Monday, March 31, 2008

Spring Break Part 2


I was medicated, feverish but functioning. I rested on the couch while the big kids watched the little kids. They watched "The Magic School Bus" and I considered that school for the day.

Matt worked on the bus and I did take some pictures of what he was doing.

I sneaked up... "Watcha doin'?"

"I'm rehearsing for my one man play."

"Enough nonsense..."

He was really wiring the bus for reading lights. He hard wired these battery operated LED puck lights to work with switches and installed them in each bunk.

He's also been covering the plywood walls with bead board. Getting the pieces to fit (and have their "beads" line up) has been time consuming.

Wednesday was much the same. I was medicated, feverish but functional. Matt was now done on the bus and had moved his projects to inside.

For the next 4 days the table was covered with electronic stuff. Not bus related.

I don't know all the details, but the end product has been quite amusing.

Stay tuned....

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Spring Break part 1

Spring Break.

Matt was home for most of the week. The big kids were to take some time off of school. 2 of my nephews (3 and 5) were staying with my parents for the week and were going to come and "do school" with me and the little boys for a few days while Grandma was at work. That was the plan...

Monday. After a weekend at an indoor waterpark, the little boys were not in school mode. "We've got a few days, I'll just let them 'cousin' today. "

I never had a cousin. Neither did my brother or sister (obviously). I produced the first 2 grandkids for my parents and then there was a 4 year lull. In the next 7 years (to the day!), 8 baby boys were added to my side of the family. 3 of them mine. 3 for my sister, and 2 for my brother. The term "cousining" became part of every family gathering. It was the ice breaking activity that often reminded me of a litter of puppies. There would be running, wrestling, and occasionally a knocked noggin as the boys got to know each other again. Something about cousins, so different, yet so much alike. It's really neat to watch. I know I will cherish those memories forever.

Anyway, that was Monday. Not so much on the wrestling, but the running and the getting to know each other thing. And, more remarkably, the "I wonder how much Mom will let me get away with?" phenomenon. More than once I had to holler at my kids for something they would have never considered if it were a normal day.

Monday night the fever hit me. I felt like my skin was on fire and someone was standing on my throat. I knew it was the flu because Matt assured me that I was not on fire and he even checked to make sure there was no one standing on my throat.

Tuesday morning when my mom dropped the boys off for their fun day of homeschool, I was miserable. She recognized it immediately (after just having recovered herself) and called my dad to "bring the bottle of cold and flu medicine in the cupboard, yeah, the unopened one...and hurry, she's gonna need it"

To Be Continued.....

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Wordless Wednesday...

...on Thursday, with words.

Blog Police: (Imploringly) Why'd ya do it man, you love rules?

Me: I-I-I-It's that new gang I'm runnin' with... W-W-We're real tight. They got my back, ya see?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Maybe Next Year...

There's no telling what a 4 year old will remember from a year ago and what he'll forget. One day, he won't remember to wash his hands before he eats, but on another day, he'll remember something that happened last year. "I been here before!" he squealed once while looking through pictures of a family vacation.

The Living Last Supper. 9 year old Ben called to invite us, "We're the soldiers, Dad is Jesus. There's a dessert reception at the end. Can you come?"

On the stage the actors portrayed Jesus and his disciples on the night of the Last Supper. I missed quite a bit of the early dialog while I was concentrating on Isaac. At 4, he can forget his manners and blurt out without hesitation, "I gotta poop" or "Remember...when we watched....Resident Evil with Dad...and the zombies were..." you get the idea, I was watching for that look on his face that tells me "cup his face in your hands and direct his voice into your ear so he remembers to whisper."

As we watched the play unfold he went from totally disinterested drawing on a notepad, to hot and tired, and then to questioning. When Jesus and the disciples left the stage and the spotlight illuminated the window on the other side of the church he began to pay attention. Through the window (the real outside window to the courtyard) we watched Jesus walking to the Garden of Gethsemane and shortly after, the soldiers followed. At this point the church was completely dark and only the soloist's voice could be heard. Prime time for an soliloquy on legos or matchbox cars from Isaac, but nothing. A series of pictures appeared projected on the wall depicting the events that followed.

He asked me, "Who is on the cross? The devil?"

I whispered, "No, it's Jesus" He doesn't remember from last year. I have the privilege to teach the Easter story for the first time (again).

He looked at me puzzled, that is not the Jesus he remembered hearing about.

"He took our place, He died for you and me. But wait, there's a happy ending"

He watched some more.

The clanging from the balcony sent chills down his spine as we heard the nails being driven into Jesus' hands and feet.

He climbed into my lap and I saw a tear in his eye yet he remained reverent and silent, sensing the emotions in the room.

At that moment I was grateful to have an excuse to hold someone and gently rock back and forth. Raw emotion is hard to deal with.

"It's not happy." He whispered in my ear.

Then slowly the music changed, the heaviness lifted as songs of Jesus resurrected began.

For Isaac, the show was over, he was once more distracted, hot, and tired. This was the Jesus he remembered, the one he was comfortable with. He started talking about Indiana Jones and candy.

For me, the awe was still there, to witness the crucifixion through the eyes of a 4 year old that didn't remember "that part" was an awakening for me. I've read the words a thousand times but rarely let myself visualize the true suffering or convey it to my children.

Isaac was restless.

The happy ending...for my 4 year old was dessert.

For me, It's Easter. Maybe next year he'll understand a little more.

Happy Easter!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Winter...

I read blogs.

I have an "Everyday blogs" folder, a "Monday blogs" folder and a folder named "Blogs to explore".

I think the blogs you read say a lot about you or who you want to be.

Most of my Everyday blogs are written from places where spring has already sprung. They have their gardens planted and their summer clothes out of storage. I'm envious of the way they can shoo their kids out the door without still needing layers and boots and snowpants and mittens and hats.

We woke up to another blanket of snowy white wonder. I'm trying to love it, but, I have to admit, I'm ready for a new color. Green. Let's skip right over the muddy brown this year and jump right to green. That just might happen if it keeps up like this.

If you love snow, read my blog everyday. If you love green, read my blog everyday.
I'll even let you read if you like muddy brown.

And by all means, let me know which is your favorite and why...

Monday, March 17, 2008

Meeting of the Minds

We sat out on the bus this weekend and talked about important stuff. Like, which bunk is yours, which direction your head is going to be when you're sleeping and who wants to sit where. Very important stuff to be decided BEFORE you head out on your first trip.

The little guy thought he'd sleep right there on his seat. I told him that was reserved for visitors, we all have beds.

Sam thinks he should be the driver. I told him he has to be taller.
Griffin claimed his spot on the top bunk.

But only after he was satisfied with it's sturdiness.
Matt has been adding the little finishing details on the bunk room. A nice soft cornered plank of wood to cover the metal bed rail used as support and the bead board to cover the storage box under the bottom bunk.
He also built a box that sits next to where the new door will be. I envision people putting their shoes there upon entering. We'll see, we're not known for being neat with our shoes.
Next on the list. Electrical. That's why we needed to know where our heads would be. We are all having our own reading lights. We decided where the outlets would be and how many overhead lights we'd have. Almost everything will run on 12 volts, (car batteries) but we will have a few 120 volt outlets that we can use for the more powerful things like the air conditioner and, of course, my skillet always makes better pancakes when it's got lots of power.

My job for this week will be window coverings. Planning them, not actually making them. I have an idea but I've got to price a few things. I was also thinking of making curtains for each persons bunk. Because on a long trips, I think everyone will want to have their own place to escape to...

...And metal bars might be overkill... What do you think?

Friday, March 14, 2008

On Bed Rails and Snow Piles

Anyone else have a huge case of spring fever? I went out to take pictures of the bus yesterday afternoon and it was so nice and warm... Like, 37! This week will be the first time all winter that we've been above freezing. As much as I liked the snow this year, I'm ready to see it gone.

So anyway, what I was talking about last time, this is what we are using the bed rails for. Reinforcements for the top bunks, because remember, they're going to do this:

And since that edge of the bunk is not attached to anything, they need to be stronger than just plywood.

We've also been working on the kitchen area. We bought another small refrigerator to go along with the one that we got out of the salvage yard.

We should be set on cold storage.

Matt gave orders for the driveway to be cleared of ice and snow before he left for work this morning which means...He's gonna work on the bus this weekend!

I'll keep you informed.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

We now resume our regularly scheduled programming...

There are 3 trucks in our area who salvage metal from the curb. I've seen their trailers piled high with washers, dryers, dishwashers, and exercise equipment. We even had one dedicated guy haul away a whole car from our curb. Actually, it was cut in pieces with a "saws all" and dragged to the curb. And actually, it took at least two trips (he went back for his buddies). As long as I'm being honest, it was actually two cars, two different times, two different scavengers.

Lovely, I know.

Imagine, if you will, our poor new neighbor. Moving into her first house, full of plans for the future for herself and her little son, when to her horror, across the street, she sees a gang of kids dragging a quarter of a car through the front yard. Not her yard thank goodness, but still...

Don't confuse this new neighbor with this new neighbor.

Our neighborhood is going through a transformation. The older folks are moving up north to the house they've been building for years, or moving on to Assisted Living. A new younger generation is settling here filling the void. It's been young families buying their first houses and staying on until they can afford to build, or move on because of a better school elsewhere. I miss the grandparents, the kind of people who praised and corrected their kids as well as the neighborhood kids (and it was acceptable), the generation who had time chat across the fence, the neighbors who had time to get to know their neighbors. We have one set left, I hope they never move. With this latest influx I'm afraid all they'll ever know about us is what they see through their windows. I think they would definitely benefit from an explanation. I'll make that my goal for summer. Explain my family (BE the kind of neighbor that I admire so.)

Anyway, back to the metal scavengers. I call them that because I'm sure they don't use all the stuff they collect. I'm sure they haul it to the recycling station for cash. Matt, on the other hand, has been looking for metal to USE, specifically, metal bed frames (ie angle iron). We're what I would classify as salvagers.

One day last month as I was on my way to the grocery store I spotted a bed frame on the curb. I called Matt to tell him where it was and he said he'd check it out. Just as he was arriving on the scene a scavenger pulled around the corner, trailer and all. It wasn't even garbage day, what does he do keep that thing attached constantly?!? Matt said even though he was there first he felt his adrenaline rise as the truck slowed to see what was to be had. Matt got out of the van and picked up the bed frame, the scavenger gave him a knowing nod and drove away. Oh, the kinship.

I'll take pictures on the bus soon and show you what he's done with it as soon as it's light (and warmer).

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Cuz it's MY blog

We never did get school underway yesterday. We digested the news. We watched video tributes on YouTube, we ordered Chinese food for lunch, we watched an episode of The Waltons, and then we settled in to watch the press conference. And ya know what? We feel better.

The press conference made me remember it's just a game and I love the way Thompson summed up one reporters insistings that they "Try to talk him out of it."... Don't be silly, he's a 38 year old man, I think he has a right to make his own decisions. Not his exact words, but that was the gist of it.

But still...we can remember how he made us feel...and I can write about it because it's MY blog!

Just a few more, and then I'll move on.

It was January 1997, the team had just returned to Green Bay from New Orleans, their buses were diverted through our small downtown for a victory parade before heading to a special celebration for fans to be held at Lambeau Field. Matt, me, and the two kids were among the thousands who waited on the streets of downtown. It was cold, and it was hours...we could see the buses just a few blocks away moving slower than a snails pace. The windows on the city buses had been removed to allow for players to reach out to the crowd and vise versa. Reggie White sat in the firetruck heading the procession holding the Lombardi Trophy. We stood on the drawbridge and waited. H&H were 4 and 5 at the time and didn't quite get it. They wanted to go home. I kept telling them to remember this...remember everything you may never happen again.

When the buses finally inched their way out of the congested downtown and started their way over the bridge we got our turn. They picked up speed so we had to run along side the buses with the kids on our shoulders so they could see inside. Desmond Howard shook Hailey's hand.

By the time they reached the stadium they were hours late. No one expected the turn out downtown to be so massive. I'm glad we didn't pay for seats.

Since, in those days, I rarely took pictures, I have only my memories (and now, my blog) to paint the picture of that day. Oh, and there used to be one at my Doctor's office of the buses downtown that I pointed out every time we went there, but I think they took it down now.

When I ask them about it now, they only remember what I've told them about being there, but they do remember the hot bath they took when we returned home.

I don't think the Packers could've done it with out Favre.

...And one final memory (maybe, it's MY blog)

The last play off game for us this year, our 4 year old was cuddled in my lap, after an amazing play by Donald Driver I whispered in his ear, "I should have named you Donald Driver." He reached back, touched my face and whispered back, "You should've named me Brett Favre."

Here are some of our favorite videos of Brett...Enjoy!

"I thought you hit harder than that!"

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

End of an Era


It is with heavy heartedness that I report, Brett Favre has announced his retirement.

We have already missed most of Science and half of a "meeting" due to the unexpected news. Luckily I am writing during recess and hopefully we will recover enough in the next 20 minutes to resume school.

Although Matt is a fair weather Packers fan, I , on the other hand, am totally devoted, almost to a fault. It might have started as a convenient reason to sit down and relax on Sunday afternoons or it might have been the excitement of my first game...August 1982...that forever cemented football in my heart.

We had moved to Green Bay just a few weeks earlier, right before I started 8th grade. My parents bought a house very near Lambeau Field, I didn't know at the time how that would affect my life and influence the memories I carry in my soul.

My Aunt Beth , Uncle Greg , Great Uncle John, my parents, me and my brother and sister all attended the Bishop's Charity game that month. It was hot and I didn't know anything about football. We sat in the end zone only sections away from where my dad now walks the stands selling beer for the first 3 quarters of every game.

My Uncles explained what a first down was and spelled out the details of the game. I was hooked. My dad and I went to many games throughout the next four years. Names of players are not clear in my mind. I was a girl and I didn't understand the intricacy's of the game yet. I remember singing "Eddie Lee - - - Ivory" to the tune of Ebony and Ivory. I remember eating at Burger King with Johnnie Gray. It was a time when the only Black people in Green Bay were Packer players. Strange comment I know but I'm just saying...that's just the way it was.

When I met Matt at the end of my Junior year, things changed. I thought going to the snowmobile races on a Sunday afternoon with him was more fun than going to see the Packers with my dad, or sitting at home with my parents watching the game. It was only temporary, by the time we were married we spent each Sunday afternoon of the football season at my parents house. I remember going out for breakfast one Sunday morning after church and seeing Brett Favre in the Bay Family Restaurant, a little motel restaurant known for it's small town atmosphere. Nothing fancy, eggs and toast, orange juice and hash browns. Eggs Benedict for the more adventuresome. He sat alone and ate his breakfast dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt. No reporters, no fans, I wonder how long it's been since he's done that?

Matt and I are the only ones in our house who have ever experienced anybody but Brett as our beloved quarterback. I was pregnant with our first when he started playing for us. I remember the game where Don "Majik" Majkowski was injured and Brett went in.

The year we won the Super Bowl I was pregnant with our 3rd. No one knew but us.

When Hayden was 9 Matt took him to see a charity baseball game: the Packers and the Timber Rattlers. He had tickets to the dug-out.

Sam went to his first Packer game on his 4th birthday.

Our youngest is the only one who hasn't experienced Lambeau Field.

He will never see Brett play in person.

I've almost gotten rid of the lump in my throat at the thought of football with out Brett.

Thanks for the memories.