Thursday, March 31, 2011

Happy Thoughts

Today I thought I'd give you all some happy thoughts. 

Happy Thought #1:  Jacob loves cookies.  Any kind of cookie, any place, any time.  Sometimes he even eats part of a muffin or a cracker if you just tell him it's a cookie!  I don't normally give him cookies for a snack, but he had a vanilla sandwich cookie for this morning's snack, and he was in heaven!

Happy Thought #2:  Frank removed the bird's nest from the wreath on our front door.  I kept thinking about how freaked out I would be if I opened the door and a bird flew in the house.  Birds = yuck.  Now I don't have to worry. 

Happy Thought #3:  My lipstick plant is blooming!  The blooms look like tubes of lipstick, and gradually, they have turned pink.  Today, I noticed two of the blooms beginning to open, and there is even brighter pink inside.

Happy thought #4:  Baseball opening day  Even though this means that fantasy baseball is in full swing (get it?  swing? :) at my house, it also means spring/summer and warm weather!

Happy Thought #4:  Jacob's Easter outfit arrived this week, courtesy of Grandma Anna!  In case you were wondering, we went with this one:

He had the khakis and sandals, already, and it's definitely something he can wear again. 

Happy Thought #5:   I am teaching two sections of my class for the May/June term.  (It's a happy thought from a financial perspective, at least.)  I've never taught two concurrent sections, and I'm curious if it will be difficult to manage.  Our schedule changes in May, anyway, since I'll no longer be at the other company, so it will be a good time to give it a shot. 

Is anyone else as ready for the weekend as I am?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


"Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, whether you like it or not."
Thomas Henry Huxley

My junior high literature teacher used to have that quote hanging in his room, and even then, it struck a chord with me.  (Obviously, because I remember it 20-some years later!)

Tomorrow, I go to Urbana to begin training my replacement.  I don't want to leave the house at 6:45 am; I don't want to leave Jacob for 11 hours; I don't want to have a replacement; and I certainly don't want it to be her.  Spending two days a week like this for the next month makes me want to stab my eyes out. 

I'm trying to look at this as an opportunity to challenge myself.  I'm always telling my students to be professional, and I'm always telling Jacob to be a big boy.  Maybe I need to act like a professional and be a big girl and handle this situation with class and grace and patience.  Instead of responding on instinct, I'm trying to convince myself to rise above it and handle this as one of the last (and biggest) challenges of my time there.  I need to do the thing that I have to do, even though I don't like it.  I'm hoping if I go into this with the attitude of a professional doing an unpleasant job, rather than making it about me, it will make things easier.  I'm not totally there yet, but I'm trying.

Totally unrelated... we spent this morning hanging out with Kimberly and Jasper.   We had a fun time- and ate cupcakes!- and it was great to meet some new friends!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Our Weekend By The Numbers

600- Number of dollars it would cost to purchase a wooden play structure from Toys R Us.   Maybe there is somewhere cheaper to buy them.  This was the first place I priced.  Yeah, not happening this year at any rate.

136- Approximate number of times we said, "I can't believe this weather!  It's March!  It should be warm!"

99- Number of times (at least) I caught Jacob taking stuff out of the kitchen cabinets yesterday.

10- Number of days it took me to return the egress window well covers.  We have have two weird-sized egress windows, and no matter how I tried to "doctor" the covers, they weren't going to fit. 

7- Number of slices of eggplant that I forgot in the oven!  I made eggplant parm for lunch and you have to bread and cook the eggplant before you even put the casserole together.  (Why yes, it does take forever-- probably why I only make it once a year.)  It turned out fine, and the forgotten eggplant is in the fridge.  I'll eat it cold.  No prob.

4- As is 4:00, which is the time Frank is going into work today for a "Suit Signing Party."  They are trying to beat the Chicago office in their goals this month.  He's buying pizza for the others, but I'm still not sure it qualifies as a party if you're at work.  :)

3-  Number of students who turned in their papers early.  They're due today, but I love early submissions because get them graded over the weekend.  Guess I'll be doing a lot of grading tomorrow.

2- Number of pictures I got at yesterday's Town Hall meeting in Normal where we heard my cousin and Sen. Mark Kirk speak.  Frank and I rotated in and out of the room with Jacob, but the parts I heard were much more interesting than I expected.  The pictures, however, were pretty lousy.  (Adam is behind the podium, on the right side of the picture.)

1.5- Number of hours Jacob napped today!!!

1- Number of times I have been to Home Depot in the 3 years I've lived in B-N, and that was today looking, of course, for egress window well covers. 

Hope you had a great weekend!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Ramblings on Furniture

Ever have one of those days when you want to redecorate?  That's me today.  I'm still (STILL) on the hunt for an entertainment center, and I've figured out that it's not about the entertainment center but about the configuration of our family room.  I need height and width on that wall, but once I do that, I have to move the end table, and there's nowhere to move it given the current placement of the sofas.   My two big, brown sofas.  That will both be with us until the end of time.  I could switch up the sofas, but there is really only one other way to place them, and I don't like it as well as where they are currently placed. 

** If my husband was reading this post, he's probably fallen asleep by now.**

Anyway, thinking outside of the box has taken me in circles on this project.  For inspiration, let's see a few pictures of rooms I do like, shall we?

[Images via DecorPad]

Those are my thoughts on furniture for today.  You're welcome.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Dear Spring, I Miss You

Two days ago, I was outside in yoga capris, working in the yard.  I was debating the new color of my toenail polish and whether I wanted to get an umbrella for the table on the patio.  Today, I got groceries amidst snow flurries and just finished making soup for dinner.  What a difference two days makes!

The sage and grasses are ready to be cut back, and they had been driving me nuts. Our landscaping is relatively low-maintenance, except in the spring.  I've always heard the best way to prune ornamental grasses is to actually burn them down.  Last year, I was too chicken to try it (sleep deprived + fire = not a good idea), but this year, I'm going to pick a calm day-- and a clump of grass that's far from the house!- and try that technique.  It would save me from throwing the cuttings in the field, too, which is how I dispose of them.  Illegally.  :)

On Tuesday, though, I decided to tackle the sage and some of the smaller bushes. 



Gone!  (The tall fountain grass is still there, though.  That's on my burn list.)

It was so nice to be outside and get some work done!  Someone else enjoyed it, too; although he is also the reason it took almost the whole afternoon.  It's amazing, the ways he find to get himself in trouble.

There are still many, many more plants that need some attention, and I would really, really like to get back outside. 

Dear spring, I miss you.  Please come back. 


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Family Weekend

Last weekend, we spent a long weekend at Frank's parents'.  We left on Saturday and stopped in Sandoval to watch my niece Jenna's cheerleading competition.  For all you "Northerners," competitive cheerleading at the grade school level is a big deal here, but even knowing that, I wasn't prepared for how many people were at this competition!  The girls' routine was so much fun to watch, and my little niece did great!  Girl had her moves down, and totally worked her audience.  The only bad thing was that I forgot my camera!

From there, we went to Frank's parents' house, and then to Italian Village  in Carbondale for dinner.  Yum!

Rachael, Jenna, Brett and Garret 

Gary and Anna
The next morning, Jacob and Grandma were doing a practice Easter egg hunt.  I never would have thought he would understand/cooperate with putting eggs in a basket, but he loved it! 

He's ready for a real Easter Egg Hunt now, don't you think?! 

We spent a few hours shopping (birthday presents, yay!), and then hit the park in Herrin on our way home. 

It was 80 and sunny, and best of all, NOT WINDY for once.  It was so nice to finally thaw out after this long winter! 

After the park, we went to Grandma Vivian's house where we sat outside and visited.  Well, Jacob threw rocks, but the adults visited.  :) 

I'm not throwing the rocks, mom; I'm moving them on to the patio for you!

After pizza and baths, Brett and Jenna came over to play with Jacob!  I wasn't sure how he was going to do because he was reeeally sleepy, but he woke up in a hurry when he saw his cousins!  It is so funny to watch him watch them.  You can tell he's trying so hard to be a big kid, too!

While Jacob and Brett played ball, Jenna worked on backflips with mom and Grandma. 

It was great for the kids to be able to all play together!

The next day, we visited Great-Grandma Marion and Great-Grandpa Red's house, and again, I forgot my camera.  They gave Jacob his Easter basket which had a sweet ceramic bunny and lots of goodies which, between Frank and I,  may or may not have all survived the drive home! :) 

Even though it was a three-day weekend, it always feels like the time is too short.  We always comment that there is just never enough time to see everyone and spend time with everyone, but we always look forward to our next visit!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Chickens First

We've been working on animals sounds lately.  I was sure that the cat's meow would be one of the first sounds he would imitate; I actually thought meow might be one of his first words.  How surprising when we were reading an animal book last week and he told me what sound a chicken makes!  The way he says it, it sounds like "Baw, baw, baw."  He gets this proud little look on his face when he says it, too, like he knows he just answered the question correctly.  

Since then, we've learned that he also knows how a horse sounds and how a bee sounds.  It's adorable, but random.  Jacob is nothing if not his own man... who says those things first?!  Only my kid!

The topic of animal sounds got me thinking about how many pictures I've taken of Jacob and Shadow in the last month or two, so I put together a little collage using Picnik about the boy and his cat.

He's with her all the time.  He should be "Meow"ing up a storm by now!  Well, given his logic, if I want him to start saying, "Meow," the only thing left to do is buy a chicken!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Erasing Yesterday

Yesterday was quite a day, and not in a good way.  I found out early in the morning that they filled my position at the managed care company.  Before you start to say, "Lori, you quit last summer, dude," let me just say that yes, I know I quit.  And no, I didn't expect them to let me keep this two-day-a-week arrangement forever, but knowing it was going to happen makes it only slightly easier.  I've said before that managed care is my gig;  between school and work, I've spent 14 years learning how to be really good at it.  "Voluntary resignation" makes me feel like I'm just brushing away all of the nights I've traded fun for studying, all of the times I've gotten yelled at by some angry provider, all of the mistakes I've made and learned what not to do next time... all of the really hard-fought negotiations that I helped bring to a positive resolution.  It's voluntary, but it's still hard. 

I don't mean to sound whiny.  I want to be here with Jacob, but I also want my job.  At the same time.  Which can't happen.  Never in a million years would I have thought this would leave me so torn.  I made the right decision, but it's going to take me a while to make my peace with it.

Moving on from there, we had another first yesterday:  Jacob pooped in the bathtub!  (sorry if you just gagged a little)  Then, by the time I had that cleaned up, the cat threw up on the floor.  It was  an awesome end to an awesome day. 

So today I wanted to do some fun things to erase the yuck of yesterday.  We decided to take advantage of the 68 degree weather to meet Frank at the park for lunch.  I cooked a frozen cheese pizza and carted it over to the park in one of those hot/cold casserole carriers.  What a dork I am. 

Jacob is into cheese pizza, though.

Then, I packed a candy bar for Frank with a cute little St. Patrick's Day wrapper that I printed from I Share Printables.Com  Such a cool site!  I am anti-crafty, but I've used this site a few times now. 

Cute, cute!  And my treat was getting to break out the sandals!  I found them at Target, and they could be gold or silver, depending on how you look at them. 

At the park, we hit up Jacob's fave from last summer- the swings!

He didn't want to stay in the swing as long as he did last summer, but he did- grudgingly- agree to swing with momma for a while.  (Remember how he thinks he's an adult?  Yeah, he's not big on any type of supervision/restraint because it's just too babyish.)

We learned that he loves the slide now!

I think he would have gone down the slide all afternoon!  He was very interested in the display tractor, too (or maybe the mulch under the tractor?) which would have made a couple of his great-grandpas proud.

And of course, he checked out everything else in the park, top to bottom:

Even with the 30 mph winds, it was a nice time, and a good way to forget about yesterday. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Watseka Weekend

We spent this past weekend at my parents', something I think we have now done three times since Jacob has been born.  Saturday was my Grandma's 88th birthday. Eighty-eight sounds really old.  She does well to still have a driver's license and live in her own home, but this last year especially has been a difficult one, health-wise.  It's hard to watch my fiercely independent grandma- my last remaining grandparent- slowly become more and more dependent on my parents for daily things. 

I wanted to do something different for her birthday this year, so I told her that we would have dinner at my parents', she could choose the main course, and I would be the chef.  (I, of course, know full well that I could serve anything, and she would say it was delicious.. .she IS still my grandma, after all!)  She chose roast beef, which was easy enough.  So we had roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean casserole, and rolls.  Mom made a cheesecake for dessert, which is one of her favorites.  Overall, it was a nice, quiet evening. 

On Sunday, my nephew Caleb was being dedicated.  Baby dedication is not like infant baptism, and isn't associated with the salvation of the child.  Some churches have dedications as more of a commitment for the parents, who are pledging to raise the child in the Christian faith.  Anyway, Caleb was a good little dude and didn't cry once while he was on stage!  It was also nice to see some of old friends at my parents' church. 

Family pic before church

After church we went back to Brian and Sarah's for lunch with Sarah's parents and sister.  As a side note, Frank and I talk all the time about foods that are "local" to a particular area, and we couldn't believe Sarah's parents who are from Northern Iowa, had never heard of Italian Beef!   Is that something that only Illinoisians eat?!  Who knew! 

Caleb is such a smiley guy, and he already hams it up for the camera.

Now this is the part of the day where I started to realize what having two little boys nine months apart is like... Jacob was a total clown and Caleb, for the first time, was really paying attention to him.

Notice BOTH of them have a remote in this picture!

They may look sweet and innocent now, but these two are going to be trouble in a few years!!