Friday, March 19, 2010

Most recent content added 3 months ago...

The above title is the statement that glares at me every time I go to my homepage. My last blog entry. I simply can not believe how quickly time is passing me by. Although no content has been added, mindful computer, many things have been happening here.

I'm not sure where to start, or frankly, what the heck to include in this blog of many colors. I'll start typing and see what has stuck with me the past few months. Enjoy.

I have been driving the same Honda CR-V for the past 6 years, and I love it. There isn't anything I don't like about it. It holds lots of stuff and is very dependable. I have logged over 100,000 miles on my favorite vehicle and really had no intention of getting rid of it. Well meaning family members have been pushing for me to get a new car for over a year now, but I have resisted. Car payments are not my favorite thing. After the first of the year, I decided it was time to replace ole faithful and move onto something bigger. The kids aren't getting any smaller! After trying to decide between mini-van and SUV, I settled on a GMC Envoy was gorgeous. I loved it. Unfortunately, it didn't love me as much. It was a dud. Crazy electrical system. Two weeks. In two weeks, I put 1000 miles on it, mostly going back and forth to Tulsa (SIX times) to figure out what was wrong. In the two weeks I had my new car, I drove five different cars to pick the kids up from school while the dealership was trying to figure out what was wrong with the one I actually bought. It became a running joke with parents and teachers. Old faithful was looking mighty good. The straw that broke the mama's back was the dead battery at the gas station at 8am. The Envoy went back and ole faithful was there waiting for me to drive it home again. It seems that it wasn't time for a new car after all.

We also had critter excitement at our house as well. One morning I awoke to find a large raccoon hanging from a few very wobbly branches of my shade tree. He had been there for hours. How he got so high, I do not know, but he was hanging on and eying our dog, Cap, who was keeping watch and waiting for the fall. I assume he is our bunny killer (yes, the bunnies are gone) as he was treed right above the bunny habitat we built. After gathering around and taking pictures (I swear, that raccoon was cussing me as I snapped photos of him), we discussed what needed to be done. I will leave out the part that includes getting him out of the tree, as it might upset some...out here in the country, there's no animal control to call. This city girl finds country living to be both fabulous and weird at the same time. P.S. When Gwen complained about not getting to watch TV later that day, I told her that in olden times, we wouldn't be watching TV, we woulda pulled up some lawn chairs and watched that raccoon! So get over it!

Public School. I have avoided this subject, not because I don't want to talk about our change, it just seemed so personal at the time. Now that we are on the downward spiral toward summer vacation, I think I can elaborate on how things went down and how things are going now. I'm a planner. I plan everything, I am not spontaneous, do not like risks and have no love for a change in plans. My plan for home schooling was to take it one day at a time. Which, really isn't much of a plan. I loved home schooling, the kids loved home schooling. My approach was less structured and student lead 90% of the time. Some things just have to be done on paper. Although I loved schooling the kids, I was always concerned I was messing it up, not supplying them with what they would need to move past home schooling and into college and beyond. I later realized I was right on track, but hind sight is 20/20, right?

It was the week before Mother's day and I was feeling kinda crappy. Really terrible indigestion (something I don't get), weird vomiting, chest pain...I felt death looming over me...seriously. When I told Brian not to go to work because I thought I was going to die in front of the kids that day, he rushed (a very reluctant) me to the hospital. Because I was as close to hysterical as I could get, I started telling Brian all of the information he would need if I died. It was very surreal and extremely scary for both of us. One of the things I blurted out was "I have been thinking of putting Gwen into Kindergarten." After numerous tests and more doctors than I ever care to see again, it was found that I had...anxiety. Stressed out. Probably peri-menopausal, I was told. What? That doctor is lucky she didn't get a black eye with that diagnosis! LOL After this scary incident, I decided to take stock in what was going on in the lives of my family. Public schooling was now out there, on the table, and I had to decide what to do with it. I, personally, disliked school and had no real love for any experiences that were tied to it, so the decision was difficult. Lists of pros and cons, discussions until you are talking in circles, sleepless nights thinking of what is best for your family. I was getting even more stressed out! I finally decided that I was going to be the best public school mom I could be. When we told the girls, Gwen was very excited. Alyssa, cried. She was shocked. It was so emotionally draining, I almost pulled the plug. When it was time to drop off the enrollment forms, I found myself stuck in the car. I simply could not get out and turn those papers in. My fears for Gwen were nominal, she was ready and I knew she was going to love it. That day, I only handed in her enrollment papers and kept Alyssa's in the car. I wasn't sure what that meant, but for me, it was the only way I could bring myself to open the car door, get out, walk into the school and officially hand my kid over to the public school system. Over the summer, we talked about it a lot and toured the school and finally, took the placement tests. This scared the crap out of me. Tests? Alyssa had never really taken a test, my style of schooling did not include test booklets and time limits. I was nervous. She was not. Her test scores showed it. She did great. I think I shed 100 pounds of worry that day. Not only did she do well, it was also clear that I had been doing a perfectly fine job of schooling. I handed Alyssa's enrollment papers to the school counselor that day.

The first few weeks of school were difficult on Alyssa and I felt guilt like you can't imagine. However, she was placed with a tremendously understanding teacher who kept in constant contact with me and gave Alyssa the support she needed in those early days. I can't thank her enough. Gwen's Kindergarten teacher, with 30 years experience under her belt, was just what Gwen needed. With glowing reviews from both teachers and straight A's, I can't complain. There are little public schooly issues that annoy me from time to time, but overall, our experience has been positive. Our school district is small, most families are related in some way and if not, they open themselves to you as if you are family and that makes me feel good about my decision. The girls are comfortable there. I joined the PTO and found some incredible moms that I just love to be around. I am having a blast participating in all of the fund raising activities and getting to know everyone. Selling slushies in the cafeteria on Fridays...priceless.

Sickness...ugh. This house has been filled with sickness for the past couple of months and I'm surprised it didn't kill us. Of course, the bulk of this grossness occurred during my new car debacle. I am usually the one who steers clear of illness around here, but it grabbed a hold of me and still reminds me of it's power with an occasional coughing fit (TB anyone?). After finally dragging all the kids to the doctor it was found that we were passing around strep, bronchitis, pink eye, sinus infections and Victor was the lucky recipient of an ear infection that took TWO rounds of medicine to clear up! I don't think I own enough bleach to make this place safe again. Bring on the Spring allergies!

I also got to participate in using up some of the recent government Stimulus money! I applied for an Energy Efficiency test on the house. Basically, a team comes to your house, uses a really cool fan to create a vacuum to test for air leaks. Additionally, they check your appliances for energy efficiency and replace them with new, more efficient ones. Although I didn't qualify for new appliances, they did tape all my duct work, insulated my hot water heater, supplied me with two big packs of those swirly light bulbs, installed extra smoke detectors, a carbon monoxide detector and did a little work on my roof. It was interesting.

Alyssa is playing soccer again this season and they started practicing in January! Having a dedicated coach is definitely good for the players, but it's hard on the mamas. I watched from the car (one time, sick as a dog) huddled in a blanket. Her team participated in a tournament the last weekend in February but Alyssa was sick with bronchitis and was unable to attend. We were both really bummed. Her team won first place though and her coach made sure to get her a medal so she could celebrate the victory with her team. I can't express how happy I am with the team this year. They are hard workers and have made some major improvements. Good coaching is really all it adds up to.

Alyssa has a soccer game tomorrow at 9am, in Wagoner. Who the hell makes these schedules? We have to leave by 7:30am to get there and prepare. Yikes! I am hoping this game is rained out. However, next Saturday's game is at 9am, in Wagoner. Eep. I did buy my fancy soccer mom chair with the plastic reinforced cup holders and built in tiltable sun shade though. I'm stylin'. Don't be jealous.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Country Livin'

This little house, handmade by someone's grandpa, I assume, is one that we purchased at the Halloween Carnival's silent auction. It came with a nice set of accessories, including an outhouse, a broom and tiny tools to lay about. It was fun decorating it for Christmas.

Alyssa made clay snowmen this weekend and they fit right in!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Have a little slice of my paradise

I have been wanting to share some pics of our little corner of lakeside here goes...This little sign greets you as you top the hill into Cookson. The Methodist Church is in the background. This church's pastor is a very wonderful, smiling lady who, while driving her bright red muscle car around town, offers a wave to every car that passes her. Yes, she drives a bright red MUSCLE car. I just gotta love her for that.

Across the street is the Cookson Country Store that has been in the same spot for decades. It was actually moved to this location as the previous location is currently at the bottom of Lake Tenkiller. It's a gas station, convenience store, cafe, pizza parlor, ice cream shop, deli, motel with cabins to rent and gossip center. Whew, talk about multi-tasking. There's a screen door that slams loudly as you enter and the floor is all wood, probably original. It's exactly what you would expect when you visit the lake.

Another local establishment that deserves praise is Flintridge Grocery.

It, too, is a gas station, but also offers groceries, fresh produce, locally raised meats, fishing accessories (including bait), deep fried munchies and movie rentals. Basically, if Flintridge doesn't have it, you don't need it! For many years both of these businesses offered charge accounts for locals. It's only been in the past year that this tradition has stopped. Our tiny town has grown enough to include so many more non-locals (us included) that account balances were being ignored and the honor system went to pot. I'm saddened by this, as it speaks to a decline in society and the shirking of personal responsibility.

One of our favorite places to eat is the Princess Drive-In. It's been here since the dawn of time and as a child, my family enjoyed the food here while visiting the area...little did I know it would later become my beloved home away from home. The hamburgers are still hunks of ground beef, flattened by the cook and fried on a greasy grill. The "fresh cut" fries are an actual potato shoved through a french fry cutter and fried frozen here. Alyssa loves the catfish, hand breaded and fried to a golden glow. For dessert, or any time of day, they offer chocolate (or vanilla) soft serve ice cream piled high, and I mean HIGH, onto a cake cone. Who wouldn't want one of those?! Family owned and operated, there are times when the Princess is closed and upon closer inspection, you find a note taped to the door that explains there is a grandson's school program, a family vacation or family reunion that just couldn't be missed. I guess that kind of love is worth waiting one more day to get my giant ice cream cone.

This shot is of the Illinois River merging with Lake Tenkiller, there is a huge bridge that marks the merging point. We cross this bridge numerous times a day, on our way to school and Tahlequah. Some mornings the steam rising off the water looks creepy and beautiful at the same time. You can see fish jumping, boats floating and jet ski's zipping along all summer long. The off season brings peace, tranquility and natural beauty which offsets the idiots who drive too fast with their big, stupid boats and litter the area with their trash. Tourists really piss me off.

Here's our road, it's about a mile of dirt, rock, squirrels, deer, dogs and roosters. It's lovely. Ignore the white, Styrofoam cup that is laying on the side of the road...too bad we can't pick our neighbors. NOT so lovely.

Since our road officially goes nowhere, it will never be paved. Due to water runoff and poor drainage, the county has to come out EVERY TIME it rains and fill in all the gaping trenches that appear, sometimes in a matter of hours. It's one of those things you overlook to live in such a place. In the morning I hear roosters crowing...hundreds of them, thanks to the people who live down the road, dogs barking, bees buzzing. It's comforting, all this nature. I love it here and can't imagine living anywhere else...unless it was Montana, and no one in my family seems to wanna go there. Welcome to my tiny piece of paradise...have a seat on the porch and enjoy the scenery.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Life of the Soccer Mom

Three nights a week of practice, games every Saturday.'s what we do. The soccer ball, fold up chairs, jackets, blankets, extra shin guards and snacks litter the trunk of the car. Our first game was an easy win. We drove 50 miles to arrive at 8:30am to find that the team we were playing, didn't exist. Yeah, you heard me right...didn't exist. We had a field full of parents, siblings, grandparents, aunties and uncles, not to mention players ready to play some ball. Thirty minutes after the game was supposed to start, we find out a "ghost team" made it onto the roster...what the hell?!

We finally got to play our first game and the girls were decked out in paw print face paint and eye black, for the intimidation factor. They looked painfully adorable. They ended up winning by quite a few goals and looked really good. Alyssa's coach refers to her as his "all-star" because he can put her in any position (even goalie!) and she does well. I am so proud of her. She has worked really hard this season and it all boils down to excellent coaching. She, as well as the other girls, wants to please Coach B and although he finds working with 11 girls somewhat frustrating at times (i.e. the talking and talking and talking), he is positive, dedicated and they love him. I'm not sure how many laps have been run due to an over abundance of girl talk, but they smile the whole time...and rib him while doing it!

In my role as Soccer Mom, I am having a great time. The weather has been nice, the moms are really nice and the girls are hard workers. I look forward to plunking my chair down next to the field, chatting up the other moms and yelling. Sometimes our hour long practices last two and no one seems to care. It's been quite fun and I look forward to a successful season. Go Tiger Cubs!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

What time do I have to get up?!

The girls started at the local public school this week and I'm happy to say that everyone made it out alive. Our reasons for sending them to public school are numerous, as were our reasons for home schooling, and frankly, I have no real desire to write about those reasons. I have tried, for weeks to find the words to write, but ultimately, nothing came to me. So, here's the picture of them on their first day of public school...nervous, excited and loaded down with school supplies. Go Cougars!

Monday, July 06, 2009

Riding Class

For the past several months Alyssa has been taking English Saddle Riding Lessons. She is having a great experience. We found a wonderful lady with a lovely pony farm who teaches real skills. I'm very pleased.


Monday, June 22, 2009


While in Kansas City recently, I visited The Crown Mall and Union Station. This was the Lego Exhibit a gentleman had at The Crown Mall. It was amazing...I just wish I could construct a Lego car that was worth a damn!