Friday, August 12, 2011

Summer ramblings....

It's the time of year that I really don't like. It's too hot to do anything outside for any length of time... At 11pm at night, the temps are still hanging out around 90 degrees. It's positively insane.

Another part of not liking this time of year is that we're due to upgrade a couple of the cell phones on our account. I took the girls in to look at phones, made notes of the ones they were interested in, and then googled reviews of those phones. Apparently, having cell phones turn off randomly while in the middle of typing a text message or even talking on the phone is considered a normal issue. It happens on every one of the phones we looked up. It's an issue we've dealt with on other phones, and apparently something we're not going to get away from as long as we own phones that don't have data plans. (We are NOT getting data plans for our teens... No, they're not deprived. If they were, the wouldn't have phones at all.)

This is also the time of year when everyone is getting ready for going back to school. The stores have the back to school sales going on, and we stock up on the few things that we actually have managed to run low or out of since last year. I think the only thing on this years list was the flash drives - Target had the 8gb drives for $9 this week, so I picked up a few of those since we use the heck out of them. I'm wondering if I should pick up a few extra to use as Christmas gifts for some of the teens in the family? I haven't decided yet.

Tomorrow, the girls and I are going to run up to the job fair at the Renaissance Festival and apply to work there this year. Trae worked at it last year and enjoyed it, so I think it might be a good way to supplement Christmas this year. The girls will just be thrilled to be able to put money away. Vicki wants to take drivers Ed, so she'll need to set aside money for that & insurance. Fun! (yikes!)

Jessica graduates from Job Corps this month, so she'll be home looking for a job and learning to drive. She has her learners permit already, but hasn't done any driving yet. I've already determined that my husband will have to be in charge of driving with the learners. I'm not good at it... Seriously. I'm also working on rearranging the house with jessica coming home. Brittani has gotten spoiled and doesn't want to go back to sharing a room. We decided to put Jessica in zacharys room, put zach in the living room, move the living room to the family room, and stop using the family room as a storage room. Holy smokes! I'm in trouble! Lots of stuff to get rid of to achieve this goal. But I WILL get it done. I have to keep my chore-doers happy, or who knows how the dishes or laundry will get done without them :-)

Well, there's really not much else going on around here... Although I am still working on making a decision on our algebra curriculum - and need to get it ordered pretty quick. It's definitely that time!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Droughts & BBQ's - a bad recipe

I know my last post was in regards to the drought that's been going on... and while you generally consider some of the most immediate issues with a drought (i.e. dead lawns, gardens not growing well, hay not growing for feeding the livestock, etc), you don't really entertain ideas regarding wildfires... so it was definitely an eye-opener to have that very situation brought almost literally to my front doorstep.

On Father's Day - an event that is typically a day for family gatherings and BBQ, a gentleman who lives around the corner from us went indoors for a few moments and left his grill unattended. Those few minutes were devastating to a large number of people. While he took the precaution of lighting his grill near his back fence and well away from his house, he didn't take the extra time to douse the ground around his grill... he wasn't present when an ember popped out of the open grill and caught the pine needles layered on the ground on fire... by the time he came outside, it was too late... there was too much for him to be able to put out by himself. The wind kept the fire traveling away from his house, and ultimately, he lost no possessions in the fire. Sadly, there were many people in the vicinity that are not as fortunate as him. 

Thank you to so many of my friends for keeping us in your thoughts through this 5 day fiasco.  We are safe and out of danger thanks to the firefighters, the forest service and the lastly the rain that saved the day.  I lost track of how many departments showed up to help, and I know that there were many individuals from different parts of both Texas and Oklahoma that participated in trying to eliminate the fire. It was absolutely astounding to see so many different entities and individuals join smoothly together in such an enormous undertaking...
I was asked to put something together - so here is a quick look at what went on.
Although it never got closer than 200 yards to our house, it wouldn’t take long to burn as dry as it was.  The neighbors lost over 2 acres of forest in less than an hour.   Most of the woods are extremely thick, with layers of leaves and pine needles on the ground... lots of kindling and tinder to catch embers and light up easily.
Having to pack everything of value in an hour, makes you realize how much excess we have. It was an exercise that we had to participate in when we saw flames lapping at the street that ours meets... 
Here is a view from our driveway on Sunday facing the street that the fire started on.  The fire started 600 yards to the right of this frame.
Aftermath of a flare up that happened on Monday afternoon, it almost made it to the street, this is when we started to pack to evacuate.
Monday afternoon a neighbor and my husband took their front end loaders out and cleared some paths to hopefully slow or stop the ground fire from spreading toward our houses.  They cleared 2 miles of brush but as you can see the trees are so close together it could still spread if it got hot enough. 
Flare up on Tuesday afternoon as the winds changed from South to Northwest to a West to East direction and then back East to West.  The winds were gusting 15-20 mph.  This is when the helicopters really started to fly overhead and dropping water.
I took a video of the helicopters that were dropping the water after the Tuesday flare up.  This was a new helicopter that was picking up a bag to join in the firefighting.  I uploaded it to the KBTX live blog that was set up for covering the details in a live setting (dedicated to the fire and its victims to monitor the activity), and it was picked up and used on the KBTX news out of Brian/College Station.  At one point we had 4 helicopters dropping water constantly on our area for 4 hours.  

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

May showers?

That nursery rhyme is definitely wrong this year... we've had no April showers, and it's a dust bowl out there with no flowers in sight. The roads are so dusty out here, and the heat is already up in the 90's. It's going to be a very loooong summer if this continues.

Trae and Jess are coming home for Memorial Day weekend. I'll pick them up on Friday afternoon, and return them on Tuesday. They'll have their official summer break from June 30th to July 18th, and I know they're both looking forward to that. Trae did say the food "miraculously" improved at Job Corps, so I don't know if they've got a new cook in charge of the kitchen? He definitely sounded like a happy camper about it, though. (I do know he had Pizza one night last week, though... I don't think the two of them realize that I really do follow their facebook pages )

Things are as crazy as usual at our house... this past weekend we spent Saturday with some friends down in League City, and then Sunday after church we helped clear out someone's barn... which means it was an afternoon spent outdoors in the heat . Monday I ran errands - Harbor Freight, Office Depot, Lowe's, and HEB for groceries. Today I'll pop into PetsMart, get Vicki's hair cut, maybe pop into the Container Store for ideas for Brittani's room, half-price frappuccino at Starbucks, then meet up with Andrew for his eye appointment, have dinner with him, and then head towards the airport to wait for Ruth's flight to come in.

I'm working on getting a box packed up to send to Trae & Jessica. I picked up a few surprises for them, and have some other things that they requested packed into it. The plan is to get it out in the mail tomorrow morning for them, but we'll see if I get it finished before I have to leave for the dentist office tomorrow.

It's getting near time for me to dash... hope everyone has a fabulous afternoon!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Another weekend gone by...

Trae and Jessica were home this weekend... full of stories and excitement to be home. It really floored me the first night that Jessica was here... she threw her arms around me in a huge hug and was crying... she said it was all so overwhelming. She's the one who's always composed and never phased by anything normally, so it was definitely a shock to know she loves me  

Since it was Easter weekend, they also got to spend a day with the cousins & everybody, so that was definitely fun for their first weekend home. They're already looking forward to the 2 weeks that they get off in the summer. They're ready to be well-fed with home cooking, and not the "institutional" food that they serve at Job Corps.

The counselor at Job Corps is helping Jessica apply for a Pell Grant, and she'll be able to live there on campus and attend college to get her associate's degree. She's thoroughly happy about that...attending college has always been a huge goal of hers, and I'm so thrilled that the people at Job Corps are working on that with her.

Trae has new eyeglasses... and they make him look all collegiate and smart I had him bring home his prescription so that I could order extra glasses for him. We generally pay $8 for glasses from ZenniOptical, so it's definitely worth having a spare pair of specs, or at the very least to get some prescription sunglasses. 

Saturday was pleasant with the family for Easter. We all met up out at Grandma's house, had a nice lunch and did the Easter Egg hunt. I do wonder every year when my kids will be allowed to outgrow it. Vicki volunteered to skip the hunt and help hide the eggs... it was apparently intended for me to hide them since Andrew was absent, but I volunteered to NOT hide the eggs, and NOT let my kids hunt... apparently that wasn't an option...

We left there shortly after 2pm, which is technically early for us to leave a family gathering, but I had to head home to drop the kids off, switch vehicles, and go pick up Andrew from the airport. It was definitely time for him to come home. 3 weeks is seriously pushing the envelope in regards to him being out of town. He spends his weekends thinking of the things he could be doing if he were home, and the weekends get spent with nothing getting done. The poor guy's brain turns to mush with all of the tv that he ends up watching in hotel rooms, and his honey-do list just piles up.

Vicki is out the door for her 2nd day of work. I don't know that she's entirely thrilled with the situation yet, but she'll get there. I think she had planned for her first job to be (a.) indoors, in air conditioning, and (b.) part time. Her first day was Friday, and she put in a FULL days work. She was across the street by 8am, and didn't get home until 6pm. She was completely exhausted by the time she made it home. She'll work today - I don't know for how long, but I made sure she left in time to walk down to their house to be able to start at 8am again. I did make her a cheese omelette for breakfast :-) so she had a good, healthy breakfast in her tummy to start off with.

Tomorrow and Wednesday she'll be with us in Grapevine, Tx. We're heading up there to Great Wolf Lodge... we've never been there, but a fellow homeschooler took the initiative and worked out an excellent rate that would be applicable if she could manage to get 10 families to sign up. I think we almost doubled that! So it's $166 total (with tax included) for two days of the waterpark, and hotel overnight at the Lodge, for up to 6 people per group. I think we're all looking forward to some fun family time. It's been a crazy year, and I know that I'm definitely going to enjoy a chance to just take some down time, and be with Andrew.

I think it's time for a 2nd cup of coffee this morning... and I also need to start working on my grocery list so that I can run to the store later... hope everyone has an amazing week!

Cute things that land in my email...

On the first day, God created the dog and said, "Sit all day by the door of your house and bark at anyone who comes in or walks past. For this, I will give you a life span of twenty years."
The dog said, "That's a long time to be barking. How about only ten years and I'll give you back the other ten?"
So God agreed......
On the second day, God created the monkey and said, "Entertain people, do tricks, and make them laugh. For this, I'll give you a twenty-year life span."
The monkey said, "Monkey tricks for twenty years? That's a pretty long time to perform. How about I give you back ten like the dog did?" 
And God agreed...... 
On the third day, God created the cow and said, "You must go into the field with the farmer all day long and suffer under the sun, have calves and give milk to support the farmer's family. For this, I will give you a life span of sixty years."
The cow said, "That's kind of a tough life you want me to live for sixty years. How about twenty and I'll give back the other forty?"
And God agreed again...... 
On the fourth day, God created humans and said, "Eat, sleep, play, marry and enjoy your life. For this, I'll give you twenty years." 
But the human said, "Only twenty years? Could you possibly give me my twenty, the forty the cow gave back, the ten the monkey gave back, and the ten the dog gave back; that makes eighty, okay?" 
"Okay," said God. "You asked for it."
So that is why for our first twenty years, we eat, sleep, play and enjoy ourselves. For the next forty years, we slave in the sun to support our family.. For the next ten years, we do monkey tricks to entertain the grandchildren. And for the last ten years, we sit on the front porch and bark at everyone.
Life has now been explained to you.
There is no need to thank me for this valuable information. I'm doing it as a public service. If you are looking for me I will be on the front porch.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The days are flying...

It's Tuesday already... the week is already beginning to blur a bit. A dear friend (Thank you, Lana!!) came over yesterday and helped keep me on task with sorting things in Zachary's room to help initiate "The Great Room Switch." Yes, it totally needs a grand name, because it's definitely turning into an event. We were able to get the beds taken apart in his room, empty almost all of his stuff out of his room, move most of Victoria's stuff into his room, a-a-a-a-nd that's about where my energy level ended... oops. Even another cup of coffee didn't help.

I attempted to head to bed early... went into the bathroom and discovered a scorpion in the tub Ick! Yuck! I hate bugs... spiders... insects... pretty much any creepy crawly. I managed to hold myself together (without Andrew here to be the man & kill it for me). I grabbed a jar from the kitchen, captured the scorpion, stuck a lid on the jar, and now I'm waiting for him to die I turned to take care of business, and a darned spider had spun a web from my toilet to the wall... no, it had not been that long since I'd utilized the facilities previously, so SERIOUSLY! He met with a much quicker demise... squished & flushed. But after all those heebie jeebies, I had the worst time trying to fall asleep

Today we worked some more in the rooms... well... a little bit, anyhow. Then I headed into town to run errands before Sit & Stitch, which I ended up skipping anyhow... oops. On the way home, we could tell there was a huge fire going on in Magnolia. There were two news helicopters, lots of fire trucks, a helicopter with a huge bag of water that he was filling and dumping... the news at 6:30 said over 60 acres had burned, 10 homes were in imminent danger, along with several businesses. Yikes! I'll be watching the news again tonight to find out more...

A perk today was getting the electric bill. I know - not a typical perk. But it was over $100 less this month than last month... so it really was a happy thing!

I picked up some scrubs for Jessica - only one had a floral print, but the others were at least a different design & color than what she received as uniforms, and I know she's been wanting to add some color to her life. I took some pictures and will have to post them. She seemed happy when I talked to her on the phone... I picked them up at the thrift store - shirts were $1.91, pants were $1.41, and the sets were $4.94 - so if there's something she doesn't like, I'll probably just let her see if someone else in her class wants it.

I guess the only other excitement in the last couple of days has been that there's apparently some sort of short in my car? This afternoon, when I stepped on the brake, the radio turned off... when I pressed on the gas, the radio started playing again. Weird. I haven't told Andrew yet... waiting for him to call me back. It's definitely never boring around here!

I'm heading to the kitchen to cook the rest of the chicken that's in the fridge - hope everyone has a splendid evening!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

way behind with no end in sight...

I always have intentions of sitting down to type, but then life seems to get in the way... Andrew is out in West Virginia training again, and the kids at home have decided to switch rooms around now that the oldest two are in Job Corps. We've been busily boxing things that the older ones won't need immediately, packing up things that the ones here don't want anymore, going through clothes they've forgotten (or denied) they've owned <eyeroll>

I'll get to take apart shelves and beds, put together beds and probably different shelves... all with the hopes that they'll keep their rooms clean once we get them switched. The drawback to all of this is that their rooms have subsequently EXPLODED all over the house! There are boxes stacked in the living room, leaving just pathways to get through This work is all going on around our normal schedule, too... if you can count anything about our schedule as normal, that is. LOL

Trae and Jessica are both doing well in Job Corps. Trae stresses out about things, poor guy... which means it's less fun for him than it is for Jessica. She seems to have adapted immediately, and is really enjoying herself. Now that Trae was able to choose his own dorm, his life might settle down a bit. He's definitely having to study harder than he's ever done before... he's finding out that mom wasn't as mean as he thought she was when assigning school work and pushing him to get it done. Jessica's always breezed through school work, so she works very well in an environment of "go at your own pace." She's breezing along, doing her work, playing games, writing her stories, reading books (and wishing for more - there aren't enough books on the planet to placate her!).

Trae's biggest complaint is the food... while Jessica says, "The food is FINE, mom! Trae's just being a wuss!" Be that as it may, he's always been a bit more of a connoisseur than Jessica, who would be satisfied with peanut butter and jelly or macaroni & cheese on a daily basis. I'm making sure to send Trae some seasoning, in hopes that it will improve his perception of the food if he can add flavor to it. Cross your fingers!

Jessica writes letters home, too... while Trae prefers to just send a text message here & there. I no longer hear from him on a daily basis, which means life must be equalizing for him. The daily phone calls & text messages were generally full of complaints and needs... so I'm going with the "No News is Good News" theory, and not hassling him. I do enjoy Jessica's letters, though. Each one is like a story that she took the time to put on paper, and I absolutely love that about her. Her quirkiness is just so completely fun!

One of her letters mentioned how excited she is to have the option of wearing PRINTED scrubs instead of just plain ones... another letter mentioned the need for a blanket? I'll dig further into that request while she's home for Easter. Her very first letter went on about how "Job Corps is like the world... a melting pot of different people and personalities." How cool is that? LOL

It sounds as though the kids are ready for me to come work on taking apart the shelves in one of the rooms... time to dig out the power tools This will be FUN!!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

another week has flown by...

The rest of the week flew by the way I knew it would... Andrew's flight home wasn't as unexpected as planned, the poor guy. After checking his itinerary, I found that he was supposed to be back in Intercontinental around 3pm... unfortunately, when his plane arrived in West Virginia, they had an ambulance and a medical team waiting to whisk away the chief flight officer. The result of that created a necessity for calling in another pilot, and in the meantime, routing the passengers onto different flights. Both the ones waiting for that plane, and the passengers already on it. He was routed through Charlotte before coming home, and he didn't get into the airport until after 8pm. It was a very long day for him, poor thing...

This weekend feels like it never happened... we crammed a lot into it with Andrew just getting home. We got chores and necessities done, and tossed in a nice dinner with his parents and Jessica as a "going away" dinner for her. Jessica leaves for Job Corps this coming Tuesday. That makes two of my chickadees out of the nest.

We took Jessica to Red Lobster for her meal. She was craving shrimp, and I knew she'd have a variety of options on their menu. She chose the shrimp linguini alfredo... which I thought looked awfully oily, but I didn't taste it, and she seemed to like it, so that's all that was important for her meal. I chose the seafood gumbo, and was devastatingly disappointed. The roux just did not have a good flavor to it... you expect a certain flavor to gumbo... and you particularly would expect a seafood restaurant to have a good roux. I've had better gumbo at Jason's Deli, and that's just sad.

Andrew and his dad both ordered the Admiral's Platter - the shrimp was overcooked, the fried fish was almost flavorless, and the scallops were chewy. Can I repeat that this is from a seafood restaurant? Hello?? And yes, you can believe that I DID do the online survey that was referenced on the receipt... you can also believe that I definitely stated everything that I just put here...

When your kids are little and fun and adorable and cute, you think you have so many years before they'll grow up and leave the nest... and then when it's time for them to leave, it's just incredible to think that it seems so very recent that you were holding their hand to cross the street, or teaching them to read, or working with them to learn to make decisions about what to wear... it's a shock when they change their favorite foods or color or cartoon character, and now they're ready to make their way in the world... I'm 36 hours away from taking her to the bus station... holy smokes!

It's after 9pm here, and I'm thinking it's time to head to bed... with Andrew home, my wake up time is back to 5:15am I think I definitely enjoy sleeping until 7:30am while he's in West Virginia don't tell him that there's a perk to his being gone. I like him being home :-)

Good night, everyone!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Another Day, Another Month...

I keep forgetting how quickly time flies... of course, if I weren't so busy, I might notice the passage of time, eh?

I have found myself here on March 1st, with Andrew off in West Virginia training people, and me in charge of the house and kids, and all of the things that go along with it.

Last week the car was being grumpy - I spent one morning in the mechanic's shop, and drove out $230 later with the issue gone. Two days later, the car died about an hour away, and I had to call AAA to send a tow truck... back to the mechanic shop for another $289 repair - my harmonic balancer had broke  

Yesterday I popped into Mann's Tires in Tomball to get my tires rotated, and was shown that they really did need to be replaced. $300 later, I drove out with 4 brand new tires on the car, and my husband telling me that I'm not supposed to be spend ALL the money while he's out of town LOL  When he called this evening, his questions were about the CAR, not about the kids or I. He laughed when I pointed it out... and it was kind of funny.

I spent yesterday with a friend of mine - we had some wonderful mommy time - getting mani's & pedi's and had lunch at Cafe Adobe afterward. It was positively splendid, and we have definitely got to take a day like that at least a couple of times a year. It was such a nice, relaxing day.

Today I ran a friend down to Galveston for an appointment, and then we stopped at Gringo's for lunch... ran a few errands together... it was so nice. The weather was just beautiful! I couldn't have scheduled it to be better.

Tomorrow I finish going through Jessica's clothes for Job Corps. I know she has some slacks that need to be hemmed... but we'll do an inventory and find out what we still need to pick up for her before she leaves next Tuesday. This means my two eldest children will have left home within two weeks of each other. It's exciting but so sad, all at the same time. I've been looking forward to this opportunity for months, and now that it's here, it's just so weird to let them go... 

I normally try to get some housecleaning done while Andrew is out of town, but I haven't even had time to sort through things. Perhaps tomorrow I can go through a little bit... but I know that with working on Jessica's stuff, trying to finish her shopping, rotating bread over so that we can make a run to pick up more tomorrow evening, and youth group for the kids tomorrow evening, the day will probably sneak past me pretty quick. 

Thursday morning we need to take the doggies in to get their nails trimmed. Their nails are definitely past the "need to" point... and we generally go first thing in the morning so that we don't have to wait in line. Thursday evening is Christian Skate Night at Skate Town - so I'll take the kids to that. It's a monthly thing that they really enjoy. It's always the first Thursday of ever month, and some of their friends usually show up at it, too. I usually take some knitting and some movies or tv shows on my ipod to watch, so that I get some "mommy stuff" done. I can't possibly "just" sit there... seriously. 

Friday is the day Andrew comes back this time. So I should get to stay home most of the day and work around the house before going to pick him up. I'll probably make a point of leaving early enough to go visit a friend of mine who has her husband and father both in the hospital right now. I haven't had an opportunity to catch up with her in a couple of weeks.... 

I complain that I never have time to get anything done... I don't know how my schedule seems to create itself. I really don't. There are days when I feel as though I'm only a participant in this playground of Life, and I've ended up stuck on the merry-go-round LOL

Hopefully everyone else is having a fabulous week... it's 10pm, and I'm definitely ready for bed tonight. Sleep well! Good night!

Friday, February 18, 2011

It's almost over...

and no... this time I'm not talking about the month. It's the vacation.

I head back home tomorrow evening. It's been an absolutely luxurious week... no teens/tweens around. There was peace and quiet the entire week... minimal laundry, cooked good meals all week for appreciative adults, only checked in minimally each day with the kids. I have absolutely enjoyed myself.

I have found out that I definitely prefer my own cooking. We ate out a couple of times, and it was a supreme disappointment every time. We even specifically hunted down a Chinese restaurant today, and it was definitely not an enjoyable experience. We'd have had happier tummies if I'd cooked... I hate spending money out on a meal and regretting having eaten the food

There's a lovely gym that we've had access to. I just wish that I'd know there was a hot tub, and I'd  have brought my swim suit... that would have been nice to relax in during the evening. It's okay, though - I was able to get some knitting done...

I also learned that I definitely need to take my own pillow with me if I'm going somewhere... I have been missing my pillow all week. We picked up some squishier ones at Target, but it's still not the same as my super-squishy pillow at home... I will definitely sleep VERY well when I make it home tomorrow night.

Trae received the notification this week from Job Corps - he leaves this coming Tuesday. I'm excited about this opportunity for him. I only hope that he's as excited about it as I am. It's so incredible... I only wish that I'd known about it sooner. He could have already been through the program, had a job, and been living on his on by this time... Jessica should be getting her call within a few weeks, too. I know she's excited about it. Trae's going in for the HVAC program, while Jessica is going in for the medical billing and coding. That's something that she'll definitely be good at. She has such an amazing memory, and a brain for numbers... she'll totally breeze right through everything. She's already discussing the fact that if she doesn't get to take college classes while in the program, she's planning on taking them at night after she gets a job. She doesn't want to just "settle" in a single career if she can take it further. She's a smart cookie!

She'll continue working on her writing, too. I know that she absolutely wants to make a career with it at some point, and I absolutely encourage her to do so... but she also has to have a "real" job to take care of the bills while she's working on getting her name out there into the world.

The other three kids will certainly miss Trae and Jessica, although they won't readily admit it. Zach and Britt are currently planning what they want done with their rooms once their siblings are gone. I don't think they've really digested the idea that their chores are about to multiply exponentially with the loss of their counterparts. It also means that the tea shoppe will be losing Trae... I've volunteered Vicki/Zachary to work up there - they're both fully capable of raking, feeding animals, etc, and are both perfectly willing to earn money... so it's a happy thing for both of them. They won't be able to move furniture the way Trae does, but they'll get the standard chores done...

Trae's working on a list of things he needs me to pick up before he leaves. He needs a clear backpack - that's a must have, so I ordered two different ones from, and I'll let him pick one and give the other to Jessica. They should get delivered tomorrow - thank goodness for the free two-day shipping from amazon. It's an absolute lifesaver sometimes.

Cool! I just checked the tracking number from amazon, and it shows they were delivered this afternoon. I told Trae to go ahead and open the box. You just have to love it- I ordered them yesterday afternoon, and they were delivered at 12:05 today. Absolutely fabulous!

Well, I'm going to wind down for the evening... have a glass of wine and relax before bedtime. Hope everyone is well... g'nite!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

I'm leaving... on a jet plane...

I've been singing that John Denver song all week. The kids have definitely been driven nuts with it. I considered it a crowning achievement to have finally gotten the song stuck in Brittani's head last night. LOL She wasn't impressed with me.

It's actually happening - I'm heading out to West Virginia to spend a week with Andrew. The kids are at home, with Ruth in charge, and hopefully everything goes smoothly. Andrew's already checked in with me to make sure my day is on time... and it is. I'm taking no chances! Of course, I still think I must be slightly off-kilter to be leaving Houston just when we're supposed to have a week of beautiful weather to go out to the freezing Tundra of WV. It'll definitely be fun, though - hot baths can resolve freezing feet, right?

Okay - signing off for the moment - we should have boarding announcements starting soon, and I definitely want to skip off to the bathroom for a moment before we board.

Have a great day!!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


So I know my life tends to get a little wild here & there... you just never know what's going to happen!

The other day when Andrew left for West Virgnia, we knew there was a leak somewhere in the house... there was a puddle in the laundry room. I did my duty and hunted it down! Turns out it was a hose on the hot water heater. One of the flexible copper hoses had apparently been slightly crimped when we hooked up the "new" (5 years ago) hot water heater... apparently over time that crimped spot had weakened enough to finally start spewing (yes, I said spewing - lots of pressure behind it!) and was slowly flooding the little hot water heater cupboard in the girls' closet, and it was seeping under the wall into the laundry room... so I picked up a new hose (braided hose this time - no chance of crimps), borrowed a friends pipe wrench, and with my oldest son's help, we changed out that hose last night...

I also picked up this really cool shelving unit from a friend of mine - one of those sets with the runners and wire drawers... she never even unpackaged it, having decided to do something else in her closet... so I had the entertaining time of putting the thing together... The only tool needed was a mallet. It's absolutely fabulous, though. I was able to go through the mountain that tends to grow on my side of the bed, and organize the whole shabang! It's awesome! (I'm not totally done sorting through everything that I unburied, but I should finish it if I just sit down & work at it for a couple of hours... it was a HUGE mountain of stuff )

There's never enough excitement in my life, though... so a friend of my husband's has wonderfully gifted some of his airline miles, so that we were able to get ME a ticket to fly out to West Virginia for a week with Andrew. How completely awesome is that? $40 for a round trip ticket... and it includes flying home on the same flight as Andrew. Talk about a fabulous working vacation. (He'll be the one working, I'll be on vacation... with SNOW! and NO TEENAGERS! It really WILL be a vacation! )

I have a list of things to get done before leaving on Saturday, though... and a list of things that I need to take with me... there's a kitchen in the place that we'll be staying, but I'm not sure how well-equipped it is, so I have to decide what necessities I need to take with me to cook in a possibly "less than ideal" set up. I know for certain that my husband will want Chicken Schnitzel at least one of the nights - his absolute favorite dish of mine... I know my "One Pot Wonders" always go over well, and are easy... and warm and filling which is always a perk... I know I'll have to put my supplies in my "check in" luggage, though... but I can't decide if I should take one of my good kitchen knives or not... I can take my little calphalon skillet for cooking the chicken & whatever other meat I want to cook. I need my meat tenderizer for pounding the chicken... decision, decisions!

It's time to rouse the children and put them to work for the day... laters!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Zipping by...

It's only February, and the year is already zipping past... I had my 40th birthday. It's supposed to be a milestone of some sort, isn't it? I did have an awesome weekend for it, though. The weather was positively gorgeous, and I spent time with friends, dinner out with husband, and it actually felt like the weekend was mostly about me - a highly unusual situation LOL

Andrew's out of town for work. He'll be gone for two weeks... I always hate when he has to leave, although the house tends to get really clean while he's gone for some reason. I end up in spring cleaning mode no matter what time of year it is. Lots of stuff leaves, cabinets get reorganized, even the medicine cabinet usually gets gone through. I have no idea why those things don't happen while he's home... weird.

We did have a snow day last week - another very odd event. The kids definitely enjoyed it! Plus we had some new baby chicks born... that's always exciting. We love our baby critters (smile).

I'll get some pictures posted over the next couple of days from the snow... I have a fun video of Brittani & Zachary playing in it, too. I definitely need to load it - it's entertaining...

It's past bedtime for now, so I'm going to go snuggle up in my blankets and catch some Z's! G'nite!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

It's a New Year!

Well, 2011 has slammed into us and is already flying past... I know we're only 2 weeks into the new year, but it already feels like so much has happened.

Andrew's job is going well - he's been informed that he's going to be going out in the field to be a trainer... they already have about 6 weeks worth of training lined up for him out in West Virginia. Spread out through February, March, and April. I always hate when he travels... I miss him when he's gone. Of course, the important things will be getting him his own ipod charger to take with him, and loading more audiobooks on his ipod for the trips. (It's the only way he reads books... and he usually falls asleep that way LOL)

A friend of mine has been spending her week at the hospital this past week, and will probably be there next week as well. Her husband is in the ICU, so I'm trying to make sure that I'm available if/when she needs me. She's always doing so much for everyone else, so while I don't like the REASON, I'm glad to be able to do something that helps HER.

Victoria was invited to a lovely outing that took place this evening. We pulled out her fancy dress for the semi-formal occasion. She attended a musical at the Hobby Center in Houston, and dinner at the beautiful Artista restaurant. Her friend Nathan looked positively handsome in his suit and fedora, too. His mom was totally incredible for inviting Vicki to the outing. I know Vicki absolutely enjoyed the evening. She was still glowing with happiness when we got home.

Brittani's been a happy camper - Jerry the Donkey has been letting Brittani climb on his back and sit on him. He'll walk in circles while she sits there. Britt is completely thrilled with it. I'll need to post pictures :-)

Zachary has been spending as much time as he can at Blake's house. The two boys are such good buddies - and I'm so glad. I know Zachary gets tired of hanging out with just his sisters... too much girl time is NOT happy as far as he's concerned. I did give him a tshirt at Christmas that's become a favorite, though. (The girls aren't impressed with it, though LOL). The shirt reads "My sister did it." So obviously it HAD to become his favorite, right?

Trae has a new friend, too... Rhonda introduced Aaron to him, and those boys have been spending lots of time together, too. They're big enough to do work, though... so both families have been utilizing them LOL We used them one weekend to move furniture between multiple houses. This weekend they're at Aaron's uncle's house pulling up carpet... although we might pick them up for a little while tomorrow to pick up a safe that someone's giving us.

I guess that leaves Jessica to update on - but there's not much to update. She's working on another book, enjoying the "how to draw" books that I gave her for Christmas... she wanted to work on learning to draw Manga, and she also works on fashion design on her drawings. Now to bring some of her drawings to life, and she'll be a happy camper. Of course, I still have some sleep pants that I need to finish sewing... they're still stacked  up on the kitchen table waiting on me. Hopefully I can get those finished this week.

Christmas was good - I cooked Chicken Schnitzel for Christmas Eve dinner, and had a house full of happy tummies. We had a traditional turkey dinner on Christmas Day, though at Andrew's parents. It was totally yummy! The treasure hunt on Christmas Eve went well, too. It's always fun... Andrew's parents are so creative! And I love that they stay organized with the whole thing, too. The kids enjoy it every year. We don't do "big" Christmas gifts - they're not in the budget... but we do make sure that Christmas is memorable, and I love that we have so much fun.

New Years? That was also our 20th anniversary this year... did we do anything exciting? Nope... had a casual night in, with summer sausage, cheese, crackers, and wine in front of a movie, and we were asleep by 10:30pm LOL - we were tired... what can I say?

I think that catches up to the current excitement... although I'm on a quest to find a new "nice dinner" for next Christmas. Andrew enjoys my cooking skills and likes to show them off, so I'll have to create something new that he'll want to show off next year instead of doing Schnitzel again (although it is VERY good Schnitzel... just sayin' )

It's almost 11pm - and definitely past my bedtime... I did sleep in this morning, though. We were up late last night, and I still can't believe I slept until 9:45 this morning. I know the kids opened the bedroom door & asked if they could watch TV, but I went right back to sleep after that. (Of course, it doesn't help that my monthly friend is visiting, and being VERY cranky... AND I woke up coughing after midnight... so I took half a hydrocodone and some nyquil at that hour, so it's no wonder that I sleep late )

Well - hope everyone is well, and I resolve to do better on updating this blog more frequently. I'd definitely like it to become a better habit. It makes for a good diary... Good night!