Monday, January 31, 2011

FiRE and iCE

On the road again.. we are headed east on Interstate 40 towards Little Rock.  There is another big ice & snowstorm coming to NW Arkansas early tomorrow morning.  We have had a bad ice storm for the past two years, and this will be the third.  We have lost power for about a week each time, so we try to head south to warmer temps (and electrically-powered hotels!).  I’m not so good with no power.  (no computers-after we run their batteries down, no internet, no refrigerator, no ice, no electric blanket, no heat, no lights, no garage door opener, no staying up past 7pm because of no lights, no Office or Jimmy Kimmel, need I go on?)  ..and I don’t have a real attachment to my house.  I *heart* my family, but I could totally live without my house and all that stuff we’ve accumulated.  Even my beloved sewing machines.  If we are together, we are fine.

We decided to leave town this morning (before I’d even unpacked my suitcase from Branson!).  Ches made a reservation for us in Lewisville, Texas where we’ve stopped for the past couple years (sometimes we go on to Houston).  But about 3:15, he called and said he’d canceled the reservation, and made a new one in Little Rock (boo!).  I am not crazy about Little Rock, but it’ll do.  Apparently the national weather service has also issued a warning for Dallas for sleet and ice beginning at 4am.  We aren’t sure we could get out of there in time.  Our plan was to drive on down to San Antonio (78 degrees today!) to go down to the Riverwalk, kids museum, etc.  So I have to say I’m super disappointed.

Our consolation prize is big ol’ Little Rock tonight.  We may go on to Memphis tomorrow, but we’ve already been there, played at the children’s museum, explored downtown, enjoyed nightlife (on St. Patrick’s Day no less!), seen Graceland, so I’m not sure what we’ll do besides… enjoy Pottery Barn! : )

This morning, I went into Ethan’s school and read to his class.  This week (and maybe next!) is Catholic Schools Week, and they have lots of special things planned.  I was a surprise reader, and I brought cookies for them for snack.  When I was making them, I totally made FiRE!  I was making the break-n-bake chocolate chip cookies, and as I was putting the cookie sheet with the frozen chunks into the preheated oven (and was in a hurry…), three of them hopped right off the sheet and into the heating element!  I only had a few seconds, since they were thawing super fast.  I grabbed a spatula, then a wooden spoon-I was having trouble getting down under the bottom rack!  One started to smoke/steam and one fell off the spatula onto the glass of the door, so I just swatted the one away from the element, and grabbed a paper towel to get them.  When I scooped up the one near the element, my paper towel caught fire!  Instinctively, I blew on it, and ashes flew around, it grew orange, but then went out (thank goodness!), and I threw it into the sink.  It was on fire just long enough to make a smell, so I worried that my cookies would take on that smell.

I had been too lazy to even get my suitcase out of the van, and I was seriously regretting it!  Ches took the kids to school, and I hurried to get ready to go to the school-when I realized I had no makeup and no favorite hair tools--crisis!  I made due with summer squeezy makeup, old powder, and I found a new blush and old eye shadow.  I used hot rollers, and prayed for Ches to hurry back!  I finished up, and made it not too late. : )  What a day!

After that fun, I took all those adorable clothes I got for a friend over to her house-precious little things.  I meant to take pictures of all the Big Sister shirts-they were so sweet!  You have to love it when cute stuff coincides with great bargains. : )

We are now in Little Rock, and Ethan is cracking me up!  He is telling me that our van smells like “stinky barkers”!  (his daddy’s words for stinky feet)  He says it’s Clay’s feet, and he needs to take a bath.  He’s hilarious!  He also says he loves to take trips, and he loves hotels (this we know-he asks all the time to go to a hotel!) and he sees a donut place (Krispy Kreme)! (this is my child, obviously) : )
Peace be with you (and with your electricity tonight)!
Journey to the Center of the Earth (or Arkansas!) in 3D!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Shop Till You Drop

More..ShoPPiNG!  Today we got breakfast, and then were hard at it again.  Lots of hunting/gathering for our families-it's hard work (ok, and fun!).  We look for sales, use our coupons, print internet/email coupons and sales, and generally get great deals!
I found shirts at Carters for $3.99 that were 30% off (2.79) in the store, then at the end, we got to use our book coupon (10% off over $50), which made them $2.45!  If I had a camera, I'd show you my receipt-it is totally awesome!  It reads:
(3 sets) pajamas...$3.67 each
Corduroy pants.....$2.45
Active pants (wind pants)...$2.45
active pants.........$2.45
(2) shirts..............$1.83 each
playwear fall active....$3.06
single bib...........$1.22
fall toddler girl knit...$3.67
Ok, you get the idea!  I got 20 items for $77.01!  Isn't that amazing?  (yes, that's $3.85 an item, including tax.  Not Bad.)

I have had similar deals-including at Gymboree.  I got little girls' shirts for $3.99, then got to take off 15% off (if you spend over $75), and then 5% off with my Gymboree visa (making them $3.22 each).  I am buying clothes for a friend's children, so I'm looking for stuff on sale.  I have found the cutest stuff!  I'd love to show you pictures, but problem again. : )  They just had a baby girl, and they had two girls and a boy already.  I just want to to get them some clothes to help out this spring-they'll be busy for a while!  (and...I like to buy little girl's clothes!)  I even found a hot pink dress at Carter's that had four layers of tulle at the bottom from the waist down..A-Dorable! (and it was...$3.67!).  Best Shopping Day this year! : ) heehee

We also got a deal at Stride Rite.  I got three pairs of shoes for $25, and Angie added a pair for $13, so we got a half price pair of Tommy Hilfiger plaid (Keds-type shoes) for $6.  So..we got to use our 25% off of $75 or more, S-C-O-R-E! : )  Adorable Easter shoes for Mary Claire, navy Tommy shoes for Clay, and khaki Tommy shoes for Ethan (well..that makes two pair!).

Ok, enough of my garbage-I got amazing deals (if they aren't amazing, I don't buy them!).
Did you get any amazing deals this weekend?  (Remember to shop in January for clearance winter and September for clearance summer-or that's when we go and get the best deals!).  We may have to start Sale Tours to the outlets, and show you how we get precious clothes for bargain prices! : )  It's called Planning.

Planning involves coupons, watching sales, having a list, measuring your kids before you leave (and I even make little foot cut-outs to slip into the shoes!), knowing what brands you like (the knees in Tommy jeans last the longest, and I can get them for $10-like today!), and having an attack plan-we shop one side of the outlet mall at a time, take our bags back to the van, and keep going.  We don't stop for dinner till 9pm when the mall closes, so we use our time wisely.  And, we get delirious, so we have the Most Fun together!  We make the sales people laugh, we are crazy!  (But we are totally Good Hunter/Gatherers!)
(and we got Hot Now's for our 7pm snack to sugar us up so we could make it till dinner!)  Can you tell I'm still sugared up?  And I didn't have Coke all day-till our dinner around 9:30pm, and only maybe 2 oz-I'm distancing myself-and growing increasingly fond of my favorite green tea from Panera! : )

WooHoo-Shop Til You Drop-not just from exhaustion, but from sheer fun: laughing till your sides ache, running around till you know all the sales associates on a first name basis (and go to lunch with them!), and till your car is full.  Lovely days in the sun.  Thank you, God!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Mocha Turtle

Sandstone Gardens (in Joplin) is my absolute favorite place.  The chicken tortilla soup is amazing, and the decor...even better.  I got a few things: a box turtle (he's concrete), a bird's nest with eggs, a big roll of burlap "ribbon", and a really big lantern! (it's about three feet tall, with glass in a wood frame, and it has an opening door!)  It's just beautiful. I have a picture, but it's on my phone and I forgot the USB connection wire to my computer (and..therefore the charger too!).  I'll get it up when I get back home.

Sandstone sells (and makes) tons of concrete, and then custom colors it for you.  It takes about 15-20 minutes to wait on it.  They have about 2000 designs, a catalog (that's pretty rough-looking!), and's just so fun to walk around and explore all the neat stuff!  I took my turtle the way he was (mocha dark), but you can have natural, aged, mahogany, goes on and on.  It's neat that they can age them right there for you!  I found so many beautiful things today.  It gives me great ideas (lots of lanterns right now, birds' nests, birds, crowns, glass, tree branches, animals, fountains, architectural remnant lamps, each thing is more beautiful than the next, it just makes you want to go home to clean and decorate for the season! : )

My sweet friend, Tiffany finally had her baby today!  Bless her heart-she was in the hospital on Sunday, dilated to a 3, and 80% effaced, but they sent her home-even though her contractions were 3 minutes apart!  How do they know a baby is not imminent?  I the next 24 hours?

Her water broke at lunch today, and her husband hurried back from Van Buren to meet her at the hospital, and Veronica had her kids in the car outside!  (Poor Tiffany went in alone!)  What a day-and I'm so thankful that Veronica was there to take her to the hospital-that girl was listening to the Holy Spirit today-there's so much more, but suffice it to say she was really in tune with God's will.  I know God will bless her richly.

Angie and I are in Branson now (after our afternoon in Joplin!), and we'll be here until Sunday afternoon.  Lots of shopping, eating out, some relaxing, and we'll catch up with Dina and Sara while we are here!  (Our friends-the girls at Gymboree!  That's what happens when you continue shopping at the same place over and over and over, year after year! : )  What will we do when our girls are too big?  Ummm...cry?

Precious days with our friends are just that..priceless! : )

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ahhh..Now Smile : )

Ahhh...the sound of me opening wide!  Apparently I have a remarkably small mouth?  I had to have the child-size thingies and tools for my mouth!

I had my first appointment at my new orthodontist's office.  Yes, that's what I said!  I got xrays, pictures (of the outside and inside of my mouth with mirrors and lip-spreaders, I had no idea what my kids had been through!), and a consultation about my mouth (well, teeth).  I learned that my orthodontist is psychic (he told me I sleep on my right side, and sometimes on my tummy hugging my pillow on my right side-he was so right!) (ok, not really psychic:  I have wearing on the inside of my right rear teeth-I totally couldn't figure out how he knew!) and that I have "black triangles" because of my bone shifting that holds my teeth (maybe I can explain that one later, those little areas where you can see between the bottom of your front teeth), and it's a shock that I don't have a worse profile after having four permanent teeth removed, your nose and chin continue to grow (and make you look more and more witchy, and your teeth are what hold out your lips/profile), and I need braces to correct the current situation.

I went ahead and ok'd the plan, and I will get them on February 21st.  I'll maybe get you some pictures, depending.  (Depending on how I feel and how I look.)  I had lots of options: invisalign, clear brackets, regular silver brackets, and the new quick clip brackets.  The invisalign was a "no" since I won't keep them in, the clear brackets stain easily (with red sauce, tomatoes, spaghetti, red wine, etc.), the regular brackets require rubber bands (harder to clean around), so...I picked the quick clip.  Silver, but the wire just clicks into place!  No rubber bands are required, so I think they'll be noticeable, but I won't have the colored rubber bands like Mary Claire! : )

After we worked out the package, they went ahead and did my impressions.  They did two sets of upper and two sets of lower.  Do you remember having those done?  They are gagging!  My mouth was so small (I had no idea! maybe that's why I have to talk double-time to get it all out), they had to use the smallest kids' tray for my impressions.  They said I used the same one as Mary Claire!  I totally almost threw up, I was really gagging.  After they got the berry-flavored gunk in, I did okay while they set up. (four times!)

I also learned that as you age, your teeth move forward, and especially the front ones get crooked.  I think I told you that I have a tiny dent in the bottom of my front right tooth, where it rubs my bottom tooth.  I already had a tiny bit of bonding done to build the bottom up level, but it's wearing away again.  I have to fix the problem before I have it done again.  I'll only be in the braces for 12-18 months (oh yeah-the other bonus-silver is faster than clear!).

Ahh..what else could I do to change my life?  make it better?  Never stop working to make your life work better.  If you don't do it for yourself, who will?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Perk Test

One of the exciting perks of having diabetes is getting to give blood (for science) once a year.  I think I told you about her blood sugar being low, and crying while they took blood at her last endocrinology appointment here.  One of the reasons we do this is to check her health, to see if she's developing anything else (kids with auto-immune disorders often develop other problems along the way) and to see if her body is being well taken care of-diabetes is extremely hard on your blood vessels, kidneys, heart, nerves, and eyes.

We got Mary Claire's lab work results in the mail today.  I was quite alarmed as two of her values were over twice the upper normal range.  Her urine creatinine was 178.7 (normal range is 11-26) and her alkaline phosphatase was 272 (normal range is  50-136).  I read through all the other numbers, and at the bottom of the report, it gave a contact name and number.  I called the lady, and she said she didn't know what those two were, but they were usually raised in kids with diabetes.  (..and why is she the contact person?)  I emailed Mary Claire's doctor, and while I was waiting..

I googled Urine Creatinine, and found all sorts of things.  Here is the first: "I suppose that the most common reasons for developing raised creatinine levels will be when the filtration mechanism becomes gradually damaged by long-term raised blood pressure or diabetes.  (damaged?)  So, at least I know it really is in relation to Type I Diabetes (so I should turn off the alarm bells?)  It continues, "But, in very general terms, a rising level of creatinine signifies an increasing problem with poorly performing kidneys."  (Umm..can I get alarmed now?)  
We are always told what the issues and complications will be, but we concentrate so hard on managing and controlling the numbers everyday, that we can easily lose sight of the long-term.  I was under the (wrong) assumption (I know, it always makes an ass out of u and me-I must have heard it a thousand times-I can't even say the word without thinking about it!) that if we kept the numbers in range (70-125) that the complications would be majorly reduced.  Was I wrong?  (do we go back for a refresher course?)

Second, I googled Alkaline Phosphatase.  I had to know what it was too.  "Alkaline phosphatase is an enzyme widely found in the body, but is most concentrated in the liver, bone, kidneys, intestines, and the placenta in pregnant women." (from here)  "If a high level of alkaline phosphatase is found, further lab studies are needed to see if the elevated levels are coming from the liver or from bone."  So, then I was worried that she had a blockage in her liver bile ducts or breakdown of bone. (thanks to them)  Googling can make things worse.

I got a response (after googling), and he said that alkaline phosphatase is an enzyme associated with bone growth, and it'll be elevated in her until she stops growing. (Aha-and maybe it's also because her body is repairing that broken humerus?  maybe?  huh?  throw me a bone!)
He also says the urine creatinine is not a problem.  It can be extremely variable through the day.  The two most important tests for her kidneys are her serum creatinine and urine microalbumin to creatinine ratio which were both normal.  I'm going to trust him and not worry.  We'll test again next year, and if they are both still crazy high, then I'll freak out more.  For now, I will not worry.  She is a beautiful little girl full of hope and promise.  and she looks healthy.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  James 1:2-3

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Berry Special Day

We lost power today at home.  Not fun.  It was kinda blinky, then on, then blinky a few minutes later, then Gone.  Ethan just cried and cried-he was scared!  The alarm started beeping, and he was just sure the house was caving in.  He wanted to "go out the garage"!  He had no idea that the garage door wasn't working!  Ha.  It was crazy.  I couldn't get in the shower, since my hair dryer wouldn't work.  And we have gas heat, but an electric thermostat and fan on, no heat.  We finally put our coats on after an hour.  It was warm by the fire in the hearth room, but Ethan followed me all over the house, crying about being cold.  Fun times!

I have to tell you, I started laughing as I realized the irony.  If I'd joined the gym, I could've gone there and used their nice warm showers and hair dryers!  This is not lost on me.  Ahh..Ches says to join.  I do miss it.  I wanted to get on the machines.  (is that weird?) (is it weirder that I coveted their heat and hair dryers and lights today?)

When I got a call from a sweet friend, Veronica, I had Plans!  She didn't send her son to school today, since there's a chicken pox outbreak (10 kids is the current total) at school.  (did I forget to mention that?)  Anyway, he goes on Tuesday/Thursday, so we got to PlAy today! : )  We went to the library for story time, then to Chick-Fil-A for lunch.  We had a great time! 

First a story, then some dancing and "freezing" to the music!

More dancing...

Another Story.  Aren't they sitting nicely?  This was right before Ethan had an altercation with the little girl in the cute black and white dress behind him.  Lovely.  Now I remember why we quit going!
We had the best time!  I saw Sandra and Nora there (it's Nora's fourth birthday today!!), and Casandra and Lucas-it was quite the party!  I definitely should go more often!  (except Bible study starts next week, so maybe on Thursdays?).

Then after eating and playing, and special attention to our drinks, balloons, and ice cream from Raoul, we parted ways.  We went to Wal-Mart to look for Nora a gift.  Her party is on Saturday, and I got to ask her what she wanted.  She didn't really have anything in mind, but she said Strawberry Shortcake.  I asked if she wanted people or a little car.  She said a car!  (I'd seen one at Walmart!)  We went straight to the toy section, and found tons of toys!  There is this awesome clearance aisle, so I browsed (while Ethan told me all of the things he wanted for least he didn't ask for anything today!) and found totally amazing deals!  There's this cool My Little Pony Mermaid Castle (normally $40) for $15, a Zoobles! Razoo’s Treehouse Play Set for only $15, and the Little People Happy Sounds Home for $15 (normally $35), the Hex Bugs Nano were only $3, and then...I found some Strawberry Shortcake!!  Remember the awesome Berry Cafe Mary Claire got for Christmas?  I found one, and remember how it was $15 after Christmas (and $35 before Christmas)?  I was eager to see if they had any more.  Well..can I be all hyper and proud and excited at once??  It was only SEVEN DOLLARS!!!  I got it, and I found the most adorable Strawberry Shortcake car for her, for guess...Five Dollars!  Ahh, I got both.  It was pure awesomeness.  (if you are a little girl who *loves* Strawberry Shortcake, or a mom who *hearts* a great deal!)  Can I say again how excited I was? : )

So, that certainly put me in a great mood.  Then we picked up the kids from school, and started our next adventure.  We made Play-Doh...out of Kool-Aid!  Yeah, really.  I could not make this stuff up if I tried.  I'll give you the recipe before I forget:

Play-doh made with Kool-Aid
2 c. water
1 pkg. unsweetened Kool-Aid (grape turns gray, so not good. Orange, berry, and lime are the best)
2 c. flour (I used only white flour so it wouldn't have texture/fiber-haha)
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 cup salt (yes, CUP!)
2 tsp. oil

1.  Mix water and Kool-Aid mix in big pan.
2.  Add remaining ingredients, and mix well.  Cook over medium heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring constantly.  Play dough is done when color deepens and it comes together in a ball.  (You'll be able to tell!)  Turn onto a plate to cool.  Store in a ziploc bag.

We started with the Lime-Ethan's favorite color!

someone borrowed my camera...

and it got thicker..

well, it's not a "ball", but it's done.  It reminds me of cooking scrambled eggs!

Umm..did someone else borrow my camera?

I just love finding surprise pictures on my camera! : )

and Ta-Da!  Beautiful Play-Doh!! : )

Ta-Da!  Beautiful Boy! : )

and because we found another 1/2 cup more batch!

this time Berry Blue..

They are so cute, working together.

I know..where's Clay?  He's at the bar playing his keyboard all afternoon.  I guess because I could HeAr It ALL afternoon, somehow I thought you could too.

I let them play with this batch-they couldn't wait!  She used all the cookie cutters for her play-doh.  She had a Peace, Love, Bread Bakery she said.  Only bread products, as usual.
I have to tell you, I was very happy with this recipe.  It turned out extremely well, good color throughout, good consistency-not oily, not sticky (or stinky), and it didn't leave any color on our hands (it RoCKs!).  Try this at home!

And I've had this cool toy since Christmas (Santa left it in my stocking!), and haven't gotten to play with it since strawberries are a crazy $4.48 a quart!  But today felt special, and I was feeling Berry Special.. so I got us some for dinner.  Here is my newest strawberry huller:
It is spring-loaded, and you push down on the green to open up its "teeth".

She wanted to be the first to use it. : )

..but she got tired of it, and Clay finished!  He was very good at it!

I sometimes think my posts are WAY too long, but I have so much to say, and so much to share! : )  I mean: great deals, awesome play-doh, and way-cool kitchen toys!  (Ok, exciting to me?)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Hungry for Love

Why do boys thinking toots are so funny?  Girls get embarrassed, and boys just L-A-U-G-H!
Ethan cracks us up-he even pretend burps because he thinks it's hilarious!  Silly boys, they are cut from different fabric than us girls.
: )

I haven't "worked out" (or worked for that matter..) in a super-long time.  We let our gym membership go a year or two after Mary Claire was born (hmm..was that diabetes' fault too?).  It has been too long-don't bother doing the math!  So, today I wandered into a local gym and told them I was interested in joining.  I've been working up the nerve to go in for at least a year.  I need it, but I get nervous, and it's been so long.  (and you can tell)

Anyway, I filled out some information, took the tour, found out the pricing, decided it was okay, and Then.  He wanted me to sign a two-year contract, and I just couldn't.  Maybe it was because I hadn't discussed it with Ches (or even told him I was going!), or because it was $1591 all together.  Cough-cough.  If they wouldn't tell us this, it would go so much better for the salesmen!  So, I did the hardest thing I could do.  I told him no.  Just No.  I said I'd sign for a year, but not two.  (I had to pay off the last gym over a contract, Not.  Fun.)  I had to walk away from that beautiful place (with a private women's gym-extra $10/month, and tanning, and yoga, and spinning, and kids' classes, and saunas and pools, and those machines I dearly miss, and I'm not kidding, it was all I could do not to get on them-my body knows what it needs!)  I'm not saying I won't go back, but I really should talk to Ches before I blow money on Me Time. : )  and lock us in for two years!  and maybe he'll call me back?  is it like buying a car?  'Cause I'm pretty good at that!  ..Guess I won't be meeting my friend at yoga in the morning. : (

I was on the way to my dentist's office for a cleaning today, when I heard this precious song at a stop light.  I always sing the chorus, and the song has been out for a long time, but I really heard it today. God has good timing.

Here's a youtube video with the lyrics, if you want to hear the amazing song!
(if you are reading later than Jan. 25th, you'll have to pause the music down on the playlist at the bottom of this site, or they'll both play!)  I'm turning it off for a couple days! : )

If not, here are the words:
Sanctus Real - “Lead Me”

I look around and see my wonderful life
Almost perfect from the outside
In picture frames I see my beautiful wife
Always smiling
But on the inside, I can hear her saying...

“Lead me with strong hands
Stand up when I can't
Don't leave me hungry for love
Chasing dreams, what about us?

Show me you're willing to fight
That I'm still the love of your life
I know we call this our home
But I still feel alone”

I see their faces, look in their innocent eyes
They're just children from the outside
I'm working hard, I tell myself they'll be fine
They're independent
But on the inside, I can hear them saying...

“Lead me with strong hands
Stand up when I can't
Don't leave me hungry for love
Chasing dreams, but what about us?

Show me you're willing to fight
That I'm still the love of your life
I know we call this our home
But I still feel alone”

So Father, give me the strength
To be everything I'm called to be
Oh, Father, show me the way
To lead them
Won't You lead me?

To lead them with strong hands
To stand up when they can't
Don't want to leave them hungry for love,
Chasing things that I could give up

I'll show them I'm willing to fight
And give them the best of my life
So we can call this our home
Lead me, 'cause I can't do this alone

Father, lead me, 'cause I can't do this alone

He realizes that we can't leave our family hungry for love, while we are out working hard, and even helping others.  We need to be led, and our family does too-I can't leave my kids hungry for love, while I work at the school or make dinner for the priests!  This is not lost on me.  Precious words, and oh-precious times are HERE.

Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness because of my enemies-make straight your way before me. Psalm 5:8

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Quick Pick: Drawing Numbers

Thankful that my boy is finally learning to write-trying not to do any comparisons. : )  He knows it makes me happy, and he even wrote a V for Violin on my desk in green marker (I tried not to freak out, especially since he told me it was for violin-Smart Boy)  Here it is after I scrubbed it:

It kinda has wings like a bird.

And this FOUR for Ethan! (what he always says!)

An E and a Cross (he calls T's crosses, and we don't really correct him-it's cute)

His A, but then Mary Claire had to add a tooth up above.

A Self-Portrait.  He said he's a "punching guy" holding sticks.  ?

A Banana-hahahahaha
Ok-doesn't that one make you laugh?  He's so funny.  He just likes sitting at my desk and using my notepads!  He feels like a Big Boy.  I don't mind as long as he's progressing.  He's still using his left hand, but I caught him coloring a little with his right hand.

And the last one.  He has learned to write his name, but it's really shaky.  He also writes so lightly with a pencil that it's hard to see!
His is the really faint pencil all across the bottom, and yes, I see two E's too! : )
Sweet, sweet boy-currently laying on my floor fussing because we can't find his GREEN train Geo Trax engine.  Why, oh why can't you play with the red one, the silver one, the black one, the yellow one, or Sarge or Lightning McQueen or Mater?  Ah..the green one eludes us.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Missing the Mark

I just don't understand these things, Nemo.  Why is my header perfectly clear, then gets all garbaged up on the blog?  That picture looks gross!  I will change it again, but I don't have anymore time.  Phooey.  Advice??
New change...later. : )  I was going for Love/Valentines, but my cupid missed his mark! heehee

Money Down the Drain

Glad I'm typing, or you wouldn't be able to understand me!  I got a cold, and guess I should be happy I'm getting to stay home! : )
Yesterday was another Snow Day for the kids-more playing outside, making BiG Tents in the hearth room, so they were "neighbors".  Ches took them to Chick-Fil-A and to get me some medicine yesterday afternoon-it was so absolutely sweet of him.  A precious few minutes (well..more than a few!) to rest, watch part of a movie, read, and make spaghetti sauce!  I just love that sauce, and it really opens up my sinuses with all the onions and garlic.  Yum!

I didn't take any pictures of the kids' tents-but they were very elaborate.  They used all the kitchen chairs and barstools, and had rubber-banded the blankets onto the tops of the chairs!  They were going for BIG.  They had to recruit extra pillows for "doors", and more to lay on...then toys to play with, and goes on and on.  At least they were entertained!  Made my time laying around so peaceful! : )

Clay went to Mom's last night to spend the night, so Mary Claire and I laid on the bed and played cards.  Then I got a book in the mail (late! from Fed Ex), and we both read.  It was so nice.  She's the best person to have around when you don't feel great.  She's quick to be sympathetic and give me hugs.  Or even go get water bottles for me. ; )  We stayed up too late, just hanging out. (almost 10!), but it was Friday night, and No School Saturday!  The kids have been so thrilled with their schedule lately-Monday was Inservice for the teachers, so they only went Tuesday and Wednesday this week!  We can't decide whether to study spelling words for Monday or not.  Hmm.

I have had an interesting few days.  I've learned to work on my vacuum (again!).  I had to take it all apart to oil the motor, ends of the turning-brush-thingie (I did not say I learned the technical terms), and today I worked on my garbage disposal.  There was this odd noise last night, and I told Ches, he dutifully felt around in there (God bless him), and found nothing.  But this morning, it was making that same clanking/tinkling noise, like a measuring spoon or medicine cup-something tiny.  So, when it totally locked up on me, I pulled out my handy Garbage Disposal Tool, and cranked it around.  It loosened it up, and then it locked up, and flipped its reset switch.  (I've done this a few too many times, huh?)  Then, I got my huge flashlight, and had a look.  I felt like a doctor-I needed a head lamp or someone to hold it for me!  (It took up the entire hole, so that was pointless!) Finally, at an angle, I could see a semi-shiny circle lodged up against the side.  I was scared to stick my hand in there (as always), since at any moment (in my head) the motor could kick back on!  I used a butter knife to pop it out of its jammed spot, and  then I got brave, and pulled it out.  A penny.  Ha.  I know I throw a lot of money down the drain, but reallyDon't try this at home.

Sorry about the Winn-Dixie link, I'm trying something new-I tried to add it to a new playlist on, but it takes a couple days for the link to go live, so you can USE it!  If it doesn't work, I'm sorry, and you should totally read it for yourself-a sweet girl meeting strangers, and learning to call them friends.  No judging.  Love it!

I did hear back from Bethany (not rejected yet!), and have filled out my statement of faith, but I'm waiting for Ches to fill out his half so I can return it to them.

Beware: TMI Ahead!  You can turn back now. : )
I ordered a very awesome (little biased?) book about women's bodies and our cycles: NaPro Technology Revolution: Unleashing the Power of a Women's Cycle"-I even paid to have it shipped in two days, and was actually very happy it really made it-despite the bad weather, yay, extra $12!  Anyway, I have a friend who just returned from seeing Dr. Hilgers in Nebraska, and I've read about his work.  He is Catholic, and takes the charge of helping women figure out what's wrong seriously-he doesn't band-aid it with medicine.  I have learned so much already.  You chart your mucus cycle, and you can tell so much-if you aren't making enough progesterone in your luteal phase (after ovulation), if you are even ovulating (some women have long, dry cycles), or if stress prevented ovulation, if you have lots of cramps and PMS, there's a very good chance you have endometriosis-did you know you aren't supposed to be doubled over in pain?  I had no idea. : )

It makes total sense, and I can see now why I need progesterone after I ovulate, and how I am not getting pregnant when I have no mucus due to stupid Clomid. : )  Yeah, it's a band-aid. I was doing fine without it! : )  Okay, that's enough of that.  If you need more info, you can email me.

Hope your weekend RoCKs!  I'll see you tomorrow, same Bat Time, same Bat Channel!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Snow Day and Sleds

Sweet, Sweet Snow Day!
Well, we got to use those sleds! : )
The kids woke up EaRlY (always earlier on a Snow Day, don'tcha know?), and they began with food (and filled their day with food, and ended with food).  I guess snow gives you an appetite?

Anyway, they got all dressed up in their layers (oh yeah..I've got clothes sitting in the washer!), and headed out.
They tromped around the yard, and decided to start with a snowman...but the snow wouldn't pack since it was only 19 degrees!

Mary Claire sat in the snow, despite warnings that the snow would melt on her pants and make her C-O-L-D.

The boys tried so hard to make the snow stick.  It was too cold!

Maybe we could just pile it up?

Good Golly-why are these still inside?
Yep, Ches told the kids if they took them out and they got all snowy and wet, they couldn't bring them back in the house.  So.. they had so much fun playing train tracks with them this morning, they left them inside.  Umm..doesn't that defeat the purpose? (and ruin the fun, and spoil all the time we spent working on them?)  They should SLED!

And so they did.
No, my kids aren't playing with ladders!

Staying Warm!

Warming up by the fire, waiting on their hot cocoa..they saw me taking their picture!

...and then he finally saw me!
So, we warmed up, ate an early lunch, since they were all starving by eleven, and Then.  Mary Claire felt a loose wire.  Umm..what kind of loose?  I checked her out, and discovered she had popped a bracket off when she crashed her sled into a tub in the yard (Ches' idea of a sled from last week..).  I now notice her feeling around the bracket in the last picture.  She'd been crying when she came in about the hole the bracket made in her top lip, but I didn't even notice the bracket since it was held so tightly by the rubber band!

I tried to remember Dr. Storms' phone number, and missed a couple times... Finally I looked it up, and when he answered, he said he'd just walked in!  (So glad I messed up a little!)  He said he'd be there for an hour, so we rushed around, and we all went.  We were so thankful he was there!  The office was closed, and it's closed Fridays, and he was going to be in Little Rock on Monday and Tuesday (and only he can put brackets on!).  He got it all off, replaced a bracket, then fixed the stiff wire where she'd lost teeth over the past couple of weeks, and the new ones were trying to come in.  It was kinda blocking them.  He had to cut them off since they wouldn't bend.
Then, we went to Wal-Mart (I mean..since we were out!) and got a new drill (remember my smoking one?) for Ches to drill out Clay's Pinewood Derby Car to add weights.  Your car has to weigh in, and can weigh 5 ounces.  You want it to weigh the max so it'll come down the chute faster!
Anyway, that place was a ghost town!  No one was there, and all the employees were talking really loudly to each other.  It was amazing all the backhoes/front end loaders and shoveling equipment we saw today.  (Note to self: grocery shop after the snow comes.)  It was so commonplace, people became immune.  (except me..I took pictures!)
Even Clay had to get a second look at that big front end loader driving right past us!

This one was funny-the employees were shoveling snow into the front scoop!

This one just pulled right into McDonald's...and parked. Guess he was taking a break for lunch?
And then we headed home, played around, and went back out! : )  It was sunny, the roads were much clearer (although school has already been canceled for tomorrow), so why not?  Ches was really feeling some cabin fever (it'd been three hours!).
We went to Lowe's to get a new drill bit, then to Chick-Fil-A for the kids to run around and an early dinner.  They ran, and we watched the big, beautiful, orange sun set.  I was so thankful it finally came out!
But when the sun went down, I got nervous.  We hurried and got on the road home.  We did the usual bath/snack/story time.  And then, we continued the book we've been reading: Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo.  It's a wonderful book, set in Florida, but Southern.  It is written so beautifully, and you can just see the characters and feel their feelings.  It makes my voice swoop and swallow in southern drawl.  So lovely.  So lovely in fact, that Mary Claire and I recorded some chapters tonight for her to re-listen to.  I was trying to figure out if I could record them on her DSi card, like music.  Well, I figured it out tonight!  Do you (and your kids?) want to listen to Winn-Dixie too?
Here's the first chapter:

I have to tell you, I don't know if it'll work.  We didn't actually video.  We only used the little voice recorder!  It is the sweetest book.  (We are actually on chapter 21 now.)  In the second chapter, the Preacher decides he'll take in the Less Fortunate.  So good!  I will tell you it has the word stupid and in the sixteenth chapter, it has the word hell.  They are telling that the Civil War was hell, and it was.  Just a warning, in case that bothers you.  Anyway, if you want to listen along, I'll add the chapters slowly! : )  (but you can't laugh at my drawl!  Promise?)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tool Love

Do I ever get bored?  NO! : )
I took Clay to his new doctor's appointment (got no solutions, but got a new appointment in two weeks-I think it's time for her to make a plan, read up on him, and have some solutions..), and then ran errands.  I tried to find some sleds, but no one had any.  The nice man at Wal-Mart (his belt said Arliss, so I think that's his name?), told me THEY used to make things, not buy them!  I asked him how, and he set about telling me how to make a sled with a 2x4 and a 1x10.  I told him that sounded great, and I had some saws, so we were in business!  After school, I took the kids to Lowe's.  Here are my monkeys at the store:
Total Gymnasts on the cart.  We looked like a side-show.

Yes, they really are mine.
And, we got to work.  I unloaded my groceries and the wood, then moved the van out of the garage.  We needed Work Space.  Our original plan had been to make two sleds, and the kids said they'd share, but then they wanted to paint them, and it was going to be hard since Ethan loves green.  He really wanted his own.  I changed the plan from two decent-sized sleds to three little sleds (the wood was kinda heavy anyway!).
First, I cut the two 2x4's into thirds to give us six runners.  I cut them on 45 degree angles to glide down the hill easier.  I used my handy chop saw:

You can tell I thought of it after the fact, notice all the sawdust?
Next, I had the kids mark the long 1x4's every 13 5/8" to make 14 slats.  They were going to be right next to each other, but we had to spread them out since we changed the plan to 3 sleds.  I pulled out the big table saw-such fun!  Yes, the kids stayed over by the doors while I was cutting. : )
It's probably wrong how much I love my tools, and look for a reason to use them.
Then the kids' fun began.  I let them set up the sleds how they wanted.  Clay was very 'into' evenly spacing the slats.

Ethan was just happy to be getting a sled!  (Mary Claire was the photographer this afternoon!)

Ethan wanted to use screws, but my corded drill had a locked-up chuck, and my cordless drill was smoking!  So we switched to nails.

Clay hammering with my big hammer.  (My little one is pink and black.  Totally matched me.)

They are done, and awaiting paint.
I got tired, started feeling sick (that's why I didn't post last night), so we didn't paint them.  We knew snow was coming, so we had to pick them up and pull the van in.  Ches didn't complain, but he wanted to know what we'd built when he got home.
Umm..sleds?  Are they that goofy looking that you can't tell?  We're counting on a big snow! : )