Thursday, September 27, 2007

Computer problems

Monday night, Chris and I were sitting at the computer, working on his resume, when all of a sudden it shut down. Just quit like that. No power, nothing. Ugh. So the next day I called Dell and talked to some guy in India who talked me though all sorts of attempts to remedy the problem, to no avail. It turns out we have a bad motherboard. Whatever the hell that is. So now our computer is in Texas being repaired by Dell technicians. It will be back in 8-10 days, which is not quite soon enough for the meeting I have to run on Saturday. I'm at Elke's house right now, using her computer so I can at least check my email. Our posting will probably be spotty for the next week or so, which is a bummer since I have some pictures to post from our painting party this weekend here at Elke's. In the meantime, I'm trying to squeeze in as much subbing and tutoring as possible while mom is still here to babysit. It's been extremely helpful to have a live-in babysitter, and I even got my first ($160) paycheck today! Looks like the kids will be able to eat, at least for this month.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

A busy weekend

What a weekend! Friday night saw Benjamin and Alexander sleeping over at Lynlee and Tanner's, while Lily slept over here with Jonathan. (Yes, they are still young enough for co-ed sleepovers.) The next morning, after all children were returned to their respective houses, we went to Elke's and began to paint her family room and kitchen. This is a huge undertaking, because she has 15 foot high ceilings. Chris and I had helped her pick out the four colors (Safari, Ivory, Blue, and Green) and plan which walls were what color. Chris really enjoyed writing on all her walls. It's a good thing he did, too, because we never would have remembered which was which.

We (Elke, Chris, Mom, and I) began painting around 10AM and finished up at about 6PM. In between, Chris' parents stopped by and brought us a delicious lunch and then graciously took the boys swimming for a few hours. We're just about done: tomorrow mom and I are going to go over and put the final blue on the lower walls. I MUST remember my camera this time.

Painting is so much fun. Elke was on cloud nine as the colors started appearing on her walls. When she put the furniture back, she even rearranged the furniture. It feels like a different house, which was exactly the point. I like painting because there is a real, visible accomplishment when you are finished. Now we just have to tackle her dining room and living room. But that's another weekend.

Today after church we drove to Orlando, dropping off Mom, Jonathan, and Alexander at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Center to see the touring Annie. They absolutely loved it. Jonathan delighted us with stories all evening about "Miss Annigan" and how mean she was. Alexander loves broadway shows and was delighted to go along. Are you wondering why the three of them went? A fellow teacher at Seabreeze had three extra tickets and offered them to us. Very generous.

While they were at the show, Chris, Benjamin, and I went to the Orlando Science Center. We were planning on seeing the "Bodies" display which has real human bodies cut to show the various organs, etc., but when we arrived, we saw the price. $25 for adults and $20 for kids. That added up to $70 total, which was way more than we were prepared to spend. We're still recovering from a long summer with no paycheck. So instead we used our Daytona Museum pass to enter the rest of the Science Center for free.

Our favorite exhibit was "Science on a sphere", which was a huge sphere hanging from the ceiling on which was projected images of the planets. The presenter described all of the planets, showing the rotation of each. It was incredible. What a nice afternoon.

This evening the kids spent bickering, and we were counting the minutes until bedtime. I hate rainy afternoons when they are stuck inside! Now they are all asleep and we're ready to go to bed, too.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A visit from friends

The boys were thrilled this weekend when Cassidy came over for a few hours. We took her to church, then they spent the afternoon playing. These pictures are from the end of their "play," The Emporer's New Clothes.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Rain, rain, rain...

That's all we have seen for the past three days. There has been a "disturbance" parked east of Florida, and it has brought tons of rain to our area. It just comes in waves - a very heavy rain followed by drizzle followed by heavy rain again. It is exactly what we need, but it does get a little depressing after awhile. This afternoon I am planning on pulling the car out of the garage so the boys can get some gross motor play. Our house has turned into a playground during this rain spell, and it's time to move it to the garage. To make it worse, today is an "early release" day so they get home an hour early. I am so glad we have Wednesdays Together at church this afternoon!!!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The toothless wonder strikes again...

This morning Alexander lost another tooth, the fourth in about 2 weeks time! I don't know how he's going to chew for the next few weeks while the permanent teeth grow in.

Saturday, September 15, 2007


We went to Disney today, our 12th visit of the year. We'll be nowhere near last year's total, when we went 35 times throughout the year. We went to Magic Kingdom because they reopened the Haunted Mansion. We have heard from workers that they totally gutted the ride and redid it, but that was not the case. Many of the rooms were similar, but updated. There was definitely surround sound in the stretching room, and they added touches throughout the ride. Our favorite was the hallway that looked like an MC Esher picture, along with moving footprints going up/down the stairs. Not surprisingly, Jonathan didn't like it. We won't make him ride next time.

Each time we go to Disney, we like to try to do one new thing. Believe it or not, after hundreds of visits, we usually find something new. This time there were three things: the lovely fall decorations pictured above, the haunted mansion, and "Stich's Great Escape," a ride we have never tried. Alexander was the brave one - he went on with Chris first, and then after they both gave their thumbs up, the whole family went on it together. I don't know what we've done while raising our kids, but none of them ever want to try new things.

Now we're back home. All the males played soccer this evening and Mom Schaeffer just arrived. She'll be staying here for 2 weeks (?) to help watch Jonathan while I work next week. I've been hired at the new elementary school to administer the Dibels test all week. I'm glad to have the chance to meet the faculty and especially the principal. They may not be hiring now, but at some point they will. I want him to know me so I can at least get an interview when that happens.

Friday, September 14, 2007

And I thought yesterday's outfit was funny...

Here's what Jonathan wore today when we went to Chris' school to eat lunch with him. He chose the boots after I vetoed his ballet slippers. The high school students thought he was adorable!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Now we have sneakers and socks

I decided to let him go to school the way he

was. Here he is with the shoes (that actually match the shirt) and socks. Wonder what his teachers thought.

Jonathan, the fashion plate

Yes, he dresses himself. He's wearing Uncle Jeff's shirt and a pair of shorts he picked out. Now the question is, do I send him to school like this????

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Another job update

Well, the paper Friday brought depressing news. Volusia County lost about 1,000 students this year. With the 11 day count in, they are going to reassign teachers, and even possibly lay off some teachers. (Link: that news, I've started to look for other tutoring opportunities. There are two tutoring centers within 2 miles from my house, and both are hiring. I'll substitute when the opportunity arises, and just wait and see if any openings come up throughout the school year.

On the bright side, I have the time to exercise 6 days a week, and I'm getting fitter and stronger. This morning I ran a "fun run" half marathon in DeLand. I didn't post my best time, but it was hot and I DID burn 1,700 calories! If things keep up like this, I'll be poor, but I'll be the fittest I've ever been! There's always a bright side, right???

Friday, September 7, 2007

A visit to Chuluota

When we returned from our big summer trip, it was a bit depressing, as the house next door was empty. The boys especially felt the loss - Cassidy is their best friend and they played together just about every day. The family moved to Chuluota, which is much closer to Tony's workplace. They have a fabulous 6 bedroom house (which is perfect since they have 4 kids!) in a new subdivision. On Labor Day, we drove the 45 minutes and visited them for a barbeque. We had a great time catching up and the kids played all afternoon. They'll be back in the area to paint their house soon and the boys are hoping to see more of Cassidy. For now, they'll have to do with the telephone. Their last conversation lasted about an hour!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Alexander finally lost his tooth!!!!!

On Saturday (Sept. 1), I lost my tooth, and I was sleeping over at Ryan's house. That night I lost my tooth, the one next to the one that was sticking out. I put it in a bottle, which was already emptied of water. The tooth fairy didn't come. So the next day when I reached under my pillow, I knew that the tooth fairy didn't come. And so, the next day, I lost the one next to it. It was so long that the tooth fairy didn't come. So I put it under my pillow and the next day when I woke up there was $1 for BOTH of the teeth! I would have gotten .50 for one, but instead I got a whole dollar. It didn't look like I really lost it, because a new tooth was already behind it. There was a hole that looked like someone had put their finger there and put it into my gum.

(As dictated on September 6). Do notice Alexander's cool haircut! He very much enjoys spiking his hair in the morning. We (Karen and I) should also explain that the tooth fairy was very confused by the bottle in which the first tooth was placed. Luckily, it worked out well that the tooth fairy could do a 2-for-1 visit the next night. Alexander is not letting his hole-y mouth limit the amount of food he eats, though! Just added: close up of his teeth!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Job Woes

For those of you who were wondering, I am still unemployed. I've been waiting for the schools to do their "11 day count," where they count the students in each classroom and see if more/fewer teachers are needed. Yesterday was that 11th day. This afternoon I called the district's recruitment office to see when the hiring freeze will be lifted. She told me no jobs will be posted until the 18th of September. Until then, they are going to reshuffle teachers from schools that are overstaffed to schools that are understaffed. She suggested I spend the next few weeks subbing to get to know the schools and principals. I am scheduled to do testing the whole week of the 17th at our newest elementary school. Their classes have high enrollment, so they could possibly be hiring come the 18th. I'll have to be sure to meet the principal on the 17th. Until then, it's just more of the waiting game!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Happy Birthday Grandma!

Today is Grandma Weinrich's birthday. They came over for lunch (spinach lentil stew - tastes much better than it sounds) and dessert. I was out of eggs, so I made apricot bars and stuck some candles on it. The boys were happy to sing the "happy birthday" song again. While we were eating dessert, Jonathan played in his "house," the corner between our sofas. The yardstick you see is his "door" and he is playing store with our pile of pennies.

Alexander is a shark

Alexander and Benjamin slept over at Ryan and Christian's house last night. When we picked them up, Alexander excitedly told us he had lost his tooth. We were really excited, thinking he had lost the baby tooth that had a permanent tooth growing behind it. But we quickly discovered that it was his other front tooth. Now he has a big gap on the right and TWO teeth on the lefthand side. We have a shark in our midst - they grow layers of teeth just like Alexander! Click on any of the pictures to see a close up of those crazy teeth!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

My second week at school by Benjamin

In the Max Team, we are now learning about neurons. Neurons are nerve cells. They basically look like your arm. Your palm is the cell body, or soma. Your fingers are the dendrites, which receive chemical signals, or neurotransmitters, from the other end of the nerves. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that are released out of the terminal bud, which is like your elbow. What happens is the dendrites recieve the chemical signals and make an electric charge which goes down the axon, which is like your arm, and goes down to the terminal bud, which then releases more neurotransmitters. That whole process is called nerve impulses. Nerve impulses can do anything, from moving muscles to sensing heat. As you can see here, Mr. Miller is a very good teacher.
We also started literature circles. Literature circles are taught by Mrs. Cady, who specializes in English and Reading. You get into groups of four and then choose a book to read. The one I am reading is called Dragon Keeper. When you are done reading for the day, then Ms. Cady gives you four different papers to divide amongst yourselves. One is the summarizer. The Summarizer writes one or two paragraphs on your reading today. Then he writes down four key points. Another one is word wizard. That is where the person chooses three paragraphs, writes the page number, and then writes down why he pikcd them. There is also the illustrator, who makes a comic or an illustration of what happened. The last one is the discussion director. The discussion director writes down four questions or topics to discuss. All four of these also have to do a connection, which basically connects what happens in the story to your life. For example, if someone in the story is afraid of spiders, you could say "I'm afraid of spiders, too." Or you could relate it to deaths in the story, good things in the story, or anything else.
Also in Mrs. Cady's class, we are studying the Oregon Trail. The Oregon Trail is the route that the pioneers used to get to Oregon. In that day it was owned by England. To get it back, they needed to have more people settle it. Since they didn't have cars in the day, they had to travel in covered wagons made out of wood and canvas. They put as much stuff as they could in their wagon that was able to be carried by oxen, mules, or horses. People generally used oxen because they could pull heavier loads than mules or horses. Sometimes many families traveled together. This was called a wagon train. At the end of the day, they would let the mules, horses and oxen rest and put their wagons in a circle. Then they would let the children play in the circle before dinner, after dinner, and anytime they were resting until it got dark out.
End of story for today - a thunderstorm just started and we need to log off the computer.