Friday, June 25, 2010

First Day of Summer Vacation!

1. For some reason, unbeknownst to me, Miranda dressed herself this morning in her snow boots and coat. It's going to be at least 90 degrees this afternoon. Alex is also dressed for winter. I have yet to persuade either child, when I tell them to dress themselves, that the seasons have changed. Unless, of course, it's time to put their bathing suits on to go swim in the pool. On Wednesday, Alex was so tired from our day at the beach on Tuesday that he refused to swim. Poor Miranda was in her bathing suit for more than an hour, importuning him, with no result. (If I'm going to make the effort to get them ready for the pool and sit outside with them, it's got to be for both kids. Otherwise, it's just not worth it.)

2. I reread Dorothy L. Sayers' Gaudy Night and Busman's Honeymoon this week. Perfect novels for sitting in the shade while the children swim. When I first read Gaudy Night as a senior in High School, I was convinced that my fondest dream--which, at that point, was to be a writer of fiction--was impossible and I should start looking for another career. While I was doing my undergraduate work, I intended to become a college professor. In fact, we first moved to New Jersey to give me a wider array of options for graduate school. Life, however, went in a different direction. But it's not over yet! Every time I think again about continuing my education, I remember that thing called "homework." Ewww. Maybe, someday, but not right now.

3. Alex is managing to stay dry at night almost every night. He seems to have an accident about once a week, which is amazing and we're really happy with his progress. He already earned a new flashlight for his first 10 days of dryness. He is now trying to go another 7 to earn a new book. He would actually go with me to the store and pick it out; that would be a new adventure. Since this morning he was wet, I decided it was a good enough time to wash everyone's sheets.

4. I leave for San Diego a week from tomorrow! We are still trying to figure out how to explain to the kids where I'm going since I've never been away from them more than 3 nights. My mother has suggested getting Skype video casting (or whatever it's called) so the kids can see me (or Grandma or Grandpa or whomever) when they talk to me. Marshall is presently working on it.

5. Not much stitching this week; I was too busy reading. I expect to be able to finish Page 4 before I leave, though, and plan to take it with me, though not on the plane. To difficult to manage without scissors.

6. Marshall did finish the repairs to the Super Beetle and spent last weekend in CT with his friend at the VW show. They had a marvelous time and came home tired but happy. My thanks to Ashley, Ben and Jen for helping me get through the weekend by playing with my kids when I went out or rested.

7. I am dreadfully behind on the grocery shopping. End of the school year parties and our beach adventure on Tuesday took up most of the week so I will need to spend the weekend taking stock of things so that I have all the crucial items purchased before I leave so Marshall isn't stuck running my errands while I'm away. Thankfully, Julia Koerwer has agreed to be here in the afternoons next week and the week after, so that I will have help getting ready and Marshall won't be overwhelmed with child care 24/7 for the entire week I'm gone.

And here's Jen.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Summer Movie Update #2

Summer Movie Planning Update: here's the list I made in March, with continuing comments:

March 12
Green Zone (never managed to see it-we were too sick to go out when my folks were visiting for Easter; waiting for video)
April 2
Clash of the Titans (poor reviews; may see it on video)
April 23
The Losers (saw it by myself and really liked it)
May 7
Iron Man 2 (loved it!)
May 14
Robin Hood (it has received poor reviews so we do not plan to see it)
May 28
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (went to see it by myself and enjoyed it more than I expected to)
June 11
The A-Team (we saw it together and while I liked it, I think I liked The Losers better)

Here's my up and coming list of movies to plan for:

June 18
Toy Story 3 (don't have a plan yet of when to see it, but still intend to, especially because of the rave reviews)
June 23
Knight & Day (the trailers for this look like a lot of fun)
July 14
The Sorcerer's Apprentice (the trailer is starting to win me over)
July 16
Inception (it would take universally scorning reviews to keep us from this)
November 19
Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows (Part 1) (trailer finally premiered last week)
December 10
The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader (trailer premiered this week)
December 17
Tron: Legacy (this trailer, which aired in front of Prince of Persia, really looks awesome on the big screen)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Another Clean Friday

1. The woman who cleans my house called Tuesday night to say she was free Thursday (she fits me in whenever she has time) so her crew arrived yesterday afternoon about 1:30 so by swimming time (3:30 pm after Alex gets off the bus) the house was spotless. Except of course for the growing pile of paper that's been sent home by Alex's teacher that I can't quite force myself to put in the recycle bin but don't have room to store either. It's been on the dining room table for at least 2 weeks. Now it's on the floor in the front room. One of these days I will have to come to a decision about it, or enough people will trip over it that the majority of it will be destroyed and have to be recycled.

2. The Super Beetle's engine is running again, which didn't happen until last night, even though Marshall is supposed to be leaving tomorrow at noon with his friend for a camping trip and VW show in CT. So many people are praying for this car, it feels a little silly, but my dear husband has worked so hard, I want to see him sail off in it tomorrow. Besides, aren't we always telling our children in Sunday school that God cares about what we care about, so pray about what is on your heart? Well, this engine restoration has been on our hearts for lo, these many weeks, so every prayer is welcome.

3. Alex has been dry all but 3 nights out of 14, so he earned a new flashlight on Monday night. Happy boy, happy parents.

4. Today is the last regular day of school. On Monday afternoon, I will go in to Alex's classroom for his end of the school year party. Tuesday I'm taking both children out of school for a day at the beach with Mimi and Aunt Leah and the cousins. Wednesday is Miranda's last day and end of the year party and then Thursday, Alex has a half day and Miranda has no school at all. Silly snow days.

5. I have really been stitching at a furious rate (for me, anyway), so here is a new progress picture for you:

I have reached the top right corner, which means, if the design is 20 pages long and I'm working on page 4, I'm almost 1/5 done, right? Anyway, it feels good that it's really starting to look like something. Something pretty, that is.

6. Only 2 weeks until I leave for a week's vacation ALL BY MYSELF in California with my family for my brother's wedding. I am seriously counting down the days.

7. I finally got up enough nerve to start watching The Wire. I've been hearing for years that it's the best series on television, ever, but knew that it would require an emotional investment that I was afraid to make. Well, I'm halfway through the first season and everything the reviewers said is right. What surprises me (although it shouldn't) is how reflective it's made me about my own personal politics. I don't really fit in a straightforward box of liberal or conservative (I like to joke I can't afford to be a conservative with two special needs kids because I depend upon the state to provide services for them) but I understand better the traditional conservative's mistrust of large bureaucracies since any large structure made up of human beings is going to be broken. Once again, there are no easy fixes in this life and we are all dependent on God's grace to survive.

Bonus 8: I ran outside after the downpour we had on Sunday and took pictures of my flowers. They look at lot like last year's, but they're still pretty. See them here.

And here's Jen.

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Cool Summer Friday

1. The weather has been cool and lovely for most of the week (except Wednesday, when it rained all day) which has been great in all ways except for swimming. Alex tried to swim yesterday and just couldn't stand the cold, poor thing.

2. Wednesday night I was able to get a sitter and meet Marshall at church for a leadership meeting and then we went out for a beer to celebrate his birthday. We are also going out tomorrow night for dinner and a movie (The A-Team!). Since his birthday, Father's Day and our anniversary are all within 2 weeks of each other and I'm feeling celebratory, I've organized these multiple events. I also haven't had much time to talk to him of late since he's been working on the car every available moment, so I'm enjoying the time just with him and no other distractions.

3. The car is still unfinished although Marshall does get closer to the finish line every day. Say a prayer for us all.

4. The church yard sale is tomorrow so I've been gathering toys and other stuff I want to get rid of and packed them into the back of my car. Marshall will take them to church tonight and see if he can find us a new easy chair for the living room. Our kids have pulled out about half of the stuffing of our current chair and I expect the springs to go any day now.

5. Alex, collector of animals--alive and dead--found a dead juvenile rabbit last night in the backyard. I have been doing sweeps of the yard when we go outside to play ever since the bird incidents but apparently, I missed this one. I did find a dead mole earlier in the week. Ugh.

6. My cross stitch is really coming along. While stitching in the last week, I've watched all of last season's episodes of The Closer and am now working on a marathon of all 4 series of Lewis. Here is an updated photo and here's a reminder of what it will look like when finished:

7. Our Internet service is finally fixed. Bless my husband who spent hours hassling Verizon last week to get it fixed.

Bonus 8. Our regular schedule of Youth Group meetings finished last Sunday night with a picnic in the park. In order to keep in touch with all the students I've spent the last 9 months building relationships with, I've started a summer postcard campaign. Which means every morning I sit down and write postcards to 2 of our young ladies (3 on Fridays and Saturdays to make up for no mail on Sunday). My plan is to send cards to all of them the week I'm in California, which may mean I spend most of my plane ride home writing since there are 35 students on my list, but I'm enjoying myself. Of course, my style is very much stream-of-consciousness so I might write about anything from Alex's latest adventure to how much laundry I did today. Still, it seems a worthwhile endeavor.

And here's Jen.

Friday, June 4, 2010

First Summer Friday

I know, I know, officially, summer doesn't start until the solstice. But the weather is warm and the children started swimming in the pool yesterday, so that means it's summer here.

1. Yesterday was a trifecta of unhappiness. I woke up with a summer cold (which is thankfully abating today), we received a large packet of papers from the IRS that said we significantly underpaid our taxes in 2008 (I checked and they're right--we accidentally under-reported our income for 2008--which makes it a very expensive typo), and Maytag released a large list of dishwashers whose heating elements have been recalled because they keep catching on fire and ours is on the list. The good news is, after spending quite a while on the phone with Maytag, I was able to schedule a repairman to come and replace the heating element this afternoon. So I am anxiously waiting for the phone to ring which will mean the repair man is on his way here.

2. As I mentioned above, the children were able to swim for the first time yesterday. Marshall started setting up the pool on Monday and had enough of it assembled for the children to swim happily yesterday. The water should have been freezing, but they still swam for an hour before I pulled them out to eat dinner. For the first time, Miranda (with her flotation device) got right in and started paddling. Usually, she hangs onto the ladder for at least a week.

3. Miranda used the potty several times at school this week. Now, she has yet to duplicate the behavior at home, but it's a start.

4. Also on the potty front, Alex went dry all last night with no pull-up. We have hopes of this becoming a habit.

5. Even 18 hours without a dishwasher I can use is annoying. The sink is full of dirty dishes. Of course, I could have washed them by hand, but when it's going to be fixed today, it does seem like a waste of effort. :)

6. Miranda's sleeping habits are still off. Tuesday morning she did her 4 am wake up and didn't nap and went to bed crying pathetically. Last night, of course, she was up from midnight until 2 am, thinking it was morning, wanting breakfast and for us to play with her. Thankfully, she did go back to sleep eventually. And so did I.

7. Marshall is still hard at work on his Super Beetle. He didn't manage to have it done in time for the show in Virginia last Sunday but he decided to attend the show anyway and made some great connections with other VW fans.

Bonus 8. Marshall has spent several hours on the phone with Verizon this week and our internet connectivity is still not improved. If we can't find a solution soon, we may have to (gulp of dread) return to Comcast. Dang.

Extra Bonus 9. My calla lilies are in gorgeous bloom. I have so many this year, there are plenty to share. Come by and pick a few. I do have a few photos of last years flowers here. And last year's irises are here.

And here's Jen.