Monday, May 30, 2011

Always look on the bright side of life!

While it has been an unplanned minor catastrophe at our house, it really couldn't have happened at a better time. Truly:
I wanted to clean out the cupboards downstairs.
We needed to put everything into plastic tubs and had just been putting it off.
We had been putting it off for months, but we just got our reimbursement check from my daycare account. So we had money to pay the cleanup crew!
After 10 years in this house, we finally built a garage. So now there's a place to put everything from the basement.
We had been talking about moving some things around in the laundry room and putting a different type of flooring in. Now, we can definitely do that.
In fact, we can adjust the flooring in the office area, and truly clean out all toys like we had been daydreaming about. It's practically a blank slate!

So blessing always come from tragedies. I'm just paying attention to which toys the kids miss and which ones they don't, so some may just never make it back in....
And the official countdown, by the way: 1 week, 6 days until Roman's 8th birthday.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

"...and the rain, rain, rain came down, down, down..."

I always loved that Pooh song. Piglet gets washed away... much like our basement. Now before I go on detailing our minor trauma, I am well aware that we are blessed and blessed again - that we only had 3 inches of water in our basement, that we have the finances to cover it (although painfully), and Doug has tomorrow off to deal with the cleanup. However...

Wow, has it been raining. And more, and more. Yesterday's took the cake. The volume that fell in just an hour or so flooded the sewer system of my town, therefore forcing water back up into people's homes. In a neighboring town, main roads and intersections were closed due to flooding. Many buildings were closed because of extensive water damage today. So our 3" was nothing. Except... the carpet & padding. The floor molding. The couch. The laminate flooring in the office area. Storage area. Everything soaked. The amusing part, according to Doug, was watching the boys' aircraft carrier realistically float across the basement.

Roman doesn't handle emergency situations well at all, and the fact that his toys might be drowning really upset him. There was so much emotion going on - Doug frustrated & angry, me practically laughing (what else are you going to do?), and Roman worried - he just broke down in tears. It cheered him to see that Doug was liberating the toys & furniture first. Charlie just thought it was great fun - now all his toys are in the living room where he can reach them!

The cleanup crew is coming first thing Friday morning, and the carpet's getting ripped out. We'll probably spend the evening checking out the paneling & cabinetry to assess damage. And maybe calling a number I have wanted to dial since my childhood days.... 588-2300 Empire!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Birds in our front yard

Just wanted to document this somewhere. Birds we have seen at our feeders:
Blackbird
Red-winged blackbird
Chipped sparrow
white-throated sparrow
Cardinal
Mourning Dove
Black-capped chickadee
(Robins, obviously, in our yard)
Oh yeah, that hawk that attacked another bird once

Doug's favorite is the chickadee. I like them too, and the cardinal. Charlie seems to like the blackbirds, but he calls them starlings. He and Roman like to scare the mourning doves off. I have recently been interested in the white-throated sparrow though, because they look odd - brown bodies, with black-and-white stripes on their head.

Anyway. Back to your regularly planned surfing.

Friday, May 13, 2011

How to scrap & be up to date

An oxymoron, no? It is near impossible to be a scrapper and to be up to date at the same time. There's always a side project, or an idea bouncing around your head, or the sheer volume of pictures to contend with. Last year I decided to forgo Project 365 and focus instead on "The Monthly": doing layouts by month. I can choose how many for each month, stick the shots in a template, and by the end of the month they are ready to be paged through. I also picked 8.5x11 size because it's easier to sit with it in your lap. It worked so well for 2010 that I am doing it again this year and am very pleased. I just finished April - take a look!






It's a simple matter of digital photos sorted by date, templates purchased at Designer Digitals designed by Cathy Zielske, and the color-dropper in PSE. About one hour, & I had 4 layouts done. Hooray!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Finally, it's Spring!

Here in Michigan, it's hard to tell what season it is somedays. We can go from 70s to 40s in a day, or like yesterday, 60s to 40s when the wind blows just right. It's been rainy too, but not the April-showers kind. It's been the rain-that-could-turn-to-sleet-at-any-minute kind. Today, finally, it feels like Spring. Upper 60s, cool breeze, just right for playing outside.

Spring around our house means busy weekends. Roman has started Spring flag football so has practice and games. Doug has turned his attention back to the grass (or lack thereof) and I start dreaming of a relaxing outdoor area. My brother will be working on the latter - we hired him to design a space for us now that the whole thing is trashed from the garage-raising.

Charlie, always an outdoor kid, wants to spend every waking minute outside. He is the type that can wander around outside for an hour, amusing himself with sticks and mud. He is working on making friends with Jumpy, our squirrel - they sat and stared at each other a few days ago, Jumpy in the tree and Charlie on the deck. I swear to you, it seemed that they were silently communicating.

Spring to me means school is starting to wind down. In another week or so I will be at one of my favorite parts of the year - when I have to start planning my lessons backward from the end of the year to make sure I get everything in that I need to. There is great hope I will actually have a classroom next year (hopefully not in a hallway far, far away). I look forward to summer as we're planning some different things than usual - camping more but with new friends, Roman's doing a couple of nature classes, and I want to check out a couple area fun places I haven't been yet. Although I do have a streak of trepidation - Charlie's starting to kick his naps, making them shorter and shorter... and potty-training will have to begin in earnest.