Friday, June 27, 2008

These Apple Dumplings are amazing!! Thank you so very much for sharing, Kristin -- and Pioneer Woman.

I had an ambitious idea this week. I've been trying to avoid any major commitments since I had such a rough first half of the year, which culminated in a near transfusion. However, I have been feeling the urge to work on a book again. A few years ago I thought about trying NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, but it's in November. Since I usually have a few major meetings, plus my birthday as well as two of my children's, it's not a good month for me to take on other projects. Anyway, I had the bright idea of declaring July my novel writing month. So starting Monday, I'm going to try to crank out a few written pages.

I may need more of those Apple Dumplings to get me through.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I had a house full this evening. My oldest brother is in town for a visit on his way back to Malaysia, so my other brother came up from Texas. And some other family came over for dinner so we could all visit.

When my kids start fighting or name calling, I try to remember my childhood. It could be pretty brutal at times with two older brothers, but as they would tell you, it made me tougher. Anna likes hearing the stories of how her uncles would pick on me, and she shows visitors in my parents' home the proof of that torment -- a broken coffee table leg. About 30 years ago, G was attacking me -- at least that's how I remember it -- and I was holding onto the leg of the table so he couldn't drag me off somewhere and continue torturing me. Of course, he was strong but I wasn't too weak and pulled the leg off the table. Back then they made furniture quite sturdy, so even though I was able to dismember it, the table is still perfectly usable today.

Today we can laugh about it and enjoy one another's company. However, 25-30 years ago, it was another story. So I can only hope that as my kids argue like siblings tend to do, they will remain close as adults. Because while I may not speak to my brothers regularly, we are still relatively close, and I know I can count on them whenever I need anything -- especially advice they so willingly give.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I must take a moment to brag on my two oldest children. First, Jeremy finished up Boy Scout camp by receiving an award for best behaved boy at camp. He received a string of beads with a *alligator* hide (it's actually cow hide) tied to it that indicates why he received the beads. The string is now tied to his walking stick, which I guess is what these boy scouts do with the beads they receive for different accomplishments. This recognition means so much to me because, as I explained to Jeremy, it means I can trust him to behave and make good choices when his parents are not present and when he is surrounded by boys who do not always make the best decisions.

As for Anna...she auditioned for our church's childrens musical, which required reading lines and singing alone. I asked her a few weeks ago if she'd like to try out since she enjoys the theatre and has a nice voice for someone her age, but at that time she wasn't interested. However, Sunday morning she told me she wanted to audition. The challenge was that auditions were being held that afternoon. So with only about an hour to prepare, she tried out for one of the main girl parts, reading the lines perfectly. The panel was very impressed with her and surprised that she wasn't performing at school or elsewhere. When it came time to sing, the children sang as a group. When they finished, the director asked the panelists if there were any children they would like to hear alone, and they wanted to listen to Anna. I'm not sure she will get a part since many children auditioned, but it was very encouraging for her. Maybe this is the start of something...even though I don't have much time for another activity.

The other exciting aspect of this production is that it is a never-before-seen musical. They will video our kids performing and use it for marketing purposes. We should know this week if we will be spending a lot of time at the church over the next couple of months.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

What a week! We started off Saturday with a 3 v. 3 soccer tournament. Yes, I have officially become a soccer mom. I've got the minivan and a decal on the back window proclaiming proudly that my daughter plays soccer. The day started at 8 a.m., and we finished at 6 a.m. in sixth place. Pretty good for their first time playing that style of soccer. I'm just glad we (parents) were not as obnoxious as the parents of the last team we played. They were very rude. It was kind of ridiculous since they were playing for fifth place -- not one of the top spots.

Then on Sunday, Father's Day, we bid Anna farewell as she left for church camp. Even though I've known for months she would be going for five days, I never really thought about the actual location of the camp. Last week I finally took time to find the town on the map -- it was 3 1/2 hours away! My baby, my first born, my growing-up-too-fast nine-year-old daughter was going away to a camp that was nearly in the next state. However, she returned today safe and sound. She told me this evening that she wouldn't mind still being at camp. Glad she missed us...

I was concerned about how she would socialize with the other kids since she doesn't usually talk about too many friends at church. But the lack of good friends in any group, fortunately doesn't deter Anna from participating in an activity, which is very strange considering she is usually a very quiet girl. Actually, the children's minister said Anna was the most self-sufficient third grader she had ever met. I hope she maintains many of these qualities as she grows older.

Another *highlight* of the week was Boy Scout camp. Yippee! I had the fortune of spending a WHOLE day with six seven-year-old boys, trailing them from archery to nature to lunch to crafts to rock climbing to music. It was an interesting experience. There are some very different personalities in the troop. Jeremy seemed to be very glad I was along, so I guess I should enjoy that while it lasts. I'm just glad I was only there for one day and that the weather was actually somewhat comfortable despite a light shower earlier that morning.
I haven't had any migraines for the past few weeks, but the excitement (sarcasm) of this week brought on two headaches. I don't really belong in the great outdoors, so that probably triggered one of them. And the other one developed after I spent an evening cleaning out Anna's closet. Thank goodness the weekend is almost here because I need some rest.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Wii fitness age: 21

I think my health has rebounded. I finally have more energy, and even better, I haven't had a migraine sinced I stopped taking the topomax. I hope I didn't jinx myself. Of course, it's after midnight right now, and I have to get up early (for me) to drop off Spencer before I go to work. Those two things can usually add up to a migraine, so we'll see how it goes. Guess I'd better get some sleep now or my witness fitness age might drop to 62.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

It's a little hard to slow down and rest when you have four kids. Fortunately, I'm putting those kids to work this summer since they are of an age where they can handle some bigger chores. Since we had VBS last week, yesterday was the first day of the chore chart and it went pretty well. Jeremy did an excellent job with the bathroom. Jack cleaned the dining room table. And Anna said she picked up the living room -- must've been before I got up because it didn't look like it had been cleaned. However, she did volunteer to organize the pantry, and it looks very nice. All three of the kids also straightened the garage.

Hopefully, this will make it easier for me to keep up with housecleaning and encourage them to be more aware of the things they leave around the house. They aren't getting paid extra for it, but I might give them bonuses now and then based on their attitudes and extent of cleaning. Anna asked if they would be getting paid, but I explained that they are part of the family so they are also responsible for the house. To make it even clearer, I told them that no one paid me extra to pick up after them. They were OK with no extra money.

In other news, D and I went to dinner and then to see Spamalot Saturday evening with a former co-worker and her husband. Loved the show! D's co-worker and college-age daughter met us there. I'm not sure the daughter enjoyed it -- mainly because she probably doesn't get Monty Python.

We also had a great time at dinner. It's always fun and helpful when your husbands get along. The two guys carried on their own conversation while my friend and I had a chance to catch up. We're going to try it again later this summer when Seven Brides for Seven Brothers comes to town.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

My brush with fame

After hearing her speak, I've got to read Doris Kearns Goodwin's book on Abraham Lincoln. Spielberg is adapting it into a movie with Liam Neeson and Sally Field. For those who may not know, Goodwin is a Pulitzer-Prize winning author and presidential historian. Since I have wanted to write most of my life, meeting a Puliter-Prize winner was very special. Unfortunately, I was working so I just got to take pictures of her talking to other people rather than talking to her myself. From my observation, she is a very kind and gracious person.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

I think the topomax has pretty much run its course through my body. Do you know what that means? Coke doesn't taste gross anymore! I actually shared a coke with Jeremy at the movie the other night, and for lunch today, I drank half a can. I'm going to work really hard to continue drinking other non-carbonated beverages, but I'm so glad that I now have more options when we go out to eat.

Now I must be more self-disciplined and go to sleep at a reasonable hour. Last night it was 1 a.m., but it took me awhile to balance the checkbook and fold some laundry. So after I post this, I'm shutting down and getting ready for bed. And it's only 8:55 p.m.!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

I've been on vacation for the last week -- not that it was really much of a vacation. I didn't leave town, D was still working, and I spent a couple of the days at medical and eye appointments. The medical appointment knocked me out, and the reason for the medical appointment has had me exhausted for the last few weeks and has caused migraines. So I spent every afternoon resting -- which isn't easy with four kids. And I got very little done around the house.

However, I ended the week on a high note. I took Jeremy to see the Indiana Jones movie. I did see it on opening day with D, but I had a major migraine and was not able to enjoy it. The music did filter through my pain-filled head, and I couldn't help but smile. It is probably my favorite theme music of all time. Anyway, Jeremy and I both had a great time. I was able to actually follow more of the story and watch all of the chase scenes without feeling sick.

While it's hard watching my kids grow up so fast, I do enjoy it when they are of an age where we can experience certain activities together. And sharing my love of Indiana Jones' adventures with my oldest son is a great feeling. However, we do differ on our favorite Indy movie. Mine would be the Last Crusade, while he liked the Crystal Skull. He hasn't watched the Temple of Doom, but I think he may need to wait awhile to see that one. I don't think he's ready to see someone's heart ripped out yet.

The Crystal Skull fits into the Jones family of films, and if you grew up with Indiana, I see no reason why you wouldn't enjoy this one as well. It's not like any of the previous movies were plausible, so why should we expect this one to be? It has Harrison Ford, the hat, the whip and the theme music. What more do you need?