Sunday, November 30, 2008

Good News, Bad News.....

So, the good news this morning was that someone wanted to look at our house...the bad news was that because the market has been dead the past couple of months, well...I haven't been keeping up with keeping the house ready to show. Plus, we just returned from Michigan and still had suitcases in various states of unpacking, laundry piles, etc. I was in pure "Mommy dearest" mode this morning - a whirling dervish shreiking, yelling, cussing...everything BUT yelling, "no wire hangers!" AND, still had to run Paige downtown to rehearsal during this time frame. I was a bit stressed! Anyway, we got it clean (mostly)...I'll admit that those empty suitcases were used to hide a bit of our, ummm....junk. It is so nice when it looks like this - why can't my family keep it looking nice all the time?

It was a bit of a frantic start to my day. Thank goodness we didn't need to be at church today - the kids weren't on the schedule, although I HAD been planning on attending the advent wreath making...oh well, there is always next year! I am ready for my cup of coffee now though!

Tim arrives home tonight and we will get all the Christmas decorations down from the attic and set up...Clay and I pulled down some stuff yesterday. I love how my house looks with all the decorations up.

It is shaping up to be a busy week. I still need to schedule Paige's visit to Nemours, get the cat in to the vet, the kids both have dentist appointments, Clay is in a play at school on Thursday, soccer game Friday, the usual downtown ballet relay, and next weekend begins the final sretch for Nutcracker rehearsals....both Saturday AND Sunday all afternoon until the performance, and hopefully the showing today is indicative of the market beginning to perk up - so more showings!

Good news about our friends in France. Olivier arrived home safely yesterday. I am off to brew a pot of coffee and (finally) read the paper - until I have to head back downtown to pick up Paige.

Friday, November 28, 2008


We arrived on Monday to a snowy, snowy day in Michigan! The kids were absolutely ecstatic. They have both seen snow before, but were really too young to remember. We had a nice visit with family, but are so glad to be home.

I found out when I arrived home that the father of the children we did the exchange with over the summer, Monsieur Olivier, is one of the hostages in the Trident Hotel in Bombay. Please everyone keep him in your prayers....

Monday, November 24, 2008


Ugh....woke up at 3:00 am this morning (?!?!?!) to try to catch a 6:00 am flight to Michigan...I believe I have mentioned...I AM NOT A MORNING PERSON!!! This stinks! Anyway, we're off to brave the friendly (?) skies....

Happy Thanksgiving everyone........

Sunday, November 23, 2008


We have been busy packing for a quick visit up to Michigan to see Tim's family for Thanksgiving. Yesterday Paige had a friend over to work on a project for History - building a model of one of the great wonders of the ancient world - theirs is the pyramids of Giza. I made chicken tetrazzini for dinner and my mom came over....look how much taller Clay is than my mom now!!! Today Paige has Nutcracker rehearsal from 12:30 - 4:30, Clay will be working on a report which is due when they go back to school on December 1st, and I will be packing for cold, snowy weather. Tim left this morning for Amsterdam, and will meet us in MI. We are planning to leave on a 6:00 am flight in the morning....hopefully everything will work out. So far, the flight still does not look too full - but the weather is supposed to get nasty - freezing rain turning to snow. Yikes. The kids are excited about seeing snow, so I hope we do not get too delayed AND that we don't get bumped! The joys of non-revving!

I hope you all have a wonderful, relaxing, peaceful Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

An explanation from "Mom"

* The heat is on....both kids are walking around in t-shirts and shorts - no wonder they're freezing! Put some clothes on!

* Yes, after Paige's huge growth spurt of this past year the pediatrician thinks she has a slight scoliosis of her spine (12-15%). We need to take her to a scoliosis specialist at Nemour's Children's Hospital. Her pediatrician said this is not that unusual in pre-teen girls but that we need to follow it carefully. We will keep you all updated as we learn more information. At this point, the doctor said it is slight and is nothing to be concerned about.....
CLAY: I am cold. Extremely cold. I still have to clean my room and clean the turtle tank. My week was good. I can't wait to go to Michigan...where it will be COLDER! Brrrr. I hope it will snow. So long....

PAIGE: The back of the house is freezing! I am so cold. I have to clean my room, it is kind of messy. I am glad that there is no school for another week. My arm is in so much pain still. I had a doctor's appointment yesterday and I had to get the tetanus shot. I also had to get a meningitis shot and the flu-mist. The flu-mist felt weird...they sprayed stuff up my nose! My spine is crooked. I have to go to some doctor person at Nemours to get it looked at. It happens to girls sometimes when they are growing. I grew 4.5 inches since my last checkup, and gained 13 lbs! The doctor said I might grow to be 5'3"! Yay! TTFN.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Feeling yucky.......

Maybe I overdid it yesterday....I feel terrible today. I had an eye exam this morning, and that is the only thing I have accomplished all day! I am just dragging, and SO tired, and I just feel yucky! I told Paige she is going to have to miss ballet tonight - I just don't think I can do the drive. I will pick Clay up from soccer practice in an hour...and then the kids can heat up some frozen chicken noodle soup for dinner - I am going to bed! I think I will take a tylenol pm tonight - I don't know what it is with me not being able to sleep lately. I just lie there thinking about stuff....Tim says, "well, stop!" Like it is that easy...

Anyway, last night probably didn't help. It was freezing! Seriously - I think we got down to 28 last night. It was very windy at the game and I had to sell tickets...bbrrrrrr.......
Unfortunately, the boys lost again. However, they played very well the second half of the game - and Clay played great. He played defense the first half and then the coach had him playing everything after that. His first JV game is Friday.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I have been feeling a little under the weather the past couple of days, but I took a nap yesterday and went to bed early last night and am feeling a bit better today....

Tim left for Munich this morning and today is going to be filled with running errands, scheduling doctor appointments, eye exams, picking up the expensive, specialty cat food which I can only get at the vets (don't ask!!), making an appointment for a haircut for moi, selling tickets this afternoon at Clay's soccer game...and then cheering him on, laundry, grocery, and hopefully a bit of cleaning as well! Thank goodness I got a good night's sleep last night - I am exhausted just looking at that to do list!

For those who have been following this blog, you know that I have been fascinated by our resident eagles. Sunday night PBS had a show about eagles which was very informative and interesting. I still don't know what all of their calls and cries mean. I think the chirping, trilling sort of sound is calling to the other one to come back...but who knows? Anyway, I absolutely love watching and listening to them.

Well, I suppose I have procrastinated long to tackle that list!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Busy Sunday

The kids had to acolyte at church this morning, and Paige read...home for a quick sandwich, and then we are off to take Paige to Nutcracker rehearsal...the rehearsals start to get longer as we get closer to the performance (only a month away now). I am hoping to talk Tim into heading back to pick her up this afternoon so I can lie down for a while. I haven't been sleeping well and am just exhausted today. Plus a bit of a sore throat...I hope I am not getting sick!

Anyway, as the kids wrote yesterday - it is looking like another busy week for us...lots going games, ballet, tests, doctor appointments, etc. Gotta run to take Paige to rehearsal now...more later.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

PAIGE: I can see the floor of my closet - I am so happy! I have been cleaning my closet all day (it wasn't really my choice). My room is pretty clean too. I never knew my room was that big! My week was OK. Nothing exciting happened - oh, during study hall on Friday we had an assembly with the Lost boys of Sudan. It was really cool and very sad. I hope next week is a little more fun. We have a lot of tests coming up. The week after that is Thanksgiving Break! Yay! I think we are going to Michigan - I hope it snows!!!!!!

CLAY: My room is cleaner than Paige's. It is beautiful. I am doing homework and I am hoping that at 8:00 tonight, my lovely, darling parents will let me watch the Florida State game. I might go run outside after I write this to burn off some energy. I can't wait until Thanksgiving break. Yahoo! My week was terrible - I had school, and we lost our first soccer game. The good news is I made Junior Varsity. Yay me! Next week we have 2 home games (1 middle school, and 1 JV) BUT I also have a LOT of tests next week. So, I better go study.....

Friday, November 14, 2008


Look closely in the top photo....THAT is the Space Shuttle Endeavor lifting off (as seen from our dock on a very cloudy evening)...ok, ok...I know it isn't even centered in the photo and it barely shows was hard to see. We have a beautiful full moon (you can see it hiding behind the clouds in the photo with the kids) but it is cloudy and was playing peek-a-boo when the shuttle lifted off. Anyway, it was fun to watch - it always is and WE were able to see more than you can in the photos. :) Now we are all headed off to have family movie night - Get Smart - popcorn and all!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Clay had his first (middle school) soccer game this evening, and they lost 3-0...aawwww. Clay played well though. Tonight he played defense, and I must say that I am always surprised when I watch him play - he is very fast and very aggressive. This picture was taken during half time. The JV coach was there watching and Clay will be playing JV as well as middle school. They have a very young team - lots of 6th graders - so hopefully as they gain experience they will start winning more!

Other than that, not too much news from the VK household...Tim and I are still trying to get some stuff done around the house. I try so hard to get things organized while the kids are at school...and then they come home and it looks like a bomb exploded in our home. Why do I bother?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tim didn't go to work Sunday....he has had a bad cold and his ears were bothering him, so....he's home for a few more days. We are going to try to get some things done around our house...our pool pump has been making a horrible, high pitched, whining sound...which I think means it is not long for this world! Tim is going to try to get a new one and get it installed, and paint our bathroom. Somehow last year, with all of the updating and moving around we did - we just never got around to that room. I went yesterday and picked a paint color. MY goal for the next couple of days is to go through the kid's closets and weed out clothes that are too small or are summer clothes and try to get a bit organized!

In the meantime, we still have school, ballet, and Clay's first soccer game tomorrow. He informed me yesterday that he had the wrong type of shin guards and wouldn't be allowed to play unless he had the right yesterday was spent running around getting paint, shinguards, lambs wool for Paige, etc. Not a terribly productive day, but necessary.

Tim noted the other day that some people glide through life effortlessly (it seems), while the Van Kuikens just seem to lurch from one crisis to another!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Watch the Body Talk........

We just got home from The Florida Ballet's Watch The Body Talk , which is their fall performance. It was wonderful (not just because Paige was in it!). The first piece was a contemporary ballet set to music by Rufus Wainwright - very cool. The next one was called Sea Interludes...also sort of a contemporary ballet. Finally, Fairest of them All, which was a modern adaptation of Snow White. Paige played the young Snow White - and I know I am biased, but...she was fabulous!! I couldn't get any photographs during the performance, but these are from afterwards as Paige was walking out the stage door. The stage makeup looks heavy in these photos, but barely shows up on stage.

We were truly impressed by the ballet pieces. As I said, they were sort of modern and I just wasn't expecting something so unique and cutting edge in Jacksonville! We are very lucky to have such a wonderful program here, and very grateful that Mrs. Byrd invited Paige to participate. She was the youngest trainee (and definitely the smallest) in the production and I think she did a great job. Now I can't wait to see her in Nutcracker........

A few words from Paige and Clay:

PAIGE: I am Snow White tonight. The technical rehearsal is this afternoon starting at 1:30 but they don't know if there will be enough time to go home so I might have to be there all day. The performance is at 7:30 pm but my call ( that is when I have to be at the theater) is 5:30. I am going to take a good book with me! I also have to bring something to eat in case there is not time to go out. It is funny because usually when there is a performance at the theater they are really strict about no food!

CLAY: I am the best. My room is almost clean. Maybe Mom and I can go somewhere today. That would be fun. Paige has a ballet thingamajigger tonight. Oh joy. I hope it is like the Nutcracker, because I liked that last year. I am looking forward to next week because in History we are going into the World Wars. I love that era.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Busy weekend...

This will be a busy weekend for the Van Kuikens....Paige's performance in Fairest of them All is tomorrow evening. Tonight is the dress rehearsal, tomorrow is tech rehearsal and then the performance. Sunday Tim has to go back to work and Paige has Nutcracker rehearsal, then I have to drive her out for another performance of a Fosse broadway number - Bye Bye Blackbird - then back to the studio for more Nutcracker rehearsal! Yikes! Ah well....I just hope she appreciates all this work. Clay is less than thrilled about all this running around on Sunday. Well, Tuesday will be his turn as the middle school has their first soccer game.

I will try to get some pictures of Paige's performances up this weekend, and possibly an update as well......

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

feeling lazy........

Tim arrived home last night - it has been a LONG 10 days!! He and I have been sitting around the house, both of us feeling lazy and tired...basically doing nothing. I think my migraine is finally fading away, so I am feeling much better...just drained though. I'm thinking about trying to get moving and heading out for a Costco run. Then again...maybe I'll just lie here and think about doing it tomorow....hmmm......

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I hope that I didn't offend anyone with my post yesterday - I think I have just been biting my tongue for months with all the negative emails and comments I receive (the kids aren't the only ones who have been given a hard time), and I was feeling excited from the rally. I guess the final straw was when we walked out of the rally feeling happy and proud, and a bunch of - I don't know..troublemakers, I guess - started yelling stuff at people coming out of the arena. Someone had hired a plane with a banner with a negative comment to fly overhead. I just really don't understand why people have to make it personal - and attack your intelligence and patriotism, etc. simply because you disagree. It is also difficult to explain such behavior to my children - because I don't understand it myself.

Anyway, if my earlier post seemed excessively defensive - sorry about that. I would never want to impose MY views on others. I think that we should all be free to make our own decisions based on our own criteria and I definitely think personal and negative attacks (whether of the candidates or of ME) should be off limits. It should be about the issues. Period.

Whatever happens with the election results - I am so glad this nasty campaigning period is OVER. Enough, already!

OK, enough of that...on to other topics. I have been fighting a migraine for the past two days. It goes away for a couple of hours, then comes back. Miserable. I think I really need to see another doctor (great! You know how I love that!) and try another prescription. There has got to be something that will work! On a more positive note - some of you know that I had an MRI (follow up) done a few weeks ago. Everything is fine, and I don't even need to continue with follow up MRIs anymore. I love Mayo Clinic - they are very thorough, and test anything and everything - but wow, what a pleasant environment and excellent healthcare! Anyway, I am healthy and fine (except for this darn migraine).

I hope everyone reading this is doing well - blue or red, I love ya! If we were all the same, life would be very boring!

Monday, November 3, 2008


Warning! If you are not fond of Barack Obama - read no further. Leave this site now and check back another day.

If you do choose to read on, and you support the other guy, please be advised that I do NOT want to hear why you think Obama sucks, is not a citizen, is Muslim, is a terrorist or any other fictitious stories which you have heard and not verified.

You will not "convert" us, you will not change our minds. We have already voted. Yes, we did look into both candidates and their positions and we chose the candidate whose policy and outlook most closely resemble our own. We respect your opinion and hope you will respect ours. If our vote bothers you, we are sorry. Whomever you support, please vote tomorrow.

Now, if you feel brave and daring and on! Otherwise...check back another day....

Obama Rocks!

Still here? Ok.....The kids and I got up early this morning and headed downtown to the arena for a Barack Obama rally. It was so cool! The energy from the crowd was much hope. The kids loved it. I was a bit worried about the crowds - there were literally thousands and thousands of people...but everyone was polite and respectful and well-behaved. I didn't hear any negative comments which was another worry. Everyone was upbeat and positive. Barack Obama is an amazing speaker - he makes you feel as though he were speaking just to you, yet really gets the crowd going at the same time. I think the kids learned a lot about him and his message. It was also good for them to see just how many people LIKE Obama. Orange Park is quite insulated - heavily Republican - the kids have been given a bit of a hard time from some of the other children who have seen my "Soccer mom for Obama" bumper sticker - they have handled it well, but it was good for them to see that Mom and Dad are not alone and have good reasons for voting for him. I am trying to teach them to learn about the issues and why they are important and how they affect us. Anyway, it was wonderful, exhilarating, exciting and hopeful and we LOVED it!

PAIGE: The Obama thing was really cool. The people in the front row were really lucky - they got to shake hands with Obama. We did the wave - that was fun. They played music before he came and everyone was dancing. SOME were dancing a little too much, if you know what I mean. Two old men had a dance-off. I liked them both. Mr. Obama talked about tax cuts and medicine stuff and education. I liked what he said. He told one story about a lady who attended a rally in Ft. Lauderdale and then after that she sent an email to Obama saying her son was sick (I forget with what) and her insurance wouldn't pay for what he needed and they couldn't afford it. Her email said when the campaign is negative or you feel like you can't talk any more - think of us, and keep going because we need you. That story made me sad. Yes We Can! Yes We Can! Yes........

CLAY: I liked hearing the comments from the crowd. I also liked how he was funny and made his point also. Everyone was nice and energetic and excited. It made me feel filled up with energy too. It was cool to see the Secret Service agents. I liked chanting Obama! Obama! He is so dignified, but he also looks like someone you could run into at Publix. Everyone was dancing, and we did the wave. Two old men had a dance off - that was fun. I hope he wins.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

More from Clay and Paige

Paige: I went trick or treating with my friend Sarah. I was a Dutch girl, she was a boxer. We went around her neighborhood in a golf cart, because her little brothers got tired. It was fun. Everybody gave us more candy because we were with her little brothers (twins). One of them was an army guy, the other was a power ranger. They were cute. Today I have rehearsal for Fairest & Nutcracker. Also I have a costume fitting. I get to see what color dress I will wear for Nutcracker.

Clay: Go Obama! I did not go trick or treating this year. I stayed home and partied with my wonderful mother. It was a lot of fun. Our first soccer game is November 12th. I will be playing for the middle school team and also for the JV team. I might, maybe, kinda-sorta, perhaps be a sub for Varsity! Obviously, I don't know yet.

Paige: Mom made awesome Halloween snacks for us. The eggs (eyeballs) were the best, the "fingers" were REALLY realistic looking! Mom had a vicious gorilla mask on. It was hard to see out of though. Clay was Clay. That is a costume all by itself. Ha ha. All the girls like my brother - it's kind of creepy. 6th, 7th, 8th, and even some 9th graders like my brother. I don't know why. He acts all nice to me whenever other girls are around, but at home he is still grumpy and mean. Every time I see him at school there are a million girls around him. Weird!

Clay: My mother insists on having a "professional" cut my hair, when she could do the same thing for a lot cheaper...hint, hint, wink, wink... The reason all the girls like me is because I am amazing. Isn't it obvious? JK. Ha ha.
Blog Design by April Showers