Hi there.
This is me...a happy wife, mom to three awesome boys, teacher to two of the aforementioned boys (we homeschool), chauffeur to karate, archery and all sorts of other activities, former scrapbooker and founder of the 
Good Grief Blog.
Life is good.



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It's been unseasonably warm here. It's weird. We finally started our holiday prep but it doesn't really feel right. 

Anyhow. On Saturday, we went to our annual tree lot to pick out a tree. It was about 60 degrees and sunny. Jackets and coats weren't needed. Strange.

After getting the tree loaded up, I gave the boys a choice. They could go see the Santa in Old Town, let me take their picture with the dancing Santa at the tree lot, or let me take a picture of them with the inflatable Santa at the tree lot. Here's what they chose:

Micah was not pleased with his brothers' horseplay, but I love their smiles in this one. :) (Don't worry. I also got a picture with all three of them smiling.)

Sunday, then, we finally put up our outside lights. Again, it was warm. I set the older two to wrapping the trees:

Micah helped Nathan with the lights along the fence and around the door. Then, Asher, Micah and I helped Nathan put the lights up over the garage and along the gutters...with Asher up on a ladder...

...because this is how Micah feels about ladders:


We'll wait and put out our inflatables next weekend so that they're not out quite as long. 

So, that's that. We'll decorate the tree tonight or tomorrow now that it's set up in the front room. Got the New Year's cards ordered, almost done with our shopping, all that good stuff. Noah's last finals are tomorrow and the younger two and I have one more week of homeschooling before we take our winter break. Before Christmas, we also have the First Lego League state tournament (and a couple more team meetings before that), another JOAD tournament, four appointments for boys (hair and eyes and such), a demo team performance and get together, a couple dates with friends for me, a couple date nights for Nathan and me, and looking for a second vehicle so that we can get to all those things easier. Whew.

(In the meantime, I'm realizing a couple things...1) For all that Nathan sometimes talks about wintering some place warmer once boys are older, I don't think that will work for me. It just wouldn't feel like Christmas, lol...and 2) I must remember that putting up the tree in the front room always messes with my homeschooling--as now I need to reorganize everything or wait another week before pulling out the decorations. Note to self: move all the homeschooling stuff over Thanksgiving break so that it doesn't get interrupted when we get the decorations out.)


Thank Thursday

Ever the optimist, I'm choosing to focus on the positive today. :) Also. I didn't do any sort of gratitude recording in November, so I figure I'm due. Here, then, are ten things I'm thankful for today (in no particular order):

1. The Great British Baking Show. While he was sick over Thanksgiving, Micah started us watching this show on Netflix. Apparently, there have been eight seasons, but we've only watched four. ;) We actually really enjoyed it...as British humor is awesome and baked goods are yummy. Along the way, we also very much appreciated how *nice* all those Brits were and the diversity of backgrounds represented.

2. Contacts. The week after Thanksgiving, at their own request (and on their own dime since we'd just gotten new glasses in August), Asher and Micah went in to switch to contacts. The first few days were a bit rough...getting used to the process and convincing them to not shut their eyes...but we've got it down now. They're both so happy to be able to see clearly now during karate (before, they'd just taken off their glasses for class). (Also, I find it weird that all three boys have prescriptions where both eyes are identical. Does that seem weird to anyone else?)

3. Three Musketeers. Last Saturday would have been my dad's 68th birthday. As I did last year, I handed out Three Musketeers bars in his honor. This time, I handed out 68. :) It mostly went really well and I definitely love doing it...but I might need to rethink handing out that many. It got to the point where I was walking around the mall trying to hand them out...and realizing that people were maybe a bit suspicious of me and that maybe I should not give them to children, lol. Still. Fun tradition that I think my dad would have loved.

4. People who share news. I've been meaning to say something for ages now (well, at least a year), but THANK YOU to those--particularly in my Facebook feed--who take the time to share relevant and thought provoking articles and information. I don't always post or respond, but I utterly appreciate that you're there and that you care enough to keep sharing. (I'm sure I can't name them all but am thinking especially of Aimee Moiso, Elizabeth Stuart Perry, Lyndy Latta, April Undy, and Paula Sacks. You ladies rock!)

5. Grandma Christine. We're sad that we can't be there with everyone to celebrate (the party is right between Noah's finals--and I think Noah's the only grandkid or great grandkid who's actually in school right now, such that finals schedules are a factor), but we're so thankful that Nathan's grandma will be able to celebrate her 90th birthday this month surrounded by family and friends. 

6. My new curling wand. It's silly, but it just makes me happy. ;) Big thanks to my awesome hairstylist who recommended I try a wand instead of a traditional curling iron! It's sooooo much easier and quicker. I don't think I've really curled my hair since college, so it's fun to play with...and makes my purple highlights stand out more. (I get bored with my hair fairly regularly...and it's been long for awhile...but I like it long. So, it was either start doing stuff with it or cut it, lol.)

7. New bathroom sinks and faucets. I'll post pictures once we get both completely finished, but Nathan's been a dear and is replacing our master bathroom sinks and faucets...which we've been wanting to do since we moved in 13 years ago, lol. It was a bit of a headache actually getting all the necessary things (and wasn't really in the plans for right now anyhow (long story...)) but will be lovely when it's done. :)

8. College applications done. Okay, technically, Noah finished his college applications back in October and has already heard back from both and is accepted and happy and all that. But, the follow-up to those applications were the Honors Program applications for both schools...which he's been working on finishing since October. Yesterday, before switching gears to study for finals, he finally hit the "submit" button on both of them and can now breathe a bit. :) He'll still be filling out scholarship applications for months, but it's another thing off the list.

9. Auto insurance. On Tuesday, Nathan was in an accident. No one was hurt (thank goodness!), but he rear-ended another driver and had to have the car towed. We found out today from the adjuster that they're deeming the car totaled. (It's an older car in the first place.) Bleh. Looks like we're going to have to shop for another vehicle...which doesn't sound fun. (It took us a good while the last time before we finally found this car.) On the plus side, though, I'm very thankful that we have insurance, that we have the financial flexibility that this isn't a disaster/emergency for us, and that our schedules are such that we can manage as a one car family for awhile (though it means I'm chauffeuring Noah to and from classes again, I'm choosing to look at it as more time spent together). I'm also looking at it as a learning opportunity for our two teen drivers, lol. 

10. Ferris wheels. They're not the most exciting rides, but I really enjoy them. I like the different perspective you get when you're at the top and the necessary "down time" where you just have to sit and enjoy the moment. Earlier this week, we finally popped over to the new Scheels store just to see what all the fuss was about. Loved their huge aquarium and walking all around but definitely enjoyed the Ferris wheel the most:

Nathan and I rode together...

...Noah and Micah rode together...

...and Asher got a seat all to himself. :)

And those are ten things I'm thankful for today. :) How are things going with you?

Wednesday Why's

Random questions on this grey Wednesday...

- Why don't all the delivery people ring the doorbell when they leave a package? I totally understand that some people have signs asking that you not ring the doorbell. But. If I don't have such a sign, is it too much to ask that you take the second to push the little button alerting me to the fact that there's a package so that it doesn't sit outside for hours at risk of being taken? I've been fortunate so far but know people who have had packages taken. And, for the most part, someone is always here to grab the package. Just saying.

- Why aren't there hooks on the walls near the sinks in more women's bathrooms? There are hooks inside the stall doors (usually)...like they *know* we have a purse or jacket we don't want sitting on the floor. Doesn't it just make sense that we don't want to set those same things on the floor when we're washing our hands?

- Speaking of public bathrooms, why is there that gap in the toilet seats? Seriously, is there some secret purpose I don't know about? No toilet seats in private bathrooms have that gap right up front...why are they there in public bathrooms?

- Why can't I order things online right now (or, say, on Cyber Monday, for example) and have them set with delayed shipping so that they don't ship for a couple weeks? I like to get my shopping done early and really appreciate being able to have things ship directly. But I don't want packages to get there too early. Would it really be that complicated to let me take advantage of prices and convenience *now* and then set the shipping date for later?

- Why don't they print those giant award checks on some sort of sturdy *rollable* material? They could then just tack them to giant foam board for the pictures but the recipient could much more easily roll it up and take it with them. (Just thinking about that article I shared yesterday about Nathan's company's big win. Leith had difficulty trying to figure out how to fly home with that big check...that they really wanted to be able to display at the office. He managed, but the giant check took a bit of a beating.)

- Why don't visors in cars have an optional flip down sunglass screen? For us short people, that would be freakin' lovely. The visor often doesn't block the sun for me...having a visor sized sunglasses-material screen to flip down would be awesome.

Okay, I'll stop. :) (I should go be productive or something, lol.) Seriously, though, if you have any answers to these Why's, I'd love to hear them!!


The last two weeks...

Went quiet there for a bit. Sorry. Here's a quick run down of what's been happening...

- Micah and Asher wrapped up the last week of our second session of homeschooling. Thanksgiving week was our "off" week. They both also had karate and continued helping black belt candidates in their training and checks.

- Just before Thanksgiving, Micah got sick and shared it with Nathan. Micah saw the doctor this morning...who reiterated what I'd already been saying--he's no longer technically sick. He's been fever-free for days, his ears and lungs and such are clear, the congestion is greatly decreased. Given his annual battle with croup and his continued smaller stature, his throat is simply too small and is, thus, irritated from the coughing of last week (which has meant much less eating and drinking which is part of what spurred the doctor visit finally). Given his age now, though, the doctor won't give him the steroids typically given for croup so we're just waiting it out. Fun times. Mostly he's just angry about not being able to talk, lol.

- Noah had classes, his annual well check appointment and JOAD practice. He didn't have anything over Thanksgiving week, but picked up Micah's cold recently so missed his first two classes today.

- Asher had his second on-street driving session and remains my sole teammate on Team Healthy. On Thanksgiving, while others were concentrating on napping and breathing, Asher and I went on a 5K walk:

- Given the sickness and the general lack of enthusiasm I was met with this year, Thanksgiving here was very quiet. We ordered pre-made food and picked it up Wednesday night and ate it over the next few days. On the bright side, I didn't overeat at all, lol. 

- The Saturday after Thanksgiving, Noah and I spent another day with Habitat for Humanity. The weather cooperated much better than last time and we got to help frame in the upstairs of a duplex!

Do you see that? Together with 6-7 others, we framed in the exterior of that whole second floor. First we assembled each section then we stood them up and braced them all. It was pretty fun...and rewarding to see the progress.

(Great day...but...by that night, Noah had started the downward trend, healthwise. And, I'd jammed my right index finger during boot camp earlier in the week so had that taped up. But, it's hard to hammer without your right hand, when you're right handed, and I ended up overcompensating for my finger such that now the rest of my hand hurts. Still. Totally worth it.)

- And, yesterday, Nathan (being finally mostly over the cold) flew to San Francisco with his fellow founders to meet with investors. He arrived home late last night/early this morning and things are looking good on that front. In fact, here's a quick article about their company and how well it's doing. Yay!

So that's pretty much what's been going on here. We're back to homeschooling and normal activities for the most part, though Asher and I are the only ones really operating at full capacity. Healthy thoughts to all!!



So. Asher's not a huge fan of biology this week. ;)

After putting it off as long as he could (assisted by the chilly weather of late and my preference for doing this outdoors), yesterday was finally the perfect day for dissecting!

As stated, we set up out on the back patio, with Nathan assisting and me reading us through the process. We sliced that froggy open and identified the various systems and parts. And this is what Asher thought of that:

But. It's done now. 

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