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I am on week two of my 2 weekend break (which really comes out to 3 weeks). I, being the overachiever that I have been labeled by a couple of classmates, have been getting ahead on the reading and have one of the projects done already. I also completed a crocheted baby blanket and started another as well as a stegasaurus hat. Never can have just ONE project going on at a time! I also have 2 scarves that are partly completed, one is knit, one crochet, and 4 potholders to sew up. OH and patches to sew onto vests... I also got more exercise in the last 2 weeks than I have in a while and I am determined to start eating healthy again. I am not fat, but I just hate the feeling of A) my clothes are too small (I'm not willing to buy bigger sized clothes) and B) just the extra fat layer that is uncomfortable to me. So far so good. 3 days, 2 lbs down. So far I don't miss all the junk I was eating. I seem to binge when I eat junk. I'm sure a nibble here and there would be ok, but I seem to be obsessed once I taste something sweet or extra flavorful (lime and chili flavored almonds).

Just made an appointment to firm up my internship for next year and make it official. I will be glad to get that taken care of. I need that all processed in order to sign up for the "class" and to be covered by malpractice (or whatever they call it in social work) insurance.

Have I mentioned lately that I love my kids (well of course) and that they are awesome? I have Miles in a group piano class. And he, my less self-motivated child, has been practicing without any prodding. He loves it. I'm glad I held back on reminding him or pushing him too much to practice. So, I think he may be officially getting private piano lessons when this second group class is over and he ages out of the program. And then maybe we will need to get a piano sized keyboard or (gasp) a piano. Ella is also showing a lot of interest in learning.

Both have also decided that they ENJOY WASHING DISHES. Um, hello, are these really my children? Pinch me. Not that I'm surprised, I just feel so fortunate. They are also good at making their beds and doing other assigned chores. If one sees me washing windows or dusting, they want to help. I know I should really take advantage of this so they get into a habit before they are no longer interested! I truly would not trade my kids for anything in the world.

I had my 3 month doctor check up on Monday. It is official, my (what's left of my) thyroid is petering out to a level at which I need to supplement with thyroid hormone. I had my first dose Monday and am doing every other day for a week or two to ease into it. The info sheet says not to expect any "results" for 2 weeks, but I swear a couple of my hypothyroid symptoms seem better already. I was sitting there today driving to the dentist thinking, "Wow, I can't remember feeling this NOT exhausted in a while. Watch out world, I was productive when I was tired, imagine what I'll be like with energy!"

In closing. I just want to add (in case I haven't mentioned this before) that I LOVE reading my social work texts. Sometimes I can't wait to read them. I think this may be, yet another, good sign.

With that, I'm off to get the overflowing laundry started so that I can read some more.

Be well!

Pretty Good Day

Yesterday I got the official official call that I indeed have the position at the township social work agency that I wanted. I am so excited! I've been saying "YESSSS" and doing a little dance intermittently since I got the call. When I called of Friday, the director was a little preoccupied and wasn't sure if she told me yes for sure. Uh oh, I feel another dance coming on...

My girly's glasses came in and she looks really good in them. They now actually make really cute kid glasses. I am so jealous, I was doomed to ugly horrid glasses with ginormous frames when I got my first (and second and third and fourth...) pair. She looks so grown up and smart. Luckily she is excited to wear them. And, she can see better with them too. Imagine that.

Her parent-teacher conference was last night. It was student led and she was so grown up and cute. She is in the high 90 something-th percentile in all areas. She is reading off the scale and her words per minute exceed that of most adults. (She reads ALL THE TIME. It helps that I RARELY let the kids watch TV). She read a wonderful story out loud that she wrote. Wow. I'm so proud. She's overall a good kid too. She has her moments, but it would be scary if she didn't. Right?! Oh, and I was also very pleased to see that they are using creative means to express themselves. Her book was written up nicely, was bound, and she was working on drawing pictures. She also did a report on Saturn that was in an audio-visual format via a Mac computer program. I found elementary school dull and boring (except for art class and reading). Then I was put into a gifted program and we got to do all kinds of fun creative stuff. THAT I liked! So, even though they don't have gifted in 2nd grade at her school, I am grateful that they are still doing fun things with their learning!

Tonight is my son's conference. I have high hopes. The one area I know he needs work in is handwriting. Otherwise, he was doing really well after the first trimester, so I'm anxious to see how he's doing now!

I started and finished writing up a Social History for a school assignment. I thought it would be hard and boring. But actually it was pretty cool and I finished it up much faster than I had imagined.

Now on to studying for this week's quiz. The teacher drops the lowest quiz. So far I have a 100%, 100% and 92% (The 2 out of 25 questions I got wrong were ones I changed the answer on and would have gotten right the first time, DOH). If I get an A on this next one, I can pretty much relax and goof off. Well, I won't goof off really, but the pressure there is off. This quiz is on racism and discrimination, which was basically what my entire last class was about. So here's to hoping it is easy.

ALSO... I finally got my prize(s) for being a runner up in the Pearson scholarship contest. Three textbooks. They are actually paperbacks, not huge traditional hardbound books. I chose the following: one on loss and grieving, one on substance abuse, and one on child abuse and neglect. Sounds like fun topics, eh? Actually I'm excited to read them because, of course, I want to help people who are in difficult places in life!!

I went back to help the teen mom alumni group. I'm going to infuse social gatherings and workshops for them. Right now they are doing all fundraising and volunteering for the program. I really think they need something for THEM. I've found someone to come in and talk about confidence and another to help them summarize their stories about being teen moms and what the program did for them. Finally, in fall, I think I will put a presentation and discussion together about knowing your political ideals to become a more educated voter and citizen.

I am also lining up crochet projects. Yes, I'm crazy. What of it? Joann's was having a yarn sale yesterday, so how could I not get my 6 skeins I need for a baby blanket? It gets expensive after a while!

Happy Valentine's Day all! I was looking forward to this day being an excuse to eat sugar. But oddly, I'm thinking of giving myself the gift of eating healthy today. I was so good at the beginning of the year for about a month, then fell off the wagon. I'd better get back on before I start to pudge out... Not to mention, I feel awesome when I eat well and I feel down and crappy when I eat junk.

I hope all your wildest dreams come true this Valentine's Day! :-)


Grad school continues to rock. Classes are FUN (unlike the interesting, but incredibly difficult (and often dull) chemistry classes of my undergrad years). We are doing our "lifelines". I presented mine a few weekends ago. I was glad to get it over with. But at the same time it was great to tell "my story". Warts and all. Because I DON'T CARE what people think of my past mistakes and accomplishments. If people like me despite all that, then I KNOW THEY LIKE ME. And that is another awesome thing about going back to grad school, again. I love the friends I'm making. There is a group of 4 women (including myself) that I hang out with. They like me for who I am and I'm being more genuine than I've ever been. They are all amazing and strong people and, from what I hear, the friends you make in grad school are the ones who are your best colleagues and resources when you become a professional. Classes were canceled Friday night for the second time this session due to snow. It's kind of crazy, we've had little snow, yet 2 of our "bigger" storms have been on Fridays.

Along the same lines, the director of social work at the place I've been wanting my first field placement told me I AM IN! It will be an incredible experience to work with a township and I'll learn about all sorts of community resources.

Today I went to a a Valentine's Dance for Adventure Princesses and Guides. My son was my date and we did the whole nine with boutonnieres and corsages and dress up. It was fun to dance with him in public. We love to dance together at home all the time.

I've got a crazy week ahead. Another quiz on Friday and a social history paper due. And little time to do it all due to tons of other things going on. I can do it, I can do it...

Keeping it Light

I could get really heavy right now, but I won't.

Let's focus back onto my kitchen spruce up, shall we?

Painting is finally done (well - I do need to touch up some spots of a different color on walls adjacent to the kitchen - so not technically totally done).

But... let's rejoice in the positive!

Here is an overall photo of the before, complete with total mess...

And here are multiple photos of the completed job...

Now, in this last one, you can see the door I was referring to in a previous entry and asking if I should paint it black. So here is what the big picture looks like. The kitchen table is a darkish wood top with dark green stained pedestal. The chairs match. I hope we will replace this set soon as the kids have pretty much destroyed it. Jason thinks that because we have the wood trim, the black paint on the door would not work for us. What do you guys think?

And just for fun, I've started accessorizing with internet finds.

I already bought some of these:

to do this (look at the soffit):

And I'm liking this look:

For valances above the long skinny windows on either side of the back door. I think I'd totally get rid of the (magnetic) rod in the middle (on the door).

I found this:

and I'm trying to figure out if it would work. It is kind of long, but bear in mind that I can sew.

I also want to buy some hardware for the cabinets and drawers:



Any opinions or thoughts are appreciated!

First afternoon/evening (help!)

Jason set off for the UK today at 1:30 pm (from our driveway that is). He got so emotional leaving us, I was quite stunned. Maybe I have just gotten so good at hiding my emotions.
(i.e. stoic).

This afternoon I set off to the park with the kids. Of course we can never stay long enough for Ella's liking, but at least we went.

This evening we went to Paradise Park assisted living. Only 3 family from our small group went with two spouses missing (including Jason). But it was good. The residents love to watch the kids and have people come to visit them. Not because they are related, but just because they want to come see them. Ella asked to go potty 3 times (and went each time). Afterwards I went to a video store and she was practically dancing out of her pants asking to go potty. We went, but she had already gone a little in her pants. I hope she doesn't have something wrong, like a bladder infection. Why would she need to go so much? She has actually had a few accidents lately. Miles seems to have an upset stomach. It is giving him a diaper rash! I just hope we don't have any medical emergencies while I am alone!

Luckily my mom is going to come up for a couple days and I can go stay with my parents later in the week if I want.

I finally got the kids to bed. Miles nearly scared everyone out of the video store with his screaming and Ella has been so hyperactive (and didn't have a nap today besides the 15 min drive to the assisted living home). She also does this annoying thing with her tongue. First she is constantly licking her lips, second she always has her tongue out of her mouth and it is always twitching around. I don't know why, but I find this totally annoying, rude and gross. I guess there could be worse things. I guess. Maybe her facination with her tongue will pass.

Well I'm off to watch "Smartest Guys in the Room", an Enron documentary to compliment the book I'm almost finished reading. Then maybe I'll take a nice long bath with bubble and candles. I sure need it!


...weird. Now Jason gets a taste of what I've described at some neighborhood Bunko parties. I just don't seem to fit in with a lot of the neighbors around here. I feel suspiciously similar to how I felt in high school. I certainly have nothing against any of these people for anything other than the fact that some of them are incessantly making fun of others/gossiping. I'm sure we are now fodder for some of the gossip. Why? I'm not sure. It could be anything. What did we do wrong? Nothing, in my eyes. It could be that we played jazz, when most people like rock or pop (we like rock and pop too, but we like jazz as well and decided to play it). It could be that at one point you could hear our daughter crying about not wanting to go to bed because there was a party going on outside her window. It could be that people discovered a hornets nest in our tree that we never saw because we don't usually have lights pointed at it at night (I heard them talking about it, but not tell us directly). It could be anything, I have learned all of this in high school and more while working in corporate America with some catty people. THE GOOD NEWS IS: while I still don't get it, I DON'T CARE what people think about me/us. We threw a classy party. We played classy music. I set the tables and buffet up nicely. I think we are classy people who don't do much gossiping/making fun of people. We talk more about deep topics than superficial things. Does that make us bad? Not in my eyes. Why are people like this? Only thing I can conclude is A) they are insecure and/or B) they fear that which they don't understand/is different than they are or C) they don't like talking about deep topics. Who knows. It just bothers me that I can't relate to some of these people. I'm not trying to generalize. There were certainly people who talked to us and who were very nice. But there seemed to be a lot of cliques too. I'm so glad I am comfortable with who I am and how I choose to act, even if I don't fit in to every crowd.


Jason is flying to England next week..........

Tonight we are hosting the annual golf outing's block party. It isn't too stressful because we are just responsible for tables/chairs and main dish. The house is pretty clean, so I'm not too worried about that.

Never in a million years...

did i even think I'd be bonding with my daughter over a baseball game on TV. I'm not a huge sports fan and rarely watch them, especially on TV.

Yesterday Ella and I had a rough spot in the afternoon. I was tired, she didn't want to nap, she was testing me, I needed to get laundry and some cleaning done. It was rough.

After Jason came home, I calmed down a little and Ella ran up to me. I picked her up and she held tight, nestling her head in that place between my shoulder and chest. For several minutes. Meanwhile, Miles turned on the TV (we were in the basement). He doesn't watch TV, he just likes playing with the controls on it. A White Sox game was on. In my exhaustion, I carried Ella over to the glider and sat down with her on my lap. She sat real close and I held her tight. She seemed quite interested in the game, so I started explaining the rules as the game went on. We watched until someone got a home run. It was an unusual bonding activity. I love that we are very close...
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Aug. 7th, 2006

I can hardly believe it, someone pinch me. Ella has pretty much declared herself night time potty trained. From what I have read, one should not expect their child to stay dry through the night necessarily just because they are daytime potty trained. In fact, they say, it can take some children up to five years of age before they are night time trained. I felt no "pressure" to worry about her night time training and kept her in pull-ups. For the last week or so she has consistently stayed dry for naps, so I let her sleep in underwear. Now she is insisting on no pull-ups at night and her daddy bravely (well maybe he wasn't being brave - since I have to deal with any messes in the morning) did not change her into pull-ups for the last 3 nights. She has been dry. So what do we do with all of her pink princess pull-ups? Clearly, I feel, we should definitely keep them around for a while just in case. But Jason thinks we can keep them for Miles. I whole heartedly disagree. I mean, come on, that is totally not fair to the poor guy!

I don't know if I should start putting Miles on the potty just so he won't be scared of it later. That's what I did with Ella starting at 13 months. I sat her on there and sang a song about the potty. I acheived the goal of her never being afraid and also actually kind of enjoying sitting there like mommy does. Oh, I am not ready to potty train another. Luckily there are many months before I should start even worrying too much about it. Right now I have to get Miles to learn that the potty is not a place to play with the water!

Tonight, after all of my recent sewing projects, I finally sewed "Buddy Bear" back together. That is Miles FAVORITE teddy bear. He just loves that thing. The back stitches were coming undone and I was finding stuffing here and there. Ella is not that attached to much of anything really, so it is different to watch how much affection he has towards this bear. I always predict that Miles will be a very special guy, very empathetic and caring and sweet. The girls just better not take advantage of that! I need to make sure to teach him to be wise and strong as well. He is doing SO much better at child care at the Y. He only cries a couple of minutes after I leave. I think it has been really good for him bringing him there. It has been great for Ella too. She just loves going to anything like that and while she's there she enjoys coloring and painting, something we don't do enough of at home.

Well while it is still "early" I am going to go knock off some more pages from my huge book. Geeky me figured out how many pages I'd need to read per day by the due date in order to finish it by then. Hopefully I'll get more than that read each day just to be on the safe side.

More Goodies

This afternoon I made two pillows. This took me about 4 hours. It's those darned bias strips that take so long - that's what you have to make to cover the cording that goes around the outside edges of the pillows. It has to be cut at a diagonal and then sewn on to the cording. There is a complex, but effective method for cutting a large amount of strips.

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