Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Change of Plans

Yesterday started off just as I thought it probably would - - fire blazing in the fire place, kids playing, and I was busy in the kitchen, finishing up things for our Thanksgiving dinner. Steve took the boys down to the river to throw rocks into the water (something they STILL love doing), and then they came back for snacks and to grab their scooters so they could head to the skateboard park and do some scooting. When they came back from that, Steve mentioned that he felt like he was coming down with a chest cold, and I remarked that his voice sounded funny.

 Within about an hour of that conversation, he was running a high fever and was all bundled up and shivering. Poor man! He pretty much stayed in the basement for the rest of the day (this is where all sick people go in our house...kinda like quarantine!), but claimed he would be up for dinner. Around 5 p.m. everything was ready, and Steve appeared - - even put on a nice sweater for the occasion. He made it through about half of his plate but then had to go lay down and sure enough he was burning up again. I felt so bad for him, one, because it stinks to be sick, and two, because I suspect he dragged himself to the table to be nice, because he knew how much time I'd put into dinner. It was very sweet of him, but the food will keep and hopefully tonight we can enjoy it. Mostly I was just glad to have him here. He has been gone for three out of eleven Thanksgivings since we were married, and I definitely like it better when he's here, sick or not.

When I woke up this morning I snuck downstairs to check on him, and no fever, so we will see what today brings. Now if the little boys and I can just avoid a fever, we'll be in good shape.

I will admit that when Steve announced he would sleep downstairs last night, I had visions of being able to sprawl out in our bed. It was not to be, however, because Roy and Smokey got wind of this and, while Smokey minded her manners, Roy and all of his nearly 15 lbs. made it mostly impossible for me to move at all last night. He likes to snuggle and he makes no apologies for it. I did manage to squeeze in an episode of Grey's Anatomy on Netflix before turning in though, so all was not lost!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

So...I clearly failed at the "post-every-day-for-a-month" challenge. I actually could have predicted it myself. Lesson learned...don't announce that you are going to post every day for a month and then the pressure won't do you in. As my last few posts will show, I was posting just about anything to throw a post up there, and that isn't fun for me. I have to remember that I started this blog, oh so long ago, to kind of journal what was going on in our lives that I wanted to remember. I don't know if I have simply fallen out of habit of doing that regularly, or if I have just grown tired of it, or if I just don't feel like I am blogging for myself and my family anymore...I can't quite put my finger on it, but it has been a struggle for me over the last year or so. Whether I find my mojo again remains to be seen.

At the moment, it is early Thanksgiving morning and I am sitting here with Smokey, sipping a cup of coffee. Next stop will be the treadmill for my daily dose of soul-cleansing exercise to get my day started off on the right foot. I took yesterday afternoon to prepare my side dishes of mashed potatoes, stuffing, and green bean casserole ahead of time. All I have left is a pumpkin pie, some biscuits, and the turkey itself.  It is just the four of us this grand production to put on at all, so we have some fire wood piled up next to the fire place and will settle in for a relaxing day together. I have to say, I am looking forward to pretty much zero stress. I even used disposable pans for the turkey and sides so I didn't have a lot of cleaning up to do. Brilliant!

I love to cook but the thing I am most looking forward to is setting the table today. I love choosing place mats, plates, napkins, etc., and then decorating the table. I have an idea of what I will be using today and I hope it all comes together like I am imagining in my head.

I am thankful for many things in my life. I truly am a very lucky person. I am happy to be spending the day with the three boys who make my life complete. I love them more than words can say.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Chicken Mystery: Solved

The weather has grown colder in the past couple of weeks, going from around 70 during the day to down around 40. My girls aren't enjoying this recent change, and their egg production has dropped accordingly. Stella, one of my Buff Orpingtons, completely stopped laying. I was concerned for her until I read that some chickens just "take a break" from laying when the weather cools down. We had a couple of warmer days in the middle of all of this coldness, and lo and behold, she produced a couple of eggs.
Last night, it was bitter cold, and when I let the girls out of their coop this morning, Stella immediately disappeared. I searched the yard high and low but could not find her. Finally, camouflaged by fallen leaves, I found her behind a bush that grows up against our fence. Clearly, she was 'on the nest', so I left her alone. Later, when she announced that she had produced an egg, I went to retrieve it. To my surprise, I found not one egg, but SIX. She is my chicken that prefers to lay eggs in different spots in the yard, rather than in the nesting boxes, like everyone else! Apparently, while I thought she was taking a break, she was laying all along.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Devens turns 73

Rex, Dev, & Steve
Last night, we celebrated Dev's 73rd birthday at my in-law's new house, just one street over from where we live. They mostly just came out for the closing, but have managed to tackle a few projects on the new place, too. They will be back out in the spring to get more settled in, which will be great. It was fun getting together for dinner and dessert and nice to have them right down the street.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Veteran's Day Assembly

Griffin and his good buddy Caleb, waiting patiently for the assembly to start
Each year near Veteran's Day, Cam and Griff's elementary school has a Veteran's Day assembly, and it is just great. The principal speaks at the beginning, and then there are a bunch of music pieces. There is a great turnout for this, and there are lots of veterans in the audience. Griffin told me, "Mom, I almost cried at that assembly because those songs were so beautiful, and one girl in my class DID cry!" Love that little guy!

Thursday, November 08, 2012

School Days

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I spend an hour at Camden and Griffin's school, helping in Camden's classroom. Camden's teacher asked me at the beginning of the year if I could help her with some clerical-type things, and I was glad to have the opportunity. So far, I've spent my time doing lots of little jobs that she just doesn't have the time to do. The best part is, I get a chance to see Camden's class in action. I am continuously amazed at how different elementary school is, from when I was in the fourth grade! I cannot get over the technology that the students have access to, and how it fits so nicely into their school day.
Sometimes Camden will wave to me when I first get there, and that is about the extent of our interaction. Then, there are days like today, when he comes over to where I am sitting and hugs me. Today he did that five different times. I know one day he will be mortified if I show up in his classroom, so for now I am enjoying ever single minute of it!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

My Little Friend in the Basement

When we bought this house from our neighbors six years ago, it came with a lot of stuff. Our neighbors were elderly and moving in with family, and they left a lot of their furniture and some other assorted things behind for us to keep and use, or to get rid of. I remember them asking me if I wanted this treadmill and I am so glad I said yes. I was 8 1/2 months pregnant at the time and am pretty sure the last thing I was thinking about was exercise, so I am impressed with myself that I had the sense to take it.
Don't think for a second that I gave birth to Griffin and then hopped up on that treadmill. I think I actually piled a bunch of stuff on it, moved it from room to room a few times, ignored it, and then it finally came to live in the spare bedroom. Yes, that is wood paneling and rust-colored shag carpet you see. We are slowly picking away at this house, room by room, but unfortunately for the basement, it is the lowest on our priority list.
Anyway, about two years ago now I had gallbladder surgery. It was unpleasant to say the least, and it was kind of the grand finale result of a bunch of really annoying health problems I had been having. That, coupled with the fact that turning 40 was looming on the horizon finally gave me some ambition and I started using that treadmill. I have never been a great goal-setter, mostly because I tend to set unrealistic goals, then when I don't attain them, I beat myself up and feel bad. So this time (thanks to some advice from Dr. Oz) I told myself if I used that treadmill for ten minutes each day I would be happy. Ten minutes was totally do-able and before long I was in a regular routine. Soon, ten minutes turned to twenty, and not long after, thirty.
I go through spells of feeling like I am in a rut, and life's busy-ness gets in the way at times, and I have to adjust coarse. I am currently in a twenty-minute a day phase for a whole host of reasons, but I plan to bump back up to thirty next week. My treadmill is now sixteen years old, and still going strong. I hope I can squeeze a few more years out of her. I'm thankful to have that old thing because it allows me to get some exercise in each day and to feel good. I use to tell myself that I couldn't exercise because I had little kids, or I didn't have the time, or any other reason I could come up with. Now I know that was never true!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Election Day

The boys got ready for school early today because they wanted to go vote with me. We did this four years ago as well. They sure have grown a lot since then!

They were both very interested in what was going on, and they asked a lot of great questions. So glad we got to do this together again!

Monday, November 05, 2012

The Little Free Library: A Neat Idea

I recently read an intriguing article about an amazing movement - - The Little Free Library. The idea behind it is really simple. Create a small structure with a door that can house some books. Attach it to a post and put it in your yard along with a sign that says, 'Take a book, leave a book'. Essentially, a book exchange. In your own yard!

I love sharing books, and I have a couple of friends who do this with me regularly.  I am one of those people who struggle with electronic readers - - I know they are the way of the world now, but nobody will ever convince me that a actual book, can be replaced.


I also know how important it is to have books in the home. They are so important in promoting early literacy. The sad fact is, many homes do not have books. If parents don't model reading for their children, or if they do not have books for them, it is all the more difficult to spark an interest.


Right now I am trying to figure out how I might be able to have my own Little Free Library. While paring down my own book collection over the weekend, I even stashed a pile of books I no longer want, thinking that maybe I could really make it happen. For more information, visit The Little Free Library's website. Lots of great pictures of the over 2,500 Little Free Libraries in this country (and around the world!).

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Camden the Acolyte

 My sweet Camden was recently asked if he would like to be trained to be an acolyte at church. He immediately said yes, but when he realized it involved a uniform of sorts, he was even more game.

An acolyte is the person who lights the altar candles at the beginning of church services, and extinguishes them at the end. I was a bit concerned that Camden would struggle with these duties, only because the boy loves an audience. He proved me wrong, however, as he was all business when it came right down to it.
As usual, I was a very proud mom today as I watched him.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Photo Dump

When you neglect your blog for an extended period of time, you tend to neglect your photo files, too. At least that's true in my case. As I was sipping coffee, early this morning, I plugged my phone and my camera into my computer and loaded all the pictures that have been trapped there for weeks and weeks. Lots of randomness!
Harassing the Captain at work
Kicking back in the Glamper
First day of school
First bus ride. This lasted about a week and then both boys decided it wasn't worth leaving for school nearly an hour early, among other things.
Griff and his best buddies at his 6th birthday party
Chicken weirdness
Does anyone recognize this? This is from when I forced all three of my boys to go on the "Small World" ride at Disneyland.

One of my favorite cupcake displays at the first annual "Cupcake Wars" competition at our local library. It made me want to curl up with a blanket and a book and eat a cupcake.

My first "messy bun". I have never had long hair before. Why, at age 40, I thought it was a good idea, I'm not sure. However, it is really fun to watch hair-do tutorials on YouTube.

Double-yolker. I get one of these from my girls every now and again. I am learning that for about every dozen normal eggs I get, I get at least one weird one. Weird-shaped, with bumps, spots, ridges, double yolks, no shell (although that isn't happening anymore)...chicken farming is definitely interesting!
Roy, because he is my sweet boy. He has turned to me for all of the love and affection that he use to get from Riley, and he has helped in healing my broken heart.

Camden on the roof. I think the boys were checking on the chimney.
The boys getting a good look in the baptismal font, after our baptism last weekend. It was made extra special by the fact that the water was from the Jordan river, brought back to the United States in a jar by our pastor's husband, after a trip to Israel in 1997 (back when you could carry liquids on an airplane!). He filtered it and it has been sitting in a cupboard ever since, in hopes that they would use it to baptize a grandchild. Alas, they didn't have any grandchildren, so they used it on us! 

Friday, November 02, 2012

Halloween Recap

Halloween snuck up on me a little faster than I would have liked, but the whole school year has been like that so far...time zipping by and before I know it I am nearly a day late and a dollar short. Ha! In all honesty, I am not really sure what happened to the month of October. I blinked and it was over. Anyway, we had a very busy week of Halloween activity, and I am pretty sure we squeezed every last ounce of fun out of it that we could.

First up was Downtown Trick-or-Treating. This happened the Saturday before Halloween. Local merchants post signs in their windows if they want to participate (just about everyone did), and kids can go trick-or-treating. A certain merchant made a stink about it last year so it was cancelled (didn't like all the kids milling about her business) but I guess she was the odd man out this year, because it was back on. There was a great turn-out and we had fun. I think it is a great idea for promoting community, and the whole point is to get people out an about, and in the downtown area.

Next came class parties. I snuck into both Cam and Griff's classrooms so I could snap a few pictures. Griffin's class cracked me up - - they were ultra-obedient and quiet as little mice. They ate their snacks, cleaned up after themselves, and barely said a word. Mrs. Buck has them well-trained.

Camden's class was more in the partying mood, but then again, they are fourth graders. He was a little disappointed with his costume (Indiana Jones), because he wasn't allowed to wear any of the "good stuff" from his costume to school (bull whip, gun, machete) per the school's 'no weapons' policy. I'm pretty sure he told me it was a 'total bummer'. I think he still looked extremely Indiana Jones-ish.

Before we set out for trick-or-treating, I made some Jack-o-lantern pizzas and the boys invited their best buddies from the next street over to play and eat pizza.

Kasey and I managed to take our annual costume photo. I loved her pirate costume! I'm afraid I ran out of time with my costume (it required some mending), so around 5:30 p.m. I settled on the standard witch get-up from my costume stash. I'll have to save the fancy costume for next year.

Our neighbor Lorie decorates her front porch very elaborately every year, and scares the dickens out of the neighborhood kids. This year, our dear Margaret got in on the fun with her (that's Margaret on the left, Lorie on the right).

Not to far from our house, there are a couple of houses that seem to be locked in an epic battle of out-doing each other. It is hysterical. The both have the most elaborate set-ups, complete with fog machines, spooky decor, and special effects. This house won hands-down though this year - - if you look closely, you can see that there are actual humans scattered about the yard, doing fire dancing. No joke. They even had a crazy stereo system hooked up to go with the fire dancing spectacular. It will be hard for their neighbors across the street to top that next year.
Approximately 24 hours after trick-or-treating had ended, Camden and Griffin each suffered an all-out post-Halloween meltdown. I believe it was the mass-quantities of sugar leaving their blood streams. I'm happy to report that they are back to normal now.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

November Challenge

My dear friend Kate challenged me to blog every day during the month of November last night via text message, and of course I thought, "Sure, I can do that...I haven't updated my blog in nearly three months!"  I have, however, been looking for a kick in the pants to get back into the habit of blogging, so I will commit to it!

Our household has been very, very busy since mid-August, and I have had more than enough to write about, but just haven't felt like it. I have missed it though.

Hard to believe it is November 1st already. This year is nearly over with and I am really not liking how quickly time has been passing by. Life is short! Just yesterday, Griffin asked, "Mom, how old do Cam and I have to be to go trick-or-treating without grown-ups?" Really?? Already you are asking this, 6-year-old child? I am already guessing that in about 2 years or so, Camden will start thinking his parents aren't so great. Just not ready for this yet.

Be prepared for a wide variety of topics this month.
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