Monday, September 21, 2015

O turned 9, and we did stuff.

I kid you not when I say that Olivia is the best thing that has happened in my life. This girl is so full of personality and spunk, I can hardly keep up with her. She talks ALL. OF. THE. TIME. and she is perpetually overflowing with interesting things to say. She is bursting with ideas and energy, she even overwhelms herself at times. I love her more than words can say. I don't have enough arms to hug her with, I can't kiss her rosy cheeks enough and I never tire of her spirit. This girl is unique, and I get to have her in my life.

Pinch me, how did I get so lucky?

Wow..... what a sweet girl.

My girl turned 9. The other day she was arguing her case about something and told me, "I'm almost 13." Not yet dear, not yet. Let's just get through 9. 9 means 3rd grade, it means "late-overs", and it means being able to stay home alone while I run a quick errand.

It also means a birthday party to celebrate!!!

I have to admit that I didn't go all out with her party this year. Aside from last year, ALL of her other birthday parties were a really big deal. There was a great theme, we had cool decorations and games and I had planned it for weeks in advance. O wanted to do an "Into the Woods" themed party this year and she had some very, very creative, and mostly plausible ideas of what we could do with it. I was totally on board, and then.... I just didn't really feel like going all out. Her invites weren't as cool as years past and I was feeling embarrassed about how I was going about the whole thing. AND THEN.... I realized, it doesn't really matter all that much. She's going to have a good time because she gets to be a part of planning it. She's going to remember it because her friends came and they had a good time. So, I decided to pause, and I made an effort to chill out and quit fretting. Granted, I came to that conclusion 30 minutes before the party started, but hey, I did it!!

O had a great time. She got to dress up, she played with friends, she ate pizza and drank root beer. Life was good.


I have NO IDEA what is going on here, but the look on A's face is enough to 
creep me out for decades. She is such a funny kid. 

The kids discovered the photo BOMB and they took so much 
delight in bombing every single picture they could.

Okay, it is just silly to have a princess crown on an archer, right?

I dressed up as a witch and sent them on a quest to find "magical" objects.

A has the squeaky pig.

A piƱata is a birthday tradition in the Hill family. 
Here O takes a whack at the evil monkey.

H pauses to let me take a picture.

Another thing we do to celebrate birthdays at our house is have a nice dinner out. This year O chose to invite my BFF, Genny, as her guest. I bring this up for two reasons, one, it is relevant to this birthday post and two, G let me know she felt she wasn't featured enough in my last blog post. So, here are some pictures from our dinner. It took many tries to get a decent pic and I'm not sure which one qualifies as the "decent picture." :p

O is THRILLED to have strawberry and blueberry syrup.

O and her bunny ears. She's always doing the bunny ears.
Okay, G's smile is the same in the following three pics. I'm waiting for O to give me a smile 
and she is getting increasingly bored with my attempts to get one.

Finally G is done too!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Pictures are fun to see

We've keep ourselves busy this year with a lot of fun and different things. As I was looking through pictures I realized, I haven't taken very many this year, compared to years past. I can't believe I've missed some of our stories. If there isn't a picture, it didn't happen, right? Well, at least in my brain, that is the unfortunate truth. 

One day in the Spring, we went with a few other families to a children's museum in Annapolis. The room that kept the kids occupied the longest was the doctor's room. There were some really cool things in there and I'm not at all surprised it held their attention as long as it did. See, even my mom friend D is engrossed in an X-ray.

Here, O is giving us a truthful representation of how it feels to sprain your ankle.

Sometimes, this little bug of mine falls asleep in my bed and I can't resist 
taking a picture to document that she's still.

O was CONVINCED she had successfully eaten her broccoli. She was just as CONVINCED we were wrong when we told her she had to eat more than the little bushy tops.

My cousin visited DC and we were lucky enough to have the pleasure of her company for the afternoon. I've lived so far away from my family for so long, I've come to really miss being a part of their gatherings. My UT family is always up to something and it's fun to be in the know.

O wanted me to do this, I promise.

I turned on the oven and discovered a cheerio had somehow made it's way inside.
The result.

This spring, we finally made one of my dreams come true and we bought chickens. It took a decent part of once evening to construct their indoor coop. 

The original 5. 
Only one of them is still alive. Our yard isn't very chicken friendly.

This kid of mine. 
Don't YOU chase YOUR chickens around in YOUR cape?

We added 7 more babies. None of them survived.

We actually used our trampoline.

Truth be told, we went to 6 Flags a lot this summer. I was bent on making sure we got our moneys worth from the passes we bought last year and hardly used. So, we were weekly visitors. Okay, not really, but it averaged out that way. We were there 4 times in one week and I was really happy about that. In the Spring we went with the K family. One of my favorite things about R, of the K family, is how sweet she is with my girl. It melted my heart to see them hold hands during the day.

One fun 6 Flags adventure we had in the Spring was with a friend from school. She taught O in 1st grade, I volunteered weekly in her classroom and I've thought of her as a friend ever since. She finished her Masters Degree and was moving in the summer. I'm so happy she was excited to go to 6 Flags with us. She is a huge roller coaster fan and it was a lot of fun to spend time with her there. Yep, there is O and her ever predictable photo face.

On The Nightstand
My Story, Elizabeth Smart by Chris Stewart and Elizabeth Smart
Okay, I've been fascinated by this story ever since it broke. I was living in Salt Lake City when it happened and she was found not too far from my house. Anyway, I've kept tabs off and on through the years so when it was a selection for my friends book club, I decided to read it. What I've been curious about the most with her life, is how she went on. What she experienced was HORRIFIC and, now she is living a "normal" life. AMAZING!!

It wasn't until the very last chapter, of course, that she addressed my curiosity of how she did it. I'm not going to lie, it was hard to read. Her experiences were gut wrenching and abhorrent. I am glad I made it to the last chapter because her explanation of how she made it through and is living today was worth it.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, by John Berendt
Meh.... I'm trying to get into it. I started reading another of his books 4 years ago and didn't end up finishing it. I'm going to give finishing this one an honest effort. I'm not convinced I'll have it done in time for book club, but.... that's okay.

O - You need to shave.
L - Ya, why did you steal my razor?
M - To Shave.
L - Why didn't you shave?
M - I couldn't bend over. (This was after I hurt myself on a ropes course at girl's camp. This conversation occurred over a week past the end of girl's camp.)

On the way home from Girl's Camp, I had sweet A in the car with me.- I'm sorry I'm not being funny right now.
M - It's okay for your funny to take a break.
A - I'm trying not to be too prideful about being funny. 

O Speaks
M - Bahhhh!
O - What?
M - Brain freeze.
O - Oh, I don't get those.
M - You will.
O - No I won't.
M - Yes you will, everybody gets them.
O - Jesus didn't get them.
M - Jesus never had a Slurpee.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Pet Care and Dead Fish

I started blogging regularly just over a year ago, mostly for my Mum. I wanted her to have access to our lives, and my thoughts. Her eyesight wasn't that great, but it was good enough for her to enjoy the pictures and stories. Once she passed away, I let go of my goal to post every week. Before long, I noticed I missed organizing my thoughts and putting them "out there" for the 20 people who read my blog. I'm not sure I'll write weekly, like I had, but I do plan to write more often than I have been.


I wish, more than anything, I had saved the source of this comment. I was reading an article about mental illness and could really relate to what was said. I look forward to a time when our society and the medical world will have a greater awareness and understanding of what it is like to have a mental illness. I think effective treatment will increase and there will be a lot less needless suffering.

"Cancer vs. Mental Illness? I read this in a ListServ email. It was written by a woman who has experienced both:
"People tell me how brave I am for fighting cancer. Cancer has great PR, but the hardest thing I’ve done is overcome mental illness.
"When you have cancer, mostly all you do is show up: the doctor’s tell you what to do and where to be and you go and they manage the rigors of treatment. Meanwhile, you are surrounded by the support of those around you, labeled a fighter or a warrior or a survivor, and you fight the battle with those you love around you.
"When you have mental illness, you have guidance – which is often limited – from your doctors, you manage most of the rigors of your treatment – including figuring out what is going to save your own life – on your own. Meanwhile, you can’t tell anyone about your disease – and, if you do, you risk being yelled at, ostracized, judged, beaten, spat upon, abused, and raped. (Many of those have happened to me.) Your treatment, if you end up in the hospital, may include practices that the UN calls torture."

I LOVE my DBSA group. I look forward to our meetings because I am with people who know what it's like to have a mental illness, because they have one too. 

"I've seen commercials of family members holding dog tags reminiscing of their loved ones. I wonder if my kids will think "Branch Davidian" as religious preference was as funny as I thought it was? You really should have seen the face of the guy typing it in when I deadpan told him it wasn't funny, I was serious."  Eric Forrest, Veteran

We had PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Reading for College and Careers) testing this week and it was..... a challenge. First of all, I don't know anything about this test or its importance, but during the training, it sounded like a life and death test, FOR THE TEACHERS, not necessarily the students. We had a lot of computer issues; students unable to login, students being kicked out of the test, computers unable to load the pages. One of my teachers was the most stressed I have ever seen. Then again, knowing some of her students inability to follow simple directions like, "don't press this button until I tell you to." AND, then the student says, "this button?" and presses it, I can understand her anxiety. However, we made it through the three days of testing. 

Here is the one thing that made me laugh out loud. The timing really couldn't have been any worse. A fish died. Now, I realize that may not sound like a big deal, but some of the girls next to the tank noticed it, just before the test started. There wasn't time to take care if it before the test, so I told them to do their best to ignore it and we'd take care of it afterwards. Well, I didn't know fish were CANNIBALS!! During the test, the other fish in the tank were pecking away at their poor, dead buddy. It was DISGUSTING! Thank goodness the students near the tank were capable of ignoring it. 

That's Just Embarrassing
So, I have a pair of pants that have developed an unreliable zipper. So sad. One day, I walked around school for.... I don't know how long, with my zipper down. Sigh.... 

O Speaks
My Dad is coming to visit before long and we are going to vacation with him. We have 2 hotel rooms reserved for our trip.
M - "O, you can sleep in Grandpa's room if you want."
O, who had spent a week with him this summer, - "I kind of have to tell you, Grandpa SNORES..... I couldn't sleep. I was the worst day of my life."

O - "Mom, can I play with C?"
M - "No, it's time to get in the shower?"
O - "What?"
M - "Ya, it's 6:30."
O - "Daylight savings SUCKS!"

We've been living in our house for 2, close to 3 years, and we haven't painted or done anything "fun" with it. One of my things to do this year is to paint a room, so, when we had some snow days, I decided to paint O's room, and set her up with matching decor and bedding. I started my project while she was on a playdate. So, she was surprised when she came home. AND, she let me know, she HATED the color I had chosen and was very obvious about it. (Oh, to be an only child.) It wasn't until another day, when she was away and I finished it, that she came home to the grand reveal. THEN, she told me it was the kind of pretty she liked. She came with me to pick out the rug and the piggy bank and now she feels like she's decorated the room.

Speaking of snow days, we've had a lot of them, and when it snows, we are stuck at home. Fortunately, our snowblower is working this season so we we're not stuck for long. O had so much fun getting sprayed. 

We also spent some fun on the sledding hill. She was pretty daring and went off a jump twice. 

The other day I swept under the sofa and found these treasures. 
Traces of O.

O has been trying to get customers for her pet business. She will petsit them and/or groom them. She has created a blueprint of the shop she hopes to open at the top of our property. I love the blueprint. If I could find it, I'd take a picture and post it, it's really well thought out. My favorite part of her building is the "time out" room for the animals. 

No one really takes her seriously, which makes me sad because she is very serious about it. 

I joke with her perhaps it has something to do with her marketing brochure. She doesn't think I'm funny.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Just a bit

Go Navy!
This week I made it to another Navy Women's Basketball game. They have a really young team this year as a lot of their star players graduated last year. It's been fun to watch them go through the ranks. They have a lot of promising Freshmen and Sophomores. What is most fun for me is now O is old enough to understand a lot more of what is going on and she really gets into the games. I complained about the referee missing an obvious foul. O asked me what she missed and I showed her. SO, for the rest of the game she would say, "Oh my gosh, LOOK AT THAT! They missed that foul." I just love that kid. She is a mini-me in so many ways.

My little group has been active for nearly 2 years and I still love being a part of it. Our last meeting was great. I always feel so uplifted and encouraged. We've been around long enough that we have some regulars and some history. For example, our first December, a young person came to the group. They were in a really, really bad space. They had to come home from college for treatment and, they were just struggling, period. I didn't see that person again and I was really, really concerned about them and wondered how they were doing. Well, they showed up recently, at a meeting. It was AWESOME to see how they were doing and how much had changed and how they were being healthy. It makes all of the times I don't want to go, but do go because I'm the ONLY one in charge, worth it.

O Speaks
I was debating wether or not to leave O alone at home while I ran a quick errand. (It's legal now.)
O - "If you want, I can have a frying pan right next to me. I could go WHACK." long pause, "I have rope."

O, while praying,  - "Please bless Dad in whatever the hell he does."

M - "Hey, did you hear me?"
O - "Yes."
M - "Really? Because you're not acting like it."
O - "I'm not death."
M - "Wait, say that again?"
O - "Death."
I laughed too much at that to call her for being sassy and disrespectful.

Walking out of school, O - "Mom, I have cramps."
M - "Oh no! I'm so sorry. Do you need to use the bathroom, are they the "need to poo" cramps?"
O - "No, they're cramps", she holds her stomach and bends over a little bit, "You know, girl cramps."

Quotes from 5th graders
"There is a magical thing that makes math class obsolete, it's called a calculator."

"Did you know that dog's ears go all the way to their brain? My brother is a Boy Scout, so he knows."

Casey's Mom right after Casey gave birth to her daughter."You just gave birth to your best friend."

On the Nightstand
All of the same books from my last post are still on my nightstand. I haven't been reading as much as I would like because I'm catching up on my TV shows. I'm finally caught up on Bones and Agent Carter.

Things are a movin' and a shakin' around here. We had boundary changes last week and during the meeting two of my friends were texting me about all of the changes. I will be changing buildings to meet with another congregation. One of them said, "The church is still true right?" I told them I was going inactive. :)

I'm most sad about leaving the building with all of the friends I've known since I moved here. We're friends regardless, but it's different when you don't attend the same worship service.

Today was our first meeting in our new ward and all went well. We had a buffet after the service so we could mingle and get to know each other. There were a ton of familiar faces and people I'd worked with in the stake, so that made it nice. I'm curious to see how O assimilates herself.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

O-isms and conversations

O told me she made up a new world for Cinderella's sister. It is called Candyworld and her sister's name is LiquorElla. HA HA HA..
Me - "Do you know what liquor is?"
O - "Yes, it's short for licorice."

We were in the car and I asked O if she had her library book, we needed to return it. We heard from the backseat,
LT and I looked at each other and then laughed loudly and O was confused.
O - "What?"
LT - "Do you know that's a curse word?"
O - "No, Mom says it all the time."
Me, shrinking, "Oops."

O said, "What the hell," once again, oops.

I noticed a gray hair on O's head. When I told her she said, "I must have been stressed."

O is officially bilingual. She is fluent in her language, trean, /Tree-an/. She frequently babbles and then tells us what it means. Ask her about it the next time you see her. :)

One day I let O know I was going to be grumpy for the few days because I was going to start my period soon. I let her know if I got upset it was because I had PMS. Well, a few days later, LT and I were having an intense conversation and O piped up, "Dad, it's okay, she's going to start her period."

At school, her class has been learning ALL about businesses and she has been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug. She's created her own business called, The Pet. She offers grooming services and pet sitting. She's made adverts and has hit up lots of people. So far, we have one customer who is going to have her 2 dogs groomed. O is trying to get some of the teachers at school to take her up on it. I just love seeing her explore and move forward with her ideas.

O has started earning money and she is learning it's value and how to manage it. One day this week she shoveled our driveway without being asked and was surprised and delighted to be paid for it. Naturally, she wants to spend her money, so we've been to 3 stores looking for the My Little Pony toy she dreams of. Since we didn't find it at the stores I told her she could buy it on eBay. She won an auction and went BONKERS. It was one of the funniest moments. She said she couldn't sleep because she won.

I rediscovered some videos and this one is from a Christmas Eve. We record and talk about the year. I laughed and laughed so hard at this.....
O has a problem.

On the Nightstand
Year of No Sugar,  Eve O. Schaub
Even though the title itself is enough to cause me nightmares, I am really enjoying this one. I'm halfway through and I can confirm, the author has a great sense of humor, which helps when you're talking about decreasing and eliminating added sugar from you life, and a decent writer. I know I'm a sugar addict, and it's sad. However, I am making big changes with what I purchase and what I eat. What I really want are recipes.

The Price We Paid, Andrew D. Olsen
This is about the Willie and Martin handcart pioneer companies. I didn't know they were two different companies, I thought they were only one. Anyway, as I read the stories and journal entries of the people who walked across this nation, I keep wondering, WHY did they do that? Would I really commit to something that sounded so grueling? It sounded miserable, and yet, members of the company write of how blessed they are. It's a good read.

The fiend and the Forge, Henry H. Neff
This is the third book in the Tapestry series. I like that I can't predict everything in the story. It will be fun to see where the mysteries lead.

I still like it. The kids are fun, and challenging and fun. The teachers are good people and I love that I get to spend time with them. There may be changes in the future at Monarch there is a possibility my position as a Grade Level Teaching Assistant may be eliminated. I'm torn about the possibility. I really like working where I'm at AND it couldn't be more convenient, but the purpose for the shift is a good one.