Wednesday, June 30, 2010

June 2010 Round Up

Click mosaic to biggify. Created using Big Huge Labs Mosaic Maker.

What books and/or magazines did I read this month?
My Life in France, by Julia Child. I'm about half way done, and I am *really* enjoying it!

What movies and/or tv shows did I watch this month?
* TV Time: Not much going on right now, thankfully. Law & Order: Criminal Intent and In Plain Sight are both done, and Mythbusters is doing Buster's Cuts, which are fun but not "new," IMO. Been watching a lot of History Channel and CSI reruns on Spike.
* New Films: Prince of Persia (okay; really expected to like it more)
* Old Favorites: Lilo & Stitch, Sleeping Beauty, Ice Age, Enchanted (I'm sure there were others, but they just are not coming to me right now)

What special days did I celebrate and how?
Saw Mom for her birthday, which was unexpected. Had dinner with parents, grandmother, uncle and his wife. Great to see everyone!

What gifts did I give and/or receive?
Sent baby cards and graduation cards. Still have a few more to give out.

What illnesses or health concerns did I have?
Had my *lowest* blood pressure reading in 6 years, since I was pregnant with Luke. 110/72! They even took it twice, thinking there had been a misread the first time. Nope! And I feel really good. It's one of those situations where I had no idea I felt bad until I started feeling good again. Yay me!

What fun things did I do with my friends and/or family?
Took Luke to an air show. Spent a week in the mountains with my parents. Got to see Kelli and Owen before they leave for Scotland. Attended Katie and Rhiannon's wedding, followed by a GA Tech get-together. Quite the busy month!

What new foods, recipes or restaurants did I try this month?
Um, I don't know. I was thinking there was something, but I can't recall. I know I had an excellent quiche-ish something at the wedding. The caterer even told me what it was called, but I've forgotten now. It was way yum, though!

What special or unusual purchases did I make?
I bought clothes. For me! (I know!!) I even bought 3 pairs of capris, which I love, and 3 pairs of shorts I might actually consider wearing in public. I think it's a miracle. Also bought size 3 shoes for Luke. That's size 3 mens, which is the same as woman's size 5. Picked up LEGO Harry Potter Years 1-4, which should keep the grown-ups busy for a while.

What were this month's disappointments?
My Great-Uncle Richard died. He will be deeply missed.

My camera has something between the sensor and the lens, so there is a mark on all of my photos. It started while we were in North Carolina. Seems to still be in warranty if I can ever remember to get it in the mail. Thankfully, my Father of 1000 Cameras had an extra one on hand to loan me until I get mine back.

What were my accomplishments this month?
60. Take Luke to the planetarium. - Cleared another item off the 101 Things List, though it was almost by accident. When I wrote this item, I had the Fernbank Planetarium in mind. But while in North Carolina, the science museum we visited included planetarium admission, so we went. Luke was suitably impressed!

Seems like the month has been pretty busy, but I'm not sure I actually accomplished anything? Actually, I think finally showing the house to our friends was a reasonable accomplishment. We have lived here for 8 months now, but I feel like we've been gone nearly half of that, at least as far as weekends are concerned. I had a small and reasonable list of things to do before Luke's birthday party, but I'm starting to think they won't get done because we're so rarely here to do them.

What were Luke's accomplishments this month?

Random little thing (thank you, Twitter!): Luke proved he can open child proof caps, at least on his vitamin bottle.

As you can see above, Luke licked his first cookie dough beater! I've been trying for years to get him to try it, but he was never interested. This time, I didn't even offer him one, but when I came into the den licking one myself, he stuck out his finger, took a swipe, and licked it, then wanted the other one. Well, okay! LOL

Luke added another state to his "state count." My family has always been proud of the number of states we have visited, and I keep an eye on Luke's count as well. If it's relatively easy to add another one with a reasonably quick drive, then we do try. We "snuck" over the Virginia state line while we were in the North Carolina mountains, since it was only a few miles away via the Blue Ridge Parkway. That brings his state total to 6: Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Arkansas, and Virginia. Not bad for age 5!

He also started his tutoring sessions with his former Pre-K teacher. It's not so much that we think he needs tutoring, we were just afraid he would lose much of the progress he made towards reading over the summer, and when she offered to work with him one on one for a ridiculously reasonable price (we actually think she's charging too little), we took her up on it.

Our current struggle is over Pokemon cards. I know there are worse things in the world, but I know the only reason he wants some is to fit in with the older kids. On the one hand, I completely understand that desire. OTOH, he will only be around these older kids for a few more weeks during the summer before starting school in August, where he won't need them anymore. And lastly, I don't want the older kids taking advantage of him, "trading" him and taking all of his good cards and leaving him with not much. Since he can neither read nor strategize, it is bound to happen. And I am so tired of hearing him beg for them every day after school! So we've struck a bit of a deal with him: once he can read and understand the cards, then he can have some. If that's what it takes to get him reading, and it works, then I will *happily* buy him some cards. "But I don't want to read!" I know, that's the whole problem! We'll see how it goes.

Anything else noteworthy to record?
No, I think that pretty much covers it! LOL

Monthly Round Up courtesy of Katie the Scrapbook Lady.

Currently feeling: well rounded

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Accio Game!

This should keep us busy for a few weeks.

Currently feeling: ready!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Uncle Richard

My Great-Uncle Richard died Friday. He had been suffering from Alzheimer's for several years but ultimately succumbed to Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. As long as I can remember, he lived on a farm out in rural Georgia, but not terribly far from Atlanta. We visited them many a Christmas or summer, meeting up with tons of cousins and kin in their very spacious house. He and his wife even took in a small group of my college friends as we fled the chaos of Freaknik while attending Georgia Tech. He was my mother's father's brother, and they very strongly resembled each other. My grandfather died when I was 19, and though no one could ever replace him, Uncle Richard held a special place in my heart for always reminding me of him. As his own family members said, he had not been himself for many years, but he will still be sorely missed.

Currently feeling: sad for my mom's family

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Friends are the family you choose

And I've chosen some great ones over the years, if I do say so myself. We ended up having our own little mini Georgia Tech reunion this weekend, thanks to Katie and Rhiannon's wedding. Got to see some folks I literally had not seen in years! Plus, our friends David and Ina announced that they are expecting. I can't believe she kept that a secret for 20 weeks, the little stinker! (Love ya, girl! LOL) We couldn't be happier for them. With a few kids involved, and trying to coordinate everyone's very busy schedules on Sunday, we decided it would be easier to meet at someone's house as opposed to a restaurant, so people could come and go (and kids could play and be loud) as needed.

Since no one had seen the house except family and Kelli earlier in the week, I decided now was as good a time as any for a housewarming and invited everyone over. We had just 6 days after getting back from North Carolina to get ready! But I think the house showed really well, and everyone really seemed to like it (and were all very forgiving of all the boxes). Thanks for coming everyone. We had a really great time, and we should definitely get together more frequently!

Back: Cyndi, David, Ina, Me, Steve, Luke (on a chair), Alex
Front: Matt, Mandi, Nathan, Connie, Sofia, Talley
Not shown: Denise and Brandon

And for fun, some older group shots over the last 14 (OMG!!) years:

July 4, 1998 (at our wedding; sorry for the very old and crummy scan.)

April 2002 (at David and Ina's wedding)

December 2003 (after Talley's wedding)

August 2004 (Baby shower for "Baby Gaston")

Love y'all!!!
Currently feeling: loving my chosen family

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Off to Scotland

No, not me! My best friend from high school, Kelli, and her family are moving to Scotland in early July. They will be gone a minimum of 5 years and might make it a permanent move. Before departing, they decided to make a trek across the country to visit friends and family. She and her son Owen came to visit me Wednesday afternoon while Eric was at a meeting. We watched Owen play, we chatted, we had lunch; a most excellent afternoon, and a perfect way to remember them.

Kelli and I have known each other for nearly 19 years! I just realized that means there have been more years with her in my life than without. DH can't even claim that yet. Wow! Hey Kelli, when did we get old enough to have known each other that long? LOL Admittedly, we have spent most of those 19 years apart - different colleges, different cities, opposite coasts - but we have always remained friends, and for that, I am eternally grateful. Effectively, I suppose being in Scotland and being in San Francisco are not all that different, as long as we continue to stay in touch. I will still miss her terribly, though. I always do.

Currently feeling: missing my friend already

Monday, June 21, 2010

Broken Camera

Okay, well, broken might be big of an exaggeration, I hope. While we were in the mountains, I was lining up this photo:

When I noticed this:

Hmm, maybe something is on the lens and I can clean it? No, that didn't work. I blew it off, I wiped it down, I checked to make sure it wasn't just the screen on the camera (it's not). And based on the fact that it is more blurry or more clear as I zoom in our out, it has to be between the sensor and the lens.

See, no zoom:

Full 3x zoom:

But regardless, this is clearly something I cannot fix on my own. It still seems to be in warranty. Dad let me borrow one of his until mine comes back. Now I just need to find the time to mail it off.

After I clear out the 408 new work emails in my inbox....

Currently feeling: missing my clicker

Saturday, June 19, 2010

North Carolina Mountains: Days 5 & 6 - Sparklers & Home

Friday was another day of just hanging out and enjoying our surroundings. I actually slept until 9 AM, which was nice. We ate cinnamon rolls for breakfast. We watered the plants:

We played on the swing:

We had one moment of trauma. Luke had been playing the Wii daily, and we hadn't had a bit of trouble with it, but just before lunch, all of the remotes suddenly decided to unsync themselves. We tried just reconnecting them from the Wii control menu, but that did not work at all. We actually had to look up directions for what to do online, but we did eventually get them all working again. It was so weird!

After making one of our favorite meals for lunch, chicken with dried beef, *everyone* took a nap. The previous day had been a long and busy one, and we wanted to finish off the Morning Glory and the "real" sparklers we had purchased later that evening, hopefully with it being a little bit darker than it had been the previous evening.

We had another deer (or was it the same one) join us for dinner, but Papa accidentally spooked it trying to get to his big camera. It was still just as amazing the second time to see it simply standing in the back yard. Then it was on to the Morning Glory:

Which look like this:

Morning Glory

And the traditional sparklers:

Which look like this:


After tucking a very happy child into bed, the grownups played dominoes until we literally couldn't add anymore, which in this family is saying something. (Forgot to take a picture.) We were only playing double nines, so it shouldn't have been that complicated, but we were all pretty tired, and we had a long day ahead.

Saturday morning was spent mostly packing, but there was time for some fun as well. We took some last minute photos. Dad unearthed some he took of the master bedroom:

And the upstairs sitting room which housed the Wii.

We got the Suburban all packed up without too much trouble. DH did his best to keep Luke entertained once the Wii was back in its travel box. They even invented a new game: sword ball! (Think baseball.)

We ate leftovers for lunch (for those wondering exactly how many hot dogs 5 people needed! LOL), we bagged up the trash, we stripped the linens, and we headed out. Again, there was much sleeping involved, and we passed a horrific crash (thankfully on the other side, but still caused spectator delay) that snarled traffic for miles. We even got home in time to see the fireflies in our own back yard. A magical ending to a most excellent week of mountain vacation!

Currently feeling: thrilled with a most excellent vacation

Thursday, June 17, 2010

North Carolina Mountains: Day 4 - Blue Ridge Parkway, Pt 2

Continued from Blue Ridge Parkway Part 1.

As we were looking at a map of the local area to prepare for the trip, we realized we were not far from the North Carolina/Virginia border. Like most people, every member of my family tracks the number of states we have visited. Given that he is only 5, Luke isn't doing too badly with 5 states under his belt (Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Arkansas), but I thought it would be fun to add #6 since we were literally only a few miles away. And the best way to get to the state line? Back on the parkway! We headed north this time, and while I think the southern route we had taken that morning had more views, the northern route had some pretty nifty ones as well:

Again, it was only about 10-15 miles before we reached our goal:

And yes, I made Luke straddle the line, though you could barely see it on the road.

Once again, we headed back down the parkway to the cabin, this time for something I have been looking forward to for months. We knew the owner had a grill at the cabin (two, in fact, one propane and one charcoal). I honestly can't remember the last time my dad grilled, and I'm pretty sure it was Luke's first time grilling out (not that he ate any of what was grilled). My mouth watered at the prospect, and Papa didn't disappoint. YUM!

There were numerous supervisors on the posts of the shed that we tried hard not to disturb:

And DH helped keep Luke occupied:

Until the food was ready. Dig in!

We still needed to kill some time before the evening's planned entertainment, so we went inside and taught Luke how to play Uno. He caught on very quickly, and we all had a great time.

Then back outside to have a little nighttime fun:

I thought these were just longer sparklers, but they are actually something called Morning Glory, which was a bit like a sparkler with a little tiny bit of "pow" action (not sure what else to call it) in the middle. They were a complete pain to get lit, but once they did, Luke loved them. (Video in tomorrow's post.)

A most excellent ending to a truly great day in the mountains!

Currently feeling: shiny