Saturday, December 31, 2011

Always the Last Gift of the Year

Our last gift of the year is always the celebration of our oldest's birthday.  This year, he turned the big NINE.  Next year will be double digits for him.  We celebrated in style by having his birthday party on his birthday as we did last year.  We invited his friends and for the first time, one of his sister's friends and her family.  The group that celebrated with our son was the same as last year so the kids all know each other and had a great time.  It was fun.  In some ways, I would like to put some space between Christmas and his birthday, but in other ways, I am glad the celebrating is over all in one shot between Christmas and school starting after the new year.

Friday, December 30, 2011

What Do I Look Forward to in the New Year?

I look forward to travelling in the new year.  We are trying to get to some places in the United States as well as travel overseas.  My son is really into American history and would love to see some more of the historical sites in the Eastern United States.  I would like to take him to Boston again to see the sights near there.  I have not been to Thailand since 1998 and am excited to see my family and friends and share Thailand with my husband, son, and daughter.  We will see where opportunities lead to travel later on in the year.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Looking Forward to the Gift of a New Year

The NaBloPoMo theme for January is Beginnings.  As this year ends, I am looking forward to the beginning of another year.  The year ends with a celebration of life for a relative of one of my close friends, the celebration of two more birthdays, a family lunch on New Year's Eve, and some one-on-one time with my husband to ring in the new year.

As I look back upon the year and look at the goals I set for 2011, I realize that my goals changed as the year passed.

1.  Participate in three 5Ks and run at least one. (I did not achieve this goal.  One of the 5K we normally do was on a weekend that we were out of town.  Instead of walking another one, I volunteered with the kids' activities.)

2.  Help Riley organize LEGOs and finish LEGO table. (This is a half-done project.  The LEGOs are sorted and binned by color, but the table is not complete.  This project also became organization of the whole house rather than just LEGOs.  I spent the summer reading organization books/websites and trying to apply some of the tips to my life.  My goal became to declutter and use what we have and get rid of what we did not need.)

3.  Finish garage so that cars will fit.  (Another almost complete project; we decided that rather than store some of the items, we would sell them.  Need to get them posted to sell; then cars will fit.)

4.  Clean out crawl space. (This is one that did not get accomplished.  The main floor and the garage are mostly clean/organized, but the crawl space still needs work.)

5.  Keep up with laundry.  (Not particularly successful at this one.  I find that I can gather it up, take it to the washer, wash and dry it, and carry it back upstairs, but lack motivation to fold it and put it away.)

For 2012 most of my goals are the same with some tweaks.

1.  Participate in three 5Ks.  I would still like to do this one, but I have no desire to run in one anymore.  When the weather gets warm and the days get longer, I will start to walk the neighborhood again or hopefully, invest in a bike so that I can ride with the kids.

2.  Organize the house.  I will continue to use what I have learned and read to keep my house in better shape.  I will work on the daily chores of laundry and dishes as well as continue to declutter and get rid of what we do not need.  I will teach my children how to play and put away their LEGOs and toys properly.

3.  Eat better.  For many years I have been able to eat what I want, but I have found that I need to eat healthier so that I feel better.  Plus, I could lose about 15-20 pounds and watching what I eat would help me to do it.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Gift of Time to Read

Below is the list of books that I read in 2011.  There are many books that I started and did not finish, and maybe even a few that I finished and did not list.  I have found that I do not get to as many books as I use to, but that does not mean that I am not reading.  I read all the time whether it is the newspaper or the headlines on  Sometimes, I read for professional reasons, and those books, I tend not to finish.  I also reread both The Blind Side and In A Heartbeat after reading I Beat the Odds....

My favorite book was Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, but I enjoyed all the books that I read this year.  Some of my book club friends went onto to read more Jodi Picoult books after we read My Sister's Keeper.  Although I liked the book and enjoyed the discussion, I have not read another Jodi Picoult book, but I have found that author in Kristin Hannah.

Night Road by Kristin Hannah
Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah
I Beat the Odds: From Homelessness to The Blind Side and Beyond by Michael Oher with Don Yaeger
The Butterfly's Daughter by Mary Alice Monroe
Call Me Irresistible by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Family Affair by Debbie Macomber
Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin
No Reservations: Around the World on an Empty Stomach by Anthony Bourdain
Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan
Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

My goal for 2012 is 12 books, one book for pleasure a month.  With technology at my disposal in an e-reader and an itouch as well as regular paper books, I hopefully will exceed this goal!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

What Was My Favorite Gift?

My favorite gift is definitely the ipod touch.  I really enjoyed having this piece of technology and it is working out the way that I intended.  I wanted it for myself as well as for the kids, but did not have to buy them their own individual ones.  I also decided that I am done buying kid speciality computers; my kids are old enough to use the adult versions if they are taught the proper way to use them.  I bought a Fisher Price iXL last Christmas for Reese, and she loves it, but will also grow out of it.  Now, we have a tablet and an itouch so the kids have their own devices, and we can share them all.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Ron's Gift

My husband's gift is the ability to host and cook.  He is in his element and loves to entertain especially his family and close friends.  He always gets rave reviews for the dishes that he makes.  Christmas dinner included prime rib, wasabi crusted salmon, crab stuffed mushrooms, grilled asparagus, spinach salad, and creme brulee for dessert.  We hosted Christmas dinner last year and again this year.  Next year, we may have to go on the road, but what matters is that we are together.  This year's dinner numbered 19 and next year we hope that more family members will be able to join us.

The Boys

The Girls

The Adults

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Santa's Gift

Reese made Santa a card for Christmas.  We did not have any cookies so we left Rice Krispies Treats, white chocolate pretzels, and a candy cane.  Santa snuck in while Mommy was wrapping gifts last night and ate some pretzels and one-half of a Rice Krispies Treat and took the card.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

On Christmas Eve...

I am blessed with a great family and wonderful friends.  As our Chrismas dinner table gets fuller and fuller, I think of what fun tomorrow will be just to be able to spend time with the family.  There will be three generations of family here tomorrow, and time spent together is precious because we never know when it may end.  The oldest is 78, and the youngest is five.  May we continue to be able to have good health and peace in the new year to spend time together.

Friday, December 23, 2011

My Gift to Myself

I have decided that my gift to myself will be a clean house for Christmas and the New Year.  I stopped mid-cleaning to get this post off tonight.  I have really the kitchen, bathrooms, basement floor, and the rest of the great room left to do.  It is still a lot, but I am trying to clean and throw things away at the same time plus put things back where they belong rather than just shove them in a box, basket, etc.

Tomorrow will be for making beds for guests and probably cleaning the bathrooms so that they are nice and fresh for the guest coming Christmas Day.  It will also be my wrapping day as I have not started that yet!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

In the stretch...

At this point I am pretty much done with Christmas shopping.  I have a few gift cards to pick up and all my wrapping, cleaning, and Christmas cards still left to finish.  Hopefully, the house will be mostly clean tonight, and the Christmas cards will get finished!  Loftly goals, I know, but I need a sense of accomplishment.  I have to work the next two days, and then we have guests for Christmas.  I love watching the kids open their gifts on Christmas morning.  I hope they like what they get!  If not, the money they get for Christmas will be used to fill in the gaps especially since Reese is not always really clear in what she wants.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Two Surprise Gifts

My husband and son took off for New York tonight to go and see Fort Niagara.  My daughter and I had some bonding time finishing up the Christmas cards.

When my husband got to his father's house, his oldest brother showed up as a surprise from Maine about 10 minutes later!

A Christmas of special gifts, Merry, Merry!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Lesson in Gift Receiving

One of my students got excited because she traded one of her friends the book that I gave her for the book that she really wanted.  She went to show her other friend the "new" book, and I could overhear her telling her friends.  Here comes the lesson of the day: when receiving a gift, act gracious and trade in secret.  It is not polite to trade gifts in front of the person that gave you the gift.  One of my students asked why, and I told them as a class that when someone gives you a gift, they pick it especially for you.  Sometimes they are right, and sometimes they are wrong.  Whichever it is, be nice and say thank you. Then, you can return it to the store later or trade with your friend without the giver knowing.  Lesson in etiquette and manners complete!

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Gift of Kindness and Generosity

Today, our Adopt A School, Huntington Bank, came to deliver their Christmas goodies.  I have been in conversation with the department that was paired with our classroom and told her our needs/wants.  Some were just wishes; others were things that I felt I should ask for since we are short on funds this year.

They say that those who can teach.  Well, those that can give do so from the heart.  My students got many things for the classroom, but also for themselves to take home.  They each got a gift bag with a Crayola Kit, toothbrush and toothpaste as well as some snacks and goodies.  I was able to send home with them in addition to that a puzzle each, a package of socks, and a Chapstick.  Snack was provided, and we have extra snacks to get us through the winter months.

For the classroom the kids got to replace their crayons in their boxes and got new glue sticks, the big ones that I love.  We also got modeling clay, a set of markers and coloring books for each student, composition notebooks, pencils, pens, floor puzzles, games, tissues, hand sanitizer, cleaning wipes, LEGOs, flash cards, magna doodles, books, and some extra items that I may not be remembering right now.  I got a digital camera for the classroom as well as some really nice pampering items.

Thank you does not adequately express my appreciation for the items that we received.  I was speechless when I saw what these people were willing to provide for my classroom and students.  They were really generous with their time and money, and we will use our things wisely!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Gift of Saying Goodbye

When my mother in law died, someone told me that it is a gift to have the privilege of saying goodbye to a loved one in person before they die.  Most people do not have this chance.  Over the years I have reflected on this statement and have found that this wise person is right.  Since we do not always know when we are going to die, it is impossible to know if when we say goodbye today, it may be the last time we see that person.  As you go through life, remember that we cannot predict the future and the only thing that we can control is the present.  If given the chance, go and say goodbye; it will be something you will never regret.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Thirty-One Gifts

Until last March I had never heard of Thirty-One Gifts.  Then, one of my friends started as a consultant, and I was looking for a Vera Bradley printed type bag that was not cloth.  I also wanted a new school tote that was not a canvas tote.  I love my canvas totes from Lands' End, but the tote itself is heavy without adding books to it.  I decided to have a party, and my love of their products was born.  I have found that I do not like everything, but the things that I do like, I really like.

The most useful tote is the Organizing Shoulder Tote.  It holds just enough items inside and can stand mostly straight up for files, and is durable.  I have only one and I use it everyday.  I have bought many more for gifts.

I also love my two Large Utility Totes.  I use one for beach/swimming gear, and the other one for library books.  I like that it is open and has a frame that makes it stand up.  I also like that I can keep my library books in the bag when I get home because it is easy to get into and the tote is pretty enough to keep out.

I just bought two All-In-One Organizers for my children.  The idea is that they will use them to help pick up their things every night.  They will hang on their bedroom doors for things that they need to put away or just need to know where it is.

The purse that I bought is the Organizing Shoulder Bag.  It is a crossbody bag, and I love it.  It needed to be washed was the only reason why I stopped using it.  It holds just enough and lays really well.  I would buy another one except that I have not seen a print that I like in the Fall/Winter fabrics.

There were a few products that have not been satisfactory.  I bought the Picnic Thermal Tote specifically to take on a trip to Walt Disney World.  I wanted to carry in water and snacks so I could spend money on meals and souvenirs.  For the amount of stuff that I could put into it, the strap was too flimsy.  It made the bag heavy, and it was not easy to carry either on one shoulder or crossbody.  We ended up either putting it in the stroller or hanging it from the stroller which didn't really work.  (Next time I will buy a backpack cooler, and not for $76.00.)

I bought a Mini Zipper Pouch and did not use it for many months.  When I finally found a use for it, after a few uses, the side stitching came out.  The Mini On-The-Go Organizer was okay as a little wallet, but when I tried to match it with a previous print that I had bought, I felt that the black and white print that they have currently is too big for that little of an item.

I would love to be able to buy some of their higher priced totes, but....  Maybe some day!

All in all, I have to say I like the totes, but I still want a Vera Bradley!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Peter and the Wolf

My students got the opportunity to see Peter and the Wolf today.  It was performed by the Phoenix Theatre.  Until I got the book last night at the library, I did not know that it was a musical in which each of the different instruments were the characters in the story.  The music teacher arranges these performances for the whole school to see, and she does a wonderful job of preparing them for the event.  I wish that my students would get more opportunities to experience the arts.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Secret Santa Gift Exchange

Secret Pal, Secret Santa, everyone calls it something different.  At one of my old schools we use to have year long secret pals.  You gave one gift a month and you would reveal yourself at the end of the school year in June.  At the school I am at now, they do Secret Santa, five gifts over five days for $5.00 each.  I did it last year, and I am doing it again this year.

Last year when I did it, one of my friends said that she didn't do gift exchanges or secret santa because it just added to the stress of the season.  For me, even though I sometimes feel stressed by it, I also like to do it.  I think that it gives me something to look forward to leading up to the holiday.  I also like to get to know someone who I might not know otherwise.

This year I had to pick three times.  The first time I got myself; the second time I got the person I had last year; the third time I got a person that is the polar opposite of me.  Her favorite thing to eat is peanut butter, and I put on my form at the bottom that I cannot eat peanuts, but can eat things that are processed in a factory with peanuts.

So far, I have given Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and Reese's Pieces in a gift bag and caramel corn with peanuts.  I have another gift that I forgot to get out and give today.  Then, I think a Tim Horton's Gift Card and a non-food item from the list of favorites will round out my gifts!  I have gotten a bag of Chex Mix, a jar of Jelly Bellys, and Mint Truffle Hershey Kisses, all of which make me very happy!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Gift of a Great Teacher

Most of our teachers, the good ones and the bad ones, we remember for life for the way that they make us feel.  I hope that, to most of my students, I am the good one worth remembering.

Today, my son's Archery teacher told us at the end of open archery that she would not be back next year.  She has taken a job in western Ohio.  Although we have only known her for a short time, she has had a great impact on our lives.  Riley started Archery in September.  He was so excited, but did not want to shoot right handed.  I allowed him to shoot left handed in order for him to be comfortable in the class and not have a meltdown on the first day.  He made it through the beginning class and onto intermediate we went.  The teacher suggested that my son switch and shoot right handed because he is right eye dominant.  I insisted that he switch, and although he resisted at first, practice paid off, and he could finally see that he was a better right hand shot.

After the intermediate class, the last three weeks have been open archery.  My son has gone to every session and stayed the whole two and a half hours.  That is five hours at the archery barn a week.  He has spent a great deal of time with his archery teacher, and she has taught/tutored him a great deal.  It has worked to his advantage in that he has mostly been the only one there or one of a handful of kids.  He really didn't have to take turns and could shoot every round.  The practice has paid off, and the last two days, my son has been shooting balloons from 10 yards.  With five shots, most of the time he can hit all four balloons on the target!

Thank you Miss Ronda for helping my son to realize that he has a talent, can be athletic, and giving him confidence in himself and his skills.  Although we will continue to come to the archery barn and take classes and lessons from others, things will not be the same without you.  You will be missed immensely!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Which do you enjoy more: receiving or giving?

I enjoy giving more than receiving.  I like to think of people and their delight when receiving a gift as I am picking out their gifts.  I feel that sometimes, when receiving a gift, I may seem unappreciative if I do not "act" happy enough or excited as I am opening the present.  I guess I think there is more pressure to receiving because you want the person that has given you the gift to believe that you truly love the gift.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sharing Our Gifts

I love to work with Shutterfly and have for many years now made a calendar for my husband's father.  I wrapped up the calendar yesterday in order to get it ordered and in by Christmas.  In the past I have been able to post my work from Shutterfly onto my blog, but that option is not available for the calendar.  I like to make photo books also and the kids' from 2009 is already here and ready for Christmas.  This is a gift that I like to share.  I like to make scrapbooks by hand also. but this is just easier sometimes especially since my son's and daughter's are identical; it is easy to make two copies with different covers.

In addition, I make photo collages for graduations and Christmas.  I usually make one with both of my kids and individuals of each of them for my own wall as well as for each side of grandparents.  This year, since my duaghter made our Christmas cards, I make photo stickers instead of wallets to go on the cards.

What fun it is to share this gift!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Gift of a Little Girl

When my son was little, he asked for lights in front of the house.  I bought the bush lights and the candy canes and put them up in the front of the house, and he was happy.  This year, our daughter asked for lights on her house.  She wanted them to be hanging from the house and wanted lots of them.  She would have preferred colorful lights, but any lights were better than none.  The thing about her is that she was willing to help, and she brought the family together to get the job done.  Both her dad and I helped each other, and I made trees out of our tomato cages.  There is only one up right now because the lights on the other one did not work.  Looking good!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

10 Gifts

On this 10th day of the month I am sharing some of the gifts that I have already given myself this month.

1.  A working toilet: I bought the parts and helped to fix the toilet.  What a fascinating piece of machinery!

2.  A working sump pump: in the spring I thought that I had a drain clog when water backed up into my basement.  Called the drain people; they said no, the sump pump was not working.  They got it to work, but were not sure how long it would keep working.  We have gotten so much rain that I have been keeping my eye on the sump pump.  When I spotted water coming up the drain again, we took the sump pump out of its well and figured out how to fix it.  Thank you internet for the directions.

3.  200,000 miles on my van: thank you for a reliable vehicle.

4.  A new battery: it's been five years since I replaced it, can't really complain.

5.  Four new tires: much needed for the winter, but timing will see that this is my Christmas present as well.

6.  Mental Health Day: just had to have one.

7.  My Adopt a Classroom friends from Huntington Bank seem to want to make Christmas and the rest of the year better for my students.

8.  Book Club Dinner: my gift to myself, plus my dinner became my lunch for the next two days.

9.  A sister in law who aims to please; I have spent many hours on the phone this week with her helping her to pick out gifts for my family that they will like.

10.  A semi-clean garage: still hopeful that I will get cars in it this winter!

I am glad that I have the gifts to be somewhat handy.  I also appreciate that gifts do not have to be tangible items, but sometimes the tangible is nice!

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Gift of Words

As I continue to embark on my second month of NaBloPoMo, I started to think about my great aunt.  For all the year that I knew her, she would write daily in a hardcover daily planner provided by some bank in Thailand.  She would write happenings of the day, who borrowed money and how much, and sometimes poems or short stories.  In her car she kept a separate notebook to log her gas usage: the kilometers on the odometer at fill up, how many liters were bought and at how much?  The one thing I remember most is that she had the best handwriting I have ever seen both in Thai and in English.  She liked specific pens, no ballpoint!  In English, she wrote in cursive, and it was so neat and perfect.  I remember watching her one day practice her signature so that it would look the same all the time and people would not be able to forge it!  She was an accounting educator for vocational schools as well as for junior college students.

Which brings me to this thought... do the words lose their personalization by not being handwritten?  When my great aunt died, she left 60+ years of diaries in her own handwriting as tangible proof that she was here.  When I leave this Earth, I will leave my words/stories, but in typewritten form on a blog.  They will not be written for someone to hold unless they want to print them out.  But, I know, from past experience, that if I were to handwrite my memories and stories, they would not get written down.  I am better at typing my words and love the blog format. So, I have to rely on the words that I have written expressing the feeling and personalization for me.  As in, you can hear me talk as you read my words.  It is as if I am talking to you.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

What Was My Favorite Gift Before the Age of 10?

I don't remember my exact age, but one of my favorite gifts was a Cabbage Patch Kid.  I never thought that I would get one because people were standing in line for hours to get one.  My mom and dad both worked all the time and didn't have time to go and stand in line for a toy.  On Christmas Day that year I was so surprised to open up a Cabbage Patch Kid.  He didn't look anything like me.  He had blond hair and a green outfit, but it didn't matter because I got one.  His name was Louie Wilton, and I chose not to change his name.  Eventually, I ended up with a girl with brown hair named Lea, I believe, but Louie was always special because it showed me how much my parents cared for me.

By the way my mom arranged for her friend to go and stand in line for her to get me one.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Gift of Books and Friendship

Over 10 years ago my friends and I went out one night and as we were talking, we decided to start a book club.  At that time we decided on six members, myself, my friends and their mothers, and a former coworker of one of my friends.  We decided to meet on the first Wednesday of every month.  From the original six, five of us still remain.  We have had some friends come and go, some come and stay, and one go and come back.

We all love our book club for different reasons.  Although I don't always read the book, I always try to go to book club.  This is the one thing that I have kept consistent and fought for the most over the last 10 years.  It is my time to explore my interest in books and to read a few that I may not have read otherwise.  It is also a time to get together with friends and learn from their lives and share mine with them as our book club ranges in age from close to 70 to myself, the youngest at 37.

The one thing that we have done over the years is discuss the book.  There may be side conversations or other dinner time conversation, but, at some point, the discussion questions come out and we actually talk about the book.  We still rotate houses and everyone hosts once a year.  We use to meet year round and gave that up a few years back as it got harder and harder to schedule around vacations.  We were up to 10 members at one point, and right now, the nine that we have seems just right.  We don't meet in July and August, go out to eat in December and have a potluck in June.

We have changed the way that we pick books.  When we started, we chose books month to month, then quarterly.  Presently, the host for this month picks the book for the next month.  The new system seems to be working out and is fun!

We don't know the big secret as to why we have remained a book club for so long.   But, we do know that we hope to continue meeting long into the future!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Do you like to try to guess your gifts ahead of time?

No, I do not like to try and guess my gifts ahead of time.  One year, when I was about 12, I found all my Christmas gifts in my parents' closet.  On Christmas Day I was so disappointed because all the things that I found were the only things that I got.  There were no other gifts and no surprises, teaching me that sometimes, it is better to wait.  Ever since then I never go snooping and try to give lots of ideas so that I will not know exactly what someone is getting me.

Monday, December 5, 2011

What Is A Gift that You Have Made for Another?

The most memorable things that I have made for other are when I take the time to make scrapbooks, not by computer, but by cropping and using real pictures.  A good friend of mine turned 40 and I arranged for some of her friends and her mother to help me with a scrapbook for her.  My best friend turned 30 about the time that the grade school that we met at closed down.  I found our old uniform skirt and used it for the border on one of the pages.  My most recent project celebrated the 20th wedding anniversary of my brother and sister in law.  I stayed up all night finishing the album and was really pleased with how it turned out.  The way their faces lit up when they saw the album made it all worthwhile. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Van Full of Memories

Today, at just shy of 8 1/2 years, I got to 200,000 miles on my van.  We bought it in mid-June 2003 when Riley was 5 months old, and we were travelling to Cleveland a great deal.  To be honest I cannot remember where I was when the van got to 100,000 miles.  But, I do know that the van was the second vehicle in which I was the original owner and I saw the 100,000 mile mark.  The other was my Ford Escort, who only had five digits on the odometer and so went back to zero.  We traded the Escort in for a Honda Civic that we had for almost four years before we got the Honda Odyssey.

The van has been on numerous trips to Cleveland and around Ohio as well as just the average everyday driving.  It has been the kid mobile as well as a delivery van for the flower shop and Sticks.  The distance trips that the van has seen not in any order are: Orlando = two times, Atlanta, Arkansas, Boston/Maine = 3-4 times, Chicago, Atlantic City, Ann Arbor, Port Canaveral, and maybe a few more that I missed.

Ironically, I ran into an old high school friend this summer who drives the same color, year, make, and model of my van.  Her van is only eight; she has 54,000 miles on it.  I asked her how she was able to keep it so low.  She said that she lives/works on the east side, all of her and her husband's families live in town, and with four kids, they could only go on one vacation a year which would be the only long distance they travel.  More power to them...

Go baby, keep on going!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The First Day of the Weekend

Saturday did not bring the gift that I wanted.  I wanted a clean house, inside, that is.  Instead, I got the outside clean.  That would include sweeping up after the man who mowed the grass and cleaning out under the lawn mower so that it can be stored for the winter.  The flower beds are clean of leaves and as ready as they are going to be for the winter.

The gift to myself would be if I can really get cars in the garage this winter.  I tried last year.  I was out on New Year's Eve cleaning the garage out.  I threw lots of things away and even took some things to the scrap metal place, but it never got beyond that.  The vehicles never did make it in the garage last winter.  It was a mild day, close to 60 degrees.  This year, today was the day to put up the things that we do not need for the winter, bike, balls, etc.  It was also time to throw away some things that have not been used and are not useful anymore.  Finally, it was time to put those things that need to go to Goodwill in the truck.

We are almost there.  Most of the garage floor is clear.  Some of the things need to be hung up and we should be good to go.  Pray that the rest can be done; with the vehicles getting older, it would be a lot easier if they could be in the garage at night.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Friday Night and The Gift of the Weekend

TGIF, Thank Goodness It's Friday, is something that most people can agree sounds so good!  This week, especially, I have been looking forward to Friday.  The week of work seemed long, and I was somewhat tired from entertaining my children during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  The children both had after school activites this week, and I had an after school meeting so there was a great deal of juggling.  I needed to work late last night planning with a colleague.  We didn't get much done, but it was a start.

I also need this weekend to recover from last weekend.  I have a laundry list of things to do that I did not get done last weekend with a few things added on like putting up Chirstmas decorations and going to Breakfast with Santa.  I still have high hopes that I will get most of what I want to get accomplished done with the gift of two days without work.

Friday nights, though, I never get much accomplished with regards to housework.  I am usually beat from the work week, and the children are usually happy to just chill in front of the TV and watch videos or play the Wii.  Tonight was no different.  I guess I still had school on my mind and brought it home with me.  On the computer tonight I went researching for free resources on Teachers Pay Teachers.  I found some really good things that I can use right away in the classroom.  Then, I went searching on SMART Exchange for writing mini-lessons.  I got lucky there also.  I know, I know, I should have taken the laundry downstairs and gotten the first loads started, but that is where the gift of the weekend comes in!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

What was the first tangible gift you remember receiving?

I don't know what the first tangible gift that I remember receiving was.  I do know that one Christmas when I was about nine or ten years old, I went with some family friends to their relatives' house.  They were not my relatives, and they were not expecting me to join them for Christmas.  As they sat and opened their gifts, I looked on longingly until the mother of the house came down the stairs and handed me a gift to open.  It was just a Mickey Mouse paint and marker book with a set of markers to go with it, but it was so special to me because it was so unexpected, that someone would think of me, an unexpected guest and have something just for me.  To this day, I remember the warmth I felt receiving that gift and remember the mother fondly.  May she rest in peace.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I Made It!

What did you learn from doing NaBloPoMo?

I have learned that I can blog everyday.  I have something to say everyday, some days are more profound than others.  Some days are worth more in the memory bank than others, but all are worthy of being written about.  I am glad that I was able to stick it out.  I did not do what some thought was the best course of action, get up early to make sure a post got in everyday, but I still managed to sit down every evening and write something.

Blogging everyday also encouraged me to download my pictures to my computer more quickly so that I could use them in my posts.  My camera's memory stick is grateful!

I am going to go for it again next month.  I like the topic of gifts, but we'll see if I stick with the prompt or strike out on my own!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Do you like to buy presents ahead of time or right when you need to give them?

I use to like to but presents right when I needed to give them so I could have a particular person in mind while I was shopping.  As time has gone on, I have found that I like to buy some presents ahead of time because I do not always have the time to shop when I need something.  I like to keep lots of general things around so that I have a choice when I pick a gift from the things that I have on hand.  I also find that the gift stash is convenient when trying to keep the cost down when buying gifts for my children to take to their friends' birthday parties.  When they do not go to the store and pick out something, I can better control how much is spent on the gift.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Alone v. Social

Do you enjoy being alone? Would you rather be around other people?

I go through phases of liking both.  I am an only child so I can be alone; it does not bother me.  Now that I have a family, I do enjoy the time that I get to spend alone because those moments are few and far between.

I mostly don't mind being around other people especially if I know them.  My husband comes from a big family, and I love to be around them when we get the opportunity.  I can get along at a party of strangers, but don't always feel like I particularly have to be social.  I don't have to be the center of attention and can float back and forth between talking with people and standing around observing the scene.

I do need my down time each day for myself.  After school when I have been with students all day and after I have decompressed with colleagues, when I get home, I need about a half an hour to do what I need to do before we can start homework or dinner.  My alone time gets me through the social times.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Despite My Good Intentions...

At the beginning of the five day weekend I had good intention of getting some work done for school as well as doing some reading both for pleasure and for professional reasons.  Now, we have come to another Sunday night and of course, I did not do what I intended to do, but I have to put it in perspective with what I did do this weekend.

1.  I was reminded that I said I would edit a master's thesis for a friend of the family.  I have been reading the thesis to edit it.  It is due on the first and is 86 pages long.  I have only finished about 1/4 of it.  Trying to get to page 40 tonight so that I have two days to complete the other 46 pages.

2.  I spent time with family and friends during the holidays.

3.  I kept up with writing for my two blogs daily through the holiday.  Only three more days to go!

4.  I spent time with my children by taking them to lunch, the movies, and the library.

5.  I helped to decorate for a wedding reception.

6.  I raked the leaves and put fertilizer and grass seed down for the winter.

7.  We went to buy our gifts for the giving tree at Church.

8.  We went to Church this morning and then out to lunch.

9.  I started the laundry so that we will have clothes to wear next week.

10.  The reading that I did get done was reading the news on the computer, catching up on friend's blogs, and reading the ads to see if I wanted to go shopping on Black Friday.

Work will always be there when I get around to it.  Time spent with people and doing the things that need to get done around the house are important also.  As for my pleasure reading..., I usually find some time to get it in although with Christmas coming, it may not be until after that!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

National Parks Visited

These are the National Parks that I have visited before I even knew I should/would want to keep track:
Statue of Liberty National Monument
Delaware Water Gap National Reserve Area
Appomattox Court House National Historic Park
New River Gorge National Reserve
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
First Ladies National Historic Site
James A. Garfield National Historic Site
Grand Canyon National Park
Lake Mead National Reserve Area
Haneakala National Park
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Lincoln Memorial
Washington Monument

I look forward to sharing in many more National Park adventures with my family in the years to come.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday

Well, it is the day after Thanksgiving and one of the first in many years that I did not go shopping.  When looking at the ads yesterday, it seemed like there were not many deals.  Add that to the fact that we were leaving early in the morning, and it was not worth getting up.

This afternoon I did stop at Office Max for a portable hard drive that I have been eying for awhile now.  The flyer prices for the various stores have been the same since the summer.  When I went to Office Max, there was a sign on the door that said that there is a shortage of portable/desktop hard drives because of the flooding in Thailand, so customers are limited to one per purchase and of course, the ones on sale were already gone.  On top of that the prices are not going down, but going up because of the shortage.  I was going to buy another portable hard drive that had less gigabytes and was more expensive, but then just decided to buy a 16GB flash drive instead.

I also ended up at the Dollar Tree today looking for containers to store games in at school.  I did not find the containers, but found magnetic cookie sheets and some decorations for the Christmas cards that I think I am going to have my children make.

Lunch, Movie, Library, and Dinner with grandparents rounded out Black Friday! 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Thankgiving Prayer

Courtesy of Dear Abby:
Oh, Heavenly Father,
We thank thee for food and remember the hungry.
We thank thee for health and remember the sick.
We thank thee for freedom and remember the enslaved.
May these remembrances stir us to service,
That thy gifts to us may be used for others. Amen

I am thankful for many things this Thanksgiving especially the gift of the love of family and friends.  May we all continue to have good health and make happy memories together!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Passport To Your National Parks

We visited the First Ladies Historic Site today.  I bought my Passport To National Parks book today.  The last park we visited was the James A. Garfield National Historic Site, and I bought the Kids' Passport To National Parks Companion.  Once I bought theirs, I decided that if I am going to take the kids to the national parks, I wanted to collect cancellations also.  And, once I had flipped through their books, I realized that I have been to many of the parks and not even realized it!

I like the kids' books because there are checklists for the national parks, whereas, the adult one just has a map with the places listed at the bottom and blank pages for stamps and cancellations.  I wish that their books had blank pages for cancellations, and my book had the checklist.  Oh, well I will make it work.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Iris' Angels

Fellow graduates of my high school lost their daughter Iris on Monday.  I have been following the story on facebook and am sorry for their loss.  Children are a special gift that we should cherish each day.  The words under Iris' picture touched me deeply.

Goodbyes are not forever.
Goodbyes are not the end.
They simply mean I'll miss you,
Until we meet again.

Please visit Iris' Angels

May she rest in peace.

Monday, November 21, 2011


I have to say that this is one of the coolest things that I have ever seen at a tailgate!  I didn't have the nerve to participate but I enjoyed watching other guests play as teams.  At one point there was a game of home v. visiting fans!  They won both the game here and the football game, but it was all in good fun!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Jeff Foxworthy

Jeff Foxworthy takes me back to my high school days.  We use to have Ski Club on Tuesday nights.  We would leave after school and get back close to 11pm.  On the bus someone usually had a boom box and would play Jeff Foxworthy or another comedian for the bus ride to the slopes.
Here is what Jeff Foxworthy has to say about Ohio...
If your local Dairy Queen is closed from September through May, you may live in Ohio.
If someone in a Home Depot store offers you assistance and they don't even work there, you may live in Ohio.
If you've worn shorts and a jacket at the same time, you may live in Ohio.
If you've had a lengthy telephone conversation with someone who dialed a wrong number, you may live in Ohio.
If "vacation" means going anywhere south of Columbus for the weekend, you may live in Ohio.
If you measure distance in hours, you may live in Ohio.
If you know several people who have hit a deer more than once, you may live in Ohio.
If you have switched from 'heat' to 'A/C' in the same day and back again, you may live in Ohio.
If you can drive 75 mph through 2 feet of snow during a raging blizzard without flinching, you may live in Ohio.
If you install security lights on your house and garage, but leave both doors unlocked, you may live in Ohio.
If you carry jumpers in your car and your wife knows how to use them, you may live in Ohio.
If you design your kid's Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit, you may live in Ohio.
If the speed limit on the highway is 55 mph -you're going 80 and everybody is passing you, you may live in Ohio.
If driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow, you may live in Ohio.
If you know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter and road construction, you may live in Ohio.
If you have more miles on your snow blower than your car, you may live in Ohio.
If you find 10 degrees "a little chilly", you may live in Ohio.
If you actually understand these jokes, you definitely do live - or have lived - in OHIO!
Ironically, most of the things he has said are true, which probably makes a comedian's job easier!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Joe Pa

Last year I took this picture thinking that Joe Pa may retire and this would be the last time I would see him as a coach.  At the beginning of this year I thought I was wrong.  How could I know that by the time Penn State came to town Joe Pa would not be coach anymore?

WOW!  What a way to go out!

Friday, November 18, 2011

I Can...

My life has become a series of I can statements.  We are suppose to state academic objectives in kid-friendly language.  I can...  I have charts up around the room stating what students should be doing when they are at each station.  Thought I would list some to face the other aspects of my life right now.

I can...
  • clean the kitchen and the house before Thanksgiving
  • make sure that Riley practices his math everyday as well as finishes his Social Studies Project and regular homework
  • apply for field trips, programs, and grants for school related things
  • evaluate my student teacher
  • plan for the next few weeks of school
  • prepare reading lessons and evaluate and assess reading and writing
  • find and return most of the library books I have borrowed
  • think of things that my children really want for Christmas
  • get some pleasure reading time in over the holiday weekend
  • take the family to visit a National Parks Service Site soon
  • visit COSI to see the Dora and Diego exhibit
  • start and finish the holiday shopping
  • start and finish Christmas cards
  • meet with some friends and family to share in the holiday joy
I can do all of this and more if I put my mind to it because there are a bunch of things that I know I am leaving out!  I think I can; I think I can.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Student Teacher

Last year I decided that it was about time that I gave back.  I have been teaching about 10 years and have never had a student teacher.  There seem to be many student teachers floating in and out at my school that the next time there was a request for teachers to mentor student teachers, I signed up.  It may not have been my brightest idea in that I am teaching a new grade level this school year that I have never taught and so it is a learning curve for me also, but she came along for the ride.

I got my first student teacher about a month ago.  This was only a five week experience; she will do her real student teaching, where she teaches solo for four weeks, in the spring.  In this experience she was to teach two social studies lessons, two science lessons, and get use to transitions and see how different classrooms at different grade levels run.  She has been wonderful, and I can totally see her in a classroom of her own someday.  We have gotten along well, and we have been able to transition smoothly when teaching/handling the class.

Her last day is next week, and I will miss her.  I do realize now that I somewhat miss having an assistant no matter who that person was.  I like someone in the room to co-teach with me, to help me out with individual students, or to lend a hand with projects that need completed.  I was lucky to have a good experience with my first student teacher.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Pile of Books

The list of books that I want to read and have to read just keep getting longer and longer.  I should be reading for professional growth and have an assigned reading right now, but have not started it yet.  I go to the library often enough that I see things that I want to read all the time.  I also have my book club book to read for January that I should get started on soon or I will not finish it!  But, I find that my time for reading has diminished.  Some of the reason is I find that I am reading more online.  Another is I am participating in NaBloPoMo and have spent time writing and reading other blogs.  And, finally, I am reading so much to do my job that I do not find the time to read for pleasure as much or am too tired to read for pleasure except for the People magazine that I just started getting weekly this fall.  I love getting People, but only have the subscription because of expiring frequent flier miles.  I don't love it enough to actually buy the subscription.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Diagnosis

I found out today that my co-worker is going to be out for another two days.  She had a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) and needs to rest for at least the next two days to make sure that she does not have another attack.  If she has another attack, she needs to go the the ER immediately.

A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is an episode in which a person has stroke -like symptoms for less than 24 hours, usually less than 1-2 hours.
A TIA is often considered a warning sign that a true stroke may happen in the future if something is not done to prevent it.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Scary Day

At lunch today one of my coworkers was in the office with me.  She asked the secretary if the nurse was here today.  The nurse was not in, and we were wondering why she wanted the nurse.  She said that the episode was over now, but she felt her body go numb on the left side from her fingertips all the way up her arm into her shoulder and even the left side of the face.  I immediately thought stroke; the secretary thought heart condition.  After talking to her for a few minutes we let it go.  I worried about it some during the afternoon, but became really concerned after school when she came to talk to us.  She said that things seemed to be surreal and that she was going to call her mother who was a nurse and see if she needed to go to the emergency room.  She ended up in the emergency room, and it was not a stroke, but I am not sure exactly what the diagnosis was.  She is to take time off to rest tomorrow and see her family doctor.

A few months ago I was listening to Sunday morning radio and the program was on the signs of a stroke.  It talked about an acronym to remember, which I could not today.  I looked it up at under signs and symptoms.  It is important to act within three hours in the case of a stroke.  The acronym is FAST.

Face: Ask the person to smile.  Does one side of the face droop?

Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms?  Does one arm drift downward?

Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase.  Is the speech slurred or strange?

Time: If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Black Friday

 I only started shopping on Black Friday since I have had kids.  I figured out one year that it was the perfect time to shop because I did not have to ask anyone to babysit and I could go by myself and not have to worry about dragging the kids along.  Everyone in the house is asleep, and by the time I get back, they are just waking up.

I never go for anything that is a doorbuster.  I still think that I get some good deals.  I spend Thanksgiving Day after dinner combing the ads and plotting my route.  The only year that I did not go Black Friday shopping was the Thanksgiving we went to Maine.  I usually start out at Toys 'R Us and let the ads lead the way.  I left Target last year because the line snaked around the store.  Nothing is worth waiting that long in line.

Last year I woke up at 4am and was in my first store by 5am.  I was home by 10am.  I think that I went to a total of 7 stores.  With Black Friday starting at midnight this year, I might be better off just staying up and going shopping!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

E-reader or Real Paper Book

I enjoy reading books on my Sony Reader, but, if I have a choice, I like to choose my books by physically holding them.  I really like my reader when we are going on trips because I can take lots of books, but they do not take up space or weight up my luggage.  But, I still like to go to the bookstore or library and browse the books that they have.  I like being able to look at sections that I may not consider if I am looking for books on the computer and looking at the new titles.

When I go to the library, I still come home with a few paper books and sometimes, I jot down titles to find when I get home on my e-reader, either to borrow or buy.  More often than not, nowadays, I take pictures of books that I want to read on my cell phone to keep them in mind for later.  This happens most often at Target when I have the chance to look at their books.  I have found quite a few books browsing here.

Mostly, though, since I am at the library at least once a week, I tend to read paper books as oppose to books on my reader, especially if I am reading professionally.  I like to have the references on hand to be able to flag ideas if needed.

Friday, November 11, 2011

It's 11-11-11, make three wishes!

I wish for good health, love, and happiness for all those that I love near and far.

I wish for my family to be able to continue to travel and see the world.

I wish for my parents to be able to retire and enjoy long life.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

100 Places to Remember Before they Disappear

A few weeks ago I was browsing at the library and picked up the book 100 Places to Remember Before they Disappear which I also realize now has a website.  As I was flipping through the book, I came upon #58 which was Bangkok, Thailand.  As I read about Bangkok's situation and the fact that it is a sinking city, I just thought about our impending trip there next year.  Now, it seems ironic that just a few weeks later, the city has mass flooding that does not seem to be getting better.  In addition, there is a story that is spreading through the Thai community that the King of Thailand wrote a speech about 30 years ago predicting that the type of flooding could occur in Bangkok and providing solution to the problem.  Unfortunately, he was not taken seriously, and people could not work together for the betterment of all leading to the problems that we are seeing today.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Full Moon

The last two days have been a challenge with both my own children and my students.  There is something about a full moon that causes more energy than normal.  The children are more talkative, hyper, and just in general, LOUD!

Today, I had an activity planned that would require manipulatives that I just could not do.  The extra equipment would have caused mayhem in the room, and I just couldn't handle the extra chaos in the room.  We had to go with a quiet activity in order to bring quiet to the room.  The rest of the week will probably not be any better due to changes in routine.  Tomorrow, there is a coat giveaway and on Friday, a fire drill!

How I look forward to the weekend this week and starting over again next week!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


This past summer I started couponing. I collected coupons in the past, but never really used them because I would misplace them or they would expire before I got to them. I asked one of my friend's how she couponed and she said with an index card box with tabs for aisles in the grocery store. My neighbor told me that she used a binder with baseball card sleeves. I tried the index card system first, then researched the baseball card sleeve system online and decided that it was the better system for me. I already owned a zipper binder so I only needed the baseball card sleeves, some plastic pockets, and some plastic pocket dividers. I now keep all my coupons in one place now. I usually keep my binder in the car except when I need to file my coupons or plan my grocery list. Then, I bring the binder into the house. I also take my binder into the grocery store and Target just in case there is a coupon that I may need once I get in the store. I have found that by just using coupons minimally I can save $ about $20.00 per shopping trip, which is good for me because I do not have a great deal of time to devote to couponing.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Where Does the Weekend Go?

It's amazing how one thing can throw off a whole week's schedule.  If we are out of town for the weekend, then the laundry that is usually done on the weekends may get done during the week or sometimes has to wait until the next weekend.  I blame it on the fact that the washer and dryer is in the basement and therefore, not in my line of sight.  Some of that is true; the other side of that argument is that I am good at separating the colors, getting it downstairs, into the washer and dryer, and back upstairs, but I hate folding and/or hanging and putting away.  I have tried to solve this problem by paying my son for putting his laundry away.  It works sometimes.  I fold it for him and put his clothes in a basket.  He actually does a pretty good job of putting it away.  My daughter will put away her socks and underwear in her bottom drawer, but that is about it.

This past weekend the sink was out of commission.  Now, I have a sink full of dishes waiting for me as well as a clean dishwasher.  I know, I know, all I have to do is empty the dishwasher and put the clean things away, and then I can just load the dirty things in the sink into the empty dishwasher, which brings about that putting it away aspect of which I am not so good!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Mission Accomplished

I went to buy the plumber's putty today, and the new garbage disposer is up and working!  Every once and awhile we are able to complete our own home improvements.  The things that I am hoping to get done this winter are a window seat in our bay window, painting the master bedroom, and new blinds for the bedrooms!

This coming week is suppose to be warm so it is time to finish working on the outside of the house, raking, mowing for the last time, cleaning up dead plants and putting winter fertilizer down.  Fun, fun...

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Stop the Dishes!

Last night while I was doing the dishes, the sink started to leak. I was not sure where the leak was coming from, but after emptying out everything under the sink, we figured out the leak was coming from the bottom of the garbage disposer. We have lived in our house more than 11 years so it has come to the time that lots of appliances need to be replaced. Breakfast at McDonald's and a trip to Lowe's this morning brought a new garbage disposer home. Ron unhooked and removed the old one. We worked together to get the electrical cord off the old one and onto the new one without the help of marked red and black cords. A stopping point came when we realized we didn't have any plumber's putty. Taking a break now to do some housework before making another trip to Lowe's. Will update later to let you know if our DIY project worked. (Side note: I wrote this post on our tablet so I apologize in advance for typos that I cannot see.)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Pen or Computer?

I have decided to use the NaBloPoMo prompt tonight because I had to work late and wanted to get in a blog post to keep my commitment to a blog a day.

When you are writing, do you prefer to use a pen or a computer?

I like to do is a little of both.  I can blog directly on the computer, but for more elaborate writings, I like to at least write out an outline before I sit down at the computer to write.  I think this is because my blog writing is more conversational and I can type like I speak, but when I write a paper, I have to have a plan of where I am going.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

They Are Only Young Once!

My words to live by right now are: they are only young once.  I want to be able to experience what I can with my children because one day, they will be able to go and do whatever they want without me.

I use to think that I could miss this event or that event because they would not notice that I was not there.  I don't anymore because I don't know how many events they will have.  With school funding cuts I may not get to go on the field trips that I use to go on.  Last year my son told me at the last minute that he wanted me to go on his field trip.  I made the arrangements and went.  I am glad that I did because this year, there are no field trips.

This year, my daughter had Kindergarten Share Day.  I wouldn't have missed it for the world!  She was so excited to show me her classroom and what she does there.  She also loved that she was able to ride the bus home, which she cannot do everyday.

Today is my son's musical day.  He is just part of the chorus because he did not want to try out for a part, but I know that he wants me there and I will be there to see him and cheer for him.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Whirlwind April

(Although much delayed, I wanted to document this event in my blog because it happened to me directly and I also want a log of my husband's status updates from facebook.)

April started out innocently enough.  Just 15 days to go until Spring Break.  Report cards were done; packing started for trip to Florida; camping items bought.  Then..., on Wednesday, April 6th, I woke up with a stomach ache.  I was trying to shake it off to go to a meeting, but couldn't.  I had the chills and couldn't lay down.  Tums and Maalox did not help.  Chicken soup did not help.  The kids went to school, and Ron went to work.  I laid around dozing and in pain, still thinking it was a stomach virus.  About 11am Ron called to tell me what the symptoms of an appendicitis were; I asked him to check what the symptoms were for a gall bladder attack. (I really didn't think that I had either.)  He asked me if I wanted to go to the hospital again, and I finally agreed mostly to get him off my back.  I got dressed and sat down to wait for Ron to come home.  Off we went to the hospital.

When we got to the hospital, Ron dropped me off at the door, and I walked in by myself to stand in line behind two people who walked in right before me.  I was not able to stand up and when Ron came in, I made him stand in line for me, and I sat back down.  When the registration man called me, I was able to tell him my information, and we sat down and waited to be called back.  Once we were called back, I explained to the nurse what my pains were and how they were spreading and what started out as pain under my rib cage became pain down near my pelvis and down my sides and my back.  They took blood and put in an IV which I insisted the tech put in my left arm.  (I honestly hate IVs and have only had one a few times in my life, but with the birth of my first child learned that I am very right hand dominant and do not like them in my right arm.)  Then, they came back with some pain medication and when it did not work, came back with stronger stuff.  The doctor decided that they wanted to do a CT Scan with contrast and had me drink some liquid with raspberry Crystal Light.  They wheeled me to the CT Scan and they results came back: appendicitis.
At 3:30 as they were wheeling me to pre-op, I was calling my colleague to help me out with sub plans, and Ron was calling the principal to have a sub called for me for the next two days.  By 5pm I was in surgery.  These are Ron's status updates from this day.

My poor wife was in pain this morning. At first she thought she had the stomach flu.4 hours later we found ourselves at the hospital. She had a CT scan performed and it revealed that she has appendicitis. She will be going in for surgery soon. I'll follow up post surgery.

Penny is out of surgery and all went well. She is still snoring and should be in her room soon. She will have to stay overnite and hopefully released tomorrow AM. Thanks to everyone for all of your kind thoughts and prayers. Penny will be back on FB soon enough.

True enough I was released the next day!  Went back to work on Monday, took Tuesday and Wednesday off mainly to rest and for a post-op appointment, worked Thursday, and left Friday morning for our Disney camping trip.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Last summer when my son was taking swimming lesson, I ended up talking to one of the mothers and she mentioned NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) where people commit to writing a novel in a month.  It takes place in November and for some reason, I thought of this at the end of October.  I signed up for NaNoWriMo and then thought, "I don't have time to write a novel in November, and I don't even want to write a novel!"  What I really wanted to do was keep more current on my blogs.  So, I started researching if there was some type of program out there for blog posting and found NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month).  I decided that I wanted to participate because I like to write, but have absolutely no desire to write a novel!  The goal is to write a blog post everyday for 30 days including weekends.

In addition, I have been reading 52 Things Kids Need from a Mom by Angela Thomas.  The 24th thing is "To Keep a Family Blog".  Many years back I started individual blogs for each of my children.  I have not been able to keep up with either of them and have found that many of the things that I would put on one, I would put on the other also.  I have now decided to start a new blog for our family history and memories.  I can tailor individual posts to the development and memories of each of my children, but also write to both at the same time.  Through labeling my children can find the posts that are only about them if they would like or read the post chronologically.

Welcome to my first NaBloPoMo post!