Friday, October 31, 2008

Clay's "costume"

This is Clay's costume....AND he doesn't want to go trick or treating at all. I was basically begging him..."C'mon, just a couple of houses..." Nope. He's not going. He wants to stay here and give out candy - except the thing is...we don't GET trick or treaters! We are too far back I guess - no one wants to walk all the way down our driveway. So....I guess this means my baby boy is growing up. :(

Oh well, he was amazed at the food. He said, "Mom, you rock!" Yeah, I guess I do.....

The Little Dutch Girl

Eyeballs and severed fingers!!

I started feeling a bit Martha Stewart-y today...I'm not really sure why - maybe it was guilt because I yelled at my kids last night (even though they deserved it!) and maybe it is because it is Halloween and Tim is coming home tonight, but I made a big pot of chicken and noodles, did two loads of laundry - including one which I had to SCRUB at because Clay left a pen in his pocket which bled all over everything, but I did manage to get the ink out! - swept, mopped, went to the store, and made after school snacks of severed fingers and eyeballs for the kids!

The kids were a little iffy about trick or treating this year. I think they really just want the candy! Paige is going to a friend's house to trick or treat with her. She is going to be a little Dutch girl. That's really a stretch, isn't it? I will try to post a picture later tonight. Clay will probably just hit a couple of houses in the neighborhood wearing his regular clothes and a mask. He is much too cool for costumes (??) but mean old mom is making him do something! He and I will probably watch a movie while waiting for Dad to get home.

Tim does get home this evening, but is only home for one day, then back to work for another three day trip on Sunday. Thankfully, he will be home Tuesday evening to watch the election results with me and then is home for a few days (including for Paige's performance next weekend as Snow White).

Nothing special planned for this weekend - Paige has rehearsals (what else is new!) but other than that I think we will just take it easy and relax! I hope you all have a happy, chocolatey halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Old friends............

I love hearing from friends! Yesterday I spoke to an old friend in Washington state that I probably haven't spoken to in about 4 years!! It was wonderful catching up and hearing all about her family. I also spoke to another good friend in North Carolina that I talk to more often - but it is still always good to hear what is going on in her life. It seems that as my children get older and more involved in their is easier and easier to drift apart. My old circle of friends here in Orange Park has done just that - I rarely hear from anyone and feel rather isolated. I suppose it is inevitable, but I do miss everyone! I think that we all need to make a real effort to keep up with our friends - old and new, near and far! Any of my friends out there who are reading this - I want you to know that I treasure each and every one of you...I would love to hear from you!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

When life hands you lemons...............

Our lemon tree is LOADED with lemons! Yum Yum. You know what that is time for Tim's famous vodka tonics. If anyone wants to come visit - we'd love to see you!

The sunrise picture was taken this morning as we were leaving the house for school. Yikes - imagine how dark it will be next week after the time change. I absolutely HATE getting up while it is still dark. I may have mentioned...I am NOT a morning person!!

The other pictures are of Paige with our cat, Roxy and one of "our" eagles and a coot drying himself. Yesterday was chilly, but beautiful - crisp and sunny. We have a pair of eagles that have a nest near our house. We see them everyday - and they are so fascinating. I have been doing research online...trying to find out what their various calls mean, but haven't had much luck. One of them stays on the boathouse while the other one is "fishing". The one on the boathouse cries and calls to the other one constantly....very different calls. When they are both on the boathouse and I walk out to the dock, one will fly away immediately - the other one will stay there and isn't bothered by me at all. (obviously, that is the one in the pictures). Anyway, they never cease to amaze me - I love "our" eagles!

Poor Tim tried to get home last night between trips - just so he could sleep in his own bed - but the flight was late, so he was forced to get a hotel room in D.C. We miss Daddy! Yesterday was a relatively easy day for me, because Paige didn't have ballet. The next few days will be crazy with both ballet and soccer (that same old problem of having to be two places at one time). To make things even crazier, CSX has closed down the entrance to the kid's school to do maintenance on the RR tracks. We now have to enter and exit the school by the back entrance - which is ONE LANE. Yeah, fun. Now, I wonder why they couldn't have scheduled that for over Thanksgiving or Christmas break?

I did finally order tickets for the productions Paige will be in. Not too bad for Nutcracker, but seriously waiting until the last minute for the Snow White is next weekend! I managed to get fairly good seats though. I can't wait to see her dance. The studio where she takes is for professional dancers and is not geared towards making the parents happy - no viewing windows. The only chance we have to see how our children are progressing is when they perform - and I am always impressed by how much better Paigie has gotten!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Paige had a project in history - to make a timeline of her life....which really cracked me up, because she is 12 years old!!! Anyway, this is her timeline above (I think if you click on the pic, it will get bigger). Paige and I were digging through old pictures this weekend trying to find some of "important" events in her life....of course, being her mom, I thought EVERYTHING was important..."Paige, remember, this is when we were at the beach and you were tired and wrapped up in a beach towel and took a nap"....."Oh honey, remember when you wore this tutu everywhere?"......"Oh, look! This is you hugging Daddy before you went to school when you were in 2nd grade..." You get the idea. It was sort of sad though...looking through all of those pictures - because I still think of her as that little blond toddler, and she is growing up. It makes me sad how quickly my children are growing up because I feel like I need some "do overs". If I could do it again I would spend more time with them just playing...and less stressing over whether or not their rooms were clean or the laundry was folded or whatever. You know, when the kids are grown and have their own families, they are not going to remember whether or not our house was always clean but they will remember spending time with mom and dad (I hope). So that is my just enjoy being with my family....the rest will take care of itself, right? Right?

Clay AND Paige share some thoughts....

CLAY: I am tired. I don't like SATs. Soccer is going well. I am very tired and cold. I can't think of anything else to say.

PAIGE: Good morning. I am tired, also. SATs were pretty easy - yesterday was reading and reading comprehension. Today is math. I don't know whether or not to be excited or nervous. I hope tomorrow is science or social studies. Those are some of my favorite subjects. Mrs. Byrd, my ballet teacher, had a HUGE book that was like a giant time line starting in bc going into 1990 when she bought it. I was telling her how cool it was and she told me that she had majored in History. Cool. I think that is what I want to do!

CLAY: I want to be a marine biologist. I like history too, though.

Monday, October 27, 2008

I am NOT a morning person!

I am having a hard time getting going this morning! It is chilly - that is part of it (although it sounds like it is going to be really cold tomorrow!) - also, I didn't sleep very well...and I am just not a morning person. I will say though, that if I HAVE to be up early (and not cuddled up in my warm bed where I want to be) a beautiful sunrise makes it - somewhat - worthwhile. I snapped this picture this I grumbled my way back to the coffeemaker....

I am trying to get going here and head out for my walk, but maybe I'll wait a bit until it warms up. I got up and made my kids a healthy breakfast of scrambled eggs (instead of the usual cereal) because they have PSAT testing this week. Don't I wish I was the kind of mom who did that every day! Oh well, if I did it every morning they wouldn't appreciate it, right? Since my Donna Reed moments are few and far between, my kids really appreciate them! Actually, I feel more like a drill sergeant than Donna Reed in the mornings....but seriously, if I didn't remind them to brush their teeth every day I think they would walk out without doing it! Eewww, gross. Ditto for making their beds, feeding the pets, grabbing I stumble around in my morning fog sipping coffee and snapping out orders....

OK, almost done with my second cup of coffee, feeling a bit more human, and off for my walk....

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The kids and I just got home from church and we are just hanging out working on homework/projects (the kids) and surfin' the web (me) until we need to leave to take Paige to rehearsal. Tim left this morning for...hmmm....I am not sure where he is going, actually! I think, maybe, Munich? Anyway, he has 3 3-day trips back to he will be gone for the next 9 days. :(

It is an absolutely gorgeous day here - the air show is going on, so we keep hearing planes flying overhead. We have another hour of hanging out and then we take Paige downtown for rehearsal, then home for a bit and then take Clay to youth group.

It is shaping up to be a busy week, especially since I am a "single mom" again for a while! Clay has started soccer so I really hope he gets organized regarding his schoolwork. He also has taekwondo - and of course Paige has ballet 4 days per week, plus rehearsals....I am still working on that time travel thing so that I can be in two places at once. I'll let you know how it works out!

Friday, October 24, 2008

I heart rainy days

I love rainy long as they don't last too long! It is a rainy, blustery day here and we have the windows's very breezy and cool. Sometimes a rainy day just suits your mood, you know?

I am in the mood for some "comfort food", and so am going to make a big pot of homemade vegetable soup for dinner tonight. Also on the agenda for today: take a long walk, if it stops raining (I love my walks in this cooler weather) and keep hunting for some shoes for Clay. I just refuse to pay $60 for a pair of shoes that he will outgrow in 2 months! I keep looking for a sale, but he is now in a men's size 9 - which is very difficult to find - at least in a "cool" shoe! I am not sure what Tim has planned for today....he usually has his little list of things that MUST get I'm sure he will be puttering away at something.

The kid's report cards came yesterday. Clay's was not as good as we would like - disappointing, but not really surprising. Everyone tells us that this is very typical for 8th grade boys and just to hang in there and he will get his act together. I hope so! Paige had all A's and one B - she made magna cum laude honor roll....Yay Paige! Well, I'd better get to work chopping veggies and get that soup simmering......

Thursday, October 23, 2008

"our" eagle......

What a Cool Day!

What cool day! Tim and I just went for a nice long walk through our neighborhood. It is kind of a blustery day - very windy, and it looks like it is about to rain....I was sitting on our patio watching the waves and the eagles, enjoying the breeze, and just thinking how nice and relaxing it was, and I decided to take a picture...this was my view (including my feet!)...but you will have to imagine the wind and the eagle's cries (you can just see him on our boathouse on the left).

Still nothing exciting to report....I am off to run errands in a bit - looking for new tennis shoes for Clay (that kid is HARD on shoes!!), buy turtle food, and groceries....Tim and I just voted....maybe I'll carve out some more time later today to just go sit and watch the eagles. Clay thinks we need to name them - any suggestions?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A strange sense of humor!

All right, this is Lisa...and I feel like Tim's post requires a bit of an explanation....Tim heard from his old college buddy who apparently has been following the VK Family blog over in Asia (Wow!) and I guess he was giving Tim a bit of a hard time about ... how boring our lives are? So, this is Tim's sense of humor hard at work! Love ya, "D"!

Anyway, it was gratifying to hear that someone other than my friend in NC is actually reading this....

And yes, I know our lives aren't very interesting...but, hey - we're working on it! I'll write again when (and if) I have anything to report.

A Few Words From Tim:

Boy! And I thought I had problems....just talked to my old college buddy, "D" who is a pilot overseas....well, he just came out of the closet. It seems that he is having difficulty keeping a "partner" because, well, it a little thing - if you catch my drift. Boy, it really puts our problems here in the states in perspective, doesn't it? We're pulling for you, "D" - hope things work out!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Clay's comments on THE DANCE

Hi. hmmm.....There wasn't really anything good to eat or drink at the dance. The DJ was terrible, so no one really danced. Mostly we just talked. There was only one slow dance, and it was before I got there - it was terrible! Poor Clay. My friend Conner won the costume contest - he was the joker. He won a gift card to Starbucks. If I could have won, I could have given the gift card to Mom and everything would have been ok. I thought I was joking when Mom said I was disrespectful. I guess she didn't think it was funny. My friend Natalie was a hippie. My other friend Caroline was a hippie too. My mom makes great chili. TTFN!!!

Monday, October 20, 2008, I rushed home from ballet to help Clay apply the "bald" wig and get him to his dance...the stupid wig DID NOT look anything like the picture on the package. It was just this cheap piece of rubber, and we were supposed to apply this latex makeup stuff to blend it in to his face...the latex was gross, and thick and yucky....after about twenty minutes of attempting to get it to work we gave up.....and THIS was his costume!

Anyway, after rushing around, trying to get him "bald" then scrounging around to find the groucho face, we rush out to the car and I drive him to the school - and that little brat copped the teenager "I'm so cool, and my mom is so stupid" attitude as he got out of the car...ooohhh, I am so angry right now! Those who have already been through the teenage years are probably chuckling right about now, but aarrggh!! He expects me to drive back to pick him up at 10:30 - I SHOULD just make the litle bugger walk home (right, like that's gonna happen).

All right, I've vented now. Don't worry, I'll go pick my ungrateful child up at 10:30. But you can bet your last nickel he'll be listening to a lecture the whole way home! Any advice is gratefully welcomed.

An update on my crazy day....

Well, my afternoon is looking brighter....Clay finished early with soccer so I have both kids home now eating chili...I will take Paige to ballet at the regular time and leave Clay at home to clean his room. IF he gets it clean, I will take him to the dance a half hour late...sorry, dude - I am not running all over during rush hour to take you to a dance when you couldn't be bothered to clean your room. Ooohhh....aren't I a tough mom?

His costume for the dance....well, he is not really into costumes any more (is it a guy thing?) but we compromised on a "bald" wig...which should be pretty funny (again, assuming he gets his room clean and is allowed to go!) I will try to get a picture on here of "bald" Clay!
Well, it is 7:00 am....and it looks like it is going to be one of those days! I woke up with a headache - I think from stressing over how to be in about 15 places at once. Today is my great-aunt's funeral in Tallahassee and I am not going to be able to make it...Tim is in Munich. To make the funeral, I would have had to leave at 6:30...which meant I would have had to bring the kids and had them miss school. Clay has a French quiz today, and soccer try-outs, so I really couldn't do that. Speaking of soccer tryouts....they are after school, and he also has a Halloween dance for the 7th and 8th graders - at the exact same time Paige has ballet downtown. Hmmm....OK, you are thinking, "why not just let Paige miss class?" Mondays are a "Mrs. Byrd" day - the director of the ballet, and also the day she runs her variation for the competition in January for Mrs. she can't miss class on Monday. So here is my plan: I will take Paige to ballet an hour early (she can work on homework or read), drop her off, rush back to OP (during rush hour) to pick Clay up from Soccer, run home help him finish his costume, take him to the school and drop him off a bit early for the dance, rush back downtown to pick Paige up from ballet, get home around 8:30, pick Clay up from the dance @ 10:30. Uugghh! No wonder I woke up with a headache!! Shouldn't I be getting an award for "SUPER MOM" one of these days? Seriously, back when we were thinking about having children....this is NOT what I envisioned!

OK, off I go to take an advil and get started on this crazy day.

By the way, it is going to be a beautiful day in North Florida....temps will only get up to around 74, and this morning is starting out at around 50....bbbrrrrrr........The kids were excited to wear long sleeves and jackets this morning. :)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A good day....

Today has been a good day. The kids and I went for a nice long walk around the neighborhood. Paige had Nutcracker rehearsal again, but today was only an hour and a half rehearsal (as opposed to the usual 3-4 hours). We are home in time for a family dinner - Tim is grilling steaks, yum yum! Tim and I have been sitting out on our patio sharing a glass of wine and looking out over the lake....the temperature is a bit cooler today, and with the breeze off the water it is almost cool! VERY relaxing! After dinner, we will have "family movie night" and watch Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull. Good times!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Clay's Comments...

I would like to say....I went on a mountain camping trip with my school last week and it was a LOT of fun. We went overnight camping....we hiked up to a remote camping spot. I woke up to a lake at the foot of my sleeping bag - It was raining! So we had to hike back 1 1/2 hours in the rain. It was fun though. We also went white water rafting - the water was really cold. One of the girls in our group (extremely large) fell out and dragged my friend Matthew with her. We rescued Matthew, but the girl wouldn't cooperate and climbed on a rock and stayed there and started screaming. Eventually, we paddled back upstream and got her. It was extremely funny.

Soccer starts next week - I can't wait.

Taekwondo is also starting - I can't wait. Yay!

Thursday, October 16, 2008


It is 7:00 pm, and I am feeling so peaceful and relaxed because my wonderful husband took Paige downtown to ballet for me and Clay is at Taekwondo. The windows are open and I am listening to the sound of the water against the bulkhead and the eagles...doing eagle stuff and making eagle sounds (noisy, yet calming at the same time)....I am cooking dinner, and baking cookies...and the TV is OFF!!! Enough politics, and name-calling, and economic disasters for me...for tonight at least I am going to just enjoy my solitude and "quiet time" until my family gets home - and then I will enjoy my wonderful, beautiful children and my sweet, helpful husband.

As Scarlett O'Hara said, "tomorrow is another day......"

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Paige Post

Chloe (our cat) is going crazy! She is running around like a wild thing, and leaping up in the air on the slider. Does she save all of her energy until her nightly leaping sessions? If so, that is just crazy!

I passed this quarter in school! But I only got a B- in Pre-Algebra. Everything else is an A though, so I think I will be on honor roll. I am done with Latin and I am now taking Spanish this quarter.

The Van Kuiken Weekly is looking for subscribers! If you would like a copy, email I also need GOOD NEWS...I am tired of hearing about how bad the economy is...blah, blah, blah. So the VK WEEKLY is only going to have good news from now on! Our first subscriber is Aunt Mary - thank you for the GOOD NEWS!

Ta Ta for now.....

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Tim and I had a wonderful couple of days in Asheville, North was so nice to be alone, and really talk - about stuff other than the kids! We stayed downtown and walked everywhere. We visited with Tim's nephew and his family and went to several WONDERFUL restaurants and just had a very relaxing few days! We got home Friday evening, picked Paige up...then had to be at the school at 6:00 am to pick Clay up from his mountain adventure! He had a great time - even though it rained for a couple of days while he was hiking and camping and he was drenched! They went to sliding rock and also went white water rafting. The kids all had to prepare their own food and Clay loved that - I think he even cooked for another camper...a girl! Hmmm......

Anyway, we were all quite tired yesterday and slept late, then just sort of hung around throughout the morning before we could really "get going"!! Paige had rehearsal for Fairest and Nutcracker yesterday she was bouncing off the walls ready to get back in the studio! We had a very nice "family" dinner and we all talked about our week Tim is off again this morning and I am doing more laundry (the only negative to our fabulous week...TONS of dirty clothes!) and hoping to get the house cleaned. Both kids have projects due for school they will be working on....another lazy day for us.....

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Another Paige Post:

Hi. My face really hurts from scrubbing at it....the white out exploded and went all over my face. Ouch! I was working on a book report and I made a mistake and I needed white out....yuck.

I am going to be at my grandmother's from Tuesday until Friday because Mom and Dad are giong out of own and Clay is going on a field trip. I am excited! I hardly ever get to spend a lot of time with her so now I get to! The bad thing is that I can't go to ballet all week because she doesn't want to drive downtown. :(

Tomorrow I have Nutcracker rehearsal and also I have Fairest rehearsal (the Snow White one). So I will be at the studio from 1:00 until 5:30! Yay.

My face hurts......


Hooray! It is Saturday, and we were all able to sleep late today. I think we must have needed it because we all slept past 8:00. Clay, of course, slept til 9 when I made him get up because he has a car wash fund raiser for Taekwondo this morning...otherwise he probably could have slept until noon! While he is at the car wash, Tim, Paige and I are going to clean this messy house...change sheets, clean windows, mop, vacuum, etc....then I will go to Publix and get some food...Paige is working on a book report today...Tim is planning on doing some yard work and taking stuff up to Goodwill...then we will probably watch the FSU game this afternoon. Go 'Noles!

Plans for this week: Tim goes to Munich tomorrow, and Clay leaves for his mountain field trip on Monday. He is really excited about it....sleeping in tents, white water rafting, hiking - no showers all week long....Tuesday I will drive up to N.C. and meet Tim there. We are planning a couple of days of R & R for ourselves! I am really looking forward to it...Paige will stay with my mom while we are gone and I think she is looking forward to some bonding time with her grandmother! I am sure they will have a great time together. So all of us have something to look forward to this coming week.
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