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 XL...it 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.