This morning I was on my way to Girl Scout Fall sale training (yes, it's that time again!) and the car ahead of me had to stop to let 20+ turkeys cross the road.
See, I would have just eased forward until they moved, because they will! There's no "Turkey X-ing" sign!!
(click the photos to see better - turkeys blend in with the scenery very well)
It was probably the same flock, but yesterday Diana comes into my room and says, "There's turkeys in the back yard!"
So I grab the camera, and snap a shot off before we let the dog out.
Big disappointment when we let Liberty out there. We figured she'd run out right away and chase those birds! She didn't even notice them - dopey dog! We had to throw something for her to fetch before she picked up on the fact there were a bunch of big birds in the yard. The turkeys were already in a nice, neat line, heading up the back slope.
When she finally noticed and ran at them, there were only 3 or 4 birds left. But as you can see in the photo, they sure can fly high when they want to!
And the turkeys were perfectly safe. Our dog would have had no clue what to do with a turkey if she actually managed to catch one :)
My friend Rose gave me a bunch of grapes the other day that I'll make into juice (Connor loves it). This is how I do it:
Make grape juice the easy way By Tanya Kelley
Squeezing and straining grapes for grape juice was not exactly my idea of fun. So when my neighbor showed me a faster, easier method, I was delighted. For anyone else tired of doing it the hard way, follow these steps for a delicious grape juice concentrate.
1. Wash and sterilize canning jars, lids, and rings. Fill water bath pan halfway with water to boil. At the same time, fill another pan with water to boil. This water will be added to the jars. 2. Wash grapes and remove stems and any damaged fruit. 3. Measure one cup of grapes and one cup of sugar for each quart jar. 4. Add sugar and grapes to jar. Don’t bother mixing—it will mix when processing. 5. Fill the jar the rest of the way with boiling water. Leave 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe jar top to clean. Screw on rings and lids fairly tight. 6. Place jars in water bath canner. Add boiling water to cover jars. Process 25 minutes. 7. Remove jars and place on rack or towel to cool. The grapes may or may not float. Either way, the taste will be the same. 8. Serve in a pitcher with a strainer or drain juice off. Add 1/2 to one jar of water to concentrate. (Taste to decide.)
Here are a couple of shots of the boys' room after Trevor "cleaned up" his stuff.
His loft bed that we took with us to the dorm was against the wallpaper border corner there.
Those silver bins were to hold his stuff to bring downstairs. One had some stuff in it - mostly just junk he'd picked up & thrown in there. I had to go through and toss all the crumpled paper and candy wrappers and boxes that used to hold Magic cards (?!?). This kid has a serious hoarding problem!
We wound up moving a lot of the furniture around. The entertainment center is still in the same place, but the dresser moved to where Connor's bed was, and now Connor's bed is under the window. We added the desk where the dresser used to be.
I did actually use all three bins to hold all of Trevor's various knick-knacks, collectibles and Warhammer 40K stuff. But I also filled 3 33-gallon trash bags with stuff to toss.
In the closet, I found a bunch of clothes I'd held for Connor from Trevor's old stuff. A lot of it looks new since Trevor tended to wear "the" favorite pants & "the" favorite shirt or two.
The desk we bought today. Lee set up internet for Connor so that he could google his videos in his own room (and not use MY computer all the time!
This is just one of those weird things we live with having a kiddo with Autism.
For the last couple of weeks, Connor's been asking to "bike to Wendy's." We have no idea why.
It's a solid thought in his head, and he isn't put off by, "Maybe next week," or "We can bike to Wendy's on Friday." He will remember that someone told him Friday and he'll be all excited on Friday because "today is Friday! We bike to Wendy's!"
Yesterday, even though he went on a long field trip to the coast with his dad and his class, as soon as they got home, Connor was ready to go on the bike.
We got all the bikes & helmets & everything and we all biked to Wendy's. It took about 20 minutes through the bike trail that goes along the river and through the park. Connor ate french fries with root beer and the rest of us had baked potatoes & side salads (that's about all that's available for vegetarians at Wendy's).
Connor was extremely happy and thanked us repeatedly for biking to Wendy's. When he finished, he said, "Let's bike to home!" So we did.
Still, absolutely no clue where the whole idea even came from. But it was a nice little family outing :)
Trevor spent his first night in a dorm room at Oregon Institute of Technology last night. And yes, I'm fine, thanks for asking.
Classes actually start on Monday, but the residence hall was opening yesterday, and we wanted to get him comfortable in his room & surroundings as much as possible before he had to deal with the school part. I'm less worried about the school aspect than I am the social & independence part, really.
It takes about 3 hours to drive to Klamath Falls from our home. Trevor wanted to bring his loft bed, and they are allowed as long as they fit in the room. We didn't know if it would or wouldn't fit, but we had him take the bed apart & load it in the truck anyway. I also gave him luggage to pack all his clothes, and whatever else he wanted to bring went in large trash bags (because it was going in the bed of the truck and trashbags are waterproof if it rains!).
On the way there, I first worried if he was even allowed to come on Wednesday. I recalled reading something that the kids from a special program could start Wednesday, but what about everyone else? So I looked it up and yes, the residence hall was open Wednesday, however it said the move-in time was 10:00am to 6:00pm. We weren't going to make it until 7:30!!
What if we couldn't get in? What if we couldn't get a key to his room? What if his room mate had already taken the bed Trevor needed for his loft bed? Yikes!!!
So along the way we were thinking, if we can't get him in tonight, we'll have to rent a room. We could leave most of his stuff in the cab of the truck, and then just bring the bed parts into the room overnight. Then drop him off first thing in the morning. I'd have to get a substitute for work. We'd better have Diana stay home from school so she could get Connor to school, and she won't sleep without us home anyway...
We arrive and there's a gal at the (open) door saying, "Hi! Are you ready to move in? Here's your key! Good thing you came now that the elevator's clear - there was a long line to use it before!"
At the room, his room mate seems to be a real nice guy. He already was using the bed we didn't need, and he has a TV and mini-fridge all set up. He's also studying civil engineering like Trevor, and he's from Eugene.
It only took us an hour to get Trevor all settled, and then Lee & I could drive home. We had a nice long chat all the way home. Lee was a little surprised I didn't get weepy tho. I am too. Maybe it hasn't hit? Maybe Trevor ticked me off all summer and I'm ready for a break? Maybe I figure I'll be putting out more fires for him in the next couple of days if he calls all panicked about something? Maybe I have enough other things to worry about with Diana's senior year and Connor's education that I can let things go with Trevor now?
Or maybe I think Trevor's just grown-up enough to do this, and I can just trust he'll be great. Okay - now I'm tearing up...
For the last 8-9 years, Trevor & Diana have been serving at Mass at our church.
Often, people would come up to us afterwards and say, "I don't know what we'd do without your kids!"
Well, now they're going to find out. Sunday was the last time they were scheduled to serve. We asked that they be removed from the list, because 1) Trevor was going to college three hours away, and 2) there's a Saturday night Mass geared toward the teens which Diana wants to attend.
We were told that the parish wanted to "do something" to acknowledge the kids' service. We weren't sure what it would be, but we went ahead and invited family to come to be there for their final serving :) Lee's parents, Donna & Jim, and Myrna, Doug & Daniel came.
The "something" wound up being thank you cards for each of the kids, with $100 apiece in them! They were brought to the front of the altar to be acknowledged and everyone applauded them. We all got a little teary :)
Is what Connor called our latest yard improvement. He thought this was great.
We had an old shed that came with the house. There was stuff in there from who knows when, and we didn't go too deep in there. We were just using it to park the lawnmower & things near the door. But it was an eyesore, and worse yet, it blocked a good chunk of my view from the back door to see where Connor was.
When Lee lost the Dell job, we figured he'd have some time to put together a new base and maybe we could move the old shed over there. As it turns out, Sears had a nice, new shed go on sale, so we decided to do that instead. :)
Trevor spent a lot of time out back, prepping, clearing, building, or whatever we needed him to do (seeing as how he didn't get a job over the summer and now we're all back to school - except for him - he's leaving next week).
We still have a few things to set up, but the new shed on the deck made a nice "assembly" for us. And Lee got to demolish the old base with an axe.
I like shoes. Contrary to what my husband says though, I'm no Imelda Marcos. I'm actually still well behind many other women I know when it comes to amount of shoes I own.
Recently though, I have been getting my shoes off of eBay. I need pretty sturdy, good-quality shoes at my job, since I'm lifting and carrying wheelchair-bound students for a lot of my day. Dansko is my favorite brand at the moment. The shoes were originally created to be worn to work in horse barns all day. They last forever, and are extremely comfortable. It's impossible to stub my toe on the kids' equipment in them!
This week I'll be getting my 7th pair of Danskos from eBay. I gave my mom one of those, and Diana got another pair - so I really only have 5 pairs for me. This last pair are red sandals that usually retail for $125.00. I bid $16.05 and got them. I think it's $9.00 for shipping.
I really do wear all my shoes. I don't have the pairs that just sit in the closet that I bought because I couldn't resist them. I can resist shoes. There are plenty of shoes I see that I won't ever buy.
Guys really can get away with a 5-6 of pairs of shoes. Something dressier, something to exercise in, slippers or house shoes, a pair of boots, etc. Really, you should have work shoes for the yard because you don't want to mess up your white tennis shoes mowing the lawn and make them green. At least save your old tennis shoes and use those for yard work if you don't want to get work boots or mud boots for that.
Women need more than that. Sorry - that's just how it is. Our work shoes have to be a little more varied. Pumps, flats, boots, etc. in different colors. You need basic black, something brown, skin color is always good, red, and whatever other colors are in your wardrobe. You need a few choices for exercise shoes too. You gotta have the yard shoes, and hiking shoes, cowboy boots, and crocs for around the house. And then sandals! You need some for casual, and a bunch of different ones for work again!
Seriously, when I think of all the shoes I COULD own, my measly 19 pair really don't seem that bad! I replace and trade out stuff when I get new shoes too. I still need new black leather pumps, but as I don't wear pumps all that often, I can let that slide for a while. I also need to get new heels put on the black velvet pumps - I won't buy new velvet ones because the ones I have will be great once the new heels are on.
And I'm not even bidding on these. Aren't they the coolest looking pirate-style boots ever tho? Seriously! If I had a reason to get them..... Ah well.
Connor is now in 4th grade! So far, everything seems to be going great after the first week of school. He is doing okay with no morning recess (poor kid), and seems to be doing well with his work in class, to the best of his ability.
Diana had to move a few things around on her schedule. She wanted to take a Fine Arts 2 class, because that way she gets access to all the art supplies. But they gave her an Improv Acting class instead. As much as I tried to convince her to keep that one (she would be more likely to be in plays, etc.), she really really wanted to work on her drawing skills. The thing was, Fine Arts 2 was at the same time as the German 4 class (which is worth college credit!!) and she didn't want to give that one up. So she had to talk to the Fine Arts 3 instructor to be able to get into his class.
She tried to meet the instructor a couple of times, with a portfolio of her work to show him to convince him she could do the class. You're really supposed to do Fine Arts 1 & 2 before you do the Third class. Diana had done Graphic Design 1 & 2, which isn't the same thing.
Eventually, she sent the teacher an email with a couple of links to her webcomic (see right ---> ) and another art site she posts on called Deviant Art. Here's his answer: "Your in!!! Great web sites! Boy can you shade!!! And what an imagination!"
Our kids are lucky to have some long-time friends. Even when they're on vacation in Canada. They met Matthew & Lisa pretty soon after they had moved in next door to my folks' house. The first photo is when Diana is celebrating her 6th birthday, 11 years ago. My mom had a party for her and invited the neighbor kids to come as well. I think that's the trip they met each other. Whenever we'd go up, the kids would check to see if Matthew & Lisa were home too, so they'd have some time together. We brought them with us to the beach or they would go to the park, but mostly they'd just hang out at my Mom's house. Actually, some visits I think T & D saw more of M & L than they saw their grandparents!
I very clearly recall Diana & Lisa huddling together under a blanket during a thunderstorm once. Matthew was patient with Trevor, trying to teach him croquet (Matthew still won). Lisa referred to Trevor as "that crazy boy." Matthew has always been more the quiet type. But he appreciates T & D's humor. This time around I was happy they came over again after the birthday cake. Around 8:30 the doorbell rang, and they had brought their Wii remotes as well. The four of them hung out downstairs - Connor watched a little while & then went to bed, and I was upstairs with my mom watching TV. They finally headed back home at 11:00, and I think they all had fun. They also exchanged emails & such so they can keep touch better (we'll see how that goes).
I'm thinking next year, they might all decide to go hang out somewhere besides my folks' basement. I wouldn't call it dating though - it will be the four of them hanging out at a movie or DQ or something. If they even decide to do that ;)
Diana took the recent pictures. Matthew doesn't smile easy, and at least he's okay with being silly here :)
Cheesecake! Hurry - cut it before it falls apart (it was a whipped cheese thing - very soft).
As we generally visit Canada in the Summer, and it either is before or after summer school sessions, we wind up visiting around Diana's birthday a lot. My mom's birthday is also in August, so we are able to celebrate two in the same visit.
I was trying to figure out how many birthdays Diana has had in Canada... my mom probably knows better.
Here the kids are sharing cheesecake with their cousins, Catherine, Mikael & Aaron, and their friends from next door, Matthew & Lisa.
Connor is not a big fan of cheesecake, so he ran off while the Wii was not being used.