Friday, March 5, 2010

*tap tap tap* is this thing on?

Moveable Type moved our site from a server in Hong Kong to one in the U.S. It seems everything is still around. I should really back it all up, huh?

We're here, that's all that matters.

It's interim time at school. Second quarter report cards were delayed a few weeks, it's hard to see that there's enough material to warrant interims already but it's on the schedule so it must be true. Both girls made honor roll last quarter again, and last week Rebecca earned a positive referral from her science teacher. Each quarter there's a referral day where kids get to take a bit of time out from their class, get a snack, play some games and just be recognized as good kids. Rebecca's referral read: "Rebecca is an outstanding student. She is always upbeat and happy. She is willing to help others. She has great ideas and is wonderful to have in class." Well no surprise there. Her grades are one thing, but it's always nice to be told that you're cool to have around.
Speaking of grades, Jonathon earned straight Bs last quarter and last week a recommendation for Signet came in the mail. His biggest educational issues are of the handwriting/spelling/getting-thoughts-on-paper variety. He reminds me of Katherine in so many ways, he's disorganized, he reads a ton, he catches on to everything, he figures out complicated problems in a distinctly Jonathon way, and his latest round of standardized tests were way up there. This year's tests so far for him (every school we've been to seems to use different ones.. so far we've been through IOWA, MAP, CogAT, NNAT, SOL, and soon we'll be heading into the ACT, SAT, etc. realm too) were the CogAT and the NNAT. Have you ever heard of a stanine? Well I hadn't so I looked it up. A stanine looks like a bell curve broken into 9 sections with 6-9 above average. In both tests, Jonathon got scores of 8-9. His grades are one thing, and he has issues with fairness and some emotional outbursts, but it seems like the inner tickings are moving along pretty well. I'm excited for him and hope he gets into Signet because I know he'd really do well. Nicholas started Signet last week and says Wednesday is his favorite day. He was chosen to be weather man on morning announcements for a few weeks (if you know Nicholas, that is a big deal since he doesn't like to speak in public) on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and now much of Wednesday is spent in Signet too. Add to that guitar lessons that start up on Friday mornings before school (both boys will go) and the year is going to wrap up on definite high notes.
The boys will be in a chess tournament this coming Saturday as well. They haven't played chess in a while, not since we moved here, but we've pulled out a board and Ian has been playing with them. This is a non-elimination tournament, just for fun, no pressure. I enjoy playing chess but I'm terrible at it so I can't teach the boys anything.
Summer is coming, and I cannot wait. This week is springlike, mid-50s to mid-60s, sunny, wonderful. I have a single crocus blooming and plenty of green stuff coming up just waiting to explode into color. I know this week's weather is a tease, but I can't help feeling hopeful that winter is done done done. Please let it be done. Bring on spring. Better yet, bring on summer. Summer plans are starting to come together. I've signed up Rebecca for a 2-week "Showtime" camp, and the boys are doing a week long Civil War camp. The Civil War camp reads: "Kids will re-create a camp site, prepare authentic rations, drill with wooden muskets and find out how the soldiers enjoyed spending their free time. There will also be a live fire demonstration." If you're going to live in the South, by Manassas battlefield and Yorktown battlefield and Fredericksburg.... Civil War history is the name of the game this summer. Since the camp isn't until mid-July, we'll spend the earlier weeks reading up.
Frogs Swim Team is also on the schedule. That runs May-July, I haven't received an e-mail about it yet but Rebecca and the boys all need the hard exercise it provides. Katherine does too, but for her we have something else currently in the works. Keep your fingers crossed, it's a long shot but would be totally wonderful if it worked out. Flute lessons for Katherine through Arts&Music will be once a week for half an hour to keep her practicing every day and fixing her method before she starts band in high school. She's willing to try marching band next year, I think she'll have a blast.
It's really nice to see the calendar filling up. We'll take some days to do local things, go to the zoo, bowl, see a movie, walk around the museums, play tennis in our neighborhood, and spend plenty of time at our lake beach. There's the 4th of July and the Folk-Life Festival. Sometime in August we'll go to the beach. The beach is the highlight of my summer, honestly any vacation I ever want to take. This winter has really made me miss Chennai and the daily wash of heat, the beach at Fisherman's Cove, the pool at the school. I'd take being able to work around the house and in the yard, windows open, painting, gardening...
The heat pump breaking down last week didn't help my distaste for the cold. I'm so thankful it didn't happen earlier in the season with the howling winds and the outside temps in the teens. Last week was mild, reaching the 40s and 50s during the day it only dropped to 57 in the house at the coldest so it could have been far worse. The heat pump went out Monday evening. The first guy on Wednesday morning said the capacitor was dead and it was the fault of poor maintenance and an accumulation of dirt in the machine. He replaced the capacitor and left, it quit working again a few hours later. The second guy on Friday morning said the motor died and was due to the original parts being 24 years old. He came back with a new motor and the insurance picked up the tab, though it was less than $300 to fix. Thank goodness. No problems so far and we'll schedule a cleaning soon, just letting the machine work for a bit to ensure that was the real issue. When can we stop using heat please?
Spring is coming, I keep reminding myself of that. My mom and I went to the Dulles Home and Garden Show and saw so many wonderful and expensive ideas for renovating homes, it's nice to dream.
Around my homework and family time, I'm scrapbooking again. My mom had me over last Friday to scrap, and now I'm on a roll. I might finish last summer! Have I done Togo? No. India? No. Any time here? No, just last summer. But it might get done! My biggest hangup right now is not supplies, but photos. All my photos are digital and the longer I wait to print them the more there are to print and then I get all worked up about the cost of hundreds of photos. I know I know, one subject at a time. I should just do Togo. A friend of mine gave me an album to slide photos in, some are already done, and it was only a year tour with no trips (my medevac album is done) aside from one side trip to Accra. Finishing that would be wonderful. I should look into it. Once I finish last summer. See, like everyone else there are only so many hours in the day, and when I get into a project all else falls to the wayside. Right now I should be doing homework, every day I should be doing homework until my classes end in June. But in my downtime I go through shifts... for months it will be reading, then it'll be crocheting (winter months for that, like the tree skirt I started and put aside), then scrapping, then French, for a while it was piano but now we don't have a piano. What that means is that when I do all the other things for consecutive months other hobbies are neglected. Now I'm years and years behind on my photo books, but I will catch up because it's something I enjoy and do want to accomplish. If I get around to it I'll take photos of the pages I've been working on. Photography, that's another hobby I've ignored of late. Easter and the cherry blossoms are around the corner. Cherry blossoms are one of my favorite times in DC so I'll bring my good camera and new Macro lens.
Maybe cherry blossoms will break the photographic funk.
Rebecca's favorite hobby is drama, music and singing; she has a wonderful choral teacher. I hoped she'd learn an instrument this year, but she wanted to sing, so she sings. She does want to continue learning the piano, but see my earlier problem with that. The SaundersMS production of "High School Musical Jr." is scheduled for the 24th to 26th of March. They'll perform once each day for each of the grades, and then Wednesday and Friday nights for parents. She's nervous about it, the kids aren't taking it seriously and it's a mess. There are 2 weeks to go and she says it's nothing like where it should be, like Madras Kids (she has different memories than I do!). Keep your fingers crossed that the kids buckle down and they all make a show to be proud of. This summer her "Showtime" summer camp will be 3 hours a day for 2 weeks to put on a production down at Locust Shade Park. She's excited, I'm excited, it's all good.
I know I've mentioned this before, Katherine is in the process of being Confirmed in the fall. She has classes, volunteer hours, reports... an assortment of preparatory tasks. Two weekends ago she attended the Confirmation Retreat, a two night program at Prince William Forest Park. She was hesitant, she didn't really know anyone and didn't know what the point was. She came back exhausted and happy and plans to be a teen facilitator for next year's retreat. I honestly don't know the details, she says they were up from 8 to midnight, sang a lot, made a banner, ate, had "gift buddies," ate, watched skits... but something happened, something good. The fact that she wants to go again speaks volumes. I'm not signing her up for summer camps this year due to that thing I won't write of (fingers still crossed?) but also because the youth group does a number of activities over the summer, from white water rafting to amusement parks to bowling. She'll be plenty busy.
I'll be plenty busy. All these activities + Ian not taking any summer vacation = hello minivan-mom. Bring it on.

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