Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year

Good bye 2014; hello 2015.  We celebrated with sparkling red grape juice and Harry potter movie in bed.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

3 fav gifts


Marauders map and sweatshirt

Merry Christmas, from our house to yours.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

big fingers small tablets

My big fingers accidentally deleted a comment from the previous post.  I was trying to see who it was from but I failed and am sorry.  If whoever posted it comes to see please don't be mad.  Thank you.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

What Is Christmas?

Making a gingerbread house that won't stay up with your best friend then eating all the candy until you are so high from sugar overload that you giggle and giggle and giggle driving your calm loving mom up the wall...

I keep hearing candy hit the floor, hmmm...

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


Christmas tree is up and decorated.  Santa has been visited.  The elf brought G a gift this morning.  School is wrapping down for the holidays.  I have a few things left to do still.  I am looking forward to a quiet day.  I requested off on Friday, we don't get Christmas eve off.  My request hasn't been approved so I will bring G with me Friday.  It won't be a real work day more than likely, most people will have been given off, but who knows.  Anyway, we have one more tree to decorate, my mom's.  Maybe on Thursday night we can get that completed.  I have no teacher gifts and honestly, I am too strapped.  Maybe we will make them all an ornament.  Time is running out though.  We will see.

Saturday, December 13, 2014


I wanted to post today because this numerical sequence date will not happen again until the year 2103.

Thursday night was the big town Christmas parade.  G rode the GA float and told me she intentionally hit some of her friends from school with candy.  I said, "They didn't let you throw candy so that you would use it as weapons."  She said, "Well, why did they let us throw it then?"

I don't think she hurt anyone and I know she wasn't the only one.  It was kind of cold and my toes took awhile to get warm even after we got home.  The parade was very short and I think G was disappointed with it being so short.

I need one more weekend before Christmas counting this and the next.  How do I not have enough time to do everything.  We were supposed to get our tree tonight but G had other plans and wanted to go to see the Nutcracker (local production) with her friend.  So tomorrow we will get it and decorate it.

I also agreed to shop for the family our Sunday School adopted.  11 year old boys are difficult.  Oh heck, who am I kidding, boys of any age are difficult for me to buy for particularly when I don't know them.  But there are twin girls younger than G, 2 of the same is my answer.

I made a pantry order from Amazon which is interesting.  I wish they carried more of the brands I actually purchase.  Some things were more expensive than I can buy at Kroger.  Some things were less but not my normal brand.  I purchased some of it anyway.  I haven't ordered from the pantry section before because I just got a box full enough for it.  I think it has a flat 5.99 shipping fee for as much as you can fill in the box but again it is select items of certain brands.

I also haven't shopped for G from Santa and yes she still believes.  She asks questions but hasn't come outright and demanded an answer.  I have been truthful with her reminding her that St. Nicholas was a real Bishop in the 4th century who slapped a heretic (my kind of guy) and who was wealthy using his wealth to rescue children from slavery.  She knows he is dead and asked if someone picked up being Santa and I said yes. And she asked if it is passed down in the family and I said yes.  So technically I answered correctly.

Anyway, so I have really no idea when I will shop for her.  Maybe at lunch since there is a target and sports authority near me.  She wants underarmour shirts.  I don't know what else she wants and this is just one more reason to wish she would stop believing.  I hope to find a couple of movies and specific candy she likes for the stocking oh and new house shoes and maybe new jams.

She hasn't really told me anything other than the underarmour.  I guess Christmas snuck up on her too.  She should be home any time now.  and yes I am typing this on Friday night for a Saturday morning post.  Surely you wouldn't think I would be up this early on a Saturday, bwahahaha and don't call me shirley.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Holidays Are Here

My dinning room table was so nice and clean before we came back from our Thanksgiving vacation and now it is so totally covered and I am stress paralyzed when I see it.  I don't even know where to begin with it.

My mom's birthday was Monday.  I invited two of her water aerobics friends over and gave mom the movie Mom's Night Out.  For what it is, it is a cute movie with a good message and that message is that Jesus loves you no matter what you've done or who you are and that He will be with you always.  She enjoyed herself.  I cheated and got a Christmas can of popcorn.

G is off tonight at a church play with a friend.  I am so glad we live in town rather than the country otherwise, she wouldn't be able to go on such short notice.  I hope she enjoys it, well, really I hope she just pays attention.  The Mom's Night Out movie went over her head.

I have started preparing the Santa gifts for G forgetting that we are tied via amazon by our phones.  So now she is getting the notices that I get when packages are delivered.  Yea! me.  So I have worked out that dad and mom will give them to her.  Her big gift was the trip to Universal Studios from me.  Santa will bring some under armor long sleeve shirts.  She honestly doesn't need anything.  And yes, she still believes.  Our elf is back too but I am not taking pictures of the things he does and I haven't started the e-mails to her.

I discovered with the new smart phones I don't have easy access to block strange numbers anymore directly from the phone.  Seemed easier with the old flip type phones.  Anyway, ATT has a service at $5 per month to block numbers.  G had a strange person calling her phone.  I answered it one day to find out who it was.  It was a black male calling the wrong number but then he asked me my name and I hung up on him.  He kept calling.  G doesn't answer unless she knows the number so I didn't worry too much, then he texted.

I discovered the phone is from Augusta, AR area and for a fee I could have flat located him name and all which freaks me out because someone can do that to us too.  I purchased the service for her phone.  I can handle my wrong numbers etc but I don't want G getting strange texts from strange men.  In his defense he didn't know the phone belonged to a 10 year old because I answered the call.  However, I do not wish to allow my child to be contacted by strange numbers even accidentally when they keep calling.

So, next weekend we are getting our Christmas tree and shopping for the family our Sunday School class has chosen to help.  At some point I have to go shop for G without G knowing or seeing.  This year, Santa is bringing me some hand lotion and face soap, makeup and powder.  Good stocking stuffers to keep the belief going.

Mom is very confused and seemingly helpless.  Even down to her medicine dad gives it to her or I put it in her hand for her.  She doesn't look or sound like she can be so helpless but somehow she is.  She is begging dad for a computer for old people because she thinks she will be able to use it.  She wanted a new phone but can't work it.  She wants a computer to call her friends.  G kept telling her she has one in the phone and can use the phone but she can't process that information.

Anyway, should be an interesting season.  I have requested the day after Christmas for vacation but I am not sure I will be allowed to take it.  I may need the days instead for ice and snow days.  If I am not allowed to take it I will just bring G to work with the laptop, wi-fi and movies for her to watch.

I am so glad gas has gone down so much despite this administrations attacks on oil and fossil fuels.  It is helping so much not to have to put $70+ in the car right now.

The blog stays quiet as I don't really have anything to say.  I put together a shutterfly book and calendar of our trip and will give them wrapped up to G for Christmas.  I need to get stamps to get our cards mailed out this year.  I suppose I will get them Saturday morning and then mail them out next week.  I, of course, have yet to actually address any of them.  I was able to get them all free except for shipping from Shutterfly and that is all I am sending.

I am looking forward to Sunday School and church tomorrow and I am very much looking forward to my Sunday Afternoon Nap and yes it deserves capital letters, ;-}  I suppose I have been looking forward to it since last Sunday when I was busy unpacking and making a memory book of our trip.  This time last week we were somewhere in Alabama looking for a place to eat supper.  So glad to be home but love traveling too!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

We Are Home!!

This is long and pictures are near the bottom if you wish to skip.

We had a fantastic time and despite the naysayers who said we were not going to have enough time to do everything in just the 2 days we were there, we did. We saw and rode everything we wanted to in 2 days.  The things we didn't see were basically things G had no reference point for like Toon Lagoon which were comic strips (Hagar the Horrible, Betty Boop, Woody Woodpecker and the like).  G doesn't read the comics because we don't receive a printed paper.  I Love Lucy memorial thing I might would have enjoyed looking through but G didn't know who it was.

She has never seen Beetlejuice so the activities there were not interesting to her.  Transformers ride was a no go because she hasn't ever seen the movies and was not interested.  We didn't do the water rides because I didn't bring clothing to change into again because of not bringing a backpack.  We did ride a Dr. Suess ride which was just in G's words, a baby ride over the Dr. Suess section.  So maybe we could have stayed a lot longer and seen everything but there was no point.

We headed out for our vacation on Tuesday, stopped by Elvis Presley's birthplace in Tupelo, picnicked in the car in the parking lot there. I packed supper for us from home so when we stopped in Albany, GA, we ate supper in the hotel room. I had a cooler that managed to keep everything cool until I could get more ice. We only had to eat lunch on the way into Florida and we stopped at a Subway then.

We arrived at the CoCo Key Resort in Orlando just after 3pm. Our room was ready so we checked in. We initially had a $22/night fee for the water park but due to the cooler temps that was reduced to $9/night and the water park was limited time from 11am-5pm and then Friday it was not open at all as far as I know because when we came back to the hotel before 5pm it was totally closed. I don't think it opened all day.  So the cooler temps was a financial blessing because I was on limited funds due to the car problems I had earlier this fall.

 Well, when we got to the room G had time to play in the water park but the room key didn't work. A very kind employee came to our rescue, showed us where G could change while I figured out the room key and ended up getting us a manager who realized our initial room was locked from the inside because her key wouldn't work either. She upgraded our room from a standard king with no microwave to a studio with a microwave, kitchen area with table/chairs, mud room, bathroom, king bed and living room area. I am telling you this was a God thing. He moved us to that room.

G and I, after getting her a hot shower from playing in the heated water park (the temp was still cool), headed to a Walgreens for supplies. We got breakfast foods for Friday and Saturday and supper for Thursday and Friday plus snacks to take to the park Thursday and Friday. We brought some of the food home and most of the snacks. That cooler even kept our milk we bought for breakfast cold to get home.

Back in June or July I booked this trip that gave us 1 hour before the park opened and I also booked us a breakfast for Thursday morning at the Three Broomsticks on the Adventure Island side that didn't allow for the early entry. So on Thursday we arrived at the park and lined up for the breakfast. I realized that we could have gone to the main park at 7am and had plenty of time to look around before the breakfast at 8:30am.  That information was conveniently not explained until you arrive.    But I figured out what needed to happen on Friday morning to maximize the time we had left.

We had a fairly good breakfast Thursday morning and then hit the Dragon Challenge ride. Because I had a backpack, we had to use the lockers which were free for 30 mins. Thankfully there was not a wait time on the ride. G gave me her jacket to put in the locker but after the ride which was terrifying to me and exhilarating to G, we inadvertently left the jacket in the locker. We didn't realize for 4 hours that the jacket was gone.

 We had already left the Hogsmeade/Hogswart section of Universal and gone to Diagon Alley by the time I realized the jacket was gone. We were having lunch at the Leaky Cauldron at the time. Lunch was really good as was the butterbeer which tasted like butterscotch. I drank mine hot and G had a cold one she actually couldn't finish.  But I was upset about the jacket so I probably would have enjoyed it more if I hadn't lost the jacket.

So after lunch we headed back to Hogsmeade to the lockers after asking many people about lost and found and maybe left on the train etc. to look for her jacket. I was praying the whole time that we would find it. We get to the lockers and low and behold, God put that jacket on the top of the lockers through some kind person who found it left in the locker we used. I could not believe it and am very VERY thankful for it being found.

As far as the snacks and backpack I carried on Thursday, we drank the water near the end of the day and ate none of the snacks, so Friday I determined not to bring it nor any jackets. So much better without. We didn't need it. We didn't snack and we didn't buy snacks. Other than lunch on Friday, I bought one Starbucks drink.  We were basically too busy exploring to snack. We avoided the lockers without a backpack, thereby avoiding potential loss.

Also as far as purchases, Universal offers this great service to have all packages picked up at the front of the park (from whichever park you are sending) at the end of the day so you don't have to carry anything around except food stuffs, like chocolate frogs.  Of course as the day would go, it was fairly cool Friday so I did end up purchasing hoodies for the both of us and we agreed to wear them all day no matter what.  We didn't really need to take them off as the high reached 64 I think.

I had a small purse I wore under the top layer of my layered shirts to keep our phones for the cameras with us. We were able to ride with them and there by take pictures on the way to the rides. I didn't have them with me on Thursday so no pictures of the inside of Gringotts or the Dragon Challenge.  And there was some very cool stuff to see.

Right now, I feel like I am going in a million different directions.  I am trying to finish unpacking, fixing lunch and loading pictures to Shutterfly.  The fire phones photos and video are pretty good.  If you need a new phone but can't afford the I-phone, the fire phones unlocked are $199 and with contract I think still .99.  I am not getting paid for saying anything but G and I do like our phones.

So back to Universal, Thursday we rode the Escape from Gringotts and had an hour wait which was the longest we waited for any ride.  We did not purchase the express passes because the main rides we were heading for didn't allow them.  Granted in the middle of summer the wait times I am sure are much much longer but if you purchase an early entry I just don't think the express passes are worth it.
The Gringotts ride was very cool.  G and I were in the front of the second car which during the ride became the front seats to the ride.  And I screamed and G screamed.  I think that was my favorite ride.  They really made you feel like part of the wizard battles with the 3d glasses and roller coaster combined.  Funny thing, every ride we got on, G would bring her lap bar or whatever down too tight.  Every time I had to ask the workers to release hers so she could re-do it.  I mean every ride she took.

Friday we got there by 7am and were lucky enough to ride the Despicable Me minion ride which though it is not a roller coaster, it was still pretty fun.  And no line.

After that, we made it to Kings Cross station to head to Hogsmeade before that actual park opened its gates.  We rode the Hogwarts roller coaster and that is the one on which I did feel nauseated.  That pretty much ended my rides for a while.

While we were walking around, we walked into the Simpson's section of Universal studios and G rode the alien ride in Krustyland.  She of course didn't get the Simpson reference as she has never watched the show.
Hogwarts Castle

The Sorting Hat

The Knight Bus 

Hogsmeade Station

No. 12 Grimmauld Place with Kreacher peaking out

9 3/4 platform for Wizards and Witches

The Gringotts Dragon that really blew fire.  We could feel the heat.

Going through the wall at 9 3/4 platform

Anyway, the trip was really good.  We had a great time.  Universal really made the whole experience feel real.  Now we are back into our real world, I am exhausted. We left Orlando at 8:30am Saturday and arrived home at 11:15pm Saturday night.

We found a really good Japanese restaurant in Oxford, AL, because G again decided she was hungry for Italian, Mexican or Chinese (Asian) on the way home.  She did the same on the return from Kentucky last year.  G also fell asleep and had a 2 hour nap on the ride home. I had to wake her up and then put her back to bed.

Now for the real life, off to the store for groceries.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

on the gypsy trip

Made a story at the birthplace of a famous singer today.  Born into poverty rose to worldwide fame.  Any guesses?  Tomorrow off to the final destination.  My house is being watched so thieves be aware.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Busy Weekend

Getting ready for our mini vacay.  I have someone checking on the house so thieves beware.  My low beam light on the driver side of my car is out.  Let's see now, the cam sensor had to be changed to the tune of almost $300, the wheel had to be changed due to a log to the tune of $150 and now the light to be changed and it is not an easy thing to do.  We have to swap cars with my parents so my dad can take it to the shop for me.  Tomorrow I will swap cars with Dad.  f

G has had a busy weekend with a skating birthday party to attend and tomorrow afternoon a matinee with her friend who had the skating birthday party.

Got the flu shot this week so hopefully I can bypass the flu season.  Discovered via the weather channel that where we are going will be mid 60s and rain on the way but not the two days that matter.  I have a place to stay going down there to break up the drive but I am either going to try to drive straight through or find a place on the way coming back.  I am doing laundry like crazy and packing is a nightmare because we don't know what clothes to bring.

I did find a large pepperoni log on clearance (but still good) and I have a box of crackers that I can make snacks for us to take or eat in the hotel.  I have a case of water to bring and am undecided on bringing a back pack or a large purse.  We will only have our phones for photos because honestly I don't want to carry the big camera.  I am stressing about rides and losing things on rides like glasses or bags or money.

Sadly the hotel/resort we are staying in doesn't have a microwave oven in the room so the soup idea doesn't work.  The hotel doesn't have a free breakfast, boo, but does have a water park which we can't use but one maybe two days if at all with the cool weather.  I plan to be at the destination for the 2 whole days well into the evenings that we have passes.  Now the day we check out we may decide to use the water park before leaving or we may decide to get up early and head home.  I am just hoping to get the majority of the driving out the day we leave.

Oh and funny little story, I took my mom with me to the town where the skating rink is and after dropping G off she and I went to lunch.  There was an Italian restaurant where mom had baked ziti and I had a spinach roll.  I brought half the roll home uneaten because I planned on having it for supper.

Then after lunch and a failed attempt to get the light fixed we went to pick G up from the party.  G was starving after all the skating so I offered her the spinach roll thinking she would hate it.  I don't know if it was because she was so hungry or what but she ate the whole thing exclaiming that she likes spinach.  Then we stopped by our house to get some noodles for her and while dropping mom off, I fixed her a bowl of noodles which she also ate.  Skating takes a lot out of a kid.  She didn't have near the bruises she had last year from her friends party.

I think my mom stayed confused about why we were there or where we were going and why G wasn't with us.  But it kept her out of the house for the day.  She has a big day to look forward to as family is coming in but it is also confusing her too.  I am praying it won't be as bad as last year.

Okay, off to do laundry.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

G's Very Cool Social Studies Teacher

who really did shave his head and dressed as an Indian Brave as a conclusion to their study on Native Americans.  Since I am home I took the opportunity to have lunch with G and a friend of hers.

Winter came early

This little bit of white covering on our yard, translated into at least an inch of nice white ice on the overpasses and bridges. I am home today. This prevented me an probably a lot more folks from getting to work, at least those of us who work out of state.  Those who live out of town had trouble getting to our cities and were late to work.  And our interstate system is so backed up it goes to two state lines and half way back to our state capital.

So I had been on the road not even out of the town next to ours trying to get across the bridge but not even close to the bridge or interstate for roughly an hour.  I called my boss who had more info than I did.  She said the bridges were closed.  She said she would see me tomorrow.  YEA! WINTER!

This probably should have been accounted for particularly after our governor was called out last March leaving folks on the interstate system over 24 hours near our town.  Anyway, the perils of living in the south for winter.  I feel sorry for the trucks who had no clue what they were hitting until it was too late.

On the bright side, I can pick G up from school and take her to buy her friend a birthday present for tomorrow's party for which I have not seen the invitation because G can't seem to remember to bring it home from school.  That 10 year old memory beats the cake, doesn't it?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Thank You

To all service men and women and their families, we owe a debt for your sacrifices to keep us free. May we never forget nor let our freedoms be lost.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Geo Cache-ing

If you haven't heard of the phrase, basically it is a treasure hunt of sorts.  I have read on other blogs about how much fun it is, but with one in the back yard of our church and a family who enjoys doing this; I discovered that I hate it.  G on the other hand loved it even though we weren't successful.  Maybe that is why I didn't enjoy it.  Failure or things that have a high probability of failure, I tend to avoid.

The idea is that someone hides something and it literally could be anything even a notebook to sign and then posts the coordinates on a map for people on the internet to find.  So it is a treasure hunt for all intents and purposes.  Very creative but not for me.

So this Sunday after church G has gone geo cache-ing with this family even going out to lunch (though I did offer to fix lunch for them) declaring this day to be a non-boring day.  I am home to fix lunch for myself and start my nap.  I let G know the door would be unlocked but I may be already asleep!

Enjoy your Sabbath Rest!!

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Crazy Week

Started out pretty good then Monday night driving home from picking G up from my parents, I ran over a log that bent the rim of a wheel on my car.  There were several logs on the side of the road but until I hit the one I didn't actually know that was what they were.  I thought at first they were dead animals but thought surely there couldn't be that many.  Then too late I saw the one off center in the road ad was unable to avoid it without going into a ditch.  It sounded like a gun shot and both G and I jumped.

Tuesday morning I took it in to the tire place in town, I initially called my dad Monday night to come help me take G to school Tuesday and get me to the car place.  I called my dad because when I panic that is who I call.  I ended up thinking about it over night and arranged another ride for G to get to school Tuesday.  I had enough air to drive myself to the car place which could only bang it out and order a new wheel.

The wheel was going to be in on Wednesday but I was able to drive all week with the temporary fix and drop it off last night so they replaced the wheel this morning.  Thankfully the tire itself was fine.

My dad picked me up and took G, me and mom out to dinner last night.  Then G and I spent the night with my parents so they wouldn't have to make too many trips into town.  The wheel doesn't actually match my car but it is safe to drive now.  Thankfully, the total cost was under $200!!

G and I kept my mom with us to go to the grocery store after picking up the car.  We stopped by our house first and I fixed us lunch.  Next Saturday, G and I have made plans to go help mom make pumpkin cake roll for Thanksgiving.  Last year she tired it by herself and made a pretty big mess of it.  They tasted good but she had rolled the towel into the final roll as opposed to in the middle of the process to train the cake to roll.

Anyway, we have roughly two weeks to our trip.  I am actually pretty excited about it but also extremely stressed over money mainly because of car problems.  I still have something to get fixed but was assured it can wait until after the holidays.

My mom is already talking of skipping Christmas this year and it isn't even her birthday yet.  I told her I was good with skipping it but G said she needed Christmas to come.  The stores also need Christmas to come.  Oh and I was thrilled with the November 4 election results.  I went to bed with soar cheeks from smiling and got up smiling again!

Monday, November 03, 2014

Such an Interesting Weekend

G got to have a friend over again after soccer.  And again they played minecraft for 4 hours.  That isn't the most interesting aspect of the weekend though.

Friday night G went to a trunk or treat function with my dad at our church.  Saturday morning we were able to finish grocery shopping staying within budget.  Then to the soccer game where G scored 3 goals.  They even had big bouncy house and hot dogs after the games.  It was so very cold though most kids didn't stay for the fun.  This also wasn't the most interesting aspect.

Sunday, our Sunday School class had a visitor from Oregon who, for the last 11 years, has ridden a bike and camped out going from place to place.  He left Oregon in January on his way south/east.  He works day labor and I suppose, technically he is homeless, though it seems that he has chosen this.  He works day labor, lives off the kindness of others and came to church Sunday.  One of my class members invited me and G out to lunch with herself and this visitor.  So we heard some of his story.

I will not lie, I was uncomfortable and I am highly suspicious.  We asked about his story which he told and this is where my suspicion comes.  How to trust what he says is truth vs just playing on a church body's emotions.  Somethings we learned: He never finished high school, regrets it now, gave up working 11 years ago, sold everything (or lost it) and began his bike riding across the US.  Every year he has to buy a new bike due to wear and tear.  He has a tent and finds things along the road.  He claims no living relatives, mentioned no children or ex-spouses, claims to have very little work in the winter and sometimes rude greetings in other churches. He is not young, is not a vet, seemed relatively clean though stained with life.  His face is dark where the sun and weather has gotten to him.

He is headed to east TN for winter and that is not something I can understand.  Why go to a cold area and not down to Florida to live on the beach?  Anyway, we prayed over him after lunch as we dropped him back by his bike.  He has a trailer that is packed with clothes, tent, sleeping bag etc.  He did mention that employers are less likely to give him day jobs in the winter than the summer so he said he does tend to be hungrier in the winter.  If anyone has opportunity to give a job in the winter, please realize folks who travel around the country via bike or on feet and want to work will do so in winter, they need to eat in winter too.

After lunch and nap, G had some money burning a hole in her pocket.  We headed to Fred's first then to Wally world where she bought a 3 movie pack of the Wimpy Kid.  Oh and I didn't make it to Thanksgiving before having to turn on my heat which is so not a good thing.  I broke down Sunday and turned it off again this morning.  I don't think the temps are supposed to be low all week.

Saturday, I made two pots of chili, 1 pot of beans only and one of meat and stewed tomatoes only.  G doesn't like meat but does like beans, sour cream and cheese.  And good grief, meat is so expensive so we can't waste any of it and may not be able to ever have it again, heh.  We are gearing up for a fun month.  I will talk more about it after the month is over.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

5th Grade Awards

First, this is the last stand for this little gerber daisy. It bloomed last Saturday. Since it has been so warm even in OCTOBER, I have one last beautiful bloom. Funnily enough, the daisy didn't bloom much this summer. Now the weather has cooled so I picked it to enjoy it in my kitchen.
G had her 5th grade awards ceremony yesterday.  I was unable to attend buy my parents went.  She was acknowledged with a blue ribbon for all As and won a top reader award in AR.  They have new rules governing the AR points and I am very grateful for the new rules.

Last year they based the award strictly on points earned.  However, some of the kids earning a lot of points were reading well below their grade level.  One boy in particular this year even had a 20 point lead because he started testing prior to the start of AR.  So he was cheating and his grade level average was below his actual grade and ability.

So this year they are using a combination of grade level and points which is way more than fair.  The actual scores received is based on the number of answers the kids get right so they will only get points based on how many questions they get right.  G's average grade level is over 7th grade.

This really is the most fair way as some kids are reading well beyond their own grade level and reading significantly sized books but are being out read on points alone by kids reading 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade level books when their tested level is 5th to 7th.  It was discouraging for kids who are reading bigger books and not being acknowledged for the effort.  And it wasn't pushing kids out of their comfort zone.  These kids will only become better readers when challenged with more difficult books.  Also, as far as G's cluster of 4 classes go, they are most of the brightest in the school.

For those kids who test below their actual grade level, the tested level on the higher end would count because for those kids testing at a 2nd or 3rd grade level, they could win with points by reading on the higher end or beyond to their tested level.

The average grade for AR is not counted which is also fair as some kids just don't comprehend or test well enough to have an AR grade.  They may do well in other areas of school but with AR the grade itself was bringing some kids off honor roll.

G usually performs really well on the books she wants to read and not so much on the books she has to read, at least not all the time.  Thankfully there are only 4 of those books a year and sometimes she does enjoy and pay attention to the books.  So far we have hit 1 book a year since 3rd grade she just detested and didn't really try.  She received no scolding from me.  I mean you can't force someone to like a book particularly if you have to read it for school.

I am very proud of G and I think we were both surprised that she won the AR award.  We didn't know about the new grading system until the awards were announced which means the kids aiming for just points didn't know until yesterday either.  Now that may or may not be fair and that I will not judge.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Parent Teacher Conf. and Weekend

G's 5th grade social studies class built a life sized tee-pee and decorated accordingly. Her symbol is the deathly hallows from HP. I knew it would be as she comes home every Wednesday with it drawn on her hand because 3 of her friends form a sort of HP group at after school and play HP.  I also learned the other 5th graders were doing dioramas for which I am so glad her class didn't do one!!  Her teacher knows the parents usually end up doing them, not the kids.

And she had a great 1st 9 weeks.  I let her teachers know to encourage high goals for her because she is more likely to reach them than if the goals are too low.  funny how that works but it does for some kids.

G had received a balloon dog at something, I can't remember, but it is losing air quickly. The back legs unraveled and she attempted to fix it to many giggles and complete failure of the fixing, heh.

Apparently, our town decorates for Halloween. These are two of the pumpkin exhibits: The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and Max and Ruby. G used to love Max and Ruby and of course the Great Pumpkin is part of my own childhood. We finally snapped photos last night before it became too dark.

G got to play two hours of soccer Saturday.  The first game was with her own team then the next game she was asked to play due to strep hitting one of the teams leaving them a player short.  She wanted to play because it was with two of her best-ies.  Then after soccer, I brought one of the friends home with us and they giggled for roughly 5 hours.  Breaks for lunch and supper were taken but seriously, the giggled all afternoon.

The parents of the other friend and I have arranged for the girls to walk to school together so I dropped G off at the friend's this morning.  Hopefully, no matter what, the girls can walk together without being late or without needing to be dropped off by the other girl's mom.  I think since it will be the two of them even if they leave 20 mins til they will be okay and not need to be dropped off.   Bad weather will alter those plans of course.

Nothing else of import happened.  My mom came home from her sister time but we haven't seen her yet.  G is going to dress as a soccer player for Halloween.  We just couldn't or maybe wouldn't come up with anything creative this year.  My creative is gone.  

Friday, October 17, 2014

Thankfully My Car is Fixed

For under $300 and it apparently is a problem for a lot of Altima owners.  Crankshaft sensor going bad but Nissan's recall didn't replace it only cleaned it.  I wouldn't have gotten the recall since it is a used car for me but the sensor is now replaced with a new one that shouldn't have this problem again.
Tomorrow, 2 hours of soccer, yea me, and then finish laundry that for some reason seems to be so very much for just two of us.

And my Friday evening just got freed up.  Our high school team's homecoming is tonight and G has been invited to go with a friend who also invited her to spend the night.  YEA!  This is a soccer family as well so they will bring her to the game in the morning.  And yes G is very very excited about going.  I am personally excited about not having to go myself and having the morning to run my errands by myself!!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Over the Hump Day

We had a fairly relaxing weekend due to soccer games being cancelled for rain.  I enjoyed not having to go out and about this weekend.  Cleaned off the dining room table which for me is a big deal as that is usually dumping ground central.

And Wednesday on the interstate going home my car died.  Thankfully, I was able to pull to the side of the road.  It started again right as my dad answered his phone when I called.  But then sadly it died for good when I went home and started to leave again for choir practice.  Good think I went home first or I wouldn't have know the car wouldn't start before 7:30 when I was supposed to get G at GAs.

And thankfully, my dad didn't listen when I suggested he combine sell his 2 vehicles and purchase just one; because, for now I am driving his truck.  I am also praying desperately that I don't wreck it.

God was good enough (well He always is good) to get home home safely and get me off the interstate when it died without issue.  I am also praying the fix won't be significantly expensive.  I have spent over $1200 for the air conditioner earlier this year that I have yet to truly recover on top of our mini vacay coming up that is well with the timing of not being able to cancel it for refund, bummer.  Had this happened in Sept, I could have cancelled for full refund.  I truly do not have the money for anything big.

Of course going into the weekend knowing my car won't work is not actually comforting.  Thankfully the gas is going down in price.  This truck will take a lot to keep filled.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Another Busy Weekend

Our Saturday started early 7am with breakfast of grits and bacon for G, because #mmbacon, then grocery shopping by 9am.  Anyway, home by 10am, and why does it take me an hour to grocery shop? to unload and back to next town by 11:15 to pick up teammate of G's for soccer having to get to the field early for photos.  Soccer game was cold, and I still managed to get a sunburn on my forehead.  The wind was biting cold and I had no protection from the wind.  They played okay, not spectacular, much better than I would do.

After soccer at 1:15pm, grabbed mom, took teammate home, took G home for shower, out again to purchase the Sunday Church boots for fall/winter/spring.  Prices were up and I paid more than I wanted and didn't get the dark color I wanted. Seems a similar pair of boots cost 1/3 less last year.  Yes, these boots can be worn to school as well as church.  Will she?  that is the question. Anyway, there was a great pair of red boots that would have looked so much better with her black pants.  She refused my suggestion, instead, picked a dark brown with orange uppers which are pretty but I just don't like them with the black pants.

After boots, off to a late lunch with mom and G then to see the 4pm matinee: The Good Lie.  Reese Witherspoon is the most well known actress in the movie and is center on the posters.  I hope the marketing team thought more people would see the movie if she were on the posters more prominently.  The story is about the Sudanese refugees or The Lost Boys of Sudan, their trials in Sudan and going to the refugee camps as well as the ones chosen to come to America prior to 9/11.  Mom and I both cried and laughed through it.  There were a lot of difficult parts to see because they filmed it so realistically or at least created it to be very realistic.  

One thing that could have been more of a focus was the faith of the Sudanese children.  They showed up to the refugee camp with a Bible after walking hundreds of miles.  Though the movie wasn't a biography it was based on composite stories of these children/adults.  The actors who played the refugees were themselves refugees and two were child soldiers.  One was a son of refugee parents.  I strongly recommend you can go see it, do so.

Another part of the movie that could have had a bit more time was just the total cultural adjustment like how to use a phone or what one is.  Maybe it would have made the movie too long but it was just under 2 hours so really it could have been a wee bit longer.  If this movie is playing in your area, go see it.  #theGOODLIE

Sunday was church and nap for me, movie for G; then up to mow the yard even though I didn't really want to do it. #lazy  Hopefully, this is the last mow for the year.  G picked up the sticks for me without griping oh and she also picked up with a shovel bits of an animal left over from some sort of nature attack.  Yes, I paid her for picking up the sticks, but sometimes she still gripes even though I pay her.

We slept with the windows opened last night, and around 4:30 I was so glad to have the yard mowed. It came a thunder storm that woke me up but not G.  She doesn't hear anything when she is asleep.  I used to could sleep like that.  Not sure exactly when that changed, probably age and hormones.  I had to shut the bedroom window though because the rain did tend to splash in on the window sill.

This is the confusing part of fall, cold in the morning hot in the day, what to wear based on what does it feel like outside at the moment, difficult to predict rain or heat or cold as the day moves on.  Well, that is all going on for now in the M household.

Friday, October 03, 2014

A Promise Ever Faithful

This week I saw and was reminded of promises God made.  The rainbow was actually a double but didn't show well in the picture.  After the flood, God promised Noah that He would never use a flood to bring worldwide judgment.  God is always faithful and always good.  In Sunday school I was reminded about the promise to have a descendant of David rule on the throne and that there will always be a High Priest to offer sacrifices and that if God's covenant with the sun and moon shall fail then His promise regarding the branch of David shall as well.  

Man tries and tries to scare people into believing that man is causing the earth to be destroyed via man made carbon.  Man tries to scare people into believing God is not good nor in control.  Man is sinful by nature and drifts toward sinfulness and darkness.  God is Light, in Him is no darkness.  God is Love.  God is HOLY and cannot look upon sinful man.  Jesus, God's Son, took the fall for sinful man so we can be restored to a relationship with God.  

Sometimes looking at all the evil in this world it is hard to remember that God has a plan, a hope and a future for His children.  But then, I just go read the back of the Book and I see Who wins.

Friday, September 26, 2014

This Weekend, BOLO

for a photo G took that has been published** here.
I don't know if they will print her name but they will print location in Arkansas.  It is a sunset though I forgot to tell the author of it.  So either Saturday or Sunday this will print.  There are some pretty spectacular photos of sunsets and sunrises on this site.

G has become enamored with taking cool sunset pictures as we leave my mom's.  I will also say that one night we literally saw the sun drop or rather, I guess saw the earth turn.  It was very cool to share that moment!~

**updated link

Thursday, September 25, 2014


Last night while G was supposed to be getting ready for bed, she made a comment about her eyelids.  G has double eyelids which was pointed out to us in China when she was a baby and the comments were basically that she is so lucky to have double eyelids.  So G said, "I have double eyelids because God was preparing me to grow up in America."  She is so funny.

The comment wasn't out of the blue but it did cause me to stop in my tracks.  I don't remember now what the total conversation was about that we were having but that was relevant in her own working out of her story.

She is a funny kid and keeps me on my toes.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Weekend Updates

First and foremost, I didn't get my dream job. Obviously, for me, not God's will and I am trying not to be disappointed.

 Now on to the weekend updates: Saturday was very very busy. G had a car wash at 9 so I dropped her off and headed to the grocery store. Finished up there a bit after 10, rushed back to get G and take her to change into her soccer uniform then back to the soccer field by 11. We did make it there in time. She played, not her heart out because she was tired and had only 1 rest, but she played for 40 mins or so.

Then we grabbed my mom, went home to let G shower and change, then out shopping for the fall blue jeans. Let me say first that I dislike shopping with G. Last fall I discovered that she is so afraid that I won't buy her something when we go shopping that she will promise the moon in order to have me buy her new clothes. She loves tennis shoe shopping, and generally she loves shopping for her own clothes.

 Her style is jeans or shorts and a t-shirt. If I give a little she demands 30 miles. So if I think what we find she won't wear and try to reason with her about finding another store to look she promises that she will wear those jeans or whatever then within a week after purchase she is refusing with wailing and gnashing of teeth.

 So last year we headed to a store and walked out with 1 pair of pants for church and a few pair blue jeans. By 3 weeks into wearing the blue jeans and pants for church she was melting down about them being too tight with real tears. Oh and one pair she refused to wear because a little girl in her class had the same pair.

 I ended up purchasing some extra jeans on-line (clearance) but had to return them because they were too small to her even though they were 12P. We swapped them for size 14. By the way, she isn't a size 14, she is barely a 12. She just hates having clothing to touch her. She doesn't ever unbutton or unzip her pants to put them on or take them off.

 Anyway, she tore up the Sunday pants before the winter season had ended, and I made her wear them torn up because she did it in anger. She had wanted to wear blue jeans because one time I allowed her to do so in extreme cold; therefore, she tried to take the 30 miles and justify wearing jeans because of the 1 time I allowed it.

 I know, she is just being a kid. Even this Saturday she demanded to know why she can't wear one of her new darker blue jeans for church. The reason is because she will demand to do so every Sunday and throw back at me the fact that I allowed her to do so once. She will wear the black pants on Sunday. I can't and won't make her wear a dress (she is uncomfortable in them) but I can make her dress in her best which is black pants and long sleeve solid color shirt.

We are now on the look out for boots. So needless to say, I wasn't looking forward to shopping this Saturday, but my mom came along and we ended up being successful. I say that hesitatingly because she hasn't actually worn the jeans we bought. Living in the south, she can wear summer shorts for a much longer time, thankfully.

We went to 12 stores Saturday, 3 in our town and G refused to even consider any of the jeans. We then headed past big city to bigger than our town where we had lunch. Lunch helped knock out the lack of cooperation and grumpiness which made shopping a bit easier, thank you Fazoli's $5 lunch menu.

We found 1 pair of jeans and a pair of black pants for Sunday at Goodwill. We found 3 pair of jeans at a consignment shop, one of those being a size 8 husky (boys Levis) that were hung in the wrong place but that G tried on anyway and liked. I didn't even see the size until I washed them at home. It was best to let her take what I thought she could wear and try them on without input. She won't be wearing the huskys to school because the waist is so big that even pinning them doesn't work.  Oh and they don't cover the tops of her tennis shoes which she likes her jeans to do.

I told her those could be her Saturday lounge jeans. Everybody needs a pair of Saturday lounge jeans or outfit unless of course your Saturday is a church day then just a weekend outfit. She also told me this week that you can't wear flip flops with blue jeans, never mind that I do so about everyday.  We then found 2 pair of jeans (new) at the Gap outlet and paid more for the 2 pair (ON SALE EVEN) than for the 5 other pairs of jeans/pants combined.

We were unsuccessful with the search on shirts. There just weren't any solid color long sleeve shirts. I ended up ordering some long sleeve solid shirts on Justice online and Hanes online. I got them in size 16 so hopefully she won't complain even if there is a bit of shrinkage.

I had told her that she could wear the long sleeve shirts under her favorite t-shirts and not have to wear the tank undershirts. Now she has taken that to mean she will only wear them layered and no tanks. For Sunday she thinks she will get to wear her Sunday summer t-shirts over these long sleeve shirts which is not at all what I meant. I only meant for school purposes. I sense a long battle this winter with clothes and undershirts.

Oh and thank goodness fall is hear and winter is coming because she got green paint on her khaki summer Sunday shorts. She only had 2 pair of them and now one is totally ruined. I can't get the paint out. So I guess those are her new Saturday lounge shorts, heh.

After the Saturday shopping G and I treated my mom to Baskin Robins ice cream waffle cones and then home. G and I got home around 7ish, had supper and then to bed. Sunday I managed to get my nap in and then Bible study at church.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Spread the word

This needs to be watched by everyone and passed around for everyone with or without children to see what we will be throwing away by using common core in our schools, individuality, diversity of thought, creativity and local/state control.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Have You Heard of the Common Core?

And the outcry behind it?  Here is an example from G's homework.  This is the CC example printed on the page for G to use on her problems:

Problem:  6 x 89=

Solution printed on page:

6 x (90-1)=
(6 x 90)-(6 x 1)=
540 - 6 =

First thing G said was, "Where did they get the 90?"  So basically, what common core does is forces kids to write out all the steps they do in their heads automatically.  The problem is this working in the heads has a foundational basis in math facts.  The common core likes base 10 problems so they work with children to force a base 10 solution to the problems.  Simplest and fastest to the problem would be to rewrite it as:

  x  6

Or if they wish to find the base 10 then:

6 x 89 =
6 x (80 + 9)=
(6 x 80) + (6 x 9) =
480 + 54 =

But in the example printed on the page, they have introduced 90, 1 and a subtraction that is utterly unnecessary.  In the "old fashioned" way the only addition to solve the problem is the addition.  The foundations are laid.  Conceptually, the final problem I laid out is the better explanation because the child can see the 10s place being multiplied where it is not as easily seen in the second problem (simplest) I completed.

G's problem is that she does the math in her head and doesn't write down the steps.  Of course they don't really give children room to write all the steps down either.  I think what common core is missing is foundation.  If the kids don't know the math facts then when they look at a problem like this they can't see how to break the numbers down into 10s in the first place.

Another CC example is:

5 x 12 x 2 =

What they are looking for is to demonstrate associative multiplication understanding with base 10 helping to solve the problem.  So the correct written answer would be:

(5 x 2) x 12 =
10 x 12 =

G looked at it and just wrote the correct number down but didn't write the in between because honestly she didn't have too.  But since I understood what they wanted I asked her to tell me what she did first in her head and had her write the step down.  I told her that CC likes to speak of numbers as friendly; ie, base 10 or unfriendly; ie, anything else.  I told her to always look at the numbers to see if she can find the base 10 first.

The other problem with the whole write every step and break all problems down to base 10 is there are so many steps that the children will make simply stupid mistakes that will not demonstrate understanding but will demonstrate a hurried-ness and lack of clear thinking.

We always had to write down the steps of solving problems so the teacher could make sure our answers were not guesses but we still solved the problems in the easiest way or with as few steps as possible.  I am not a fan of common core and I despise Arkansas Education Dept for adopting it without understanding it.  It is awful, untested and will set our children back behind their peers around the world.  This is dangerous overreach of federal government control backed by large wealthy donors who themselves will not subject their own children to this kind of teaching.  This common core will not aid in getting kids to college unless the aim is only a 2 year so the elite can remain at the Harvards of the world.

If you follow the money, you will see a very scary trail to people who have their own best interests at heart, not the best interests of our children.  If common core remains a generation of guinea pigs (our children) will be lost!

Monday, September 15, 2014


If you use this link to order from Shutterfly for the first time you will receive 101 free prints, no expiration storage of photos and I will receive a small thanks for the referral.

 I personally love Shutterfly. They did not ask me to write this.  These are 100% my own thoughts about Shutterfly

I usually get all of my Christmas cards from them as well as photo books for trips or school year or whatever I happen to wish to make. The storage alone is worth ordering as most photo storage sites either charge or the storage is for a limited time. Projects sometimes will remain complete so you can re-order but sometimes the item may no longer be for sale. They do allow you to transfer project styles for like photo books.

 And cards and books are all I can speak to really. I have ordered regular pictures for regular photo albums or G's art projects but nothing else. So if you are interested, hit the links I have provided.

Thank you,

Saturday, September 13, 2014

5k race

This morning G and I ran a 5k in support of a ministry here in town.  It was a color run and very cold. But we did it and I walked it talking to a lady that goes to my mom's church.  She finally figured out who we were and how she knew us.  It was fun.  Before we left the house see I made sure we both pottied up but just as soon as we picked up the packets, I had to go.  I was able to get through the wait and the race but still had to use the portopotties anyway.

G ended about 30 minutes before I did which was fine by me.  Over in just under 1 hour.  We did warm up so G was glad she didn't overdress.    Home again, homemade pizza for lunch, another pot of coffee for me and settled in for a movie.

 Laundry is taking forever it seems to me.  Regular Saturday stuff, you know.  Fixed dinner for my parents last night mainly to finish off the butternut squash soup G and I made from scratch last Saturday.  Perils of grocery shopping with a smart phone and butternut squash on sale.  I had nothing for the recipe I looked up while at the store at home except salt and pepper.  It was really good soup but then Sunday I decided what was really needed with it was sausage, cheese and sour dough bread.

The soup also took about 4 hours total.  While the squash roasted G and I organized my recipe collection. I love collecting recipes and recipe books though I don't ever have the stuff to make a recipe when I am hungry for something.  My collection looks nice and would be helpful for someone who loved cooking, heh.

So my parents did get the fire phones and of course my mom doesn't know nor will be able to learn how to use it well.  Dad will figure it out and help her along but she tried and couldn't call me this morning.  I spoke to her after the race and she told me how she was going to call me but picked up the old phone since she forgot about the new one already.  Of course the old didn't work and she panicked and couldn't even think how to call me.

Tomorrow is Sunday and our Bible study in Acts begins in earnest.  So excited.  Off to finish this movie now.  Have a great rest of the weekend from G and me.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

So How Fun Is This

Back in July, G and I (against everything I ever said about it*, shuddup) purchased new smart phones via Amazon.  We got "the deal" and have been fairly happy about it.  I not as much as G since she has been able to figure out a WHOLE LOT MORE of the phones and what they do than I have.  As I told my mom, the phone is way too smart for me.

Anyway, we have had the phones in our hands less than 60 days and the company dropped the price to basically free.  SAME DEAL: 2 year contract mandatory, free this and that.  Oh, I was fit to be tied until I called them last night and you know what?  They made it so very right.  We are even more happy now with the company's customer service.  They bought our loyalty.

I don't know how long this deal will go but if you have ATT already and are ready for a new phone then jump to the Amazon Fire phone.  I am not an i-phone type and don't really care for apple products per se, so this none apple phone fits us well.

My dad is even ready for a new phone so I encouraged him to purchase one for him and my mom.  I told G she could fix mom's phone to be able to see only what she needs, the address book, text and phone symbol.  The price is right and they are ATT customers already.  Another 2 years won't hurt much.  Maybe my mom doesn't need one.  They can share or she can have my dad's old phone.  She may or may not be in her right mind in 2 years so there is that.  My dad, I think, would be able to work it well and enjoy it.  Since we turn the data off and on when outside of wi-fi or not using the phones, we can manage the data costs better.  Dad would be able to do that as well.

*Now about the whole I said I would never buy G a phone, well, the words were bitter when I ate them.  I will admit getting her a phone has basically just turned into another game playing station.  So far she has been very careful with it thankfully.  And no she doesn't call or text anyone but me not even her grandparents for whatever reason I don't know.  They did come in handy when she was in VA so we could text and she could send me pictures of her adventures.  So the lesson to be careful what you say because you may eat those words is still being learned by me!

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Today is my Birthday

du dun nunnunah...

Oh well, you get it.  I woke G with a very loud and rousing rendition of Happy Birthday To ME!  She gave me many excuses of why she wouldn't be singing it to me so I thought I would invade her nightmares with my own song.  And yes, she had nightmares and fought me all night until about 5:30am when she started crying in her sleep.  Sadly, she doesn't remember any of them and even asked me what she was crying about.  "Yeah," I said, "I dunno."

So I have been reading John le Carre novels.  I watched, a while ago, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy with  Gary Oldman playing George Smiley and Colin Firth playing Bill Hayden.  I will not spoil this if you have not seen it but if you choose to see it please be warned not to watch with children present unless you wish to spoil their innocence, and that is all I am going to say about that!  I will add that had they held true to the book for the characters, it would have made a better movie, IMHO.

Anyway, this year, I decided to look into the books that prompted the movie so I purchased TTSS from Amazon and now I am mainly hooked.  I finished the trilogy and started on The Spy Who Came In From the Cold.  So I have the main character in the hands of a Russian being taken to East Germany and then I decided I had better check the ending to make sure I will not be too disappointed.  Sadly, THE BOOK DOESN'T END RIGHT!!!  but now I am hooked and have to figure out how the character gets from where I am to the end.  And, no, reading the end of the book doesn't ruin the story for me because it isn't the ending but the journey I enjoy.

I have some other of his smaller books that came in yesterday that gives the background of George Smiley and since reading the trilogy I know he peacefully retires sort of.  G doesn't like to read the back of the book first.  For her the reading comes to the end.  She is re-reading the 6th HP book that she didn't get finished last year.  She also is reading a book for school, The Phantom Tollbooth or something like that.

So work is going to take me for lunch at the restaurant of my choice as they do for all employees.  I have had several people wish me happy birthday already which is nice but also in the back of me it is causing me to want to go hide in a hole.  I don't like attention though sometimes I act like I do, I really don't.  

So yeah, 44, middle aged, looking and feeling every bit of it.  I truly do not mind.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

I Love When A Plan Comes Together

Busy weekend, got everything done or about 95% of everything done.  Starting with Friday night's visit to the Wally World to purchase the paint, drop clothes, tape, rollers and roller pan, G managed to get the correct color even though I didn't have the sample I was carrying around with me forever actually with me when I needed it.  Friday night we took things out and taped up some of the kitchen.

Then Saturday morning we went to pick my mom up for her hair cut that my dad didn't think she needed.  Look how happy she is?  Yes, she did need it and now she looks 10 years younger.  Then since mom was with us we headed to get cleats for G for soccer.  We went to next largest city to us and struck out.  Then we headed down past big city into 3rd state to the SA which is always a dangerous place to go as far as I always spend too much money on "bargains."

We did however need help getting shin guards, and now they fit G well.  Apparently, left to my own devices the guards I would have had her buy would have been way too small.  And that is to point out just how un-sports-y I am.

While there we found a pair of new balance shoes on clearance, size 8 1/2 that G could wear.  My mom and I wear 8 1/2.  The shoe itself which G wore this morning really doesn't feel from the outside of it too big.  Maybe a little long but not much.  Width wise they fit well.  I told her if she didn't tear them up too much I would be able to wear them after she outgrew them.  She is really hard on shoes as she doesn't like to untie them to take them off or put them on.

We found a pair of cleats for under $50 YEA!  Yeah, cleats, that will be worn for 2x week for about 8 weeks or so  because if she plays next year she won't be able to wear these 6 1/2s.  And we saw a New Balance jacket for clearance $13.97 normally so very much more.  She should get two seasons out of it or wear it all year at school in the cold (to her) rooms.  Four things that cost way too much but in the overall scheme of things two were true bargains and two were necessary.

Then G and I took my mom to lunch at our fave restaurant then off to get cookies which was rather amusing, and had all three of us laughing over the un-decorated cookies of which we received 2 for free.  It was fun and a great inside joke that we told Grandad about when we made it home.

After returning to our home we completed the floor cleaning, clearing out and taping down of the kitchen and around 4:30 or 5 G said she wanted to paint.  This is Saturday night mind you, but we did it and finished it by 7:45 or so.  We even got the drop clothes picked up and I made dinner.  We ended up getting to bed after showers etc about 9:25pm.  All that painting and we even had almost 1/2 gallon left over.  I took the high part and G took the low part.  Over the cabinets were the worst due to the reach and standing on covered cabinets.

I took the picture of the colors together on Saturday night.  I hung up G's picture but that was all that we put up.  Sunday afternoon we cleaned out all the Tupperware I had from when I sold it and have a huge garbage bag to either sell or donate to a ministry.  Some of it has never been used and most are still matching sets.  I have vowed to store nothing over my cabinets again.  I love my color.  I love my kitchen it feels all new.

Monday we purchased a shelving unit to continue to get stuff put out of the way.  I emptied one three tiered drawer thing and organized quite a bit of stuff.  I got rid of a bunch of stuff too.  We now have 7 rooms left to paint.  Everything is so much more organized but I have to actually make the delivery of the stuff I have cleaned out.  We bought a new toaster oven because ours was just not cutting it.  I think I am going to dump the toaster as well.  I don't need it and haven't used it in over a year.

I even broke out the small cast iron skillet, cleaned and seasoned it to use to give us some iron in our diet.  I only typically cook bacon for G and sausage patties for me in the morning.  I haven't been using it since we had pets due to trying to keep it cat and dog hair/dust free, particularly since you aren't supposed to wash them.

Oh and the 5% I didn't get complete was my nap.  I really had planned to take one but ended up not doing it.  And now it is September my 44th is tomorrow.  YEA!  I feel that I have accomplished stuff with the painting and so I think celebrating this year will be worth it.  I don't feel like quite the failure I have in the past so I am looking forward to turning 44.  And yeah, I can't believe it is already September.  Where has the year gone?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Changed My Mind

About posting the ALS challenge videos because in an effort to remain somewhat anonymous there were too many details in the video to change that. Plus I didn't have permission to do so from the company though our company put it up on their website.

That Friday afternoon when I came home G told me that she heard about a friend of hers doing it so she wanted to also do the challenge.  Sunday we made her video and I accidentally used her full name so now I can't put that one up either.  Then I told her she had to donate and she looked at me like I had 3 heads.  She did donate and I added a note to say the donation may not be used on embryonic stem cells.  That will I am sure be ignored but I found out that one of the big research giants getting the money does do that after I committed to participating.  So, there's that...

In other news, I am applying for a position close to home and would appreciate your prayers.  There are formal interviews to complete but I do not have a good feeling about it.  Yes, I can do the job and do it well.  However, I am obviously not the only one that can do so.  I also do not wish to feel slighted or overly disappointed if I do not get the position.  It would be absolutely ideal for my and G's situation but it would also be ideal for another of the interviewees that I know of.

I think we are going to paint the kitchen this long labor day weekend if I can stand the mess in the kitchen through Sunday.  There is just something about a disordered kitchen that I can't stand.  At least within my little cooking/prep area I need it to be organized.  Some of the other areas I can have out of order a bit.  I am so tired, totally my fault, but my being tired may not make this painting thing go well.  And the whole Monday holiday is hurting.  I need the days to be together because Sunday is a day of rest so for at least until after my nap no work will be done, heh.  We will get it done.

I am also taking my mom for her hair cut because she wants one and my dad's response to her was, "you don't need one."  So I made her appt and will pick her up and take her.  Basically, all this to say, no late night movie in bed on Friday because early Saturday is a requirement.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Difficult Morning for Day 3

WOW!  So somehow I forgot to turn my alarm on last night on top of G going into tail spin and getting my FULL ATTENTION in a way she didn't necessarily want.  Then around 9 pm I had decided to forgo reading in order to sleep.  I have been more than tired this week. (I do know why but can't do anything about it really).  So as the lights were off I said something to G since I knew she wasn't asleep and that opened up a long narrative from her about school from which I concluded it's not all bad.

Of course I knew it wasn't but because she suddenly needed to tell me everything, neither of us fell asleep until 10 or so, and I forgot to turn on the alarm. At 6:43 this morning I realized the lateness of the hour and the missed alarm.  We both apparently needed the sleep though it just causes me full panic when I do that.

So I made her get up and get dressed as I fixed her cereal and bacon, as she needs protein in the morning for school, and I frantically got us out the door on time.  She pointed out to me that we weren't late while I was taking her to school but my anxiety was still racing even then.

Normally the weekday routine is that I get up at 6 a.m., fix my breakfast and get hers fixed all the while enjoying a quiet 30 or more minutes of uninterrupted reading of the news headlines for the day.  Then when her breakfast is ready usually about 6:40 a.m. or 6:45 a.m. I wake her up and give her 20 mins to eat.  Then while she is eating breakfast I make lunches and clean the kitchen.  Usually after we are both ready for school/work, G will have about 20 mins or so to play on-line games and me 20 mins to drink coffee.

When I lose 43 minutes in the morning I am an anxious wreck.  Yes, we could readjust the schedule to always wake up later, but I think we both generally enjoy the time before we leave to play or drink coffee.  She has p.e. today so she was forced to wear tennis shoes.  It took her a while to get the shoes just right as far as looseness is concerned.  I mean she has been practically barefooted all summer, shoes are so constraining you know.

So that was our morning. She has GAs tonight.  I have choir.  We meet back at home and hopefully she will have her homework completed and her 30 min reading done.  Wednesday nights are the longest night of the week for us.

Now our office has been given the ALS challenge.  It is set up for this Friday and as soon as a video is posted I will post the link.  I agreed to participate and donate.  We have a matching donation from work.  Thankfully, the temp outside will be so hot that the ice water will be welcome.  A lady with whom I went to church had ALS.  I have lost touch with the family but when I knew her she was already in a wheel chair without the ability to speak.  Every Sunday night from the time of her diagnosis, a faithful group would pray for her.  It is such a terrible disease so this is a worthy cause.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

First Day of School Blues

As told to me by G made into a poem by me:

Angst of a 5th Grader's 1st Day

Worst day ever, homework given
Not fair, she hates us.

No friends, we did stuff
Pull me out, because you must.

Thank you, thank you, no autographs please.  heh, Yeah I know it doesn't rhyme.  But basically that was the gist of G's day.  Her teacher, prior to school starting even,  said point blank to all parents of all kids she would teach whether for homeroom or literacy/reading class that a 30 minute reading requirement would be a nightly thing on top of any other homework. We had to sign an agreement to help with that.  But since all the classes didn't switch classes she assigned the first night of reading to her homeroom only.  No other teacher assigned any homework.

And one kid in G's homeroom tested on AR even though he wasn't supposed to.  Some kids follow rules and some don't.  He has 15 points but G won't finish a book she started last year that is worth 29 points so she complains about how unfair it is that he tested when he wasn't supposed too.  I told her, tongue in cheek, to just quit now and don't try to get AR points.  Just to call it a year and be done.  #competitionstartsearly

She is also just giving me one word answers to questions about her day and school.  One boy in her class speaks no English and won't be required to.  Double duty for the teacher who happens to be fluent in Spanish.  Probably an immigrant from the most recent Obama crisis on the border. #notObamasfan

Another boy is 12 in her 5th grade homeroom and yes that is 2 years older than most of the other 5th graders at least in her cluster. She claims she doesn't know him from earlier years either.  I told her to stay away from him.  She said he already spoke to her.  I asked what he said and she said, "he asked me if I understood what he said." "He" in this question being the non-English speaker because G is Chinese you know and for some kids that equates to being Hispanic and understanding Spanish, of course, 0_o  #theyalllookalike

I reassured G last night to just give the teacher a chance.  G knows I have her back but the actual switching of classes and being taught hasn't even really gotten started yet.  She doesn't even know the rules of the other teachers yet.  Maybe if this other thing works out then next year she can home school but right now this is it for her for another year.  #publicschoolangst

Monday, August 18, 2014

1st Day of 5th Grade

1st day of 5th grade.  She looks so grown up to me.  She also is a little stopped up with a wee bit of swollen eyes.  There is a front of some sort coming through, from which both G and I are suffering.  I gave her an allergy pill so she wouldn't have to suffer so badly at school.  

She was not looking forward to school because she has decided her homeroom teacher will be mean because of the reading requirement.  Several of the documents G had to sign she kept trying to refuse so I told her to sign them and write "in objection" to them.  On one she signed her name in pen and wrote very lightly in pencil "in objection."  I told her that didn't count.  I told her that her adding "in objection" would let her teacher know that she had an independent thoughtful mind.  G has no problem letting me know that but her teachers on the other hand, not so much.

She sadly doesn't have any of her good friends in homeroom with her and at least one friend is only two classes.  She said she is going to have a miserable lunch.  I pray she doesn't.  It seems her seat is in the back behind a tall boy in the midst of boys.  I warned her to not get distracted by the other kids in her class and just pay attention to the teacher.  I also reminded her that just because no child is supposed to take things from other children doesn't mean they won't.  Last year, she would leave things on her desk and then they would "disappear" and later someone would show up with that item.  She managed to get two things back but not without difficulty.  

She is just so very young and in one sense I am glad but then sometimes I am afraid she will get lost in a sea of more worldly wise kids.   Can't wait to hear all about her her first day as soon as I get home from work.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

G's Home Again

They got off the river about 3 p.m. yesterday and were home by 5 p.m.  When I got home after work to check on things, get the mail, and take the trash out, my dad and G were there with the air guys.  New outside unit.  Still hotter out than in even though temp was 72 this morning when I stopped by to drop off my dirty clothes and coffee supplies from spending the nights at my dad's.  So I don't know if the air is really fixed or if the mornings are just so much more cool right now.

G had a great time canoeing down the Spring river.  She hung her feet over the side and they didn't tip once.  Of course they almost went over a 4ft rapid which scared G because my dad had told her about the time he and one of my brothers flipped over in the same rapid, he thought.  So before they went over, he pulled the canoe out and they walked over rocks I guess on the side.  No it wouldn't have hurt them badly but maybe a few bruises and scratches.  Although a member of an earlier crew did get hurt and had to be rescued.  My dad said G had a lot of power when she helped to paddle.

So she starts back to school Monday. She was so very tired this morning she couldn't even wake up enough before I left for work.  I hung out until 7 a.m. but bless her, she couldn't do it.  So I will see her tonight after she goes to GAs and finds out if all her friends will be back in school with her or if any are moving to a new/different school.

Meet the teacher night is tomorrow night.  G is allowed to come to this one.  In the past the kids have been discouraged from attending with parents, but people brought all the kids anyway and some brought cousins and play cousins with aunts and uncles.  I don't think G is excited about starting school this year.  Actually, she told me August 18 is too early.

I am still worrying and praying about future schooling and getting her out of Common Core which our state has embraced wholeheartedly.  Common Core is dangerous and getting more so.  Anyway there may or may not be a change on the horizon of which I will speak maybe next week.  

Monday, August 11, 2014

She's Home and Gone Again

They got back from their trip on Friday, and today they are leaving again in different directions.  My mom is heading to a city with 2 friends.  My dad is taking my daughter to float a river in our state.  I am watching both houses which this week isn't a big deal since my air conditioner decided to give up the ghost last Thursday morning around 3:30 am #firstworldproblems.

Here is how it breaks down. Around 3:30 in the morning the sound of the air blowing woke me up, but I was burning up.  Too tired/lazy to get out of bed and check it, I waited until the alarm went off at 6 am.  I then looked at the thermostat that read 78 degrees at 6 am.  The temp in summer is set between 72 and 74 on a programmable thermostat.  Thursday night I stayed at my parent's house which had already been planned so that I could feed my mom's hummingbirds.

I called my dad, after hurrying out of the house to work for air, to find out who to call.  We have two different businesses my dad has used in the past, but one of them he has used the last 3 summers this has happened.  I call the correct business and schedule them to come out Friday afternoon which meant leaving work at 2 pm Friday.  No big deal for me; in the meantime, Dad, Mom and G made it home so that when I got to the house Friday afternoon Dad and G were able to meet me.  Dad wanted to talk to the air people, and G just needed her mama #sogladsheshome.

Well, we thought the air is fixed so G and I stay at home Friday.  Saturday morning we grab my mom and go back-to-school shopping, HURRAH!  Two reasons we took my mom, 1) is because we always do and 2) because she had a trip planned and if we didn't take her, she would worry my dad to death about packing for her trip.  We came back to my house after school and grocery shopping to put up the cold things then headed to my mom's so I could do her laundry and get her ready for her trip.  Around 4:30 G and I came back to our house for dinner, and to watch a new (to us) movie and to play the Game of Life (which G learned how to play at her cousin's).  #notafan

Walking into the house Saturday afternoon we discovered that the air conditioner was blowing heat again and it was 78 degrees.  We stayed home anyway in the heat, with a fan and opened windows.  Sunday morning the temp in the house was 82.  Did I mention that so far this summer we have had an extremely cool summer at least until August hit and now the temps are in the roaring 90s?  Seriously in the shade outside my house was cooler than in our house.  #summersrevenge

After church, we packed everything we could and headed to mom's again.  I was able to get my nap in #eleventhcommandment which was disturbed after hearing my dad tell my mom and G to come see the bobcat with the rabbit it caught IN THEIR FRONT YARD!!  It wasn't even 20 feet from their house!  So now I am spending the nights at my parent's while my dad gets the air guys to take care of our house and while my dad and G are floating the river.  My mom will be with two of her friends in a big city and I will be caring for the hummingbirds while keeping a watch out for a wild bobcat.  yea me... #toomuchnature

G told me Saturday night, after learning that my maternal grandmother never had air conditioner at all in her house, that she must have lived a miserable life.  I realize that it is what you get used to and we are used to air.  Both of us were totally congested after sleeping in the heat, and though showered, I felt stinky all night and all Sunday during church.  I just warned people to stay away from me, heh.  #fullbodyantiperspirantneeded

So now, it is Monday again.  Hopefully all of them will be safe and have an excellent time doing their excitingly different trips.  G asked what happens if she falls out of the canoe and I told her that if she listened and minded my dad she wouldn't to which he responded, "if you don't fall out of the boat it won't be any fun."  Well, alrighty then.  If you, dear reader, think about my family, please pray for a good time, safety and a safe return for them.