Friday, February 27, 2009

How To Deliver Flowers

Ta Da!!!! They didn't tip over and none of the water spilled!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Daily Damage and other doo-dads

The Daily Damage of attending college, not counting tuition or books or overdue library fines, just attending is something I wish I didn't figure out. I shouldn't have done the math. But since I did, here's the breakdown: Jess, hold onto your hat, maybe you should sit down, this is more than you spend in a month to restock your entire house...

$35 for Gracie's child care
$35 for Libby's child care
$10 approximate cost of gas for the 45 mile trip to school and back
$10 for the second trip on Tuesdays because I go back and forth twice that day
$7 to park in an itty bitty space half a mile from my classroom
$5 for lunch. If I had time and another hand, I would pack my own. I try to.

This adds up to $90 - $100 just for me to show up at college! And I am getting a great deal on child care. My sitters are doing us huge favors by charging us so little!

And other tidbits, updates, and random thoughts:
College sucks. I have more classes than I have time for. The homework is impossible when I have a toddler who wants to color in my book too! And I can't write papers when I am constantly watching the kids with one eye and type a bit with only half (or less) on the laptop. Sure, I can type out random thoughts in my blog, but here I can also let my spelling and grammar slide and if it doesn't make sense, ah, that's fine too.

I won a Target gift card by commenting on Duck Duck Cow's blog. She was celebrating her blog's birthday. Thanks, Jessica! I think that's pretty nice that she remembers and celebrates her blog's birthday, shoot, I barely celebrated my oldest child's birthday! In fact all I did was say "Happy Birthday" and handed her some cash. Then she went to Disneyland with her best friend. I did bake some butterfly shaped cupcakes. I have a lot to learn about decorating though.

We're having problems with Monsters. Those darn ugly monsters are scaring Gracie at night! Daddy has been calling the Monsters on his phone and telling them they cannot come over. Then he talks to them for a bit asks them if they took a bath and combed their fur because they are so cute when they are clean and fluffy. Asks them if they like to play ball. He's so funny! But it is really helping with Gracie's fear on Monsters. She says "Sponsters" cuz she is cute like that!

My sister wrote in her blog about how she didn't have her camera when she needed it. Boy, I know how that goes! Libby has been toying with me. She learned how to roll over but every time I try to catch her act with my camera, she won't do it. As soon as I put it away, over she goes! Arg! Here she is teasing me:

It is sure a good thing you folks only visit with me online. Really! Days like today I am thankful that I'm a hermit and don't get out much socially. You see, yesterday I couldn't decide if I wanted chili or bean and ham soup. I had both. Today we went out for Mexican. Let's just leave it at that.

Katie's boyfriend is almost done with boot camp! She's flying to Illinois to see him graduate next week! According to her it was a long wait for the end of boot camp, but I think it feels like he just left not that long ago. Perspectives.... interesting. He is doing really well and he earned two phone calls so far, one he used to call his parents (only after failing to get ahold of Katie), and the other phone call he got to call Katie. They've been writing letters back and forth and his are full of news about how he's doing well. He did some strength training and running before he went and that really served him well.

Katie has been super busy lately and her creative juices are flowing like a raging river. In the last 15 days, she wrote and recorded 10 songs. She even got her dad going on this songwriting and recording stuff. You can listen to her songs here.

Speaking of the hubby, he survived another round of budget cuts. 20% of the teachers in his district got "pink slips" and we sure thought he would be one of them. But, he managed to stay clear of it this time. That's twice this year that we've feared job loss and he is under contract and has tenure. Plus he was the district Teacher of the Year a couple of years ago. Nobody has job security. If he does lose his job, I guess we'll have to move in with my mother. I wonder if she realizes that she is our backup plan. Hey Mom, got room for a family of 6 and a dog? It's ok, Mom, you're safe for now.

Things are good for the girls with their jobs. They both got promoted. Katie went full time at David's Bridle and got a raise and Lexie is now the shift leader in the game room at Shakey's Pizza. No raise for her, but a little more responsibility and a leadership role. Can never go wrong being declared a leader! Well, ok, that might not be true, Custer didn't do so well as a leader...

Whats a good update without mentioning the dog? She's always got something exciting going on! Last week she chased a bunny rabbit! This week she found that one section of our wooden plank fence is falling apart. She's been nosing her way through the fence and getting out. Freeeeeeedom! Roaming the neighborhood unleashed and free spirited! Till the neighbors catch her and go around knocking on doors dragging her along saying "Is this your dog?". I drug a pallet over and leaned it on the fence over the loose section. That didn't work. I came home from running errands and saw my dumb dog (is she really?) a block away from our house! So, I pulled over and hit the remote sliding door - by the way, my van is so cool! - and she hopped in. Gave her a ride the rest of the way home. I moved our other pallet over to hide another section of fence.

Oh, and when I got home with the two littles, diaper bags, purse, groceries, and the dog... there was the letter carrier. I took the opportunity to talk to her about my annoying neighbor lady who wants our mailboxes moved a block away. And I told the carrier that I'm fine with my mail service just the way it is, I don't want it moved a block away because as you can see, my hands are full and if I have to go a block away to get my mail, I'll be inconvenienced. Why should I just because that one lady wants me to? The carrier said they are so tired of that lady at the post office, she comes in to complain all the time! They have a plan for her mail delivery that won't involve any of the rest of the people in our mailbox cluster. Yippee!

I have a lot of homework to do this weekend, the house is a mess because I've been doing homework instead of vacuuming and dishes and that sort of thing. Keith has to fix our fence! And the girls are probably working or doing who knows what. I think that's all the updating I have for now.

One more picture just for fun:

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Audio Books

Just want to share some free audio book sites.

San Diego Public Library

Project Gutenburg


Audio Books For Free

Internet Audio Archive

Free Classic Audio Books

Learn Out Loud

If you know of more, let me know and I'll add them for my reference as much as anyone else who happens upon this post.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy 20th Birthday to Princess Katie!

She's TWENTY years old!!! I can barely believe she's been my little daughter for so long! Ha ha, she's not so little, she's five inches taller than me.

Here is my first born in pictures:

A few hours old:

Her first birthday after she puked on her birthday cake and was put in the hospital for an IV because she dehydrated from a stomach flu:

Her second birthday, and no, she wasn't drinking beer... that's Daddy's and he put it down for a second while he took the picture! Looks funny!

Age 3, winning first runner up in the Miss Walmart Pagent at the local mall

Age 6, she cut her own hair and had very few teeth

Age 13 and on the 8th grade volleyball team

Age 14 with her first Driver's License!

Graduating from high school at age 18

And here she is now, age 20! (well, this picture is *almost* age 20 since it was taken a month or so ago) This is her best friend on her 20th birthday.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Very Long Day - The Good, The Bad and The Cute

This is gonna be long cuz my day was as long as a busy week:

I got to sleep from midnight to 4am and then Libby decided it was playtime. She never does that! Anyway, got back to sleep at 6am to 7am, when really I should have gotten up at 6 so I wouldn't have to rush, but I went back to sleep when I had the chance.

Got up and showered and changed everyone and nursed and pumped, etc. Gracie was extra hungry this morning and ate 3 bowls of oatmeal! And I was really rushing her along, but that child does not have "hurry" in her vocabulary!

Finally got out the door at 8:45 with the two littles, their two diaper bags, my school bag, my purse and of course, my coffee!

I took Libby to her sitter first, then I took Gracie to her sitter and when I pulled up I just knew something was wrong. There were 3 vehicles out front, one was her husband's car and he should've been at work by now. I had a bad feeling. So I took Gracie to the door and the paternal grandparents and the girls all came to the door. The sitter's mother suddenly passed away yesterday, so things there were in the hands of the grandparents. Gracie likes them (they’ve met before) and they offered to keep her for the day even though they didn't know she was coming, but I felt like that might be asking a lot since they most likely just threw arrangements together within the past few hours... I don't know but I thought they had plenty to manage already. I got back in the van and called Libby's sitter and went right back there with Gracie.

It had been 15 mins since I dropped Libby off and returned with Gracie, in that time Libby was settled into the swing with her blanket all snuggled up around her and she was fast asleep. Awwww!

I got a tank of gas and cussed at the pump cuz gas keeps going up. grrrr. And I hopped on the freeway! It was 9:35, not bad considering my goal is to be on the freeway by 9:30. Just when I thought I could make up that 5 minutes in the fast lane, the whole freeway plugged up and became a mile long parking lot. I’m lucky it wasn’t further because those tend to become 5 mile jams in no time! I finally got past the source of the problem, a mangled up mess but no ambulance, so it must have been a non-injury accident. I like to tell myself that.

After I got past that, the road opened up and I flew to the college. I dropped it down to 80 in that spot where I always see a cop or two. I cranked up a Boston cd and drove fast in the far left lane. I never do that! Got to San Marcos in record time! Parked and hiked up the hill to class, got there on time!!! Wow! How’d I beat the clock!!! I did it!! I’m like Mario Andretti in a mini-van! It was now 10:30am. Long day already and I was just getting started.

You know how when you are hurrying and hurrying and then you get to your destination and you still feel like you should be going fast? I did that. I was all caffeinated and had been rushing around for over 2 hours trying to get to this class and I couldn’t shake that hurry feeling. I sat still and listened, tried to learn about Jacques Derrida and his literary theory of deconstructionism. When we broke into groups and analyzed a short story, I totally aced the little project and felt great being a valuable part of the group discussion. Not bad since I only read ¾ of the story that we needed to pick apart; I fell asleep before I got to the end last night.

After class, the student union had a table set up just outside our classroom and they were giving out pizza. Score! Free lunch and it was good too! I have an hour for lunch, and today I decided to use my hour hiking back to my van to swap out my books instead of carrying them all. The college campus is on the side of a hill, so when I say “hike” I really mean it! It’s a long walk on an incline, or decline, whichever way you are going.

During my walk, I met up with a nice gal that I’ve run into a couple of times before. It’s nice to meet good people. Today we exchanged phone numbers and she showed me a picture of her baby. She mentioned to me before that she has one baby the same age as Libby; today I learned that her baby is actually her third, but the first two did not survive. I spent the rest of my walking time counting my blessings.

I also found out that she just moved to America last June and she only knew three words in English before she arrived here. I would have never guessed that she wasn’t a native to Southern California. There are some amazing scholars on campus, very intelligent people; I hope some of it rubs off on me. I am in awe of some of the students I meet. Sure, I can fake it a time or two, but there are students on that campus who amaze me.

Then I went to my Psychology class. Today’s lecture was all biology though. And I was totally lost. Genes, DNA, chromosomes, Mitosis, Meiosis, huh? Yeah. Wish me luck!

Now, at 2:15 pm I scurried on home and kept the driving to a reasonable speed. Kept the volume down too. No need to be Mario Andretti all the time. I saw three cops in “the cop spot”. They were all writing tickets too! I wanted to stop and do some birthday shopping for my daughter’s birthday tomorrow (just call me the last minute mommy) but since I started the day in a size C cup and I was now busting out of a DD, I decided shopping could wait until tomorrow. My boobs haven’t figured out how to handle school days yet.

When I went to pick up the Littles at Libby’s sitter, she invited me in for coffee. A mutual friend of ours and her baby were over visiting too. So I sat and fed stubborn little Libby (who only drank one ounce from her bottle all day) and visited with the mamas. It was great to get some caffeine in me again. Got my second wind!

When I got home, I carried Libby, two diaper bags, my school bag, my purse, hats and blankets. Gracie carried a rawhide bone as big as she is for Sandy. The sitter gave it to us for our dog; it was gag gift for her Chihuahua and she wanted to just get rid of it. I have a really happy dog! So we get in the house, and get all this stuff out of my arms while Sandy is wagging her tail like mad carrying a bone as big as Texas in her jaw smacking into everyone, and what is that on the table? A package? For me?

One of my internet friends sent me a package! I opened it and it was CHOCOLATE! A Big bar of chocolate, homemade brownies (more like fudge, mmmmm), princess snack cups for Gracie and a teething toy for Libby. A sweet card topped it! Too sweet! Thank you so much, Jen!

I decided it could be fend for yourself night for dinner. Gracie fell asleep, Libby wanted to be held, Keith finished off the leftovers from last night and Katie and Lexie were both working. Pretty easy to blow off cooking tonight!

I did put Libby down for a bit. She was happy and enjoying her exersaucer. And then, she started to fuss. So of course I scooped her up to see what the fuss was about and in doing so, I discovered what the fuss was about. Ewww! Poopies everywhere! In the exersaucer seat, on her blanket that I stuff around her in the seat because she isn’t really big enough for it, on her jeans, her shirt, and filled her onsie. It was even in her sleeve! She saved it all up for mommy! Gee, thanks, Libbers. I’ve got a very poopy load of laundry going right now. I might have to wash it twice. Not sure how she can get so much of that nasty stuff out of her little bitty baby body all at once. Amazing!

Katie eventually came home from work, she was pale and sniffing and clutching a bottle of orange juice. She said “I hab a code.” Poor girl. She went to change and she said she’d come back for some chicken noodle soup, but she didn’t come back out of her room. I think she fell asleep.

Gracie fell asleep too. I guess throwing a wrench in her day was exhausting. Glad she took it all in stride. And Libby is asleep. Otherwise I’d never be able to type this extremely long post (wordcount: 1,611). Lexie isn’t home, she’s busy working her fingers to the bone trying to make ends meet and pay her bills (car insurance, texting, and lost library books).

It’s 8:30 and time for a beer. Ok, half. I am breastfeeding, I can’t overdo it. Today was one long long long day! Seems like this morning was a week ago!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Brrrrr! It's Winter!

I looked at my Google home page today and we all had the same temperatures! Well, close. Minneapolis was actually the hot spot this morning with 33 degrees.

My email brought be another sure sign of winter. A friend of mine in South Dakota sent me this photo that she took recently.

"BS" is not what you think. Sure, Legislators throw around a lot of BS, but the sign is actually referring to a used car sale turned community event called The Blizzard Sale. People in South Dakota get bored in the winter, what can I say? They celebrate a used car sales gimic. There are lots of signs that say "BS is coming" and little one liners in the local classified section. Along with a big bunch of car ads for the event. They give out hot dogs and coffee and they even hold a "Miss Blizzard" Beauty Pagent. The stores have BS sales and the restaurants have BS specials. I lived in Pierre, BS was fun!

SD Legislative session begins today,Feb 11th, and the Blizzard Sale was Feb 7th. Big Events! Lots of excitement! But together on one sign is just hilarious!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Saturday Morning Coffee

Every Saturday morning, I call my mother and my grandmother and we have coffee together. I talk to my mom on the phone while Grandma listens to Mom's end of the conversation. We usually talk for an hour or so.

It's funny because we gab for such a long time, but if you were to ask me what we talk about I'd have to say "Nothing". We just talk! We talk about the weather, books, the kids, outings, school, the library, the old days, museum displays, haircuts, parties, gossip, and much much more. Usually we leave out the heavy stuff like politics and solving all of the world's problems. We do occasionally resolve the world's biggest issues, but the world leaders have not yet tapped our conversations and so they do not catch on to our suggestions.

My family sleeps in on Saturday mornings. I love the quiet time and its the only opportunity I have for a nice long coffee break on the phone. I don't mind getting out of my cozy warm bed when everyone else is sleeping, in fact, I look forward to my Saturday mornings!

Since we live 1,000 miles apart, having Saturday morning coffee is so nice! We've been doing this for years. I've forgotten when we started this as a regular thing. It's become a fixture in my week; no matter what we're doing, we squeeze in our Saturday coffee time. I love Saturday mornings!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Victory over the Virus!

Gracie and Libby have kicked that nasty cold virus outa here! We are a much happier family now that the littles are back to themselves again.

To celebrate the little girls' return to good health, we decided to have an outing. After two solid weeks of nothing but germs, kleenex, doctors and medicine - we needed some fun! And some fresh air and sun too. So, we went to the zoo! Fuuuuuuuun!

Occasionally, I go to babygroup (breastfeeding support group where not all the moms breastfeed) and there are a few moms in that group who are close to my age. They all have baby boys and they are all first time moms, but that's ok, I forgive them for that because they are all 40ish. Its not often I hear of another mom my age, so to find a whole group of them is a gem! Anyway, these moms planned a zoo outing and I originally said I wouldn't be able to go since the girls were sick and I have homework for school, etc. I didn't want to commit.

What great timing! We needed a fun outing before I lost my mind, and the babygroup was heading to the zoo. Awesome! We loaded up the van and met them there.

It was a beautiful day and we sure had fun seeing the animals. You just can't go wrong with a trip to the zoo! Gracie had a blast and Libby was very attentive all day.

When I first suggested to Gracie that we get our shoes on and go to the zoo, she wanted nothing to do with the idea. No Zoo! Why not, Gracie? "Elephants. Ewww elephants. Elephants poop. Elephants are gwoss. ewww elephant poop" I promised we would look at pink birds and we didn't have to go see the elephants. Ok, she would go to the zoo for pink birds.

Sure enough, she really enjoyed the flamingos and paid no attention to the elephants. Her favorite animal this trip was the camel. Why? Because the camel farted. He really let one rip! It was loud and made his tail flap in the air, wow did that animal stink! Gracie just about laughed her head off! "Camel did a stink!" She gets her sense of humor from her daddy.

Here are a few photos:

Monday, February 2, 2009

Punxatawny Mom

Happy Birthday to my Mom! Our family "Groundhog"!

I called my mom this morning and asked her if she saw her shadow. She did! Six more weeks of winter.