Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Printer Frustration

We are having huge issues with our printers. Namely, they only print HTML code from the internet. Here's exactly what happened. We have 2 printers, both HP. One is an all-in-one printer/fax/copier, and the other is a laser jet. The laser one is the one we usually use, but it ran out of ink after we got back from Ohio. We switched over to the all-in-one as our default printer until we could get another cartridge, and when we tried to print our library list, it spewed out dozens of pages of HTML gibberish before I could cancel the printing. We tried printing other stuff off the internet, and it was the same.

We thought the problem would be solved when we went back to the laser printer, but after getting a new cartridge, now it prints the same way. I AM SO FRUSTRATED!!!!! I literally want to cry.

We need a new baby monitor, since one of ours has given up the ghost after having served faithfully for many years. I was so excited to get an email coupon from Babies R Us for 12% off of anything in the store today! I went to print it off, but of course it was nothing but junk. I can't even forward it anywhere else to get it printed off because when I clicked on it again, a message popped up saying you can only print off one coupon! Argh!

I guess downloading something like Firefox is the only option, but then I once again have to refigure out all my favorites and everything. I can not believe that this just happened out of the clear blue sky to us, and there seems to be no solution for it at all. We might as well just throw the 2 stupid printers away (and the computer too, for all I care at this point). I'm back to writing down all the important information, like from our hotel reservations, anywhere. Where's that old typewriter of ours, anyhow?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Huge Praise

I was able to make all the reservations needed for our trip today!! This is a big deal because it's really not that easy to make reservations anywhere near Yellowstone (and even not that close to it!) only a month before you want to be there. I was so incredibly discouraged this afternoon, and by the time Bob got home from work, I was thinking we'd have to call the whole thing off. But God somehow opened up a room at a Comfort Inn in West Yellowstone, right by the gate of the park, this evening (I mean that literally--the room wasn't there when I was looking this afternoon), so I booked it. And then I booked a room near Mt. Rushmore, and another one near Des Moines for the way back home (actually Bob booked that one over the phone, getting a better rate than the internet offered). This is all such a huge relief for me. Now I can start thinking about what I actually want to do in those places!

In a totally unrelated matter, I can now officially say that Grace has started walking! She took a few steps starting Friday, but yesterday before dinner she walked all the way from our kitchen table over to the refrigerator. If she wants to get somewhere fast, she still drops down and crawls, but more and more, walking is becoming her first choice until she falls on her bum. Then she continues on by crawling. I love watching new walkers--the stiff legs, the teetering gait, the moon steps. Grace has taken a page from Dumbo's book and is much more confident if she is holding something in her hands. So cute! If we had a digital video camera, I'd post a clip, but we don't, so you all will just have to use your imaginations . . .

Monday, April 28, 2008

Yay, Anna!

Anna wins the gold star of the day by pooping in her little potty! What excitement we have over here in our house! This is the first time for that particular accomplishment, so when I joyfully announced it, everyone had to come running from all other parts of the house to see the evidence of this great feat and praise Anna profusely. She is going to be in for a rude awakening several years down the road when she realizes that in the real world there is not a chorus of supportive boys around to cheer her every move, LOL.

Normally I would take this and run with it, but May is not going to be a normal month for us. We are gearing up for some serious driving, and we simply can not be tied to a 2 year old's erratic potty schedule.

Here is the (hopeful) schedule; you can then argue amongst yourselves as to whether or not we are crazy. Bob's niece is getting married on Sunday, May 18 at 3:00 in Richmond, VA. We will drive down there and back home on Sunday. Monday we will leave and drive to St. Louis (825 miles), and Tuesday we will drive another 825 miles to where Bob has a TDY scheduled for Wednesday (that's always subject to budget issues, so that's why that part of the plan is hopeful, not definite, LOL). Thursday we'll drive to Salt Lake City, where my cousin in getting married Sunday, May 25. Then we'll spend another week or so out there, visiting with family before heading back home by way of Yellowstone and Mt. Rushmore. Like I said, serious daytime milage amounts (usually we only do a max of 700), so I don't want to have to make extra stops for tender toddler bladders.

If the TDY gets cancelled, then we'll take the drive out to Utah in 3 days. That would be more enjoyable, but with the TDY, the government will pay for gas up to the price of an airline ticket. That's a pretty significant help, with these gas prices! Plus, that would be 3 less days of leave Bob would have to take--2 travel days, and 1 actual day of TDY.

Right now I am trying to figure out the back half of the trip. We just got some Yellowstone books out of the library, and some of the Well-Trained Mind ladies gave me some great websites to look at as well. I'm going to be busy the next few days!

How To Spoil A Beautiful Piece of Music . . .

We drove down to meet Bob for lunch today, and as we were driving, we were listening to the classical music radio station. They were playing Bach's Brandenburg Concerto #2, a lovely piece of music. Except that I have totally ruined it for myself by always listening to the Brandenburg Concertos when laboring. I am such a creature of habit, and I listened to this one CD all through my labor with Nathan. So of course, when I went in with Luke, that's what I listened to as well. Eventually I have started listening to other CDs during active labor, but by the time I get around to transition, Brandenburg Concertos is what I want to hear. But now I can not hear any part of the concertos without feeling sort of a nervous sick feeling, like it's almost time to push. I think I can even make myself feel a contraction, LOL. Hmmm . . . maybe next time, if I'm having trouble going into labor, I should start listening to this CD. I never even thought about that before.

Another CD I always listen to is the Newsboys He Reigns. I always listen to that when I am walking on the treadmill in the morning. I'm sure that would drive a lot of people crazy, to always listen to the same music, but for me I really like knowing where I am in my workout by hearing which song is on. I love all the songs on that CD, and I never grow tired of hearing them. I do find it hard to listen to those same songs in the car on the Christian radio station, however. I really feel like I need to get out and start walking, LOL.

So there you have it--one of my little eccentric quirks. If you expect me to relax, don't play Brandenburg Concertos or Newsboys.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Jonathan's Long Day

Jonathan and Bob were at Bethesda by 10:00 this morning for the first appointment, which was a regular appointment with pediatrics. That doctor got them a referral for an orthopedic walk-in appointment at 1:00, so they enjoyed a nice lunch at Subway while they were waiting. Jonathan was also able to see a girl get her cast cut off at 11:30. Her cast, which was decorated with a flag, got him excited about having his own cast.

The ortho doctor aligned the bones while the cast was hardening. He did that under local anesthesia. The cast was cut on both sides and then wrapped with an ace bandage. This was to allow for swelling. We will take him back next week to wrap the cast with a more permanent layer, and that cast will be on for 4 more weeks or so. Jonathan is hoping to get the camouflage wrap for his cast. The cast goes midway up the top part of his arm. At least it's short sleeve season! They finally got back home about 5:30.

The intern who was putting the cast on cut Jonathan's shirt. You know how in times of stress you can focus on one tiny detail? When they walked in the door, my eye was drawn to that cut t-shirt, and that was SO all I could really think about--"Why did they cut his shirt? I liked that shirt. I'll never be able to sew that . . ." and so on. I had to just tell myself to stop thinking about the stupid t-shirt. The doctor must not have been married though. I mean really--he could have taken the shirt off, or at least cut under the arm or something, where it wouldn't be so noticable! This was NOT an emergency, get-the-shirt-off-right-now sort of situation! But I digress . . . (deep breaths . . . )

Jonathan's been a real trouper. As Bob told the other boys at dinner, he didn't cry once the whole day! He's still a bit floaty from all the drugs, I think, but he's in good spirits. The other boys were all so glad to see him when he came back. They had been very concerned about him all day. Now hopefully, we'll have a nice, relaxing weekend . . .

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A First For Us

Yes, Jonathan broke his arm this afternoon--the first broken bone for our family! It wasn't even any dramatic way or anything. He was goofing around on a plastic car you can ride in by climbing on the hood. He fell off backwards not more than 2 feet of the ground, landing on his arm some funny way, and he broke both the ulna and the radius, the two bones in the lower arm. Fortunately Bob was home, so he ran him to a civilian ER just 5 minutes down the road from here. There was no way he could have gotten to Bethesda at 5:45 P.M.! Bob will take him to Bethesda tomorrow for a peds appointment, where they will refer him to the orthopedic surgeon for a long-term cast. At least he is left-handed!

They gave him demerol at the ER, which accounts for the glazed look in this picture. Bob is off getting tylenol with codeine right now, so hopefully he will be able to sleep through the night.

Other than that bit of excitment, it was a great day! Johanna and her kids to include her brand new, not even 2 week old baby Olivia came to play this afternoon and stay for dinner. Anna was very interested in this real, live baby! The boys played around outside and generally had a great time.

I'll let you know what the doctor says tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Chiropractic Update

I had another chiropractic appointment this evening. My last one was a month ago, and my next one won't be until mid-June, so we are really spreading them out now. I am still utterly amazed at how much better both my shoulder and my hip feel. It's like a miracle. I can even sleep on my right side again!

The chiropractic appointments had helped my hip a lot, but it was still bothering me. It always felt so stiff, especially after exercising. The doctor had recommended pilates (which was why I took that free class), and I was using Johanna's DVD once or twice a week before the Ohio trip. After we got back, however, I really ramped up my whole exercising routine. Someone on the Well-Trained Mind board had posted that to lose post-partum weight, she had to start exercising an hour a day. I had been averaging 30 minutes 5 times a week, and I just didn't think I could swing 60 minutes, but I started averaging 50 minutes on the treadmill almost every day. I also added pilates pretty much every afternoon, instead of just 1-2 times a week. I don't think the pounds or inches are just flying off, unfortunately (although I can't tell for sure because our scale broke last week and I haven't yet replaced it, LOL), but I have really been able to tell a difference in my hip. It is so much less stiff and painful!

I have 3 DVDs that I am primarily using right now. The one from Johanna has 5 segments of 10 minutes each, and I do that one when I am pressed for time. Usually I do the abs segment and the hips and thighs segment. I have a pilates for dummies DVD from the library, which I recommend if you have never done pilates before. It is just like that class I went to, where the lady tells you very specifically what to do and what not to do for each position. Then I have this pilates/yoga blend DVD also from the library that is more of a workout and is almost 45 minutes long--I do that one when I haven't been able to walk as long in the morning. I think the yoga stretching moves on there have been particularily effective in stretching out my hip muscles.

As I am sure you can imagine, with this regimen I have no free time, and I am becoming backlogged on things like laundry, so I simply can not foresee this being a long-term routine! I'm trying to do it until we leave on our big trip in mid-May. Maybe it will help me firm up a bit before the weddings, and the whole hip thing has been a most pleasant surprise. I really can't overstate how much better I feel that I did in January! Then I felt like such a crooked, achy, old woman, and now I feel like a totally different person!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Every Princess's Dream

Anna has the honor of being a flower girl in two weddings next month--and they are one week apart! Saturday afternoon I spent a few hours in the crowded mall searching around for a dress for Anna to wear to the wedding of Bob's niece Christi. Her color is yellow, which apparently is not a popular color this year, since there were not many things in yellow in stores. I had about given up in despair when I stopped in Lord and Taylors. That was the first time I've ever been in the store. If I had buckets of money, that's definitely the place I would shop because it was so peaceful and not crowded, LOL. Also, it was the only store that felt like the air conditioning really was working. But I don't have buckets of money, so . . .

Anyhow, they had this beautiful yellow dress, and it was on sale for half off. Yay! Anna loved it but wouldn't stop messing with the tag for pictures.

This afternoon we had to run some errands, and when we got home, there was a package on our front stoop--it was the dress from Sarah, my cousin's fiancee! Another dress to try on! Anna was in heaven. This dress didn't have any distracting tags on it, so I was able to get a picture of Anna actually looking up, LOL.
Yes, May is definitely going to be a princess month to remember!!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Car Maintenance

We're big proponents of taking care of your car. After all, it is much cheaper to prevent problems than to fix them, right? We'd tell that to anyone! So last night we took Bob's Honda minivan in to get the timing belt changed. It just seemed like a good idea . . . since they recommend doing it at 65,000 miles, and the van now has 137,000 miles on it. Seriously, we are thanking the Lord for his mercy in keeping the belt together for so long! I guess it just never was a good time to take it in . . . Actually, we had gotten a quote from the Honda dealership down in Tyson's a few years (ahem) ago, and it was about $1300. Well, that's a lot of money (I know, I know--not as much as replacing the engine), so we just kept putting it off. The Leesburg dealership charged us right around $700. We're not sure if they're just a ton cheaper, or they lowered prices because of the bad economy or what, but we were grateful that it was half of what we expected it to be!

Is this normal all over? We dropped the car off last night around 5:00. They told us it would probably be done by 10:00, but it would at least be done by 2:00 (AM) because "that's when the second shift gets off". Second shift? It's a car dealership, not a hospital! Sure enough, there was a message on Bob's cell phone when we woke up. They called at 2:08 to tell us the van was ready. I've never heard of that before.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

So, let's see . . .

Obviously being home hasn't produced a surplus of blogging. That must mean nothing exciting or blog-worthy has happened, which frankly, is not always a bad thing. But surely we've done something in the past week.

1. Right before we left for Ohio, I finally got around to making a big Rainbow Resource order. I literally have been meaning to do this since after Christmas, which is when I told Jonathan we'd start doing math as well as phonics. All I needed to do was order his Saxon 1 book! Of course there were a few other things . . . and then I might as well make it a BIG order of over $150 so as to get free shipping . . . and I just never got around to figuring out what other things I should order until the end of March. The box came while we were gone, and we finally opened it on Saturday. To say Jonathan was thrilled at having his math book would be quite the understatement. Sunday morning he was in our room at 7:30 ready to do math, LOL. I managed to convince him to wait until Monday, although it was a hard sell.

2. Tuesday was the last day of our homeschool co-op for the year. Much as I love TNT, I am always glad when we have another day in our week where we don't have to go anywhere! I've turned into such a homebody. I really never expected that. The last unit was a short 3 week unit on geography, and we missed all but the last week. I think it was a good unit to miss because the boys are pretty up on geography. For the last week, they went around to different rooms with a big salt dough map on cardboard (the salt dough was already in place for the younger kids). They went to a different room for each continent, and there they would paint and glue on features for that particular continent--yarn for major rivers like the Nile and Amazon, rocks for mountain ranges, shrubby stuff for rain forests, etc. I need to take pictures because with 4 of these big maps--well, let's just say we don't have room for long-term storage of these works of art!

3. The weather has turned nicer. This has some very positive effects, such as less laundry (yay for shorts and short-sleeve shirts!), and lots of good outdoor time for the boys. One very negative effect is that Caleb is insanely allergic to nearly all pollens, so he is so snuffly. So far not wheezy, however, so that is a good thing. I have also noticed such a change in his personality when he is suffering from seasonal allergies. He becomes so whiney and tear-prone. EVERYTHING is a huge, major drama, ending with his collapsing on the nearest flat surface in a puddle of tears. I will not be sorry to see the beautiful blossoms go.

4. Bob's oldest sister Ann and her husband Wally spent Tuesday night with us. We took them to the airport yesterday so they could fly off for a relaxing vacation near my brother's old stomping grounds of Sacramento. It turns out that Bob's mom has a brother who lives in Auburn and has a cabin at Lake Tahoe. Nice! Wally is an accountant, so he was really ready to escape from all the last-minute tax questions. Their staying the night neccessitated a furious clean-up of all the Legos on the floor of the basement. How have we ended up with so many of the crazy things?!!

5. Grace is still not walking, sadly enough. (If she had started, that would have warranted its own post, LOL.) She stands so confidently, and has been for so long. But it's as if her little feet are rooted to the ground, because even if you are just inches away, she will drop right down and crawl. She still is not crawling backwards down the stairs either. I am SO ready for her to pick that up. For awhile she was just ignoring the stairs, so that was okay, but within the past few days, she has again headed for the stairs (going down) and acted as if she was ready to just put her hand down on the lower step and start going down that way. Fortunately her brothers have been vigilant and rescued her (good thing she has so many, since obviously her mom is a clueless dork, LOL!)

Now you're caught up! And now you know why I haven't felt like there was anything worth blogging about!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Hiking at Glen Helen

The first week we were in Ohio was so cold and rainy. I found myself wishing we had brought our heavy jackets instead of just our fleeces! Fortunately things cleared up and got warmer on Friday, so on Saturday we headed to Glen Helen, in Yellow Springs, with Amy and her boys. First we went to the small raptor center there, where they rehabilitate injured raptors. There were several owls, hawks, and even a bald eagle there. Then we hiked around for awhile, thoroughly tiring out all the boys.

A big forest--plenty of room to run around and be loud!

Does anyone know why there is this big tumor on the side of this tree? I meant to look it up but never got around to it, LOL.

The original "yellow spring" perhaps?
Boys, sticks, and water . . . they could have stayed here all day.

The four girls

Friday, April 11, 2008

Anyone still out there?!

We're back!! My parents' computer is acting wonky so I couldn't blog the whole time we were in Ohio. I'm sure it seemed like we fell off the face of the earth (or maybe the dog cake got us, LOL).

The kids and I had a great drive back yesterday. The weather was nice, we only needed one stop, and we listened to Because of Winn-Dixie on CD. I really liked that book. The boys had watched the movie maybe last year at Grandma's, and they liked it, but they all agreed the book was much, much better (isn't that so often the case!). The nicest part for me was that the person reading the book made the character of a little old well-to-do Southern lady named Miss Franny Block sound exactly how my Nana sounded.

So to re-cap the trip, we had a nice time with Bob's family. The anniversary party was lovely, and we had a nice lunch at Ponderosa with the whole clan the next day before the kids and I headed to Ohio and Bob headed home. Sunday night through Thursday night we spent with my parents doing the usual fun Ohio things like Youngs, ladies' Bible study at Faircreek, and OCF Bible study. For school, I ran off a bunch of old Latin review sheets, and I brought the Spectrum test practice books that we use to review for the Standford tests they will take the beginning of May. Those things kept the boys occupied in the mornings, and I didn't feel like the whole year's knowledge and learning was leaking rapidly out their ears right before testing, LOL.

Friday night through Sunday night we spent at Amy's. The weather cleared up and warmed up, which was such a blessing, and the boys ran themselves ragged. We went on a hike and visited a big playground, as well as playing football, basketball, and other outside things. Amy and I stayed up late each night scrap-booking and laughing hilariously at old stories and memories. What fun! And I got Luke's scrapbook done for this past year, and I finally started on Anna's.

Then we went back over to my folks' house for a few more nights. This enabled me to do laundry, repack, and just get things ready for the drive back.

It was a great trip, although it was nice for everyone to sleep in their own beds last night! I'll work on downloading pictures and posting some later on. And I guess I should work on unpacking too . . . the most un-fun part of a trip, LOL.