Thursday, 10 May 2018

(Backup) A Week in Review (April 29-May 5)

A Week in Review (April 29-May 5)

Watched: Jack score a touchdown.  He apparently slightly fumbled the snap and when he went for the hand off, he saw that hole was wide open so he just ran through it.  He ran like the wind and scored a touchdown.  It was a good morale lifter for him because he had missed a couple big tackles in the game and was feeling pretty bummed about it.  His team did a nice job of supporting him after the touchdown too.

Read:  I didn't really focus to much on reading this week.  I made a little bit of progress in The Oracle Year, but not much else.  I know that I am going to have a bunch of books coming off hold so I need to get myself in gear.

Listened: Compliments on the yearbook.  It was delivered by our May PTA meeting so I was able to give a sneak peek to the people who were in attendance and it was well received.  One of the kids there just kept looking through the pictures again and again.  I am glad that it made so many people happy to have a great yearbook.  I am looking forward to doing next year's too.  It's hard to believe that he will be a 5th grader next year and then it will be all done doing yearbooks for me.

Made: A delicious salad that I need to remember to make more often.  It had marinated shrimp, warmed bacon bits on a mixed bed of greens with a vinaigrette.  It wasn't very hard and it turned out really satisfying.

Felt: Bad for buying something off my birthday wishlist that I sent my mom.  I totally forgot that I had put curtains on there when I bought the curtains for myself.  I really liked the pair that I had picked out for her to give me too. I didn't get a chance to hang them up yet, but I can't wait to see how they look.  Now I will have curtains for two different seasons!

Planned: On the guys just making the repair to the sprinkler system that Ryan and his friend noted when they blew them out for us.  However, it turned into a lot larger project.  They ended up installing a WiFi enabled sprinkler system that allows me to adjust the sprinkler my phone. It will also attempt to delay the cycles based on the water.  It is pretty neat.  Because of the water saving properties, our utility company does a 50% rebate on the cost as credit on your water bill.

Loved: Spending time with my mom and Nick.  They were both able to arrive on Thursday, so we could got to spend an extra day together.  My mom brought me down a birthday cake that was super yummy and some great birthday presents.  She brought me a new dimmable lamp for when I am reading and don't want to wake anyone up, new curtains (you've already read that story), and Ticket to Ride.  We played several games of Catan and Ticket to Ride.  We also played some Around the World in basketball.  I really love having all my family close together.

Here are the pics for the week:

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

A Week in Review (April 22-28)

A Week in Review (April 22-28)

Watched: Schitt’s Creek.  This also made my list from recommendation's from friends and I find it quite hilarious.  It is pretty short for a TV series at only 13 hours so I think I will wrap it up rather quickly.  I didn't have much on the to-do list this week so I think that I spent a bit more time watching than I normally would have.

Read: I read All the Bright Places this week.  A moving YA book about loss, love, and growth. I am glad that the story was told from two different perspectives. I really wish that I could have a whole other book on young Finch. These two narrators experienced a lot of tragedy in their young lives. I thought when Amanda and Finch ran into each other, it seemed a little to forced. I know what the author was going for, but it fell flat to me and I think that part should have been left out.  Next, I started The Oracle Year.  It's the first book that came from my Book of the Month club that Nick gave me for my birthday.  

Listened: Shattering glass.  Jack was bouncing a basketball up in living room when heard what sounded like a giant crash below us.  Turns out the vibration from all of ball bouncing and playing had loosened the cover on the light fixture in the basement.  Oops! Guess we learned that we need to seal those in for future use!  Jack as good and helped me clean it all up.  I think he was surprised that I wasn't mad.  It wasn't like he was doing something he shouldn't have.

Made: Final submission for the yearbook on Monday.  I had to decide if I should order a lot extra and bump us up the next price range or if I shouldn't have a lot extras for people to buy from.  Knowing the PHE families the way I do, I opted for extra.  Hopefully enough of them sell that we bring the yearbook to at least a zero cost activity for the PTA.  Who knows, it might even make some money?

Felt: Thankful for Nick.  He came home from a long week and worked hard doing things around the house for me.  He helped me changed the ugly vertical blinds to a curtain rod.  He encouraged me to get new curtains for the bedroom because I was tired of living with the plain ones.  He really works hard to provide for our family and I am thankful how he gives himself to us when he is home.  We are very lucky.

Planned:  Nick’s travel schedule for May.  Or we at least guessed at it.  I am thinking about making some sort of crazy long daisy chain that counts down the days until he should be back home for good.  We are going into our 10 month of not being together on a regular basis and it really wearing on all of us.  He is hoping that by the end of end of August, he will be done enough to be here.  Its like 120 days away.  That would be a might big chain!

Loved: The beautiful weather.  We were able to nice football practices and football games.  We got lots of playing outside done.  Most excitingly, Jack decided that he was going to try riding his bike again and he decided that he actually liked it!  For years I have tried and then without prompting he just suddenly decided to try and enjoyed it.  He came so far so quickly.  I guess he was just waiting to be ready!  I even put out all my spring and summer outdoor decorations up.

Here are the pics for the week:

The pile of shattered glass that we sent to Nick to see if he could figure out what was giving us trouble.

My new curtains next to my old ones.  I was a little worried they were going to be too busy to hang them all together, but I ended up liking the end result fine.

Found the little gem on Facebook and so I made Jack recreate it.  He isn't so little, but he still loves my car immensely!

Monday, 23 April 2018

A Week in Review (April 15-21)

A Week in Review (April 15-21)

Watched: Final Episode of Grace and Frankie.  I have now committed myself to watching the entire thing and I can definitely say that I do not find it as funny as so many other people do.  While it works for something to kill your time with that doesn't need full concentration, I wouldn't recommend it to others looking for something.  I am sure I will watch the next season when it comes out, but I'm not sitting over here on pins and needles waiting for it to come out.

Read: I wrapped up Hunted.  This book was hard for me to get into and then I had to pause it so that I could read a couple other books that had deadlines to them. However, once I began again I found myself enjoying it. I was a bit worried that in this retelling Beauty wasn’t going to find a giant library. I was glad when she did because that was always one of my favorite parts of the movie. If you like retellings of fairy tales, I think you’d enjoy this story.  I am pretty close to finishing The Breakdown.  It's another unreliable narrator story and I think I have pretty well figured out.

Listened: To a bunch of excuses from the teachers who were supposed to have the yearbook pages to me and from the one teacher on the the inside who decided she wanted this layout.  She assured me that if the teachers didn't get them in that she would make sure went around to rooms and took them.  Sadly, she wasn't able to hold up her end of the deal and wanted to just leave the pages blank.  I can't do that to those classes.  So I will go in Monday morning (and probably the rest of the day too) to get them all.  I am glad that I really like what they add to the yearbook or I would be really frustrated instead of annoyed at the whole thing.

Made: Last yearbook layouts that I am responsible for.  I think we put a lot more candids into this years book and I hope people love it just as much as they did last year.  We have fewer orders this year which is frustrating.  I remember how we sold out last year and so I am trying to decide if it's worth it to buy extra and sell them at a higher price.  I have crunched some numbers and I will present my findings to the rest of the board before placing the final order on Monday.  It's hard to think after Monday evening, it will all be over besides the delivery and final sales.

Felt:  Surprised by people at talent show.  I am not sure if I mentioned it before but I am in charge of the talent show from the PTA side.  The first round of auditions was Wednesday. Jack did his act for the judges and I thought it went very well for him, but there were a lot of talent acts that performed.  I am hoping his being a magic act and not another singing and dancing act will help boost him up.  I also think that points should be deducted from people who didn't come prepared.  Like one girl was singing the cup songs, but didn't bring any cups!  Another was singing the states and asked me if I had large map of the US and a pointer.  So many people that we were signing or dancing didn't bring any music at all.  I was kind of blown away since it told you to come prepared for your act with your music on a CD preferably over a phone.  I thought I was being nice bringing my portable speaker for them to have the option of having it on their own phone.  However for at least 7 acts, I had to provide the music.  Thank goodness Jack had a WiFi password and let me on.  He will be at Landsharks for the one next Thursday, so I will have to him sign me in before he goes out.

Planned: On Mom coming down to watch Jack play some football but the forecast looked awful for snow.  It went from 2-4" of snow one day, then 3-5" the next day, and then 5-8" the next day, back down to 3-5", and then settled on 1-3".  While we all wanted to see her, we wanted her to be able to see Jack play football too, so we rescheduled for the first weekend in May.  The game did up getting cancelled.  I am sure it will be another middle of the week game which is a huge bummer for Nick since it is very hard for him to make those since he is needed in KC most weeks.

Loved: Eating at the Melting Pot during their endless fondue night for my late birthday celebration.  The food is amazing but what I like better is how it is just a time to kick back and chill with the people you love.  We had two and half hours of uninterrupted time from calls or texts.  We came home and ended our night with some echo button games that work with the Alexa that Jack picked me out for my birthday.  You have to buy additional components to be able to play them, but they have fun games like Trivial Pursuit.  It can't seem to recognize Nick's voice very well and he gets slightly frustrated with it, but overall I think he has a good time. He more enjoys the game Horse Race where you have to just push the button.

Here are the pics for the week:

Not many fun pics.  One of him sleeping with his book.  As an avid reader, I really appreciate this one.

My first Book of the Month came.  I have got a couple in front of it, but I am excited to get it started soon.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

A Week in Review (April 8-14)

A Week in Review (April 8-14)

Watched: Jack as QB during his team's first game.  He and another boy got to each play a half.  I tried to snap a photo of his first snap as QB.  It's from my phone so it isn't great.  I am getting some from my friend who took all the great photos for me last year.  I think instead of putting them on my weekly blogs, I might do one special one that just highlights his season.  They had some timing issues and they were frozen since it was in the low 30s and windy.  He definitely isn't perfect, but he's really enjoying it.  He missed a couple of tackles and one of them resulted in a touchdown, which bummed him out, but I think the team will have a good time together.  They did end up with a win 8-6.

Read:  I was able to finish up The Alice Network.  I really enjoyed this historical fiction that spanned both World Wars. The characters draw you in quickly and the writing leaves you wanting to know more. A great read for any historical fiction fan.  I have suggested it to a couple of people already and will be eager to know what they think of it.  I was reading it with my girlfriend and she really loved it too.  Since book club is meeting on Sunday, I had to quickly read Before I Go To Sleep.  This an good thriller with a great unreliable narrator. I was pretty close on the “what’s the big twist” concept but I still liked reading through to make sure I was right. I think it will make for excellent discussion in my book club.  I am going to try to finish up Hunted next week.

Listened: Hard sales pitch for a new car.  As you know, my car left me stranded a couple of weeks ago and I just haven't been able to find another car I liked.  On Friday, Nick spotted a Kia Optima that we both liked the looks of.  It has good reviews everywhere and so we thought we should do a butts in the seat test.  I have definitely found the next car that I will buy.  It will just be a matter of when I can get the best price.  Right now, I want more car than I want to afford.  Maybe at around Christmas or when the 2019 models come out, I will be able to find a better deal.  If my car doesn't make it before then I at least won't feel rushed into having to buy something that I don't really want.  The sales guys weren't happy to see us walk away, but it what is is.

Made: A purchase for myself for my birthday.  A fellow wrestling mom and Facebook friend posted a picture of a couple of cow paintings that she had done.  They both reminded me so much of Laurie and I just felt happy (and a little sad and nostalgic) when see them that I wanted to have them. She ended up breaking up the set for me because I didn't want both of them.  I treated myself to it and am happy each time I see it sitting in my office.

Felt: Good about the end-of-the-year wrestling party.  We had too many subs (and it was kind of comical seeing me put them all in my car along with everything else I was taking to the party), but no one went hungry.  A lot of awesome kids got a lot of awesome swag for their Champions of Character award and their hard work during the season.  This is the first season that Jack didn't end with an end-of-season award but he still did get the highest level of Champions of Character thanks to what his head coach saw in him.  I was also gifted an Amazon gift card for my work as team mom throughout the season.  It is an amazing bunch of people to work with.  We also went down to Dart Warz, which had some kinks if you were behind the scenes like I was, but was fun for all the kids, some of their siblings and parents too.

Planned: The layout of a few yearbook pages.  It is almost deadline time and its fun seeing all the pages come together.  We have a few pictures that will be coming in last minute, but the majority of should be done this week.  I had a hard time trying to get a schedule where I could equally get all the specials divided up with each classroom getting a picture taken of them.  I wasn't able to get two of them, but we will finish them up next Wednesday.  I wish I could share it with all of you, but you will just have to wait for the book to be published and see it in person if you are really curious.

Loved: My birthday celebration.  The day before my friend Mindy treated me to some Mexican at a new restaurant neither of us had tried.  It was fun just to chat with a friend.  Nick was not home on my actual birthday because I asked him to be home next week so we could enjoy the night of endless fondue that they are having at the Melting Pot.  However, he did have beautiful flowers delivered to the door.  I was shocked at how perfectly perfect they were.  Jack and I went to football practice and then out for BBQ on my actual birthday.  My friend Kelly stopped over to give me some chocolate cake and a card.  When they were here, they accidentally dropped my gift off the railing between the library and the kitchen.  He was very nervous it has broken and therefore made her nervous too.  I was sure it was fine.  Nick made it home on Thursday and we had round 2 of the celebration.  Jack gifted me a (thankfully, non-broken Alexa) and Nick gifted me a subscription to the Book of the Month club.  I went right out and picked my first book.  I am will be so excited when it comes in.  We also went out to eat again so I didn't have to cook or clean the kitchen again.  It was a pretty wonderful time.

Here are the pics for the week:

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

A Week in Review (April 1-7)

A Week in Review (April 1-7)

Watched:  A couple more Grace and Frankie shows. It came highly recommend when I requested TV shows to watch.  I don't love it, but it does pass the time when I am looking to just zone out for a little while. It's funny how I find myself such a mix between the two ladies.  I am probably more of Grace than a Frankie.  So often when I am watching the show, I think of the movie Big Business.  I'm quite certain that is my favorite Lily Tomlin movie.  I will keep watching the series, but won't be super sad when I am caught up.

Read: I kept on working on Hunted, but it was moving pretty slow.  I went ahead and left it paused while I started The Alice Network for a buddy read with my friend.  I hope to finish it up early next week since book club is the 15th and I haven't even started on that book yet!  Luckily my friend is a fast reader and she will push me to keep going so that I can discuss the book with her.

Listened: To Jack be so thrilled that the Easter Bunny bought him a Final Four edition basketball in his youth size.  I think he thinks they actually used it during the Final Four and who I am to tell him that they didn't.  I have no idea what tricks that Easter Bunny has up his sleeve.  He hid our eggs extra hard this year.  (Thanks to our good friends for taking time out of the Spring Break so that we could come back to a fun egg hunt.  It really surprised Jack!)

Made: Myself get back into cooking.  It is really hard to get back into the swing of things after having people take care of everything for you on the cruise.  It's easy to forget how much work goes into the everyday.  I let things slide for most of the week, but by Thursday, we had started to develop our groove again.  I even had to write my lesson plans for April because I hadn't done that before I left.  At least I got them in before I had to teach them.

Felt: Really cold after Jack's Friday practice.  Monday's practice was practically perfect and Wednesday's practice was pretty close but the breeze got a bit chilly.  Friday was bone-chilling cold though.  It had a gross drizzle that came down and the temperatures were below freezing.  I took a picture for Nick at a stop light half way home from practice to show the ice on the windshield.  The kids didn't love, but it seemed necessary as Saturday was predicted to be just as cold.  Surprisingly, they called the game for icy conditions and let the chess tournament still go on.  This means that Jack didn't have to end up missing a game of football after all.  He cried happy tears when he found out that news.

Planned: The layout of several more yearbook pages.  Even though I was wanting to avoid the "real world", there is a deadline for the yearbook that can't be moved.  Things are going pretty well with it. I just have a couple of pages that I still need to get up to the school and take pictures for.  It's much easier working on it for the second year in a row and having the support of a staff member makes a big difference.

Loved: That Prairie Hills got second in the ASD20 Chess Tournament.  We were hoping to knock off the long standing winners, but they got us by six points.  Jack was disappointed with himself getting 8 out of 30th.  He knows that he let a kid get him off his game in the last match and I think that it had him more frustrated than anything else.  We had an awesome team full of lots of fun people out to support each other.  I really enjoyed helping with the chess tournament and hope to continue with it next year.

Here are the pics for the week:

Look at this action shot with his new ball!

What a farmer's tan!

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

A Week in Review (March 25-31)

A Week in Review (March 25-31)

Watched: The Greatest Showman during one of the dive-in movies on the cruise.  It is an mesmerizing film.  I am not sure how close to accurate it is, but it does tell a fun show.  It is amazing how one man's drive and love for the spotlight created such a world wide phenomena.  If you haven't watched it, I would definitely recommend it.  Everyone in our family enjoyed it, including Nick who isn't a huge fan of musicals.

Read:  I started on As Bright As Heaven.  It is by an author I have read a couple other times.  It covered a family from around late 1915 to 1930s.  It talked a lot about the Spanish Influenza that wiped out a large amount of the population.  Since I read it all while we were on the cruise, I wasn't able to google as much I could have to see how much of the story was based on fact.  I did enjoy the story although the coincidences that would have to happen to make it all work seemed pretty far fetched.  Next I started on Hunted.  It is a twist on Beauty and the Beast.  I would like to get finished this next week so that I can do a buddy read with my girlfriend.  I also have my bookclub book that I will need to get to.

Listened:  To some not-so-great singers on the cruise. We tried a couple different shows and didn't really enjoy either one of them.  Most of the time it just sounded like they were trying way too hard.  I do have to give them credit for being in phenomenal shape because they were able to sing and dance without running out of breath.





Here are the pics for the week:

Saturday, 24 March 2018

A Week in Review (March 18-24)

A Week in Review (March 18-24)

Watched: The Jumanji reload. It was pretty funny and enjoyed by both Jack and I. We each liked the characters and the story line. I wouldn’t call it a family friendly movie but it’s great to watch with kids who enjoy older themes. It earns it PG13 rating without pushing the R envelope.

Read:  I finished up One True Loves.  This was my least favorite novel that I have read by this author. It was still a sweet novel with fun characters that I was quickly drawn into. However, I didn’t find myself savoring every moment. I was happy for the ending and I like that I wasn’t left wondering about how anyone faired. If you want a quick and easy romance, this could be a good one for you.  Next I started The Woman in the Window.  Thanks to our flight, I was able to finish it. I had a pretty good idea of what was going on, but i still enjoyed the story.  If you like stories with unreliable narrators, then this is a must read for you.  Jack and I also finished up Bridge to Terabithia.  I hadn't intended to finish it up but it just kind of hit a point where you couldn't turn back.  It left a shockwave of emotions running through both Jack and I. He actually asked me if it was possible for your heart to break into two because he was sure his was going rip apart. I knew what was coming since that is it’s main reason for being on the Banned book list. Seeing my son bawl his eyes out for 45 minutes made me understand why someone might think it’s good to remove this pain from a child’s life. However, then they wouldn’t know how much literature can touch you so deeply.  We started on The People of Sparks as our next read-aloud.  It is the second book in the Book of Ember series.  With Spring Break and the cruise, I doubt we will get very much it done at all.

Listened: Jack lead his last fourth grade conference.  How is it possible that he will be almost be a fifth grader?  He was freshly showered, had combed his hair to the side, and then put on a polo. When you were looking at him. You could really see the teenager he was going to become.  He needs to continue to improve in his writing skills, but I think that will come with time. We’ve seen so much improvement over the last two years that if he keeps growing, I know he will totally get it.

Made: Plenty of team mom stuff this week.  We finally got the pricing for our decals and spirit wear in.  Of course, when it all needs collected, I will be out of town.  I made a nicely organized folder for Gretchen to be able to collect everything.  We also got our team schedule and found out that we are lucky enough to get six games instead of five!  I nicely highlighted the field and time for each kiddo.  I also placed our chess t-shirt order and am excited because so many students ordered there ended up being $80 extra dollars for the advisers to use on snacks and drinks for the club.  Can't wait to see how the look when I pick them in two weeks!

Felt: Proud of Jack. He was selected as the Star Student of the Month from his teacher for Perservence. I think that this is particularly true for him.  I am so glad that other people see this trait in him too.  I think that his coaches see it a lot, but I am glad to see that it shows at school too. Funnily enough, his TAG teacher was talking to me that morning about how she saw that in Jack too.

Planned: Most of my vacation wear in one day.  I know that might not sound like a lot, but at the beginning of our relationship, I would have my bag packs a week in advance.  Over time, it has shrunken down to packing the day we leave or the night before if we are leaving early.  I am taking the stuff for three people on a plane.  It ended up being a lot of work but at least nothing had to sit folded in the suitcase for too long.  It's amazing how your personality evolves over time.  I am now just hoping that I didn't forget anything I really wanted and more importantly anything that I can't easily buy if I need too!

Loved:  That I have a friends with a variety of skills that will support me. After Jack’s conference, I offered him lunch at Fazoli’s. Luckily, he didn’t take me up on it. Instead as we were heading home, he saw some kids shooting hoops at the park and stopped to play with them. As they were transitioning to another game, I decided I would head home and he could walk when he was done. However, when I went to start the car, I got no crank. Not even a little clicking. It didn’t appear to be the battery as all the lights and radio were coming on.  Called Nick and he said by describing the situation, it sounded like the starter or ignition switch. We knew having it towed to a shop was going to be ridiculous, but also that I can’t find a new car that I’m totally in love with.  Then I remembered that Luke’s dad is a mechanic and I called Gretchen (Luke’s mom) to see what he thought. He, too, came to the conclusion of starter or ignition switch.  He, awesomely, offered to take a look at it and help us out.  Thank goodness we pay for tow insurance so I was able to have it dropped off in the garage for him.  When we get in the process of towing, the gentleman asks to see what it is doing.  I show him, he tries to put on a battery starter, no luck.  He hooks it to the chain, goes to start it, and it starts!  I'm not started!  I don't believe it will happen so we have it do it again and again.  It always starts.  I drive it home and am bewildered.  I try to call Nick and discuss it, but he's in a meeting.  I decide if it will start again that I will drive to the parts store and get all the possible parts it could be for Luke's dad to try and respect his time.  I decide to leave the car running and run it.  When I get home for picking up the items, I turn the car off.  I realize that I wanted to be further back in the garage to give him more room and when I go to start it, it won't start!  Good thing I didn't turn it off at the auto parts store.  When Luke's dad was able to make it over, he banged on the starter to see if it would crank and sure enough, it did.  I hypothesize that when the tow truck driver was putting the chain on, he knocked the starter with his chain causing the same reaction.  He was able to get it chained and stopped one of the reason for the oil leak as an added bonus.  I feel so lucky that he was able to take his time after a long day of work to help us out.  I know now that my car is getting up there in miles and that I need to make a serious plan about what to do for my next car.  I need to work on falling in love with something. 

Here are the pics for the week: