Tuesday, December 21, 2010

December Daily - December 20th

One tradition that didn't happen this year is our outside lights. Of the 9 strands necessary to icicle our entire house 3 of them didn't work. By the time I got around to purchasing three more, the roof was ice/snow covered, making it way too unsafe for one of the girls to get up there to put up the lights. Another tradition, the snowman tree, almost had a similar fate. You see, I am a fan of snowmen. I just don't think there is anything happier than a chubby, snowy, snowman face. I love them so much that I have a whole tree with only snowman ornaments. Kristina brought the tree up from the basement, arranged all the ornaments and replaced the snowflakes. She plugged in the tree and fsssssss. The top half was dark. The tree sat that way for at least 10 days while I shopped for another strand of white lights. Oh, did I mention I'm cheap? I'm not paying $8 for a strand of lights, so I was shopping for the $1.50 strand. I finally found it yesterday at Target...so now my snowman tree is back in business! Kristina was so kind to undecorate the top, put on the new lights, and redecorate the tree for the second time this year. Merry Christmas my little snowy friends!

December Daily - December 19th

Today was the 4th Sunday of Advent. We started the day with Church and then spent the day with Aubrey and Ashlyn. Ashlyn was amazed at the ornaments on the tree and must have spent at least a half hour looking at all the ornaments!

December Daily - December 18th

Stephanie has begun to carry on the traditions started at home...she now makes almond bark pretzels for her friends/teachers at Christmas :) Of course, her dad was annoyed there were none left for him!

December Daily - December 17th

Today Santa came to Easter Seals. The kids were so amazed and happy to get their presents from him. Wendy (my boss) came today from Chicago and brought a present for Lacey from her honey Charlie...Lacey loves her new squeeky toy. She even takes him outside with her when she goes potty!

December Daily - December 16th

Today was the most amazing day. The Voices of Harlem came to sing for the kids at my school. It was so nice to see 27 kids with autism, just being kids and enjoying the holiday music.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

December Daily - December 15th

Mmmmmmm, can you smell it? The amount of baking that goes on in this house at Christmas is nothing short of world record setting I tell you! This year, in addition to the hundreds of dozens of Christmas cookies that will be made, I decided it would be nice to bake each of my staff members a baby loaf of bread using my sister-in-law's terrific banana bread recipe. The glitch with this recipe is the baking time is an hour...so it's quite the production. Especially considering I only have one oven and one rack in said oven (For 5 years now...heaven forbid we actually plan to, remember to, and purchase a second rack). At this point I have16 loaves baked, but need 42. I had planned on baking all night on Thursday, but got a call last night that I now have to host a Christmas Party for one of our staff members who had a family emergency. At this point, I believe there will be a whole lot of late night baking and not a whole lot of sleeping going on at the Ruchus.

December Daily - December 14th

I have spoken before on the ole' blog about being a procrastinator; actually about how I can turn procrastination into a fine science. The Ruchus Christmas cards are a fine example of the difficulties that can arise when the gal in charge participates in procrastination with a capital P. Some years I call them New Year's cards. Some years I hope to call them Happy Summer cards, but to save myself the embarrassment, we just begin looking forward to next year :) This year, things are different! I started the cards in October when I was at a weekend long scrap retreat. Fabulous I KNOW!! Then, we planned the Christmas picture to be taken when we cut down our tree. Even though my sonshine didn't cooperate and ended up being grounded over his less than stellar enthusiasm toward our group family photo AND even though I have now discovered that each card requires 88 cents in postage, which do the math equals a small fortune....the Ruchus Christmas Cards went in the mail TODAY!!! Well....most of them. I have a few folks that are address hold outs...and if you're one of those GET ME YOUR ADDRESS!!! But other than that, people on the far coasts of this country will be receiving their Ruchus Christmas card on time...Merry Christmas y'all!

December Daily - December 13th

Today's December Daily is about the tradition that wasn't. Every year when the kids were little, my mother always bought them an advent calendar. There was always some kind of fiasco that included someone eating someone else's candy, or someone eating all 25 pieces the first two days, but none the less, it was tradition. After my mom moved away, I began purchasing the advent calendars and more of the same continued. No one ever fessed up to eating anyone else's candy, but as they kids got older they got smarter and began hiding their calendars :) This year, in the flurry of all things Christmas, I overlooked the advent calendars until this December Daily project got me to thinking about our traditions...So today...December 13th I began calling around to find their calendars. After 11 phone calls...count them 11 to various Walgreen's, CVS, other pharmacies and Hallmark, I have sadly decided there will be no Advent Calendars this year. The Advent Calendar in 2010 is the tradition that wasn't.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

December Daily - December 12th

I'm proud to announce I'm half way there! Half way through my December daily and haven't missed a day. That in itself is a great accomplishment for me! Today has been THE BEST day. I started at church, then picked up some party supplies at GFS for the holiday party at school, then picked up my best friend's babies whom I had not seen in MUCH too long. After I picked them up and we drove to the grocery store, I found myself just smiling and enjoying every word that came out of their mouths. I surely love these babies as if they are my own and even if they're not babies anymore, they'll always be babies to me! These super precious twins, look to me just like they did the day they were born only slightly bigger :) Today we built a ginger bread house, made corn flake wreath cookies for their mama, watched frosty the snowman and talked...A LOT!! They are so wonderful and I am so blessed to be able to spend just a little bit of my day with them!

December Daily - December 11th

Tis the baking season...and at the Ruchus that means purchasing in large quantities. This year I added to my baking list a mini loaf of banana chocolate chip bread for all of my staff members. Evidently so did many other people because when I went to the store to buy bananas, I bought all the rest that they had. Buying large quantites of bananas didn't even garner a 'what on Earth' look from the checker...

December Daily - December 10th

Forth time is the charm. Do you ever know how something needs to be just so? Well...that is the issue with our Christmas tree star. We had a star for many years that we loved...Finally it died and we through it out. Last year we bought a beautiful angel for top of the tree, which really wasn't so beautiful. Nobody liked it. Maybe if it had lights it would have been better. I'm not sure. It matched my Mom's tree so we gave it to her. This year, we started on a search for our new star. I refused to pay 20 or even 30 dollars for a star. No way. So I bought a $5 one at Target and after I got it home...well let's just not mince words here, it was butt ugly! My husband and I searched at least 8 more stores and couldn't find anything we liked. Some were pretty, but open in the back where you could only see wires. Since you can see the front and back of our tree, that wouldn't do. I finally resigned myself to the fact that we weren't finding a star this year and bought red sparkly ribbon to make a big bow. But then! The Christmas miracle...I went to Hobby Lobby and there...was the exact star we had before, 50% off, making the grand total $6. Now...our previous star had red lights. When I got home I told the girls...the only way this could be better was if this star had white lights. I plugged it in and behold~ I bring you tidings of great joy~ The star shimmers in the night.


Friday, December 10, 2010

December Daily - December 9th

Ahhhhh, the Christmas Choir Concert. I surely didn't get through this without a few tears. What a beautiful evening, and what beautiful daughters I had performing!

December Daily - December 8th

One of my favorite holiday traditions is sending but most importantly recieving Christmas cards. I especially love the photo cards to see how everyone has changed over the year...It's always so exciting when we recieve our first cards!

December Daily - December 7th

Writing has never been a favorite past time for Brennan. When he was younger, one of the only ways we could get him to write was to tell him he wouldn't get any Birthday or Christmas presents unless he made a list...He's become pretty proficient at list making and proudly displays his wish list on the fridge!

Monday, December 6, 2010

December Daily - December 6th

Along with our first single digit days come the first of the non starting cars. Usually we are pleased with these happenings since they cause the shop to be busy. Today...not so much, since it was Stephanie's car that wasn't starting. I took her to her Voices performance at 8:15 this morning and picked her up from the drama club meeting at 4:30...it's 8:17 pm now and her dad is fixing her car at the shop...so she can resume her busy schedule tomorrow with her own transportation!

December Daily - December 5th

We went today to Williams Tree Farm to cut down our first Christmas tree! It was freezing cold but lots of fun!

December Daily - December 4th

Easter Seals Christmas Party!! SO Fun! It was so nice to show up to a party that I had no part in planning. what a wonderful evening of dinner and dancing.

December Daily - December 3rd

This was such an exciting day for Brennan. Today he got his class ring. I had picked out my own design choice and he picked out his. You can rank your maturity as a parent when you let your son choose his own deisgn. In this case, he chose the gaming design with his gaming nickname -Dusk. He is so pleased with his choice and I wouldn't have it any other way!

December Daily - December 2nd

December 2nd NHS Induction Banquet. We are so so proud of Stephanie and all that she has accomplished in High School. Dr. Morris, Superintendant and Mr. Hazen, HHS principal pose for a photo :)

December Daily - December 1

Nothing says Christmas to me like kids in jammies :) Especially footie jammies! My great nephews and niece Robert, Ryan, and Lizzie in their jammies. Trying to get them all to look and smile at the same time is similar to herding cats!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

December Daily

First let me start out by saying that I'm not very good at doing something every day for any length of time...except for the obvious things like breathing, being a mom, sleeping, etc. I have tried several daily photography projects without success...the ones with the three digit numbers come to mind as especially large failures on my part. Despite all of these past fails...I have committed to December Daily...let me tell you why.

Before I know it, our Christmases will be changing as my young adults begin to leave the nest. *sigh Soooooooo, before that happens, I'd like to document this last Christmas, day by day, so we can look back fondly on our family traditions while the kids were growing up.

I have taken December Daily pics for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd...and I have today's in mind. I did not create the album in advance like Ali Edwards recommends, but I know I have a scrap day planned for December 29th AND I'm anticipating great sales on Christmas fodder at that time, so that is the day I plan to make my album :) So...stay tuned...

I am hopeful I can stick with it for 25 short days. For more on December Daily, visit Ali's website here... www.aliedwards.com and stay tuned to the ole' blog for December Daily photos...

Now, where did I put that memory card?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving....Go Team!!

There were 18 on the invitation list this year and what was especially delightful was the clean house my children had prepared in advance of the big day. Outside of tidying up the bathroom, washing the dishes as I made them and showering, the only thing on my list to do on Thanksgiving was cook. I had so little to do, in fact, I even squeezed in a nap!

Previous years have usually found me with wet hair fresh from showering and mopping the kitchen floor as the first of the guests arrived. OOOOORRR, there was the frantic call to my mother-in-law, "I have guests in 2 hours, can you please come help me finish the house?!?" and like always, she'd be there.

This year, we had a different kind of team work. My brother and his wife stopped by to drop off some things they had made, just as I realized it was taking MUCH too long to cook my pumpkin pie. So long in fact that I was now behind on getting the turkey in the oven. Upon my thorough investigation I discovered the oven had turned off. Over a fury of turning it on, and it turning off, and I turning it on, and it turning off, and my cursing and turning it on, and it turning off...um, you get the picture, it quickly became apparent I was having an oven malfunction. Now, since we had bought the scratch and dent version my oven only has one rack and even though we pledge to buy another rack every year, we never do and because of this, cooking and especially baking have been turned into a fine science in my house, especially with 18 on the way. I can deal with that, but now add to the one rack the fact that the oven turns itself off each time it reaches cooking temp was just a bit much to bear. I called my mother-in-law frantic and asked her to bring over a roaster for the turkey. In true form, she was there in 15 minutes, still in her pj's roaster in hand. I pointed out that the kitchen floor had already been mopped, so she could go back home and rest :) Crisis averted...for now. I still had muffins, green bean casserole, and sweet potatoes to bake somewhere. My sister-in-law offered her oven...as my husband and brother were tackling the digital complexities of my oven, trying to coax it into working. Finally, through a series of pounding, opening and closing the door, turning on and off fans...it was working....sigh of relief! Muffins went in the oven and I moved on to mixing the whipping cream for the fruit salad. Turned on the mixer and...silence; and it was not golden. I flipped the GFI, tried a different outlet, had my brother look at the mixer, and no luck. Into the garbage it went. My sister-in-law went to her house to get her mixer. Her mixer is what appears to decades older than mine, yet worked beautifully. UGH! Finally all the dishes were cooked and everything was served. We enjoyed a wonderful meal together...a loud, Ruchus, happy meal with many generations present.

Afterward, we gathered to do the dishes. My daughter opened the oven to put away pans only to discover the perfectly cooked green bean casserole and candied sweet potatoes that I forgot to serve. Thank God the oven worked so I could finish making food that never got served! Oh well, we had a wonderful time of Thanksgiving, and for the first time, I had a houseful of people addressing the challenges one by one, as I cooked (in my smallest kitchen of all time), and it all came together beautifully. Go Team!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Welcome to my humble abode...by blog abode

When I come back to blog, I feel home. From the layout to the photos, to the memories, to the music...this is my place and it is uncanny how connected I am to this place. When I log into the Ruchus, a million posts cross my mind...posts that haven't made to your eyes...but they are there. Life has been craaaaaazy busy lately, and I am rounding the final bend toward graduation. Mine...and my baby girl's. I am taking the time to savor her last days as a high schooler, attend her events, take pictures, hug her, and just marvel in the amazing young woman she is becoming.

I still come here to keep up with you...I read your blogs, when I have a minute and it's nice to catch up with people I know very well, yet have never met. Blogging continues to amaze me.

This weekend, I've had a moment to rest, relax, be by myself, read, watch TV, nap, and spend time with friends. Tomorrow the rest of the Ruchus will join me and I will get to share in the joy that is my family. Just wanted you to know...life is awesome...and amazing...and yes I'm still here!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Not ever again....just sayin

Do you procrastinate ever? Well, let's just say I don't either. HAAA! Fooled you. In fact, this week I procrastinated in cleaning my house when I knew I had a whole house full of people coming over on Saturday. So, in my usual fashion, I got up at 7, ran my errands and cleaned like gangbusters for 5 hours oh and recruited a few less than willing teens to help me. Washing curtains, rugs, windows, scrubbing floors, toilets, showers, cleaning china cabinets, oiling the wood furniture, sweeping down the cobwebs outside. You name it, if it existed in this house, it got scrubbed, swept, dusted, cleaned, or otherwise altered. Even the man of the place said, "I was shocked when I walked in the house at how much you did." REALLY? So am I now that I think about it...but here's the thing, every muscle in my body is killing me today...even after two extra strength tylenol.

So here's my new dilemma: Do I continue to procrastinate, so that SO much has to be done in one day, do I pace myself, do I give up cleaning all together and just have get togethers at other people's houses, or perhaps hire a cleaning lady? Those are the important matters of life being pondered at the Ruchus today. By the way, they're being pondered in a clean house :) At least for today!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I was once was lost, but now am found

Picture it...Sunday...September...2010. "Mom, Have you seen my retainer?" "Um, No precious one, have you?" "I had it in the car last. I took it out to eat McDonald's" Fast forward AFTER searching through the garbage, calling gramma, Dad's searching through the garbage at his work, thoroughly examining every crevice in the Suburban. I look up from my blog fodder today and what do I see?
There! Do you see it? Plain as day? YES! So do I! The kicker is...the precious one sits at this computer for hours DAILY....Do you also see that it is about 4 inches from the mouse?

I can't go on.

It oughta be illegal...

17 cavities. Really? Have you ever heard of anyone having 17 cavities? Before they are 6 years old. Let's just say that proper nutrition and teeth brushing has it's place...like in every child's life. This morning, I'm taking my baby boy great nephew to get 17 temporary fillings. That's the precursor to the hospital visit when they have to put him out to actually fill them. I am certain he will be less than pleased (even with the promise of an amazing toy afterward). I can say that I am less than please with the very tiny amount of sleep I got last night worrying about his adventure today. Please Pray. A lot.

Monday, August 30, 2010

So Glad I Did...

Yesterday was one of those nagging mornings when there were a million other things calling my name, that did not include going to church. Little did I know this week was a week I had looked forward to for months. After much discernment, I drug my behind in and sat in the last pew. WHAT AN AMAZING DAY IT WAS!! My former pastor's son was at church playing the bagpipes. This is by far my all time favorite. The Amazing grace rendition brought so many tears as I remembered all too well, my pastor's funeral. Along with that we had an amazing 5 year old congregation member who won 1st place in BMX nationals...AT 5!!! Then, we sang What a friend we have in Jesus (a song from my wedding) AND It is Well...which is at the top of my all time favorite hymn list. The fall calendar came out, filled with opportunities to serve. The message was wonderful as well...speaking about peace, and God knows I need a bit of that right now. I left church and stopped in the cremation garden. I shared a little prayer with my pastor that his son was in the house today and how proud he would be of him...I also chatted a bit with my dad...to update him on the latest happenings with the grandbabies. Just when you think it's not the day to go...drag your butt in. If you're like me, you'll be so glad you did!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

It's possible things will never be the same...

I would like to announce that my three babies are in high school. Yes all three.
(By the way they really enjoy when I call them babies...especially in front of their friends!)
We are nearly approaching the national debt in registration fees, AP class fees, calculators, clothes, cars, parking passes and yada yada yada, but alas, they have all made it! When I was in school, the teachers would ask me...oh you're the Moffitt girl, having had my brother 5, 6 years and 10 years before me. Such is not the case with the Ruchus...since the brother or sister are usually just up the hall :) I can't tell you what fun it is to have them all in high school at the same time, uh...and how much work it is! I have one driving, one soon to get a license, and one to start driver's ed in December. The driving part is key, because running these kids all over takes a social secretary to be sure! I am utterly amazed at my kids every day. What they know, as well as what they don't know. I still feel every day like parenting is a huge undertaking to ensure they know all they will need to know to be successful in life. I am unsure how some people just muddle through and let the chips fall where they may...*sigh. For me...it is a challenge; one I don't take lightly and one I wouldn't trade for anything!
The joyous one had the honor of being a Link Leader this year. This program is a national high school mentoring program that pairs successful students with incoming Sophomores (in our case since our Freshman have their own campus). Stephanie has a great leadership style...confident, steadfast and humble...I think it will take her far in life :)
Ok, now on the lighter side. I always try to make my kids great breakfasts the first week of school (after that they're scrounging for whatever they can find) but for the first week, we like to start out right. On the first day I made blueberry waffles...so I took this picture for the scrapbook. Now...are you like me? Do you look at the background of the photo before the actual subject content? Cuz I do...and if you're like me...you'll notice the gas relief pills in the background. Just to clarify I do NOT serve these with my special breakfasts!!
Rest assured they'll be cropped right out of there before this one makes it to the scrapbook!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Excuse me, class started when?

So I begrudgingly headed off to class # 4 from the end last night and sat down. One of the other ladies said, "you were busy last week?" Stop...think...why would she be asking me that? "Um, I guess." "Yea, we thought that's why you weren't here." *Thinking to self, I wasn't here cuz there was no class.... Checked calendar...Class #1 clearly listed LAST Thursday. Hmmmmm. 17 years of college and never has such an event happened. I, have either lost interest...which by the way is ENTIRELY possible...or, well, I can't really know what happened. I was happily at Freshman open house with my daughter and 500 of her closest friends. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A precious one tidbit

Overheard at the Ruchus a few short moments ago...Precious one "Mother! When are you going to work in the yard?" Mother "I guess after I cook your dinner" (the precious one is certain she is starving to death) Precious one, "Well Hurry!"

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Substituted for your enjoyment

Bowling!! The agenda today originally included a beach day in Kenosha and then a trip to the drive in theater. The misty cool morning did not seem indicative of a bonus beach day, so we thought perhaps we'd head up later. Then, realizing the drive-in would be $40 plus snacks AND that the movies playing aren't very palatable to the MR., we had to substitute in a new plan. Bowling it is! Several months ago I won a bowling pass for 4 including pizza and pop. What can be better than that? We're off to the bowling alley! Hope my not 29 anymore back can get through it!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Summer Sloooooooow down...

Summer ball ended last week. I was just a little teary on the way home. The precious one was quite put out by this, "Whyyyyyy are you crying?!?" she asked. I responded, it just chokes me up. I'm not sure why. (But really, inside, I am sure why, so let me tell you...) I SO look forward to the lazy days of summer, and no matter what's on the schedule I do my very best to be at those ball games to sit. Just to sit. Oh! And to cheer...LOUD! For my precious one.
She has played summer ball I think for 8 summers now. Summers that have been filled with me reading text books with one eye and watching the game with the other. I didn't have school this summer for the first time in four years so it was fabulous to just sit and watch. The precious one's team was one game out of first at the end of the regular season...then came the tournament. Five games in two days?!? That's my kind of summer ball! It just so happened that one of my amazing brothers who happens to be the owner of a kidney I loaned him about 9 years ago was in town. After being up at 3 AM to travel here, he still managed to sit through two games and show his support for the precious one. He's amazing in more ways than one!
When all was said and done, summer ball ended and they came in second in the tournament. The undefeated team came in first.

Her team mates voted her most improved batter and she got a bat with all the girls signatures on it. Of course I cried! I'll just start listing the times I don't cry as that list would be much shorter ;) She had great coaches this year (The joyous ones coach from a few years ago) and that surely made a difference. It'll be a few weeks until fall ball starts but I , for one, will be ready!
We lucked out that it wasn't 100 over the weekend, but it sure has been hot. These days, affectionately known as the dog days of summer, are especially appreciated by one old dog I know... Now that he's older (10) he really just enjoys laying around in the sun, only rambling in to get a drink when needed and of course to sleep in my bed when it's too hot outside!
I love the affordable and fresh fruit of summer...especially delicious blueberry waffles on a Sunday morning! YUMMY!!
I love the birds and typically I love the yard work, although I haven't felt it much this year. We have been inundated with thistles for about 5 years now and it has caused me to experience weed pulling burn out! Even my lawn service couldn't get rid of them after 3 years, so I gave them the boot (The lawn service...not the thistles, well I would have liked to give the thistles the boot, but alas, it wasn't meant to be). Now, God is my gardener and I just enjoy the monarchs, yellow swallowtails, hummingbirds, and gold finches those darn thistles attract...
I'm not exactly sure my neighbors appreciate this natural type of attraction...but for now, I'm practicing appreciation and am holding on to summer with all my might.
Next week, I register all three of my precious babies for high school. Good Lord, get the kleenex ready!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I call the upstairs computer tomorrow...and other anomolies at the Ruchus household

I often wonder how things have evolved into the state that we are currently living in. For instance...I fondly remember the joyous one calling, I call the front seat! While racing to the car faster than her brother. I call the last donut...while trying to beat dad into the kitchen...good luck with that one! I call being the first to mow the lawn...ok that one never really happened but a weary mother can hope, right? This is the current state of affairs with the Ruchus.

Two years ago, I got me a TIVO so I could watch TV without the worry of the actual schedule of the shows....the problem? I have a TIVO, but I can't ever use the TV! How could I have known I also needed to purchase my own TV? I often point out that the TIVO is in fact mine, but to no avail.

I also have a lovely computer that I purchased specifically for scrapbooking and photo editing...(I think at the time I said it would be for homework, Master's thesis, etc, but really? Scrapbooking is much for fun! But, guess what...it has become the World of Warcraft computer or the Skype computer or the anything but mine computer.

About a week ago, I added some blog revamping to my Covey planner...and somewhere in my silly 40 something mind I actually thought I might get a minute to use the computer. OOOHHH Contrare! I realized after a few days of stalking said computer that this is not the case! Even as we speak, the sonshine is continually asking, "Mom are you done yet?" As he waits not-so-patiently on the scrap room floor. Now if that isn't music to my ears....NOT!!!!! Anywaaaay...I have put my foot down for moms everywhere. I called the computer! ...yesterday... before I left for work...with one day's advance notice. Take that!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Rockin the to do list...

I have had the wonderful experience of having 2 and 1/2 weeks off. Yesterday was my first day at work (without students) and today the students returned. This break was such a wonderful time, in that I had a vacation AND enough time at home to feel READY to go back to work. Who ever feels ready to go back to work? I did. And it is SO nice to be refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to Rock the to do list. The best part of my job is...in 6 more weeks we have another break! I hope I can keep this momentum the entire 6 weeks. The possibilities would be endless.

I also have some exciting challenges coming up. I have been asked to speak at the Illinois State Board of Education Non Public School Conference on "how to turn around a failing school" Evidently someone, somewhere thinks I have done that...and honestly, I have led an amazing staff to do that, but I myself have not done that. So really, I'll be presenting a talk on leadership versus management, which is one of my VERY favorite topics. Having worked for a host of nightmare bosses, I hope I can share some information on how not to be a nightmare! I'll be submitting my proposal here in the next few weeks. Cross your fingers. Also, for a while, I have been teaching child development classes, but have wanted to teach some other classes that I have written regarding staff supervision, communication, educating the individual, and other things I love. Well, I finally got excited to do so...Soooooo more workshops to submit for approval.

A few of you know that I have wanted to write a book for quite some time. I finally have my first firm topic idea and am ready to get started. I have a few connections who have published several books, and although I have changed contacting them in my planner on more than one occasion, it is on my to do list and I find that exciting. Stay tuned as we move along that process.

Finally, I'm getting ready to start my second to last semester of this master's degree. Big sigh of relief, with bigger things on the horizon to replace the time and effort that school has taken for the last 6 years. I am SO ready!

Be rockin your to do list! You'll be so glad you did...I know I am!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Bucket list revisited

After an awesome time away from my planner, the house, and the pets, that included a lot of down time, time outdoors, time in my FAVORITE weather (hot and windy) I've realized it is time to revisit the bucket list. It seems that as my babies have gotten older, the bucket list has included things I want to do before the kids are...such and such age, or before the kids get to high school, or before the kids are in high school, or before the kids go to college, etc. This past week, I can honestly say that the bucket list may have some things added to it that just include only me, or only Kevin and me.

Changes...acceptance of things to come? You decide. All I know is, there's a lot I want to accomplish...things to experience, things to learn, places to visit, time to relax, goals to accomplish. I believe I'm adding a bucket list page to my planner, so that when things cross my mind, they can be promptly added and prioritized, lest they be forgotten...

Time away is a good time to reorganize your thoughts. To have a chance to listen to yourself. I am ready to be back to life, back to the pursuit...I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Get your photo eyes ready reader...

My next goal includes a playdate with this... to remove the 2000 plus images that are waiting for editing, printing, and storing. Stay tuned...

Friday, June 25, 2010

Take note all you ice cream lovers

Take note readers...tell me specifically what you notice about this cone...
Did any of you mention the paper wrapping on the bottom of the cone? If so, good for you! Now let me tell you why. Tonight after many hours of retail therapy with my mama and a few cranky teens, we thought it'd be nice to drive through and get an ice cream. (Which by the way turned into McDoubles, Cokes AND ice cream cones) Anyway...about half way home my mother innocently says...gee, my cone tastes like paper. I glance to the left where my mother is sitting/driving to see her cone just about gone along with quite a bit of the paper wrapping. I clearly stated (before going into hysterics) perhaps that's because you're eating the paper!! Ohhhhh what wonderful times we have! My mother says you need a good laugh to 'clear the acid from your system'. I'm not always sure what that means, but you can rest assured there is no acid in my system tonight. I'm just grateful we got home safe, while we all laughed so hard we cried, all while Grammie was driving!

Leaving it at the door...

My desk is about a foot deep in paperwork. That's ok I'm leaving it. There are enormous to do lists. That's ok I'm leaving it. Today...I'm headed out for some retail therapy, taking some time to organize my thoughts, revamp my goals, plan accordingly, and well, maybe take a nap! Tomorrow's another day...I have a fabulous weekend planned and I am CERTAIN that all of my work will be waiting for me when I return :)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Some Days are Diamonds, Some Days are Stone

As the old song goes...today was definitely one of those stone days...one of those days that being a school administrator isn't all it's cracked up to be...one of those days when announcing pay cuts, furlough days and let's not forget the ever popular unpaid holidays to my wonderful staff who work hard every day in less than stellar conditions. As the meeting approached I found myself with a bigger lump in my throat. Let's just say, this is one of those days where you're just grateful to lay your head on the pillow at the end of a very long day.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Where have I been...have you been there too?

I know I've been in school a looooong time and that blog reading has really fallen by the way side. In case you have been just a smidge busy too...let me help catch you up...

Dawn of mom2my6pack...is divorced! Seriously! Who knew?

Matt, of Matt Liz an Madeline is dating...Seriously! Who knew?

Ree of Pioneer Woman is still madly in love with Marlboro man...we all knew that right?

There you have it...this things I've learned today. Oh, and I think the Jen of the dust bunny hostage has moved...but I'm not sure, I'm just not that caught up yet.

If you're reading my blog and wonder what's up at the Ruchus...weeeeeeeellll

Gratefully we have no divorced or dating scenarios to report. The Ruchus is still as crazy as ever. The kids are freshman, sophomore, and a senior in the fall! Wow! 3 in high school, the moment we've all been waiting for.

The house...well let's just say we won't post any photos.

The man of the place hasn't ripped his pants lately AND business if finally picking up.

I have 32 more classes before being done with grad school...again.

Just wait for the blogomania that will occur at that point!

Be blessed all! Speak at you soon!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Random Ramblings

I have been just a bit verclempt lately....making mental lists of things I treasure...

babies...their tiny and sometimes big voices
my amazing children...I am so proud of them
work...a variety of jobs I love
my husband...strong, patient, loving
down time...it seems far and few between, but I treasure time to watch tv, blog, enjoy nature, travel
my family...brothers...medical miracles like organ donation, my mama...steadfast and the one constant in my life
my mother in law...I'm the only person I know who has their mother in law for a bff
pets...despite the hassle, when the kitty wake you up with over zealous snuggling...life is good
God, church, church family...
summer...warmth on my skin, sunshine...can you ever have too much sunshine?
books...reading...nuf said
friends...I look at photos and am amazed at the wonderful friendships I am blessed with

and...a whole host of other things... but for now...it's enough. What a wonderful life I have.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Robin's Nest Review

I am posting this for parents of kids with Autism. Many many many of our kids are attracted to trading card games like Pokemon, Yu-gi-oh, etc. When I was searching for a safe place for my son to play I thought I had done my due diligence. My son had played at Robin's Nest (a local card shop) every weekend for about 5 years. Sunday when he went in, the owner told him that he was banned from the store. My son called me in tears and asked me to pick him up. Upon my arrival I went in to speak with the owner. She stated she had not banned him, but her "help" had. (her help is her husband by the way) due to the fact that "he wasn't happy there." The real issue is, my son has autism, he has very black and white thinking, and the store had been violating some trading deck policies by selling promo cards. My son simply stated to friends that this shouldn't be happening. The owner told me she'd rather sell them than throw them away. So? Why was my son "banned"? For following rules and having ethics. The owners systematically used special needs kids and young adults against each other to gather the info needed to ban certain kids from their shop. When I questioned that, the owner replied, this is my business. I can do whatever I want. Yes, you sure can, but not with my son. If you have a special needs kid or young adult, I would highly recommend you rethink sending them to Robin's Nest.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tennis love...

My boy...the sonshine...after all his struggles with physical challenges, balance, strength, tone, and his lack of desire for any kind of team involvement or sports...who'd have thought he would love tennis? He never ceases to amaze me :)

Monday, April 19, 2010

April, where have you gone?

Wow, the days and months, it seems, just fly by! I think I'm going to try a new form of blogging...just a thought or two a day, not a big ole' post. I've given up the cyber farm on facebook, I've also given up the cyber cafe...I realized I had no time left to watch TV if I participated in those two things, and there are a few things on TV I'd really like to watch. I also thought I may have a few minutes to blog and to catch up on your blogs as well :)
So...here's the latest things Ruchus...my precious one is going to run for Ms. Young at Heart...she is young, to start out with, and young at heart as well. We searched for a dress and finally found this princess version...
The precious one looks very precious don't you think?

Onward to my new love/addiction...I pink puffy heart my new D-60...I was finally able to buy my new telephoto lens and the D-60 for dummies book, which would be me! I've even had a few minutes to read it...
Here are my latest...of the chosen one Jake...
Then there's Julio...
He can never sit still long enough for a good photo...
Until next time...

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Odd or God?

I have been on a diligent search for a new church. Oh, that rhymes. I think I may have found the one and let me tell you why...as I have been going to a variety of churches, every visit is like mourning the loss of my church all over again. I'll tell you there's nothing like visiting a church and crying through the service. Geez, will I be glad when this 'phase' is over! Anyway...my youngest daughter and I have been to a variety of churches and through the process have really discovered what we like and don't like in a church. (Don't know what you appreciate in your present church? Try changing...it'll become crystal clear!)

I have discovered I don't like rock and roll churches. I love rock and roll Christian music, just not in a church service. I like pastors that are reverent. The tone of voice is SO critical to me, as is the way they pray. I like a smaller church. I like stained glass windows. I like the organ. I like a choir. I like having a hymnal in my hand not words on a screen. I like a neighborhood church. I like grandma's in the nursery, not teens. I like teens participating in the service. I like to get communion from the pastor not handed down the aisle. I like bread, not wafers. I like grape juice, not wine. I like individual cups of grape juice, not dipped bread and the list goes on and on. What an eye opening experience this has been and through it all, I have realized how very much my former pastor has taught me and how many of his lessons have become life lessons for me.

OK, now onto the odd or God part. I Believe in signs. There are signs from God that you're in the right place, that you're following His will, that you're on the right path. Let me share with you the sign from today. After visiting several churches, I had a really good feeling about a local church here after pouring over their website. Through busy schedules we were finally able to visit there today. I was apprehensive because I had my precious great nieces with me and was really nervous about how they would react to a new church/new nursery/new staff. We visited the church and the girls went right in, said goodbye, started playing and were equally as happy as we picked them up. It was TOTALLY as if they didn't notice anything was different. Odd, or God?

Then, I'm in church and the Bible verse today was one that my pastor spoke of which was one of my favorite lesson which referenced Hebrews 13:8. Jesus Christ is the same today, yesterday, and forever. He spoke about driving by a church in Rockford that had that verse on the outside of their building and how that always provided him comfort.

Today, I'm sitting in this new church and this high schooler gets up and reads..."Jesus Christ is the same today, yesterday, and forever." SERIOUSLY?!? Odd, or God? I vote God. Tears welled up in my eyes and I knew without a doubt I was in the right place.

Finally, as you know, I have had SUCH a hard time with the losses of my pastor, my dad, my aunt Ruth and my Gramma Bee over a relatively short period of time. Guess what? Next week, this church is starting a grief group...for those that are grieving. Odd? I don't think so. God? Most definitely. I've committed to 6 weeks at this church, which I am relieved to know will get me through the Easter Season with some sense of sameness (meaning I won't be at a different church every week) After 6 weeks...we'll see how I feel, and of course we'll vote as a family. I'm sensing this could be good...really good.

One other thing my pastor always hoped for our church was to be a church of neighborhood and of our community. Our new church (dare I call it that) is in the beginning stages of creating teams to go door to door in their neighborhood. They already provide a Friday Fun Fest that serves over 100 children from the neighborhood school. It seems to me that my pastor's vision may be alive and well in this church. Time will tell for sure, but I definitely feel like I have taken a step in the right direction.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

My dearest winter

Oh how I love thee..From December 24th through January 1st. Please notice today is February 7th. Please be on your way...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Last Minute School Projects

I am certain our family is the champion last minute project maker. I remember all too well when I was growing up, that waiting until the last minute to inform mom or dad, (No not dad...just mom) that a school project was due was definitely a no-no. This rule has definitely not been handed down to our children. As I recall we also didn't have nearly the amount of projects that kids today have.
Kristina announced one night about 7:00.."Oh, I have a language arts project due tomorrow. I have to make a character puppet and a poster." Off we ran to Walgreen's to pick up some poster board. Gratefully, we just happen to have an array of wonderful materials to make just about any school project with last minutes' notice! This project called for an Asian girl puppet, with a pink party dress and a heart shaped necklace...
What do you think?
Not too bad eh? A paper bag, some googly eyes, pop dots to make a nose, lip linerfor the mouth, an American Girl pink party dress and necklace, coke box arms, and an Asian wig carefully removed from one of my porcelain dolls and voila! One last minute language arts project. By the way...she got an A. And I think that puppet could not have been any cuter!
How bout you? What do you do that's crazy last minute?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

So you miss the midwest do you?

It's about this time of year that I get really tired of winter. Usually we head to a sunny beach in December to help me get through, but we weren't able to do that this year. Hence...it appears I may be in for a loooooong winter. The bright side however, is that this winter has been especially beautiful and not especially cold, which I appreciate. For some reason we've had quite a few days of frozen fog. You know...it's foggy at night and then you wake up to this...
Looks like someone has gone around with their spray can of "flocking"

What a beautiful Sunday morning!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

14 !?!?

Can you believe the precious one has turned 14?!? Where has the time gone? I have to be honest that a part of me is celebrating joyously a bit relieved that the some times tumultuous 13th year is now in the past. Middle school is on it's way out and I, for one, am looking forward to high school. The fun, the experiences, the memories. I still can't grasp 14...for my baby.

The family gathered for cake on Dad's side...

Mom's side will be coming up as soon as all of our schedules coincide...and then of course there'll be the friend party. More on that later...

For now...Happy Birthday Nina!

Make a wish lovie!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I think not...

We are a 3 cat family. One cat is my brothers...we are caring for him until my brother gets an apartment that allows pets. Then there's Julio...He was our third cat...and I love him, but he is not the chosen one. The chosen one, is our first cat...Jake. There is no upsetting Jake, no picking up Jake, no moving Jake, no bothering Jake...because Jake is the chosen one. Really! I love him the best (GASP!) And I'm just a little bit honest about it. He sleeps on our bed. He is just precious.

The only bad thing about Jake is that he likes to sneak outside. All of our cats are indoor cats, but since Jake likes to sneak out, we've had him micro chipped. Even so, it still terrifies me that he will get out and meet a terrible fate...like a coyote. :( Today, as in most of the nation, we're getting snow and lots of it. Jake was curiously by the door....thinking perhaps it was time to sneak out. I bravely left the door wide open for him, prepared to run right outside and grab him, should he take the opportunity. Let's just say....Jake passed on that one... He's safe and warm sitting next to me in a chair by the computer.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

It's heeeeeeeeeeere!

My project life kit arrived today and I am SOOOOOO excited. Last year, Creating Keepsakes offered the project 365, but sadly I missed out. This year, I was right on the project life kit, by Becky Higgins. I ordered it for myself for Christmas from my mama. So far, I have been faithful in taking my photo a day. (All 5 days, I know...right?) I just love the elements of this kit and can't wait to get started...

Monday, January 4, 2010

Home and Sick...

My precious one went out of town with friends to Virginia. Sounds like she had a great time...she's home today...and sick as a dog. Baaaaaaaaad cold. Feel better soon love!