Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Little House on the Prairie

Last night was some good ol' fashioned family bonding time at our house. Please do not read this as "every night at our house is blissful, peaceful, and full of love". That is.not.true. Tired kids + long school days, does not usually equal bliss. Anyway...

Gage has been working on earning his religious emblem from Cub Scouts. He will earn a medal to wear on his uniform to proudly display his Catholic faith. Well, not display his faith...more his commmitment to his faith? Eh. You know what I mean...

Last night's lesson, was designed to reveal the talents and gifts of our family. Gage and Claire prepared paper "treasure boxes" for each member of our family. They were passed around the table during dinner. Each person wrote something(s) on each treasure box. Something special about that person. A unique gift, talent, or something generally pleasant about that person. I know the rest of you do this on a daily basis, but in my house words often fly that aren't so kind. "You chew too loud." "You wrecked my stuff." "You're the worst brother/sister ever!" Ouch. Be glad that NEVER happens in your home. It can be painful. Anyway, it was awesome to watch them give such thought to what they were going to write. Which didn't even compare to the smiles when each person read his or her own treasure box!

This is probably mostly for the grandparents. I'm sure most of you have stopped reading by now and clicked back over to passive-aggressive "Bragbook". But for those of you still hanging in...here are some pictures documenting this moment at our house.

Gage deep in thought, writing pleasant things....

Our sweet girl. When did she get so mature?

Yay! This if fun! I love being part of big kid activities!

Boo! This is dumb! I'm irritated that someone needs to help me! I quit!

Smiles all around while reading the "treasure boxes"!

The smile we love and treasure!

The signatures that mark the activity "complete"! This is where Garth called me a picture taking crazy person! Ummm...hello? This is supposed to be a self esteem BUILDING activity? Good thing I considered that a compliment!

Friday, April 15, 2011

A Few Random Thoughts

I was driving down Jennings Rd. yesterday. The garbage truck was making stops in front of me. At one particular stop, a man was waiting to help load his garbage. There wasn't a crazy amount, maybe 4 bags. Anyway, my first thought was how nice that was that he went out and helped. However, after mulling that thought over, I began to wonder what was in those bags. He picked one particular bag to heave into the truck. I'm pretty sure it was a dead body...what else could it have been? So if you leave near Jennings Rd, and you're missing a loved one, I would check with the sanitation people.

Also, made a trip to Walmart yesterday. Hate trips to Walmart, but I had promised ice cream sandwhiches to Claire for her class treat, and was hoping for a "rolled back" price (insert cute yellow smiley face). I did a little bunny shopping as well. Gage is getting harder to make a basket for. Everything he likes is more expensive. Legos, video games, legos, and more legos. However, for Claire I found this cute little Barbie baking set. Cookie sheet, mixer, etc...all Barbie sized! Perfect tiny set for a basket. I was reading the back of the package as well, and you can also get a cleaning set for Barbie. *Gasp* Are you saying that because Barbie is a woman, she has to do all the cooking and cleaning? I am shocked the liberated woman (For the record, it looks like too much work to be liberated.) haven't jumped all over this one. In fact my first thought, as the sets were only like 6 bucks, was "I need to own all these. In their original packages. They will be collectible someday." OK. But that was that crazy recessive gene that pops up occasionally. The one I try to temper. It comes from my dad's side. So I told myself, you already have enough crap in your house without trying to keep track of where you put Barbie's "collectible sets". Barbie's gonna have to keep track of her own clutter...So I came home with my one set. Still not sure that was the right thing to do...

The Hunt family is proudly displaying a building permit in the front window! After (literally) years of contemplating what the next big project at our house will be, we settled on expanding the deck to join it to the pool. When we bought this house, it wasn't going to be our forever house. However, the economy says we will be here for awhile. Honestly, we have 3 acres and I think we've gotten pretty used to that. We have several great neighbors. Except the ones about 4 doors down, with all the cars. They're pretty obnoxious. It's pretty quiet out here, and we've got our space. Yeah, we have to mow it and we don't have a great street for walks/bikerides, so we just save that up for when we visit the cabin. So, needless to say, we have a list of projects ( I guess more fairly, *I* have a list of projects) that can be done over the course of several years, to give us a little more room and change things up a bit. The kids are very excited to have the deck by pool, and I think we'll use the space much more. I'll try to post pictures as they become available.

I think all the sickness and disease has left the building! Phew! Bring on spring! Real spring. Not this crazy rotation between 80 and 40 degrees..

Monday, April 11, 2011

Welcome to the Twilight Zone

Not much creative inspiration, but just thought I would update things a bit. Since I last blogged, we celebrated Brady's 4th birthday, dealt with Gage's strep and reoccurring strep, my strep...and then our girl's weekend to Chicago.

So fortunate that Claire stayed healthy to enjoy city life for a couple days. We really managed to have fun on the cheap, other than the trip to the American Girl doll store. Fortunately, Claire's b-day is Thursday, and she had been graciously gifted some spending money from her adoring grandparents/aunts/uncles...so that was very much helpful. So it worked out nicely to make Chicago her birthday trip. The hotel we stayed at, Four Seasons Sheraton-downtown, was very nice. Still can't believe we got such a steal on our room. Over 1/2 off the regular rate...bonus! Amtrak tickets from Durand (great alternative to leaving out of Flint) to Chicago were again crazy cheap (especially with the gas prices right now). When we arrived in town we bought 3 day bus passes, instead of having to taxi around. We were able to go anywhere we wanted, all for one price. Buses were safe, clean, reliable, and efficient. Hit the Chicago Institute of Art on "Target Free Thursday". Good thing, as Claire wasn't overly impressed by all that fancy stuff. It had been a long day of travelling. If you want anymore tips on seeing Chicago on a budget, I would be happy to fill you in on where/how I got the deals! I love, love a good deal!

However, all good things must come to an end. Brady has been a bit under the weather for a few days...and is just a bit "punky" today. Little bit of a fever and just not himself. Claire came home sick from school...(sigh). I will be very much happy when we can all stay healthy for a week. It will happen someday...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Just another day in paradise...

Today definately ended a bit differently than I would have predicted at 7am this morning. We were up in plenty of time to visit my grandma, run errands, go to church, or any combination of the above. However, as we were reading the paper, Gage pititifully (is that a word?) announced, "I don't feel very good." In all honesty, I should have seen this coming. He had been complaining off and on for about 4 days. "My nose is really snotty. My throat is sore. I didn't sleep very good last night." But, as it always goes, life keeps moving and the tough, brave kids keep rolling along with it. Gage is that kid. It takes a lot to knock him down. He has never taken an antibiotic. He misses very few days of school. He just keeps keepin' on.

So I look at him this morning, after the announcement, and he just doesn't look well. So I do all the mom stuff. Quiz him about how sore his throat is, how bad does his tummy feel? He eventually throws up a couple times, falls asleep, and just hangs out on the couch. Garth is trying to convince me that he's throwing up because of all the drainage, etc. I, however, all day am hearing this voice whispering "Strep. Strep." Why do these voices whisper on Sunday afternoons?

After googling "strep" upsidedown and backwards, I was thoroughly convinced that's what we had and decided to take him to urgent care. Well, long story short, he's got strep. Bad news, all the pharmacies in the burbs close at 6 on Sundays. I didn't feel like driving into the city tonight. A carjacking would have really wrecked our day. So we will be at the Meijer pharmacy in our jammies (well, not really) bright and early tomorrow morning. At least I won't have to spend 1/2 the day dragging my poor sick boy around town for a diagnosis. We got that part out of the way!

Good news: Made 1 of 3 curtains for our back door/windows. At least I got something done today. Oh, and picked up Gage a new bike. That was actually the errand we were planning to run as a family today, but it sounds better to say we bought him a new bike because he came down with strep throat!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A bit of a conundrum...

I'm at a bit of an impasse. In my family when something irritating occurs, see where you're at after 24 hours. Is it still making you cringe, or have you moved on? So dear readers, all 11 of you, what would you do?

I had the pleasure of accompanying my 3rd grade son on his field trip yesterday. Said trip was to Rollhaven in Grand Blanc. The trip is $4.00 and advertises that the 3rd graders will be joining the 2nd graders, therefore having a chance to say "Hi" to their teachers from last year. The 2nd graders will have a chance to meet the 3rd grade teachers, in preparation for next year. Awesome.

Here's the thing, in a dark, NOISY rollerskating arena, ain't nobody meeting or talking to nobody. What you have instead is about 250ish 7-9 year olds running CRAZY...CRAZY. Here's the other thing, the arena doesn't just have rollerskating. There is also laser tag and a jump house (think Micky D's playland) at an additional cost of $3 each. ALSO, there is a minature Chuckee Cheese area. Games can be played for 25 or 50 cents each, and tickets are spit out to redeem for prizes. (((sigh))) There is also a snack stand if a field tripper wishes to purchase a snack.

Here is my problem. If you pay only the $4 for your kid to attend, they will just be skating. Which is great. Although, my estimate would be, at least 1/2 the children appeared to have little interest in skating. Most were mobbing the games, buying candy/ice cream, hanging from the bounce house, and engaging in rowsing battles in the laser tag room. These kids were pumped full of cash before they left the house in the morning. Gage and I stood in line at the change machine and watched 2 kids change $10 bills for quarters. (That was in the 5 minutes we were in line.) WHAT? Who gives their 2nd/3rd grader that much money for a field trip? Maybe the intention was they would use part of it for a snack. Clearly, that wasn't happening. Makes me wonder how much money was spent total by all the kids...

Anyway, the kids take this field trip in 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades. It seems to be some sort of a reward for March is Reading Month. Or as my dad says, a nice break day for the teachers. He's allowed to say that. He retired from the trenches. I personally think they could be a little more creative. If you're not a rich kid (here we would say if you don't live on the lake), you're at a clear disadvantage on this trip. I think they need to figure out a way to level the playing field, or put the old cabosh on this one. It's a stupid, dumb trip. Yes, I'm swearing. Please don't show this to my children.

So the conundrum is, do I write a carefully worded letter to the powers at be? Or do I just let it go? Weigh in with your thoughts, or send me an email. If you totally disagree with me, that's OK with me to. Just putting out my feelers. Cuz you know, if I write the letter, I will be further classified as "freak mom". Oh look, it's one of those crazy religious/conservative lunatics that plans to shelter her children from everything until they rebel into a crazy frenzy and start drinking soda and watching Sponge Bob and are never heard from again....Whatever. It's hard trying to be a mom that gives a crap.

Friday, March 25, 2011

It's All About Perspective

We watched a real tear jerker on tv last night. You know, one of those where you can just feel the pain of the family coming through the tv screen. Here's the cliff notes version. After a recent job reduction/layoff situation, a family of 6 was choosing to move from their 7500 sq ft...errr...musuem?...I mean, house. Anyway, they were downgrading with a budget of $400,000, somewhere in TX, I believe. Right? Truly heartbreaking...

They were clearly rattled by laminate countertops, brass fixtures, and oak kitchens. A first floor master was a must. They also couldn't stomach the idea that their master bathroom wouldn't be connected to the bedroom. A step out into the hallway appeared to be a deal breaker. They finally did choose a 3300 sq ft house with potential. He had a background in construction.

I'm really not being fair. They actually seemed like a very nice family who had learned a valuable lesson in materialism. They were choosing to cutback. They appartently ended up cutting their mortgage in half, which was their goal. What the heck would a mortgage payment be on a 7500 sq ft house? Insurance, taxes...can you imagine?

But, like I said it's all in your perspective. We become so used to what we have everyday, what we "deserve" that's it's sometimes hard to adjust our thinking. My biggest complaints about our house are: no walk-in closet, laundry room is actually a closet, and a 4th bedroom would be handy. Which are all ridiculous to someone living with their family in a 1 bedroom apartment, or worse yet, having no home at all. I know we're fortunate. Our house is very comfortable (and affordable!) for our family. We truly don't need anything more. Anything more than what we have would be a luxury, not a necessity. (Don't tell the HGTV people, but I have laminate floors (gasp!), no granite (ewwww!), and...hold on for this one...no double sinks (I am being serious!). Our house would never make it on House Hunters. People would faint as soon as they walked in the door.)

So, I guess dreaming of a larger, more luxurious house can be fun. But sometimes, it's better to look around and appreciate what I have. Which usually leads to dreaming of future projects...plus, I hate cleaning. There is no way those commercial stoves and theatre rooms clean themselves...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A few random things...

So I heard on the radio this morning, two planes had to land without assistance yesterday, I believe. Apparently the air traffic controller fell asleep. That is ONE job you can not fall asleep at. Someone get that man/woman a Red Bull!

Gage's Little League practices start in two weeks. Do you think the ground will be thawed about by then. I hope summer is just as warm and sunny, as winter was cold and snowy!

Topic that came up today: For those of you who are interested, pluggedin.com has great reviews of movies, and how appropriate they may or may not be for your family. They give a nice broken down review with the positives and negatives. Basically written from a parent's perspective. I believe they review other media as well, but I've only used the movie reviews. I'm a bit of a nazi. Pretty much if I haven't read the review, we aren't watching it! It's amazing how you forgot some of the content in the movies we watched growing up. "PG" was apparently used more loosely in the 80s!

Just a few things I had thought of! Enjoy your day!