Saturday, February 25, 2012

Date day.

The kids have been sick this week. It's the usual crud not the dreaded Noro Virus that has closed some schools and taken a toll through the region. Sore throats, to the point we had a couple tested for Strep which came back negative. Some coughing. Lots of headaches. Periodic fevers. A little nausea thrown in the mix.

It's nothing time won't cure.

Yesterday I spent the day at my parents' house. Everyone went to school for the whole day so it was my chance to escape the house and ignore my chores and household duties. My mom and I worked on our scrapbooks. I'm working on 2011. Ignore the fact that I haven't done Togo yet. Or any of India but for the initial trip we took to the northern Triangle of Agra, Delhi and Jaipur. I have our time in Jordan to catch up with that. It's what I keep telling myself. Don't burst my bubble with tales of how much we'll do and see there that I'll simply fall further behind, OK?

So I caught up a bit by finishing our trip to Chicago/Milwaukee/Madison from last summer. That was a good road trip, I just wish I had photos from Rebecca's trip to Colorado at the same time that I could use to fill in the gap... all those photos of our family minus one look weird.

Today was a day for Nicholas. I'm not sure how that happened other than, well, he asked. I was going to the mall to get my watches fixed, he wanted to come along and asked for lunch out. Who can resist a kid who wants one-on-one time with mom. As we prepared to leave, Ian asked to join so it became Nicholas and parents for the afternoon. It wasn't all fun and games.

The mall has shoe stores and Ian remembered he needed shoes. Rack Room Shoes had BOGO1/2. We both found pairs in the 70% Timberland sale shelves. Four pairs of shoes later I picked up my watch, we did a quick run through Costco, then brought Nicholas to his requested lunch spot, Buffalo Wild Wings. Not our first choice, but it was what he wanted for they have the at-table game machines for trivia and poker. It was all good, we enjoyed the time with him.

My watches are both Citizen Eco-Drive. The first I received as a gift from Ian while living in the Philippines.

It's not holding time anymore, no matter how much sun it gets. If you've ever wondered how an eco-drive works, check out a quick explanation here. So with the supposed 6 month back-up battery
life, there's definitely something wrong with mine as it doesn't keep time more than a few hours, never mind whether it's been in the sun all day or not. Initially I thought the issue was all the sweaters I wear. Seriously! If the watch is hidden under a long sleeve all day it could be a problem, right? Not really. As soon as we walked into the watch shop the lady questioned the capacitor. I don't know what a capacitor is, but when she heard the watch is nearly 8 years old she's fairly confident that's the problem. Since I'm clueless, I'll go along with it, so off to the technician it goes for a couple weeks and we'll see what happens. I like this watch, I want it back.

My other watch is a lovely design that I honestly would never have chosen for myself. Another gift from Ian, one from our time in India. I think it's the band that has bothered me about it, and today I remedied that, out of necessity of course. The band was separating and though it was easily repaired I took the opportunity to exchange it for a dual-tone bracelet band, something that works with my rings and won't get eaten by whatever it is my skin exudes on hot sweaty days.

I know many people don't even bother with watches anymore. My husband doesn't, he simply relies on his phone for the time, and everything else during his day. But I'm a hanger-on. Yes I own a laptop and an iPhone, but I still don't like change, I don't like technology, I don't like new things even if they've proven to be true wonders. I make notes on paper, I like to write letters that go through the postal service.

So I wear a watch. A cool eco-drive watch that runs on sun power, but a watch none-the-less. And I'll keep wearing one until they aren't made anymore.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Setting up house in order to take it all down

Before (the room behind the kitchen was the dining room, now turning into the family room):

Washing the chairs.  Ew.

After (the dining room, formerly a catch-all room, staged as a dining room):

"Staging" the dining room

Before (was the dining room):



"Staging" the den


Getting set to paint the kitchen cabinets.

Middle (first coat):

Painting kitchen cabinets, first coat



Before (the tiny front room, the TV room, overflowing with furniture):

Front room is overflowing with furniture

Getting the house ready.  Moving stuff around the front room.

After (front room now holds the cellos and the kids' computer):

"Staging" the front room

Monday, February 6, 2012

Second quarter report cards/Semester grades

Guess who got straight As for the first time ever? Jonathon

Guess who got all As and a B+? Rebecca, first semester is straight A average.

Guess who got all As and a B? Nicholas

Now... to come up with appropriate "you're doing it! keep on working!" gifts for each of them.... Jonathon is thinking a trip to LaserQuest. Nicholas is considering a Kinect game. Rebecca would like another ear piercing. Will let you know.

I should note that Rebecca's grades reflect a high school class (complete with midterm) at the high school and two high school level classes at the middle school. She is rocking it all.

ETA: For Rebecca's gift she requested... a 3rd ear piercing. It looks lovely. Until she starts wearing weird stuff I guess, it's all good. Nicholas got a new xBox game, LOTR: Conquest which was a huge hit. Both boys like Halo Wars, but LOTR is better. Jonathon wanted additional HeroClix, so he got a set of Halo Characters and a set of Star Trek ships. Please don't ask me about them, he asked, I provided, that's all I know.

This is the kind of thing that makes a parent feel old.

When your oldest turns 16. Clearly, the impact will continue to grow as the kids age, but seriously, I have a 16 year old child? I guess I should quit rubbing it in to my mom that she has a nearly 40 year old "child." That's really not nice, is it.

The 16 year old.

Part of her gift was a "Rise Against" and "A Day to Remember" concert last night at the GMU Patriot Center. Her first concert with her sister and without adults. Last year she went to Foo Fighters at Verizon Center and the year before to Green Day at Jiffy Lube Live (formerly the Nissan Pavilion), both with her dad. She also got new clothes from her grandparents, a GC to Chik-Fil-A, also an ice skating outing for the family, a SCUBA diving lesson (for her and her sister) from Ian, and a prepaid debit card. The last is an experiment we're running to try to help her with money management and to get her accustomed to our increasingly plasticized and digitized world. Cross your fingers.

2012: The birthday girls

2012: 2 cakes for 2 girls

2012: Katherine's cake