Tuesday, December 30, 2014

12 in 2014

I've read a few of these 12 pics year in review posts and they all seem to have beautiful pictures with the month somehow written right on the picture, and links to numerous blog posts written in that month.  That's not going to happen here.  Last year at this time I had grand plans to blog about each month of the previous year and of course that didn't happen.  If I've learned anything lately it's to aim really low.  I'm pretty sure I can find a picture from each month of 2014, so that is the way this is going to go, no links, no sweet stories, but a picture for every month.

And that's all she wrote.
Link up with Dwija for more 12 in 2014 posts that have more content.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

quick updates in facebook format

After many years of grinding my own flour, I have opted to use cheap white flour for Christmas cookies this year.  It was a good idea!

Madi just texted that she got 100 on her Sociology (dual enrollment at LSSC) paper.  I texted back, "hopefully your Algebra 2 (FLVS) teacher will take that into consideration."

Jonathan and Mike have grand plans for outside Christmas lights every year (think Christmas vacation).  Here we sit in the second week of Advent with nice subtle lights outside.  I'm not complaining.

We got a droopy Christmas tree this year.  Here we sit in the second week of Advent, and I might be complaining a little.  It's still drinking water and not brown yet, but it's kinda sad.  For the last three or four years we've had trees that were still like new on New Year's Day, so I think we were overdue for this one.  I also think I mentioned that we had done so well with trees lately we might be due for a dud and I think this one heard me.

A dear friend had a stem cell transplant yesterday and was walking on the treadmill today.  I can count on one hand the number of times I've been to the gym this year.  Mike is ready to pull the plug on the family gym membership, and in spite of my terrible attendance, I'm not ready to let it go.  Jake is now old enough to go too, and I know he and I really need to get into a gym routine, yet I can't seem to make it happen.  Maybe saying it here will motivate me to take the plunge.  If we don't use it, we'll lose it.

It is the Feast of Juan Diego today and we had tacos for lunch.  I knew it was the Feast of Juan Diego and the boys and I talked about it this morning.  The tacos for lunch was unrelated, but as Sheldon Cooper would say, was a happy accident.

We have gotten 7 Christmas cards so far.  For a while we seemed to be getting one a day, and had the same number of cards as the date in December, but now we'll fallen behind.  Sent me some cards!!

I mailed mine today. 

I also mailed 3 Christmas packages.

Jake has the opportunity to go to two different dances this week, but will miss them both because it is show week at theatre. 

This really was my facebook status yesterday...

Our family's favorite musical, Once on this Island, is this weekend!!  Madi is Ti Moune on Saturday at 7, and Jake is Agwe on Friday at 7 and Sunday at 2. Reserve your tickets today.  This is one you won't want to miss!

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

It's Saturday

Linking with Kathryn once again for what I imaging will be the last time this week.  Tomorrow is the day we've been planning for...cruise!!  Lots of packing and preparing to do today.  In the meantime here's a short review of yesterday and a preview of today.

Hmmm, yesterday, what was yesterday?  Mike and Madi both had dentist appointments.  I did a little History with Madi, a little reading about northern Europe with Jake.  There was a point for a little while when the whole family was in the kitchen (actually that happened for a little while in the evening too).  Late morning Madi and I went to pay her traffic ticket.  Jonathan took Jake to Target.  Mike was at a meeting.  Madi and I picked up pizza for lunch, the boys brought home soda and we had a little party.  The Duggars joined us on the TV.  Then Madi did math, Jake did a little more school work, Jonathan talked a lot, and before we knew it it was time for Madi to go to work and Jake to go to band.  I sat in the car line during band listening to the Busted Halo show.  Then took Jake right to theatre.  While he was at theatre I went to the Verizon store and got my upgrade.  My 2 year old iphone 4 was on it's last legs.  Now I have a fancy 5S yay!  This week in review with new phones and pedicures is not at all typical of a normal week, it just happened that a week in my life also fell on the week before the cruise.  Mike and I were scheduled to house manage for the current main stage show at the theatre at 6:30.  The show is A Good Old Fashioned Redneck Country Christmas.  I convinced Madi to dress like an usher and help us out.  Good thing because as of the time of the house opening I only had two ushers and one of them was brand new.  I was supposed to have 6 or 7.  I pulled Jake from where he was sulking upstairs because he really didn't want to be there, and he sat people in his athletic pants and Aeropostale tshirt.  Finally three more ushers showed up 35 minutes late.  I quickly put them right to work.  Jonathan had been working on tech stuff there since about 4, and he and Jake decided to just go home and not stay for the show.  The show was pretty cute and touching.  It is a nice short show (my favorite kind of nonmusical) and we were all home (and back in the kitchen) before 10:00.  Then I got in bed and watched the end of Forrest Gump.  The end.

Today we are packing, and cleaning, and I personally have nowhere that I have to be. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Thursday on Friday

For the second night in a row I closed down a coffee shop.  (both times I was drinking tea)  Now it's Friday morning and I'm not sure I'll remember all the things that were Thursday, so I'll just try to hit the highlights.  I made pumpkin chocolate chip scones for breakfast.  Jake had borrowed the steel drums so even though he didn't have band in the morning, we had to be there bright and early to return them.  Jake and I made the first trip and some of Jake's friends came out to help him with the second round.  Then I waited a pretty long time because Jake sorta forgot he was a homeschooler and did the middle school hang out in the court yard thing.  He's really got the best of both worlds that kid!  Apparently he and his buddies were discussing changes to Sesame Street (no more Big Bird because kids are afraid of him?  no more Burt and Ernie because people thought they were gay?), I'm not sure any of this is true, but it makes for riveting middle school conversation.  By the time we got home Madi had already left for her art class and Jonathan and Mike were already in Orlando (separately) (Jonathan had brought a broken light from the theatre to the lighting place and Mike had a meeting.)  Jake did some (I use that term loosely) school, I tutored, then for lunch we headed to chick fil a for our mother-son bookclub.  (ie Julie, Tiffany, Jake, and Joe eating chicken, fries, and milkshakes discussing Doll Bones, a pretty creepy book.)  Tiffany took a picture, but it's not appeared on her blog or instagram yet, so it won't be here either.  Madi met us there after her class and had lunch with Hannah.  Then it was back home for a little while, Jake to band, a quick stop at the library (where I saw a friend and we were asked to be quiet), and then I got a pedicure as part of operation prep for cruise.  Then it was home again for another quick stop, made myself a grilled cheese, ate it in the car, and picked up Jake from band/extra steel drum band.  Jake and I then headed to church where he had choir and I have a group thing.  The room we usually use for said group thing was occupied because there was going to be a symphony concert last night at the church, so we found something else.  I got to use my newly minted key to one of the church buildings, I guess I can effectively say we spend a lot of time there, since we actually now have our own key.  The keys to the kingdom so to speak.  Anyway that ended and it was off to another night in a coffee shop with friends.  Solving the world's problems takes a lot of time in a coffee shop and a fair amount of tea.  When the place was closing and we were sent away, we spent about 45 more minutes talking on the sidewalk.   Jonathan was not working last night, but had gotten hooked up by Amanda (theatre director by day and Tinkerbell who flies from the castle by night) to spend the evening shadowing the tech crew of the fireworks display.  I stayed out late talking because I knew I was going to be up late waiting for Jonathan anyway.  He actually got home before I did, and he was so excited about his night he talk talk talked about it for a long time.  Then finally it was bed and a little Big Bang Theory.

Twenty nine years ago on November 13th my closest friend at the time took her own life.  I think it's not an exaggeration to say I've thought about her every day for 29 years.  I didn't say this out loud to anyone all day yesterday, but I felt like it wasn't right to not memorialize it in some way so there's that.

You can read about other people's Thursdays here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wednesday, another day, another blog post

Today I again got up around 7:30.  I had pumpkin chai tea to drink (and a pumpkin muffin to go with it).  Jonathan had to be up and out the door for an earlyish class.  Madi and Jake had to be up and out the door because it was St Vincent de Paul food pantry day.  Madi and I did read a chapter of history though.  We always toss Chemistry under the rug cause... CHEMISTRY!  But we always make history a priority because we both like it  (I was going to say love, but let's not get crazy!)  Mike was again working from home for the morning.  I spent a little time trying to get the loft to not look like the pig sty that it is (I have a long way to go), we moved a bookshelf from the loft into the corner of our room now known as Mike's office.  I started looking in my closet as a pre-packing experiment re: upcoming cruise.  I am missing a dress.  Where could it be?  I tutored from 9:45-11:45 and also touched up paint on that outside shelf.  (lots of shelf things today) 

At 11:45 I brought my student home and went to meet my friend Pam in the park for a picnic lunch.  Pam has cancer (Hodgkin's lymphoma) and is preparing for a bone marrow transplant.  (Pray for her and my brother Rob {stage 4 melanoma} they share a birthday, different year.)  From the park, I stopped in at the library.  I checked out a couple of Norway books for Jake, Uncle Tom's Cabin for Madi, and a young adult (kids?) book for myself, Savvy. 

When I got home Mike was on his way out the door, Jonathan had been home and gone again, and Jake and Madi had just gotten home and were eating lunch.  Very soon it was time to bring Jake to band because early release Wednesday means band is an hour earlier.  I sat in the car line listening to the Busted Halo Show on the Catholic Channel and checking social media.  I also read the latest issue of the local made by kids for kids magazine.  Madi has a picture in the photo contest.

When we got home it was just after 3:00.  I encouraged Jake to get something like schoolwork done for a little while, but of course when boy next door rang the bell, I told Jake he could go out and play.  Packing food for people in need for 4 hours and then an hour of band will be school for today (and an hour of religious ed tonight too!)  I noticed that one of our many pumpkins was getting a soft spot, so I cut it up and popped it into the crock pot.  We already have two large containers of freshly cooked pumpkin in the refrigerator.  While I was doing that, Madi had me quiz her on vocabulary words for her art class (she is dual enrolled at the local state college taking Sociology and Art) (She has an art quiz tomorrow).  I also made her a grilled cheese because her "lunch" was carrots and pretzels and she will not be home until 8:00 tonight. 

Now it is 4:30.  In an hour Jake and I will head to the church for a meeting about an upcoming fundraiser for Pam.  (maybe Jake will do some schoolwork then)  Then I will teach 9th grade religious ed.  As soon as it ends I will head to Starbucks where Mike will take Jake from me and I will visit with one of our first friends from here who now lives in Colorado, but is here helping her elderly mother. 

Again, no pictures.  I am due for an upgrade on my phone and desperately need it, but I have to make the time to go to the Verizon store.  My current phone camera is pretty bad and only works about half the time.  I definitely want a new phone before the cruise...maybe tomorrow.

To read about other Wednesdays go to Team Whitaker.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Tuesday on Tuesday

Well this one should be a little easier because now I'm going to write about Tuesday and it is still Tuesday.  This morning I also got up around 7ish (maybe closer to 7:30).  I had hot chocolate/coffee and attempted to race Mike in a #1 (easy) Sudoku.  In my attempt to actually beat him (never happens) I messed up and scrapped the whole thing.  I ate a piece of sourdough toast, and got Jake started on his math.  I know it's Veteran's Day but we have all kinds of "days off" around here, so some school was going to get done.  Did History with Madi (we're in the 1850s right now and were reading about abolitionists).  From 10-12 I tutored (still in my jammies) while intermittently yelling at Jake to get something done.  Jonathan (whose college classes were canceled for Veteran's Day) was talking to him too much.  While my "tutee" (as in the girl I tutor) was working on math I quickly slapped some paint on a little shelf that we garbage picked this summer.  It is going in our front yard with some plants etc on it.  I did my lesson plan for my 9th grade religious ed class.  I like the curriculum we are using, but it is planning heavy and not the kind of class that it read aloud and answer questions.  Jake got some map work and some spelling done.  Madi went to the gym and did some Algebra 2.  Jonathan joined the college honor society that he was invited into.  Mike worked from upstairs (interestingly enough also still in his jammies...ssshhh).  I showered, ate lunch, and debated whether to go shopping for shoes that Jake needs (Kohls coupons) and some food (Aldi coupon) (there are 5 Aldis around here, but all of them about 30 minutes away).  Opted to go to the farther Kohl's because it was near an Aldi where the coupon would definitely work (might not have worked at the slightly closer one).  Madi decided she'd like to come too.  This trip would bring us near Plato's Closet and she had some clothes to sell to them.  Drove to far Kohl's (Madi read Chemistry on the way) (Jake may have done some Language Arts).  Found exactly the shoes Jake needs for his band concert (that we will miss...cruise) and his Christmas Tour performances (that we will see), even on sale the shoes were NOT CHEAP.  Walked to the checkout area only to find every other person in the greater Orlando area to be in line in front of us.  Apparently Kohl's wasn't expecting that extra coupons plus a federal holiday would mean more people should have been scheduled to work!  A nice manager (Janice) told a group of us in the back of the ridiculous line that we'd get an extra 10% off.  $5 off plus $10 off plus 20% off plus 10% more off made the cost of the shoes almost reasonable.  Time was getting away from us as Madi needed to be at choir at 4 and Jake to theatre at 4:30, but we made an executive decision to drop Madi at Plato's closet while Jake and I would run into Walmart to exchange a too small shirt that he got for his birthday.  A Walmart fan I am not, but somehow I find it easier to go into other Walmarts than I do my local one.  Well sadly even though we had the shirt with the tag that says Walmart, the customer service lady informed us they did not sell that shirt at that Walmart and therefore we could not exchange it (or just get credit).  No shirt for you, Jake!  We will now look for a Christmas angel tree with a 10ish year old boy who needs a new shirt.  While we were striking out at Walmart, Madi was striking out at Plato's Closet.  It was going to take them at least 45 minutes to get to her clothes.  45 minutes we did not have.  On to Aldi.  We were successful with our coupon from there and stocked up on staples (ketchup and tortilla chips) and got food for church Thanksgiving baskets.  No time to get all the way home and for Madi to get to choir, so I had to drive Madi right to choir, come home and throw the groceries in the house, have Jake pick up his script, and get him to theatre (with not a minute to spare).  Decided to stop and get my eyebrows waxed (may have actually let them do my upper lip too, but I'll never tell).  Then tried to go to the library (fail...duh...federal holiday).  Back to the church to pick up Madi.  (also tried to get the mail...again...duh!!)  Visited with Mike for a few minutes while he, Madi and I ate leftovers.  Talked to my father for Veteran's Day.  Sat down to look at blogs.  Mike left for a meeting at the theatre.  Made a couple phone calls and texts trying to make sure Jonathan was going to be bringing Jake home from the theatre.  Found the links about the week in the life posts and spent the last hour blogging about yesterday and today.  Mike will be at the theatre for about 2 more hours, but all kids are home safe and sound and I'm going to read, possibly watch TV (still not caught up on DWTS and there's a new Duggar episode on tonight), and I will be going to bed early.  During all of this I've had hundreds of conversations with Mike and the kids, they have involved theatre, church, Disney, and a myriad of other topics.  At one pint this morning Jonathan said something to Jake and I answered him from two rooms away.  Jonathan said, "mom, you have ears like a hawk," and Jake replied, "no Jonathan, you just have a mouth like a howler monkey."

To read about more Tuesdays go here.

Monday Monday

I am (perhaps foolishly) considering joining some bloggers for a week in my life series of posts.  This week won't necessarily be normal (mainly because there is no such thing for us), but it may give a snapshot of what normalish might look like around here. 

We're supposed to start with Monday, that requires me to recall yesterday.  While it is no problem for me to tell you what I wore to my 8th grade graduation (or all of the birthdays of my 8th grade classmates), remembering yesterday will be a little bit of a challenge.

Hmmm.  Let's see.  Mike mostly worked from home yesterday (gotta love the new job).  I got up at 7ish.  Had some coffee/hot chocolate and a pumpkin muffin, took Jake to steel drum band (middle school, Monday mornings 8:00), called my mother on the way home to say hi (next Monday morning she or Jonathan or Madi will be doing the steel drum run because Mike and I will be on a cruise).  (pretty sure that sentence was more than long enough even though I don't think I really ended it) 

Did History with Madi, talked to Mike, may have done some laundry, and then it was time to go pick up Jake.  Did some school with Jake.  We are 'in Norway' in Exploring Countries and Cultures.  Jonathan (who had worked until about midnight the night before) got up and played a homemade Norwegian game with Jake (I think it's called fox and geese). 

If I continue doing this for everyday this week, I will definitely need to do it the day of because I'm sure I'm already forgetting stuff about yesterday.

Anyway, at some point Mike asked if I wanted to go out to lunch (yes), so I finally took a shower and got ready.  First we went to the bank to cash in two very old savings bonds.  One was from my First Holy Communion in 1978, the other was from our wedding in 1994.  The 1978 one was a $25 bond now worth $87!!  (cool huh?) The 1994 one was $100, now worth $110 (not nearly as cool).  Either way...cruise money!  So after the bank, Mike ran into the theatre for a minute.  We attempted to go to a newish BBQ place by the lake...closed Mondays.  We ended up with Italian (well actually I think it's Greek).  We split a salad and a calzone.  It was raining and pretty chilly when we came out.  We went to Walgreens to pick up a few things including travel size toiletries (did I mention we are going on a cruise?) 

When we got home, Mike left to go into the local office of his new company for  a few hours, and I really can't remember what I did.  I might have spent some time on the computer and did a little bit of laundry and dishes.  At 3:00 I took Jake back to the middle school for regular band.  I came home to start making some cookies, visited with Madi, Jonathan, and Chloe for a little while, then went back to get Jake (long car line).  Jake had asked for permission to take his steel drums home for a few days, he plays a triple, so he had three girls helping him carry everything to the car.  We now have a triple steel drum in our family room.  I brought Jake right from band to theatre, and came home to finish making the cookies (pumpkin chocolate chip).  While they baked, I folded laundry and watched some of Dancing with the Stars from last week and the week before.  I had known who went home, but didn't see some of the dances.  Mike came home and we ate left over chicken (he had some salad too).  Then it was time to get Jake from theatre and head to our Arise Together in Christ group at church.  When it was already past time to go, I remembered I needed something resembling dinner for Jake.  Microwaved hot dog (terribly bad I know) to the rescue.  Picked up Jake, said hi to Madi (who was on her was home from theatre), and we drove to church.  Half way there we got the text that Madi was home (always a relief), and then when we were about 2 minutes away I got a call from my brother.  Early on in the conversation I told him I only had a few minutes because we were almost to a meeting at church, but he was so talkative, I ended up standing outside talking to him for about 15 minutes.  My 40 year old brother has stage 4 melanoma, he has been terribly sick, but is doing remarkably well right now.  He's been driving the car, raking, grocery shopping, cooking and doing dishes.  From March until recently he was unable to do anything but go to the doctor and lay on the couch.  Please keep praying for him, the prayers are working.    I joined my church group already in progress.  We were discussing the gospel of John.  I wasn't the only one who brought cookies, it was almost like an impromptu cookie exchange.  While the adults (and my two year old Godson, Kolbe) meet in one room the kids meet (bang and make loud noises) in the room next door.  Last night they ate a lot of cookies too.  When we got home every kid was home, I read for a little while in the tub and went to bed. 

It seems crazy that anyone would be interested in reading this, but as a person who loves reading about other people, I'm going to post it.  You can also go to Team Whitaker for links to more Mondays.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Popcorn, meatballs, and cookie dough balls

Not sure if that title will have anything to do with what I might say on here, but it would adequately answer the question, "what's cooking?".  We are having meatballs (and some kind of pasta) for supper and they have been cooking most of the day in the crock pot.  I made cookie dough balls for the first time in a while today and they are nestled nicely in the freezer, but I keep finding myself over there grabbing one or three.  I hear Jake popping his second round of popcorn as I type this.  After 4 plus years of having braces (yes seriously, he wasn't even 8 when he got them), he got them off yesterday.  Yes he ate popcorn frequently with braces, but now he can do it guilt free. 

I'm tired.  Madi was in a car accident Sunday and it's aged me ten years.  She is fine, her car, not so much.  Mike's in contact with all the appropriate insurance people etc to figure out what happens next. 

Jake, Madi, and some friends performed at a local elementary school this morning.  It is one of the few local schools that they've never performed at before.  It went really well and they had a little Q and A afterwards.  The first question a little girl asked was, "How can all of you sing so beautifully?"  Later a little boy asked Kirk (a 14 year old boy who had sung the love song that Jake also sang in Dear Edwina) if he always has trouble getting the girl.  It was so funny!  Kirk responded that breaking into song doesn't always work to get the girl, but it's worth a try.  A group of little boys with autism sat in front of me and one little boy who sat quietly and kept to himself the whole time moved his arms (as if directing) all through Jake's solo (Naughty from Mathilda).  Good thing it was such a good morning because I feel like we've not really accomplished anything else since then.

Madi is currently at rehearsal for the Florida Theatre Conference which is this weekend.  Jake went to band (and is now eating popcorn and watching Back to the Future 2...if pressed I could come of with some educational points to that movie), I am teaching 9th grade religious education tonight, so all those things should count for something.  Madi and Jake are also eagerly awaiting parts for Once on this Island, auditions were Monday and Tuesday.  It is pretty much our whole family's favorite musical.  It will be Madi's third time doing it and Jake's second. 

Could this post be more boring?  Probably not. 

Madi, Jake, and I are on a pretty big Duggar kick right now.  We eagerly watched Jill and Derrick's wedding (and I cried) and last night was Ben and Jessa's engagement (cried again!).  We know that in real life Ben and Jessa actually got married on Saturday and we mentioned it a few times throughout the day.  Yes, a little obsessed.  The other night when I couldn't sleep (due to Dear Edwina songs shouting in my head) after prayers didn't work, I resorted to try to recite all the Duggar kids in order.  I can mostly do it, but like the presidents, I get a little jumbled up in the middle.

Jonathan is at school right now taking an astronomy test.  He currently has a 4.0 college GPA (with 30 credits).  He's got 15 more credits this semester, but is feeling like it will be the end of the 4.0.  He has been invited into Phi Theta Kappa a collegiate honor society with special benefits and scholarship opportunities so that's pretty cool.

I keep leaving this blog to check facebook and see if parts have been posted yet.  I know it is very unlikely since Amanda is actually directing the rehearsal that Madi is at, she will most likely not be posting parts at the same time, but I can help it, I have to keep checking.  Madi was the lead when they did this show 6 years ago, but she really really wants it again, and I really really want it for her.  Jake would be happy with either one of two "Gods".  Actually, they'll both be happy eventually with whatever they get, but they'll be happier (and happy faster) if they get what they want.

Jake's band class is back to the afternoon (but will change back to the morning shortly).  I often sit in my car in the car line (that has already formed before 6th period starts) listening to the Busted Halo show on the Catholic Channel.  I might be as obsessed with those people as I am with the Duggars.  When I was little I thought Sonny and Cher were my parents' friends and Chastity was my BFF so this kind of thing is nothing new for me.  When I was middle school age I was genuinely obsessed with The Guiding Light, so as you can see my taste has gotten considerably more innocent and humble.  Actually in 3rd grade I distinctly remember writing sentences for my spelling words that were about the Guiding Light... "Vanessa and Ross are friends" for example.  These days when I give Jake a spelling test I often use Seinfeld references.  "George asked, 'is she socially awkward?' "  Actually last week one of his words was 'maul' and my sentence was, "Don't maul the deer you jaguar."  which made us both laugh a lot.  Too bad the humor probably won't transfer so well on here ;). 

I think it is officially time to get the pasta cooking, I've wasted enough time today, and parts are still not up yet.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Timely articles

You know the saying  about how once you have a child, your heart is walking around outside your body?  Well when two of those hearts are driving, it takes parenting to a whole new level.  One of my favorite bloggers ever, Elizabeth Foss, said it best in this article right here.   I spend so much time waiting for those texts that tell me that they have safely arrived at their destination.  I frequently hear sirens 5 minutes after a kid pulls out of the driveway, I constantly wonder how all other parents before me (and before "I'm here" texts) have even survived.  I talk to St Christopher (the patron saint of travelers) every day.  I do spend a lot of time in gratitude too, but there's definitely room for more.  I'm definitely going to work on that in November.

And speaking of working, here's another good article about the work of the default parent.  This one made me LOL a lot, and even brought tears to my eyes because it is so true.  For some reason this default job seems even bigger now with bigger kids, with their own cars, own jobs, own plans, and own lives.  When I carried them inside my body, fed them with my body, slept with them pressed up against my body, and was literally never more than 10 feet away from them for days (weeks, months) at a time it was physically tiring, no doubt.  But in those days there was a lot less to keep track of.  Now the constant who is where when stuff, makes my head spin.  Make no mistake, Mike is an awesome husband and father, and is clearly the default (read only) earner, lawn mower, and manager of those rental houses that I didn't want to buy to begin with, but all the other default stuff goes to me.  It is not just with regard to Mike either, the kids are also constantly asking who is doing what when and I am the one who is expected to know.  Sometimes I still have to remind them of their own commitments not to mention everyone else's. 

Thank you to these two great writer for writing what I am living. 


Saturday, October 25, 2014

Teenagers etc

I'm starting this post without a title and not sure where I am going.  Mostly I wanted to stop by here and say how cool teenagers are.  At least mine are, and I'm pretty proud.  And it's my blog and I'm going to brag.  Jonathan and Chloe are going to Mickey's Not so Scary Halloween party at Disney tomorrow night and guess who they're bringing...Jake!  Granted he paid for his own ticket (yay birthday money), but still isn't that nice.  It is not unusual for Jonathan (and Chloe) to do this kind of thing, but it is pretty unusual for teenagers in general to do this, and I want to remember that.

Also, Madi does indeed have a boyfriend as well.  He seems really sweet and I'm looking forward to getting to know him.  Their dates mostly consist of meeting in one or the other of the local downtowns and walking near the lake, in the midafternoon because...busy schedules.  But today they had a real live afternoon date where he picked her up at our house and everything.  Guess where they went... to Mellow Mushroom and then to reconciliation!!  Isn't that the best??  And he's coming to the theatre tonight to see her perform.

My house is nice and clean (well parts of it) because Reese was going to be coming to the door and we needed to make a good impression.  Now I can bask in the (semi-cleaness) which is a rare treat on a Saturday afternoon of show weekend.  Plus it is my favorite time of year with the windows wide open, so not only is it cleanish in here, but there is a cool breeze blowing in from the open window. 

Speaking of show weekend.  Jake and Madi are in two different casts for this because... (once again) ... busy schedules.  Madi has an opera like song (someone actually asked me if she had taken up opera), another cute song, and she does a split in her cast.  She is also ensemble in Jake's cast.  In Jake's show he falls in love with Chloe (yes, Jonathan's girlfriend) and truly steals the show with his song near the end.  Videos may or may not ever make it on here.  I'm a million years behind on that kind of thing.  My excuse is I'm busy enough living in the moment, and I'm ok with that.

I started this school year looking for opportunities to make a little money while doing my favorite thing (homeschooling).  It is really working out.  A very close friend who I've known roughly since her birth, comes over 2 hours/ day 3 days/week and we work on mostly math and language arts (that sentence may or may not be grammatically correct).  It is so awesome to see the progress she is making.  I'm as excited for her accomplishments as I am for my own kids.  I want to be a professional homeschooler when I grow up!

I've also had long (LLOOONNGG) phone conversations recently with two different moms (one of whom I've never met in real life) who are both contemplating homeschooling.  I really feel like I have significant credibility now that I've officially homeschooled a kid to completion.  My general mantra to people is that it doesn't have to be nearly as hard as you might think.  On the other hand, one thing that I'm not sure how to relay to others is how to naturally talk to your kids about life all the time.  I know that a lot of families do this, but I'm pretty sure there are also a lot of families that don't.  While it might start when they are babies in the grocery store (like "that is a red apple", "oh this aisle is cold") it shouldn't end once they know how to speak.  (Just like reading aloud shouldn't end once they know how to read.)    I get a fair amount of compliments on my kids (and sometimes, like today, I'm the one pointing out their great qualities).  Plenty of people would say I got lucky (and maybe to a certain extent I did), but an awful lot of thought has gone in to this parenting thing and probably the biggest part of it has involved lots of talking.  Talk talk talk talk talking.  

I'm starting to sound a little like those blogs I don't like that only show all the good stuff, but I'm going to trust that the handful of people who might show up in this little tiny corner of the internet know that I'm not really like that.  We are far from perfect, we are real believe me!!

 Next time I might be back here with news like Jake is still sniffing like a pig and it is driving me insane or Jonathan and Madi's bedrooms look like they belong to hoarders.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Not sad

Oh my goodness, I just had half a screen's worth of a blog post that just disappeared.  Somehow in one second I highlighted and deleted the whole thing.  That might have been the Holy Spirit protecting me from myself because I was getting as controversial as I ever do on here, but I'm a glutton for punishment so I'm going to press on.  This morning I read a popularish blogger's post refuting another blog post/ article about homeschooling.  One of the reasons given to not homeschool in the comment section brought up homecoming and prom.  I find it so peculiar when people with single digit aged kids use this excuse to not homeschool.  I mean I don't think anyone really uses it as an excuse not to homeschool, but to even throw it into the mix seems terribly odd to me.  I am not one of those "I didn't go to my prom anyway" kind of people.  I LOVED that stuff (still do actually).  When we were juniors, my friend Cindy and I referred to our upcoming junior prom as "the biggest night in our lives up to this point".  Interestingly my teenagers have each attended at least a prom or homecoming (and they each plan on more), Jake, likewise will be all over that stuff.  But number one, they've had tons of nights in their lives much bigger than those events and number two, this isn't even my point, it's just a segue (I looked that up, it should be right even though spell-check is telling me otherwise).  My actual point is this... a facebook friend who I actually haven't met in person yet (her son and Jake are in band and theatre together and she kinda does for the band what I kinda do for the theatre) posted last week that she is considering pulling her middle schooler out of public school and homeschooling him.  A mutual friend (who I actually know and love in real life) (who is firmly entrenched in the public school camp) commented "how sad".  Um, no, not sad!  A presumably well thought out decision of a family trying to do what they see as best.  This is certainly not a one-way street.  When Jake went to public school last year, there were plenty of homeschoolers (or at least one really loud one) who had the same "how sad" reaction.  Um again...NO!  Have we really come to a point in our society where if people don't make the same decisions that we do it is sad?  Really??  There are all kinds of sad things out there.  Sickness, poverty, war, etc... How a loving family prayerfully chooses to educate their children is not one of them.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Good morning!

It is 7am and Madi is already off to take the PSAT/NMSQT.  I was a little nervous that she'd be a little nervous last night, but she's got it under control.  Her feelings..."I'm not going to be a national merit scholar anyway" and "driving a friend that's more nervous than you are is a great way to not be nervous."  She took it last year too, she's not this!  I mean probably not the national merit scholarship part, but she should ace the part about going there without throwing up.

My young son, you know the one that's not yet 12.  The kid that knows every Seinfeld episode by heart (literally by heart...he replays episodes in his mind when he's nervous {like at the dentist}).  He is also very well versed in even less appropriate shows like Big Bang Theory and Friends.  You'll never guess what show he is hooked on now...Telly Tubbies!!  It is now available to stream on Netflix and he's hooked.  He's even convinced Joe to at least pretend to like it (sorry Tiffany).  I can relate a little bit though.  Guess what book I am currently reading...Starring Sally J Freedman as Herself!  Yes I do this thing where I reread most Judy Blume books once a year or so.  Silly, I know.  Sometimes adult life (or adolescent life) is hard and we have to go back to feeling like a child for a little while.  There could be worse coping mechanisms I'm sure.

Like for example the coping mechanism by which I stare at my phone like a wild woman until I get the text from the teenage driver (s) that says
or this...
That "or this..." was supposed to be in the middle of the two, but whatever!
Also now my mail photos save in downloads instead of pictures (no time or patience to figure that one out), so I almost put this picture from last year at this time on here by mistake...
Another thing...this is guy now NINETEEN!!
What I've been doing while I'm not blogging...
Teaching my kids (and talking to them every chance I get)
Spending time with Mike who is liking his new job which has him sometimes traveling and other times working from home in his jammies all day.
taking a friend to chemo/dr appts
leading two different small groups at church, plus teaching 9th grade religious ed, plus another group thing
not cleaning my house
driving Jake places which sometimes involves waiting in long car lines
praying for my driving kids
praying for hundreds of other intentions
and a thousand other things
We spent 48 hours on the road for a day and a half in Albany, NY to attend my cousin Patrick's wedding and captured the moment with this...
And finally today is take two (or sorta take three) of maybe Jake will be getting his braces off...
we don't have our hopes up...

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

bad stuff

I've got a kid who's working for another hour and a half and then has an hour long drive, and my brain is swarming with all kinds of crazy, so here I am to get some of it out.  Recently I was at something at church, a specific event for people to help each other in their Christian walk, and there was this older woman going on and on about all of the bad stuff in the world (persecution of Christians, dangerous storms...) this end of the world stuff is not common in the Catholic church.  This particular woman doesn't even go to my church, and I think she's got some senility issues (and more), but was basically on a tirade..."what are you doing about this?"  kind of thing.  It was awkward and uncomfortable.  I kind of asked myself what am I doing about that?  Praying!  That's about all I can do about A LOT of the terrible things that are going on in the world.  More recently a similar thing happened on my facebook page.  Someone more or less criticized me for not doing anything about a bad situation that has happened locally.  Like the loud woman at the church, this person clearly has her own baggage, but sheesh!  I am not a fan of confrontation.  So often confrontation just comes up out of nowhere.  In this case I was totally blindsided.  I really don't want to come across hypocritically so I really analyze these kinds of accusations even when they are completely unfounded.  How can I sleep at night when there are people being beheaded?  When there are kids being abused?  When there are wars?  When there is so much suffering? etc etc and WHAT AM I DOING ABOUT IT?  Well like I said, praying.  At least most of the time I'm praying, sometimes, like today it's more of a whiney fist shaking conversation with God.  Sometimes you have to put your own oxygen mask on first.  After that you have to put the masks on those loved ones who are closest to you.  Sometimes that uses up all you have and you just have to pray that the rest of the world gets their oxygen mask.  It cannot all depend on me.  Tomorrow I am going to a funeral and a dermatology appointment.  Jake and Madi  are going to hand out food at a local food pantry.  Tomorrow night I will teach religious education to 9th graders, while my three kids will be volunteering at the theatre (well one of them might be getting paid).  On Thursday I am taking a dear dear friend for cancer treatment.  On Thursday I will also be praying for my parents who are going up to CT to be with my brother (who I pray for constantly).  Am I tooting my own horn?  Maybe, but my point is, my dance card (or prayer card or service card or whatever) is a little full.  If most of my day is spent tending to things like this, I'm kind of thrown for a loop when people accuse me of not doing more.  Maybe there is more I could do.  Maybe writing this is not the absolute best use of my time.  Maybe instead of watching reruns of comedies before bed I could do something more worthy.  But maybe those comedies are helping me to function or I'd be able to do even less than I'm doing now. 

PS I've lost track of how many times I've cried today, sometimes THAT is all you can do.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Photo dump and brain drain

I drank poison (aka diet coke) twice today so I'm awake in a quiet hotel room at almost 1am.  The funny coffee story about tracking down Night of Joy tickets after they were sold out involved only finding tickets for last night.  Even though we didn't order tickets in a timely manner (the no job thing) we did reserve a hotel room for two nights (the free points thing and new job means some traveling and more points so we don't have to hoard the ones we have).  Thus tonight I find myself in a quiet hotel room where Jake and Mike are sleeping.  Madi is sleeping at home (where Grandma is also still sleeping), and Jonathan is still working crowd control at the tomorrowland galaxy stage for another 17 minutes, then should have about a 15 minute trip to his car and 25ish minute drive to this quiet free hotel room.  By the time that transpires the diet coke will hopefully have worn off and I can get some sleep.  In the meantime, I'm making use of my wakefulness by loading all my phone pics onto my computer and maybe transferring some of them to this (maybe resurrected?) blog.  In doing so I might also clear some of the thoughts from my head, we'll see.
Madi got to play a lead-ish role in the final production of Legally Blonde way back in July.  Here's a glimpse.  (Incidentally, she rocked it!!)
Then there was Aladdin (or Jafar as it may be).
and an old favorite from Jake's first Aladdin

Jonathan had some pretty fun hands on projects for two of his summer classes Weasley twin fever fudge for his Harry Potter class and the Globe Theatre for his Renaissance class.  (he got As in both) (the projects and the classes)
A little more instagramed Jafar.
A prayer shawl made for me by a special lady at church.  Also known as the before hairdo.
The current hairdo, disregard the wideness of me.

Couples at the Dolly Awards.
The Dolly girls!
Jake's world cake for week 2 of exploring countries and cultures.
A chemistry matter experiment for the first day of school.

Jake made delicious corn chowder for week 3 of exploring countries and cultures recipe from that book.  No filter my phone, camera lens is actually missing and this is as clean as I can get the nonlens part so dirt is the filter.
Jake and Joe's first bookclub discussion for this book.
Tiffany's right, that's what Thursday was.
Which brings us essentially to the present.  Jonathan has texted that he's left and should get here in give or take 20 minutes.  I did a fair job of photo dumping, but was a little weak on the brain drain.  I'm guessing the diet coke is wearing off because I'm getting a little sleepy.
Madi bought a car (not sure if I said that already).  She may or maynot have had a date-ish thing with a (Catholic) boy I haven't met yet at Starbucks.  (she also might read this)
Jake is running lights for two weeks of a mainstage show.  Everyone in charge trusts him.  He still has this terribly annoying sniffing tick that he can't seem to stop.  Before that there was the blinking tick, and before that the weird faces, not to mention the licking of his lips (and half his face) with his monstrous tongue.  I've joked (or half joked) that it's Tourette's.  He even told kids in school last year that he had Tourette's (when they asked about the tick du jour).  Our pediatrician who I trust immensely doesn't think that's what it is.  He doesn't do the sniffing in his sleep and he had it checked out at his physical (no sinus infection or anything), but eastern air tea and natural silver shield and western nasal spray have not touched it.  And my screaming about it doesn't seem to do much good either.  This is a long way of saying I'm concerned about his sniffing in the tech booth carrying down to the patrons who pay $21 to see this show.  That and he's my kid so I'm concerned in general.  (A tick like that might be spelled tic, I don't know, but it's technically tomorrow morning already so I'm not going to look into it right now.)
In a dark quiet hotel room my computer screen is exceptionally bright.  I'm not sure how to adjust it.
I think I'm out of things to talk about.  Thanks for keeping me company in my dark quiet hotel room.  Goodnight!
I "published" this at 1:30 am so it is technically Sept 7 and my godson's 13th birthday, but blogger thinks it is only 10:30 and still the 6th.  Maybe it had too much diet coke too.

Friday, September 5, 2014

7 QTs that should deserve their own post

Years ago I posted one specific week in July that felt full enough to be a Christmas letter (I've used the blog as a Christmas letter analogy many times).  These days we've found ways to cheat on a Christmas letter by writing a short poem and finding picture cards that have a little space for a short short write up.  I guess I do a lot of cheating in the blogging division as well.  Sometimes living life is so full it's hard to take time out to chronicle it.  Anyway one week in the summer years ago it felt like we had a whole Christmas letter's worth of material, first mission trip for the kids, first exchange students, new car for Mike and probably more that I am forgetting, I'm sure there was a show thrown in there somehow.  Well this week could likely be considered one of those weeks as well.  for starters..

1. Mike got a job!!  Technically he got offered two jobs this week after a very slow summer in the job availability department. 

2. We have gone to Disney's Night of Joy for the last 6 years.  We had all intentions of going this year as well, and Mike's brother from Connecticut was even going to be joining us with his new girlfriend.  They bought their tickets weeks ago.  We did not.  Between no job etc, we knew at least some of us would go but hadn't gotten around to buying tickets.  Plus Jonathan works there so there was the whole should he pick up shifts for that night?  Does he get in free?  etc...etc... anyway... he picked up support shifts which means he should be working near one of the tomorrowland stages and maybe meet some performers...cool!  We didn't attempt to buy our tickets until the 2 job offers were on the table and guess what...sold out!!!  EEnyway... we have connections (and a funny coffee story for you, Ann Marie!) and we got tickets at least for tonight.  In the meantime here's a little stroll down memory lane...
NOJ 2008
NOJ 2009
NOJ 2011
3. Why do I always blog when it's almost time to get Jake to band?  Time to speed things up a bit.
4. Rob has been doing so much better on his new treatment, but this week has been really rough, he's had a fever and had to go off the treatment for a few days.  Prayers are always appreciated.
5. We had two awesome weeks of school and then this week happened.  The first job offer (the one he is not taking) brought me and Mike to Atlanta on Monday-Tuesday which meant less school happened without mom.  Then Wednesday Jake and Madi joined other homeschooled youth from our parish for some food pantry work...better than school, but still leaves school undone.
Thursday was I don't even know what and today Madi and her coworkers took their boss out to lunch.  We won't fall behind, we won't fall behind...say it with me.
6. I have big plans of at least documenting some of our homeschool year on here, but time is running low so that won't be today.
7. "Grandma" (Mike's mother) moved down here last month (she bought a house down here two years ago), her house is getting all kinds of fixed up (tile, paint...), but we are on day 36 of her sleeping at our house... 'nuff said.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Five Favorites

Would you look at this, I'm here on a non-Friday.  I just finished a week of gratefulness on facebook where I listed three things per day that I was grateful for.  I'll keep the listing going with a linkup of the five favs variety.  As a side note sometimes I think it makes more sense to list five things in the same category and other times I like to go crazy and just list five random things.  Jake has to be in the band room in under 15 minutes, so we're going to go wordless for the rest of this post...