Wednesday, July 30, 2008

We're Home!

We made it back safely to VA last night. The best part was that Monday night, Bob was able to catch a hop out of Andrews AFB to Wright-Pat, so he was there to help me drive back. I can certainly do the drive by myself, but it's so nice when I don't have to! I even took a nap in the car in the morning.

We listened to King Solomon's Mines by H.R. Haggard on the trip. Wow, was it ever exciting! We have the book, although I had never read it, and Nathan started it once. He said it started too slowly, and he got bored and never finished it. It did start a bit slowly, but once it picked up, it was not at all boring! It's an adventure story set in Africa in the late 1800's. Haggard wrote it in 1884, I think. There were certainly some prejudicial colonial attitudes expressed in the book, which were interesting. I doubt the boys really picked up on them, but they were sure there. Also, in the first part of the book, the 3 adventurers are heading towards this mountain shaped like "Sheba's breasts", and they were supposed to climb toward the top of one of them, towards the "nipple". This is mentioned time and time again, which surprised me because I thought "breast" and "nipple" were words that still wouldn't be mentioned a whole lot in the 1800's. LOL. I'm pretty open about nursing, but I still don't really discuss the parts by name a lot, and it was weird to keep hearing the words.

There were some parts that were a bit gruesome, although not in a descriptive way, and it was a bit tense in parts. I don't think Caleb and Jonathan paid all that much attention to it, and in those instances, I was glad! The vocabulary was so rich, though. Lots of Latin roots! Definitely a boys' book.

When we got home, I was finally able to see my new kitchen floor. We have linoleum that is 15 years old, and a really out-dated pattern. The family we bought from had 5 children of their own, so this linoleum was worn out. While we were gone, Bob had some workers put in a hardwood floor. It looks so nice! I'll post pictures, but it's still not totally finished. The workers also knocked down a half wall that divided our eating area from the family room. We have such a big table that the wall made it hard for us to get around it, especially with a high chair there. It is so nice and spacious without the wall there! I love it! The dry wall is not finished on the wall, however, and neither is the trim on what is left of the wall, or under the cabinets. We're not sure when the men are coming back to finish. We have this Olympic party here on Saturday, and right now our family room is a disaster area. They had to move our big bookcase away from the wall so they could take off the trim, so all the book are in piles on the floor. It's a bit intimidating. Who wants to move them all back in before the wall in finished, but it's such a mess, and we're haivng a party on Saturday . . . Ok, deep breath . . . no panicking. Anyway, that's why I'm here on the computer and not doing anything useful, LOL. I'm overwhelmed. That's also why there are no pictures. Maybe next week, after the party.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Hello . . . Hello . . . Anyone there?

Hey, it's me again! We haven't perished in the wilds of Ohio! We've been having a great time, and I have just not been on the computer at all. We had 480 emails when I finally checked this afternoon!

Bob got a Priceline deal and flew out here last weekend, which was a nice treat. He got to go with us to the birthday party of Amy's younger son Jacob on Saturday. It was at a place called "Pump It Up", which had a lot of those big, inflatable bouncy things and slides. Needless to say, the boys had a wonderful time and bounced out a lot of their energy. Anna was in a grumpy, "nothing will please me" mood, so she didn't has as much fun, LOL. Ah well, you can't please everyone.

Sunday we went to church with Mom and Dad at the base chapel. It was nice to see old familiar faces, and we got to enjoy their monthly fellowship meal after the service. The only sticky part was during the special number. The chapel doesn't have a nursery, so Anna and Grace were both sitting on my lap, sort of playing with each other, and very nicely I might add. Until Grace stuck her fingers into Anna mouth, and Anna chomped down. Grace let out a very loud and indignant cry, so we had to make a hasty retreat to the cry room.

We've had a bunch of playdates too. Monday afternoon a Turkish woman and her one year old girl came over, along with a Korean woman and her one year old boy. Then on Tuesdya morning, the German wife of an American officer came with her one year old girl. Anna and Grace have never had so many little playmates! All the adult conversation has been nice for me, too.

Amy and I met at her mom's house Tuesday night to scrapbook. when we lived here, we would do this about once a month. No wonder I was so caught up back then! It's just so much harder to be motivated when you're doing it all by yourself. We had a great time, and I was able to make Anna's little album--the one where I have a birth page, a family page, and then either a 2 page or a 4 page spread for each year. I have one for all the boys, and I was really getting worried since I didn't have anything for either girl!

We all went back to Amy's house yesterday to play. The weather was so much cooler and more pleasant. The boys played outside the whole afternoon, and they didn't look like they were going to keep over from heatstroke either. Amy and I did some more scrapbooking, and I finished Jonathan's book for this past year. I still have Nathan's to do for this past year, but now I'm going to do some in my regular family album. The one where I'm stuck back in November, 2005. Sigh.

Tomorrow we're going to move over to Amy's house for the weekend. That will be fun! Then we'll come back here Monday so I can do laundry and regroup, and we'll leave Tuesday to drive back. So only a few more days of this wonderful vacation!

You know, the nicest part is that I didn't even bring any schoolwork, which I usually do. I'm sure it will be hard to get back into the swing of things, but actually I have 2 more weeks before I need to think about that. When we get back home, we have an orthodontist appointment, my first OB appointment, and we have to put the final details together for our big annual party, which we're having on Aug. 2. It's going to be an Olympic party. We don't have individual birthday parties during the year--I just make their special cake, which we bring to Bible study, where we celebrate. But we try to have one big party in the summer. This year, I have been very unorganized about it, and I haven't even sent out invitations. We're going by word-of-mouth, LOL. So needless to say, I have quite a few more details to take care of.

Then Nathan and Luke will leave for Camp Caleb Aug. 3 and be gone until Aug. 8. (Is that the week you mean, Joelyn? Is so, that would be great!!). I guess we'll be back to our normal routine that next week, at least school-wise. It's been a nice break, though, and then I'll be through the first trimester. Yay!

P.S. Please excuse any typing mistakes on this post and the last. I am a bad typist on a good day, and for some reason, I can NOT type on my parents' keyboard. We have a nice, ergometric one at home, which has the keys separated a bit more or something, but here I am always bumping other keys and not noticing. And I'm in too much of a hurry for spell checking, LOL.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

In Ohio Again!

well, to start off, we had a busy weekend, hence non blogging. Saturday I shopped at the local homeschooling convention. I've gone the last several years and gotten a good deal of things at the used book sale, especially. This year was such a disappointment! There weren't very many sellers there, and there were tons of shoppers. Even though I didn't see any curriculum I was looking for (Rod and Staff English in particular), I hoped to at least get some books for the boys to read on the drive. The books were very overpriced I thought, and most of them we already had anyways. Sigh. A big disappointment, as I said. Also, there weren't even venders I was hoping to see, like Memoria Press. I had really wanted to look at their Henle Latin guides, since I think we'll be moving into year 1 this year. Oh well.

Sunday afternoon our church had a big picnic over at a local park. It was very, very humid, especially for the 12 pregnant ladies in the church, but we survived, and it was a lot of fun. The boys played volleyball and a ton of other games. The girls played on the playground. I sat in the shade of the pavilion and sweated while watching them, LOL.

Monday morning the kids and I got up and out the door by 9:40 to start the drive to Ohio. We're visiting my family and best friend Amy and her family for 2 weeks! This is a REAL vacation for me! I was a little nervous about the drive, since I'm just 10 weeks along and still get tired in the afternoon. But God is faithful, and it was no problem. We listened to The Great Cheese Conspiracy and A Year Down Yonder on CD, which really helped keep me awake. That, and the box of Junior mints I ate.

I really enjoyed A Year Down Yonder. It was the sequel to A Long Way From Chicago, by Richard Peck, that we listened to on the way out to Utah. Both books involve 2 kids (just one in the second book) who have to visit their grandma down in some hicktown in the 1920's and '30's. The grandma is a real character--definitely not the cuddly, grandmotherly stereotype, but it makes for funny stories.

So far today I've been relaxing. I did a new Pilates For Pregnancy DVD that I bought off of Amazon, and I was very pleased with it. Exaclty what I was looking for!

The boys, especially Nathan and Luke, have been earning their keep here by helping Gradpa outside. He is pulling up sections of sod so Mom will have flower beds, and the boys have been helping truck the sod around the yard and lay it out on other places. They've also been helping to move the 10 tons of dirt that Grandpa had delivered a little while ago! They will be sleeping well while they're here, LOL! It's good for growing boys to be kept busy!

I need to go change a poopy diaper . . . it's not all relaxing around here.

Friday, July 11, 2008

New Bibles

A few days ago, I bought new Bibles for Nathan and Luke. Nathan had come to me a few days before that and mentioned that he didn't want to take his Bible to Camp Caleb next month. Nathan got his Bible when he was 4, and it is a Psalty Bible! Yes, one can understand why an 11 year old boy would feel the need to move on up, LOL. It's in a nice red Bible cover, however, so I never thought of it as a Psalty Bible--just as Nathan's Bible.

Luke's Bible is just as bad. It's a kid's devotional Bible, in the "NrIV", which is the NIV for new readers. He was also ready to move up!

We bought 2 new Bibles at the Christian bookstore, using a coupon, so now they are all set for Camp Caleb. The only thing is that these are just pretty generic gift Bibles, although they do have nice covers. But they don't really have a concordance, maps, or any helpful study notes or anything. I really loved my student Bible that I had back in high school and college, but I didn't see anything like that in the bookstore. I might look at CBD sometime to see what they have, and maybe we'll get them another Bible sometime, like at Christmas. It's always nice to have more Bibles around the house.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

It's a Baby!

Today was fun--I had an ultrasound!! A few days ago, I got an email from the local homeschool loop. Someone was forwarding a message from the local crisis pregnancy center, saying they were training some new nurses to give ultrasounds, and they were looking for 23 pregnant ladies to practice on, ones between 8 and 20 weeks. Well, I thought I was 9 weeks along, and I knew my first actual appointment at Bethesda wasn't until Aug. 1, so I thought this would be fun. I called the next day (Wednesday) and set up the ultrasound for this morning.

I brought all the kids, but it turned out that Bob was able to break away from work and meet us there, so that was really nice. Not only did he get to see the baby too, but he was a huge help with the kids, especially Anna and Grace.

It was so great to see the little jelly bean in there, with the heart beating away! Until you feel the baby move, it's always hard to really know you're pregnant, so it was nice to just get that visual confirmation. I don't think I've ever had an ultrasound this early! There were 3 nurses in training, plus the teacher, so the room was a bit crowded! Everyone got a chance to move the transducer around on my belly, and then they all also did a transvaginal ultrasound too. Based on the crown-rump measurements and fetal development, they gave me a due date of Feb. 12. Since I had come up with Feb. 11 on my own, I felt pretty good about that! The little guy wiggled around in there, and even waved his little paddle hands and feet at us. (I'm assuming a boy until I know otherwise, LOL.) The nurse said they call babies at this stage "teddy grahams", and that was indeed what he looked like! So cute!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Enjoying Life With Air Conditioning

Ahhhh . . . our house is so comfortable now. The guys came back Monday and worked all day, making all sorts of racket down in the basement. They finished up around 5:00, and it was so great to feel the humidity slowly start to leave the house. I think we are going to replace the outside part of the upstairs unit this summer too, as opposed to waiting until it totally gives out. We tried that and didn't like it, LOL.

I still haven't really made anything in the oven the last few nights, even though it would not make the house unbearably warm. After more than a week of skillet/stir-fry/crockpot meals, it just seems weird to even contemplate something in the oven.

Dinnertime has become somewhat of a challenge, even without the a/c woes. During this pregnancy so far, I have predictably been nauseous starting at around 2:00 in the afternoon, and it lasts until dinner. Once I've eaten dinner, I'm fine. Usually I take a nap around 2:00, but when I wake up, I am in no mood to even think about food, much less prepare something. Even the crockpot is not an ideal solution, because waking up smelling food really turns my stomach. So I have exhausted my repetoire of quick skillet meals that don't require me to do very much to prepare them, LOL.

This whole afternoon nausea this is definitely unique for me, as far as my pregnancies go. It will be interesting to see if this is a boy or a girl. I have really only been nauseous with the 2 girls, so maybe it will be another girl, although to be perfectly honest, I will admit I'm hoping a little bit for another boy! But of course I will be thrilled with whichever. Not so thrilled with the nauseousness, however.

All right, I'm late for my nap because I decided to be proactive and start the beef barley soup before laying down. And then someone called, so I needed to write a quick email, and what do you know, I find myself here. But now I'm off to the couch!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Graduation Party

Sunday we completed our big "up and back" trip to PA for Bob's niece's graduation party. Although it was a long and tiring day, I really do think it was for the best. I was so tired Saturday after the fireworks. The thought of having to pack and drive was too much for me, and it was so nice just to relax and lay around. I guess the Lord knew and prevented us from making those reservations!

We left around 9:00, got there about 1:45, stayed until 5:15, and got back home at 10:45. Of course, Sunday was the worst travel day we could have picked, being right after 4th of July, and traffic on I-70 was hardly moving as we got somewhat close to D.C. We ended up getting off and taking a bunch of back roads home. Although we wandered around Winchester for a good 20 extra minutes, trying to find Rt. 7, at least we were moving, and I'm sure the whole thing didn't take any longer than 70 would have.

The party was really nice. Bob's sister-in-law Sherry throws such good parties. There was a ton of food, including the cake that Grace raptly enjoyed with her Aunt Jane. The boys enjoyed playing volleyball, as well as this beanbag toss game, where you try to toss the beanbags into a hole, or at least get them onto the box. Surprisingly, even I was not a total loser at this game myself. Jane brought a bat, ball, and some bases, and she organized the kids into a baseball game.

Some of you know that I made a brief attempt to pottytrain Anna a few weeks ago. It really was not successful at all, and she was having a lot of attitude issues, so we just left it until a more propitious time (August maybe?). Well, this park had the nastiest, stinkiest pit toilets, and I was so eternally grateful that Anna was not wearing big girl panties and having to use "the facilities". I could hardly go myself without making myself sick to my stomach, and I can't imagine having to hold her over the hole, while waiting for her quirky toddler bladder to kick in. That probably would have set her back for a year! Again, the Lord knew what was happening, and I for one am priasing His perfect timing!

Bob's oldest sister Ann is really the only sibling that pushes for family pictures to be taken. At this party, all 6 of the siblings, plus all the grandchildren except 3, were there, and she worked hard to get everyone together for a family picture. It was a bit like herding cats, in that one brother had gone off fishing, and one sister had taken several of the kids off to a big slide in a whole different part of the park. But finally everyone made it back together, and a picture was taken for posterity. You know, Bob's parents are in their 80s, so opportunities such as this are not going to happen for too much longer. I'm glad we took advantage of it on Sunday.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Happy Fourth of July!!

Yesterday we headed downtown again to watch the national fireworks. We caravanned out with 3 other families from our Friday night OCF Bible study, and we went to our usual watching point of the Carillion, next to the Iwo Jima Memorial. My friend Johanna and her family were there when we got there, and my boys had a great time playing football and frisbees with hers. Later on, Bob's sister Ann and her family came as well, including Christi and her new husband Andres.

When we first got there, the weather was nice, but a little overcast. It started getting gloomier, and soon Red Cross people started coming around and telling us that big storms were on the way, and we were advised to seek cover. It wasn't even really raining at that point, so we all sat tight. Eventually it did start raining, and we hunkered down under a huge plastic sheet that Ed and Elizabeth had thoughtfully brought. Then the loud speaker came to life and said that severe weather was coming, with thunder, lightening, and high winds. Hmmm. So we packed up and made our way back to the hotel parking garage . . . except we never made it there. As we were walking back, the rain stopped, the skies got lighter and lighter, and we realized all we were doing was giving up our good space! So we turned around and went back. We had eaten our dinner (tuna sandwiches) before it started raining the first time, so this time we broke out the cookies and grapes. This was also when Ann and Wally showed up. When we were coming back, police officers had told us that another storm was expected around 7:00, and sure enough, it started raining again. I felt very wet, and I really wished I had brought our bag of light jackets that was in the back of the van. If we had gone back to the garage, I planned on getting them then! Christi was very nice and volunteered to go back with me (in the downpour) to get the jackets. Sure enough, as we got neared the garage, the rain let up and stopped! But we got the jackets, and I for one was glad to have them as it started raining one more time right before the fireworks started.

The first fireworks were lovely, but then the bad weather came back to bite us. The smoke just sort of lingered and never cleared, so we watched the rest of the fireworks through a malevolent dark cloud, as you can see by the picture below.

I'm sure you all have read A Wrinkle in Time, right? I thought we were seeing the "Dark Thing" that had so many planets under its evil grip, LOL. By the end of the display, you couldn't even really see the top of the Washington Monument anymore. But it was still a fun-filled evening, and I'm glad we went. Maybe the weather will be better next year!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Some good, some bad

Well, the air conditioner guys started getting stuff in today. Actually, it's all in, but it needs to get put together and hooked up. That, of course, will not happen until Monday, but at least it's a start. I'm sure you're all dying to know what we decided. We are getting a new furnace and a/c for the downstairs, and we're not doing anything to the upstairs yet. I had forgotten that a few years ago, we actually replaced the inside part of the upstairs one, so all we need is a new outside tower part. Bob looked online, and you can buy them pretty inexpensively. Ed knew a guy who would install what you buy, so we'll probably do that sometime later on. I am really looking forward to having a comfortable main level again. Bob grilled some delicious steaks tonight, and we've been eating our dinners outside for the past several days. It's been very comfortable, temperature-wise, the last few evenings, and it's been nice to just sit outside and see the neighbors who walk by (probably thinking what white trash we are, LOL).

We were supposed to be gone this weekend, which would have helped with the whole hot, humid main floor thing. Bob's niece graduated from high school this year, and she's having a graduation party in PA Sunday afternoon. We were going to go up Saturday and come back Sunday, but when we called the hotel to confirm what day our reservation started, it turned out we never actually made the reservation. Whoops! There is literally one room in one hotel in this town that we fit in (actually it's a few towns away, but it's the closest we can get), so there are no other options. We will have to drive up Sunday morning and back Sunday night. It's about a 4 1/2 hour drive one way, so that's not impossible of course--we've done it before--but it does mean another afternoon in the heat. Sigh. We both really thought we'd called. I guess, with all the reservations for the big trip, this one just fell through the cracks.