Monday, March 31, 2008

One Down

It looks as though my plan to get Sarah to take more responsibility for getting good grades is working. A few months ago, after fighting with Sarah over her lack of turning in her homework on time (if at all), I decided to just give up and let her be responsible for her own fate. I couldn't take fighting with her over it one minute longer.

Of course, I couldn't just let her get away with letting her grades slide, either. So, I made a deal with her. The deal was that if she gets straight A's on her report cards for the second semester of seventh grade and the first semester of eight grade, then she will get her own laptop computer. This seemed like a great deal to me because I don't have to yell at her about her school work anymore and she has an incentive to make sure she gets good grades in school.

Today, Sarah brought home her first report card since we made the deal. She got straight A's! So, now she just needs to continue with the good grades for three more report cards and she'll get her laptop.

Congratulations, Sarah!

Sunday, March 30, 2008


Katie loves to climb. Up until now, Katie has stayed pretty low to the ground with her furniture climbing, only climbing onto the couches and the coffee table and into her highchair. Tonight, though, that changed.

Katie decided to climb up onto her changing table. She apparently got up there with no trouble and decided to do a little celebrating. And for her celebration, she decided to open up the Vaseline and smear it all over herself.

Yeah, fun stuff!

How Could Anyone Give Up These Faces?

As I mentioned in my previous post, I chaperoned a field trip to the Humane Society yesterday. The dogs and cats were SO cute. Somehow, though, I only ended up with photos of the dogs. Maybe it's because we've been thinking about getting a dog sometime in the not too distant future.

One of the things I learned yesterday is that the Humane Society does not accept stray animals. They only accept owner-surrendered animals. Which means that every single animal in their shelter has been rejected by his or her owner.

Just look at these lovable faces. Could you just give these sweet faces up?

These next photos are of the dogs that would have come home with me if I had had the time to stay and go through the adoption process. This first dog is named Token, and he was such a good, sweet boy. He was so well-behaved that he even sat for me when I told him to. I doubt he would require much training.

This next dog is named Abby, and she was a very sweet girl. She wasn't quite as active as Token, but she would definitely fit in well with our family.

I'm thinking of taking another trip back out the the Humane Society in a few weeks and if either of these two dogs is still there, I'll go ahead and bring them home with me.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

I Just Don't Get It

I chaperoned a Girl Scout field trip for Emily this afternoon. I wasn't planning on it, but at the last minute, one of the chaperones canceled and they needed another chaperone to help drive all of the girls and nobody else would step up.

While on this field trip, I keep staring at this one girl in her troop who has really, really long red hair. The color of her hair is gorgeous. But for some reason, the girl never gets her hair trimmed. From the looks of her hair, I doubt she's ever had a haircut.

It's not the long hair that I am opposed to. What I dislike about it is the fact that her hair is so unhealthy and stringy. It is broken and nasty from less than half-way down the length of it. I was looking at her hair and thinking how beautiful it could be if only she got a decent haircut.

I just don't understand why this girl's mother feels that this is the best thing for her hair. Is it some sort of religious thing that I know nothing about? Does she really think that this looks good? (And, yes, the mother has the same non-haircut.) I can understand that she wants her daughter's hair to be long, but why not get it trimmed once in a while so it can be both long AND healthy?

Friday, March 28, 2008


I won! I won! My moms group has a monthly photo contest, and I was voted the winner for the month of March. The theme this month was "Nature's Gifts." The photo I chose to submit was one that I took nearly five years ago when Sarah, Emily, and I were in California for my brother's wedding. I titled the photo, "Beauty All Around."

Cops & Donuts

I know that the whole "cops and donuts" thing is very cliche, but I had to laugh this morning when I pulled into the Krispy Kreme drive-thru line. There was a cop car in front of me and another one behind me!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Field Trips

Well, the end of the school year is fast approaching. Yes, there are still over two months left, but now that we are past the FCATs, it's time for all of the End of Year celebrations and field trips to begin.

My long time readers may recall my post at the beginning of the school year about how much I dread fundraisers. Well, all of this End of Year stuff is just as much fun! While I don't have to go out and sell crap to people, I do have a pile of permission slips and health forms (some notarized, some not) to fill out.

I also get the joy of figuring out how to pay for it all. Since the dead-beat ex doesn't bother to follow the court order and pay for his half of all of this (hell, he won't even pay for his half of their health & dental bills), I get stuck paying for it all by myself.

Oh, and I also have to figure out a babysitter for Katie so that I can chaperone. I have been requested by Emily's teachers to chaperone one of her field trips, and some of Sarah's classmates have requested that I chaperone their field trip to Universal Studios since they think I'm "so cool."

Wish me luck figuring this all out!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Long Day

So, I've had a long day and it has finally caught up with me and given me a headache. After driving both girls to school (separately, in two different trips), my mother called me to come pick up her dog and the kitten because she had to go out of town all of a sudden (her mother was dying) and needed a babysitter for them. That made three outings all before 10 am. (No wonder I can't afford to keep gas in my car!)

With the kitten in the house, Katie was difficult to handle. The child LOVES that kitten! Unfortunately, it's hard to get the concept of how to not strangle the kitten when you're carrying it across to a nineteen month old. So, there was a lot of fighting and temper-tantrum throwing in between all of the sweet baby with a kitty moments.

I also decided today that since eBay is having a selling special right now, I would go ahead and list a few of Katie's old shoes and clothes for sale. Most of what I listed only cost me a penny to list, so if they don't sell, it won't cost me much.

Well, I'm tired, so I'm off to bed now. I'll leave you with some sweet kitty goodness to warm your hearts with.

BTW: My mother doesn't know this yet, but we decided to call him "Fuzzball."

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Congratulations, Karlise!

Congratulations to my friend Karlise on giving birth to a beautiful baby girl early this morning! Happy Birthday, Bella!

You can read all about her birth experience (she had a water birth!) if you click on her name in the paragraph above. Can you believe the woman gave birth this morning and has already managed to whip out TWO blog posts?!?

Katie's Kitty-Kat

My mother brought a kitten over to our house a little while ago. Katie immediately fell in love. She thinks the kitten is hers. Whenever anybody takes the kitten away from Katie, she gets very upset and yells, "NOOOO!! My kitty-kat!"

Back to Normal

After nearly having a nervous breakdown due to my lack of Internet and cable service, the Verizon tech finally showed up at my house this morning. Amazingly, it didn't take him very long to fix the problem. He told me that he spliced the fiber-optic line back together and that once the drainage project is finished, he or someone else would be back out to put a brand new line in for me.

Here's the wild part of the story. The tech asked me if I had grown up in this area, and of course, I told him that I had. He said that I looked very familiar to him, and through the course of our conversation we figured out that we used to live in the same neighborhood and were friends as children.

I had completely forgotten about him, but once I realized who he was, a flood of memories came back to me. I remembered that he had an older brother. I remembered that my brother Timmy used to idolize this kid (he was older than we were). I even remembered that we had named our very first ferret after this kid.

The funny thing about all of this is that I'm usually the one who recognizes and remembers people. This is the first time in my life that someone has recognized me first.

Monday, March 24, 2008


My house is so quiet today. Want to know why? Because my favorite construction workers were digging the drainage line in front of my house today and accidentally cut through my Fios line. Apparently, no one ever came out to mark the Fios lines before the construction work began.

So, I am currently without cable, Internet, and phone service. I guess that's what I get for putting all my eggs in one basket with Verizon, huh?

Katie has done amazingly well considering that she has now gone over seven hours without Sponge Bob, Elmo, or Kai-Lan. I, on the other hand, am going a bit crazy without access to the Internet.

Since I look everything up on the Internet, I just recycle my telephone books whenever they drop them off at my house. Not having a telephone book made it a bit difficult to call up Verizon to get them out to repair the line.

Once I got to my mother's house (which is where I am posting from), I called them and they said that they won't be sending anyone out until at least tomorrow morning. Seriously? They expect me to wait that long?!? What am I going to do for television tonight? Don't they know that I have needs? I can't even watch anything I've recorded on my DVR because without the Fios, I can't access any of it.

So, wish me luck when the service tech gets to my house tomorrow. Pray that he will arrive early and be able to fix the problem in a timely manner (as in before I go bat-shit crazy!).

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

We woke up this morning to a dreary, drizzly day. Our church has an outdoor sunrise service on Easter at their lakeside altar. Phil was sure that it would be moved inside because of the rain, but when we arrived at church, it was no longer raining and the outdoor service went on as scheduled.

The overcast weather was worked into the homily as Father Dennis compared how we couldn't see the sun, but we still knew it was there, to how we can't see God or Jesus, but we still know that they are with us.

After Mass ended, there was an egg hunt for the children. With some help from her older siblings, Katie managed to collect a few eggs. Then we all feasted on the lovely Easter breakfast provided by the church.

Speaking of the breakfast... God was surely smiling down on me this morning! When we walked into the building to get our breakfast, what do you think we saw? Along with the coffee, milk, juice, sausage, egg rolls, fresh fruit, and bagels, were lots and lots (about 12 dozen to be precise) of Krispy Kreme donuts! (Insert angels singing "Hallelujah" here.)

After we finished our breakfast and fellowship, we headed home to rest up and get ready for our family Easter dinner and egg hunt in the afternoon. And by that, I mean that Emily, Katie and I took naps, while Phil and Sarah prepared the deviled eggs we were taking to Easter dinner.

After dinner at my aunt's house, the big kids hid the eggs and then the younger kids hunted for them. We lined the egg hunters up by age so that the younger kids could get a head start on the egg hunting before the older kids ran all over them. Katie was able to find a few eggs before the bigger kids came out.

As you can see from these photos, the sun eventually came out and it was a beautiful Spring day. After the egg hunt, the kids had fun playing in the yard.

Oh, and um, the adults may have had some fun playing in the yard, too. We played a game with the big balls that was sort of a combination of kick ball and dodge ball. We had tons of fun!

All in all, it was a nice Easter Sunday. I'll leave you now with a couple of adorable photos that Phil took of Katie this afternoon.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Chainsaw Warrior

Today I had my first experience using a chainsaw. And I LOVED it!!! There is such a powerful feeling that comes with sawing things down.

First, I used the chainsaw to trim up some severely overgrown bushes on the side of my yard. Then I moved on to the larger project of cutting branches off of one of our oak trees. I had so much fun that I didn't want to stop. Unfortunately, it started raining, and Phil didn't think it was such a good idea for me to be using electric power tools in the rain.

Hopefully, I can get back outside to do some more damage to the trees after all of the Easter festivities tomorrow.

Friday, March 21, 2008


Katie has been sick for a couple of weeks now. First, she started out with just a little sneezing which I attributed to all of the oak pollen in the air around here. Then after about a week, she started to develop a cough, too. Then she started alternating between a stuffy nose and a runny nose. Then she developed a low grade fever and a rattling noise in her chest when she would get up from sleeping.

So this morning, I called the doctor and took her in to be seen. Her regular doctor was not in the office today because it is Good Friday and he is a devout Catholic. So, we had to see the doctor that I don't like to see because she usually tells me that there is nothing wrong with my kids and then I have to go back to see Dr. Bob after a few days and the girls are even worse.

But this time was different. After hearing about what has been going on, and giving Katie a thorough examination, she determined that Katie has developed a case of walking pneumonia. She gave Katie a prescription for antibiotics, and hopefully she'll be just fine in a few days.

I'm expecting Katie to be feeling much better by Easter Sunday, so she should have a great time hunting for eggs.

Signs of Spring

The eggs have hatched and the baby sandhill cranes are all around town in all of their fuzzy glory.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Exciting Day

Let me just preface this post by saying that not everyone will find my day's events as exciting as I did. That being said, something that I have been hoping would happen for about a year now finally happened today, AND I got a bonus, too.

Last year, there was a meeting concerning the drainage problems in my neighborhood - specifically, directly in front of my house. You see, whenever it rains here, the water pools in my driveway and all along the sidewalk in front of my house. A while before this, my next door neighbor complained, and the county came out and rerouted the sidewalk in front of their house and put in a drainage ditch. It fixed their problem, but made ours even worse. So, the county came up with a plan to fix the problem once and for all.

After telling us all what the plan was to fix the problem, they told us that they had to wait until the summer to work on the project because they didn't want to block the sidewalks during the school year. Well, the summer came and went, and nothing was done. I figured that maybe they had decided to scrap the project due to budget cuts or something like that. I had completely given up on it ever happening.

Then this morning, a man knocked on my door to inform me that they were indeed working on the project and that they would be replacing the piece of my driveway between the sidewalk and the road (as called for in the project plans). Of course, my sidewalk was very uneven, so the project manager called the county guy to get approval to replace the section of sidewalk in my driveway, too.

After a while, the county guy showed up to check on the job and see what else it was that the project manager wanted to add on. In talking to the county guy, I mentioned how horrible the next section on my driveway was going to look next to the new sections since that section was all cracked up and uneven. So after talking to the project manager and thinking about it for a few minutes, he came back over to inform me that they were going to do me a favor and replace that section also! Woo-hoo!

Here's a "before" photo of my driveway. You'll see what I mean about the cracked up section of my driveway and the uneven sidewalk. You'll also see the remainder puddle from last night's light rainfall.

I was so excited about this wonderful turn of events that I took tons of photos to document the destruction of the old driveway and the construction of the new driveway.

These first few pics are of the crew tearing up and removing the old driveway sections.

Katie had fun watching the guys work. She was rather impressed with the large machinery being used.

More pics of the destruction and removal of the old driveway...

Here, the worker used a machine to tamp down the ground in preparation for pouring the concrete for the new driveway.

Here comes the concrete!

Next, the guys level out the poured concrete.

Ooh! More concrete!

Now, let's smoothe it all out.

And, again, more concrete!

So, how does it look?

Apparently, not quite good enough for my perfectionist construction workers!

Now, this is what I call a beautiful driveway!

Of course, there seems to be something missing. I can't quite put my finger on it...

Oh, yeah, that's right! It needs a little personalization!

So now, Phil and I have to borrow my uncle's pressure washer so we can clean up the remaining section of the old driveway (the part where I park my car) and the sidewalk leading to the front door to make it match the new section better. While we're at it, we'll also finally remove the green stuff (algae?) that runs along the bottom of the front of my house so that won't look so bad anymore, either.

Oh, and if you made it all the way through this post, thanks for sticking it out with me. You're the best!