Monday, August 25, 2008

SAHM no more

Well, maybe that's a bit melodramatic, but technically it's the truth.

The fall semester started today and I also started my part-time job on campus. Of course, this also starts my 3 1/2 month stress-ball known as "what to do with the children". This is probably why it took me almost 12 years to start college again. And of course, I waited until we had 3 kids to try this. I know, not the brightest of ideas, but hey, you take what you can. I was able to get childcare for the little ones, but she couldn't watch Emma. So, I spent all weekend frantically looking for someone to watch Emma. I finally found someone, but it required driving across town and then racing back to campus before my first class this morning.

One other thing I had sort of forgotten about until this morning (oops) was now that Jeff has his own vehicle, that means he also has the only CMU parking pass. So, on my way after dropping Emma off, I was searching through my purse for quarters and scouring the parking lots for open metered spaces. I finally found a space, but only found enough change for 90 minutes. Between my class and work, I would need 3 hours.

I parked for class and made it there just in time. This is my Fundamentals of Interpretive Reading (aka public speaking). It seems like it's going to be an interesting class. We have to do 4 in class monologues and 5 papers. There's a twin bed in the front of the class. That seriously made me do a double-take.

After class, I went back to my meter and saw I only had 30 minutes left-and was due to go to work in 20 minutes. I ran through the options in my head: leave the car there and walk the 1/2 mile to work, and have to walk back afterwards OR park in the commuter lot and take my chances with getting a ticket. I decided to take my chances with the parking police. If I had known what the fees were for each, I would take hiked and stayed at the meter: $25 fee for no parking pass, only $10 for an over-meter fee. Cause yeah, I got my first ticket...ever. And of course, I was at work for 2 1/2 hours, and got the ticket only 10 minutes before my shift ended.


I think that officially inoculated me into the whole "college experience".

Luckily my next and only other class is in the evenings, when they aren't prowling the parking lots looking for suckers. It's English 101, which also is part of my Competency Requirements. We're reading 2 non-fiction books for this class, which is nice. They're both about the Iraq war, one written by an Army soldier which is a collection of his blog posts while he was deployed. The other is by a journalist written in the Green Zone of Baghdad. We have 5 papers for this class. So I will be writing a LOT this semester, which is fine by me. I need all the help I can get with that. Cause most of the things I put down on paper doesn't make much sense except to me.

And a few other people who have a twisted sense of humor.

So, that's how my semester is going to go: school/work/school/kids/hubby/home. We'll see how this first week goes.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

You Tube

Video's up. :)

Out of the mouth of babes

Our last morning at Great Wolf Lodge, as we were walking up to breakfast, I could hear Katie yelling something that I couldn't quite understand. It sounded like it ended in "Mom", so I asked her to repeat it.

"Ni Hao Mom!"

I blinked.

"What did you say?"

"Ni Hao Mom"

Ummmm this kid is 2. And she's telling me hello in Chinese??

I know there's a show on TV called "Ni Hao Kai-lan" that the kids occasionally watch, but I know this hotel didn't have that channel, so it had been at least 3 days since she'd seen it, possibly longer.

She kept repeating it all morning, saying hello to everyone in sight, in Chinese. My Kids, lol.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The last great hurrah

Of the summer, that is.

Since the last few months (ok, who am I kidding, the last YEAR has been super hectic/stressful/pick your choice of adjective) have been busy, we decided we needed a family vacation that didn't involve weddings, funerals, or illness. We needed something relatively cheap, close, and extremely family friendly. The Great Wolf Lodge fit the bill.

It's a very nice hotel that has an indoor waterpark, an outdoor pool, a mini golf course and an arcade. Plus it's only 2 1/2 hours away. So we packed up our swimsuits and waterwings and headed out for a 3 day vacation.

We took a lot of video, which Jeff is working on editing, so hopefully it'll be up soon.

The kids had a blast! Whenever we walked inside the waterpark, we basically didn't see Emma for the next hour or so, lol. She would come back and ask if either Jeff or I wanted to go on one of the big slides with her. We took turns playing with the little ones in the kiddie area. Katie was in her new-found element. Apparently this child is a waterbaby. She was absolutely wild about the little slides and would go up and down, and up and down...for ever. She would also walk to these white tiles that were in the ground which had the depth of the water on them, jump along them (there were about 6 all in a line), pretend to jump off at the end and then put her arms up, like she was jumping off the balance beam. ROFL You think we've been watching too much Olympics?

Sarah was content to sit on the sidelines and play in the water. She was relishing in having daddy all to herself, with both sisters occupied. She was also being very friendly, talking to everyone within reach. She would go down the slides with Katie every once in awhile, but when she did attempt it, she would mostly just sit at the top of the slide and block everyone's path.

Emma was my little phantom child, showing up every once in awhile, to tell us what she'd been doing, to introduce us to a new friend. The hotel also had this interactive game called MagiQuest. It's a medieval role playing game that has the child going on quests for different items that were scattered around the hotel using a computer-chipped wand. Emma had a blast running around searching for the items she needed. It's a very long game so she didn't get to complete it, but she gets to keep the wand, so when/if we go back, she can play again.

Emma and I also were able to go get a manicure together. Well, she was in the kiddie spa area, and I was in the other area, but we did it at the same time! The kiddie area has an ice cream parlor type of atmosphere, which was cool. Emma got sugary sweet smelling hand lotion and pinky sparkly nail polish. This was the first manicure I've had in ages, so it was nice to just relax and be pampered for a bit.

Jeff was able to get away and work out for a little bit. That's his version of stress relief. I wish I had his determination. LOL

All in all it was a nice vacation. We were all sad to leave, but we know we'll go back sometime in the future.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Buddy Walk

Only about a year ago, our area of Michigan didn't have a local support group for families who had loved ones with Down syndrome. But, a wonderful woman, Sheryl, and her husband, Joby, decided that they wanted to start one of their own. I'm so very glad they did, because we have been able to meet a wonderful group of children and adults with Down syndrome from our area.
The Central Michigan Down Syndrome Society is having our 1st annual Buddy Walk on September 21st. The Buddy Walk isn't new, it was started about 13 years ago, with the idea of spreading awareness about Down syndrome. I believe there were over 250 walks around the country last year. Our team name this year is "Sarah's Superstars". Our goal is to raise $250 for our local group, to make packets for new parents, provide support, and encourage awareness and acceptance for people with Down syndrome in central Michigan.

You can click on the "ChipIn" icon in the sidebar. People are also welcome to come join us at the Buddy Walk. It's Sunday, September 21st at Chipp-A-Waters park in Mount Pleasant, MI. Everyone's welcome!!

Feeling like Fall

Fall is my absolute favorite time of year. Spring is a close second. I think it's partly because of the weather at those times of year. It's not at either extreme: too hot or too cold. Even after growing up in the valley of northern California, with it's extreme heat, I'm a temperate person at heart. I don't do extremes well. Which begs the question: why did we move to Michigan, which has the opposite problem? But, I digress.

Fall also brings memories of the start of school. I LOVED school as a child. It was the start of something new; new clothes, new backpack, new books, new teachers, new friends. Even now, as I am frantically trying to prepare 4 people for the start of school in just a few weeks, I'm looking forward to it.

I woke up this morning, and the day felt like fall. I know it isn't, I know that it's only the 12th of August, nowhere near fall. Maybe it's because the weather isn't so hot today. Not having A/C in this house yet has made me more aware of the daily changes in the weather. I feel like if I went outside, I might need a light sweater, although I doubt that's the case. It all started this morning, while getting dressed. I looked in my dresser, and decided against shorts or capris. I put on jeans, which I probably haven't worn in months, due to how hot it has been. And weirder still, a 3/4 length sleeve shirt; not a tank top, not a short sleeve shirt. It was like I was unconsciously aware that I wouldn't feel comfortable in anything else.

But the idea that fall is coming, even if it isn't here already, brings sadness, too. I feel like we've been so busy, like we are every summer, but this one even more so, that we've missed summer. Jeff working horrible hours trying to turn the IT world on its ear, Emma and Sarah in speech camp everyday, moving into this house, unpacking, housework, cooking, etc. And now that at least some of that is finished (Jeff's big announcement was over a week ago, Speech camp ended at the end of July) it's time to start looking toward fall and the start of school. I feel like I want to put a stop to it & say,"Wait! What happened to summer? I missed it, that's not fair." I suppose that's life when you're a busy family.

Not that fall will be any less busy. I'm starting a new part-time job and taking classes again. Jeff's got a new project, too. He's going to be teaching an IT class that he is creating from the ground up. I think Emma wants to do soccer again, and I'm debating putting Sarah and Katie into dance or Kinder-Music. We always seem to be busy at all times of the year. But, if we weren't, I suppose life would be boring. :)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

On this day in...

So Renee over at Life with my Special K's gave this website where you can see what the #1 song on any day in pretty much the last 100 years was. It's pretty cool.

My birthday: "Stayin' Alive" by The Bee Gees

Jeff's birthday: "Le Freak" by Chic

Our Anniversary: "I'll Be Missing You" by Puff Daddy & Faith Evans
(Not a very romantic song, lol)

Emma's birthday: "Smooth" by Rob Thomas
(The same as Kassidy's! :) I wasn't feeling so "smooth" either.)

Sarah's birthday: "Yeah!" by Usher & Lil Jon
(Jeff loves this song)

Katie's birthday: "Ridin'" by Chamillionaire

My mom's birthday: "I'm Walking Behind You" by Eddie Fisher

Jeff's mom's birthday: "Big Bad John" by Jimmy Dean

You can check it out here. It's fun!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Prayers for Emma Hope

This little girl is having major heart surgery this morning, even as we speak. Her parents lovingly adopted her and a little boy, both with Down syndrome, from Ukraine. This little girl is 5 years old but barely weighs more than Katie. She was given up on, she's been living with this heart defect her entire life. Doctors here in the US have told her parents that this surgery shouldn't be done, as it was unlikely that she would recover from it. But they persevered and found a doctor who gave them hope.

Just pray that this sweet little girl is able to continue her 2nd chance at life.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Happy Birthday Mom

Today would have been your 55th birthday. I hope you like the flowers that I had sent today. I wish I could be there in person to bring them to you, but that will have to wait until I'm able to make a trip out there.

I miss you so much, and so does Emma. She talks about you all the time. She even uses the furniture you gave us as part of her conversations. Such as,"Mom, the babies are climbing on Grammy's table." :)

You are always on my mind and often in my dreams. I'm so happy that you are no longer in pain. I won't lie and say that I'm not still bitter over the fact that you left us too soon. There are so many times I wish I could call you on the phone and ask your advice, or just to talk to see how you're doing. The girls are growing up so fast and it seems like they're changing everyday.

I know you're watching over us. Happy birthday mommy.