The drought is over!

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Wally Weatherman forecasted rain for the first time in nine months or more. The kids were so excited about the rain. I was too. Unfortunately we don’t live in the Napa Valley which seems to be the only place that ever gets rain when Wally Weatherman forecasts it. Still I held on to hope.

There was no evidence of rain. The roads were dry. Gwen checked the grass and was so excited that it was wet. Probably from the sprinklers. The weird thing was that when I got to the school the ground was wet. It wasn’t like sprinklers gone wild all over the sidewalks. The roads were completely wet too. Silly microclimates. There were also sprinkles on my windshield. Not enough to even dirty the glass or turn on the wipers, but noticeable sky spit.

Gwen was beside herself. “THE DROUGHT IS OVER!” She kept exclaiming! Ah the faith of a child. If only sprinkles so few you could count them would be enough to end the drought.

She also believes the splash pads will be turned back on now. I was talking to a city landscaper recently who said the splash pads will never be turned on again. It wastes too much water. He said something about having the same amount of water storage that we had in the 1950’s. Think of how many more people there are now. Basically he painted a picture of how little water we actually have. Like next to nothing. Two drops at best.

The clouds are playing peek-a-boo with the sun today. That’s a Gwennyism from when she was 2 or 3. I love days like this. The weather in California is spectacular, but every once in a while I miss the clouds. A friend described California’s weather by saying that when the rain stops the sun comes out. It’s true. There are rarely gray, moody days. Last night Parker noticed the clouds hugging the mountains. He said, “Look at the clouds in the clouds!” We laughed about his silly mistake.

It’s muggy today. Our overnight lows were warm. It was 70 degrees in San Francisco before 7:00 am. That’s crazy warm. The clouds kept the temperatures up. Our house never cooled down overnight and the A/C has been running off and on all day. It usually doesn’t come on until later in the afternoon.

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This is what Heath saw on his way to work this morning. A double rainbow. Maybe it’s good luck that one day we too will get enough rain to declare the drought over. Keep praying for us!

Picture Perfect

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Eating a snack before sealing herself up to be shipped to Grandma’s house.

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This was a Singing Time activity the kids used in Primary on Sunday. The music leader had printed the pictures and cut out only the mouths. The kids put their mouths through the holes to sing and it was hilarious. I was laughing so hard.

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Parker is in the middle of the left picture. Gavin is second from the right in the second picture.

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Here is Gwen in the yellow dress. The pictures aren’t great but they still crack me up.

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I love this shot. The kids were cracking up as much as I was. Believe it or not they did sing well with the pictures. It was in between songs that they made silly faces. Most of the kids anyway. Laura is such a creative music leader.

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Clean under the fridge much? One Saturday the cleaning bug bit me and for some reason I had Heath move the fridge. We found this crayon wrapped in a dust bunny under the fridge. So gross!

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I just don’t think I ever posted this picture. This is my packing matrix so I knew everyone had what they needed for our Northwest trip.

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And this is just one of my favorite pictures of Gwen. I have had it sitting on my desktop for months but haven’t put it in a post yet. Her hair is slowly starting to grow back. I miss having it long like this.

Top of the Heap

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There is a scene in Sneakers where the characters are rummaging through a man’s trash. They are trying to get a sense of what kind of woman they could set him up with in order to get the information they needed from him. His garbage revealed how anal he was. He had the neatest trash, according to Dan Aykroyd’s character. His toothpaste tube was neatly folded. The boxes were collapsed tidily.

The scene has stuck in my mind for years. Not only that movie but the idea that waste baskets are a time capsule of someone’s life. Whatever is on top was thrown out last. The bottom refuse landed there first. I don’t know why that bothers me but it always has. I’m crazy with a side of recreational paranoia.

I have sometimes buried my garbage just so it’s not on top. In my mind people look in the garbage can and judge me for its contents. When I shred documents, whether by a shredding machine or by hand, I will split up the remains among several trash cans. Although I now use recycling bins for paper. But if I were to cut up say a credit card, you can guess it will be scattered in many different receptacles. My reasoning is that I don’t want anyone to be able to put the pieces back together so easily. They would have to dig through the landfill to find all the pieces to begin with. I know. I’m weird.

There is no point to this story other than the fact that I haven’t blogged in a while. Somehow I’m either uninspired, stumped, depressed, or simply don’t think it would be appropriate to share a specific piece of my life online. I have a doozy of a story that happened today but only interested family will be privy to that information! It’s not an online kind of story.

The longer I don’t write the more I worry about what’s on top. Blogs are set up like a trash can. The latest contribution sits on top. It’s a major spoiler alert when I’m behind on someone’s blog. I read the outcome of some crazy experience but the situation was so unexpected I have to dig through posts to find the beginning.

So what’s on top of my blog? How long has it sat there? Why can I not think of anything better to bury it under? Sometimes I will post something very personal and immediately cover it up with something mundane. Obviously people who get emails of my new posts will see it all but I can’t have something personal sitting on top of the heap. I just can’t.

This post is not my best writing nor is it the most interesting story. But it’s a TMI post I am willing to have sit on top until something better comes along. Fingers crossed that something noteworthy happens tomorrow! I want to write. I just haven’t found anything to write about lately.

Murphy’s Law Week

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Murphy’s Law states that if anything can go wrong it will at the worst possible moment. Like losing irreplaceable items or kids being sick while one’s spouse is out of town and can’t help, or even be a shoulder to cry on. Welcome to my week.

Feel free to pull out your violin after breaking off a hunk of cheese to go with my whine. It’s been quite the adventure around here.

Normally I wouldn’t point this fact out, but it just adds to everything to admit I started my period the day before Heath left for Seattle. In the last year it seems that most every business trip has been ironically booked for that special week when my hormones are out of control and I either yell or cry over everything. The trips are not planned by Heath. He’s just happy to be away from me in that one week where men feel completely helpless.

On Monday afternoon I had an appointment with Parker’s teacher. She had scheduled every family for a 10 minute get to know you meeting. I told Gavin I wouldn’t be home when he got home. He can let himself in but I thought I would give him a heads up regarding my absence.

Once we got home that afternoon we all called out to Gavin. No answer. The meeting was faster than I thought but we were still home later than when Gavin normally arrives. Thinking he was upstairs I stood in the front entryway and called his name. There was some movement outside. I opened the door thinking Gavin had just arrived. He was sitting on the front step surrounded by the contents of his backpack. He looked at me and said the worst words in the English language.

“I lost my key.”

You would think I would freak out. I should have. Instead I was calm as could be. He admitted he was careless and didn’t put his lanyard in his backpack once he got on the bus. Later he told me he put the lanyard in his pants pocket instead of his backpack. It must have slipped out of his pocket on the bus since it didn’t seem to exist anywhere else.

I grabbed his bus booklet and quickly found the number for the Lost and Found. Not knowing what else to do I called the number. Remember me? The woman who would do anything to avoid using a telephone to speak directly to a person? Yes, I called. I had to. His lanyard had his bus pass ($60), his student ID card ($5 to replace), and his house key (about $5 for the copy but kind of priceless since it allows someone access to our house). The only place these priceless pieces of plastic and metal seemed to be was on the bus.

The driver claimed she had already done her daily check of the bus and didn’t see anything. She said she would check again and I was told to call back in a few minutes. When I called back I was told that nothing was found. Maybe one of the other students picked it up for him, dispatch suggested.

I felt numb. Numb and lost. What in the world was I going to do? I couldn’t even call Heath because he was in the air flying to a conference in Seattle and wouldn’t be home until Friday. Numb and lost for sure. I went outside and walked to the bus stop scanning the bushes and gutter along the way. I stopped and peered down all three storm drains. Nothing.

Gavin felt horrible. There was no need to lecture or yell. What good would it do? The damage was done and there was nothing to do but wait until the next day to see if his friend really did pick up the lanyard. All I knew of this Austin kid was that he only rides in the afternoon and the boys have no classes together.

I came up with some band-aid solutions. Gavin would pay cash out of his own money to ride the bus – $2 each way. He would have to work to earn the cash for a new bus pass and a new student ID card. I would start sending lunches with him again until he got a new student ID card. There was still a sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach. The key to our house was out there somewhere. My other plan was to have Gavin ask the neighbors for a student directory to find Austin. When Heath landed and saw my frantic texts he pointed out that if Austin is a 6th grader we can’t find him. The new directories probably haven’t come out yet.

I asked Gavin how he knew Austin. Did they meet on the bus? Is he also in 6th grade? Gavin said he has known Austin for years. They went to the same elementary school. Relief flooded over me as I grabbed our old student directory. We found his name and Gavin called.

The weight of the world was lifted. Not just from me but from all the kids too. They knew how important this stuff was. We jumped in the van and, despite my low tire warning, drove to Austin’s house. I got a little lost in the neighborhood. The setting sun directly in my line of sight didn’t help. But we finally found his house. The heavens opened and angels started singing the Hallelujah Chorus.

At dinner I prayed. I thanked Heavenly Father for the blessing of finding the lanyard and for Austin’s honesty in holding it for Gavin. At bedtime Gavin prayed. He also thanked Heavenly Father for helping us find the lanyard. Then he publicly repented in his prayer. It was so sweet and so sincere. Not necessary in front of all of us but it was obvious that boy couldn’t wait to ask for forgiveness and promise to never do it again. He knows to zip up the precious lanyard in his backpack as soon as he sits down on the bus.

In the midst of all this drama, Gwen and Parker got themselves started on their homework. Gwen was really only required to read every day. The math worksheets were optional. She did five of them while she waited for me. They were all wrong. I only had the patience and presence of mind to help her fix two. She still didn’t understand and I was frustrated. I walked away before my calm could bubble up into an unnecessary storm. We corrected the rest of the work later in the week. I was happy that something finally clicked and she finally understood what she was doing.

Tuesday morning I was bebopping my way home after dropping off Gwen and Parker at school. Gavin was still standing at the bus stop. The neighbors drove by on their way to middle school. I stopped on my side of the street to let them pass between Gavin and me. I rolled down my window so we could talk. He confirmed that he left on time and waited forever for the bus to come but hadn’t seen it yet. I told him I would check on him in a minute.

I parked in my garage and checked the bus schedule. The bus was a good 5-10 minutes late. I walked out the front door to wait with Gavin. After passing a house and a half I saw the bus. I continued to walk toward Gavin for some reason. The bus passed me and I saw it stop around the corner long enough to pick Gavin up. That’s when I decided to turn around and go back home. He was on the bus and would be late for school but he was on the bus.

The Cub Scouts had different meetings on Tuesday afternoon. Dylan isn’t a Bear yet and had a swimming activity. Parker was supposed to meet in the same place. When I couldn’t find half of Parker’s uniform, nor could I find the permission slips he forgot to give his leaders last week, I was ready to scrap Scouts for the day. Since we weren’t carpooling with Dylan we had enough time to run home after school so Parker could grab the permission slips and his hat. He didn’t know where his neckerchief slide was either.

I hate picking up because it’s at the same time that everyone is coming home from work. Drivers are so rude and obnoxious that time of day! But I picked Parker up and we survived. Gwen was a brat for Gavin and he didn’t get much homework done while I was gone. Note to self: bring Gwen with next time.

You still have that violin going? The drama hasn’t let up yet! Wednesday was shaping up to be a great day. The only thing I had to worry about was getting Gavin to piano and Scouts. No big deal. Gwen and Parker came out together after school. I love Wednesdays. Gwen said she had a headache and was really tired.

She complained the whole way home that she wasn’t feeling well. I told her to just relax for a minute. Somehow she wasn’t perking up at all. For 30 minutes after we got home she lounged on the chair looking limp and languid. This is my fair skinned beauty but she looked more pale than usual. Her forehead was hot. It was 90 degrees outside but she should have cooled down in the time we were home. I checked her temperature. It was 101.2. Oh great.

Having sick kids is never fun but all I could think of was the school picture day the next day. She had already turned in her money. Yes, there are retakes for such a situation but the class picture cannot be made up. I did not want a picture of the kids in her class with a note on the bottom where her name should be saying, “Little Miss – absent.” How could my kid be sick?

Every other day Gwen complains of some physical ailment. A sore throat, a stomach ache, headache, something. She mentions it in the morning when she gets up, before bed, and after school. In between she seems fine. This is my hypochondriac child. The kid who feigns symptoms to get medicine when her brothers are genuinely sick. She loves medicine so much it kind of worries me. I never really know when she’s sick. But Wednesday afternoon she did not look good.

I forgot to mention that on Monday afternoon she had an upset stomach. She didn’t eat any dinner and had a bout of diarrhea. Gavin had it a few days earlier but got over it quickly. She was fine on Tuesday although when I picked her up from school she was wearing different shorts. If it was a messy accident I would have been more sympathetic, but it was a wet accident. She is one of those kids who doesn’t want to stop playing to use the bathroom. She wets her pants every time she sees her cousins. It drives me nuts.

I really didn’t know what to do. School rules say that kids have to be fever free for 24 hours without the use of medication before they can return to school. So many emotions were swirling inside me. I gave her Tylenol knowing it only lasts for four hours. But then I had a major panic attack. The events of the week were getting to me and I lost my mind. I tried texting Heath. He responded but not quickly because he was busy with his conference. I called my mom who could only talk for a minute before she had to leave. Then I started emailing Gwen’s teacher. First it was just to see when the pictures would be taken. Meanwhile Gwen had perked up to her normal self and you couldn’t even tell anything was ever wrong with her.

Looking back on it I guess I just needed an adult to talk to. Someone to tell me everything would be okay. Someone to tell me my plan was fine and to just stick with it. But I was second guessing myself all night. I went back and forth between wanting to send her to school in the morning as if nothing was wrong and only sending her for the picture portion of the day.

My mom told me to be upfront with the teacher. Heath told me not to do that after I did. He liked the idea of seeing how Gwen was by bedtime and checking her temperature again in the morning. If she was fine then just send her to school and no one had to know anything. It helps that Mrs. M. and I are friends. I told her everything. Including how Heath was out of town.

This was her response.

Tristan- As a mom, teacher and your friend- I’d tell you to send her to bed without meds and see how she’s doing in the am. She could just be over tired. Send her to school if she’s okay and if she’s feeling yucky in the am and can’t make it come to the picture. 

It always happens when the husband is gone! 

(((Hugs)))

It was so sincere and sweet I cried.

The Tylenol should have worn off by 8:00 pm. Gwen was just getting out of the tub at 8:30. I wanted to get her and Parker into bed but we were all anxious for Gavin to get home from Scouts. His Scout leader agreed to bring him home so I wouldn’t have to load everyone up for the task. Gavin got home around 9:20. Apparently his meetings last longer than I thought. I’m so glad Robert brought him home!

When Gwen got out of the tub I took her temperature. It was 97 degrees. No fever. I checked again in the morning. Again 97 degrees. No fever. She seemed fine. She acted fine. She looked fine. She was excited for the school pictures. I sent her to school.

It may be a good thing I didn’t see her teacher after school. I had another meltdown and couldn’t stop crying. I was doing my scripture study and reading Broken Things to Mend by Elder Holland. It was a touching spiritual experience and I was sobbing. If I had seen Gwen’s teacher I would have hugged her to thank her for the email. And I would have melted into a fresh puddle of tears.

Gwen was the one who was crying. It’s a pain trying to find her with all the parents trying to find their kids too. Today is the last day for this whole mandatory front of the school pickup procedure. What had happened was Gwen needed to use the bathroom after school and she thought I wouldn’t find her and that I would be mad. It didn’t make sense. That’s just what she said. I just held her on my lap and let her cry. Crying is very therapeutic. She got over her good cry after several seconds and we moved on.

Parker got his Woot shirt in the mail finally. That’s a story that deserves its own post with pictures. We had breakfast for dinner again and put on the BYU football game.

I used the game as ammunition to fuel my pretend hatred for Heath for leaving on his business trip. I don’t really hate him and he knows it. He knows I’m a very emotional person and that I say things like that to make his absence easier. My brother and I fought like crazy in the weeks leading up to him leaving on his mission. We didn’t consciously do it. It just happened. We were going to miss each other so fighting about nothing seemed like a logical response.

When Heath leaves on trips he buys me Diet Coke and tells me he’s sorry I hate him. This time I kept telling him I didn’t hate him. I love him but I hate when he has to leave. On Monday I reverted to my old ways. When he pulled out of the garage my heart broke and I hated him while I cried. So much crying lately! It’s like a lot of life has been happening lately. The tears flow freely.

I will admit I’ve had my moments of feeling like a second class citizen. When Heath and I first met he told me outright that I would come second to BYU football. All these years later I wonder if part of my motivation for loving football was to make his statement untrue. If I loved football we could enjoy it together. And we have. For 13 years I have grown to love football more than I ever thought I would.

It was hard to let Heath want to stay in Seattle for the game so he could watch with his parents. He and his dad bonded over BYU football. Yesterday was the first time I ever felt like I really did come second to football. But how could I deny Heath the joy of watching with his dad?

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Ever the problem solver, Heath set up Skype on Gavin’s laptop before he left. We never could get the video to work. I was fine with that. I always feel self conscious Skyping when people can see me. We could hear each other and that was all that mattered. I enjoyed the game with Gavin’s computer in my lap. I didn’t cheer as much because my family was sitting in my lap. Well, I should say I didn’t cheer as loudly. I held back not wanting to scream in anyone’s ears! It was a fun game. I hope to never watch another game like that ever again though.

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Parker asked if he could watch TV in my bedroom. He ended up watching some Tinkerbell movie! When Gwen heard me say that to her dad she ran right upstairs to watch with him. I think Parker would have preferred to be alone on my bed with the piles of laundry. He was patient enough to let Gwen be there with him. The kids were really good during the game. I was impressed. And I managed to get them into bed during the commercial break between the third and fourth quarter. Not bad!

I can’t wait to see Heath again! It’s been a long week. Keep those violins tuned. He has another business trip coming up soon. I have no doubt it will be full of drama for this Drama Queen!

Homework and Other Compromises

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This is our homework zone. We call it the homework station. It’s in the hallway upstairs and nobody uses it. Not for homework anyway. You can plainly see that it is definitely used.

The table to the left is the table we got from Heath’s parents when we visited this summer. It’s an art table that can be tipped up to make an easel worthy of painting. I particularly love the tray underneath. It holds the tin buckets I bought before the trip perfectly. There is a bucket for pencils, one for crayons and colored pencils, and one for glue and scissors. Heath asked me if I needed more. No, I just need three. I do everything in odd numbers and since I couldn’t think of five uses I had to squish everything into three buckets.

Gwen uses the table for all of her art projects. She also plays at the table and never really cleans the table up. The indented groove at the bottom of the table top is full of pencils and crayons all in a straight line. The crate full of construction paper always looks like a bomb went off. There are still fabric scraps from a particularly creative day when she made Barbie dresses.

The other desk used to be Gavin’s desk. At least he always used the desk closest to the master bedroom. The homework laptop still sits on the desk and is plugged in there. Gavin has his own laptop he takes to and from school so the homework laptop is now for Parker. Parker walks it all over the house capturing video of himself and his siblings. Heath didn’t seem thrilled with that idea. I pointed out that it was no more a waste of time than when we were kids and made audio recordings of our voices on cassette tapes. It is cute to hear their voices play back. As far as using this well designed extra wide hallway for a homework station, it doesn’t happen.

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When we put the art table into the hallway there wasn’t enough room for it with three desks. So we moved two into the boys room. They can use the desks to build Lego creations or as homework desks. Hahahahahahahahahaha! I have learned to cope with the clutter by never going into the kids bedrooms. I have even started asking them to gather their own laundry and put it away so I don’t get really mad once a week. So far so good.

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The family room floor has become Parker’s choice for homework. This boy has never worked in a consistent location. The only consistency is that he works where I am. Since I haven’t had much need to be upstairs in the afternoon since school started, he plops down on the floor and digs in.

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Gwen has claimed the kitchen table as her spot.

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Parker really wanted to photo bomb. He’s so proud of himself! You can see how yucky Gwen was feeling this afternoon. That’s a whole other story that I will tell later.

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Gavin has tried a couple different spots since school started, finally settling on my living room table. I wanted the art table to keep kids from coloring and drawing on my table. They still do art on my table. That table has been hand distressed by my children and I’m not happy about it. I’m also not thrilled that Gavin’s birthday Legos are still being displayed on my living room table.

We have a shelf but we haven’t had a chance to put it up yet. The last two weekends have been filled with taking down our pool. Apparently it’s a long process to drain the pool onto our dead grass from the zone we’ve had off all summer. The pool is sunning itself to dry out completely before we box it up until next year. Meanwhile the shelf sits on the counter between the kids CPU and the wall.

I want Gavin to be able to do his homework in the kitchen where the kids computer is. The problem with that idea is that’s where the kids computer is. At least when we get the shelf up Gavin can store his textbooks on it freeing up more counter space for him to work. There will be enough shelf space for his Legos which will make my living room look like an adult space again.

The biggest reason why I want Gavin in the kitchen is because that’s where I want his laptop plugged in every night. Otherwise I’m afraid it will be forgotten in the morning. Out of sight out of mind. Being in the laptop program requires a laptop. Every day.

I just sigh when I think of how my good ideas are not being used. I sigh when I see the messy bedrooms that I can’t walk in. Telling the kids that they may die in an emergency because they can’t navigate their room fast enough doesn’t seem to help. They’re kids and I’m tired of nagging. I still want the hallway tidied up just because I can see it. That doesn’t happen very often. The creativity does. I’m trying to pick my battles.

Even though my kids don’t care to use my designated homework spaces at least they do their homework. And I’m a little flattered that they choose to do their homework as close to me as possible. Even if it means working on the floor.

Say What

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Gwen: The mom and dad are divorse.
Me: Why?
Gwen: Because the muhver doesn’t have any hair!
When I told Heath about the unfortunately divorced Lego family I said I would try to keep my hair so he stays married to me. He assured me he only likes me for my hair! We were kidding.

Parker: You’re trespassing in a construction zone.
He was building with the marble run.

Gwen: We are from Utah!
Parker: I thought you were going to Utah.
Gwen: We’re not. We’re going to the mall.

Gwen: Parents are lucky. They get to talk to strangers and tell their kids to not!

Gwen: Are we there yet? I need a shower.
Candi: Ha ha … that’s funny. How dirty can you get riding in a car when you’re 6?

Parker in the shower: Ah that feels so good!
Water turns off.
Parker: Oops! Forgot a part!
Water turns back on.

Some of these aren’t as funny as the need for me to remember the moment. It’s been a busy couple of days and I haven’t been very inspired to write about anything.

Demonstration Gone Wrong–Guest Post

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I have never had a guest post for me before. When this email from my brother came through I had to share it exactly as he wrote it. Well after my heart stopped racing. I’m such a mom. Enjoy!

Exactly one week after my birthday, I watched Calvin and his friend try their hardest to look cool while jumping off bike ramps in front of our driveway. They would ride half way down the street and hit top speed before the ramps.  Then they would unconsciously slow down and conservatively drop off the front of the ramp.  It was all too safe for me.  

I gave helpful pointers to them in an attempt to educate and teach valuable life skills.  After a few minutes, I realized that the time for lecture was over.  It was time to show them what I meant.  I grabbed my mountain bike and told them to watch me.  I picked up speed and hit the ramp.  I popped off the top and sailed through the air.  There was no denying that I had left the ground.  I needed some epic guitar solos and fireworks behind me as I showed the boys how to fly on a bike.  

Imagine my confusion when I found myself on the ground with my bike on top of me.  That scenario had never entered my mind.  I always jumped my bike and naturally assumed that I still knew how.  I guess after approximately thirty years, essential skills like flying on a bike get a little rusty.  

I had Daphne put a paper towel on my elbow and wrap my arm.  I saw that a little blood had gathered on my sock and figured I would address it after I did the dishes.  I went to the kitchen mostly to not cry in front of the boys.  That would be lame.  After the dishes were done I decided to look at my ankle.  My countenance dropped when I saw that I could move my foot a little and see some of my insides or a whole lot of my insides depending on the angle I held my foot.  I knew I needed stitches.  I told the kids to take a picture of my ankle so they could show Deanna and I took off to Urgent Care.  

The adventure continued at Urgent Care.  At exactly 9:00 PM, the lights went out.  The only things that the generators powered were a couple of lights in the halls.  The power never came back on, so the doctor moved a bed into the doorway in order to have the hallway lights illuminate a work area for him.  He gave me five stitches in my ankle.  Deanna received the news from the kids and read some of my texts.  She quickly arrived at Urgent Care so she could watch the doctor sew my ankle together.  They both talked about the beauty of the stitches as if they were in a crafting workshop.  It made me laugh.  Of course, I wouldn’t watch the actual stitching.  That’s just creepy.  

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Now I have some more cool scars.  I like the picture of my ankle.  It shows where the big gear on my bike chewed on my leg from mid calf to ankle. There are some regular perforations on my leg from the gear until a big crescent shape where it went through my ankle.  All the evidence on my leg leaves no doubt as to which part of my bike mangled me.  The forensics are pretty obvious.

My friends at work congratulated me.  They admire my dedication to teaching awesomeness to my kids.  Deanna shakes her head and asks aloud, “What am I going to do with you?”  

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Now I have the fun task of following the doctor’s  advice of keeping the wounds dry wile trying to stay clean.  I keep my left arm up and keep my right leg out.  I try to soap up and shake myself about.  Stupid Hokey Pokey showers.  Oh well.  I am just glad my kids got to see me fly.

Still Got It!

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Gwen’s office is a tri-fold poster that sits on her desk. It’s a way for the students to focus on their work and not be distracted by others. I think it turned out really cute.

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This is her Unique of the Week poster. After spending so much time tracing the letters and coloring the letters in her name I still secretly wonder if I misspelled Louise! You know how you can look at something so long it no longer looks right? That’s what happened.

This poster is a combination of required criteria and Say Whats. Her favorite place is Hawaii even though she has never been there. I quoted her directly for who she admires most. “I admire my mom. (Days later we convinced her to add to the list.) And my dad … and my boys … and that’s it!” Then there is this gem, “My wish or dream is to hug a unicorn!” That girl. She’s crazy.

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This is a special dress I made with Heath’s encouragement. What happened was I bought the t-shirt when Gwen insisted she couldn’t live without it. I didn’t know there were more Disney choices for a better price at JC Penney. The problem was that the BFF shirt did not come in Gwen’s size. Too little or too big were my choices. I bought too big and very much regretted it. Heath suggested I add ruffles to the bottom and turn it into a dress. His brilliant suggestion turned into this cute dress.

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Then there is this shirt. I bought the fabric months ago to make a new skirt. When I finally got around to it I realized I didn’t have enough fabric to get the length she needs. I had visions of making a cute Bohemian top with half a dress pattern. The dress pattern is getting too small for Gwen but I figured a shirt would work out nicely. Gwen was so excited about it.

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Until she moved and then I got depressed. What I had spent so much time lovingly making didn’t fit. It would be perfect on a shorter and plumper little girl. The shirt is too wide. I should have made the ties after all. And as you can see it is definitely too short. She doesn’t even have to raise her hands much at all before I can see a tummy begging to be tickled. *sigh* Into the donate pile it goes.

Yep, I still got it. My creative skills are unmatched. Sort of.

I’m so Handy!

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A ringing phone before 7:30 am is never a good sign. Unfortunately you can’t pretend like you’re not home. Where would you be that early in the morning? Some people exercise early. They run or visit a gym. I am not some people.

You can’t pretend like you didn’t hear the phone. They’re kind of like fire alarms. Eventually everyone wakes up. I could have been in the shower. That was the brilliance of the timing though. That call was placed precisely when it was on purpose. I couldn’t be asleep. Not after a ringing phone. I couldn’t be in the shower because I have kids to take to school. The phone rang in that moment when my brain was not fully functioning and I was stuck.

“Hey! I was wondering if we could stop by this morning to do some painting. Maybe 8:30 or 9:00.”

My mind whirred into action. Actually it sputtered a few times like an old temperamental car. When I saw the name on the Caller ID I was prepared to say no. Somehow I found myself saying 9:00 would work. Afterwards the logic came. At least this way the job will be done!

After the phone call I changed out of my workout clothes. No more time for that. I was hopeful I could do it around 10:00. How long could painting take? Slap some paint on the walls and ceiling and voila! It’s done. Oh but it’s only taken a month to fix the leaky shower. Well that took one day. It’s been a month of sporadic visits to fix the walls. Painting was the last step in an unusually long process. I just didn’t know that painting was all that would happen today. All day.

Handymen were late. Heath said that when Handyman called last Friday he showed up an hour late. I was expecting them to come early. That’s been my experience in the past with this guy. Up until he stopped calling at all and just randomly dropped by. “This is a good time right?” Whatever dude. Even if it wasn’t. Come in.

While Faithful Sidekick did a dance between two bathrooms and the front door, I worked on Gwen’s office. This is an assignment I loved with the boys. Kind of hated it the third time around. I had set the bar so high for myself with my scrapbooking skills that I was burned out before I started. The office and the Unique of the Week poster are both due tomorrow. I finally received inspiration on Wednesday. I have been feverishly working on it since then. My broken back can testify. Heath keeps giving me bigger and bigger tables and more and more space to scrapbook and I still end up on the floor. The creativity flows better down there I guess.

Impressively it only took me a couple hours to complete the office. That included a major overhaul of the original design. I don’t normally scrapbook that fast but I did and it looked awesome. The problem was I couldn’t get it laminated. I hadn’t showered yet because my bathroom was being painted. All day long.

With nothing else to do to pass the time I nervously puttered around the downstairs cleaning. Take down the invisible walls because my office is now neat and tidy! My kitchen looks good too.

The hands on the clock kept marching toward 1:00. I was freaking out. I have to leave shortly before 2:00 in order to get a parking spot to pick up Gwen in the front of the school. The noises coming from the powder room were not of putting stuff away. There was a lot of slapping that sounded ominously like more painting. Could I just have a coronary and be done with it?

Finally at 1:09 Faithful Sidekick left. He is a really nice guy. I like him so much better than Lurpy Handyman. Lurpy Handyman makes me uncomfortable because he’s weird. Faithful Sidekick makes me uncomfortable because he’s so quiet. Luckily Lurpy Handyman came and went in the first five minutes. Faithful Sidekick was on his own to paint all day. He politely told me he was finished and asked if I would check his work. Yes I wanted him out of my house. I wanted a shower. But I was impressed with the job and told him so. He beamed and we wished each other a good day.

The next 40 minutes are medal worthy. Keep in mind my morning routine of shower, makeup, and hair takes 60-120 minutes depending on how rushed I feel. I completed that routine in 40 minutes. Yes I want the cookie.

I showered so fast (including shaving my legs) I don’t think I felt the water. Ah but I felt water on me the rest of the afternoon. It was 86 degrees and sweaty. I was melting. It’s a little discouraging to get dressed after a shower when your clothes will instantly show sweat rings.

Once Gavin got home from school I took Gwen to laminate her projects. Then I helped Gavin study for his spelling and vocab quiz tomorrow. Just call me Super Mom.

The best part of today is knowing that, barring any other home repairs, the Handymen will not be visiting anytime soon. I have decided that the blessing of renting is that the landlord pays for all repairs. The curse of renting is that we have to have someone fix this stuff for us.

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I do what I can though. I installed a new showerhead in the kid’s bathroom with minimal supervision. The Handymen recaulked our shower so we had to use the kid’s shower on Saturday. The showerhead was unacceptably low. And I’m short! I used the new showerhead this afternoon since I didn’t want to do anything to mess up my bathroom. It was lovely.

It was a real problem for Heath and me to walk through home improvement stores. We want so badly to renovate something! One day we will own a home. One day. Until then I will think of this song every time I think of my handyman.

Don’t forget to turn early

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It was a swelling Mom morning. I watched Gavin step onto the bus. That kid is so adorable! I love him! Cub Scouts started yesterday which meant Gavin came home to an empty house.

There were two Wolf leaders at the church when we arrived. We always get there 15 minutes early because we leave straight from school. Dylan is still a Wolf for a little bit longer but Parker is a Bear now. Heath told me I could leave early since there were two leaders there. Good because I hate waiting. Waiting is probably better though because I think I was caught in the high school’s traffic. It took a long time to get home.

As soon as I walked in the door I called out Gavin’s name. He was in the living room and we met in the hallway. I wish you could have seen his face! He was doing his classic Gavin smile. His lips were twitching as he tried to suppress his smile. His eyes were shiny giving away how proud he was of himself. I gave him the biggest hug. He is so cute I can’t stand it! A quick glance at the door showed he had locked himself in after getting home. The funny smile was because he had already started his homework. I have good kids.

I tried to keep Gwen away from him so he could work. That’s about as effective as using a Band-aid to stop a runny nose. Which my mom claims she did with my brother once but that’s another story. Gavin can be really patient with his sister. He would talk out loud about what he was working on. Then he would tell her he was almost finished and they could play. When he finished he put everything away without being asked and took Gwen outside to play. Aw, melt my heart! Parker came home later and quickly did his homework so he could play too. The three of them were happy outside for a long time.

This whole bus thing is awesome. I just didn’t think it do crazy things to my heart. Every day I hope that boy gets on the bus and makes it to school safely. Every day I can’t wait for him to get home so I know he’s fine. He is loving school and loving life.

Wednesdays are my new favorite days. Actually I love Wednesdays any year I don’t have a kindergartener. I especially love them right now since it means Gwen and Parker go to school together and come home together. Big huge yay! It’s also fun to have Gavin leave first because we see him at the bus stop as we drive by.

This morning was quite the adventure. The bus was right behind me. No one was in front of me. As I got to the top of the street I noticed a lot of cops. There were two police cars blocking most of each side of the street. And police officers were milling around. There was no accident that I could see. The kids could gawk longer than I could and assured me there was no accident scene or anything like that. Just cops everywhere blocking the entrance and exit to the street.

Thankfully there is another way out. I put on my blinker signaling my intent to turn right into a neighborhood that also goes up to the main road. I drove through that turn as slow as could be. Before I put on the blinker one officer crossed the street in front of me. He and the other two officers on the other corner stared at me as I made my turn. I kept waiting for someone to do something. Wave me through the obvious detour or stop me or something. Nothing.

They just stared. That was my only clue for this conclusion but it felt as if they were looking for someone specific. I don’t know. It was just really weird. We continued on our way to school discussing the weather and whether or not Parker needed to wear his jacket. It wasn’t cold outside but with the fog layer of clouds he thought he needed his new jacket. He took a couple steps outside before turning around to return the jacket! Funny boy.

Then Gwen and Parker walked side by side toward the schoolyard. Gwen keeps saying, “That’s so romantic!”  when I remind them they have to wait for each other after school. She’s crazy. They do look cute walking together. Not like a romantic couple of young children but more like a brother and sister who actually care about each other. At least for a minute or two.

Before he got out he said to me, “Don’t forget to turn early when you go back.” I didn’t understand what he meant. “When you go home don’t forget to turn early.” That boy is so sweet! He wanted to make sure I didn’t forget about the strange police presence in our neighborhood.

I did remember but the adventures didn’t stop there. I flipped on my blinker to move into the left lane. Two cars were already in the short left lane. I was slowing down as I had my blinker on. When I moved over there was a long horn blast. I really think it was on the other side of the road but it’s hard to tell when it happened at the same time I moved over. If it was the guy behind me then he’s an idiot! I could not have been more clear about my intent. He wasn’t even tailgating me. Which is shocking in this state! I don’t think it was him.

The police were still hovering where I left them. Heath told me to keep the doors locked. Obviously I always do. We live in Happy Valley but I grew up in the ‘hood and I don’t trust anyone ever. For as nice as the area is where we live, occasionally there are still strange happenings. I’m hoping that whatever was going on is over by the time school is over. Until then I am grounding myself for the day. I don’t need to go anywhere and now I really don’t want to.

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