Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Every year at Ethan's school they have a Spring Fling fundraiser. It's my favorite one. There is no overpriced wrapping paper or frozen pizzas to buy. Just a good old fashioned fun day for these kids. This year the theme was the Oregon Trail. They got covered wagon rides, watched a rodeo demonstration on roping cows, learned to line dance (I really wish I could've seen that) and played carnival game. Oh, yeah. And the fundraising part is a walk-a-thon. They walk around the school several times.

Anyway, they always end the day with a series of tug-of-wars between the grades, and the winning class of each grade gets the traveling trophy for the year.

This is serious business for Ethan. So here he is, fighting with all his might. And, please, zoom in so you get the full effect of how hard he's working here.

But...they lost anyway.

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Monday, May 26, 2008

It's Not You, It's Me

I think I may have been avoiding you. I don't really want to, and I'm not sure why, but I am. I went back to work two weeks ago, and while I like it very much while I'm there, I'd rather be home. I guess I knew this before I went in, but I thought it would be a good opportunity to bring in some extra money for my family, and also help out a friend who needed a replacement after she had her baby.

It really should be getting easier this week as John is done with school now (except for preparing for his online summer class that starts in two weeks). But my Gertie is already picking John as favorite again, and that just hurts. Bad. That didn't start until the very end of this 3-month gig the last time. He must be a good daddy.

Last week was hard because both Ethan and Gertie were sick. Ethan had a bad cold that had been going on for a couple weeks. Started out as a sore throat, turned into a cough. By Monday evening he was having a coughing fit every ten minutes. Gertie woke up from her nap on Monday a little clingy, but that isn't that unusual. By Tuesday morning she had a fever but was behaving fine, but since I had made an appointment for Ethan I thought I'd have her checked out as well.

Ethan was diagnosed with a sinus infection and allergies. She put him on Zyrtec and he woke up a new boy. I just couldn't believe it cleared it up that fast. Gertie, on the other hand, was diagnosed with an ear infection. This is only her second, compared to Grace, who had many, and Ethan had a bunch too. But anyway, her week only went downhill. I stayed home from work on Tuesday and sat with her on the couch. There was no getting up (at least not without taking her with me). She seemed to get worse and worse. On Friday she was still running a temperature, and her eyes were pink and watery, runny nose, sneezing, coughing. I called the doctor and she prescribed Zyrtec for Gertie as well.

She is doing so much better. We had a pretty good weekend. We didn't go anywhere, though. In fact, Ethan came into my room on Saturday night before bed and said:

What are we going to do about Memorial Day?

What do you mean?

We always go to Yankton to the cemetery on Memorial Day.

(This is somewhat true. We go to Vermillion's cemetery to visit John's dad's grave. I tried to tell Ethan this, but he didn't believe me for quite a while.)

We just didn't get back there this year.

Why not? Is it because of the price of gas and the taxes? I saw on the news a story about the price of gas and taxes. Everybody's worried about it. Is it because of the price of gas and the taxes?

I just love that kid. He is so darn cute. He looks just like his dad.

This year was a whole different deal. We worked on our yard. And trust me, there is still plenty to do. I'll have to get some pictures of it up here, but for right now my rear is stuck to the couch at 6 a.m. I've been waking up so early. I am talking like 5 a.m. It is kind of nice because the house is so quiet and I can catch up on whatever and do my Bible study in peace and quiet. The down side is that I falling asleep at 8:30 or 9:30 every night.

Well, Grace heads off to tour the capital today, and then her first day of play practice. It is going to be a very long day, as they aren't supposed to return from the capital until 5:30, and play practice starts at 6. But it will be a good day.

Gertie is going to play with Elizabeth and her kids. She's our sitter. John has some training classes for the internet software they use to teach with. I'm glad he's going. Maybe this will help him be even more efficient and use all the goodies they have to offer for that internet instructing.

It is a trial week for me. We'll see what kind of drama enters the courtroom today. Sometimes a good story unfolds before my very eyes.

Monday, May 12, 2008

I'm Back

Okay. Here I am. I am not sure why I haven't gotten to blogging in such a long time. I mean, I have a few reasons. Like how I had a trial transcript order, so much of my free time (which is usually very early in the morning or during nap times) has been spent sitting in front of a computer, but editing transcript pages instead of blog pages. Well, I guess that's the only reason I can come up with. Anyway, I am back and ready to write.

I am updating backwards in time because I loaded these pictures up in the wrong order, and I don't want to change it now.

This is my Junior Great Books group at Ethan's school. I go in once a week and we read and discuss stories from those books with these kids. I love doing that and I absolutely loved this group of kids. A main idea behind Junior Great Books is to encourage a discussion about the story whereby kids share their differing opinions on why characters behaved in certain ways, or things along those lines. I've been doing this since Grace was in second grade, and it is often hard to get them to have these types of discussions. They are very much in a raise-your-hand mindframe. And they talk to me, not to each other. And as many times as I remind them and try to get them going and wait through awkward silences, sometimes it just doesn't work. This group, though, they did it. They got it. We had lots of great discussions and I'll miss them.

Then I have a few pictures from last week, which was my last week before working full time, even though I did work on Thursday and Friday. But we went to another park and Gertie had a great time. Some other family brought their sand toys (Why didn't I think of that?) and Gertie just jumped right in. We had another little friend that I was watching that day, and on the way home we stopped to pick some "flowers." They had a great time. And I had a great time.
And even before that, my step-sister Kristal came to visit her dad, and we snapped a quick picture. It was fun to see her again.

So, now that the picture gallery is over, I want to think back over the last couple weeks.

My dad and step-mom had given us a gift certificate for Ruth's Chris Steak House up in the Cities for Christmas. For some reason, that seems to be quite the undertaking for us, to get a date night in that involves a little travel, but finally, in May, we got it done. Grace stayed overnight with a friend because of the church talent show, which she'd been working on a skit for. We took Ethan with us and dropped him off at my sister's house so they could attend Hunter's hockey game. Ethan was excited to do that, and I was thankful for them agreeing to add one more to their brood. Then we stopped at my mom's place so she could watch Gertie. My mom had taken every picture she could find on the internet of Gertie, printed out big 8x10 copies, and taped them all over her house. Gertie was everywhere! When we pulled up and mom came out the door, Gertie cried, very excitedly, "My Grandma! My Grandma!" We left her there and raced off to dinner.

It must have been prom night for many high-schoolers, because there were many young people dressed to the nines (the very skimpy nines, I might add). It made me look to the future, not all that distant any more, and decide to set my standards NOW! Anyway, the food was delicious. John said he'd go back for the mashed potatoes alone. It was a very nice, classy, and expensive restaurant. We were watching our budget pretty closely with this gift certificate. And we came very close, too. The only thing we didn't factor in was the $18 that we paid for water to drink with this meal. Imported straight from Italy. It was good water.

We had a great date, and we laughed a lot about the water.

We picked up Gertie, who had been having a great time with Grandma. She was hiding (her face only) from us, giggling up a storm, when we came to pick her up.

The next morning I had to take a court reporting test. I guess I didn't have to take it, but I'd like to have these particular letters after my name, if I could. This isn't the first time I've taken it. And I don't think it will be the last. There are four parts, and I've passed three of them. The only one I'm stuck on is where two people ask questions and give answers to each other for five minutes straight at 225 words per minute. I can't seem to get it. I am certain that I don't prepare like I should, but often, when I'm practicing right before the actual test, I am getting everything just fine. It is my nerves that kick in the moment it is a test. My fingers just don't do what they should. So that is discouraging, but I'll keep trying.

Then I returned to my sister's home where we celebrated my step-dad's birthday. It was a good day visiting my family, whom I just don't see often enough, even though they're only two hours away.

On Grace, a couple things: First, we got an invitation in the mail for a presidential honors luncheon in honor of all students who maintained straight As all year. Grace is on that list, and I've already arranged to have that day off work so we can attend together.

She had also tried out for another play, a more quality production through community theater, and made such an impression that they changed a part from a son to a daughter to get her in. She is quite pleased, as are we. They are going to be doing South Pacific. We need to go rent that movie now so we know what she's in for.

Also, she worked this last week on a presentation about dams that she needs to give in science. She works quietly and quite hard on her research, and then she declares she needs to create a model of a dam. Her father and I helped a bit in finding places to haunt for materials, but then she just takes over and goes about the business of building a dam. John took me out for dinner last night, and I was reflecting on this girl of ours. I am so proud of her devotion to her studies and her independence in conquering the big tasks. She tested her speech on us when we got home. I was impressed. She knows her stuff, and I got an education. I think she said that China builds 1000(?) dams per year, and the rest of the world put together builds 225. She is talking about hydro-electric dams. I hope I have those numbers right, but at the least, China is powering ahead.

Ethan, on the other hand, keeps mentioning to us that someone gets $20 for all As on his report card, and would we do that if he got all As. (Which he basically gets anyway, except they don't do letter grades in our school system for kids his age.) We just aren't into that. Not when it comes relatively easily. I am going to look into taking him to this banquet so that he can see what kind of an honor Grace receives for her hard work.

Gertie is my Gertie. I am crazy about that girl, and I eat up every minute we have together. But she can really test me sometimes. She taken to sprinting off in a dead run (the toddler version, of course) when I ask her to give me something she's got that she should have. She's laughing and giggling and running the circle of our home. Sometimes I can't believe how long it takes me to catch her. She goes to the no-no chair, where she does actually become sad, but so far it doesn't deter her from the original sprint. She loves to be outside now that the weather has warmed up (sort of). I love that crazy-haired kid.

John starts finals this week. Ethan sings in the end-of-year concert on Thursday and then Grace plays cello in an orchestra concert that night. We are finally having a gathering of the friends who helped us move into our house a year and a half ago. They are coming over on Friday night. I am excited for this. It's been too long since we've had people over, it seems. I'm ready.