Saturday, July 05, 2014

It's been WEEKS already?? Whoops!

Whoops! It's been ... almost a whole month since I last let you know that ... I'm alive and all.
My abject apologies.

Where did I leave off? June 12th?

Okay ... here's the recap:

  • I donated blood. And I can take a little pride in the fact that I'm a FAST bleeder. Yeah, go me, right?
    Michael took off from work early so that he could make it to the blood drive, too.
    At first, he was going to swing by and pick up the kids, take them home, and I'd come home asap so he could run back to the church and donate blood.
    We decided to take a risk and have him stay. The kids would ride home with him, in his pretty work truck (He finally got it! And it's PRETTY. Everyone's all, "Oh! You got a new truck!" and we have to correct them that, no, it's not really OURS; it belongs to his office, but he gets to drive it around. (I do not get to drive it around. Which really does not break my heart too much. It's HUGE. Even with the back-up camera, I'm nervous enough driving as is.)
    The kids were getting terribly ansty ... so, once I made sure that I wasn't going to have a drop in blood pressure (where I get all clammy and pass out. It's happened before. Fun times. NOT.), I schlepped them home with VERY STRONG PHRASING of how I expect them to behave. Michael got home a bit later. 
  • Also, Bruise earned his Wolf Badge and his Gold Arrow Point for Scouting. And I've gotten those badges (and his badge for the pinewood derby) sewn onto his shirt. The embroidery hoop I bought at Hobby Lobby made this SO FLIPPING MUCH EASIER.
  • My mom spent the night a few weeks ago. Michael and I had a Stake Temple trip that we wanted to attend. We got to do an endowment session and then a chapel session (I love those chapel meetings. They make me happy. It's great to get insights from the Temple President).
  • We've started our town's "Passport Program" for the summer (Kids get a "passport" and they can earn a stamp at each participating business/attraction [like a wetland park or a historic site]). Most things are downtown, but some are out a bit [e.g., the mill]. And each stamp is an entry into a drawing at the end of the summer). It's fun. 
  • Then we had Fathers' Day ... I got Michael a shaving stuff kit. The kids (with my mom's help) got him bags of snacks (decorated with construction-paper ties) and a framed picture of them (they decorated the frame) for display at work. We also had a BBQ over at Michael's folks' place.
  • Then we had the last week of school -- there was an assembly, which the kids barely let me know about (they were recognized for good behavior and good attendance -- earned themselves each a school t-shirt!), and a "fun day" at school, which had Bruise return home with a slight sunburn across his nose (Whoops, bad mom, forgetting sunscreen!).
  • Bucket chipped a tooth (front, yes, it's a permanent tooth), playing peek-a-boo before Activity Days. It'll get fixed (permanently, mostly) on this coming Friday.
  • We took the kids to the mill for a picnic (and a tour). They had fun grinding wheat. We were quite spoiled by our tour guide. We even got to feed ducks, chickens, and turkeys at the end.
  • The missionaries for our ward (sisters missionaries) spent a day over here so they could get their laundry done. It was pretty fun. One of them is, for all purposes, my long-lost little sister ... if I had a little sister into K-Pop that I was ever aware of. We have fun together.
  • The kids had a six-month dental check-up. Bucket needs to go back and get her tooth chip fix. Bruise has a small cavity (we need to work on flossing better). Bubbles HATES having anyone put their hands in her mouth ... but she's looking good!
  • We've been trying to make it to most of the ward playdates (a gal at church created a little schedule for the summer. And it's been fun. Bruise and Bucket are the oldest kids going, but since we're meeting at parks or a splash pad, they have a good time, too).
  • Our Summer Reading Program featured a storytime by a recently-retired children's librarian that we LOVE (and have desperately missed). It was lots of fun.
  • We headed down to visit my side of the family. We stopped by Michael's work and then a children's museum (he dropped us off, since I'm not allowed to drive the work truck ... and he had an errand to run) and then headed down to visit my Dad and L, then my Nana (and uncle and aunt that she's living with), and Mom and C.
  • Then back for church on Sunday.
  • The kids played outside Monday morning. I needed to run to the store (where, in line, I noticed something in Bucket's hair ... lice. AGAIN).
    Turns out that both the older kids had head lice. We treated it and haven't seen ANYTHING since.
    So I'm totally a fan of LiceFreee! ... Yeah, I'm a convert. Saw it randomly at Wal-Mart when I was getting stuff the LAST time the kids had lice. Didn't use it then ... but tried it this time (since it was what I had on hand). It's gentler on the kids' heads; you can use/redo it as often as you like; the lice don't evolve an immunity to it; and it smells PRETTY DANG GOOD (like anise/black licorice).
  • Since it's been nearly a week without seeing a single louse or egg, I'm STARTING to get over the psychosomatic itching. STARTING to.
  • Bruise and Bucket started swimming lessons with Bob, their absolute favorite instructor. This is the first time that we're doing private swimming lessons. There was noticeable improvement just in their first lesson. I'm eager to see how they improve from this next lesson.
And, well, that should get us just about all caught up.
Michael reported to me that our new(er) vacuum has stopped working. Boo on that. Good thing we hadn't gotten rid of our older vacuum (wedding present from my Nana), so the house looks really nice.

I'm still working on my Rosetta Stone (Spanish), Memrise and Duolingo (Spanish, German, and French). Michael tells me that I should practice my French on folks in the ward (congregation) ... and Iwas slightly incredulous/sarcastic.
"What, you think I should go up to someone and be all, 'He is eating a black apple.', ;You are big and strong.' ... They're going to be all, 'Are you calling me fat?'"

But, I'll admit that my German skills are getting better (that Dative case, though. It's my nemesis) and I'm getting much better at reading/writing in Spanish and French. I still leave TONS of room for improvement, but I'm growing.

Bubbles is using her words a lot more. Which is nice.
She's also throwing EPIC, screaming tantrums. And biting. Both of which I will not be at all sorry when she gets over these stepping stones to big-kid-dom.
We need to get back into practice for potty-training. Wish me luck on that.

Michael and my tablets are now upgraded to Android KitKat.
We had to replace some of out shortcuts on the screen ... besides that, it's quite nice.
And my phone FREAKED ME OUT this morning ... couldn't recognize the SD card.
Just had to restart and it was all fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiIIIIIIIIIIIIIiiiiiiiiiiiine.
Thank goodness.

And we upgraded our phone account a bit ... we now have Caller ID on our landline, which is VERY nice.
Now I can avoid scammers and all those surveys. And I can return people's calls easily when they call that number.
AND our internet is about 4 times faster. Yaaaaaaas, I like that. A lot.
(Sure made downloading the KitKat update [619 MB] a LOT faster.)

We had a nice Independence Day. It was low-key. We hung around town, went for a walk through the wetlands park (saw a garter snake, lots of bullfrogs, a blue heron, some turtles, tons of ducks and ducklings, bunches of dragonflies, a couple caterpillars, a cute spider [white with pink spots, laying in wait on a Queen Anne's lace] ... good times. Then we went home, ate burgers, watched Thor:The Dark World (the kids hadn't seen it), and, eventually did some small fireworks in the street.

Bruise and Bucket are working their way through their second-grade level workbooks ... and I have third-grade level ones (and fourth-grade ones) waiting, so they'll be ready and prepared for school in ... another eight weeks.

This month is starting to get really busy -- soccer lessons (2x/wk), swim lessons (1/wk), park playdates (1/wk), and the passport program and the Summer Reading Program activities ... and I'd like to head out to the zoo and aquarium and OMSI and places.
And I need to get Bruce working a bit more on his other arrow points, if he wants to earn them!
And we can do some activities for Bruise and Bucket's Faith in God booklets.

And I SHOULD be finishing all my library books and all the housework.
Oh well.

But, overall, things are going pretty well.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Another week gone by ...

So, where did we last leave off?

Okay, Friday was Michael's birthday. It was a quiet celebration.
We went out to dinner with the kids (Thai food, yummm).
(It was a little busy at the restaurant. And we thought we had ordered a Pad Thai for Bubbles AND Bucket each ... so, when meals came out, Bruise didn't have a plate. And he started to cry.
So, I had to take what WAS his plate from Bubbles ... and she was horribly cranky [as is wont for a two-year-old] and started a tantrum at NOT getting a pretty Fiestaware plate ... so Bucket volunteered to have HER serving on an appetizer plate ... and peace was restored again. Thankfully.)
Michael's folks dropped by a birthday card (with a gift card -- Date night!). My mom got him some button-up shirts. I got him the latest Barker and Llewellyn novel (just came out a couple weeks ago). My dad and L sent him a birthday card.
Saturday, we took the kids to the Home Depot Kids' thing -- and they made little wooden riding lawnmowers. They even got to paint them ... even Bubbles. And she and I bought some more plants (a rosemary for outside and a couple aloes to share a pot inside).
Then we walked around the Farmers' Market. The kids bought honey sticks. And we went home ... where Michael spent the rest of the weekend sick as a dog. Poor guy.
I was going to go out solo to the new Hobby Lobby ... but I didn't want to shuffle ALL the kids on him if he's feeling poorly. (And THAT is an understatement. He was horribly ill.)
Sunday, he wasn't feeling well enough to go to church. I was substituting in Nursery for a friend. Bubbles was QUITE out of sorts. By the end of church, I really was ready for a break (Sundays lately have had the schedule of: church, make the kids lunch, Michael naps on the couch while Bubbles takes a nap, the kids go out to play, and Mommy has some quiet, alone time in the bedroom. ... I did NOT get my fortress of solitude. I read on the bed next to Michael as he coughed and dozed and ran for the bathroom, poor guy. That virus was a fierce one.)
(Did Bubbles throw up on Friday or Saturday night? I can't recall. It's all flowed together ...)
Monday, Michael was still not doing well enough to go to work.
Mom C came and picked up Bubbles for the day, since I was helping to chaperone Bruise and Bucket's field trip on the coast.
We ended up giving a lift to R and her son, T. (We LOVE their family. And it was lovely to get a chance to chat with her. She's really one of the nicest people ever. And that is NOT an exaggeration at all.) They were catching the bus back home, so it was fine ... since we were going to head straight from the coast to Mom C's to fetch Bubbles.
It was a good thing that we chose to drive. One of the buses broke down just out of our town ... so it was about a half hour later than the other buses. Of course, the buses were all off to a later start. Somehow, instead of receiving 500 breakfasts for the students (the school provides free breakfasts for all students), they only got 200. They tried to see if they could get the other 300 ... which took a while. It ended up that they just split what they had among all the students on the bus.
At first, I was a little worried ... would I have enough time to get my group (I had five kids in my care: Bruise, Bucket, two girls and another boy) through everything at the aquarium before we needed to take them back to the bus (and sign out my kids so we could get Bubbles).
I should not have worried. The two hours I ended up with was sufficient. A little rushed at parts, but sufficient. We missed the otter feeding; it was so very crowded that we couldn't see anything, so we hit the touch pool instead. The kids got to play for 20 minutes or more at the play area ... and we headed back through the other way, since the kids really liked seeing the sharks. We went and played at the touch pool a little more (Bucket FINALLY faced her fears and touched just about everything. She's liked touching the sea anemones and sea stars in the past ... she finally also touched a sea cucumber and a sea urchin. YES!). Then, instead of going to the other indoor play area (it's a fish market), we HAD to get to a bathroom for the kids.
I had been warned that one student might pull some attitude with me ... I didn't have a problem with him at all. A couple fist bumps and some praise on good answers/excellent vocabulary choices ... it was all fine.
However, one of the two girls got her heart set on going to the gift shop to get a present for her mom ... but in all the paperwork sent home, it was stated that we were to AVOID the gift shop. The principal, herself, reiterated that we shouldn't go.
And, since I said no ... and her teacher said no ... well, this girl was rather pouty about it.
And so she'd run ahead of us and hide (seriously, if I start showing more grey hairs, I know why) or lag behind and hide. It was ... hella annoying. But not something that I couldn't really handle.
In fact, Bucket took it upon herself (since this IS her friend) to try and keep up with her, so that, at least, I'd see Bucket standing around and know that A-girl was next to her.
That other girl? Yeah, I'm glad that both Bruce and Bucket asked for her to be in their group. I really like her.
So, yeah, I had a healthy lunch and a LOT of Cherry Coke to get through the day.
And Michael got some good rest ... so he could head back to work Tuesday.
Tuesday was mostly quiet. Bubbles and I headed out to Hobby Lobby and Fred Meyer. I found more of the Dry Sodas there (I've now tried 7/11 flavors. I just need to find Ginger, Wild Lime, Juniper Berry, and Apple ... I think that Lavender and Blood Orange are my favorites. Their Cherry one is pretty good, too.)
Michael finally got something he's been waiting about six months for ... a company vehicle.
It's really pretty. And his commute gas is paid for (we get taxed for it) ... it's really nice.
So, we need to clean up the blue truck so we can sell that.
The kids are pretty excited about it ... though we had to STRONGLY IMPRESS UPON THEM that this truck is really NOT ours. Daddy gets to use it. We have to take really good care of it. But it belongs to WORK, NOT us.
He already got to use it to help a friend take some furniture to Goodwill. And we picked up bucket from Activity Days in it.
The kids and I got up EARLY yesterday so we could drive Michael down to work in the van ... so he could get the blue truck back up here. ... So, the kids have been a bit grouchy and lacking focus (especially when it comes to cleaning *sigh*). So, this weekend, we'll be cleaning up the truck and getting it listed on Craigslist. This way Michael will have the money to buy company stocks that are coming available (and that his boss would like him to own).
The front rooms are a lot cleaner now. I still need to clean the kitchen. And I'm donating blood this (late) afternoon.
I finally got a shower today (yesterday it didn't happen. I collapsed into a two-hour nap instead).
I've been working on my Duolingo and Memrise ... and Rosetta Stone. I still don't really feel like I know Spanish at all ... but I'm almost caught up on where I had left off in German in Duolingo. So, well, that's something, right? And I'm digging how the Memrise (being like flashcards) is helping me to learn how Spanish words are spelled ... those crazy accent marks and eñe ... 

But, yup, that's most of what's going on around here. We have some things going on this weekend (like readying a truck for sale) ... next week will be a little busy, since it's the kids' last week of school (FINALLY) ... so, well, I should get ready for that, shouldn't I?

Thursday, June 05, 2014

It's June already? Whaaaaa?

Okay, I can't believe that it's nearly June (probably not helped by the fact that our Whiteboard calendar still says March ... since there's a HUGE lamp (from my Nana and Pop-pop's house) that makes it harder to change that up.

(I need to move the lamp to the top of a bookshelf to replace a different lamp there. BUT in order to do THAT, I have to empty that bookshelf enough to move it out, unplug the FIRST lamp, plug in the second lamp and reshelf all the books on that. AND in order to do THAT, I have to move Bruise's little table so that I can access the bookshelf! #smallhouseproblems)

But, yeah, what have I been doing with myself lately?
Gosh, let's think ...

  • Last weekend, Michael took the big kids to a Youth Outdoor Day at a nearby wildlife park.
    They got to try fishing, Bucket painted a duck decoy and built a birdhouse, they posed for a picture in a gianormous Chinook model, they won prizes -- Bruise has a little folding camp stool and Bucket won herself a pink fishing pole. They also came home with lots of swag: little backpacks, "training knives" that they got to build and can use to practice the rules of having a real pocket knife, two shirts ... it was really impressive.
  • Our kids' school also had their Family Fun Day. We went and ... had fun!
    Bruise was able to hit the target for the dunking tank. Bucket and Bubbles got their faces painted (a kitty "mask" and a little bunny on her cheek, respectively). The kids all got balloon animals (a sword for Bruise. Bucket opted for a kitty to match her mask -- they had a special heart-shaped balloon just for the cat's head, and a bunny for Bubbles). Bruise got a book at the book walk (like a cakewalk, but with books). Bubbles won a book on her first try at the bookwalk. Bubbles decided she wasn't interested this time. Her loss.
    We also picked up some sodas with the leftover tickets. Then we got pizza for dinner.
  • Sunday, I was doing Bucket's hair and found a louse. Ugh.
    Then, while sitting on the pew at church, I had a louse crawling on my shirt ... from Bruise.
    YES, I have two kids with lice. UGH.
    So, after Sacrament Meeting (like Mass/Communion), I broke the Sabbath since I had to run to Wal-Mart and load up my arsenal.
    Once Michael brought the kids home, I used that special, stinky shampoo on Bruce and Bucket (and checked Bubbles' hair ... and Michael's hair. And he checked my hair. Repeatedly.
    I treated their beds with the lice-killer-spray. We combed through until there wasn't anything else to find.
    I can tell that we caught it pretty early. Only a few adults. Only a few nymphs.
    Still, I'm itchy just writing it down.
    And that made for a metric buttload of laundry to do.
    I let their teacher(s) at school know ... just to be responsible.
    I blame Satan for this.
  • Monday, I got the kids signed up for the local library's Summer Reading Program.
    Lately, we've taken a break from the Lemony Snickett book we're in the middle of (we've been getting started with story-story/the bedtime story a little late, so we don't have time to read a chapter each night) ... Randomly, Bucket brought me "The Green Kingdom" volume of my Childcraft books. We'll finish it tonight. I'm glad that the kids are enjoying it so much.
    During Summer, we'll be able to get through some more books a bit faster, I think. We can finish "Who Can It Be at This Hour?" ... maybe get through "The Princess Academy" and some other books. ... Debating on reading them "Sabriel." So many books, so little time!
  • Tuesday, I woke myself up by having a bad dream where I found multiple louse nymphs doing Bucket's hair. Glad THAT was a nightmare.
    Michael had basketball that night. He ended up pulling a muscle in his upper thigh a bit.
    He jokes that, since his season he's (1) jammed his thumb, (2) borked his bad knee, (3) pulled a muscle in his upper arm/shoulder, (4) pulled a muscle in his upper thigh, all that's left for him to do (tonight, since it's the last game) is either stub his toe or take a head shot.
    I told him, PLEASE let it be the toe. Because, with the kids in bed by the time he's playing, I can't drive over to the church to drive him home with a concussion.

    Also, while he was at basketball on Tuesday night, and I was watching "My Cat From Hell" on Netflix, curled up with Freyja-cat, I hear *cough cough cough GAG CRY!!* from Bubbles.
    I run into the kids' room. She's sitting in her bed with two handfuls of dinner-vomit in her hands.
    Amazingly, she only got the slightest bits on her dress and a blanket.
    I clean her up, brush her teeth, and put her back to bed in clean jim-jams and a coating of VapoRub.

    About ten minutes later, ... *cough cough* "MOOOOOOM!!! [BUBBLES] THREW UP AGAIN!!"
    It's still a really small amount -- on her pillowcase and her pajamas ... and her bunnies' ears smell kinda funky (they get washed the next morning).
    Get her cleaned up, add a dose of Children's Pepto, a smidgen of cough syrup, clean pajamas. And wish for the best.

    Michael gets home shortly after that. I tell him of the excitement he's missed as he limps with that pulled muscle in his thigh.

    We go to bed, think about maybe getting a little intimate ... THEN *cough cough GAG*

    Well, I can report that Bubbles DID NOT throw up ... but she was in our bed (not coughing or gagging) for the rest of the night. ... Best laid plans, right?
  • So, after that eventful and un- night, I aired out the kids' room. Just in case it was the lice-killer spray off-gassing that was aggravating Bubbles' lungs (seems like that was the trick. She slept like a log last night).
    My mom came up for a visit. We eventually went to the store to pick up snacks and dinner with the kids. (Bruise was hankering for fish sticks. Yeah. I know.)
    It was a nice visit. We chatted and I shared random videos and websites with her. The usual. We also talked about how things are going with my stepdad (the dementia is ... there. And he's had some issues with medication. ... And his hearing isn't the best. Also, he recently had to have the rest of his teeth pulled and get some new dentures). The motor for the fan in their heat pump broke. He says that he'll fix it, but hasn't yet. (I told Mom to give him a date. If it's not done by then, she's going to get someone else to do it. And that's it. ... I'm mean, I know. But, well, she's willing to pay for it to be fixed. And she shouldn't have to wait around for the stars to align JUST so in order to get it fixed. She has a point ... it took him nearly a YEAR to get the water pump replaced. It was nuts. And crazy-frustrating.)
  • I woke up from a dream this morning. Strange dream.
    I was at my Nana and Pop-pop's house, they don't own it/live there anymore.
    And I was with other people. One was a mix of my cousin (S) and my sister-in-law, A.
    There were two mice in the house. I caught them and was releasing them outside.
    As I closed the door so they'd be outside (and a white cat inside wouldn't kill them), I couldn't close the door, because another (wild) mouse was getting squished in the doorframe, toward the middle of the bottom of the door.
    A/S handed me some Kleenex so I could pick it up and move it (as it's squealing and bleeding).
    The tissues are soaked and dripping blood. And I don't want it to suffer ... but I don't want to kill it. Though killing it would be much more merciful than seeing/hearing/knowing it is in pain.

    I don't remember what I ended up doing. Might have woken up.

    Another part of my dream featured a book fair. But it was more like a pre-order book fair. And I didn't have my kids with me. Or, at least, Bruise wasn't there. And I picked out a book for each child, guessing on his. His teacher said that was fine. And that, yes, I could choose something else if he opted to get a different book.
    When I went to get the order, I did choose a different book for him. And then she was freaking out because it was a lot more popular than she had thought and more people wanted it than she had books in stock. And I wasn't going to give it up, since I had permission in advance to get him what he wanted.

    Yeah, my dreams are weird. At least, what I remember about them.
Today, I need to finish up laundry (on the home stretch!!!), do dishes, make dinner, take Bubbles to a WIC-thing, ... things like that. Nothing wildly amazing ... but things that do need to be done.
Oh, and practice my Spanish and German. (Yay for the kids' school offering use of Rosetta Stone Classroom for Spanish. I also am supplementing it with Duolingo. And added Memrise. And I'm trying Pronunciator [through the local library's site] and LiveMocha ... Overachiever much?)
(Also, French is HAAAAAAAAAARD, with the silent 't's and 's's. My Duolingo scores there are pretty awful. But my German and Spanish have improved!)

Bruise reports that Cub Scouts wasn't very fun ... he had to SAND HIS RAINWATER REGATTA BOAT.
(When he learned that they were doing the Rainwater Regatta, he told me, "I worked REALLY HARD on my car. NOW I have to make a BOAT. *facepalm*"
I did my best not to pee myself laughing. I can understand his frustration ... but, hey, it's something he can mark off for an arrow point requirement.)

Bruise was a little disappointed yesterday ... for his pack, usually the first Wednesday of the month is a Pack meeting, then the next two Wednesdays are den meetings. This month, it's switched so we have the Den meetings first (to work on the Rainwater Regatta boats) and the third Wednesday is the Pack meeting.
He'll be getting his Wolf badge and his gold arrow point at the Pack meeting ... so I was a little sad, too. But, hey, this will give me an extra week to get all his badges sewn on, right? ... And, who knows, maybe he can get enough requirements done to get a silver arrow point by the Pack meeting. So I can get THAT sewn on.)

Tomorrow is Michael's birthday. I should do something special, huh?
He knows that I love him. And I know that he's not a person who's all out for birthday extravagance.
But I should make him a cake.
Or some bacon.
Or biscuits and gravy.
And maybe a pie.

I do have a present for him.
So that's something, right?

Ha! Bubbles obviously had pressed a button on the remote while watching Frozen.
So Anna and Elsa's song was sped up just a little. Not QUITE like The Chipmunks, but it was definitely not normal.

Okay ... This weekend is a little busy. Still combing through hair twice a day, looking for eggs and nymphs; we have a niece and nephew who've had birthdays; the next town over is having a celebration, complete with parade; Home Depot has their free kids' activity. And we should continue celebrating Michael's birthday. ^_^

And Bucket is giving a scripture in Primary at church.

No rest for the wicked, right? 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


So, there's been some good things going on ... and some not-as-nice things (but those are really outweighed by the good) ... so why do I feel kinda crappy?

Let's do a quick recap of everything I've not blogged about for the last 9 days:
  • Bruise finished all the stuff to earn his first (Gold) Arrow Point badge.
  • Michael's Friday, which is usually his short workday (4 hours), was a lot longer (about 12 hours).
    He was the only engineer in the office, since his boss is on vacation (GETS BACK MONDAY. PHEW) and there's been a lot of projects coming due and some crazy stuff going on. Nothing that he can't handle ... but it'd help if he had fewer people coming to him with questions on how to do their work. ... Heck, I'm ready to tell him to just set an hour for people to question him. This way he can get work done, uninterrupted, for the rest of the day. ;P
  • But, yeah, he got home about his usual Mon-Thurs time ... after getting into work early. He was pretty burnt out. ... And, well, I was getting there, too.
  • I missed a RS activity (unofficial) ... which I meant to go to. I just plum forgot about it after getting the kids in bed. Whoops.
  • Saturday, Michael went to help clean up the area for the Cub Scout's Day Camp. My friend, S, came over to sell me her cello (we had agreed that I'd buy it so she wouldn't have to ship it across the country ... and Bruise is looking to start playing it). Michael came home and we treated him for poison oak (just in case. Looks like we got it in time! Phew!). I also went over to the house of a gal that I used to Visit Teach. She's not attending church ... and we'd only ever talked on the phone or on Facebook. But she was throwing an Arbonne party ... and I was one of the only people that made it. (Her best friend, C, and C's sister-in-law [the Arbonne gal] were the other people there).
    It was really fun. It was great to meet A (my past Visiting Teachee) in person.
  • We're working on getting the house cleaned up ... it's always a seemingly-losing battle. But I was caught up on laundry for a little. And almost caught up on dishes ... which ended this weekend. And I'm ALMOST caught up again. 
  • I also took Bruise and Bucket to the library (because that was part of another arrow point requirement). We got a huge bag of books. And we ran into one of our neighbors at the Dollar Store. That was nice. She's one of the sweetest gals ever.
  • Sunday was church ... like usual. Bruise was assigned a scripture for Primary. He didn't ask us to be there for it. So we just did our own classes. Michael took a friend home and I saved him a seat in Sunday School (I'm still bitter that I missed the lesson on Balaam's Talking Ass. *sigh*). In Relief Society, one gal who was in town visiting (she and her husband used to be in our ward, but have since moved out to the coast) sat by me and we visited a bit.
    And I should feel more guilty for visiting during a lesson ... but, well, I don't pay attention very well when the teacher who was teaching does the lesson. I know. I'm a horrible person.
  • We did macaroni and cheese (with added cheese and bacon) (and Sriracha for the grownups) for lunch. And breakfast for dinner: bacon, pancakes, and fried eggs (but no eggs for Michael). Bucket learned that she DOES like fried eggs, after all. And Bubbles got syrup all over. *sigh*
  • Monday was a day full of whining. Mostly the kids. Also me.
    After cooking all the meals during the weekend, I was a bit burned out.
    Michael got doughnuts for breakfast. After we cleaned up the house a little, we went to the park while the weather was nice (it was scheduled to rain at some point).
    At the park, Bubbles and I fed the ducks while Bruise and Bucket played catch with Michael. Then Bucket got bored of that, so she and Bubbles played on the play equipment (Bubbles is rather braver about ladders than Bucket was at that age. But Bubbles does NOT like the bridge. It's apparently too bouncy. And Bubbles likes the swing, but only if she's sitting on her bottom).
    All was well UNTIL Bruise missed a catch, so he got a bloody nose. While Michael ran for tissues (my regular purse was in the car, so I didn't have tissues or wipes on me), Bubbles (under Bucket's watch) decided to push the tire swing ... and, since she's only two and hasn't mastered the concept of inertia, got smacked in the mouth with the swing on its return ... so there was blood THERE.
    "And THIS is why I don't leave the house," I stated.
    So, yeah, Michael had the whining from ME, too.
  • Later, we went shopping and picked up some plants and plant boxes and soil and bird feeders and bird food for some more Arrow Point Requirements.
    And, while at Home Depot, I just about broke down in tears because I don't have much luck with plants ... and I hate wasting money ... and what if they all die?
    But, oh well.
    So, we have a couple English lavender plants for the start of a flower bed. We have a couple container boxes. One has a tomato and a basil plant in it. The other (with room for something else) has lemon balm and chocolate mint. My pansies, in their hanging basket, are doing better.
    I got a new (not broken) bird feeder for the back. And I have a new hummingbird feeder (which does NOT leak) hung in the front. Now to actually cut back stuff in the yard so it looks nice. And maybe we'll tear up some stuff and add some grass? We'll see.
  • Yesterday, I cleaned up the house a bit. And I tried to get some VTing done. It ended up getting done via phone. But my house was cleaner, in case people (my VT companion and the gal we VT) came over. And I finally got out and learned to use the popcorn maker I got for my birthday.
  • My stepdad's not been doing great ... apparently, he's been taking too much of one medicine. And that makes him really loopy and kind of belligerent. Last month, he fell down ... and when my mom tried to get him to his bed, she put out her back. Last week, he fell down. She didn't try to pick him up, but she held the cane for him to get himself up (this was AFTER she fed him a dinner and dessert before he took an Ambien ... and then GOT BACK UP because he wanted an ice cream sundae ... which, since he was so loopy by this time, he got all over himself and the couch). And, he agreed with Mom Sunday morning that he'd sleep it off while she was at church.
    When she got back, he had apparently gotten up shortly after she left to water the garden and feed the animals and fell onto the fence. A neighbor helped up him and into the house and waited with him for Mom to come home ... at least 35 minutes (she was only gone for maybe 90 minutes, since she left church directly after Sacrament meeting).
    Good thing he had a doctor's appointment yesterday. Mom told the doctor what all is going on. Which, of course, my stepdad isn't happy about. And the doctor said that he's been taking too many of one kind of pill. So, hopefully, this will stop.
  • I feel guilty that we haven't been able to make it down to visit family.
    My Nana's dementia is, apparently, getting worse. And I really wish that I were closer so that I could spend more time with her. But we've been so busy lately ... 
  • I was kvetching last week (Wednesday) to Mom about how it's sad that we don't have family stories and pictures and everything on FamilySearch, since there's lots of people who do. We barely have any pictures from her side of the family at all ... and it's sad to not know what people looked like and all.
    I had taken some family names to the temple earlier this month. And that's good ... but, well, it's not a lot of names or anything. And I feel like I should be doing so much more.
    So, somehow, I did a search and found that my great uncle (my Grampy's half-brother) has done a lot of work on ... A lot of family history (little life vignettes, pictures, lists of family members ...) so, I spent most of Thursday doing that.
    And then, though I was very happy to have been able to supplement my pedigree chart/family group sheets that much, I was still a bit bummed, since it was only ONE branch of Mom's line. And we've had such a terrible time trying to research HER mom's line (one of her great-grandfathers, according to what we've been told, ran away from home and rode the train across the country before he could read/write ... so the family name may have been changed. At least, Mom's grandfather changed the spelling of his own last name ... THEN, there's her other great-grandmother ... who was, let's just say, a great storyteller. Made some interesting claims. Good times.) ... BUT yesterday, I had a bit of a breakthrough. Her great-grandfather, Bert, is apparently a ROBERT ... which explains why we had such a time finding him before. But, now that I have him, I was able to find his mother's line (no idea about his DAD, though. And I MAY have found my mom's great-grands on the OTHER side (her mother's mother's side).
So, yes, I've been getting some things done.

And I'm back in touch a bit with one of my friends that moved out of state.
I don't know that we'll ever be as close as we used to be ... but, well, I just want her to know that she's loved. And that I miss her.

In other good news, Mom's and my order from The Body Shop arrived on Thursday. So, when I put on some body butter, I smell amazing. (I got Peach, Raspberry, Rose, Passionfruit, and Honey. And more monoi oil and some bath milk (with frangipani) ... and a bath pillow and nail brush.

I did the elliptical for a whole FIVE MINUTES yesterday. I know, it's really dumb. I should just put on Sweating to the Oldies or something. (Hey, I LIKE Richard Simmons. I think that he is quite sweet. With a wicked sense of humor.)

Well, I should go water the plants. And get the laundry going again. And do more dishes. And read library books. And toilet-train Bubbles. And play with Freyja-cat until she's panting-exhausted. And start dinner, since I have a pork shoulder that needs to be used...

And exercise and get a shower and go buy cat litter and do another million little things that should be done.

Like read my scriptures and chat with the other sisters that I Visit Teach, so they know they're loved.

When all I really want to do is maybe crawl into bed and not come out.

I think that I've not been sleeping well.
And I should drink more water.
And eat breakfast ... and make a good lunch.

And clean out the fridges.
And definitely the kitchen freezer.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Good news:

  • Still no signs of eggs or lice in Bucket's hair.
  • Bruise has done enough work so that he'll get his Wolf badge at the next pack meeting ... along with his (gold) arrow point.
  • Bubbles is talking a bit more.
Less-than-great news:
  • I noticed more grey hairs. So I colored my hair again. Just brown.
    No one at church noticed, so I think I chose pretty well.
  • Even when I clean the house, it just gets dirty within a couple hours.
  • I had to leave my kids' room ... because trying to get them to clean up enough so I can vacuum is TOO DANG STRESSFUL.
    Let alone how my daughter ASSURED me that she'd sorted out all the clothes that smelled like cat pee (since they left a pile of inviting clothes on their floor ... and what happens when you do that in this house? GUESS WHAT? THE CAT WILL PEE ON THEM!) ... and I was going to hang up the clothes that were deemed clean?
    ABOUT HALF (most of them, really) still REEKED of cat piss.

    I'm never going to get caught up with the laundry.
Besides that, it was a busy weekend.

Friday, Michael and I went to the temple (Youth baptismal trip -- baptisms by proxy for the dead. And the people we do the work for have the opportunity to accept or reject it. It's not like they HAVE to be LDS just because we did the work. If they don't want to be, it's still cool.).
I brought some family names (My great-grandparents -- Nana's folks. And her brother. And some great-grandparents on my mom's side). So I felt a bit useful/accomplished.

Until you notice that another guy from our ward has HUNDREDS of family names. *sigh*
Then I feel slightly less accomplished.
But, hey, at least my great grand-parents (and great uncle) have this opportunity. Finally.
I mean, it's taken me long enough.

The kids spent the night at their grandfolks.
Michael spent most of Saturday fixing up the trailer we're buying from his brother. (We need to give C the money. He needs to help Michael rewire the lights.)
The kids had fun at the Kids' Mall Club. They all got their faces painted. Even Bubbles.
I took Bubbles to a birthday party for a couple of her friends in Nursery (the church group for the 18-month old to 3-year-olds). She had a good time ... and was tired enough that she slept from about 5PM until Sunday morning.

I've been working on finishing my library books (after being hit with over $6 in fines. *sigh* At least it was less than $10 this time, right? *headdesk*).

I'm just constantly tired and irritable ... or so it feels. I just want my stupid house to be clean and organized. I just want to suddenly find myself about 100 pounds lighter and in shape. I just want to be semi-fluent in Spanish and to understand WHY the grammar works the way it does (Rosetta Stone only goes so far).

And while I'm at it, how's about I suddenly have the great habits of daily scripture STUDY and individual prayer, praying over meals, flossing, weight lifting and cardio, prepping freezer meals, ... that sort of thing. How's about that?

Ugh, whatever.
I've suddenly turned into a total downer.

But, by hook or by crook, the kids' room is getting vacuumed TODAY. That's freaking IT.

And then maybe I'll go cry in the shower or something.

And then I'll finish throwing myself a pity party and do something useful for once.

Confliction ...

So, the Supreme Court has overturned the same-sex marriage ban in Oregon.

And I don't really know how to feel.

Personally, I am for civil unions with full legal rights for same-sex couples.
I don't think that they should be denied "rights" ... but I don't hold for calling it marriage.

I know that it's been revealed through multiple prophets that supporting same-sex marriage isn't good. That there are consequences. And it's in Satan's best interests to weaken families.

At the same point, I think that the world is sorely lacking in love. If it were up to me, no revelations given, I'd have that Queen Victoria quote as my motto ... you know, the one about "as long as they don't do it in the streets and frighten the horses."

(Of course, I don't think ANYONE should be naked/rutting in the streets. It's not polite.)

I am a little worried, though, about what this is going to do in regards to the separation of state vs. families.
If marriage becomes just some legal arrangement, we've removed a powerful barrier ... the government will have more power over individuals. (And that worries me, seeing as what's happened with a friend falsely accused of improper behavior. He wasn't allowed to be around his own children for MONTHS. It was horribly stressful for his family. ... And, at the end of it, Social Services never apologized for going overboard when there was no reason to in the first place. ... And his isn't the only story that I know of.)

So ... I am trepidatious.

I also have to agree with what a friend posted on facebook (for the record, she does support same-sex marriage) ... She pointed out that the majority of people have voted on multiple occasions AGAINST this. And the law that the people have supported has been overturned.
What if, she posited, the people voted FOR same-sex marriage over and over again. And the government overturned it. Would there be the same reaction?

I think there should be something for same-sex couples.
But, at the same time, we need to protect families.
Studies have shown, over and over, through decades of studies, that children benefit most in a loving home with a father and a mother. They need both. (I'm not saying that having two loving moms/dads would be worse than being raised in a home with antagonistic parents of different genders. That's silly.)
It seems that something, some compromise needs to be made.

And I just don't know what that is.

But it sets me on edge that I don't know.

But ... I just worry that we've set a slippery precedent that could allow our government (which, frankly, I don't feel that confident in. They can't even make/keep a stinking BUDGET. They argue over everything. They pass laws without even READING them ... What DO we pay them for??) more power over the people. And I can't support THAT.

If you are homosexual, please know that I don't hate you.
In fact, if you need a hug/would like a hug, I'm more than willing to give you one. 
I might not get your desires (just like I'm sure that you don't totally get why I've always been into guys), but I do get that it can be lonely when people don't always understand you.
Know that Heavenly Father loves you. And I do, too.
(In fact, ALL followers of Christ should be showing you nothing but love and compassion. But we, being mortal and fallible, aren't perfect. Please be patient with us as we learn to be more like our Lord, who showed us a perfect example of loving everyone, no matter what their sins. He even loves me ... and I'm continuously a screw-up.)

But, yeah. I can't be totally happy ... because I don't trust our government, really.

I hate being an adult. Politics make me feel jaded.

Guess I better turn in my ballot, huh? Just so that I feel like maybe I can try to make the world a better place. Or something.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

In the clear ...

So, checking Bucket's head every day (sometimes twice!) and it's all clean. Phew.
No eggs, no creepy-crawlies, nothing.
Thank goodness!

(She's still going to get another treatment Tuesday. Just to be safe. ... And I realized that every time there's lice, it costs us around $40, since you end up using two kits-worth of shampoo. Can't they just sell the things separately? She's got a lot of hair. And we don't use all the gel ... and we've only ever gone through ONE can (of THREE+) of the bedding/whatever spray.)

But, hey, it's good.

So, there was a shooting (homicide) not too far away earlier this week.
I was able to put some things together to figure that out, since we don't get the newspaper or watch much TV.
  • One of the gals I Visit Teach posted on Facebook that the police came to her family's apartment early in the morning to tell them that a crime had been committed in their apartment complex. He couldn't tell them WHAT, exactly, but they needed to be aware.
  • The newspaper's Facebook account had a couple of stories ... one was a shooting.
  • On driving Bucket to an activity, I saw a news crew van -- along with a search team (it made me think back to searching through Avery Park when Brooke Wilberger had disappeared [she had been kidnapped, assaulted, and murdered ... her body wasn't at the park, but the park was close to where she'd been taken from. Sad, sad situation. It was a repeat offense by the perpetrator, too.]).
  • People on Facebook were posting things about an 8-year-old boy who called the cops after finding his mother on the kitchen floor, bleeding ... she didn't make it.
I haven't talked to the kids about it ... but, that boy could be a classmate. Poor kid.
Since, last I knew, the police haven't found any suspects, they don't know a motive.
And I'm locking the doors a little more.

On to good news, my mom came up yesterday.
It'd been a couple weeks since we'd seen her, since she had hurt her back.

And her Mother's Day gifts all came in the mail (two shipments. Why do they do that?) ... but I got her a nice Tuberose perfume, body wash, and hand creme. Since Bath and Body Works stopped selling their Velvet Tuberose fragrance (so sad) and that was her absolute favorite. I really hope that Target keeps making the Sonia Kushik Pink Innocencia for a while. ^_^

We went out to lunch at a tea shop downtown. Bubbles was very well-behaved. (I should have taken video of her sipping cocoa out of a wee little tea cup!) Then we went to Fred Meyer and picked up berries (and I helped mom get some make-up. Apparently, all my time spent on the internet does pay off! SCORE!).
We made it home before the kids got home (and they ate all the lunch leftovers :( Oh well.).

Our lunch, by the by, was REALLY GOOD. Bubbles had the Mad Hatter Tea -- Little grilled cheese and PB&J sandwiches with three little treats and either tea or cocoa (we opted for hot cocoa, since if I'm getting a mug out of the cupboard and she spies me, she'll exclaim "COCOA!!! COCOA!!!!").
Mom and I opted for the Queen's Tea -- soup or salad for starters and a tray of sandwiches (egg salad, chicken salad, and cucumber with cream cheese), scones (this time: raspberry, orange, and white chocolate chip) with spreads (lemon curd, cream, and raspberry preserves), and desserts -- like Bubbles, we had a tiny key lime cake, a small bunt cake with chocolate creme filling, and a small raspberry crumble bar cookie.
We opted for the Lavender Sunset tea, which was really good. (I bought a couple ounces ... along with the Blue Eyes herbal blend that Bucket and I had together a couple months ago ... and she liked it so much that she REALLY wanted Bruise to try it, too [He likes my teas a little more than his twin. He still prefers cocoa or hot apple cider.)

I have tried almost ALL the herbal and Rooibos teas at the shop now. Just a few more to go!

I've also tried all the Dry Soda flavors available at our local Safeway store. They have four (Vanilla Bean, Blood Orange, Lavender, and Cucumber) of the ELEVEN (Juniper Berry, Ginger, Rhubarb, Apple, Pear, Cherry, and Wild Lime).
Michael prefers the Vanilla and Orange ones (the Blood Orange might be the best) ... Bucket and I also really like the Lavender.
The Cucumber flavor ... it's ... strongly cucumber-y.
Don't get me wrong, I like cucumbers ... but I found a way to drink up the four bottles I got.
Pineapple-mango flavor enhancer (like Mio) ... enough to turn the soda golden.
The cucumber flavor is still very present. But it's sweeter and lots better. Bucket and Mom agree.

I wish I knew a place that sold ALL the other flavors. Even though I'm not WILD about rhubarb ... and I'm a little nervous about the juniper. But I like ginger ales/ginger beers (like root beer, in case you're worried that I've gone apostate. Nope. Still a tee-totaller). And the fruity ones all sound good.

Bruise has been working hard ... and his efforts are being rewarded.
He's done all the work to earn his Wolf badge. The cubmaster is aware.
He should get it at the next pack meeting.
(She was really impressed at how quickly he's gotten it. ... Just under six months from joining Scouts to receiving it. ... I figured that it'd be best to keep him motivated, right? So, now I need to research the requirements for his Arrow of Light and his Eagle Scout projects. We're a team.)

But that's one less thing for me to fret about. Since he's supposed to earn his Wolf before working on the arrow points. And I didn't want to take the chance that we couldn't work on arrow points during summer vacation (since we don't have meetings besides Day Camp during the summer break).

I also am about to get Bucket a Girl Scout's book so she can do requirements for fun and get those signed off. Maybe I can get her badges? I don't know.
Because she REALLY likes how her twin gets to do STUFF and get it signed off and get badges.
(I'd get her into Girl Scouts properly ... but we already have stuff going on most weeknights. I really like those nights when we don't. So we have time for reading scriptures together, having a family prayer with all of us home, AND having time for a chapter or so of a bedtime story.)
I think in summer, we'll try a sport, since they won't have Activity Days or Scouts. ... I'll have to plan around Day Camp, though. And there's swimming lessons. Those are important. 
And now summer already feels extremely busy.

I should go start cleaning the house. If I can get it to look a little better, then I can rationalize reading for a couple hours (aka Bubbles's nap).

And I need to practice Spanish and water the plants and do a million other things.
But I should just START.
So that I can get things done and get a shower before the kids get home.
Then there's PTC (Parent-Teacher Committee), immediately followed by our ward's Relief Society activity for the month ... our RS President (newly-called!) is teaching about gardening and utilizing herbs.
If you know me (which, I think, most of you do), you know that I'm pants at keeping plants alive.
(Case in point: I have THREE houseplants. The peace lily -- Nana sent it as part of a floral arrangement when I was in the hospital with Bruise and Bucket -- is doing okay. I got a hanging basket of pansies for my birthday. It's pretty much dead. So is the azalea that another friend brought me. It's not totally dead ... but it has seen much better days. Poor thing.)

But, yeah. That's most of what's happening on the homefront here.
I'm going to work on dishes and cleaning up the kitchen and getting some more laundry done. And maybe the junk-counter and the dining table. That will spruce up the place a lot.

Then I can rationalize taking the time to read and play on my tablet, right? ;P

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

So ... how was YOUR Mother's Day? (Mothers' Day? Whatever.)

Mine started off with breakfast ... that was kinda in bed, but I was in the shower by the time the kids brought it in. Oops.

I managed to get ready and dressed and everything ... we made it to church on time.

After the Primary (ages 3-11) kids sang to the moms and were coming back to sit in the congregation, Bubbles realized that SHE didn't get to do anything cool ... and started WAILING. So I took her out for a breather. Then, later, Michael took her out ... and she went to Nursery (18 months-3 years) a titsch early.

Good times.

In Sunday School, I noticed that something was moving on Michael's sweater vest.

It was a louse.

So, after Sunday School, I checked Bucket's hair (she was sitting on that side of Michael during Sacrament  (like Communion meeting)) and there was another.

As soon as church was over, we hied ourselves over to Target and broke the Sabbath to get the LAST(!!) lice kit (apparently, the real word is pediculicide ... who knew?) and I treated Bucket's head ... and checked everyone else's heads.

Thankfully, we caught it really early. Only, like THREE adults and maybe ten smaller ones (including the one on Michael's sweater) ... and that's a generous estimate.
I've been checking her head twice daily since ... and it's all VERY clean and clear and under control. THANK GOODNESS. Oh, thank goodness, indeed.

Then we went and visited Mom and Dad C ... and came back home and went to bed early. Since we were all exhausted.

Why were we all tired?

Because FRIDAY was the Father-Son Campout!
Michael took Bruise, a couple of the neighbor boys (whose father has passed), and a friend/other adult guy.
Michael's back was VERY SORE by the time he got home. And he didn't rest well at all.

Bruise and Bucket, despite being miles and miles apart, fell asleep around the same time. Twin magic?
I put Bubbles to bed around 9:30, which is late for her, since she was GRUMPY and wouldn't lie down on her sleeping bag in the front room.

Bucket and I watched "America's Cutest" and then a few episodes of "My Cat From Hell" until she fell asleep ... on the couch that I was going to sleep on.
So I went to my own bed. ... And, without Michael, it's too big.
I stayed up until around 12:30/12:45 playing on my tablet.

So, yeah, we were all cranky/tired.
Michael got home, got a shower, took a nap. I laid down with him for a bit after the kids had showers ... no hot water left for my shower. So I read and started to doze a little until the hot water tank was full again.

Then we worked at getting the tent and tarp clean and dry so we could store them until the summer.
(Western Oregon = humid, mildew capital! ... I still love it, though. It's so green.)

Then we headed out and did some grocery shopping ... and came home.
Michael sat in the recliner and fell asleep. I was on the couch and I fell asleep (Bruise maintains that I did not snore. Bucket says that I did. But Bruise says that was Michael).

Yeah ... It makes me wonder why our Stake chooses the weekend of Mother's Day for that campout. ... "Here! Go out and have fun! If you want to take your wives/mothers out the next day? Well, have fun with that after making her help clean stuff, do a crapload of muddy laundry, and having everyone exhausted! Whooo!!" ... Yeah ... I'm a little conflicted with the timing on that.

This year, with the lous-y situation (ha ha ha.......), I really fell behind on getting stuff done.
I meant to call my mom and Nana and L and Michael's Gramma (she's Southern), send an e-card to Aunt J and Grampy's wife, bring a card to Grandma C, and visit with Mom C.

Well, I called my mom. And we visited with Mom C and Grandma C (brought a present for Mom C. I'm waiting for the rest of my mom's present to arrive). ... I sent out emails to Grampy's wife, Aunt J, and L this morning ... Apparently, when Nana was talking to my dad, she thought he was me ... Yeah. dementia is not the best thing.

And ... well, I have a filthy house, dinner to get prepared, a dinner to deliver, laundry to be done, dishes to be done ... At least the hall bathroom is clean. I just need to put towels in there. It's a start, right?

I think that, next year, I'll steal Jenny's idea and just ask for a clean house that I don't have to clean myself.
Since, well, no matter how much I tidy it up while Bubbles naps and the kids are at school, it's trashed by the next morning. I'm running out of caring. Especially after how I wasn't motivated at all last week ... it's not pretty. Oh well.

I did get some pretty pictures from the kids, though.

Counting ...

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