Saturday, February 28, 2009

Picture of the Day

Here's Kylie with her baby doll,  Emma.  Poor Emma is suffering from a broken arm.  Apparently she fell.  I hope Kathleen didn't push her down the stairs in a box.

Friday, February 27, 2009


It's the 27th today, or at least I think it's the 27th. I didn't have calendar time at school to confirm it!

I've had a cough for a good week or so, even before our little jaunt to California. I didn't think it was much, and it wasn't much, until Wednesday afternoon, when I started coughing harder and harder and harder. By the time I got to GAs that night, I had put the lesson plan on flashcards to save my voice. The girls thought it was kind of novel. : )

That night, Kylie slept on the living room recliner and I slept on the family room recliner and we both coughed our lungs out in tandem. The next morning, with great regret, I called in to the school to say that I would be out for the rest of the week, got the kids out the door and went back to bed for two hours to await physician doctor's hours. Kylie and I then spent all morning and a good part of the afternoon going to our respective doctors. (I haven't seen the pediatrician this many times in a span of a month in a long time!)

By the time we got all of our antibiotics and wonderful, glorious, fabulous and-in-all-other-ways miraculous cough syrup, I was absolutely spent and regretting our little lunch trip to Panda Express. I made it to bed with quick instructions to the kids coming home from school that they were now in charge, no friends could come play, they could see no friends -- I was checked out for the day. Four hours later, I came stumbling back into the family room to see life continuing as normal. I ate a little oatmeal and toast and a cola and lots of water (Mom!), watched a little mind-numbing TV, and then stumbled back to bed.

I'm still out of it today, but the wonderful, glorious, fabulous and-in-all-other-ways miraculous cough syrup has saved me from checking myself into the funny farm. I watched TV, ran two loads of dishes and four loads of laundry and have pretty much wrapped up any more productivity for the day.

We've got rain, so it's a good excuse to keep all kids inside and rested and no visitors to contaminate. Kristofer has been invited to a bowling night and Kathleen is spending the night with a friends. So dinner will be canned stew. Yay for easy dinners! And the weekend cometh!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

CA trip overview

We're back from California and recuperating after a whirlwind trip. It was a lot of fun, but as usual didn't get to see as many people as I would have liked. I guess I'm just going to have to get realistic about time.

It was especially good to see my Mom this time around. She was laid off a few months ago, so it was the first time we've come for a visit where we've actually really been able to spend time with her. She cooked up a storm, as usual, making many yummy specialties. My kids said, "So that's where you learned how to make scrambled eggs!" This time, though, we were able to sit and talk and catch up on things.

We arrived on Wednesday and marveled right away at the wonderful weather. They'd just had a ton of rain, so the skies were really clear, enough to see the mountains all around the L.A. basin and beyond. Gorgeous! We went to go see Grandpa Stan, Keith's Dad, right off because he was going to be at work the other days we were there. He was looking really good, even as he's looking to celebrate "four score" years. We played with his dog Scooter, got some pictures in the backyard, and marveled at all the green grass (since all of our grass here is dormant). Then, we went to see my new niece Danica Joy, Danny and Jessica's baby. She is just six weeks and as cute as a button. She, however, was not happy about the invasion and even Danny's CD of a hairdryer blowing or a vacuum sweeper going was not going to make her happy!

On Thursday, Mom and Rich took us to El Pollo Inca, because that is probably the restaurant that I miss the most. The food was just as delicious as I'd remembered. Then, we went to the beach. My Mom planned a trip to the beach, saying that the weather was really warm. They'd gone to the beach just the week before all the rain and had had a wonderful time. I was more than slightly skeptical, but we went anyway. June and Sarah Bostick, and Cathy and Dennis Quackenbush stopped by to say "hi." And most of the cousins were there -- Lola and Gabriel with Aunt Connie, and Danielle, Christine and Darlene. They all played in the water. Several of them, most of them my kids, got completely soaked in the waves. They made sand castles and collected shells and had a grand time at the beach in the middle of February! I took scads of pictures that I'll be posting as soon as I can!

On Friday, we stopped by to see Grandma Alice. We car-pooled over from her place, Mom with a group, Rich with a group and Alice with a group in her fancy red PT Cruiser -- all to Jack in the Box, where I could fulfill my craving for a Sourdough Jack. Sad, I know, but BOY was it good! After that little outing, we went over to Stanton to visit with my Grandmother, who is now 92. She treated the whole lot of us to Sizzler. We enjoyed that very much. I passed out crochet gifts that I had planned and of course had never gotten around to sending for Christmas.

And before we knew it, it was time to head back home. Good-bye family. Good-bye California friends. Good-bye wonderful weather! As soon as we got off the plane in Atlanta, we were hit with a blast of cold air from the outside. Brrrrr! Good thing our heater works at home, because we're going to need it as we acclimate to REAL February weather!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Traveling would be so much more fun if you didn't have to pack!

I hit the ground running today with this vague notion that I'd clean every single dirty piece of laundry in the house. Fourteen hours and 12 loads later, I'm here to report that although I didn't clean every piece of dirty laundry, I did manage to wash enough clothes so that kids will not go naked on an airplane tomorrow. That, my friends, is an accomplishment these days!

I also got pizza for dinner so that there would be very few dishes to deal with at the last minute. Keith seems to think that Kody will be okay left at home while he's at work, so I didn't need to get a dog sitter. Whew! If I didn't have to pack, I think I would like traveling a whole lot more!

I'm getting up tomorrow at 4:30, kids up by 5:00, in the hopes of not running out the door in sheer panic because we're running late. I bought those yummy pancake sausage on-a-stick thingies and some orange juice for a quick breakfast. Everything is pretty much packed. The plan is to have a simple nice travel day tomorrow. Granted, I'm probably going to be a tad grumpy for lack of sleep, but at least I'll be able to catch a few Z's while in the air, but only if one of my kids is sitting nearby to elbow me if I start to snore.

It's very embarrassing to snore on an airplane.

I gave Keva a bath tonight, a nice long warm one, to encourage any diaper activity tonight as opposed to on the plane tomorrow, because way more embarrassing than snoring on a plane is changing a stinky 14-year-old on a plane. Haven't had to change her on a plane in a long time. THANK GOD!

Anyway, I left Keva in the bath to soak while I took a few minutes to check Facebook. (I am addicted.)

A few minutes changed into about 20, and I came running back into the bathroom to find out that Keva had not only taken care of business in the bathtub, but had thrown it all around the bathroom. I'm sure she was giggling all the while. (Sorry, to all my queasy-stomached readers.) So that was way fun to clean up when I should have been doing a few other packing chores, but at least I won't have to worry about an accident on the plane tomorrow!

For those of you in California, I just wanted to write out a quick itinerary, as I know it.


12:15 -- Pick-up at airport and go back to Mom's house as home base. (Johnson invasion)

midafternoon -- visit with Stan
5:00ish -- Meet with Danny and Jessica

4:00 -- Dockweiler Beach (at the end of Imperial) for hot dogs and Smores. Anyone is welcome to come join us! The weather is supposed to be cleared up by then, but if it's too cold, then we're going back to Mom's.

12:00 -- Visit SBFA
4:00 -- Dinner at Grandma's
7:00 -- Keri Lynn's sleepover at Missy's

And that's about all I know for sure. It's a short but sweet visit.  Impromptu, so not a lot of planning.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

On our way to California

This week we have winter break! Whoo-hoo! That means that not only are all the kids off from school, but I'm off from work. It won't be so nice when payday comes around, but it's nice now!

So I got to thinking that maybe we should try to get a visit in to California. Keith won't be able to go with us this time because he needs to work, but the rest of us are going. We plan to fly out on Wednesday morning and come back Saturday.

Keith told me that this will be the first time we'll all qualify for first class seats since Konner is now eight! Not that they'll be available for all of us, but the thought makes me happy! It's been A LONG TIME since I've seen first class!

We plan to visit the family and any friends that may be interested in getting together. My grandma celebrated her 91st birthday just last month. My brother and his wife just had their first baby. And of course the kids are going to want to visit with all of the other cousins, too.

Kylie wanted to know if we could go to the beach. She really wants to go swim, but I told her that it would definitely be too cold. "Then, could we just go and play in the sand? I want to collect shells!"

We finally got passports for Keri Lynn and Kristofer for their trips to Mexico and Japan. Hopefully we'll get them back in time, especially for the Japan trip, as our music pastor is trying to get good prices on airplane tickets.

The passport hunt was an adventure all by itself.

We decided to meet Keith at the post office at the airport. He needed to sign Kristofer's passport application since Kristofer is under 16. The post office was supposedly on the north side of the airport, so we got directions to a little office there, waited about 30 minutes and then finally talked to someone who told us that they were actually an expediting office. For a mere $230 a person, they could expedite the passports and we'd have them in 14 business days. We then found out that there was a post office on the south side of the airport if we wanted to check there, but that they'd charge a fee for any expediting, too.

So, off we went to the airport post office. It was completely empty except for the employee behind the counter who told us that their office only did passports by appointment only and since Monday was a holiday, they could schedule an appointment for Tuesday. I looked around the vacant room and back to him again. "Um, the on-line information said that no appointments were necessary." He was unmoved, but he did finally deign to give us directions to a post office near the airport that took passport walk-ins.

We met Keith at his work and followed him in his truck to the next post office where we found a huge line waiting for us. At the Newnan post office, there's a separate line for passports, so we went to the door marked "Passport Office" and knocked. The lady told us that we needed to get ourselves back into the Full Service Line to get to the Passport Office. Keith then told us that he was going back to work and to give us a call when we got to the end of the line. Good grief!

We did eventually get to the end of the line and we did eventually get the passport pictures done, and passport fees made for half of the expedited fee price. "I'm supposed to tell you that it will take 4-6 weeks for the passports to come back, but most everyone tells us that they're getting their's back in about two weeks," said the postal worker. That sounded a lot better to me than the supposed expedited 14 business days and at more than half the price, too!

It was worth the wait to finally get it done, but as we walked out of the post office, the kids were talking about how hard it must be to work at a post office. I asked them if they'd ever heard the phrase "going postal", and they hadn't, so I got to explain that phrase. They understood!

Monday, February 09, 2009

February Walk #1

I'm very thrilled to announce that I passed the Special Ed. GACE test. (I'm doing a happy dance!) Now I will begin making contact with various people and see what teaching positions become available. Because I would be hired in a provisional situation, other teachers with actual teaching credentials would be hired before me. Here in our county, there has been a hiring freeze all year and will continue into next year, so I may have to go out of the county to find a job. However, it is and always has been in God's very capable hands. So it remains to be seen what happens next.

Last night, I set the alarm clock for 6:20, a sort of compromise to wake-up time. Not 6:15 but not 6:30 either, in case I had any emergencies like I did on Friday. However, the morning went very smoothly. Like clockwork.

In fact, the entire day has been pretty much an antithesis of Friday's complete chaos, I'm happy to say. Even at school several students were absent, making the workday a breeze.

I spent what seemed like all of Sunday sorting dirty laundry. I washed four loads while I sorted. Does that give you an idea of how pathetically behind I am in laundry? This whole week's focus is to finally get caught up on laundry. It can happened. I've had short spurts of laundry maintenance, so I know it's possible! I figure if I can wash four loads a day, by the end of the week, I should be caught up . . . mostly.

Just the feeling of laundry accomplishment has given me a mental boost to continue with life's challenges. Today, when I got home from work, I walked. Keith joined me. So that makes Walk #1 for February. The weather is super wonderful right now, unlike last week's freezing temperatures. We've been enjoying weather in the late 60's with lots of sunshine. I love it! I don't expect it to last, though. There's still a lot of potential cold spells before we start looking at spring temperatures.

Saturday, February 07, 2009


I've been getting up at 6:00 this school year, a whole 45 minutes earlier than last year. Keith gets up at the same time. It's the first time in our entire married lives that we've gotten up at the same time, and it just doesn't work for us. We both need the bathroom, the ironing board, the space at the same time. So I decided that since I'm kind of waiting around for Keith to get out the door in his allotted 15 minutes, I can get up a little later. So on Monday, I set the alarm for 6:15 and felt entirely sinfully happy snuggled in bed while Keith got ready for work. Then I had time to myself to do all the woman things that seem to take so much longer than man things to get out the door.

Well, this morning, I was laying in bed after the alarm went off at 6:15. Keith had already kissed me good-bye. I thought, well, wouldn't it be nice to sleep in to 6:30. That would give me just enough time to get myself ready (20 minutes), Keva ready (10 minutes) and last minute kid things done (15 minutes) before running out the door myself. Perfect! Why hadn't I thought of that LAST night? So, I reset my alarm again and snuggled back into my warm cozy bed.

Alarm went off at 6:30 as set.

I got up, got dressed. Makeup done. Was doing really well with my schedule. Feeling confident. Successful. Rested.

I walked out of my bedroom door.

Sniffed the air.

Went into Keva's room. Keva was stinky all right. And so were her fingers where she had played in her diaper. And so was anything else she'd touched while waking up.


I went running into the laundry room to get a towel when Kathleen caught me in the kitchen, "Mom! Kody pooped in the bathroom. It's diarrhea and it's all over the bathroom!" (We keep him in the guest bathroom during the night for just such possible issues.)

"Did he get anything on the carpet?"

"Well, he did scootch his butt across the carpet in the family room."


I looked down at my watch and decided I really had no choice but to give Keva a bath and try to blow dry her hair before her bus came. It was entirely too cold to let her go out with wet hair. So, towel under my arm, I pleaded with Kathleen over my shoulder to PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE clean up the dog poop while I cleaned up Keva. She could use some of Keva's baby wipes and some spray deodorizer to help counteract the terrible smell. Bless her heart, she did it, while I worked with Keva.

I even had enough time to write a short note about Keva's incident, since her hair wasn't completely dry, in her agenda before throwing her onto the bus.

I stood in the driveway, watching her bus drive away. I was dressed and ready for work, but maybe just a tiny bit bedraggled. And hungry. There was no time for breakfast. I was able to throw a lunch together. Yell good-bye to the remaining teenagers waiting for their ride to school.

The full moon is upon us, because the school day was pretty much a repeat of the morning. One student had a terrible seizure. Another one had a bad melt-down. Yet another was being physically self-abusive, much more so than usual . . . 

Yet, God is gracious. He is able to give us grace to handle days like these. I'm actually thankful for such days because it makes me appreciate the "boring" days. Oh, yes. I love boring days!

In the midst of the chaos, I was giving a reading lesson to an autistic student. One of the words she was learning was "funny." (When I take her to the toilet, we always sing "Down by the Bay." It is a funny bond between us. I sing a line and let her finish the last word in the line. She laughs and guffaws through the song and we finish up the bathroom business.) So when we came across the word "funny" in her reading lesson, I'd sing a line or two from "Down by the Bay." I'd say, "Did you ever see a moose kissing a goose?" And she's start grinning. Then I'd tell her it was "funny." "Look, there's the word 'funny'. As the lesson progressed, she'd come to that word and giggle about it. I was so pleased. The lesson was successful! I wouldn't have traded all of the day's events for anything if it meant missing that lesson.

Later on that evening, Keith was home and we were chatting with Keri Lynn in the foyer. I related all of the days events to the two of them, ending with that special "funny" moment, and then I said, "You know, having the experience of homeschooling for so many years has really helped with teaching in the special ed class."

Keri Lynn looked at me a moment, and deadpanned, "Thanks."

But it's true. Teaching at a regular ed level requires much the same methodology as special ed. There still needs to be repetition. A teacher still needs to be aware of the child's strength and abilities. And there is still the excitement of seeing the student get it! I love that!