Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Welcome to the Hotel Grand Rapids....

...where you can check out, but you can never leave!


I am typing this at the Grand Rapids airport - Day two of sitting and getting bumped off flights.  Tim has a trip this afternoon so he was able to get out on the jumpseat and is on his way to Chicago and then Washington.  The kids and I will try for a couple more hours and then give up for the day, go back to Gramma's, and try again tomorrow.  Actually, tomorrow doesn't look too bad (so far)....everything is so full because several flights were cancelled on Sunday due to the weather and so they are backed up....

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Tim and the kids went sledding yesterday afternoon while Aunt Cookie and I cooked dinner.  They had a blast - until some old man came up and told them that it "was much too dangerous" and that they needed to stop.  They were all VERY bummed, and plan to look for another good hill today!!  It snowed most of the day yesterday, so there should be good sledding.

The other photo is of the boys in the "manly" VW beetle.  With the little vase of flowers.  Hee Hee.

Also, a picture of the fabulous Aunt Cookie helping Paige with her school work.

Today is our last (hopefully, anyway) day here - we are going to try to get home tomorrow.  I can tell you that I am NOT looking forward to that.  As usual, everything is booked full and now we have the addd benefit of trying to get through security after that idiot tried to blow up the plane.  Wish us luck!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

A rare VK family photo....

...courtesy of the fun and amazing Aunt Cookie, taken on our chilly, BRISK walk!

Snowing again.

We had a fun Christmas, and today it is snowing again.  Clay and Paige have been playing fun learning games with Aunt Cookie, yoga with Aunt Cookie, math games with Aunt Cookie, took a walk with Aunt Cookie....Aunt Cookie is FUN, and Tim and I are enjoying the break and being lazy - in a nice, warm house looking out at the snowy day. 

Thursday, December 24, 2009


It is supposed to start raining later this afternoon, turning to freezing rain and sleet, then tomorrow a sleet/snow mix, finally turning to snow.  The drizzle outside has made the snow wonderful for snowballs...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Brrr....it's cold here!

We finally made it to Michigan - but what a nightmare day it was!  Still, we made it - and it's nice to see everyone.  The kids are thrilled that there is snow on the ground, and have been outside playing in the snow quite a bit.  I have a very tenuous, piggyback connection to the internet so will have to try to load the photos I took later.

Tim came in from Munich last night, and he even made it here to Grand Rapids even though all the flights were oversold.  He said that Europe was a big mess as well - big snowstorm there, and all the airports were shut down, etc.

Yesterday Clay went to his cousin Tom's and hung out and played video games while Gramma, Paige and I did some last minute Christmas shopping.  Gramma was very happy that she was able to finish up yesterday (and all in ONE store!!)...we stopped off at Meijer's (which is similar to a Super-Target) to pick up a few odds and ends, and when we tried to start the car found a dead battery.  That was a lot of fun.  (!!)

Today Tim and I will finish up our list (mostly stocking stuffers) and then we will be able to just relax!

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Merry Christmas!  I can't wait to go to Michigan!  I hope it snows...and blizzards...

Why does my dad talk to the television and radio?  Do you think he knows that they can't hear him?  Right now he is watching the news and there is a big snowstorm in Washington DC.  They were showing cars stuck in the snow and he was saying, "Straighten out your wheels, Idiot!"  He also likes to watch "House Hunters" and gets all upset with the people if they don't pick the right house.

Guess what?  After many weeks of searching everywhere I FOUND MY RETAINER!!  Yay me!


Hello.  In less than a week, Christmas will be here!  Hooray!  We are going to Michigan for Christmas - I hope it snows!!!!  Our family is going to have an early Christmas sort of today and open a couple of presents and watch the boat parade.  Then tomorrow we are going to try to get on a plane to go to Michigan.  It's actually going to be cold in Michigan.  Yay!

I took my first tests for Calvert - and I got all A's and one B.  I'm a little upset about the B.  It was in Grammar.  I don't like Grammar.  Why DO we have to know about subordinate and independent clauses?  I like diagramming sentences, though.  It's like drawing a picture!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Well, I never!!

My friend Suzette did this on her blog, and once again I am shamelessly copying her....

  • I have never lived by myself.  I've always had a roommate (or husband).
  • I have never done drugs.
  • I have never smoked.
  • I have never NOT loved to read.
  • I have never been a fan of big crowds.
  • I never had an engagement ring.  Or a big wedding.  Or a beautiful wedding gown.  Or a honeymoon.  I don't regret it.... just saying.
  • I have never been in a helicopter.
  • I have never bungee jumped.  Never want to either!
  • I have never gotten a tattoo.
  • I have never had anything other than my ears pierced.
  • I have never gone sky diving (again, no desire to!)
  • I have never liked mushrooms.  Or olives.  Or okra.  Or cilantro....Or anchovies,  peppers, liver, or sushi.  I just can't get past the whole raw fish thing.
  • OK, I'll be honest.  I've never actually tried sushi....I just CAN'T get past the raw fish thing!
  • I've never been to.....Italy, Spain, Greece, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Scotland, etc. etc.  OR EGYPT.  I really, really, really want to go to Egypt.  A lot.  A really, really, really, whole, whole, really lot.  As in a lifelong dream.  Want. To. Go. To. Egypt.  Stupid terrorists.
  • I never graduated from college. (big regret)
  • I have never been in a sorority.
  • I've never been divorced.  Never plan to.  
  • I've never been able to understand snakes/spiders/creepy crawly things as pets.  I mean, you can't cuddle with them...so why??
  • I have never been a Republican.  (haha, shocking, right?)
  • I have never owned a gun.
  • I have never even HELD a gun.
  • I never WANT to hold or own a gun.  Ugh.
  • I have never been arrested.
  • I have never been in jail.
  • I have never been on a jury.
  • I have never been deep sea fishing.
  • I have never been on a cruise.
  • I have never ridden in a hot air balloon.
  • I have never understood the desire to spend a vacation in Las Vegas.  
  • I have never understood the appeal of gambling.
  • I have never been a morning person.
  • I have never won the lottery (but would love to cross it off this list!!)
That's all - now it's your turn...share your "nevers" in the comments.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Brrr.....and Blah.......

I guess that another cold front has moved through, because it is quite chilly outside and supposed to stay cool for a few days.  Although I just pulled up the weather for Michigan (where we will be for Christmas this year) and HIGHS will be around 28.  Yikes.  So I guess I need to go digging through the closets for some cold weather gear.

Tim left for a trip again this morning, Clay started his semester exams today, and Paige is still plugging away at school work hoping to make a bit more progress.  I ran a few errands today, picking up the last few Christmas gifts (I hope!)....The really big news is that Clay found his retainer!  Which has been "lost" for the past three weeks.  He is a very, very happy teenage boy because I think he believed us when we told him he wasn't getting anything for Christmas but a new retainer if he hadn't found it by then!

In other news....Tim and I decided to pull the house off the market.  Two other waterfront homes comparable to ours sold recently for about two hundred thousand LESS than our asking price.  We're just not that desperate to sell the house, and so just figured we'd take it off and wait for the market to improve.  So, I get a call today from our realtor saying that he never actually pulled it off MLS and someone wants to see it Friday morning.  At 8:30 am.  *Sigh*  All right, fine, whatever.  (my reasoning was that I would have to clean the house anyway before we leave town just in case we die and someone has to come in our house....you know.)

I always ask my kids what the best thing and worst thing about their day was....so here are my best & worst for today:
Best:  When I was buying Clay's Christmas gift today at Target, I had a $5.00 off card that came in the mail....so when they rang up his gift, the guy gave me another $10.00 off card.  I asked him if I could use it today and I could as long as it was a separate transaction.  So I totaled that part, then he started ringing up the other things I was getting (you know, the typical Target stuff - laundry detergent, paper towels, deodorant, blah blah blah) and then something else I was buying qualified for another discount card - this one was for $15.00!!  WOO HOOOOOO!!  I felt like I won the lottery!  So, to recap - I saved a total of $30.00 at Target today.  Of course, I made the poor guy do three separate transactions.  I was like the nightmare Christmas customer.  Poor guy.
Worst:  Having to clean the house to show it again for someone who will not be interested - or will want to offer $200,000 less than we are asking.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Click here to see a funny video that Tim's nephew Matt made.

You see, it's a family thing.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Nutcracker is over (hooray!)

On the way to the Florida Theater, about to go in the stage door......


It is now 5:32 am and I am wide awake.  I actually woke up at 2:44 am....and couldn't get back to sleep. Oh my - I am SO tired, but I was just lying there in bed and I couldn't shut my mind off.  Since I have to leave the house with Paige in a couple of hours anyway to get her downtown for the dress rehearsal, I just gave up.  Here's what I wonder:  Does this ever happen to guys?  Other guys.  It doesn't happen to Tim, and he absolutely, positively does not understand how it can happen to me.  Sometimes he will wake up and realize I am wide awake.  He'll ask me why I can't sleep, so I'll start telling him all the things that are running around in my head ("I need to get Clay new tennis shoes - I was noticing that his are looking worn out, and it's almost cold and flu season so I was thinking I need to stock up on cold medicine, and then that made me think I haven't had my mammogram yet so I'd better schedule that too, and by the way - has my oil in the van been changed lately?  And you know, my brakes are making an ugly sound...oh that reminds me, I need to take the kitten in for his shots.....") and he will just look utterly perplexed and say (with a bit of exasperation), "well, just stop it and go to sleep."  Gee, why didn't I think of that?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Weekend Update

Paige was at NC rehearsal until 2:00!!  Mostly just sitting around in case they wanted to run the party scene again.  Ugh.  Needless to say, I blew off the "mandatory" parent meeting.  I mean, really?  The woman who works in the office said it really wasn't that important and not to worry about it, so....I DIDN'T!

Clay is not going to the party - his throat started hurting again and he just really isn't feeling well.  Plus he didn't clean his room.  So he can use the "not feeling well" excuse to his friends - but just between you and me?  I wasn't going to take him to Green Cove Springs, round trip, anyway!  Little bugger.  It's amazing how he expects me to drop everything to do something for him, but when I ask him to do something....I was starting to vent there, wasn't I?  Anyway, the point is that he is NOT going to the party.  As I said, it was all the way out in Green Cove Springs so I am not too disappointed.  I have to get up early tomorrow morning to have Paige downtown at The Florida Theater by 8:00 am.  Again....Bah Humbug.  I can't wait until Nutcracker is done.

Yucky Day

Yuck.  It's going to be a rainy, wet day with highs in the lower 60's.

Clay is supposed to go to a birthday party with a carnival theme this afternoon - guess we need to check and see if they're still having the party!  This family always requests that you do not bring gifts - instead bring cash which the girl donates to a charity of her choice.  Isn't that a great idea?  I think we're going to copy that!

Paige is at her final Nutcracker rehearsal (hooray!!) and then I have to attend a "mandatory" parent meeting this afternoon.   Bah Humbug.  I'm sure it is just about what makeup to wear, snacks, blah blah blah.  I'm really a bit Nutcrackered out.  Tim will be gone for the performance, I told Clay he didn't have to go and could go to Youth Group at the church instead....and I am only planning on staying for Act I, then collecting Paige at the stage door and heading home.  Sorry, but I've seen it enough times.  This year she only has one small part in Act I - so.....

We haven't been getting a lot accomplished with school work, so next week we are really hoping to get a lot accomplished.  Other things on the agenda for next week:  dentist appointments for both kids, orthodontist appt. for Paige, haircuts for Clay and I.....(OH, side note - my stylist's husband just had a stroke so I don't know WHO I am going to get to do my hair!!)  and last minute shopping for me.  At some point.  Hopefully we will all be feeling a bit better next week as well!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Look what I got!

Tim came home last night, spent the night, and left again this morning for a trip to Amsterdam.  His last trip was to Brussels, and a flight attendant told him about an open air market - and look what my wonderful husband brought me....lovely spices.  I am going to have to go to babelfish to translate the directions, but they smell yummy.  I can't wait to use them!  He also brought me a little bag of chocolate, but I wasn't able to get a photo of that because....ummmm......it's gone.  heh heh.  The other rather exciting thing that happened is that I received a CD of Christmas music in the mail from my friend Nora (from her "definitive" Christmas list).  I've been listening to it all afternoon, getting in the Christmas spirit!

Other than my exciting spices and CD there's not much going one here.  Clay still feels yucky, Paige still has a nasty cough, the weather is gray and dismal (and COLD)... My eyes have been stinging and I have been cold and tired all day.  Our exciting Friday night plans?  Leftover spaghetti for dinner, the kids will watch G. I. Joe, and I plan on taking a nice, hot bath, putting on a flannel nightgown,  reading a good book, and going to bed early.  I'm exhausted!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Today was gray, cloudy and chilly - the high was only about 59 degrees.  Tomorrow will be even colder with a with a high in the lower 50's.   It's supposed to rain for the next few days too.  Blech!

Paige has been sick all week long - I think it is just a cold (no fever) but now she has a yucky cough.  I decided to keep her home from dance again this evening because it is going to be a long weekend with Nutcracker rehearsals and the performance on Sunday evening...I think she just needs to rest and take it easy until Saturday morning when the rehearsals start...

Clay has been feeling under the weather as well the past couple of days and now he has a sore throat and a headache.  Both kids have been making lots of hot tea!

Paige had an assignment for school to write a haiku, and I think she has gone a little crazy with it!  Some of her haikus aren't bad:

Look at the rainbow
So many pretty colors
It's nice to look at

It's raining again
I don't think it ever ends
I wish it would stop

My cat is so soft
I wish I were a kitty
I could sleep all day

They started out OK, but then I think she got a little punchy from the cold medicine...I was going to put the one about the cows....but she told me not to put the one that goes...

Look at all the cows
Cows are where we get our milk
Cows are really cool

...on the blog.  (see what I mean??)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Just stuff

Things I like:
Topsiders,  Nutella, getting Christmas cards in the mail, sleeping late, travelling, boiled peanuts (see previous post!!), facebook...

Not so much:
licorice, mushrooms, olives, cilantro, rude drivers, construction delays, waking up early

Favorite radio stations:
NPR, and KBCO in Boulder

Favorite books:
Harry Potter, The Grapes of Wrath & East of Eden, Gone With The Wind, anything by Margaret George, Ramses (series) by Christian Jacq

Favorite Television:
I don't watch a lot of TV, but...LOVE Food Network.

Favorite Restaurant:
The Green Turtle in Gig Harbor, WA and Juanita's in Boulder, CO

Things that are wearing out quickly:
our refrigerator, Tim's car

Problems MY car is having:
Keeps making a yucky brake noise (which Tim and our mechanic never seem to hear)

Things to be happy about:
Tim has a job!, our health, our wonderful childen

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Something on my mind....

Dear Yankees,

Let's clear this little misunderstanding up.  Grits are a delicacy.  They are NOT to be eaten with milk and sugar.  That is disgusting.  Grits may be eaten with:  salt, pepper, cheese, shrimp, etc.  This is a savory dish.  They are wonderful served with bacon and eggs.  Here's what grits are NOT - oatmeal, or cream of wheat.  Please, please, PLEASE do not put milk or sugar on them.  When you are with a Southerner and do this, that is not interest you see on our face.  It is pure, unadulterated HORROR!

Boiled peanuts are another delicacy.  Try them sometime.  Here's a hint, though - if you put it in your mouth and it is crunchy, you are doing it wrong.  That crunchy part?  That is the SHELL!  Here is how you eat a boiled peanut:  Put it in your mouth and suck the yummy, warm, saltiness out.  Then, using your teeth, crack the shell and extract the peanut.  Just like you do with raw peanuts.  Discard the shell.  Unless you are an elephant, you do not eat the shell.  Jeesh, no wonder you don't like them!!

'tis the season....

...for lots to be going on!

Because Paige had all the Nutcracker crap stuff going on last week, we got a bit behind.  Thus, we had to work all weekend.  It was testing time!  My friend Laurie took Clay to the Fleming Island High School football game with her on Friday, and Paige got started right away.  We/She worked all through the weekend, and finally finished up yesterday afternoon.  I put the tests in the mail this morning, and a teacher at Calvert will grade them and send us the results.  I can't wait to see how she did.

Yesterday Paige had her follow up appointment at Nemours to see how her back is doing with the brace.  There hasn't been any change, which is good news.  It means that the brace is working.  She also woke up yesterday with a cold - poor thing.  I think she caught it from me.  :-((

Tim finished up with his proficiency check with United, was home for a day, and is now off to Brussels. Paige's performance of Nutcracker is this Sunday evening at The Florida Theater at 6:00 pm and then we will be done with Nutcracker.  :-))  Clay has a party to go to on Saturday, Paige has rehearsal, I have a mandatory parent's meeting for Nutcracker - all at the same time.  Hmm.....

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Christmas memories from Mommie Dearest....

I thought I'd share some Christmas memories from Christmases past....

Photo #3:  One of our Christmas cards, with the kids "oh so posed" in front of the tree.  I found that dress that Paige was wearing the year before for 75% off.  I loved that dress!!  This is the year that Paige told us she was so excited about decorating the tree.  I asked her why and she told me that she thought we (meaning Clay, Paige, Daddy and Mommy) could make hot chocolate and stand around the tree holding hands and singing Christmas carols.  I laughed too.  And, no, it didn't happen.  Sorry, Paigey.

Photo #2: I think Paige was about 2 here.  Please notice that apparently I put a bow in her hair before I would let her come downstairs to see what Santa brought.  WHAT was wrong with me?!?!

Photo #3:  Another Christmas card picture.  We were living in Gig Harbor and the kids were wearing adorable German outfits that my mother brought back from a trip to Germany.  In my zeal to get the "perfect" photo, I'm afriad I reduced my sweet children to tears.  "Would you just look HAPPY, dammit!!"  Not one of my proudest moments.  Again, what was WRONG with me??!!

Photo #1:  Leaving cookies and milk for Santa.  Please notice the solemn expression on Clay's face.  This was serious business and had to be done JUST RIGHT.

Photo #5:  Clay at about 17 months with the police motorcycle that Santa brought him.  With a siren.  A loud siren.  Again, What WAS  I thinking?!?!

Photo #6:  Clay's first Christmas.  5 months old.

Photo #7;  This was the day we moved into our new house in Gig Harbor.  Clay was 3 and Paige was 15 months old.  We moved in 5 days before Christmas, and our dear friend Kathy took the children for the day so they wouldn't be underfoot.  5 DAYS before Christmas!!  I was a basketcase, trying to get everything unpacked and ready for Christmas.  Tim kept telling me we could just celebrate Christmas later and not to stress...and I would just get wound tighter and tighter.  I was determined to "do it right."  We did have Christmas on Christmas Day, with all the decorations up, and we did have Christmas dinner - on my Christmas china (I dug through about a million boxes trying to find it).   I did figure out where Toys-R-Us was, and Santa did come.  But really?  Why did I stress so much for a 1 year old and a 3 year old, who didn't know what day it was anyway? WHAT WAS WRONG WITH ME?!?!?!?!?

Photo #8:  Now, for a couple of non Mommie Dearest memories - I did do a few things right over the years!!  We used to have a big Christmas party every year, and invited Santa Claus to come and visit all the children.  This photo is of Clay and Paige greeting Santa at the door.

Photo #9:  This one is of Clay around age two, which is when he went through a brief period of having an imaginary friend.  His imaginary friend was ... The Little Drummer Boy.  Yup.  Really.  It was so cute.  He loved that video and watched it over and over, walked around singing Pa Rum Pa Pum Pum and the Little Drummer Boy was his best (imaginary) friend.
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