Friday, April 29, 2016

BOOM! A TToT Post at the Beginning of the Weekend. Week 150!

Do not adjust your computer.

I know you are a bit confused right about now.

"Wait a minute! I don't remember sleeping in and relaxing and getting yard work done and all those other things I do on the weekend! But it must be Sunday night because Christine's thankful post is up."

Fear not.

You didn't sleep through the weekend.

I simply got my act together and got this sucker written on Friday.

No one is more surprised than me.

On to the thankfuls!!

1. I may not be able to get an entire post written in a week, but I can write 6 words! Just ask Eli from Coach Daddy. Each month he assigns a prompt and folks respond using only 6 words. This month, in celebration (or maybe in defiance?) of Money Smart week, he asked us about a time we weren't exactly smart with our money, and I actually got my answer in on time! (You'll have to go to his post to see what my answer was.)

2. I managed to get most of the mowing done tonight before the rain moves in.

3. I also managed to get some flowers planted around the house.

4. The middle school performed the musical this week, and it was as awesome as always. Each year I'm astounded yet again by the talent mere 12, 13, and 14 year olds possess. But also, I'm thrilled that musical practices are over. The last two weeks before show time are killer.

5. My mom was able to come up for several days this week. She came up for the musical, but ended up seeing a baseball game, too. She and I had a couple of lovely days by ourselves while the kids were at school.

6. Turken's First Holy Communion is next week, and we have a suit! He is apparently much smaller than any of the older boys were in second grade, so I had to buy one. BUT THEN a friend of mine said she had a size 8 suit that her son wore for his First Communion and said we could have it. He tried it on, and it fits! The one I bought will be going back to the store.

7. The gigantic, 150-year old, dead trees at the end of our driveway (that were threatening to fall and crush an innocent passerby) are gone, and it didn't cost me thousands of dollars. While it was costly, from what I hear about tree removal, it was a great price. It took them 8 hours, but the job is done and done well. The only sign that trees were ever there are the two patches of empty earth.

8. My family goes with the flow when dinner turns out to be way less than it was supposed to be. Like tonight. I was making 2 pot pies, but after getting the filling into the crusts, I realized I didn't actually buy two boxes. I didn't have any crust to put on the tops of them. I didn't have time to make crusts, so I went out on a limb and popped open some (expired) Pillsbury biscuits in the back of the fridge. I flattened them out and plopped them on top.
If the biscuits wouldn't have burned, it might have worked.
The kids who "don't like it" (I think it must be a superpower that my kids know without ever tasting something that they don't like it. (That was sarcasm.)) didn't complain any more than usual, and the kids who do like pot pie ate it without much ado.

9. Buttercup is racking up the driving hours. I'm getting greedy. I'm used to Phoenix driving, and while it is super handy, I could really use another driver in this house. She should be able to get hers by the end of June.

10. I'm thankful for Bryan. For more reasons than I can count.

How is your week going? I'd love for you to leave a comment or join in the link up!

Have a lovely day!

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Proof That There's More Than Corn in Indiana! TToT Week 149

I am sitting on the couch, wondering if I'll ever rise from it again.

The boys and I took a 2 hour, 15 minute drive (that was supposed to take only an hour and 30 minutes, but...bad map.) to Turkey Run State Park today.

We spent over 4 hours hiking the "very rugged" trail number three, and then the "moderately rugged" trail number 6 this afternoon.

There was water, there was mud, there were ladders, there were bridges, there were stairs, their were downed trees. Everything five boys (and their mother) could want.

1. I am thankful for a gorgeous day and an empty calendar (after we served at 9:00 Mass) to spend such a delightful day.

2. I'm thankful we had a free afternoon on Saturday to get a bunch of yard and garden work done so we could take Sunday off to go have some fun.

3. I'm thankful for Turken's enthusiasm and focus when playing any sport. Opening day was Saturday, and he played marvelously! He caught two fly balls, one of which was a running catch in the outfield that shocked everyone, and one slide into home to avoid an out.

Wish I had a photo or two...

4. I am thankful for our washing machine, seeing as how we brought home a whole literal mess of mud from the park.

5. I'm thankful I don't have to be anywhere early in the morning. I'm guessing my legs are gonna be reeeeeaaal sore.

I've got lots of laundry to do (Those trails were muddy!), so 6 - 10 will be photos from our afternoon. :)

Tell me. What did you do with your weekend?

Have a lovely day!

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts

Sunday, April 17, 2016

A Mighty Quick Ten Things of Thankful, Week 148


The weather this week has been perfection!

No way I can stay in the house and write when such beauty awaits outside, so just a short, quick list this week.

1. Bryan got the appropriate early plants planted in the garden. 

2. Asparagus is already starting to come up. While the kids would not put this on their thankful lists, Bryan and I do enjoy some asparagus with our dinner.

3. Buttercup and Giant had back-to-back home soccer games to make the schedule perfect.

4. I managed to get the glass from the fallen storm window cleaned up (think thousands of shards, none bigger than 3 inches square, but most being an inch or less) without slicing my finger or stabbing my butt by accidentally sitting on one.

5. Date night with Bryan. Dinner and a walk in a local park. 

6. Teens who are thoroughly enjoying high school.

7. A renewed interest in making dinner. I was in a quite a slump, hating that daily chore of coming up with something to make for the family. 

8. Leaves and blooms and pretty colors popping up everywhere.

9. Sunshine, sunshine, and more sunshine!

10. Temperature in the 70s 2 days in a row. On the weekend!!

Tell me, what have you been doing these days? What has made you smile this week?

Have a lovely day!

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Thankful for Boredom, TToT Week 147

Happy Spring?

It's technically spring.

Apparently the weather doesn't understand technicalities.

The weather is the opposite of spring.

It is unspring.

Despite the cold and the rain and the snow and the WIND, we had spring break.

Between the big Disney trip back in October and our need to buy at least one vehicle later this year, a "No Plans" vacation over spring break just wasn't in the budget.

We can't even call what we did a "stay-cation".

Stay-cations involve actually going somewhere and doing things around town.

We didn't even do that most of the days, seeing as how the weather stunk.

Instead, my kids were bored.

I am a big proponent of kids having the opportunity to be bored sometimes. That is when their creativity really comes out. That is when they do things they normally wouldn't do.

Bored kids be like...

Do we have ingredients to bake cookies...

I haven't played the piano in a while...

How hard is it to build with playing cards...

Remember when we used to play with cars all the time...

Hey, let's do an April Fool's prank on Mom and Dad...

I wonder what everyone looked like 4 years ago...

It's time the boys learned about the marvelousness of Anne of Green Gables...

Napping and game playing and walking to the nearby church to play basketball and kickball all happened, too.

On Wednesday, we did go see a movie. (As the kids have been reminding me over and over and over again the past month or so, we hadn't been to a movie theater since we saw Inside Out.) Big boys saw Batman vs. Superman and the rest of us saw Zootopia. We've been quoting that movie ever since (thus the unspring comment from above).

On Thursday at 2:15, chatting with my mom about the terrible weather, the inability to go to any parks to hike, and my promise to take the kids to Skyzone (basically a giant room filled with trampolines and foam moats) on Friday, I discovered that most of my nieces and nephews had spring break this week, too, and none of them were on vacation. At 3:00, the kids and I were packed and in the van driving to Louisville, KY.

We spent 24 hours visiting with family. My sister, my sister-in-law, and I joined the kids at the House of Boom (Same concept as Skyzone but better according to the kids), jumping and flipping and dodgeballing and laughing our full heads off. Seeing my prim and proper professional sister struggling to climb out of a foam moat was worth the price of admission. The only downside of the day was that my other brother's kids were in school and couldn't join us.

All in all, it was a nice, relaxing vacation. Lots of downtime we all needed before the craziness of spring gets underway. The next month and a half will be a flurry of activity, between track (Star), volleyball (Phoenix), baseball (Turken), soccer (Giant and Buttercup), all of the activities that go along with 8th grade graduation, and high school finals. Downtime is exactly what this family needed.

How has your week been? Have any time to simply be bored?

Link up or let me know in the comments!

Have a lovely day!

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Mysteries Abound

Mystery #1:

So, you know how those of you in neighborhoods have that one annoying neighbor who walks his dog and doesn't pick up after it? Well, it seems we have the rural version of it. About 2/3 of the way up our driveway is one gigantic pile of large animal excrement. That is odd enough, but we also have 2 similar piles in the orchard. The orchard is hidden on the back half of our property and fenced in on three sides. The only side not fenced is the side facing the house.

We are completely baffled.

What large animal (or two?!) was it? How in the world did we not see it, especially since, judging by the placement and number of piles, it had to visit more than once?? To whom does this animal belong?? Who is going to clean up after it??

Mystery #2:

Who actually bends down to catch the poo as the dog poos it? I went to the almighty internet to find an image I could doctor to jokingly create a sign for my neighbors to clean up after their large animals, only to come across a whole bunch of signs like this...

Why is that person kneeling behind the dog with the bag out like he's going to catch whatever the dog dishes out?

Mystery #3:

We worked hard last summer to get things planted and prettied up in the flower beds around the house, only for the dogs to dig up everything we planted. While the number of plants coming up this spring does not reflect all we planted, I am happy to see some hardy ones survived and are busting through. Only one question. What in the world is this??

Phoenix and I both stood there looking at it, thinking aloud, "We didn't plant any artichokes."

Any ideas, my flora loving friends?

Mystery #4:

I have recently been having quite a few conversations on my cell phone that go like this:

ring ring

Me: Hello.


Me: Hello?



Caller: *hangs up*

It happened twice on the same day, several hours apart. I called the number back to see who it was, but no one answered and there was no voice mail message. It just kept ringing.

I blocked the number.

The next day, I had the same "conversation" from a number only one off from the one I blocked. (The last 4 digits were 0891 instead of 0893.)

I blocked that one, too.

When I was in Cincinnati with Buttercup, I got yet another call, but this time from an area code from northern Indiana. It happened again from this number yesterday. I looked back through my phone and realized it happened 4 times from this number starting back on March 21.

I've never gotten hangups like this before. Is this normal for any of you?

I'm counting on you, my learned (Pronounce that lur-nid.) readers, for some insights. Any help you can give with any of these mysteries will be greatly appreciated.

And if you have any mysteries at your house, share them. I'll be happy to reciprocate.

Have a lovely day!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Ten Things of Thankful, the Everyone and Everything Is OK Edition, Week 146

Happy (yes, it's still) Easter!

Let's just get to it...

1.I am thankful Turken's fever is gone. Finally. When he got home from school on Monday, he had a low-grade fever. Through Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, it fluctuated between low-grade and high. He didn't have any other symptoms of illness except a decrease in appetite. He was still eating and drinking, just not as much as usual. Finally, on Friday, the first day of the kids' spring break, the fever was gone.

2. I'm thankful he's only in 2nd grade. It's not that big a deal if he misses three days of school.

3. I am thankful that Star is doing much, MUCH better. The toothache from last week's TToT ended up being a dying nerve in the tooth he cracked in half during a rousing game of tag at school 4 years ago. He had the root canal on Friday. It wasn't straightforward, since between the dentist appointment on Monday and the root canal on Friday, an infection had set in. His face was swollen and they had to cut his gums to get rid of the swelling. Friday and Saturday weren't much fun for him, but the penicillin is working and he's starting to eat things besides pudding and apple sauce.

4. I am thankful for modern dentistry and pharmaceuticals. The poor kid would have been in a world of hurt without them.

5. I am thankful for lots of great college options relatively close to home. Buttercup and I went to the University of Cincinnati's open house on Friday. It is only 2 hours away, has a fabulous architecture program, and is 15 minutes from the school Phoenix is thinking of attending. In my perfect world...

6. I am thankful we made it out of the parking garage without major incident. Let's just say we couldn't find any surface parking, so the garages were our only option. The highest clearance we could find was 6'9". We now know my van is at least 6'10".  When we crept into the garage, the back of the van hit the bar hanging down. Nothing we could do, though, but go forward. We were cocky when we parked in a spot very close to the enterance. "See, they don't mean that the cement beams are 6'9" off the ground!

Plenty of room. At least 3 inches!

After the open house, we headed back to the van. As we are slowly making our way to the exit, and the antennae scrapes a beam, Buttercup suggests, "Um, Mom, I think the beams are getting lower."

Yes, yes they were.

For the next 3 beams, Buttercup stood outside the van while I drove inch by inch underneath them, just to make sure I was going to make it. We were both sweating bullets, frantic about what we would do if I couldn't. My only thought was, "Well, I guess I can always let air out of the tires to gain an inch or two."

It took us about 5 minutes, which seemed like 5 weeks, but we didn't have to let air out and we didn't get stuck. Although at one point, under the lowest beam, the gap was so small Buttercup couldn't even fit her hand between the van and the beam.

Note to self: If Buttercup does end up at this school, never, ever bring the big van.

7. I am thankful we got to spend a few hours and a meal with my mom. Buttercup had a soccer game in Evansville, IN (southwest area of the state) on Saturday morning, so instead of driving home after the open house, we went to Louisville and spent the night with my mom, since it is almost exactly halfway between Cincinnati and Evansville.

8. I am thankful for awesome, local restaurants. The three of us went out to dinner.  Thanks to the 6 hour open house and the hour+ drive, we hadn't eaten for 8 hours, so we gorged ourselves on some delicious, out-of-the-box options. For example, we had an appetizer called Thanksgiving fritter. Turkey, green beans, and stuffing rolled up and fried, then served on dollops of mashed potatoes. They were the bomb. If you ever find yourself in or on the northeast side of Louisville, One Nineteen West Main in Lagrange, KY is someplace you should definitely try. (The link has a photo of the fritters we ate.)

9. I am thankful we made it home safely. The wind on Saturday we blowing a consistent 40mph, with gusts up to 60. And we were driving home in a gigantic van with a huge surface area catching it all.

Buttercup was trying to get her 50 hours of drive time in, and since the freeway we were on has little to no traffic, I let her drive.

Well, until it got worse...

When we pulled off and switched drivers, I could feel the dirt hitting my face. We could hear it hitting the windshield.

I had never seen such a forceful wind on such a pretty day.

10. I am thankful no one was hurt when the wind ripped off our outdoor chandelier, which normally hangs 20 feet above the porch. While we were driving, Bryan called to let us know to be careful when we got home. The porch is covered with glass, and he's not going to attempt to clean it up until the wind dies down.

Well, that was a long thankful post. Could have been broken up into multiple posts, but with the way things are going around here, I'd probably never get to writing them. Thanks for hanging in until the end.

I'm off to take photos of a baptism and two First Communions. It's going to be a great day.

Have a lovely day!

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts