Friday, May 27, 2011

It's Officially Summertime, Now!

Ok, so technically it's not really considered summer until after Memorial Day (but hey, that's only a couple days from now!), and according to the sun, it's not technically summer until the 21st of June this year. But today was Ben's last day of school, and that means that as of 10:55 this morning, when we pulled into the driveway after the end-of-the-year festivities at his school, it is SUMMER VACATION!!!!!

I'm not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, I love the idea of not using the alarm clock for a couple months. On the other hand, I am so not ready to hear, "I'm booooooooored" for the next couple months, either. On yet another hand (on one foot?), we have lots of neighbors now, so at least the kids will have someone to be booooooooored with! On the last foot (and unless I want to start counting on teeth or something here, I suppose this better be my last point), we're going to have to lay down the law with all these neighbor kids before they drive us nuts! (But that's another whole post on its own!)

Ben's school holds their award ceremony on the last day of school every year. This year's went much faster than it has in previous years, so that was nice. They broke it down to just two grades per ceremony, so Ben's was just the first and second grades, and they only gave out the citizenship, reading, perfect attendance, A/AB Honor Roll, and P.E. awards. Before, we had to sit through all of that, plus the awards for each individual subject, and each ceremony was for four grades (K4-2 in one, then 3-6 in the other). Olette liked this year's ceremony much more than the past two she's had to attend for her brother!

I wasn't surprised to see him get his reading award-- they have to make 90 or higher on all of their weekly reading tests to get it, and I knew he had that one in the bag! I was surprised that he got the award for "A" Honor Roll. Ben made a "B" (a high one, an 89) on his first quarter report card. Apparently, they decided that since he made straight "A's" the rest of the year, they would go ahead and change the first one. I'm not sure how I feel about that. On the one hand (there I go with the hands, again), it was almost an "A," anyway. And he did put forth loads of effort to keep making "A's" the rest of the year. But on the other hand, I think keeping that "B" would have been just as valuable a learning experience. Either way, I am SUPER proud of my baby boy! I can't believe I now have an official third-grader on my hands!

Showing off his certificates.

Monday, May 23, 2011

What It's Like To Be Me

How I clean my kitchen:
1.) Start clearing off countertops. Realize I need to wipe them down, too.
2.) Go grab a paper towel. Realize paper towel roll is empty.
3.) Go down hallway to linen closet where the spare paper towels are kept.
4.) Realize halfway there that I have to pee. Walk past the linen closet and take care of business.
5.) Realize that there are suds in the bottom of the tub from Olette's bubble bath, earlier.
6.) Acknowledge that leaving them there to dry will result in soap scum that will need to be scrubbed.
7.) Spend five minutes thoroughly rinsing the bathtub.
8.) Realize that someone left all the bedroom doors open again. (Trying to keep them closed so the ac doesn't have to work so hard.)
9.) Close all bedroom doors. 
10.) Open all blinds on the back side of the house (since the sun is on the front side right now) so I don't have to have lights on-- hooray for saving electricity!
11.) Realize I don't like the song on Pandora right now. Go to kitchen (where the laptop is, since I'm cleaning the kitchen today) and change the song.
12.) Realize that I've just wasted around 10 minutes doing things that were specifically not "cleaning the kitchen."
13.) Start clearing off countertops. Realize I need to wipe them down, too.
14.) Realize I never did grab a new roll of paper towels.
15.) Take a moment to blog about it. Because at this point, really, why not?

(And everyone wonders why it's so hard for me to keep up on the housework...)

Friday, May 20, 2011

A New Blog!

My friends and I had a recipe swapping group on Facebook (named, excitingly enough, Recipe Swap), where we posted recipes we'd found or made up, tried, and wanted to share. Since Facebook has decided to change how they do their groups, we decided to move the group to a blog!

So check us out at My Chef-ish Friends and Me. I guarantee you'll find something you'd like to try!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Random Unrelated Things

--This morning I had to attend a meeting at the school for the parents of incoming K4 kids. Long digression: I'm not sure if I mentioned before (and, sorry, too lazy today to check) but after I signed Olette up for K4, we found out that she didn't get in, but would be put on a waiting list in case someone gave up their spot. I spent a long, long month stressing out about how I was going to manage child care once I started working, and about a week before moving day, I got a phone call from the school board letting me know that a spot opened up and it was Olette's if we wanted it. And of course we wanted it. I am sighing huge sighs of relief all over the place lately! I can get pretty much any job that comes along now, because I don't have to worry about going broke paying for daycare! (Digression over.) The program was explained to us, we met the teacher, and learned a little bit about what they'll be doing in K4 all year. I can say almost completely certainly: Olette's gonna love it!

--The microwave here in the new house is way more efficient than the one we had in our old trailer. I keep forgetting this. With our old one, I would reheat things a minute or two at a time, and it rarely took less than three minutes, even on the highest setting. This morning, in just one minute, I managed to turn the sausage from last night into lumps of tasty-smelling pork charcoal. The dog didn't mind.

--We've got almost all of the stuff from the trailer moved into here. Just a few things in the living room and our bedroom are waiting to be brought over. The pile of un-unpacked boxes in the dining room gets bigger all the time. Shouldn't it be shrinking? I think the Unpacking Fairy has been skipping our house. We brought the trampoline over-- the kids (ours and the neighbors'!) are ecstatic.

--Facebook has changed how they do groups. So I'm going to be working on moving everything from the Recipe Swap my friends and I use over to a blog. I'm optimistic-- and naive-- enough to think it will be a fun process. (Sometimes I tend to confuse process with finished product-- see my dining room for details-- and always wonder why I'm not enjoying what I'm working on more.)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

There's No Place Like Home

On Thursday, I shared a little bit of my slightly neurotic and just-a-little-pessimistic view of the world. I promise today's is a little happier!

Back in October, we went to Clearwater, FL for my sister-in-law's wedding. The ceremony and reception were right on the beach, and by the time we got back to the hotel room, the kids had picked up about half a pound of seashells. When we got home, we sorted through them and tossed out all of the broken and not-as-pretty ones (we live less than 30 minutes from the Gulf of Mexico-- boring gray seashells are less than a dime a dozen; it was no big loss), and put the nice ones in the kids' shell jar. There was one very pretty one, about the size of a nickel and bright orange. It must have been a mussel of some sort, because it was sealed shut and had a pretty design on each side. This was their favorite and instead of staying in the shell jar, they kept pulling it out to play with. (Translation: to argue over who's shell it was and who got to hold it.) After a little while, the shell got pulled apart so that they each had a half (there was nothing inside-- they were slightly disappointed about that), and neither half ever saw the inside of the shell jar again. Instead, I would find halves of that shell all over the house. One day it one would be sitting on the bar when I was cleaning the kitchen. Another day, one would be on the couch. Or the coffee table. Or anywhere a shell doesn't actually belong. Those shell halves floated all over the house-- and apparently under their own power, because no kid ever 'fessed up to leaving their half laying around.

The day after we started moving in, I was vacuuming the carpet-- a full time job, since all day long people were going in and out unloading boxes and furniture and it took me three whole days to remember to bring over a doormat! As I vacuumed down the hallway, I saw something small, about the size of a nickel on the floor. I stooped to pick it up. It was a little orange shell half. There's no telling how it ended up sitting in the middle of the hallway of a house we'd only spent one night in. But it was there. And I thought, "Well, it's definitely home, now!"

Friday, May 13, 2011

Yesterday's Blog Post...

...was a good one, I thought. Hopefully Blogger will fix whatever glitches they've been dealing with and it will show up again. If not, I'll be annoyed. A lot. Because today's blog post was supposed to build on that. And of course I didn't draft it somewhere else and copy/paste it (something I should think about doing from now on, I guess), I just wrote it right in the text box and published it. It was there long enough for one person to comment and for me to reply to them. And now it's gone.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

If It Ain't Broke, It Probably Ain't Mine

Maybe it's because I grew up in a family without a lot of money and, it naturally follows, very few really new (not just new-to-me) things. Maybe it's just me, and I'm weird. I'm not sure. But any time we make a big purchase on something brand new or very expensive, I become very uncomfortable. I get this feeling that, while it's nice to enjoy this cool new thing, it's really just a matter of time before someone realizes they've made a mistake, and whatever that thing is, it is far too nice for us. I never feel like something is truly ours until it malfunctions or breaks. I don't know why, but I do. Some examples: 

--Remember back at the beginning of the recession, when everyone got a check mailed to them with a message from the president saying, "Go blow this money on something to stimulate the economy?" (Not a direct quote, but you get the sentiment.) We bought a new tv. We had been talking about upgrading to a flat screen for awhile, and we decided we might as well do it then. We picked out the nicest one in our budget, and were super excited. Better picture! Built in dvd player! Bigger screen! Takes up less space! But while we enjoyed it, I had that awful nagging, "it doesn't really feel like ours" feeling. Fast forward a couple of months, and the built-in dvd player quit working. At that point I realized, "Hey, this is really ours. Also, crap... now we have to get a dvd player, too."

-- In 2007, we bought our truck. Being a 2004 model, it was the newest car we'd ever owned together. But it never really felt like mine until the night, angry after an argument with Hubby, I left to go grocery shopping without paying much attention to my surroundings. The tiniest corner of my front bumper caught the tiniest edge of the back bumper of Hubby's work truck. Since mine was plastic and his was metal, you can guess which bumper won that fight. That's when it began to feel like that truck belonged to me. Two broken window mechanisms and two windshield cracks later, there is no doubt in my mind that that is my truck.

-- When I bought this computer last August, I felt the same way. No way was this brand-new (a first to me, as all my previous computers had been hand-me-downs), state-of-the-art computer mine! Sure, I picked it out. Sure, I wrote the check for it, and sure, several weeks later, the rebate check came, addressed to me. But I couldn't shake the feeling that any day, someone was going to call and say, "Hey, about that computer you bought? Yeah, we're gonna need that back. Sorry." Until the day I baptized the keyboard in sweet tea. That was the day I knew the computer was ours.

So, we've just moved into a new house. And while it's not brand new (it was built 5 years ago), it's definitely a major purchase, and infinite heaps better than the our old trailer. And after all the work, heartbreak, and stress that went into getting here, it's no small wonder that when we moved in, I was still anxiously waiting for the other shoe to drop. But on our third day here, something happened. Ben tried to come inside through the front door, and the doorknob fell off. Just completely fell apart-- half of it was on the floor in here and the other half was on the front step! At that moment, I realized that this is our house. Our house. We live here, and we own it, and it is our house for us to make into our home. 

Every once in awhile, that little feeling creeps up on me again, and I worry that the bank will call and tell us it was all just a big mistake, or someone's idea of a practical joke, and that we shouldn't be living here after all. When it does, I go look in the box where we stuck the broken doorknob and I think, "Nope. It's ours." And maybe that's a pessimistic, glass-half-empty way to look at it. But, in a strange way, it comforts me.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Internet: I Have Some!

Hooray for finally having internet!! I've got some great blog posts planned, but an hour before bedtime isn't a good time to get started on them, I think. Mostly because they've been filed away somewhere in my subconscious, and somewhere in the very back of that file. I'll probably remember them, word-for-word, as I'm dozing off tonight and when I sit down to actually write them tomorrow, I'll probably have forgotten them. I'm used to it. To ward this off, I'm going to give you a sneak preview of sorts: one is about a seashell, and one is about broken stuff. That doesn't sound very exciting right now, I'll grant you. But I keep forgetting to make a note of it, and this way it's right here in the blog where I'll be able to find them when I need them.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Internet, Don't Let Me Down Now! (OR, How Many Links Can I Cram Into One Post?)

(Please excuse any typos, I'm typing this as quickly as possible, because I just know I'll soon lose the wireless internet signal my computer just found!)

I have mentioned here before that my current favorite author has a blog wherein she conducts interviews with other writers and offers a chance to win a book by that author. Right now, she is conducting an interview with herself, and offering a chance to win one of her own books, Backseat Saints, which is making its paperback debut. This is one that, if I don't win, I'll definitely have to go out and buy-- I downloaded the first chapter for free on my phone's Nook app, and was hooked. I can't wait to read the rest of it.

Instructions on how to win can be found on her blog (relevant post here), and you have until midnight on Monday, May 9th to enter. Good luck!