Thursday, December 25, 2008

Stopping in to say




May you all have an absolutely wonderful, blessed day!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Book Review: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling


My review


rating: 4 of 5 stars
I enjoyed this book. It's a nice addition to the Harry Potter series. I found the descriptions of the magical creatures to be quite imaginative and fun. While I wouldn't call it spectacular, I would say it's a must-read for every Harry Potter fan.


View all my reviews.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Book Review: The Shack

The Shack The Shack by William P. Young


My review


rating: 5 of 5 stars
This was a very good book. I found it to be a fast read, because the further I got into it, the more I wanted to keep reading. It's a sad tale about a man whose 6-year-old daughter was murdered by a serial killer. He meets with God to come to terms with both that and his troubled childhood. (I'm going to refrain from saying much more, because I don't want to reveal the plot.) In some ways, it's a story of redemption. I didn't find this book to be life-changing, as I've heard others label it, but it did make me think about my own faith. All in all, I would highly recommend this book.


View all my reviews.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

We made it!

DH got home yesterday! :-) His flight ended up delayed by about a total of an hour - not too bad, especially not when flying out of ORD (more commonly known as O'Hare). The kids and I picked him up at the airport. We got there as his plane was landing, and could see it taxiing to the gate. By the time we got settled in the waiting area just outside the security checkpoint, DH was coming down the hallway. I saw him and asked Abby who that was. She took off running "Daddy" - and Grant followed suit. Natalie had to be brought over to him - she was too distracted by the new surroundings to notice people! LOL When she first saw him, she hesitated a little. But once he spoke to her, she came running! It was so sweet! She clearly missed him much more than I'd realized. She was big-time clingy with him last night, and still some today. She's more animated and just doing better overall. It's amazing the difference. She hadn't acted all that different during his absence, so I really thought she was somewhat indifferent.

Me? I must've been running on adrenaline while he was gone - once he was home, I just got DEAD tired! I couldn't believe it! LOL I had to take a nap this afternoon, too. I have been just so very tired. Must be the adrenaline crash! He's super tired, too - falling asleep on the couch since about 7:30! LOL But, he worked almost constantly, so it's not unexpected.

Well, in my super-tired state, I'm feeling not too eloquent right now. So, I'm gonna jet - maybe go to bed early. Night, night (to quote Natalie)!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Home Stretch!

That's right. We're about to enter the FINAL week of DH's deployment! :-D A week from this very moment, he will be HOME. I cannot wait! I pray this last week flies by, as I am so ready for him to be home. He said today he's finally getting tired of living out of a suitcase and not being home. Saturday, December 6, cannot come fast enough! I had to get groceries today, and I picked up some things that he typically uses and I don't so that we have them when he comes. (I'm hoping that was my last trip while he's away. I also hope I have enough diapers for this week - I'm pretty sure I do.) He gets home about 2:30-ish in the afternoon, so the kids and I will pick him up at the airport. I'm so excited about that. I remember when he went on his first deployment - a little over three years ago. Abby and I picked him up, and were walking from the baggage claim area to the waiting area. He turned round the corner into the hallway, and Abby was so excited! She screamed "Daddy" and took off running to him. It was so sweet (and a little funny, as she had been eating some fruit snacks and left a little trail behind her LOL)! It's definitely a memory I'll cherish. I can't remember if we picked him up last time - I think we did, but clearly it wasn't quite as sweet! LOL I'm hoping this time he'll have all three of 'em running to him. We've talked using Gmail's video chat, and they just LOVE getting to see him while talking! Even Natalie - who shies away from the phone - loved it. She was blowing him kisses - very sweet. Anyway, we're entering the home stretch of being without DH. C'mon, Saturday - GET HERE ALREADY! ;-)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

It's All Downhill from Here ...

... or so they say. The halfway point of DH's time away has been reached and passed. Two weeks from now he will be HOME. :-) December 6 cannot come fast enough! I will say that overall this has gone better than I'd expected. The kiddos are generally doing great, and I'm holding up better than before - maybe that's because I'm not pregnant this time! LOL I just miss HIM. His companionship. His hug. His voice - which sounds different IRL than over the phone! ;-) His smell. His smile. Two weeks - I can do this. Really. I can. Plus, my mom's coming out in a few days to be here for a few days - including Thanksgiving. So, that'll help. I'll finally have some much-needed adult company! And maybe, just MAYBE she'll let me get away - even if it's just to run to Panera and get a chai tea latte. Here's hoping! ;-) Anyway, we are over the hump. We're closer to the end than to the beginning. It feels SO GOOD! Oh, Lord, please help these two weeks fly by - and me to make it through with my sanity in tact - or at least what's left of my sanity! ;-)

Thanksgiving will be weird this year. DH and I haven't ever been apart for Thanksgiving in I don't know how long. This is our ninth Thanksgiving since we were married, and I know we'd spent a couple together prior to our marriage, too. So, it's been 10+ years since we last were apart for a major holiday! I really don't think it'll feel like Thanksgiving. Not even with a meal. But, we'll do our best.

What I haven't decided is whether to get the Christmas stuff down Friday like we normally would do or wait until he's home. Maybe it'll depend on how my back feels - and how heavy everything is! Perhaps I should ask him about it - that might be a good idea. Yes, I will tomorrow - assuming I remember.

Well, I think I'm gonna head to bed early. Grant was up around 5:30 this morning, and wouldn't go back to sleep. So, I am exhausted. Night, night!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Happy Hump Day!

Yes, I know, it's not Wednesday. But, it's still hump day - and, no, I'm not being dirty! LOL Today is the midway point of DH's absence. We've reached the hump - it's all downhill from here! :-) In some ways, it's energizing. In others, it's EXHAUSTING. But, I'm excited. Two weeks from TOMORROW, he comes HOME! :-) I'm so excited. It's odd, but I think I've missed him even more this time - which I so didn't expect. The other times I was pregnant, and I thought my hormones made it worse. But, perhaps this time it's b/c I don't work. It's me and the kids, day in and day out. Always. No breaks for me, unless right now counts, but even then I have to be ready in case I'm needed. I miss his companionship more than I have in the past. I'm sure our new situation accounts for that. But, I'm not complaining - especially with Thanksgiving being a few days away. My mom is coming out - and probably bringing my niece and nephew - so that'll keep us busy. Hopefully the time will FLY! Abby only has 2 and a half days of school. Part of me wishes she was off all week, but I know it's better NOT that way - we clash way too much! LOL

On a completely unrelated note, I decided I wanted a more seasonal template. So, I found a Christmas/winter one. It was so hard to choose! I again went with Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates - I just LOVE her stuff! She recently released her seasonal templates, so I decided to switch. She does an absolutely lovely job!

I have another post I want to write - about my faith. But, it'll have to wait until I'm not falling asleep at the keyboard! ;-) That said, I gotta get to sleep. I'll write more tomorrow.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Day 7: Blah!

I feel like writing, but don't know what to say. I hate when that happens! But, today's been awful for me. I think a large part of it is PMS. Add that to DH being gone and me getting very little adult interaction over the last week and you get what I've been today. My poor kids. I am seriously considering begging my mom and/or sister to come out this weekend!

On a brighter note, I got a very welcome tidbit of good news this morning. DH e-mailed me to tell me that he was off in his calculation of when he comes back - instead of December 7, he'll be home December 6! WOOHOO! Let me tell you - he totally made my day! I was so happy, and I just keep focusing on that. Most of the time.

I'm exhausted, but my hair's still wet from my shower an hour ago and I don't want to look too funny in the morning. *sigh* I'm currently doing a product study for some shampoo, and I'm LOVING this stuff - much more than I'd expected. It's really helping my curls do their thing! :-) EVEN WITHOUT CONDITIONER! That's the amazing part, at least in my eyes. I'll share more about the test somewhere down the road. I'm sworn to secrecy for any product tests and/or surveys in which I participate. I'm not sure when I can talk, but I'm sure once I see the product in question on the store shelf it's likely safe! ;-)

Well, I've run out of coherent thoughts, so I'll go for now. Maybe tomorrow I can post more when I'm actually feeling somewhat cognizant! LOL

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

For Crying Out Loud ~ Day 6

I woke this morning to find dog puke in two places in the kitchen. Nice. Good morning to me! At first I thought it was puke in one spot and shit in another, but cleaning up set me straight. It smelled like vomit. That's quite the interesting pile of doggy vomit, that's for sure. And it's enough to kill the breakfast appetite! That is for sure! Yuck. Now Scooba is running, and so far not getting the worse of the two puke spots. Of course! Scooba just might have to do double duty today.

Aside from that, the morning actually went pretty well. I got Abby to school on time for the first bell, which is a first for me I think! LOL Then I took the other two shopping for groceries. It went pretty well - Grant is definitely a morning person. There's no doubt about that. I've never had him so well-behaved in a store before! (Note to self: Always go as early in the morning as possible if Grant's coming!) There's the added bonus of not many people being there yet - that always helps expedite the trip. Plus, shelves were almost fully stocked throughout the store. Nice. Of course, I forgot to grab a frozen pizza, but oh, well. I remembered all of the milk I needed to get - and with three different kinds to get (skim for me, 2% for the kids, whole for the baby) that's quite a feat! ;-)

Well, Scooba needs some attention. So, I'm gonna get going. Plus, Abby gets off school in 30 minutes. Time to start changing diapers in preparation!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Day 5

:sheep: Seriously? Only? We have 25 days still to go? :faint:Man, this time is creeping by slowly!

I had a ton I wanted to say about an hour or so ago, but - of course - could not get here to write until now. So, I've lost most of it. But, as I type, Grant is supposed to be lying down on the couch. He and Abby AGAIN were bouncing off the walls a little while ago. :bang: This is deja-vu, as Sunday night was like this. Why is it only school nights when they pull this shit? :gaah: I love my kids ... I love my kids ... I love my kids.

OK. The boy is now in bed. Heads will roll, should they start screwing around again tonight! :trouble:

Today wasn't nearly as bad as the weekend was. Thank God Abby had school yesterday! It'll be a lifesaver this time around, I am quite certain! Poor kid is having a bit of a hard time with her daddy gone, so I'm trying not to be too rough on her. But, I'm also not going to cut her too much slack. You know kids - you give 'em an inch ...

I have so much to do right now it's not funny. I don't like being the only person around to do stuff. But I think that's the lazy side of me. The other side of me thrives under these circumstances. It's fulfilling to get everything done that needs to be done. Even stupid things like taking out the trash. Of course, that could be in part b/c I finally get an opportunity to get rid of a bunch of crap DH had been letting pile up in the garage! But, that was yesterday. Today I have dishes - again. Thankfully, we have a dishwasher, so that means I need to empty, load, and start it up. Not too bad - not even when it's on a daily basis. But, I'll do it tomorrow. (LOL No, I'm not going to say that tomorrow, too!) Today has been nuts, and I need some downtime. I also need sleep. See why I'll do it tomorrow? ;-) I did get a small package to send to DH ready to go. After dropping Abby off at school, the other two and I will be heading to the grocery store. Milk - it's always about the milk! Either after that or before we pick up Abby (or maybe immediately after - it all depends on Grant and Natalie), we'll mail the package. He forgot something, and Abby wanted to send him a couple of things. He's also getting a bunch of candy! LOL

I gotta sit down and look at the checkbook. I've no idea where we're at right now, but my brain is mush. The good thing is with Abby gone, I can get more done during the day. Natalie sleeps all morning, and Grant's pretty easily occupied. So, I can get the dishes and maybe even checkbook taken care of after shopping. I just gotta get us ready to go before I go to bed - make my list, find any coupons I have, put my reusable bags where I won't forget them, etc.

I must say, though, that I did get a TON of stuff done today, not the least of it is finally getting the clean clothes put away - on time to start laundry again in a couple of days! LOL I also got the drawer under Natalie's crib back in place. A couple of months ago, Abby jumped on it while it was open. DH and I could NOT get it back in, so it had been placed under the crib, out of the way of walking feet. Today I decided it was enough. It'd be a PITA to have to deal with that next time I change Natalie's sheets. Plus, I was tired of not using the drawer! We paid for the damn thing. I had better get full use out of it! ;-) I'm not entirely sure how I got it in, but I did. I cleared plenty of room for me to work at getting it back in place. I said a quick prayer "Lord, please help me get this thing back in its place" - or something to that effect - and set to work. Once I finally got the rollers in place, I pushed until it resisted. Then I sat and pushed with my legs. That was cake - and I still can get it open. It sticks a little, but it's easily opened anyway. And, yes, I did remember to praise and thank God for that little bit of help. Proof once again that He does care about the little things, too! :-)

Well, it's getting late and I gotta prep for the morning. I also need to sleep.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

No One's Dead ~ Yet

Man, I cannot wait for school tomorrow! Absolutely cannot wait! Abby had a half day Thursday, no school Friday, and DH left early Friday. It's been a long weekend, that's for sure! And they're driving me bonkers. It's been cold, so I've been dragging them around town getting Christmas shopping done to get them out of the house. Oh, my, gosh! I never want to do it that way again! I've never had them misbehave like this. Now, granted, shopping with me likely is EXTREMELY boring, but c'mon! I became one of THOSE moms - you know, the one with the out-of-control kids running through the aisles! I tried to give the kids away to passers-by, but no one wanted them. I wonder why ...

And now, I got interrupted writing this because Abby and Grant decided now would be a good time for playing - LOUDLY, I might add - in their room. Grant had already been asleep for about an hour, and Abby was apparently incapable of going to bed without him waking. Usually, he goes right back to sleep. Not tonight. So, I brought him back downstairs with me so Abby can fall asleep. She's got school tomorrow, otherwise I'd bring her back down until I'm confident Grant's asleep.

Have I mentioned how EXHAUSTED I am? I'm on Day 3 of DH being gone and have no idea how I'm gonna make it another 27 days! Well, I know how - by the grace of God. Without His help, this wouldn't work. On one hand, I'm grateful for school - gets one of the three out of my hands for a bit. (And, honestly, it's the one who tends to be the least cooperative.) On the other hand, I'm not happy about school - because it just adds to the stress. I gotta worry about getting her to bed early enough, getting her to school on time, getting back to the school on time to pick her up (which rarely allows for the other two to get decent naps), some days packing a lunch ... I figure by the time we get into a good routine DH will be home. That's typically how it goes.

Anyway, I gotta go. Dishes are calling my name. Yippee! Hopefully I can go to bed after that.

Friday, November 7, 2008

One day down ...

and 29 left to go. DH left this morning. Fortunately, his travel days are Day #1 and Day #30 of his deployment. I've spoken with him a few times today, and he made it to Austin no problem. So, all is well on that side. Tomorrow is when he starts working.

Today went pretty well, even with Abby having a day off school! :-) The morning was laid-back, with us doing not much of anything once DH left. we just hung out together and did whatever. After Grant's nap, we went to pickup my new battery for my laptop. (My previous battery had suddenly stopped charging - apparently Apple's got some sort of problem with the older batteries, b/c they sent me a new one free of charge!) It took me forever to find the damn place Apple shipped the battery to. Where I live, we have streets and avenues. The streets run north/south, and the avenues are east/west. I was thinking the Apple service shop was on 19th St. But, after driving around a bit, I figured there was no way that was possible. (Where I was driving was where the road ended by the river. It was pretty easy to tell I wasn't in the right place! LOL) Suddenly it hit me - 19th AVENUE, not street! DUH! Sure enough, they were right there - which also is closer to my house, of course! Blond moment? Perhaps - except that I'm not blond ... hmm.

After the Apple store, we (the kids and I) checked out Toys R Us. They were having a sale from 3 p.m. until 10 p.m. tonight, which also carries over into the morning tomorrow - but I don't know the hours. I have most of the kids' Christmas stuff bought AND most of Grant's b-day stuff! :-) Christmas shopping is almost done - I ordered Dh what he wanted (a new hard drive for his laptop) and purchased some stuff for my nieces and nephews last night. Now the other adults on our list are the only people left for whom we need to get something! :-)

The one downside to the new battery for the laptop is I have to calibrate it - which means I couldn't go to bed yet! :-( I forgot how long it takes and started it a couple of hours ago! DOH! LOL I should soon be able to continue the process - hopefully it'll complete most of it's stuff overnight.

I gotta get to bed. I'm too tired. So, I think I'll finish the calibration tomorrow morning. Wish me luck! ;-)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Deep Thoughts

There is so much going on in my mind right now. I don't know where to begin. Oy! I hate when this happens. I don't have writer's block - I just can't keep up with the thoughts running through this head of mine! It'll probably take me all day to write this. Between interruptions (I love my kids) and my own distraction, it's inevitable. Plus, I gotta pay the bills today. We also need to go to Sam's Club today. DH is going to be gone to Texas for 30 days for work, so I want to stock up on stuff like diapers, TP, etc. He doesn't know this yet, but I'm sure he'll understand when I talk to him about it. More on the Texas stuff later, as I don't feel like talking about that yet.

Or do I? OK. That's the easy topic, so here it goes. DH works for the Army Corps of Engineers, and has the opportunity to deploy for 30 days to help with hurricane recovery efforts in Texas. He's done this twice before - after Hurricane Katrina in LA. The good thing is it's a TON of extra money, and we REALLY need that right now. He said it looks like it'll be 11-hour days with one day off every other week, plus there are two holidays in November for which he'll get holiday pay. Not to mention working over the weekends. This is the first time he'll be gone with me NOT being pregnant! LOL The first time he was gone about three months before Grant was born. The second time he was gone about five months before Natalie was born. But, this is the first time I'm not working. It'll be me and the kids, 24/7. Thank God for school, b/c without it Abby might end up dead (more on that later). But, that means I'll have to drop her off and pick her up - every day. That'll be a HUGE disruption to our usual routine, and will necessitate an entirely new routine. But, I know we'll be fine. It'll be hard - especially since I won't have work as time away - but I know we'll be OK. God wouldn't have given me all three kids if I couldn't handle them. Plus, I think this was somewhat of a Divine appointment. Thursday, I had told DH that if he had an opportunity to go on a 30-day deployment, I'm behind him. He had been thinking of doing one, too. Yesterday he got notification that they're looking for someone. Now he's just waiting for his tasker and travel orders. I pray it comes soon, b/c I want him back for my birthday - December 12! I'm not sure what we'll do about Thanksgiving, but we'll figure it out.

Now the tricky part begins. It all started when I checked out my page on MySpace yesterday. I only get there once every month or two, and yesterday was my first time in quite a while. There was a ton of stuff on there, and getting caught up was a time-consuming venture. I knew that going into it, though. But, when I get to the blog updates, well, the one right on top says "P broke up with me" and is posted by my sister. About a year ago, my sister moved 800+ miles to be with him, and he out of the blue breaks up with her. He basically told her that he woke up one day and didn't love her anymore. Right. Asshole. Oh, yeah, and about a month ago she renewed her lease for another year, which makes it that much harder for her to come home. She's all but said that's what she wants to do. :-( My other sister and I were talking about this last night, and we are going to try to help her find a way home. Her job is another consideration, but I have no doubt that she'd be able to transfer back to her previous location without a problem. For starters, they loved her there. Plus, I've been told they're losing half their employees to a new store that's opening up. So, I think she'd have no problem on the job front. She'd likely move back in with our parents, which means she wouldn't have to pay rent or utilities. So, if worse came to worst, she could live there while paying her lease where she's at now. But that might work in her favor - I'm sure her landlord doesn't want her apartment vacant for almost a year. So, perhaps things can be worked out in her favor. I hope so. I know she needs to be home now - I can tell. When I read her blog and talk to her, I can sense it. My poor sweet sister! :-(

The only bright side to this is that it appears to be working to bring my other sister and me closer than we've been in quite some time. She and I were up late IM'ing last night, and got to talk about all sorts of things. We discussed our other sister's situation and are planning to light a fire under her ass to get her to come home. After talking about that, we discussed other things that I'm glad we did. Very personal, very old things. Family stuff, which I'm not going to share here. Probably not ever. Stuff that personal stays on Vox, where I have full control over who gets to read it. Anyway, that talking was good for us. We've not done any really substantial talk in so long. We needed that. I feel much better about our relationship now.

The flip side, though, is that it made me wonder. Without going into too much detail, I will share some of my thoughts. We discussed family stuff, which I mentioned previously. Part of what we talked about was how neither of us remembers much of our childhood at all. It's like we've got amnesia or something. We were talking about what we did remember, and I'm now wondering if things were much worse than I remember. Did I block it all out? Do I need therapy? Do I want to dig all of this up? I really don't know. To some extent it bothers me not knowing about my childhood. You know those questions people sometimes ask, like "what's your first memory?" or "what's your favorite childhood memory" or pretty much anything along those lines. Am I more fucked up than I'd ever even considered? It could explain a lot ... but, again, do I even want to go there? Maybe it's better not knowing. I guess I have a lot to consider. It won't be now, as I'll be busy enough during DH's absence for the time being. Plus, we also have to look into the financial side. Will insurance cover this? If so, how much? Do we need a referral? If not, can we even afford it? I really hate that the financial picture has to limit this. If I need therapy, I should be able to get it. But whatever. I guess for now I'll just keep on with my considerations. There's a lot to think about and a lot to consider. I suppose I should do so on my knees, too. Pray for wisdom, discernment, etc.

So, in my ponderings, I have many things I wonder. Is healing possible if you don't even know what the injury is? I'm sure superficial healing can happen, but can true - complete - healing happen when there's no idea what's the cause of any pain? I just don't know. So, I guess I'll be in prayer about this. I really can see no other way to go about this. I'm just grateful that I have the Lord to help me discern the right way to approach this.

I am running out of things to say, so I'll just stop here. I'll likely post more about this down the road. If you read it all, thanks for reading! :-)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

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More on classic novels

I've been thinking about this since writing my post - er, I mean highlighting, bolding, etc. the post I got from Kelly. Before I express my thoughts, remember that I have a degree in English, so I've studied LOTS of literature from many genres. That said, there are many books I think should be on that list, and all of these I have read. (There is no particular order - just the order in which I think of them.)

1 Chaucer's complete works, especially The Canterbury Tales
2 Romeo and Juliet - Shakespeare
3 Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain
4 Macbeth - Shakespeare
5 Beowulf
6 Beloved - Toni Morrison
7 Sarah's Key - Tatiana de Rosnay
8 Those Who Save Us - Jenna Blum
9 White Noise - Don DeLillo
10 Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

I also think it shouldn't be called a list of "classic" novels, as many of those aren't what I'd call classics - at least not yet. They're too new! ;-) And that includes some of those listed above, too! ;-) I think I'd prefer to call it "must-read" works. After all, not all are novels - Shakespeare and Chaucer come to mind ... That said, I feel better now! The first one to pop into my mind the first time I looked at the long list was Frankenstein. How that one didn't make it I'll never know. But, that's all right. It's on MY list! ;-)

ETA (edited to add): I didn't mention my degree to sound like a know-it-all. Upon reading this after submitting it, I realized that it kinda comes across that way. What I meant was that my degree should reflect my love for literature, and help explain why I can't leave well-enough alone when it comes to the book list. I hope that makes sense. I am so NOT a book snob - and I so don't have a superiority complex when it comes to this particular subject! ;-)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

100 Classic Novels

I got this from my friend Kelly. She says,

I found this on a friend's blog. It's supposedly a list of 100 of the greatest novels of all time. And as Erin says... "Notice I didn't say THE greatest I said 100 OF the greatest."

The purple ones are the ones that I've read. The green ones are the ones on my to-read list. Supposedly the average American has read 6 of the 100. I've got 28 - not too bad, unless I consider the fact that I have a degree in English. Although, I have read most of the actual classics on that list, just less of the more recently written stuff. There are a few on there that I'm surprised I haven't read. And, honestly, there are plenty that I can't remember for sure whether I have read them - I've read countless books! It's definitely time to update my Goodreads to-read shelf, though!

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 nineteen eighty four- george orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia- CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion- Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe- CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha- Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm- George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code- Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies- William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi- Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World- Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones- Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Friday, October 24, 2008

Natalie

I'm not sure if you could tell, but the picture of Natalie that I posted on her birthday is old. It was from June. I couldn't find any others on my computer. Well, I found one tonight that is from September. So, I thought I'd share. Here's my baby!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Another Review: The Conservative's Handbook

I got another freebie from GoodReads. This one is The Conservative's Handbook:Defining the Right Positions from A to Z by Phil Valentine. And here's my review:

I received this book as a First Reads giveaway book. I thought it would be interesting to see what all it said, and I expected it to bore me to death!

I was quite pleasantly surprised that it was interesting to see what it said, AND it was actually an enjoyable read. Valentine has a conversational writing style that I found to be very engaging. And, he shows facts to back up each point. Yes, I'm conservative, and I always have been. But I think now I'm even more so, as there were issues I wasn't as informed about that this helped me understand better.

That said, I'd love for someone on the liberal side of the spectrum to write a book like this with their takes on everything so I can fully understand their point of view. I doubt it'd make me turn liberal, but I'd like to better understand where they're coming from.

Anyway, I thought this was a wonderful book. Well-written, and very informative. I was amazed to find myself enjoying the book and reading more because I was curious about what his points were on the next issue in the book.
My rating: 5 stars (out of 5)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

GoodReads and a Book Review: Sarah's Key

As you can guess from my sidebar widget, I am a member of GoodReads. As a lapsed avid reader, I love that site very much! It has helped me get back into the swing of reading after years of missing it. I can't believe how much I've missed reading. That said, I've won a couple of books through their First Reads program. Their blurb on what First Reads is:
Win free copies of pre-release books. Publishers can list their upcoming books, and you can apply to receive one. Winners are picked randomly at the end of the giveaway.
I've won two so far. And LOVED it. I make sure to make the books I read a priority on my to-read list, then I write a review. Since that's really why these books are given out in the first place, I figure the least I can do is comply. After all, I'm being given a free book! ;-)

That said, I'll stop with the chit-chat and get on with my real purpose of writing today. To share my review (also posted on GoodReads) of Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay.

Wow. What a powerful book. I had no idea about the French involvement in the Holocaust prior to reading this book. I was horrified, and saddened to learn of the events of July 16, 1942. This book was amazing. Julia is a very believable character, and her experience is amazing. I hated her husband - a rude, selfish jerk. I loved her daughter, Zoe.

I felt the book started kinda slowly, but about a quarter of the way into it, I was hooked. I couldn't put it down. I read most of it in a matter of 36 hours! I'm not satisfied with the end - I have questions. What became of Julia and her daughters? What became of William? What about Julia's ex-father-in-law? What about her ex?

All that said, I would highly recommend this book. It's a very good, and thought-provoking read. Anyone who read and enjoyed "Those Who Save Us" likely will find this book worth reading, too.
My rating: 5 stars (out of 5)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Wow, that was fast!

At this point exactly 12 months ago I was getting to know my sweet new baby girl, Natalie. She was born at 1:20 a.m. on October 14, 2007. Most of my reflecting actually occurred last night, as October 13 of last year was quite the day. It was mid- to late afternoon when it occurred to me that I was contracting. After dinner I finally decided to time the contractions. We were at the hospital about 9 or so, and walking the halls about 10-10:30. At about 12:35 a.m. I was told I was 5 cm. At 12:50, I involuntarily began pushing. I was complete and Natalie was ready to make her entrance into this world. Half an hour later, my sweet Natalie was here.

I cannot believe it's been a year! Where has the time gone? How is my tiny, quite little baby now a smiley, squealing toddler? It's just amazing. I wanted to write her a letter like I did Abby, but I'm not having any success. Perhaps it's her age, or perhaps I'm just not in the right mindset. I don't know. But, it doesn't mean she's any less loved or less cherished than her big sister.

In every way she is a wonderful answer to prayer. And Dan and I both are enjoying her so much. She's got the most delightful personality, and she's just the cutest thing. It's so neat watching her and the other two as they develop a relationship. She and Grant are quickly becoming buddies. It's so heartwarming to watch. And she just ADORES Abby, who returns the feelings. I pray God help us to cultivate good, strong bonds between all three of our wonderful children.

So, where is Natalie now? She's napping! LOL No, seriously, I thought I'd try to write a quick rundown of what she's up to. She's walking all over the place - and climbing, too. She's been doing this for a few weeks now. The funniest thing is when she grabs something she knows she should have. She makes eye contact with me, then turns and "runs" - toddles as fast as her little legs will go! LOL It is so cute, and the whole time she's grinning ear to ear! After waiting as long as seemingly possible, Natalie has at least six teeth now. (I say "at least" because she doesn't like to let us look inside to see if she has more.) She's all about table food, and doesn't want the baby food anymore. It's a little bit of a problem, though, as she doesn't seem to like the texture of fruit and veggies. But she LOVES meat and cheese. So we've got to be extra careful to make sure she's getting enough fiber. Gotta love transitions! ;-) I'm anxious to see what she weighs - her appointment is on Monday. I'm hoping she's at least 20 lbs. so we can turn her around in her car seat, but I wouldn't be surprised if she's not. She's a tiny little thing - 25th percentile for everything. She "dances" when she hears music, and can say some words.

Natalie just amazes me. She's such a wonderful blessing - God is so good!

Happy birthday, my baby girl, Natalie!






Friday, October 3, 2008

Updating the house situation

We had the furnace looked at today. No repair was needed. Somehow the repair manual got sucked into the fan! :doh: :giggle: Still had to pay the service fee, so the guy went ahead and looked over the whole thing. Bad news: he says we've got about a year left out of that thing. There's a crack between the heating element (put simply: the fire) and the blower, which is the beginning of the end. So, now DH and I are trying to decide if we want to just bite the bullet and do it this year (to take advantage of rebates from our gas/electric company as well as tax rebates) or next year. We definitely want to go high-efficiency. It's not that much more $$$ than the regular ones, and it'll save on heating bills. :good: So, that's the news regarding the house. On a good note, the heat is functional again! :woohoo: Oh, and praise God that this happened this year so we weren't surprised by a broken furnace, or had problems with carbon monoxide!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

In a Bad Mood

I guess. Or something. A ton of things are bothering the hell outta me right now.

Firstly, and most importantly, it's freezing. It's currently 45 degrees outside - the high is supposed to be about 64. As of about 30 minutes ago, it was 61 degrees here in the house. And, no, I cannot run the heat. I WANT to, but can't. We need to have it looked at. About a week ago, we noticed the house fan (at that point we were running the a/c - gotta love the Midwest) was making a weird noise. And DH wants it kept off to be safe. OK, I understand that - and I agree. But, the SOB FORGOT to call someone until TUESDAY morning - when I reminded him. (Nevermind he was off work last Friday and could've called no problem!) So, no one can come until TOMORROW morning! Poor kids and I are freezing. Oh, and DH is gone - he had to go for an overnight trip last night. Must be nice to NOT have to deal with this. Jackass! My poor babies! :-(

Secondly, with DH being gone today I had to drop Abby off at school. That's cool. No problem. We're running a tiny bit later than usual, but she was on time no problem. What pissed me off? On one side of the school is an alley. People drop off and pick up the kids over there all the time. I decided to go over there, b/c I could park quickly and I could watch her walk to her class. Or so I thought. But, apparently when dropping off one's kids all courtesy goes out the window. DO NOT BLOCK THE ALLEY SO NO ONE CAN GET BY! Seriously. It didn't happen just once - several people did it. I finally squeezed by some assholes to pull over and get Abby out and to the playground. And guess what, no one was stuck waiting behind my van while I did that! I just wanted to shout "Get the fuck out of my way people! In case you weren't aware, your child isn't the only child attending school today!" Idiots.

OK. I feel a little better! LOL Maybe having frozen toes feeds the foul mood?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

And now to sound even more pathetic

This morning I posted a prayer request for the last person on her way home. I posted about 7 a.m.-ish saying she was on her way home "now" and would everyone please pray for her safety and that she handles it OK (not a fan of flying in general). A few hours later, there's a "well, that's not exactly true - at least not at the time of Heather's post ..." Apparently the flight had been delayed. But, the wording just TICKED ME OFF. Did that line even NEED to be there? Couldn't it just have been, "well, the flight was delayed, and now they are en route" or something to that effect?

So, what did I do? I abused my power, so to speak. I deleted all posts prior to hers (a total of 3 posts, I believe) and just made hers the first part, removing the line about me being so out of it. It was either that or write some snarky, bitchy line about excusing me for my ignorance or some other smartass thing.

Why does this bug me so much? Well, this is not the first time I have felt like I'm losing out on time with my friends to this particular individual. To start with, I never invited her to FROGs. She invited herself. Yes, overall, she's an asset to FROGs. But, well, stuff like this makes me regret letting her in. This is the third friend from FROGs that I have painfully watched as she monopolized their time while I am unable to be part of it. She's housed two others at her home. It's great that she's so hospitable, but why not try to include me in as much as possible? I mean, really? If it wasn't for me, she never would have even heard of these people, let alone had the opportunity to spend so much time with them. Now, I will admit that one of the times was just the timing. Natalie was just a couple of weeks old, and I wasn't ready to be taking her out, so I didn't get much time. That's really no one's fault. But, still, I get to hear over and over again about all of these things that happened, conversations, etc. And once again, I'm not a part of any of it. I got to visit with each of my friends a little, but nothing like I'd want to.

Yes, I'm whining and complaining again. I'm sorry - especially since I know some of you know who and what I'm talking about - and if you didn't get to be here at all, you're probably resenting my feelings on this. Sorry. That's why I've been posting about this here and not on the board! ;-)

Maybe not

I'm not feeling as well as I did immediately following the ice cream last night - maybe it was ice cream-induced euphoria? LOL It probably didn't help that I had to see the local and my other friend posting last night - saying how much fun they're having, etc. Thanks. Rub it in. Once again, I'm left out - the story of my life. It feels like I was just a part of the weekend as a formality - I just happen to own/run the board and live where the get-together was held. I hope that wasn't true. And here my insecurity comes to the surface - I can't confidently say that wasn't the case. Especially not yesterday. But, whatever. I'll be sad, mope about it, etc. for a little while then move on. No biggie. Of course, I'm sure my activity at FROGs, outside techie stuff, will suffer. But, oh, well. I only seem to be missed if something's wrong on the techincal side, anyway. Wow, I'm just having one big pity party today, aren't I? Sorry to be a whiny ungrateful bitch today. I'm pathetic, aren't I?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Feeling a little better ...

I did get to take the kids out for ice cream with my friends. So I'm feeling a little better about it. But, no dinner together, as I'm not invited. Fine. No biggie. Somehow, I'm feeling a TON better just from hanging out together for a couple of hours - maybe that was all I needed. I dunno. So, if you read my pity party, thanks. I think it's time to call it quits - I think. (See how I feel tomorrow! LOL)

Feeling like the proverbial odd man (or woman) out

I gotta get something off my chest. I feel bad writing this out, but I have to. For my own sanity. I'm sure some will be pissed by what they read, but too damn bad. I'm sure people will feel like I'm just a whiny idiot. Whatever.

That, said. I will get to my point. But, first, one more thing - many of you who read this will probably know who I'm talking about. I'm not stating names, b/c I feel it's unnecessary. Not b/c people know who it is anyway, but b/c I'm not generally upset with any PEOPLE. Just the situation. Oh, and I'm not posting this on FROGs, b/c I'm trying to be sensitive to those who were unable to come. Anyway ...

This past weekend was our FROGs get-together. We had been planning it for a year or two - I can't remember when we first started discussing it. Anyway, it was held here, in my area. I didn't have to go anywhere. I was so glad, because that meant I could attend no problem. And don't get me wrong - I am EXTREMELY grateful to have been able to participate and meet these wonderful women in person. But, I'm sad. Maybe it's partially the crash after all of that excitement - kinda like after a baby's born or after Christmas. All of that anticipation and excitement and everything building up. Then it's over before you know it and you're wondering where it went. I dunno.

That said, I feel like despite being local I missed out on a lot. Natalie is still breastfeeding, which meant I was "on call" the whole weekend. Friday night DH had some football refereeing, which meant I really had to be out of most of it. The kids and I got to play at the pool in the afternoon. After that we all went to dinner at a local Mexican restaurant. Because I had my three kids and no DH, I got stuck on the opposide end of the table from everyone else. I was basically at the kiddie table. La Flama (the restaurant) is not a quiet place, so I was effectively cut out from EVERYTHING going on. I sat between Grant and Natalie. Next to Grant was Abby and one other child. Across from me was an empty chair, next to which was another child. I was completely oblivious to anything that was talked about on Friday. ANYTHING. Then, I had to get my kids home so they could go to bed. So, while everyone lingered at the restaurant, I had to go. Then they all went back to the hotel and hung out at the pool. Not me. I had to be home with the kids. Apparently they all met up for breakfast in the morning, but no one bothered to let me know that was going on. So, I didn't get there until close to lunch time. And, of course, I had to leave early to nurse Natalie. DH wasn't as cooperative as I'd like, either. So, I ended up spending a couple of hours away from everyone, once again missing out on what all was going on - like praying with another FROG who couldn't be here.

At least Saturday night I was able to go to the dinner and concert with everyone. Dinner was nice, and I got to sit with adults - sorta. I still couldn't hear much of the conversation and had to tend to two of my three kids. And the concert, while fun, didn't really allow for much conversation - it's hard to talk over loud music! ;-) Afterward, everyone went back to the hotel to swim. Everyone but me - I had to help DH (who, again, wasn't as helpful as I'd have liked) get the kids to bed (Natalie had to nurse one last time, too). I finally get there, and got in. Everyone's in the hot tub. By the time I've changed and gone back to the pool area, no one's there - they've all gone outside. I didn't want to go outside. I wanted to enjoy the hot tub. I knew it was my ONLY chance to be there without the kids and fully enjoy the hot tub. So, I went in the hot tub and relaxed - while feeling a little rejected and like the odd man out, so to speak. Everyone eventually came over to the hot tub, which was good. But, it was just on top of already feeling out of touch with everyone.

Yesterday was OK. I took the kids to the pool again, and had some help dealing with them. I did get to go into the hot tub a little again - with Abby, who loves it! LOL After that we went home so I could get the kids fed and lying down for a nap. DH didn't want me to leave until he was done with that, so thanks to him I missed saying good-bye to a lot of people. (And as the kids and I were leaving, some were arriving. I didn't really say much to them, b/c I stupidly assumed I'd be back sooner than I was.) That afternoon was nice - just a few of us together. But, the other local invited the remaining out-of-towner to her house to dinner. Not me, though. So, apparently now that the FROGs weekend is over, I'm no longer wanted around. And, this local is hosting said out-of-towner tonight. Which means I'm once again not involved in anything. I had told my kids we'd get some local ice cream with our guests for snack. I don't think that'll happen - but I will make sure to take my kids for ice cream as I'd promised. I was hoping we could do dinner one last time, as she leaves EARLY tomorrow morning. But, I'm sure that won't happen - just based on how everything has been (not) working out for me.

And this other local, she's definitely a close friend. But, she's relatively new to FROGs - been with us about a year and a half now. And I have known some of these people for 5+ years! I feel like she's come in and taken my friends. I don't know that I should feel that way, but I do. Should or shouldn't doesn't matter. I do.After all, she was there for breakfast Saturday morning, and after I left with the kids Friday night, and for pretty much every moment I couldn't be there - including a time on the phone with someone who couldn't be here. And she got my friend all to herself last night and will again today. How can I not feel that way?

I don't know what else to say, so I'm gonna just stop now. I might come back more later.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Watch out for that Baby Einstein stuff ...

I was just starting up a Baby Einstein DVD for Grant. He sat down to watch, and all of a sudden I hear ...








































"Penis! Look, Mom, a PENIS!"


















I looked at the screen, and see the part at the beginning where the caterpillar walks across the screen and BURST OUT LAUGHING! :spit: :lmao: I can totally see what he's saying! :giggle: He seemed a bit upset that I laughed, but I had to - there was no holding it in! :giggle:

I searched all over the Internet and couldn't find a shot - so I'll try to remember to take a pic later today. But, for now, this one will have to suffice:

Image

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Stupid jerks on eBay

A few months ago, once my daughter got into the wonderful world of Webkinz, I bought her a couple I knew she'd LOVE off eBay. The reason for eBay is that they are retired. I bought her the unicorn and the pegasus. I gave her the unicorn right away, and she has been so happy with it. I saved the pegasus for later. Dumb move. I FINALLY opened it, and as I went to fish out the tag, I could tell it'd been tampered with. I knew that meant it had been used. Jackass. And, of course, I waited too long to attempt to use it, so I can't complain - and my feedback was already positive. Doh! I should've known better! Good news is that jackass is no longer on eBay - at least not under that name. ;-) (I'm not dumb enough to think he/she didn't come back with a different name/e-mail address.) I'm kicking myself - if I'd opened it right away and attempted to use it right away, I'd likely get my money back. Lesson learned. So, I contacted Webkinz (following the prompt to do so in their "Adoption Center"). Hopefully they'll give me the benefit of the doubt and give me a new code or just give me the pet! I'm not holding my breath, but since it's actually under my son's account, maybe they'll have pity on him - afterall, he's not quite three yet! ;-) Stay tuned for an update when I finally hear back! ;-)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Oh FFS

I'm feeling a pull to Facebook. As if I need one more thing to be unable to keep up with online! GAAAAAH! But, I have so many friends who are there and NOT MySpace. Or are on both but never go to MySpace anymore b/c they have Facebook. Sigh.

I know, this is a petty vent, but hey. What are you gonna do?

One more vent. I can't believe I haven't mentioned this here before - I'm sure the lack of power last week is to blame! ;-) Anyway, we have recently had an issue on FROGs, and I'm shaken to the core by it! I can't believe how much it's affecting me. If I think on it too much, I get sick to my stomach, my throat feels tight, and I can feel my heart racing. So not good.

What happened? How did I know you'd ask? Here goes.

We have a member who recently returned to the board after being away for a while. After her return, she sent me a private message to explain her absence. At risk of pissing her off and chasing her away from FROGs for good, here's her message:

Hey Heather. I didn't want to post this on the board and make a issue of it, but I want you to know the main reason I haven't been around and the same reason I am kinda worried about coming back. One of my last posts was about how I felt like I was having a hard time connecting here and that I felt lost sometimes. Well...I recieived a email from someone and I was hurt to say the least. Basically they said that it was God's way of letting me know that FROGS wasn't to be my home and that maybe I would feel more comfortable somewhere else.At first I was just kinbda stunned and was trying to figure out what exactly that meant. But as time went on, I just got mad and decided to stay away for awhile.

I am not telling you this for any other reason than just to let you know why I disappeared. On a different note, it looks like there have been a lot of changes here in the past few months...it looks nice and you are doing a wonderful job!

I read this and INSTANTLY was angry beyond belief and grieved more than I'd have thought possible. How DARE someone on FROGs do that to a sister in Christ? HOW DARE SHE? Despite our best efforts, we could not get the individual who contacted me to reveal the offender. That ticks me off to no end. I understand that she wants it over and done with. She wants to move on. I get that. I also get that she has extended forgiveness and wants to walk in forgiveness. OK. But, why tell us if you don't want something made out of it? Seriously. This is a HUGE deal. So far as I'm concerned - so far, at least - it's the WORST offence to have occurred on FROGs!

And, in addition to being angry and disappointed that it happened, I feel betrayed - by both the offender and the sister who shared this with me. I don't think I should feel that way, but I do. I'm also afraid we'll never find out exactly what happened, and that worries me. I want to know who so I can talk with her and make sure she understands that it is NEVER to happen again. It's not about punishment or revenge or anything like that - it's trying to make sure EVERYONE on FROGs is safe! My biggest fear is that this individual will do this again.

I have so many thoughts and feelings on this, but I'm spent. I can't think clearly or find a way to write it out. So, I'm going to end this post for now. I just had to get some things off my chest.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Apparently I was wrong

Around 9:30 p.m. our power was restored! WOOHOO! PRAISE GOD! Everything is working properly, and we're back into normal life - FINALLY! :-D DH, Abby, and I all just GRINNED real big when the lights came on, and Abby was bouncing around! LOL The other two were asleep, but they will be thrilled in the morning - well, at least Grant will! ;-) Anyway, I just wanted to say YAY! Thanks, everyone, for the prayers! It's so nice to be back in the 21st century! ;-)

Day Two

Wow. We're finishing up Day 2 with no power. Well, minimal power. I will start by saying that this is the longest I've EVER been involuntarily without power. It sucks. I'm just happy that my home and my family are all OK. I can only imagine how much worse it would be otherwise. Scary thought, actually. But, I digress...

Today started with DH getting up at 4 a.m. to turn off the generator. It runs for approximately 10 hours before needing a refill. Prior to adding more gas, however, it is highly recommended that the generator is allowed to cool for 2 hours. So, DH got up at 4 to allow us to get it back up and running before WE had to be up and running. I slept rather well - and the kids seemed to, too. Natalie woke at about 6:30 to nurse, which started our day. Grant got up then, too. DH got Abby up about 7-ish, because she had a dentist appointment this morning. (And all is well with her teeth. :) )

Most of the morning we just spent time together. Had breakfast, played, etc. DH took the day off - and would've had to anyway, because the Corps still has no power, too. Apparently they had yesterday off, too - but he was out of the office so he didn't know. And, honestly, if he wasn't in Coralville, we likely wouldn't have the generator. God knew what he was doing! ;-)

Late morning, Natalie was napping. (She's napped poorly today, which I'll blame on it being too warm in her room.) DH took the other two to the park, which was much needed. He encouraged me to lie down upstairs in the a/c while I had the chance. No sooner had I begun to relax when Natalie decided her nap was over. *sigh* We all had lunch - more peanut butter. Then the kids and I napped. We miraculously had ALL THREE kids asleep simultaneously. There was no way I was going to miss this opportunity! LOL I got a good nap in, too.

DH needed to turn off the generator about 4- 4:30 p.m., so we planned to go out to eat while the generator cooled. We ended up at Carlos O'Kelley's at Abby's request - she thought the building was pretty! LOL After we swung by a park on the way home. It's cooled off nicely and is really nice outside now. The kids enjoyed getting some time to run and play.

On our way home, we knew the power wasn't on yet b/c our neighborhood is still pretty dark and full of debris. But, we saw an encouraging site - the first crew from the power company a block away from our house! WOOT! Praise God! That means we're FINALLY getting somewhere. Afterall, they gotta clean before they can fix! ;-) No worries, I'm not expecting power in the near future. I know how bad it is by us - and not too far from us. I know that we still could wait up to three more days. I am constantly praying that's not the case, but I am prepared for it. But, it is so NICE to see a crew. I don't care if they're just loitering - they're HERE! LOL (And, no, they weren't loitering - we saw them actively working to get a downed tree off someone's home. I just had to express just HOW wonderful it is to see them! LOL)

One more positive I realized: Our power bill should be noticeably lower this month! LMAO

Oh, and Sawyer just HATES the generator - I'm guessing it's just too loud for him. He is a dog, afterall, and has much more sensitive hearing than we.

I had more I wanted to say, but it's gone. Once again, fatigue sets in. If I think of it later, I'll share in a separate post. Otherwise, hopefully my next post will be praising God for the restoration of our electrical service!

Monday, July 21, 2008

What a Day

Cue Jack's Big Music Show! LMAO

Seriously. It has been one heck of a day. Wow. I feel like it's been a week! I'll start at the beginning.

Natalie woke about 6 this morning to nurse. I got up to use the restroom while DH got her diaper changed. When I came back into the room, I noticed that it looked SUPER foggy outside. You could hardly see anything. I commented to DH about it, then went about my business nursing Natalie. About five minutes pass when the wind picks up and the storm sirens go off. So, I whisk Natalie up, and DH gets the other two and we all head down to the basement. I felt bad having to wake them up like that, but we knew we had to. Just before the sirens went off, I could FEEL the wind shaking my house as I lie in bed nursing Natalie! It was no surprise when the sirens were activated! On our way down the stairs, we were able to witness the kids' easel blow across the porch from one side of the house to the other, passing the front door. It was wild. We tried to get Sawyer to come downstairs with us, but he was too freaked, so he stayed in the kitchen. We were down there 5-10 minutes when the sirens went silent, so back upstairs we went. I finished nursing Natalie, and DH got the other two settled when the sirens went off again. Another 5-10 minutes went by before silence was heard. Then, DH got ready for work and the kids and I started our day. (Well, except that DH put Natalie down for a nap before he got ready for work.) Oh, and the power went out shortly after Natalie waking up. I don't remember exactly when - but I think it was while I was nursing her. I know for sure it was before the first siren went off.

So, we (the kids and I) spent the day trying to stay occupied. We played in the morning, and read some books. I found 8 C batteries to power a portable radio we have, so I was able to keep up on the weather and news. First estimates, around 9:30, were that most people should have power back within 72 hours of when power was lost. At first I thought that wasn't so bad, but then I did the math - that's THREE DAYS! Yikes! I was hoping we'd be on the early end of that, but so far no good.

According to the news, it was a storm that involved straight line wind. Here's text of the story from KWQC, our local NBC affiliate:

Severe storms ripped through the Quad Cities on Monday morning, leaving significant damage and nearly 180,000 homes and businesses without power in the QCA.

Meteorologists from TV-6 and the National Weather Service agree that the damage was a result of straight line winds. A 94 mph wind gust was reported at the Quad city Airport in Moline.

The National Weather Service surveyed the storm damage and confirmed the wind estimate of 90-100 mph. While the damage was not a result of tornadoes, the winds woudl be equivalent to an EF-1 tornado.

Meteorologists stress this is an example of why it is so critical to take severe thunderstorm warnings seriously. "It doesn't matter if it is a 100 mph wind from a tornado or a 100 mph wind from a straight line wind." says KWQC Chief Meteorologist Ryan Burchett. "The damage is going to be the same. If anything, the damage may be more widespread from the straight line wind event. The big difference is the structure of the storm. And that doesn't matter much to the people whose homes are struck by the storms."

The National Weather Service has posted more information about their storm survey on their website.


We are fortunate. No damage to our home or anything - just the loss of power. While an inconvenience, it's trivial as it could be so much worse. A few houses down, a tree fell on the house - can't tell if it damaged the house, but I'm sure it at least scratched it up a bit. We had a tree removed from out front last fall. Man are we glad that happened - as it was DEAD and likely would've damaged the house if it was still here! The worst news out of today was of a campsite that had trees downed, and a 4-year-old boy was killed! :-( The tree fell on the tent in which he was sleeping. Two other kids, a 9-year-old and a 9-month-old, were injured. One was sent to Peoria. Please say a prayer for the family.

There are tree limbs and power lines down EVERYWHERE here in Moline. Our mayor called a state of emergency and asked that everyone stay home as much as possible. No problems there. the garage door opener is out - I'm not going anywhere! LMAO John Deere Road, a MAIN road here in the Illinois side of the Q-C, is closed. There are several power lines down along the road, as well as the poles holding said lines. So not good. The kids and I have made do. There's not much choice - nothing nearby is open. No one has power. I did my best to avoid opening the fridge, until 1 p.m. rolled around. I decided at that point that most of what's in the fridge likely has spoiled already, so I'm having my Dr Pepper! LOL (The local Red Cross is saying 2-4 hours is the longest you should go with stuff in the fridge.) We had crappy breakfast and lunch - crackers, dry cereal, canned fruit, bananas, peanut butter, etc. But, hey, at least we have something we can eat.

So, where was DH in all of this? Coralville, Iowa, for work. He had some water sampling to do at the "lake" there. It was kinda rough not having him around, but it also ended up being a good thing. He was able to go to a Lowe's there and get a generator. (I am sure there are NONE to be found here in the Q-C!) So, now we have minimal power. We have the fridge hooked up, the chest freezer in the basement, the wireless router (of course LOL), a fan in the living room, and a window a/c unit in our bedroom. And, praise God, that flooding in Iowa last month left us with LOTS of money from the OT he put in. So, we were able to pay cash for the generator. Bad news, though, is that it's gone - all of that OT pay is gone. Oh, well. At least we can wait out the power loss somewhat more comfortably - and eat, too! LOL

You know, the biggest praise is that we hadn't spent that money yet! We can be a bit less frugal than we should - but by some amazing miracle, we had not spent it yet! Praise God! Of course, this all happens as we begin reading Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. Figures it would work out that way, huh? At least we were able to avoid going any further into debt than we had been prior to starting the book, and likely the TMM! :-) Although, I had been hoping to use the OT for Baby Step 1 - the $1,000 emergency fund. Oh, well. God will provide. And, hey, had we not had the OT, it'd be that much harder, right?

When DH got home, he got the generator going. (I have a minor vent there, but will save it for a time when I have less-limited resources!) Then we swung by McDonald's (in Iowa, as no where anywhere near us has power yet) and got some dinner, which we brought home. The kids are now in bed, and DH is out buying more gas for the generator and another power strip to allow us to have the fan running AND the laptops charging simultaneously! :-) God is always faithful.

As for the power, the last I've heard is that MidAmerican (our power company here) is still in the assessment part of things. That means they STILL have no real idea how long it'll take to get everyone's power up and running. *sigh* They are still saying that most people should have power back within 72 hours. BUT, and this is HUGE - IMO - it could be as late as Thursday or Friday! YIKES! We live in part of the hardest-hit area, so I'm nervous that maybe that'll be us waiting ALL WEEK! Eek! So, do we stay or do we go? We could head to Winfield to stay with my parents for a few days while power is nowhere near restored. Or we could just hang out with the generator for a week. I did check, and our vet could board Sawyer until Friday. So, we can leave if we want to - after Abby's dentist appointment tomorrow morning. We shall see - DH and I will discuss when he gets back, which I hope will be SOON!

Well, I've run out of brain power right now, so I'm going to go. Plus, I probably should check in at FROGs and let them know I'm OK.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

I'm at a loss for words

Someone on FROGs posted this blog, and I thought I'd share it here.

ConnorWatch

An absolutely amazing journey. That poor 18-year-old child and his poor parents. If you're not familiar with the story, an 18-year-old boy had a diving accident and ended up with a spinal injury. He has made astounding strides in recovery, but still has a long way to go. The family is Christian, and are asking for as much prayer support as anyone can spare. Even if you aren't Christian, I think it's worth following this story. I have added this blog to my blogroll for easy location in the future. My heart and prayers go out to Connor and his family and friends.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Frustrated

I'm frustrated beyond belief. And burned out. And tired. And lonely. And trying desperately not to slip into depression - b/c I know that if I do I'm on my own. I know my friends will say I'm not alone and I have them - but not one of them is someone I've met IRL. (Well, almost none - and definitely none of my absolute closest friends.) It's not the same thing as having someone who can hug me, be here with me, literally help me through this. No one. And, no, DH isn't availible for me.

Where's DH? At work. Again - or is it still? I don't know. I know it's not his fault. With the MAJOR flooding in Iowa, he needs to work. His job requires it. And, generally speaking, this isn't something that happens all the time. So, generally speaking, this isn't an issue. (He's still not 100% there for me, but that's another post for another day.) This royally sucks. More than I'd ever expected it to. Much more. He's been deployed to Louisiana twice now, and those were easier. They really were. Sure, I was 100% on my own 24/7, and it was more work overall. But, this is so much worse. I don't know from one day to the next whether he's working late - and if so just how late. So, I don't know if I absolutely HAVE to do it all on my own or if he'll be around to help. And, I'll be horribly - or perhaps embarrassingly - honest here. I can be - or perhaps just AM - a bit on the lazy side. (I hate that about myself, but here's yet another post for yet another day.) I don't WANT to do it all, so I don't if I know there's a chance that he'll be able to help me. I do what I absolutely HAVE to and save the rest for later - when either he can watch the kids so I can do it without interruption or he can do it. So, things get let go - for instance, a sippy cup ended up with NASTY mold in it. And the mold didn't come out in the dishwasher, despite a HIGH TEMP wash, rinse, and dry. (I was able to scrub it all out/off this afternoon. Although I'm still unsure as to whether I should just throw it out ...) That's not counting the laundry that gets done when we run out of something - typically shorts and/or PJs for at least one of the kids. Oh, yes, and there's a TON of clean clothes, but not a chance to put it away without DH around. (Most of it's the kids' stuff.)

Add to all of this that during these extended hours, there is little to no contact EVERY day - most days NONE, except to call when he's on his way home. The days he does call during the day he usually either wants something or is responding to an e-mail I sent him - or he's returning a call after I left a message. And this, my friends, is why I'm feeling so lonely and just blah. (Well, the blah is a combination of it all, but I hope I'm being clear.) I see him for maybe 5 minutes every morning before he zips out the door. Before all of this flooding, he'd come home for lunch a couple of times per week - now he doesn't, unless there's something going on. (Example: Abby's b-day party at preschool was in the morning, after which she had a parent-teacher conference. DH came home so I could attend both without the other two kids in tow.) And NO phone calls during the day. We hardly have any time to be together, talk, or whatever during the very brief moments we're home together. I've always known I'm not much of a priority to him, and this just hammers that home a little bit more.

To complicate matters, I have been having some minor aches and pains that I've considered seeing my doctor about. But, well, I'm not about to take all three kids to the doctor's office with me. I don't feel like I can make an appointment right now b/c it would be an inconvenience to DH.

OK. I'm exhausted. It's still an hour or so before he's expected home, but I've little to no energy left to continue this. (It's amazing the expenditure of energy when dealing with emotional issues - is that the depression?)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Five years ago today

My precious baby girl was born. It's crazy. How on earth has it been FIVE years already? It seems like just yesterday she was born - and I just couldn't imagine life without her. What a wonderful blessing she is. She is so sweet, wonderful, kind, loving. I'm amazed. When I tell her I can't believe she's growing up so fast, she hugs me and says "I'll always be your baby." And I tell her that's for sure! My sweet, sweet Abigail!


Abby,

I just wanted to tell you how much I love you. Whatever happens, wherever we are, I will ALWAYS love you more than anything. ALWAYS. There is NOTHING that could EVER change that. I can promise you that because I KNOW it's a promise that won't ever be broken.

Thank you for being you. I am so blessed and grateful to get to share every day with you. God has blessed me beyond my best dreams. Daily I thank Him for you.

Your birth was one of the best moments of my life. Having you was one of the best things I've ever done with my life. I only hope that I can do right by you in all things. Please don't ever doubt how much I love you. Words just cannot express it.

As you prepare to start kindergarten in a few short months I face a flood of emotions: pride, sadness, excitement, nervousness, and many others. It's bittersweet. Bitter because it means my baby is growing up. Before I know it you'll be off to college! (Scary, scary thought!) Sweet because I'm enjoying every moment I get with you.

Pride ~ I am so proud of you. You are a wonderful, sweet, loving, intelligent, caring, beautiful girl. I look forward to seeing more of who you are destined to be.

Sad ~ Well, because as you grow, you gain independence. The more you gain, the sooner you'll leave the nest! What will I do without you?

Excitement ~ I'm excited as I see you develop new skills, learn new things, and grow into your personality. I'm excited for you because I know you have great potential and can't wait to see you realize that. May God bless you in all that you do!

Nervousness ~ Well, I'm just nervous about letting you go off into the world of school. Those were rough years for me, and I'm afraid of seeing you get hurt. I pray that God protect you from as much of the meanness and cruelty of children as is possible to be shielded from. I'm also nervous to see what kind of influence your friends will have on you. I pray God direct you to the right friends and guide you every day. I'm also nervous about being the mom you need as you move though this rite of passage.

I love you. I always will. I know I'm repeating myself, but I want to make sure you ALWAYS know and never doubt. I'm praying God guide you and lead you and bless you.

Love always and forever and ever,
Mom


Happy birthday, my sweet, sweet Abigail!



Sunday, June 22, 2008

Week 3, Day 1: What is it?

This week's theme is Guess That Object. So, what is it?


I have discovered one problem with the macro setting - you can see something you'd MUCH rather not see - all that dust! :oops: I am EXTREMELY embarrassed. But, I'm also lazy - and the laziness won out. No taking a new pic! :giggle: So, please pardon my dust. (And, yes, I'm cleaning it once I'm done posting here!) And, tell me if you dare - what is it?

Week 2, Day 7




Taken Saturday, my subject was a Webkinz Lil' Kinz elephant named Peanut. The first shot is a standard shot, and the others are using the macro setting. Ironically, I think the last one is probably one of my better shots all week! LOL Figures - a stuffed animal. Apparently I was looking in the wrong place when trying to do plants and flowers! LMAO

I also tried taking pics of my wedding set (rings), but my hands were too shaky. So, I'm going to spare you all the pics! ;-)

Week 2, Day 6




Taken Friday, these are some hosta leaves from out front. Again, the first shot is with our standard settings - and the auto focus sucks! I thought DH had turned it off, but apparently not. I'll have to look into that. The other two are with the macro setting. A little too blurry, unfortunately. If you look carefully on the bottom one, you can see that it was starting to rain - there are small droplets of water on the leaf!
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