Friday, December 28, 2012

Merry Memories

We had an especially nice Christmas this year. What with our crazy move on the first of December, I had my doubts, but it all worked out to one of the best Christmases I can remember in a while.
Christmas always stresses me out. It's hard for me to spend tons of money when all year I struggle to get by. Thankfully my dad was able to help me out, and with the blessing of getting work cleaning a couple houses, it all worked out.
The one thing that always gets me in the mood for Christmas is when we are visiting Grandpa, we go out and see the neighborhoods that go all out with lights. It is one of my favorite traditions.
This year at our family celebration, Cam whipped out his trumpet and treated us to Christmas carols. It's been a long time since I've heard him play. What a treat!
I was so impressed by how thoughtful my older kids were with providing gifts for everyone. I never expect them to get me anything and then they surpise me with the nicest stuff! It really touches me!
This year it was just me and the two youngest on Christmas morning and I thought that might be weird, but it was really nice. Here is what our livingroom looked like on Christmas Eve:

 Then on Christmas morning with Christmas loot and Christmas wrapping mess:

 This is the only time I don't mind having my house trashed. I think there is something fun and festive about having wrappings everywhere. It's kind of the measure of Christmas somehow.

Later Carley arrived and helped Shelby learn a little bit about makeup:

 Then Cam and Cassie arrived and we ate turkey dinner...that I cooked...and it was good...not only that it wasn't a big hassle. Of course I did canned gravy and boxed stuffing, but still, I was kinda proud of myself. I've always been intimidated by the whole "turkey dinner" thing. But maybe I'm getting the hang of this!
 The next day was rainy and Cam, Cassie and I spent five hours doing this:
 It's been way too long since I did a puzzle! And you see that missing piece up near Cam's hand? Yeah, we couldn't find that piece anywhere! We were convinced the puzzle was faulty and missing that piece. In the end, there it was amongst the others! Hiding in plain sight! It had us worried and frustrated for quite a while!

Then there is this picture of me taken by Cam in September when we went to Point Reyes Lighthouse. I came across it and it just struck me as reflecting who I am right now.
I'm alone, but happy.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Fuyus, Nuts and Bolts, Secret Santas, and The End of an Era

These little beauties were given to me...and we have been devouring them. I didn't even know about Fuyu persimmons until two years ago. The only ones I knew of were the acorn-shaped ones that my mom used for persimmon cookies. I'm sorry I've been missing out on these yummy and funny-named fruits for so long! (Oh, they are so good with Cheezit--that sweet/salty thing happens!)

And I had one of those turkey roast things in my freezer and cooked that up. It has one of those little timers on it and that thing didn't pop up until 45 minutes after it said it should. I got to the point where I just kept cranking up the temp on the oven, we were so hungry! It was so delicious though! Maybe food tastes more delicious when you're ravenous, I don't know, but I was proud of myself for this dinner! (Turkey, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cranberry sauce, spinach salad with fresh mandarins).

And then, about an hour after we finished our dinner we heard a loud knock on the door. Here's what we found when we opened it:
 I cried when I saw the money tree...topped by a $100 bill. Holy cow...
 There was so much good stuff in this box, a turkey and all the trimmings, plus lots of goodies, a gingerbread house kit, popcorn, candy, sparkling cider, you name it, and the softest blanket I've ever felt. I know if came from the church, so I made sure I told a few people "thank you" that would pass it on to our Secret Santas. It was just so cool!
 I made Nuts and Bolts this week. This is not Chex Mix, mind you. This is an old recipe that my mom always made since I can remember. It's so good.
 And just some randomness: I had to buy some scrubbing pads, but I was surprised at the tag on the back that reads "personal skin care". Yikes, that's a bit harsh, huh?
 Today I woke up to this beautiful sunrise. It was my last day of work until January 7th for Christmas--whoops---I mean "Winter Break".
This year the school's "Holiday Program" was actually Christmas based. They did a cute musical called "The Reindeer Whisperer". Nat played one of the reindeer. And no, I don't have a picture of her...but I have a good reason, and that is that it is so hard to get a good picture and I know that they will have good pictures in the school yearbook, that I've given up trying and I just go and enjoy.

But it was my last program at the elementary school because Nat will move on to middle school next year. The first program I went to was in 1992...and then through the years with each kid. That's 20 years! (not consecutive, I had a few years off) but! I'm glad that this last one was Christmassy and that they even sang We Wish You A Merry Christmas at the end. A great way to end an era!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Moving, Sunshine and Santa

I have good reason for not keeping up with my blog. I moved. During December.
And this whole picture a day thing? Well, I'm going to revise that since I can't seem to do that...I average 3 pictures a week due to lack of interesting things to photograph, lack of photography skills, and lack of a decent camera. So it will be a few pics to represent my week. Good enough.
Here's what I thought I would miss most after my move:

There's nothing like wood heat, right? I love it. But you know what? I'm not missing it. I don't miss hauling my wood up to my porch, or feeding the fire all the time, or the mess, or waking up to a cold house and having to get the fire going. My new place has central heat. All I do is push a button. I. Am. Happy.

And here's my new house keys. It was so exciting for me. Kinda like when you get the keys to a new (or new to you) car.
Here is a photo of when you get to that place in the move when you are just grabbing random stuff and throwing it in boxes. I hate this part.
The church guys moved me on a weekend when we had one of the biggest storms ever. It was dumping. Like God had a fire hose and was aiming it at Northern California. Yikes. I had a bunch of guys with pickup trucks and willing hearts and stuff I didn't want wet. And you know what? By some miracle (maybe 'cause all those church guys and their families said a prayer), it stopped raining for about 3-4 hours on the morning of the move...just enough time to move me. Then the heavens opened up and dumped again. Amazing.
This was one of the easiest moves I've made. Maybe because I've moved so much...just in the last 5 years: 4 times. I SO want to stay put now!

Here are the pointsettias my little preschoolers made. I think they turned out pretty darned cute. (Thank you Pinterest, you are a preschool teacher's best friend!)

Oh, and you know why I don't miss the fire so much? 'Cause I get this wonderful thing called SUNSHINE that streams into my windows and makes my house warm, and makes my heart happy, and makes my dog happy too. It has been way too long since I had a house that sunlight streamed into. I love my new place. Love it.

Oh, but it has gotten frosty lately:
 It was 25 degrees yesterday morning. But now my commute to work is about 3 minutes, instead of 20 minutes on an icy highway.

And here is our latest student:
 I wish I could show his cute little face. He is a sweet boy who has Down Syndrome and is deaf. He's tiny and is like having a 12-month-old in the class despite the fact that he is 3. He has captured all our hearts.

And we got a Roku. I like it. And here it sits along with my mom's Christmas dolls.
  And then there is my newest ornament:
I got this at a church Christmas party ornament exchange. He's handmade. He's sitting on a glass ornament. What a lot of work, and so cute! Lucky me!

So that's been my life for the last few weeks: stressful, happy, busy, rewarding, sunny,'s all good!

Monday, November 26, 2012

There's a Learning Curve to This

Thanksgiving Week Nov.18-24

So this whole picture a day is harder than it sounds. The dang camera is in my purse, but I'm finding it hard to remember to get it out and use it. Like taking pictures of the project I did with the kids at preschool, and the soup they made for our feast on Wednesday, and my turkey dinner I got from the school cafeteria (it was actually good!) and when Carley got her ears pierced, or Cassie's family's amazing Filipino Thanksgiving spread, or better yet, Cassie's amazing homemade Lumpia...Yep, I gotta get my game on if I'm gonna make this work!

So here are my pics of the week. No there are not 7. And most were taken over the course of 3 days not 7. Like I said, I gotta work a little harder.

During my visit to my Dad's for Thanksgiving, my sister and I went through all my mom's Christmas stuff. That was no small undertaking to be sure! It was nice to get it done. We've been meaning to do it for 10 years now. Anyway, we divvied up the special ornaments and I took the rest to the thrift store.

These pictured below are some very special ones. The four at the bottom of this photo are my Dad's ornaments from when he was a child. They are German ornaments (his dad was an immigrant), and my dad says that when he was growing up, a big part of their Christmas was waking up to the decorated Christmas tree on Christmas morning. They didn't get much in the way of gifts, so this was really special.

My Dad especially liked the Santa in the picture below. It was always on the tree when I was growing up. We always knew it was Dad's special Santa, and there was always some reminiscing on his part when it was brought out and hung on the tree.

The next photo is of Cam and Cassie's dog, Wesley and my Bindi Sue. Wesley has finally accepted that Bindi Sue only tolerates him and is never going to play with him. Bindi Sue has finally accepted Wesley as a member of the family, but enjoys ignoring and frustrating him with her indifference towards him.

Here is my 2nd ever turkey I've ever cooked. It was a little overdone, but barely. I had help with the rest of the dinner and it was all a success. (Except maybe the gravy. I think we'll just go back to the canned stuff next year.) My mom always did 90% of Thanksgiving herself, and boy do I have new appreciation for her talent, energy, and cooking skills! She was amazing!

The traditional sitting down to dinner group photo was a success. The little girls are missing. They had Thanksgiving with their Dad's family and we sure missed them! However, my Uncle Steve showed up and we had the best time with him. It was so nice to reconnect with him and share laughs again. I'm SO thankful to have him in our lives again (and my Aunt Cathy too--who was out of town so she couldn't be there.)

I got to spend some one-on-one time with Carley on Saturday. It was nice just hanging out and going to the mall. Dad gave us $20 to have lunch. One of our splurges was buying some Godiva truffles. Then we went to the sandwich shop. And ya know what? We spent exactly $19.99 of that twenty bucks! We couldn't believe it! Here is my French Vanilla truffle shortly before it was consumed. It looks like it has an L on it just for me! Oh my, I don't think there is anything better than Godiva truffles.

So that ends my so-called "picture a day" week. It may not have been a good week as far as me taking pictures, but it was a very good week of reconnecting, reminiscing, laughter and family togetherness.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

I'm Trying Something New--A Picture A Day

I was inspired by my son and his girlfriend's blog 365,000 Words, to do a picture-a-day blog style. But I'm kinda doing it lazy style and posting 7 pictures at the end of the week. I figure this might be the most do-able for me.

So here goes my first post:

This is what happens when there's boredom and paint. A lethal combination.
How many times have these pie tins been packed and moved? These were my mom's, but they have been packed up and moved by me alone at least 11 times. I'm moving yet again. Should be a good move...out of the snow, to a cute little town I love, within walking distance of work. Can't wait!

"Rules for Teachers" at work. We love to do stuff around the classroom to make each other laugh. This was my contribution. The icons say "no swearing", "no crying" and "poop in toilet".

Also my contribution at work, doing this cute project with my preschool babies:

Natalie celebrated cousin Emma's birthday with this fabulous sugar bomb:

and Natalie brought home a new member of the family, Winter:

and out with the old, in with the new:

a new computer chair, found on clearance at Staples for $9.99! Probably the Barbie pink/Pepto Bismol color had something to do with it. As you can see my old one in the background is duct-taped together, so I needed it, even if it's not my favorite color.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Tea and See's and Maya Gold...mmmmmm

Oh my gosh. Green & Black's Maya Gold.

I don't usually splurge on a chocolate bar that costs almost $4, but was feeling like I needed/deserved something special the other day.

I picked this up, as I was treated to Green & Black's before by Cam and Cassie, so I knew it would be delicious.

The Maya Gold has orange and spice, and when I tasted it, it immediately brought back memories...

My mom LOVED See's candy and especially a little "Tea and See's". Her favorite tea was Constant Comment, which is kind of an orange spice. She would fix us our cup of tea, and then we would sit down and indulge in a few See's candies. This usually happened around Christmastime.

The mix of lucious chocolate melting in my mouth with that wonderful spicy orange tea is something I'll always remember, and when I tasted this chocolate it was like having the tea and chocolate mixed together in a bar!

Oh, yeah...darn you, Green & Black's...I'm hooked now!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Summer is Sweet!

Tonight we took a little walk up to a blackberry patch that I discovered. We skipped dinner and went straight to dessert:

We've enjoyed this treat a few times in the last couple weeks. Oh yum!

I think half the fun of blackberries is the challenge of picking them. Maybe they taste even sweeter for the effort!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Three Words

Saw this posted on Facebook today:

The first three words I saw were:Experience, Freedom and Happiness.

Now, mind you I don't believe in any of this Facebook hokey stuff, but it did make me stop and think.

Experience. Yep, that I've had a plenty. Should I start with all the various jobs I've had, or lessons learned the hard way, or children I've raised? What about amazing sights, sounds, and memories. Life is full of experience and experiences. I cherish each one for what it has taught me.

Freedom. Check. I love being on my own. I recently got a second job (again), and for that I'm not whining or feeling put-upon, instead I am elated, and thankful. There is so much pride I get for doing things myself and providing for myself and my girls. I like working hard and earning my money. I think those that rely on others (or the government) to provide for them are truly missing out on one of life's great experiences (see above), and are robbing themselves of their dignity. (Don't get me wrong, I know some folks need help through hard times, I'm not talking about that, I'm referring to people I actually know who are able-bodied but don't put out an effort to support themselves and instead look for ways to get a free ride.)

Happiness. For sure. I'm happy because of my experience and my freedom and my kids and all the blessings in my life, and that I have self-worth and am self-reliant.

Experience, Freedom, Happiness...interesting how they all kind of work together and compliment each other.

Thanks Facebook for the perspective today!

What are your 3 words?

Friday, August 3, 2012

Picky Much?

So my daughter had a friend over today that has never been to our house before.

I told them we were having sandwiches for dinner (it's hot, and I'm broke, what can I say?), and this little girl says, "I only like one kind of sandwich. I only like peanut butter and jelly with extra jelly, and I only like certain kinds of jelly so I'll have to look at your jelly first, and I only like Cheetos not any other chips."

The response from me: "Well, you're probably going to be hungry then."

I guess in my younger-mothering days I would've been more sensitive, but unfortunately this girl got the I've-been-there-done-that mom that I am now.

That was not the end of her pickiness either. Probably won't be back for another playdate. Just sayin'.

I've had a lot of kids at my house, but that was a bit much.

Monday, July 30, 2012


So, I'm back to blogging. Well, till college classes start again anyway. Thanks go to LisAway at Away From it All and this post for the motivation. Go read her. She's awesome!

Loving My Second Language Skills

Over the last year I've taken two semesters of American Sign Language. I've always wanted to learn it, and loved my classes.

My girls were interested in learning at first, but then as with everything, their interest waned. Just to keep my skills up a bit I make them use it at church when they want to ask something. They go to whisper to me, and I sign to them, "No, sign it". Much eye rolling is followed by simple ASL signs. Love it!

So it was so cool when I subbed at a different special ed preschool for a week and actually got to use my skills! There is a deaf girl there. I signed with her a little on Mon. and Tues. but on Wed. the teacher (and main signer) was gone and this little girl was acting very sassy. It was as if she knew no one could really communicate with her so she was pushing her limits. That was until I went over and signed to her to knock it off, among other things. After we straightened things out we had a lot of fun playing and signing with each other. It seemed that she was almost craving someone to sign to. How fun!

Then a few weeks ago I was out with my girls and we made a stop where I was talking to someone, and I noticed the restroom nearby, so I signed to them real quickly asking if they needed to use it. The lady I was talking to, asked, "Are they hearing impaired?"  I kind of had to laugh, and told her, " they're not, but their hearing is selective to be sure!"

ASL is a challenging language, but so rewarding to learn. Imagine being deaf. It would be almost like being in a foreign country all the time. Yes, deaf people can read and write, but usually very minimally. Think about trying to learn English if you couldn't hear it! I never thought about that either until I started learning about Deaf culture. So even if you only learn a few signs, it's worthwhile. A deaf person is so appreciative of your efforts to communicate with them.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Muddah uv Da Year, Fo Sho

I need a mother of the year award. I ran over my own child's foot. Jeez!

We were leaving the church 4th of July party and I thought Natalie was already in the car. I was distracted and tired and in the habit of starting the car as the girls are shutting their doors. Dumb.

I hear her scream and I think that she and Shelby are fighting. Again. But then she yells, "You're on my foot!" And it takes me a minute (not literally) to think that I need to back up the car and get off of her foot. Holy Crap.

I immediately scoop her up into the back seat and look at her foot, it's torn up a bit on one side and bruising on the other. Shelby is freaking out. Panicking. She runs up to get her church-uncle to help us.

I am not panicking, although I feel like crap about the whole thing. I take off her sandal thinking that if her foot starts swelling it will have to be cut off. I hold her foot in a towel. There's not much blood and I give it the once-over and it doesn't look broken.

Dan comes and carries her to his truck and shuttles her back to his house, then carries her to a chair in the backyard and begins icing her foot. He is wonderful, calm, reassuring. He has her push with her toes against his hand and says that he thinks she'll be fine. That if it were broken she couldn't do that. We give her Tylenol and I have to deal with the fact that the rest of the party goers know that I'm a horrible mom. Who drives over their own child's foot? Seriously?

I take her home and we continue to ice it. I'm surprised by how good it looks, considering. We got really lucky. The blessing is that Shelby is falling all over herself to take care of her sister. She's bringing her stuff, helping her walk and get dressed, wrapping her foot in an Ace bandage. It's very sweet.

The next day, Nat is able to walk on it. It's all good. Except for the guilt.

...and PS, yes I did try to take her to the immediate care clinic, but it was closed. Go figure, that's our small town for ya.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Back to "NoRMal"

Well, my second semester is over! Whew! Now I have time for such activities like....writing blog posts! And other things like kayaking (and blogging about kayaking), and just having a whole day off to spend with the girls, or even cleaning the house. Nice.

I love school, but I love having a break from the pressure of it too.

I was hoping to take 3 classes during the summer session which would allow me to complete my degree in 2 years, but I couldn't get into 2 of the classes at all, and the third I was wait-listed on, so it may be God's way of telling me I need the summer off. Everything works out for a reason, right?

So now I have to debate: read a book (that is NOT a text!) or continue to goof off on the computer and catch up on things like I Can Has Cheezburger. So awesome!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Look Who's Talking!

This is why I love my job so much: one of our little preschoolers started saying his first words, and I got to witness it!

This boy is a severely autistic four-year-old and has just recently started being a part of the world at large. He is noticing people in his space, he is tolerating other kids being near him and has been expressing his wants using PECS (picture exchange communication system) and a few signs. All of this has been exciting compared to how he was last year.

However, last Wednesday he actually said, "popcorn" at snack time! Since then he has also said candy, bye-bye, do this, and bubbles! What a huge step! It touched us all to hear those first words. I have the best job in the world!

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Finally we are recieving a decent snowfall in my neck of the woods. This time last year we were digging out on a daily basis and cursing the white stuff, but after this unusual winter it's kind of a novelty to see it.

Because of the weather, we decided just to hibernate. I took a shower and got dressed yesterday, but didn't even bother today. It has been an unprecedented 2 days since I even stepped outside.

Here Shel-bell hibernates on the couch bed with Suey and Nat is on her perch that she made of couch cushions in front of the computer. The picture is all blurry, but so are our brains after so much inactivity so I guess it's appropriate!

I have made tremendous progress on my school assignments, however, and that has relieved some of my stress.

Today I had finally had enough of sitting by the fire and got up and did some laundry and cleaned the bathrooms.

I feel refreshed after being lazy and cooped up for the weekend. It was a nice diversion from the manic pace I usually set for myself, but I'm looking forward to going to work and school tomorrow!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Homework Nook

This is my homework station. Not too bad, huh?

I have everything I need:

a comfy leather chair
a nice, warm fire
my laptop
my books
the phone
a tall glass of water
and the tv remote

It's so cozy that I really don't mind the amount of hours I have to spend here.

Today was a snowy day, and I have spent most of the day in homework mode. I'm glad the weather is bad, because if it was nice and sunny I'd want to be outside.

I'm thankful that I get to go to school and that I have a nice little place to come home to. Life is good!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Back on the Radar

What I love about my church is that there are no ministers. There are no paid clergy. We all volunteer to take on a calling (not of our choosing, mind you) and the members at large run our church.

As part of this, the speakers on Sundays are members who get the old tap on the shoulder from the bishopric and are assigned a topic to speak on.

I have been back active at church 9 years now, and guess what? I have somehow flown under the radar and never been asked to do a talk! That's pretty amazing considering our small congregation. Of course that all came to an end this last week when I got "the call" and was asked to do a 15 minute talk at today's meeting.

If this call had come within the first year of me becoming active it probably would've sent me packing and I wouldn't have come back. If this call had come 4 years ago, I would've panicked and somehow gotten myself excused or faked sick or something, but the great thing about HAVING to be involved in church, is that when the call came, I said ok, and today I stood up and delivered my message without nerves, and felt confident.

The church has helped me grow. From being asked to teach to the very youngest members, to giving prayers at meetings, to teaching my peers, each step of the way it has helped me grow into a confident person who not only knows the teachings of the gospel, but can express it to an entire congregation with composure.

For that I am very thankful!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Prioritize This!

How does one prioritize things in life when one is stretched in so many directions at once?

That is what I'm truly trying to figure out! I'm doing another 9 unit semester, working 30 hours, studying, doing my church calling, attending church, trying to spend time with my kids, cooking dinners, household chores, taking walks with my dog, and now spending time with someone ummmmm..."special" (that sounds stupid, but I guess it makes my point).

My driving time alone is about 10 hours a week. Right now it's kind of like my checkbook. I get a chunk of money at the beginning of the month (gotta love that once-a-month paycheck when you're a school employee *eye roll* ) then I pay all the have-to's and kind of try to not think about how I will make it to the end of the month (somehow it always stretches juuuuuuuussssstttttt far enough).

It's kind of like the hours in a week. I get my alottment at the beginning and hope I can get everything I need to get done in that amount of time and somehow, at least so far, I've stretched my time and I make it to Sunday evening again with my assignments done, my kids cared for, a little me-time had, and a little sanity still intact.

It's some juggling act, let me tell you! At least with college work there's a light at the end of the tunnel/semester. I know there's a break in sight if I just hang in there.

Which brings me to why the heck am I blogging when I should be: reading, studying, typing a paper, responding on a discussion board, cleaning the kitchen, folding laundry or even sleeping? Believe me, I wish I knew!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Where There's a Will...

You know that old saw, right?

Anyway, this summer when I decided to jump into this crazy idea of going back to school that little saying went through my head..."I'll figure out a way. I've got to to make my life better". I'm telling you, going to college at 47 is daunting. I seriously didn't know if I could make it through my first semester because I knew it would mean quitting my 2nd job and scraping by, and I do mean SCRAPING. Scary stuff when you not only have yourself to support, but your kiddos too.

I applied for a scholarship through our local Soroptomist group that involved a lengthy application, 2 letters of reference and a panel interview. But what do ya know? I got a $1000 scholarship out of it! Wow! I can still hardly believe it!

The scholarship awards banquet will be in April where I will be asked to get in front of the group and explain to them the reason I needed a scholarship and if I am inspiring enough, it will advance me to the regional level where I would be up for a $5000 scholarship! I can't even imagine!

I have been mulling about what is so compelling about my situation that might get me to that level and truthfully I don't have some heartbreaking, touching story the likes you may see on a American Idol hopeful's interview. It's just that I decided that it's never too late to start over and improve your life.

After being laid off from my aide position I faced waitressing and clerking at the grocery store as my options. I ran the numbers and realized that to get by, at least up here in my rural county, I would always have to work two jobs. Two jobs for the rest of my life, and two jobs that I wouldn't be particularly passionate about. My other option? Jump in with both feet and get a degree so that I can continue to work in a field that I love and get paid well for it. Easy math.

So, if you're reading this and feel stuck in your life, jump in and go for it. Whatever "it" is that you've been contemplating and that will bring you happiness and success in life. Life is a journey, but you have to be brave enough to start the adventure if you want to go places!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sporks are Flimsy! They are NOT Tools!

I went for a walk and locked my front door as I always do. My girls were with friends cavorting around the neighborhood. I had my cell phone (and dog) with me as always.

When I arrived back from a fantastic walk through the woods on a beautifully warm and sunny January day, I noticed that some of Miss Moo's belongings were on the doorstep. I quickly came to the correct conclusion that she had come home, found the door locked, dropped off a couple things and went back to hanging out with her friend.

Then I tried to unlock my door...and the key wouldn't go all the way in. And you know when something like that happens and you're in denial at first so you try the other key on the keyring, try the right one again, turn it the other way, try a little harder...? Yep, that's what I did until I put 2 and 2 together and figured out that Miss Moo and her friend must have tried to pick the lock with something and messed it up! Ugh!

About this time here comes the culprit and her friend and they begin to tell me, in the overdramatic way that 12 year old girls are so good at, that they have to PEE and I need to open the door NOW!

So I hand my child the key. Knock yourself out, girlie. Then I asked them what the heck they tried to pick the lock with.

And they tell me they used a spork. A flippin' spork to pick a lock with, really? They are flimsy at best for use as a utensil to get food into your mouth, and you're going to move a deadbolt with it? REALLY?

Aye, carumba!

So I call the local locksmith, and it's Saturday and he's leaving town...dang!

Well, we're stuck. The only way to get into my house is through the back sliding glass door which I never keep locked. I never lock it because it's way too high off the ground for anyone to access....unless they go get a tall ladder...and strap it to the top of their Honda Civic...which is what I did.

So, arriving back with the tallest ladder I could find...a sturdy looking 8 footer from Mike's (who is out of town), I find that it falls a little short:

By a good foot and a half...and I'm not really fond of ladders to begin with and especially not standing on the very tip top of a ladder on the thing that says something to the effect of "This is not a step! Don't ever step up on this ladder this high or you will no doubt fall to your DOOM!"

At this point Nat shows up with her friends and after debating with myself, I figure with 5 kids holding the ladder steady, I could probably do it. I'm at the point where I know this is either going to work fine or be a serious regret. So I go for it.

The tricky part is getting from the "top step of doom" to the ledge of my deck with a good grip on something. As you can see I have a bit of plywood to cling to, but somehow it works out and I find myself free of the ladder and hanging onto the outside of my deck. Here is where I hope that I have the upper body strength to pull myself over, because I don't think there's any way I'm going back down the ladder without somehow hurting myself.

As it happens, I am able to pull myself over the rail and Viola! I have access to my house again!

For the next few days I enjoy making passive-aggressive comments to Miss Moo regarding the convenience of not having to worry about having a key to open the door because we can't flippin' lock it anymore! I figure I'm entitled, having put my life and limb at risk so two tween girls could empty their bladders post haste!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

What the Heck Happened?

That's the big question. Everyone wants to know what happened to my blogging and if I'm still alive in the blogosphere. Ok...not really everyone, but 2 or 3 of you care.

Ok, so I decided to go back to school and get a degree as a Speech-Language Pathology Assistant (SLPA, or "slippa", sounds so gangsta', always makes me chuckle when someone says it.) I took 9 units last semester, traveling 2 hours each way one night a week for my core class in Sacramento. The local community college was my home 3 other nights of the week. And I'm doing it all again this next semester which starts next week. I LOVE it. It's super hard working and going to school, but I'm so glad I finally decided to do it.

I got laid off at the end of the school year from my instructional aide position at the special needs preschool, but thankfully was hired back on (with a raise and more hours!) right before school started again. I LOVELOVELOVE that job, but being laid off was kind of the catalyst for me to go back to college. As an SLPA I can still work with special needs kiddos, but have a bit more job security and better pay. For now I'm just SO flippin' happy to be back in the classroom I love with all the kids and the awesome (crazy) women I work with!

(Here's a photo of the best kids on the planet. They're mine. Sorry they are not YOURS. Eat your heart out.)

Bindi Sue and I completed a basic obedience class this fall and she was tested for Therapy Dog certification and of course passed! She is such a sweet dog. She can now accompany me when I do my Griefbusters work (Griefbusters is a volunteer grief counseling for children program run by our local Hospice). I have been working with a young girl at the middle school, and she loves having Bindi Sue come visit her.

(Here is my amazing dog after her first therapy dog visit.)

And then...Mike and I have split up. Not something I'm proud of, and I've beat myself up over why I'm so crappy at being married. Things are good between us though, and we get along SO much better now. It's all about working together for the girls. He's a good guy, for sure.

So lots of stuff has changed for me in a few short months. My life got super busy and stressful, but I hope to begin blogging again on a regular basis (well, you know, in all that spare time I'm going to have... so "regular" will be left to interpretation). And if you are reading this, THANKS!