Friday, June 30, 2006

The Kid Likes Chocolate!

Here's a shot of Trevor's cake.

They wound up playing Cosmic Encounter (first time for Trevor's friends - go figure).

And they saw the new Superman movie.

Trevor had a good time. He had friends here from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm. Good day.


Thursday, June 29, 2006

#1 Son turns 17

Happy Birthday Trevor!

This morning he got something from each of his favorite things from his family: Warhammer 40K (4th edition rulebook), an x-box game (Lego Star Wars) and Chocolate (Toblerones).

He will have some buddies come over today to do a Halo Tournament, go to the movies (not sure which flick yet) and enjoy some 'Za. If there's still time, he'd like to have them try "Kings N Things" with him. We'll see how that goes.

Kind of a low-key day, but I'm sure he'll like it fine. Lee is off work today, and he'll be around all day too.

I still need to go shopping for the sodas & chips & ice cream, but the cake is baked - Trevor requested Chocolate Fudge cake, with chocolate frosting on the outside, and lemon frosting in the middle. And we're putting chocolate chips on top. Yes - this boy likes chocolate!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

It's rather warm

We've had a couple of days of 100+ degree heat here.

Our house is kind of old, so it doesn't have the best insulation. We're working on that, but in the meantime, it gets pretty stinkin' hot. We're doing the ol' "run fans thru the night, lock everything tight in the morning" routine.

We yell at the kids for holding the fridge door open (we don't have one of THESE) awesome fridge

And Connor has created a "pond" in my strawberry patch. Yesterday, he went through 5 changes of clothes, because every time he'd come in again, he'd have to be rinsed down, and was totally sopping wet.

We actually spent a couple of hours at the community pool, but after we got home, he was back in the pond. I finally get him to come in to read his new Captain Underpants books, and he managed to stay inside & dry then.

However, Diana was out on her hands & knees in the pond then. "It's so nice and cool!" (she was just back from her paper route).

I can't win.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Birthday = cake

Connor wants to go somewhere.

"Let's go Omi & Opa!" & "Let's go ride in the van."

We are going to visit my folks this summer, but not until later. So I take Connor over to the calendar & show him the days between now & when we're supposed to leave.

While there, he sees that on Thursday, it will be Trevor's birthday. Seeing how he won't be able to go on a trip, he switches to something else. He goes to the baking cupboard, and notices I have frosting & cake mix. "Let's birthday cake!"

I think about hiding those things a little better in the future, but in the meantime, here's a teaching opportunity.

I ask, "Do you want to make a cake?"


"Okay, we can make a cake." Then I think it would be a lot simpler to serve cupcakes. Then I'm not as tempted, and you can get away with a lot less frosting (Connor's favorite part anyway).

So he chooses lemon cake over chocolate cake (Trevor wanted the chocolate for his party anyway). Connor actually wants a big cake, but I know he won't last very long waiting for it to cool & everything, so I tell him we'll make "little cakes" (cupcakes).

I get out the supplies as he tells me what we need from the back of the box. He is still learning fractions, so I have him match the 1 1/3 water from the picture on the box with the same measurement on my Pyrex measuring cup. We add the oil, and he tells me how many eggs we need (3).

I put the mix in the bowl, he pours in the liquids, and I let him crack the eggs - well, he tries, but he's a bit cautious, so I have to crack them a bit harder before I drop the eggs in the bowl. I hand Connor the wire whisk, and he mashes the yolks and starts to stir.

I help him get the sides & mix it up, and then we scoop the dough into the cupcake pans. I set the timer, and this keeps him from getting too anxious, but he spends some time hopping up and down in front of the timer. I know it's getting close because he'll yell, "Almost there!" When it finally beeps, Connor hands me the oven mitts, and I take the cupcakes out.

As soon as they are cool enough to take out of the pan, he's ready to eat, but they're too hot to frost yet. He jumps around a bit more while I tell him to wait until they cool down. I have a choice of frostings: Lemon, chocolate & white whipped. He pickes the white whipped. Five minutes later, the frosting won't melt off, and I'm able to give him a frosted little cake.

Then he's happy.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Another New Link

I added the daily photo blog for Stuttgart, Germany today.

I check it every once in a while to see if it shows anything from where my dad grew up. My dad's town is pretty close by, and he used to spend a lot of time in Stuttgart himself. It has an international airport and I've flown in there once or twice.

Anyway, I enjoy looking at the photo blogs of places where I've lived or been, mostly, but I also like looking at very exotic (to me) places as well. All the photo blogs have links to a bunch of the rest of that ring, so you can spend a lot of time clicking from one location to the next.

I figured it would be easier to add the link than keep going to the Vancouver site and then scrolling down to Stuttgart.

If I had the time & energy, I'd consider doing a blog for our town. Last weekend was the "Discovery Days" downtown, with the bed races (beds with wheels on the legs, pushed by a team with a "driver" on the bed). This weekend we have the Arts Festival. Coming up after the 4th of July is Graffiti Night - we usually have 200-300 cars participate on the cruise thru downtown. They have to be from 1960 or prior to be in the cruise. This is actually worth a trip here, if you're a car fan. There's ice cream socials & Show N' Shines not just here in town, but in outlying areas as well. The cruisers really get into it.

But, alas, I have too many things to do already, so the photo blog will have to wait.

In the meantime, enjoy viewing the World Cup craziness in Germany on that Stuttgart link!


Thursday, June 22, 2006

Report cards in

We were waiting to see what would happen with Trevor's grades. Diana is pretty well motivated and does what she's supposed to in school, so we don't worry as much about her stuff. Connor is not able to be graded with the rest of his class, so he's got more of a progress report (showing improvement - all good).

Trevor will be a Senior in High School next year. He is fully capable of A's, if he can stay focussed & get organized. I know that sounds like most teens, but all the rest of us have that nagging feeling when we know we're getting behind. Most of us have had the anxiety nightmare when we're getting close to a deadline, only to wake up and find we still have enough time to do it.

Trevor doesn't have that. And he also doesn't just automatically check the board to see what's coming up. In fact, most of the time he's too far gone before he even knows he's missing something. Then you only get 1/2 credit for a late assignment. Needless to say, this messes up his grades pretty badly.

So we require B's or A's. It should be A's, but we'll let him get B's.

Which is why we were very upset with 2 C's on his 3rd quarter report card. Which is why we threatened him with working at an Elder Care facility as a volunteer (we made it sound like his job would be cleaning people's messes in the bathroom). Which is why he managed to bring both those C's up to B's again.

Did he learn his lesson? Umm... no. He just knows he can pull himself out if he works hard enough. His MO is doing the least he can get away with at any given time. It's a long, hard road teaching him to do it right the first time saves him all kinds of trouble later.

Eventually this has to sink in, right? Right??????


Monday, June 19, 2006

Roun Tuits

I went from a 4-hour a day job to a 7-hour a day job. I lost all the "free" time I'd had when I was off work while the kids were in school. None of my other commitments had changed, so I wound up stretched a bit thin.

Working 9:00 to 1:00 was left a lot more time to get things done. This year, I was leaving the house at 7:45 - sometimes with Connor, other times he stayed with Dad. I would generally get home around 5:00 if I had anything at all to do right after school (meetings, shopping, pay bills). Then once I was home, I had to sort thru stuff with kids & school, mail, and figuring out dinner.

I am still doing contests for my TOPS club, and I'm wearing a number of hats for Girl Scouts.

My last day of work for the school district was Thursday. I don't have any paying work scheduled until after Labor Day. Now I need to go thru my house and figure out all the things I had to leave until I got a roun tuit.

The big things are: 1) sand/clean & paint the outside of the bedroom. Same for all the trim on the house (going from icky blue to clean white). 2) Remodel the bathroom. We're turning a short hallway, large cupboard & toilet into a full bathroom with shower & sink. This will be a nice, expensive mess - but worth it. 2 adults, 2 teens and a kiddo using the same shower/tub is too many. 3) Clean out the basement. This is gonna take a bunch of time. I'm thinking about 2 weeks to really sort, build shelving, and get everything in weatherproof tubs.

Then I have all the other stuff to do: Canning, sewing, sorting, weeding, re-potting, berry picking. I also want to volunteer at the summer "camp" Connor will be attending.

I will be working at home with Connor to help him with his comprehension. Even though he's doing that summer school thing, I need to work with him one-on-one and test him to see how far he's progressed since the last time I checked. I think he's doing great, but the language won't come until he's comprehending it more.

We also want to visit my folks for a couple of weeks.

So, even though I'm not "working," I'll have plenty to do!!


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Little Fawn!

Click the photos for a bigger view
Today, a doe, a deer, a female deer, decided to leave her baby next to our neighbor's house while she went to forage around. Diana & Trevor noticed it when they came home from school. They went across the street to our neighbor, who does Wildlife Rehabilitation (she's currently got an osprey and some baby raccoons), to have her check and make sure the fawn was okay. The fawn got up and ran off a ways, and seemed fine. She said it was okay.

After a little while, it came back. That's when I got home from work and the kids pointed it out to me.

I was chatting with my sister, when I heard this "meep! meep!" sound. It's the fawn. So Diana goes out to see what's up, and it runs off again. She comes in and we figure it will come back like before.

Diana goes to her room on the other end of the house, and after a while calls me over because she hears the "meep! meep!" under her window. We have a fence around the yard that meets the house just under Diana's window. Then Diana looks and she sees the fawn is in the backyard! How it got in, we don't know. The dog doesn't escape as far as we know, so we're pretty sure there's no gap big enough... We'll have to figure that out when it's not so wet outside.

Anyway - the fawn is stuck in our backyard. Diana goes to open the big gate (wide enough for a car) and then we both come back in the house. Trevor put Liberty in her kennel so she wouldn't chase the deer.

So we're thinking we're good here. Well, turns out Liberty noticed the fawn trying to get back to the big gate. So she barked. The fawn runs back over to the wrong side of the yard.

Now we notice the doe has returned. Little baby is going "meep! meep!" for all its worth. I go & open the small gate under Diana's window, and we want to try to herd baby back to mom.

Diana goes to the waaaaay back part of the yard so she can come from behind the fawn. I'm more in the middle of the yard, ready to herd baby back toward a gate. After a bit, I see baby come along the fence. Mom has already run away because she sees people. We manage to get baby back a good ways toward the gate. Mom is nowhere to be seen.

Diana & I realize if MOM comes in the gate, she's not going to be very happy with us, so we go ahead & leave baby to find it's way to the gate again. This time the dog is in Diana's room.

Once it gets over its fear, the fawn works its way over to the corner of the fence. It starts again with the "meep! meep!" and Mama Doe is still on the other side, trying to get to her baby.

I decided to go ahead & see if I can herd baby out again. So I went along the fence, and finally, the fawn managed to find the doorway through the gate. It took off across the neighbor's yard, and found it's mommy. I went to the other side of the house to close the car gate, and watched the pair make their way up the street. Every noise (like the gate scraping the ground) caused the fawn to drop down into the grass again. Eventually, they were out of sight.

Then Lee drove up and it was time for dinner. The End.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Happy B-day Celeste

I miss hanging out with Celeste. We always had a lot in common - even now, with our girl scouting stuff. I'm sorry we're so far apart & can't get together.

Really Good Friend moments:

I'd just had Diana, and couldn't get around very easily to go shopping for anything to wear to Lori's wedding. Celeste went to the mall and picked out about 10 different outfits for me to try on at home in my room. She bought them all, and then went back later & returned all the ones I didn't choose. Then I was able to pay her back for the ones I liked - and she gave me one other one as well. And she even had hats!!

Again, right after either Trevor or Diana, I'm stuck in bed and the Robert & Celeste come to visit. No one had cleaned the bathroom since I went into the hospital, so Celeste comes out of the bathroom and just asks, "Where do you keep the ajax & paper towels?" That's a good friend.

There are a lot of other moments, but those two were just really appreciated when I needed a good friend!

Thanks Celeste!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

GS appropriate?

Probably not, but this is how teen girls melt their GORP together.

The biggest change between younger troops to older is the subject matter.

There's supposed to be a progression between age levels. In Daisy scouts, the leader is pretty much in charge of everything and the girls show up to meetings to have fun, singing songs & doing crafts.

At Brownie level, they earn "try-its" for experiencing new things. The service component comes in at this point, (doing something for people outside your troop) although it's kind of on the side. The leader is still doing most of the planning, but she's trying to incorporate the girls with decision making (maybe by offering 3 choices & letting the girls vote on which one is best).

Juniors are the scouts people remember seeing out & about in the community. In order to earn badges, they have more tasks and the service part is included a lot more. These are the girls you see picking up trash, helping to maintain a community garden, etc. They're in the green vests. At this level, the girls are supposed to get used to decision making and the leader is trying to back up a bit from planning things. The girls should have a big say in what's going on in their troop.

At teen level, things get a little harder. If you're following the progression, the leader is now supposed to act more as a guide. She lets the girls know what opportunities are available and the girls are supposed to do the majority of the planning. All the Interest Projects for teen girls have a career & service component.

Anyone with a teen (male or female) will figure out at this point, teens don't like to do much of anything in their free time other than "hang out." For the first 3 (of 6) years of teen level (used to be 3 years as Cadettes, 3 years as Seniors), my troop more or less attended GS events in the community. Although I guided them with separate Interest Projects they were supposed to lead for the troop, I think we only got 3 or 4 completed - In 3 years!!! That's because they were much more concerned with getting comfortable around each other, around me, and really cementing the friendship part of the troop. And we have some big ups & downs.

Now that my troop is in their last 3 years, they are anxious again to EARN their Interest Projects. All of them want to do a Gold Award project (like Boy Scouts Eagle Project). They really have to take the initiative on this, so we'll be working toward that this summer and the next couple of years. All of them have workable ideas, and they just need to get the planning done (with an advisor - me), and then they can move forward.

In the meantime, we are still attending GS events, like the past few blog entries I've had about them. The things we discuss at meetings & camps & in the car are often very personal - religion, family life, opinions on politics or sexual preference. Not anything you'd want your Junior scout involved in. However, for some of these girls, this is the only safe forum, where they know they won't be beaten down for expressing themselves, and why they feel that way.

We continue to laugh and have fun, even if we're looking pregnant while we're melting the chocolate chips into the cereal in our GORP bags.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Good Old Raisins & Peanuts.

We just had our GS Camporee last weekend. It's a tradition in my troop that once we get the tents set up, we gather and make our GORP for the weekend. Each scout brings one healthy snack (peanuts, raisins, cereal, dried fruit, etc.) and one candy item (M&M's, chocolate chips, Skittles, etc.). We put our camp names on a big Ziploc bag, and then proceed to make our GORP.

Everyone only takes the stuff they are going to like & eat. Diana despises banana chips, so she stays far away from those. I'm not real keen on Runts, so I didn't add those to mine.

This year, our mix was bigger than usual. I have 4 girls in my troop, and we meet at the same time & place as another troop so we have 2 leaders present in the room. The other troop was in a separate campsite, but they came over to make GORP with us. Consequently, there was a LOT of variety and a LOT of GORP!

Because we had so many folks there, I let one of my girls be the 'scooper' for everyone. She just eyed the open bags, and made sure everyone who wanted whatever she was scooping got some.

We always have leftovers, and whoever brought those items, gets to take them back. There are never any leftover peanut M&M's.

Last year we learned that Salt & Vinegar Potato Chips really didn't blend well with other GORP. This year we learned that dried fruits take the crunchiness away from pretzels and cereal. Oh well. It still tasted good and did the job it's meant for - mainly to keep anyone bugging me between meals with "I'm hungry!" I always answer, "Eat your GORP."

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Not in my imagination

I got the info below today from a friend. Connor's MMR had thimerisol (mercury) present in all of his vaccines, administered on the same day, when he had just turned 2 years old (cause that's what we're supposed to do if we're good parents...)

Since that time (8 years ago), thimerisol has been either removed completely, or is in much smaller doses now than it was. Theoretically, you should be safe getting your child vaccinated. But I'm not taking any chances with either of our boys anymore. As far as I'm concerned, God told me not to vaccinate them because they are autistic. I use the religious exemption for their schools. Works for me.

Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, Inc.
A Voice for Private Physicians Since 1943
Omnia pro aegroto
1601 N. Tucson Blvd. Suite 9
Tucson, AZ 85716-3450
Phone: (800) 635-1196

News of the Day ... In Perspective

U.S. scientists back autism link to MMR
The vaccine strain of measles virus has been found in 85% of samples taken from the guts of children with regressive autism, according to a study to be presented in Montreal, Canada, this week by Dr. Stephen Walker of the Wake Forest University School of Medicine in North Carolina.
The study replicates findings made by Dr. Andrew Wakefield, a gastroenterologist, in 1998, and by Prof. John O’Leary, a pathologist, in 2002.

More than 2,000 parents in the UK claim their children suffered damage from the measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine. They say the children were developing normally before receiving the shot between 12 and 18 months of age, then regressed into autism.
The British Department of Health reiterated last night that MMR is safe (Beezy Marsh and Sally Beck, 5/28/06).
Additional information:
“Detection of Measles Virus Genomic RNA in Cerebrospinal Fluid of Children with Regressive Autism: a Report of Three Cases,” by JJ Bradstreet, J El Dahr, A Anthony, JJ Karzinel, and AJ Wakefield, J Am Phys Surg , Summer 2004
The Denmark study on MMR and autism: two articles in J Am Phys Surg, Fall 2004