Friday, January 21, 2011

A miscellaneous mish-mosh of whatnot.

My sister's spirits are much better today.  She has taken my ribbing about my 20 month old nephew soon thinking that she's an amusement park replacement very well.  The other day, she cried.  I didn't mean to make her cry!

LeAnne and the girls have decided that they like walking so much, that they will be walking once a week when the truck is all repaired.  They would walk more, but they are in the country and without sidewalks. 

100 Book Challenge took me about an hour and a half to update today.  Sure beats the intense 3 + hours last week.  It was well worth it.  It is all back on track and good to go!

Dropping pot pie off and seeing Isabel!  She sure is a peanut, but she'll grow up quick.  Cutie patootie little thing.  Slept the whole time I held her and for the little flour sack of weight that she is, my arm had a cramp after.  I'm out of practice!

Hmmm.  There has to be more.

Oh, yes!  Hubs has a birthday coming up and he HAD been planning on us going to visit the Carnegie Science Museum, but they are closed on Sunday due to the Pittsburgh Steelers game, which happens to be right next door.  (If I'm wrong, it's at least very close.)  Rrr.  Happy for the city, but sad that we can't visit there.  We had tossed around the idea of visiting other places in Pittsburgh, but Hubs had a nightmare about being caught in the city during game day festivities and he has decided that Columbus is a great place to visit.  We'll visit COSI and have lunch at the Franklin Park Conservatory.  K- was too young to fully enjoy COSI the last time we were there, so she'll have an even better time this time.  She's still to small to ride the High Wire Unicycle, but we checked and I'm tall enough-- with 2" to spare! 

Right now, I need to put sheets back on K-'s bed and re-make it.  Can I tell you how I don't feel like doing it?  (Yes, I'm doing it anyhow because sleeping without sheets is not an option.)

I think that is about all my brain has to give for the day.  I'm out! 

Have a great weekend!

Smiles in my day:
-  Sprinkled in above.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

"Mommy! I got first place!"

Yesterday, K- entered a painting (pictures on my camera and I don't know how to get them off yet) into the PTA Art Reflections contest.  In early December, we knew that this was coming up and she drew a picture of what she wanted her painting to be.  I read and re-read the directions, found that the canvas that I had already was too thick for the size requirements, so I went and bought some canvas board.  She drew her picture onto the board, water colored it and when it was dry, drew some accent lines with glitter paint markers.  When she was done, she stood proudly while holding her painting out in front of herself and proclaimed, "Now THIS is a work of art."

"Yes baby, it is!"

I'm a horrible mother.  I looked at the painting and wanted so much more for it.  I had made suggestions, but in the end, everything was done by her.  She did it, "Mom, I've got it," and I let her roll with it.  It's the artist in me.  But then, what did I turn out when I was in first grade?  I don't really quite know.  I know that I won an award for being the best with scissors.  I cut along lines like a pro.  I think I won a Hershey bar as a reward.  

I admit that I knew that Reflections was a very low-participation thing last year.  (There were three pieces total.)  I knew that if K- entered, the likelihood that she would win something was pretty high.  I knew that if she won something, it would be a nice feather in her cap. 

I never in a million years expected 1st place.  That's exactly where the horrible mother thing comes in place. 

Now, remember in the beginning of school when K- won first place in the school garden fair?  That I expected.  I knew that she had grown the tomato from seed, she had tended the plant, eaten the fruits and loved that she took a little project from Lowe's and could haul it into school and win with it. 

I under-estimated my child.  I feel about an inch tall.

Smiles in my day:
-  K- being so proud about her award.  We're thrilled right there with her.
-  I stopped in to drop off a class party flier for Mrs. S- to read over today and asked her about yesterday's testing.  She said that it went well and she had 5 more to go.  I mentioned K- telling me that last time and this time she was unable to complete before the bell.  Mrs. S- gave me a sad teacher look.  "Oh, none of the children did.  When we do calendar, I'm going to mention how well everyone did and let them know that no one was able to complete before the bell."  I think that she probably figured that if K- was voicing her concern about it, there was probably another child in the same boat.  So kind for her to clarify that with the children.  I didn't ask for that, but since it was the second time and it was starting to stress K- out, I figured that I'd mention it.  I'm glad that she has a teacher that I can do that with. 
-  Much accomplished at work and I'm exhausted.  Julia and I have hauled this week and the gallery no longer looks like the clearance section at the thrift.  We left beat, but happy.

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

This post could have so many titles.

Let's consider those for just a moment. 

1.  You did what?
2.  Again?
3.  Is God not screaming loud enough?

So, now that I got that out of my system, allow me to share with you the call I got today.  My mom phoned to let me know that my sister had, once again, wrecked her vehicle.  If you are keeping count, this is the second vehicle in slightly less than 2 months

My sister had a truck load of 4 children.  She had my two nieces, ages 7 and 9, her 20 month old son, and her friend's 15 year old son.  She was busy driving her friend's son to school, then onward to drive her two to school because I think that they missed the opportunity to catch the bus.

Enter black ice.  My sister doesn't watch the news, so she must have missed the multiple warnings on the newscast last night. 

She slid.

She panicked.

She hit the brake.  (You want to throw it into neutral, but there is no guarantee that will stop you.)

She dropped her truck onto the drivers side and right into a ditch.  She looked up to have an Amish face looking back at her.  The gentlemen were out in her area building something, must have watched her twirl and came to her aid.  She said that she opened the window and started handing children out.  My 7 year old niece popped out of the back slider window.  After the 9 year old was released, she helped to free the 15 year old. 

Yes, they are all fine.  My sister's back is wrenched, but everyone is fine. 

The truck is not.  Neighbors came with their tractor (she lives in the country) and bales of hay.  They were able to use both to pull her truck back upright.  She was able to drive it back home. 

Needed part inventory is:
2 new doors
1 driver's side mirror
1 running board
1 tail light
1 rear bumper
1 tail gate
1 support (I have no idea what that is connected to.)

Oooo, and a new car seat and boosters-- again.

They'll know more once they get the bed off. 

They are certain that IF! they had full coverage, insurance would total it.  That was not the case, though.  Once again, she only had liability insurance.  It appears that losing a $6500.00 van only 2 months ago didn't quite sink in enough to fully cover the only vehicle that she has to drive.

Now, she has been given clearance to drive the wreckamobile 4/10 of a mile to the bus stop and back and that is it.  Frankly, I wouldn't trust it that far, but that's just me.

Yes, I sound heartless.  I'm irritated.  You see, I called my sister after I heard.  I asked, "How are you?" in a not terribly fluffy way.  "Okay, shaken up.  [insert pause]  What do you think?"  "I'm fairly certain that you don't want to know what I think.  I'm positive of that."  "I'm sure that what you think is what has already gone through my mind.  Tell me."  "LeAnne, it's going to come out wrong, but I think you'll understand what I mean.  You have to make your family first and you need to stop.  I don't know how loudly God can yell at you.  Next time, I fear that you won't be alive."  "I know.  My family is first, but I know what you are saying.  I already told [my friend] that I can't do it anymore."  The last wreck she was in was because she was rushing the kids in the morning in the very same way.

My brother Billy has given the truck the once over.  He's going to see what he can do to help pull it around.  It's going to be a lot of work. 

To my sister's credit, we are women that are rescuers.  We were brought up to be fixers.  You have a problem, a tragedy, a something-wrong-in-your-life?  We'll do what we can to fix it.  We'll turn ourselves upside down, walk on our hands and balance balls on our noses to get what needs to be taken care of handled.  An admirable trait, yes, but occasionally a personality flaw. 

We can't fix it all.

We shouldn't fix it all.

I've learned to say no.  Not always, but the word has entered my vocabulary.  Is it hard for me to say no?  Yes, but sometimes it needs done. 

Once again, send prayers of thanksgiving, please. 

Smiles in my day:
-  They all came out okay. 
-  I figured out the reason that my face, neck and hairline is all broken out.  I've flipped over to using some liquid Arm & Hammer detergent I had on hand and it has color safe bleach in it.  It is also a different scent that I'm used to using.  One or the other is causing a sensitivity.  The sensitivity isn't a smile, but the fact that I figured out the error of my ways-- great! 

Have a great day!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tales from the Trenches: District-wide testing

Rrrr.  K- participated in district-wide testing in the fall.  They are doing it again.  I understand the testing, but geeze!  It is the same testing that they just did in the fall.  This time, though, the teachers will be administering the test and not an outsider.

K- thought the testing was last Monday.  I peeked my head in the door, saw Mrs. S- there and asked about the testing of the day.  She was very kind, explained it and said that what they got back was a report, but that she knows her kids.  She wanted to test them personally, so she and the other teachers did whatever training it was that they needed to do to be able to handle this themselves.  She said that the children are more comfortable with their own teacher and that she'll be able to witness just how well they do on her very own.  The teachers will have one day each to administer the testing to all the children in their class. 

K-'s day is tomorrow, and she will have a substitute.  She's talked to me about it and I've told her not to be nervous.  "But Mommy, I didn't get to get all the sounds done last time before the bell rang." 

"K-, don't sweat it.  Do your best and you'll be great.  Don't worry about what you can't get done.  Just do the best that you can do." 

Of course, the poor kid is suffering with a head cold right now.  I'm sure that will really help things out.  :S

All this testing concerns me.  Why?  Well, teachers are being forced to teach to test rather than being able to freely teach, but still cover the required material.  More specifically, K- and her friend E- are in the same grade.  They attend different schools within the district.  They have the exact same spelling and vocabulary words every week.  I was talking to my friend Kim about different papers that K- had last year.  "Oh yeah, I remember that one.  It was tricky because it had . . . on it."  Her children attend another school, different from where K- and E- go, but in the same district.  Is it that a teacher is given a district packet of information, hand-outs and such that are absolutely required to be done?  I know that K-'s teacher was scrambling the week before Christmas to try to get everything done.  Why?  Because they had two snow days and one day that week was Christmas party day.  The only thing that hung over was their reading book. 

Is there room for teachers to creatively teach anymore? 

Smiles in my day:
-  We have another baby.  Yes, baby number two was born.  My other cousin, Heather, had her baby today by scheduled c-section.  Elyse Noel (spelling to be confirmed) was born this morning.  She is 7 lbs 2 oz and 20 ish inches long or so.  Mom and baby are doing well.
-  K- and Hubs took my MIL to the "little useum" and went to their planetarium show.  Grant you, it is what they did last week, but they loved it so much that they decided to do it again and take Grandma along.  After, they took Grandma to lunch.  You see, Grandma drives 25 minutes out to get K- from school on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  She reads with her, feeds her dinner, has her get a bath and sends her on home with Hubs.  Some days, she sends me dinner!  While it isn't buying her the world (we'd love to), we like to make certain that we show our appreciation.  They had a lovely time.
-  "Mom, we have company!"  I'll translate that to, "We have birds or squirrels at the feeders."
-  Stripping the main room at work down to bare walls and starting from scratch.  We have very little to display, but I asked that a call be placed to our wood bowl guy.  I'm hoping to get some great consignment bowls in that I can make a slammin' display out of.  (I bought one of the bowls for my SIL for Christmas.  I hope that she and her family loves it as much as I do!)
-  K-'s cold is a nasal stuffiness and occasional cough.  Let's keep it at that and less, please.  No fever, please.  Children's Mucinex to the rescue!
-  Hubs seems to be feeling better today.

Have a great day!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Dishin' Dinners Day

Sunday/Monday-  Creamed chicken and vegetables over whole grain egg-type noodles.  Salad.
(Reserve 1/2 crock-pot cooked chicken for a Chicken Pot Pie to drop by my cousin's house on Thursday.  I must congratulate Isabel's arrival with food!)
Tuesday/Wednesday-  Turkey Kielbasa and yellow rice.  Salad.
Thursday/Friday-  Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo with whole grain spaghetti noodles, bread sticks and salad. (Drop chicken pot pie, rolls, salad and a dessert off.)
Saturday-  Homemade cheese pizza night!
Sunday-  Taking Hubs to celebrate his birthday date.  Dinner at IKEA? 

Things I noticed over the weekend:
-  A scarf really can just be so wet from playing outside that it doesn't dry for three days in a row.
-  The Willy Wonka that stars Johnny Depp is just flat wrong and scary and creepy and wrong.  Did I mention wrong?
-  Box Tops are on lots of things besides food.  I found them on pads, tampons, Saran wrap, Ziploc bags and on the giant Sam's Club Go-gurt.  K-'s school is having a Box Top drive, so we've been keeping our eyes out and I've been shaving them off things around the house.
-  I still love the movie Goonies.

Smiles in my day:
-  Sadly, we missed church because we all thought we were toting a touch of something lowerly digestive, but we were able to hang out together.  That's a very good thing.
-  Getting back on track with cooking and my dear love for the crock-pot. We have not stopped for any type of fast food since the new year.  That's saying a bit since I would buy a buck thing here or there.  Hey, every dollar counts and my cholesterol appreciates it.
-  Our bird feeding area is lovely.  (Yes, I know that I owe you photos, but they are in my new camera and I haven't read about how to put them onto the box yet.)  We've had Juncos, Song Sparrows, House Finches and Gold Finches.  We have suet out for the Chickadees, but I don't believe that they've come to play yet.
-  Being able to sit down to watch a movie with Hubs in the afternoon.  When we watch them at night, I always fall asleep!  I fell asleep watching Capote last night (I've seen it several times and own it, so it wasn't a horrible thing), but he decided that it looked good and he wanted to watch it.  You know what?  He loved it, too! 
-  Crock-pot dinner with enough leftovers for tomorrow.
-  Piles of clean laundry to be put away.  That means that my laundry is washed, dried, folded and almost put away.  It also means that I have laundry and the means and place to launder it, which is a thing that not everyone has. 
-  Jenny called to give me the scoop on Isabel.  (Was misinformed that it was Isabella, but her name is Isabel and Jenny did spell it for me.)  She said that she is a wee widget of a thing, she is very afraid because she is so little (5 lb 11 oz) and I can understand that.  She was a 38 week baby and she has lots of hair.  I'm excited to go to visit (with camera in hand!) on Thursday.
-  I didn't leave the house today.  I only stepped out to put the garbage in the trash can.

Have a great day!