Saturday, September 25, 2010

Happy Fall!

It's officially Fall and while many areas of the country might not feel it, we are feeling it here in Michigan. At least today we are. Last Thursday and Friday set records! It was close to 90 on the first day of Fall, but thanks to a friendly cold front it's feeling more like Fall. I captured this the other night, a real Harvest Moon.

Last week at work was another busy one. Just when I conquer one thing, another comes up. Last week we worked on scheduling. We scheduled 4 people to cover 7 buildings and more than 125 students. While we scheduled for 4 it will only be 3 working, at least for another month until one of our aides comes back from maternity leave. My schedule worked out where I am in two other buildings other than my home school. I will be out all day Monday at two schools and then another morning at one of those schools. The rest of the time I will be at my home school, both pulling groups and pushing in. I will be seeing all grades from kindergarten to 5th grade. One group I'm really looking forward to is at one of my non-home schools. It's seeing two kindergarten girls, both Chinese, and neither speaks any English. This will be quite a challenge but I'm really looking forward to it. They are both adorable. So once the challenge of scheduling was over, we began lesson planning. I worked with the teacher to make lesson plans to cover me on Monday when I'm out all day. Hopefully it will get easier as time goes along. Fingers crossed! I've been working lots of overtime trying to get up to speed but I'm hoping it will pay off this coming week.

I was able to take the pups to the park both days, though on Saturday I had to visit several until we found one that wasn't packed with people or other dogs. Seems Saturday is a popular day to take your dog to the park. Today the high school was deserted so that's where we ended up. They do so love running!

When Charlie finally lays down I figure it's time to go home. It usually takes a little longer to tire him out.

H has been outside today replacing the wood trim around the windows. The woodpeckers have decided to put holes in at least one or two boards around every window. Some are rotten so they need to be replaced anyway.

This weekend has been really chilly. Some of the trees are turning already and I actually broke out my sweatshirt today to wear to the park and out to the garden.

Speaking of the garden, I went out today specifically to harvest basil and potatoes.

Unfortunately the basil isn't looking too good. There were lots of blossoms and the basil has faded considerably. I trimmed up the two plants I have really well and will just have to hope for the best. The potatoes were another story! Just look at this harvest.

I also decided to pick my pumpkin since the other one, which was smaller, had been chewed on by some critter and proceeded to turn black. This one was unblemished so I wanted to keep it that way.

I have it on the front porch and just hope it lasts until Halloween! I also harvested some carrots but decided to leave the rest in the ground since carrots are a cool weather crop and should be ok for another couple weeks. I pulled out a couple tomato plants but left several in hopes that what's on there will turn if we have a warm spell. If not I'll pull them off next weekend. I also harvested a bit more broccoli. Those 5 broccoli plants have really produced. Once I cut the first heads off they proceeded to send off shoots all summer. Looks like I'll be making a chicken-broccoli-cheese ring this week for dinner.

This was my one and only sunflower. A seed from the garden next to mine apparently fell into my side in the spring and I got this huge sunflower. I've had the flower drying but it was ready to eat so we threw it out for the squirrels. They seem to be enjoying it!

Another sure sign of fall is when the beautiful Goldfinch start putting on their winter feathers. I miss their bright yellow!

That's about it for this week. I have another busy week ahead work-wise. I'll actually start teaching. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that all goes well.

Have a good week!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Time Flies When Your Head's Swimming...

And my head has sure been swimming this week! I really love my new job but there is so much to learn. The first couple days I went out with the teacher and other aide to different schools to gather info. Then later in the week I was sent out on my own to do some testing of new students. There were a couple glitches, one not my fault the other a forgetful mistake (thought I had the testing booklet, got the kid out of class, no testing booklet, oops), but no harm was done and I got everything done I needed to for our big 4 hour meeting on Friday. I'm not used to sitting in meetings but it was kind of nice. I know that won't last long as we will be out in the field servicing kids very soon. Tomorrow morning we have another meeting to start with scheduling. I will probably have 2 elementary schools to visit a couple days a week for just a couple hours a day. The rest of the time will be spent in my building as we have the biggest population of non-English speaking students. I think I'm really going to enjoy this job if I can remember everything I need to. It involves a lot of paperwork and reporting.

Friday night was our first bowling. Unfortunately we didn't do too well. We only took 1 point and only lost totals by 30 something. Not good. We still had a good time though. Bill was able to get out of work to make it so it's always a good time when he's able to be there.

The rest of the weekend was spent catching up with chores except for a few hours yesterday when my friend Sandy and I went to the Farmer's Market and then to a lovely craft show where I did not (maybe) buy anything for my darling granddaughter! It had been raining most of the morning but stopped just long enough for us to run through the Farmer's Market and the sun actually came out when we got to the craft show.

Today was a beautiful day. Not a cloud (or drop of rain) in sight. I cut the last of the roses and brought them inside so I can enjoy them for a few more days.

They're gorgeous and they smell so good too.

Yesterday I took Charlie & Zoe to the high school field but it was so darn wet we didn't stay long. After all that rain the field was pretty soggy and they came back home pretty wet. I tried to get the pups up to the park today but there were so many things going on up at the high school I didn't think it was a good idea. Too many distractions and cars coming and going for old Charlie boy. They were quite disappointed. Going through the car wash just wasn't the same. Thankfully Scott took them for me a little later while I was cooking dinner so they did get out for a bit.

Here they are looking longingly out the window at H who spent a bit of time out there helping Scott with the yard mowing chore.

Not much else to report. Amber has decided to only work part-time and from home so Quinn is no longer going to day care. Not sure how that will work out yet but they are giving it a try. It's hard to get anything done with a baby around, let alone an important job like Amber has. I know little Quinn will enjoy having her mommy around more. I can't believe she's already 8 months old! She is growing up so fast!

Tyler says that it is Korea's equivalent to our Thanksgiving this week so he only works Monday and then has the week off. He and a friend are talking about going to a nearby island for a couple days. I'm hoping that will equal a blog post?? One can hope anyway.

Scott has started his new semester and is going to school 5 days a week. Two mornings he has quite a drive as he has two classes at another campus about 45 minutes or so away. It's not bad right now but when winter comes along that could be tough. Hopefully we won't get too much snow between now and Christmas. His plans to move out haven't worked out so I think he's decided to just focus on school, get it over with, get a job and then move out. Sounds like a plan!

Not much else to report. I never did make it out to the garden this weekend. I really need to get out there sometime. Maybe I will go after school one day but not tomorrow as I'm getting a hair cut and then Tuesday night is curriculum night though I'm not sure if I'm required to go or not. Well, I know I'm not getting paid to go, let's put it that way, but I might be expected to be there anyway. I do know the Hispanic Mom's are having a bake sale so I know my teacher will be there so I will probably have to stay too. So like I said, maybe Wednesday.

Have a good week!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Labor Day Weekend, Back to School, Head Colds and Bucket Lists

Labor Day weekend went by so quickly. Amber and Quinn arrived Friday night and Quinn had been sleeping in the car so she was pretty much not interested in socializing and went to bed soon after arriving.
By the next morning she was her happy little self again. Here she is sitting in her new booster chair waiting for breakfast!

Happy girl again!

Zoe and Charlie did a good job of keeping off her blanket. Well, most of the time. They just wanted to be up in her face so badly! It took everything they had to keep back and not lick her face!

Right after breakfast Grandpa decided that he and Quinn should take a little stroll around the block.

Scott helped Quinn get close and personal with Charlie. She really started looking for Charlie and would giggle when he came around.

Grandpa and Quinn chillaxin' with their remotes in the big chair.

Scott's 22nd Birthday was on Tuesday so we celebrated on Monday with cupcakes.

Much too quickly our time with Quinn and Amber was over and they headed to the airport and back home Monday afternoon. I'm sure Quinn was so happy to get back to her own crib!

Quinn thought Charlie was so funny!

On Sunday I started sneezing and generally not feeling well and by the time the girls left on Monday it had turned into a full blown head cold. Miserable, that's how I felt. I struggled to make it through that first day of school and picked up some really good drugs on the way home. They worked so well that by Wednesday I was feeling much better, though I didn't sound too good.

The rest of the week went well and I'm really enjoying my new job. There is a lot to learn and I'm learning as quickly as I can but there's a lot to it. We've been testing a little so I had to learn how to do that and we've been venturing out to other schools to learn who needs testing there. I had to administer my first test on Friday and it happened (unfortunately) to be in the Principal's office with her sitting 6 feet away from me! Talk about intimidating! I muddled through somehow and at least now I have my first screening behind me.

Yesterday was a rainy day so I got lots of things done around the house that were badly needed, like cleaning my poor fish tank. Those poor fish were gasping for oxygen but they look much better now. I also took the pups to the park in the morning, before the rain started and they were very grateful!

Today was an absolutely picture perfect Michigan day. The sun was beautiful and the temps and humidity were low. It was around 70-75, perfect. I took the pups to the park around noon and they were full of energy. The plan had been to let them off leash for a bit and then take them for a walk on leash. They ran around for a few minutes and then took off running and no amount of me calling their names brought them back in a timely fashion. When they did finally decide to turn around they ended up inside the baseball field with me on the other side of the fence. By the time I walked to the gate I was ready to take them home.

The last thing on my agenda today was something I had been wanting to learn for quite some time. It was one of the items on my "bucket list". It had always seemed so intimidating to me that I didn't even want to attempt it. But after a little research on line (what can't you google and learn?) I had my list of supplies and headed out to buy everything that was needed.

First the main ingredient: tomatoes

Par boil and skin


Water bath

Success!! 9 quarts of summer tomatoes

I have always wanted to learn how to can and after listening to someone at work claim that it was really easy I decided to give it a try. It really wasn't too bad. Mostly you just need to plan well. I have already learned what not to do next year. The real test will be how they taste when I open that first jar in a few months!

I have another busy week coming up and we start bowling on Friday!

Have a good week!

Friday, September 3, 2010

We Interrupt This Program, errr, Blog...

We will be busy this weekend! Our two favorite girls are coming for a visit!

They get here tonight and we can't wait!!

Look at that face!!! I just want to eat her up with a spoon!!

I have a feeling I'll be busy spoiling a certain someone. If I have enough energy Monday night I'll post pics from the weekend but I'm not promising. An almost 8 month old baby seems to really wear me out these days!

Vaca - Part V - Happy Endings

So, Friday morning dawned a little brighter, with a rainbow and all, so we decided to take that trip we had been planning all week. First we ate a delicious breakfast at the Seahorse Cafe, right across from the marina, complete with grits and all.

Then it was a short walk over to the marina for the 10:00 shuttle out to Shell Island. The brochure on this trip promised shells galore and it didn't disappoint. As soon as we got off the boat, picked up our umbrella and shelling bags we set off to find out spot and the shells were just laying all over, ripe for the picking.

We were a good distance from civilization and the only way to get to this beach was by boat. I guess you could swim if you were a really strong swimmer but I preferred the boat.

That's our little spot in the distance. Oh, wait a sec, no it isn't.

We decided that since we didn't get a little shovel to dig the hole for the post for the umbrella that we would just lay our umbrella down and that worked just fine.

Here's H shelling. He decided to walk back from our spot to where the boat dropped us off as most of the big shells were actually along that stretch of beach. When he got back to our umbrella with the bag we had to make some choices. He had so many shells I told him I didn't think we should take all the good ones and not leave them for other people that were coming that day!

It was just us and the birds. Oh, I did see a dolphin off shore too, actually two. Looked like a mom and her baby. Of course, they are so quick I didn't get the camera up in time to snap a pic.

We opted to only stay for the two hours. You could leave at 12:15, 2:15 or 4:15 but the sun was out and it was pretty hot so we decided we had enough shells and since the sun was out it would be nice to go back to the pool on our last day in Florida.

We spent the rest of the afternoon at the pool, relaxing and reading.

Then went for one last walk on the beach

and saw our final sunset though it wasn't really much to write home about.

The sun went down and it was time to go back to the room and start packing. We wanted to be on the road and hit our favorite bakery in Ybor City to buy some cuban bread to take back home.

We were on the road by 7:00, hit the bakery for 8 loaves of bread which we brought home, cut up and froze, and had a relatively uneventful drive back home with a one night stop in London, Kentucky. Our 12 day vacation had finally come to an end and we were both so glad to sleep in our own bed again! Plus my pups were really happy to see us and haven't really left my side since I got home!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Vaca - Part IV - More Family & Friend (and a little sun)

So Thursday dawned a little better. We went over to the beach around 11:00 and the sun was trying to break through but only did for a few minutes at a time. We also spent a little time at the pool too but I couldn't really say it was a "sunny" day, just not rainy and a bit brighter.

Around 2:00 we headed over to Apollo Beach to try to visit H's former step-mom but learned from her son, who lived next door, that she was "up north" until November. Guess that's what happens when you try to surprise someone and they don't know you're coming. From there we headed over to H's sister Sharon's house. The plan was to meet Mike and Bo there later and all go out to dinner together. Bo was in the area on business, lucky for us!

Sharon got a new pup a couple months ago, Mr. Big. Supposedly he's a "man hater". He had obviously been misdiagnosed. He was a sweetie, so cute and loving, always licking and trying to give kisses.

This is Sharon's older dog, Carm. She's getting up there in years and has an OCD habit of loving on pillows. She just keeps nibbling on them for long periods of time.

Once Mike and Bo arrived we took a few minutes to take some pictures to commemorate the visit.

The siblings, H, Sharon and Bo.

Then the sibs with the in-law (that would be me)

Then Sharon and Mike

Then Mike and H (old time buddies)

We had a lovely dinner and enjoyed catching up and talking about what's going on in everyone's life.

Bo had to head back to Orlando right after dinner but the rest of us went back to Sharon's house to visit a little longer and then headed back to the beach around 10:00.

The forecast for Friday was supposed to be a bit better. When I woke up Friday morning and looked out the bedroom window and saw this

I figured that was a good sign that we would finally able to plan a little trip I had been looking forward to all week.