10% of the ambulance bill.

I still feel stretched - like a rubber band that is about to snap. But I am rejoicing in God's protection - that J's injuries were not more serious and that they have good insurance. (I have home-owner's but no personal medical insurance). This week is going to be hectically busy - my dress for the wedding is not finished - nor is anyone else's. The gal doing the flowers backed out last Thursday night so I'm scrambling to get that covered - we will hopefully be able to use wildflowers and flowers from backyards. Family coming in this week - from pretty far across the US and Canada....B' s house is still no-where near finished - I suspect it will be close to 3 months at least before we can move in there. There is re-arranging to be done, food to be purchased... the list goes on. I want to enjoy this week...without feeling stretched the entire time.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Word picture from this morning:

Sun rising as a glowing orange ball. Dark shapes of trees and bushes. A calm pond reflecting it's surroundings. A solitary deer silhouetted by the edge of the pond getting a morning drink.

My morning bus route especially often leaves me longing for the ability to draw the scenes I see as I drive through the countryside. So far I've always been too much of a perfectionist to attempt to translate what's in my mind's eye to paper. But maybe someday...In the meantime I seek to remember the words to describe what I've seen.

I am thoroughly enjoying no longer having the kindergarten shuttle to run - not because I minded the little ones but because it's really nice to have 5 hours time at home during the day. I feel like I'll actually be able to get something accomplished during the day. So far today I've cleaned and cleared off all the kitchen counters and most of the dining room table. Laundry is put away (at least in the owner's rooms) while more is done in the washer. My bedroom is finally getting some much needed attention as is the family room. I've also laid down and closed my eyes for a bit, dealt with a couple of phone calls and looked at recipes for apple butter (canned) and apple pie filling. I have 4 good sized bowls of mealy looking apples on my counter top waiting to be dealt with. There are plenty more on the trees mostly out of my reach - the hope is to get at least one batch of apple butter and enough for several pies put up. I'm honestly not sure what type of apples these are - some look a lot like granny smith while others have a reddish tint to the skin....We will see how they turn out.

I've been busy picking out colors for the house - it's not ready to be painted yet. However I've had several people ask me about how I'm going to decorate it so I figured I'd better get some ideas going. (B has said painting and color choices are completely up to me!) It really is coming along - and is exciting to watch. Saturday B and I put wood panels (otherwise known as car-siding) up in the 3 season room. We got one wall done and another one partly done - the panels are pine and really light in color. I will seal them somehow which will darken them slightly. I really like the way it looks already - even with power saws and other construction equipment still in there. And it was really a lot of fun to learn to run two different kinds of power saws - I've always wanted to learn to work with wood. The challenge was just getting stuff cut exactly right - fortunately it wasn't too difficult most of the time.

Yesterday afternoon on my bus route I was handed a bag from a couple of the moms along with a note. It was a wedding and appreciation gift for my putting up with their kiddos on the bus - beautiful handmade ripple pattern throw - just perfect size to snuggle up under on the porch or in the 3 season room. The ripple pattern is my favorite crochet design and one that I've never successfully made.

Ok...time to scoot. I really want to get a bit more done on my bedroom before time to get on the bus this afternoon. We are in the final countdown for the wedding and things are still very much in progress rather than finished. I've delegated more stuff to more different people - and am having a relatively easy time saying "ok it's yours - I'm not going to worry about it now except to answer questions".

Monday, August 18, 2008

Huge Relief

Huge sense of relief this afternoon. - no more kindergarten shuttle. I loved the little ones - and there were only a few so that was nice. However with getting married and moving it's just too much. My afternoon bus route went fairly well - except for missing a stop. But I was done by 4:15 for the first time since school started last week - that's an improvement. All the kids on the bus belonged on my bus route - unlike Friday when I had a "stray". Apparently this girl likes to just ride the buses so periodically she will sneak onto one and ride until she's found - easy enough to do at the beginning of the school year when one is still learning faces, names and stops. I still have one mom who really would like me to not drive her children anymore (to put it politely). However I have support from my boss and the superintendent so that helps.

I started feeling much better from the strep throat within 24 hours of starting the antibiotic - I still sometimes get tired but that's normal. I still wanted to hibernate last week - crawl into a hole and pull covers in after me - could feel myself withdrawing from stuff around me. Having the computer go down again did not help at all as it leaves me feeling isolated and cut off from the "wider" world when I can't blog or check email. I spent over an hour on the phone with the telephone company yesterday and was able to get that sorted out. The other major reasons for the withdrawal was the huge mess in the house, boxes what seems like everywhere and people around all the time.

Supper is ready....Stretch should be calling for a ride home soon so I'd better post this and do more another time.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Challenges

Well...now I'm being treated for strep throat - woke up yesterday with a painfully sore throat that hopefully will begin feeling better by this time tomorrow. Normally I try really hard to wait a week or so before going to the doctor to make sure that whatever I have at the moment is not a virus that will clear up on it's own. Not this time - what with school starting on Thursday, a wedding in less than 3 weeks, knowing I'd been exposed to strep and everything else going on I figured I wasn't going to mess around - I don't have time to be sick. So today I'm officially not attempting to accomplish anything because I simply can't. And tomorrow instead of going to MI to get with Mike's cousins for the day I will be doing everything I should have accomplished today. Fun fun.

In the meantime, Dipstick was sent home from school today- his first day - with 101' fever. I haven't seen him yet - probably won't today. Hopefully it's not a relapse but we will have to wait and see. B is discouraged - the siding that was supposed to be installed on Saturday was the wrong color and will take 3 weeks to come in. That means that the "siding party" that was scheduled for Saturday will have to be rescheduled - basically the house is not weather sealed yet either. I'm hoping that other work can be done during those 3 weeks rather than it being at a complete stop but I don't know enough to be certain if that will be the case. I'm certain that this is one of the joys of remodeling rather than starting over new.

I'm off to my couch for now - will hopefully come out of hibernation in a day or two with pictures and something lighter.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Yeah!!!

Yeah!!!! I'm back!!! Not that too many people even knew I was gone...but I sure missed having good access to the computer. It's so nice to have the computer working much better than it was...and faster. Now I just have to get all my files backed up onto something else - especially my pictures. The laptop - while it worked to check one email address - really didn't help too much with anything else.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Computer issues, Wedding Plans & stuff

ARGH!!! I hate not knowing enough about computers to be able to fix stuff without having to call someone for help. To me if I can't click on something it's not worth my time. Now I'm suspecting that my desktop (which I'm not using at the moment) may have caught (is that a valid description?) a virus. I'm running my spyware program and will run my virus program and hopefully both will work. I've also called my brother-in-law in Chicago who is my computer guy who will do some research and get back to me. In the meantime I either have to go somewhere to check email and blogs or hope the laptop will work. On the plus side...having to babysit the desktop while it's doing this means I've got time to compose a blog post.

Wedding plans are coming along I think. I probably really need to get some phone calls made nd and possibly visits to a couple of people who are helping me today. I still haven't decided 100% whether to have the reception at the church or to try to have it elsewhere. Invitations are mostly sent - that was finished yesterday. There are a few that I didn't have valid mailing addresses for that I still need to send. However those should be done today I think. I need to finish cutting out the last dress and find out how the "sowers" are doing. I need to firm up what's needed for the reception and when it will be purchased...

School starts in a week or so. Last night was registration for Dipstick - it didn't feel well-organized at all. I went along to help and learn but didn't bother to stand in the transportation line as his bus was listed on his paperwork. B was thankful I was there as he finds it overwhelming. I suggested he ask Stretch how I reacted when we registered him for 6th grade - in a new school system without Mike. I'm much better able to handle things now. Of course it helped that we bumped into someone from church and she helped us get started. Tomorrow night is Squirrel's orientation - he is so excited! He's looking forward to learning to play trombone - we still have to get one. He's been trying to teach himself to play my old clarinet in the meantime.

Craig and Ginger have found a place to move to - it needs work but the rent is affordable and it's in their desired location. I'm not sure when exactly they will move but it won't be this weekend as they will be in Chicago at a conference. I'm watching their two boys from tonight until Saturday.

This weekend is the annual father/son campout and canoe trip that one of the men from church heads up. My boys have gone for the past 3 years - they've been "adopted" for the weekend. This year Stretch can't go because a youth leadership retreat was planned for the same weekend and he's one of the youth group leadership team. Squirrel doesn't want to go because Stretch can't go - even though B and Dipstick will be there. I'm a bit torn - this is the one night/weekend a year that I normally have no responsiblities to the kids - I get to sleep as late as I want, clean, stay up, watch whatever movies I might want to watch...s o selfishly I rather look forward to this. However this year I'm watching Ginger's two boys so would have some responsiblities anyway and it might be beneficial to have Squirrel home to play with their oldest. I really could use some wisdom right now that I don't have.

Other than that there's not a huge amount of stuff going on. I've got to spend some time with my bus route - learning it and contacting riders to let them know what time I'll be there in the morning. It seems that the summer has just flown by.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Update

It's a hot humid Saturday afternoon here and for a change I'm not helping on the house. This morning I was up early to go make invites. That turned out to be a lot of fun - working with my 2 SIL's and MIL to be as well as Ginger. There was much laughter and chatter and some pictures throughout the morning. I had to run to the store to get glue dots and we ordered pizza for lunch. From there I came home and crashed for a nap - taking 2 phone calls during that time. I could have gotten away without the nap maybe but feel much better for having taken it. (this is the best picture of the ring I've been able to get - hope it shows enough. My hand is resting on a completed invite...you'll have to wait to see the rest of it)

Stretch and Squirrel had spent the night at a youth group camp-out. Dipstick and B were up working on the house - they will be down for supper. If there's time when I get this done I will go start mowing my lawn - it is beginning to look very tall and decidedly overgrown.


The house is taking shape - the walls are all framed up, most window and door openings are cut and the roof had tar paper on it. It is looking big at the moment but I really believe that it won't seem quite so large when it's finished. Instead it will be a nice retreat from the world where we can entertain and have family in when desired. (the above picture is from a week ago - it's of the "west wing" where the master bedroom suite will be located)

Last week was the 4H fair - I spent more time there than I think I ever have any other year. Squirrel, Dipstick, B and I watched both the regular demolition derby last Sunday evening as well as the combine derby on Tuesday. Squirrel and I were disappointed that there was no bus derby this year but overall we enjoyed ourselves. (The green Oliver was one of the last 2 combines running at the end of the show. My favorite part was watch them come off the ground when they hit)
Other than that not too much is going on. School starts in just over 3 weeks and the wedding is 2 weeks after that so I'm definitely staying busy. Next week should be very busy as it's the last week before Suz goes on a 2 week vacation. Being as she is "wedding coordinator" and matron we are trying to get as much done as possible. We still have 3 dresses to cut out, flowers to choose and I'm not sure what all else. Enough rambling for now....I need to either pack boxes or mow lawn. (and I guess I will have to come back and add pictures later as they won't co-operate right now).

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Busy Busy

Busy Busy.... I need to be out the door picking up dress pattern instead of sitting here typing. I keep thinking "tomorrow" I'll get a good, interesting post written with pictures and all. It's not happening at the moment. We've been to TaeKwonDo this morning and I needed second cup of coffee before moving on. This afternoon I'm cutting out dresses again...yesterday I packed boxes. The house is moving along but it won't be finished. Yesterday and today I've had Dipstick...but today Stretch is not likely to be home "early" from work - no storms predicted. More another time.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

It's been over a week (I think) since I've taken time to sit down, organize my thoughts and write. Yesterday I was gone pretty much all day - left the house at 9:30 am and didn't get home to stay until after 9:45 pm. I think I was home about 30 min in early afternoon. It was a good day overall but exhausting - I was at my girlfriend's house with her, her sister M and 11 children for most of the day. We were working on wedding stuff - M is sewing outfits. Suz and I will be doing all the cutting and pinning of stuff so all M has to do is the actual sewing. It went amazingly well with 11 children running around - 3 of whom were between 2-4 years old. The weather was nice enough that they could play outside part of the time and they were able to eat lunch outside. It was still really exhausting though. Suz and I were also able to get the wedding time and reception menu set and arranged.


From there I had a short stop at home before I headed into the "city" to buy fabric and meet a couple of girlfriends for supper. It had been several months since we'd seen each other so it was nice to sit at a nice (freezing) restaurant without children to visit and catch up. We met at Grief Group - we've all lost our spouses so have that in common - and extended a friendship outside of it. Fabric purchasing didn't go so well - I was only able to get two of the four colors of fabric I still needed. The other two I ended up ordering - they should be in next week I hope. I also stopped briefly in the bookstore - didn't purchase anything there and went to the big scrapbooking store in the mall. It had been awhile since I'd been there - it's always nice to get in to see what's new. Most of their stuff is too fancy for me but some stuff I can use. They didn't have the size calendar I needed though. I was able to see B for a few minutes on my way home - that's always nice. Time is flying past and there's a lot to do yet it seems like a long time until the date.

Today Squirrel was supposed to go to TaeKwonDo but he had stayed up until after I got home last night so wasn't able to wake up sufficiently. I really needed the day at home today - not having to go anywhere would be wonderful. Boxes are slowly getting packed and sorted. Some things will go quickly but there is quite a bit of sorting to do. On the other hand, the couple that looked at the house changed their mind on making an offer. I'm sort of relieved because they would have wanted me out far sooner than I would have felt ready to move out. This way I don't have to add packing to my other pre-wedding things to complete. While getting the house sold ahead of time would be nice it's not something that has to happen and will happen easier without quite so much going on I think.


B's house is coming along - trusses were set Sunday afternoon. We had wanted to get them done Saturday but it rained and stormed too heavily. The nice thing was that when the sun did come out Saturday windows and doors were framed in so now I can start to get a better idea of how it will look. Hopefully the rest of it will come together faster - I needed to get paint swatches while I was in the city yesterday but I forgot to stop there - it wasn't on my list to do.


Guess that's about it - I've been here on the computer for some time and it's probably time to go see what else needs done around here. Oh yes...B did give me a ring - absolutely beautiful with a wedding band to go with it. And I had no say in choosing it - he did fabulous.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Changes

So much has happened in the last week ... in a sense my life has completely changed again. I've had fairly constant company for the last couple of weeks. Since my sister left I've had a family living here on an indefinite but temporary basis. They have 2 sons that are close in age to my boys so there's been the extra fun and challenges of having playmates around. The family sleeps in B's camper which is now parked in my driveway but most meals we share. It's working out pretty good.

My brother and his wife were here for almost a full week. They arrived Saturday June 28th and left the morning of the 4th. They were able to share a bit about their ministry in Bangladeshin church and we had a good time visiting. Thursday evening we had a cookout at B's - that being the last night they were here. There was quite a crowd - B, Dipstick, B's parents, Squirrel, Stretch, me, my brother N and his wife I, Ginger and her two boys (hubby was at work), Suz, her hubby and 3 girls, B's stepson Jay (Ornery) and his daughter and Bob another friend who's heading up the construction at B's house. So food is ready and we gather for prayer. B leads - a huge step for him - and puzzles most everyone by his prayer. When it's over he gets on his knees in front of me and asks me to marry him. I was absolutely speechless though of course I said yes. For the rest of the evening I was pretty much useless as far as serving anyone or making decisions. Even though there was plenty of food I ended up hungry at bedtime I was that distracted. Thankfully Suz took over cooking, serving and everything else - including finding someone else to do my driving run that was scheduled for later that night. There was much 4 wheeler riding, eating, laughing and fellowship going on - in addition to several very very muddy exhausted children by the end of the evening.

Friday was a relatively quiet day. N and I. left around 10:00 am and made it home about 8:30 that evening. Stretch and I went to B's to help move stuff out of the remainder of the downstairs to prepare for Saturday. We went to Suz's that evening to watch fireworks with part of her family and friends. Saturday we worked...tearing off the roof and walls out at B's. He started at 8:00 am and we didn't stop for the day until well after 7:00 pm. Things look a lot different up there - ready, I think, for reconstruction to start. We have just over 6 weeks until school starts again and 8 weeks or so to plan and pull together a wedding. Hopefully construction will be finished by then also though it already has taken longer than expected to get to this point.

The boys - for the most part - are excited about us. Dipstick definitely is thrilled as is Stretch. Squirrel is taking a bit more time to think things over but he's coming around. It helps that he is not being forced to change school districts and Suz has a pretty good insight into how his mind works. "Ornery" even approves. (and there is as much of a story behind that nickname as there is any of the others). There is a couple possibly interested in my place even though it's not "officially" on the market yet. It would be absolutely wonderful if it sold quickly and at a reasonable price.


Friday, June 27, 2008

A little Melancholy

I find myself feeling a little melancholy this morning. Much of that, I'm sure, is that my neighbor Tam who's battled cancer for 13 years passed away early Wednesday morning. We really were not close - I would say more "casual acquaintances" than good friends. I'm certain that was because subconsciously I was afraid the cancer would return and she would have no options. (I'm not 100% sure why Pete (Priscilla) was different as we did become good friends.) Anyway...every time I think of Tam and her family I hurt inside. I'm certain much of the hurt is due to the fact that it brings back memories of Mike's death and the days afterwards. I am very thankful that she knew Jesus and I know I will one day see her again.

I also know that sickness and disease are part of the results of sin but I'm still tired of it.

On a different note, Stretch comes home from camp tonight. Dipstick is here again today. He and Squirrel have done fairly well together though both are frustrated with the video game machine that is wearing out. On my list for today is:
1. Clean out the refrigerator - a long overdue job that desperately needs done.
2. Laundry
3. Make grocery list and go shopping
4. I need to pick berries (wild blackberries I believe) that are ripening fast - they will need put up.
In between all that...there is still a chicken fence to finish and lawn that needs mowed. I'm writing this while having a second cup of coffee so the fridge is half finished and laundry is in progress. Tonight I hope to go to the local Old Settlers Day fair (? - not sure if that's the right description or not). B asked if I would ride the ferris wheel with him - it sounds fun and it certainly isn't as high as one I rode several years ago that terrified me.

Better go for now - coffee is almost finished and it's then time to finish up the fridge. I think from there I will work on mowing the lawn - at least the worst areas. The "new" mower I've been using since mine broke does the job much faster than mine did.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Busy

It's been awhile since I've posted anything - life has been crazy busy. Stretch is at church camp this week - he left Sunday morning after service. We got to see him Monday afternoon - only because my sister and her family were coming for a visit. We decided that it would be best if we got Stretch on Monday afternoon for supper so they could at least see him. Final preparations for that and the trip to where he's at camp took care of Monday. Tuesday my sister, my niece and I went to "the city" to visit the craft stores. That was fun but exhausting. We came home to the blessing of some strawberries that had been given to me and fixing supper for B and Dipstick. Sister and family left this morning. Squirrel and I enjoyed a fairly quiet day mostly at home though we did run to town to go to the post office.

Speaking of Squirrel - he absolutely LOVED Jr. High camp. He arrived home Friday evening talking a mile a minute and very hyper - and equally exhausted. He had gotten slightly sunburned but did not have a reaction to it - at least not one that caused him problems at camp. His sleep schedule is still slightly off but improving.

Friday during the day I had the privilege of having the 3 year old son of a very good friend stay with me. He's known me since he was an infant but I was still a bit nervous about how it would go. He didn't cry when his mom - played trains and legos for most of the morning. After lunch - and a movie we went outside to blow bubbles. What a blast - excellent summer fun.

As far as summer projects go...I'm not making too much progress. The chicks are almost the size of full grown chickens. I have 8 tomato plants in and that will be it for my garden. However the fruit trees look good as do the blackberries that are coming on. They will be very small but look plentiful.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Randomness

I drafted two random posts yesterday and never got either one of them posted. Last night I had random dreams about childhood friends that I haven't seen in 20 years or more and basically have completely lost touch with. There were other things involved in those dreams but I can't remember what they were- probably something to do with chickens and building projects!

Dipstick is here this morning - he arrived about 6:40. I'll take him home around 5:00 tonight. He and Stretch will work together on stuff. He's made at least a couple of pairs of earrings already this morning, watched a video and is now enjoying video games. We will finish Squirrel's room today, do more laundry and clean the back entryway/storage room. I may make some more jam today as well - not sure yet but need to do so. One thing I won't do is finish the chicken fence as I don't have the pole barn screws that I need. I want to make sure I finish it on a day that Dipstick is here because he's more comfortable with those than I am.

My girlfriend who is due with her baby hasn't had it yet - I'm on call for childcare for that at the moment. It's been very much on again/off again since yesterday morning. Other friends are trying to find a place to live as they have to be out of their home in less than a week.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Break Time

Break time. So I sit at the computer to read blogs and maybe ramble a bit on my own. Of course part of that is the fact that I'm having my second cup of coffee of the morning and I enjoy reading blogs while I do so. So far this morning I've spent 15 minutes in Squirrel's room, 15 in the kitchen, 15 in the pantry and 15 doing laundry. 15 minutes may not sound like much but it seems to work well for me - a large job is far less overwhelming when I know I have a timer to get as much done as I can then I leave it and come back later. (It is also easier on both boys when they are helping me to know that they only have to do it for a specified time span before they can go do something they want to do). In other rooms/areas 15 minutes is enough to finish the job then I have the satisfaction of a job completed. Sometimes I wonder if the reason we have so much attention deficit is because of so many things that are broken down into short time spans like that. Having said that...I know that I can spend longer than 15 minutes doing something I enjoy. And since I am not a particularly organized person I can only do some things for short time spans - mainly things that require deciding what to do with stuff. I am a dreadful pack rat - courtesy of moving so very many times I'm sure so that makes being organized much more difficult. The biggest challenge now is the ability to keep focused all day. I usually lose my focus around lunchtime.

B asked me last night how many chicks I had lost of the 25 new ones I got this spring. At that point only one had died and that was due to it getting too cold one night because it got out of it's box one evening. This morning Stretch told me that we have another one dead! I am very very eager for the new ones to start producing eggs - think my older layers are not laying regularly anymore as I'm only getting 2 eggs - from 5 hens - a day. I am not really looking forward to butchering day as I have vivid memories of plucking chickens as a teenager. However that is part of the purpose of this - to have some meat that I raised myself - in addition of the eggs. So we will see how things go.

Pictures on the computer are slowly getting organized - it's definitely an ongoing process. We've had a few strawberries off my plants this year. I'm getting pictures chosen for a couple of scrapbooking projects - and journaling one that needs finished up. That's kind of fun. I hope to make more jam this week - love doing that though it's hot work. Probably next month there will be wild blackberries to do. Thankfully I've had no poison ivy reactions this summer - think eating fried dandelions might have something to do with it.

Better go - coffee is finished and it's almost time to get back to work. I do enjoy these summer days when schedules are a little lighter.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Short Update

One batch of strawberry jam was made the other day with strawberries for a second batch prepped and put in the freezer. (I am so thankful to have a freezer that works) One strawberry shortcake was made and demolished with great enjoyment. I would have really liked to try my hand at making strawberry pie filling and canning it but there weren't enough this year.

I am down to cutting the last few quilt pieces out - rotary cutters are very helpful tools. I've left the two biggest pieces of purchased fabric and the shirts to the last. I hope to get those done this next week while Squirrel is at church camp.

Other than that...not too much is going on. I'm finished with my 2nd cup of coffee so had best scoot for now. We are going to B's sister for a Father's Day cookout tonight and I'm way behind on my day. Eventually I'll get pictures posted but not today.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Slow Starts

I'm getting another slow start this morning - though I've been "up" since shortly before 7:00 am. I had time for oatmeal and coffee then headed out to try to get some strawberries. Now I have 5 quarts sitting on my kitchen counter to take care of. I'm hoping for a nice strawberry shortcake and at least one batch of jam out of them. Strawberries are hard to come by this year - I pulled up to the place where I bought mine - there were 10 quarts sitting out for sale. Within a minute of when I pulled up there were 2 other customers also wanting some. The one gentleman didn't end up getting any this time.

Dipstick is here today. B dropped him off sometime before 6:40 this morning - I had set an alarm so I could be awake and still missed him. Being as I didn't sleep well last night I guess it's understandable though. The plan is for me to have Dipstick 1-2 days a week while B works. I'm not really wanting them to be back to back so we will see. I am going to send Squirrel and Dipstick outside for a bit before it gets too hot. Squirrel is finally recovering from his latest "sunburn" - he didn't look red at all but was all swollen and itchy on Sunday. We've been doing antihistamines since then. I blame myself for this one - he asked if he should wear sunscreen Saturday night to the birthday party and I figured that since it was after 5:00 pm he wouldn't need any. So now we go for sunscreen all the time - even when I don't think he needs it. Next week at church camp should be interesting for him - he'll be outside a lot. However our youth pastor - who is going along as counselor - knows the situation and has promised to keep an eye on him.

I've been sorting through stuff - papers, etc mainly and getting it put away. Don't feel like I've accomplished a huge amount since summer started but guess I will be doing baby steps. I have got the quilts started - as far as cutting out pieces. Think that when I try to work on that later today I will attempt to use the kitchen counter as it's higher and easier on my back. I'm excited about them and hope to have a lot of progress done. I've got a couple of calendars I need to make - have pictures for one pretty much together.

Guess I have rambled on long enough and it's time to get going on stuff. Laundry is doing, strawberries are waiting.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Woohooo

Woohooo.... School is now officially done and summer break can begin! I just got home from turning my bus in to the bus shop. The driveway is empty again and looks extremely big.

My morning started with a phone call offering bus washing services which is something I normally have to do myself. However apparently there are several people working community service hours at the shop cleaning buses. Being as I find it takes a lot of time and is somewhat stressful I was happy to accept.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Summer Break

1st day of summer break! I'm not sure yet that I really feel like school is out. Of course part of that is probably that I haven't got the bus cleaned out and turned in yet. Stretch and I spent close to an hour working on that this morning. The insides of the windows are cleaned and my "personal" stuff is cleared out. I had hoped to get the roof washed down and the junk that gets stuffed down into the seats cleaned out. However I found that I'm out of rubber gloves - and while I'm not usually really squeamish this is one area that I draw the line at. So we were satisfied with the progress we made and stopped. I also was able to get the chicken coop cleaned out before I figured it was time to come in for awhile. It's not too terribly hot this morning - just gray, overcast and muggy. Now the goal is to get the chicks all moved from the barn into the chicken coop so I can clean the barn out. I am still at the point that I have to physically put the chicks into the coop at night. I'm not sure how to solve that - probably will have to evict them from the barn and make sure it stays closed tight so they don't have a choice.

Squirrel is still away - he's due home sometime tomorrow afternoon. I think the first couple of days were hard on him - I haven't heard from him nearly as often since things started. He's had the chance to be at the Odyssey of the Mind World Championships
Charlie picked him up Thursday night about 11:00pm and took him with him. (Charlie is my best friend from OK's husband - she was with the team as the coach). It was very much a spur of the moment trip/opportunity that involved trying to get a hold of his teacher as he would be missing the last 2 days of school. Most of the people here that I've talked to have had no idea what Odyssey of the Mind is as there is no teams here in IN so it's been educational for me as well. Thankfully his teacher did and she said he would learn much more there then he would at school for the last couple of days. I really struggled with him leaving - he's my "baby" and this is the first time he's been that far away from me without a family member with him. I trust who he's with implicitly but at the same time I felt like he should still be wrapped in swaddling blankets in my arms. However this is a necessary part of him growing up - for both of us.

Stretch and I leave for Chicago tonight - we aren't going all the way. We will be meeting his aunt on this side of the city - having supper together. Then Stretch will go on to spend the next two days there watching his cousin while I come home. I am looking forward to the time alone - hoping to get the house cleaned so that it's just mainly maintenance for the rest of the summer. That way hopefully I will be able to work on some other major projects that have been waiting to be done. (Stretch just walked in from his run - did a PR according to his time keeping. He's dripping with sweat.)

Guess I have rambled enough for now - it's probably time for me to get off here and get some other stuff done. I have a couple of stops planned for our trip to Chicago - stuff that I either need (cat food, chicken feed) or a visit to the photo store that I wouldn't make a special trip for. That last requires some preparation as well.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Ponderings

Yesterday morning I had an hour or so to simply sit and journal. It was wonderful as it had been a while since I did so. I got the time because my internet access was down and I was having my coffee - can't do other chores and drink coffee at the same time. Anyway...there are some things I've been pondering lately and would love any insight you all want to give me.

First off...the least involved question. What ways are available to fight allergies - worst in the spring when tree pollen counts are high - that do not involve drugs that cause drowsiness as a side effect? Most over the counter allergy stuff either does very little to help or knocks me out sleeping.

Secondly...what realistic ways have you found to cut your gas usage? With gasoline at $4.00/gal (I was thrilled to pay able to pay $3.89/gal Thursday night - that's just wrong!) I'm looking for ways to cut back. The challenge is that Stretch is in Gospel Choir so is out every Sunday while Squirrel takes TaeKwonDo classes at least twice a week. Squirrel can - until school lets out - ride a school bus and get dropped off for class. I still have to go pick him up. Stretch has to be both dropped off and picked up every time. Biking is not really an option simply because he is in dress clothes. For Squirrel it's an 8 mile bike ride which I'm not willing to have him do yet - not to mention that he's got a large equipment bag that goes with him. We live in the country which normally is wonderful but there is a minimum of a 2 mile distance to anywhere for us.

Third and final question...what are some realistic ways to make one day of the week an actual "rest day" that does not involve a mountain of chores that don't get done other days? Being a single working mom I find it a challenge to say the least. Also what does a "rest day" look like? Is it simply "no chores" - vegging out in front of the TV or is it more - Doing something fun as a family, having time to be "creative" - with beads, scrap booking, cross stitch, "playing" in the dirt, simply having time to journal or to sit and read? I realize that each individual and each family will have different ideas of what is restful...how does one balance those differences? For me...a huge part of a rest day is not having to cook a huge meal and not having to clean the kitchen afterwards. I have no problem grilling or doing something really simple. That gets old sometimes though.

I am looking forward to reading your comments on this.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Squirrel

Squirrel is turning 12 today! In honor of that fact I thought I would recap some of what he's accomplished over the last year and what he's looking forward to for the next. I've always wanted to write my boys letters on their birthdays doing that and so far have never accomplished that. But here's a first attempt.

Son

I love you. I love the fact that you still want mom to tuck you in at night - and to spend a few minutes laying beside you talking over your day. Those are the few minutes that you generally tell me more about the day then you do at any other time. I love the fact that you come in and crawl in with me in the mornings - even when I'm not awake and sometimes grumble at you. I love the fact that you are so good at getting up and around in the morning cheerfully - with your alarm. I remember the days when I literally had to stand you up, get you dressed, and put you on the bus where you fell back asleep again for another hour or so. Thank you for cheerfully caring for the chicks in the mornings before school - and for still making it out to wait for the school bus on time.

You are finishing up 5th grade and excitedly looking forward to middle school and 6th grade. I think you are most excited about getting to learn to play the trombone. And it looks like you will be very gifted at it - it will still take hours of practice to do well but an aptitude helps.

You are old enough to start attending youth group at church. I pray that as you do you will develop a "fire" for God and grow in your faith.

You are having "puberty" talks - learning what to expect as you grow. You now tell me "I need to wash my face morning and night mom!" You are almost as tall as your mother - soon I will be the shortest in this family.

Last night you "closed" at Grief Group. You showed me your bag of rocks on the way home and seemed comfortable with the decision. Closing there does not mean that you will ever forget Daddy - it just means that you are healing and moving on. That's good and important and right.

You are working towards your black belt in TaeKwonDo and doing very well at it. You are excelling in school - which thrills me. I'm eager to see how you continue to grow and mature. You still hate to have pictures taken - would rather be the one taking the pictures. In that you are a true son of your mother. I hope though that you will allow me to take some this weekend.

Have a wonderful year as a 12 year old - your last year as a "child" before you become a teen.

I love you!
Mom

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Today was a misty damp rainy cool day - with the kind of rain that is needed for crops and gardens to grow. The lilac bushes were bent almost double from the weight of the blooms and the water. On a work day it can be rather gloomy - it's a better day for being able to hang around home in pj's. However today was a work day.

The bus route has been rather peaceful this week - a very nice change from last week with problems both at the beginning of the week and the end of it. Two of my students that had issues at the end of last week have been suspended from the bus for most of this week. Another one has been out of school - not sure why. I am very thankful for that - and at the same time rather looking forward to the end of the year. Today one of my older students had a can of "Fart Spray" - something I had never seen before. He tried to tell me it had sprayed "accidentally" while in his pocket. So...more paperwork to do tomorrow.

The chicks are growing. I moved them into an area bordered by two boxes, covered in chicken wire that has litter down on the floor. There will be clean-up to do when they are big enough to move into the coop. However now they have a little more room to roam.

Squirrel and I are both fighting sinus junk. I know that mine is caused by allergies and I suspect the same for him. He is finishing up his major 5th grade projects - on his state that he had to do a report on. I am speckled in gray spray paint as a result of helping him. Tomorrow night he has his music program also. Stretch has pretty much finished up his major school projects. He still has a few concerts left but nothing else major. He has been learning to run sound for elementary school music programs and is enjoying that.

Tomorrow I'm likely to be incredibly busy. In addition to my regular bus routes, I'm on standby to drive a kindergarten trip in the morning. That will depend completely on weather as it would be a walking trip if it is sunny out. Then I would go straight from that to my shuttle and a short break at home. Then it's afternoon route, followed by Squirrel's music program followed by a trip to pick up the track team from Sectionals. I am to be in the town where they are held by 9:00 pm tomorrow night. There is no telling what time I will get home. It's looking like a long day.

Stretch is hovering waiting on his turn on the computer so I'd better stop for now.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Bus Route

Completely discouraged at the moment - mainly with my bus route. That incident I wrote about last time with the 5 kids and the broken arm? The students involved got nothing, nada, zilch! The parents got a letter sent home telling them that if there was any further discussion, threatening or arguments the student doing the threatening would be suspended. The story in the letter was different then the story I heard from the students talking - Kid1 was not the kid who supposedly broke Kid2's arm - it was either Kid4 or Kid5. However that makes no sense at all because Kid3 sits with Kid4 on the bus - and if it had been either Kid4 or Kid5 they would not be getting along with Kid3. Now that that's sufficiently muddled...I talked to my boss about it. He says that because the principal involved is retiring at the end of this school year, he's not going to fight her on it at all. All I can do with any bus incidents is keep writing them up and just live with them.

Also I know for certain that my route will be changing again next year. That's frustrating because I have worked with these kids all year...finally have them somewhat lined out and now will have to start all over with a new group next year.

Out of time for now...guess I will try to post a more cheerful post later today. At the moment I'm getting ready to go have a quick visit with a couple who were like 2nd parents to me when I was growing up. They are in town for a visit with Suz and this time of day is the only time for a visit. It works for me though.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Struggling this morning - yesterday I got a lot done early. I was able to enjoy having quiet time out on the deck, did laundry, dishes, picked up the kitchen and family room - even spent time mowing the lawn. I was cheerful and encouraged. This morning - not so much. Nothing much major happened except I thought I was going to have a fist fight on the bus. Kid1 is blamed for breaking Kid2's arm over the weekend. Kid2 is back to school today along with brother Kid3 and two friends Kids 4 &5. Kids 4&5 start making comments about Kid1 who gets upset and starts to threaten them - no one will be quiet and let things drop. So...kids involved are turned in to the school to be dealt with - hopefully at least one will be kicked off the bus for the rest of the year. He's had his limit of conduct reports and is at that step in the discipline plan. We will see.

I'm sure another one of my sources of stress is the fact that I've realized that I have something scheduled every night this week - all will have me out until at least 7:00 pm - some will have me out later. Unfortunately none can be rescheduled due to it mainly being stuff that's preparation for next year. I was earlier rejoicing that this would be a less hectic week than last week with the musical being over with. B has asked me to go to the parent meeting at Dipstick's middle school as he finds them overwhelming. That's tonight along with TaeKwonDo for Squirrel and praise team practice for Stretch. Tomorrow night Squirrel has an instrument fitting for band for next year and I have an overdue haircut scheduled. Thursday night is TaeKwonDo, Grief Group and a music program that Squirrel wants to go to. He won't be doing everything...it just depends on which one he decides to do. Friday night I was hoping to attend an introductory yoga stretching class led by a friend of mine - I need the stretching and exercise. Not sure at the moment if I will make it or not - we will see.On a different note...the musical is over and done. I thoroughly enjoyed it - laughed a lot. I didn't cry even when Beth died...actually I didn't even realize that was what was happening in that scene. The girl who played Amy was amazing - perfectly cast. Stretch did a very good job as Professor Fritz - though he was told he had a awful German accent by our German exchange student. (I told him the exchange student should have stepped up to the plate to help him with that. ) He stayed for the "after party" - didn't get home until 4:00 am Sunday morning. It turned out that I knew the parents who were hosting it - that set my mind much more at ease. Stretch is back to running again.

Guess I've rambled enough...think I'm going to go outside and dig in my flower bed for a bit before having to head back to work. Still need to start laundry and stuff but need this more for my sanity.