Monday, December 28, 2009

What's in a Name 3 Challenge

I was very excited to see that a new host stepped up to keep this challenge going! Annie did a great job creating and hosting this challenge for two years and I am looking forward to year 3! I am absolutely positive that I will change my book choices, but here is the first round of possibilities:

"Body of Water" category: River Secrets by Shannon Hale or The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood

"Place Name" category: The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance by Elna Baker

"Plant" category: Twisted Tree by Kent Meyers

"Title" (Doctor, Mrs., president, etc.) category: His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik or Nanny Returns by Emma McLaughlin, Nicola Kraus. I am thinking both of these titles are a bit of a stretch, so let me know if you have any other suggestions...

"Food" category: Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

And that just leaves the "music term" category...surely I can come up with one before next December!

Book Reviews

I need to finish up my reviews for Annie's challenge so here they are. It has been some time since I read some of these, but I will do my best to remember what happened!

For the "profession" category I read Princess Academy by Shannon Hale. "Princess" is a profession, right? This was one of my favorite reads of the year (although I must admit I had quite a few of those this year). The story begins in a small village and with a 14 year old girl, Miri, who is struggling to find her place in her world. When the prince announces he will choose a bride from the quarry town, the eligible girls are sent to "princess academy" to learn how to impress the prince and act like a princess. As the girls endure isolation and hardships, their true characters emerge and we find Miri to be a true leader. This is a sweet story that I think would be a particularly good read for any girl who has ever faced the hardships of being "different" and growing up - just about every female on the planet, I think!

For the "building" category I read "The Enchanted Castle" by Edith Nesbit, written in 1907. Another good book, although I must admit that parts of it seemed strange and a little creepy - the cardboard cut out people come-to-life, for example. Three children happen across an enchanted castle and a magic ring and have many adventures in the process of attempting to sort out the magic of the castle. I originally thought I would read this book with Bryn, but I think I will let it wait a few years - although very cleverly written, it was not one of those children's books I will revisit again and again.

The last book I read for this challenge was "Echo in the Bone" by Diana Gabaldon for the "body part" category. This is the 7th book (I think) in the Outlander series about a woman who time travels to 1700's Scotland. I have been waiting for this book to come out for years (literally) to see what would happen next to Claire and her family. The Outlander series is addictive and LONG. All of the books are somewhere in the 700-1000 page range and they take a while to read. And I have admittedly forgotten much of what I read in the other books, so there is quite a bit of research and rereading that has to go on to make sure I am keeping all of the characters and their complex stories and relationships straight in my mind! So when this one ended with so many stories and characters hanging, I just about wanted to hurl the bulk of the book through the window. I am trying not to think about the fact that it will likely be another 4 to 5 years before the next book comes out. I am really hoping it is the last as I am not sure I can handle any more unfinished business in the Fraser family!

Back Home

We had a fabulous Christmas in Boise. One of the highlights was definitely the turducken (pictures will come soon!). Bryn was thrilled to pieces with her Nintendo DS and Wii games (and other gifts, too, but those have been the tops for now), Grant looks pretty tough in his new Harley leather jacket and hat (and thought that Oliver's ride-on fire truck was pretty cool!), Aaron is excited about his Playstation 3 and I can't wait to learn the ins and outs of my new camera! Needless to say, we are quite spoiled! But the best part by far was hanging out with the family. We got to see Jeremiah and Mesha's new place, enjoy Christmas Eve service at Dad and Cheryl's church and watch the little kids play (um, fight)! We ate some fabulous meals, got too little sleep and got to watch pheasants from the kitchen window. We even made it home with only a slight glitch (missed connecting flight and had an extra 6 hours in the Denver airport). There was plenty of snow and some lonely cats waiting in Kansas for us. Now we get to enjoy a late Christmas celebration with Aaron's parents and brother, after which we will sit back and recover and revel in the fact that we are truly blessed!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Hanging out with the siblings

We went out last night and left the kids home with Grandpa and Nana (although we were nice enough to leave two out of our sleeping already) and had a nice time drinking and chatting. We were minus one brother in law who was detained by weather, but we will get a chance to catch up in the next few days.

We have been busy...We went and had a burger yesterday at a biker bar and Grant discovered the joys of fry sauce and then Bryn and Grandpa and Nana went and saw A Christmas Carol. We are now heading to the grocery store to get more food and beer. This evening we are heading to the soup kitchen to serve a meal, hopefully going to check out Jeremiah and Mesha's new place and then work on mastering the fine nuances of cooking chicken fried steak for dinner. And maybe get some sleep before we all drop from exhaustion!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Holly Jolly Christmas!

Aaron, the kids and I made it to Boise and we are having fun hanging out with the family. Grant has bitten one cousin on the head and pushed his other cousin down, so we are off to a fabulous start! Tonight is cookie baking night, tomorrow is parents's night out and we are going to go out to look at Christmas lights after church on Christmas Eve. Fun times!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Procrastination

So blogging is the last thing I should be doing considering I have plenty to do before we leave for Boise tomorrow, but I am obviously looking for any excuse to keep me from working right now!

Bryn's Christmas program was last night and after some arguments over her Christmas dress (Bryn: why is it gray? Shouldn't it be another color?...Me: If you don't like gray then you need to come shopping when I buy your clothes...Bryn: I don't like shopping. I will just tell you what color I want and YOU can go shopping) and her hair (it evidently makes her look "funny" when it is curled) we managed to get there and enjoy the show. Grant was very impressed with the portion that had a little slide show video to go with it and proceeded to say "boovie (movie), boovie, boovie" for the remainder of the program.

I am very excited about going to Boise tomorrow, not only to see everyone for the holidays, but also because I can just hang out and not do all of the crazy things that I have to do around the house when I am home. It will be fun to just relax and enjoy! Of course that may be easier said than done with 3 kids under 2 in the house!

So I guess since grades are done, receipts are entered into Quicken and I have blogged now I have to get down to business and get packing!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

All better now

I am feeling much less angry than I was earlier, so I guess the purge was good for my soul! And the lost Christmas box getting to Boise today didn't hurt my mood any...now I can quit worrying about when and how to replace a bunch of Santa gifts - hooray!

Warning - I am really pissed off

I don't often get this mad and I certainly don't usually post about it on my blog. But this is my blog and I started it so I could express freely what I am thinking. I find that I don't do that for the most part because I don't want to upset anyone or be offensive, but today I don't care who I offend. This is going to be pure rant, so if you don't want to be involved in reading expletives and ire then I suggest you browse away right now. Here is my current Facebook status:

@#$!?#$% students. If you don't do the work, you are not going to do well in my class. Quit being irresponsible, entitled, crybaby whiners. Is that clear enough?

Why is it that people think they deserve to have things handed to them without working for them? When did everyone become so entitled? You want to pass a class when you don't bother to do the work required? You want the government to provide medical care for your sorry ass because you can't be bothered to go find a full time job that provides you with health benefits? You want to be saved from foreclosure on your house when you took out a mortgage that you couldn't afford in the first place? What sorry excuse for a human taught you that you deserve to be taken care of just because it is hard to take care of yourself and your family? Whoever it was should be strung up and pelted with rocks because they did you a massive disservice.

I am sure I should now write some nice words about how I do realize that there are people who really do need and deserve help and that I really do have a heart and care about humanity, but frankly I don't give a shit what I should write. If you are a lazy, whiny, sorry excuse for a human being that refuses to take responsibility for your own actions or circumstances regardless of how you came to be where you are then I am not sure I really much care what happens to you. Wallow in your misery and your pathetic circumstances and keep yourself far away from me and my family. I have no interest in helping you and I don't want you contaminating my personal space with your f-ing existence.

Aaaaaaaahhhhhh, I think I feel a little bit better!

Monday, December 14, 2009

End of an era

So that may be a bit dramatic, but it is the end of something. I never felt comfortable with the whole idea anyway, but that is just because I have a screw or two loose. At least that is what most people tell me when we talk about this.

What is "this"? The tooth fairy, Santa Claus, the Easter bunny and all of the other magical and mythical creatures that are just grown ups disguised as "magic". I think it all stems back to my childhood...

I remember being really pissed off when I found out that all of the magic present bringers were really just grown ups. Why? Because everyone had pulled one over on me. I mean, grown-ups aren't supposed to LIE...especially not to the kids they punish for lying!

So when Bryn was born, Aaron and I actually had discussions about whether or not we would have Santa at our house. I really am not a total Scrooge...I love the idea of a nice, jolly man who brightens up the lives of everyone at Christmas by bringing presents and has a whole herd of reindeer, so I decided in the end it would be kind of fun and surely my kid would figure it out pretty quickly and I wouldn't have to "lie" for long. I mean, I found out by the time I was 6 and certainly kids are more savvy these days, right? Well, I have been trying (subtly) to get Bryn to ask me about the reality of Santa for a couple of years, but she just wouldn't bite. It evidently took the tooth fairy not coming for 5 or 6 days this week (and, no, I did not forget on purpose!) to bring it all to a head. The conversation went something like this...

Me: So why do you think the tooth fairy might not have come?

Bryn: (Long pause) Maybe she was just really busy.

Me: Maybe. Do you think there might be any other reason?

Bryn: Do you?

Me: I don't know...tell me what you think.

Bryn: You tell me what you think.

Me: You tell me what YOU think.

Bryn: I am too embarrassed to say.

Me: Don't be embarrassed...I am your Mom and I won't think what you say is silly.

Bryn: (Long pause) Are you the tooth fairy, Mom?

Me: (Sigh of relief) Yes, I am. And guess who else I am?

Bryn: Santa?

Me: Yep!

Bryn: I had been thinking that since I was 6, but I was too embarrassed to say anything.

Me: Well, now that you know you get to do all the cool stuff like stay up late and put out presents for the little kids with Dad and I and the other grownups. And make sure not to tell anyone who doesn't know about Santa or the tooth fairy or the Easter bunny yet because you don't want to ruin the surprise.

Bryn: Woohoo! (I think this was because of the "stay up late" part...)


And there you have it. The end of my angst over Santa. And all the better that it happened now since I had to tell her that the post office may have lost her Santa gifts on the way to Boise and she might have a few fewer presents until we can hit the USPS up for the insurance money!

And don't remind me that I have to go through all of this again with kid number two...

What a weekend!

It was another crazy weekend! Although I think my perception of its craziness was tainted by the fact that I have a bad cols that seemed to make everything about 10 times harder than it really was. Fortunately, I seem to be on the mend - there is considerably less pain and snot today than there has been for the last few days. I do have comapny in my misery...poor little Grant has been battling it even longer than I have but he is far less whiny about it than I am!

Bryn and I went to Humane Society volunteer orientation on Thursday night so we are now ready to do our thing. It looks like we will be hanging out with the puppies and Kittens since Bryn is too young to work with any animals over 6 months old. We will play with them, walk, them, clip nails if we want to - basically whatever we feel like doing to make them a little happier and give them a better chance of getting adopted. The ycurrently have about 600 cats there and 300 dogs but not all of them are available for adoption so we have the option to work with about 1/4 of that amount. My main goal is to not come home with another pet...Aarin is in complete agreement with that objective!

Bryn and I and some friends went and saw the Kansas Nutcracker on Saturday night. It was lots of fun and helped get me geared up for Christmas...it seems I need all the help I can get this year to get into a festive mood! I am truly looking forward to heading to Boise to visit...I am excited to just hang out and not have any responsibilities to speak of - no school, no house to take care of, no running through my overscheduled life! Should be great!

It was a good day for church missions yesterday and therefore a rewarding day for me...the dinner fundraiser for Bridges of Hope for which we provide a once a month dinner for the disadvantaged) raised a little over $3000. We got all of the gifts (about 90 items!) we needed for our adopt-a-family, too, and those will be delivered bright and early this morning.

We have another busy week ahead but I hope to get lots of things crossed off of my to-do list in the process. Fortunately, I wouldn't have my life any other way...it may be crazy busy, but it is fun!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Snow Day!

It is the first snow day of the year and I had hoped to have some nice pictures of the kids playing in the snow to insert here:




However, Grant screamed from the moment I put his boots on until we were back inside and I took them off. I am not sure whether he was objecting to the bulky coats and snow suit (if that is the case, he is definitely his mother's child) or if he was just being contrary (in which case I most certainly must blame that one his father's genes :)!), but either way, it was not the best set up for a photo shoot.

Now we are inside enjoying some hot chocolate and watching Sesame Street...that is my idea of a mighty fine snow day!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Ugh

I have a long day in front of me and am less than thrilled to have been awoken at 5:30 this morning by Bryn and her little buddy who spent the night last night. Bryn has been kind of obsessed with waking up time in the morning and seems to think that she needs to be up by 6 am to watch TV. And last night she was up at 12:30 (after going to bed at 11:00) because she though it was 6 am (obviously some confusion with the big hand and little hand). Time to go with a digital clock in her room, I guess! I am headed over to the soup kitchen this morning and then we are having a Sunday School social at our house this evening. We'll see how this all goes on 4 hours of sleep...maybe days like this will cure me of my night owl tendencies!

Aaron and I took Bryn and a friend to see A Christmas Carol 3D last night. It was good, but surprisingly scary for a PG movie. I realize that the story itself is somewhat dark and scary, but it seemed a bit intense. But we all liked it anyway. Although I did NOT like ticket prices...almost $50 for 2 adults and 2 kids to go to a movie!?!? That is just crazy!

I had a nice night out with some friends on Friday and we got the rest of the Christmas decorations up yesterday. So as long as I survive today, it will have been a pretty nice weekend!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Geez...

The days just fly by! Nothing exciting has been happening around here. It has been a relatively quiet few days. On Saturday, Aaron and I went to see "Blind Side" and then put the Christmas tree up. We spent all night taking the lights off of the pre-lit tree because so many strands of lights were burned out - not an activity I would recommend. I finally got new lights on but we haven't put ornaments on. Baby steps...

Bryn has a friend coming over for a playdate today and she has invited two friends to go to see Christmas Carol 3D and spend the night on Saturday. Besides that, just the normal day to day stuff around here!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Um...Wow.

That is what I have to say after my first real Black Friday shopping experience. I had to try it so I could say I have done it. I am not sure whether I am still so tired I can't comprehend what happened or if it really was kind of fun. I went with a seasoned pro - I am not sure how well things would have ended had I gone by myself! My friend Rhonda and I headed out around 11 pm last night and got home around 9 am this morning. And 4 hours of that was spent sitting on the concrete outside of Target between 1 am and 5 am (but we did get an excellent place in line and NEVER would have gotten what we wanted if we had gotten there later as the line was wrapping around the building by 5 am!). I spent more time looking for Rhonda after she sped ahead like a practiced Black Friday shopper than I did even looking for the things I might want to buy! But I did get the things I went for and met some interesting people in line, so it was a good day overall! Not sure if I will ever go again, but it was fun this time!

We had a nice visit with Aaron's parents on Thanksgiving. We went to Manhattan the night before and got to hang out with them and Aaron's brother, Bryan. We went to Grandmother's for Thanksgiving lunch and ate in the restaurant there. And the best part is that we came back home with no kids! We are enjoying a relaxing weekend with no one to wake us up or ask for snacks (except the cats) while the kids hang with their grandparents and Uncle for the weekend. Sweet...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

We have walking!

Grant is finally really walking! 2 days shy of 20 months old. He is serious about it now, though, and is taking long strolls (well, actually more like Frankenstein lurches) through the house. It will be nice to be able to e able to put him down without having to worry about how clean (or not clean!) the floor is. I feel much better about shoes touching all of that nastiness than hands touching it!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Fun weekend!

Had another fun weekend! The highlight was definitely going to see Wicked with Aaron. I really enjoyed it - the only bummer was the sound...when the whole ensemble sang the orchestra and the mics were so loud it felt like a rock concert! We did sit in my fav seats though...front row balcony. I had forgotten that professional theater is a really a far cry from what I usually get to see. I am now ready to get some season tickets so Aaron and I will have an excuse to get ourselves out of the house to do something!

Otherwise, just busy. My in-laws were here for the weekend to watch the kids and it was nice to see them. I scrapbooked Friday, did some shopping yesterday and went to church and took Bryn to a birthday party today.

Bryn had a Girl Scout sleepover last night. She got about 5 hours of sleep and came home and crashed this morning for another 4 hours. She couldn't believe she slept right through church! She told me they played Limbo and here was her quote..."You couldn't use your hands. Actually, that was annoying".

So there you have it...crazy life we lead here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Poetry and other stuff

Other stuff first...

I have had a good couple of days. No meetings or running around Monday or Tuesday so I got some nice down time and got to hang out a little bit with my wonderful husband. I managed to get our closet organized (at least enough to get everything crammed in and out of the bedroom), got to spend some nice time with my friend Barbara yesterday on her birthday and today while she helped me with some Angel Tree stuff for church. I got to come home to a clean house today (which for some reason just makes me feel like all is right with the world - especially when I didn't have to do the cleaning!) and I got word from the Humane Society that they are going to make an exception to the "you have to be 11 years old to volunteer" rule and Bryn (and I) are going to be able to go help out.

Grant is obsessed with cookies and buses. I probably hear those words at least 300 hundred times a day. Unfortunately he does not get to eat as many cookies or see as many buses as he would like to. I could probably do something about the bus problem, but I am pretty sure there aren't enough cookies in the world to make him happy!

Now for some poetry by Bryn. She brought these home from school and they completely cracked me up. I especially like the comment at the end of this one.

Puppy
(by Bryn Reed)
A puppy was born.
On a bright and early morn.
He did a good job.
Not making a mob.
He liked the mop.
So on it he did hop.
You can see his smile.
From a mile.
He is sweet.
He will eat a treat.
He likes a guppy.
Oh, that puppy.
(Bryn Reed is a well known 2nd grade poet)


Fight
The cat and the dog had a fight.The cat did it with all of his might.
The cat was fat. He had a mat.
Which is what they did fight for. But the cat ran out the door.


Cat
The cat had a hat. He thought it was a mat. So there he sat.


Spring
In spring I wear shoes with springs. I have a bird that sings.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Is it just me...

or does Oprah seem to not be enjoying her interview with Sarah Palin very much today? I am not really a huge Sarah Palin fan (and have always liked Oprah) but I don't know that I have ever seen such subtle contempt on Oprah's part with a guest before. I don't often watch Oprah, but I couldn't resist tuning in to see how this interview went. I am not even sure what exactly is bothering me about the show. I guess it just confirms that I am not missing anything by missing Oprah in the afternoons.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Another busy week

We went to Manhattan this past Friday for a quick trip. Bryn had a slumber party to go to there and I stayed with a friend while Grant and Aaron went to my in-laws house. Aaron managed to con his mom out of her KU/K-State football ticket by leaving Grant with her. It was a great game (Bryn and I listened on the radio on the way home). Aaron came home with practically no voice but I gathered form his sign language that he had fun!

Some friends came over on Saturday night and Bryn had a great time playing with her friend Riley. She doesn't get to see him as much since they moved so it was a treat to have him here! And I loved catching up with his mom - it was a fun time.

I had bookclub on Sunday and really enjoyed getting together with my crazy liberal friends. They call me their "token conservative" and even when the talks degenerate into religion and politics we all manage to come away from it still liking each other! We have been meeting for 5 years...it hardly seems possible that it has been that long.

With Bunco on Monday night, Girl Scouts and Friends of the Library on Tuesday night and a trip over to the church to get stuff packed up for a big church missions activity on Saturday, I am looking forward to being home tonight. I am sure Aaron is excited, too - he gets a lot of kid bedtime duty with my crazy schedule being what it is!

Bryn started some of her supplemental school classes at the elementary school this week and she enjoyed it. She was concerned about having to ride over there in the van with her least favorite classmate, but she says he is far better behaved there than he is at school. She worried and worried about it...gee, I wonder where she got that trait?

An occupational therapist came to check Grant out and concluded that he seems just fine and she was not worried about his delay in walking. So now that it has been confirmed that he is just being him and doing things in his own sweet time we will just wait and see what happens. I keep thinking it will be any day - he has taken some steps on his own - but it could be another couple months, too, I suppose. We'll see. I am totally over being worried about it so someone else will have to let me know if it is an issue!

Tomorrow night some girlfriends are coming over to scrapbook...the number keeps growing so there should be a houseful and lots of food, wine and laughs. I am looking forward to it!

So just another crazy, busy week around here. Although it can sometimes be overwhelming, I love my life and am so thankful to have wonderful family and friends to share it with!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I don't get it

I am sitting at the car place waiting on my car and marvelling at what I have witnessed. The dealership has a nice little waiting area with nice chairs and some free snacks and drinks. I have watched one woman down a latte, a muffin, two juice boxes, a bag of popcorn and then shove some goodies into her purse for later I guess. I suppose I don't know for sure that she is not homeless or starving, so I should probably give her the benefit of the doubt, but the incident did bring up a little question in my mind. Why is it that people seem to take more than they need (or even want) when whatever it is they are taking does not really belong to them? The extra office supplies from work, the extra refills on drinks when you only paid for one glass, the 5 bottles of "free" water when you can only drink one at a time? Is this some innate human hoarding tendency? Is this some fear of not having enough? Or is this greed and entitlement, plain and simple?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Halloween Ghoulies

We had a fabulous Halloween weekend starting with some pictures of the kids by a professional photographer friend of mine. She was so great with the kids despite the cold weather and the clueless-on-how-to-be-helpful-at-a-photo-shoot parents! Here is the link for those not on Facebook.pictures I can't wait until they are all done and it is time to order - I am looking forward to having some of the beautifully done pictures in my house after too many years of my snapshots!

Speaking of snapshots, here are some from Halloween. We had a great day - our friends Barb and Paul and their kiddos (aka Little red Riding Hood, Big Bad Wolf and three little pigs) came over for trick or treating, dinner and to watch the K-State game. I didn't manage to get pictures of all of them, but I got plenty of my kids that day! Grant didn't "Aaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrhhhh" like a pirate all day - he was just about the grumpiest pirate ever. But Bryn made up for it by being a pretty cheerful puppy (imagine Bryn dressing up as a dog? Who would have guessed?)









In other news, Grant had his pre-evaluation for early intervention for his non-interest in walking. I keep thinking he is just on the brink (and I really think he is) but he just won't take off on his own. He will walk if you hold only one of his hands, but he just won't do it by himself. He is still adding words to his repertoire everyday, though - cookie, moose, me, movie, mouse, yo-yo, nana (as both banana and Nana!) and ee-i-ee-i-ee-o for farmer. And for a little guy who didn't get his first tooth until 11 months, he now has a total mouth full. All are in or on their way except two eye-teeth.

On the opposite end of the evaluation spectrum, we went to a meeting today to discuss Bryn's test results and options to give her a few more challenges at school. It went pretty well although I am thinking that if I had to deal with me while I work on getting what I want for Bryn out of her education I would shudder whenever I walked in the door. Aaron assures me I am a very squeaky wheel, indeed!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Trip to Chicago with my girl...

Bryn and I had a great time in Chicago and I finally uploaded the pictures to prove it!

We hit the ground running when we got into the city...

Bryn voted for a ride on the Navy Pier ferris wheel


Hooray!

Warming up with some hot chocolate

Dinner with Valerie Tripp (one of the authors of the American Girl books). She was so nice and spent lots of time talking to all of the girls and telling them how to work at being a writer. It was fabulous!

I accidentally got a picture of Bryn mid-sneeze. It cracked me up!

Heading to the Shedd Aquarium. We got there right after they opened and the crowd showed up just as we were leaving. Perfect timing!


Bryn and Grandma

Bryn, Grandpa and Zita (Grandpa's caretaker)


Can't wait until the next girl's trip! It was so nice for us to get away and not have any of the pressures of the daily stuff. We made it through the entire weekend without any arguing - quite a feat for us as of late!

Monday, October 26, 2009

First time for everything...

I had to delete a student post from one of my class discussion forums today.

And now I am going to launch into an opinion that could potentially hurt someone's feelings while ranting about students' posts that could potentially hurt someone's feelings. Hypocritical? Maybe. But this is my blog, not a college class, and any readers are not required to read it for a grade - unless there is something about Blogger I have missed!

First of all, I have to address an issue that has particularly bothered me this semester. The frequency of the mention of God and religion in the online discussion forums has been very high. In my BIOLOGY class. Additionally, the general disregard of other's opinions and the judgment passed on those who do not agree is astounding. I do have to take some of the blame since the topics are often of a controversial nature (i.e. prenatal testing for genetic abnormalities, the ethics of cloning, experimental cancer treatments) and I ask for an opinion on the subject. What I expect is a well thought out opinion supported by a list of facts that the student has spent a little bit of time researching (or at least plagiarized from the text - yes that is cynicism). What I get is a post along the lines of "it is wrong because we should all just accept what God has given us and move on" or "if you think ___________ you are obviously wrong because you don't think what I think". Here are a couple of examples of how the world works according to some of my students this semester...

No one should undergo any kind of fertility treatments. If God has made you sterile you can just adopt.

No cloning of any type should ever be allowed since that is "playing God".

No one should have any genetic prenatal testing for any reason. If you do, you are willing to risk the life of your baby from miscarriage through the testing because you are unwilling to accept what God gave you.

And don't even get me started on Intelligent Design being taught in the science classroom. Only two posts into this topic, I have sent out a cautionary email reminding everyone to be respectful of others opinions.

The post I deleted stated that people who have said that they miscarried after a genetic testing procedure have probably just said they miscarried, but actually aborted because they were unwilling to keep a baby with a genetic defect.

Who says things like this in a discussion forum full of people you don't know? What if someone in the class has miscarried after a genetic testing procedure? What if someone has struggled for years with infertility while longing for nothing more than a biological child of their own? What if someone is caring for a loved one with paralysis or a terminal illness and hopes every day for a breakthrough in stem cell or cancer research? What if someone is Buddhist or Hindu or (God forbid!) an atheist and has a different idea about God and would like to see a science text stick with scientific theory? If all of my students were fresh out of high school, I might be able to chalk it up to lack of life experience. But many of my students are parents and/or grandparents and old enough to have some empathy.

Are any of these people more "right" than the other. I don't personally think so. But the degree to which these students will dismiss any differing view leaves me dumbfounded. And the fact that it is done in the name of God makes me sadder still. I may not invite people to my church when I meet them in the grocery store and I may not profess my faith on the street corner, but I hope I do not use my religion to sit in judgment of others or tear them down or dismiss their opinions or feelings. I feel like when I sit in judgment, ignoring the log in my own eye, or am unkind or unforgiving is when I am farthest away from my God and my religion. I am constantly falling short. And will continue to do so.

So maybe I AM the hypocrite - sitting in judgment of my students. Maybe I am casting the first stone. I know I am frustrated and angry and human. And feeling like my class discussion forums are a microcosm of what is going on in the world - when respect, kindness and understanding can't happen between 20 students in one class how can it happen anywhere?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Good Times

Bryn and I spent two days in Chicago and had a fabulous time! It was so fun for us to get away and have some "girl time"...that is definitely something that gets shoved to the back burner to often by the daily grind.

We got to Chicago on Saturday afternoon and hit the ground running. We rented the car, headed to out hotel and went to check out the Lego store. Bryn was very impressed by the huge Lego spider right outside the store. We went back to American Girl and met Valerie Tripp - the author of many of the American Girl books. She signed one of Bryn's books and spent some time answering Bryn's questions like "which comes first - the books or the dolls?" (the books, BTW!). And "how long does it take to write a book?". We took a cab over to Navy Pier, rode the Ferris wheel, had some hot chocolate and did some fun mother-daughter activities from a book we got. We went back to the American Girl store and had "dinner with the author" - a fun dinner and Q&A set up by the store. We walked the block back to the hotel, played some double solitaire and finally called it a night!

On Sunday morning we got up and head to the Shedd Aquarium and saw their new show, "Fantasea", which Bryn says was the highlight of the trip. It was opening weekend for the show and some of the animals didn't cooperate but it was great anyway. We went at the perfect time of day - the crowds were pouring in just as we were leaving to meet my friends, Dustin and Wes, for lunch.

We had a nice time with Grandma and Grandpa. Grandpa talked quite a bit and ate like a horse! He did point out the creases on Grandma's forehead (which she didn't appreciate much!) and got a little sarcastic about the fact that I wasn't wearing shoes, but it was actually great to see him so engaged and responsive. There were some concerns about his blood pressure and overall health, but a trip to the ER after we left on Monday morning revealed that all is well.

The homefront stayed intact while we were gone. I came home to a little man with a cold and a couch covered in snot, but he is still in pretty good spirits. It was great to have Jim and Sherry here until this morning as I seem to have so much to catch up on and not enough time to get it done. We had parent-teacher conferences tonight (that is a whole other post as I need to have little time to mull that rant over!) and I had to hand out cookie forms at Girl Scouts tonight. Bring on the Thin Mints!

The next few days are going to be super busy - I have decided that if I am going to get out of this endless loop of too much to do, too little time" I have to stop some of these activities. It is time.

A nice little bonus...after two years of not being able to figure out how to turn the closed captioning on on the TV, I accidentally stumbled on to the secret last night. Now I can hear the show with bad audio without turning the TV up loud enough to wake the kids!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Catch up

Thought I would try to catch up on blog reading and writing a bit before I fix dinner and run out to a Missions committee meeting at church - too much to do, too little time!

It has been a busy week - with Bunco Monday, Friends of the Library on Tuesday, WOW at church last night, Missions tonight, scrapbooking tomorrow and a flight out on Saturday, I have just been trying to stay sane around here! Actually it hasn't been too bad except the fact that I don't get to see my husband much, but I suppose I have no one to blame but myself. Sorry, honey!

Elections at Friends of the Library did not result in a new treasurer mainly because there is an upcoming audit. Not good considering I haven't reconciled the checkbook in a couple of months (or 12, but who is counting?!?!). Fortunately there is not much monetary activity so I have a pretty good handle on what is going on. The reconciling is just a formality. Really. You think the accountant will buy it?

Bryn is out of school for fall break and she and I are heading to Chicago on Saturday. We are planning to go to American Girl and have dinner with the author of the books on Saturday and then head to the aquarium Sunday morning before we go to spend the night at my grandparents house. Should be a fun "girls trip" - I think Bryn and I will benefit greatly from the time alone together. I have been at the end of my rope with her arguing - I finally lost it this morning (after many warnings to her, I might add!) and screamed so loudly my throat hurt. How is that for some good parenting skills?

Grant spent the day at Parents Day Out and had a great time but is now tired and grumpy. Gee, what a shame I am going to miss out on a little grumpiness this evening!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Long time, no blog...

I keep feeling like I have to have pictures to post to update my blog but if I wait until I get pictures uploaded I may never blog again. We have been busy with all kinds of fun and not so fun activities lately...

Mom and John came to visit last weekend and I went to my first NASCAR race. My sweet husband even missed a K-State football game to go to the race with me - it is pretty cool that I rank right up there (and past!) K-State football! We are making plans to go and tailgate next year so no one has to be stuck at home with kids. Then we can take turns going in and watching if we want. It should be tons of fun!

I have been busy with the normal activities - Girl Scouts, church stuff, library stuff, bookclub, etc. I hosted Bunco here tonight and we had a great time. We drank a little more wine than normal but we didn't get to rowdy...Grant still managed to go right to sleep in the next room. The fact that he would go to sleep next to a freight train is beside the point!

We have been working hard on getting Bryn's room painted, organized and decorated. It is a nice shade of pale yellow, the shades and curtains are up and all of the furniture has finally been moved out of the garage and into her room. All I have left to do is get the mirror up on the dresser, hang her new dog pictures and find a bedside lamp. So exciting that it is all finally coming together.

I also got holiday outfits for the kids and made an appointment to (finally) get their pictures taken. A friend in town who does beautiful natural light photography is going to do them for us and I am so excited to see how they turn out. If they turn out as well as I think they will, we will probably have her take some family pictures in the spring.

As far as the not so fun goes...
Bryn was sick and home from school for a few days a couple of weeks ago, we all got flu shots today, Grant STILL isn't walking (Aaron and I are both having dreams about it so we have must have some underlying stress) and I took all three animals to the vet today with both kids in tow (I had a long battle with Harvey before we even got there - he was less than thrilled about being put into the carrier and ran under the bed as soon as he spotted it). But if that is as bad as it gets, life is good!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

As usual...

I am way behind on just about everything including blogging. So let's see if I can catch up a little.

We had a great visit with Dad and Cheryl when they were here last weekend for Grandparent's Day at Bryn's school. One of the highlights was Bryn riding the mechanical bull at a restaurant where we ate. It was nice and slow and Bryn thought it was great. We also all got hooked up on Skype when they are here so we are able to video chat. Kind of strange to talk via video, but pretty cool. And it will be tons of fun for the kids to be able to see Grandpa and Nana and vice versa.

We are working on painting Bryn's room a nice bright shade of yellow. Unfortunately one coat isn't going to do it and I didn't buy enough paint. So off to Lowe's to get some more ASAP. In the meantime Bryn is sleeping in our room while hers is torn apart.

Speaking of torn apart, much of the house is currently a disaster as I have begun to "organize" and can't seem to find the time to finish. Too much to do, too little time. The mountain of laundry is not getting any smaller, either.

Grant is 18 months old today. He is talking more each day. Actually he is making more animal sounds each day and babbling a lot. We did get "Aaaaaaaaarrrrrrr!" added to his repertoire for "what does a pirate say" in honor of talk like a pirate day last week. And he now also makes a fish face for "what does a fish say". Yet while he vocalizes lot, he is obviously going to crawl while he does it as he still shows little to no interest in walking.

Next weekend is race weekend and Mom and John will be here. We are looking forward to their visit and will no doubt have a crazy weekend filled with all kinds of activities. We may skip the apple picking this year, though - I don't know if Mom and I can handle a million hours (OK, maybe it was only 5 or 6 hours) of apple peeling and slicing. I still have apple pies in the freezer from last year.

I looked at the calendar today and realized we don't have a single free Saturday until December. Lots of those activities will be lots of fun (like finally getting to see "Wicked" and Bryn and I heading to Chicago, for instance) but it still means there will be many busy weekends ahead. Hopefully we will be able to find some downtime in there somewhere.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

All kinds of stuff

We have had a lot going on since I posted last. I have actually taken some pictures, too!

First, some pictures of goofy Grant...

In the dog bed...



Helping with the laundry...


Helping to "clean" the bathroom...


and of Bryn and Grant


Before...


After...


Bryn and Dad creating fish stories...


Bryn is back at school and loving second grade and her teacher, Mrs. Link. Here is a first day of school picture...


Aunt Nicole and cousin Bonnie came for a visit. We had a lot of fun just hanging out and relaxing a bit.


Over Labor Day weekend we met grammy and Pops in Branson. The guys did some golfing while the girls and Grant packed in lots of activities. A trip to the Kirby Van Burch with some backstage passes to see the tigers and other cats was definitely the highlight of the trip for Bryn. She has been watching "Magic's Biggest Secrets Finally Revealed" for a couple of months now so a trip to a magic show was perfect for her! She didn't know how most of the tricks we saw worked, but she loved it anyway! We also took a trip on Ride the Ducks (Bryn got to drive the boat for a little while) and went to the waterpark. And then all of us checked out the dinosaur mini-golf course:


As far as other news goes, we are still trying to figure out what to do about Grant's tongue tie. I think we have decided to just wait and see since Aaron and I are just not comfortable with the general anesthesia idea. We will be sorry later if it affects his speech or causes other problems, but since it will likely never cause any problems at all we just can't get comfortable with doing it right now.

We have been having some big keyboard problems with our new computer. After sending it back for repair and spending hours on the phone with technical support, we seem to have solved the problem ourselves by switching from Internet Explorer to another browser. Such an easy fix after such major headaches. Gotta love it.

We are back into the routine of the school year. Between Friends of the Library, Library Board and mission committee meetings I am making sure Aaron gets to spend lots of quality time with the kids while I am at meetings. Bryn is going to do Girl Scouts and a couple of short drama classes this fall. It doesn't seem like much, but with the Wednesday night programs at church, it all keeps us running.

Aaron is still teaching and trapping. His most current happiness comes from college football, a big TV and surround sound, though!

Grant is still not walking but is really starting to vocalize a lot. A lot of his words seem to be in "Grant language" although he will say "daddy" and "sissy" and "duck" and "hi" pretty clearly. He won't say "mommy", though, he just looks at me and smiles and says "baba" when I try to get him to say it...the life of a mother is so thankless! He will make lots of animal sounds - I have a feeling he is going to be an animal lover like his sister.

Bryn has decided she is part dog since she likes to pant and walk on all fours and she feels like she has a tail that should wag when she is happy. As grouchy and pouty and contrary as she has been for the past few months, I would love to see a wagging tail! It seems she is coming out of this phase a little (knock on wood) - I am sure we have something just as lovely to look forward to!

Our cable isn't working today so I haven't been able to watch any of the 9/11 anniversary coverage. It is hard to believe it has been 8 years since that awful day - I always think of the families and friends of all of the victims and of the military families and hope they have been able to find some peace and happiness.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The 3 day walk in pictures (with a little commentary, of course!)

On our way

We saw LOTS of blue over the course of 3 days...and just so you know, port-a-potties get really hot in 90+ degree temps!

Are we there yet?

Sea of pink

We walked in the rain...


And shine

Boy, the city still looks awfully far away...(or, we have how far left to go?!?!)

We made it!

60 miles down...I need a nap!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Getting ready for school...and other stuff

I am busy working on getting my online classes ready, there is a school supply list on the counter and the pool is now only open on the weekends. It looks like summer is over!

The past few months have flown by and I am definitely ready to get back into a routine and settle in to the school year. Bryn is looking forward to second grade and Grant is going to go to Mother's Day Out...it will be very strange to be alone (well, with the pets of course!) in the house one day a week. I am excited about having a little bit of time to finally get some stuff organized, clean out a few closets and sneak in some good naps!

I am LOVING the new cabinets and countertops in the kitchen. It feels so much bigger and more counterspace and more cabinets are never a bad thing. I also do not regret for a minute taking out the Corian and replacing in with laminate. I think the finish on it and the beveled edge make it look better than the Corian did (which always looked like it needed to be polished) and it is a big bonus that is was a lot cheaper!

I made an appointment with a pediatric ENT to get a second opinion on Grant's tongue. We will see her in September. We also had Grant's hearing checked today (which is perfectly fine) and we will see the pediatrician in a couple of weeks. We will see what she has to say about his speech development but I am pretty convinced there is not a problem. He makes tons of animal sounds and can point to many of the animals in his books so I know his little brain is processing info. He may just be a man of few words like his Dad.

Looking forward to a nice weekend with absolutely nothing on the calendar...that hasn't happened in a while! I am sure we will fill it with all kinds of really stimulating activities (like school supply shopping and a trip to Sam's club) but it is great to not have anything scheduled.

Off to work on class some more - getting them ready is never fun but the minimal maintenance during the semester sure is great!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

It's always something...

I took Grant to the ENT doc yesterday to check his tongue tie and the ENT is recommending having the tongue clip surgery now. Of course this freaks me out a bit - who likes the thought of putting their 16 month old under general anesthesia for an elective procedure? Additionally, the doctor is thoroughly convinced that Grant has a speech delay since he is only saying a handful of words. We are going in for a hearing test tomorrow and he wants to refer us to infant/toddler services for language screening. I am not really sure how you can possibly screen a 16 month old for speech and figure out what is normal but I guess I will get to find out. Grant "talks" constantly...he just doesn't say very may recognizable words. Mommy intuition tells m it will come soon and that he is on track but what does a mom know, right!?!?! It kind of feels like Bryn all over again when they freaked out about her size and made us jump through all kinds of hoops to prove we were feeding her correctly. I know the doctors are just doing their job but I fee like this doctor that has seen Grant one time and is not taking the time to look at the individual case. Ah well, at least life is never dull!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Hard to believe

that I finished the walk - nearly 60 miles in three days. My teammates weren't sure that I could do it, I am sure there were moments that my family and friends didn't think I could do it and I certainly had my moments of doubt about whether or not I could do it. But by the time I took my first step onto the route, I knew the only way I was getting off of the path was if someone dragged me off of it. I trained hard and learned my body. I knew how sore my feet would be after walking too many miles, I knew how dehydrated and hot I could get when the temperatures soared to 90+ degrees and I knew that if I kept a slow and steady pace I could go farther than if I sprinted out of the gate. Am I ever going to break any land speed records? No. But I crossed the same finish line that everyone else crossed - and I walked every step of the way.

Am I proud of myself? Damn straight, I am! But I am most proud of the fact that I was part of raising over $5 million to help fight breast cancer. I was humbled and inspired by the men and women who walked. One woman pushed her mother (a survivor) for miles after the batteries on her motorized wheelchair gave out. Three men walked with their mom (also a survivor). Three friends walked for a best friend that they lost last November after a 12 year battle with breast cancer. Men walked in honor of and in memory of wives and mothers and sisters and daughters. Women walked for lost fathers, sons and brothers. There were 1800 walkers, each one walking for their one personal reasons, but we all walked for one common goal - that someday no one will need to walk because there will be no more loved ones lost too soon to a disease that can strike any one of us at any time.

There were also 500 amazing crew members that raised money and worked unbelievably hard. They got up before the walkers did and went to bed after the walkers did. They emptied trash, served food, mixed Gatorade, tended to blisters, help us get across busy intersections and cheered us on. They were amazing.

I have swollen and blistered feet, I have a suitcase full of extremely ripe smelling clothes and 2 pairs of tennis shoes that I don't ever want to lace up again. But I also have the memories of a truly life changing experience and a new understanding of the fact that I can accomplish anything I set my mind to. The only one who can stop me is myself - and that won't be happening anymore.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Hanging in there

Bryn is no longer sick and no one else has caught whatever she had (knock on wood). Especially good news since Aaron and the kids are headed to Colorado with Grandma and Grandpa for a family reunion later this week.

I have been getting my stuff together for the walk and am going to pack it all up tomorrow since we are leaving early Wednesday morning. The forecast at this point is for rain and hot temps but I am hoping for the best and figuring that since the weather forecast is rarely correct here there is no telling what it will really be like in Chicago over the weekend.

I am starting to get nervous about the walk and as a result my mind is working overtime and keeping me from sleeping very well at night. I am worried that I have been taking it too easy and not training enough for the past couple of weeks. I am hoping that the prior months have prepared me well enough and that my recent laziness won't take a major toll on my stamina. On the bright side, the time off has been great for my aches and pains - when I took a short 4 mile walk on Saturday I had no knee, foot or ankle pain and felt much better than I have in months. I am worried about walking in the rain (wet feet = more blisters which I already battle in a major way), worried about keeping my fluid balanced if it is really hot (I can produce some impressively disgusting amounts of sweat and have a really hard time staying hydrated properly) and I am worried about walking 60 miles. Despite all of the walking I have done over the last several months (400 miles give or take), 60 miles in three days still seems like a lot of walking! I know it will be a great challenge and a great experience and in the end I feel lucky to be able to be a part of it - I will just feel better when I get there and get started!

I am really enjoying my new kitchen... the additional counter space and extra cabinets have made a huge difference in how much room I feel like I have to work in while I am in there. And I am perfectly happy with the laminate countertops. As long as they hold up I will never miss the Corian!

Grant is changing every day and has finally decided that standing up has its advantages. He rarely sits down anymore and although he has yet to do too much cruising around the furniture or from place to place, I have a feeling it won't be too much longer before he lets go and takes off. He LOVES to read books and will sit on his own and flip pages for 30 minutes at a time. He would rather be read to, though, so he spends lots of time dragging books around trying to get someone to read to him. I think he would let us read to him all day - with the exception of the breaks he has to take to try to climb something, find something with wheels to roll around the house or knock over anything that isn't nailed down.

So all is well here...just hanging in there and enjoying every crazy and chaotic moment!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Panic!

I am definitely totally panicking right now...I CANNOT GET SICK! When I picked Bryn up from camp today she wanted to leave before they finished their open house because she had a bad headache and hadn't felt good for the last couple of hours. She has been laying on the couch since we got home and has a fever. How on earth am I going to walk 60 miles next week if I am sick or just recovering from being sick?!?!?! I am hoping for the best and planning to get lots of rest and vitamin C over the next couple of days...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Gone and home again

I am staying put in town at home for a whole week this time! I just got back from Chicago yesterday. My cousin Julie and I went to visit our grandparents. I also got to see Dustin and Dad and Cheryl while I was there so it was a lot of fun. Also a lot of action for a 3 day trip! It is always kind of hard to visit my grandparents at this point as both have physically deteriorated and my grandfather has mentally deteriorated as well. I just feel helpless not knowing what to do and obviously not being able to fix it - as a controlling personality that is not an easy thing to deal with! It was nice to just sit and visit, though, and it is nice to be reminded that they have great help to take care of both of them.

I will leave for Chicago again next Wednesday for the walk - I am getting nervous as I haven't been walking as often as I should be, but I am hoping the excitement and adrenaline and the previous training will be enough to get me through the 60 miles. I can't wait to see what this whole event will be like - I am ready for a tiring and inspiring time. I figure just the road trip there and back will be a blast so the whole trip is bound to be a real adventure!

The kitchen is currently in quite a state. The countertops should be in today, but in the meantime I am trying to figure out how to make a sandwich without a counter or a sink. Guess I will just have to eat out until it is all done!

The kids are doing well...Grant has started saying a few words including "Daddy". Of course Aaron is thrilled and I am hoping to get a "Mommy" sooner or later. I am not holding my breath, though - I rank in importance well below Daddy, Sissy and the pets so there are quite a few names to go before I top the list! Bryn is at Camp Invention again this week and I am looking forward to a couple of nice long afternoon naps!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Ahhhhhhh...

We had a great time at the lake this weekend with friends but it is kind of nice to be home finally sitting down and relaxing a bit. There are clothes in the washer, a clean, sleeping dog, two clean kids (one sleeping!)and unpacked suitcases. I am settling in for some mind numbing reality TV and some internet surfing!

I am enjoying my Kindle. I have only downloaded free books at this point (most of the classics are public domain and therefore free) and some samples of some new releases. I haven't had a problem at all transitioning to reading from the screen - it really does look like a book page with ink since there is no backlight. I was worried since I don't really comprehend well when I read on the computer but I have been pleasantly surprised. The biggest problem I have is trying to turn the page when I am done rather than hitting the next page button. I must say as soon as I get the hang of finding the books I want I am going to be a complete and total Kindle fan. The only thing I miss so far is being able to browse the shelves - browsing online isn't quite the same. But I figure I can browse the physical shelves at the bookstore and the library and then load up my Kindle with the good stuff I find.

I am off to check Facebook, watch some TV and chill out...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Best Husband Ever

Today is our 10 year anniversary and I am happy to report that after 10 years I am pretty sure that I still ahve the best husband ever! Although the new diamond earrings he got me (total surprise - I have never asked him for any jewelry although I certainly do not object to it!) didn't hurt his standing, there are a million other reasons that make him the greatest. He is always supportive and helpful and loving and just an all around great guy. And he is a wonderful father. Happy anniversary, honey! It's been a great 10 years and I am looking forward to many more decades with you!

BTW, my new Kindle is AWESOME!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I am so excited!

Aaron got tired of me obsessing over the Kindle and told me to just order one for my birthday (a little early!). It should be here tomorrow! And summer classes end at midnight tonight - what a great day!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Where does the time go?

Time has flown by...Mom, Grant and I are about to leave Casper after being here for 6 days. We had a great visit with my grandparents and this year we were here to celebrate my Grandfather's birthday yesterday. Fun! We are heading to Denver to pick Bryn up at the airport - she has been in Boise visiting Grandpa and Nana this week. I am sure she will be bored to tears by us after all of the excitement of camping, four wheeling, horseback riding and whatever else they dreamed up to thoroughly entertain her.

We had a nice 4th of July...party in Friday night and our neighborhood party on Saturday night. Plenty of firecrackers - no official fireworks this year but considering how far do-it-yourself fireworks have come since the days of bottle rockets and sparklers we had quite a show in the cove! Grant loved it and wasn't at all scared of the noise. I think we may have a little pyro in the making.

On the way up here we spent the night in Denver and I finally went to Casa Bonita. I have heard about that restaurant since I was in college and never had been so we tried it out. I must admit that cliff diving indoors was a new one on me. It was fun...Bryn especially like the arcade and playing ski-ball.

I did a lot of walking this week - 44 miles to be exact. Between Friday and Saturday I walked 33 miles and my feet are feeling it. I have a few new blisters and my plantar faciitis is pretty wicked, but I am glad I made it through. It was nice walking here as it is not nearly as humid as it is at home. Still hot enough, though! Hard to believe that in another 4 weeks it will all be over and I will have walked 60 miles in 3 days! I am looking forward to some serious time off from walking after that.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Here I am

I am still here...and in one piece with my hubby back home and (mostly) recovered from our illnesses.

We were kind of scattered all over this weekend...Bryn ended up at Grandma and Grandpa's despite still not feeling 100%. Aaron was in Alaska finding the 24 hours of daylight a little disconcerting. And Grant, the furry children and I held down the home front.

I had a bit of an anxiety inducing experience when I went out on what was supposed to be a 14 mile training walk with 4 other people on Saturday. At about mile 8 I was totally suffering. I just had no energy...I probably could have finished but was afraid to push it and didn't want to slow the rest of the group down. Don't know if it was the heat (90+ degrees), this darn cold that seems to be hanging on, lack of sleep, too little walking for the last couple/few weeks or a combo of all of the above, but I bailed out after about 9 miles and had to have someone come get me. She dropped me off close to the car and I went another 1.5 miles but now my walking partners are doubting my endurance and ability as am I. I am hoping it was just an off day as I have made it on longer walks without feeling that way. I really feel like it probably was, but the worst part is that it really raised doubts for all involved. I plan on going back over to the same route this Saturday and trying it again just to prove to myself that I can do it, but it is still disconcerting that it happened when there is only a month left before I have to go a whole 60 miles.

Besides that, things have been pretty good. Got an 8 mile walk done on Sunday. Got some grading done. Went to bookclub and had some fabulous food and conversation with a great group of women. Watched part of "Expedition Grizzly" with Bryn and we are now trying to figure out how to get to Yellowstone for vacation next summer. Got the flower beds weeded and got a few miles of walking in today.

We also finally decided what to do with the kitchen counter tops. I have been agonizing over it since we decided to add a few cabinets which requires some additional counter top. We currently have something similar to Corian which I have not been happy with. And we can replace the whole counter top with laminate for less than half of what it would cost to get the one additional piece. But I had more than one "are you crazy?" over the idea that I would "downgrade" to laminate. But in the end I am downgrading to laminate (which looks pretty darn good these days, by the way!) and hoping for the best. We'll see how it goes...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

It was bound to happen...

Bryn came home from her playdate today with a fever. So now I am home with two sick kids and my hubby is in Alaska! I am just hoping he manages to not get this crud as it would really make his meeting a lot less fun. And now it is storming. We will see if we get any hail with this one...for some reason every time Aaron goes to this meeting we get hammered with a hail storm. Maybe we will escape this year...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Plans foiled...

So I survived another year of VBS and only have a cold to show for it...

Aaron and I finally got out for a night away and I had to pull my typical stunt of "we have some time alone, I need to get sick" and came down with a cold on Saturday morning that got progressively worse throughout the day. And now Grant has it, too. Poor little guy is all feverish and whimpery. Aaron has poison ivy all over his hands and has huge blisters between his fingers which are making him extremely uncomfortable. Bryn has a runny nose and a bit of a cough. In short, the Reeds are currently a mess!

Bryn is heading to Grandma and Grandpa's on Thursday which will leave Grant and I alone in the house since Aaron is off to Alaska tomorrow for the American Society of Mammalogists meeting. I have two bookclub meetings and a 17 and 13 mile walk planned so I will be busy and Grant will be seeing a lot of his babysitter!

It is HOT here - the bank sign said 103 today and I am sure I am going to melt anytime. I am going to be a wreck if it doesn't cool off a bit for walking this weekend.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Treading water

I am in the midst of a crazy week, but am surviving! VBS is going well and I managed to get FIVE kids to VBS this morning and SIX kids to the splash park afterwards for lunch and fun. All with only a couple of minor injuries. Tomorrow I plan on taking a big old nap while Bryn goes to a friend's house after VBS. Then I will get back to the clothes washing, class grading, dinner fixing and mess containment of the real world!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

We made it through!

It was a crazy, but we made it through a busy few days! It was quite the fundraising weekend and between our garage sale and the church spaghetti supper fundraiser, we raised nearly $2000! So our team of 4 is fully funded and ready to go. Except for the 8 weeks we have left of training that will hopefully prepare us for 60 miles of walking. We really slacked this weekend on the walking - there just wasn't enough time (or energy!) in the day to get it done.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Quick update

We had a great weekend with Dad and Cheryl - lots of fun shopping, camping out in the playhouse, eating out and going to a baseball game. The visit was too short but it was great to have them here.

Bryn and I are headed out to see "Up" and have a girl's afternoon. It will be the last down time I have for quite a few days. I have the walk fundraiser garage sale Friday and Saturday, the library run/walk Saturday morning, fundraiser dinner and outdoor movie night on Sunday evening, a 15 and 11 mile walk to fit in between Friday and Sunday and a trip to Costco for dinner supplies on Sunday morning. And then VBS starts Monday. Crazy times.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Learning something new everyday

Did you know that a power surge/outage can blow the control panel on your kitchen appliances? And that it costs about $250 to replace one? And that a $4 outlet surge protector can keep your oven, fridge and dishwasher safe but you can't do anything about the oven? I think this is one of those times when I could have lived without this little piece of information! I guess I am thankful it was only the oven and the rest of the appliances are OK!

It has been a busy morning already...kitchen remodeler guys here, garage sale stuff dropped off in my garage, appliance repairman here, attempted walk (abandoned after 1/4 mile due to rain), and a soaking wet baby after an adventure in the pet water bowl when I temporarily forgot I had a baby while all of this was going down before 9:30 am! I think it is time for a nap!

Bryn started Camp Invention yesterday and she had a great time. Not that I got any information about it out of her, but she was jumping up and down and just full of energy when I picked her up. According to the daily newsletter, they are building a land slide, going on Viking treasure hunt, taking apart small appliances, designing a comic book and creating their own inventions. She's loving it!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Long weekend

It has been kind of a crazy weekend...

After all of our strawberry picking fun on Friday I went to bed early so I could get up at 5 am to go do a 13 mile walk. After 4+ hours of walking on Saturday morning, I spent a few hours a the church garage sale just to have the group I had arranged to pick up the leftovers not show up. Bummer. Now I have to find someone to come pick up the remaining treasures. We finished up Saturday with a trip to Sam's Club and movie night and had a fabulous lightning and hailstorm that kept me tossing and turning. 6 am came very early and the 7.5 mile walk this morning was quite brutal! my 3 walking buddies and I had some nice blisters to compare this morning - it seems that after 3 months walking in the same shoes I should not be getting blisters but it is happening whether I think it should or not! My newest is between my big toe and second toe...how the heck does that happen!

For the final bit of weekend fun I found out our oven is not working after I had started working on strawberry bread to use the strawberries that had to be used before they turned to mush. Fortunately my neighbor has a working oven and she accepted a couple of loaves of bread as payment!

Now I am off to get my online classes ready for class starts on Tuesday - hopefully it will be quick and painless!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Nothing better...

Than strawberries right out of the field - YUM!

We went strawberry picking with some friends today and had a lot of fun. I don't know exactly what to do with nearly 6 pounds of strawberries but I suppose we can start by just eating them! Although Grant won't be any help - I think he may be the only kid on the planet that doesn't like strawberries. More for the rest of us, I guess!





Not much else new around here. Just gearing up for a busy weekend - walking, church garage sale, trip to Sam's club, potluck, cleaning out the garage, moving furniture. Fun stuff!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Who knew?

I learned something new...blisters can develop UNDER the big toenail. All I can say is...ewwwwwwwww and ouch!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Starting summer...

Bryn and I had quite a day yesterday. It started with her coming upstairs crying that the Wii wouldn't work. When I told her that crying indicated to me that maybe she shouldn't be playing Wii, she told me it was the worst day of her life, I am NOT the best mom ever and she wanted to be back in school. And then the pouting continued when I told her she would be taking a nap. We're off to a great start for the summer!

We went to a BBQ festival last night and ate some great BBQ and are heading out to the rodeo tonight and are going to eat fair food for dinner. Gotta love fair food!

I walked 12 miles this morning and my feet are aching like crazy. I also have a horrendous headache and am just hoping that I am not getting sick.

Bryn and Aaron went fishing this afternoon and when I asked Bryn if she caught anything she told me she caught a weeder fish, a stick fish and some slime fish. Our little comedian in the making...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Summer is here!

Summer has officially started. Today was Bryn's last day of school and I am ready to enjoy some time with both kids at home. I think. Unfortunately Bryn isn't as into napping as Grant is so that could put a real dent in my days!

As for our summer, here are some of our planned activities...

strawberry picking
Camp Invention for Bryn
swimming lessons
vacation Bible school
visit from Grandpa and Nana
garage sale
trip to Boise for Bryn and to Casper for Grammy, Grant and I
trip to the lake with church friends
60 mile walk for me and family reunion for Aaron and the kids

I think we will have plenty to keep us busy!

In other news, I have played in the dirt more in the past few days than I have ever, I think! I have moved bushes and flowers around in the flower beds and have some new stuff ready to be planted. Now we will see if any of it can survive my black thumb!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Wrapping things up

Since Aaron and I both teach, it seems that my life still runs on semesters and this one is winding down. We have have a lot going on both related and unrelated to school.

My classes are over with the exception of getting final grades done and turned in and I am thrilled to have a little time off before the summer session starts. I honestly haven't even looked to see when summer classes start but it shouldn't be until at least the first of June so I plan to enjoy my brief teaching reprieve.

Bryn's last day of school is Thursday. It will be an adjustment to having two kids in the house full time again especially since Grant is beginning to get a little more curious about what lives inside cabinets and drawers. Fortunately for us he keeps most things out of his mouth so we haven't had any poisonings yet. He is still not standing up but he does pull up and get on his knees and is beginning to show some frustration about not being able to reach things that are up a little higher.

Bryn had her Dance Gala this weekend and I must say it was the most pleasant dance recital I have ever been to. They have four different Galas so you only have to attend the one your child is in and it is over in less than an hour and a half. And we didn't have to buy costumes - the only thing we had to buy was a little skirt to go over her leotard. It was great!

This week is blessedly quiet...I only have a handful of things on my calendar instead of the usual 8 million! We do have a busy, busy summer planned, though, so I am going to enjoy the downtime this week. Although I must admit that I have big plans to get some gardening done and get garage sale stuff together and organized. Those projects could potentially take about 2 weeks each, so I am sure I will not rest as much as I could!

I had a long walking weekend - 11.5 miles on Saturday and 5 miles yesterday. I took today off and my knees are feeling a little squishy, but the good news is that there have been no more kneecap dislocations!. I am also really close to having all of my money raised thanks to all of my awesome friends and family members. Hooray!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sad state of humanity

Sometimes I enjoy teaching and sometimes it just makes me want to throw my hands up and declare the end of intelligent life on this planet. Let me paraphrase a student response to a discussion about whether or not non-smokers should bear the burden of the cost of insurance for smoking related illnesses...

"We have Medicaid and Medicare so that we as a society do not have to pay for their care."

This person is obviously in the 24% of people in this country who believe that the federal government has "plenty of its own money without using taxpayer dollars".

Come on people...are you freakin' kidding me?

New Toy

I got a wrist GPS/heart rate monitor for Mother's Day from my very wonderful husband (he let me take a long nap yesterday, too!) and I am so excited! Now I can head out into the wild blue yonder (road) to walk and not have to worry about figuring out all of my mileage on the computer before I go. Not something I would normally get all that excited about but with all the walking lately the same old routes are getting a little dull. Of course I have to figure out how to make the little gadget work first - I am sure there will be lots of cussing and crying before I get to use it tomorrow!

I am also thrilled that I only need $225 more to meet the $2300 requirement to be able to walk in August - I am so lucky to have such wonderful friends and family to donate! Of course that means that I really am going to have to walk 60 whole miles in three days. I am not sure that fact has been completely processed yet!

In other news...not much! I signed up for a meal planning service online that gives you a menu and shopping list (there are a few different options for stores and the menu is actually correlated to the discounts for the week at that store) each week. The really exciting part for me is that it looks like recipes that my family will eat (light on veggies and other strange ingredients!) and it doesn't cost much. Now I know that I shouldn't spend a dime on any recipes since I have at least a hundred cookbooks in my house, but it is hard to pass up the shopping list provided for $5 a month. If I was really savvy I could actually link the site up so I could get a commission if I referred anyone but, alas, I am not that technologically savvy!

Speaking of technology...Aaron and I are taking a class for online teaching and I am finding myself bogged down in a bunch of jargony teacher speak. I am not sure how much my online class structure will improve, but I will definitely be able to write a mean learning objective that is in alignment with the course units!

I am leaving my poor husband home with the kids for the next two nights while I go to Bunco and a Friends of the Library meeting. I keep thinking he is going to run out into the night air screaming one of these days, but for some reason he is still hanging around! Thanks, honey - you're the best!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Back to Normal

Everything is normal around here. I am walking (5 miles yesterday), it is raining (totally normal for Kansas in the spring), students are scrambling to try to improve their grades for the semester and I am tired since I can't seem to get myself to bed before midnight on any given night.

We have a relatively quiet weekend planned - movie night in the new chairs, ballet pictures for Bryn, a couple of long walks for me (another 10 mile and 6 mile weekend) and maybe some yardwork if the rain holds off. So we will enjoy the relaxing (and dinosaur debate free!)weekend.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Great Dinosaur Debacle

I have created quit a stir with my vocal objections to the dinosaur lesson at Bryn's school...

After spending the weekend stewing over the matter and much angst on my and Aaron's part I went into school Monday morning and spoke to the school administrator. I wanted to know if this was going to come up again this year or next and how the information would be presented. Since we had already decided to send Bryn back to Genesis next year it was difficult for both Aaron and I to go back on our promise to Bryn that she didn't have to switch schools for second grade. Fortunately, there is no more discussion of the earth's age or evolution or anything else until 3rd grade at the earliest so I think we are OK. The administrator also did not realize the extent to which the lesson had gone. Long story short, I received a very apologetic letter from Bryn's teacher - she talked to Bryn one on one about some other biblical interpretations and has made plans to change the lesson for next year and send a note home to parents prior to the dinosaur unit. She also asked if Aaron and I could provide her with some other information she could use in the lesson to present other viewpoints. This all ended up becoming a bigger issue than I expected it to be but am actually pretty pleased and relieved with the outcome. I feel like some positive changes will be made that will allow the students to get a more balanced lesson next year. And to me that is an advantage of being at a small private school - I seriously doubt I ever would have been heard at the public school if I objected to a lesson.

Bryn and I are going to visit second grade classroom at the public school this week and I am really hoping it is a positive experience. I just learned that they have had THREE people attend the PTA meeting the other night at the elementary school...needless to say this doesn't make me feel too good about the level of parental involvement. It feels like switching Bryn to the public school for 3rd grade may just be a frying pan to fire moment. I really need a crystal ball.

On a brighter school note, the teacher Bryn will have next year has already started to put together some supplemental materials for Bryn and a couple of other students to do next year if they need them. And effort is being made on the part of the school to get Bryn into some additional programming to keep her challenged if there indication that she needs it.

I am absolutely exhausted today...my 3 mile walk today seemed like 15 miles and I am relieved I don't have any walking scheduled for tomorrow. Hopefully by Thursday I will be rested and rejuvenated!

Grant is finally getting his top teeth. He does pretty well gumming his food but it will be nice to have a few more chompers in there so I can worry a little less about giving him big hunks of food.

Our new chairs are finally being delivered tomorrow so this weekend we will be able to enjoy movie night in our new reclining theater seats. Hooray!