(Well, I wrote this last Tuesday but saved it as a draft with high hopes of being able to find and edit some pics to go with these. But of course, time has ticked away, and it's just not happening. I've been working in every spare moment again, so I'm falling behind in everything else. So...rather than keep this as a draft and never posting it, I'm going for it—pictures or not!)
Things have been hectic lately.
Of course, things always seem hectic around here, but lately it has been ridiculously so. My workload finally picked up again (thank goodness), and the faucet is back on full blast. My kids are starting to complain about my frequent evenings and weekends working at the library or local book store, and I am feeling the effects of less sleep and less time (after the kids go to bed) to do the fun stuff—creative stuff—that keeps me sane. Anyway, I find myself with an hour or two free this afternoon, as I am in a holding pattern on a few projects and, frankly, can afford a short break. So I'm treating myself to a long-overdue blogging session.
So here are a few of the things keeping us crazy lately. (There is something personally satisfying about writing down little snapshots of our life as it happens. After all, next year—heck, even next month—this will be history (quite literally), and our life will look much different. Maybe this will make its way into a scrapbook some day.)
- Soccer! I love soccer season. I really do. Both of our kids played this season, and Chad coached E's team to boot. So we were at the soccer fields four or five days a week for the last eight weeks or so. This was E's first season ever playing an organized sport (I don't count swim lessons), and our shy little girl really had a ball on the field! She's a great example of how sports can boost confidence in young kids, and I was so happy to see her running down the field and dribbling the ball, giggling as she kicked much of the time. She was simply joyful. And that made me joyful.
I was reminded once again how good Chad is at being a coach. He is patient, fun and complimentary to the kids, and he always, always, always just plays to have fun. We never talk about scores with the kids in either baseball or soccer, and honestly, with the exception of G, they never ask. (G's a bit competitive!) And the kids just love him. The parents do, too. He always gets tons of compliments at the end of a season from parents who were relieved to have a coach that wasn't brutally hard on the kids or demanding and competitive. The kids have fun, the parents have fun, and Chad has fun. Can't go wrong there, right? Makes me proud to be his wife.
Tonight is G's last night (trophies), and then we're done for a few weeks before basketball (for G) and swimming (for E) start. So farewell, soccer 2009. We'll be back next year!
- Our lot! Well, after a couple of years of dreaming about our next home and many months of seriously looking for a new lot on which to build our next house, we finally found it. We closed on the lot at the end of September, and we are SOOOO looking forward to building! Unfortunately, that will not be for two or three more years, as we save some cash for the down payment for the house (just about went broke after putting the down payment on the lot). In the meantime, though, we still get to enjoy our property. It has about an acre and a half of woods (plus about 3.5 acres of grass) that need some attention, so we've been spending some time out there, trimming choking vines away from our big, beautiful trees and clearing paths through the woods so we can make our way to the (mostly dry) creek and enjoy all the state-park-like woods have to offer. The kids have absolutely loved being out there, playing with dirt and rocks and trying to climb trees. They get along well and get some fresh air in their blood. It's a wonderful thing. Still, there is a ton to do, so we'll be busy for the next couple of years. I am craving the solitude and silence living in the "country" will bring. (It's officially part of an eight-property subdivision, but it feels like the country!) Now, I just need to find the strength to be patient as we save, save, save. It's not going to be easy! But it will be worth it!
- School. School always keeps us busy. There are field trips and events (like today's Pumpkin Run) and open houses and after-care programs and HOMEWORK and so on. Homework, we're finding, is ridiculous for a second grader. G spends so much time every night on his homework -- mostly either a reading assignment or math assignment PLUS spelling, vocab, reading for fun for 20 minutes, reading his AR book (over which he has a test each week), preparing for at least three (if not four) tests plus unannounced in-class quizzes and graded assignments each week. It's exhausting, even for me! We enrolled G in an after-care program a few weeks ago so I could get a few hours of my workday back, and I'm not convinced just yet that it's working for him. He loves having the time to play after school (something he didn't get when he came home to our house instead, because I need to work the rest of the afternoon), but he's not getting that one-on-one (me and G) time for his homework that he used to get at home. He does have an hour dedicated to homework at after-care, but in a setting with all of his friends, he doesn't do as well. He's too concerned about finishing first than he is about studying and understanding what he's reading. His grades are starting to show it. (He's still doing well...just not quite as well as before.) So we'll have to change something soon, probably. Not sure what the answer is. With school, after-care, dinner, sports, baths, evening reading and bedtime, there's really not time to have him do his homework AGAIN when he gets home from school every day. Too much for a 7-year-old, if you ask me.
And, of course, our school seems to be a pro at scheduling days off for the kiddos. Next week, G has three days off - two for fall break and one for parent/teacher conferences. So of course my work schedule gets screwy, and I'm forced to work in awkward chunks of time again. Still, I'm thankful for a flexible work arrangement and understanding clients!
- Animals. With five animals (two dogs, three cats) in the house, we expect there to be a vet visit or two on occasion. But we've been spending FAR too much time and money at the vet lately. Poor Molly (our 9-year-old Labrador retriever) has been going every month for weight checks and general wellness checks, due to arthritis, a thyroid condition and a special diet she's on to help her lose weight. Then last week, she got very sick. She scared me, actually. That was the first time I really thought we might lose her. And it's technically still not over yet. After lots of tests, the vet said there were no crystal-clear answers, but the most likely diagnosis was a bleeding ulcer. Worse, it could be the beginning of heart failure. She went on a rice-and-cottage-cheese diet, Pepcid and a medicine to stop the nausea sensation in her brain. She has a borderline enlarged heart, fluid on her lungs and fluid in her abdomen. Her heart is working much harder than it should be, and she's having trouble catching her breath, even though she does essentially no exercise. So her age and overweight body frame is doing a number on her. It's too bad, too, because just recently, she was doing incredibly well. She was getting her old spunk back, going with us for walks and running down the sidewalk to greet people—things she hadn't done in a LONG time. Now, she's lethargic, sad and energy-less. She's nauseated, plus she's in pain. It's likely her arthritis medicine that caused her bleeding ulcer, so she's off of it until at least Friday. Then we go back for a check-up and for them to decide if she needs more tests to see if they can find a definitive cause (whether or not it's absolutely heart failure). Breaks my heart to think that she's so sick. But she does seem to be doing better the last couple of days, so we are holding on to hope that she'll pull through just fine. (She could still use a prayer or two, though!)
(UPDATE - Sunday, Oct. 18: We went to the vet on Friday for a check-up, and Molly is doing much better! She's back on some pain meds -- a different one, though -- and her symptoms have waned. So she's looking good! She got a great report from the vet, and we're so, so happy to have a healthy doggie back! Plus, she's lost more than 12 pounds since she started her weight medicine, so she only has five pounds to get to her goal weight! Good news for Miss Molly! Feeling much better about things now!)
Maddie, our three- or four-year-old Lab mix, has some sort of issue, as well. I'll spare you the details of part of it, because they're not pleasant, but in a nutshell we think she has an allergy that is causing her to chew and lick herself nonstop. She has chewed between her paws enough to wear the webbing raw, actually. We need to get her back into the vet for another check on that. There has to be something more to it than what the doc said originally (again, I'll spare you).
Lucy (our calico cat) has three small sores of some sort on her head and neck, too. So SHE needs to go in as well. But she and Maddie don't get along very well, so we'll have to take them on separate visits! I think we need to take stock in our little animal hospital/vet office.
- Photographers' Workshop. I was lucky enough to get into Karen Russell's Online Photographers' Workshop, an nine- (10- if you count the week intermission to allow people to catch up) week class I have been drooling over for a long time. And yet, with everything else going on, I'm finally in it and I'm WAY behind. UGH!!!! I am learning a lot, though, and squeezing in the lessons where I can, so it's been well worth it. I hope to get the assignments done in a timely manner, but it's not looking good. I think I might have to skip a couple of the ones about concepts I'm very familiar with (aperture, shutter speed, perspective, etc.) and just start in the middle if I ever hope to get everything done! Makes me sad to get behind (I hate that!), but with work and everything else lately, it's been challenging. Still, it makes me happy to download and print my new lesson each day, and I have enjoyed catching up when I can. I just love her photography style. And even though I took my fair share of photography courses in college, there's still so much I have to learn. It's definitely a process, not an accomplishment, to learn to be a better photographer. I'm finding -- rediscovering -- that I really have a deep-rooted passion for photography, so it's thoroughly enjoyable...every minute I can soak in.
- Friends & Family. Unfortunately, this is not taking as much time as I would LIKE for it to take lately. I feel like we are moving at 1000 miles per hour, and we don't have time to stop and breathe and get together (or even talk, for that matter) with friends or family as often as we'd like. There are a bunch of friends on my list whom we haven't seen in ages, and whom I miss. I want to get better about making time for friends this winter, when things hopefully slow down a little.
Well, that should do it for now. Sometime soon, I'll share a couple of new digital scrapbook pages. However, they've been few and far between. I did get a few pages done for my priest, who retired this month. Hope to find some time to share those.
More later...and hopefully in a more timely manner than the last several posts have been! (Hope to get another digital scrapbooking tutorial up, too. I've been thrilled to hear from a few friends who have been inspired to give digital scrapbooking a try. Want to make sure they get hooked while they're still thinking about it! :o) )