Saturday, May 10, 2014

Tips From Tricia: Cords and Chargers Edition

Remember Hints From Heloise? Well, this is Tips From Tricia. It will probably not become a thing, because while Heloise was a 'hints' kinda girl, I am not. You'll not usually hear me telling you the best way to get stains out of your clothes, or how to get rid of that darn soap scum, or how to best iron out those pesky wrinkles. I kinda like wrinkles.

What I do not like are cords. Everywhere. Kindle cords, iPhone/iPod, cell phone cords...

Our non-adult children are required to put their devices in our room every night before they go to bed. What that means is that every outlet has a cord sticking out of it (or several) with some sort of device charging, usually emitting a small blue or red indicator light. Not only do the cords everywhere annoy me, but the lights are super annoying in a dark room. Since you can't just turn off those lights we usually cover them with a sock or some handy piece of clothing. Pause for a minute and imagine what my bedroom looks like. Every night. Piles of electronics near every outlet with random clothes over them. ANNOYING!

So I devised this solution.

I bought this cute little wicker basket and put an outlet extension cord in it. I thought I might have to cut it a bit to get the big plug to fit out the side, but I managed to squeeze it through.

I bought a multi-plug USB charger for the iPhones/iPods and new cords. I wrote MOM on them and threatened anyone within an inch of their lives if that charger or the cords ever left the basket.

There were several plugs left for the Kindle and non Apple product cell phones.

Best of all? NO CORDS EVERYWHERE!!! And while there is a faint blue glow coming from the basket when the lights go out, that's much preferred over the sock covered lights near every outlet in the master bedroom.


Now, If I can just get that kid of mine to figure out how to turn off the alarm that goes off at 7am on a Saturday morning, we'll be golden.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Summer's Here!!

Summer has finally arrived at the Hilltop Homeschool. Oh Happy Day!!

Every year our school looks different. It's hardly a 'home'school anymore, and everything ends at different times. My two older children have graduated. Bryce is in a Paramedics program that goes straight through the summer and into next year. Gunnar is finishing up today with EMT/Fire Academy.

Evelyn, who is just finishing up her Jr. year in High School is ending gradually. She's taken 2 of her college finals, one is next week, and she finished her Anatomy class at our co op yesterday. She has a little work for me over the summer in History and Government. She's mostly done for the year.

Annika who just finished her Freshman year of High School finished yesterday...sort of. She takes many of her heavy classes at our co op, which finished yesterday. She has to finished a chapter of History today, and she'll do Algebra and Driver's Ed through the summer.

One of the things I loved about homeschooling was control of the schedule! HA! That perk is long over, with kids graduating and branching out to classes outside our home. But I still love to celebrate a year finished.

So today, the day after co op ends, like we've done for the last many years, we celebrate the beginning of summer. Even though Bryce's schedule does not really change at all, and Ev still has a final to do and a class this summer to finish, and Annika also has some school work to finish this summer...still we celebrate. We mark the day. You're done. Summer officially starts. Your schedule is your own. You can get up, get in the pool, chat with friends, make a cake, whatever you want so long as you get your chores done and your bit of school accomplished sometime during the day.

Ahhh, summer.

Here are their goodie bags to ring in the summer season. I added a personal note of congratulations for each child.

Celebration is good for the soul!

Evelyn's Goodie Bag

Annika's Goodie Bag 

Bryce's Goodie Bag 

Gunnar's Goodie Bag 


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Talk Like Gunnar!

My son Gunnar is in Fire Academy this semester (he did EMT last semester). He's done beautifully and his dad and I couldn't be prouder of him. Bryce has already done Fire Academy, EMT, and is currently in Paramedics school.

It's a funny thing, to have your sons training to be First Responders. I am of course, terribly, terribly proud. I know that they both have the character to go with the Fireman/Hero image. But, well, walking into burning buildings for a living? I mean, were all the Playing On The Highway positions filled? Sheesh. Could they have picked a more dangerous career?

Gunnar told me a funny story the other day about his time in Fire Academy that had me laughing. I'm sure I'll get some details wrong, but you'll get the gist of it.

They were all on a break out in the field behind the school playing Frisbee. Apparently, the language can get a little, ahem, colorful during the games. One of the other students saw the Dean of the school walking up to them and started trying to let the others know to watch their language, but the others were not getting his subtle attempts. Finally he said, 'Everybody talk like Gunnar!' which, of course, made the rest of them realize they needed to clean up their language. They all looked around, noticed the Dean just in time, and then went on about their game using less colorful language while the Dean was in earshot.

This is the kind of thing every mother wants to hear.

Now if I could just talk them into less dangerous careers... I wonder how long it takes to go to culinary school? Accounting perhaps? Librarian?

Monday, May 5, 2014

Moving Base Camp

Yesterday we moved my Mother in Law from her house of 20+ years to a smaller apartment on the campus of the missions organization she and my father in law served with their entire careers.

It was fun in many ways. It’s always fun when the whole family gets together. 3 of her 4 sons and their families showed up to move her in. (Eric lives out of town, but was here a few weeks ago and he and his daughter put in lots of time helping her get ready for the move.) We laughed and played music and were silly. The teens ate donuts between lugging large boxes and unpacking. Overall the atmosphere was upbeat and festive.

There was an undercurrent of sadness, however. There was no Far Far. Many of the things that have always been part of my in-laws house were notably absent: Far Far’s chair, the walker, his hats. Hard to believe it’s been almost 2 years since his passing. There is none of Far Far in this new place. It seemed sort of cold and sad as we were moving the things from the old house, so full of his presence, to the white-washed walls of the new place where Far Far had never been. There were no memories of him here. I know we all felt it, though no one really spoke of it. It was a hard enough day for my mother in law without bringing that up.

We were pretty much finished in the old place and we were all packed into the new apartment trying to get her settled a bit before we left. A few of the teens were trying to put her coffee table together and having a hard time of it. It’s an old table someone brought back from Colombia. It has eight sides and they had to be placed just so before the top would fit on. The teens were not having much success.  Dave walked in as they were struggling and said to them, “Look underneath the table top. If I know Far Far, it’s marked under there somewhere so you’ll know how to put it together.” The kids did and sure enough, there were markings showing just how to line it up so it would fit. We all laughed and my mother in law got a little teary.

Far Far was here. Even though he’d never been physically present in that place, he left a little part of himself with every single one of the people in that room. He’d left marks on all of us. Directions. Showing us all how to line up, so we could stand.

We miss you Far Far.