Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Drawing Blood

I'm neck deep in projects right now.  You can tell it's nearing holiday season when the guest room, aka my sewing room, is such a disaster I don't even bothering dusting or vacuuming.  Actually it's so bad that I've taken over the kitchen table and all meals and homework have been transferred to the dining room.

I recently nearly finished some new door decorations for Christmas.  I have to make a hanging loop yet.  I'm feverishly working on an Anna dress - for Christmas, not Halloween.  It's very detailed and not exactly easy.  Any spare moment is spent working on some small part of it.  Yesterday, we got home from school and while the boys started their homework, I quickly changed clothes then researched how to sew darts and put 4 darts in the bodice pieces I made in the morning - all before my first lesson arrived.

I don't really know what I'm doing.  I'm self taught and what I can't find directions for, I'll look for pictures of or look at stuff in the closet to try to figure out.  If that doesn't work, I make it up.  I figure if it doesn't fall apart and looks good on the outside, that's all that really matters.

This morning, I finally put the velcro pieces together for Josh's Halloween costume.  Those are now done.  I'm not sure why I put off that last detail except I've been distracted by other projects.  Cutting those left some unfortunate adhesive on my good sewing scissors.  It was in foolishly cleaning those off that I sliced my thumb.  A long narrow slice.  Fortunately no blood got on any of the Anna fabric.  I have it tightly bandaged.  It doesn't hurt any longer but I can tell that I'll have to change the bandages later.  I'm hoping to hold off until Matt gets home.  I was getting woozy doing it the first time.

On my needles, I am still working on a prayer shawl.  I'm so picky about when I work on it.  I can't be too tired or I'll screw up the lace pattern.  I won't work on it if I'm crabby or feeling in a sour mood because it's a prayer shawl.  It'll be done eventually and hopefully the recipient will understand it's delay.  I  am plowing through a Gryffindor scarf for Josh.  The green scarf I knit him in kindergarten is looking terribly ratty.  He wears it all the time - wrapped around his neck through the school day.  I am using a bulky yarn and big needles and just doing straight garter stitch.  I could knit it in my sleep and some evenings I think that I do.  Over the summer I finished 2 sets of knitted Christmas gifts for work exchanges.  I realized that I still need one more.  I'll have to get on that when the scarf is finished - something quick and simple - but with the right yarn will be luxurious.

In the meantime, there are still Christmas pajama pants to sew and people keep adding things to my mending pile.  I could use a couple days off from school and housework to catch up!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Stuff and Crap

Both Matt's and my most recent skin biopsies were benign.  He got a phone call.  I had to wait a week and a half for a letter.  Each day was more anxiety ridden.  Itchy, itchy, itchy.

Now Mimi's hot water tank is leaking.  I don't know if she's called a plumber yet.  I strongly suspect if I call her or when we ask this weekend, she'll have no idea what I'm talking about.

I'm knitting a Gryffindor scarf for Josh.  It's in a bulky yarn.  It is thick, heavy, warm and will be extra long.  If he wears it with as much dedication as the last scarf I knit him, he'll wear it out within a year.

Matthew received a 100% on his Hunger Games AR test.  It might have been the fastest he's ever read a book.  He's started the first Harry Potter.  He was tired of being the only muggle in the family.

Josh has been in the enrichment group in math for this chapter.  He aced the pretest on multiplication.  He is very proud of himself.  He still doesn't like math.

I had a bad day at work yesterday.  I walked in to a pile of junk on my table.  Racks for file cabinets that nobody knew where to put.  But none of the supplies I requisitioned.  I have no idea where they ended up.  This isn't new.  I was the first to set up my whole corner of the room, but the easel I had was moved.  I had to wait for another to be ordered.  I spent a good amount of time laminating and cutting and sorting all of the enlarged poetry books for binding.  Yet, when we ran short because not enough were copied to include the Americorp volunteers, I didn't get any.  I had to make new ones.  The day after I got my easel the hooks holding the back board were removed because someone else needed hooks.  I got those back, but I think it was because I didn't do so well hiding that I was pissed off.

Back to yesterday, there was also a stack of assessments on my chair.  Apparently I was left out of the loop when the plan was made to spend yesterday doing all of the reassessments.  I suspect it was discussed after the meeting on Monday, which I had to leave on time from in order to see my skills group.  It was very frustrating.  I felt very unprofessional having to cancel my kindergarten group on short notice.  I already lose Friday with them, so to lose a second day this week after I was finally starting to see some momentum was irksome.  Since I couldn't pull the two grade levels until after 1:15, which meant after 2:15 since I'm in math during that time, I knew I'd never get through the stack.  No matter what arguments were made to the contrary.  And I didn't.  I worked right up until the switch back to homeroom for dismissal, was brisk and short instead of warm and friendly with each kid and I still have over half the 4th grade to finish.  Fortunately, I was given the okay to wait until Friday to do it, when I won't be able to meet with my kindergartners anyways.  Matt wanted me to evaluate the work load distribution.  The entire team worked to do the 3rd and 4th am classes and second grade.  I was delegated to do all of the 3rd and 4th pm classes.  In the past, we did the reassessments of our own assigned groups.  The fact that we'd have to divvy up 3rd and 4th since we don't service them wasn't a surprise.  That it was decided we'd do it Wednesday was news to me when I walked in at 11:30.  There was no attempt at communicating this to me and the fact that I was frustrated at having to scramble to make this adjustment was apparently annoying and stupid.  ....The door isn't sound proof, especially if you have only just shut it behind you.

I told Matt last night that I don't think it matters how many people might be hired after me, I will always be low man on the totem pole.  First day last year,  as soon as the lead and principal weren't around, the first statement or question directed at me was "How did YOU get this job?" Not my emphasis.  Followed by "Who do you know?"  The implication that I don't belong really hasn't left if I can't even get the box of paperclips I requisitioned.  Working my ass off doesn't make a difference.  Picking up slack or taking on the tasks no one else wants doesn't help.  It just proves that at 36 I'm just as socially awkward and backasswards as I've ever been.  I'm always just left of center and outside the circle.

The fact that my stress levels are already nearly maxed out doesn't make any of the work stuff easier to bear.  But the necessary budget meeting aside, there's a trip to JoAnn's in my future, which is good for my coping skills.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Catch up

Yes, I've been remiss on keeping this thing up to date.

It started as putting it off until I could get the pictures working.  Then, it got put on the back burner as we burned up the last of summer vacation trying to alternate between squeezing as much as we could in and relaxing.  Those final days of August were a blurry blend of the end of summer and the start of the school year as I began work, while Matt took some much needed vacation time to assume the role of house husband.  Since that first day of school, it's been one day after another of get up, work, go home, work, get up, work, go home, work.  There have been some minor illnesses - colds and allergies - changing schedules and new extracurricular activities.  Rooms have been painted.  Gardens stripped and torn out for the fall.  Windows replaced. Christmas shopping started.  The winter woolens are pulled out and the drawers and closets are all being switched, swapped and scoured.

In no particular order some quick takes to catch up....

1.  Matthew has adjusted to 6th grade beautifully.  He's getting to be such a young man.  His dress and manners have changed.  There are girls.  But no dating.  Not allowed.  He is on student council for a second year, still crunching numbers in honors math and blowing his horn in band.  In addition to 6th grade band, he is participating in the jazz band.  Karate is going well and after his long, exciting baseball season he's looking forward to some hockey time (on the xbox).  I think he's looking forward to the winter off from lawn mowing - although, I expect that will be shortlived relief when he sees the impact on his spend envelope.

2.  Josh is changing too.  He hit 9 and the moods can be more surly and the temper a little short.  He's not a baby anymore, but not quite a "tween".  He's nearly fully caught up to his brother in height - which does me no favors in the closets and drawers.  Third grade is now departmentalized, which as a plus means the language arts are tiered more according to ability.  He's finally not completely bored.  Not completely.  He'd still rather just be left alone with his books.  He's learning that just because he doesn't like math, it doesn't mean he's bad at it.  He definitely isn't fond of math.  It's like putting on deoderant.  He does it because Mommy makes him.  He has his karate and guitar and piano, but nothing new.

3.  Matt's been unbelievably busy at work.  In fact, it's probably been nearly 4 weeks since we've had a normal night or a normal weekend.  His phone goes off, he's logged in, up in the middle of the night, first thing in the morning and sometimes right until we crawl into bed - much later than we should since we both have work the following day.  But he did manage to finish up the painting in the half bath and the living room.  The crown molding will be another project.

4.  Halloween costumes are made an ready to be worn.  Matthew will be Darth Vader, a suitable follow up to last year's Anakin.  Joshua will be Ash from Pokemon.  His costume is mostly storebought pieces.  He can wear the ball cap and the puffy vest anytime.  But I did spend a week knitting pokemon balls.  I just finished Matthew's Darth Vader cape and breast plate last weekend.  I finished my own pokemon hat yesterday, to go with the Pikachu t-shirt I found.  Matt is going as Obi Wan Kenobi again this year.  Since, Matthew has to serve 5 o'clock Mass Halloween night, we'll be in costume, going straight from Mass to trick-or-treating.

5.  My work is going well.  My hours are shifted to the afternoon which is working out better than I anticipated, minus the exhaustion of going straight from job a to job b.  We are using a new literacy system which I actually like a lot.  I find it very easy to use and hope that I see my kids progress with it.  At the same time, I have separate skill groups still using 2 systems we used last year.  I also work an hour in 3rd grade math.  All together, I do both math and literacy.  In literacy, I'm working with 3 very different programs.  In a four hour period.  I still have a half hour block that I'm waiting to be assigned.  I'm very busy.  I've brought work home on more than one occasion to get ahead on my planning.  If Matt is busy with his work, he doesn't say anything - he's too busy to really notice.  If he's not completely tied up, I hear about it.  He reminds me I'm not a Catholic school teacher anymore.  I'm hourly, not salaried.  All true.  I'm hourly.  I'm union, apparently.  I'm technically only an aide.  But I'm still a teacher.

6.  I have students who worry me, students who frustrate me, students who I need to sit on (figuratively), students who are easy to cheer on, students who think they're cute, students who think they're dumb and I have one who makes every other teacher call him Louis.  But I get to call him Louie.

7.  My stress levels have been high.  For many, many months now.  My body likes to find new ways to react to this.  The latest is I get itchy.  The psoriasis goes haywire, that's normal.  But all over itchy.  Tums has become a nightly habit and my dreams are awful.  Mimi hasn't been doing well.  We noticed a shift over a year ago.  Things have been a steady decline since.  It's most noticeable in her memory.  Her balance is off.  Sometimes she struggles trying to think of a word she wants or a name.  The "what's his face" isn't a joke anymore.  Repeating something 3 or 4 times in succession isn't uncommon.  Matt makes a weekly walk around of her car checking for new unexplained damage.  It's always someone else's fault.  It never really is.  The bills aren't being paid, so we have to find new ways to decline dinner invitations when it's not in our budget to pick up the tab that week.  Every time her credit card is declined, it's new information that we need to re-explain.  I worry daily about the phone call that her electricity or water isn't working and she doesn't know why.  I worry every time my phone rings that it's a call that she's been in an accident or something has happened.  She failed a driving test in September, but the letter from the Dept of Transportation officially revoking her license hasn't arrived yet.  Yet.  We think.  Obviously we're never really sure of what's arrived or not.  Until this last weekend, every time we tried to talk to her about what her plan was she got irritated and defensive.  She'd throw out any letter and just not answer the door when the Sheriff came to get her license.  This weekend there was a small - and hopefully not temporary - break in the clouds when I asked.  After explaining again, reminding her of the test again, she said that nothing has come so nothing will.  I said it could take up to 6 weeks, it's going to come.  She stopped and said, "I'll have to move."  Yes, Mimi, you'll have to move.  What I haven't been able to come straight out and say, what's not my place as the grand-kid, is yes, you need to move.  You need to be in assisted living.  You can't live like this anymore.  This is dangerous and something is wrong.  I can check off right down the lists and warning signs of vascular dementia and possible minor strokes.  But I can't make her listen.  To go to the doctors myself would be going over the heads of those who should be.  Asking the difficult questions, listing the facts and putting the troubles right out there has got me grief.  I'm rude and disrespectful.  I don't know how to keep the peace.  If simply asking the questions and communicating the obvious gets me such criticism, I can't imagine what would happen if I disregarded legal and social protocol and just took matters in to my own hands.  The most painful accusation is the failure to keep the peace.  My family, oddly enough both sides, is so concerned with keeping the peace.  It's keeping the peace that allowed a vicious cycle of verbal and emotional abuse to go unchecked.  Keeping the peace allowed a prescription drug problem to spiral beyond control to even now an indefinite end.  Keeping the peace is what tore the family apart, and slowly pushed each member of our family out the door.  Keeping the peace isn't any way to live life or foster and care for relationships and family.  I don't keep the peace.  No.  But I do pick my battles.  I didn't realize I was waging war when I chose to battle for  Mimi.  As an adult, I have valid and well founded concerns and questions, I spoke like an adult and expected to be spoken to like a adult.  I expect communication.  I didn't expect or anticipate the criticism I received - delivered through channels and not even to my face.  And with the growing and very real threat of a serious stroke, accident or tragedy, I thought I'd have support where I obviously don't.  So I'm stressed and with the weather turning colder, thoughts of the coming winter and still no plan to care for Mimi, to intervene, to assist or to help here my stress won't get better.  We're the ones that get the phone calls from the neighbors, dig her out of the snow, get the panicked phone calls when the utilities go out and freeze every time we hear a nearby siren and jump and stare whenever the phone rings with an unfamiliar number.  We're the first line of defense, with no power, no authority and nothing we can do.  We have a bucket half full of water and we're just supposed to put out fires.  We can't take away the matches, just watch and wait.  Put out the fire.  Raise the alarm.  Then get backlash.  To be told to sit down and shut up.  And hold your bucket.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Last Day

I've been negligent.  But not entirely deliberately.  I have a pile of pictures in my email that I sent from my phone.  None of which I have been able to download properly to the desktop, so that I can then upload them to the blog.  I'll play catch up with photos when Matt has a chance to help me.

The months of July and August were full of golf and goofing around.  Some of the biggest things we did were a day trip to the Cleveland Zoo in July and a trip to Kennywood last Friday.  Both were a blast.  We haven't been to the Cleveland Zoo since Josh's first birthday.  We just never made it back.  This summer we wrote it down on the calendar.  We picked a day, Matt scheduled a vacation day at work and we went - with the sky threatening rain and ponchos in the backpack.  The rain held off and we had a wonderful day.  Last Friday was a much anticipated day trip to Pittsburgh.  We didn't make it to Waldameer at all this year, so were looking forward to a huge day of coasters and thrill rides at Kennywood. It didn't disappoint.  In fact, I think it'll be a little hard to go back to Waldameer after that.  Especially for me.  Seeing as I avoid anything that spins since I've developed severe motion sickness after the kids were born, that leaves little for me to enjoy at Waldameer.  I can count on one hand the rides that I can ride.  Not so at Kennywood.  In fact, there were rides I can ride that we didn't even have time to get to on Friday.  It was an awesome day and one we definitely plan to repeat.

Our plan to intentionally be unintentional this summer worked out well.  I didn't make a big list of things we could do or wanted to do.  I didn't buy the Summer Movie Clubhouse passes.  We left all of their lessons scheduled for the evening hours - except piano at the request of their teacher.  We only knew we'd do golf on Mondays and had our day trips planned, penciled in and scheduled as vacation for Matt.  It was still a busy summer but left our days unhurried.  Unlike past years, I didn't feel like we spent everyday running somewhere.  The boys went on plenty of bike rides, would go over to friends' houses, ask friends over, play tennis in the street and there was lots and lots of baseball.  If anything, baseball temporarily took over our summer.  It was fun watching both boys play on tournament teams.  But when the last games were played we were all relieved.

Since the end of July, whenever the boys were with their grandparents I took time to run into school for a few hours.  When I reported yesterday for the first inservice day, my little corner of the literacy room was set up and decorated, my files were in place, the Homeworkopoly board I made was laminated and hung, I even made and hung some simple classroom decorations in the windows and door.  Most importantly, the two systems we are using this year were unpacked, labeled, ordered and filed.  It totaled almost 200 lessons to be organized, so it was no small task.  It was a good thing, since the work the team did to photocopy the lesson books for our new literacy system for each of us was lost or destroyed over the summer.  Recopying a master copy was started last week by a couple of the other aides, I spent about 5 hours yesterday in front of the copier finishing the job.  Today I went in for half the day and spent most of that in meetings then arguing with the computers in the work room.  None of them wanted to work.  One wouldn't start.  The other kept starting, updating, shutting down and restarting.  The third was the biggest pain of all.  It printed off a couple things for me, then suddenly decided it didn't want to work anymore.  It just kept spinning and spinning.  Matt was home holding down the fort both days - very successfully.  Maybe too successfully as last night he announced he'd like me to be his sugar mama and he can be the stay-at-home dad.

That's a long way of saying - my summer vacation ended Sunday night.  Tonight is the boys' last night.  There will likely be tears.  Until we tease about Alivia.  There will likely be huffing and puffing.  Until we remind about Elly.  The morning will likely be a mess of hurrying out the door to catch the bus....the first time for Josh.  Then I'll have a few hours to do the chores and prep dinner before I report to work.  We will fall in the door at 3:45 in a tired heap - me, my third grader and my sixth grader - having started a new school year and regrettably ended a great summer vacation.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Time Flies

I can't believe June is hours from being over.

The trip to Castle Golf was successful last week.  The boys played together so well.  They had a BOGO coupon and split the cost of the single admission.  They both only had to contribute $3.  I declined to play.  I watched from a distance, letting them be relatively independent.  Without my knowing, Matthew had brought extra cash and took his brother to Castle Ice Cream afterwards for a double scoop cone for each of them.  I like this commission thing Big Matt set up for them!  They used their own money for this outing.  Big Matt used that experience to help them set up little notebooks.  Now they are learning to record their purchases from the "spend" envelopes.

Wednesday was a blurry kind of day.  I keep forgetting what we did that day!  We were out the door bright and early to spend about half of it babysitting their cousins Faith and Moses.  It was a good day.  Although babysitting like that always leaves me feeling exhausted.  Moses and I took a nap in a lawnchair in the shade.  Yes.  I did leave that mess for their mother to deal with....Moses still wanted to play!  We did however pick up the mess that was in the room before we brought out those smart go track things.

The rest of the week took on a life of it's own as we prepared for Josh's friend birthday party on Saturday and took care of the boys' tournament schedules.  There are practices and scrimmages lined up over the next couple of weeks.  Josh's tournament is the same weekend that Matthew's tournament starts.  Josh will have another tournament in August too.  I baked cupcakes that took 3 days to complete.  It was boxed mix and jarred frosting, but I had to make the royal frosting for all of the pieces.  Saturday morning Big Matt did the decorative frosting and set the pieces, while I made 24 mini sandwiches and ants on the logs.  The fruit caterpillars were already done.  The Yogi Bear party was a big success at the Erie Movie House.  Matthew is already talking about wanting his party their next year.  Next year when he turns 12.  Mary, Mother of God, lend me your heart and keep me in your pure heart.  My baby is going to be 12....and I'm not ready.

Sunday was rainy, so we skipped our planned on Seawolves game.  Good thing.  It got cancelled.  The boys kind of cleaned the garage and I kind of got laundry and stuff done.

Monday was a wet day, although sunny.  Everything was soaked from the weekend's rain.  Their junior league was cancelled because there was standing water on the golf course.  I caught up on housework, the boys road their bikes around and played with their friends, Grandpa dropped off the Olds 442 we'll be babysitting for the month and I taught almost 4 hours of piano lessons.  I was feeling cross eyed by the end of the night.

Today, Tuesday, we headed up to the big theatre for the Summer Movie Clubhouse.  Faith came with us and seemed less than impressed with Penguins of Madagascar.  Frankly I was too.  The original Madagascar movies are far better.  Once she was full of popcorn she was ready to go.  Her mama kindly had an iced mocha for me when she picked up Faith.  It was delicious and a treat that I haven't had for a very long time.  It was also not decaf.  At the moment, I think I can feel my hair growing.  Caffeine is not typically my friend.  However, I've enough to do around here to keep me preoccupied and burn it off.  A stop at GameStop proved successful and a quick trip to get the boys' report card kidsbucks at Stages Consignment was worth it.  Easy come, easy go.  The kidsbucks plus what was in my account from consigning stuff is gone after I found two pairs of 12H jeans to put away for Josh.  Poor kid.  Regulars are just too snug to be comfortable, but huskies give him so much extra room they are downright baggy.  But at least he's comfortable.

Tonight will find us split up for the better part of the evening between a scrimmage and a practice.  I'll certainly have my knitting with me if not the Religious Ed lesson planning material.  I have a prayer shawl in progress for an old friend who needed it last week - but it's slow progress when you have to rip out your work and start over.  I also have to get the boys' material planned and gathered for their 2015/2016 Religious Ed programs.  I need that done before I return to work in the fall!

The boys are relaxing with MarioKart now, while laundry waits for me to fold and sort, bur first I must put away my GameStop card.  Not the member thing you have to pay for, just the rewards card.  You know your a mom of boys when....You have to have a rewards card for a GameStop...And you find athletic supporters laying around the house.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Light on pictures

I haven't been able to capture a picture every day, like I hoped.  My phone isn't always available, being used by one or more people to stream Fall Out Boy and Imagine Dragons.

Last week started out busy but ended on a quieter note, catching up on house and yard work.  Friday found us out the door first thing in the morning.  We weeded and trimmed and cut and dug.  Matthew mowed and bagged the lawn again.  After tending the flower beds in the back and the garden, I tackled the long neglected back corner.  I dug out 11 bags of weeds and sea grass.  I also discovered a bee hive in the pile of ground up tree trunk.  I was fortunate to only be stung once.

The weekend was a good one with the housework caught up and the lawn already mowed.  Matt and the boys finished their weekend chores and assessed the swing sets while I got the groceries.  We took advantage of Lowe's special discounts and stocked up on the odds and ends we needed to finish some things around the house and make repairs to the boys' swing sets.  They now have new swings, the trap door was repaired and Matt and his Dad straightened it back out from the last wind storm.  The entire fort was shifted over and twisted at the base!  There are still a few repairs that need to be made and all the modifications the boys have planned. Including: replacing the old slide, putting in a climbing rope, reattaching the monkey bars but connecting the two forts.  There's talk of a slack line underneath the monkey bars.  Someone wrote cannons on the list too, but Matt has assured me it was merely an idea not a promise.  We ended the day watching the original Jurassic Park with the boys.  Josh's eyes were wide as saucers and Hunny Bear held in a death grip for the entire movie.

Sunday was a quiet day.  The morning was rough with Matthew serving early Mass.  We rushed out the door and arrived on time.  But my stomach was not happy.  The lingering congestion from the cold I had last week did a number on me.  I felt better after some fresh air and breakfast after Mass, but I hate to be so distracted and miss any part of Mass.  Later at home, we found our newish neighbors in their backyard planting the apple trees they bought for Father's Day.  We were eager to talk gardens, fruit trees and berry bushes.  Our long term goals include expanding the vegetable gardens, raspberry bushes and fruit trees, a laundry line and composter.  I wanted chickens at some point, but am uncertain how the neighborhood HOA will feel.  One of their dwarf apple trees came from a local nursery that I had a gift card for tucked in a drawer.  As they planned to plant two of their trees along the back of their lot, we decided to use that gift card and get a tree of our own.  We have the starts of a little apple orchard along the back of our property lines!  Sunday afternoon we celebrated Father's Day with Grandma, Grandpa and Mimi.  We had lambchops and salads and strawberry shortcake.  All of the boys love lambchops.  Banshee was beside herself trying to beg a bite off of someone....anyone.

The boys ended up going home with Grandma and Grandpa for an overnight and a busy Monday of golf and movies.  They came home last night and today has been about re-entry.  That transition from Grandma's and Grandpa's can be turbulent, especially when sleep was a little less and little less sound than normal.  Now the boys have decided to take some money from their chore envelopes to go play mini-golf.  We'll see how many holes they can play without fighting.

Josh was cleaning his room this morning.  He found this.  He bought them for his Daddy for Valentine's Day.  Apparently Grandma isn't the only one who hides than loses gifts!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Crash and Burn Drabant

Well, Josh did it again.  Wiped out on his bike completely on Tuesday.  I got a phone call and had to go pick him up.  Apparently he didn't start crying until he saw me pulling up.  No broken bones, thank you God.  He's just very scraped up and has quite a bit of road rash.  His bike seat is pretty banged up too.

That was Tuesday.  We were already playing it low key because I'm fighting a miserable summer cold.  After a couple nights of up and down, coughing all night, we skipped the trip to the theatre for the movie in the morning.  Instead we ran a couple Fairview-based errands and picked up some movies at Family Video.  I pulled out the muffin trays for lunch - which was a regular thing when they were little.  It was a nice day, low key and all.

Monday was busy.  The boys had their first golf outing.  Banshee had her annual appointment at the vet.  Later, Josh had a playoff game.  His team won and will be playing in the championship game tonight.  His team were so far ahead that the game was over early, but they continued playing just to play.  Josh had a turn to pitch and actually did really well!  He tried pitching once last year and threw some good strikes, but the distance was shorter and mound not really a mound.  He threw several strikes.  He wasn't throwing wildly at all and he had decent speed.  We just might have a pitcher on our hands.

Today, Matthew had a recall visit with the orthodontist.  He will definitely be getting braces in 2016.  The boys' orthodontist is so accommodating.  He's scheduling Matthew's next visit in October.  He'll run the necessary x-rays and write the recommendation for braces then, so that we can plan for the expense as we prepare for the insurance re-enrollment.  In the meantime, Matthew's homework is to wiggle those loose teeth.

After lunch with Mimi, Aunt Na-na, Faith and Moses, the boys will need some quiet time.  Josh is to rest up for his big championship game tonight.  It's a big deal at the big field with announcers.  I'm hoping that Josh will be announced as Crash and Burn Drabant.  He's the reason I always stock up on bandaids when they are on sale.

(We're still waiting to hear if Matt will be chosen for the all-star tournament team.  That will add a few more weeks to our baseball season.)

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Summer Vacation Week 1

On the last day of school, we were still on our own.  It was Thursday and we were done at school by noon.  Matt was still in Vegas for the HP Discover Conference.  I was planning on finishing the lawn I had started mowing the night before and we had two ball games that night.  It was Burger King for lunch.  Then, home, where I had help mowing the lawn.

Daddy came home overnight.  The boys were first happy to see him and second happy to see the swag he brought home for them.  This included a real set of casino cards for each of them.  Go Fish becomes a little more high brow on cards from the Venetian!

 For lunch, we took the boys to the White Turkey.  They finished with kiddie cones.  They were surprised by their small size, but after a big lunch and giant mugs of frosty cold homemade root beer, they really were just enough.

Matthew captured this picture for us.  I was so happy to have my handsome husband home.  We managed the everyday routines all week, although I did have to cancel all of my lessons.  But managing isn't enough.  I needed someone to share it all with - the good, the bad, the mundane.  At 2 am, my welcome was muted, I snuggled up and fell right back asleep, with my husband instead of the piles of pillows I had stacked on his side of the bed.  Banshee's welcome was unbridled joy.  She spent the rest of the night pawing, licking and whining at Daddy while he tried to sleep.   

Josh had a baseball game on Saturday morning.  It was his last regular season game.  Both boys regular seasons have now ended.  Matt's team was eliminated in the first round of playoffs.  Josh plays again on Monday night.  Matthew was invited to try out for the All Stars Tournament team.  Fingers crossed!
Who was in charge of sunscreen?!

At least he's outside!

Spoiled rotten.


 Ha!  We've outgrown strikes.

 Our first week was a rainy one.  We spent an afternoon watching The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe.  I think watching the movie, then reading the books is the way this family will have to go.  The movie always gives the one boy the kick in the seat of the pants he needs to pick up a book.  The other is so enthused if he's already read the book that he talks through most of the movie, explaining the characters, plot line and differences.  I love them both.

It was dry enough out after the movie to take a walk.  While I prepared Banshee, the boys found their swords.  What was once their pirate swords from medieval times quickly became swords with which they needed to defend Narnia. 

 Sir Peter Wolfsbane, King of Narnia 

 While I was trying to make dinner, the boys made Wardrobes out of Legos.
Josh goes for detail.

 Matt likes simplicity.
He also doesn't like when Mom tells him to go play with Legos instead of video games.

He ate as many cherries as he helped wash for dinner.
At least they didn't go to waste.

By midweek, after all that rain, the yard needed attention.  I cleaned out the front beds from some weeds, faded spring plantings and a bajillion helicopters.  The boys worked together to use Dad's tools to blow the helicopters out of the driveway.  Directions printed on the side helped us get it started.  They did not help us get the stuck gas cap off when we ran out of gas.  We three had to sweep up the street and remaining piles by hand.  Matthew also helped mow the lawn again.  This time he did all but the little side yard and around the front flower beds.  That freed me up to finish digging out the ugly patch of pachysandra left in front of the house.

We were glad to see the chiropractor after all of our yard work.  Me especially after digging out the ugly pachysandra, the pachysandra with poison ivy in it and scrubbing grout. 

 We ended the week with morning Mass on Friday to celebrate the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  It was just a small, quiet, weekday morning Mass.  Josh was miffed.  He was the only one in the room that wasn't able to receive Communion.  He's not being so patient about waiting for his First Holy Eucharist.  It's going to be a long year.

We also tie dyed shirts.  If I had truly been on the ball, we'd have done these earlier in the week so that they could wear them on Friday.  I was not on the ball.  Instead we did them Friday afternoon.  

This is his "Take the picture, Mom!" face.

Then they wore them today.  Saturday.  Still fitting as it is the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Since school let out we've also managed to squeeze in two recitals.  Last Sunday, Josh performed in his guitar recital.  He performed Weekend Whip by The Fold , which is the theme song for the Lego Ninjago animated series.  This morning, he performed two pieces form his method books in his piano recital.  Matthew also played Cantina Band on the trumpet.  It was a joint recital for both their teacher's students and mine.  I was very proud of all my kids - my boys and my students!

Golf starts next week.  We plan to catch a movie.  There's an orthodontist appointment and we're not sure how much more baseball left.  I hope to catch at least one picture a day and plan to try to post a little more regularly.  I don't have any excuse not to - it's not like we're busy or anything?!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Jelly Beans

The boys can't figure out why their jelly beans are disappearing.

Just kidding.  They totally know why their jelly beans are disappearing.

I need to buy jelly beans this week.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Daffi-don'ts and "Mental Sick Days"

It appears that spring has finally arrived in Erie.

Whether it had or not, baseball season has started.  Josh played in his first game last week only minimally.  He had his cast off for a day and his hand was still mighty sore.  He missed his second game on Saturday because he'd been sick with a respiratory infection for 3 days.  It's been fun.  Matthew is experiencing something new this year.  His team has lost.  Last year, his team went undefeated for the entire season and play-offs.  This year will be a lesson in reality.

As a family, we've been tackling the spring yard work.  The boys have been fairly compensated, if and when they do a fair share of the work.  Last weekend we laid 8 yards of mulch and compost.  We finally have two small garden plots set up.  I should say the boys laid all that.  I spent the time finishing up the weeding to clear the flower beds and digging up more bushes.  I think I dug up at least half a dozen in the back corner.  I'm not sure what that brings our total up to since moving in - I lost count that first summer when we hit 13.  The yard was desperately overgrown and neglected.  It's vastly improved, but now needs time for things to grow, fill in or repair.  My spring flowers are coming up but I don't have a single flower.  No daffodils, tulips, hyacinth or bluebells.  I have a mess of greenery.  I'm hopeful that next weekend we will pick up our vegetables and herbs...and maybe a flower or two.  I also have plans for a bed around the front tree where I'm slowly removing a plot of pachysandra.  We even acquired the brick edging to build it from friends who yanked it out of their own yard but then didn't know what to do with it!  But that will have to be a weekend of work with Matt - or else it'll be worked on in fits and starts for a couple months and be an eye sore and source of huge frustration.

The school year is rapidly winding down.  23 school days left.  I've loved my job.  I love the work - it's just enough and it's the kind of work I enjoy.  The kids are great.  I love working with them and Mimi says I spoil them.  They got little Christmas gifts, candy from the prize box every week and I bought them each a book for the summer.  It hasn't been without its challenges though.  Going from work as a full classroom teacher to an aide, even with an 10 year break was challenging.  But not in the ways you'd expect.  That being said, after going through a few rough weeks at work, at home (a la the Easter Break break) and feeling drawn and stressed about some family stuff, I took a sick day.  A mental health day.  It was the final day of PSSAs.  I wasn't going to be working with any of my kids due to the testing and some Earth Day project.  It was the perfect day to just take the time to catch up at home, go without makeup or doing my hair and reset myself.  I did have to drive Josh in.  I'm out of practice and we arrived far too early, so sat in the office together until he could go to his classroom.  I wasn't recognized.  Apparently for me to pull of successful disguise I simply need to dress as myself.  A colleague who sits across the room from me everyday only recognized me after seeing Josh and giving me a good long stare.  At that point, Josh announced for everyone's benefits that I would not be at work because I was taking a "mental sick day."  Lovely.

The week ahead promises to be a mess.  There are haircuts, an orthdontist appointment, several baseball games, the art show, guitar, piano and trumpet.  Big Matt is working on  Habitat for Humanity build and I have both work and piano lessons.  Thankfully Josh seems to be over his cough and fever and no one else has come down with it.  Simba, who has been here since Thursday, will go home Monday.  Next weekend, there's a baby shower, more ball games, winding down our Religious Ed lessons and preparing for another wild week of games and the spring band concert.

 Look, Mom.  No cast!  Yes.  That's a light saber on the table. 

This was on the stairs.  It doesn't even phase me.

 I made this for Faith.  We're taking her with us to see Peter Pan at the Playhouse later this month.  We told her and the first thing she said, "You gonna make me a dress, Aunt Sasa?"

He's pathetic.  The dog is bad too.  He piddled on the floor 3 times the first night he was here.  
The dog, not Matthew.  Although he did have quite a reputation as an infant.  

I made this too.  Finally.  It's the same fabric as the valance I made over the kitchen bay window, 
but a simple pocket for a rod and no lining.  Just to dress the window top.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


A mutual exchange.

I'm all for sharing.  I'll help others to a breaking point.  Usually mine.

But even I draw the line in the sand somewhere.

If you stick me in a corner, I'll just stay there.  If you leave me out, I'll stay out.  I'll do my own thing, make my own way and do it by myself.  I'll plant the wheat for myself.  I'll harvest the wheat for myself.  I'll bake the bread for myself.

Just don't ask me for a loaf of my bread for yourself.

I'll give you the recipe.  I'll bend that much with gritted teeth.

But I'm sure as hell not going to do the planting, the harvesting and baking for you.  Not after watching you share your bread with everyone but me.

The room wasn't empty.

I wasn't just sitting there.

Because I'm qualified.

I use my time effectively.

And yes, it's my fault.  I'm the only one still ovulating.