Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I have finally accepted a universal truth

You cannot have children *and* and fully clean house.

I have been trying for the past month to get pictures of the new house. I unpacked, I arranged, I cleaned, and I could never get it all done at one time. So I have conceded defeat. My whole house will simply not be picture worthy all at one time. Really, it's a small price to pay for the joy of children. One of whom had to sit in one spot on my bedroom floor for awhile this afternoon because she could NOT STOP TALKING and K was trying to take a test.

Gotta remember the "joy" part.

So I cleaned the bathrooms, the laundry room, and the kitchen and I mean the deep cleaning kind of cleaning. In celebration, I took some pictures so that you could see at least part of my house.

First we have the master bath. Heck, it was closest so it got cleaned first. You'll notice that it is very white and bare. Don't worry I have an idea or two up my sleeve once next August rolls around and I can paint.

Next let's venture upstairs to the girls' bathroom. We choose a new decorating theme when we moved so the girls are now enjoying a beach style bathroom. I installed the lower towel bar so L would have a place for her towel that she could reach. The thing I love about this bathroom is there is TONS of storage, including a closet filled with shelves. That will come in handy when we have two teenage girls.

You'll notice as we come down the stairs the bead decoration that L draped along the banister. She was very proud of her artistic skills until Daddy made her take it down at bedtime.

Downstairs, we see the kitchen. Please pretend not to notice that I angled the shot so you can't see into the breakfast-nook-turned-home-office as I haven't finished organizing that. Just let your eyes be dazzled by the sparkling countertops and appliances.

Just past the kitchen is the hallway to the garage. On the right, is the guest bathroom. Again, it's a lovely, clean white while it waits for paint and decorative shelves for two small vases of tulips. On the left is the laundry room. Please don't drool in jealousy over my fancy washer and dryer; I just cleaned that floor.

Tomorrow is another day and another chance to get some more cleaning done. Maybe I'll even have the pictures to show for it. Just don't ask to see the rooms that were clean for today!

"THEY" were out to get me

It was one of those Mondays. One of those Mondays when the oddest, most frustrating things happen. When they happen to YOU.

The day started off well enough. We got up and I started my normal Monday morning chore of collecting laundry from various and sundry odd locations around the house. Then I remembered that I needed to deal with bills and if I didn't get started then, I would never get back to it. I popped open my laptop only to discover that my online banking had completely lost all my bill information.


So I spend 30 minutes getting bounced between various and sundry customer service people who assured me that they understood how frustrating it must all be for me, but they couldn't help and I needed to call yet another number. In the end, Mr. at Home finally got hold of them and resolved it as I was already late in taking Child #2 to dance class. Of course, it will take several days to fix the problem plus more work on our end.

That was Weird Issue #1.

This afternoon I had to make a trip across town to pick up a package from the main UPS distribution center because they (unlike Domino's) don't know where I live. When I got the box, I noticed that it wasn't in the best shape, but I didn't think too much of it. I got the box home, popped it open, and discovered that the big copper fire bowl we ordered had a dent in the side that was *several inches* deep. It would have taken a significant blow to cause that much damage. Again I found myself dealing with customer service people who assured me that they understood my frustration, but I needed to call just one more person and she would be happy to help me. That number led to "Ester" who's voice mail asked me to leave a message. We'll have to see how that one works out.

And so we had Weird Issue #2.

Which brings us to Weird Issue #3.

Since Daddy was going to be gone tonight and Mommy needed a break, I promised the girls we could rent a movie at the local $1 rental box. Which let me select a movie for the girls and a movie for me. And made me wait 5 minutes only to never actually vend the movies. The manager then came over and had me try it again. Which only meant I had to wait another 5 minutes while the box decided that nope, it just didn't feel like giving me my movies. It never let me know whether it took responsibility for it's laziness, either. Now I have to call the company and convince them that I don't have the movies, so I can't return them on time or anytime and I had better not be charged for them.

Curiously enough, my day really was good and I managed to keep a good attitude through most of it. It was just all weird stuff and it's really weird that it all happened on the same day. If I didn't know better, I say it was a big conspiracy and blame it on "THEM".

If you ever figure out who "THEY" and "THEM" are, please let me know.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A few pictures from K's party

If you want the absolute easiest birthday party ever, follow these simple rules.

1. Make sure your kid's two friends that she can invite are the absolute best behaved kids you have ever seen.

2. Plan only a few simple activities that you get them started on and then leave them to it. They can take care of themselves at this stage and have more fun without you anyway.

K wanted a slumber party and she met up with her two friends at the park one day and they planned the MOST AMAZING webkinz party. They had games planned and rules set and they were ready to go.

Our party prep included buying a few party favors and...ummm...that was it. I picked the girls up early Thursday and we all went to SuperTarget to pick a cake out of the bakery case (hey, we were planning to put on our own webkinz figurines that would then become party favors so we didn't need some custom $50 tower of confectionary delight) and find some snacks. They had an awesome monkey cupcake thing ripe for the picking. K also spent her giftcard from Aunt Bethany to buy a pink saucer chair that she's been wanting forever.

We came home, the girls played around, they did a craft, we ordered pizza (yea! Domino's knows where we live even if UPS doesn't!), did the whole cake thing, then set the kids up with laptops upstairs to play WEBKINZ! Cause nothing's better than WEBKINZ! Every 8 year old loves WEBKINZ! Some Camp Rock, some "go to your room and don't make too much noise", and the night was over. The next morning, we were down to 1 guest and when the kids asked what to eat for breakfast, I told them, heck we had more cupcakes. Thus I earned the title "Coolest Mom EVER".

It was truly the absolute easiest birthday party ever.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Happy Birthday, K!

8 years ago I was stuck in a bed with all kinds of monitors and tubes, an alarm that kept going off because my blood pressure was too low (I was induced because it was too high, go figure), an oxygen mask strapped to my face, and a nurse cramming an external heart rate monitor into my belly because K's heartbeat would almost stop during each contraction that I pushed. When she was born, the doctor explained that her cord had been wrapped around her neck twice as the nurses whisked her off to tend to her. My own heart ached as we waited and it was the most beautiful sound when my baby let out her first cry.

Yep, in spite of all the drama, it was well worth it.

Happy 8th birthday, K.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A new kind of adoption discussion

This was our conversation:

L: So why do you want to keep K?
Me: Huh?
L: (big sigh) Why do you want to keep K?
Me: What you mean "keep"?
L: Don't you want to give her to Texas for someone else?
Me: You want me to give K away?
L: Yes!

I know that kids often want to "give away" their siblings, but how do you explain that you don't want to give a child away in such a way that it doesn't reflect badly on an adopted child's birth parents? After all, L's birth parents did "give her away" from her 4-year-old viewpoint. It sounded very reasonable to her that I could choose to give away her sister.

The conversation ended quickly because L is simply jealous that K's birthday party is tomorrow and her friends are coming to spend the night. (It's just one more perk of homeschooling that we can do things like have slumber parties on Thursday night.) L's own birthday seems so far away!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Child-led learning, or What Your Kid Thinks Are Important Words to Write

I think I've mentioned that we've gone back to the A Beka DVD homeschool program. That means that K does her work by watching a teacher on the TV and I have all of three daily responsibilities.

1. Check work (and they give me teacher manuals for that)
2. Hand her the tests she needs and then grade them (gotta love those teacher manuals)
3. Listen to make sure she's answering the questions from the video aloud.

Yep, I got it made this year. With the move, it's been a lifesaver to know that her school is taken care of, leaving me time to get boxes packed and unpacked, get housework done, and do all the little daily tasks. What is has also done is completely separated K and L's schoolwork and guess how much schooling L has had this school year.

That's right! Very little. We do a few worksheets here and there, but I've not had a good place to work with her since K has taken over the living room with her schooling and the dining room has been buried under displaced decor and my new office space has been piled with stuff. We really need a place far enough away from K that our talking and music doesn't distract her and K's video doesn't distract L. Besides, L is only 4, and she's pretty much ready for kindergarten after everything she insisted on doing last year.

While my attention has been focused on the house, L has finally decided that writing really is a fun and necessary skill and has been pretty much teaching herself. I've helped her out with her name, correcting backward letters and explaining that you really do have to start from the left. L then took that knowledge and ran with it, picking two more essential words that should be part of everyone's writing portfolio.

She found "BOO!" in a Dora book and decided that it was one word she could do. She copied it carefully on a sheet of paper and that was it. She knew how to write it and could reproduce it, complete with exclamation point, on demand. Last week she added "MOM" to her repertoire. Because that's an important word. I think K helped her learn that one because all of a sudden she just started writing it.

I took the hint that L was anxious to get back to a regular school schedule and worked on organizing my little office space. It's in the back of the house and she tends to hang out back here anyway so I know that she's staying away from K and her schoolwork. I put up the calendar, found all the workbooks and tracing cards, plugged in the CD player, and brought down L's desk from her bedroom so she has her own place to work. When L saw the changes, she was very excited and picked out a coloring sheet to put in her desk to work on tomorrow.

Because school just isn't school unless you have a carefully selected coloring sheet waiting.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

An interview with Bad Mommy and Good Mommy

Host: Welcome! And thank you for joining us for today's segment where we will be interviewing two well-known celebrities. You see them all the time on the street, in the store, in the mirror, and are constantly hearing stories about the horrifying antics of one and the heroic efforts of the other. These women are known respectively as Bad Mommy and Good Mommy.

Our first guest is Bad Mommy. Thank you so much for agreeing to be on our show today. Of course, it looks like it came as a bit of surprise to you...

Bad Mommy: Yes, sorry, it was on of those mornings where nothing was going right. I had a million things to do and I just jumped right out of the shower into my day so I didn't get a chance to fix my hair or dress up or anything like that.

Host: Those mornings can be rough. Anything in particular happen this morning?

Bad Mommy: No, not really. I was up late talking to my brother on the phone and so I overslept and just got a late start on the day. Then there was today's housework plus yesterday's to do since we were out all day yesterday.

Host: How do the kids handle that kind of busyness?

Bad Mommy: Not well at all. They seem to have a talent for asking for something the second I get busy with another chore and it ends up with all of us grumpy.

Host: I heard that there was a bit of excitement at lunch. Can you tell us what happened?

Bad Mommy: Well, yeah, about that. You see, we moved into our new home a couple of weeks ago and we now have a flat cooktop that looks very much like the rest of our countertop as both are black and shiny. I had fried up some Spam for lunch because we were out of almost everything else that was easy to make when my youngest wandered into the kitchen. She asked what was in the oven and leaned over to look in the oven window, putting her hand on the stovetop. She ended up burning all four fingers and most of her palm. She didn't cry, so I figured it was minor and didn't worry about it too much.

Host: Ouch! Is she okay?

Bad Mommy: Oh, yeah. It's a minor burn and she'll recover. It wasn't the most pleasant way to learn that lesson, but I promise she won't touch the stove again.

Host: Thank you again for coming by, Bad Mommy. We'll let you get back to your housework and your children. Stop at the door and they'll be glad to loan you an umbrella as I see you forgot yours. No problem, thanks again!

And now let's welcome Good Mommy! Thank you so much for coming out for our show in this weather, but I see you came prepared with a big umbrella.

Good Mommy: Oh yes! I keep it in the car just for days like today.

Host: It's a bit odd, now that I see you in person. You look surprisingly like our last guest, Bad Mommy. Really, the resemblance is astonishing...

Good Mommy: I've heard that before, but honestly you wouldn't have any trouble telling us apart if you saw us in action.

Host: Now I assume you were watching our interview with Bad Mommy from backstage. Any comments?

Good Mommy: Gracious! That poor child! Burns are one of the most common household injuries and they're very painful.

Host: What would you have done differently?

Good Mommy: First, she should have sat down with both her children before they moved in and explained the concept of a flat-top stove. It's really interesting how they work, you know. We would have gone to the kitchen and turned it on for just a few seconds, then touched the slightly warm surface so they get a hands-on experience with how the surface heats very quickly and how it remains hot even when there's no pan on the stove. We would have talked about the red warning light and played a game so the concept is transferred from short-term memory to long-term memory through repetition.

Host: Wow, that's a very thorough plan to avoid burns from the stove.

Good Mommy: Precisely. An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure, as they say.

Host: And it sounds like you have more than an ounce to offer. Now, like Bad Mommy, you are also not looking as put-together as usual. Was it a difficult morning at your house as well?

Good Mommy: Of course not! We never have bad mornings. Like Bad Mommy, I also had a lot of housework that I wanted to do today and I didn't plan to leave the house so my hair and clothes are appropriate for my plans today.

Host: Of course, your plans changed.

Good Mommy: Well yes, they did. About 30 minutes after my daughter burned her hand on the stove, she came to me crying that it hurt. I inspected her hand and parts had turned pink, but there were only two tiny spots that might eventually blister, so I just had her put her hand in cool water. When the crying persisted and she said it hurt worse, I immediately dropped what I was doing and bundled both the girls in the car for a trip to the store to find some burn cream. Yes, I did worry for a moment that my hair wasn't fixed and I wasn't dressed for the cooler weather, but I decided that my daughter's discomfort was more important. I did find some Solarcaine at the store and have been liberally applying it since so that she seems to feel better.

Host: Your daughter? But I thought it was Bad Mommy's daughter that burned her hand. I don't understand.

Good Mommy: Oh wait! Did I say "my" daughter? Of course, that's silly...I would never...I mean...uh...I have to get home now...ummm...thanks for inviting me...goodbye!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Have girls, will shop

I decided that today was the perfect day to get some fall shopping done. After all, the highs for the next couple of days are in the 70s. Break out the longjohns!

So we loaded up the car around lunchtime and headed out to the local outlet mall. We walked into Payless and immediately walked back out again because L had to go potty. This would be a recurring theme to our day. I told the girls they could pick out 2 long-sleeved shirts, 2 pants, and 1 pair of shoes and they were very good about not asking for more. I did let them each get a pair of shorts and a shirt "for next year" from the $1.99 clearance section at The Children's Place Outlet because, hello?!, $1.99 for good stuff! We made it all the way around the vast acreage of the mall and the girls discovered that there's a movie theater! In the mall! And an amusement park! IN THE MALL!! K has decided that she wants to spend her birthday there.

We discovered that Payless has upped the level of shoes they carry and, consequently, has upped the price. L picked out a little pair of black shoes, but I wasn't paying $20 for church shoes she'll outgrow before you turn around. We finally made it out of the mall after visiting 7 stores and 3 bathrooms and turned our car toward Target for some reasonably priced shoes. As soon as we got on the road, L collapsed into sleep and stayed in an impossibly uncomfortable position dead to the world until we stopped again. We did find some shoes for both the girls (after another potty break) for far less than Payless wanted and all was right in their little worlds.

During one of the girls' many speeches today about how wonderful a mom I am and how grateful they are for the new clothes (yes, they did really do this), a woman stopped and smiled, commenting on how that was just the sweetest thing she'd ever heard and how wonderful my girls are. Yes they are, even though the *one* store I stopped in to look at clothes for mommy caused one little girl to grumble with impatience until I threatened to take back one item of her clothes for every complaint she made about having to spend a few minutes in my favorite store. My incentive plan worked and she even apologized later. They really are very good kids and we spent a wonderful day together.

Tomorrow, I take down the tubs of out-of-season/hand-me-down clothes to pull out the stuff for the upcoming cooler weather and put away the shorts and tanktops until next spring. That means that we'll pull out all the stops and put on a fashion show to see what fits and what goes to the consignment store. And I promise to post pictures.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

It looks like the beach is a no-go

Since Ike came through and shut down a lot of the oil refineries in Texas, the gas prices here have skyrocketed. I kept hoping it was just a panic reaction and that once the hurricane actually blew through and the refineries were fine, things would calm down. Not so. I didn't realize it take so long for them to switch a refinery back on and I didn't realize they had completely shut down the one gas pipeline that supplies South Carolina (where we would be going). I did not learn this until *after* we drove down across the state line to the "cheaper" gas stations and was amazed to discover that it was far more expensive down there. The predictions are that it could take weeks before gas prices settle back down.


So it looks like gas prices will not come back down by tomorrow morning for us to take our annual trek down to the beach. I'm disappointed, but I hadn't set my heart on going and I'm not completely devastated. We'll just have to find something fun to do around here to break up the time that Mr. at Home is gone. Maybe a trip to an outlet mall is in order since both girls need shoes and clothes to fit their growing limbs.

On the haircut, I finally bribed the girls with the use of my camera if they would please take a picture of Mommy and her new hair. L's picture won the impromptu photography contest and here it is for your viewing pleasure.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Politics of Hair and an announcement

This morning I made a bold decision. I've been growing out my colored hair for months and letting my natural salt-and-pepper haircolor see the light of day. Yes, I'm only 34. Early graying is a genetic trait. At any rate, my natural haircolor had grown out enough that I decided that it was time to cut all the highlighted brown ends off. So I took myself off to the hair salon and the stylist went to work.

I tend to be the quiet type once I sit down in the chair. Other people rattle on and on, but I'd rather sit and listen to the conversations flowing around me. Today, there was a man getting his hair cut by a very loud and opinionated woman. The conversation starting with stories about how the price of gas has just gone through the roof and, goodness, she didn't know how people could afford it. Then the conversation quickly went downhill as the stylist ranted about how citizens don't have no rights and the government's stealing from us by making us pay for Medicare when doctors don't even take it anymore and the social security's going to be gone and the government's just stealing! Out. Right. Stealing!!

Now there's one thing I know. You never, ever argue with your stylist. You make appropriate noises of agreement and non-commital statements no matter what outlandish conspiracy theory she starts spouting. Then you carefully steer the conversation back to more neutral ground. After all, you don't want her to get so worked up over some topic that she stops paying attention to what she's doing with those scissors. And your hair.

You might never recover.

Now onto the really exciting news that I can FINALLY post. My brother's engaged!! He made it back to his base in CA just in time to get a 4-day pass, fly his girlfriend out to Vegas for her birthday, and propose. She just posted it on her Facebook profile, so I can now let the whole world know. My brother is over 10 years younger than me and it's so weird to think that's he's grown up and getting married. My first bit of advice to him after I heard about his plans actually came from Mr. at Home. After he proposes, it's *her* wedding and it will happen when, where, and how she wants it and he just needs to get used to saying, "Yes, dear".

Very sound advice.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Beach?? or The Beach!!

This week has been difficult with Mr. at Home having a stressful work week with long hours and something going on every evening. When he announced that he would be away most of next week on a business trip, I knew something was going to have to happen so that the girls and I survive even more "just us" time.

This morning I hit upon a possible solution.

For the past three years, we've spent a weekend at the beach at the end of September. It's off-season, not too crowded, and still warm enough to enjoy while not being so hot you feel like you're melting. We also camp at a Christian family campground right on the beach so we walk down to the beach, play all day, then walk back and relax around the campfire. The first year was just K and I and it went very well. Year #2 was K and L and I and that trip included a midnight excursion to Wal-Mart for a new air mattress, the reality that I packed way too much stuff, and the declaration that it would be years before I tried that again. Year #3 included the welcome addition of Mr. at Home and things went much more smoothly.

Now we're at Year #4 and it's back to just us girls. When I mentioned the possibility of going to the beach to Mr. at Home, he made a surprising suggestion. And when I followed through on that suggestion, I made an amazing discovery.

It's just as cheap to stay in an oceanfront hotel as it is to stay in the campground.

Hello?!?! Why have I been torturing myself camping alone with small children when I could have been showering off the sand in a real shower?? No van full of camping equipment or relying on a child to help you wrestle the tent. No sand, sand, and more sand in everything. No worrying about whether or not it rains. Not that I don't enjoy camping and love the place we camp there, but camping's a lot of work!

Now the question is, do I go with the ultra-cheap, but clean and friendly place?


For $10 more a night, do I go with the nicer, family-friendly resort with indoor kiddie pools (notice the multiple poolS) and a Starbucks inside?


Be financially responsible, stay home, and find something to do here? Do I really want to pile into the van, drive 3 1/2 hours, and still be completely responsible for the girls? Of course, the girls are good travelers and they love the beach.

Any opinions? Anyone want to go with me?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


The dishwasher is humming along, the counters are wiped and everything is put away in the kitchen. Pictures finally adorn the wall that stretches from the living room to the dining room, while another set of them lie scattered on the table waiting for their new place of honor. The only boxes left in the garage are filled with Christmas decor, waiting until we get a ladder so they can be stored up in the attic. At few boxes are still sitting in corners of rooms, filled with odds and ends that require a little extra thought and effort to put away. My little home office is piled with stacks of...stuff, but I need more shelves before I can organize things more in here. For now I just try not to knock over the precariously balanced papers and books.

We've been here for two weeks and it's beginning to feel like home. I think I'll throw a party when I get the last box unpacked because I hate having things still floating without a place to call its own. Right now I feel like I spend one day unpacking and one day cleaning in a never-ending cycle. Yesterday I cleaned and did laundry. Today I unpacked and the housework piled up so that tomorrow I'll have to spend the day doing floors (how do they get so dirty so fast?!), cleaning bathrooms, and polishing the kitchen with its million different cleaners. But it will look awesome when I'm done and I can bask in the shiny glory that is my kitchen. Then Thursday, I can get back to unpacking those last few boxes and maybe I'll get done this week and give away all those boxes on craigslist.

Anyone need a stack of boxes? I'll set them out for you. Just please take them away and never bring them back because I am done with moving.

Like Father, Like Mother, Like Daughter

Friday night found us visiting some new friends at their house in the country. We've been there before, but there was something new this time.

Rock Band.

And oh. my. stars. That game is addictive, especially to a room crowded with teens, pre-teens, and little girls. They played alllllllllll night long. I hope to never hear "Wanted Dead or Alive" or "I Think I'm Paranoid" for a very long time. But out of it all, K has found a new passion.

K has discovered the drums. She eyed those drumsticks with fascination until someone handed them over and she refused to let them go for the rest of the night. Now, honestly, does this surprise anyone? After all, both her parents were dedicated percussionists for a long time. K, however, has never quite gotten the concept that a song has a beat, a rhythm, a way to count and keep things going the same tempo. She has never been able to clap to the beat of any song at church, but Rock Band has changed all that. She needed help on some of the drums and she "failed" quite a bit at the beginning, but after an hour or so, she could play all four drums and the bass and still make over 50%. Not bad for a rhythmically-challenged 7-year-old.

On Saturday, Rock Band was constantly on the tip of her tongue. On Sunday, she had moved beyond just a game. "Mom, can you buy just a pair of drumsticks?" "Really?!? Where?" "Can I have some?" I explained that you can buy drumsticks and a practice pad that acts like a drum, but it's not as annoying, and no, I won't run out and buy them for her right now.

Of course, my parents might. They may run immediately to the music store and buy the child the loudest drum set they can find, all the while laughing maniacally. They'll be thinking that it's payback time for all those hours I spent practicing and they spent plugging their ears.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Sarge on a Stretcher

That's my brother on the bus that took him to the airport where they moved him to a small military plane and flew him to an air force base in CA, where they parked him in a hospital bed. Tomorrow he'll be back at his base, then he hopes he'll get to go home on leave. Yes, he really can walk, they just wouldn't let him.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Good grief, I've gotten out of the habit of writing!

I can't believe my last post was Monday. What under the sun have I been doing that has kept me from writing?

Ok, I've had a really busy week with fall activities starting up and that whole unpacking thing. But, still! I would've thought I'd have made time to write (how's that for passive voice?).

So, here I am. Writing. Typing. Hummmm, what to say... Yep, I'm definitely out of practice.

I have spent much time this week reading opinions on Sarah Palin from both sides of the political track. Since I have friends from both sides of that track who are very passionate about their side, I have tried to stay out of it. I will say that the media and blogosphere have been caustic in their abuse and I pray that Mrs. Palin has thick skin. She seems pretty tough, though, so I worry more about the friendships that are being strained because people are talking/writing before they put think and reacting in anger and judgment. I do think it's interesting that a VP choice is causing more of a stir than the Prez choice.

On the home front, today I have run out of motivation to clean another surface or unpack another box. Instead I am sitting in front of my computer with a bag of chocolate, but I blame it on the hormonal surges that come around once a month. The girls are also on an energy low. They've been kinda grumpy and quiet all day and K is complaining again of a headache. She's been having them fairly often lately and I'm thinking I may have to take her in to get her eyesight checked. The headaches have coincided with school starting and a new interest in reading, so maybe they're related or maybe she's just being overly dramatic.

I am proud to report that K is following in my steps and has become a book worm. She is devouring the Spiderwick Chronicles and is constantly asking to go to the library because she blows through a book in no time flat. I promised her that if she actually read the Spiderwick Chronicles books, I would let her write the author an email (I have friends in the right places :-)). Well, she's finished them so I have to get off and let her write the email.

Monday, September 1, 2008

And the blessings rain down

Today has been a day of blessings.

#1 - Apple picking. Our friends invited us to join them and some other families for a trip to a mountaintop orchard. The day was wet and foggy (as it has been all 3 times I've been to this particular place), but I had so much fun talking with old friends. I was a bit unhappy about the fact that I'm allergic to apples and couldn't enjoy the crunch of one right from the tree or take even a nibble of the awesome-smelling apple cider doughnuts. But the orchard had a few rows of grapes and those, along with a tiny tub of fudge, totally made my day.

#2 - A brand new shiny red cell phone. We went to the cell phone store yesterday to let them know that the boring base model phone they gave me worked and what were my options for something cooler? They told me that I *was* eligible for an upgrade (I thought it would be mid-October) and that any of their new models should get adequate reception. So I've got a stylish new phone with all the cool features and it works even out here.

#3 - The internet is here! We were out talking to our new neighbor when her significant other drove up in an internet company van. He was just coming home for a brief stop before his next appointment, but he took a look at our connection and had the whole thing figured out in 2 minutes. The installer had just hooked it up wrong. He did a few things and came back later and had it all working in no time. Let me tell you, it pays to have the cable guy living next door! Tomorrow I will be baking him an apple pie because we have a bag full of apples that have to be eaten and we are completely in his debt.

#4 - We have neighbors. We stood outside for awhile today and talked with the people who live in two of the other units in our building. We're still waiting for the last family in our building to close and move in, but I love that we're getting to know the people who are here so far. I want for this neighborhood to be a close-knit community and getting here at the beginning of the building process is a good place to start.

#5 - Empty boxes. There may still be a lot of work left before we're done moving-in, but I managed to unpack quite a few boxes this evening and get more stuff organized and put away. The essentials are easy to find and get to and I feel much more ready for the week. I've got a busy couple of weeks since all of our fall activities are starting - dance class, Wednesday night church, MOPS, CBS for us, BSF for Mr. at Home as well as his university teaching duties. It's all well-spaced so that we're not over-whelmed with stuff to do at any one time, but it's always a rough start setting our routine in motion. Adding in a new house complicates it, but I think we're ready.

Speaking of ready, I need to go get the school stuff ready for tomorrow.