Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Girls Room Redo REVEAL!

Finally! Here are the photos of the finished product. I am really pleased with how it turned out...

What do ya think?

The player is a little small, but if you click on the link you can go to the actual Picasa site and click on 'full screen' and then you can see the pictures much larger, if you so desire.

Monday, June 29, 2009

It could all change in a second.

I was going to post the 'Girls Room Redo' after shots today, but something happened last night on the way home from my BIL & SIL's house that just won't leave my mind. We saw a motorcycle wreck on the way home. It was incredibly disturbing and served to remind me just how fleeting life is. Makes a little paint and a new bed seem inconsequential.

It happened right in front of us. One second the guy was on his bike and the next his bike was skidding across highway one way and his body was rolling and tumbling across the highway the other.

It is absolutely, miraculously, amazing the guy is still alive after that and that skidding bike did not cause more accidents (it missed other cars by inches) and that the guy did not get run over. That was a near miss too.

He did manage to get up after the accident, probably more reaction than intentional decision being that he was lying on the highway. But he must have scrapes and bruises and possibly a broken bone or two. He was wearing a helmet which undoubtedly saved his life, but he was also wearing a T and shorts so he'll be picking I-20 out of his skin for some time.

It just reiterated to me how much I HATE street bikes!

The thing is, it was so quick. One minute we're driving down the highway, happy and tired from our day hanging out with family and the next a man almost lost his life.

His motorcycle skidded all the way across 4 lanes of a busy highway narrowly missing other cars. It was going so fast, like a missile. It missed the car in front of us by inches. We had to drive all the way over the shoulder onto the grass of the median to get around the bike. It occurred to me that had we been going slightly faster or left a few seconds earlier, that bike could have crashed right through the windows of my car and killed my entire family.

Those are the kinds of thoughts that will mess with your head. But it could have been. So easily.

Life is so fleeting. It can all end in a second. We get so complacent living our lives and thinking it will all be the same forever. Teenagers will always roll their eyes and push the envelope, little girls will always mess up their rooms, the laundry will never be done, the government will always screw things up, the energy bill will perpetually increase and not in proportion to our income. But in one second, all those things could be gone.

It changes your perspective.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Impromptu Redo

Wondering where I've been all week? Well I've been drowning in an impromptu girls room remodel. This is how we do things here on the Hilltop. With as little planning as possible!

I have been looking for some very specific bunk beds for the girls room for some time now on Craig's List. Well, on Saturday I found them. Sir D and I drove out and picked them up. We dismantled the girls old, sad, slightly pink (what was I thinking?) bunk beds and began to put up the new ones.

We decided that while we had the beds out we might as well paint. Simple right? Turns out, notsomuch. We had to move a giant white cabinet that was in their room. The giant white cabinet did not want to be moved and fell completely apart. Truly.

So we had to take every last thing out of their room. They have a LOT of stuff. We placed everything in the back room and began painting. After it was painted we put the bed up.

LOVE the color, and LOVE the bed, but now every last thing the girls own is piled up in the back room. So over the last week we've been weeding through all their stuff. They're in that weird stage between little girl and teenager. They don't play with barbies or dolls anymore, but somehow those strange littlest pet shop things with the odd shaped heads are still appealing. They don't like crayons anymore but have all manor of craft supplies and paints and markers.

After we sorted everything, we had to organize it and figure out how we were going to fit it all back in. We moved some furniture around and put a book shelf in there.

Their room looks WONDERFUL! We are about 80% done. We have to paint the table top and hang some shelves and whatnot and then DONE! I can't wait to finish and show you the final product. I think they're gonna LOVE it!

Here are a few before shots. One is from a year or so ago. It shows the plain white wall color and the old pinkish beds.

Here is Sir D and the girls and I taking down stuff. Oh, I forgot to mention the boys were still at camp when all this was going on so Sir D and the girls and I did it all ourselves! I'm so proud of us! (though I bed Sir D wishes he'd waited for the boys! We girls need a little more instruction when he asks us to hand him a tool. He had to describe it. I don't know which one a 'Phillips head' is!)

Here is a teaser...

You can see the beds and get an idea of the new wall color...

Once we're completely done I'll do the Final Reveal! How exciting!

Check back on Tuesday for the 'AFTER' shots. They're amazing!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

It's too stinkin' hot out there!

So...it's summer. Weren't things supposed to slow down for the summer? In order to get through Homeschool Purgatory, I delude myself into thinking that once summer officially comes things will slow down. Somehow, it never does.

I think it's the teenagers. Gone are the days when I had control and would schedule play dates here and there but mainly we'd just stay home and read books and watch movies and laze around.

Nope, it's go go go all summer long.

Today I have to go to the store because the termites my beloved children are home from camp and have eaten everything that was not nailed down are hungry.

Also I get to go to three different collision centers to get the dent looked at. Then I get to go to the library to pick up books I may or may not have time to read.

Also, it's hot. Like surface of the sun hot. And promises to remain so until October. Why do I like summer again? Is it Fall yet?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

It Worked for Spider Man

What a week.

Ann and I have been on our own this week with the big kids off at camp. I have heard nothing from the big kids, which is as it should be, but I do miss them.

Ann and I have had ice cream for diner, we’ve gone shopping, we’ve watched old movies (LOVE Humphrey Bogart and Cary Grant!) and we’ve made flip flops.

Well, I made flip flops and Ann tried. I keep forgetting she’s left handed so every time I try to teach her how to crochet something it ends up being a disaster. I try to show her how to do it with my left hand, but it turns out my left hand is entirely useless except for holding things for my right hand.

Here are the ones I made for Eve, I made a matching hair scrunchy too. I will show you Ann’s whenever we get them finished.

Yesterday Ann went to my SiL’s house because I had to go to the dr. Actually I had to go to the hospital for a test. A bone scan. I showed up in the morning and was injected with radioactive tracers and sent home to drink lots of water for 3 hours then come back for the scan. I was hopeful that having all that radioactive substance floating around my bloodstream would give me some sort of super power. I tried the burn a hole through the pile of dirty dishes with only my gaze but had no luck.

I was told that if I came back in wearing clothing with no metal I could stay in my own clothing and not have to change into their lovely paper gowns. Excellent!

Um...do you know how many things have metal in them? SHEESH! I finally settled in some jogging pants and a T. Here’s the thing…all of my bras have metal. So I had to go for a sports bra. The thing here is…all my sports bras have some sort of metal!


The only one that didn’t was the oldest one I have that is slightly too small. So I put it on and put a tank over it and put on my T. I feel the need to mention that I live in TX and it’s June, thus it was 150 degrees outside. Not a good time for layering, but hey, it’s better than the paper gown right?

Let me just say the overall look was somewhat frightening. It looked like I had a speed bump on my chest. Nice. Not that I am trying to impress anyone. In fact it is my goal NOT to draw attention to my chest at all. So exposing a lot of flesh and cleavage is not my style. The thing is, the freaky smushed together, speed bump look draws just as much attention as the cleavage look only the speed bump look is decidedly NOT attractive.

And of course I get Dr. Doug Ross from ER as my tech. Were they out of all the old guys or ladies? I had to get Mr. GQ?


Happily it was over quickly and I got to see my irradiated bones on the screen. Interesting. Most of my joints lit up like a Christmas tree. I have a feeling that’s not good, but we’ll see what my Rheumatologist says.

Too bad I had wasted all my super power potential on burning a hole through the dishes with only my gaze. I should have worked on my cloak of invisibility. That would have come in way more handy as I tried to walk out of the hospital while drawing as little attention as possible to my odd shaped figure.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Gone, Baby Gone.

Today I sent ¾ of my children away. I do not like this. Don’t get me wrong. I like a little peace and solitude as much as the next guy but I’m just not used to watching my kids ride away from me in the big yellow school bus. It makes me feel twitchy. Unsettled. Unnerved.

Today was the first time Eve went. It just feels wrong. We have a no camp till youth group policy in this house. We’re not real big on sleepovers either; we do allow them once in a while but mostly the kids sleep at home. Also, because of the age of the girls and boys in this house we’ve always had a boys=big kids, girls= little kids way of doing things. This has worked out well so far. The thing is Eve is messing it all up by become a big kid. I did not give her permission to do this. She joined the youth group last week! WHAT? She can’t do that, she’s one of the little girls! Sigh.

It was hard to watch Will go off to camp, he was my first, but he is a boy. He was strong and independent and ready to go. Then there was Bob. Bob was ready. Bob has been an independent, i-can-do-it-mom kid since he could walk. They’re both so much like their dad; strong, independent, confident. But Eve? She’s my baby. She’s the toddler who cried her little eyes out when I left her in the church nursery and ran to me with glee when I came to get her. She is a momma’s girl. She’s my girl. My little girl.

Today I didn’t see much of that little girl. Today she did this at the thought of going away.

She went right off and sat with her friends and giggled and rolled her eyes and wore her sunglasses like all the other teenagers. But for one second I saw my vulnerable little girl. I know she’s still in there. She came over to hug me good bye (at the youth pastor’s instructions. He said that those kids who had parents there to see them off and wave at the buses would not be let on the buses without hugging their parents a proper goodbye. I LOVE this youth pastor!) Once she’d said goodbye to me, she realized her friends had gone on the bus without her and she didn’t know which bus was the Jr. High bus and which was the Sr. High bus.

That’s when I saw it. She looked nervous, unsure, apprehensive. She looked to me for the answer. I didn’t have it. I couldn’t solve it for her. I told her to go ask one of the youth leaders. She timidly walked up to one of the older teen interns to ask which bus she was to be on. He had to ask her to repeat herself because she spoke so softly. He told her and she nervously walked over to the bus and climbed those stairs all alone, the last one to get on the bus. I am sure she was wondering where she should sit. Would any of her friends have saved her a place? Would she have to sit with a big kid she didn’t know? Would she have to sit alone? For that one minute she was my little girl. I wanted to go grab her and pick her up and put her back in the car, strap her in her car seat and take her back home. Sadly, those days are long, long gone.

Suddenly I heard someone say “Eve, over here.” The cool teenager look suddenly reappeared. She hopped on the bus, went over to her friends and the giggling, eye rolling sunglass wearing pre teen was back. I know from experience that she is going to go off to camp for the first time a little girl and come back a teenager. She is going to bond with those kids and those youth leaders and grow immeasurably closer to the Lord. It is good and right, she is growing up.

We have a wonderful youth group that is mature and full of great kids that really do love the Lord and look out for one another. The big kids really do watch out for the little ones. They love the Lord and spur each other on to a better relationship with Him. I have no qualms about her being a part of this group. But what I know is that she is going to come back changed. It will be a good change, but a change nonetheless.

I watched my baby hop on that bus and I have no doubt that, that will probably be the last time I will see that little girl.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

This and That

I changed up the look of the blog a little bit. If you read me on a feeder pop on over here and check it out. What do you think? Can you read everything? Are the colors okay. I know everything looks fine on my computer but yours may look different. So let me know.

I was getting a little tired of the blue and yellow. I know this is a little dark for summer but summer in TX is so stinkin' bright and hot that I thought the blog needed a cooler look.

(insert appropriate segue here)

I went to the dr yesterday and he said I am baffling to him. Hey! Get in line! I have all the symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis (I've been told this before), but I am testing negative to it in the blood tests. So the lab work and my symptoms don't line up. HI! Just call me contrary!

(insert another appropriate segue here)

Sir D and I took the kids to the Sedgwick County Zoo while we were in KS visiting my dad and during the day sometime I noticed my hands felt funny and my ring was bothering me. I glanced down at them and they were completely swollen. Add green and I would have had Shrek's hands! YIKES. They've never swollen up like that before. On the way home my feet and ankles did it too, and MAN did they hurt.

So all this expensive medicine the dr has me on is sure doing it's job! UGH! I am not mad at him, he's trying. I just wish my body would follow the pathology of some specific illness so they could TREAT IT ALREADY! and I could start feeling better.

He is sending me in for a radionuclide bone scan next week. This should tell him exactly what joints are swelling and to what extent.

< sarcasm > Sounds fun. < sarcasm />

(insert yet another appropriate segue here)

I managed to get all the laundry, including ALL the bedding and toweling in the RV washed and dried in only one week. It is a miracle! Now I just have to fold it all and put it in the RV. I will be doing that today because currently I can't find my couch. Where my couch used to be is a giant pile of bedding and toweling.

So that is why I am on the computer. Because I am hoping the Swedish Cleaning Fairy will come take care of it. Sadly she's been very unreliable lately.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Do not be alarmed! We're doing a little reconstruction here on the Hilltop. It is so much easier to re-vamp the blog than the house!

In a few days we'll be good as new here on the Hilltop, I hope!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Because 'Liquor Store' just sounds so tawdry.

I don’t quite understand it but the truth is a vacation with my family is never simple. In fact, it is almost without exception, something worth writing about. That is why I had to start a blog. My family is just so darn entertaining. And not always in a good way.

Remember our beach trip? It was so entertaining it had to be written about infourparts.

Sigh, I’d be okay with a simple, unentertaining vacation once in a while.

This last weekend we drove up to Wichita Ks to visit my dad and my brother. My Dad usually comes to see us, but I thought we’d mix it up a bit and take the kids to see them this time. That’s what I get for thinking.

The trip up was fine, uneventful even. We made the drive in an easy 6 hours, parked the camper at Cheney State park, and went on into Wichita to meet my Dad and brother for dinner. (I must say here that KS could learn a few things from TX as far as state parks are concerned. Like the whole open container thing, and hey here’s an idea, wear a shirt now and then men! Oh and perhaps we could tone down the partying sometime before the sun comes up. But I digress)

We had a very nice dinner with my dad and brother, we went to look at my brother’s new place, and generally had a nice time. On our way back to our camper (about a 30 min drive) we decided to stop in the little town of Goddard for Mayo and a bottle of wine. Strange combination, I realize, but I forgot the Mayo at home and the dry sandwiches we ate on the way up to KS were not something we wanted to repeat on the way home, thus the stop. The kids were tired so Sir D and I thought we’d grab a nice bottle of wine and sit by the lake and have a little nature date. Nice, right? Sigh. If only…

We found the Foodliner in Goddard and got our Mayo. The nice lady working the one checkout in the Foodliner told us that they don’t sell wine in the grocery store, but there was a place that sells wine just down the way. Well, just down the way was actually the way we were going so we decided to pull in and grab a bottle.

Now I must stop here and explain something. See in my little town, we have beer and wine stores. They are nice little upscale places. They are decidedly NOT liquor stores. This place? Totally a liquor store. Why does the distinction matter? I don’t really know except the idea of sitting in the car with the kids while Sir D hopped into the wine store to grab a nice bottle of Merlot seems much less tawdry than sitting in the car with my kids in a liquor store parking lot waiting for my dear hubby to pop in and buy us some hooch to take out to the lake.

As I am sitting in the car with the kids in the liquor store parking lot at 10 on a Friday night, I begin to rethink the wisdom of this decision. Darn Goddard! Why couldn’t they have sold wine at the grocery like the rest of the free world?

As I ponder this I notice a nice little old lady walk out to her car. She hops in and her equally little old hubby begins to back out. We are the only two cars currently in the parking lot and he still manages to back right into my car…in the liquor store parking lot. Sigh.

Sir D comes out at about this time and sees the little old man amble out of his car and begin yelling. Not because he was angry, but because he obviously had a hearing problem himself. More people start entering the parking lot and now we are making a scene. The little old Man (heretofore known as LOM) pulled out his wallet and told Sir D that he’d just like to take care of this little ol’ dent right now. How about a hundred bucks? Think that’ll fix her?

Here’s the thing. It’s an Excursion. 100 bucks won’t even fill the gas tank. It’s a small dent but because of the panel it’s located on, it’s going to be a little more than 100 bucks to ‘fix her’. The man was not happy.

Things went downhill from there. The man refused to show Sir D his ins info, and claimed neither he nor his wife had ID on them. Again…sigh.

After much (loud) conversation in the parking lot, Sir D asked me to call the police. I had to call the police and tell them, while sitting in the car at now 11 at night in the parking lot of a liquor store, with my children, that I needed police assistance. Nice.

Not one, not two, but three police cars showed up rather quickly. Two county boys and one city policeman. After much haranguing, the police were finally able to ascertain that yes, the man does indeed have a license though there was some question as to its status, and the LOM was suddenly much more willing to produce his insurance information.

Once Sir D got a hold of his ins info he went back into the liquor store (see! It even feels tawdry typing it so much!) to ask the lady if she had a copy machine he could use. The lady’s response was “No. You’re not from around here are ya?” again, nice.

After Sir D hand copied all the pertinent info, we were on our way. At 11:30 at night. By the time we got back to the RV and got all the kids settled in bed we realized that while we did have a nice bottle of wine, we forgot to get an opener.

Never mind, I didn’t want it anymore anyway.

That is going to be the most expensive bottle of wine I never drank.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Is it over yet?

We're in that weird time for homeschoolers that I like to call end of year purgatory. We're not completely free and in summer mode yet, but we're not in the usual knuckle down and get to work mode of the school year either.

We tend to peter out, sadly. I like the way the schools do it. On this date, you're done. period. the end.

As a homeschooling family things sort of gradually end. Co op classes end one day, you finish your math curriculum a week later, you have to read through the summer because your mother is evil wants you to keep your brain sharp.

Then there are the things we actually add because it's summer. Things like a little math fact review or perhaps a few documentaries for fun. (who doesn't' like a documentary on sharks before you head out on your beach vacation, for instance?)

However, I feel a little sad for my kids. When I was in school there was nothing like that exhilarating feeling of walking out of the doors of the school building for the summer. The feeling of freedom was intoxicating.

My kids don't really get that. Education is just a way of life around here. We change it up a bit. We don't have to sit around the kitchen table at 8am every day doing our lessons during the summer. Things do change, but they don't just STOP.

Maybe I should have a bell installed in the house and I could ring it on Friday, scream "SCHOOL'S OUT" and run out the front door? Somehow I don't think it would have quite the same effect.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Get a Clue!

Yesterday afternoon I bribed cajoled threatened nicely requested that my family gather around the kitchen table for a rousing game of Clue.

I love Clue. I don’t know why. It is slightly macabre all the talk of death and murderers and murder weapons and what not. And yet it brings me joy to play it with my family. Perhaps we’ll not dive to deep into the psychology of that.

Once my family was happily gathered around the table we began to set up the game. It seems Mr. Green was AWOL. Okay, we can improvise.

My children are good at improvising. Mr. Green was created out of a green pipe cleaner. We then began to set out the weapons. Hummm, the candlestick is missing.

Oh, well I guess a toothpick will do.

Then we began to hand out the cards…three were missing. THAT’S IT!

And it is at this point that I began to have a little meltdown. I believe I started making comments about how no one takes care of anything, or puts anything away, and what a waste of money, and now we can’t even play at all, and one day when you have your own stuff you’ll take care of it but since it’s your parents stuff you all just don’t care…and so on and so forth. It went downhill from there. I believe I ended my tirade by saying “I’m going to take a nap!”

Sir D asked if we should just play cards to which I may have replied something about the likelihood of finding a complete deck what with the irresponsible children in the house, and was then told by Sir D that perhaps a nap was in order.

After my nap I felt better, however Mr. Green, the three cards and the candlestick never reappeared so I guess I’ll have to buy a new Clue game. Because I am not giving up soundly beating my family at Clue and then gloating. Hummm, I am starting to wonder if we have a saboteur in the family. I do love a good conspiracy theory! I shall have to investigate.

BTW, if you’re looking for a fun way to trick you offspring into learning something this summer you can pop over to my Homeschool Review Blog and read about a Mystery Unit Study idea that I incorporated Clue into. That way I can beat them at Clue and call it educational!