Thursday, December 28, 2006

Night at the Museum

Fun movie. If you haven't seen anything about it, it's Ben Stiller in a museum of Natural History that comes alive at night. There was only one thing that bothers me about it now, and I wonder if that got edited out or something. Nice effects & funny.

We had some tickets left over from the Talent Show, so the girl scouts wanted to see that one. Unfortunately, we got those tickets in May. When I went to get them yesterday, they'd expired. At least they weren't our Prize from the show. They were some leftovers because the troop that won the movies had less people than the tickets we were donated. But still... grr.

So we went to a matinee & paid out of troop funds ($5.25 per person). We just didn't get treats while we were there. Then we went by Taco Bell & got some dinner. Those girls LOVE Taco Bell. I'm not sure why, but if you have to have fast food, at least it's cheap!

We had dessert leftover from Christmas - a nice Black Forest Cake from Safeway. Neither Mary or Renee had ever had that kind of cake. I think that's what Renee will have when she gets married. She really liked the cake.

I had told the girls we'd do a sleepover during the break from school. I thought I'd made sure everyone could be there, but we were still short Amanda :/ She came later, after her babysitting job. I went to bed around 11:00, and Amanda wasn't here yet. I see her truck in the driveway, so she must have showed up eventually! I have no clue what time the girls got to sleep.

I'll leave them alone. Then we have to go pick up our actual Prize from the Talent Show - a 3 gallon tub of ice cream from our famous dairy - the girls want cookie dough flavor. We have a certificate that expires on the 31st - I don't want to waste that one too!!


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Merry Christmas! Part 2

Once everyone has come into the Christmas Room, they all figure out where their pile of stuff is, and then we all settle down

First, we read the Christmas story. This year we read out of the Bible, but Connor wasn't too interested - I think we need a version with pictures or something.

Then, we sing Christmas Carols. This year, Connor learned a bunch of traditional songs at school, altho not necessarily hymn-style songs. So we sang Jingle Bells, and Rudolph, and we jumped to the end of the 12 Days of Christmas (we sang 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, then 8, then 12). But we always have to sing Silent Night, because that's my favorite one.

After the songs are sung, we wish everyone a Merry Christmas with hugs & kisses. Then everyone gets to their spot and the presents are opened. This year we started with Connor, and then he directed the rest of us. It was very cute.

Trevor got an MP3 player and Warcraft for his computer. We play the online version already, but he likes the history of the game, so he's playing the previous version. Diana loaded it onto her computer too.

Diana got the backpack she'll need when she travels to Germany in the summer. She also got a Full Metal Alchemist movie gift pack, but it's not the one she wanted with the extras, so we'll have to return that and get the right one.

Connor got that humidifier I mentioned in a previous post, and a Hot Wheels set. He also got the Ice Age movies, an x-box car racing game, and some Sponge Bob Christmas episodes on DVD.

I got a nice new cushy robe, bath stuff & chocolate. Lee got a movie, Weird Al's new CD, a coupon for comics, and a gift card for Subway. Everyone also got Canadian 2010 Olympic stuff from my folks (yay!). Too cool.

On Saturday, we'll be meeting up with Lee's family in Medford, and do the gift exchange there. So we still have a little Christmas to go... In the meantime, we have our plates of cookies, and we're enjoying vacation!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Merry Christmas! Part 1

This is the nativity puzzle I got from my dad years ago. I like the plant behind the stable part, because it looks like a palm tree. The green fir trees are from Celeste.. Those have to be at least 13 years old now...

Another difference between the American and German Christmas - everyone has their spot, and the presents are piled there next to their plates with goodies. You can find your spot by reading the namecard on the plate. Or sometimes we pass out the namecards before everything is set up, and you pick your own spot.
These are our "teller" from Christmas Eve. Thank you Papi for all the wonderful cookies! I only added the orange & apple, nuts & some See's Candies. It smelled soooooo good!

Lee took the kids to see the Festival of Lights, and I got to hear the radio version of A Christmas Carol while I was setting up. And my mom & dad called right after I got everything ready & was just sitting around waiting for my family to get home :)

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Links change

I had to remove Zaphod's because it wasn't loading anymore. And I added Friese Disease (Lee came up with that a long time ago!!).


Friday, December 22, 2006

Connor & Christmas

This is the first year he's really 'into' it. Last year, he noted the changes in decor, but pretty much went about his business doing his usual stuff. We were in Canada for Christmas last year, so he was way more into being at Omi & Opa's house, hanging out with cousins, and being outside & about in Kelowna.

Now he's an 8-year old with language-delay autism, and Christmas is a big thing. He's excited about something he knows is coming, although he might not yet have the language to express why he's excited.

He has been dutifully opening every day on his chocolate advent calendar. This year, he's even eating the chocolate (he used to give them to me). He has seen the gifts collecting under the tree, and he'll say "Don't open it!" We always add on "until Christmas!" in case he has decided they are NEVER to be opened.

He's been especially bubbly and active since we got out of school on vacation. Some of that is just due to being home instead of in school, but I think part of it is excitement. I think he's really looking forward to the holiday, and it's pretty cool.

When we asked him what he wants for Christmas, he said "gifts." Okay, that's not a lot of help. Actually, he really has everything he likes, and it's kind of a trick to find something he'll be excited about. He has a couple of movies he wants, and I got him (of all things) a "Magic Mist" humidifier. There's a store in the mall that sells these - they look like a lamp thing with bubbling mist coming out of the glass bowl. He likes to blow on the mist. I figured what the heck, we have a gas stove heating the room and it's dry - a misting humidifier wouldn't be a bad thing. We'll see what he thinks.

Someone suggested showing him the toy catalog for Wal-Mart or K-Mart, but I think that's too much at once. He doesn't really play so much with the toys he gets. Maybe a little, but he'd rather play x-box, or play on my computer.

The older two suggested a remote control car, but again, I don't know how long that would last as a toy either. He doesn't always play with his toys the way they are intended - I'm going to chalk that one up to Lee, who "recreated" plastic animals - I'm pretty sure the makers didn't intend their toys to be melted & stuck to other animals...

I wish I could have caught Connor in the apex of the jumps, but my camera is a little slow. He gets good air on those mini trams :)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Open House

Every year we do an Open House and invite pretty much everyone we know. We have the people that come pretty much every year, and then whoever else has time on that day. It's meant as a little break from the mad rush of the holidays, and it's not supposed to be something anyone has to stress over :)

This year we had over 30 people come thru in the 4-hour time span we were "open." Lee's mom & dad were able to come (I don't think they've missed many), and this year they came with Kraig & Nancy. Donna & Jim came with their grandkids, Rita & James. Connor had to share his xbox a bit, which was hard for him, but also a good lesson.

We also had a number of ladies from the TOPS club come. I almost feel guilty about the type of food I have out, since we're all watching our weight, but since it's a buffet snacky-type deal, and there ARE veggies, I don't worry too much. TOPS is all about self-managing your weight. It's not a diet plan, and you're supposed to be able to make good choices based on the stuff you learn at the meetings.

We also had neighbors come, which is always funny to me, because we don't seem to get a lot of time to talk to each other thru the year. It tends to be more along the lines of taking care of each other's pets when we're on vacation, and the occasional happening in the neighborhood that we meet in the street and talk about (why is there an ambulance at their house?).

And then of course, there are the other folks we invited. People from school or work, mostly. And again, we never really know who will be able to make it, and it's a nice surprise to see who does. Some people bring a little gift, and that's also a nice surprise. Trevor's friend Christy came, and her mom brought us a bag with wine that I will open on Christmas Eve, I think :)

For our part, once the Open House starts, we all get to relax & have fun. But up until then, our house is a whirlwind of cleaning and cooking. Trevor spent a good 8 hours in his bedroom, because it was just that bad! I think we got 3 large trash bags of stuff out of his room. Why does he even keep boxes from trading cards? He has larger boxes and folders to hold the cards!

Anyway, the food we had out this time consisted of:
Trevor's fudge
Diana's Spritz cookies
Chocolate-dipped pretzel rods
Stollen (German Christmas bread)
Rice Krispie treats
Potato chips
Spinach dip in a sourdough bowl
Dragon's Breath dip
Garden dip
Curry dip
Various crackers
Veggie tray
Cheese cubes (cheddar & pepperjack)
Beefstick (that was a gift - we're vegetarian)
This is the aftermath.
I think next year, we'll stick with just 2 dips. This time I'd gotten the Dragon's Breath, Garden & Curry dips at the craft fair, and we wanted to try them. Usually it's just onion dip.
We had so many veggies left, I made soup with them. I just chopped up the bell peppers, celery and cauliflower, added onion and potatos with some water, butter & milk, and it turned out really nice. We ate it with the other sourdough round.
Fun stuff & now that everything is over, I can relax except for the last-minute holiday stuff -- like shopping with the kids since neither of the older ones have done any of that yet! But we're out of school, so it's all good :)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Kooky Girls

Last night we did a group gift exchange thing with our scouts.

We meet at the Dollar Tree, and everyone has $5 to spend. If you are participating, you fill out a little card with your interests & favorite colors & such. Then the names go in a hat, everyone takes a name, and off they go through the store. A lot of the girls choose a stocking or bag as part of the gift to present it nicely.

Then we all go to a local diner to get french fries and hot chocolate, and trade the gifts. After the gift exchange & everyone has eaten, the girls all piled into a church van that another leader was driving, and they went to see our local "Festival of Lights" at the big park outside of town.

We had thought about doing a sleepover after that, but we want to include seeing a movie when we do that, and the one we want to see isn't out yet (Night at the Museum).

Mary got a play police officer set from her exchange person. She had Diana as her exchange person, and got Diana the same thing as part of her gift. Heh. They are just kooky girls.

School-made presents

Now that the families in our classroom have gotten their gifts, I can share....

This year, we wanted to have the students help to make something for their families - pretty standard for elementary school (In fact, Connor brought home some stuff as well, which we'll open on Christmas Eve).

We were thinking about it in October/November, when there were a lot of leaves coming down. I had seen clay leaf bowls in the past, and I thought those should be pretty good to have our kids make. Our kids can do hand-over-hand stuff, like pressing the leaf into the clay.

However, none of the staff in our room has had a lot of experience with clay. We had to pick the brain of the teacher who does that a lot. But all the supplies & the kiln were available to us, so we plowed ahead.

First thing we discovered, it's hard to knead clay for all six students. Usually when a teacher does a clay project, the LAST thing she has to worry about is the clay being kneaded. Kids love that. But our class can't do that, so we had to do it for them.

Then rolling out the clay was the next thing. One lady on our staff put the clay between two trays, and we had one of our students run over the trays in his wheelchair to flatten it :)

The kids did get their finger impressions into the clay, along with pressing leaves into them. We made a few different sizes, because we weren't sure how thick or thin the clay should even be.

Wonder of wonders, all the pieces made it through the first firing without cracking or breaking! We did more hand-over-hand to let the kids paint their leaves. The thing with glaze for ceramics tho, you really don't know what color you're going to get judging by what the glaze looks like before you fire. I mean, the one labeled "blue" is a soft pink color when it's in the jar!

So we weren't sure what we'd get once the pieces were fired. But we were all happy they turned out! There was only one piece that when you put one kind of glaze on another, the top one didn't get shiny - it's all rough. And that combo didn't work. And other glazes more or less went over the "trim" glaze, so it wound up all one color instead of three colors. But even so, it was neat.

Click on the photo to see it in a bigger window. We were happy with how these turned out, and the families were too!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Contact Lenses

Diana had to wait until our bathroom was finished before we'd let her get contact lenses. I also didn't mind waiting until she was 16. You need to take care of those things!! Anyway, since both Lee & I use contact lenses, with all five of us sharing the other bathroom before, there just wasn't room for the STUFF. Now that Lee & I are in our own bathroom, the whole medicine cabinet is available, so there's room.

Diana got soft lenses to try out for a week. Her "real" ones will be in on Monday. She had to start with 4 hours the first day, then 5 the next, and now she's up to 7 hours. She'll probably start wearing them to school once the break is over.

Trevor is completely happy with his glasses.

Connor just likes making "big eyes" for the camera.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Choir Concert

Last night, after our Girl Scout meeting (which wasn't really a "meeting" so much as having Renee over to visit...) we went to the High School for their Christmas Concert to support one of the scouts, Mary.

Mary was on stage almost the whole night. She is in the A Cappela as well as the Chamber Choir. Her boyfriend sat in the same row that Diana, Renee & I sat. So we were the "Mary Cheering Section."

Mary likes to look at the audience when she sings. I was always taught to look only at the choir director for my years in high school & college. I guess it's different now. Diana & Renee were saying something about looking at the "red spot."

In any case, Mary spent a lot of time trying not to laugh, because she kept looking at Diana & Renee, who were being goofy, and trying to make her laugh. Good thing Mary didn't have any solos this time around.

When it got to the sing-a-long portion, Renee & Diana were very loud on the echos for Rudolph. LIKE A LIGHTBULB! LIKE A FLASHLIGHT! LIKE PINOCCHIO! LIKE MONOPOLY! LIKE COLUMBUS!

They sing different echoes here than where I grew up. MY Rudolph wanted to play football, not monopoly. And his nose glowed like a lightbulb both times. And for some reason, the name he was called was "Fudge-face" - I have no clue where that came from.

It was a fun concert. I'm glad I went and got my Secret Santa scarf knitted the rest of the way.


Monday, December 11, 2006

My Mirror

This is the mirror my sister, Connie, made me while we were in Canada over the summer.

We hung it up in the new bathroom over the weekend, and it looks pretty neat in there.

The wall outlet behind me is supposed to be covered by a cabinet later on, but it hasn't been built yet.

Thanks Connie!!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Ba-who Doray, Ba-who Doray

Easy snowmen:

Take a tube sock. Make a base from cardboard or pressboard and put in the toe of the sock. Put about 3/4 to a cup of rice or beans in to make a heavy enough base. Stuff the rest of the sock with batting, up to the change in ribbing on the sock. Tie a knot at the ribbing change. Fold back over the top of the sock to make a cap. Tie off two sections to make a snowman shape. Attach decorations, like button eyes, pipe cleaner nose, and fabric scraps for scarves.

Place around your Christmas tree and sing like the Who's in Whoville. Ba-who doray, ba-who doray, welcome Christmas, Christmastime!
And I'm paraphrasing. I don't know what those Who's are even singing...

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Happy St. Nicklaus!

Another German tradition in my family is St. Nicklaus. Carolyn & I actually kept this going for each other waaaay longer than we were supposed to, but hey, it was fun!

In Germany, St. Nicklaus comes on his Saint's Day (check your Catholic Calendar - all saints have a specific day). So kids put out their boots on the night of the 5th, so St. Nicklaus can fill them with either goodies or coal, depending on the kids' behavior.

Trevor & Diana also get to celebrate St. Nicklaus in their German classes at the high school :)
It's not a huge gift time, just some goodies and a smaller gift. But this saves us from having to wake up early on Christmas Day. We celebrate Christ's birth on Christmas Eve, with all the candles lit and the tree lights shining. My family has pretty much celebrated this way since we found out that's what our parents did in Germany. Somehow, it's just a little more special to me when we're all dressed nice for the evening, vs. pajamas at the crack of dawn. But that's my personal preference. And my husband's & kids too.

We save Christmas Day for the big dinner & enjoying the company of friends & family.

In Germany, there are also multiple days of Christmas (like the Twelve Days of Christmas song). We don't do that part. After Christmas Day, we do one more celebration with family and do a gift exchange, and then it's New Year's and back to school!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Denkt Euch....

That means "Just Think" (more or less), and it starts a poem my mom used to tell us when we were younger. It's about seeing the Christchild bringing a sack of goodies through the snow, and at the end, it says, "it smelled like apples and nuts!" which was a special treat at Christmastime.

My dad sent us his cookies (yay!!!). Every year, he makes an assortment, using the recipes handed down from his mom. It's a lot of work & we sooooooo appreciate it!

Connor is really getting excited about Christmas this year. He's jumping out of bed in the morning to open another door on his Advent Calendar. Last weekend we put up the tree & the lights outside. Connor insisted on getting the stockings hung and putting lights on the tree as well. I'm glad he doesn't remember the rest of the decorations! I'm still trying to tidy up to get ready for our Open House!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Tree Lighting Ceremony

Last Sunday, a crowd gathered in front of the courthouse down town for our tree lighting ceremony. Diana had gotten a call from a fellow GAPP member, asking if she could help volunteer, so I dropped her off at 4:45. I showed up at 5:30. The ceremony started at 6:00. Carolers were already singing when I arrived, and they were from the community college, so it was pretty good.
Next up were the High School Choirs. Some of their carols still needed some work, but that's High School. It was fun.
The Emcee for the evening was Ross, our Postmaster. He's a kick. He likes to sing too - he'll be singing carols when you go in & drop off your packages & mail. He also sings Karaoke around town. Hee.
Then a county commissioner read "Twas the Night Before Christmas" and a poem about a Christmas Tree was read. And then a little girl got to hit the switch and the tree & courthouse lights all came on.
Then Santa appeared at the top of the courthouse, and he came down to see the kids.
This all would have been just a tad more enjoyable if I hadn't been freezing. I was dressed pretty warm, but just standing for an hour and some, you get cold. Diana was wearing Converse-style tennis shoes, and her feet were just completely numb.
After everything was over, we came home & Lee had made chili-mac for dinner. Diana wanted to put her feet in it. :P

Friday, December 01, 2006

Christmas Season

We have a nice little community where we live. It's very different from where Lee & I were raised. We try to participate in the "small town" stuff to the best of our ability, whether it's parades downtown, or something like this.

The Sunday after Thanksgiving, there's a tree-lighting ceremony in front of our courthouse downtown. The tree is usually pretty nice. We're surrounded by trees here, after all & a few years back, one from our forest was selected as the National Christmas Tree.

This year, the church across the street from the courthouse also had a live nativity, right next to the sidewalk. It was about 30 degrees outside, and that's a baby - not a doll. Don't worry, it looked like they had shifts of about 20 minutes, so none of the nativity members would freeze. I think it was the same donkey for the whole 2 hours...

The tree itself will be a different entry, since Diana & I were freezing after it was finally lit!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

More Tree Hunt

This is the view of our "picnic" site before all the cars showed up to tamp down the snow. Brian, Lee's nephew, was driving his mom's truck and broke the trail. We were the car behind him, but we let the 4-wheel drives go past us to mush all the snow down.

From this point, everyone parked as safely as possible, the kids used the slope on the right to sled, and the fire was built so we could stay warm.

We just walked into the forest from this point as well to hunt for our trees.

We managed to stay dry, and had snow come down a bit when we were starting to pack up again. There were patches of sunshine, but it was overcast for most of the day.

I thought Lexie's dog had it the best, hiding in Lexie's coat. I suppose it kept Lexie warm too. That's Lee's sister, Donna, on the right of Lexie.

Connor enjoyed himself so much, I think we're going to have to go up to the mountains over the holidays so he can get more of a snow fix in. I think we have a sled-type thing somewhere...


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I've fallen and I can't get up!

Oh, the dangers of tree hunting!
(sorry about the water drops on the camera!)

Monday, November 27, 2006

Christmas Tree Hunt

It's a family tradition to go into the mountains to "hunt" for our Christmas trees. We buy a permit for $5 at the Ranger Station, and caravan up with our snow gear. We've had all kinds of weather from blizzards to rain, but this time around it was just great. The snow was a really nice, dry kind, that packs together well. If I were Eskimo (Inuit?) I'd probably have a word for it.

In any case, we had a ton of chili & hot dogs, as well as other snacks, and the kids got to play in the snow the whole time. Brian, my nephew, made the comment that it was better to search for trees uphill, because then you could drag it DOWN to the cars. Good plan!

Our truck worked out great. Once the snow got harder to drive in, we had to leave a minivan behind at a junction in the road. They had chains, but they were plowing the snow in front of the car because it sat so low. Everyone else was in a higher car, or 4-wheel drive. This time around, even 4-wheel drive didn't mean you weren't going to slip in the snow. I think almost everyone had points when they were spinning wheels & we had to dig down. We had someone with a tow line, and at least 2 cars were tugged back up to the road, tho there was no damage to the cars. I don't like the slippery slidy part. Our truck has rear-wheel drive, not 4-wheel, but we did great once the chains were on.

I think most of us gals cringe at the drive up & down, but the guys see it as a challenge. Once we're all parked & hanging out though, it really is worth the drive. Connor had an absolute blast. He came away with a big scrape on the side of his face. No one in our family saw it happen and he certainly didn't cry or anything to let us know. But it's a pretty good scrape and must have hurt! I think he was too busy having fun to pay attention to it though.

Fun fun fun!

Sunday, November 26, 2006


Lee got 4 days off in a row, so we were able to go down to visit family and stay!

We had the big family gathering at Myrna's. This year we tried Bunco, and it was a lot of fun. Connor played as a "ghost" most of the night (you roll for him if he's your partner). He was enjoying the pool table upstairs a little more than the chaos of switching partners every round. He actually rolled the dice one time :)

On Friday, we ignored all the big sales, and just went shopping to get what we needed for playing in the snow on Saturday. Both boys needed boots. Then we went to see Happy Feet. It was very cute. We aren't used to the way they do previews in their theater. They show trailers for DVD's coming out - the same trailers you saw in the theater before those movies came out. It lasted a good half hour before the "real" previews for new movies came out. Then the show finally started. 15 minutes in, Connor was already "done" with movies. If we would have gotten popcorn, he would have lasted longer, but we'd all just eaten lunch.

I think I prefer the rinky-dink silent slide show they show in our theaters. You can at least have a conversation if you come early. And make fun of the slides. Then once the previews start, you know the movie is coming pretty soon.

After dinner, we went over to the folk's place, and then went out to a newer restaurant for dinner. They still have some kinks to work out at that place. heh. I'm sure it will be running great in a month or so.

Dan & Diana went to the mall then so she could check out Hot Topic. We went to pick them up after visiting with the folks some more, but then we found out Dan got sick. At first, we were afraid it was food poisoning, but looks like it was a flu bug.

Next entry will be for Saturday's fun in the snow.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Mrs. Q's Apple Crisp

Got some apples? Need a quick & easy dessert? Here ya go!

In a large bowl mix:

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 cup oil

Then add:
4 cups peeled & diced apples
1 cup chopped nuts

Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes in a 13x9 inch pan.

Serve with whipped cream or ice cream. My mom sprinkles powdered sugar over the top to make it pretty. I just served it plain.

Works well as breakfast the next morning too :P

Monday, November 20, 2006

Connie's art

My dad used to do stained glass. My sister Connie likes doing mosaic-style art.

Isn't this a cool way to use up scraps from stained glass (or broken tile)?

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Comic Redo

Diana decided to restart her comic. She didn't like her original work, because she's grown enough in her style that it didn't look good enough to her anymore.

I fixed the link on the right, so it works again.

So, if you're interested, read along from the beginning again. And post a comment if you can - since she loves the feedback!


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Comments can be posted...

I switched over to the beta blogger with Google. Now you don't need to have a blogger account to be able to post a comment, if you have one.

So all you family & friends, go ahead & let me know you were here.

At the bottom, click on "comments" and then click on the "Anonymous" button to post your comment. You might want to sign off with your first name or nickname, so I know who said what.

So - Post away!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Totally using my idea!

So, I've been combining my gaming with riding my exercise bike since, oh, the BETA of ASHERON'S CALL! It works for me, even tho I've got my desk way high on cinderblocks.

This guy has taken it to the next level. He's got the mucho macho thing going. I'll bet a lot of people would be exercising while gaming if they had HIS set up!! Go check it out!

very cool biking set up

Monday, November 13, 2006

Veteran's Day

We just had our long weekend. I did not get to sleep in a single day of the three.

Friday I had off, but I had a chiropractic appointment scheduled for 7:30 am. Then the chiropractor got sick, so they offered me a 1 hour massage instead. I'm all - YES!!!! So that was worth getting up at 6:45.

Saturday was Veteran's Day. The local American Legion had requested Girl Scouts to help with set up, serving & clean up. Well, no one offered, so I had Renee spend the night, and she went with Diana & I to help with the breakfast. We had to be there at 6:00 am. The breakfast started at 7:00 and was supposed to run until 10:00. Somehow, that got translated into 11:00 in the newspaper, so people were still coming in after we were trying to clean up. Oh well, we still had food & smiling faces so we stuck around until 11:00! Then I dropped the girls off at the parade, since they'd made signs & I'd gotten Diana's vest up to date with patches & badges!
That was worth getting up at 5:30, and both girls said they'd do it again next year. (Amanda & Mary couldn't help due to Band & Search and Rescue, also at the Parade).

Sunday was Diana's paper route. That's our weekly thing anyway, and after the papers were delivered, we went to the empty school parking lot to practise her driving a bit. I'm used to getting up early for that. She just really needs to get used to the car more than anything else. They use little compact cars when they drive with school, and all we have is an extended van, and the big honkin' truck. The rest of the day was laundry & getting WoW characters up & ready to meet with the guys that night.

Maybe I'll be able to sleep in NEXT weekend. Or Thanksgiving week? I only work Monday the 20th and the rest of the week is off for Connor & me.


Friday, November 10, 2006

Big Honkin' Truck

This is the new truck. Well, new to us. After driving a Ford Ranger since '90, this feels really big, even bigger than the van. Lee is really liking it though. It's a Chevy Silverado & it seats up to 6, although I wouldn't put adults in the back so much. It's fine for the kids tho.

The engine is a V8, I think, so it is plenty capable for hauling something heavy, or putting a camper on there or something. It does suck up the gas though, so I don't think we'll be using it for that sort of stuff very often. The trailer stuff is all there, with wires for lighting & everything.

Living in a town where you haul your trash to the dump, and you have a burn pile for yard waste, it really is handy to have a decent truck. It will be especially handy for our annual Christmas Tree Hunt with the extended family. Since we moved up here, we've had to split ourselves amongst the other cars. I think we dragged the Nissan Sentra up there once or twice with chains on the tires, but I never attempted a van. We would use the Ranger here & there, but that only seated 3, so that meant 2 of us didn't even go on the tree hunt. The years we didn't have a truck, we'd have to arrange a separate trip to go pick up our tree from someone who did have a truck, or we'd ask someone to drop it off on their way back north.

This will be a lot easier - not only for getting there & back with a tree, but also for the cookout part. I will be able to cart along my cooking stuff from camping and use my own propane stove to make our hot dogs and, most likely, Lee's chili. We can pack an ice chest with drinks & the whole bit. I like it much better if I don't have to split all my stuff up between 3 cars so we can make our contribution to the potluck!

Also, we're not done with our home improvements. This truck will be very helpful in moving the bigger gear around - the drywall sheets were kind of tricky in the Ranger last time. We are hoping to do central heat/air as the next project, and it will be easier to load equipment into a big truck (actually extended) bed, vs. our little Ranger. And this one is even lined!

Other improvements besides the size: The Ranger's seat was mashed (just gave out) and I had to sit on chair pads to drive it. The window was all full of spiderweb cracks from various rocks and a car seat (empty!!!) hitting it at one point. The bench seat lever to move the seat forward & back had broken in the fully back position, so I also needed a cushion of some sort to lean against when I drove as well. The Silverado has fabric seats and air conditioning. The Ranger did not.

We got it for a really good price, and more than half was paid out of the settlement from the accident with the Ranger. Lee's foot is pretty good now, and he's back to walking to work.

I guess it was time for us to move up in the truck world!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Ebay for Christmas

Because they'll ship for you. It's just easier than shopping, waiting at the Post Office to mail packages, and all that stuff.

And while I'm at it, I'll be watching those items I still need for me :)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Rainy Rainy

We are having some funky weather. After freezing on Halloween, the clouds have collected over us and it's raining - with the cloud cover comes a warming temperature, so it's quite balmy. I am wearing sandals, a t-shirt and capri pants to work. Over the last couple of weeks I'd been wearing boots, turtlenecks, vests/sweaters & cord pants.

I have crossing guard duty this week, so hopefully it will taper off enough to keep me from getting completely drenched. At least we have Friday off so it's a short week.

Hopefully it won't rain on the Veteran's Day Parade on Saturday. I have to find out today which girls in my troop are going to walk in the parade. Amanda will be with the band. Mary might be doing something with Search & Rescue, which leaves Diana & Renee (and me). We'll see!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

In the Newspaper

So, Diana was quoted in the paper the other day. She's doing a class on video production, and as part of that, she's supposed to create a PSA about the dangers of drug use. There was a all-day presentation at the fairgrounds, and all the kids doing video production or related classes were there learning tips from the local TV people.

The bit in the paper from Diana:

"We already know long-term effects." She said she would never do drugs because her parents would eventually find out and make her life a nightmare. "My parents educated me early on," she said. "If I were to do drugs, that would just totally mess up my family."

What didn't make it into the paper was that she has brothers with special needs, and she has a lot of responsibility at home - if she were to do drugs, it really WOULD mess up the family dynamics.

Lee is fine with the world knowing that yes, we do pay attention to our kids and when they do things they shouldn't, there are repercussions. It probably isn't clear to most people, but Diana's idea of her life being a nightmare would be us taking away her computer. And if she did drugs, besides going to counseling and other interventions, she would most definitely lose a lot of her current freedom. And she'd probably have to do more chores.

She would still have Japanese club & Girl Scouts, because those are both positive activities that discourage drug use.

Not so much a nightmare as some would think, really. But for her, yes, very bad.

These PSA's aren't aimed at a kid like Diana, who has great self-esteem & confidence in herself, who doesn't bow to peer pressure and who comes from a loving, involved family. It's really supposed to be trying to help those kids who don't have that kind of life. Kids who need someone to say, "It's okay to do your own thing. You don't need drugs to be happy."

I'm interested to see how Diana's PSA comes out. If we can manage it, we'll post it on the blog when it's done :)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Happy Halloween, part deux

After going to the Neewollah Parade downtown (Halloween spelled backwards), Connor was pretty much done with the trick or treat thing. It might have something to do with the temperature being 38 degrees after the sun went down.

So after we got home again & ate some spaghetti for dinner, Trevor & Diana changed into much warmer clothes. Then they went out to really trick or treat. They had to go to most of Diana's route customers, and then through a newer housing tract near where Christy lives.

People were either giving out handfuls of candy because they didn't expect anyone to actually come to their house (but had candy just in case) or it was getting late & they wanted to get ride of their candy.

For round two, Diana was Puss in Boots, and Trevor was an elf - what else can you be with green hair?

We handed out full-size candy bars this year. They were on sale, and we only had 6 kids come to the door anyway, so what the heck? Lee figured if they took the time to come all the way up our hill, they deserved something more than a tiny Snickers bar.

It was good our kids used pillow cases. They came home with a LOT of candy. Yay!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween

Connor was Timmy Turner.

Diana was Wanda.

Trevor was Cosmo.

Together, they were the cast of "The Fairly Oddparents!"

The girl next to Trevor is Christy. She was a sorceress or something. Connor referred to her as "Vicky" because that's the name of Timmy's babysitter. :)

Monday, October 30, 2006

Bathroom coming along

It's not quite done, but it's usable! We still need to put in the trim, and there's supposed to be a cupboard over the toilet coming in too. And I haven't done any kind of decorating at all yet.

But we now have two full bathrooms in the house, vs. one and a toilet with a cupboard :)

Diana should be getting contact lenses soon, since Lee & I moved our stuff out of the other bathroom, and she now will have room for lenses, cleaner, solution, etc.