October 29, 2008

Report Cards...They're Almost Here

Yes, folks, it's that time of year again. The end of the first marking period approaches and reports cards will be prepared.

I hate report cards. Maybe if they had all smiley faces or a consistant string of straight A scores, I'd pay them about as much attention as my parents once did, which means barely a cursory glance with a vague "good job" to boot. Instead, I get to count down the days until I have to explain once again what anything less than a C means for my oldest boy's future. This may sound a tad bit pessimistic, but you should know it's experience speaking here. This happens every marking period.

And I hate it.

Just once I'd like a report card with his name on it that doesn't have DOOM written all over it in invisible ink. I'd love to give hugs and kisses and extoll praise. I'd even gladly clean out my wallet if I thought bribery would help (it doesn't).

On the upside, I feel pretty confident the little guy's scores will be just fine. More than fine, actually. Not that we make a big deal out of it because over-the-top praise for one seems cruel when the oldest tries so much harder than the younger one who just naturually picks up on things. Yes, that's right. The child who puts hours and hours into his homework almost always is on the verge of failing, whereas the child who breezes through everything in ten minutes gets good grades.

Life is not fair. It's a lesson my oldest boy is well schooled in.

October 27, 2008

As Promised

Candy Corn Witch



Me..as a Candy Corn Witch




The Dead Bride


Terri...as a Dead Bride




The Four of Us


Ken, Me, Kenny & Terri




Archie and angie


Archie and Angie




Our Host and Hostess


Amy & Eric
Our Hostess and Host






Why Have I Not Heard of This?

I can't believe I just happened to stumble across this little tidbit today. How, oh how, could I have missed this?

One of my favorite epic fantasy stories has been made into a mini-series. It will be premiering this weekend on November 1st at 8 p.m. under the title of "Legend of the Seeker". Fantasy fans might better recognize it's printed variation as the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind.

Quick Update - Will Post More Later

Friday
After work we dropped the kidlets off at my sister's place for the night so we could run up to the funeral home. After standing in a loose circle of people I hardly know for two hours, we went over to my cousin's house where we ended up watching old home videos of our husbands and their friends playing baseball. It was rather bittersweet, a mixture of laughter and tears. Considering the circumstances, it was a nice visit.


Saturday
After picking up the boys from my sister's, I had to run to Meijer to pick up a few things for that evening. We had a sitter lined up, which meant we needed to make sure we had dinner and snacks. Frozen pizza, pop and chips. I also needed a small curling iron capable of creating ringlets. I wanted to be a curly-haired candy corn witch. (I'll post pictures later).

While I was off shopping, the hubby was home disciplining our oldest child. He's officially obnoxious now and his mouth finally got the better of him. Someday, though, I'm sure he'll learn the difference between being funny and being disrespectful. It just might take a couple years. Although, for his sake, I really hope it doesn't.

After taking care of groceries and doing a bit of laundry, it was time to get ready for the adult only Halloween party we had been invited to. It took about 45 minutes to curl my hair. That's a long time in front of a mirror...I think it was worth the effort, though. (Pictures later, I promise.)

The party was fun. More on that later...

Sunday
After dropping the hubby off at the airport, the boys and I went home and watched movies until bedtime. Although, I did take a small break in order to get my homework done.

October 24, 2008

Blah

I'm having one of those days.

I've had a headache since this morning. I never get headaches, so I don't cope well with them. Irritation turns into ornery real quick, which makes me a less than pleasant co-worker.

I don't see the night getting any better either because we have a funeral showing to attend. One of my hubby's friends from high school was killed in a car accident a couple of nights ago.

The rest of the weekend looks promising, though. We have an adults-only halloween party tomorrow night. That should be fun.

October 20, 2008

Another Busy Weekend

Friday night I attended a local writer's group meeting. Once upon a time, I used to be a member of this very group. I read and critiqued for several months, but life interfered and I dropped out. Recently, I ran into one of the group members and was invited back. Although I live quite a distance from where the group meets, I decided to give it a go anyhow. I'm glad I did.

There were a few members who I remembered and who seemed to remember me. Strangely enough, they actually remembered one incident in particular because they had been outraged on my behalf. I hadn't realized it at the time, but it's nice knowing the fella's opinion on what I should or shouldn't be writing hadn't gone unnoticed. Although, honestly, I took his words as an ass-backwards compliment after I thought about it. I had just finished reading a vampire or historical romance (can't quite seem to remember which) and he told me, "You're too good of a writer to be writing this kind of stuff." He might have used slightly stronger words when referencing my choice of genre, but that doesn't really matter.

Apparently, the rest of the group took exception to his remarks and had words with him. I don't remember that, so I'm thinking it happened "off stage".

He's still a member of the group, but he wasn't there this last Friday. I'm curious to see if history will repeat itself when I read in front him the next time because I still write vampires and fantasy and romance. I'm not and never will be literary.

The good thing is the rest of the group, which has shrunk significantly in size over the years, doesn't seem to mind. Actually, many of them write in the same genres I tend to gravitate toward. This is a good thing. No, it's a great thing because having crit partners who understand your genre is invaluable.

Of course, my weekend consisted of more than just Friday night. Saturday was full of activities, too. It was the last weekend of soccer for my boys. I took the oldest to his game (approximately a 30-45 minute drive) while the hubby took the youngest to his. I needed to get a few more pictures of the oldest in action because most of his games had taken place in rainy weather. Thank goodness there was sunshine and light cloud cover for his last game. Otherwise the balance of soccer photos would have leaned heavily in the favor of my youngest. Now the pile is more evenly balanced.

After coming home and puttering around the house, I met up with my sister and her kids for a photo shoot. Do you have any idea how hard it is to get three little kids to look in the same direction and smile at the same time? It's nearly impossible! But after taking a little over 100 snapshots, I got about 10-15 keepers. Yes, 10-15. I'm still learning!

Here's some of my favorites:

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There are several more loaded onto my Flickr account, so go there to view them. And remember to sign in! If you don't sign in and you're not included in my Friends and Family list, you won't be able to see much of anything.

After pictures we ended up having a bonfire. The fire was sizeable, but we didn't have many people show up. In fact, it ended up being just me, the hubby, my sister, and my hubby's best friend (his wife was working late). My sister's man made a cameo appearance via the cell phone, which resulted in a bit of good-natured razzing by my intoxicated hubby.

Sunday was spent at home doing a whole lot of nothing. I did some homework, played Final Fantasy (which I would have beat if the dog hadn't unplugged the PS2), and did a little bit of housework like dishes and laundry. Oh, and the hubby made killer ribs in his smoker. Yum!

And that about sums up my weekend. What did you do?


October 17, 2008

Dreaming and Teaching

Today I attended a Teaching Summit where I work. The keynote speaker was Jeffrey Zaslow, the co-author of The Last Lecture. If you're not familiar with The Last Lecture, you can catch bits and pieces of it on YouTube.

I'm still absorbing everything I heard and felt. Randy Pausch's story is heartbreaking and awe inspiring. The book, if you haven't read it, is an amazing collection of short stories put together to deliver a life lesson each of us could benefit from learning.

The Summit wasn't just about Randy's story, lecture, or book, though. It was an opportunity for our faculty and students to take a moment to think through what life-lessons, in and out of the classroom, are important to them. Their presentations revealed not only the power of teaching, but the scope of where teaching is done. Learning does not happen only in the classroom. It happens everywhere and sometimes the teacher is really the student.

There was one other message I took away from today's series, though. The power of dreams matters because when it's time to look back on your life and evualate your existence, it is usually against our dreams that we measure our happiness and success. Some dreams will not come to fruition. Some dreams will remain secreted away inside our hearts as regrets, while others shine as a beacon of accomplishment.

When I look back on my life, I hope I followed my dreams, even if they never came true.

October 14, 2008

My Weekend

Sorry I haven't been updating. Things have been a little crazy, which means I get a lot distracted. Over this last weekend we had soccer, trick-or-treat Halloween at grandma & grandpa's campground, a wedding, and then I experimented with senior pictures.

First things first..there was soccer.

Ready to Strike



High Kick

Kierrah & her Coach

The boys didn't do so well. I know my little guy's problem (child in red - top picture) was that he had been up too late Friday night. Instead of picking them up and going home at a reasonable hour, we stayed out too late talking to our friends. (My nephew was playing goalie in Pic #2 and my niece is walking down the field with her coach in Pic #3).

After soccer we went trick-or-treating through the campground. Again. Yes, we just did it two weeks ago. What's your point? This was a different campground. Besides, you try telling grandma and grandpa no. See how that works out for you.

As soon as the campground opened back up and cars could once again move, we headed off to a wedding reception. Conveniently, it happened to be about four or five miles down the road. We arrived pretty much in time for dinner, which was perfect!

Krista, Megan and Chrissy

Sarah, Krista & Ken

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Bridal Dance Cont.

Dancing 2

We didn't get home that night until after 2 a.m. We ended up taking home my brother and his wife. Somehow my brother then conned us into playing Wii Fit. I had fun, but boy did my back hurt the next day. Between the dancing and the middle-of-the-night exercising, I was hurtin'!

The next day was gorgeous, which was awesome because I had senior pictures to take! I was so nervous. Luckily, the weather cooperated and I was able to experiment with a willing subject. I had so much fun. Of course, not all the pictures turn out, but I imagine even the professionals get the occasional bad shot.

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October 9, 2008

Finding Our Groove

I think it's safe to say we're settling into a routine around my place. The mornings are rough. I've never been one for getting up willingly and when the alarm clock is going off at 5:30 in the morning, I'm even less willing. This usually results in everyone feeling rushed. Thank goodness I have the world's most amazing husband who isn't afraid of packing lunches or overseeing breakfast.

The majority of our days are spent at school or work, of course. And can I just say thank God for lunch hours. If it weren't for my lunches, I wouldn't have time to read, write, or run errands. This one little hour out of every day has become my lifeline, my sanity-perserver.

After we pick the kids up from daycare, we run home and start working on their homework. Some nights this goes by very quickly and they're done before dinner is on the table. Other nights the oldest boy is still struggling to finish up by 8 o'clock - it just depends on the how much he had to bring home and how much he got done with the homework buddy at the daycare. After dinner and homework, the boys get to take a bath, watch tv and/or play until bedtime. Most nights they choose the television.

This is usually when the hubby and I get a lot of our nightly chores done. You know, like dishes or laundry. Sometimes, though, we have homework of our own we need to do so this time might be filled with studying. If I were going to edit my story, this would probably be the time to do it, but I'm usually off doing something else that seems more pressing. Not to mention the kids aren't very good about giving us time to concentrate.

After the kids are in bed the hubby and I often watch television together. TIVO comes in very handy here.

Of course, this routine is always thrown into chaos when we have sports to contend with during the school week. Homework suffers the most. We can grab dinner on the go and get baths when we get home. Homework in the car is difficult and messy and inconvenient. But necessary!

October 6, 2008

What a Weekend!

Friday I burned up one of my vacation days so I could stay home with a sick puppy. Yes, puppy. The children were fine and went to school. Puppy on the other hand had some serious intestinal issues. I seriously contemplated taking him to the vet, but the vet assistant assured me that as long as things didn't deteriorate, he would be fine. When he managed to make it through several hours without any explosions, I began to feel a little less anxious.

Not that I didn't keep him locked in his kennel most of the day. I did. Cleaning the diarrhea out of there is bad enough. I didn't want to worry about the carpets!

This gave me lots of time to clean my house, which was desperately needed. I even did the windows! I know!

Later that night, after the hubby got home, I was supposed to go visit my Grandma. Although I always enjoy visiting Grandma, I did have an ulterior motive. I needed to interview her for the assignment due Monday (today).

I was just about ready to walk out the door when the phone rings and my father-in-law tells me that my mother-in-law is in the hospital. He tells me she's okay, but they think she had a stroke. "Don't come up. You can come tomorrow", he says.

Yeah. Off to the hospital we went.

The interview with Grandma never happened because she left the next day to go visit one of her daughter's "up north". This left me with my dad, which turned out just fine. I interviewed him on Sunday. Even took along my little tape recorder. Although, honestly, I think Grandma will provide me with more details if we can ever manage to hook up.

But I skipped Saturday!

I didn't go to the kids' soccer games because I was too busy getting ready to host a Partylite show. I made Roasted Pumpkin Soup and cucumber sandwiches. There were store-bought goodies, too, like cookies and a pumpkin roll.

After the party a few of us scrapbooked. I got three pages done, which sounds better than it really was. The first two-page spread was already halfway completed when I brought it upstairs. The other page is fairly simple with no embellishment.

Once everyone left...I crashed. I was so tired from the nights of no sleep and working like a madwoman to get the house presentable before company arrived.

October 2, 2008

Love Thursday


You wouldn't know it by looking at this photo, but my brother hates to have his picture taken. Managing to catch more than a side profile or the top of his hat can be quite the challenge. Yet, when he's holding his daughter, I've been able to snap more than one "keeper". I love that!