Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Tall and the Short of It

We're in the final stretch here for all school activities and school itself. Phew! What a busy month of May! Christian and Elliot both had big events on Friday. Elliot graduated from TUMC Preschool in Scottdale, PA and Christian had Freshman Fun Day at school. Yeah, about that. The school had scheduled this "fun" day and the kids were going to play softball all day. Softball. My son would rather stick pins in his eyes than play softball all day and so would his musically-gifted friends. So we, The Parents, decided that they could stay home from school and do something different. They went to see the new X-Men movie and hung out for the rest of the day having FUN. Can you imagine if the school had told the students they were going to spend the day watching musicals or jamming in the band room all day? I don't know why they didn't have more choices.

Elliot had a lovely graduation ceremony. Short, sweet and to the point. One of the best things about his preschool (which I have loved since Claire attended in 2002) is the simplicity of the school. It is very calm and the teachers are gentle and friendly. Here's the whole class.

Did you notice the boy with the mohawk in the front row. That's Billy. Great's often green, too. Elliot is circled for you. Here we are together.

And here are pictures of the watering cans I made for the teachers.

After graduation on Friday I went to New York City with my friend, Patty. It was totally spur of the moment. I found out Thursday night that she was going and had a place for me. I went with a whole bus tour from our church and town in November with Kate, and this time it was just five ladies in a van (sounds like a rock band). Patty goes to New York often to buy things for various fund-raisers or her gift shop. Most of what she sells goes to some charity or the church or someone in need...I don't know how she does it...she gives so much away. She and her husband Eugene are the two most generous people I have ever met. Case in point, I went to NYC with $20 of my own. Twenty dollars. Patty paid for everything else and gave me spending money, too. She thought I needed to get away! Everyone should have a Patty. I had a blast. I thought I died and went to purse heaven. We were in the wholesale district and went in a store that was all purses. I seriously couldn't breathe! I have a real thing for purses. These ranged in price from $.75 to $12.00. I bought about five and bought others along the way from vendors or other shops. It was amazing.

I still have the peanuts from someone's McDonalds sundae in my purse. We figured if we had the peanuts we could spend all our money and still have nourishment to make it home. As it turned out we had enough to have dinner at O'Reilly's Pub before leaving the city.

I am so blessed. Not because I get to go to New York and shop, but because my days are full of experiences I share with other people that I love...not just my family, but my friends, too. I can't possibly keep up to date with this blog because there is always something wonderful and interesting happening in my life. They're not always big things, but they're memorable and important...they're the stuff life is made of. Thank you, God for the madness in my life!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Long Time No Post!

Wow! When was the last time I posted? Thursday, May 11; nearly two weeks ago! A lot has happened since then. Let's see if I can catch up...

Monday, May 15: Kennywood Picnic for Connellsville School District...and of course it rained! The kids really wanted to go so we grabbed the rain coats and umbrellas and hit the park. Once we arrived and had our lunch, the rain stopped for the whole day although it was pretty chilly and the park closed at 7:30...pretty early. However, there were not a lot of people there, so the lines were short and the kids got to ride everything they wanted to...several times! Elliot rode the Jack Rabbit and the Racer rollercoasters for the first time and loved them. He was a bit put out when his coaster train didn't win on the Racer, but he still liked it a lot. Claire rode the Thunderbolt for the first time, too. Check out the cool face painting that Claire and Elliot had done...

Claire is a butterfly and Elliot has a shark on his face that really bites! Cool. Here's a picture of me and Christian. He really is taller than me, isn't he? Also cool.

(The Kennywood pictures were taken with an old camera and the quality isn't too great, but I still thought they were good)

The day after the Kennywood picnic, I loaded the kids into the van (no school, since it was election day) and we went to neighboring Greensburg to shop for the dances that Christian and Kate had that weekend. Just outside our first destination we were rear-ended by another driver. Everyone is OK, but we were very shaken (and stirred) and the van had some damage to it. The other driver was OK, too, but her car was really a mess. We were all checked out at the E.R. and there was no spinal or serious neck injury to anyone. I had a neck strain, but nothing too serious. It really makes you stop and think though after you've been in an accident. How cautious and focused are you when you drive?? I'm a lot more careful now. Especially in the rental van!

Wednesday I chaperoned Claire's field trip to the Pittsburgh Zoo. I love the zoo. It's really cool. We go at least once a year and usually more often than that. I know there is some opposition to having animals in any kind of captivity and I can see that point. But I believe that the Pittsburgh Zoo has done all it can to make these fantastic animals available to the public while trying to preserve their dignity and well-being. Did I mention it rained that day, too?

Thursday I had to take Kate and Christian shopping to get the things we were unable to get on Tuesday. I decided to just take Christian's friend Jessica (his date for the Freshman Farewell Dance) since he had no clue what he should wear. We had a fun time. Kate liked having Jessica there to help her try on outfits (her Spring Fling Dance was Friday night) and to play big sister for a while. The kids clean up pretty well, don't you think?

Friday night was the Freshman Farewell at the Junior High and the Spring Fling for the elementary school. I managed to get everyone where they needed to be (on time!) with my sanity in tact. Keith had a wedding rehearsal and some important visitation calls to make, but we managed. Claire and Elliot rented "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" (not as good as the musical Kate and I saw in NYC) and had a cozy night at home. Elliot had quite a cough and I don't think anyone slept real well that night.

Saturday the girls had their last soccer games of the season. Both teams won and the girls really had a good time. There is a tournament next weekend, but we have the Tri-Town Homecoming (street fair) here in Dawson which none of us want to miss. Keith and I carved out some time to attend the wedding reception for the couple he married Saturday afternoon. What a lovely wedding...very tasteful and elegant. The bride was just beautiful and the groom was very relieved that the ceremony was over. There was a lot of kissing! It was nice to see such a sweet couple have a beautiful day, especially after a week of rain. The sun even came out Saturday evening.

Sunday we had church and a pot luck dinner at one of the churches in the evening.

Monday I took Claire and Elliot to the new school in Jefferson Hills. Elliot had his Kindergarten screening and Claire went for a tour. Can someone tell me what difference it makes if Elliot can walk backward, toe to heel? How often are you asked to do that? I just thought it was kind of silly, but I'm sure it indicates something developmentally. Everything else was fine. There were some things that he missed on their little quiz, but I'm not concerned. Who cares if you draw ears and a neck on your stick figure when you're clearly a genius anyhow? The teacher didn't even notice that he was left-handed. Wonder how she did on her Kindergarten screening? Hmmm...

We have Vacation Bible School this week next door and Kate's last All Star Band concert was last night. Elliot is taking his birthday treats to school today since his birthday is in June and Friday is his Preschool graduation. I love his preschool and think his teachers are just out of this world. We were blessed to have him attend the same preschool that Claire attended in 2002...we don't often get to repeat things like that since we move so much, but it all worked out this time and we got Elliot into the same preschool. What a great experience for both kids.

So, now I suppose I should freshen up and get ready to take the kids to the bus stop and school. Today's a bit of a breather and it picks up again tomorrow. To illustrate the amount of running around I've done lately, I put 350 miles on the rental since Thursday! Keep in mind I am a "stay-at-home" mom. Isn't that ironic?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

About socks...

I have a question for all you sock knitters out there. Do your socks ever look as nicely shaped as the ones in yarn catalogs and pattern books? (see photo at left). Mine (see photo below)always look fantastic on feet, but really sloppy otherwise. It's almost like they're too big. I thought that maybe I am a loose knitter, but I checked the gauge and it is spot on. The pattern requires 64 stitches on size 3 needles for yarn with a gauge of 7 stitches per inch. That's what I've got! So, is it just one of those things? Like the photographs in recipe books that look so wonderful and even though your recipe tastes fantastic it looks a bit...thrown together? I know there are photographers that go to painful lengths to make that food look good. Are there non-knitters out there making knit items look picture perfect? And is this fair to the average knitter? Knitters of the world...SPEAK OUT!

Still here

Last night Keith and I were happy to see Kate perform with the PMEA District Band at Connellsville Jr. High East. Here she is...

What? You don't see her? OK, here...

She's sitting right in the front because she was FIRST CHAIR FLUTE! Yay Kate! I'm perfectly within my parental rights to brag, aren't I? I'm really proud of her. And she looked so professional and pretty sitting up there. She really had a good time and the kids were fantastic. They've come a long way since "Hot Cross Buns" (not that I don't love a rocking rendition of "Hot Cross Buns").

In other news...I did some house work this week. I figured I don't really have to live in complete filth until we move although the packing thing was providing a pretty good excuse until I came out of denial and realized that I wasn't packing yet either. So, some floors got cleaned and some laundry was done. All in all a good attempt. I also got this much done on Carlie's socks.

Any of you who read this post may notice that it doesn't look like much progress has been made on said socks. This is because I came across a knot in the yarn where two pieces were actually joined together. Yuck! I tried working around the knot, I tried ignoring the knot, but in the end I decided to begin again and eliminate the knot all together. It was really messing up the stitches and I was concerned about how the finished socks may wash up and if the knot would come through to the front and...blah blah blah. OK. I give. I'm really just a perfectionist.

The kids are wrapping up a lot of stuff at school for the end of the year. Here is Claire with her New Mexico project for Impact.

There's a little chili bean with a sombrero climbing the ladder! Is that too cute or what? (Give the picture a couple of clicks to enlarge it.)

This picture is a bit fuzzy because I took it through the screen in the window, but I think Claire and Elliot look sweet here. In reality they're probably plotting their hostile takeover of some small unsuspecting country.

I really must snap some pictures of Christian doing whatever it is that Christian does...marching band, computer, video games. He's been really busy lately too and soon he'll be going to his Freshman Farewell Dance. An excellent photo opportunity. Stay posted! (ha, ha)

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Why I live where I live

I was peeking at Anny's blog just last night and saw this subject posted there. So, I got to thinking about "why I live where I live".

I live where I live because in 2002 we were sent to Dawson, Pennsylvania for my husband to pastor three small United Methodist churches. In our United Methodist system, the Bishop makes an appointment and the pastor itinerates to that appointment. There is no hiring or firing.

I love Dawson. There is no logical reason that I should love Dawson, but I do. My husband and I are suburbanites. Dawson is the smallest of small towns. Here's a picture of my house.

It's a lovely house that needs a lot of work. I have loved living in this house despite the cabinets that don't close right, the ceiling that drips and this...

Yep. That's a train as seen from my front porch. It goes through town about 30 times a day (and night). You do get used to it, but it's still very annoying. The first night we stayed in Dawson the train woke us at 3 AM...Keith and I sat up in bed and laughed and laughed. Not only was the whistle horrendously loud, but the train sounded like it was falling apart and wouldn't make it to the other end of town. I told Keith, "If there is a train that takes you to Hell, that's what it sounds like".

Here are some of the other reasons that I love Dawson.

This one needs some explanation...See that colored blur in the middle of the river? That's 400 rubber duckies racing down the river at the Annual Duck Race. Each duck is numbered and "sold" for about $5. The first duckie under the bridge wins! No one has fun like a small town!

Now, here's the irony. After realizing how much I love this little town, the Bishop is appointing us to another the suburbs. We will be moving to Jefferson Hills (Pittsburgh) in July. While I am excited to be making a move that is good for our family (good appointment, great school district, near family) I will miss Dawson desperately...especially in the summer. It's hard to believe that I can find such character and charm in another place, but that's what I have to believe. Otherwise I'd be dead in the water. And I know it will come...there will be other wonderful people and other great things to do. But it's bittersweet to leave the town, the river, the people, the house, the fairs and even the train, behind.

Monday, May 01, 2006

OK, Kate

Kate has informed me that I "really need to update my blog".
Ok, Kate...but I'm keeping it brief!

See these?

They represent what I should be doing.
See this?

This is what I am doing.
By the time we move I will probably need a bulldozer to get it all done!

By the way, I did finish Bear Sweater #2 (shown here with Bear Sweater #1).

They really are cute. Bear Sweater #3 needs to be done by sweat.