Taking a Little Test

March 24, 2015

Nora at the beach

(The beach has nothing to do with the test.)

Today was the long awaited day when I took the Colombian princess to a reading specialist for testing to determine if this homeschool mama had just “lost her touch” or if there is something else going on in that cute little dark-haired, dimpled head. As requested upon arrival, I sat at the table with the teacher and my daughter the whole four-hours-when-I-planned-on-getting-stuff-done time. When she initially stated “stay during the testing” I translated that to “be in the house” not “pay attention for four hours.”  My mistake.

So this is what I learned from the testing: I have OCD WAY worse than I originally anticipated. There were crumbs on the table…. WITH the animal flash cards and the blue and white bottle caps used for Morse code. I believe I was the only one who noticed them. Miniature crumbs…. a red hole punch, bread crumbs, half a staple and (gag-reflex warning) a fingernail. EWWWW. Just EWWW!  But my self control is also WAY more advanced than it used to be. Those items are STILL on that table… and I’m not there to worry about them any more.

The plaid and sunflower placemat would have needed to be removed for me to put ten animal flash cards in line. WAY too much going on for this sister. I’m not sure what that means…. it could also be OCD, but visual clutter makes me crazy. Hmmmmmm. This could explain a few mountains I have to climb every time I want to work at my desk.

My auditory memory is quite good for letters and words, but not for numbers. This was a test for an 11-year-old and I knew I couldn’t pass it. A sheet with numbers 1-100 (in order) was placed on the table and she was given three sets of instructions before she could follow the directions. “Draw a line from 27 to 34. Draw a line from 78-79. Draw a line from 17-20.” Bam. That was it. By the time drawing commenced, I could barely remember the last combination of numbers, let alone the first two sets. And math was my favorite. I love numbers. I simply don’t remember them. This may explain why I can’t tell Mr. Wallet how much groceries were upon returning from the store. I don’t know!  Look at the receipt, Mr. Math-a-Holic!

Walking backwards on a balance beam is hard, especially toe to heel.

The good news is, after discussing my case of dyslexia for the first time in history with a professional, mine is a very minor impediment. A one on a scale of 1-5. Which I knew, but it was my very first diagnosis and I’ll be the last number of the 40’s in a few weeks. That’s a long time to go through life knowing something is different and never having discussed it. All my skeletons are now out of the closet.

So the testing was all worth it. We got a two-fer!  2 for 1 and the specialist didn’t even know it.

P.S. Nora did great!

One More Little Addition…..

February 16, 2015

The Before and After Living Room Make Over is so getting close to being done. (My husband thinks it IS done… so this is top secret.) I have fabric and pillow forms to make three more pillows: two for the matching white chairs and one for the bench in the entry. The entry seems stark to me. A little skinny plant stand with a green plant would be so perfect on the far side of the bench. (Remember… shhhhhh.) AND the stairwell never got its second coat of paint. The cutting in is not done at the top of the two story wall in the stairwell either. So my display of large family portraits in black frames that is to hang in the stairwell is still sitting in a pile upstairs… waiting for paint.

BEFORE:

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AFTER:

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The only items I kept were the white chairs. Even though it’s not totally done, I love sitting in there and it makes me happy when I come down the stairs each morning. LOVE.

Happy Birthday, Rickey!

February 15, 2015

Frontier Airlines was having a screaming deal on plane tickets from Phoenix to San Francisco as 2015 approached. A friend of mine alerted me to the $20.15 tickets and I immediately checked the dates they were available. Then I checked the Edmonton Oilers schedule and the stars aligned for my die-hard-Oiler-fan husband. The cheap ticket and the Oilers playing the Sharks in San Jose all landed the day before his 48th birthday! (Yes, the return ticket was a bit more, but STILL!)

rick at sj hockey game

Rick was swimming in a sea of turquoise in the Shark tank for sure!  But, seeing it was Rickey’s birthday and he flew in to watch his team, the Oilers pulled out a win in a shootout…. just for Rick.  It was picture perfect. (In case you are not familiar with the Edmonton Oilers, they are a come back team. Rick has told me this for years. We are still waiting for them to come back. How many first round draft picks will they get before they come back? We don’t know. Jesus may come back first.)

Lasagna and black forest cake were awaiting Rick’s return on his actual birthday. He told me this was the best birthday gift I have ever given him…….  (to send him away from me for his birthday)…. hmmmmm. I think there is oil in his blood.

Happy 48th birthday, Rick!  I love you!

Wedding Planning Extravaganza

January 30, 2015

wedding linens

Today I bring to you just a glimpse of how wedding planning is going for us. Here is the latest phone conversation with the store selling linens.

Me: Hi! I’d like to order a color sample chart.

Store: I’m sorry we are out of our color charts. They should be available end of February or March.

Me: (of course you are out) O.K., could I please order one napkin of each of the four colors we are looking at?

Store: I’m sorry, no, you can’t. The napkins only come in packages of 12.

Me: (of course they do) O.K., What is your return policy?

Store: You can return anything as long as it is unused and not laundered.

Me: Perfect. I would like to order a dozen each of linen napkins in ivory, beige, coral and hemlock.

Store: I would be happy to place that for you. What is the shipping address?

Me: (gives Larisa’s address at school that contains a C.P.O. Box)

Store: Oh, is that a post office box?

Me: No, it is a student box at a college.

Store: Packages cannot be delivered to P.O. Boxes.

Me: This is NOT a post office box. I send packages there all the time.

Store: O.K., but we are not responsible if it is returned.

Me: Fine.

(credit card number and details are exchanged)

Store: This name on the card does not match the shipping name.

Me: (no duh) Yes, that is my daughter, but I’m paying for this.

Store: So the address for the credit card is the same as the shipping address?

Me: No. (I don’t live with my daughter at college.)

(New billing address is given.)

Store: Thank you for your order. Those are pretty colors that will all look great together mixed on the tables.

Me: Thank you. (SERIOUSLY!? Did you forget the questions about color cards and ordering single napkins and return policy questions???)

And the 48 multi-colored napkins arrived in two days at O.R.U., were examined and are now all being returned.

End of story.

Happy 18 Years!

January 27, 2015

As of this past week, we have lived in the USA for 18 long years. Here’s the update on the past 216 months.

We came from Canada with two kids, ages four months and three years. Now we have four kids ages: 21, 18, 16 and 11.

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We have lived in five places since arriving: one month at my parent’s house, 16 months in an apartment, 6 years in our first house, 6 months in a rental house and now almost 10 years in our current house.

Our eldest went to a charter school for kindergarten and grade one. We are in the middle of our 14th year of homeschooling. Now our eldest is a junior in college.

Rick has worked in credit card processing, flying for FedEx, had a janitorial business, a bug business and has been flying for the State of AZ for 14 years now.

We went to our first church for 18 months and then helped start a sister church where we attended for 11 years. We have been at our current church for five years five months.

I have been heading up to Prescott for scrapbooking retreats for 17 years.… but now they are just relaxing retreats.

We have been serving on the board of Arizona Families for Home Education for 4 1/2 years.

We love Arizona, but we do try to be gone for 3-6 weeks every summer. :o)

Hair Donations Galore

January 17, 2015

It was a sad day for me when my eldest daughter decided to donate her beautiful long blonde hair. Yes, it was selfish of me, but there…. I said it. I was sad. I was also proud that she thought of others… and started a trend in our family three years ago.

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I was glad when my youngest daughter decided to donate her beautiful long dark brown hair. Yes, it was selfish of me, but there…. I said it. I was glad. I was the one who had to comb through it and watch her overly dramatic face when I hit tangles. I was also proud that she thought of others… and kept the trend in our family going.

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It was a HAPPY day for me when my eldest son decided to donate his beautiful long blonde hair. Yes, it was selfish of me, but there…. I said it. I was HAPPY. I was also proud that he thought of others… and continued a trend in our family last night!

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I’m not quite sure how I feel about three of my four children being able to donate their hair….. I’m thankful that son #2 told me he would never grow his hair that long.  Thank you, Keeve!

On a side note, we researched the companies where you can send your chopped off ponytails for donations. There are some shady companies out there who sell the hair you send them.  Do your research before you mail your hair!

Living Room Make-Over…. TA DA!

December 24, 2014

We painted our entry, front room and stairwell a brown-paper-bag color nine-and-a-half years ago.  I figured out I didn’t like the poopy color before it was dry….. but there it hung for almost ten years. I was swayed by popular color choices… earthy tones and textures… that I never really liked.  They were just IN. I’m not sure why being IN was a concern for me… it’s never been before. It was a dumb decision, but it is now in my past.

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For more than five years I have dreamed of having a light turquoise room in our home for my own eye candy privilege. There’s something delicious about turquoise. To say that I love turquoise would be an understatement. Turquoise is the color of the ocean and Lake Tahoe and Greece and Colombia… all of my favorite places. Those who know how to decorate and coordinate have cautioned me that it could look like a little boy’s room… and quite frankly I don’t care. I just love turquoise. So there.

2014 was a hard year for me. I have not fully recovered from the March 2013 car accident and then my big slip-in-the-mud-cut-my-knee-open episode in October slowed me down even more. Constant low-grade pain wears on you! I didn’t do a creative thing in all of 2014… and creativity makes me happy. I needed some happy. So, in the dark of the night, when Mr. Wallet had his belly full of Mexican food and he was half asleep, I asked if we could paint the living room. He said YES! What he didn’t realize was that “Paint the Living Room” = “Get New Furniture and Wall Decore and Get Rid of EVERYTHING in the Living Room”.  Heh heh heh….and the scheming preparedness began.

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The scouring of magazines commenced. The collection of paint cards grew. The measuring of furniture and walls happened. And then Mr. Wallet escorted me to the paint department of Lowe’s.  Be still my turquoise-loving heart. Painting began.

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Second-hand furniture shopping began for end tables. Then painting furniture commenced.

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A fabric painting tutorial was watched and then BAM, I was painting fabric like a pro.… an unskilled, untrained pro.

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And more projects were found and purchased at Goodwill.

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The entryway was completed first. I was still in hot pursuit of a white couch for $25… well, not exactly but real close. Mr. Wallet likes a good deal.  A REALLLLL good deal.

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Finally, last night, the white couch from my dreams appeared in my turquoise living room and all is well in my world. Merry Caribbean Christmas to me!

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The maps behind the French doors are my favorite. Their order, however, caused some stress for my 10-year-old nephew as they are not all on the same scale and they are definitely NOT in the correct places. He stood there in shock and disgust….”Auntie Linda, Mexico is NOT under England. And the Philippines are WAY too big and shouldn’t be at the top.” His tone implied, “I thought you were a teacher!” I tried to explain that I picked the maps for COLOR… I like turquoise, remember! And I randomly placed them… because I had to do it from the backside. I did make sure the important places are all accounted for: Canada, USA, Colombia, Maui, Greece and the Mediterranean Sea.

Every morning I descend the stairs and I smile. Thank you, Mr. Wallet.

I Get by with a Little Help from my Friends

December 9, 2014

My handsome husband and I are still in our forties…. barely. By the skin of our teeth, but we ARE!  We were caught off guard this week when we both asked for help with COMMON words that we could not remember. I started the memory-fail game by asking, “What are those things called that come out of the ocean and are shaped like stars?” The confused look on his face lead me to believe he thought I was joking. Sadly, I was not. “Starfish?” Oh, yeah… and we broke out into laughter because laughter is good for your soul.  And after you can’t recall the word starfish and/or you realize your spouse can’t recall the word starfish you need something…. anything that is good for your soul.

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The very next day hubby was at the kitchen table texting someone, looked up and asked me, “What are those things called that go up in the sky and explode in pretty colors?”  …. I looked at him with that same confused look he gave me the previous day and answered, “Starfish?  … or did you mean fireworks?”  And we both laughed heartily again, as this seems to be the go-to response for aging in our home.

And names!  GAH! Really, we should all have our names tattooed on our foreheads, then there would be no need for racking our brains to remember names. I loved it when my boys were little and on hockey teams with their names written on the their helmets on hockey tape. Easy Peasy. My husband and I have an unwritten rule that I am talking with a person and he walks up, if I don’t introduce him, it means I have forgotten the person’s name. Then he puts out his hand and says, “Hi, I’m Rick,” and saves the day.  It works perfectly!

Mothers have forgotten their children’s names for all of history and that is somehow forgiven and thought of as common. When we were recently in the DMV for son #2’s driver’s license, his number was called and he started walking toward the counter without the needed paperwork that was in my hand. So I called him… by his father’s name… and then added, “Or whoever you are.” He turned back to get the papers and rolled his tootsie-roll brown eyes at me. Another mother seated a few seats over laughed and said that she does that all the time with her kids! That didn’t really make me feel better… just commiserated with company.

I won’t even get into trying to follow recipes at the ripe old age of 48. Don’t get me started. Don’t even get me started.

This Mama’s Rules

November 29, 2014

I got to thinking the other day, because that’s what Mamas do. And I realized that every Mama has her own set of rules that her kids are VERY familiar with and can quote back to their Mama. Here are a few of my own examples:

1. “Do not put your bum where food goes.”  Translation: do not sit on the kitchen table or counters. Ewwww.

2. “Don’t shoot your mother.” This one goes without saying. It doesn’t matter what you are shooting: nerf guns, bb guns, rubber bands, the kitchen sprayer, spit wads, the hose, darts…. etc.

3. “You can go play in the wilderness if three of you go together. That way if one of you dies, one can watch the body while the other runs for help.”  Self explanatory.

4. “The loudest child sits in the back seat of the van.” Also self explanatory.

5. “If you ‘call’ something, you don’t get it.” I.e., “I call the front seat.”  You’re now in the back. “I call the last piece of pumpkin pie!” One of your siblings will now enjoy it.

6. “If you put restaurant left overs in the fridge without writing your name on it… you may as well kiss it goodbye.”

7. “If you are in the kitchen and the trash needs to go out, it is YOUR turn to take it out.”

8. “Ask dinner guests three questions about themselves and then you may leave the table.”

9. “Always look people in the eye when you speak to them… and SMILE.”

10. “If and when you say ‘I’m bored’ I will find a chore for you…. every time.”

They are straight forward and have worked for years.

What are your personal rules???

Oh the Wonders of Anesthesia!

November 28, 2014

My husband, who shall remain nameless, but whose initials are Rick Crosby, had surgery on his old, decrepit knee on Tuesday this week. He’s been wearing a knee brace to play hockey for eight or nine years, ever since a catastrophic skiing day with our family in Canada. Finally two weeks ago, he completely tore his ACL and limped even with the brace on until this week.  Now he snores on the couch while his polar pack keeps his elevated knee nice and chilly.

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The night after surgery is ALWAYS entertaining with this man. I should know. This is surgery #5 for us. Our children found his erratic comments highly entertaining and I scribbled them down as fast as I could so we could read them to him in the morning…. AND for your reading pleasure today. Here you go!

(He is wearing a full-leg support stocking on the non-hurt leg.) “Why is my white leotard dirty? Lin, how come it’s dirty?” I explained that he kneeled on the floor in the van to get his heavily medicated self into the vehicle for the ride home. “Well that carpet in the van is FILTHY!” (Not really.) I told him that we have another one that is clean for him to put on later. “Oh! I have two pair. Is it two pair or two pairs? Two pair. Two pairs. Do you know, Lin?” (He only has one pair.)

(To our two teenage boys) “What did you guys do today? … I had surgery!” (No duh!)

I asked Rick if he needed some pillows to prop himself up. “Yeah, some pillows or a hockey bag.” (How comfortable!)

“Lin, are you getting my pain pills at CSV?” (It’s called CVS.)

“Can I have some more pizza?” I explained that he couldn’t because he was supposed to take eating slowly after surgery. “I am going slow! It took me forever to eat those two pieces!”

(While I’m at the store….) “Nora, just bring me a piece of pizza and I will pay you a dollar. Your mom’s gone. She won’t know.” (Nice!)

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(We were having a party dinner for Nora because it was her Gotcha Day, four years since she joined our family.) “How come everything is purple?

(Nora started opening her gifts.) “What is taking her so long?” (It had been eight seconds.) “Someone help her!… Keeve, help your sister!… Is she almost done opening her birthday presents?”

(Nora opened a purple headband.) “Is that a halter top?” (Oh my!)

I wanted to take a picture of Nora and her Daddy for Gotcha Day. When I finished, Rick asked, “Who else wants to get their picture taken with me?” Both boys said, “No, I’m good!” Rick yelled, “Keeve get over here!” So we have pictures of the boys both laughing so hard as they get their pictures taken with him.

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“I’m really hungry. I haven’t eaten for 20 hours.” I reminded him of the two pieces of pizza he just ate and told him to drink his water. “I will! Holy smokes, this straw is HUGE!”

“Hey…. um… are the Oilers playing tonight?” (Edmonton Oilers, his favorite hockey team.) Austin replied sarcastically, “Yes, and the score is two to three and Gretzky just scored!” (Gretzky hasn’t played on the Oilers since the early 90s.) “The Oilers SUCK this year!” (He would NEVER say this, even though it’s true.)

I suggested that Nora go share a purple Tic-Tac with her father. “Yeah, I won’t choke. I’m good!” (Sure you are, honey!)

“What day is it?” Tuesday. “It’s cheap night at the theaters!” (You’re not going anywhere, Superman.)

What year is it?” Austin, again, sarcastically answers, 1987. “Hey, that’s the year I got married.” Then he looked around at the three kids with this confused look on his face and said, “I must have had insta-kids!”

Our daughter called from Oklahoma to enjoy the festivities surrounding anesthesia. Her father explained all about Lady Mary Crawley from Downton Abbey and how she is the tall one with dark hair who is grieving because her husband died. (WOW!)

Then our daughter’s boyfriend got on the phone and Rick asked when he is coming to visit. He replied December 26th. “Oh! Boxing Day! That’s the day before wrestling day, but you’re not supposed to do that until you’re married!” (What in the world???? I apologize on his behalf, John.)

And the entire night he kept asking, “WHAT is so funny?”  You are, dear. You just can’t make this stuff up!


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