Saturday, June 27, 2009

My new ostrich nest

I got a much needed haircut today. So far, I have been told it looks like an ostrich nest, a spider web, and that I need more make-up or plastic surgery. I guess having kids and self esteem just don't go together!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Trip Update

Yay! I have a few minutes to blog. Remember I said I would have to wrestle Denise for computer time because she is a wee bit addicted? Well, I decided that trickery would work even better. I told her that there was a big truck outside that said "Facebook" on the side and she ran to the window to look. I scooted into the kitchen real quick and took over her computer! I have to type really fast, before she figures out it was a trick! Okay, I am exaggerating just a bit because Denise is disabled and can't really run, she actually jumped onto her Hoveround and drove over to the window! Jut kidding about that, too, since she is too stubborn to get a Hoveround. I have been trying to talk her into getting one for years because they look like so much fun!

We are having a good trip. Yesterday was a little stressful, with the heat and some drama with Steven, but today has been much better. The A/C is fixed and we got to go thrift store shopping. We picked up some good bargain clothes for the kids and prevented Hannah from exploding at the same time! She had been very anxious to go to the thrift store and that is putting it mildly. She has been asking and texting me about it since we got here. Yes, texting me from the same room at times. We decided that we had better go before she exploded.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


We are here! The hotel we are staying at (aka Nick and Denise's house) is lacking in a few amenities. Well, one amenity, anyway, AIR CONDITIONING! We are waiting for the A/C guy to come (this is like deja vu for me). Other than that, we are having a great time! At least this hotel has free internet access, so I can still blog. The kids are all having a great time and getting along well, as always.

Monday, June 22, 2009


I started this yesterday and I don't have time to finish it, so I'm posting, as is! Hope it makes sense!

A few days ago, Denise emailed me and told me that her husband and oldest son are going on a camping trip this week. She invited me and the kids to come stay with her. I was already planning a trip to her house at least once this summer, so it worked out well. I can help her with her younger kids while I'm there and Denise and I can have some much needed girl time together! Since Alex, Hannah, and Shauna will be going with me and they are great with kids, I'm sure they will be able to keep Denise's two youngest occupied some of the time, so Denise and I can relax a little bit.

I'm going to bring prepared meals with me, at least for most of the nights, so I don't have to do a ton of cooking while I'm there. The problem with that is, I have a bad cold and feel really, really yucky. Cooking is the last thing on my mind, but I'm going to have to buckle down and just do it, I guess. I will be happy that I made myself do it when I enjoying only having to heat meals up for dinner!

We also get to see Janine on this trip, so that will be fun. I will try to blog while I'm gone, but I will have to wrestle Denise for the computer!

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Hannah is going to a party tonight. It is being thrown at a country club by some of her friend's parents, as a celebration of their 6th grade year. They sent out cute little invitations that were like a message in a bottle, with little umbrellas and colored sand. Anyway, all this has nothing to do with my story!

Hannah called a few minutes ago and asked if I could drive her friend, Jasmine to the dance because she didn't have a ride. I told her to ask Jasmine where she lives before she tells her yes because I don't mind doing it but I really don't want to be driving all over the place, either. Well, in typical Hannah fashion, she didn't do that. She called me back and told me that Jasmine's mom would be calling me with directions. I asked where she lived. Hannah said Jasmine's mom told her, but she couldn't understand it. Ugh! I was mad at Hannah for once again not listening. I hung up really angry. A couple of minutes later, Jasmine's mom, Wanda, called me. She was very nice and thanked me profusely for driving her daughter to the dance. She told me that she was going through a terrible time because "I don't know if you've seen the news today, but that was my son on the news. I'm so upset and I don't know what to do and I don't want Jasmine to miss the party because it wasn't her fault, but I just can't deal with this right now." I told her that I hadn't seen the news about her son and she didn't offer any explanation. She sounded like she was way to upset to even think straight, let alone talk straight. I told her that I would make sure that Jasmine got to the party and home safely and she shouldn't worry about it. At this point, I was very curious as to what had happened with her son, of course! She gave me her address, which is on the other side of town, but not too much out of the way from where the party is being held. She thanked me several times, again, and I told her that I hoped that whatever was going on with her son would work out for the best. At this point, I'm thinking he was either injured, sick, dead, or in trouble with the law.

Now Hannah is going home from the party with her friend, Patti, and staying overnight at Patti's house, so I hadn't really planned to pick anyone up from the party and I was happy about that, but I guess that is just how it goes sometimes! After I hung up with Wanda, I put her last name and our town in a Google search and boy did I get my answer. Apparently this is the big story of the moment here in Williamsburg! I won't go into too much detail because I feel very sorry for this poor mom. Her son, who is 19, was wanted for committing some really big crimes, one here in Williamsburg last week and also several others in nearby towns. These crimes were violent and unusual for this area. From what I read, as soon as Wanda found out that her son was wanted, she contacted him and the friend who committed the crimes with him and told them to turn themselves in. She even escorted them to the police station to do so. She also said in the articles that she was shocked and didn't understand why her son would do this because he didn't want for anything. She said he worked at a fast food restaurant and she helped him with his bills and drove him wherever he needed to go.

A few years ago, I would probably have harshly judged this poor mom. I would have thought if her son was committing crimes like that, she must have been a poor role model, or a drug addict/alcoholic who didn't care about her kids, or at the very least, I would have thought that she must not have been very involved in his life. The things I have been through with some of my kids have really opened my eyes. Parents are not responsible for every choice that their children make. Even good, caring, loving, involved parents can have children who make mistakes and do bad things. Instead, I feel so much sorrow for that poor woman, since I know how she is feeling right now. It is painful enough to know that your child has committed crimes and made horrible choices, but on top of that you know that a whole lot of people are now judging you, your other children, your spouse, and your parenting ability. Or maybe I should say that a whole lot of people are now misjudging all of those things! I wish that all of those "perfect" people out there could understand this! I just realized that I'm actually thankful that the things I have gone through with some of my kids, the mental illness, the crimes, the substance abuse, and the disabilities, have all taught me not to be so quick to judge. I guess there is some truth to the old saying, "Whatever doesn't kill you, makes you stronger." Maybe that should be changed to "Whatever doesn't kill you, makes you stronger, more understanding, more grateful, and less judgemental."!

On a side note, when I hung up the phone, I had to explain the situation to Alex and Shauna, who had been in the room when I was talking and heard me, but were wondering what was going on. Alex said, "Oh, mom, you are the Good Samaritan! You are driving that girl, even though you don't have to drive Hannah. Jesus will have a golden chair for you to sit in when you get to Heaven!" What a funny kid! While I, in no way, feel I am a Good Samaritan nor is it my goal to sit in a golden chair in Heaven, I thought it was nice that he said that. Even though we are not a particularly religious family, I try really hard to teach my kids about right and wrong and how important caring for and giving to others is, and that comment shows me that he is getting it!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Quote of the day

We were talking about summer chores and I went into lecture mode and said that everyone is expected to do the chores they are assigned and I didn't want to hear one word about it, I just wanted it done and done well, blah, blah, blah. When I finish talking, I hear Hannah pipe up from the peanut gallery with, "And have a blessed day!"

This is so cool!

I have already posted WAY to much today, but I had to share this really neat coincidence. This was my 500th blog post!

It just so happens that I posted my 500th blog post on the first anniversary date of my blog! Now I'm going to pat myself on the back and celebrate by going to bed and getting a good night's sleep.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Rage Central

Well, more like mini tantrum central, actually. This morning, everything was off to a great start. I was straightening Hannah's hair and Mike was chilling in the family room with us, while he waited for Jack to get home from work with his car, so Mike could drive up to DC for work. We were having fun and joking around. Mike eventually left and Hannah went out to the car with him to bring in the coffee grounds that he had brought home from work on Thursday. They are for my compost pile. When Hannah carried the cans in, she held them against her chest and got a coffee ground stain on her shirt. Not good at all! It takes Hannah between a half an hour and two hours to pick out clothes for the day. She always does it the night before and wears them to bed, but don't get me started, I let the little things go. If you have a typical kid, you might not consider that a little thing, but for Hannah it really is. Now she had to leave for the bus in the next 2 minutes. Of course, she insists on going to the bus stop way too early, but she thinks she is late if she doesn't get out of the house at least 15 minutes before the bus comes. The stop is right in front of our house, so it isn't like she has a long walk.

Anyway, when she saw the stain, she freaked out! She started screaming that she would never be able to pick something else out before the bus came, etc. I tried to tell her we could spray a little Awesome spray on it and wipe it with a damp washcloth and it would probably come out. She was having none of it. She started screaming, well, not really screaming, but it is hard to describe. It was more like a long, deep rumbling grunt of total frustration. I know the sound well because I have made it myself in regards to some of her antics! She ran to the wall and started to kick it, then she ran to the french doors that lead to the living room and kicked those a bunch of times (they have glass in them, luckily, she only kicked the wood on the bottom), then she started kicking the bottom of the front door sidelight window. The whole time, she was emitting the uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh sound! No damage was done, other than some of the color from the sole of her shoe making a mark on the french door. At this point, I was trying to figure out just how she figured that taking the time to kick three different spots in the house would help her find a new shirt and get to the bus stop on time! She then ran upstairs, grabbed a different shirt and left.

She wants me to buy her a large punching bag to hang in her room. She thinks this would help her let out her rage in an acceptable manner. I think it would, if she is be able to keep it together long enough to actually go to the room to punch it. I have been looking for a cheap one on Craig's List and have even tried to ask for one on Freecycle, but no luck as of yet. I don't think one of those little balloon type ones would be effective. I think she needs the big, heavy kind and I know they are pretty expensive. We'll see what happens with that.

That was the mini tantrum. A few hours later, Steven woke up and the real fireworks began! Last week, when he got paid, he had cashed his check, kept out $30 for his weekly spending money, and given me the envelope with the rest of the money. Out of that, I was supposed to keep $25 for myself, since I had loaned him $25 and pay his bills with the rest. On Saturday, Mike had taken the money, to pay the bills and anything left into Steven's bank account. We have an account that is in his name and Mike's and Steven isn't authorized to withdraw from it. Since he isn't great about saving, this is the only way for him to save to get his car fixed. Mike forgot to leave Steven's weekly $30 spending money. So, following in his sister's footsteps, Steven decided to freak out, also. He didn't kick anything. He just yelled and said all kinds of mean, untrue and irrational things to me. Let's highlight a few of the really lovely ones. "I want to see a deposit slip because I make all kinds of money and it all disappears once Dad gets it." "This is bull sh*t." "I work all week and have all my money taken away." I could go on for a while, but you get the picture.

This happened twice. After I accused him of being rude, disrespectful and ungrateful, which I'm sure he wasn't listening to, as he was still screaming, I told him to get out of the house. I really don't have to listen to that crap in my own home. He went outside for about 10 minutes and I saw one of his friends come over. Then he came back in and started up again with the exact same drivel. I said the exact same thing I said the first time and then just refused to engage. He went back out in front with his friend. I emailed Mike and he called me and helped me calm down because although I handle things like this all the time and don't usually get that upset, this time I did. I think that it has to do with the fact that I took such good care of this kid when he got his dog bite and surgery. While I feel that it is my job and privilege to do so, as his mother, and I am really happy to do it and don't expect any thank you or reward for doing it, I also don't feel I deserve to be treated like that!

I think Mike called Steven's cell phone and talked to him because after about 20 more minutes, he came in and apologized (not sure how sincere it was, but it wasn't nasty) and asked if I could get the money from the ATM and then take it out of his bank account. Funny thing is, that is what I was first trying to tell him I would do when he started screaming at me!

Okay, just to get this straight. We have never stolen money from him, even though he is convinced that we have. We have taken small amounts at times (about $20-30 a month, with his knowledge) to help pay for the large balance we still owe from his 2 1/2 years of substance abuse treatment. As a matter of fact, we have supported him since April 10th, when he had his surgery. This support included changing bandages, keeping medication records and making sure he actually took them on time, driving back and forth to various hospitals, 4 specialists, physical therapy and administering IV's 24 hours a day. Not to mention the monetary help and food we provided when he couldn't work for several weeks in February and March, after the dog bite. We have paid almost all of his medical copays, for 2 ER treatments, surgery, and therapy. We haven't asked for one red cent in rent. We paid 3 months of his car payment when he was out of work for 7 weeks, even though paying it caused us to have to put groceries on a credit card which will probably never be paid off in our lifetime. And WE are stealing from HIM? Are you kidding me???????

Okay, I'm done, but that felt really good! Not sure how much sense it all makes and I don't have the energy right now to proof read, so it is going to get posted, as is. Steven behaved the rest of the day, so did Hannah. All in all Steven has been WAY better than he used to be. If I compare the way he was one year ago and the way he is today, I can't believe the difference. That makes it a lot easier to stomach what happened today. A year ago, I would think he really meant all those mean things, but now I know that he is as grateful as he can be and controls his temper as well as he is capable of doing. At times, it is obvious that he has to work very hard to do that, but he is doing it consistently. Shauna now likes him again, most times anyway. A year ago, she would cry every day and ask me when he was moving out. He is a lot of fun to be around 80-90% of the time now, as opposed to 10% or less one year ago. I call that real progress!

Fruit garden update and pictures

Strawberries on the left, cantaloupe in the middle and watermelon on the right. After a very slow start, the cantaloupe and watermelon plants have finally started to take off.
This bed has strawberries, and two rows of cantaloupe

This has nothing to do with the fruit garden, but this is one of the rose bushes that Mike took out a few weeks ago. Someone forgot to tell it that it had been removed and discarded! That just goes to show you how resilient and prolific fairy roses can be.
This is the very overgrown garden just off the back deck. We put most of this in about 8 years ago and it now needs some attention, but I don't think it will get it this year. In this view, you can see the day lilies, several pink fairy rose bushes and part of the gorgeous climbing New Dawn on the fence. A couple of weeks ago, this area was covered with pink blooms. It was so pretty, but I don't think I got any pictures. There is also a very small crape myrtle tree just behind those fairies, that needs to be transplanted to the front yard. It just doesn't get enough sunlight to grow and bloom as it is right on the edge of the where the thickly forested yard area begins. My mom gave it to me many years ago and it only grows an inch or two a year and has never bloomed. I hope we can get that moved soon. The front yard crape myrtle should be blooming soon. Most of the other varieties are already in full bloom around here, but mine is a very late blooming variety called Sioux. I don't expect it to start blooming for a few more weeks.

A close up of one of the day lilies. This one is a very unusual reddish/deep pink color, almost maroon in the middle. Very pretty, with large blooms.

Backyard garden update and pictures

Look at all these Roma tomatoes! There are at least 15-20 on each plant and I have 6 plants. I can't wait to make homemade tomato sauce.

One row of carrots and one row of heirloom tomatoes. A lot of the carrots look pretty much ready to pick. I'm going to let them get a little bigger and then start to harvest them.
A close up of one of the heirloom plants. I won't know what kind they are until they ripen. I ordered 12 assorted plants and they send one each of the 14 varieties they carry, so it will be interesting to see which ones do well. Next year I will probably order the ones that we like the best, instead of the variety pack, but you never know!

Our new middle school student, checking out the garden

Is this the cutest zucchini you have ever seen? I never really thought of zucchini as being cute, but this is the first one I've ever grown myself and they are pretty darn adorable! This one is the biggest and there are several really tiny little guys, as well.

The strawberry plants are growing like crazy and starting to send out runners. I'm going to pot those up and plant them somewhere else. The cauliflower is growing really slowly and it is getting eaten by something. I can't tell if bugs or rabbits are responsible. I think maybe both. Some of the leaves were stripped off and some have holes in them. I think Mikey might have to staple some additional fencing around the bed. It looks like rabbits are eating some of the zucchini blossoms and tiny zucchinis, as well. So far, it doesn't seem like bugs are a huge problem. I haven't used any kind of bug control at all, but I think I might have some problems with that as the summer progresses. The bush beans and cucumbers I planted recently are growing quickly, unlike the broccoli, which is barely doing anything. Oh, it is growing, but is still really small. According to the seed packets, I should be harvesting cauliflower and broccoli by now and they aren't even close. I'm wondering if so much rain this year and not enough sun has played a part in the slow development?

Garden update with pictures-front porch

Basil, Sweet Alyssum, and Viola

I was so excited to go out on the front porch today and see this cute little violas blooming. I had kind of forgotten about them and suddenly there they were! I've never planted these before, so I wasn't sure what to expect. Usually my front porch plants are dead or dying by this time of summer because I forget to water them, but this year mother nature took care of that by raining almost every single day for the past two and a half months!
I had to crop my foot out of this one! Excuse the broken to bits planter, it is 9 years old and I think it is time to replace it.

Graduation Pictures

Dad, Shauna, and Mom

Daddy and his baby girl

Shauna and her bestest friend

Shauna and Alex

Shauna and Gramma

Last day of school

Today was the last day of school for the 4 youngest kids. For Luke it was the last day of Junior Year, for Alex it was the last day of middle school, for Hannah it was the last day of 6th Grade, and for Shauna it was the last day of elementary school. Wow, I can't believe they are getting so old!

Shauna was pretty sad about the last day, but Sydney is having a sleepover for the girls, so she was also excited about that. She is also excited that some of the boys from her class are having a sleepover in our neighborhood and both sleepover factions will be heading to the pool at the same time! She and I were talking yesterday, as we traveled to Walmart to get some craft supplies so she could make necklaces for her best friends, and she was telling me about her class this year. I've heard all of this before, over the year, but it was nice to hear it again. She told me how this class was so close and everyone got along so well and no one was mean. Well, except for LaParis and Jaquel, who were mean to everyone the first 6 weeks or so, but then got much nicer. Jaquel, apparently, is actually quite funny! LaParis, who has a history of being mean to Shauna and talking about her behind her back (to Hannah!), really improved this year, so that was great. I was a little worried at the beginning of the year because Shauna kept coming home upset that those two were making fun of her. The sad thing is that this great group of friends will be split next year, as not all of them will be funneled to the same middle school. Most of them will be together again in high school, but that won't be the same, I'm sure.

Hannah didn't have much to say about the last day, just that it was "good". She did her chores and took off to go to Larkinya's and Kidsburg.

Alex is here, reminding me of a few of the reasons why summer vacation can be stressful! I already had to give him his 100th lesson in proper vacuuming technique. He uses the "flower girl" method. You know how the flower girl walks down the aisle and just randomly throws petals from side to side, in the middle of the room? That is how he vacuums. He uses as many strokes in the entire 22' x 22' foot room as I use in a 4' x 4' area! The good news is that he only needed to be told which things he had missed while straightening the family room about 20 times and he only had to be told to watch his smart mouth 2 or 3 times! Woo, it is going to be one great summer around here!

Yay "Furnace Guy"!

The repairman just left, after returning to once again attempt to fix the upstairs air conditioning unit. It turned out that the fuse that had blown had burnt out the ground (I have no idea what I am talking about, but he said something like that). He replaced some wires and was done in about 40 minutes or so. Best part of all, he didn't charge us a penny! If you live in Hampton Roads and need a great A/C/Heat guy, let me know. I sent Alex upstairs to see if cool air was coming out of the vents and I heard a loud WHOOOOO! I would have scolded him not to yell when CUP is trying to sleep, but in this case, the WHOOOOO! was well deserved, so I didn't.

Monday, June 15, 2009


Well, my excitement over the low price to fix the furnaces and A/C was very short-lived. The A/C is blowing, but it isn't cold! I am going to call the repairman tomorrow morning and hope that the next repair isn't expensive. Now I'm worried again! Ugh.

Furnaces and A/C

Whew! The "furnace guy", as I call him, just left. Our downstairs furnace has been broken for many years and I was too afraid to call and get it fixed because I thought it was going to cost a fortune. Last winter, the upstairs furnace stopped working, as well. That was a much bigger problem because the kid's bedrooms are upstairs. We have the fireplace downstairs, so we didn't freeze, but no fireplace upstairs. Then the upstairs air conditioning stopped working. I don't think it is possible to live where we do without air conditioning. I'm sure some people do, but I can't imagine it. I knew I had to call and get it fixed. While the repairman was here, I said a quick prayer that it wouldn't cost too much because we really need that money for much more important things. I owe a huge thank you to God because the total for fixing both furnaces and the air conditioning, plus a new thermostat was only $300!!!! I can't tell you how relieved I am, I was thinking it would be thousands. Now I can relax and enjoy Shauna's graduation without that hanging over my head.

Yay, Me!

No, the title of my post is not a quote from London, on "The Suite Life Of Zach and Cody"! (Can you tell I have two pre-teen girls???) Today is the first anniversary of my first post! Yay, Me! I really didn't think I would ever have the discipline to blog regularly. Even though I get some good-natured ribbing from a few friends and family members about not posting often enough, I think I've done a pretty good job of keeping up with this. So BOOM, you nay-sayers (mainly CUP!).

This is my very first post. I really have expanded my horizons!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Stuff from the week

I had some things I wanted to blog about, but can't remember them all now that I am actually blogging! This was a really busy week. CUP started his job at Walgreens this week and so far he likes it. I really have not seen him much because he is closed up in his room all day and I'm terrified to call him or go in there, in case he is sleeping. He tweeted that he had only slept for 6 or 7 hours the other day, but I only saw him for about 15 minutes, so obviously he was awake, but not coming downstairs. I'm going to have to try to figure out his patterns because I need his help around here!

Alex, Shauna and I did a thrift store run on Wednesday to get a graduation outfit for Alex. He picked his clothes out himself and did a great job. He got a pair of Izod dress pants in like-new condition for $4.99 and a green dress shirt for $2.50. Since he doesn't wear dress clothes that often, it didn't make sense to spend a fortune for new things. I did have to stay up until 2 am, hemming the pants, but that was because I was driving him to his performance, going home and making dinner, picking him up from his performance and then I was on the phone.

I found out on Wednesday that my friend, Debbie's, dog had died. Debbie is my friend from Chicago, we lived next door to each other and are still very close friends, even though we don't see each other every day any more! Debbie got 4 dogs after we moved, when she got the first, she joked that the dog was my replacement. One of the dogs died, unexpectedly, and I knew she would be devastated. I called and Debbie wasn't home, but I had a nice long talk with her daughter, Jenna. Jenna is 17, like Luke and Debbie and I have arranged a marriage between the two of them. They have known each other since they were both two months old, so we feel they should end up together. Since moms are always right, an arranged marriage seems like a perfect plan! Debbie called back later in the evening and we talked for a long time. It was nice to talk to her, but I wish it hadn't been because Bootsie died.

Oh, back to Alex's graduation. It was supposed to be on Friday, June 12th. On Wednesday, Alex came home from school and asked when we were going shopping for his clothes. I told him we would go Thursday, after he got home from school. He told me the graduation was the next day, not Friday. I argued with him and went to the school website to prove him wrong. There was no mention of the graduation on the school website. How dumb is that? Anyway, I then checked my email and sure enough, I found the emails telling me it was the 12th and also another email, saying the date was changed. I hadn't paid any attention to the other email because it was about the 8th grade dance, which he couldn't attend because he had a performance that night. You would think they would have sent an email with the subject line of graduation date changed or something! Thanks goodness he didn't already have dress clothes or I would have missed the graduation. As it is, Mike and my mom both missed it (well my mom got there a few minutes before it ended) because they both had to work and couldn't get off at the last minute.

Renee and I went out for lunch on Tuesday. Her favorite restaurant was closing and she wanted me to try it before it did. It was really good! I had a delicious roast beef sandwich and an equally delicious mocha iced coffee. It also has a Native American gift shop attached, so I bought a medicine wheel for Alex for his graduation. It was in Sioux colors, which I didn't know when I picked it out, but the store owner told me as I check out. I was excited about that because Alex is Sioux and I don't often find Sioux items in Virginia. It was also actually made by a Native American, which makes it even cooler! Alex was slow to warm up to the gift, as I made the mistake of giving it to him at school and he was embarrassed (doesn't take much to embarrass a 14 year old, I do it every day, just by existing!). Once we got home, he seemed to enjoy it quite a bit more.

The air conditioning upstairs is still broken. I called the A/C guy and he was originally going to come on Thursday, but then I realized Alex's graduation was that day, so I changed it to Friday. I talked to him on Friday and he said he was stuck at Hershey's ice cream (the plant, I guess) in Richmond and it was taking way longer than he thought it would. He said he would try to come before the end of the night, but he never made it, so he will be by at 8:30 on Monday morning. Please keep your fingers crossed for an inexpensive fix! He is also going to check both of my broken furnaces.

I'm off to finish braiding Shauna's hair for her 5th grade graduation on Monday. So far it is coming out very well. This is my first time braiding with extensions, so I didn't have very high hopes. I usually take her to have her hair braided, but the girl who does it wouldn't do it the way she wanted for some reason. Shauna has been trying to get it done this way for about a year and a half now and the girl kept making excuses for not being able to do it this way. It is weird because I think this way is easier and less time consuming than the way she was doing it. Luke is my helper, as he is burning the ends for me, which I can't seem to do with only two hands. I must be missing the trick on this because I should be able to do it by myself. I think I might need to get some tips from my friend, Jen, on this one because I know she is good at it! I keep wishing I had one of her girls here to help me with the braiding. They are all really good at it.

Alex's 8th grade graduation

Alex graduated from 8th grade last Thursday. The ceremony was actually very nice, as opposed to Steven and Luke's ceremonies at the same school. The older boy's ceremonies were really long and boring and it had to be 90 degrees in the school gym. It was warm, but comfortable enough at Alex's and the speakers were short, to the point, and for the most part, interesting. Alex got nominated to give one of the kid speeches, but didn't make the final cut. They picked 4 out of 12 kids nominated to actually give speeches. The girls who gave them did a good job, but one had only been at the school for 1 out of 3 years, so she didn't have all that much to say that was meaningful.

After the graduation, my mom took me and Alex out to lunch. We had a delicious lunch, although the restaurant service was extremely slow. They just started opening for lunch and I don't know if they had people who didn't show up or they just weren't properly prepared, but they only had one guy working the whole room. He joked that he was also cooking and I think he might have been, as he was disappearing into the back for long periods of time! Once the food finally came, it was really yummy and none of us passed out from starvation before it arrived, so that was good.

Monday, June 8, 2009

New teacher meeting

I had the meeting with Hannah's current special ed teacher and the new teacher who will be her special ed teacher next year. I am so relieved. The current teacher is wonderful and I have loved, loved, loved her. I was so afraid that next year all the progress Hannah has made would just fall to pieces. After spending about an hour with the new teacher today, I am feeling so much better. She seems every bit as wonderful as this year's teacher! They have pretty much all the same ideas and they run things pretty much the same, so it will be consistent with this year. Yay!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Another driver!

I can't believe I forgot to write about Luke getting his driver's license! He got it on Thursday. It is really nice to have an extra driver, especially since my other driver got a job and will now probably be sleeping most of the time I need help. Steven will be getting his license back next week, as well. Luke has already been a huge help this weekend and has driven quite a few times. He is out right now, picking Hannah up from her friend's house and getting gas. He even drove himself and Steven over to Will's house the other day to play video games and to Stephen B's another day, so at least he had some fun in addition to just driving kids here and there.

Hannah went to a sleep over last night and only slept for two hours yet insisted on going to another friend's house today. I'm actually glad that she went because if she stayed home, she would have slept all day and not been able to sleep tonight. I'm sure she is going to be exhausted when she gets home.

Alex and I went to a play today that the little kids in his drama group were doing. It was really two plays and they were so cute. Alex and his friends had done the same plays several years ago and they were all comparing themselves to the ones today. My friend, Renee's son was in the plays and we made arrangement to go out again. Even though we just went and hadn't planned to go again so soon, her favorite sandwich restaurant is closing on June 15th, so she wants me to try it before it is gone. I just hope I don't love it, since it will be closing so soon! I am looking forward to it, though.

I just got a call from Hannah's teacher about a meeting she is having tomorrow with the 7th grade resource teacher, who Hannah will have next year. She invited me to come and I've been anxious to meet her and hoping like heck that she is even half as good as this year's teacher!

Mike, Shauna and I (mostly Mike!) have been working on Shauna's new (Steven's old) room. It needed a LOT of work! It is all painted now, a beautiful sky blue color, with white trim. It looks awesome. Now we have to install the new sub floor and put the new tile floor on top of that. Then she can move in and we have to start working on Hannah's room. Ah, the fun never ends! I will try to get some pictures to post, but I can't find the kid's camera, which has the card for my camera in it. I can't complain since, technically, it is their card, I have just commandeered it for my camera.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Mom's day out

I rarely go out by myself. A few times a year, I go out to lunch with my mom and I do go out with Mike once in a while. For the most part, though, I stay home with the kids and I like it that way. Once in a while though it is so much fun to get out with an adult friend. I did that today and had a wonderful time! Alex has a friend named Amberly. They met at drama class and have been friends for almost 5 years now. I have always enjoyed talking to Amberly's mom, Renee, and couple of times both of our families have gotten together and gone out. Renee has four kids and they are all great kids. Renee and I have been talking about going out to lunch for a few months now and just finally got it together to do it today. We went to TGI Friday's and ended up gabbing for over 3 hours! We went for lunch and the place was filling up for dinner by the time we left! Renee joked that maybe we should just stay and order another meal!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Doctor results

The doctor doesn't think Shauna has the flu because she doesn't have any body aches. Duh, why didn't I think of that? She did a strep test and it was negative. Barring any other symptoms coming up in the next day, the doctor is confident that Shauna has a virus that is going around. She told me the name of it, but I couldn't repeat it if you paid me! Shauna is resting and her only complaint, other than feeling just plain yucky is a sore throat.

Shauna update

Shauna slept until after 12:00 today, she was really exhausted. I took her temperature early this morning and it was 96.9. Hmm, it went from 102.9 to 96.9. I am taking her to the doctor at 2:00, so we will at least know if she has the flu. She got the flu mist this year, which should cover her for 9 months, so if it is the flu, it must be one of the types not covered. She is awake now and feeling pretty yucky and now she has a sore throat, but no headache or neck pain.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


When I went to pick Shauna and Sydney up after their DC trip, their chaperone told me that Shauna hadn't needed to take the ibuprofen I provided. I was so relieved because I had been worried all day that she might be feeling sick on the trip. Then I saw Shauna and we started walking back to the car. She told me that she wasn't feeling well and that her neck was hurting. Ugh! We got home and took her temperature and it was 102.9! To be fair to the chaperone, she didn't look like she was sick at all and Shauna didn't say anything to her, so there was no way she could have known she was sick. I couldn't even tell when I saw her. I gave her a dose of ibuprofen as soon as we got home and her temp came down a little, although it is still 101.6. I'm kind of worried about the sore neck, thinking possible meningitis, but I have been checking her every few minutes and she said her neck is not sore anymore. I would think if it were meningitis, it wouldn't stop hurting. She is going to sleep in my bed tonight so I can keep a close eye on her, but I'm thinking she has the flu. I'm going to take her to the doctor tomorrow for a flu test.

Swine Flu

Luke came home from school today and told me that someone at his school has Swine Flu. He doesn't know the boy, but he is good friends with a boy who spent last Sunday with the Flu Boy and that is the day that he came down with it. So, hopefully, Luke hasn't been exposed. I know they are saying it isn't any worse than any other flu, but I would rather not have any kids with flu at all!

Washington DC

Shauna is on her 5th grade trip to Washington DC today. She was so excited this morning. We had to get up at 4:30 to have her and her friend, Sydney, to the school by 5:30. I hope they don't run into any bad weather, as I can hear storms rumbling to the west of us and I know some severe weather is expected for many parts of Virginia today. They are planning to arrive back at the school at about 7:30 tonight.

Yesterday, when she got home from school, Shauna wasn't feeling well. She had a head ache and was sneezing like crazy. We couldn't tell if she was coming down with something or if it was allergies, but no matter what, she felt crappy. She was so worried that she would have to miss the trip. She has been taking Claritin for allergies, but on the pediatrician's advice, I had bought some Zrytec, so she took that last night. I guess it worked because she felt better this morning. I gave her some ibuprofen before she left and gave her chaperone some more for later in the day, so I'm hoping she didn't run into any problems.

CUP's big news!

CUP got a full time job today! Yay, Yay, Yay! (Yes, this is worthy of three yays, probably more, I'm just too lazy to type them all in!) The job isn't what he wants, but it will be some money coming in and, hopefully, he will be able to find something in his college major soon. He will be working at the same Walgreens that Drew is at, but he will be on the overnight shift. They are open 24 hours during the spring and summer. He starts on Friday. I'm really excited, not only that he will be working, but also that he will now be able to take over paying his bills, which we have been doing. That is a large burden taken from us, which is much needed. I am worried, though, about how he is going to get any sleep during the day this summer. When all the kids are home, it isn't exactly quiet around here!

Alex's Show

Alex goes to a performing arts school, not a day school, but an after school school. He is in the Musical Theater program. I know I posted about it before, mentioning that he got a scholarship to attend. He attended a couple of years ago, but we just couldn't afford it anymore. He found out a few months ago that they were offering scholarships for boys and he applied and was accepted. He has learned so much there and I'm really glad he has been able to go. He is dying to take private voice lessons there, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the owner will let him do that next year.

Anyway, they always do an end of the year program, highlighting what they have learned during the year. Each class and the private lesson students did a dance or song and it was really wonderful. We went in, not expecting much, but ended up being treated to what, at most times, seemed like a professional performance! The costumes were beautiful. Too bad I forgot my camera! Alex, unfortunately, only participated in one song and dance, but he did a great job. The show was a lot of fun and my Aunt Louise, who is here visiting from Florida and my Mom came along, so I'm glad it was a good show!

After the show, we went home, planning to make eat at home, but we then decided to go out to dinner. Alex really wanted to and since he hasn't been home much at all for the past 4 months or so, we decided to splurge and go out. The only kids who wanted to go were Alex and Shauna. We went to Red, Hot and Blue, which was really good. We had a GREAT time! It was just a fun and funny, relaxing time. It was nice to have Mike along with us, since when he is home, he is usually really tired and sleeping or busy doing stuff around the house. Several funny things happened, but the main one was that I had my cell phone in my purse and whenever I got a text message, it says, "message received". Alex thought that was SO embarrassing! It was actually quite low and since it was in my purse, I don't think anyone around us could hear it. Plus there weren't even that many people in the restaurant, since it was pretty late when we finally got there.

After a few minutes of Alex teasing me about being embarrassing, he proceeded to drop his cell phone down between the end of the booth bench and the wall. He tried to get it out with butter knives, his hand, his flip flop, etc., with no luck. Mike, being silly, decided to call the phone. Alex had his ring on pretty loud and his ring tone is an obnoxious, rap-type song. So suddenly, we and the people sitting anywhere near us, hear "turn my head right round" music! Mike says, "And you had the nerve to say that Mom was embarrassing!" We had quite a few laughs over that and some other things, while we enjoyed a delicious BBQ dinner. Eventually when we still couldn't get the phone out ourselves, our server came over and tried to help. She first brought a broom stick from the back and tried that, but it wouldn't fit in between. Then she brought a bunch of kitchen gadgets with long handles, like a slotted spoon and tongs. Nothing worked. Finally, Alex tried pulling the bench out from the wall (which the server had said couldn't be done because it was attached!). Well, lo and behold, it was not attached, although it certainly did look like it was. Alex was able to rescue his phone, thank goodness.