Wednesday, July 22, 2009

It's just overwhelming

As I sat down tonight to watch the last mile of the Tour de France recap, I had a sudden startling realization of everything I need to get done in the next two days. And I wanted to cry. Or maybe just go hide under my bed.

This morning I took Mr. at Home to the airport and L and I ran errands. Remember that I promised to get her room redecorated and there were still a couple of things I needed for that. Plus my cousin back in Texas is having her first baby and I wanted to get her a gift. I knew exactly what I wanted, went to order it online a couple of days ago, and was floored by the price. So I'm making the exact same thing.

By lunchtime, the errands were done and I had developed a splitting headache. A horrible, nasty, debilitating headache. Tylenol, quiet, caffeine, allergy meds - nothing helped. I had to take the cat to the vet, then we came home and I sent L upstairs to watch a movie while I took a nap. That *finally* killed the pain, but I had lost the whole afternoon.

Honestly, I've gotten a lot done already. The wedding gift for my brother and his bride and the house-warming gift for my sister have been procured and are ready to go. My outfit for the wedding is bought and the laundry is done. All of our appointments and errands have been run and the calendar is empty for the next two days. Everything I need to finish L's room is on hand and I even got the walls rolled tonight (it's a very...strong shade of lilac that is awesome).

I need to finish L's room enough that she can sleep in it, finish the baby gift, clean house, get the oil changed, line up someone to cat-sit while we're gone, pack, make a photo back-up to store at my parents' house, and figure out what I'm forgetting. Oh, and take L swimming in the morning.

Because there is still a lonely 5-year-old in the house who was very patient with my headache today.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Right about now...

This afternoon we put watched K walk out of the church sanctuary with her arms around her pillow, chatting with the girl next to her, and she didn't once glance back to find her family. We followed the kids out and caught a glimpse of K in a window seat of the large tour bus. We waved, she saw us and waved a few times, but mostly her attention was focused on talking and laughing with the other kids on the bus. We waited until the buses left the parking lot before we went home, just L and us alone.

It was the moment K had been waiting for; one she had been anticipating for over a year when she first learned that kids could go the summer after they finished 3rd grade. Many of the kids in our church who have finished 3rd-5th grade have gone to children's camp. 2 hours and 1 state away for 1 week. I'm not sure what part K was most excited about - riding the bus, sleeping in a cabin, the zip line, the giant swing, being with other kids her age, being away from home and feeling all grown-up and independent.

There were a few things K was a bit nervous about. None of the girls she talked to in class every week were assigned to her cabin. Many of her friends are in other grades and she wouldn't have much time to spend with them. She quickly decided that she would just introduce herself to whoever sat next to her on the bus and that would be her special friend for the week. Or she'd introduce herself to someone once she got to her cabin and hang out with them. See? There's no problem that can't be solved by a girl determined to have a good time.

Right now, at a camp down in South Carolina, there's a lodge full of 3rd grade girls that are dressed in their pajamas, sitting on bunks while shrieks and giggles fill the air. They're talking loud because...well...they're girls...and they're excited. It's the first night of camp. Some of that excitement is covering up a tiny bit of nervousness, though. It's their first time away at camp and they've got a whole week of being away from home and family to make it through. In just a few minutes, the counselors will call "Lights out!" and the girls will slide into their sleeping bags but it will be a little while before they drift off to sleep. Some will be too wound up with promises of fun for tomorrow. Some will begin to sniff and the tears will start. The counselors won't sleep much tonight as they go from bed to bed, checking on each young occupant. They'll hold hands and pat heads and pray quietly.

What will K do? She will probably be the first asleep as lights out comes well after her normal bedtime and K has always loved to sleep. I don't think Little Miss Independent will have much trouble with homesickness, but I do think she'll feel a twinge or two. I hope she does anyway. You know, just a twinge to make me feel like I'm needed. While K is closing her eyes in sleep, I'll be closing mine in prayer - for K, for the other kids, for the counselors, and that they all manage to not fall asleep in their cereal at breakfast.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


This week I've...

...taken the cat to the all night animal emergency room. There's a small window way above the front door. Shortly after we moved in, the cat figured out that she could take a flying leap off the loft wall into that window sill. She liked to hang out there and we didn't know how she managed to stay on that little ledge and get back and forth. Well, very late Saturday night, she missed and made a crazy, skittering fall to the hardwood floor 2 stories below. It's actually not the first time she's fallen that far, but it is the first time she made such an uncontrolled descent. As of Sunday, Tinker is sporting a bright red cast for a broken ankle and she is the most pathetic thing you have ever seen - moping, hiding in small spaces, and laying on the floor with her cast stuck in the air while she stretches her neck out to her food bowl. Now that she's done with the pain meds, she seems to be perking back up. A little. I think she's milking this for all its worth, the drama queen.

...taken 3 children to the teacher store, where they behaved so badly we had to leave after 5 minutes. I took them to McDs to run off some energy, then to the dollar movies.

...taken the girls to Carowinds where they rode one roller coaster and spent the rest of the afternoon in the various pools and water slides.

...taken the girls to Apple Camp, where even L got to attend at the last minute. The learned how to take photos, edit them, create a slideshow, and burn it to DVD. It was awesome and I even learned a few new things.

...taken the girls to Target where we bought the last few things K needs for camp next week and both the girls got the few school supplies they needed - folders, notebook, pencils, paper, etc. L got a Barbie backpack that she is so proud of!

...taken K to the orthodontist. She has to have a baby tooth pulled to make room on the *other* side of her mouth for the adult teeth. Her mid-line is being pushed over since she's only losing the teeth one side.

And tomorrow I ain't "taken" no one nowhere. In addition to all our running around, I've also been busy at home. K's new room is painted, decorated, and put back together. It looks amazing, I must say. The only things left are to swap the closets and eventually to put in a new loft bed and desk. Those will have to come later since we spent the price of the bed/desk on that spiffy red cast the cat is sporting. I also got two surprises finished for some folks back in Texas.

Between now and Saturday I have to...

...move all K's stuff to her closet and move all L's stuff out. laundry.

...label everything K is taking to camp in permanent marker.

...write 4 notecards to send with the camp counselors for daily "mail call".

...get everything cleaned, organized, priced, and hauled for the church yard sale Saturday morning. If you're near Matthews, there are two sales to raise money for charity - Carmel Baptist and Christ Covenant. You need to go! I'll be there all morning.

...get a supply of small bills and change for the yard sale.

...set a date for a joint baby shower and send a "save the date" email. Due dates are fast approaching!

...get K packed for camp.

...take the girls to the pool at least once.

And I'm sure there are a few more things that will come up.

But I'm ready. Bring it on.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Why yes, I am crazy

Summer is quickly slipping away from me. I sat at the pool with a friend yesterday discussing our lives and schedules and plans when I got hit the realization that my free time is almost over.

How did this happen?

This weekend we're going to GA.

In 2 weeks, K will be gone to camp and Mr. at Home will be away on business.

In 3 weeks, the girls and I will be in TX and Mr. at Home will be away on business.

In 4 weeks, my sister and her family may be visiting.

In 5 weeks, we start school.

The only week we have left for playtime is next week. But because I am a nutcase, I decided that there is one project that I need to get done before school hits. One BIG project.

This school year is our first with two real, official, actual grade levels in the house. L will be doing kindergarten on video. It will involve lots of singing and noise and won't take very long. K will be doing 4th grade, which will involve lots of reading and worksheets and she is easily distracted and aggravated by noise. As of right now, L will do her school in the craft room at the back of the house. K will start her work at the dining room table where I can help and explain, then she'll take the rest of her stuff to her room. This means she will need her own room with her own desk. I had plans to provide those at some point this fall, but it seems to make sense to have it in place before we start school.

Which means it has to happen next week.

This week we went to Home Depot and flipped through design books. L liked every girly decor scheme in the book but went into raptures over a pink and purple glamorous movie star room. K, however, went through two books and let out annoying sighs periodically. She got frustrated and picked up a book of playhouses.

And fell in love.

I had to nix the idea of building a fort in her room. Or a clubhouse. Or a playhouse. Then how about a tent? A teepee? The child finally agreed on something we can do - a backyard theme complete with birdhouses and a tree painted on the wall. We picked up wooden birdhouses at the craft store and decorated them with paint and scrapbook paper. They look awesome. We cleaned the room out today and K picked out a pretty sky blue for the walls. Tomorrow I need to finish the taping and get the walls painted. Then we'll see about a tree.

Oh I may gripe and complain that I have too much to do, but I live for all this decorating stuff. Its so much fun to design and figure out how to make it all work without spending a ton of money. K's room should come together pretty quickly, then L and I will do hers the following week when we're here alone.

Then I'll swear that I'm not doing anything else for at least a year. Or maybe just until 2010. Unless I see something I really want to do. Then maybe I'll just paint a wall. Or a room. Or maybe do a faux finish.

Because I just can't help myself.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

It would have been funny if it happened to anyone else

Remember how I said that it rained the last night we camped? Well, that meant that I had to bring everything home wet. And it had to be taken care of.

We got home Wednesday afternoon and I decided that I was way too tired to mess with it then. I slept in Thursday, but then it had to be done. It was hot, sunny, and there was a light breeze. Perfect weather for the job.

I parked the van in the street near the driveway and started pulling all that wet, dirty camping equipment out. I set up the chairs in the driveway and hosed them down. I set the big tent up in the backyard and K's little tent (that was never used to sleep in) in the front yard. Everything that wasn't nailed down in the car was put in piles in the front yard. I started washing sleeping bags and ended up spreading one out on the grass to finish drying. The girls and I put away most of the stuff in piles and I pulled out all the back car seats, then I took the van to the car wash to clean and vacuum out all the post-vacation nastiness.

When I returned, I wiped down all the surfaces in the van and scrubbed the floor mats, hosing them down and spreading them on the sidewalk to dry. Mr. at Home left to take care of his own car stuff and I was dripping sweat and running out of steam.

Then the most horrible thing happened.

A familiar sound came out of nowhere. I looked up and I spied a lawnmower.

The lawn guys had come one day early. And they were headed my way.

I raced to push everything off the grass and onto the driveway, then I ran through the house yelling at the girls to help me get the tent down. As we were pulling up stakes and folding up poles, the weedeater guy came through.


We got that tent down in record time. Frantically pushing, pulling, hauling, and panting, I got everything except the wet floor mats moved and put away before the lawnmower made it to our yard. Thankfully everything else was dry and is now all stored neatly out of the way on the garage shelves.

Yesterday, hubby mentioned that some friends of ours were camping at another friend's house. For about 1.67 seconds I considered joining them. Them I thought about what I had gone through to get the camping equipment put away.

We stayed home.

Friday, July 3, 2009

And now for pictures from the mountains

Vacation #2 for the summer was a short camping trip in the mountains for me and the girls with my parents. Two nights in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was just not enough, but it was lots of fun while it lasted.

We got there on Monday and set up camp while the girls played in the creek that ran right next to our site.

We then discovered that the air pump for the mattresses was missing, so we loaded up the van and set out on a tiny winding back road for the nearest Wal-Mart. Silly GPS picks the closest, but not always the smartest, route. Pigeon Forge seems to have grown tremendously since we were there last and it's got some really cool buildings. We stopped at the Moonshine Cafe for dinner and had some awesome food for such a tiny cafe.

When we returned, we discovered that the camp hosts had confiscated our coolers and a couple of bags. Seems they meant you had to have everything put away during the daytime, too, even in a busy campground and even if there's nothing in them that could emit an odor to attract a bear. Thankfully, due to some paperwork snag, the ranger could only issue a warning instead of the $75 fine. Those people are serious!

That evening I picked up a list of activities and some Junior Ranger books for the girls. That was both a mistake and a blessing since there were a ton of really awesome activities available. We mapped out several for early Tuesday and went to bed.

The girls and I were up early, ate breakfast, but ended up leaving far too late for the hayride we wanted to do, so we just did a nearby nature trail so they could work on their junior ranger activities.

We went back and picked up the grandparents for a presentation at a 1-room schoolhouse. It was really neat and I actually understand a little more about some of the things in the Little House books. Like in the third book when Laura and Mary have to buy a slate and slate pencil. I assumed it was chalk, but it was actually a small pointed metal stylus. They would use that to carve their work on the slate (it sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard; can you imagine a whole roomful of that?!?), then at night someone had to rub the marking out with a stone so it could be used again the next day.

We left the schoolhouse, went back and made sandwiches for lunch, then headed over to Cades Cove where both the girls got to work in a blacksmith shop. The traffic over was slow, so we ended up getting into the very last class. Once we knew we were late, we got to take our time and enjoy some of the scenery around the loop.

The balcksmithing was fun. Even lightweight L bent steel and did amazingly well with the hammer. They made a triangle with a striker that was curved so it could hang from the triangle.

We went straight from there into Gatlinburg for some awesome Mexican food and a tiny bit of shopping, then back to camp for a quiet evening of smores. I admired the stars just before I went to bed late only to woken up soon after by lightning and thunder. We all lay awake listening to a rather impressive rainstorm and trying to ignore the fact that our tent leaks. Rather impressively.


In the morning the sun was shining and everything was soaked, so I had to do my second least favorite thing about camping. Packing up a wet campsite. My most least favorite thing about camping is packing up a wet campsite in the rain.

We got everything cleaned and dried as best we could and I just laid down a dry tarp and folded everything into the back of the van. We said a sad goodbye to the grandparents as we drove east and they headed west. We stopped for one last beautiful view of the mountains and then at the visitors' center for the girls to turn in their junior ranger books and get their junior ranger badges.

Yep, another instance of education disguised as fun!