Thursday, March 26, 2009

These are a few of my favorite things

I have a lot of things I'd love to write posts about, but I can't seem to concentrate enough to write a real post on any of them. So I've written little blurbs about 5 of them, wrapped them all up under the neat little category of favorite things, and posted them here for your viewing pleasure.

Because it's MY blog and I can do what ever I like! Wah-ha-ha-ha-ha!!

Things I Like

1. Phineas and Ferb - The girls started watching a cartoon called Phineas and Ferb a little while back. After watching it with them, I've come to the conclusion that it's a throwback to the time when cartoons were just *fun*. Nothing gross, rude, offensive, or inappropriate. Just cute fun. Mr. at Home and I laugh just as much as the girls do when we watch it.

Why, yes, we do DVR it. And watch it after the girls go to bed. No, we're not weirdos. Hey, *you* watch shows like American Idol and Dancing With the Stars.

I'm just sayin'.

2. iPhone - The most awesome thing I never knew I couldn't live without until I actually got one. When my friends and I are trying to plan a field trip, I can whip out my phone and check the weather, get hours and information for our destination, calculate directions and drivetime, call ahead for advance tickets, and double check my calendar to make sure K doesn't have a softball game scheduled for that day.

Because her softball schedule *automagically* appears on my phone.

Because the league syncs our team calendar with our family calendar that syncs with my phone.

It totally blows my mind. Technology ROCKS!

3. Steak - Mr. at Home announced that he arranged a babysitter for Friday night and we are going on a date! WooHoo!! He asked if I wanted sushi or steak. Hahahaha! That's funny! One day, I might decide to brave the sushi, but for now my mouth is watering for Mr. at Home.....uh, I mean the steak. Yeah. The steak.

4. Carowinds - Last year I decided that our change bucket should be devoted to saving for Carowinds season passes. We've been dutifully adding our pennies and nickels for awhile and we counted it all out on Tuesday. The girls and I sorted the coins, then stacked them, then rolled them. It was a great lesson in money and counting as well as a great practical lesson in saving and rewards. We managed to save *almost* enough for our passes, so I took it down to the bank today and ordered the passes online. Hello, Summer 'o Fun!

5. Reuseable shopping bags - Way back when grocery stores asked "Paper or plastic?", my mom would usually choose paper because she always said it was stupid to get a million bags as those plastic ones couldn't hold as much. I agree. I toss the plastic ones under the sink until I can't possibly cram another one in, then I cart them off to the store recycle bin and cram them all in there. I really prefer using the larger reuseable bags that hold more. Now that I'm doing more menu planning, I make fewer grocery store runs so it's a little easier to remember to bring the reuseable ones with me. Today I did a major grocery trip (thank you, Harris Teeter triple coupons!) and I came out with 5 bags.


It's a whole lot few trips to bring in the groceries in the rain when you only have 5 bags. 5 very heavy bags, yes. But only 5.

Just like this list.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Reorgs don't just happen at the office

It all started with a bottle of glue.

And a table.

I put the craft cabinet in the dining room because that seemed to be the most logical place. Unfortunately, that put the glue too close to the table and you know how THAT turned out.

So the craft cabinet had to be moved. We needed a new place for crafts. Maybe the playroom? But there’s carpet in there and that could be bad. So that left the breakfast nook that was currently serving as my office. It was already full.

Well, actually, my desk would work better in the loft where K did her school so I could have a convenient place to work on school stuff. And if I did a little rearranging, there would be room. That would move the desk and a set of shelves out of the breakfast nook, but L’s little desk was still in there. That would need to go in the playroom. With a little bit of rearranging in there, too. That ought to leave enough room for the card table and the craft cabinet.

But the shelves from the breakfast nook made the loft too crowded and they weren’t exactly fancy enough to fit in up there. They would however work fabulously in the little closet with the trash can where I wanted some shelves to store extra paper towels and stuff.

Did you follow that?

1 desk upstairs to loft
1 desk upstairs to playroom
1 set of shelves upstairs to loft THEN downstairs to closet
1 table to the breakfast nook
1 craft cabinet to the breakfast nook

So now I have the furniture moved, but there’s still lots of stuff to do to finish the reorganization. I have some things to find a place for, stools to put together and new organizational containers to hang for the new “craft room”, and plenty of cleaning to make it all DONE.

Well, okay, DONE until something else comes up that necessitates another reorganization. Hopefully, the “something else” doesn’t have anything to do with glue and new furniture!

Spring has Sprung!!

It's been beautiful driving around here lately. The daffodils are blowing in the breeze. The trees have burst into bloom with bright shades of pinks and whites. The tulip trees are flaunting their large pink flowers and the redbuds show a bright purple against the dark evergreens.

As I said, beautiful.

But all these colors aren't the only signs of spring.

Monday was Parent Observation Day for L's dance class so we got a preview of the coming recital dances along with dates and times for all the coming events, instructions on dress and make-up and hair buns, and order sheets to spend more money.

Monday night was K's first softball game. We had to rush around getting a mouthguard, fitting it, and picking up her uniform. The team played awesomely well and we won! The rest of the schedule for games and practices has been automatically sent to my electronic calendar and my inbox is filling up with information on team activities and opening day festivities.

Our homeschool group is gearing up for standardized testing. I'm proctoring the 4th grade test, so the orientation meeting is coming soon and in just a few weeks a group of kids will be gathering every morning to show the state that they really are learning something with this whole "homeschooling" thing.

Last night was the first meeting of our neighborhood social committee and we're planning our first activity for 3 weeks from now. It's a block party to take advantage of the warm weather and to be visible to everyone since we're a very new neighborhood and most of the neighbors have never met.

The days are getting warmer, the outdoors is getting colorful, and the calendar is overflowing.

Yep, it's spring all right.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The table saga continues

Remember this post about when I got a new dining table?

Remember this post a week later about how the dining table was damaged?

That was 4 weeks ago. For 4 weeks, the furniture store had my tabletop in their back room and periodically they would work on it, then they'd have to wait for something, then they'd do something else, then they'd have to wait some more.

Finally FINALLY they called and said the table was finished! Ready! And would I please come pick it up? Soon?

Today we made our way over to the store and made our way to the back. The backroom guy had to call for help to pick up the very large and heavy tabletop and he happened to get the store manager. They picked it up, flipped it on its side, folded the leaf into its hidden compartment, and attempted to close the two sides together over the leaf.

Humn. They seemed to be having a little trouble.

They opened it back up and pushed harder. They looked it over and tried again. They tried to close the brackets but they were having trouble with that.

They finally got it closed and brought the tabletop over. The general manager asked if we had ever had trouble closing the table and latching it. Well, yes when we brought it to them, but it seemed like the least of our worries at the time and we planned to keep the table open with the leaf out anyway.

He asked how long we had had the table. He laughed when I told him WE had it for 1 week and THEY had had it for 3 (actually 4). He then stated that he didn't like the way the table was acting and he wanted us to be completely happy with our purchase. So they are replacing the table with a new one.

Did you get that?

A brand new table.

All that work to fix the tabletop - the extra time, effort, and materials the guys used to make it perfect - and we're going to get a new table out of it after all. In fact, they are delivering the new one to us on Friday. We went ahead and took the old one home and set it up so we can have a real place to eat until the new one arrives. We've been eating on our pub-height chairs that are exactly the same height as the tiny card table we've had to use. That's been an adventure and I was ready for it to be over!

In spite of the long wait, I still love Value City Furniture and I still love this manager, an awesome guy who doesn't quibble over things. We're going to go ahead and get 2 more chairs for the table since it will comfortably seat 8 and it's always nice to have enough chairs at the table for guests. Like tomorrow when the neighborhood social committee comes over. We can sit around our table with plenty of room to spread out notebooks and calendars, sip coffee and tea, and snack on...something.

Now to figure out an elegant snack worthy of my elegant table. And keep L and the glue far, far away from it!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Texas Activities

The trip out was cloudy, rainy, and about an hour shorter than usual - woohoo! We pulled into my parents' driveway at 6:30pm in plenty of time for dinner.

Sunday morning I made my way to the local Doc-in-a-Box for some drugs for a sinus infection that was just beginning to settle in. Heck, I did NOT drive almost 1000 miles just to spend my vacation groaning on the couch! I got a shot, 2 types of pills, and two types of sprays. You'd think I was dying, but they were good drugs and knocked it all out. I did learn one valuable lesson. 2 doses of pseudophedrine will keep you up *all* night long. We spent the day visiting with family and recovering from the long drive because Monday was going to be busy.

Monday was my nephew's birthday - M turned 7. We met my sister's family at the local science museum for a few hours of educational fun, including a picnic outside as the weather got warm enough just in time for lunch. I actually remembered to charge the video camera and had a fun-filled day taking lots of pictures and video. Recently someone commented that they wished they had taken more video of their kids when they were little. I figured I'd better start. I would post pictures, but the connection here just isn't handling it well.

Monday afternoon, we met my future sister-in-law to buy the fabric for the girls' flower girl dresses and Mom has spent the last 2 days sewing it up. The pattern says "easy", but there're three layers of thin slippery fabric to make it all more tricky. I so thankful Mom's willing to do it!

My grandmother has been staying out at my parents' house for the past 2 days as she can't stay alone while she's recovering from surgery. We've watched old westerns and Ben-Hur. The girls have been making art projects and running around outside. L has gone from overexcited and and bashful to becoming Grandmother's faithful little companion. She takes her coloring book and crayons and they color together. L even carries around a stick just like Grandmother's cane and she leans against her every chance she gets. It's such a sweet sight.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Head'n for Texas

My parents were coming up to visit for their spring break - their first real trip up here in over a year.

Then my mom called.

My grandmother had to go back in the hospital with an infection in her leg. It was only overnight or so, but she needs someone to stay with her there and at home, so Mom and Dad have to stay put.

Then ensued much whining. On the part of Grandma.

So the girls and I decided that is the grandparents can't come to the mountains, then we can at least take our sunny faces to the grandparents. I've cleaned the house, done the laundry, cleaned the car, and have finished about half the packing. I don't have much time to get the rest done as I need to get to bed early since we're leaving early. Very early. Middle of the night early.

If you happen to think of us tomorrow, pray that the drive will go well and Mommy will stay sane.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Sheesh! A whole week since I posted? What's been going on that I haven't had time to write about my fascinating life?

Let's see...

1. Every day or so I'm on the phone with the furniture store getting a status on the table repair. The latest is that the repair guys are waiting on delivery of a spray that makes the finish smooth....Ok. Whatever. One day I'll get the table back and we can stop eating on the tiny card table from our tall chairs. It's awkward, but it's better than staring at those spots where the varnish dissolved.

2. Last Sunday it snowed. This Sunday we were all in shorts. Crazy weather.

3. My allergies morphed into a nasty cold and I was out for the count for days. I've got to stop letting the stress get to me. Then I lost my voice. Then the choir director called while I sounded like a frog. Nice.

4. We've been doubling up on school days so that K gets 2 days of work done in 1 whenever we have the extra time. We're trying to move things along so we get done with the curriculum before it's time to start next school year.

5. It seems like we've been extra busy the past couple of weeks. Lots of activities and things going on - some planned, some not. It's just been overwhelming.

This week's calendar is way more clear, which is good because I have got to get some cleaning done. My parents are heading out this way Saturday and the house needs some TLC and elbow grease. Today I washed the girls clothes and swapped out their fall/winter wardrobe for spring/summer styles. Of course, we did keep some cool weather stuff accessible because the cold will come back a time or two before it finally exits stage left. But the work is done - the shorts and t-shirts are folded neatly in drawers, the sundresses are hung, the sweaters are stored in bins, and there's a tub of clothes to go in the trash and another to go to the consignment store. Yep, "organized" is my middle name.

Ok, not really. It's Lynn. "Organized" would just be weird.

As a reward for all our hard work organizing clothes, the girls and I are meeting two other moms and kids and we're going to enjoy the beautiful weather tomorrow while walking around the zoo in our newly unearthed shorts and t-shirts. This means that there will be no cleaning happening tomorrow, but it also won't get any messier. I'm okay with that.

Anyway, if I don't post again this week, just know that I'm probably on my knees scrubbing grout with a toothbrush. Or maybe just taking a nap.

I'll never tell.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The snow keeps on falling

At 8:30, the snow is still coming down thickly and everything outside is covered. The night is absolutely glowing from all the snow. This is the view in our front yard.

And this is the view in our backyard.

It's far more beautiful than pictures can show. I stood on our back porch for a few minutes (as long as my bare toes could stand it) and marveled at how silently the showflakes fell from the sky. It was awesome and magical to see the large flakes appear from the darkened sky to completely transform the bare winter landscape. The girls are probably sitting up in bed this very moment peeking through their windows to catch a glimpse of the snow.

But this is the sight that would interest them the most.

Do you see how much snow is already piled along the top of our fence? Yep, that in itself promises a whole lot of snow fun tomorrow.

And half the forecasters were right

All weekend we've been hearing

"Somewhere around."
"10 inches!"
"2-4 inches"
"Maybe just rain"

Mr. at Home went to the store and got home to immediately make a quick supper. When we sat down, he announced that the bad news is that it hadn't started snowing yet, but the good news was that the forecast still said snow. I got up to get some tea and noticed that the light outside looked rather...gray. I saw the fog and that the ground was covered in...


Lots and lots of snow.

In less than 2 hours, this is what it looks like outside.

This is what my car looks like since I can't park it in the garage because the seats are currently stored there while I wait for them to fix my tabletop so I have room to put the table back in the car so I can get it home. What, you didn't want to know all that?

The girls are beyond excited because its SNOW!! and it's still coming down thickly enough to promise some good accumulation by the morning. As I stepped outside to take the pictures, I noticed a flash going off across the empty lots. I wasn't the only one fascinated by the March winter wonderland we've got going on. I guess it's truly an "In like a lion, out like a lamb".