Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Crickets, Frozen Graduates, and A Christmas Surprise

So the past week has been an interesting one on many levels. So much has been happening, and most of it doesn't even have to do with the upcoming Christmas holiday. Here's a quick general recap of recent events.

DS has the past three months been participating in a 6 weekend workshop put on by the computer science department of the local university. He has had an absolute blast with this workshop. First, they used a program called "Alice" to learn to do 3D animation. Then they used Legos and a robotics kit, called the "Cricket," to program their creations to do a whole host of different things. He has been quite amused by telling people that he now owns a cricket....only to then tell them after their stunned looks that it is not an insect but a Lego robotics kit. His most recent creation plays "Jingle Bells" and rings an actual bell at the end of the song. Very cool!

DH on Sunday graduated with his master's degree in electrical engineering. I'm so proud of him! He graduated with his bachelor's degree in computer & electrical engineering way back in 1997, so it only took him another 11 years to get here but he made it! The graduation ceremony was on campus at 2:30pm on Sunday. Normally they have the graduates all march around the campus, around the engineering fountain, and then into the Hall of Music (where the graduation takes place). Sunday was different. With the air temperature hovering at around 5 degrees and a strong wind creating a windchill of -20 (yes, that's negative 20!) degrees, they marched those graduates, clinging desperately to their mortarboard hats, directly from the armory across the parking lot and into the Hall of Music as quickly as possible. Those were some frozen graduates!

Today the kids and I were doing a lot to prepare for Christmas. We made & they decorated 2 dozen sugar cookies. We baked a birthday cake for Jesus. I made 2 batches of chocolate fudge. Then we needed to clean up the area in front of the fireplace in order to hang the stockings. Now if you recall, this summer we did a major overhaul on the flooring in parts of our house. This caused many things to get moved about into places where they don't belong. Unfortunately, since this project lasted past the start of the school year, many things did not return to where they belonged until today. So the kids, DH, and I all pitched in and cleared out this area so "the stockings could be hung by the chimney with care." Now I don't know about all of you, but I have learned over the years with my kids (especially with my elder child) to never really be surprised by what I might find when cleaning......whether it be what I find in the laundry, hiding under beds, or, as tonight, hiding in piles of things needing to be put away. The strangest object found this evening? A microscope slide labeled "blood"----containing who's blood you might ask?----my dad's. Who does it belong to? DS----the child who does not deal well with blood, shots, needles, etc. Like I said, you learned to just never really be surprised at what you might find around here any more.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Do Angels Wear Cowgirl Boots?

OK, so I haven't posted in a while....it's been crazy-busy here. Between DS with his swim lessons, Cub Scouts, and computer science workshops, and DD with her piano lessons, church musical rehearsals, Daisy Scouts, school musical perfomance, piano recital, and finally the church musical performance last night....it's been a madhouse of activity. I'm glad that after this week we will have 2 weeks to relax a bit & catch our breaths. Now for the 3 major activities of the past week....

DD's school performance on Thursday went well. She was very tired (she doesn't do well with late nights....she will actually ask to go to bed early sometimes!) and I could tell. No smiles up on stage, glaring at the child next to her when he didn't do exactly what he was supposed to do....but she sang & did the motions. The amusing part of the evening was when the kids were supposed to sway back and forth to the beat of one song. Now how the music teachers ever thought they were ever going to get 120 first-graders to all sway in the same direction, I don't know....they were all over the place. DD decided to take matters into her own hands with the fact that the boy next to her was going the wrong way. So when she went towards him as he swayed towards her....BUMP! She made him go the right way (and yes, it was obvious she was being deliberate about it!). Luckily she didn't knock him over.

Next came DD's piano recital on Friday. She has been taking lessons since March and this was her 2nd recital. The first one was only about 6 weeks after she started lessons and did not go so well. It, like this one, did not start until 7pm and her turn to go didn't come until about 7:45 (bedtime!). Well, she wouldn't go up and play....until we finally convinced her to do it if I went up there and sat next to the piano. Then she did quite well. Now 2 weeks after this she played in the school talent show.....in front of over 700 people and did quite well (without me!)....but it was also at 9:30 in the morning! So this time around her piano teacher knew to place her much earlier in the recital.....she was 4th on the list. DD had also requested that I play one song as a duet with her, so we played that one first. Then I went back to my seat as she played her other song by herself. She played beautifully! A much better experience than her first recital!

Now on to Sunday's church musical performance. DD played an angel in the musical. The performance started at 6pm (a much better time for DD!). She was very full of smiles....for most of the time. She did very well with the singing & choreography. She was so excited to get to wear an angel costume....the satiny dress, the beautiful wings, the sparkling halo, the added glitter in the hair (which I'm sure to find in her bed linens for a while now!)......and at the last minute I did remember what footwear she had worn over to the church building! Luckily I caught her and had her remove that footwear because.....I really don't think angels wear pink cowgirl boots!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Say What??

mondegreen: (noun) a word or phrase resulting from the mishearing or misrepresentation of a statement or song lyric.

Occasionally my kids will say something that will stop me in my tracks. I will ask them to repeat it so I know if I heard them correctly. Usually I have heard them correctly even if they have not used the correct words. This has happened most often with song lyrics. We have all done it.....misheard the lyrics and sung the song to our hearts content....only to discover later that we were singing the incorrect words! Well, it has happened again.

Every year I hang a count-down ribbon for each child that they use to mark the days until Christmas. It is a tradition started by my parents for my brother and me that I am now carrying on with my own kids. My parents would tie candies to the ribbon, and each evening we would remove one candy (which we would then get to eat of course!)....until Christmas Eve when the last candy was removed and the bell at the bottom of the ribbon was rung, signaling the end of the wait for the arrival of Christmas. We have put a new spin on the tradition this year. Instead of tying candies to the ribbon, I have tied clues (and to make it fair, DS gets 1/2 of the clue and DD gets the other 1/2 so they have to work together to solve it). This way each evening they have to solve the clue to hunt for their candy. Well, to make it a little more interesting, I used the theme of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" for the clues. This brings us to the mondegreen part of the story.....

The first clue (to go along with "the first day of Christmas" line of the song") was: On the first day of Christmas.......the candy hid in a tree. After a bit of thinking, the kids quickly figured out where the candy was hiding. According to DS, it was hiding in the "coat tree." OK, this to me was a little chuckle-worthy, because although I know some people may actually call it a "coat tree," I grew up referring to it as a hall tree, while DH tends to call it the coat rack.....thus DS' combination of the two, resulting in "coat tree." But wait, it gets better! So a little while later I heard DD singing. She loves to sing, and sings well. But as she was singing "The Twelve Days of Christmas" I noticed that she had put her own spin to it.....her own mondegreen. DD sang, "On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me.....a portrait in a pear tree." Umm....what was in that pear tree? Yep! A portrait! I asked DD and that is exactly what she repeated. So I explained to her what a partridge is.I also explained that she is not the only one to have ever misheard the lyrics of a song (I didn't want her to be embarrassed or feel bad about it). She even got a chuckle out of it. But I must admit, I have been wondering.....just whose portrait was she picturing in that pear tree??

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tastes Like Chicken.....Or Does It???

Thanksgiving was busy this year....which explains why it is December 2nd before I have gotten around to posting this. But the holiday provided amusement as well as busy-ness. When she was little, DD used to eat turkey. Then she suddenly decided she didn't like it and there was no changing her mind....and no way was she even going to try it again. Well, on Thanksgiving this year she decided to try it. She slowly took a bite...ever so tiny of a bite....then her eyes lit up and she said, "Hey, I like it!" She then proceeded to eat the rest of the bite I had given her, ask for more, and eat all of that as well. We had our "big Thanksgiving meal" at my parents' house for lunch, which is when DD tried the turkey. So, of course, we had left-overs for supper there that evening as well.....and DD requested even more turkey. At supper she made the comment that she was surprised at how good it tasted and that she was surprised she liked it, stating, "It doesn't even taste like turkey!" That, of course, got my attention. I asked her that if that didn't taste like turkey to her, then how did she think it was going to taste? She replied, "I thought it would taste feathery." Obviously no one has explained to her about plucking the bird before it's cooked and eaten! She wasn't done commenting yet though....she went on to say, "I also thought it would be really gross since it comes from inside the turkey.....you know, where all of the gross stuff is!" Of course my dad decides to pipe up at this point and ask me if he needs to explain about chick....I stopped him before he got the whole word out. DD eats chicken and I don't want her to stop eating it if she gets too many details about it (I stopped eating it for a long time as a kid after getting the "privilege" of helping a family friend get some "fresh" chickens ready for frying once). I also wouldn't let him explain about hamburgers. So next time you all eat turkey, be glad it doesn't taste like turkey.....you know....not "feathery!"

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Boots and Tires and Glasses...Oh, My!

Well, yesterday was the day of broken and worn-out things I guess. First, it was noticed that DD's new pink cowgirl bootshad lost the "jewel" that is front-and-center on the left boot (now, this is the second time that this has happened....this is her second pair of boots as the same thing happened to the first pair less than a week after getting them....left boot as well....and they were replaced by the boot company). DD was upset that it had happened again, but after not having pink cowgirl boots to wear for almost 2 weeks when the last pair had to be returned, she has decided she'd rather have a pair with a missing jewel than go without her beloved boots (and thus she is currently wearing them at school today, as she does almost every other day!).

On to the tires! This story starts the day after Christmas 2004. The driver's side front tire blew out after hitting something on the icy road on the way to my parents' house to visit them. Nothing like sitting in the freezing cold weather with a flat tire miles from the nearest tire shop! And poor DH was even worse off as he dealt with the slush and traffic as he changed out the flat for the spare tire on the side of the road (luckily we were in a spot with a very wide shoulder so it we were able to at least have the van completely off of the road). So that tire was replaced almost 4 years ago. This past summer while on vacation, we started having a slow leak with the other front tire. So in July of this year it was replaced (luckily it held out until we got home....although we were in the middle of nowhere along some lonely stretches of road in the pouring rain when it needed pumped up the first time....poor DH again!). That left us with the rear tires original to the van (now 7 years old). They were getting bald and needed replacing. A few weeks ago while driving the kids down to see my parents (DH was at work, so it wasn't him dealing with it this time!) the low tire pressure indicator went off in the van. So over to the side of the road we go and I got the "pleasure" of getting out and checking the tires....only to discover that it's the driver's front tire (less than 30,000 miles on it!) that was the problem.....low on air and a bulge in the tire between the treads. So yesterday I had the "fun" of replacing 3 tires on my van. And they better hold up for a while now!!

Now on to the glasses part of the story.....DD's glasses are adding drama to our lives for sure! She is already on her 2nd pair (the original pair broke exactly one week after she got them!). Sunday she managed to lose the case she carries them in....but thankfully we discovered that her Sunday school teacher had found it and we were able to get it back from her in time for DD to have it to take her glasses to school in yesterday. Then I noticed when I was putting her glasses in the case that the left temple piece was loose. Upon closer inspection I discovered that the screw holding the temple piece to the front frame was almost out. So I used my tiny screwdriver and tried for about 10 minutes to get it to screw back in with no luck....it would not get any tighter at all. So after the kids were home from school yesterday (luckily the glasses survived the school day intact!) we were off to the eye doctor's office yet again (between picking up glasses, picking up replacement glasses, getting glasses re-fitted a couple of times to keep them from making sore spots, and now this....we have been there 5 times in the past month!). Luckily they were able to fix this pair of glasses by replacing the screw with a new one. Hopefully it will be a while before we have to visit them again.

Thankfully that was all the broken things and repairs I had to deal with yesterday. Guess now we'll see what today and the rest of the week have in store!

Friday, November 21, 2008


OK, now that I've got your attention.....no, there was no fire at our house today thankfully. But, we had the adrenaline rush of thinking there was! At the lovely early morning time of 4:30am our smoke detectors went off. They are the hard-wired kind so when one goes off, they all go off. This is actually a good safety feature....so that if there was a fire in the basement, the smoke detector going off upstairs on the 2nd floor where the bedrooms are at night would wake us up. Well......would wake some of us up (more on this later). When they went off at 4:30am they shut off themselves after about 30-45 seconds of alarming. DH went downstairs to check things out while I checked out the kids' rooms upstairs. We found nothing to be concerned about (and at this point, having been awakened from a deep sleep, we weren't even entirely sure it was the smoke detectors since they had ceased to alarm by this point), even checking the carbon monoxide detector as well. Nothing. So we went back to bed. Now DH has the ability to fall asleep immediately at any point and in any place. For me on the other hand...not so easy. I was awake for a good 30 minutes waiting for the adrenaline rush to go away and be able to settle back down to sleep hoping that we were correct in assuming that everything was OK. So finally I was back asleep. Then at 5:35am they go off AGAIN!! And this time they did not stop!! DH went all over the house checking things until he ended up in the basement. By the time he got there (and the alarms were still going off) and couldn't find anything wrong, he decided to try taking the smoke detector down there off of the wall (and thus out of the hard-wired loop they are all connected to). At that point the alarming ceased. Now it took several minutes for this all to occur. I stayed upstairs because I thought for sure that the kids would end up waking up and freaking out that the smoke detectors were going off. But did they? NO! Both DS and DD slept through it all....both times! Considering how loud those things are.....we now know how deeply our kids sleep! Amazing. They sleep as deeply as their Dad. I think the only reason DH heard it this morning is that he is suffering from a horrible cold and isn't sleeping well at all....so he's not sleeping as deeply as usual. I think under normal circumstances even he would have slept through it (his parents love to tell the story of him sleeping through the fire alarm at a hotel once while they were on a family vacation when DH was growing up!). Needless to say, even though I went back to bed, I never was able to return to sleep before the alarm clock went off at 6:00am. Guess today DH will have to either figure out why the smoke detector malfunctioned or buy a new one....and I'll have to start praying that if there's ever a fire at our house at night that I'm home to wake everyone up as it seems that not even that very, very loud and shrill noise is going to wake up these guys!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Children of the Computer Age

It never ceases to amaze me at how adept my children are at the computer. Terms that meant nothing to me as a child are a fluent part of my kids' everyday language. Being of the generation whose first experiences with computers were with the TI99 from Texas Instruments (our first home computer)and the Apple IIe (I remember how excited my teachers were in middle school when these computers first arrived at school for us to use!),it was a very long time before the internet/world wide web/email/etc meant anything to me. My children on the other hand, are growing up with computers in each classroom (we had one computer room with about a half-dozen computers for the entire school) that they use daily, computers at the library, and computers at home that are not only lightyears beyond what I knew as an older child, but that are also connected to the internet. AND they know what that means! I frequently hear DS talking about megabites, flash drives, and the like. He especially loves to throw these kinds of words around while rolling his eyes at me as if to say, "Mom, you just have no idea what I'm talking about so don't even try to understand." (or he'll even comment that he'll just go ask his Dad----DH being of the same generation as I am but having chosen a career path that lets him almost be the creator of some of these strange words that have entered our children's native language). Even my 6-year-old DD gets in on the act. Just yesterday we were in the van on our way home from having attended a live performance of "Beauty and the Beast" by one of the local high schools.We were in the middle of discussing what she liked about the show when suddenly she asked, "Mom, who is God's father?" When I asked what she meant, she replied, "You know, how did He get here in the first place before everything was made?" I told her I didn't know....that it was one of those things we just didn't have the answer to. Her reply? "Well, when we get home can we just Google it?"

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Voting Rationale

The kids at my children's school had the chance to vote for President yesterday. They learned about the process of voting and participated in a very realistic mock voting process, right down to having to present picture IDs. The teachers had made up picture IDs for each student using the kids' school pictures....even having the kids' ages, "address" (classroom number), and such on it. The kids showed their IDs to one of the staff members then went over to one of the computers in the computer lab and entered their votes for the Presidential candidate of their choice. It was a very realistic experience for the students. When DS and DD arrived home from school they were very excited about having been able to vote (even though they knew it wouldn't affect the outcome of the real election) and to tell me about their choices. DD was quick to inform me of her choice. She said, "Mom, I don't remember his name but I voted for the gray-haired guy." She then asked if I knew why she voted for him. When I asked why, she replied, "Because he has a girl that will be the Vice President if he wins and I don't think we need two guys in charge."Only the rationale of a 6-year-old could function like that: she doesn't know his name, doesn't know anything about him or what he believes, but the fact that he picked a girl for his Vice Presidential running mate is enough of an endorsement for DD. And in case you think DS is as easily swayed for his vote based on gender, he also voted for McCain. DS had more substance to his rationale. His class has read articles about the candidates and DS and I have had a couple of discussions about them as well (about their beliefs, the differences between Democrats & Republicans in general, and such). DS said he voted for McCain because he thought he would make the best President and make the best decisions for the country. So there you have it. That's 2 votes for McCain. Unfortunately for McCain, the votes of a 6-year-old and 10-year-old don't count.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

If At First You Don't Succeed....

Yesterday my children's school hosted the delayed awards convocation (see previous entry from Monday, October 20th to see why it was delayed). So DH and I went to the school that morning to attend as we knew both DS & DD had made the A/B Honor Roll and would be receiving their certificates. I must say that the staff at the school is getting lots of practice at improvising and dealing with problematic circumstances that arise that are beyond their control. When DH & I arrived at the school we discovered that the set-up for the convo was much different than usual. Usually they have everyone seated in the gym/cafeteria combo with huge folding doors opened up to be able to accommodate everyone. Everyone is then seated facing the stage that's at one end of the room, which is where the kids go up to receive their awards. Well, yesterday was different in that one of the doors was stuck in the closed position. This meant that no matter how they seated everyone the stage would not be visible to at least half of the audience (the whole room is packed full by the time all of the parents, staff, and students are all seated in there). So they improvised. They had everyone seated so they faced sideways to the usual way (so there were people on both sides of the closed folding door...but at least this way it was effectively at the back of the audience rather than in the middle of the audience) and had the kids who were receiving awards walk to the new relative "front" of the room to receive their awards rather than up onto the stage. Although this made it more difficult to see the kids receiving their awards, it was better than having to reschedule the awards convo yet again (and waiting to see what could go wrong a third time!). And thanks to a good telephoto lens on my camera, I should have some good shots of DS & DD as they received their awards. Oh, and they not only received the A/B Honor Roll Award. Another award given at the end of each grading period is the given to 2 kids in each class (and the general rule is that a child can only receive it once each school year) who show good citizenship, have good attitudes in and out of the classroom, are good examples to other students, are helpful to others, and such. Both DS and DD received the Principal's Award! I am so proud of both of them! They have both worked very hard this school year so far and done very well, both with their schoolwork and doing well in the social and behavior aspects of school. Now hopefully they will both keep up the great work they have been doing so far and will make the honor roll again for the next grading period. And I'm sure the staff at the school is hoping that the next awards convo goes much more smoothly than this one did!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Can You Hear Me Now?

When the lights go out, do you need to talk louder in order to be heard clearly? Well, according to about 700 elementary students, the answer is a resounding YES! This morning was scheduled to be the awards convocation for my children's elementary school (they hold an awards convo at the end of each 9-weeks grading period to honor the kids who made A/B Honor Roll as well as a few other awards). DH & I went over to watch the convo this morning as both DS & DD made the A/B Honor Roll this 9-weeks. About 15 minutes before the convo starts, they start bringing the kids into the gym to get seated (the kids sit on the floor, the teachers wheel their chairs in to sit on, and they have folding chairs set up for the parents to sit on). This usually happens in a fairly orderly, yet somewhat noisy, fashion as the kids get situated. I've always been fairly impressed with how well the kids behave and how quiet they usually are throughout the entire convo each time I've attended over the past 5+ years that DS has attended this school. Well, this morning showed a different side to these children when something unexpected happened just as the last kids were being seated. What happened? The electricity went out! And yes, this made the gym (with no windows to the exterior of the building) virtually pitch-black. Immediately, kids screamed.....700 of them! The teachers were able to get them quiet amazingly quickly by doing a clapping rhythm they do at the beginning of every convo that indicates it's time to be quiet (the teachers/faculty start the clapping and the kids all join in until everyone is doing the same rhythm). Once it had been announced by the vice principal (the principal was not at school today) that the electricity had gone out and that the students needed to stay put until they figured out what they were going to do about the convo, that's when it got LOUD. Before, when the kids had been talking, it had been a dull roar. At this point, it became painfully loud. I had to chuckle when DH commented that the kids "seized the opportunity to disregard all personal responsibility for orderly conduct as soon as the lights went out." Although I was unable to see how DD's class was behaving as they were seated clear across the gym from us and it was completely dark, DS's class was seated directly next to us. I pointed out to DH that DS's class, in contrast to the vast majority, was sitting politely, quietly, and very well-behaved. So kudos to Mrs. B for teaching her class well enough that they were behaving properly even with the lights out!

So what happened with the rest of the awards convo, you may be wondering? Well, after contacting the electric company and being told that the electricity wouldn't come back on for about another 1 1/2 hours, they dismissed the classes (which went off well, considering it was done in the dark!) back to their classrooms and told the parents that the convo will be rescheduled for another day. Of course, no sooner had all the kids returned to their classrooms and most of the parents left the school building.......then the electricity came back on! Hopefully the rescheduled convo will go much more smoothly than today's attempt. Nothing like a little excitement to start off a Monday morning.....life is never dull!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Game of Blog Tag

So it seems I've been tagged by my friend Mindy to play a game of "What's in your purse?" I'm supposed to list the contents of my purse on my blog and then tag others to do the same. Well here goes:
  • keys (to the car, van, truck, our house, my parents' house, mother-in-law's house)
  • cell phone
  • wallet (and all of its contents...driver's license, credit card, bit of cash, pics of my kids, some receipts, library cards for me & kids, etc)
  • sunglasses
  • disposable camera (forgot that was still in there!)
  • pocket calendar so I know when I'm supposed to be where 'cause my brain won't keep track of it all
  • 2 pens
  • breath mints
  • Care Bear fruit snacks
  • Disney Princess fruit snacks
  • Yogos (watermelon flavor)
  • ticket stubs from the Cincinnati Zoo (from our family vacation back in July!----gotta clean this purse out more often!)
  • small packet with 2 needles & 9 different colors of thread for emergency clothing repairs
  • small tube of hand lotion
  • Neo To Go Neosporin antiseptic spray
  • multitude of various sizes/styles band-aids
  • 2 ponytail elastics
  • Benadryl Itch Relief Stick for bug bites
  • small bottle of hand sanitizer
  • ziplock baggie of baby wipes
  • Chapstick (cherry flavor)
  • prescription bottle filled with my migraine medication (never go anywhere without it!)
  • 3 Starburst candies
  • 2 wire nuts (these things go on the ends of wires to connect them when putting in light fixtures & other such stuff....these are in there thanks to DH who needed them for a project at his mom's house and then they evidently got lost in the bottomless pit of my purse....think I can take them out now!)
OK, so that's what's all in my purse.....scary, eh? So since most of my friends still don't blog, I'll tag some of my emailing friends: Jill, Mandy, & Mom......and add a little twist: What's the strangest thing in your purse? Can you top the wire nuts? You've been tagged....you're it!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Improved Vision Is A Good Thing!

Well, DD got her new glasses today! She is quite glad that she only has to wear them for reading, playing piano (to see the music), doing things on the computer, and such....she doesn't have to wear them all of the time. These are the cute pink glasses she picked out:
They have the Barbie logo on the side. She was really thrilled with the glasses case that came with them:
Nothing like a little pink purse to carry your glasses in! I must say it really helped with her acceptance of the fact that she is going to have to wear glasses.....she'll be quite stylish! And DS was quite the good, sweet big brother and told DD how cute she looked while wearing her new glasses......he said, "You'll look really cute in those while you are reading." I was really proud of him! And he sure made his sister smile! When we got home after picking up the glasses, DD immediately went over to the piano, telling me she was going to do her practicing. She proceeded to open up her pink case, put on her new glasses, and play away at the piano without having to squint to see the music. She was quite happy about how easy it was to see the notes. Now hopefully the adjustment to wearing them at school goes just as well.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


It seems we're creating a family of math-heads here. When DS was little....around 2 years old....he taught himself how to add and subtract using M&Ms candies. We never explained the concept to him but one day he said to me (while eating a handful of M&Ms as a dessert after lunch), "Momma, if I have four M&Ms and eat two of them, I will only have two left." After receiving confirmation from me that he was correct he then told me, "If I have three M&Ms and you give me two more, I will have five." (He then proceeded to eat enough of his M&Ms to only have three left, then asked if I would give him two more to make the five! Gotta love how kids think!) So that was around 8 years ago. Fast forward to today's conversation with DD who is now 6 and in first grade. They have been working with addition and subtraction basics in her class. With an older brother who is taking advanced math and a Dad who is currently studying abstract algebra while working on his master's degree, DD has evidently overheard some upper-level math discussions at our house. She was reading a cookbook to me today (she wanted to practice her reading out-loud skills and that is what she chose to read to me for some reason). On one ingredient list it stated "1 - 6 oz bag of cashews," meaning that it required one bag of cashews in the 6-ounce size. DD did not understand that and read it as "one minus six Oz (as in "The Wizard of Oz") bag of cashews" with a very puzzled look on her face. She then looked at me and said, "Wouldn't one minus six be like negative five or something, Mom? How can there be negative something in a recipe?" After a stunned moment of silence on my part, I did explain what the recipe meant and also that yes, she was correct in her math of 1 minus 6 equaling negative 5. It's a good thing DH is studying graduate-level math.....with these two kids, we're going to need that knowledge sooner rather than later.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Trip To The Moon

Today DS and his classmates took a trip to the moon. Really....they did a space mission and landed on the moon at around noon today. OK, OK, so it was just a simulation, but it was totally awesome and amazingly realistic for something designed as a field trip for students. I went along as a chaperon and was totally impressed by the facility as well as by the students' performance during the mission. They went to the Challenger Learning Center (one of 52 world-wide).....these centers have been set up as living memorials to the astronauts who died in the Challenger space shuttle disaster on January 28, 1986 (as an aside, today is the 20th anniversary of the first shuttle mission that occurred after the Challenger disaster....September 29, 1988....a neat day for the kids to have had their mission simulation at the Challenger Center). The students were divided into two teams....one team was stationed in "mission control" while the other team (DS' team) was stationed in the space module that was "launched" into "orbit," first around Earth and then around the moon. The kids had many realistic tasks they had to perform during this simulation. At first, all were nervous (DS was nervous, but his nerves were very much overtaken by his major excitement about the experience....I thought at one point he was going to bounce right out of his shoes from being unable to contain all of the excitement!), but quickly settled into their respective roles and became very engrossed in what they were doing. I think that at times they probably even forgot that it was only a simulation and they were actually still here on Earth. They even handled an "emergency" with admirable calm. DS was assigned to the Probe Team, which placed him alone in a "clean room" to wire up the electronics of a lunar probe with only the verbal instructions from a member of Mission Control to guide him (the room did have glass doors that allowed him to see what was going on in the rest of the space module). He completed his task successfully! At the half-way point the teams switched places to give everyone a chance to experience both the space module portion and the mission control portion. By the end of their mission they had successfully landed their space module on the moon! DS was quick to inform me that although the mission control part was very interesting, the space module portion was a lot more fun for him. I think this definitely rates up there as one of DS' favorite field trips. I know it is probably one of the most interesting I have ever been on, especially as a chaperon (and that is even taking into consideration that in the past 2 years I have chaperoned 2 overnight field trips with DS.....one to the zoo, and one involving winter survival and hiking with 6 inches of snowfall on top of what was already on the ground, followed by cross-country skiing). So to DS and his classmates....Great mission! And welcome back to Earth!

Friday, September 26, 2008


Well, last Saturday DH completed his second marathon. Last year he ran the Air Force Marathon at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. He trained hard for 3 months and set a goal to finish in under 4 hours. He completed the marathon in 3 hours 53 minutes 53 seconds. Earlier this year he considered running this year's Air Force Marathon as well, especially after discussing it with a friend from work who had decided to run it this year. Well, it's been an extremely busy year at work (as well as at home) for both of them and neither had really done any training throughout the year so DH just assumed they would not be running it. Fast-forward to 3 weeks before the race......yes, THREE WEEKS! DH had a conversation with his coworker in which he discovered that he was still planning on running in the marathon even though he had not been training up until that point (he had set a goal for himself....a New Year's resolution....at the beginning of the year and was determined to keep it). So both DH and his friend started training for the run at 3 weeks before the race (for those who are unaware......a marathon is 26.2 miles long!). Well, needless to say, neither of them was truly prepared for the race.....I know DH's longest recent run before the race had only been 8 miles. Quite a difference from a marathon! But they had determination and perseverance! They were able to run the first 10 miles at a good, steady pace. At that point their bodies needed a break so they started walking. Unfortunately, when they started to run again DH's friend's calf cramped up. He did everything he could to remedy the situation to no avail. But this did not stop them! They kept walking at a good, steady clip (15 minutes/mile) to try to make sure they finished the race before the cut-off time of 7 hours from the start of the race. Although their pace fell a tad towards the end of the 16 miles they walked, they were able to finish the race in 6 hours 23 minutes, well ahead of the cut-off limit, and were able to receive their finishers' medals directly from the Air Force officers awarding them to the runners.So even though it was a totally different experience for DH from last year's race, it was a great day.....his friend was able to succeed in fulfilling his resolution and DH was able to complete a race he went into unprepared for. That's what you call perseverance!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Am I Smarter Than My Fifth Grader?

regolith: unconsolidated residual or transported material that overlies the solid rock on the earth, moon, or a planet.
Wow, what a word. Nope, I had no idea what it meant until I looked it up. Why did I look it up? Well, because it is a a word on DS's spelling list this week! I must say this is the first time one of my children has brought home a word on a spelling list that I had no idea if it was even really a word. At least when I was back in 5th grade my parents could recognize the words without having to look up the meaning. Guess I continue to learn something new every day, even when it arrives as my DS's 5th grade homework. Puts a new spin on the "Are You Smarter Than AFifth Grader?" game, that's for sure! Guess I better go do some studying....

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Can You See Me Now?

Well, DD has to get glasses. She has been having some trouble seeing details like differentiating the notes on the staff of her piano books, a bit of trouble with reading books, etc. So off to the eye doctor we went for a check-up where it was confirmed that she needs glasses for close-up work such as reading, playing piano, and computer work. DD was quite thrilled that she will not have to wear them all of the time as her biggest concern was having to possibly give up her collection of princess sunglasses she wears outside....so she was very relieved to find out she still gets to wear those! Once she was reassured about that, she was quite into the selection of glasses process, much to the amusement of the lady assisting us at the eye doctor's office. DD managed to try on about 1/3 of the kids' choices of glasses (the only ones she didn't try on were the obviously boy ones and the obviously too small ones!) and was quite quick to say "no way" or "maybe." She ended up with a stack of about 8 styles in the "maybe" pile that she then had to go through trying on again a couple of times to make new piles of "most likely nots" and "most likely yeses" before narrowing it down to one pair. Oh, and it wasn't just how the glasses looked on her face (she did pay attention to that too though, very much) but she had to see what designs were on the temple (side) pieces as well. Of course, anyone that knows DD, knows she picked out a pink pair of glasses. And I was really proud of DS (who had spent the picking-out time sitting in the waiting room with the occasional pop-in to see if we were done yet) who on the way home asked DD what color she picked out and then said, "I bet you'll look really good in those." And it was said in a nice, sincere tone. Gotta love it when your kids get along!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Wood Floor Is Finished!!!

OK, so they were done a week ago, but it took a few days to recover from the exhaustion enough to think straight then had to get some good pictures (and the weather wasn't cooperating for some good lighting for a couple of days) and then had to find the time to put them on here.......but IT'S DONE!! Here's what the dining room looks like (we still need to put the baseboards back up but this is the floor):
This is a closeup of the dining room floor with the heating vent that we bought and stained to match the floor (as well as the new patio doors that have a wood-clad interior that we also stained to match the floor):
This is the floor going down the hallway towards the front door:
And a closeup of the floor in the bit of hallway that goes into the playroom by the front entryway:So this part of our home improvement project is done! Yea!! I'm not even going to come close to trying to figure out how many hours we put into this floor....by the time you add up the removing of it from the old house, the installing of it, the sanding of it, the staining, the sealing of it with the poly......more hours than I care to think of (and less sleep than DH & I really needed!)! But it turned out how we wanted it to....even better than we hoped. And no complaints from the males in the house as they acquired new tools as a result of the project (even some we hadn't planned on due to running into a few snafus along the way!): jigsaw, miter saw, 2 new orbital sanders, air compressor......oh, yeah, they're happy! (And don't worry, DD hasn't been left out....I promised her a special treat this weekend for all she's had to put up with during this project and seeing as how she didn't get any tools out of the deal herself.) Now off to enjoy the floor for awhile before DH decides it's time to start the next project......

Friday, September 5, 2008


Well, I haven't mentioned much about the kids lately as the floor project has consumed so much of our lives. But on Thursday my DD brought home a project she was very, very proud of. According to her, they had worked on these projects for 5 days at school and she was very excited to get to bring it home to show me. It was a piece of green construction paper divided up into sections into which they put down their favorite item under each category. Under most categories were pictures cut out of magazines: food----ice cream; color----pink; place to be----little girl running through a sprinkler; holiday----picture of jack-o-lanterns for Halloween; sport----swimming. For the final category she wrote down (instead of putting a picture) what is her favorite: school activity----math, speleen. Yes, she actually wrote "speleen" instead of "spelling" and you can imagine how hard it was to not show the irony of that on my face as I praised her for her good work on her project.

DS came home extremely excited from school yesterday as well.....which, for those of you that know my DS, is a rare occurrence. At the kids' school they do announcements over the TVs in the classrooms. So the kids are actually doing the announcements each morning (like a little mini TV newscast). The older students are chosen to present the announcements and the younger students get to take turns in groups leading the Pledge of Allegiance. DS does not like to get up in front of people to give presentations and so was extremely thrilled that yesterday, today, and all of next week he is in charge of running the camera for the announcements. So not only does he not have to be in front of the camera where people can see him, he gets to, as he puts it, "work with technology." All in all, even with the hassle of the floor, a happy week for both kids.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Will It Never End??

Well, the floor has been sanded. Yep, sanded but not finished. Even with a 3-day weekend we ran out of time. How could that be you ask? Well, it was a combination of occurrences. We had to rent a drum sander (big walk-behind sander for doing hardwood floors) to sand down the old finish off of the boards and even out the floor (the boards were all uneven and this piece of equipment would not only remove the old finish but make a nice smooth surface across the entire floor as well....or at least that as the idea...). Well, the one they rented to us came with a plug that looked like this:
And it came with a cord that looked like this:We should have known at that point that it was not going to work well. But we started the sanding process (which was preceded by taping clear vinyl sheeting over the entrances to all of the other rooms in the house to contain the massive amounts of dust to the area in which we were working). The drum sander worked well for the two coarsest grits of sandpaper to remove most of the old finish and level most of the boards. Unfortunately it cannot get within about 4 inches of the edges of the walls, so that required getting on hands & knees with a hand-held orbital sander to spend tons of time doing the edges. There were also some trouble spots out in the middle of the room (due to the uneven nature of the boards) that the drum sander was having difficulty taking care of.....those also required the orbital sander. The hallway.....unfortunately the entire hallway is too narrow for the drum sander at all. So DH got out his hand-held belt sander to do most of the hard work (and that thing really throws the sawdust around as unlike the other sanders it does NOT have a dust collector on it!) followed by yet more use of the orbital sander. That poor orbital was getting a workout (luckily it was brand-new.....DH's old one had died earlier in the project)! Then came the really frustrating part.....the drum sander completely stopped working! Now a few times during it's use it had refused to turn off when the switch was turned to off (requiring it to be unplugged to turn it off), but at the point we were ready for the last pass with the finest grit of sandpaper, it stopped sanding! Which meant that we had to do the last sanding of the entire hardwood floor with the orbital sander....at which point we bought a second one so both DH & I could be working at the same time.

After all the sanding....it was time to use the rented floor buffing machine to give the floor a final smooth surface before applying the finish. Well, that thing is an extremely unwieldy beast and while it was admittedly amusing to watch DH try to use it, we quickly realized that it was not going to be able to get close to the edges at all and thus we'd be using the orbitals once again. So we decided to just do the whole thing with the orbitals. Yes, I have spent WAY more time on my hands & knees on that floor than I ever wanted to! And we're not done! Tonight after finishing cleaning up all the sawdust (ever vacuum your ceiling & walls?) we will be staining the floor. Then after that dries we will apply the first coat of polyurethane. My poor children spent the weekend at my parents' house (they had a blast.....went apple-picking!) then returned only to be immediately sent to DH's mom's house for the night. We all spent the night there then I brought them home in time to catch the bus for school this morning. Due to the stain and poly fumes they will be spending another night there as well. Nothing like getting to spend the night at a grandparent's house on a school night! But at least progress is being made! Picture of the floors sanded:

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Happy Birthday To DH!

DH likes to try new things. He especially likes tasting HOT things. So in honor of his birthday today here's a link to a video of him and a friend/coworker of his trying the Naga Jolokia peppers they grew. They grew them at work just so they could try the world's hottest peppers. Enjoy the video. Happy Birthday, DH!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

It's All Installed!

Yea! Finally! The hardwood flooring is all installed! It took more hours than either DH or I care to think about but it is all in. When we started this project we weren't sure if we would have enough boards to do both the dining room and the hallway out to the front door. We were pretty sure we'd have enough to do the dining room, but we thought we might have to buy some new wood to do the hallway to finish the project. We had managed to find a very close match that we were happy with, but held off on purchasing any until we knew exactly how much we were going to need. Well......exciting news......we had enough wood from my parents' old house to do the ENTIRE project!!! We are so happy about that! Not only did that save us money, but it is extra nice to know that the whole thing was done all with the wood from the house I grew up in.
Now it's on to the part of the project I have been dreading the entire time.....sanding the floor. Ugh! It's going to be a horrible, dusty mess to clean up after we do that. DH did go out and buy plastic sheeting to hang up to block off the other rooms to try to at least contain the majority of the mess, but sawdust is so fine it's still going to get everywhere (so even once the floor is sanded & refinished, the job will still not be done because then the cleaning will begin and I'm not going to even think of how long that's going to take!). *sigh* Oh, well, it will be so pretty when it's all done. DS & DD went down to spend the weekend at my parents' house so that they won't be trapped upstairs while we sand, stain, and the seal the floor. It's going to be a long process.
And just in case you think this will mean the end of the project.....think again! DH came home from the hardware store today with paint.....to paint the hallway! Because of course now that the kitchen/dining room is painted, the hallway looked dingy.....so it needs to be painted too! And we still have yet to replace the vinyl in the laundry room, 1/2 bath, and closet. Plus we still need to put in the tile flooring by the front door. Yep, looking like we might get finished by Christmas! (And for anyone wondering......I think I have lucked out.....neither my kitchen nor the rest of my house smells like spoiled milk so we must have gotten it cleaned up enough....yea!)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Half-Way There!

Woo-hoo! We are to the half-way point! It's taking a lot longer than I ever imagined to do this part and we're to the part that's even more difficult. The first many rows went from the carpeted area on the right (which had to abut smoothly & tightly into the piece that transitions from the hardwood to the carpet) over to the
kitchen cabinet on the left (where there needed to be a small expansion gap between the hardwood and the cabinet, which will be covered with a quarter-round trim piece). This meant that we had a little bit of leeway in the exactness of the length of our boards when it came to the fitting of them.
Now we are to the part that goes from the carpet on the right to the kitchen opening on the left (where there is another transition piece to step down from the hardwood to the vinyl flooring in the kitchen...which the hardwood has to fit exactly into). So the pieces have to fit exactly all the way across.....which makes the puzzle even harder to mess with figuring out, thus taking longer to put each row together. Ugh! But we are half-way done and for that I am thankful! (The picture below was taken a few rows before we reached the half-way point and a few rows before we reached the harder part.)
Both DD and DS helped with some of the work today. DD helped get some of the pieces in place using a rubber mallet. DS actually tried out the pneumatic nailer and nailed some of the boards in place.....and had just as much fun as DH did with it! My Dad was here for a little while today as well (dropping off DS from spending the weekend at their house) and got in on the action as well, using the pneumatic nailer to secure a couple of boards in place. The cats meanwhile just chilled out amongst all of the boards piled around everywhere and watched while we worked.
DH is taking the day off of work Monday so that we can get the last half of this finally finished. I can't wait to have a dining room floor again!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

It Has Begun!

Well, it has finally started! DH and I are in the midst of putting in the hardwood flooring. Yea!!!! We have 20 rows of flooring fastened down....only about 54 more to go to finish the dining room. Here is a picture of the first 5 rows installed:
I have no idea how many rows it will take for the hallway after that, but at least those are short rows of only 3 feet in width as compared to the rows that are 14 feet in width that we are doing now. There is finally light at the end of this tunnel! The worst part about this part of the project is figuring out where each piece goes....it's like a huge puzzle. Since we have a limited supply of boards, we have to lay out the pieces in such a manner as to cut as little off as possible to waste as little as possible. Plus, we have to lay them out so that the joints don't all land in the same locations and so that it looks nicely laid out with randomness....we don't want any inadvertent patterns (such as diagonals, etc.) to show up in the floor. Doing this with wood that has already been cut and laid out in another location is much more difficult than if we were to just open a new box of boards and start laying them out. The time that takes is the most frustrating part right now. Actually nailing them down doesn't take very long at all. And let me tell you, DH is absolutely loving using the pneumatic nailer! He's like a little boy at Christmas with a new toy....reminds me very much of DS when he gets a new toy to play with!
I'm just so excited that this part has finally started so I know that the end is in sight and things will hopefully soon be back to normal at my house (well, as normal as they ever get!)! Yea!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Ahhh.....Is That A New Air Freshener??

Well, I knew with my crew it couldn't last long. My "new" kitchen has been initiated. Since we still don't have a dining room floor (although the preparation has begun!), the kids have been eating in the kitchen. DD eats at a little play table. DS is way too big to fit there so he eats at the counter (oh, the things we put our children through!). I had gotten onto DD a couple of times about staying seated while she eats rather than keep popping up out of her chair.....she knows better. Well, she wasn't listening very well and ended up spilling her milk.....her almost completely full cup of milk. Now if it had just spilled onto the new vinyl, it wouldn't have been a big deal. I would have had her clean it up to help enforce the lesson of sitting still while eating, and that would have been it. But, nooooo, the milk cup hit the newly painted wall, milk then went rushing down the wall, BEHIND the new baseboard, and down INTO the air vent! So I had her grab me a bunch of paper towels as I picked up the cup and moved the table away from the wall.....then had quite the time of it trying to get as much milk soaked up from behind the baseboard as I could (DH meanwhile pulled out the air vent grate to dry it off) and then stuffed more paper towels down into the vent to soak up as much of the milk down there as I could possibly reach. *sigh* Now to just hope that enough of the milk got dried up so that drywall behind the baseboard doesn't start to smell like spoiled milk.........oh, and I really hope I got it all out of the air vent. The last thing we need right now is the lovely "fresh" scent of spoiled milk wafting through the ENTIRE house every time the a/c or furnace kicks on.....

Monday, August 18, 2008

A Tired Mind Creates Strange Things....

To be sung to the tune of "Home On The Range":
Oh, give me a home where the floors have no holes
and the furniture is where it belongs!
Where seldom is heard "I have an idea!"
and nothing ever goes wrong!

Home, home that is done!
Where no projects are in progress!
Where seldom is heard a saw or a drill!
And I will finally have some rest!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Goodbye Old Home

Well, as of today, the house I grew up in is no longer around. This is the house my parents spent 40 years in. This is the house where DH & I reclaimed the hardwood flooring to use in our own home (and no, the dining room is still not done). Here is the progression over the past several weeks as we've said goodbye to the old home:

But we'll still have the memories, pictures, and now in my own home we'll have the hardwood flooring, the tile entryway flooring, and 2 ceiling light fixtures to remember the house by. Goodbye, old home! We'll miss you but enjoy our memories of you!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

He Wants To Do What??

The dining room floor.....all we were going to do was the dining room floor! Which then turned into replacing the patio door as well....and replacing the kitchen floor....and painting the kitchen walls....and putting up a new light fixture....and painting the inside of the pantry.....and hey, we don't want wet feet stepping directly onto the new hardwood floors by the front entry so let's put down tile (which will also come from the house I grew up in and no, it's not put in yet either)! It gets better! DH originally said there was NO WAY he was going to mess with replacing the vinyl in the laundry room, 1/2 bath, or hall closet (all of which have the same floor as the peeling stuff we've been replacing in the kitchen & dining room) due to cost, labor, time, etc. Today he comes up to me and says, "So I've been thinking...." OK, I've learned over the past 13 1/2 years of our marriage that when he says that....watch out! You guessed it....he has now decided that we need to replace the vinyl in the laundry room, 1/2 bath, and hall closet (will anyone ever see that flooring as it's always covered with winter boots and other odds & ends???)......and he wants to put it in himself (no labor costs that way!). I get a strange feeling my laundry room is also about to get a new coat of paint.....who knows, maybe the closet too! (The bathroom will not as I just repainted it myself a year after we moved in here when I could no longer take the horrid dark olive green color and changed it to a nice bright yellow.) And just how did the project progress today, you ask? Well, the new patio door has white vinyl on the exterior to match the vinyl siding of the house, but came with unfinished wood on the interior side so it could be stained to match the hardwood floors. So that is what we have been working on today.....staining the patio doors. So no, I still have no dining room flooring. When we originally started this project I was hoping to be done by the time school started.....I think now I better set my sights on Christmas!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Saga Continues....

So we returned from vacation (which was a fun time visiting friends & family) to the mess that is our home. A few days after we returned our new door finally arrived. A good friend of DH's from work very kindly came and stayed until after midnight that night helping us to remove the old door, fix the HUGE hole in the floor, and put the new door in. It was a lot of hard work, took much longer than we expected it to, but finally we have solid flooring (albeit just subflooring at the moment) to walk on and a door to get in and out of the back yard with. Unfortunately, we discovered that the reason there was so much damage to the floor in the first place has to do with the deck on the back of our house. The previous owners originally put on a wood deck, decided they didn't like it, then put a vinyl deck directly OVER the top of the wood deck, which raised the level of the decking material (which is flush up against the house and door threshold) ABOVE the level of the threshold. This means that every time it rained, water would drain into the house under the vinyl flooring, thus rotting the subfloor material.....which meant that any new material we put down would also be ruined unless the problem with the deck was fixed (i.e. removing the vinyl deck). Due to current time constraints, DH cut the ends of the vinyl decking boards back far enough away from the door threshold to allow water to drain AWAY from the house which should take care of the problem until we can figure out what to do about the deck at a later date (hey, I still don't have a dining room floor yet....the deck can wait now that the water issue is solved!).
So this brings us to the next stage of the project.......the kitchen! The kitchen had the same peeling vinyl as the dining room, which meant that flooring needed to be replaced.......so we picked out new vinyl flooring to be put down in the kitchen (DH & I didn't want hardwoods in the kitchen mainly due to the risk of water damage to the wood possible in a kitchen environment). Because the scope of the project kept increasing as our time kept decreasing, we bit the financial bullet and paid for the vinyl to be installed by a professional. So two nights before it's to be installed, DH & I remove all of the appliances from the kitchen (we put them in the dining room.....since the dining room table is in the family room and the chairs are in the playroom, there was room for the appliances!) so that DH could tear out the old vinyl and underlayment (had to save some money somewhere!). Then we decided that while all of the appliances were out and there was no flooring down......didn't that make it a good time to repaint the kitchen??? Which means that the night before the new vinyl was put in DH & I were up until almost 3am painting the kitchen! I bet you think that we were then done with the kitchen, don't you??? Nope! Two days after the new vinyl was put down we got all of the appliances back where they belonged......then DH decided that was the perfect time to hang a "new" (OK, it's about 40 years old and came from the the kitchen of the house I grew up in so it's not "new") light in the kitchen, which required him to cut a hole in the ceiling of the kitchen, a hole in the ceiling of the pantry, a hole in the wall of the pantry, and expand the hole in the wall where the kitchen/dining room light switches are! (I think I am getting really, really tired of HOLES appearing in my house!!) This takes another couple of days (since DH can only work on it in the evenings when he gets home from his job) to get the light up, wired, holes patched.....and then DH decides to paint the inside of the pantry! I finally got my kitchen back USABLE a week ago. But, I must say, DH has done a very good job with all of his projects.....he's a very handy guy. But, alas, as of today, STILL no dining room floor!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Nothing Is Ever "Free"

So some of you have been wondering why I've been out of touch for so long.....it all started a couple of years ago (yes, the story goes back that far!). The top layer of the vinyl flooring in our dining room/kitchen started peeling off and we also noticed a soft spot forming by the patio doors in the dining room. At the time we were unable to do anything about it financially, but we also knew that if we waited a bit we'd be able to get free flooring to replace it (the house I grew up in is being torn down....replaced with commercial development.....and we could take the hardwood floors up from the bedrooms there and put them in our dining room here once my parents completed the deal on their old house). Well, a few deals fell through, time passed, and finally this spring a deal was completed and we were able to start our flooring project. So DH, DS and I commenced pulling up the hardwood flooring out of my old home (while DD contentedly played with her grandparents at their new home). After a few weekends of VERY hard work, we had all of the wood up and waiting at our house......and then the fun REALLY began. DH began the work of removing the the vinyl flooring (which pulled up way too easily, meaning it hadn't been put in correctly to begin with!), only to discover that the "small soft spot" by the patio door was actually a HUGE rotted, moldy area that had to be completely removed, leaving a hole about 8 feet by 2 feet in the floor!!! Yep, we could look right down into the basement......NOT ideal when you have a couple of kids in the house! And it gets worse.....

So this rotted subflooring goes out UNDER the patio doors, which means that in order to replace the plywood subfloor we have to remove the patio door. Of course, we discover this on the day before we are supposed to leave on vacation......so vacation gets delayed a day (luckily we were driving so no penalties with changing when we were to leave). DH then proceeds to pull off all of the trim work around the door, inside and outside, to get ready to remove the door......only to discover that the majority of the bottom of the wood frame around the door is also rotted beyond repair! So we head off to the hardware store to buy a new door......only to discover that the only patio doors kept in stock anywhere are 6-foot wide doors.....and ours is only 5 feet wide! Which means we have to special order a patio door and wait 2-3 weeks for it to come in. Now luckily we discovered this BEFORE we pulled the old door out of the wall. So after ordering our new door, we returned home, DH stapled a tarp over the old door and pounded the trim back up over it all to get it as waterproof as possible while I finished packing. Then we went ahead and left on vacation since there was nothing more we could do at that point with the project until the new door arrived. And that is the beginning of how our "free" floor has turned out to be not so free!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

....And Yet They're So Similar!

Well, today was the first day of school! DS started 5th grade and DD started 1st grade, making it the first year DD has been in school all day (eating lunch at school, riding home on the bus, etc). When they returned home from school, getting off of the bus, I discovered how very similar my children are in one particular way: DD got off of the bus without either her backpack or her lunch box. She left the backpack on the bus (luckily we realized it before the bus left the bus stop so she was able to retrieve it immediately) and left her lunch box in the cafeteria at school (so we had to head back over to school to get it......making me so glad yet again that we live only 1/2 mile away!). Now to understand how this makes my children similar.....I cannot count the number of times DS has left his backpack/lunch box/homework at school in the past 5 years, requiring a trip over to the school to retrieve them. And now, on the very FIRST day of FIRST grade, DD has done the same thing! So much for saving gas by having the kids ride the bus. Must be something genetic.......wonder if I can get by with blaming it on DH.....ummm, probably not since my Mom would surely remind me of the times I myself left my own stuff at school waaaaay back when I was in elementary school!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Polar Opposites

So tonight was open house/meet-the-teacher night for school (which starts tomorrow). DD is starting 1st grade and thoroughly excited (although understandably a bit nervous as well) while DS is quite put out that he has to return to school. Being the oldest at school by being in 5th grade this year holds no interest for him as he has no enthusiasm for school whatsoever. DD, on the other hand, is his polar opposite.....when finding out that she would have 3 recesses for the first few weeks of school before settling into a routine of two recesses for the rest of the school year, she informed me, "But, Mom, I'd really rather take another math test instead of having another recess." And she was dead serious. She even clapped when she found out she'd have a spelling test EVERY week. I'm still not sure how I birthed two so totally opposite children.....

Saturday, August 9, 2008

So This Is What Happened Yesterday.....

So I go outside to check on the kids (they were playing out in the front yard) to see what they were up to.  It had gotten a little quiet out there, so that's always a good indication with my 2 that it's probably a good idea to go see what's going on.....  What did I find, you ask?  Well, DD was looking up in the tree, so I looked up too....only to discover DS up in the tree ON A LADDER......WITH A FISHING POLE!!  OK, there's GOT to be a reason for this, especially with the way DS' mind works....so I ask......and he replies, "I'm trying to get the fishing lure out of the tree."  WHAT???  Yep!  He'd evidently gone fishing in our front yard (nope, no water anywhere near there!) and caught a tree!  Didn't ask about the one that got away.....

The Start of Something New....

Well, after much thought and many comments from others, I have decided to entertain you with the happenings of my household. I figure one of two things will happen: either funny things will stop occurring, so there will be nothing to write about (hmmm.....which will make my life more simple....) or you all can get a good chuckle out of things by being glad that it didn't happen at YOUR house with YOUR kids. Enjoy!