Sunday, January 31, 2010

John Henry Lives Here

Well, thankfully it didn't end exactly like John Henry, but Jay did seem a little woozy when he came in from shoveling the driveway yesterday. The whole driveway. For four hours. Seriously.

Saturday, January 30, 2010


Maybe it's the septic system, or maybe it's the much longer driveway, but winter weather makes me homesick for our old house.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Catching Up

Hello! I think I may finally be catching up from last week's sickness and this weeks errands. Maybe. It's been a crazy week.

Sunday was bring a friend to choir night. They also got to go shopping at the music store.

Monday I took the kids to OKC for one last trip to the Omniplex before our membership expires.

We met up with some friends and we had a good time.

Even Alice found something to do.

And I found things to do with Alice.

Tuesday was spent grocery shopping and making sure we were prepared for the ice that arrived last night. Wednesday morning we decided we might need a generator, so I toted the kids around town looking for one. Happily, I scored one in about two hours. Then my parents had the wonderful task of coming to pick it up and deliver it for us. Turns out a generator won't fit in a Corolla. Who knew?

As you can see on the shed, we have some ice, but thankfully we have not lost power. It started snowing while I was typing this, so we'll see how it goes!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Team Coco

A couple of my favorite Conan quotes in honor of tonight's show...

I just want to say to the kids out there watching: You can do anything you want in life. Unless Jay Leno wants to do it, too.

So, that's what I wish for all of you: the bad as well as the good. Fall down, make a mess, break something occasionally. And remember that the story is never over.
(Commencement Speech to the Harvard Class of 2000)

And don't act like you're not hoping for a little old-school clutch cargo tonight. Wooo-weee!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Under Pressure

I'm not going to subject you to any pictures with this post. I thought about taking a couple, but I was too grossed out to do it.

Tuesday night after dinner, I noticed it felt like I needed to pop my right ear. It didn't really hurt, but it was annoying. I tried all the things I could think of, but it wouldn't pop. As the evening went on, it got worse and worse. I took a couple of pain pills we had around and they didn't do anything. I tried to sleep, but I wasn't very successful. And my ear started leaking.

Around 5:30 Wednesday morning, Alice got up, which of course, means that I got up, too. I put her on the blanket on the bathroom floor and sat down next to her and bawled until she started looking a little freaked out. Then I tried to keep it to a sniffle. I had never had such intense pressure in my head in my whole life.

A little after 7:00, I put the kids in the car and headed to the urgent care. My hair wasn't combed, Alice was in her pjs, and Jack was a little confused. The PA looked at my ear and told me I had the worst middle ear infection she had ever seen. They gave me two shots (one was for pain, I didn't know or care what the other one was for) and some prescriptions to fill and sent me home.

Aside from my appearance, I am sure I made a great impression on the town. I am glad I went to a clinic owned by one of Jay's friends, because I would have looked like a big drug seeker, I'm sure. In fact, I flat out said that I didn't care what they gave me as long as they gave me something good for the pain. Then I couldn't remember where they sent my prescription, just that it wasn't to WalMart, so I had to go to the drive-thru and ask if they had my drugs. They were trying to chat with me over the speaker, but I couldn't hear out of my bad ear, and I could hardly concentrate because the pressure in my head was so great. I probably gave some awkward laughs and inappropriate responses. Then we headed home.

When we got home around 9:30, I thought the pain might be lessening a bit. I took a shower and tried to take a nap with Alice. By lunch, though, (which I never did feed to either kid) the pain was back worse than ever and stuff was literally pouring out of my ear. Jay called my parents to come over and they took care of the kids while he tried to rearrange his schedule and come home early. After lots of drugs and sleep, I finally got some relief from the pain around dinnertime. This was about 20 hours of non-stop horrible pressure in my head, which was making me basically not be able to function at all. I'm going to go ahead and say it was worse than childbirth.

Today I've felt wiped out and my ear is still leaking, but overall, I feel about a million times better than yesterday. Hopefully the hole in my eardrum will heal quickly and I will be able to hear normally again soon. And now someday when Alice asks why she has some memory of me sobbing in the early morning, I can refer her back to this.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Your House, My House

One of the hardest things about moving is finding all new places to go with the kids. Today we scored big! We went to the children's museum to see the exhibit on houses. Above, Jack is fishing in the Malaysian house. He LOVED this!

This is the Fiji house.

This is the Mongolian house. I think it's called a ger.

Mongolian kids start riding when they're two. Jack had better get to work!

Alice is an overachiever--she doesn't even have to use her hands!

They had neat models of other types of homes.

Here Jack is trying to find which type of house belongs in which environment.

You could also design your own house on the computer. Jack loves games like this. The apple has not fallen far from the tree!

Jack spent close to an hour playing with the brick blocks.

We're excited to see what will be coming next!

Snowy Stories

We've been enjoying winter stories lately. We even have a few for Alice, and she has been devouring them--literally. Don't you like Jack's snowflake decorations in our window?

In December, we rowed Owl Moon. We were supposed to go on a full moon walk at the nature center, but it was canceled because of the cold. Hopefully we'll get to do that sometime this spring!

We read lots of different books about owls, forest animals, and the moon.

I ordered a synthetic owl pellet for Jack to dissect. I just couldn't psych myself up for a real one.

It turned out to be something he could do well on his own and it's wasn't gross at all!

We talked about the phases of the moon when we did this activity with Oreos.

Here's part of our finished lapbook, turned sideways for some reason. The lapbook components are from HomeschoolShare.

Last week we rowed Katy and the Big Snow.

The good thing about homeschool: You can do school in the bathtub. The bad thing about homeschool: Mom makes you work in the bathtub. Jack practiced writing some troublesome letters in the "snow."

We did an experiment (from The Mailbox) to see what happens when you put salt water on ice.

Alice is always curious about what we're doing.

We made traffic light snacks one morning. (Idea from HomeschoolShare, of course!)

Part of Jack's Katy lapbook. (Any guess where the lapbook stuff is from?)

Later in the week, we read The Hat.

The Mailbox had a cute idea for making a Hedgie snack from a banana, crushed chex, and candy.

We also read The Mitten--I scored a nice 20th Anniversary copy at Sam's a few weeks ago.

Jack was thrilled that I found our mitten match game. I got this for about two bucks from Oriental Trading Company a year or so ago and it is one of his favorite things!

We are slowly getting into a better school routine. It's hard with a baby who hardly naps, but Jack and I are both getting better about being flexible and still getting everything in. He is wanting to go back to the envelope version of the workbox system that we used last spring, so I am hoping to start that up again in the next week or two. Stay tuned for pictures of our rainforest unit soon!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

True Romance

Some friends have been discussing romance lately. If you read Jay's comment on my last post (I promise he was just kidding and is not mean or abusive at all), you may have guessed that we would probably not win an award for being the most romantic couple. We enjoy harassment a little too much around here.

After reading Shandolynne's post, I thought for a bit and decided to ask Jay what he thought our most romantic moment was. He finally said it was when I played American Girls for him at a bar one night. Insert blank look from me. I had no clue what he was talking about. Was he sure it was me? Finally I figured out he was talking about the weekend of my baby shower for Jack in Omaha. Our families had come up and Saturday evening we went to a bar with my sister-in-law and her husband because they wanted to play pool. You have not had fun until you are terrible at pool and eight months pregnant and find yourself sitting in a bar watching people play pool after midnight at the end of an exhausting day. (FYI, last call in Omaha is 1:00, not 2:00.) I guess this evening made an impression on us both, just different ones.

My nomination was the time Jay came to town for my first faculty party. He lived two hours away at the time and was planning to drive in, but during the day, I got a voice mail from him saying he wasn't feeling well and didn't think he could make it. I was really bummed about it because it was going to be a real treat to get to see him during the week. I thought about skipping the party because I didn't really care about going if he wasn't going. That afternoon I took my kids out for recess and in the middle of a soccer game, I looked over and noticed him walking across the playground. I was thrilled, to put it mildly. And my fifth-graders were fairly interested in seeing their teacher's boyfriend. Jay doesn't really remember any of this.

Now you're probably thinking, "Wow. These people are kind of weird." Yes. Yes, we are. And we love it.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Word of the Year: 2010 Edition

You can find Word of the Year posts all throughout Bloggerland, and I'm adding mine as well. I had never heard of this until a couple of years ago, when I was staring down a deployment. I chose FOCUS as my word for 2008. With all of the changes 2009 was going to bring, I chose PREPARE. I learned that some things you can prepare for, and some things will knock you on your feet no matter how much you've tried to prepare.

Last fall, I decided that my word(s) for 2010 would be FLAT SURFACES. No, that's not a joke. Flat surfaces are my mortal enemy. Sure they're great for holding your dinner plate and giving you a steady surface for writing, but they also lure you into setting things down just for a little while and then keeping those random objects trapped there forever. They drive me crazy.

Eventually, though, I decided that my word for 2010 is BETTER. What finally led me to settle on this word was reading through my blog as I was getting ready to write my Christmas letter. I used to be a good mom and a good wife and do fun things and read books, and now....not so much. I wanted to bawl. There is so much that I want to do better and so many ways I want to be better. After 2009, I'm tired of just surviving and I want to flourish. (I thought about choosing flourish as my word, but when thinking about whittling down the ironing pile and keeping on top of the litter box, it seemed a little too fancy.)

Being better at so many things may seem a little daunting, but I am not shooting for perfection, just improvement, so surely I can do that, right? Some things (cleaning, school), I have plans for, some others (reading, more sleep), I don't. But that's okay. I have twelve more months to work on them. So here's to 2010, a better year in every way!

For last year's words belong to last year's language. And next year's words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning. ~ T.S. Eliot

More Septic Fun

Oklahoma is freezing. Literally.

The other night our phone rang, and it was my dad, telling us that there was an alarm going off at the side of our house. My parents live about six miles away, so we were a little confused. It turns out that our neighbor noticed the alarm but didn't have our phone number, so he called my dad. I have no clue how he knew my dad was my dad since he doesn't have my last name, but I guess that's what happens when you live in a small town.

Anyway, the alarm was for the septic system, and Jay eventually had to have the septic guy come out late that evening. It is so cold that the sprinkler heads are freezing, so the system can't get rid of the processed water. Jay rigged up the insulation you see above, and the each day before it's time for the sprinkler to go off, I haul out some hot water and pour it over the sprinkler heads to make sure they're thawed and we don't have a backup problem. Yeah, it's really fun living in the boonies sometimes.

See that little red circle in the middle of the picture above? That's one of the sprinkler heads, completely underwater--not a good thing when the temperatures are in the single digits. It was so frozen over today that at first I couldn't even see the head and was pouring the water a couple of feet too far to the left.

The other sprinkler head isn't underwater, but it can still have frozen water inside, so it has to be defrosted, too.

If the grass looks icy, you know the sprinklers went off.

Today they started a few minutes after I poured the water on them. The one that was underwater came up, but didn't spray, but the other one did, so we shouldn't have any problems.

I can't wait for spring.

By the way, remember this post about the one-ply paper? I thought I would never get used to it, but the other day I was at my parents' house and I noticed that their quilted two-ply actually felt like a quilt. Weird. If I can get used to one-ply toilet paper, why can't I get used to Diet Coke?

Seven Months

Tuesday was Alice's seven month birthday. Here she is showing off the four teeth she's gotten over the last three weeks. Yes, it's been a fun three weeks.

We finally made it in to get her six month shots on Tuesday. This is obviously the before picture. She actually did really well, though. She didn't flinch at all with the first shot and only cried a little with the second one.

She's started eating food (besides cereal) over the last month.

Some things go over better than others.

She experienced her first snow and even tried to eat it.

It doesn't even have to be edible for her to try it.