Saturday, December 31, 2011

Scrambled Brain

1. Since I continue to spend most of my time sitting around with my foot up (when I'm not being tormented by the Physical Therapists at Strive Physical Therapy in Marlton), I continue to play numerous games of Words with Friends on Facebook. The tally at the moment is 20 games open, 10 games finished in the last 4 days, which include 1 win, 1 tie and the other 8 losses. But I've never played Scrabble before, so I'm learning.

2. We have been working hard Marshall has been working hard on our Christmas letter for 2011 and you can read it right here.

3. Marshall bought a new hard drive for Borg (our DVR/server for all our video and audio data) over the weekend and was able to get it working again on Monday morning. I think Miranda watched Nick Jr., as live television (which is unusual for us) from 11 am until 7 pm. Yes, we are tv addicts. But we only watch good television, like Doctor Who and The Backyardigans. Yeah, yeah; excuses, excuses.

4. I hope to have my year end review of movies and preview of the best 2012 has to offer sometime in the next week.

5. We are making the switch to Comcast Digital television and phone on Monday, throwing Vonage and Directv by the wayside and getting a serious visual upgrade. We got a great deal from this very kind and immensely persuasive Comcast salesman who was going by, knocking on doors. If you want his name, let me know.

6. We enjoyed company for dinner on Tuesday night. The Baumann brothers 3 along with Kate White came over for roast beast, bringing with them cherry pie and lots of laughter. A good time was had by all.

7. I was able to persuade Marshall to watch Doctor Who some with me on Wednesday night, so we're finally now at the half-way point in Series 6. We might actually be caught up again before Series 7 starts in late 2012.

And here's Jen.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Technological Carnage

1. So the latest crisis is that our wonderful, magnificent, does-everything-in-the-universe-home-made DVR exploded early yesterday morning (about 1 am). On the day before the children are off from school and home for vacation, we have no access to any of our videos, recordings or even live TV. Almost a terrabyte of data is inaccessible and may be completely gone. Needless to say, we are a little down about this.

We do have a lot of DVD's in the shed that can be brought inside and I'm sure I can find the DVD drive that's somewhere in the laundry room and hook it up to a laptop or two so we can watch a few movies (currently, my mother's laptop is serving as a DVD player for Miranda) but this is a little disheartening. The crises are starting to stack up on each other; we don't quite have a chance to recover from one when the next one knocks us flat.

So, on this weekend of Christmas when we're supposed to be celebrating the birth of Christ and enjoying our time with family, Marshall will be trying to resurrect Borg (the name of the server) and I will be trying to help while distracting the children. If you think of us, pray for patience and that new hardware and software will speed up the process considerably.

2. On a lighter note, I have started playing Words with Friends on Facebook. Apparently, I'm having a hard time amusing myself in the evening hours without all those television shows to watch so I have opened 12 different games, at present, looking for someone to help me pass the time and do something slightly intellectual. Of course, I'm also working my way through all the FreeCell games, starting at 1 and am now on game #530. I haven't beat all of them without help, though. Apparently, someone has the time to post all of the solutions to every single FreeCell game online. And I thought I had too much free time.

3. I picked up a great book at the library this week and read the first half on Wednesday night, Flirting with Pride & Prejudice: Fresh Perspectives on the Original Chick Lit Masterpiece, edited by Jennifer Crusie and Glenn Yeffeth. It's just scholarly enough to be interesting without being dry and boring.

4. There were a whole bunch of new movie trailers released this week, and all of them look good:

5. Somehow, in the next few weeks, I would really like to go to the movies, but with my sprained ankle, the most uncomfortable position is sitting. I need to have my leg extended and my foot up to be comfortable. I would prefer not to wait for video for all of these:
No Dragon tattoos for me; I watched the Swedish movie earlier this year and that was a enough Stieg Larsson-induced trauma for my life, thank you very much.

6. If you have access to a television tonight, and the BBC America channel, you can watch the debut of my favorite Radio Show, Wait Wait Don't Tell Me. I'm sure I will find a way to watch it online over the weekend, somehow.

7. I have pretty much been in a bad mood since I sprained my ankle. Even though my physical therapist told me on Wednesday that I am making good progress with my ankle, driving is still pretty painful, so I'm planning not to do that all weekend. It feels like a catastrophe avalanche on our household. So, please, pray for us and pray especially for my attitude. I've not been the best person to be around lately.

And here's Jen. Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 16, 2011

I Have No Pithy Title in Mind Except, "Ow"

1. So I went to see the doctor last Saturday morning to have my ankle looked at and he very correctly diagnosed a small tear in my Achilles and sent me off for Physical Therapy. And no driving. So I have now spent most of the last 10 days lying around with my foot up, feeling silly. I mean, what kind of stay at home mother spends most of her day sitting around and not doing the cooking, the cleaning, the laundry, etc. Certainly, we've had plenty of help and meals cooked by friends and such but I'm going to be in PT for 6-12 weeks, healing slowly. And driving only occasionally and carefully. This was not how I was planning to spend my winter. Especially with a husband still recovering from shoulder surgery. Whine, whine, whine!

2. At least I'm getting caught up on my reading. In the last 2 weeks, I've read The Lost Hero and The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan and am now anxiously awaiting the next books in both of his series; his cliff-hangers are just cruel. I also went to the library yesterday and picked up 4 short novels by Jennifer Cruisie (Getting Rid of Bradley, Strange Bedpersons, The Cinderella Deal and Anyone But You) and I've finished all the the last half of the last book.

3. I've also been working my way through the DVR. At the beginning of the week, I had 13 episodes of The Mentalist to watch and now I have that almost by half. I've also watched the first 3 episodes of Torchwood: Miracle Day and don't hate it enough to completely throw it away, yet, but I'm close. Rex is such an unsympathetic character; it's like the writers are trying to recreate Owen from the first season but they forgot all the clever ways they made Owen fascinating and impossible to hate. And I miss Ianto more than I thought I would. The Americanization of Torchwood has not impressed me. But it was certainly profitable for its creators.

4.I found this fascinating article on Hitfix last week, by Drew McWeeny who I loved to read on AintitCool for years. He writes about how dramatically our era's movies are influenced by the world of fan fiction.

5. I'm going to spend most of the time in the next week that I'm not reclining with the foot in the air making and parceling out fudge, which we gives to teachers, aides, church buddies and neighbors. When you count up the number of people who work with our children, it's a lot of fudge. At least 20 lbs worth. Still, it's a good way to say thank you to the many people without whose help we wouldn't survive.

6. I like my Physical Therapist and his office and staff. It's a fun kind of place. Of course, the exercises they invent for me are a lot harder than they look, but it is a pleasant place. So, if you are in need, Strive Physical Therapy in Marlton gets my seal of approval. With their help, I am determined to get better, because all this sitting around, when I don't want to, is just ridiculous!

7. All those movies I was going to see this month? Yeah, I don't expect that to happen. I can't sit anywhere comfortably without having my leg extended and my foot up, which just won't work for a movie theatre. Ah, dang.

And here's Jen.

Friday, December 9, 2011

But the Week Was Going So Well....

"One woe doth tread upon another's heel, / So fast they follow" Hamlet IV.vii.180-1

1. The week was going so well, Marshall was recovering nicely, things were starting to get back to normal when I slipped on the kitchen floor on Tuesday afternoon and twisted my ankle. My right ankle, the one I need for driving! It seems to be my Achilles tendon and it feels just fine as long as it's wrapped up and I'm lying around, doing nothing. In case you're forgotten, my husband had shoulder surgery last week so he can't drive either and I have to youngish, high maintenance children and it's December! I have been Big Miss Grumpy Pants ever since. (Miranda is Little Miss Grumpy Pants, on a bad day, so it seems only fitting that I should be a bigger version.)

2. So I ditched the last session of Bible study Wednesday morning, my YMT meeting Wednesday night but made it to a MOPS DGL meeting at church this morning because my aunt drove me to and from. This is already extremely annoying. I am the kind of person who does things and runs errands and gets all kinds of things together (like the 3 million plates of fudge I need to start giving out next week to all of Alex and Miranda's numerous helpers at church and school) and I can't do any of it. It's made me really not fun to be with the last couple of days. Thankfully, Marshall is a patient person.

3. Marshall is doing tremendously better. The weekend was tough but he did start feeling better in leaps and bounds after that. Thank you for your prayers.

4. And he thinks he's found a replacement car in Passaic, NJ, which is more than an hour north of us. He went to see it yesterday and if the dealership fix a couple of problems with it, he plans to purchase it next week.

5. The children are having a tough week as well, so it's been good that my aunt's been here since Wednesday. Alex dropped the old iPhone that was serving as a game console for him on Monday morning and shattered the screen which means it's dead, permanently, and he's having a hard time coping with the consequences of his actions. We plan to replace it at Christmas, thanks to my parents, with another old iPhone, but still, disappointment and frustration and anxiety bubbled up out of him Tuesday night and he went on a rampage; it took Marshall about an hour to calm him down again. Poor woozle. Sometimes life is just hard and coping with our feelings is difficult.

Miranda's been in trouble in her class like 5 days out of 6 now so we're drawing up a new plan of incentives for her. Her teacher is just awesome and has a plan, bless her.

6. Dirty Jobs is back next week! Mike Rowe is one of those people I'd really love to invite over for dinner or to stay with us for a week. He's just cool. Really cool.

7. Our life, for 2011, has been living one crisis to the next and I really want it to end! Nice, boring, catch up time. I mean, the piles of stuff in my bedroom are getting ridiculous! I thought these were the things I'd be doing with my mom after she arrived last month, not just another crisis on top of the last 10 that we have to try not to drown in, again!. I was back to my favorite song of a couple of years ago, "Work" by Jars of Clay: "I have no fear of drowning / It's the breathing that's taking all this work." 

Okay, enough whining. I need to go write Christmas cards, something I can do SITTING DOWN. Here's Jen.

Friday, December 2, 2011

When In Doubt, Quote from The Princess Bride

1. This is the passage I'm thinking of:
Fezzik:     How long do we have to wait, before if we know the miracle 

Inigo:      Your guess is as good as mine.

Westley:    I'll beat you two apart! I'll take you both together!

Fezzik:     I guess not very long.

Westley:    Why won't my arms move?

Fezzik:     You've been mostly dead all day.

Inigo:      We had Miracle Max make a pill to bring you back.

Westley:    Who are you? Are we enemies? Why am I on this wall? Where's 

Inigo:      Let me 'splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up. Buttercup 
            is marry Humperdinck in little less than half an hour, so all we 
            have to do is get in, break up the wedding, steal the princess, 
            make our escape, after I kill Count Rugen.

Westley:    That doesn't leave much time for dilly-dallying.

Fezzik:     You just wiggled your finger! That's wonderful!

Westley:    I've always been a quick healer. What are our liabilities?

Inigo:      There is but one working castle gate. And it is guarded by... 
            sixty men.

Westley:    And our assets?

Inigo:      Your brains, Fezzik's strength, my steel.

Westley:    That's it? Impossible. If I had a month to plan, maybe I could 
            come up with something, but this...

Fezzik:     You just shook your head! That doesn't make you happy?

Westley:    My brains, your strength, and his steel against sixty men, and 
            you think a little head jiggle is supposed to make me happy? 
            Hmmmm? I mean, if we only had a wheelbarrow, that would be 

Inigo:      Where did we put that wheelbarrow the albino had?

Fezzik:     With the albino, I think.

Westley:    Why didn't you list that among our assets in the first place? 
            What I wouldn't give for a holocaust cloak.

Inigo:      There we cannot help you.

Fezzik:     Would this do?

Inigo:      Where did you get that?

Fezzik:     At Miracle Max's. It fit so nice, he said I could keep it.

Westley:    All right, all right. Come on, help me up. Now I'll need a 
            sword eventually.

Inigo:      Why? You can't even lift one.

Westley:    True, but that's hardly common knowledge, is it? Thank you. 
            Now, there may be problems once we're inside.

Inigo:      I'll say. Namely, how do I find the Count? Once I do, how 
            do I find you again? Once I find you again, how do I escape?

Fezzik:     Don't pester him. He's had a hard day.

Inigo:      Right. Right. Sorry.

I could go on but then we'd all have to just sit down and watch the movie again. Suffice to say, it was a busy week. I will do my best to summarize sufficiently for those of my readers who haven't seen the daily updates on Facebook or haven't been otherwise informed.

2. So, the surgery to repair Marshall's shattered clavicle was on Wednesday. The orthopedic office we were referred to by the hospital was closed for Thanksgiving and the day after last week, so when we finally got in touch with them on Monday, they had to order blood work and an EKG to be done Tuesday morning so the surgery could be scheduled Wednesday.

3. On Monday, the pain medication that Marshall had been prescribed finally started making him sick, so he gave up on that and switched to over the counter stuff until the surgery, being sure that his doctor prescribed something else for afterwards. Keeping all these pills and dosages and times to take them straight has been my job. Now I know why I never went into nursing. (Well, the fact that I faint--really and truly faint--at the sight of blood doesn't help, either.)

4. God has been helping me to get things done ahead of time. I had all my Thanksgiving cards done and in the mail two days before the accident. I finished all of the December birthday cards for YG in mid-November. I raked leaves on Sunday after church, not knowing the pick-up would be two days ago (our township doesn't always notify our neighborhood of when to expect them; they just show up and start removing whatever leaves they find near the curb). And God has been reminding me of all the things that still need doing, emails to write, cards to send, clothes to wash.

5. Wednesday would not have been possible without the help of our parents. Marshall's mother accompanied me to the surgical center and waited with me, for 8 hours, until they released him. (We arrived at the office at 10 am, as instructed, and the surgery started about 1 pm; he was in recovery after 4.) She kept Marshall's father in the loop by phone and he informed other family members of our progress. My parents took charge of the kids, put Miranda on the bus and got both of them off, as well as preparing dinner for us. Then they put the kids to bed while I ran out to the pharmacy for Marshall's meds, which took forever to fill. Yeah, I know, everyone's fussy about narcotics now.

6. Since then I've been keeping Marshall fed and medicated, helped him readjust his apparatus and continued to put ice in his cryo shoulder pad cooler (I can't find an appropriate picture, sorry, but the thing eats 20 lbs of ice a day, keeping cool water continuously moving over his shoulder which reduces the swelling and speeds up the healing process). Like an infant, he gets me up twice in the middle of the night for a snack and more ice, but I've been able to go back to sleep afterwards. He hasn't slept much since the surgery, but hopefully that will change this weekend.

7. We still haven't found a replacement car for him, though. He usually takes several months to research and settle on a new (used) car and compressing the process into a much shorter amount of time is a little stressful on both of us. I'm sure I'll be test driving several cars for him next week (something he knows I hate doing, but we don't have other options) because we need it like yesterday.

Bonus 8. I know many of you have been praying for us every since his accident 10 days ago--thank you! Without your prayers, I don't think we could have coped. Please keep praying for a reduction in Marshall's pain, for finding a new car and for the kids, who, so far, are coping remarkable well. Poor Alex, though, can sense things are just wrong and he doesn't like it. Miranda understands a lot better what's happening, but Alex can just feel the stress in the air and it upset him. Having my parents here and my aunt and uncle (who are visiting for a couple of days) has helped tremendously.

About a month ago, Marshall and I were reflecting on our year and he said everyone gets a pass for 2011. Like 2006 (the year Alex was diagnosed with autism and Miranda was born), it's been one hard thing after another and we just want to see the end of it and start fresh. Now that's doubly true.

And here's Jen

Friday, November 25, 2011

Sometimes, Life Takes A Sharp Left Turn

1. If you missed all the excitement on FB or email on Tuesday, my husband was in a single-car accident about 11 am which totaled the car and sent him to the hospital with a broken left clavicle. The roads were wet, he was coming around a corner on an exit ramp he's used a thousand times and this time, it was probably a little too fast and he lost control of the car and swung around into a lamp post. My father was meeting him at the shopping center where he exited so was on scene almost immediately. Seeing the Marshall was seriously injured, my father helped my husband out of the smashed car and into my father's Rav and took him straight to the hospital.

I have since discovered that this is not the way things are supposed to happen in NJ. If you are in any kind of accident, you are supposed to call the police first, be cared for in an ambulance, etc. By not doing things in the proper order, we have had some other problems (no police report, difficulty finding someone to take the totaled car, etc.), but I cannot fault my father for thinking of Marshall's health and well-being first. It's just so wonderful to live in New Jersey, where bureaucracy follows you everywhere with a proper procedure to follow in all emergencies!

2. Marshall had x-rays and a head CT scan at the ER in the brand new Virtua Voorhees hospital (where you can get lost in the parking lot, the new campus is so big) and the result is a left clavicle in 4 or more pieces. Apparently, the hospital doesn't deal with things as minor as this and sends you off to an orthopedic specialist for a consult and, perhaps, an out-patient repair surgery, which we anticipate having on Tuesday, November 29.

3. My mother-in-law, who I've raved about before here, is a CMA and very calm and helpful in medical environments, so she's the one I requested take me to the hospital to see my poor husband on Tuesday and who I plan to take with us for his surgery next Tuesday.

4. We do have good insurance. There's a lot of paper work and claim numbers and names and phone numbers I have scribbled down on scraps of paper in my voluminous purse (that still has 2 screw drivers and a wrench in it to make sure I could get the license plates off of the totaled car before I signed it over to the man from the salvage yard) that I keep referring to when I need to, but so far, all we've had to shell out for is our $30.00 co-pay for the orthopedist. I'm sure we will have other costs when they remind me what our deductibles might be, but I am grateful to set those worries aside as Marshall is frantically trying to find another car for him to drive himself to work, in several weeks, when he is able to go back to work.

5. Speaking of his job, please be praying that all the details concerning that will work out. He will have to go onto temporary disability and miss a yet undecided number of weeks of work, which means he will still get a paycheck, but this causes other problems. Not to mention they fact that he's not there to help with the overwhelming amount of work his group already has to do every day. It is my prayer that his co-workers will have compassion for him instead of complaining about his absence because that absence causes more work for them. Mercy for all, Lord Jesus.

6. Yes, Thanksgiving was yesterday and we hosted my parents, Marshall's parents and our good friends, the Olson's and everyone had a lovely time and the food was excellent. Marshall was able to sit with us at the table and eat and enjoy the company, before retiring back to bed to rest his shoulder. But I am sure my thankful spirit was muted by concerns for my husband.

7. The next few weeks will take us into uncharted territory. Miranda seems to have a grasp of what happened to Daddy but Alex keeps having to be reminded about why Daddy can't sit with him or put him to bed. I am functioning, kind of, as a single parent, although I have my parents and Marshall's to help, as well as many other friends.

When Marshall asked me yesterday what kind of car I wanted him to replace his daily driver with, my answer was something along the lines of an urban assault vehicle, which would protect him on all sides from all kinds of danger, supposedly. It's not practical, because we need something with good gas mileage, but that's what sounds good to me. I'm sure I'll get over it, eventually.

And here's Jen.

Friday, November 18, 2011

In the Eye of the Storm

1. So my parents' move-in day was moved up to tomorrow from Monday so they are already on their way here. My mother called about 7:30 Eastern time to say they'd reached Indiana. Apparently, they couldn't sleep last night so they left Madison at 3 am local time and expect to arrive sometime today or early tomorrow morning. And I have a long list of things I should be doing in preparation for their arrival but I can't seem to focus BECAUSE THEY'RE ALMOST HERE!

2. Also, because I'm crazy happy that my parents will be here, I volunteered to host Thanksgiving for 8 adults and 4 children next week, including both sets of parents. I think we will be having 3 different kinds of vegetables, in addition to yams, just so everyone will be happy and not forced to eat something they don't want. We may be skipping the stuffing entirely, though, because so many of the guests are eating low-carb. diets. I was never a big fan of it anyway; I'd much rather expend my calories on mashed potatoes.

3. Surely I must have done something else with my week? Saturday I worked on Thanksgiving cards. Sunday was church, raking pine needles, YG and the movie. On Monday, Miranda stayed home because she was too tired to go to school (she went back to bed at 10:30 am and didn't move for 3 hours). Tuesday was MOPS, a trip to the library and then I sat down at read Jim Butcher's Side Jobs cover to cover. Wednesday was Bible study, my visit to Miranda's class while Mimi went and visited Alex's class for American Education Week and making Baylis bars for Marshall to take to work Thursday. Last night was our parent-teacher conference with Miranda's teacher, case manager and speech therapist, followed by dinner out with a friend. And now it's Friday morning. Quick week.

4. We had a great conference last night with Miranda's teaching team. We were all agreed about what continue to be her challenges in the classroom but pleased with the progress from a year ago. We also agreed that even though she's been given the label of autism, she remains incredible difficult to classify, even though the teaching plan would've remained the same, regardless of her label. Where she will be placed next year for kindergarten depends on how much she learns this year and how she does in the extensive in-house evaluations the school staff will do as a part of Kindergarten Roundup in February. I am not looking forward to the paperwork; it's quite a pile. But we feel very secure that she is in the best place possible, continuing to learn at a good pace. In some ways, we just have to wait for her brain to grow to see where we go next. Early childhood development is hardly a path you travel in a straight line, although this sometimes feels like we're stuck in a game of Frogger.

5. I am not a Twilight fan. I did manage to sit through the first movie, but gave up after that. I do still read the movie reviews, though, because they make me laugh, like this one from Drew McWeeny of Hitfix, formerly known as Moriarty of Ain't It Cool.

6. If you missed this from my FB page, I'm posting it here: an excellent interview with Joss Whedon about his Much Ado About Nothing movie that comes out next spring. I'm actually considering a plan of seeing the movie once a week, when it arrives in theatres. I haven't done that since I was 17 and the movie was Newsies. Now if I could just get a hold of a copy of David Tennant's performance in the same play from the London stage last summer, life would be complete.

7. You can still order a copy of The Circle of the Seasons: Meeting God in the Church Year, written by my dear friend, Kimberlee Conway Ireton, from her web page here. And if you want a copy of my mother's book, you can ask her for it in person, sometime next week! (It might take her a few days to find the right box of books.)

And here's Jen.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Monday Movie Update

So, I decided to do a movie update this afternoon because I have a huge pile of laundry that needs folding and I've so lost my love for laundry (thank you, bed bugs). Not that I was ever very fond of the folding and putting it all away part. But I did go and see Immortals last night after Youth Group; perhaps that's my motivation. Or, at least, a better excuse.

2011 Movies

January 14
Green Hornet (I actually tried to watch this on DVD, but it was so horrible, I turned it off. I made the horrific mistake of watching the original series in its entirety first, which is decent if a little campy. Like The Avengers movie made years ago, this film seems to miss the point entirely. Ugh.)
April 1
Source Code (Marshall and I were able to go out and see this while my parents were here in April--free babysitting!--and we really liked it. Not as amazing as Moon, but still very good.)
April 29
Fast Five (So much fun! Ridiculous fun, even Rotten Tomatoes gave it an excellent rating. However, you should still listen to the people at How Did This Get Made make fun of it here.)
May 6
Thor (I enjoyed it, but mostly for the actors themselves, especially Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston, and, of course, Idris Elba. I did not like Natalie Portman as Jane. I have watched all of Wallander and while he is one of the main characters, Hiddleston didn't seem like anything special in it. But in this, he was fascinating. And, after seeing Cappy and the preview for Avengers, I want to see Thor again, eventually)
June 3
X-Men: First Class (I enjoyed this, mostly because of Michael Fassbender.)
June 10
Super 8 (We were supposed to see this to celebrate Marshall's birthday, but we both got sick. Waiting for DVD.)
June 17
Green Lantern (I went to see it the weekend Harry opened. While I did like it, I think this review clearly lays out all of the film's problems.)
June 24
Cars 2 (So we bought the DVD last week when it was first available and so far, only Miranda has been able to sit through the whole thing. I have seen parts of the middle and the very end several times, but never all the way through. Which just means that, somehow, regardless of how enthralling he was in the first movie, Mater just doesn't work as a primary character for an entire movie.)
July 1
Transformers: Dark of the Moon (I saw it opening weekend and while I liked it, the movie was too long!)
July 15
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (We saw it while in San Diego on vacation and it was awesome and I did cry when Harry saw his parents in the woods and cheered for Neville, because he was awesome! I also liked several parts where the film departed from the novel, like when Harry confronted Snape in the Hogwarts main hall.)
July 20
Another Earth (This just looks interesting, but it might be on my "too sad to see" list. Since my home life with special needs children is rather involving, I rarely watch serious or sad movies. I just don't have the emotional energy to spare.)
July 22
Captain America: The First Avenger (It was a fun movie and Chris Evans was awesome, as I knew he would be after seeing him in The Losers and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. But the movie was too short; I wanted more and didn't want to wait until next summer.)
July 29
Cowboys & Aliens (James Bond and Indiana Jones on horseback, fighting aliens. What's not to like?!)
August 26
Colombiana (Never managed to get out and see it; life has been rather full lately.)
August 31
The Debt (I would like to see this, but it probably falls under the "too sad to see" label, as well.)
September 16
Drive (I would still like to see this.)
September 23
Moneyball (Loved it! Then went and watched the whole Ken Burns Baseball series.)
Abduction (The reviews were pretty terrible; maybe I'll catch it next year on video.)
Killer Elite (Still interested in this, if only for the cast.)
October 7
Real Steel (I am still hoping to see this, but would rather see Jackman in person on Broadway.)
The Ides of March (Occasionally, I do watch a serious movie, although I've yet to see Michael Clayton, even though I've heard it's excellent. This also got good reviews.)
October 21
The Three Musketeers (The reviews were extra horrible, but the steam-punk twist still looks interesting.)
October 28
Anonymous (As a fan of Shakespeare--although I turned off Shakespeare in Love after half an hour because I couldn't stand it--I might see this eventually. The reviews made it sound interesting.)
November 11
Immortals (It was visually sumptuous, the costumes breathtaking, even the violence super-stylized, but the plot had a few holes. Still, very pretty.)

Still Up coming:
November 23
The Muppets (Are there any bad Muppet movies? Actually, I haven't seen them all. The Great Muppet Caper is still my favorite, though.
December 16
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (the first one was fun, so perhaps this one will be, as well, though not as good as Sherlock.)
December 21
Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (directed by Brad Bird; end of story.)
December 23
The Adventures of Tintin (directed by Steven Spielberg and based on famous comics that I've never read; still, could be fun)

And that's all, folks!

Friday, November 11, 2011

What Do We Call It Now That We Can't Call It Indian Summer?

1. Or, according to Wikipedia, we still can, because, in the US, there isn't a better term for it, even though it's not exactly complimentary. Still, the beginning of this week was warm and sunny and when we went to the park on Wednesday, it was like September again, warm and comfortable. Of course, on the same day in Wisconsin where my parents were madly packing, it was snowing. Since Wednesday, it's been colder and more of the leaves have fallen and are making mini-hurricanes in the wind.

Why, you might wonder, am I writing about the weather? Well, it's Day Five of being home with my children (no school this week, thank you, Mt. Laurel) and I'm certain I've lost important brain cells in the last 5 days. Hopefully, function will be restored on Monday, but there are no guarantees.

2. Alex did not cope well with the change in schedule and all the accumulated stress. (I keep forgetting that he is like my brother, a stress barometer, and even though he cannot communicate how worried he is or how he's reading the fact that Marshall and I are very stressed, he still feels it.) So he had temper tantrums every day, Sunday - Wednesday, and it was like deja vu from earlier moments in his life. Except that now, in addition to stomping and screaming, he says things like "I want to break everything" and "Nobody likes me." Talk about the best way to break a parents' heart! He would eventually calm down and apologize, but I haven't asked a lot of him this week in order to head off, if possible, any additional explosions. Which means he's played Angry Birds for hours on end. I'm sure his teachers are going to love me on Monday when they shove him back into his regular school schedule and expect him to work hard in class, like he has been. This is one of those times that feels like there is no way to win; we're just choosing the least worst outcome. Ugh.

3. We did leave the house and do a few fun things this week. We went to get hair cuts for both kids on Monday and did a little grocery shopping beforehand. Both kids were very well behaved in the store, which I was grateful for. ShopRite doesn't have the open space that Costco or even Target have and so it's harder to keep them out of trouble there. Tuesday we went to the Adventure Aquarium in Camden (our yearly pass expires at the end of the month) with a HS student who is great with my kids. Wednesday we went to Laurel Acres. Thursday we made a trip to Target, for groceries and a new pair of headphones for Alex (Miranda has managed to break 3 pairs of his headphones days after we buy them). Later today I'm taking them to Chick Fil'A to play and then Mimi will come over before dinner to help us do some clean up. And then we will have reached that wonderful thing known as the weekend!

Miranda's reward for sitting still for her haircut.

Fun at the aquarium.

4. There are two girls who live across the street that we've been playing with lately. Yesterday afternoon, Miranda spent time with them planning to re-enact the story of the 3 little pigs. Here are their representations of the straw house, the stick house, and the brick house (they creatively used pine cones to stand in for bricks): 

Here they are in the brick house.

After making the houses, they came inside to make masks out of paper plates but it got dark before rehearsals could start, so they've postponed their performance until later in the week. It was amazingly adorable to watch.

5. I managed to finish Prohibition and, then, in 48 hours, get all caught up on Castle, 9 episodes in all. That really is a fun show. Of course, I haven't really cut down on the amount of video sitting on the DVR, just shifted it a little, because we are recording more every day! I have started the pilot of Grimm twice now and been interrupted twice, so I'm still only half-way through it. Considering how dark it is, I shouldn't have been surprised to see David Greenwalt's name under executive producer. I still haven't touched the backlog on at least half a dozen other shows.

6. I haven't started Pride & Prejudice and Zombies yet; just haven't had the energy. And who knows when I'll ever get back to Harry Dresden. My mother-in-law has almost finished the series, so at least someone is enjoying his adventures.

7. If you haven't yet bought a copy of my mother's book, Bathsheba's Lament, don't worry, she'll be here in 1 week with copies to sell to you! And if you missed The Circle of Seasons: Meeting God in the Church Year, written by my dear friend Kimberlee Conway Ireton, you're in luck, because she's trying to sell off her stockpile of copies, cheap. Read about it here. I just ordered 8 for my MOPS table ladies and may order more for our church book store.

Bonus 8. I'm hoping to sneak out sometime in the next few days and see this.

And here's Jen.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Conversations with God

1. Me: God, this time, really, I'm going to die. My house is a disaster. The stress Marshall is facing at work is completely off of the charts. I can't keep up with all the school stuff. I'm sure Miranda's teacher thinks I'm an idiot for all the emails I've sent her lately, apologizing for forgetting to do something important. And both children will be home all of next week (no school due to Teacher Inservice days, Election Day and the NJEA Convention). I'm just not going to make it.

God: You just need to hang in there a little bit longer. Your parents will be here in 2 more weeks. And your house cleaners will be here this afternoon. And my grace is always sufficient for you.
Me: (what I hear) Blah blah blah blah Your parents will be here in 2 more weeks blah blah blah blah grace blah blah.  
Me: (what I think) Two weeks feels like forever. I am so tired. Christ, please have mercy on me, and on my family.

Note to my readers: Yes, I know my parents are not actual superheroes and I have many family and friends already here in NJ who do help us, in a great many ways. But when I'm really struggling, all I can think is, "I want my mother!" 

2. So, life's been a little stressful around here lately, but we keep moving forward. I'm trying to write about thankfulness everyday on Facebook, although sometimes it's a struggle to think of something besides: "Well, I'm not dead yet" or "Marshall still has a job today" or "Miranda isn't wetting the bed every night." For my family and friends who read this blog and pray regularly for us, I am grateful for your prayers. Many days I believe that's all that's holding us upright.

3. We are trying to get a handle on Miranda's regular expressions of defiance with bribery, something we've used so successfully with Alex. She now has a chart on the refrigerator with items like "put socks and shoes away," "brushed her teeth," and "followed directions" and if she gets 10 stars, she earns a new book. There were several books she wanted on the most recent book order form from Scholastic that I wasn't willing to buy (they seemed the equivalent of cotton candy and I'd rather spend real money on worthwhile books) but we negotiated for this system so that she could earn them. She's only managed to get one star per day since we started earlier in the week, but that's still progress.

4. I did read Game of Shadows: Barry Bonds, BALCO, and the Steroids Scandal that Rocked Professional Sports by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams this week and really enjoyed it. Of course, it's made me a whole lot more cynical about watching the Olympics, and I will probably not look on professional sports with such naivete again. But not everyone can be doping, right?

For a change of pace, I picked up Pride & Prejudice & Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance - Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem! from the library yesterday. It will either be wonderfully entertaining or too gross to manage. I'm hoping for the latter, but I've never been a zombie fan.

5. I'm still loving Revenge, even as it's getting murkier. I had to dump Hawaii Five-0 off the DVR this week; I'd had enough of their cruelty and rule-breaking. I tried to watch the second episode of Hart of Dixie and turned it off in annoyance, so that show may be gone, too. I still haven't caught up on Castle, or even started Terra Nova, Grimm, or Once Upon a Time. Too many Gigs, too little energy.

6. Halloween was fun but I was so ready for November on Tuesday. With all the birthdays, costumes and parties, it was just one long month of excitement (for the children) and exhaustion (for the parents). Pictures of last weekend's festivities start here.

7. If you haven't yet bought a copy of my mother's book, Bathsheba's Lament, don't worry, she'll be here in 2 weeks with copies to sell to you! And if you missed The Circle of Seasons: Meeting God in the Church Year, written by my dear friend Kimberlee Conway Ireton, you're in luck, because she's trying to sell off her stockpile of copies, cheap. Read about it here. I just ordered 7 for my MOPS table ladies and may order more for our church book store.

And here's Jen.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

What, me thankful?

1. My coping mechanism with another tough week around here has been baseball, and more Baseball. So, not much different from last week. I did finish watching the Ken Burns series and liked it; I know a lot more about baseball than before, that's for sure. My favorite episodes were the ones talking about the Black Sox Scandal, Babe Ruth and Jackie Robinson. I even watched the "Tenth Inning" episode that was released last year but didn't like it as well as the original series; that may be because much of it dealt with 9/11 and the steroids scandals, and there's not a lot of happy things to be said about either of those subjects. I did decide to request from the library a book called Game of Shadows: Barry Bonds, BALCO, and the Steroids Scandal that Rocked Professional Sports by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams. I'm a history buff; I like to know what happened. And I'll bet nowhere in their book do they mention living with autism, so it counts as escapist reading.

I expect I will watch Burns' Prohibition series next, and maybe then Jazz, which Marshall might watch with me. I know The War is supposed to be excellent, but I don't think I could handle watching real people die. I've never watched all of Band of Brothers, as good as I know it is and as much as I love Damian Lewis, because it would make me cry. There's enough to cry about around here without adding entertainment to the list.

2. Like geography tests (things to cry about, that is.) Alex was scheduled to have his first classroom test ever this morning in his neurotypical second grade class and so I sat down with him Wednesday night to try to help him study. One look at the blank map of the world (continents and oceans) I had produced and he completely fell apart and had to be put to bed immediately with hugs and soothing stories from Daddy.

Yesterday, I communicated back and forth with his teacher (of the self-contained autistic class) to check and see what might be on the test and what he would be required to do. From her answers, I decided there was nothing I should mention to him about it and he probably knew all the answers anyway.

And I thought I was an anxious student. My poor, sweet boy, who seems to be Mr. Popular in this neurotypical second grade class (a little blonde girl has a crush on him), apparently needs no interference from me about his school work. But when I discussed it later with Marshall, I wondered what "regular" parents do. I mean, if Alex seriously could not sit and take this test, he would simple be excused from it. He is "classified" and it's not worth fighting him over it when doing so would create in him more anxiety than necessary. But neurotypical kids can have anxiety over exams. What do their parents say?

******************* Oops, got busy yesterday afternoon (actually, I stopped at the library before going to Alex's Halloween parade and party and picked up Naked City and read it, practically, cover to cover, because Jim Butcher and Patricia Briggs had new short stories in it) and didn't finish this until Saturday afternoon. Sorry. ************************

3. Since it's now Saturday, I can tell you that after talking with Alex's teacher and his primary aide, Miss Kathy, I learned that he did fine on the geography test. He was allowed to cut the titles out of a list (Pacific Ocean, Asia, Antarctica, etc.) and paste them in the appropriate places on the map. Phew!

4. When exactly did zombies go mainstream? On the Bubble Guppies Halloween episode, that premiered last Monday (I looked everywhere for the video but couldn't find it, sorry), one of the characters is dressed as a zombie. And this is a pre-school show! Zombies were even referenced on Wait Wait Don't Tell Me this week. (If you want to hear it, click on "Listen to the Full Show" and after the player launches, listen to the segment "Panel Round Two.") I guess it's time to request Pride and Prejudice and Zombies from the library at last and catch up on the latest serious movement sweeping the nation.

5. And, even though it's only October 29th, a combination of rain, snow and hail has been falling since early this morning and will continue all day. It was an interesting drive to church for the Fall Festival, let me tell you. Of course, though, since there was a Moonbounce there, I couldn't miss the event. My children would never forgive me.

Miranda is confused. "It's Fall and Winter at the same time," she said as we were driving home in the slush. I agreed with her.

6. I should have planned my children's birthdays better. Both of them are in October and Miranda's is the day before Halloween, which means it's been party time for an entire month, even though the official family party was on the 15th. Tomorrow, Miranda will have a treat with her Sunday school class (we did her regular school class yesterday), we will do her Halloween parade Monday afternoon, and do a little trick or treating Monday night. We will, of course, give out candy at the door, candy which I foolishly bought on Wednesday and have already been eating myself (next year I'm really going to wait until the day before Halloween to buy candy to give out to our neighborhood children!), and rejoice on Tuesday that October is behind us for a whole other year.

The Halloween-so-far pictures are here, but I thought I'd include a few cute ones.

Miranda, the fairy princess.

Two fairy princesses! (That's the Youth Pastor's daughter).

Alex playing Angry Birds while waiting for the Moonbounce to inflate.

Moustache courtesy of Miss Susan.

7. If you have time to kill and have a fondness for dummies, let me introduce Achmed the Dead Terrorist. Really, really NSFW or children or anyone who worries about political correctness. And, even worse, Achmed sings Jingle Bombs.

And here's Jen.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Get Thankful Already! (Said to myself)

1. I am having a hard time finding my thankfulness today. Miranda is home with a low-grade fever that I'm hoping a couple of days of rest will keep from growing into something more exciting. I'm tired because Alex was up late and Miranda was up early. And I really did need to go out this afternoon and run a few errands, like picking up Alex's Halloween costume and buying a present for his school friend's birthday party on Sunday. Now, I didn't want to go out, so I should be happy I have to stay in, but I'm grouchy anyway. Go figure. Although it's probably nothing a Diet Coke and some chocolate can't fix!

2. The party last Saturday was a great success, and I credit my mother for supervising a really cool craft (I hope to have pictures next week) and our wonderful friends and family whose company is a joy. But everybody in this house had a party hangover on Sunday. Last week was very full with all the usual craziness plus getting the house in shape for the party and all the house-hunting for my parents, and I think we were all overloaded, especially since the only extroverts in the building are Miranda and my mother. The rest of us just wanted to hide in a nice, quiet corner and recharge. 

3. My parents did find a condo nearby to rent and all the details for their move are starting to come together. They hope to drive out the week before Thanksgiving and be settled in the place by early December. It's going to be awesome, eventually. It's just really stressful right now.

4. I have found my favorite new show is Revenge. It's everything Ringer should have been. The acting is impressive, the costuming is perfect, the mystery set up in the pilot episode is incredibly compelling, and the writing keeps me coming back for more. And, often, I am watching it in the middle of my children screaming around me and interrupting me because I can't wait until they go to bed to watch it by myself. Some critics have called it "soapy." Why do some people feel compelled to disparage a drama about relationships? Must be too "girly." Like romance novels! I refuse to read John Grisham or Nicolas Sparks novels because, one, I consider them poor writers, but mostly because if their books had been written by women, they would have made, maybe, 1/10th of the amount of money currently banked by these dudes. Sexist Pigs! Okay, I'm done. Exiting my soapbox now. But if you'd like to donate any Grisham or Sparks books for a bonfire, let me know. :)

5. The other thing I've been watching this week is Baseball and, well, baseball. Of the former, I've made it through the 5th Inning, ending in 1939, and learned a lot more about Babe Ruth than I ever expected to know. He really was bigger than life. And of the latter, well, I'm rooting for the Cardinals, I think. Both teams are incredibly appealing. Or maybe I just make a really bad fan, rooting for everyone because I hate to see anyone lose. And, well, the Phillies aren't playing.

6. I'm not ready for Halloween yet, which is 10 days away, and some of my friends have started talking about Christmas. I just want to laugh at them. Do you realize all the things I have to do before I even think about Christmas? Then there's the parents' move. And both of my sisters-in-law are pregnant, one due in January and the other in March. And Miranda is insisting we go back to Aunt Katie's house in California asap, but she'll settle for next summer sometime, if she can't manage to wheedle anything else out of me. To quote that classic from the 80's, Short Circuit, "Oh, for the sake of Pete!"

7. Some helpful links for you:
And that's all folks. Here's Jen.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Just a Small, Simple Party

1. So my children both have October birthdays (Alex on the 4th and Miranda on the 30th). And my parents are here this weekend to house hunt for a place to move into next month. So I thought, let's just invite the rest of the family over for snacks and cake. But when you say "birthday party" to Miranda, she imagines it in Olivia terms. Balloons, every present she's ever wanted or dreamed of, cake and ice cream, prizes, games, crafts, moon bounce--the works. Well, thanks to my mother, there will be a craft. I have made a cake and Mimi is making a cake so there will be enough for everybody. I may pick up enough balloons for each child to take one home. (I hate, hate, hate party bags and refuse to make them.) We will have all kinds of appetizers to munch on, even healthy ones, and tea and diet soda to drink, before we fall, like ravening wolves, upon the chocolate cakes. But that's it.

Now, you mention to my mother, "We're going to be having a few people over for the party" and she wants to clean up every cluttered corner in the house and yard. Now, in her defense, all the cleaning that we've done together has been great and our place is the better for it, but I had been automatically ignoring all those piles for so long that it was a little shock to my system to look at them in the face again, as it were. There is still a pile in my bedroom and I have yet to tackle the filing of school papers that I've been avoiding for almost 6 months now, but the rest of the house looks tremendously better.

2. Since my mother is here, we qualified for free babysitting last night and so Marshall and I were able to meet our friend at the movies and see Moneyball, which we both enjoyed. Even though the Phillies lost last week and are out of the running for the World Series, I have begun watching the Ken Burns' series of Baseball and while it is a little slow and dry, it is informative. Since I've made it to 1920, I now have a much better grasp of the 8 Men Out scandal.

3. 2 new books came in the mail for me this week: Richard Castle's Heat Rises, which I read in one sitting on Tuesday night when Marshall was at a meeting at church and my mother was looking over some realty options, and Rick Riordan's Son of Neptune. I haven't read The Lost Hero yet; it's been sitting on my shelf gathering dust for six months because I hate cliffhangers. I was able to read the whole Percy Jackson series in one fell swoop and have hated waiting between books on Riordan's excellent Egyptian series, so I've decided to wait to start his new Heroes of Olympus books. Or life just got busy. Richard Castle's books are fun fluff to pick up, read, and pass along to my sister-in-law. I should be able to get it in the mail to her on Monday.

4. DVR Update: I decided to stop picking up A Gifted Man because I just didn't have the time to watch it and even though it stars 3 actors I like very much (Patrick Wilson, Jennifer Ehle and Margo Martindale), I couldn't muster interest or energy even to watch the pilot, so it went overboard. So did Ringer. I am a huge SMG fan because I am a huge Buffy fan, but her new show is all about lying to the people you care about and even with its great cast of actors, it's not keeping my interest. I'm still behind on a whole stack of shows, which is what happens when your husband builds you a DVR with almost infinite amounts of space.

5. The Avengers trailer was released this week! This might be the trailer I watch once a week until the movie comes out, like I did with Star Trek. Sigh.

6. Surely I did other useful things this week. Wrote some cards. Enjoyed my mother's company. Cleaned. That seems to be about it.

7. Bathsheba's LamentOrder it. Read it. Review it. Hooray!

And here's Jen.

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Ray of Hope

1. Life hereabouts has been difficult lately. All 4 of us were sick in succession: I had a bad cold, then Miranda had croup, then Alex had strep and finally, Marshall came down with a bronchial infection last Sunday that put him in bed for 3 days. Adding this to our usual Autumn craziness have left us feeling extremely overwhelmed. But God keeps sending me back to Matthew 6:1-18, which I've been focusing on in my iGroup (Youth Group small group). Here, let me remind you of the passage:

The Message (MSG)

Matthew 6

The World Is Not a Stage
 1 "Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don't make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won't be applauding. 2-4"When you do something for someone else, don't call attention to yourself. You've seen them in action, I'm sure—'playactors' I call them— treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage, acting compassionate as long as someone is watching, playing to the crowds. They get applause, true, but that's all they get. When you help someone out, don't think about how it looks. Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out.
Pray with Simplicity
 5"And when you come before God, don't turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat?
 6"Here's what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won't be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.
 7-13"The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They're full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don't fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this:

   Our Father in heaven,
   Reveal who you are.
   Set the world right;
   Do what's best— as above, so below.
   Keep us alive with three square meals.
   Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
   Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
   You're in charge!
   You can do anything you want!
   You're ablaze in beauty!
      Yes. Yes. Yes.

 14-15"In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can't get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God's part.
 16-18"When you practice some appetite-denying discipline to better concentrate on God, don't make a production out of it. It might turn you into a small-time celebrity but it won't make you a saint. If you 'go into training' inwardly, act normal outwardly. Shampoo and comb your hair, brush your teeth, wash your face. God doesn't require attention-getting devices. He won't overlook what you are doing; he'll reward you well.

So, for the past few days, when life has seemed unbearable, I stop for a moment and remind myself of this passage. And pray for mercy. Mercy always works for me.

2. My canna lilies are in their glory in late summer and early autumn, blooming until the first freeze. 

In fact, they overhang the front steps, leaving room for little else. 

However, Miranda has noticed our neighbors' practice of buying potted chrysanthemums and decorating their front steps with them and wanted to point out to me my lack of appropriate autumnal accessories, so she helped:

Yes, that's my darling girl who has filled two containers with dirt and planted sticks in them. At least we know her imaginative play skills have really come along. 

3. Alex's 8th birthday was Tuesday and he spent it at home, recovering from the strep infection, and playing lots of Angry Birds. So he missed the pumpkin picking trip his class took that was reported in the local paper. Ah, well. His lovely teacher brought him back a pumpkin of his own and we will be celebrating both Alex and Miranda's birthdays with family on the 15th, when my parents will be visiting.

4. For some strange reason, I've become a Phillies phan and spent a lot of time this week watching baseball games. My family has been very tolerant of my strange obsession. Game 5 of the NLDS is tonight and I have some actual apprehension for the team's prospects. One of our friends writes on the Phillies Nation blog and I highly recommend his articles, if you want an update. 

5. Surely I did more this week than whine and complain about my sick family and watch baseball? Well, I finished Storm Front and started Grave Peril. (Yes, I know those are books 1 & 3 of the series; I read book 2 in San Diego while on vacation.) I also wrote some postcards. Man, this is a pathetic report of a sad little week.

6. The good news is that my mother arrives Sunday afternoon for a week long visit with my father joining her for the following weekend. Life is always better when they are here. And they will be looking for a place to rent after the move out here in late November. Yay!

7. Bathsheba's Lament. Order it. Read it. Review it. Hooray!

And here's Jen.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Heidi Heifer's Hoedown Hootenanny!

1. And I thought last week was exciting. Miranda had a relapse of croup and for the last two days, Alex has had a fever (the boy who almost never gets sick and hasn't run a fever this long in I can't remember how long) for two days and all he wants to do is sleep. He slept yesterday from 7 am to 2 pm and then went to bed last night about 9 pm and then crawled into bed with us at 3 am and, after more Tylenol, went back to sleep until 10 am. I can't remember him ever sleeping like this. So I'll be back at the pediatrician's this afternoon, for the third time in 8 days. And I can't remember when I last had a good night's sleep. Ugh.

2. For some reason, while being sick, all Miranda wants to watch is The Upside Down Show. Since they only ever made 13 episodes, we've been watching them over and over again. And, since I can't figure out how to imbed a video, here's the link to our favorite scene, including Heidi Heifer's Hoedown Hootenanny. (Here's the beginning of that episode, in case you get confused.) And here's the one that makes my children roll on the ground laughing every time. And this has to be my second favorite scene, very interesting yoga. The show isn't available on DVD in the states but it does still play on Nick Jr's schedule every night from 11 pm to 12 am. I could not recommend it more highly.

3. And all Alex wants to watch are his favorite Pixar movies, Toy Story, Toy Story 2, The Incredibles & Finding Nemo. Although, last night he had a strange moment and requested A Bug's Life.

4. Obviously, since Miranda was sick last weekend, we didn't go see Moneyball. And, since Alex is now sick, we won't be going anywhere this weekend either. However, the Phillies made the playoffs, so I can console myself by watching baseball.

5. What with all the rain and household illness, my Seasonal Affect Disorder has really hit me bad this fall. I feel constantly distracted and have difficultly focusing on anything for longer than a few minutes. Needless to say, I haven't touched my cross stitch all week. I keep thinking, all I need is a good night's sleep, and then someone wakes up at 3 in the morning, and the cycle continues.

6. Of the new tv series that started this week or last, surprisingly to me, the one I really like is Hart of Dixie, mostly because I'm interested in what Scott Porter might do next. I am still watch Ringer, as a huge Buffy fan, but I really don't like it; I'm mostly just watching for Ioan Gruffudd. Person of Interest and Unforgettable are nice procedurals with a twist that pass the time. Revenge's pilot was intriguing in a guilty pleasure sort of way and Terra Nova is still sitting on the DVR, waiting to be watched. Along with 300 gigs of other videos. A big drive for our DVR is a good thing, sometimes, and sometimes, it's just a place for me to collect things I'll get around to watching, someday.

7. My mother is coming to visit in 9 days and I wish it were sooner. I'm so glad she'll be living nearby soon, because I need help. Or a nap. Or something. Actually, Marshall's mother did my grocery shopping on Tuesday, which was a huge help!

And here's Jen.

Friday, September 23, 2011

It's going to be a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

1. I have never actually read this book, but the title seemed appropriate. The day started at 12:30 am when Miranda woke up crying because she couldn't breathe. She had her seasonal flumist yesterday and, apparently, experienced a bad reaction. But this is why we keep a nebulizer and steroids in the closet, right? I am waiting for the call back from our doctor because I'm sure we will be seeing him again, today.

2. It's raining, again. In fact, there is a flood watch in place for our area. I am so sorry, Texas, that New Jersey keeps getting your rain. I would send it your way instantly, if I could.

3. I spent several hours on Tuesday night moving my sewing stand and light back to the living room, reminding myself where I'd hid the actual project (at the top of my closet), and even did a few stitches. Here is what it looked like before I started:

Here is what the final project is supposed to look like:

After finishing the few stitches I was able to do, I remembered why I had put the project down in the first place (extreme level of difficulty!). But it's so pretty! Maybe I'll actually get to work on it this week since all it's going to do is rain.

This is a gift for my husband, who very patiently let me set it aside to do White Lilies on Red for my sister-in-law.

4. Since all I want to do is complain about how horrible my life feels right now but don't want to alienate all my readers with incessant whining, I think the best way to finish this update is with a series of funny links or videos, like this fascinating survey of good movies or this article about super heroes I meant to share earlier in the summer.

5. I found this on EW's site this morning, and even though I don't watch any of the shows Elmo and Cookie Monster are re-enacting, it's still hilarious.

6. And, speaking of Muppets, if you haven't seen this yet, you must. It's even funnier.

7. I have not managed to see Columbiana. I think it will just have to wait until DVD. But, we do have plans to see Moneyball tomorrow night with our baseball-fanatic friend. And Thor just came out and I need to decide that if I'm going to watch it more than once, I should just buy a copy. And I think I'm going to buy Tangled for Alex for his birthday since he liked the movie and Miranda did not. And the Phillies just lost their last 6 games, even though they won the pennant race. Too weird. And, this is really cool, too.

And here's Jen.