Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Belated Happy Birthday to A!

I tried to post last night, wishing A a Happy 9th Birthday, but the computer wasn't cooperating. Rather than fuss with it, I relaxed and celebrated.

I had made cupcakes for A's class. Evidently his teacher asked A that morning, "did your mom make homemade cupcakes - hers are sooo good". She was M's 3rd grade teacher also, so she's had them before. Makes me feel good to know that she remembers and appreciates my goodies. Last year the school made a big deal about no homemade goodies (in fact, they initially insisted on everything being individually wrapped - the kindergarten parents had a fit about indiv wrapped snacks meaning they couldn't send in a bag of pretzels or goldfish). This year, no word was sent out and I had checked with one of the TA's who monitor the lunchroom. So, homemade it was.

There was a PTA meeting scheduled for that night, so no homework (only the spelling/vocabulary contract), so an easy night for A.

A chose to go out for Italian food, so we arranged to meet D there on his way home from work. The food was delicious as always. The kids noticed that we had sat at that very same table before. They have a birthday special (up to $10 off on your birthday) and they took off the full $10, even though A ordered off the kid's menu - jr size lasagna. It was enough that he brought some home. M ordered veal parmesan, and was surprised at how HUGE it was - twice the portion size that I make, plus a decent size portion of spaghetti and meat sauce. M didn't want his salad, but A enjoyed it.

Then we came home for presents and cake. Presents first, as we were all quite full. A was most excited at the Zelda game for his DS. He was also quite happy at money towards an iPod (he is still deciding which one he wants to get (ie how much money he is going to put towards one, as we are putting the cost of a refurbished shuffle)). Then we played Blokus. It was a lot of fun. I had heard good reviews and had considered it for Christmas, but we had gotten enough stuff for him then. I'm looking forward to playing it again.

We finally had cake - very small slices, as we were all still fairly full.

All-in-all a very satisfactory birthday!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The most use my cell phone has ever gotten..

5 calls today!

Background - Evidently M was feeling a little under the weather at church today, but didn't tell me. Then he went off to lunch and bowling with the youth group.

Phone call #1 - M was feeling hot and very thirsty when they got to the restaurant, but now that his food had arrived, was feeling better. We discussed picking him up, he said no. I told the leader to let me know if he needed picking up.

call #2 - M still not feeling great, but doesn't want me to pick him up - wants to know if he can spend extra money on video games.

call #3 - They're finishing up early, can we come pick M up 30 min earlier?

I leave for a funeral with my mom - on the other side of town.

call #4 - call D to tell him we're leaving the church and will be home in an hour.

call #5 - D can't find hotdogs in fridge (leftovers from the church luncheon today).

I got home, M feels warm. I didn't take his temperature, but to my momsense, I would guess he was 99.5-100. He was droopy and hadn't eaten. I fixed him some scrambled eggs. He fell asleep on the sofa before 8.

School is looking iffy for tomorrow - it's going to be interesting trying to get my grocery shopping done and cupcakes made and frosted tomorrow.


Friday, January 25, 2008

Birthday Party in Progress

I can't tell from the sounds coming up from the basement if they're having fun or conflict. The latter, I'm afraid, but no one has come up to complain. My guess is that at least part is caused by M's presence.

Ah, D's back with the pizza! That will break whatever cycle they are in. He reports that all seemed well with the kids. I might have checked (or might not), but I used the cat in my lap as an excuse not to.

Pizza went well - only one kid left anything more than crust on their plate. And some kids ate their crusts.

After dinner they went back down to play on the Wii. Unfortunately A was playing Lego Star Wars which is a one-player game. It claims a second person can help, but we've never managed that. It was evidently so engrossing that they didn't want to come up for cake - or maybe they were too full of pizza?

We had to have a chat with A about including everyone. So far they have had a bowling tournament and played tennis, at least. Luckily we were able to borrow 2 more controllers for the Wii so everyone has one and they don't have to switch around.

Oh, and now I hear a boxing tournament going on...

Here's a photo of A bowling...
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I thought I'd gotten some photos of A blowing out the candles, but now I can't find them on the camera. Huh.

A had 3 friends for his party, but now he is down to one. One kid couldn't stay - his parents said he was getting over a cold and he needed his sleep. Another way planning on staying, but when he heard kid one was leaving, his stomach suddenly started hurting. That leaves just one - whose mom said he wasn't sure about staying if he didn't know the other kids. But since its just S and A now, I think he's staying. Which is good - I'd hate for A to have no one sleep over at a sleepover!

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Pie in the Face!

A had his Cub Scout pack meeting tonight. The one he's been waiting for for months - where he gets to pie a leader in the face (the prize for selling over $500 worth of popcorn).

First 2 of the leaders had a pie demonstration. The straight-forward pie in the face, the pie from below, the pie on top of the head, etc.

Here is the "pie sandwich".
When I've seen this done before, they've used whipped cream. Not tonight - it was shaving cream. Yuck!

A's leader, Ms. S, whom he chose to pie. She's ready!

Now, she's really ready, holding the nose and all.

The pie to the side of the face. A certainly looks like he's having fun!
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The aftermath...

I wanted a picture of A with Ms. S, but he kept edging away, afraid she would smear him with "pie", so she got her messy hands out of the way.
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Snow pics

Here, finally, are the snow pictures I promised.

Shadow doesn't look too thrilled about all this "stuff".
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Here Shadow has finally ventured out into the yard and is getting some snowflakes on him.

I had to try 3 or 4 times to get a decent photo of Shadow and the snowflakes - he kept moving, so I have one picture that is all blurry, one with the head cut off and one with only his head.

Talk about crazy weather. It was fairly warm last week and the narcissus decided it was early spring. Not. They get fooled fairly often. Reminds me of a photo from when I was a teen of daffodils in the snow - that's rarer.

The snowman M and I built. Quite small and very slushy, but it does qualify as a snowman!

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Monday, January 21, 2008

A little bit of snow

On Friday, everyone was saying we would gets lots of snow on Saturday.  Yay!  Whoopee!  WOW!  Predictions were for 1-3 inches in our area. said it would snow all afternoon.  M was supposed to have a math tournament Sat morning, which D was also helping out at.  So, early Sat morning, D checked for messages to see if the tournament was still going on.  No messages, so we figured maybe they would just run the morning session and cancel the afternoon (tie-breakers and awards ceremony).  But no, they got up there at 7:30 only to find that the county had cancelled it.  So, they helped clean up a bit (and M got 2 donuts) and came home.

Meanwhile, we were settling in for snow-watch.  And sure enough, along about 11:30, it started snowing.  Big fluffy flakes.  Not sticking yet, as the ground had been a bit too warm recently, but lots of snow in the sky.  After a while, it was starting to accumulate on raised surfaces, so M and I went out for a bit of snow play.  We had a bit of a snowball fight and then thought about a snowman.  A snowball directly to my face (after we had announced a ceasefire), caused a break.

I thought we'd go inside, warm up, let some more snow accumulate.  After all, we now had about 1/4 inch and it was still coming down pretty hard.  An hour passed and hmmm, you could still clearly see where we had harvested the snow - in fact, you could see the under-surfaces quite clearly.  It was still snowing, and hard at times, but it had gotten very wet.  M and I eventually went back out and built a very small snowman (and got our gloves absolutely soaking wet).  Meanwhile, A was out playing in the snow with a friend.

I have photos, but Blogger isn't wanting to post them now.  I'll try again tomorrow.

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Friday, January 18, 2008

Emergency haircut

For some reason, last night A decided to cut a hunk of his bangs off. I'm still not quite sure why he did - they weren't in his eyes (not even really close). Amazingly enough, it didn't look too bad - as long as you didn't do anything silly like comb his hair....

I'd meant to fix it last night, but I just forgot about it what with homework and all. So, he went to school that way this morning. I suppose I could have cut it this morning and then driven him to school, but I didn't. I figure he's old enough to know better than to cut his hair off and if he's going to do it, he can suffer the consequences (if any).

This afternoon, I did plop him in the chair for a haircut. It's much shorter now. It needed a trim, but I figured if the bangs are really short, probably the rest should go short with it.

I'll try to get a photo of the new look sometime this weekend.

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

No Snow Day

We got up this morning to rain. It never did seem to sleet or freeze or snow any during the night. There was still a bit of snow on the ground and more on the deck and stairs, but none on the roads. Both kids were disappointed and indignant. Things I heard this morning:

But it was supposed to snow.

But there's still snow on the ground.


How can it warm up in the middle of the night???

I know it all. I'm sure I felt the same way as a kid. And I wanted a day to play in the snow too. Maybe not quite as much as the kids did, but I was hoping for some fun in the snow.

A did go over to a friends house and they had a snowball fight, so he did enjoy it for a bit. M threw a few snowballs here, including one that ended up partly in the house - after I threw the bigger bits back at him, he got to clean up the rest.


Wednesday, January 16, 2008


They were predicting possible wintery mix for this afternoon or evening, but I didn't really believe anything would happen.

But, at about 3:30 this afternoon, I looked out the window and saw it: SNOW! I yelled "Hey A, look out the window". He looked and hollered SNOW. Not much at that point, just a few wispy flakes.

Then a few minutes later, I looked again and it was coming down harder.

Here's A checking out the snow. And catching some in his hair...

By 4:30 or 5, we had a nice little coat of snow on the deck, but not much anywhere else.

But it kept coming down, sometimes pretty hard and fast. By dinnertime the deck looked like this:

M tried to make a snowball - well, he DID make a snowball, but he said it wasn't very good snow for snowballs. It seemed to me more like fluffy ice.

Here as the sun sets is what the back yard looks like. Very pretty!

Unfortunately, it is now raining and washing away most of that pretty snow. The predictions have been at various times for:
wintery mix
rain/freezing rain

Who knows what it will do overnight and what it will look like in the morning. They are saying the temp will hover at 32, so the bridges and overpasses may be bad in the morning. My guess is about 50:50 for a snow day, but without any snow. It may be an ice day or it may be fine but cold and wet.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Is this math or scissor skills?

I went over the A's school this morning for my usual volunteer session. 2 different teachers had combined their top math groups and sent them all out into the hall with one assistant. So, 12 kids in the hall, with one assistant when I showed up. That project was going ok, although 12:1 ratio doesn't make it much of a "small group" considering the classes are only 16 kids.

The kids finished up that assignment. The assistant showed me the next assignment. We both went "huh?" After reading it through several times, we figured out what the kids were supposed to do, but it was poorly planned. They had rectangles for the kids to cut out - in units of 1, 1/2, 1/3, 1/4, 1/5, 1/6, and 1/9. Different number of each size. But did they draw out how many 1/4 to cut out? Oh no, that would be too easy. Instead, they wanted the kids to cut out the 1/4, then trace it and cut out another. But once you've cut all the initial rectangles out, you have to try to remember how many of each size.

So we had groups of kids trying to cut out rectangles, trace them, cut out more rectangles. Trying to figure out if they have too many or not enough of each particular size. It was a mess. And then there's the fact that there's not that much difference in size between a 1/5 and a 1/6, especially when you have 3rd graders cutting them out.

After cutting out all 21 pieces, they were supposed to line them up to make 5 1-unit-long rectangles. One group could have fit 6 of the 1/5 unit onto the 1-unit rectangle they were supposed to glue them onto. They knew it should only take 5, but their cutting and drawing skills were lacking. Another group managed to fit 1/2 + 1/3 + 1/4 all onto one line and didn't see anything wrong with that.

I pointed out to the teacher that this was poorly designed. She said, "But this is supposed to be a challenge. They have to think." Yes, but the challenge was to their fine motor skills, not to their math skills!

We briefly had 2 adults to 12 kids at the beginning of this assignment, but then the assistant had to move on to another class, leaving me with all 12 (somewhat confused) kids.


Monday, January 14, 2008

Wow, do I feel silly!

I went to the eye dr last week to get my prescription checked. I figured I needed new contacts - after wearing the virtually the same prescription since I was 14. I figured that the dreaded middle-age vision problems were already starting to hit me. Ugh.

Well, the dr checked my eyes and my contacts and had me do all the various tests. Then when he handed me back the contacts, he told me to switch eyes with them. Yes, evidently I've been wearing them in the wrong eyes for months now!! Who knows how long? The funny thing is, that the left eye can seemingly see fine out of either contact, but the right eye is much better now that they are switched back. Still not perfect, so I'm getting a new pair (one contact is 8 years old, the other probably 15, so, its about time to retire them into reserve status).

The dr promised that the new contacts would have some sort of dot or hole to keep me from switching them.


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Are they growing up?

We went to Trader Joe's yesterday - a different TJ's than we've been to before. At this one, the kids were supposed to find "Chicken Joe", a stuffed chicken, somewhere in the store to get a treat. Well, they looked and looked and looked and never found the chicken. Either because they were busy looking or because they are growing up (I can always hope!) we had a fairly calm and not very much begging going on trip. Of course it also helped that we were all full of tasty food, having just come from a funeral reception.

I was pleased to see that they still had peppermint Jo-Jo's. We really enjoyed them last year and I had feared that I had missed my fix this year. We also got some interesting frozen dinner entrees and veggies.

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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Good News/Bad News

Good News: the Mac came back.

Bad News: it won't boot. Seems that when they replaced the hard drive, they neglected to remove the CD (that D had tried to boot off of). Now we can't get the Mac to boot up. Evidently they didn't check the computer to make sure it all worked before shipping it back to us.

So... D spent several hours looking up info online and trying all sorts of things to remove the CD or otherwise fix the Mac. No luck. E-mailed with the company. They said "oh, we didn't remove that..." So, we repackaged the computer this morning and sent it back off. It will probably be at least a week before it comes back. At least partly due to shipping costs. The company said they would refund $15 in shipping costs. When D checked costs it was $10 for standard shipping (get there by Wed) or $95!!!! for overnight. Guess which we chose?

I'm really ready to get some new podcasts on my iPod.

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Awards day for A

Yesterday was 2nd quarter awards for A's school. They had all the 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders in the cafeteria - getting awards in volleyball, perfect attendance, honor roll in 3 varieties(all A's and B's, more A's than B's, and all A's), and meeting the AR reading goals.

Here's A and part of the rest of the all A's 3rd graders getting their awards:
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There were noticeably more kids getting all A's in 3rd and 4th than in 5th - 8 total kids in 5th with all A's.

The presentation was nice, but long. I would guess that at least 80% of the kids got the reading award - they had 5 pages of names!

A got 3 awards - perfect attendance, all A Honor Roll and meeting his reading goal (steamrolling it actually, he is supposed to have 5 points per quarter, so 10 points total by now - he has over 230!) Reading is obviously a love of A's (and the whole family), but they clearly have set the goal too low!

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Things that rustle in the night

In our case it is cats. 2 cats, who, last night went rustling around over on my side of the bed. Woke us both up out of a sound sleep. I went over and shooed them away, but they came right back. Finally D shut them out of the bedroom, deciding he would rather "hear them paw at the door than rustle around over there".

So this morning one of my tasks was to try to figure out what in the world they were so interested in at 1:30am. I picked up my clothes from last night - nothing interesting there. I move aside a bag. Hmmm. What is that that Pounce is looking at? - almost looks like a piece of her fur. Wait.... it's not a tuft of fur, its more than that. It looks suspiciously like chipmunk. Shudder. While I went to go get some newspaper to pick it up with, it (and Pounce vanish). Joy. Now I have a piece of chipmunk tail somewhere in the house.

Now I know what I'm looking for - the rest of the chipmunk. And I found it just moments later.
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It had climbed under the edge of something. Note the lack of any fur on the tail - maybe its tail had been hanging out and that was all the cats could reach?

All I know is it was dead by that point and is now in the trash. But I still haven't found the missing tail. A "treat" for later, I suppose.


Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The Mac should be back

tomorrow! Hooray!! I got a note from FedEx saying they tried to deliver it yesterday and today. I didn't know it was coming on Tue and then today I really didn't want to miss my quilting meeting. I rushed home, but missed the guy. So tomorrow, I'm staying right here until it comes. They won't deliver without a person accepting it and signing for it. I suppose that's reasonable, but it sure is a pain sometimes.

I'm really looking forward to easier access and my own bookmarks again!


Monday, January 07, 2008

Goodbye Christmas

Epiphany was yesterday, so it was finally time to say goodbye to Christmas. The tree(s) came down and most of the decorations came down, though I've found a few stragglers (and probably will continue to for several weeks). The corner is looking rather bare since I don't want to put the cat's cube back there until I've finished sweeping and vacuuming.

My mom caved and took down her tree before Epiphany this year. She has a unique method of dealing with her tree:
1. take off breakable ornaments
2. wrap in sheet
3. store in basement

A and I went over a few days ago and helped her maneuver her tree into the wheelbarrow for its trip to the basement. Once there, we set it up in the corner to wait for Christmas 2008.


Saturday, January 05, 2008

Ice Sakting, at last

We finally made it ice skating today. Much nicer day than Wed when we tried before. Today, a balmy 50 or so, Wed, a bitterly cold below freezing.

A started off holding on to the wall for dear life:

M, meanwhile, was looking in good form.

By now, A is starting to let go of the wall and trust himself. This is the only picture I could manage to get with both kids in it and not a lot of other people.

A is having a good time - and the wall is nowhere near!
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M got a picture of me. It took 2 tries as someone skated in front of me the first time.

At one point, they cleared everyone off the ice to work on the ice. Unfortunately, they didn't use the zamboni. Instead they had about 5 people out there with snow shovels, shoveling up the ice shavings.
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It was fun, even if M did whack me on the shin with the back of his skate blade (he was trying to skate with me and we got out of sync - instead of letting go, somehow I got sliced).

A still does a bit more "walking" on skates than gliding, but he was staying upright (for the most part) and having fun.

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Slipper Problem

Both kids got new slippers for Christmas. Moccasin type, not the cartoon creatures they usually have. In M's case, adult slippers were the only option. Do you know how hard it is to find slippers in a men's 6? I checked several stores that were puzzled by my request. They seemed to carry slippers in boys up to about a 4 and then started again at about a men's 8. I realize kids feet grow quickly in that time span, but do they really think they all whiz through those sizes in summer?? M clearly is not.

So, M has some very nice brown fuzzy moc slippers with tread bottoms. That seems to be the problem - the tread or the non-characteryness of the slippers leads him to forget he has on slippers. Last week he wore his slippers to the eye dr, RadioShack and Target (all one trip). Not too big a deal.

Today, however, he forgot he was wearing his slippers when we were heading into town to go ice skating. The slippers, though, weren't the problem - the lack of socks was. big problem. We had gotten to within a couple of blocks of the ice rink when M discovered the slippers and lack of socks. We had to turn around and come back home. No socks, no skating.

We did not go back out to go skating. For which M was terribly disappointed. Falling down disappointed. Trying to bribe me disappointed. $10. Might have been tempting, but it was the principle. And the COLD. It never broke freezing here today and there were 15-20 mile winds. BRRRR. I told the kids we would try again, perhaps this weekend when it is supposed to be low 50's.

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Christmas bags

My handiwork from the last several days...

As you can see, I had lots of "help" from Miss Pounce. Luckily for me, she wasn't always quite this helpful.

I made a dozen gift bags for my mom. We had both bought fabric for gift bags at an 80% off sale after Christmas several years ago, but she hadn't ever gotten around to making the bags (mostly since she doesn't have a sewing machine anymore). So, in the calm after Christmas, I volunteered to make some up into bags for her - perhaps in exchange for some of her help in one of my projects later. I made them in a variety of sizes. Surprisingly, the small ones take longer to make than the larger ones. The whole batch of them took 2-3 hours total.

I did make a few birthday type bags for us too - as a certain someone's birthday is approaching at the end of this month.
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