Late Night

Even though Monday ended more than three hours ago, I still feel like I should blog anyway–just so I don’t forget the day. It was the first day of Spring Break for the kids, and usually we end up with a lot of tears from everybody. Thankfully, I escaped any personal breakdowns because I allowed the kids to be couch potatoes for most of the day.

They did take breaks to play and run around and chase each other. And before dinner, I had them write in their Spring Break journals, which I made from a few sheets of lined paper. I figured it was a good way to keep Everest writing, and it will be a nice memory for them both. Also, much like the reason I blog, it helps them look back on the day and think about what has been accomplished.

So I was actually able to work fairly uninterrupted today, which is practically unheard of for a school vacation day. The kids played well and did some well-deserved vegging out too. They work really hard at school, and it’s nice for them to get to take this time off. Not to mention that it’s nice not to have to worry about drop off and picking up from school!

We had a simple dinner for everybody. Julie had canned chicken noodle soup, Everest had boxed mac n’ cheese, and I had leftover vegetable lasagna. Nobody else was home, so we watched Escape from Planet Earth with dinner, plus an episode of The Magic School Bus before the kids’ bedtime.

Julie ended up staying up reading until almost 11:00 PM in order to finish The Hobbit! I am super proud of her for getting through it. I even quizzed her periodically to make sure that she was retaining what she read. Now she has no excuses about books being too hard for her. 😉

Part of her unusually strong motivation for finishing was that I told her she could watch the first and second movies once she finished. The second Hobbit movie just got to the dollar theater, so it’s pretty good timing. Hopefully we can get our hands on a copy of the first movie before the second one leaves the theater.

Now I’ve stayed up waaaaay too late, but at least I finished one of the big projects that has been sitting on my plate. There’s no time for anything else now though–not if I want to get ANY sleep tonight. Thank goodness we at least don’t have to wake at 6:30 AM to start getting kids ready for school.

Adventures in Home Repairs

Sunday, one of the most exciting things to happen, other than the fact that the kids actually let us sleep in, is that I (with the supervision of my daddy-O) replaced one of the faucets in the kids’ bathroom.

Yes, this morning, Julie was fully engrossed in her book in bed, and Everest decided to “challenge” himself (in his own words) to create a real mailbox out of Lego bricks. So we actually got to sleep in without interruption until after 9:00AM! It was quite amazing really.

I got the kids breakfast, then we decided to tackle cleaning as a family. Heath would do the upstairs, I’d do the downstairs, and the kids would work on their rooms. Heath was astonished to see how bad the leak in the kids’ bathroom had gotten. It went from a small drip when we first moved in to a constant stream. He said we needed to fix it right away for the sake of the utility bill.

My parents just happened to be available, so they came by and my dad helped me figure out what I was doing. We already had a replacement faucet; it just needed to be installed.

It took us a couple hours, but we finally got the old one off and the new one on. No more leaks! And now I have officially replaced a bathroom sink faucet. :) My dad commented that at the rate the water was dripping (more like streaming), we were probably losing somewhere around 20-25 gallons PER DAY. Yikes.

I took a shower after my parents left, and when I got out, we played a game of Pictureureka (card version) as a family. After we had gone through a few full games, Heath supervised the kids showers while I made dinner–spaghetti and meatballs and garlic toast.

We watched Dumbo while we ate dinner because everyone was exhausted again. The kids hadn’t seen it before and loved it. I had forgotten how extensive the “Pink elephants on parade” sequence was. After it, Julie pronounced, “And that’s why we don’t drink alcohol.” XD

Bedtime went very well, and except for Everest getting out briefly because something scared him, it was a pretty peaceful and quiet night.

Non-stop to Full Stop

Saturday started out like most Saturdays–with far too much noise than is really necessary before 8:00AM. I finally dragged myself out of bed after being woken up periodically for an hour, then got started on breakfast.

We had bacon, pancakes, and eggs while we started a game of Life with all five of us who were awake–the three kids, me, and my overnight friend. After we cleaned up, we decided to all go run some errands, then hit up the mall to wander around. It was a fun but kind of exhausting afternoon. We dropped off my friend on the way home, and it started to snow.

Back at the house, I made everybody a light lunch, and the girls went to the basement to watch a movie while Everest and I stayed upstairs to watch our own. It was nice to finally slow down for the day. I actually started to fall asleep on the couch before we had to take M back home around 5:00.

I had put a Stouffer’s lasagna in the oven earlier, and we had some frozen garlic bread that I had prepared another day. I got the bread in while the lasagna cooled, and we watched The Fox and the Hound while we ate. I know it sounds like we were just non-stop movies all day, but we all needed the brain rest.

Bedtime went as well as can be expected. While the kids got ready, I took each of the cats into the library and clipped their claws. Since they haven’t been getting around much, their claws were like raptor talons. It was getting downright dangerous to even try to pick them up.

I’d made a fire earlier and decided to just sit and read in the family room’s warmth while waiting for Heath to get home from a late night hike. It was actually quite lovely to get to sit and read actual words (rather than listen to an audiobook while multitasking). Currently reading: The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon (library e-book)

After the claw clipping earlier, I’d put Simon in our bedroom to give him a chance to get away from Everest’s top bunk for once. Seems like he spends all day there anymore. Occasionally, he seems to find his way downstairs and outside, then we have to fetch him from some perch where he has become petrified with fear. That happened tonight, but it is rare.

Since we got the dog and she chased him around the house, which resulted in wounding him unintentionally, he has just not seemed like the same cat. We’re trying to make efforts to integrate them and train Daisy not to lunge or treat them like little dogs. They really don’t want a big dog face getting into their little feline bubbles. She has to learn to keep her distance.

Tonight, we’ve got Simon in our room and are trying to make Daisy stay on her bed and leave him alone. We’ll see if we can make it through the night without a cat-dog fight.

F is for Full House

Going to keep this short since I seem to be moving my bedtime back far too much. But I am compelled to get an entry down lest I forget today’s lovely adventures.

It’s F for Full House today because we have had lots of visitors, giving us a pretty full house tonight.

A dear friend came over this afternoon to catch up for we hadn’t seen each other in quite a few months. We walked Daisy, had lunch, and talked about life, relationships, and math.

After school, Julie and I went to pick up her best friend M for a sleepover. Julie chose to do this in lieu of a big party, and I was all for that! We’re going to have M for just over a full 24 hours!

We went to the store to pick up ripe avocados, and meanwhile, I received a text from another dear friend who was in need of a girls night. So I picked up some gelato and a zombie movie too in preparation.

For dinner, I made a taco buffet at Julie’s request. It was pretty well received I think. There was barely any guacamole left, if that can be an indicator. Heath got Everest showered and in bed while the girls went to the basement to watch the movie Frozen and eat popcorn.

Meanwhile, I listened podcasts while cleaning up the dishes. My friend came over around 8:00, and we chatted awhile about life, relationships, and grammar. The girls went up to bed, and everyone settled down. So we started our movie (World War Z, which is fantastic, by the way!) and opened the gelato. Nom nom nom

Afterward, I got some freelance stuff done, answered emails, and did my monthly billing. It was nice to have company for once for my friend decided to stay overnight in the guest room. We also have M sleeping in Julie’s room, and of course, we have our family of four all here, and Legolas in her basement apartment. Not to mention the four cats, one dog, and a snake.

Yep–we’ve got a full house tonight.

E is for Exchange

exchange: verb – to give and receive reciprocally; interchange.

Thursday had been a day of exchanging the daily routine with time spent in the presence of friends. Legolas’s sister came over in the afternoon to hang out and go for a hike, but she stayed for dinner too. Since Heath just happened to get the evening off today, we got to have six chairs around the table.

I made Pad Thai, fried rice, roasted squash, and plus sliced strawberries and apples. There was enough for all, and we had some leftovers too.

Over the next hour, Heath got the kids in bed, and I made muddy buddies and rice crispy treats for the Muse girls, who would be over by 8:00. We all worked on our various projects and talked about everything from movies to writing to the masks we wear to theology to piercings and tattoos to stalking people on the internet. Ah, fun times, fun times.

I always love having friends over for dinner, and I adore my regular gatherings with the girls for Muse. It’s one of the highlights of my week.

The kids had picture day today, and I think this is the first year that Julie has really appreciated that I don’t force the kids to wear anything specific or do their hair a certain way for picture day. She mentioned how a couple friends of hers don’t get to choose their clothes or hairstyles on ANY day of the week, which is baffling to me.

Julie has been picking her own clothes since she could start dressing herself; same with Everest. And I don’t change the rules for picture day. When I look back on their class pictures, I want to see them how they looked on a day to day basis–not how I dolled them up for one day out of the year.

Picking clothes is such a small exercise in independence, but it means so much to a young child. Not to mention that it really saves the mom time and an extra chore. I’d rather spend my time making them a hot breakfast than arguing over clothing choices. As long as they’ve picked something clean, modest, and appropriate for the weather, I have no problems with anything they wear.

D is for Do

Do: verb, to carry out

Wednesday was a day for doing. Although we got up a little late this morning and had to hurry to get the kids to school on time, the rest of the day panned out pretty well. I managed to put all the dishes away, fold the laundry, walk the dog, and be home by 9:00 to make a green smoothie for breakfast before starting very seriously on work.

I didn’t get the two pieces I’d planned to write written, but I did write “Should we pray aloud?” and answered a handful of life questions for 412teens. Homework with the boy was a struggle this afternoon, but he eventually got it done. Thank goodness he was feeling so gung ho about doing it earlier in the week, otherwise he would have taken a LOT longer to finish today.

Before heading to my mom’s restaurant for dinner, the kids took a little time to work on miniature “box cars” for AWANA. E made a Lego car and put it in a box. J covered a Capri Sun box with duct tape, then Sharpied designs all over it.

Dinner at my mom’s was fabulous as usual! She created a new, refreshing lemongrass drink that I highly recommend. It has a mild lemony taste with an earthy undertone and lovely sweetness. Very unique and quite tasty.

AWANA was fun because it was a special themed night. The kids all voted on their favorite cars, and E actually won 3rd place in the miniature cars category! He wasn’t expecting it and was so SO excited.

After we got home, we took advantage of Peppermint’s sudden decision to be brave and sit in the hall on the other side of the barrier we put up to keep the dog away from the cats. We worked with them for awhile, getting them closer and closer until they were only a few feet away. Then Pepper got tired of it all and went back into E’s room. Hopefully this drama will end someday.

E got his bedtime reading done, and J stayed up a little later to read her own book (The Hobbit!) while I fussed for awhile and got finally got some freelance stuff done. It’s been a good day. A day of doing good things.

C is for Catalyst

catalyst: a person or thing that precipitates an event or change.

Once again, it’s come to my attention that the days and weeks and months are slipping by without any record, and since my memory is so atrocious, I’m getting the general misconceived idea that I’m doing nothing, going nowhere, running a hamster wheel that’s getting rusty and squeaky it putting on no actual distance.

I’ve had two significant visits with two very significant people in my life with barely a photo or a word written to commemorate the week-long get togethers. What’s with that? I’d like to say that I was too busy enjoying the moments to stop and take pictures, and to an extent, I was.

But those moments are going to disappear for me if I don’t have a record of them somewhere. Maybe this mental memory affliction is something that should concern me. But for now, I’ve got to keep blogging because I know that works.

Without trying to make a feeble attempt at “catching up,” I’m just going to jump into today, Tuesday.

I worked from home this morning because I have been feeling rather under the weather, like I’m going to get a full blown cold any day now, and I don’t want to infect my dear coworkers, especially since some of them have sensitive systems. Not that I would be sneezing on people, but who wants to take chances?

It was a productive morning; got Miriual’s 412teens cosplay blog post up at last. So far, it has been well received by readers, which is always nice to see. Tomorrow, I’ve got a fiction piece to write for the serial story Borderline, and I want to write one of the sensitive issue articles I feel compelled to write, “Why is sexual purity so important?”

We had all kinds of blowing wind and flurries of icy snow throughout the day. I popped out to the post office earlier in the morning, all bundled up, but by the middle of the afternoon, I was kind of hot in my cold weather getup.

The kids did their homework after school as usual, though they finished early enough to get to play a bit while I was putting dinner together. Dinner was a simple affair, requested by the kids–egg and ham sandwiches on pretzel buns.

They had kiwi slices on the side as well as a smoothie I made for all of us. Smoothie ingredients: a slightly thawed 7-11 cherry slushie from the freezer, 2 bananas, 4-5 big strawberries, 3-4 Tbsp. Greek yogurt, splash of milk just to get things moving. Made 4 servings, all of which were happily devoured.

Speaking of my Magic Bullet blender, I’ve been getting into the habit of making these weird green smoothies I’d heard about because I became aware that iron deficiency is sort of an issue for me.

So instead of popping pills once a month like I have been, I decided to work some spinach into my diet. My mom gave me a whole mess of mint leaves recently, so I tried a recipe that had yogurt, spinach, lime juice, ginger, honey, and mint leaves, with a bit of juice to make it drinkable. Quite tasty!

But I digress…the kids and I had a movie night because I wanted to take it easy this evening. We watched Megamind, which J hadn’t seen yet. It was wonderful–very fun family movie with an actual factual life lesson weaved in there. Imagine that.

We attempted some family reading time before bed, which ended miserably, but at least the kids went to bed well. They must have just been pretty tired too. I spent a little while taking care of dishes, cleaning up, and talking to E’s teacher on the phone.

The rest of the night has been spent in no small amount of internal contemplation. I’ve been thinking about a lot of things and even journaled by hand in a notebook I haven’t written in for almost two years. It’s been awhile since I’ve done that. I want to make some changes in my life, though I’m not prepared to share much at this point. I do have it written down though. And that’s the main thing.

I close this before midnight now, in the hopes that I can actually get near 7 hours of sleep before we start all over again.

B is for Busy

All right, that’s a cop-out B word, but it was very true of our weekend. Last Friday, the stolen car was returned via tow truck. We were so thankful to have it back. Thankfully, we were not charged any impound fees, and really nothing of value was missing from the car. Incredible!

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We did have to pay to have a new key made, which was…ridiculously priced to say the least. But I have had lots of freelance jobs lately, and I knew that was a sure sign we would find that we needed extra money in the future. Well, there it went. Into a $200+ car key. Yep.

That evening, because Legolas had the night off, our Friday night Muse gathering took place at the dollar theater and my mom’s restaurant. It was super fun! We did a double movie night, seeing Ender’s Game and The Book Thief, both of which were fantastic in their own ways.

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Saturday, everybody pitched in to clean the house all day. It really is quite the chore and takes several hours, especially if we are taking on special fix-it jobs. Thankfully, I have a helpful husband and two kids who can be bribed into temporary slavery, so we managed to get it all done.

I made a quick taco casserole type of thing for dinner using leftovers from our taco salad from Friday night. Crisscrossed some cut up tortillas, and I rather like the pie-lattice look.

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Sunday, we had church, then came home for dates. While Heath and Everest walked to the park, I took Julie to the garden store where we picked up all the supplies she was going to need for her science fair project. Since we had some funds remaining in the budget, I went ahead and picked up a few potted plants for the house and wildflower seeds for the yard.

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She set up her terrarium and the control while Everest helped me re-pot the plants I had purchased. I didn’t get pictures of all of them, but I did get a couple snaps of the ivy that is now in our bathroom and the spider plant in the library.

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I’d originally thought about putting the spider plant in the kids’ bathroom, but there was really no good place to hang it. While I was in there, I got to thinking about how we could spruce it up a bit.

After all, when one is expecting an extra special guest to arrive at the end of the week, one often gets a fire lit under one’s motivations. So I added a fancy-schmancy sash curtain thing around the shower and hung up Julie’s shell wind chime from her Papa.

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It’s amazing what just a couple tiny touches will do for an otherwise blah room!

That night, Heath went to watch the football game at his friend’s house, so the kids and I watched a move with dinner, and I got them to bed early. The rest of the evening consisted of answering emails, doing little freelance jobs, then watching a show with Heath before bed.

Monday has been a weird one. I had to run a couple errands this morning, but by time I got back, I did not have much of my day left. I ended up taking a personal day so I could get caught up on some freelance stuff in the scant hours I had left before I had to get the kids from school.

Homework took forever and a day to finish. Julie had lots to do on her own, and Everest had a brand new homework packet to work on. I managed to make dinner, a fruity curried chicken dish with rice, which we shared with Legolas because she had the night off again.

More freelance work followed bedtime (told you I’ve had a lot of projects!), then I stopped at around 10:30 to watch the last few episodes of the last season of Heroes with Legolas.

It was a very satisfying ending, I thought! Many had told me the last two seasons were a disappointment. While I understand that they were a tad frustrating (particularly season 3), I would still totally recommend the series to anyone who loves superhero stories. It was quite the ride and very entertaining.

Even though it was after 1:15 AM when we finished, I still had dishes to put away and one more project to finalize before going to bed. Then, silly me, I decided to write a blog post on top of that. That puts me at 3:00 AM now. Um. Yeah. Curtains for me…

A is for Accomplished

Going ahead and starting the alphabet again with A for Accomplished. :) Today was better again than yesterday. Well, in all honesty, it began pretty rocky because I managed to stay up too late and was dragging for most of the morning. But I eventually got it together.

School started again today, and the kids actually woke up early and cheerful, ready to start the new semester with glee. We had to do some vehicular finagling so that Heath could get to work and I could still have the car to pick up the kids after school, but it wasn’t too big of a deal.

We had a bit of a rough time with homework, but it did get done eventually. We went to pick up Heath around 4:45, and he got them started on showers while I made mac n’ cheese for dinner. It was a quick and simple thing, but it was nice to cook something homemade at least. Seems like we have been eating out a lot lately.

AWANA also started tonight, but the kids (and I) were so tired, I cancelled. Julie was disappointed, but Everest seemed to like the idea of staying home. They got to bed on time, and I took care of the dishes, then hopped into my office once again to work on freelance stuff. I managed to get a lot done before 9:30, so I went to the basement to take care of a bunch of organizing I had been meaning to do.

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During the move, we discovered this surround sound speaker set that we had gotten years and years ago but never set up in the townhouse. Well, we decided that it was time to do that, so they went down to the basement. They have been sitting there for quite some time. There was also an unassembled desk my parents gave to us too, also waiting to be set up.

In order to set up the desk, I had to reorganize a bunch of the stuff we are storing for the previous homeowner. Over the evening, I was able to get everything that I wanted to get done done! The speakers are set up, the desk is put together, and the storage stuff is all moved to one side of the basement, out of the way.

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As I sit here in the massage chair, watching Star Trek: Into Darkness as I enjoy the newly straightened up basement, I am feeling quite accomplished indeed. :-)

Z is for Zeitgeist

zeit·geist: tsītˌgīst,ˈzīt – noun 1. the defining spirit or mood of a particular period of history as shown by the ideas and beliefs of the time.

I chose zeitgeist as the word of the day because something really hit me today. The fact that Heath and I are both at a point in our lives where we just really try not worry because worrying does nothing to help solve the problem at hand. I’m thankful for the peace that God gave us. It was like, “Well, okay. That was different.” Then we moved on with life. Sure, it was a bad situation to be in, but what else could we do but accept that the car was gone forever and move on?

All that, and guess what happened? The police called Heath this afternoon and said that the car had been found! Other than the key being missing, it looks like the vehicle is totally unharmed and nothing else appears to be missing. We just need to order a new key, then we can pick it up from the impound. Huzzah!

Heath and I were trying to figure out what happened and decided that perhaps somebody was merely desperate for a car to drive to work or pick up a friend at the airport or something. So they stole it, used it for several days, then just left it around the same place where it had been stolen in the first place. So weird. But I AM thankful that it was found. :-)

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Monday and Tuesday weren’t nearly as busy as they could have been. We had planned to go to the gym Monday morning, but we ended up staying at home all day. Everest, who had been feeling a little under the weather over the weekend, was still feeling sniffly, so I didn’t want to take him to the kids club. He and Julie played together pretty well, albeit noisily. I was able to be pretty productive, but it’s so difficult to stay on task when there are kids coming into my office every 20 minutes.

We ordered pizza for dinner because I found myself pretty mentally exhausted by the end of the day. It was another movie night, but the movie was slightly better than the last one–101 Dalmatians (1996). The kids went to bed pretty quickly, and I spend the rest of the evening working on freelance stuff.

Today was miles better than yesterday even though we were pretty much at home all day again. The kids were quieter and calmer and played together very well. I got my work done, and yeah, we also learned today that we have the car again. Good day. After Heath got home, I took Julie out to the bank and Target to get a few essentials. We had dinner together and hung out a little bit. By time we got home, Everest was in bed. Julie and I watched an episode of Mythbusters, which she loved, by the way. 😀

School is back on tomorrow and AWANA too. Now it really is going to get busy this week!