Saturday, January 28, 2012

Where in the world was Freakmom?

Sorry for my absence. I took what was left of my bonus from last summer and we went on a "do over" vacation. We were gone a week. No one got sick. Didn't even throw up once! In seriousness, we had a great time. We were delayed a day getting home due to bad weather in southern and central Illinois. (You have to be sure to say "Central Illinois" around mid-state, they get testy around Peoria if you call them "downstate." Although when you live nearly on the Wisconsin border, everything is downstate.)

We've been back since Monday, but I've been busy with catching up, laundry, cleaning up, paying bills, all that sort of thing. I am working on catching up on reading all your blogs too. I am enjoying hearing everything I missed.

We did decide to go with Teaching Textbooks. Violet placed into Pre-Algebra and I think that is a good fit for her. We ordered it and it came within 2 days! I couldn't believe it. She's done 2 lessons so far and really likes it. I like that we can go in to the parent account and delete a lesson or problems. If she isn't happy with her grade, she can have a do over. I'm not concerned about her grade, I just want her to learn the material. But she wants to get good scores. It is a nice feature for her.

Her Cadette group has met 2 weeks at the other mom's house. All the Cadettes are really enjoying being away from that crazy co-op atmosphere. They are all so much more relaxed. I went to the last meeting. Violet had been regretting telling me I could get involved, she liked the meeting when I wasn't there. But at the end of the meeting something was said about us moms being there, so the other mom suggested she and I go in the other room and leave them in the kitchen to discuss whatever it was. The girls loved their private time. So it is now going to be a regular feature of the meetings. An hour of meeting and badge work, then the other mom and I will have coffee and chat in the other room and let them play games, finish up their crafts, talk, whatever. All parties involved are really happy with that plan.

I've been doing good so far in 2012 at not letting my job take control of my life. I've not been doing so good at exercising. There are only so many hours in the day. I can only do so much. But today, Mr. I. vacuumed and Violet dusted while I was working. Yippee!

What more could a Freakmom want?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Algebra and snow

Life has been busy. Isn't it always? Well, if you are doing it right it is. We started activities back up this week. Violet and Butterfly met to discuss upcoming Cadette projects, they have some fun things in mind including lots of cooking. Today Violet met with her other Cadette group (their first offsite meeting), they also spent time discussing upcoming plans. I didn't go, so this is just what she mentioned. More about my day later.

First though, algebra. Does anyone have an algebra program that they and their kids loved? Ok, it is algebra, maybe not loved, but a program they liked? Violet has been doing Key to Algebra and she doesn't find that it explains things very well. She says I explain things better, but that I tend to over-explain. And I think we both would prefer a program that would let her be more independent than me playing math teacher. There are so many programs available, I'd love some suggestions of what to look at first.

We are getting our first snow storm of the year. It started this morning and by late afternoon the roads were getting bad. It is cold and windy and still coming down. No snow all season until a day I'm supposed to be at the office, 30 miles away. Last night I talked to my boss twice (she also lives way out by me), comparing weather forecasts and figuring out if we were going in. I was supposed to do 2 training sessions for members of our department. This morning at 6:30 we talked and since it was still clear but the snow was supposed to start in the morning we decided to cancel the afternoon session but go ahead with the morning.

The drive in was clear. I did the training session. No one complained about cancelling the afternoon. Several members of our department were out at a client in the morning and they didn't have to try to rush back for the training. And most importantly, I picked up Violet's GS cookie form. Her grand total...121 boxes. A very good showing.

So anyway, I left the office at noon and got home about 1:30, about the time Mr. I and Violet were leaving for the Cadette group. I could have taken her, but we needed to leave right then, I hadn't had lunch, and was still dressed for the office. I begged off. I would have had to stay for the meeting since I am now assisting with the group. When they got home about 4:00 Mr. I said he was really glad I left the office when I did and that I hadn't taken Violet. He said the roads had gotten really bad.

If you happen to be watching the Miss America pageant on Saturday (I'm afraid we're going to miss it), check out Miss Illinois, she's from the town we live in. It would be awesome if she won, it would be the second time in my life that a Miss America was from a town I was living in (Judy Ford, Miss America 1969 was from my hometown). And neither town is very big. A quick funny story. The government teacher in my high school (everyone took his government class before graduating) used to tell us how his daughter was best friends with Judy Ford. When Judy won the Miss Boone County pageant and headed off to Miss Illinois, he told Judy and his daughter that if Judy won Miss Illinois, he'd pay for both of them to go to the Miss American pageant. Judy won and he paid for both girls to go.

Yes, I drone on and on about Judy Ford, I really admire her. The seamstress who made my bridesmaid's dresses is recreating Judy's Miss America gown to be put in the local historical society. I can't wait to go see it. I've been there gazing at her crown and other gowns. A lot of us who were little girls when Judy won are still smitten with her. Her talent was trampoline. I mean, how cool is that?

Time to go practice my wave and my walk. Just in case they decide to call me for the Mrs. Perimenopausal Homeschool Mom Pageant. I want to be ready. My talent is snark.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Knit Caterpillar

I finally finished the caterpillar tonight! I've been almost done for a few days now and just finding those few minutes to do it has been impossible. I'm so tickled at how it turned out! My first non-scarf knitting project! I had to follow a pattern, knit, purl, increase stitches and decrease stitches.

She's all ready for her close up:

I'm not too happy with the bottom seam stitching. I plan to make more caterpillars to keep practicing, so I'll try to make their seams look better and not so much like horrible surgical scars:

This last week has been so busy! We started school up again at the same time that work got into the swing again. Plus we had errands to run that we either couldn't do over the Christmas break (like the Girl Scout shop which was closed) or didn't want to while the kids were out (like getting my hair cut and going to open swim). I've got a call scheduled with my boss tomorrow to review my work load and see about getting some help (I finally got through to her that I was on the verge of burning out if I didn't get more support - in her defense, I hadn't been very clear until the end, then she was very receptive to listen). This past week I had a hard time getting my hours in while still getting everything else done. I think Mr. I and Violet realize too that they need to help more around the house.

I have been continuing to work out every day (or almost every day). I know that cuts into my free time/work time, but I don't want to give it up. I have noticed that my sleeping has greatly improved since I've been working out. And I haven't had any night sweats since I've been exercising. Since the night sweats are just starting and aren't likely to go away any time soon, I think I really need to keep the exercise up.

Since I'm not willing to quit exercising, and I also think I deserve a little free time each day, I'm thinking housekeeping must be the thing to go. Just a warning, if you drop by, you'll likely be wading through clutter and a sink full of dirty dishes. I see no other alternatives.

Have a great week everyone!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Observations and follow-up

I drove to the office this morning and on my way I passed a high school. The sign board out front proclaimed, "Welcome back staff and students!"Since they claim it is "all about the students" then why did the staff come first on the welcome back sign?

Day 2 of the cookie sale and Violet has met her goal. It was only 40 boxes. I took her form to the office with me and posted it in the small kitchen right by my desk. By the time I left she had enough boxes ordered combined with a few family orders to meet her goal. Over half of the boxes were to be donated to either the soldiers or the food pantry. Violet is the philanthropic cookie seller in our office. She's got some loyal customers who love to donate their cookies so we promote that.

By the way, I'm not doing anything about the pre-seller at our office. We're in different councils (the border runs between my house and the office). She's a bigwig I need on my side (and she currently is). And I am sure she didn't get the instructions from her daughter's troop leader about not selling early. Violet is happy with her sales, and she's still got time for more orders to come in. Looks like the other girl who has sold in the past isn't selling this year, so there isn't that much competition.

The knitted caterpillar is almost done. Expect a photo soon.

School starts back in full swing tomorrow. Guess I'd better get some enthusiasm going.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Eve

I meant to write this post yesterday, but between family and stuff around the house I never got to it. But since all my blog buddies are moms too, I knew you'd understand.

I spent a big part of the day doing stuff like laundry and paying bills. Getting all that stuff out of the way. I also did some planning for Girl Scouts. Just general ideas. The girls are getting older so I like them to do most of the details. We do some of our stuff with 2 younger girls, they are 9 and 10, so the crafts we do with them I tend to have prepared and ready to go. But when it is Violet and her girlfriend Butterfly, they are perfectly capable (and prefer to) come up with their own projects.

We made home made pizza for dinner. We just bought pre-made crusts. That was fine with me. Today we have black-eyed pea dip and lasagne planned, so a little less cooking was fine with me. Remember my black-eyed pea dip? It is still delicious and the only way I'll eat those nasty tasting black-eyed peas on New Year's Day.

I also spent time reading my book, "Somebody Owes Me Money," by Donald E. Westlake. The evening came up on us fast since Dick Clark started so early. We had it on and watched it on and off. I don't know many of the new artists, but enjoyed some of the old clips. We were also pointing out which of the artists we'd seen in concert. There weren't many, but some between the two of us. Mr. I. always likes to tease me about Rick Springfield. I saw him twice when I was in high school during his heyday. It pays off to have a best friend with an older brother who is gay. He was quite happy to drive his little sister and her friends to see Rick Springfield. I'm guessing not as many macho jock football player older brothers would have done that. And then screamed along beside us.

Violet passed on watching the ball drop but said she did stay up until midnight reading in her room. Goofy kid.

One other thing I did last night during Dick Clark was learn something new in knitting: how to increase and decrease stitches. I started a caterpillar toy from the Kids Knitting book and I needed to know how to increase and decrease for it. Yes, it was a wild and crazy night here at the Freak House.

Hope you all have a wonderful 2012! I have a little time until I have to make the black-eyed pea dip and get me some good luck for the new year. I think I'll work on the caterpillar. I'll post a photo when I finish it.