Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Wrap-Up

video
We had a nice Christmas around here. Christmas Eve, we did some cleaning, did some resting, then had a yummy dinner. Afterward, we went driving around to look at lights, then came home and watched The Polar Express. Zachary finally went to bed at midnight, then Santa came and delivered presents to Zach and Zoe.

Yesterday morning, Zoe woke up around 7:30 (or maybe Mommy woke up first), and we woke Zachary up around 8:30. We went downstairs to see what Santa brought, then leisurely opened all of our gifts. Zachary was so excited to receive a Nintendo DS and skateboard, and I got a nice little camera that takes video.

We had breakfast around 11:30, cleaned up a bit, and got dressed to head to Galveston. I don't know where the time went; we didn't leave until 2:15. It was really foggy driving in, so we really didn't get to see much of the damage from Hurricane Ike. We arrived at Darren's dad's around 3:30, and Sean and his family, as well as Darren's brother Mike and his family were there. We ate for what seemed like hours, hung out for a bit, and headed home around 7:30. We put Zoe to bed when we got home, Darren watched TV, and I played on the computer. Zach stayed up until 1:30, creating a mural for his room of Anakin Skywalker.

Today we are doing something very rare in our house: nothing at all. We have watched TV all day while the kids have played with their new toys. I did venture out to the grocery store to get supplies to make cheese fries, but besides that, we haven't left the house. We talked about going to the mall tonight, but I don't think anyone feels like going anywhere. It's so unusual for us to have nothing planned, and we are all enjoying it. I guess it's back to reality tomorrow.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

And I'm Back!


My sweet girl!

Sitting on Santa's lap at Zach's Breakfast with Santa

The past two weeks have been crazy, and I am looking forward to some downtime with the family. I finished my semester of school with a 3.5, and am getting ready to start studying for the nursing school entrance exam. I can apply for the LVN program now, and will apply for the RN program at school in the next few weeks. I still have a couple of Hepatitis B shots to get, but that's about it. It's a nice feeling! School starts back up January 12th. I am going to have a light semester; I'm taking Microbiology on campus and Pharmacology online. I've heard they are both work-intensive, so we'll see what happens. I'll have to fork over the money for books soon; they are more expensive than my tuition!

Besides school, work is over until January 7th. We made Christmas crafts galore, which was so much fun! We also had a program for the parents, and my class sang "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer". They were so cute! I am looking forward to snowmen and mittens in January with them. Of course, the first week will be rough, because we'll have to retrain everyone, but it will be smooth sailing after that, I hope. My assistant is going through a rough time with her mom, but hopefully she'll be able to come to school most days. The kids really love her, and I depend on her to keep me sane.

My big Cub Scout duties are over for a while, and that is such a relief! Paperwork has been turned in, and popcorn has been delivered. I still can't find volunteers for the Pinewood Derby, but from here on out, whatever events we don't get volunteers for just won't happen. I am not taking on anything else this year.

We've been stricken with the crud this week at our house. Zoe has a yellow runny nose, but she is also cutting molars. That would put anyone in a bad mood! She's still not walking, but can manage to do some damage around the house anyway. We have a lovely cardboard fence around our Christmas tree right now, because she discovered the tissue paper in the bags very quickly. I can't wait to celebrate Christmas with her this year!

Darren and I are working on reclaiming the house from the filth right now. This is really my first break from school since June, and he didn't take much vacation this year. I would love to park a dumpster on my driveway and just toss stuff out the windows, but I don't think that would happen. We are going to redo Zach's room, hopefully giving him more space, and getting some of his junk from elsewhere in the house. We bought a loft bed for him today, and his art desk is leaving my dining room. It currently has a card table and two dining room chairs in front of it, because Zoe discovered it. Another goal that we have is to finally finish the laundry. It's not fun to have to forage for socks every morning from one of the various baskets in my bedroom!

We are going to have kind of a quiet Christmas here this year. Mom and Dad are headed to South Carolina to see Natalie, so we are going to stay home. We're planning to go to Galveston for the day to see Darren's dad, but his stepmom is working like crazy, so there might not be too much going on there. Her hospital has laid off almost all the other people who work in her position, so she is having to take up the slack. It will be nice to hang out here and not have anything that we have to go and do. We are looking forward to movie night on Christmas Eve with Zach and Zoe.

I guess that's about all I have right now. I still have presents to wrap, and will possibly attempt to send out a few Christmas cards this year. We'll see if that happens or not...We are also having our annual kid-friendly New Year's Eve party, and as usual, I'm worried that no one will show up. I am sure we'll have a great time with whoever comes.

More pictures to come soon...

Friday, December 05, 2008

I'm having a hard time getting into the holiday spirit this year. I'm overwhelmed by schoolwork and Cub Scout duties, and haven't even had time to think about decorating. All of the fall things have been taken down and piled on the dining room table, but that's as far as I've gotten. We took down the Halloween lights last Saturday after many comments from several people. My house is not just dirty, it's unsanitary. The only reason I've done any Christmas shopping is because I did it online.

Here's what my next week looks like:

Tomorrow--staff development for work from 8:30-3:30, maybe put up some Christmas decorations and keep Zoe from destroying them
Sunday or Monday--take a test on the digestive and urinary system, and have some work due for my online psychology class Sunday at 11:00pm
Monday--work, then study
Tuesday--comprehensive final in Anatomy and Physiology, then CPR training from 6:30-10:00
Wednesday--work; it's our holiday program and I have to get 10 3-year-olds to cooperate and sing Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Thursday--lab practical on the digestive system, 3 chapters due for my online communication class, meeting to turn in all of my Cub Scout paperwork that I have to complete in the next week
Friday--Mom and Dad arrive to celebrate Christmas with them. I have to buy them gifts before then, and clean my disgusting house.
Saturday--pick up more popcorn than will fit in my car, and somehow convince everyone to come and pick it up from me, Santa breakfast at Zach's school

Did I mention that I have to make an A in my Anatomy and Physiology class to get into nursing school, and that I have three tests in that class between now and next Thursday? I'll be the one curled up in the corner, rocking and humming.

So, you know, a slow week.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I just got blindsided by an email that I received. I want to write about it, and don't think she reads this, but can't be sure. How frustrating is this? Anyone who knows me knows that I have to work through things by writing them down or talking about them, but I don't feel that I can't. Guess I'll go watch some trashy TV or do some schoolwork to take my mind off it.

Friday, November 21, 2008

I have reached maximum stress level, and am going to blow at any moment. 2008 has not been the best year for us, with two of Darren's aunts dying, another one having a debilitating stroke, and another one with a weird stomach ailment that could end up being really dangerous. Besides those things, Darren totaled his paid-for car and we had to buy a new one, I didn't get my dream job and quit teaching to go back to school, we've had to pay for surgeries for Zoe and me, we now have three friends/family members who are going through a divorce, our roof is leaking into the wall of our garage, I have no money to buy Christmas presents, and tonight, Darren's car was broken into. He was in Houston at a bar with his co-workers, and someone smashed the right rear window and took out his laptop bag. On his laptop was all of his work for the past 18 months, some of which are projects which are due next week. He also had a brand-new external hard drive that he had gotten today, all of his business cards and those of his contacts, and his house keys.

So, it looks like we will be getting the locks changed on our house tomorrow, and hopefully having the window replaced in the car. I don't know what he will be able to do about his computer; hopefully they will buy him another one. Darren called the police, but they won't go there. There have been a rash of burglaries in the area lately, and nothing is being done about them.

I am beginning to wonder if it was worth it to quit my job and go back to school. I hate that I have put us in such a terrible financial bind, and it's only going to get worse. If I get into nursing school, I won't be able to work at all for the next two years. I can't imagine going back to teaching, or working full-time again, but that may end up having to happen. The only other solution I can see would be to sell my car, since it is the most expensive bill we have. If I could come up with some other way to bring in money, I would. The problem is that I don't have time to work more; I already don't have enough time to devote to my online classes. I don't sleep enough, can't keep up with the house, and always feel like I am behind on everything.

The semester ends December 9th. It can't come fast enough for me! I won't be enjoying paid time off this year for the holidays, and will have to pay for Zoe's spot at the daycare that she is going to as of December 1st.

I think this post is depressing enough. I'll write more when I have a more positive outlook on things.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

This is turning out to be a long week already. Zoe is cutting teeth, and is absolutely miserable. She is not sleeping well, and has been having some stomach issues, as well.

I am trying to get ahead on my online classwork so there is not so much left to do this weekend, but I am not sure if that is going to happen.

I'm tired, and have a sinus infection. I went to the ENT today, and he suctioned out my sinuses. I thought my teeth were going to come out. It was not fun.

I have too many responsibilities for Cub Scouts. I am coordinating our pack's popcorn sale, which includes sitting in front of stores and selling, and also placing the order and picking it up in a few weeks. I am also in charge of our pack's rechartering right now, which makes sure we have an accurate roster, and that everyone pays dues for next year.

I have to focus on the fact that I finish school for the semester December 9th, and rechartering is over December 11th. I can make it, I hope. I am only taking two classes in the spring, but they are both supposed to be hard. Joy.

We are heading to Lafayette for a few days for Thanksgiving, and that will probably be our last trip over there for the year. I hate that we don't go as often as we used to, but it's so much harder with two kids, and it seems like we have more obligations on the weekends than we used to. We're going to stay home for Christmas, and go down to Galveston for the day to Darren's dad's house. I am trying to think of creative, low-cost gifts for Christmas, since funds are tight this year. Hmm, Cub Scout popcorn?

Time for bed...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Weekend Wrap-Up

We didn't do anything too terribly exciting this weekend. I spent all of Friday at the Nutcracker Market, which was bigger than I could ever imagine. I didn't eat lunch, because I ate enough free samples of candy, salsa, and other things to fill me up. I got a call while I was there that our popcorn to sell had come in to the BSA office, so I left Reliant Park and drove an hour to the office to get the popcorn. Two and a half hours after I left the Nutcracker Market, the popcorn and I arrived at home. We ordered pizza that night, and I crashed.

Yesterday, we got up and Zach and I went to a local family-owned grocery store to work a two-hour shift selling popcorn. It was cold, and there wasn't much traffic, but it was fun. Between the three boys who worked yesterday, we sold $297 of popcorn and got over $36 in donations. Next week will be much better, because we will be at a much busier store. I have almost $2000 of popcorn still to sell, which makes me nervous.

After our sale, we came home and cleaned up around the house. Zach had a friend over to play later in the evening (wow, were they busy!), then we took the boys to Market Street to eat dinner. Before dinner, we drove around and located where the ice skating rink and light display are going to be, and we made the boys run down the Woodlands Waterway from the Pavilion to Town Green Park. Amazingly enough, they were well-behaved and sat through dinner. Afterward, we went to take the friend home, and Zach ended up staying the night. What did Darren and I do for fun? We put Zoe to bed and I worked on schoolwork until the screen went blurry.

This morning, we woke up and started to clean. We realized that the dryer is not heating, which is not fun, considering the mountain of dirty laundry that I have. That wouldn't be too bad, except that I have bedding that Zoe wet on, and clothes that she vomited on today. Nice.

We visited Wally World this afternoon for our groceries, then I hit the books. I just finished all of my online coursework for the week, and need to study for my anatomy and physiology test tomorrow on the lymphatic system, immunity, and the respiratory system. No TV for me tonight.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Procrastinating

I missed posting yesterday. After doing a couple of hours of schoolwork after coming home yesterday, I was too mentally tired to do anymore. So, I took the evening off to eat pizza and watch TV with the family. Today is payback day.

After working all day, I came home to finish chapter review questions in anatomy and physiology. I just finished those, and still need to finish the rough draft of my research paper for tomorrow. Unfortunately, something in me won't let me do that. I just don't want to do this! I have a test this weekend in that same class, plus tons of work to complete for two of my online classes that are due Sunday evening. Tomorrow night, I have a Cub Scout district meeting, and Friday, I am going to the Nutcracker Market in Houston. I'll study sometime...

I am going to now chain myself to Microsoft Word until something about omphalitis comes out. See you tomorrow!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Lacking Motivation

It's going to take a lot to get me through the next four weeks. I feel like I am tired all the time, and I feel guilty doing anything that does not relate to school. Will someone remind me why quitting my job and putting us in enormous debt so that I could go back to school for an entirely new career was a good idea? (Excuse me while I rest my weary head on the keyboard)

Here's what I am up against for tomorrow:
1. Take Zoe to the doctor at 8:15 to figure out why she has had diarrhea for the past week and seems to feel crappy
2. Try to go workout so that I can get my credit hours in...however, my ankle where I have tendinitis is really bothering me lately, and working out will make it worse.
3. Study for a quiz on the respiratory system, a chapter I have not looked at yet. And, probably work on my chapter review questions, since I have a test this weekend.
4. Rough draft of my research paper is not due until Thursday. Thank God for that!

Really far down the list: wash clothes, clean house, watch TV

Sigh.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Busy Weekend!

As the weekend comes to a close, I am feeling fairly good about what I accomplished. I managed to finish all of my schoolwork except for the rough draft of my research paper (I'm working on it now) and the review questions for anatomy (I'm getting there). Yesterday, we went swingset shopping and concluded that we will be buying a kit from Home Depot and building our own. Rainbow Play Systems has some really nice ones, but way out of our price range.

While out and about, we rented Kung Fu Panda. Last night, we ate leftover gumbo, watched Kung Fu Panda (really cute), and I baked pumpkin cheesecake squares, which were really good. While watching the movie, I worked on my anatomy review questions, and stayed up until 2:00.

Today, Zoe woke me up at 8:00, and we sat on the couch while Zach watched Kung Fu Panda a couple of times. Darren woke up and cooked our traditional Sunday breakfast of bacon, egg, and cheese tacos, then Zachary left to go to lunch and to see High School Musical 3. While he was gone, we pulled out the carpet (!) that was in our laundry room and cleaned the linoleum that was underneath it. Darren managed to switch the position of the washer and dryer for me, which I am really excited about.

Zachary returned home just in time to leave for a birthday party, and while he was there, I went to the mall to see what Hallmark had going on this weekend. I made a few holiday purchases, then went back to pick Zachary up.

This evening, we watched the Amazing Race, Zoe had a poopy accident all over her Exersaucer, and I have been working on my research paper. Guess what I'll be doing tomorrow night, since my rough draft is due Tuesday?

I'm off to bed so that I can have the energy to chase preschoolers around tomorrow.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Feeling the Pressure

I just realized today exactly how much schoolwork I have hanging over my head at the moment. If you haven't figured it out yet, I process information by writing it out. My favorite thing to do is to write lists and cross things off as I do them. Thanks, Mom!

Here's what I have to do right now:

In Psychology, come up with a research paper topic and write that paper before December 1st
In Kinesiology, somehow make my 30 workout hours for the semester (HA!) and take two more chapter quizzes
In Speech (just started Sunday) by Sunday at midnight, read one more chapter, take the quiz, and write a journal entry
In Anatomy and Physiology (the class I have to make an A in to get into nursing school) finish my research and write a rough draft of my research paper to turn in Tuesday ( a rough draft? seriously? I don't do rough drafts!), study for a quiz that we will have Tuesday on material I haven't read yet, complete three chapters' worth of review questions, and study for a test next weekend

In Cub Scouts, I have to go to training Thursday night for our annual rechartering (no clue), then I have a month to make sure that everyone is registered properly, all of the leaders are trained, we have medical forms on everyone, and everyone registers again for next year. Then, I have to find volunteers to run our Pinewood Derby in January. We are still recruiting and getting new members to start attending meetings, and the year is halfway over. Ike sure screwed things up for us this fall!

Apparently I am hosting a baby shower at my former school with some of my former colleagues after school on Thursday. I haven't been invited yet, but I am sure I will be assigned some duties and told that I am going in on a gift with some other people. Should I approach them, or wait until they remember to invite me? It could get interesting, but I don't want the new mom to think that I don't want to help. I told them that I didn't have time to do anything besides show up and maybe help do some decorating. I can't contribute financially to this, and I don't feel like I should have to, since the school is throwing the shower.

My hands hurt from typing, so it must be time for bed. Any volunteers to come and clean my house? Anyone want to volunteer for the Pinewood Derby? Anyone?

At least my job is easy. That must be why I make no money!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Baby Cate

Every time I read this blog, my heart goes out to this family. I don't know that I could be as strong as they are! It really makes me appreciate having my healthy little girl, and I give her an extra big hug after reading every post. Today would have been Baby Cate's first birthday, and they are having to make it through the day without her. Wow.

The Cantrells are an amazing family, and even though I don't know them personally, I do know some people who do know them, and they are from the same area that I am. I guess that's why they touched me so much.

Back to the books...

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Blecchhhh!

I missed a day of posting yesterday, but had a very good reason. Zoe brought home a stomach virus Tuesday from her babysitter's house, threw up Tuesday night, and I was feeling awful by that evening. Zoe slept for about 18 hours, was awake for a couple of hours, then slept again most of the day yesterday. Zachary woke up and threw up all over his room yesterday morning at 5:00, then spent the morning in bed.

Of course, I got the virus, but never had the relief of throwing up. The kids are both better today, but I am still feeling yucky, and still can't eat anything besides Saltines and applesauce. They both went to school/the sitter, and I am going to stay in bed until I feel better.

My mom is having knee surgery this morning, and I hope it goes well for her. I wish I could be there to help her, but I would be useless at this point.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Woohoo!

All I can say is, thank God it happened. We need this change, badly. I am sure that most of my family will now disown me for publicly speaking out about my opinion on this election, but I've done worse things.

For those who are afraid that Obama is secretly evil and is plotting bad things, remember the system of checks and balances that we have in place. Each of the three branches of government is there to ensure that neither of the others gets too powerful. Congress and the Supreme Court won't let Obama do anything too wild.

On a completely different note, I will be staying home from work tomorrow with a sick baby. She was cranky all day, and threw up this evening. She went to bed at 6:30, and I haven't heard from her since. I am sure she won't make it through the night, though. Tomorrow, Darren actually has to go into Houston for the first time in a couple of weeks, so I will lose 6 of my 12 hours of work this week. I miss my teacher salary right now, especially with the upcoming holidays. Presents will be inexpensive this year!

My 14-year-old cat has been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, so Darren has to go to a veterinary pharmacy in Houston tomorrow and pick up his thyroid medicine. It's an ointment that we rub on his ears. The vet is worried that treating his thyroid will cause him to go into kidney failure, so we have him on a low protein diet that will be easier on his kidneys. So far, his kidney and liver functions look good, and he'll have blood work done again in 60 days. Doing cat dissection the past couple of weeks has really gotten to me, and I hope that Chance will be with us for at least a few more years.

Beddy-bye time...

More Stress

My third online class started today, and it seems like it is going to be a lot of work, since it is only a five-week class. I need to make sure I do well in it, and start spending more time doing work for my other classes. This semester, my grades are so important, and I feel like I have been in a schoolwork slump for the past couple of weeks. I need to snap out of that!

I am really enjoying all of the holidays so much this fall, and I realized it's because of my job. We spent a whole month celebrating Halloween, and doing related art projects, reading picture books, and listening to Halloween music. We visited a pumpkin patch, carved a pumpkin, and had a costume party. Can't do that in public school! For Thanksgiving, we are talking turkeys and leaves, and will have a Thanksgiving feast, complete with costumes. I can't wait! For Christmas, my class will be reindeer and sing "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer". It's so much fun to see these things through a preschooler's eyes, and if teaching were this much fun every year, I would have never left. I don't think I will get to do this past this year, though, unless I don't get into nursing school. Too bad.

Off to study for my lab practical tomorrow. It's on human and cat blood vessels, and won't be too bad, I hope.

Monday, November 03, 2008

NKOTB concert



I completely forgot to go back and post about our concert experience. We had a really good time. There were 9 of us who went together, and we all had shirts that someone made with one of the guys' pictures on it. Mine had Donnie, since that's who I liked way back when.

We left really early to head down to the Toyota Center, then waited in line to get in. Once we made it into the building, we ate some junk food and found our seats. They couldn't have been farther from the stage; we were directly across from the stage on the top row. Looking around, everyone was a woman around my age, some with their daughters. There were a few men in attendance, but I doubt that any of them were there on their own volition!

Some Jamaican rapper opened the show, then Natasha Beddingfield sang, who was really good. Once New Kids came on stage, the place was packed. They sang all of their old songs, plus some new ones. They still had all of their old dance moves, and have gotten better-looking with age.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

My Scrapblog

Pumpkin Patch





Mom and Dad came in last weekend, and we took the kids to a pumpkin patch. It was way too hot for October, but we had a good time anyway. We actually had to pay admission to get in this place, and it was pretty crowded. After taking photos in a few different places, we took a "train ride" through the farm's Christmas tree fields (could this be so that kids will beg their parents to go back at Christmas time? hmmm). We didn't buy any pumpkins, since we already had two at home, but it was a nice setting for pictures.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

NaBloPoMo

I have decided to participate in NaBloPoMo, or National Blog Posting Month. I am hoping that it will help me to post more often, even if it is just pictures of my kids. I am always on the computer, so it shouldn't be too hard to click over here and write a few lines. It is nice to have a record of our lives, even if they are stressful and hectic most of the time. Zoe is growing and changing so fast right now, and Zachary is becoming more and more of a little man. So, let's see how this works. If you are reading this and want to join, click the box on the right side.

Happy Halloween!

I feel like I have gotten so bad at posting lately that I have probably lost anyone who used to read this. I have tons of pictures to post, but I am having issues with my camera and my computer speaking to each other. I have almost 700 pictures on my camera, and they are about 3Mb apiece. My computer has about 6Gb of pictures on it already, so it either takes hours to upload photos, or iPhoto crashes completely. I guess I need to take some of the pictures off the computer and burn CDs. I'll get right on that, after I catch up on laundry, clean out the kids' rooms, and work ahead on my school work.

I can't imagine what I would do if I were working full time this year. I'm only working twelve hours a week at the preschool, and maybe spend an hour outside of work a week planning and gathering materials. I am taking eleven hours in school, and don't spend enough time prepping for class. My online psychology class has one or more quizzes or discussions due every week, and my online kinesiology class requires me to work out 30 hours on campus during the semester. I don't know if I'll make it. I have another online class starting in a couple of weeks, and still have my campus-based anatomy and physiology class for which I do a lot of work. Besides all that mess, I have more Cub Scout business to take care of than I ever thought humanly possible. Once popcorn sales end December 2nd, and rechartering ends December 11th, things should be better.

I am only taking two classes in the spring; a campus-based microbiology class, and an online pharmacology class. They both sound like a lot of work! I apply for nursing school in January, and hope for the best!

Back to Halloween, since that was my original intent...

Halloween is my favorite holiday, as anyone who knows me can tell you. It's just a magical night to me, and growing up, I had the greatest memories of going to haunted houses, trick or treating with my neighbors, and actually having a haunted house at our house. We would work for weeks to put them together, and the neighbors would all help. Sometimes they were in the garage, sometimes on the driveway. We did ones made out of cardboard, and out of black plastic. Once I graduated from high school and left home, the haunted houses stopped. Next year, Darren and I are bringing that tradition back. I need to reserve my dad now!

The reason we are adamant about this is that it seems like trick or treating is not as popular as it used to be. Many people opt for church "fall festivals" instead, or attending parties. We had very few kids come by last night as compared to previous years, and I don't want trick or treating to become obsolete. What's so bad about dressing up and ringing your neighbors' doorbells for them to give you candy?

Yesterday was not what I had planned. I spent two hours at the dentist having some fillings done, then took the cat to the vet to find out that his thyroid is hyperactive. I then went home and waited for Zach to get off the bus, and dressed the kids in their costumes to go trick or treating at our village's shopping center. That starts at 4:30, and it's important to get there right away and leave by 5:30, because it gets so crowded that you can't walk down the sidewalks. Each of the stores has someone sitting outside giving out candy, and there is a costume contest. It's a lot of fun, and a great way to start off the festivities. Zoe had her first lollipop, and she was in heaven! She dropped it on the ground, and I threw it away, and she didn't complain too much. It was her first candy experience, and I think she didn't know what to think.

After leaving there, we stopped at Taco Bell for dinner, and Zachary managed to spill my entire drink while still sitting in the drive thru. We went home, Darren cleaned out the car, and we ate dinner. We didn't leave to go trick or treating until about 7:00, because it wasn't dark yet, and we didn't see any kids out. Finally we decided to go, and there still weren't any kids walking around. We went with one of our neighbors, and we were the only ones on the street. Later, we did see a few more people, and the teenagers came out around 8:00, but it was disappointing. I wanted to get everyone together afterward last night, since it was a Friday night, but after walking around for over an hour, I decided against that.

Darren put Zoe to bed, then Zach and I sorted his candy and watched The Great Pumpkin. We watched Survivor after that, and I fell asleep before Tribal Council. Today, we are going to a craft fair at a local elementary school, a birthday party, and will take my car to be cleaned. I am hoping the house will get cleaned at some point, and I have a lab practical to study for on Tuesday.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Still no sign of things slowing down around here. I spent last week dealing with preparation for the Cub Scout camping trip. I had to turn in registration for everyone, make sure that everyone had completed medical forms, plan the meals, shop for the food, and help load the trailer that was being taken to camp on Friday. Needless to say, I didn't get a whole lot of schoolwork done. Thank God I only worked one day last week, but my paycheck will reflect that. Ouch!

Thursday night, I went to the NKOTB concert with some friends. We had a blast, and they sang all of their old music, along with some new material. The guys seem to have gotten better-looking with age, and we had a great time, dressing up like we did in the 80s, and singing and dancing along with the music. Our seats could not have been farther from the stage, and even the screens looked tiny from our seats. It was a fun time, though, and I was so sore and tired on Friday!

Yesterday, we were up and out of the house before 8:00 to head to Conroe to the Cub Scout camp. The weather was perfect, and the boys got to do all sorts of fun things. We had activities all morning, and the boys played ping-pong, shot slingshots with paintball pellets, and shot BB guns. I was able to shoot a few BBs as well. Afterward, we went back to the campsite for lunch (Darren and I made 48 sandwiches on Friday), a nap for Zoe, then back to the pavilion for the Raingutter Regatta. Zach made it through three rounds, and placed 7th or 8th among his age group. He was disappointed, but he went a lot farther than he did last year. After the regatta, we hiked a bit to the pirate ship, but it was really hard to push a stroller along the trails. There was still a lot of debris from the hurricane out at camp, and you could see where there were a lot of trees missing. The boys thought it was really fun to walk and climb along the fallen pine trees. After our hike, we went back to camp and carved pumpkins, then had a dinner of hamburgers and hotdogs, with peach and apple cobbler for dessert. A camp-wide campfire concluded the day's events, complete with a flag retirement ceremony. Miss Zoe slept through that, but woke back up when everyone turned their flashlights and headlamps back on to walk back to the campsite. She and I said our goodbyes to everyone and headed home around 9:30. I am hoping to get a babysitter for the campout in April, and be able to spend the night. We'll have to buy a bigger tent first, though.

I stayed up too late watching TV once I got home, bathed Zoe, and talked on the phone with a couple of friends. One of my former co-workers received the news yesterday that she is going to be a mommy soon, and that was such wonderful news! She and her husband have waited many years for a baby, and after unsuccessful fertility treatments, they have been waiting to adopt for a couple of years. There was a baby girl born prematurely in Pennsylvania October 14th, and they are heading up there Thursday or Friday to meet her. I am so excited for them; they will make wonderful parents!

Today, Zoe woke up way too early, and I stumbled around the house until Darren and Zach made it home. Darren, Zoe and I took a nap from 11-2, then we tackled the house. We never did finish, because we were too hungry. After dinner, we watched the Amazing Race, and Zach fell asleep on the couch. I've been doing schoolwork for a couple of hours, but am calling it quits for the night.

Here's what's on tap for the week:
-work Monday and Wednesday
-class Tuesday and Thursday
-conference with Zach's teachers after school tomorrow (yikes!)
-quiz on cat and human blood vessels in class Tuesday
-work out Tuesday and Thursday for my kinesiology class
-cat dissection in class Thursday
-Cub Scouts Thursday evening
-study session Friday
-Mom and Dad coming in Friday for the weekend
-something fun Saturday
-test sometime between Friday and Monday on the heart and blood vessels

...Just a normal week around here. I can't wait until there is some free time to scrapbook. It's been over a year!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Random

I'm still here, just drowning in Cub Scout paperwork. I've signed up eleven boys in the past week, gotten everyone registered for the camping trip this weekend, gone through leader training, and am trying to make sure everyone has a medical form that is completed. We have a pack meeting this Thursday, and I won't be there, so I have lots of instructions for the people who will be there. This weekend is our camping trip, and I am in charge of shopping for the food for 50 people Friday. Zoe and I will go for a few hours Saturday, then will get to hang out at home Saturday night without the boys. We have rechartering next month, which is when everyone signs up again for next year, so there is lots more paperwork in my future. I also still don't have a Tiger Cub leader, but I am hoping that will work itself out.

Zoe made it through her ear tube procedure just fine yesterday. I think it took ten minutes, and another five after I talked to the doctor for her to wake up. We left the house at 6:00, stopped and got McDonald's breakfast for Darren, Zach, and me, and were home by 8:45. Zoe was not happy when she woke up from the anesthesia, but she calmed down eventually, and took two long naps yesterday. She went back to her babysitter today, and you'd never know she had that done yesterday. I hope this brings relief to her now.

School is going okay for me. I am trying really hard to keep up with my two online classes and my anatomy and physiology class that I take on campus. I never put this much work into school the first time! I have another online class that starts in a few weeks, and registration is getting ready to begin for the spring. I'll be taking microbiology and pharmacology; can't wait! I'm looking into nurse-midwifery programs, but can't figure out if there's one here in Houston. If that is something that I am going to pursue, I may as well start taking some of the prerequisites for those programs while I am at such an inexpensive school and have the time. I won't have any classes to take next fall, so maybe I can knock out a few hours.

I am looking forward to Halloween, but am wondering where the fall weather is? The temperature is in the 80s, and the mosquitoes are out in full force. We've decorated for Halloween, the kids have costumes and candy has been bought; now we just need some cooler weather! We need to go and visit a pumpkin patch; maybe Sunday.

I am going see NKOTB in concert this Thursday night; should be interesting. I saw them twice in the 80s; once, they opened for Tiffany, and I can't remember details about the second show except that it was in Baton Rouge and we had floor seats. I was in love with Donnie, and had t-shirts, key rings, and posters of him. My sister and I even had a video of the band that we would watch all the time. I'll have to pull out an old cassette tape and refresh my memory of their songs. I am not taking this seriously at all, and am looking forward to an evening out with friends. I have no idea how good our seats are, and don't care. It's my first concert in a few years.

Off to bed...

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

I have an anatomy lab test tomorrow

I also have to take Zoe to the doctor for her pre-op appointment (she's getting ear tubes Monday), then go to our Cub Scout recruitment night. I'm in charge of registration of new members and taking the refreshments.

I think I'm working Friday for the first time, then I have Cub Scout training all day Saturday. I have a paper due for my online psychology class Sunday. (haven't looked at it yet) Monday, Zoe is having her surgery, then I am going to a concert Thursday night. Friday, I have to go shopping for the food for the Cub Scout camping trip next weekend, then Saturday, Zoe and I are going to the camping trip for the day while the boys spend the night. I have a feeling there will be another anatomy test coming up soon, too.

So, if I don't post too often for the next few weeks, don't give up on me. I'm still here; just drowning in school/work/Scouts/ kid stuff. Don't even ask about my house; it's currently winning the war. I am hoping to decorate for Halloween before the actual day, but Zoe is showing signs of pulling up, and I don't know how much effort I want to put into to keeping her away from things right now.

If you actually follow this blog, would you please click the link on the right and let me know? I don't have a prize to offer you, except for my unending gratitude. That's worth a lot, right?

Monday, October 06, 2008

I'm still here, just overwhelmed right now with school, work , Cub Scout recruitment and fundraising, and what seems like zillions of doctor's appointments. Zoe is getting tubes put in her ears Monday, I'm having some dental work done soon, and Zach has to go to the eye doctor.

I'll be back as soon as I have time to form a thought, and my computer and camera end their refusal to work together so I can post pictures.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Feeling Nostalgic

September 28, 2007
September 28, 2008

I cannot believe that it has already been a year since Zoe came into our lives! So many things have happened in the past year; not all of them good, but I am happier than I have been in a long time, and don't feel like I am carrying the weight of the world anymore.


I am still amazed that I have this wonderful little girl to share my life with. Zachary is awesome too, but there is a special bond between a mother and her daughter. I now have someone who can relate to me, and who will be honored to receive my cherished possessions, and the scrapbooks of our lives that I hope to someday complete. Because of having Zoe, I am now pursuing a career that I would have never imagined being interested in.

It's incredibly hard work being back in school, and we are all having to make sacrifices because of it, and because of me quitting my job, but I am confident that it will all be worth it in the end. I am able to spend more time with my kids than I ever thought I would, and I think we will have a better relationship because of it. Yes, things are incredibly tight financially, and some days I wonder if we will be able to make it, but I know that I made the right decision to quit teaching. I am sure I am a much nicer person to be around now.


I look back at the past year, and am amazed at everything we have been through as a family. I have had two surgeries, Darren totaled his car, Darren lost two of his aunts, we've been through a major hurricane, and I made a major career change. On the positive side, we've done a lot of fun things together, Zachary was able to go on vacation with just my dad, my sister had an adorable baby boy, we were able to spend Labor Day weekend with family (because of Gustav) and I was able to take the kids and spend a week with my parents in the middle of a semester (thanks to Ike).

Post-hurricane, I would say our lives are getting back to normal. Our fridge is a lot barer than it was before the storm, and that is due to our newfound frugality. When I was still working full-time, we wouldn't have hesitated to go to the grocery store and fill it up. Now, we shop for necessities only. I wouldn't say we're missing out on anything, though. I go back to work tomorrow after a two-week break, and it will be like the first day of school all over again. There are some areas here that are still without power, and that is such a foreign concept to me.

Darren's dad in Galveston was able to move back into his house Friday. They have power, sewage, and water. They lost a few roof tiles and window panes, and their downstairs air conditioning unit was submerged. Their house survived the 1900 storm, and this time, water came within two steps of their front porch. They are truly lucky, considering they live 5 blocks from the sea wall! Darren's dad is back at work at NASA, and I think his step-mom won't return to work for a couple more weeks. She works at UTMB, and they had some damage.


Darren is going to continue working from home for a while. It's hard leaving him alone during the day, but now that I am going back to work tomorrow, he'll have his peace and quiet. We are saving so much money on gas, tolls, and lunches, and don't have to wait until 6:30 anymore for him to be home. It will be strange when he goes back to leaving every day.


I have my first test in anatomy and physiology 2 tomorrow. We have had four days to take it, and I am waiting until the last day. I have to make an A this semester to get into nursing school, and I have found that I can't study for much more than an hour at a time without totally daydreaming. We watched the Amazing Race tonight, and now it's time to hit the books!



Monday, September 22, 2008

Home, Sweet Home

Since I last posted, life has returned to semi-normalcy around here. Darren stayed home until Friday, and he cleaned up the yard and the house. Our power came back on around 5:30 Wednesday evening, and the landline came back on intermittently after that. Cable and internet are also back up, yay! Darren's office had damage, so he is working from home indefinitely. His company is looking for new office space, and in the meantime, rented some temporary space where they will meet every Thursday. We'll save money on gas and tolls, and won't have to wait until 6:30 for him to get home each day. It will be hard to go back to him being gone all the time. Or, all this togetherness might turn out to be bad...

The kids and I had a nice time with my parents, even though they are in the middle of a stressful bathroom remodel. Zach was able to spend some time with his cousin, we did some shopping, and my dad took us fishing at a catfish farm. Zachary caught his first fish, and was very excited. The kids and I also went out to dinner with an old friend from high school, and it was nice to catch up with him.

Darren came in Friday night, and we decided to go ahead and celebrate Zoe's birthday, a week early, while we were there. We spent Saturday preparing and shopping, then had everyone over that afternoon. I was a little disappointed in the turn-out; we had it there because we thought more of Darren's family members would come. It turned out to be his sister, her husband, and their daughter, and Mom and Dad's neighbors. It rained during the party, and Zach and his cousin Maggie had a great time playing in the rain. Zoe did a great job of smashing her cake, and ate an amazing amount for such a little person. We may do something small at our house this weekend, since we did invite people over.

Saturday night, we fried the fish that we caught Friday (plus extra fish that was store-bought). We also had homemade potato chips and hush puppies, and it was so yummy. Zach even ate some, so we'll have to fry fish at our house sometime soon. Yesterday, we left Mom and Dad's around noon, stopped to buy some cracklins (fried pork skin), and made it home around 4:45. There were no restrooms available near the state line, and there were several places where we saw power trucks and tents set up on our way back.

Once we made it home, we unloaded the car, including all of the laundry that my sweet mom washed and folded for us, then scrubbed out the fridge and freezer. We went to the grocery store to stock up on essentials, and picked up a pizza for dinner. I put a tired baby to bed, and Darren, Zach and I watched some TV. It was so nice to be able to do that!

Today, Zachary had school, and Zoe went back to her babysitter. I don't know when I will start work again; the church still doesn't have power. My classes start again tomorrow, and I am trying to get as much work done for my online classes as possible. With all of the new TV shows starting this week, I know I won't do a whole lot of school work. I do have a test this weekend in my Anatomy and Physiology class, so I'll have to carve out some time to study for that. My birthday is Wednesday, but finances are limited at the moment, so there won't be much of a celebration. I got an iPhone about a month ago, and that was my present. I love it, so I am okay with that. More later...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Alive and Well

We made it through Ike just fine. We didn't have any damage to our house, and no major branches or trees were lost. We got a lot of water in our backyard, and had a mess of branches and leaves to clean up, but that was about it. We lost power around 5:45 Saturday morning, and Entergy is saying it could be weeks before it is restored, which is so surreal to me.

We spent Friday night on an air mattress in our office. It was added on from part of the garage, so there are no windows in there. Zachary slept under the computer desk and had a ball. Zoe decided that she didn't want to sleep, and crawled all over Darren and me all night. We were all awake by 8:00, and not very happy about it, considering that we had stayed up watching the news until after 1:00 the night before. Saturday, it rained all day, so we didn't do much. We lounged around and watched the backyard fill up with water. Late that afternoon, we couldn't stand being in the house anymore, so we went and drove around a little bit to see some of the damage in our area. Some of the roads were blocked with trees, and we saw houses with trees on them, but didn't see houses or cars smashed in. We heard on the radio that a catfish restaurant in Conroe had opened, so we picked up my friend Jennifer and headed over there. There was a line out the door, and the restaurant was running on generator power, but we didn't have anything better to do than wait! You stood in line to order, then could get a table while waiting on your food. They had a limited menu, and only tea or water to drink, but it was hot food. We waited an hour after we ordered for our food, but it was delicious.

Saturday night was kind of hot to sleep, but we managed to sleep for eleven hours. There was another storm during the night, and it was still raining when we woke up. Sunday, we took our time getting dressed, and finally finished folding the laundry that I washed on Friday. We managed to clean up our front yard while Zoe took a four-hour nap, but the backyard was still flooded. We drove around some that afternoon, trying to find ice and gas for the car. Some of the grocery stores were open limited hours, and would only let a few people at a time in. We drove by one and saw the line, and realized they didn't have bread, produce, dairy products, or meat. They also weren't selling any alcohol. We managed to break into our neighbor's house and get Darren's car out of their garage, since it had a full tank of gas, and is much more fuel-efficient than my car. I didn't realize how skilled Darren is with a butter knife! We decided that it was time to clean the fridge and freezer that evening, because the popsicles were starting to melt. Our neighbors shared some ice with us, so we were able to save milk, the kids' medicine, and a few other things. We grilled the meat that we had in our freezer, and set up a table on the driveway. It was nice to sit outside and chat with our neighbors, something that we don't do too often.

I decided Sunday that I wanted to try to come to my parents' house, since we were all hot, tired, and bored. We drove out to the interstate to get cell phone service, and coordinated meeting my parents in Beaumont on Monday with a generator, fuel, and ice. Darren didn't want to leave, because he wanted to clean up the backyard, possibly try to check on his dad's house in Galveston, and find out about his office. My only concern about leaving was not knowing when school would start again, for both Zach and me. The school district predicted a Wednesday start date, but I knew that was unrealistic without power. I don't want to miss any of my classes, but my college's website is still down, and an email that I sent to my professor was returned to me.

Monday morning, we loaded up Darren's car with clothes for a week, the cat, dirty laundry, and my schoolbooks. It took over three hours to make what is normally a two-hour drive. We stayed off the interstates, and the highway that we took had many, many stoplights. People had a hard time with the concept of a four-way stop, which is the norm. What amazed me on our drive were the lines of cars snaking from the gas stations, and these gas stations weren't even open. I can't imagine going and sitting in a line if I wasn't positive I was going to be able to get gas at that station! Darren was able to check email, and found out that his office had water in it. The good news is that everyone's work computers are laptops, so they weren't in the office at the time.

We met Mom and Dad at a park in Beaumont, since they hadn't seen any open restaurants or gas stations since they had passed the state line. We were all disappointed, because we were counting on getting a hot meal, and Darren being able to fill up his car before heading back to Houston. It was hard to say goodbye to Darren, because I didn't know when I would get to talk to him again. He promised to drive out to I-45 each day to call me, and to come when he had finished with cleaning the yard.

We stopped and ate at Chili's in Lake Charles. They had a limited menu, but I just appreciated being somewhere with electricity and hot food! Radio and text messaging had been our only source of communication with the outside world since Friday night, so it was really nice to see a TV. By the time we arrived at Mom and Dad's house, we had been on the road for seven hours. I called and texted as many family members as I could, to let them know we were all right. We sat out on Mom and Dad's patio and had cocktails, and I felt guilty doing that while Darren was at home without power. We also went and stocked up on groceries before collapsing into bed. I thanked Mom and Dad many times for coming to my rescue!

We decided today to have Zoe's birthday party here on Saturday, since so many of Darren's family members are around. Zachary went with his Poppa to his office, and sold $100 worth of Cub Scout popcorn to the people there. Mom and I took the kids to do some shopping this afternoon, just to get out of the house. We ordered a cake for Zoe, and Zach's cousin Maggie came over the evening. I took the kids to get McDonald's and to play at a local park. The weather is so cool, I am sure that people at home without power are enjoying it. Friends who live on several streets near our house now have power, so hopefully it will come on at our house tonight or tomorrow. Darren spent the day cleaning the house, but I don't know if he had a chance to tackle the yard. My friend Jennifer flew home to Iowa, and I am so glad that she did! She couldn't find gas for her car, and only had a few more miles to empty on her tank.

My mom has started washing all of the dirty clothes that I brought with me, and I plan to spend some time with family and friends this week. It's nice to have a mini-vacation, since I didn't really get one this summer, even though the circumstances aren't the best. I am sure we will have to make up the time missed at some point, and since I am not on salary this year, I won't get paid for this week. I guess it's good that I don't have to pay Zoe's sitter... Darren's company found temporary office space, but I don't know when they plan to start up again. I'd like to get some schoolwork done this week. I was supposed to have a test this weekend, which obviously isn't going to happen now. I can't do any work for my online classes, since the website is down. I also am going to lose another week of working out for my kinesiology class. I just wonder how long it is going to take for life to return to normal, and how big of a financial impact this is going to have?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Over and out

I think we're going to bed. Darren is tired and wants to go to bed, and I don't want to stay up alone. It's much too creepy to be out here, especially if we lose power.

One last thing

In case we do lose power, which seems imminent, please text me if you need to get in touch with me. I do have Internet access on my phone, but have no idea if it will work. I've heard that texting is the best way to keep communication during a storm like this, and there has been a request on TV all evening to text instead of making phone calls. I guess that way more people can use the phone lines?

If you don't have my cell phone number, and want it, send me an email: alanaransley at gmail dot com. I only get 200 text messages a month, and don't want to waste them.

The rain's here

It started to rain a little a few minutes ago, and the lights keep dimming. I think the eye just made landfall in Galveston. Darren and I are thinking about going to bed, but are too keyed up to sleep right now. Maybe we should have made a batch of hurricanes, so then we wouldn't know where we are. We did get invited to a hurricane party at my sister-in-law's, but didn't want to leave the house.

I guess I'll have to drown my sorrows in all of the junk food that I stockpiled today.

Friday, September 12, 2008

No news yet

Well, it's still a normal night here. I heard some wind for a few minutes around 10:30, but there hasn't been any rain here so far. The kids are both passed out, and Darren and I just watched some dumb TV show about vampires, supposedly set in south Louisiana. As usual, the characters had fake, unbelievable accents. I thought it was a movie, and was somewhat upset when there was no resolution at the end.

We've been watching the news on TV all day, and it's becoming mind-numbing. Let's get this over with already. People south of I-10 are losing power, and our lights have flickered a couple of times. I hope that if or when we lose power, it will be during the day. I hate when the power goes out at night, and I'm not ready to go to bed. Plus, I still need to dry my hair.

That's about all that I have right now. More later.

Just received this email

I just figured out how to do links, and Woodlands Online has set up an area of their website where residents can send information or pictures about Ike. The address is here. If you don't live here, hopefully you can find out how this area is doing that way. Also, I strongly recommend joining Twitter (pointing the finger at Mom and Natalie), and following chronhurricane, hurricaneike, trackingike, and redcross. That will give you constant updates from the TV stations and newspapers here.

It still hasn't started raining here, and I am surprised. I expect it any minute now.

Never a good sign...



I just finished taking pictures of our house and yard. When I came back inside, this image was on the TV. Isn't the little hurricane icon so cute?

We should be getting rain soon. The sky is getting darker, and the wind is starting to blow. Both of our cars are safely in garages, and I guess the dog will have to come in soon. Besides that, there's not much left to do but wait.

I guess there's still laundry, and eating junk food, but those don't really qualify as hurricane preparation.

My ears are stopped up, and I wonder if it's from the change in air pressure. It's the weirdest feeling. I hope that it undoes itself soon, because it's kind of annoying.

I am going to post the pictures of our house to Flickr for safekeeping. I am backing up the almost 7GB of photos I have on our computer to the external hard drive, but having them somewhere else as well makes me more comfortable. More later...

Ready for Action!

Well, it looks like the hurricane is going to come very close to us, unless it turns at the last minute. I don't know what else we could do to prepare at this point. We don't have plywood to board up, and we have somewhere around 26 windows, so that's not an option. We plan to spend the night in our office, which was added on from a former tool area in the garage, and has no windows.

Darren came home around 3:00 yesterday. It didn't take him that long to get home from work, which was a relief. We cleaned up our yard and garage, and my car is safely inside. My neighbor left earlier this week, and her husband is stuck in London. We cleaned up their yard, and I think we are going to go and put Darren's car in their garage.

Darren went to the grocery store this morning and bought a few more things, and Zach and I just went back and bought mostly junk food. Knowing the stores are going to close soon makes me want to hoard things, just in case.

I still plan to do laundry today, and need to take a quiz for my online psychology class before we lose power. Fun stuff!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hmmm...

Darren and I decided that we are not evacuating for Ike. The only reason why I would leave would be if we were without power for a few days. In that, case, I will go to my parents' in Louisiana. I can't tolerate the heat, especially with my thyroid condition. Besides, I get really angry, and I don't think anyone would want to be near me.

Anyway, I've done a couple of things to prepare. After going to three different gas stations with ridiculous lines, I managed to fill my car up. The gas station attached to our grocery store probably had a 30-minute wait for a pump. After fighting for a parking spot, I walked into the store and saw the endless lines of people waiting to check out. I walked farther into the store and saw that there was no bread. There were people coming from all directions, and at that point, I decided that it just was not worth it to stay there. I left there, filled up my car, and drove past another grocery store to see how crowded it was. It looked pretty bad, so I went to CVS and stocked up on can goods, crackers, peanut butter, water, trash bags, and toilet paper. We're fine on diapers and formula, and like I said, I have no intention of staying here for several days if we lose power.

Zachary's school is canceled tomorrow, and Darren's dad may evacuate here. My school is closed tomorrow, and I am debating on whether or not to go to class today. I don't want to burn the gas to go to campus and back, and I suspect there won't be many people in attendance anyway. I have about 40 minutes to decide what to do.

Darren is going to hopefully leave work early today. I am afraid that his commute is going to take him several hours; I think it took him 4 for Rita three years ago. We were supposed to have Open House at Zachary's school tonight, and I was going to have a table set up with information for Cub Scouts. I guess we'll have to figure out what to do to change that. I have all sorts of flyers printed up, inviting potential new Scouts to our pack meeting next Thursday. That date is set with our host church, so it can't be changed. Maybe we'll have to invite people for the one in October, but that is the night before our district camping trip, and new members would probably like to attend that. Giving them one day's notice wouldn't be fair, though. I am sure this decision is up to me, but input from other members of the pack would be wonderful. I doubt that will happen, though.

I'll post as much as I can for the next few days. Even if we do lose power, I have an iPhone now, so I should still have internet access. I've heard that text messaging is the best form of communication during a power outage, so I am sure we will be taking advantage of that. Be safe!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Pictures

Here are some recent pictures. I'll get around to putting the rest on Flickr soon, I hope.

Zachary's seventh birthday

Cousin Maggie

Zoe playing with her brother's birthday gift wrappings

Zoe and Poppa at Zach's birthday party

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Bye, Gustav. Hello, Ike!

Where did the last week go? I think I blinked, and it was gone. We ended up having a nice time with our "evacuees". We took everyone out to Market Street on Sunday, and Zach and Maggie played in the fountain. I'm working on uploading pictures; it's been a while. My pictures are all about 3MB, so they take FOREVER to upload. Anyway, Sunday night we grilled burgers, and besides the dog pacing around all night (his toenails clicked on the wood floors), we all slept well. Mom and Dad brought a new air mattress with them, which Darren and I attempted to sleep on, but it was too springy for more than one person. The couch is comfortable, too.

Monday, we decided that the girls would go and check out Houston's new outlet mall. My dad and brother-in-law went to Home Depot and stocked up on tarps and gas cans, in case they couldn't get those at home. My dad confessed later that he had also bought a chainsaw. Five of us girls, including Zoe, drove out to the new outlet mall. If money wasn't an object, I would have had a great time purchasing things from Juicy Couture ($78 sweatpants), True Religion ($178 jeans), and Burberry ($600 trenchcoat). Since I don't have that kind of money, and won't be getting any more teacher pay checks, I didn't splurge too much. I bought some clothes for Zoe at Carter's, and a new backpack for myself at Columbia. At that store, my mom and I each bought a $15 trench coat as well. Mine's red, of course, and I can't wait to wear it!

I thought I was going to have a quiz on Tuesday in my A&P class, so Erin and her family went over to Jamie's to visit Monday night. I studied until after midnight, and of course, we didn't have a quiz the next day. Figures. Our company all left on Tuesday, and they had power at both of their houses. I think they both had minor damage at home, but nothing too bad. Mom and Dad left for San Francisco Thursday, and with the threat of other hurricanes behind Gustav, they left everything boarded up at their house. I talked to my mother in law, who lives outside of New Orleans, and they evacuated to Natchitoches, Louisiana. There was a tree on their garage when they made it back home, but their house was fine. They are worried about Ike hitting where they live now. Darren's stepsister, who lives near them, wasn't so lucky. During Katrina, she lived in an upstairs apartment. Afterwards, she moved downstairs. There is a bayou running right by where she lives, and when she arrived home from Birmingham, where she had evacuated, there was six inches of water in her apartment. Her landlord had already starting gutting it, because that bayou water carries God-knows-what in it.

I feel pretty good about my classes so far this semester. It's a pain to go to my campus class, because parking is at a premium. My teacher feels that we shouldn't work or really take any other classes besides hers. That could be a problem...I'm learning a lot, but it's taking her a long time to cover the material, and she expects us to remember everything from one class to another. On the other hand, my online Psychology class is a breeze so far. My only gripe about it is that some of the people who post things to the discussion groups need some help with their grammar and spelling. I wish I could edit their posts and send them back to them!

I started work this week, as well. I worked two hours on Tuesday and Thursday before I had class, all day Wednesday, and was supposed to work until about 1:00 on Friday. We had our "meet the teacher" yesterday morning, then we were going to have some training. Zoe's babysitter had been trying to get in touch with me since 9:30, because Zoe had thrown up, and Darren finally called me around 11:00. I picked her up, and we spent an afternoon snuggling. She's already been to the doctor twice this week, so I didn't call them again. We went to the ENT Tuesday, and after waiting two hours, he spent about two minutes with us, deciding to put tubes in her ears. Surgery is scheduled for October 13th. He didn't address the fact that she had fever and a green, runny nose, so I took her to the pediatrician Thursday. She had the beginning of an ear infection, so she went back on Augmentin. Today, she has a rash all over her stomach and back. Who knows what is going on with that child?

I'd better go get some sheets back on our bed before one of us passes out tonight. I'm really good at washing clothes, just not folding them or putting them away.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Hurricane Party

We have six extra people staying with us for the duration. Darren's sister called earlier in the week to make "reservations" at our house in case Gustav headed their way. Darren and I started picking things up to make room for company, and the house looks better than it has in a while. My new vacuum cleaner did a wonderful job, too.

Erin, Steven, Morgan and Maggie arrived today noonish after staying up until 1:30 this morning to board up their house. It took them about five hours to get here, which was a whole lot faster than we expected. Zachary is very excited to have his cousin Maggie here, and we had fun today going to Market Street. Zach and Maggie played in the fountain while Erin, Morgan and I looked through the shops.

Mom and Dad really didn't want to evacuate, because they are leaving for San Francisco on Thursday, and they were worried about how their 19-year-old cat would react. Dad spent all of yesterday building a wall across their sunroom, and once a voluntary evacuation order was announced for Lafayette, they decided to come here, as well. They packed up all of their valuables and pets, and left home early this afternoon. It took them a little over five hours as well, and their elderly cat had no idea what happened. They picked him up, bed and all, and put him in his crate. Since they arrived, he has stayed on the couch, with his bed next to him. It helps that the couch belonged to Mom and Dad until about a week ago, I'm sure. The dog is fine, too.

We had a nice evening, grilling burgers and telling stories. Tomorrow, we may try to go and check out Houston's new outlet mall. Even though it isn't the best circumstance, it is still a holiday weekend, and we'll try to make the best of it.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Pathetic

Isn't it sad when you go to fill up your car and you get excited when gas is ONLY $3.36? Of course, the guy at the pump next to me was actually thrilled. He was in Miami last week, and it was $4.78 per gallon. Wow.

The first two days of school have gone fairly smoothly. Some of us are adjusting to our new sleep schedule better than others. Zachary was up until after midnight last night, and was horribly cranky this morning. I thought he was going to bed early tonight, but he and his dad are bonding while playing Zelda on the Wii. It's time for the boys to put their toy away and quit playing!

I have no idea how things have gone for Zachary. In his words, school is fine, and they haven't learned anything. What I got out of him was that they made a picture of their family yesterday, and he drew his sister to look like a cat. Today, they did math, and the teacher told them that there wouldn't be any homework this year. I don't believe that.

Zoe has adjusted all right to her babysitter again. She has come home filthy the past two days, has cried when I leave in the mornings, and her sitter was not putting her down for a nap until I picked her up today. That's not cool, since she goes to bed at 7:30. We came home, and she slept from 3:30-6:00.

I'm not sure how things are going for me just yet. I logged in to my online Psychology class yesterday, and completed the first two weeks' worth of work. I went to orientation for my kinesiology class, and am proud to say that I have worked out for the past two days. I had my first A&P 2 class today, and don't know what to make of it yet. The teacher is obviously passionate about teaching, but we spent class time introducing each other, discussing study skills, and discussing time management. She spent maybe the last ten minutes of class discussing the syllabus, and I have a 5-page homework assignment that involves answering questions about the syllabus. We'll see how this goes! She feels that we shouldn't work or take other classes with A&P; I sure wish I had that luxury! Tests are scheduled for times outside of class, which I find strange. I've blocked off the times of class to be there, but I don't need to be on campus at any other time. I'll have to go in to school to take my tests on weekends.

I am going to my new school tomorrow morning to meet with the teacher of the other three-year-old class. I am excited, yet nervous about this new adventure. I just know I will love teaching without having to worry about grades and TAKS. It will be fun to play with the kids, but I need to feel like I know what I am doing.

Time to go read for class...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Wish I Had Time...

to post a full entry right now. There's so much to cram in before school starts, and I feel like the clutter in my house is going to take over the world.

I've been talking to my teacher friends, and am ever thankful that I don't have to do that this year. We will have to make a lot of sacrifices, like my housekeepers who are coming for the last time tomorrow, but I think it will all be worth it. I get to spend more time with my kids, will be less stressed out and hopefully a nicer person, and in a few years when I graduate from nursing school, I will only have to work three days a week, and make more than I did as a teacher. I am so excited about teaching preschool this year, and can't wait to start!

We went to Zach's meet the teacher night tonight, and he got the teachers that I really wanted. He has several Cub Scout friends in his class, and his first grade teacher is next door to his current classroom. She can check up on him from time to time. Since it's his third year at that school, it really feels like being part of a community. From the time we arrived until we made it to the classroom, it took almost an hour, because of stopping and talking to friends we know. I made a few Cub Scout connections, and will hopefully get some new members. The Girl Scouts had a table set up outside the doors, and I plan to do the same for open house in a few weeks.

Saturday is Zachary's birthday, and we are praying for nice weather. It has rained all week, since it's the last week of summer, and we've been stuck indoors. We are supposed to have a few friends meet us at a pool to swim, and I don't have a plan B. Maybe dinner at a pizza restaurant, or a movie? I just don't want them over here.

Mom and Dad are coming in tomorrow for the weekend, and are bringing us new living room furniture. I posted our old set on Craigslist, and am hoping that someone will come and get it tomorrow.

I am very excited about our year in Cub Scouts. Our annual popcorn sale just kicked off; let me know if you are interested in buying some yummy popcorn. It makes great teacher and client gifts for Christmas!

All right, I need to go work on the stuff lined up against the wall in the dining room. It's mostly Zach's old school papers, and old greeting cards. The good thing is that I am getting less and less attached to it as each day goes by. I'm going in with a garbage bag...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Stolen idea from another blog...




You Are a Coconut Flavored Popsicle



You are easygoing. For you, summer is definitely a time to kick back.

You are a peaceful soul. You shy away from drama and stress.



You are a warm and compassionate. You give everyone a fair chance.

Your tastes tend to be simple. You rather have a few high quality items than a bunch of junk.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Taking it Easy

Since my test Wednesday night, I have been trying really hard to relax and enjoy the free time that I have. I haven't done much housework, or any of the projects around the house that need to get done. Instead, I have been sleeping late and reading as many books as I can cram in. I've also been trying to spend some time with the kids since we haven't done much this summer. Reality sets back in August 25th when school starts for Zach, Zoe goes back to her babysitter, and I start school again. I start work August 27th, and my students will start September 8th. I got my last teacher paycheck yesterday; sniff.

Darren and I went and bought ourselves each an iPhone yesterday. I have been having a lot of fun with it, when I can get it away from Zachary. He is enjoying playing the games that I downloaded, writing notes, and checking the weather. He asked if he could get one; maybe in ten years!

That's about all that I have to report for now. I have laundry waiting for me, along with the contents of our office that I've lined up against the walls in the dining room. I need to deal with that, and the mountain of mail that has collected on the bar in the kitchen. Zoe has a follow-up doctor's appointment this week from her ear infection, we have an end of year swim party to attend Friday morning, and my parents are coming in Friday. They are bringing us their living room furniture, and we have Zach's birthday party Saturday at a local pool. The week is going to fly by, I'm sure!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Don't Wanna Study!

I just can't get motivated to study for my final exam tomorrow night. Maybe it's the fact that we just had a test and practical last night, and my brain is still on overload? The practical was easy, just straight memorization of such fascinating things as parts of the brain and spinal cord, eye, and ear. The test, on the other hand, was not easy. For every test, we receive a study guide from the teacher, with questions to answer. It has taken me up to 12 hours to complete one of these study guides, then I don't seem to have time to go back over it. In addition to the study guide, we are provided with a Powerpoint quiz show that we went over in class only for the first test. Our Powerpoint notes (where the teacher lectures from) are also fair game for the test. It's just a lot of material, and it's almost a guessing game to figure out where the test material is going to come from.

Our final tomorrow night is comprehensive, and I have the test review completed, but I just can't make myself sit down and go over it. A lot of the material on the review seems to be things that we didn't go over previously, so there is probably some stuff that I actually need to learn. I just don't want to!

I've been in this class since before school ended in June, and school is starting again very soon. I just want to take some free time to hang out with my kids, or get some things done around the house, without the pressure of schoolwork hanging over my head. Zach's birthday is in 13 days, and we haven't done much to plan for his party. Not to mention the fact that I am starting a new job, and can't spare the time to even think about it right now.

Let's just say I'm burnt out and frustrated right now. I am supposed to be taking the kids and driving to visit my parents in two days, but I just don't think I have it in me to pack and drive four hours. I think I'd like some time at home to watch the Olympics, do laundry, and take the kids to the pool.

The fall semester starts August 25th, and I am taking 11 hours. Only 4 of them are campus classes, the lovely Anatomy and Physiology II. I am taking a kinesiology class that involves working out in the campus wellness center (probably a very good idea for me!), a psych class that I am retaking for an A, and a communication class for the last 5 weeks of the semester. In addition to that, I will be teaching preschool three days a week, and trying to find some kids to tutor after school at my house. Ah, the life of leisure!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Lawsuit Fodder

I should be going to bed, but just remembered this and wanted to post.

We had a fairly uneventful day. Darren worked at home, just like he does every Friday, and my job is to keep the kids entertained and away from him. Today, the housekeepers were coming, so I had a lot of cleaning to do in preparation for them. Zach also had quite a bit to do in his room. I made him spend the day in there Wednesday cleaning, and found quite a few things shoved under his bed. I took his cable box away, which is my new favorite punishment, and the most effective. The housekeepers came around 1:30, and then I took the kids and left around 4:00 to buy a birthday gift for a party at a local pool this evening.

After shopping, we came home to get ready to go to the party, and the four of us left and went to the pool for the celebration. We had a great time; this is the newest pool here, and it is more of a waterpark than a pool. There is a lazy river, two-story slide, and pool with beach entry and a splash structure. We swam until about 7:30, then ate pizza and cupcakes. The pool closed at 8:00, and we all packed up and headed home.

Zach's party favor was a beach ball. When we got in the car to come home, he started hitting the beach ball all over the car, even though Darren and I asked him not to. He just kept doing it, and wouldn't stop. Finally, Darren pulled over, and told Zach to get out of the car and walk home. He actually climbed out, and started walking along the grass on the side of the road. He was wearing swim trunks and flip flops, and one of his shoes kept falling off. Since this is a fairly busy road, we put our hazard lights on and followed on the shoulder.

Zach probably walked close to half a mile, and every car that passed us slowed down for a look. I wouldn't be surprised if we were in the newspaper tomorrow. We finally made Zach get back in the car, and he was very upset that he couldn't walk the rest of the way home. We explained to him that we had to cross a busy intersection, and the trails near there are under construction right now. We had to compromise and let him run home from the end of our street, and by then, he was a very tired boy! I have no idea if there was any lesson learned, though.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Long Day!

As I write this, there are many unfinished things around the house that I should be doing instead. I have a test Monday and my final Wednesday in my Anatomy and Physiology class, and the housekeepers are coming tomorrow. I have at least a month's worth of mail to go through on my kitchen counter, and the walls of the dining room are lined with the paper contents of the office. I need to go through those and eliminate about half of them. The countdown to school has begun, and I am starting to get that panicked feeling that I always get when I realize all of the things that I didn't manage to accomplish this summer.

This year will be different, though. Zach is going into second grade, Zoe is staying with her same sitter, and I am only working 18 hours a week. In addition to that, I am taking 11 hours of class, and only 4 of those hours are campus classes. I also want to try to pick up a tutoring job, so that we don't go broke. I need to do much better at managing my time, and am probably going to have to let my housekeepers go, so cleaning the house will be added to my plate. Darren and I are both hoping that we don't have to let them go, because that is giving us our weekends back.

What was my point here? Oh, yeah, our day...We started early this morning with a 9:00 doctor's appointment for Zoe. They confirmed that she does have an ear infection, and she weighs 20 pounds, 11 ounces. After the doctor, we came home, and I don't know what I did with my time. We went and visited Zoe's babysitter around 12:30, then met two of my sisters-in-law, my niece, and a friend for lunch at Guadalajara. Celeste, the youngest, is going to LSU this fall, and wanted help with selecting clothes for rush. We walked the entire mall, then headed to Sam Moon to check out their jewelry and accessories. After that, we went to Market Street, and walked around there for quite a while. We finally got home from lunch around 8:15. It was a lot of fun to do that today, though. It's rare to have a day of shopping, and I really didn't spend much money. I came home with two magazines and a grocery pad. Not too bad!

OK, I'm going to go tackle that mail, and maybe eat dinner. Fun stuff. We have a birthday party tomorrow evening, and I need to use my time wisely to study for my test on Monday.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Weekend Photos


Natalie and Uncle "P" at the christening party

Parents and Godparents with Carter

Proud new family

Gammy and Zoe at church

My adorable nephew!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Where Did She Come From?


We've been trying to figure out who Zoe looks like, and where her hair came from. This is a picture of her from tonight, at ten months.



I think the mystery has been solved. This is a picture of her daddy (not sure of the age), but even the hair line is the same.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Pet Peeves

In my advanced age, I have developed an aversion to certain things. If you are guilty of any of these, I am not trying to offend anyone or point fingers. I'm just saying what irks me, in no particular order. I am no Miss Manners, and no better than anyone else, and have never claimed to be!

1. The expression LOL; so many people use it all the time, and it really bugs me. It does take a lot to make me laugh, and I don't appreciate low-brow humor. But seriously, are you really laughing out loud?

2. People who pop and smack their gum. I'm glad you are enjoying it, but I don't need to hear it. My mother was very strict about that growing up, and the irritation has definitely rubbed off on me. The teacher in me wants to approach people and order them to spit out their gum.

3. People who talk loudly on their cell phones in public places. I know you're important, but hang up and be present where you are! I am not the hugest fan of the telephone, and get really anxious when I am ready to end a call, or when someone calls for no reason. I just don't like talking on the phone that much. I must have done too much of it as a teenager. When I go somewhere, I make sure I get off the phone before going inside a public place.

4. Cutesy or incorrect spelling of words. I'm the obnoxious nerd who used to proofread the notes my friends sent me in seventh and eighth grade (Hi Kristen!), and send them back to them. There is no excuse for bad spelling, especially with spell check on the computer. Kountry Kitchen really does NOT look better, and does not entice me to frequent your establishment!

5. People who don't use the signal lights on their cars. Is it me, or do more and more cars seem to come without signal lights? We have a plethora of four-way stop signs here in suburbia, and so few people seem to use their signal lights that it's like playing Russian Roulette any time you stop at one.

6. People who don't RSVP for an event, even if it is clearly marked on the invitation. How hard is it to send an e-mail (my phone aversion) to let the hostess know how many people to plan for? With all of the party places and the limit of the number of guests, it is essential to know how many people are going to attend, since I am sure most people over-invite.

7. The last one, and my biggest pet peeve: women who pee all over toilet seats in public restrooms and don't wipe off the seat. This is happening more and more to me, because I guess more people are afraid to sit on the seat and touch someone else's germs. Because of this, more women aren't emptying their bladders fully, and are getting more bladder infections. Whether you choose to sit or squat, be nice and wipe the seat when you are done!

OK, now that everyone I know has decided not to ever invite me over again, I'm off to finish my research paper. Class was canceled tonight because my teacher is sick, and our test has been put off until Monday. Yay, more time to procrastinate! The research paper is still due Wednesday, and since Darren is now working from home tomorrow (the threat of that storm in the Gulf), I have to give up the cushy chair in front of the desktop computer. I still have my laptop, but it's more comfy to sit here and work. Oh, well...