Monday, July 26, 2010

From Pit to Princess

There's lots to do to get ready for a new school year to start. New school supplies, like everyone else, but there's lots more for a homeschooling family. A curriculum must be decided upon and ordered, last year's books to pack away, this year's books pulled out and organized, the school area decided upon and cleaned up.

And in our family, the bedrooms must be cleaned and organized.

It's hard enough to concentrate on schoolwork when your stuff is around to tempt you, but when you can't even *find* the top of your desk to do your work? That's when you know something has to be done.

Last night I started on L's room. L is a packrat. She will save every piece of paper she draws on or writes on or gets from Sunday school. She saves every cheap plastic toy or broken necklace and it all gets crammed into whatever nook and cranny is available. We make the girls clean their rooms often, but their idea of "clean" is not exactly the same as my idea of "clean".

I went in armed with trash bags and wipes and we went to work. Don't think I do it all myself, the occupant of the room is required to act as messenger and "go-fer". She tries on clothes and sorts through toys. She cleans surfaces and runs the vacuum until Mommy is satisfied that the floor is clean enough. She gets to help decide the placement of furniture and wall-hangings as needed.

We took out 5 trash bags worth of papers, clothes, and toys. In spite of her hoarder tendencies, she had no problem with me tossing things. There were, I admit, a few things I tossed quickly into the trash bag when her back was turned, but she was very cooperative about everything.
L's room is now back to it's normal pink and purple princess fairyland with a few changes from before.

A reorganized closet came first. The short shower curtain rods have been awesome since they allow L to reach her own clothes and the hanging shoe organizer is new. Of course, now the door won't shut with the hooks, so I've got to find another solution to hang it.

L had asked if she could have a bed that looks like a couch during the day. After informing her that I was not buying her a daybed, I told her I could probably make her existing bed work. She was very happy with the result.

See all these empty toy bins? I'm still trying to figure out how to use them. Mr. at Home wanted to make sure L realized that just because she tossed some old toys it didn't mean that we'd buy her new ones.

One thing I kept finding all over the floor was feathers from L's boa, so I put it up over the window to keep it away from small destructive hands (and cats. and puppies.) I had to rehang that bottom shelf due to those same destructive hands.

But the thing that sent her into wild ecstasy. The thing that she loves. The thing that made her day was this

I took the ratty make-up table I bought at the garage sale and painted it purple, put a clear coat on the top, added some pink drawer pulls, and put it under the pink net that was already hanging from her ceiling. L LOVES it. She carefully arranged her jewelry and hair stuff on top and sat eagerly in front of it. She isn't thrilled about the orange stool, but it was all I had to offer.

Tonight we started on K's room. After a few minutes, I realized that her room is even worse than L's had been. I've already taken out 3 bags of trash and we've barely started. Maybe in a day or two I'll be back with pictures of her newly cleaned room. If not, you might want to come make sure I'm not buried under a mound of stuffed animals.

But at least it would mean I wouldn't have to worry about getting ready for school.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

What $18 will buy at yard sales

Thanks to The Nester and her blog showing all kinds of projects to make your home even more cozy/stylish/amazing on a budget, I've gotten ambitious lately.

I've paid a few visits to Goodwill, not just to drop off stuff, but to actually go inside and look around. I bought an end table that was the perfect size for the loft and I painted it. It goes great in our loft.

I picked up a really cute little table in a worn finish at the homeschool yard sale and spray painted it. It's now also in the loft holding a lamp that I needed for light in the corner.

I've been eyeing all the yard sale signs and this morning I took L with me and we hit up a few of them.

Want to see what we got?

Of course you do.

Isn't that an impressive assortment? Guess which thing in the picture was $18.

The biggest purchase was the black cabinet. The mirror is separate and I plan to hang it. My goal is to paint the cabinet and mirror like this and use it in my craft room.

The white piece is now repainted lavender (it's almost done already) and it will go in L's room as a make-up table/desk. I was on the look-out for a desk for her and found this. Is it not perfect for my tiny diva? She's in love with the fact that she can push the mirrors back and it's a desk, then pull them forward and see herself.

The picture frames are going to be emptied and repainted, then hung on the wall like this (there's a picture near the bottom).

The dog bed is...well...just a dog bed. I bleached it and the dog is now enjoying her comfy new spot. Hopefully, she won't decide this one looks tasty and try to eat it like the last one.

So did you figure out what in the picture was $18?

Sorry, it was a trick question. The answer is all of it. I bought everything for a grand total of $18.

Cabinet $10
Frames $5
Dog bed $2
Make-up table $1

I love yard sales!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Post 17 of 100 - A List

I'm tired, we've been busy, but I can't put together a long coherent post, so I thought I'd make a list of things that have crossed my mind that would be funny or interesting to share.

1. Did you know that grasshoppers are exhibitionists? Several times a day I take Cindy Jae for a walk toward the construction pond in our neighborhood. At least once every day or two, there is a grasshopper brazenly mounting another one in the middle of the sidewalk. They spurn the seclusion of the tall grass only inches away, choosing instead the wide open vistas of the sidewalk where people cannot help but notice them. Especially small people of 6 who have to ask what those grasshoppers are doing. Thankfully my explanation of "they must be playing" seems to satisfy her.

2. I love the way small children will change an unfamiliar word to something they know that sounds similar. For example, today we went to our local amusement park and the security guy checked my bag on the way in. L asked what they were looking for and K explained about "weapons", guns and stuff. L's response was, "So they don't allow 'Webkins'?"

3. I love the book, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh. It's a great read and as soon as I finish it, I'm passing it off to K who is always looking for something new to read.

4. Cindy Jae's latest puppy training was a trip to the airport. We all brought our dogs and met in the baggage claim area where a member of TSA came out and brought us all boarding passes for a flight to Las Vegas. We had to have the boarding passes to get through security, where TSA was using it as a training exercise for their people to learn to deal with guide dogs. Just think, all the hassle of going through security and we didn't even get to go to Las Vegas! USAir had personnel ready to work with us, the cart guys at our disposal, and they even had a plane sitting at an empty gate for us to board and work in. They were awesome! Cindy Jae was not too thrilled about the small spaces on the plane, but she did fairly well. We even went into the bathroom and shut the door. All I can say is thank goodness she's fairly small for a labrador!

5. One of my very good friends may be moving from TX to NC soon. Her hubby applied for a job out here and I can't think why this company wouldn't want him. It would be 3 hours away, but 3 hours is closer than 16 hours and we might actually be able to see each other more than once or twice a year now. She once told me that there are friends that are put into our lives for a season and friends that are put into our lives for the long haul and I'm one of the latter. I feel the same way.

6. We had a fabulous vacation. We were out of town for about 10 days and had a wonderful, busy time. We came home and had most of last week to just be home. No commitments or plans. We swam and cooked and stayed up late and went to the movies and just rested. It was a wonderful way to spend a vacation.

7. On Wednesday morning, the girls and I are going to pick tomatoes at a farm for local food banks. Yes, it's hot, hard work. Yes, we'll have to get up really early to drive over there. But I want my kids to get into the habit of charity. I want them to see a need or hear of a need and to say, "Of course I can help!" without worrying about the inconvenience to themselves.

8. The one thing I've learned teaching children (and dogs) is that they won't learn anything until they're ready. K refused to believe she could count higher than 12 until she went to kindergarten. No matter how much we worked on it, she couldn't even tack on 13 because she didn't want to. L refused to learn to write for 2 years. She had all the ability and skills she needed to take that next step, but she didn't want to. They both had to decide that knowing how to count or write was worthwhile. I had to let go of my expectations and stop frustrating myself and them by trying to teach them what they didn't want to know. When they decide they want to learn, it's like a light switch gets flipped. They go from not caring to simply being able to do it in one or two steps. This past week, L has gone from fear of the water to swimming like a fish all over the pool. She has also gone from whining that it's too hard to reading. She just decided that it was more valuable to do than to be afraid of it.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Post 16 of 100 - Painfully Grumpy

Have you ever found yourself in one of those moods? The kind of mood where you know you're being grumpy/emotional/dramatic/unreasonable, but you just can't stop it?

This morning just sent me over the edge.

- The dog woke me at 3am to tell me that the uncooked rice she ate yesterday didn't agree with her intestines and would I please hose down her and her crate? There's just really no way to describe that experience.

- When I dragged myself out of bed again late this morning, I discovered that the dog had eaten K's poncho which I had worked so hard last year to crochet for her. She had left it downstairs for days and wasn't responsible enough to put it away.

- My arthritis, which has been mostly dormant for 5 years, decided to rear it's ugly head again, and I've been in incredible pain for a week. It affects mostly my lower back and hips which means that it affects every move I make. It's at its worst in the mornings.

- My rheumatologist (arthritis doctor) is no longer covered by my insurance and the new office can't see me for a week and a half.

- I'm allergic to many anti-inflammatory drugs, but I've been driven by desperation to taking Advil the past couple of days. It's helping, but I keep my allergy meds close just in case my body reacts.

- L came down full of questions and comments that I was not in the mood to deal with. I at least had to presence of mind to send her back upstairs before I yelled at her.

It just all came flooding down and I just couldn't take anymore of it. I was overreacting and I knew I was overreacting, but I couldn't change it. I didn't cry or scream or throw things. I didn't curse everyone in the vicinity or accuse anyone of anything. Heck, I didn't even kick the dog.

Oh wait, I did kick the cat. In my defense, she was blocking my way out of the closet, I physically couldn't do more than slightly nudge her out of the way anyway, and she came right back to rubbing my leg.

Anyway, I decided to camp out in my room to minimize the damage, because I wanted to do all the above things and I might have if I had given myself the chance. I didn't know what was causing the weird overreaction on my part until I gave it some thought.

It's pain. It's amazing what constant fierce pain will do to you. I'm normally a very self-sufficient person. I don't like to ask for help. Being incapacitated with searing pain whenever I make a wrong move is humbling and frustrating. I can't sit or stand without grabbing something to help me move slowly and support my weight with my upper body. Any sideways movement or pressure is like someone driving a knife into my spine. I can't even bend down far enough to snap the leash onto the dog's collar.

The pain has been subsiding some as the day progresses and I'm generally fairly mobile and in much less pain by afternoon. As a result, my mood is generally much improved. It's just surviving the mornings, day after day. Dealing with the limitations of not being able to physically do things. Dealing with the terrible pain that every single movement causes. Dealing with the fact that even by evening, there are still movements that cause pain. It's like waking up and finding yourself in a deep pit. You work furiously all day to get out and by nightfall you heave yourself up and out onto solid ground. You lie there panting, sweating, full of gratitude and relief that you're out. And then the very next morning, you wake to find yourself in the bottom of that very same pit.

I have several friends that are walking through tragedy right now. The loss of love, the loss of security, the loss of innocence. Every morning they wake up and the only goal is to survive that day. To deal with the phone calls and meetings and questions and hurts and efforts that day requires. At night, they lay exhausted on the ground, only to face it all again in the morning. Tonight my heart hurts for them.

Far more than my back ever did.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Post 15 of 100 - Choosing Curriculum

It's that time of year again. The time when curriculum must be chosen and ordered for the upcoming school year. Normally, I'd have it laid out by now as most homeschoolers knew exactly what they needed way back at the homeschool used curriculum yard sale in May. And normally, I'd just find the A Beka representative closest to me and place an order for the next set of DVDs and books.

But this year?

This year, I'm mixing it up a bit.

This year, I'm going wild and crazy.

This year, I'm diving into the deep end of homeschooling.

This year...I'm doing KONOS.

(I think I just heard a collective gasp from the homeschoolers out there.)

Have I ever mentioned that the whole homeschooling thing was the sole brainchild of my husband? Ok, not the concept, just the application to our family. When I first approached a homeschooling friend asking where to get started, she handed me a ridiculously huge, complex catalog that looked like the yellow pages for a large city. Except with smaller type. A quick flip through scared the bejeebers out of me and I promptly handed the book back and took my daughter down and enrolled her in the nearest public school. Hubby was extremely disappointed and after much back-and-forth (it wasn't pretty), we compromised.

Last week on vacation, my friend had one of those ridiculously huge, complex catalogs and I showed it to Mr. at Home. He immediately gained a precious insight into the fear I was feeling way back then and apologized profusely. It was very vindicating.

Anyway, over the years, I've used a very structured "school at home" approach to homeschooling. Workbooks and tests, listening to teachers lecture and explain, sitting at the table or a desk doing worksheet after worksheet. We do add lots of field trips and other activities, so it wasn't all boring. And it obviously worked well. K went to public school in January and easily stayed at the top of her class.

But this year, K's coming back home and she wanted something a little more interactive and activity-based. L will be in 1st grade and she's not much of a sit still and do worksheets type of girl. After years of fighting the homeschooling thing, of feeling pressured to do it, of looking for the easy way, it's really and truly my decision this year. And I feel like trying something new that we'll all enjoy more while still learning.

Because that whole "learning" thing is kinda the point of the whole "school" thing.

A Beka is a fabulous tool and it's a great way to ease yourself and your kids into homeschooling. I do still highly recommend it and in fact will be using some of it myself this year. K and I spent the afternoon browsing at the curriculum consignment store (I love that we live in such a homeschool-friendly town!) and she was very helpful in choosing her stuff for next year.

L will (I think) be doing the Language portion of her studies - phonics, spelling, writing, reading - using the A Beka Academy video. I do so hate phonics and she'll be much better off with Miss Wieler on video explaining the sounds over and over and over again. I can't get the math portion separately, so I will be teaching her that using the A Beka workbook.

K will be using Saxon Math for grade 6 (or highly advanced grade 5) that she picked out at the curriculum store. We checked many of the lessons from the book and she was having no problem with them, so we decided to push her ahead there. I love that she looked through the book choices and decided for herself that's the one she wants to use this year. She'll also be using the A Beka Language program for 5th grade.

Everything else will be covered with KONOS. It's a unit study curriculum designed to teach multiple ages simultaneously. They take a character trait and build off that to study everything from the structure of the ear to military insignia to proper manners at a tea party. Each unit has many, many activities to choose from based on the ages of your children and what you have access to. Activities like building a model castle, studying Marie-Antoinette and making Queen Cakes, taking a ride in a hot air balloon to see how they take-off and land, visiting a fabric store to compare fabric types, giving a report on how Roquefort cheese is made, researching how fungi cause diseases, and on and on. It's the way teachers would love to be able to teach if they had the time, resources, and support needed.

I loved the idea of KONOS, but it's the first time I've managed to convince myself to actually try it. I have to give up the worksheets and neat little curriculum books that we can just work our way straight through. I have to give up having precise grade designations for everything. I have to give up the idea of tests and answer keys. I have to get used to it being more work to choose activities and track down all the outside resources needed to complete the work (especially that hot air balloon...). I have to be more involved, do more guiding and more listening and more of just about everything. Every time I've heard KONOS mentioned in the past, people say how wonderful they've heard it is, but how much work it is. Hopefully, between using the familiar A Beka workbooks and video for the other subjects and having K in a math program that she can do mostly on her own, I'll have the extra time and energy to give to the KONOS curriculum.

I am happy that I still have plenty of structure in the core subjects of math and language. Structure, consistency, and a strong foundation in those areas are so important. But for the rest? The KONOS curriculum all sounds like so much more hands-on fun and don't you always learn more when you actually get to DO it?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Post 14 of 100 - Lack of Motivation

Today I stayed in bed until almost 10am when Mr. at Home announced that they were going swimming and would I like to come along? So I dragged myself out of bed and sat by the side of the pool.

I did manage to drive an hour north to pick up our dog from the puppy sitters. Of course, in order to pick up the dog, we had to unload the car (we even got almost all of it put away!)and vacuum up the cereal Miss L had spilled on the floor of the van. Cindy Jae is either calmer from maturity or depressed about having to come home. She's been quiet since we got back, hasn't jumped on anyone, and hasn't even tried to eat any socks.

Since we got home, I've sat on my bed or in my chair watching movies and TV episodes from Netflix. I have absolutely no motivation to do anything else. I didn't even have the motivation to write this post except to tell you that I have no motivation.

Hey, it's vacation. I'm not supposed to be motivated. Or at least that's what I keep telling myself.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Post 13 of 100 - Home

Yes, I missed a couple more days. I decided that hanging out with family and friends was more fun (and important) than blogging about hanging out with family and friends. I'll make it up to you by posting some really cute pictures.

First of all, we're home!!!!

I had an amazing time on our trip, but there's nothing quite like sleeping in my own bed. I'm so glad we went. We got to spend more time with our amazing Oklahoma friends and it was so fun to watch all the kids together.

Saturday was the last day of China Camp. We finished up all our crafts and lessons, then we performed a song in Chinese during the Closing Ceremony. My parents brought K back from Texas and came to see the end of camp. The girls in my class thought it was so funny that *my* parents were coming to see the closing ceremony, too!

After the last Chinese baby doll was tracked down and the last glue stick was capped, my parents and several of the families from our adoption travel group all trooped back to the house where we were staying and we had an evening of fun and games and great conversation. The children swam and begged Mr. M to please throw them high into the air.

We had pork roast and pies, which the kids all ate while sitting on the trampoline. Then they took off to the back where they rode the 4-wheeler and go-cart through the mud.

Our friends have a veritable wonderland in their backyard. The kids paused long enough to change back into swimsuits and dive back into the pool to clean off the mud.

The sun had almost set before parents could haul the protesting children out and dry them off before bundling them into cars to take them home.

I think they had fun, don't you?

Friday, July 9, 2010

Day 12 of 100 - Oops, missed one

Given all that was going on yesterday, I'll extend myself a little grace for completely forgetting to put up a blog post. It was a very busy day, but one that went very well. My allergies calmed down, the girls were wonderful at China Camp, and we got everything we absolutely needed to do done. Can't ask for much more than that.

Today was a bit harder with China Camp. There was some miscommunication that resulted in more work for us as teachers, but we survived. The girls in our class are having a blast and ought to be dropping into bed exhausted every night because we keep them running from the time they arrive until pick-up. At least the teachers are dropping into bed exhausted!

After camp today, we met up with the other families that traveled to China with us for L's adoption. There are 7 families here this week of the original 16 and it was soooo very nice to sit and talk over a Chinese dinner. We had a private room, so the girls (and one little brother) ran and played the whole time while the grown-ups indulged in the opportunity to talk to other adoptive parents who really get it. There are just things that you need another parent in the same situation to truly understand and be able to compare notes with.

It's been almost 5 years since we went to China to adopt these girls. They are beautiful, amazing, and full of life and joy.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Day 11 of 100 - The Secret Project

Have you been dying to know what I was working on? What the super secret sewing project was? Has your life simply not been complete without the answer?

Ok, you probably haven't thought that much about it, but I sure had fun with it.

Here's the sewing project.

Aren't these girls beautiful?

I found the fabric with the two little Chinese girls and knew that I had to have it for two very special little Chinese girls. The result was just as perfect as I pictured it and there were two very happy little Chinese girls in Oklahoma this morning when they put on those new outfits and got to dress alike again. When I get home, I'll pull out a picture of another day when they dressed alike and post it here for comparison.

Day 10 of 100 - Oklahoma!

We woke Tuesday morning to dark gray clouds coming in over the mountains. Since packing up a wet campsite is...most unpleasant...we worked furiously to get everything organized, broken down, and shoved into the vehicles before the rain arrived. As soon as the last items were stowed away and we left to make one last walk up to the bathroom, the first raindrops fell. An extra prayer went up for that timing.

K was offered a chance to go off with Grandma and Grandad for the week. Hummnn, a week of hanging out with Dad without specific plans or a week of spoiling by doting grandparents and adoring extended family? She chose the grandparents. We spoke to her and found out they've already eaten at Cracker Barrel and Denny's, gone to visit her great-grandmother, they were going to see Toy Story 3, my aunt is coming to see her tonight, and they're going out tomorrow to visit my sister and her boys. Yep, she's having fun.

We arrived at our friends' house at lunchtime and we've had a fabulous visit so far. L and her friend from her orphanage have been acting like best friends since we walked in the door. They are so very cute together and it's just awesome and humbling to see them together again. After all, they've known each other far longer than they've known us. They were old enough before the adoption to really know each other even if they don't remember it. Maybe they remember enough of a connection to just immediately decide they are best friends. They've spent most of their time playing together in the girls' bedroom and we've hardly seen them.

Have I mentioned how much I love these friends? They are so very gracious and fun to hang out with. I'm looking forward to this visit!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Day 10 of 100 - No internet password

forgot to get the internet password tonight. will post the real post tomorrow.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Day 9 of 100 - A quiet day at camp

I don't have any funny stories from today. No earth-shattering news. No exciting happenings or even tales of rotten luck.

Today was a day to rest. The girls slept late since they've gone to bed really late every night since vacation started. We got a slow start then decided to drive over to Branson. Where L had a headache bad enough to make her cry (we turned the A/C vent away from her head and that cured the headache) and the traffic was so horrible that we gave up and just came back to camp. We talked a little about my great-grandmother who grew up in this area, near the tiny town of Blue Eye, MO. The girls spent the afternoon swimming with Dad and the rest of us did laundry and bought groceries. I edited photos while the clothes washed and we watched them on a slideshow tonight after roasting hotdogs and s'mores over the campfire. The girls had showers and I braided L's hair into small braids all over her head so it'll be wavy tomorrow.

Not much to blog about, but it was exactly the quiet day we needed.

I did call the police station to see if I could get any further on getting a copy of the crash report. They seemed to know exactly who I was and what happened to the report, but it can't be fixed until the officer returns from vacation Wednesday.


At least we don't need the car right now and they do seem to be on top of things down at the police station, even if they can't fix them yet. I'll be happy if we can get this whole thing resolved and a plan in place before we get back to Charlotte and actually want to have 2 cars again.

Tomorrow we tackle the enormous job of organizing and packing up, then we'll head off to our friends' house in Oklahoma. Maybe that will offer more exciting blogging material. Of the good kind!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Day 8 of 100 - Happy Independence Day!

This morning we were reading up on the local holiday activities around. We had choices. Many choices. Curiously enough, no parades were listed, but there were plenty of small town festivals.

The ever-thoughful Mr. at Home decided to let the girls choose. Did they want to go to a full day festival with a small fireworks show OR stay at camp and do our own games then go to a really big fireworks show? They immediately chose the big show.

We had an awesome day here at camp. There was a corn hole tournament (Grandad won),

a water balloon toss (Grandad won again),

hot potato (and again, it was Grandad),

and some pool games in the freezing water (those were won by Kate). We had a photo shoot and I took tons of pictures.

We made homemade ice cream and ate that for lunch. Not with lunch, as lunch. It's a holiday and vacation, after all.

After a more nutritious dinner of sandwiches, we loaded up and headed out of town to Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge for the fireworks show. It. Was. Awesome! People came in and brought their own fireworks so we enjoyed 3 *hours* of fireworks before the official show even started. And I'll just say that people aren't afraid to drop a whole lot of cash for some good fireworks out here. When we thought it couldn't get better, the official show started and they had some amazing stuff going on. It was loud and bright and impressive.

It was a low-key, hanging out together, fabulous day.

Day 7 of 100 - A good day

Thanks for the commiseration on our car troubles. It's nice to know that people are angry on my behalf :-)

Today the temps stayed mostly in the 70s here with high humidity. Sometimes as high as 100%. Raining when you're camping in the wilderness is the pits because there's nothing to do except huddle in the tent or the car and play cards all cramped together. Raining when you're camping in town just means that you have to make sure everything is put under cover at the campsite, then you go into town and find something to do. Like stop at the dollar store for rain ponchos because the play you're going to that night is an outdoor drama that can't stop for rain. I figured $2 was a good investment in good weather because if I went prepared with rain gear, then naturally it wouldn't rain.

And it didn't, just so you know.

Today was a relax and enjoy vacation kind of day. We got up, picked up donuts for breakfast, bought our tickets for a play, then rode the trolley into town and walked around, getting snow cones and hot dogs for lunch. The girls thought that was a huge special treat.

It started to rain while we were gone so we spent the afternoon running around to avoid the rain, then when it stopped, we played horseshoes.

It's an awesome game for camping. Then we started singing all the songs and chants K's softball team uses during games. We were laughing and giggling and celebrating the very few good shots we made (except Grandad as he is a champion horseshoe player, but that's a story for another time). Finally the girls had enough and they insisted on a swim before dinner in the freezing cold pool water. Whatever. It's vacation and I like to say yes whenever possible.

After dinner, we cleaned up and headed out to the Great Passion Play, an outdoor drama that depicts the last days of Jesus' life. The "stage" is a village built on a mountainside with tons of people involved, animals racing across, and birds swooping through the air. It's a very impressive show.

Now, it's late, I'm tired, and tomorrow is another late night of fireworks following a full afternoon of local activities. If we so choose. That's what I love about vacation. We can do whatever stuff we want and ignore the rest without offending anyone. Like right now. My eyes keep drooping shut, so I'm off to bed. Goodnight all!

Hey, look! I actually made it into a photo!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Day 6 of 100 - No, wait, THIS is the real one

I'm on-line!!

The wonderful awesome amazing tech-savvy Mr. at Home got the correct drivers installed from my hard drive hard drive (don't ask) to make my dad's wireless device to work with my laptop and I can now post from my spot beside the campfire.

Modern-day camping. What can I say?

So let me tell you about the start of this vacation. Mr. at Home's job has been incredibly busy and stressful for the past year and more. He hasn't had much of a real break from work during that time and for him, this trip isn't a real break either. I'm making him drive half-way across the country with specific plans in mind. His idea of a vacation is renting a house and sitting on the beach or beside a mountain stream for a week with nowhere to be. But he's a trooper and is putting up with my plans.

I think I mentioned that last week he finally broke down and bought a new car. His 16-year-old Camry was on its last legs and we found a great deal. That was Wednesday.

Friday Mr. at Home was broadsided coming home from work.

Fortunately, no one was hurt. Unfortunately, the people who hit him were not the most cooperative and pleasant. We didn't get their personal or insurance information, but no worries, it's on the crash report.


Well, the crash report didn't show up online. And the officer is on vacation. And his sergeant says the report probably got lost in the system. And no one else can get in and do anything about it. And we'll just have to wait until the officer gets back.

Dealing with all that was a huge stressor this past week because no one was willing to help us and his spiffy new car is sitting in the body shop parking lot waiting...

Between work, dealing with the car, and getting ready for this trip, we haven't had a moment to breathe lately. Money has become an issue as we don't know what to expect with regard to the car. It was the other driver's fault, but we don't know if it can be repaired or if the frame was bent or if they'll just total it out and will we end up losing money since it was a brand-new car? Too many questions and nothing we can do except twiddle our thumbs until the police department decides to untangle their mess.

So now we have the stress of the wreck and the ensuing uncertainty involved with the car. We left for our trip a little before 2pm yesterday, lost an hour sitting in mountain traffic, and spent the night in a hotel just west of Nashville. This morning we saw the car next to us pumping gas get scraped by a moving van. We were incredibly thankful to avoid that disaster, only to have our windshield cracked by a flying rock shortly thereafter. After the 3rd call to the insurance company in a week, we found out that windshield replacement will be less than our deductible so we have to pay for it.

Did I mention it's been a hugely stressful time lately? We just can't seem to catch a break. First I had to get new front brakes on the van before the trip, then the car was wrecked, now the windshield has to be replaced. They say bad things happen in 3s, so let's pray that we won't run into anymore car trouble for awhile.

I'm ready to just sit back, relax, and enjoy spending time with my family for a few days. I want to enjoy the cooler Ozark temps, ride the trolley around town, watch the girls hang out with their grandparents, and hang out with Mr. at Home. Speaking of which, I'm going to get off this computer and do just that.

Day 6 of 100 - From the campground

still typing from my phone since i have to have the office physically register my laptop. i got it to type in the body. for now. no guarantees that i wont press the wrong key and get kicked out. we are here and i wanted to post something. i wanted to put up a nice long wordy post, but maybe tomorrow. i will try to get the internet issue taken cae of early and write a real post.