Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Dealing with Dad

Just as I do every Tuesday and Thursday, I have to plan my life (and that of my children) around transporting my dad home from dialysis. Now this might not seem like a big deal, actually in theory it seems like a very simple task, but it ISN'T! And quite honestly I am getting a bit sick of it.

Take today for example. Brett was going to go over to his friend, Christopher's, house so that they could work on their physics assignments together. I planned to drop him off around 11:30, go and get dad at noon and then pick Brett back up at 1:30 PM, giving me plenty of time to get my dad settled and fed after dialysis. After picking Brett up at 1:30, we would head to the Loveland Library to pick up Hannah, Emily, Grant, Jacob, Cade and Sophie who where going to attend the 1 PM program they were hosting on Maple Sugaring (Jay dropped them off when he took his lunch break). Sounds like a completely doable plan right? Like I had left myself plenty of time to get everywhere and make everyone happy right? NOT!

So I get Brett to Christopher's right on schedule. I even have enough time to stop at the mall and pick up some perfume Hannah wanted to give her friend Alex for her birthday. I pull into the lot at the dialysis center at 12:10 PM, a few minutes "late" but that shouldn't be a big deal. I walk in and Libby (one of the patient's wives) says that dad is still in the back. I smile and tell her that I have Will in the van and if she could just pull the blinds up when dad comes out. Will had a bit of a snotty nose and I hate to take him in the center when he is sick since so many of the patients have compromised immune systems....Well, I go back to the car, listen to a few songs, clean out some trash (note I said SOME, not ALL) and I keep looking at the window for the shade to move. At 12:40 (a full 1/2 hour after getting there) I walk back in and still no dad...there is NEVER anyone at the desk to ask questions of, so I walk back out the van....sit there 15 more minutes, at this point Will is SCREAMING, he hates his carseat, so I finally unbuckle him and walk back into the center, despite the runny nose. Still no dad! FINALLY at 1 PM the nurse who has walked out to get another patient, says he will be out in a couple of minutes. At 1:10 PM I get him in the van and am heading towards his house. He asks me to get him a burger from Wendy's and asks where the kids are. I tell him and say I have to leave as soon as I get to his house because I have to get them, he gets all weepy......it isn't like I haven't just wasted an hour sitting in a parking lot waiting on him....God forbid I keep him waiting...if he actually gets done on time (noon) and I am not there, he complains the whole way home and then complains to my mom on the phone.....he makes me feel GUILTY for needing to take care of my own kids!

So I give in.....I get him home, into the house, make the rest of his lunch, help him change into his comfortable clothes, tape up all his "tubes", let him eat, get him settled and walk out his door at 1:50 PM. I dash over to get Brett and then make the 20 minute drive to the library. Luckily when I walk in Hannah is looking at books, the kids are behaving and my friend Deanne is still hanging out talking to the naturalist who presented the program. It was nice that she had waited on me to get the kids (although Hannah is prefectly capable of handling them) especially since I hadn't even known that she was going to be at the program.

I know I sound like a total bitch, but damn it when I said I would drive my dad to dialysis 2x a week back in July I NEVER thought I would still be doing it as March rolled in. Don't get me wrong, I am so happy my dad is fighting his cancer and that the dialysis seems to be working, but don't you think that maybe, just once my brother (who works from 4 PM to 11 PM and has NO KIDS) could step in and at least OFFER to pick the man up? It is truely like being an only child, only not being able to reap the benefits (believe me, my brother is the first one over there to get anything FREE!). I know dad appreciates it (despite his complaining if I am not there exactly at noon or if I bring "too many" of the kids with me) but I am feeling very underappreciated! My brother better watch out though...with all the time I have put in with dad, he better not be surprised if he can't "find" me when it comes to dealing with my mom in her old age! ROFL....maybe that would make it all worth it!

So the good thing about having 8 kids....at least they will be able to share the burden of their ailing parents, even if one of them ends up being a complete boob like my brother, there will still be 7 of them to chip in!

And now I am counting the months until Brett has his license...Grandpa duty can be his and I will pay him generously to do it!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Marching onward to the Elite Eight!

Grant's basketball team won a nailbiter of a game (we were losing going into the 4th quarter) so we will be playing in the Elite Eight once again this year! The team Grant plays with is very talented, unlike teams in the past where he has had to be "the" player in order for them to win. A perfect example would be that he only scored 2 points in todays game (far below his usual average) yet the team still pulled out a victory. I can't wait until next Friday night's game, although I am thinking I might need an inhaler, since I could barely breath during the game today! The coach for the opposing team was hilarious to watch, I honestly thought he might stroke out at one point, he was so frustrated when we pulled ahead!

So the basketball season continues on...hopefully I will be posting about a final 4 or championship game appearance this time next week....but I don't want to jinx us or anything!

Friday, February 24, 2006

2022 Olympian???

Today I took the kids (minus Hannah who was babysitting) ice skating with our homeschooling friends over at the Northern Kentucky Ice Center. When we got to the rink the kids were busy putting on their skates and Will (almost 20 months) sat on the ground, pulled his gym shoes off and went over and stood at the window to try to get the desk attendant to give him skates. I guess he figured that was were everyone else was getting their "skoos" and he wanted to get some too! I picked him up and told him "no, babies can't skate" and he started to cry (OK it was more an ear piercing scream). The guy at the desk was so sweet, he smiles and says "I have a pair of little skates if he wants to play with them" and he hands them to me, they had to be the tiniest skates I have ever seen....well Will INSISTS I put them on his feet. He patiently sat there and let me get them on him. Then he STANDS up and WALKS (without falling) over to the ice.....he made it around the rink 3 times (with Emily holding his hand) without falling and then he continued to walk in the skates without a mishap for another hour (Grant on the other hand damn near broke his jaw in a collision with a couple of teens, the medic for the hockey team that practices there even came out and looked at his jaw, cheek and teeth to make sure we didn't need to go to the ER).

So you can all say you knew him way back when he was a baby when he makes the 2022 US Olympic Speed Skating team!

Oh, and I FORGOT my camera and none of my friends had cameras with them, so I had to run down to Walgreens and get a cheapy disposable, but at least I should have some pictures to share eventually!

Sophie also really took to the ice, she pushed this bucket around in front of her to keep herself from falling, but she really had a blast (except her hands and feet were COLD!). It is unbelievable how comfortable all the kids are on the ice, and the only other time most of them skated was back in December at Holiday Fest at the Beach!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Team Showcase

The annual kickoff to our dance season occurred this past weekend. It is called the team showcase and each of the competition routines from our studio preform that day. The studio owner hires professional dancers to come in and judge/critic the routines and then we will spend the next few weeks fine tuning them before we have our first official competition.

Emily has 3 routines this year, an acro/dance number, a ballet number and a jazz number. Because of our typically hectic schedule I hadn't really seen any of her rountines in their totality. When I saw my daughter on stage, I almost burst with pride! She has this new air about her, this confidence, there is really no way to explain it. She has finally come out of her shell! I don't know if it was her experience with the Nutcracker, the wonderful new ballet teacher or the new acro team she joined, but the child was just beaming. She danced beautifully and looked so much like she "belonged" in the spotlight! I think Hannah was as proud of her as I was, she kept seeing "did you see her? did you see her?". Even though I think her jazz routine is far too easy for her skill level, it is nice that she is center stage almost the entire time! Guess her instructor thinks she is worthy of the position!

Hannah is doing a hiphop and a tap routine this year. Hannah always has fun on stage and looks like she enjoys herself. I really like her tap routine, haven't made a decision about her hiphop routine, there are a couple girls on the team that are new to competitive dance and it shows, but I do think that it is something that will get better with time!

The only bad thing was that I had brought Sophie up to watch the girls and right before Hannah came on stage for the first time (our second routine of the day) she covers her mouth and screams "I'm gotta PUKE!"....I grabbed her and ran her outside just in time for her to puke in the grass! Jay ended up taking her home along with the boys, so he only got to see 3 of the girls routines (OK bad mom here, we watched Hannah's routine and the next one of Em's ...only 10 minutes later...before Jay left!).

Next Monday, Jacqui Haas is coming from the Cincinnati Ballet to evaluate the girls on the ballet team to see if they are ready to begin pointe. This is a HUGE deal, met with great apprehension by Emily! She REALLY wants to start pointe and has been working hard on her turnout, but she also knows that most girls are ready for pointe until at least 12 or 13. I will be interested to hear if Jacqui thinks she is anywhere close to being ready! It will be so hard for her if the other girls in her pre-pointe class get approved to move to pointe and she doesn't! I know that Jacqui knows best, guess we just have to wait and see! I just wish the instructor (Miss Viki) would give us an idea if she thinks she is ready or not, but she is keeping very closed lipped about it all (I don't think she wants to get the girls hopes up!).

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Snow much fun!

Snowtubing at Perfect North has become an annual event that my kids really look forward to. Cade had himself dressed and ready to go at 10 AM, even though I kept explaining that we wouldn't be leaving until 3 PM. He kept running around the house telling me how many minutes it was until we would be leaving (OK, so I guess that counts as math for a 5 year old right?). I busied myself making a big pot of vegetable soup and getting together all the odds and ends you need to snowtube.....gloves, hats, snowpants, coats time 8 people! Jay agreed to stay home with Will (you need to be 3 to snowtube)! Our friends, the Lelands, rode with us, it was so great to have another adult to talk to on the long drive!

We got to Perfect North at exactly 4 PM, despite my slight "detour" where I ended up on 74 instead of staying on 275. With our move last spring, it meant a new right to the slopes so I got a bit directionally impaired! The kids were so excited when they saw the hills! The snow was a bit wet but that didn't stop them from attacking the hill!

I had been worried about Sophie but she alsolutely LOVED it. She trudged up the hill and across the snow, little red snowtube in tow. It was pure delight to watch her little face as she went down the hills. She even went to the top of the biggest hill to make a long chain! I was so shocked, she just tackled the entire thing! Every time when we could get to the bottom she would catch her breath and say "can we go again?".

As the night progressed and the temp dropped to the middle 30's, the hills got icier and icier and therefore faster and faster...it was an absolute BLAST! We just FLEW down the hills!

I brought soup, rolls, sandwiches, hot chocolate and a bunch of snacks (fruit snacks, fruit cups, cookies and crackers). The kids DEVOURED every bit of it! Tubing seems to make them EXTREMELY hungry! Next year I will have to pack at least twice as much hot chocolate mix and extra fruit!

On the ride home, Deanne and I talked alot about how people precieve unschoolers. We both have encountered people who think unschooling = unparenting, and that couldn't be further from the truth. Because unschoolers let children follow their passions, they tend to be some of the most involved parents around. Just because they aren't cracking an academic whip over their children doesn't mean they aren't invoved in what is going on. Of course it is always easy to have a converstaion with someone who shares your views!

Photos added 2/26:

Sophie and Laura at the bottom of the snowtube run! Sophie always said "do it again" when we would get to the bottom!

Hannah, Brett and Sarah at the top of the snowtubing run!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Our family is growing!

OK, before you all completely FREAK OUT and think I have lost my mind and gone and gotten myself PREGNANT, take a deep breath! The newest addition to our family will walk on all fours and may or may not have a tail! As part of Hannah's birthday present we decided to cave into her desire for a dog! Yes, a dog!

We have applied through the greater Ohio Boxer Rescue (www.goboxerrescue.com) to have an adorable boxer boy (or girl) join our family! Our friend Julieanne and hours of internet research led us to the conclusion that a boxer would be the prefect dog for our energetic family!

Now mind you, as I spend over an hour filling out the application to adopt this dog, I began to wonder....heck I had managed to have 8 kids and no one ever asked me how I planned to feed them or discipline them, no one asked if I was financially stable, no one asked where they were going to sleep and no one EVER asked for any references (eek...I can only imagine what kind of reference my mother would have given..ROFL!). Jay said you could probably adopt a kid with a less detailed questionaire!

So if things go well and they "approve" our application, Hannah should be getting her boxer soon! Of course I also realize that Emily will probably be clamouring for her own dog come her birthday..and I can tell she is already working on her arguments to defend her plea....what kind of can of worms have I opened?????

Monday, February 20, 2006


My firstborn daughter is 14 today, where has the time gone? I can't believe that it has been 14 years since she hurried into this world (my shortest of all labors at 55 minutes!). She gets more beautiful by the day! I guess I could get all sappy and sentimental here, but I plan to just enjoy this very special day!

I love you baby girl!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Are the Fates conspiring against me?

We woke up this morning to SNOW and according to the tv traffic is at a standstill....so how does this impact someone who typically has nothing to do on a Saturday morning? Well, Hannah and I were supposed to be meeting my mom to go shopping for Hannah's birthday......but because of the weather we are now stuck at home at least for a few more hours!

Why is this noteworthy? Well this is the THIRD time we have tried to make this shopping trip. Time #1 my father's dialysis machine broke down and my mom had to go pick him up, time #2 Grant had a basketball game that I forgot about and now #3 the weather is conspiring against us! It is so hard to find a time we could go out, since my mom refuses to leave my dad at home alone, the only real time she wants to go is on Saturdays from 9 AM to noon.....

Hopefully the traffic on the expressway will start moving and we will get to go! Hannah is eager to spend her grandmother's money (my mom tends to express love in $$ rather then spending time with her grandkids) and I was kind of hoping that mom might take pity on me and buy me a couple of treats too!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Valentine's Day Party
Tuesday, February 14
1 PM to 3 PM

Julieanne wrote:
Laura and I were talking about it - and we were thinking that the kids can make valentines at gym on Monday or at home, and bring them to the party on Tuesday - and we'll have the kids make mailboxes for their valentines at the party. So we're counting rsvps - and it looks like if we bring 24 valentines for each child to give out, that'll be enough for everyone. Dollar store works, or hand making them.. whatever works for you.For example - since I have two kids, we'll bring 48 valentines - so True and Liam would each give 24 out... Make sense? If you have valentines stickers or something to contribute, the kids would love to use them, I'm sure. Does anyone have empty cereal boxes? If so, please bring them with you.If everyone brings a snack to share, and a drink - like a 2 liter or water - then everyone will have something there you know your kid(s) will like - and no single family has to provide everything for the party.So... 1:00 on Tuesday, Feb. 14.... Melodie's house. : ) And just so we all know, Bret's birthday is two days after this party... : )Don't hesitate to ask if you have any questions...

Shanda added:
I have a plastic container that has 5 drawers in it that I keep filled with creative things for the kids to use while we're at Museum center meetings. It has watercolor markers, regular sized crayons for the older crowd, larger (but not jumbo) crayons for smaller hands, a drawer of various and sundry stickers, heart doilies and glue sticks. If there aren't going to be enough boxes to go around to make valentines mailboxes, we decorated paper bags one year for valentine collecting. I can bring some of those just in case. It would be great if a few families could bring a few more stickers.
If anyone has purchased valentine's paper products, return them if you're able (except maybe a few plates). Here's what I have: 72 cups, a BAZILLION napkins, about 35 plates.
Heart-themed bowls to put snacks (or whatever) in.
A HUGE container of foam shapes (including hearts!)
A HUGE pack of construction paper
Pink and/or red plastic, DISPOSABLE tablecloths. I would just need to know how many to bring.
Supplies to make foam, star balls. I don't know what the attraction is, but kids LOVE these things. Put 9 pieces of sponge together with a zip tie and you have hours of entertainment!

After getting my dad from dialysis, Emily, Grant, Jacob, Cade, Sophie, Will and I headed to the Valentine's day party. The kids were excited and made valentine's to exchange with all their friends. Sophie got a present together for Bret (a dance costume, tiara, play jewelry, tights, a dance skirt and a bag to put everything in) and the two of them happliy played dress-up the entire time we were there. Emily managed to snag baby Marly and happily cuddled and held her (I think she has the "we need a baby" feeling more than I do!). The kids ATE and made crafts and exchanged cards. There was a nice mix of kids in attendance and even though there were over 20 kids there, there was no crying or whining! The kids played well and the adults managed to socialize. I couldn't believe that my little man decided to "play" rather than hang out with me! He is growing up!

The adults managed to get a tour of the "house in progress" ! The work that is finished is absolutely BEAUTIFUL and the spaces they still need to tranform are HUGE! I am so JEALOUS of all the space and of the beautiful decorating touches they have put on the place. It is going to be great to have this space to use for homeschooling gatherings (She has a whole auditorium on her 2nd floor).

Brett hung out with his pal Christopher when we were at the party. Christopher had surgery on his knee a little less than a week ago and was in need of some cheering up and hanging out! Hannah ended up babysitting so that the mom she babysat for could go to her daughter's Valentine's party at school. It was great that they both had something to do so that the littler kids could enjoy a party just geared for them!

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Pioneer Program

I was so excited to find this in my inbox this morning. I have emailed Shelley to try to work out a date that will work for our homeschooling group. We had fun in the past when we visited Caesar's Creek and the new location should add a new twist to the program. I wonder if the same re-enactors will be present at the new location?

Dear Educator,

Every culture in the world requires that young people learn their own history. History provides answers for the future by examining the problems of the past. In essence, it is the study of the problems of human life. Our challenge is to get our youth interested in history at all. When competing with electronic games and television, stories of the past can seem dry, at best.
For several years Frontier Resources has offered a school program designed to capture the interest of the student of Ohio history. The program makes maximum use of Hands-On and interactive learning. We have designed our ‘School Days’ to interest students in early Ohio history to reinforce your classroom efforts.

Frontier Resources is an organization that designs and presents programs to students all over the country. Our specialty is “hands-on history”. Our programs are designed to give your students a taste of the activities, both work and play, of children of early Ohio. These include, but are not limited to:

OXEN- An explanation of the importance of oxen to early America and how children were involved with them is followed by an opportunity for students to try their hand at driving oxen.

SPINNING- An introduction to the problem of cloth supply for the Ohio frontier family involves a chance for students to try to make a piece of yarn.

CHILDREN’S WORK- A view of the importance of children on the frontier while they work to shape a grindstone.

ONE ROOM SCHOOL- An introduction to early nineteenth century learning.

TOWN MEETING- Students experience frontier democracy by taking part in a town meeting and wrestling with a vital issue of the day.

CHILDREN’S GAMES- A look at entertainment on the frontier while students try an outdoor game of the 1800s.

INDENTURED SERVITUDE- Forty percent of the population of Colonial America arrived under terms of indenture. This station examines the lives of the children who found themselves so situated.

This year the program is moving from Caesar’s Creek Pioneer Village, Waynesville, Ohio to Quaker Knoll Campground, Wilmington, Ohio. We also now provide a program that will come to your school.

Our 2006 Spring program runs May 8-12, 15-19 and 22-25, 2006. The 2006 Autumn program is October 3-6, 9-13 and 16-17, 2006. The program takes about 4 hours, running from 9:30 a.m. until 2:00 P.M, or as your busing schedule permits. Cost is $5.00 per student, there is no cost for teachers and chaperones.

Please contact me for more information, or to make your reservation.

Shelley McClanahan
School Days Coordinator

Friday, February 10, 2006

Sewing fun!

By default, I ended up teaching a sewing class today! Our pal Melodie (who taught us to quilt last year) was supposed to help a group of kids work on one of their 4-H sewing projects, but she couldn't make it at the last minute. Out of the 3 adults there, I was the only one who knew how to "sew" (I use this term loosely as I am completely self taught and not very good!). Luckily I brought my serger and the 4-H book and we worked through the first steps of the project as a group. It was hard because each person didn't have their own machine and then one of the machines we did have, didn't want to work (or should I rephrase it, it wouldn't work when Julieanne used it, it only wanted to sew for me!). If we had given any thought beforehand, we would have tried to coordinate fabric/tread so that each person didn't need a different color (it is so hard to change a machine back and forth in the middle of a project)

The girls were so cute, listening to the directions and trying their best to do what they were told. Most of the girls got about 1/2 way through making their environmental tote. The Ridimans had to leave to get to gymnastics, we stayed and Emily managed to finish hers. She was so proud of how it turned out, she used it to carry her clothes to dance class! We plan to have everyone else finish up the next time we get together!

Sophie wants me to finish her bag so she can put her "stuff" in it! Once you know what you are doing, you can make the tote in about 30 minutes. They are fairly cost efficient (I got the supplies to make 2 bags for less than $5...but don't as Kas how much she spent on fabric!). I think that Emily might end up making some and trying to sell them at a craft show next winter...by then she should be able to perfect the technique!

Hopefully the next time we sew, we have enough machines for all the girls...and hopefully Meolodie is there to lead the charge!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Wednesday, February 8; 3:00 PM
Tour of Donato's
Cost: $1.85/child
Max: 20 kids
Where: Donatos on Montgomery Road in Symmes Township. Their # is 489-4500 It's in the same plaza as TJ Max across from Harpers Point.
RSVP: Deanne

The kids were excited about getting to tour Donato's and make their own pizzas. Unfortunately the manager seemed extrememly uncomfortable giving the tour and really didn't do much more than show the kids around. He didn't really talk about the running of the pizzeria or the ingredients. About the only thing he said was that the phones ring off the hook on Fridays and Saturdays. Each of the kids made their own pizza and since they had extra shells, the 4 adults also made pizzas.

Obviously a product of the school system, the manager wasn't smart enough to figure out 15 people at $1.85 each (I had already figured that the 10 of us...Jay had joined us.... would be $18.50...not bad for 10 indivual pizzas and 10 pops) and ended up charging us only $18 for all 15 of us! I guess I shouldn't complain since it made it about 8 dollars cheaper for my family!

After the tour we dropped the girls at dance and then went to Grant's basketball game. His team won 26-21 and is now in the championship game on Saturday at 3 PM.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I began rousing the crew right before 9 AM. We are gotten "getting out of the house" to a science. Everyone can be dressed and ready to leave in less than 30 minutes, given everyone has bathed the night before and that only the teens need to shower. Today was no exception. Everyone was ready to head out by 9:30 AM. I tossed in a load of laundry before heading out the door. We needed to make 2 stops before heading to the 11 AM park program. Brett stayed home and worked on his geometry and physics homework from the co-op.

First stop was at the grocery store to grab items for lunch. On today's menu was pepperoni, cheese, crackers, bananas, grapes and cookies. Then we headed out to the 4-H office to order the rest of the books we needed. Good thing we made the stop because we found out that the shooting sports club that we were interested in attending was meeting today and that if you didn't have a representative at tonight's meeting you wouldn't be able to participate. Hannah, Emily and Grant are all interested in learning about gun safety and target shooting.

We got to the park about 10 minutes early. We were excited that Dennis and Sheila were doing the program. They are both very hands on and prefer to engage the kids in activities rather than lecture to them. The program was about animals and their habitats and they played games with kids for over an hour. The kids had a BLAST.

I had to leave 50 minutes into the program to go grab my dad. My friend Deanne had agreed to stay with my kids until I could get back. They would eat lunch once the program was over to kill time. Dad of course was his piddly needy self and insisted that I stop and get him lunch and then started to pout when I said I had to leave. He suckered me into staying with him for almost an hour. I know it is hard for him, that he wants company, but just for once I would like him to understand that I have other commitments. He is so self absorbed right now that he didn't even think about his grandkids being "alone" at a park.

Anyhow, got back to the park around 1:15 PM and talked with Deanne and the naturalists for a bit, then I headed back towards Eastgate to drop Hannah off at the Middle School for talent show practce. Then the rest of the gang and I stopped to pick up stuff for dinner (chicken, bbq sauce, cole slaw and buns...I had the baked beans and mac and cheese at home). Dropped Emily off at the dance studio and then headed home.

Once we got here I made the boys CLEAN OUT the van, it was just trashed....it looks great now, just needs to be vaccuumed. I ran down to the bank to pay the electric bill. Came home and spent a little "quality" time with Jay while the boys played basketball in the driveway and Sophie rode her bike!

Sophie came in and helped me make dinner. She loves pouring the sauce in the pan and dumping the cans into the pots. While dinner cooks she and Will read books. Jacob sits on the living room floor and uses the calcultor to add up the value of his baseball cards. For the game he plays with his brothers, his team can only have a value of 5000, so he arranges and rearranges his cards until this team comes in right at 5000.

After we eat dinner, Grant and I head out to the Shooting Sports meeting. Deanne, Julieanne and I all though that this was an INFORMATIONAL meeting and were quite shocked when the man in charge walked up to the kids and asked it they wanted to do archery, shoot rifles or shoot pistols. They all chose rifles and he sent them over to the range they had set up. Within minutes, no waifer signed, no gun safety riot act preached at them, the kids were FIRING RIFLES (OK they were shooting pellets, but they were SHOOTING!!!!). Grant hit the target 3 times (out of 5) on his first try! He hit the target 4 times the second try. There are 4 more sessions set up, plus we were told they would also have additional opportunities that would come up periodically. Although Grant had a GREAT time, it is frustrating as a parent how hard it is to get ALL the information about anything invovled with 4-H. It is such an "old boys club" that eveyone just assumes you know what is going on. Not the case for this frazzled, busy mom!

Hannah and Emily were dropped off from dance shortly after Grant and I got home. We are fortunate that one of the instructors from the studio lives less than a mile from us and has to drive by our house to get to work. She brings the girls home on Tuesday nights and drives them to the studio on Thursday mornings. I told the girls about the shooting sports and Hannah was THRILLED to learn that there are a BUNCH of boys and only a couple girls in the club. Fortunately she will be able to make all the rest of the scheduled club meetings. I think it is vital that my daughters know how to handle a gun, it isn't just a boy thing!

Cade brought me a book to read him and babbled on about the park program. He is such a bright kid, he remembers just about anything you tell him. He was going on about what animals need to leave and about playing the predator/prey game. The rest of the evening was fairly quiet. Hannah taught Sophie a cute cheer and she "performed" for us! I ended up laying down with Will around 11 PM and he finally fell alseep just as the news went off....

I got up to brush my teeth and sneak some computer time...thus this post.....

Another "normal" day here!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Our day today:

I have been asked to sit on a discussion panel in a couple of weeks to explore different methods of homeschooling. So I thought I might journal here a bit about what our days are like, so that I can have something concrete to look back at before the meeting.....so here it goes...

Brett got up early this morning and woke me up to find out what time I would be picking him up for the co-op he attends every Monday. I mumbled "3:45" and fell back asleep. I stayed in bed until almost 10 AM (OK, I had been up until about 2 AM with Will). When I got up I found Cade in the living room, getting his shoes on. He said "today is gym day right". We go to the gym every Monday from 12-3 PM and he counts the days......

Everyone else woke up over the next 30 minutes and started getting ready to go to the gym. We finally piled into the car about 11:30 AM and stopped by the bank to deposit money so I could make the phone payment. We grabbed lunch at Taco Bell and then went to the gym to eat it and play with our friends. 5 other families showed up! The boys play basketball while the girls sit and make collages out of a stack of magazines I drug along with me.

Right before 2 PM, I left the gym with Hannah to run her over to Glen Este Middle School so that she could practice for their talent show. Each year, she goes and participates in the talent show with her friend Chrishauna (who is a student there). Chrishauna's mom has gone to extraodinary lengths to get permission for Hannah to participate in this school sponsored event. She and Chrishauna are doing their hip-hop rountine from this year in the talent show. They have practice 3 times this week and the show is Friday night. Luckily the trip from the gym to the middle school is only a 5 minute round trip drive. I return to the gym to enjoy another hour of adult company.

At 3 PM, we leave the gym, I stop and run a couple errands and then pick Brett up at 3:45 PM. From there I head to the dance studio to drop Emily off for her Monday classes (Leaps and Turns, Ballet Technique and Jazz), Hannah will be joining her at the studio after talent show practice. We leave the dance studio and head to the house, where Brett deposits William in the crib for his nap and Jay quickly walks out the door with Brett, Grant and Cade in tow for Grant's basketball practice.

I manage to snag some computer time while they are gone since Will is napping and Sophie is happily playing Polly Pockets.

The boys get home and the house gets loud. They play a game of basketball in the playroom (we have 2 of those small indoor hoops and they play "full court"). After they finish Cade brings me a shark book to read him. Sophie joins us for the reading. She picks a storybook for us to read next.

Jepordy comes on and Jay, Brett and I play. Since it is teen week, we actually manage to answer just about every question but one or two. Jay leaves to pick up the girls from dance. The boys and I watch "wife swap"....I find the show hilarious and the episode is of particular interest as one of the families was a homeschooling family with 8 kids who lived on a very tight budget and clothed the kids in hand me downs......but that would be were the similiarities to our family ended. They homeschooled to shelter their kids, only having them leave the house for church and 2 other times a month for social activities....my social butterflies would never stand for that! But the show was good for a few chuckles and sparked some interesting conversations between Brett, Grant and myself.

Once the girls were home we had dinner, frozen pizzas and salad, and the boys watched WWE wrestling. I read a couple more books to the little ones.

Around 9:30 PM I FINALLY got in touch with our friend Amber who is in charge of the Junior Greenthumb program. The kids keep bugging me to find out when we get to start our containers for the local garden show. Spent quite some time talkign with her about the garden program and also 4-H (she is a 4-H advisor and was giving me the scoop on some of what is going on). She said that the kids can start their seeds and plan their containers. They are really excited.

The house begins to quiet as the midnight hour nears.....

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Fun site

This link came through on a list that I am on, I couldn't help but share it: http://www.paulsadowski.com/birthday.asp. The funny thing is that I have always thought of "13" as my lucky number...an ironic point, according to this is that I was concieved on the day Hannah was born (I doubt it is right since I was about 3 weeks early, but I found it ironic).......

Here is what it said about me:
You entered: 11/13/1969

Your date of conception was on or about 20 February 1969 which was a Thursday.

You were born on a Thursday under the astrological sign Scorpio.
Your Life path number is 4.
The Julian calendar date of your birth is 2440538.5.
The golden number for 1969 is 13.
The epact number for 1969 is 11.
The year 1969 was not a leap year.

Your birthday falls into the Chinese year beginning 2/17/1969 and ending 2/5/1970.You were born in the Chinese year of the Rooster.

The date of Easter on your birth year was Sunday, 6 April 1969.
The date of Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent) on your birth year was Wednesday 19 February 1969.
The date of Whitsun (Pentecost Sunday) in the year of your birth was Sunday 25 May 1969.
The date of Whisuntide in the year of your birth was Sunday 1 June 1969.
The date of Rosh Hashanah in the year of your birth was Saturday, 13 September 1969.
The date of Passover in the year of your birth was Thursday, 3 April 1969.
The date of Mardi Gras on your birth year was Tuesday 18 February 1969.

As of 2/5/2006 9:56:05 AM EST
You are 36 years old.
You are 435 months old.
You are 1,891 weeks old.
You are 13,233 days old.You are 317,601 hours old.
You are 19,056,116 minutes old.
You are 1,143,366,965 seconds old.

Your age is the equivalent of a dog that is 5.17925636007828 years old. (You're still chasing cats!)
There are 281 days till your next birthdayon which your cake will have 37 candles.
Those 37 candles produce 37 BTUs,or 9,324 calories of heat (that's only 9.3240 food Calories!) .
You can boil 4.23 US ounces of water with that many candles.

In 1969 there were approximately 3.7 million births in the US.
In 1969 the US population was approximately 179,323,175 people, 50.6 persons per square mile.
In 1969 in the US there were approximately 1,800,000 marriages (9.3%) and 479,000 divorces (2.5%)
In 1969 in the US there were approximately 1,712,000 deaths (9.5 per 1000)
In the US a new person is born approximately every 8 seconds.
In the US one person dies approximately every 12 seconds.

Your birthstone is Citrine
The Mystical properties of Citrine:Citrine is said to help one connect with Spirit.
Some lists consider these stones to be your birthstone. (Birthstone lists come from Jewelers, Tibet, Ayurvedic Indian medicine, and other sources): Yellow Topaz, Pearl, Diamond

Your birth tree is Chestnut Tree, the Honesty
Of unusual beauty, does not want to impress, well-developed sense of justice, vivacious, interested, a born diplomat, but irritable and sensitive in company, often due to a lack of self-confidence, acts sometimes superior, feels not understood, loves only once, has difficulties in finding a partner.

There are 323 days till Christmas 2006!
There are 336 days till Orthodox Christmas!

The moon's phase on the day you wereborn was waxing crescent.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Cool Virtual Owl Pellet Disection site:

http://www.kidwings.com/owlpellets/index2.htm this site is VERY COOL, you can disect owl pellets online. Someone sent it to me prior to our owl hike and I lost the link. I found it today when cleaning out my mailbox! Check it out!

Another great owl study site: http://www.carolina.com/owls/index.asp

Now if we can just spot or at least HEAR an owl on our next hike!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Ronald McDonald House

I went down to RMH with Hannah and her friend Sarah for our monthly volunteer time. Although I usually resent the idea of giving up what little free time I have, I always enjoy myself once we get down to the house. Helping someone purely because you can and expecting nothing in return is such a wonderful feeling.

When we walked in I was surprised to see one of the families that had been there back in December. When I had talked with the mom in December they had thought they would be going home anyday and now 2 months later they are still sitting there. Her daughter Bailey had a bone marrow transplant and had some setbacks, but things now look up, they may be heading home on February 20th (my Hannah's 14th birthday!). Bailey was so surprised we remembered her (she has this infectious voice and is so talkative, she would be impossible to forget). Bailey mentioned that it was her sister's 13th birthday and I could just see the pain in her mom's eyes. For just a minute I allowed myself to imagine the hell of being torn between your sick child and the rest of your family, it was more than I could bear. The family lives in Minnesota. She and her daughter had been in Cincinnati since August, she had missed her other 3 children returning to school, halloween, thanksgiving, more sports events, school events, just everyday things than I could even count. Her family came down for Christmas but could only stay for a week and now a month later she is still looking at another 3 weeks before their reunion.

Through thick and thin, the thing I always know I can count on is having my family to cuddle up with, to lean on each day. Because I have them I know I can get through anything. I can't imagine not being able to touch or hold my children for 1/2 of a year, I have a hard enough time when I am away from any of them even for a couple of days. As much as I rsent the time it takes each week to deal with my dad and the dialysis, I am close enough (only 20 minutes away) that I can help out. I can't imagine having the closest member of my family 10 hours away.

So I came home with a renewed sense of how important having my family around me really is to me! OK so Will still annoyed the heck out of me when I was trying to check email last night and he kept crawling into my lap and pulling up my shirt. But I wouldn't trade it for the world....and I PRAY that I never have to!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Chinese New Year Celebration

Wednesday, February 1; 1pm
Chinese New Year Celebration!!!
Chinatown Buffet 1015 U.S. State Rt. 28, Milford
Organizer: Kathy Ridiman
Cost: $5.79 for adults, cheaper for children 4-12, children under 3 free.
Join us at one of the largest buffets around!! The food is hot and wonderful! Large variety of choices! We plan to have lunch and do some crafts to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Please RSVP to Kas so that we have enough supplies for all of the kids.

RSVP: Ridiman, Riesenberg, Day, Webel, Leland, Malott, Richmond, Hensley, Star, Kennedy

Directions: Take I-275 to the Milford/ Rt. 28 exit (#57). If coming from points east, turn right onto Rt. 28/if coming from points west, turn left onto Rt. 28 (you will pass a Lowes on your right)...at the traffic light that would let you into Lowes, turn LEFT onto Rt. 28......you will pass a KMart, Ameristop, Swifty Gas Station...the Chinatown Buffet is located across the street from the Ford Dealership. If you get to Gold Star you have gone too far!

What a wonderfully fun way to learn about another culture. Kas came up with the idea and I helped with securing the restaraunt. There were crafts for the kids, a game for the teens (where they tried to guess who was what zodiac sign) and it seemed fun by all. The group was LARGE but it was amazing how quiet they were while they ate! Grant was really protective of his red envolope, hoping his money will multiply so that he can buy the gayboy advance game he has been wanting!

Next year we have to remember to have someone show us how to use chopsticks and we must have Julieanne teach us some chinese.