Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Where to Begin...

I could start with that it's snowing. But heck, at this point that's nothing new. We've added another 3 or 4 inches already, thank goodness it rained last weekend and that helped reduce the accumulation down to about 4-6 inches area wide. Anyhow, it's supposed to keep going and end up somewhere between 6-10 inches.

Katherine is out of school today. Probably tomorrow too. Again, this is nothing new. At least she can go outside and play with her siblings in this stuff, but man I'm getting tired of it. Who am I kidding, I was tired of snow after the first snowfall in the first week of December. Last year, our total accumulation was 3 inches. This year, it will be around 3 feet.

We're in the final stages of moving. Yesterday I called and set up cancel dates for the phone and trash pick-up. Change of address is going out to magazines and utilities. This is the nitty gritty junk. Ian is attempting to get our tickets printed for us, and we're just waiting for the release from the car financing people so we can shcedule the car pick-up. For the 21st, our final actual date in the house, we have a maid service scheduled to clean the kitchen and bathrooms, at the same time as a carpet cleaner and chimney sweep. Then we'll have the walk-through, and we'll wave good-bye to our home for 2 years.

We fly out March 24th, arriving in Manila on the 28th. Provided there's no war going on with the rebels in the Philippines.

Friday, February 21, 2003

A Week Off of School

With the dump of snow came a full week off school for Katherine. Presidents Day was supposed to be a regular in school day, but even that didn't work out. So what have we done with ourselves, besides a lot of shovelling? We've had a family snowball fight. We've had a family pillow fight with little boys who're barely able to lift giant pillows, much less swing them at anyone. We've played family Hide-n-seek with the whole house fair game and daddy scaring the pants off kids when they found him. We've played Simon Says until Simon wanted to say "go take a nap!". We've played umpteen games of chess (Rebecca's getting pretty good, and Katherine is getting better and better). We've eaten a ton of popcorn and watched lots of movies. The kids have built a pathetic little snowman (with all this snow!) and they've discovered that rubbermaid storage box covers make great sleds. We've made great use of snow pants and snow boots that were regularly boxed up for ski trip use. We've ordered pizza.

All in all it hasn't been too bad. Fun, even :)

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Blizzard Days

OK, it wasn't really a blizzard, but we got about a foot of snow and that was more than plenty. Katherine will be missing at least 3 days of school for it and even the fed gov't (meaning Ian) was often yesterday. Today the weather was downright warm, almost 40! We had a family snowball fight until Katherine couldn't move her fingers anymore. Nicholas has an excellent arm and aim for throwing snowballs, he got his target more of tne than not, and too often right in the face. Katherine cackled gleefully when she lobbed a huge snowball at mom, saying "That one looked just like Brazil!" Well, OK then! Nicholas and Rebecca both got smacked right in the face and were not pleased at all, bursting into tears but recovering quickly. Heck, even mom got some snow down the shirt and that was far from pleasant! Dad got a frozen ball in the ear and I can gather that it was rather painful. Was probably similar to when I went skiing recently, wiped out and got some snow lodged in my nostril. Chilly!

Now everyone is curled in the frigid basement under their cozy blankets, eating popcorn and watching "The Secret Garden" Maybe later we'll hit the mall just for a change of scenery, even though we did get up to Annandale and take my mom out to lunch for Chinese food. We all needed to get out, especially since their house is leaking. Goodness!

Anyhow, maybe the mall this afternoon once Jonathon wakes from his nap.

Cloth diapering is going really well. "They" say it saves money but I'm seeing the downfall already as there are SO many cute dipes out there and so many different styles that it's hard not to get one or more of each, just to try out *laugh* I'm telling myself that this is all an excellent investment for once we move to Manila, I won't have to even think about searching for disposables for his sensitive butt. Washing them hasn't even been a problem, but I think that's largely that he's so big now and only needs to be changed a few times a day. Starting CD with a newborn would be harsh. Not only are you exhausted and worn out already, but cloth dipes do take more steps than tossing out a disposable.

Jonathon's speech is doing really well. His newest word is "'NOW!" just like his big brother. He doesn't like snow other than to nibble on it, but he sure does like to watch it from inside. Other than snow, he says Up, Off (means on and off), Goo (shoe), Gock (sock), Hat, More (w/ sign), Eees (please w/ sign), Aho (thank you w/ sign), Down, Yesh (yes), Guck (yuck), Boon (balloon), Bath, Mama, Dada, Baba (Becca), Abaf (Katherine), Dihdis (Nicholas), 'Poon (spoon).

Watching him play Hide and Seek and Simon Says with the big kids is just hilarious. I ask the kids to jump up and down and he tries so hard, only making it up to his tip toes. One of the cutest things he does is when food comes to him or he's happily surprised about something is how he makes his mouth into a big O and says "oooooh". You've got to see it to understand.

Nicholas has started mixing sounds over the past month. Rather than Dada, he'll say Daddy. And his best insult is calling someone Baby Bear, just like daddy calls Becca. Still no one can understand him but us but he's stringing lots of words together and is such a card.

Thursday, February 13, 2003

Another Step Closer

We have car insurance! Next step is getting the release from the loan people so we can set up a pick-up time for the car to go to the port. We have landlord insurance! The sign goes up in the yard on Saturday and everyone cross your fingers that we get a renter starting in April. Still need to get personal property insurance.

Last week was Katherine's birthday and the festivities spread out over the week with a dinner out to Sakura (Japanese steak house where they cook at your table). A couple days later, grandma took her for an overnight to get new shoes, a haircut and to see a show at my old high school. It was Beauty and the Beast and a rather unique production. Then on Sunday we all went to grandma's house to celebrate both of their birthdays since Katherine was born on the 5th, just like my mom.

We were supposed to celebrate with her at school as well, but Friday turned out to be a snow day. And so was Monday! You know, the past 2 1/2 months I don't think that Katherine has had but one full week of school.

So, the little lesson on the Philippines that we were planning to do last week has been post-poned to tomorrow. Since it's also Valentine's Day, it's going to be a do-nothing day as far as work for those First Graders.

This afternoon we're putting together Katherine's valentines. We all made heart sugar cookies last week, so those along with some little chocolates from Paris (courtesy of grandpa) will be her valentines.

Sunday, February 2, 2003

Should have just stayed in bed.

Yesterday we went skiing at Ski Liberty in Pennsylvania. It's a once-a-year treat for us.

Earlier in the week we registered the girls for lessons. Rebecca was taking the very beginner class and Katherine was going to take the learning to turn class. For 2 hours they were going to lessons, snack, etc. We paid over the phone.
Got there before noon, get lift tickets and rental tickets for Ian and me. Woman at the window says to take the girls to the learning center and they'll take care of everything. Ian takes the girls, I head over to the boot/ski place with Jerry, Julie and Jeff so we can get Jerry and Jeff over to their beginner lessons. As we're going through the lines, Ian comes panting up WITH both girls in tow, saying that it's still up to us to get them fitted out. There's like, 5 minutes before class, it takes longer than that to get everything and get to the bunny slope.

Get there and all the noon classes have gone out. We find Rebecca's class and put her in, we ask the various instructors we see where the learning to turn class is. They tell us to ask at the learning center, learning center tells us they're on the slope. It's 12:15 and at least Jerry and Jeff and Rebecca are in their classes, but Julie and I can't ski yet and Ian doesn't even have boots yet. Finally someone says they'll get another instructor. They put Katherine in a class with another kid, but that kid has never skiied before.

Finally, Ian gets set so he and Julie and I do a run down the bunny slope, then head to the top of the mountain for a longer run. We get to do several runs when we notice that the guys' classes are wearing down about the same time the girls' classes are, so we wave to Jeff and Jerry, watch Jeff wipe out, and head over to the bunny slope so we can pick everyone up.

Get Katherine, she's upset because she didn't get to go on the lift at all. The other kid in her class wouldn't go, so she was stuck at the bottom of the slope, no poles, doing stuff she did last year. She's itching to get some poles and go on the lifts. Ian goes with her to get poles. Then, we get Rebecca, who is doing great on skis (surprise surprise!) but informs us that they didn't get a snack at all. We had an early breakfast, no lunch, it's now 2 p.m. and the snack that was part of the class wasn't given to her, so she's starving. Knowing how she is though, I coax her into going down the bunny slope with Julie, Katherine and I first.

Meanwhile, the guys got out of their class, and Jerry is doing great (Jerry is/was a pretty crappy skiier :) ) but Jeff is walking down the bunny slope. Before I get on the lift with Rebecca, I meet up with him to find out that the wipeout I'd seen had either broken his arm or dislocated his shoulder. He headed for 1st Aide. Ian sent Katherine back with her poles, and met up with Jeff. I'd gotten in line for the lift with Rebecca, Julie and Jerry were with Katherine further back. They shout up that Jeff had dislocated this shoulder and Ian had just taken him to the hospital.

It's 2 p.m., half way through out flex ticket. Ian has taken the car, the cash. We ski.

I go down the slope with Rebecca, she has already decided that she wants a snack and I don't blame her, she's hungry and thirsty. So I try to coax her into one more trip down beforehand but it's a no go. She says we'll ski again after.

So, Katherine goes off to ski more with Jerry and Julie and I take Rebecca to the lodge. We find a place to stow the skis, we go into the lodge, she wants a cinnamon roll. The only place that sells them is cash only, I have none. So we go to find the ATM. The one I know of is out of order. We find the other, get cash, get in the ridiculously long line, get our snack. It's after 3:30 p.m., cause anyone who's walked in snow boots knows that you go slower than molasses. We eat our snack, and Julie comes over asking if we'll take Katherine so that she and Jerry can do the longer slopes. Katherine comes and sits down, my Flex ticket runs out. We return all our skis and poles. I finally looked at the girls passes and their lift tikets don't run out for another hour *smacks head* I assumed their 4 hour ticket would run out the same time ours did. They can't even go on the bunny slope alone. Stupid mom.

Shortly after 4, Jerry and Julie come back. The girls and I have a snowball fight. We sit for a bit then decide to try to figure out how long we're actually going to be there. None of our cell phones work as we're out of service range. We headed to the 1st Aide center where we learn that the guys are at Gettysburg hospital and it's only 8 miles away. I even get to call with their phone, get passes around, finally talk to Jeff's nurse who says that Jeff is totally groggy and not ready to be released yet, but that Ian just left to come get us.

We're still wearing our ski boots. All os us had assumed that since Ian had the locker key that he's still have it. After 5, brilliant Julie figures it's worth a check since Ian and Jeff had to get -their- shoes, they might ahve just left the locker open. Wouldn't you know....

So, she gets her shoes, Ian pulls up, the rest of us get our shoes, we leave back to Gettysburg.

Get there, Jeff isn't ready yet, we watch the miserable footage of the Columbia disintegrating, that horrible news that had me in tears on the way to the slope in the morning, this is our first chance to see anything about it.

Jeff gets released, we head home, stop for Wendy's, get back to my parents house after 9, the boys were asleep but we scooped them up and brought everyone home. Jeff stayed over with us last night and Ian brought him back to his car this afternoon (parked at my parents' house).

All in all, the 5 of us (Jeff, Ian, me, Katherine and Rebecca) spent over $400 for lessons, rental, skis and 4 hours each of lift time. We got about 1/2 what we paid for, and this was Jeff's first time ever skiing and I feel totally bad for him that this is how it was spent.