Thursday, November 13, 2014

Our Kitty Dilemma

There is always something that keeps our lives busy and crazy. This week it is because of this sweet little girl.  Last Friday we found her in our yard.  She was cold, and  not wearing a collar. She was a bit shy, but loved the attention Kara was giving her.  We offered her some food, and she ate it like she was starving. The weather was pretty cold that night.  We brought her in the house. We knew that our  other cats would not be happy with a new kitty coming in their territory, so we brought her to our finished basement. While it is currently being used mostly as storage, and we don't spend a lot of time down there, it was still much warmer than outside. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Halloween Fun

These last few weeks have been very busy.  This week with all of the excitement of Halloween, we also have the end of the quarter and finals.  If that was not enough,  Kara has a choir concert, and I have a birthday.   I am not sure even sure when we will have time to carve our pumpkins this year.  Hopefully we can before Friday night. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Big Surprises, Corn Mazes and the Best Friend Curse

Starting back in first grade, Kara has been followed by a best friend curse. Every single year she would make a best friend, and within a year for whatever reason, they would move away. In first grade it was Brooke. They shared a locker and spent a lot of time together in class. Brooke moved soon after school was over. In second grade there were two friends who moved.  She met Hannah at the beginning of second grade. During the summer when second grade was over, she moved to another town to be closer to relatives.  Also that summer, Marlo who had been her best friend in preschool, moved to another state.  In third grade she got really close with Keely. There was talk that Keely was going to move when third grade was over, but she did not end up moving. Instead Kara was surprised when another close friend, Medaya, ended up moving instead.  In fourth grade, we thought she broke the curse, but that was not to be..  In August, right before fifth grade started she found out one of her closest friends since kindergarten was going to move to Tennessee a few weeks after school started.  Out of all of her friends, losing Caitlyn was the hardest.  She still really misses Caitlyn three years later.  During fifth grade she met another best friend named Sena.  It's been three years, and it looks like Sena will be staying put.  That does not mean the curse has been broken though. In sixth grade, Keely did end up moving to another state.  This year in September, her close  friend Emma moved without a lot of notice, because her dad got a promotion in another state.  If you have been counting, that is SEVEN friends who have moved in the last seven years.  

This weekend, we got the most wonderful surprise.  Caitlyn came for a surprise visit.  It was not announced until that day she was to arrive, in case something happened and, they could not come.  They live a few states away. Kara was so excited when she found out, she sent me a happy  text during lunch.  I had found out a few hours before, but had planned on waiting until she got home from school to tell her.   When Caitlyn lived here, she was part of our girl scout troop.  Our troop had planned on going to a corn maze that evening, and they were going to arrive in time to go. The girls were so happy to see each other. I had wanted to get a few pictures of the two of them together before it got dark, but they ended up getting lost in the maze, and were the last of our troop to exit. 

They got to spend more time together today, and this time I got some daylight pictures.  It was a very nice weekend.  As expected, it was hard to say goodbye, but hopefully it wont be too long before we see her again.  

Friday, September 26, 2014

42 pounds of Bananas

I did not mean to be away from this blog for so long this month.  The first few weeks of the school year are very busy.  In the last few weeks our activities have started back up, we had school open houses/meet the teachers nights, and homework.   Homework is my least favorite thing about going back to school.  This post though, is not about school, it is about this lovely bag of bananas. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

We Survived the First Week of School

This week was our first day back to school. We are a summer family. We love staying up late and sleeping in. I knew this week we would have to adjust to a much earlier schedule.  My youngest was the first one to leave.  She goes to a different school, and had a full day. We were able to take some great pictures, and she got to school in plenty of time.  Let's hope this continues, because she is not always good at moving in the morning, and has had at least a few tardies.  

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Getting Ready for Back to School

The last few weeks have been very busy at our house.  We had three separate registrations days at two different schools.   All of the kids got their schedules, and I got to pay fees.   All three of the kids have a pretty good schedule this year.  Another big event that happened this month, was my now Senior, had a Senior photo session.  She did not want to have a full session, but she did have a yearbook session.  This is not her actual photo, it was just taken on my phone when she was done.  I did not realize it was a bit blurry until I got home.  We all love her final photo and I cant wait to get  copies.  

In addition to getting ready for back to school, Kara is getting ready to go back to dance.  We had a meet and greet the teacher party, we she meet the two new instructors at the studio. She has known one almost her whole life, because she used to dance at the studio.  Kara loved her whens he was little.  Now she is back after going to college and getting married.   Her new hip hop teacher seems really cool.  He has traveled as a professional dancer, and now that he is back home is teaching hip hop.  One the way to meeting with the studio owner to decide our final classes, we were caught in yet another really bad summer storm. This picture was taken in the middle of the afternoon!  By the time we got to the studio, the rain had started coming down, and the power was out.  We were able to still meet though, thanks to emergency lights.  By the time we were done, the rain had stopped.  While our town missed the worst of it, the counties to our east got even more flooding and toppled trees.  125,000 people were without power for like the 5th time this summer.  We were lucky enough to have only lost it once. (you can read about it here

We are now in the final weekend of the summer, and then it is back to school and all the craziness that comes with it.   

Thursday, August 14, 2014

August on Overload

I don't know about you, but these last few weeks before the kids go back to school have felt like they are on overdrive.   We were enjoying a pretty relaxing summer, when boom overnight we had a very full schedule.  We have already had in the last week or so, a doctors appointment, two dentist  appointments, and shopping for some school  clothes and  supplies. Upcoming in the next two weeks there are three separate registration days, an orthodontist appointment,, dance open house, another dentist appointment, and a Senior photo session.   There is literally something going on almost every single day for the rest of the month. 

Luckily we do not need much in school supplies now that they are in older grades, mostly just binders, notebooks, pencils and pens.   All three of my kids still have backpacks that are in good shape.  Kara ended up with a bonus backpack, because she really thought her backpack from last school year had a rip in it.  I knew that she always carried a lot in it, and it was very heavy, so I thought maybe she was right.  Luckily the backpack she wanted was on sale, and had an additional Cartwheel discount.  Once we got home, I checked her old backpack.  It turns out she was half right.  Her backpack was ripped, but it was the one from the year before last.   There is a backpack that Kyle really likes as well. If I find it on clearance in the next few weeks, I will pick it up for later.    

The kids also do not need a lot in the way of school clothes.  They still have a lot of clothes that fit.  I did pick up a few new things, but not much.   

Today ended up being a good day. I got to spend it one on one with my oldest daughter who needed an outfit for her Senior pictures.  We spent some time at the mall, and had sushi for lunch. We both love sushi, and don't get to eat it very often.  We found an outfit at Forever 21 that we both really liked.  Now that we know what she is going to wear, we need to figure out the hair.  She is looking forward to getting a haircut after letting her hair grow out all summer. I can't wait to see how it turns out. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Back to Normal

I am sorry to have been quite for so long. We have had a few quiet weeks.  It is the lull before the back to school craziness that will be happening in the next few weeks.  After 16 days without my car, I finally got it back today! In addition to the popped tire, there had been some under damage which we did not know about  until the car was towed. It is as good as new now. I have been driving not one, but two loaners in the last few weeks. We were originally told that our car would be finished last Thursday.  On Friday morning we found out that they needed just a little more time. We were also told that they would give us a free loaner car, since our insurance paid loaner needed to be turned in.  We dropped off one car, and went straight to the other car rental place for the other.  This past weekend, I had a high school reunion in another state.  I had not decided for sure if I was going to go, but when I did not get my car back I did not think it was a good idea to put 350 miles on the loaner car.  Thankfully with the magic of Facebook,  I have seen so many pictures that I feel like I was there.   

My daughter has gone out in public in cosplay a few more times. I have been trying to take  her picture, but every time she sees my phone she turns away.   I admit,  I had to laugh when she wore the wig when we went out to eat a new restaurant in town and she saw several people she knew.  One of those people used to be her reading teacher from elementary school.  She was shocked when she saw how my kids were  now.  She was so relieved to find out that  my daughter  was wearing  wig, and did not cut off her gorgeous hair. The other people we saw were our neighbors.  I am sure they were confused by the wig as well.  

Now that we are heading into August, we are starting back to school mode. We have bought a few clothes and school supplies.  Registration days are coming up fast and school will be here before we know it.  I am in no hurry though, summer is my favorite time of the year. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

It Is Only A Phase

It is only a phase...  Those words are said a lot when you have teenagers.  We are going through what I hope is a short phase right now.  My newly minted teenager is giving me a lot more gray hairs lately.  My daughter and her best friend have become fans of a web series that has quite the fandom. This web series has many characters that have become quite popular at anime conventions where kids (and adults) cosplay. While I understand dressing in character for special occasions,  my daughter and her friend pretty much dress in cosplay almost all the time.   Did I mention that these characters are alien trolls?!  My daughter's favorite character loves cats, and likes to dress like a cat.  She has  troll horns that are cat like, and has a blue tail. She also has short black hair.  My daughter has very long, gorgeous reddish brown hair, which she has been covering up with a short black wig.  She has been dressing all in black with a blue boa hanging behind her.  We get quite a few looks when we are out in public.  I have seen several little kids pointing out that she is wearing a tail.  I know she is just expressing herself, even though I think she looks crazy. Nothing she is doing is permanent.  I try not to say too much, because the more I would fight it  the more she would want to do it.   I am hoping that she will get tired of people giving her strange looks, and decides to be a human girl again.  Then I can say..  whew.. we survived that phase! 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Week of Mishaps

This week is the reason why I named my blog Surviving the Crazy Life.  It was a week of mishaps, which has made life a little extra crazy..   This week I have been  trying to finish planning a party for my daughter's birthday.   As a party blogger on my other blog Pams Party & Practical Tips, I knew how much time I would need to get everything on my to do list done.   I also know that living with three teenagers, things rarely go as planned.   On Thursday, we went grocery shopping to get the food we needed for the party.  In the check out lane, a 2 liter of pop was accidentally  dropped.  It hit the ground so hard that the lid popped off, and we got a sticky shower.  A few minutes before there had been several people in line behind us.  Luckily they had just opened another lane, and there was only one person left in line and she was out of shower range.  Someone from customer service closed the land behind us so it could be cleaned up, and offered to ring the lady behind us up in another lane.  My flip flops are still sticky from the pop shower.  I think I need to take them outside,  and hose them off.  

As you know, I have two newly permitted drivers.   We have "survived" our first, and hopefully last accident.  I promised when taking pictures of the car, not to "share" who the person driving was.  It was an honest, but expensive mistake.    We were near our home picking up subs for dinner.  I  mentioned that since we were only a mile from home, maybe they would like to drive.   Since they are not really experienced in backing up, I parked in the  part of the parking lot where there was not a lot of traffic.   As they were backing up, I could tell they were nervous.  It did not help that another car had pulled into the parking lot and was impatiently waiting for us.  I told my driver to pull back into the spot to let the car get out of the way.  They did, but instead of hitting the brake, they  got flustered and hit the gas instead.  We hit the curb very hard, which popped the front left tire. We also went several feet into the grass.  Several people saw what happened, and came over to make sure we were okay.  We were, but we could not move the car.  A lot of phone calls had to be made, and it sat like this for several hours.   It had to be towed to a nearby collision shop, and hopefully I will get it back in a couple of days.,  

The party has been going on without any major mishaps, just a few minor ones..  A forgotten cell phone charger, and me missing a step and bruising my arm. One thing nice about having older kids is the parties we have are a lot less structured.   My daughter even told me that she did not want "planned" activities.  She said she just wanted to hang out with her friends, and maybe do activities if they felt like it.  While it is kind of a bummer not to plan any themed games etc,  it does take a lot of the pressure off.   We do have a few craft ideas if the girls feel like making them.  They did do one so far, but the party is not over yet so we will see what happens.     

Saturday, July 5, 2014

What a Week!

We had another quite eventful week at our house.  On Monday we celebrated this girl's birthday dinner  a couple of days early. It would end up to be a wise decision. She is now officially a teenager! This may be the last picture you see of her for awhile.  

Sunday, June 29, 2014

On the Road

Well the big day is here.  The day two of my kids have actually started driving.  They have almost completed the book course.  Now they have started driving in an actual car.  I took this picture right before Kyle's first drive ever.  Kristina had her first one a few days earlier. They will be driving several times in July with an instructor. Once they have completed the book class and six drives, they will be able to get their permit. Then they will be driving with mom.  At first I was nervous, now I am kind of excited.  Kyle has not been a lot of fun while taking the class. He now thinks he is the "driving police", and likes to correct every little thing I do in the car.  It started on the very first day of class.  As you can imagine, it is very annoying!  I am hoping he stops once he is behind the wheel, and no longer a back seat driver.  

Another  reason why I think I am now excited is how my day went a few days ago.  This was my view most of the day.   My older two had to go to Drivers Ed in the morning.  I ran them to class. passing a girl in a dancing hot dog suit at a nearby business.   My youngest had a yoga class with girls from her scout troop thirty minutes after Drivers Ed started. Since she was not ready when we had to leave, I had to go all the way back home and pick her up.  I drove her to another part of town for her class.  Since my mom friends could not stay that day, and I did not feel like waiting an hour, I ran home again  I got a few things done at home, but then just 40 minutes later had to go back and pick up Kara.  I passed the dancing hot dog for the fifth time in two hours.   I picked up Kara, and talked to one of the other moms for a few minutes.  It was then  time to go over to the school and pick up my other two kids who were now done with class.   During the afternoon I had to run out and run a quick errand at the store. I passed the dancing hot dog (who was now a different girl in the hot dog suit) for the 7th and 8th time. A few hours later, I had to run Kristina back to Driver's Ed for a make up class, because she had been too sick to go the day before.  This time I did not see the dancing hot dog. The business was closed for the day.  I got in and out of the car TEN TIMES that day. Having a kid or two with a drivers license would have it's advantages! 

Now to survive the next few weeks! 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Our Summer so Far...

It has been two weeks since school has ended.  We have been busy surviving our very busy schedule the last few weeks. Here is just a peek of what we have been up to.  

My oldest daughter had until June 13, to finish the classes she was taking online; Algebra 2, British Lit,  Economics and Physics.  She is not the best at time management, so that first week out of regular school was spent online. At 11:53, six minutes before the 11:59 p.m. deadline, she was done with all she could do.  She made it though, and got decent grades.  This was her hardest year, because she had four hard classes at the same time.  Next year should be a lot less stressful.  She has only three classes online fall semester, and only two spring semester.   

The very next day was Kara's dance recital.   This was her 10th dance recital, and 2nd ballet production. Leading up to this day we had several rehearsals, and a dance banquet.  In this picture she is one of the sun beams of summer in the Seasons of the Earth ballet.  

We had a quiet Father's Day, and then bright and early Monday  my two oldest kids started Driver's Ed.  They have 24 hours of class time, and 12 hours of car time.  Over the next few weeks, my kids will be on the road learning how to drive a car.. Eeek! 

We were preparing for the neighborhood garage sale when we dealt with another round of nasty storms on Wednesday.  The scariest storm was early in the morning when a bolt of lightning struck very near our house.  I was laying in bed facing the window. I saw a bright orange light, and heard an extremely loud boom at the same time. It was so loud the house shook, and the sound woke up the entire house.  I looked outside, because I thought for sure our neighbor's house must have been hit.  Their outdoor lights near their garage are orangish in color,and without my contacts it looked a little bit like a fire.  After a minute or so, I realized all was fine, so I went back to bed. I took this picture as another storm was rolling in during the afternoon.  Do you see the angry face in the sky like I do? 

We had all kinds of weather during the garage sale.  On Thursday it was pretty nice, which was good since it was the first day.  Friday, however, was not so great.  It rained for several hours. We sat under and awning wearing sweatshirts because it was so chilly.  I think it was better than last year though when the temps were in the 90's.  My oldest daughter, Kristina, has a gift of Art.  She loves to draw, and will most likely do something with it when she is done with High School.  Kyle sat for her, and in this picture is posing with the sketch she drew. 

This week our schedule slows down considerably.  We might even get to do some of the things on our summer fun challenge list.  Tonight Kara and I went strawberry picking.  We are really looking forward to all the  yummy strawberry treats we hope to make this week.   

How is your summer going so far?  

Sunday, June 8, 2014

School's Out For the Summer!!

Friday was the last day of school.   While some parents may be sad to see that day arrive, I am not one of them.  Life is much easier when we are out for the summer.  We are all night owls who have a hard time with the super early mornings during the school year. Also as you know from my last few posts, homework is definitely not one of my favorite things in our house.Even with all the stress he caused, Mr.Homework  Avoider finished strong, and got As on all of his finals. We should be finding out his semester grades soon.   Kristina still has this week to finish up her online classes, while her classes at school are over.  Her vacation officially begins on June 13 at midnight.    Kara did very well in all of her classes, and then ended up not feeling well on her last day of school.   

We have a tradition on the last day of school. We go downtown to our local Dairy Queen and get ice cream.  We started this tradition when Kristina had finished the 1st grade, Kyle was in preschool, and Kara was not quite 3.   They sure have grown up!  Kristina is now going to be a Senior is in high school, Kyle a sophomore, and Kara an 8th grader. 

This summer they are not going to just lay around all day, and then wonder where summer went. Since all three would like to earn money, I came up with a job board, where they can make money doing projects around the house.   The more they help, the more money they can make. We are also going to do another Summer Fun Challenge since they do not have many more childhood summers left.  The "plan" is to work a few hours a day, and then do something fun.  Hopefully this will be a summer to remember.   

Monday, June 2, 2014

Super Smart or Totally Crazy?!

Here in our state you can start taking Driver's Ed when you are 14 years 9 months. I personally think that is a bit too young.  For the last few months, we knew that our oldest was going to take her class this June.  She is 17.   She was one of those kids who just was not in any hurry.  She did not feel ready, and that was fine with us.  For insurance and other reasons, you really should take phase 1 (book class with 6 hours of driving) before you turn 18.  Until this weekend, the plan was Kyle would wait a few more months or so, and then take it when it  was his turn.   He turned 15 in April.  

On Friday while we were at his Robotics Awards banquet, Kyle told us that he wanted to learn how to drive as soon as possible. Over the  last few months he would say he didn't care, so this news  kind of came as a surprise.   After talking it over, we decided maybe he should take the class with his sister if there was an opening for him.  On the plus side, they would be able to be each others driving partner during their driving time.   Another plus to them learning to drive  at the same time, is we would only have to worry about one session of driver's ed during summer break instead of two. (Book class is two hours a day, 4 days a week, over 3 weeks)  I guess the only down side would be I will have double the worry as they both drive me around for the next several months.   I called this morning, and they had an opening.  I guess it is was meant to be. This decision is either super smart or totally crazy!   By the time I will recover from this, it will be time for child number three to take her turn. 

I truly think this is one of the scariest things about raising teenagers! 

Kyle gives his approval while sitting in the driver's seat for the first time. I was actually surprised at how natural he looked behind the wheel.  Today was not quite so scary as the car was sitting in the driveway. We will see how I feel in a few weeks, when he is actually driving! 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Is it Summer Vacation Yet?

I can see the end of the tunnel, but  we are just not quite there yet. The last week has been spent making sure Mr. Homework Avoider, caught up on his work.  Memorial Day weekend was not the kick off to summer for us, it was instead being spent trying to get him to finish his Independent Reading Project.  He had a packet of 3 pages front and back filled with questions and short answers.  There was a ton of writing involved, and it  looked a bit overwhelming.  The assignment was to be done as he was reading the novel of his choice. Each worksheet  was supposed to be for about a third of the book.   He chose a 462 page fantasy book called The Amulet of  Samarkand.  He did not quite do the assignment in the way he was supposed to.  Since he loves reading  and writing not so much, he read the entire book in a short time and ignored the reading log. The entire quarter, I tried to get him to work on his packet.   Finally, he no longer had a choice. The assignment was due, and it was a BIG part of the quarter grade. I kept telling him to just get it over with, and then he would have lots of free time.   He didn't listen.  He tried to avoid doing it the entire weekend.   He finally finished at 8 p.m. on Monday night. All I could do was smack my forehead when he admitted to me that I was right when he finished. It really was a big relief to have it done.  If only he had listened to me a few days earlier!   Last night I helped him with his 2+ page Reflection Letter about how much he has grown as a student this year.   I had to laugh to myself at his answer to the question about what  habits do you need to change.  In his letter to his teacher he said, he really needs to just do his homework right away, and not let it pile up to the point that it is overwhelming. Now if only he will listen to is own advice!!   As of right now English is all caught up, and most likely done except the quarter final. Whew!  We have just one assignment left  for Biology, and about four left for History. As he sees the pile dwindle, he is becoming more excited.  He finally realizes that the sooner he is done, the sooner his free time can begin.   The goal is to be done with it all by this weekend.  I can only hope!! 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Juggling Plates

It's that time of the school year when schedules are abundantly full, and you are being pulled in all directions trying to get everything done.  With three teenagers this time of the year often feels to me like I am running back and forth juggling spinning plates on sticks, and if I don't keep up all the plates will come crashing down.  Spinning plates is a good description my life, because I frequently  feel like I have too much on my plate at one time.  

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Our Shining Star

This last month of school is flying by.  As it is every school year, May is packed with end of the year concerts, events, and awards.  This week Kyle and his Robotics team were recognized by the school board and given a Shining Star award.  They brought in the robot, and gave a short presentation about the team and how they did this year.  We were glad that they give out the awards first thing, so we did not have to sit through a long meeting.  I was a little worried when each of the team members went up and shook the hands of the board.   Kyle does not like to shake hands with anyone. He did okay though.  He shook everyone's hand with his left hand, so he did not have to look at them straight on.  He was in the middle of the line, so he just followed everyone else.  I gave a sigh of relief when he shook the last hand, I am sure he was too.  

Here is a close up picture of the robot.  It was able to open it's arms to pick up the ball and then shoot it through a goal that was several feet above the ground.   It did have some technical problems from time to time, but when it was working well it was a lot of fun to watch.  I think it reminds me for Gary the snail from Spongebob Squarepants. 

Besides receiving awards, we had a lot of other things going on this week too.  Kyle got new lenses for his glasses.  Kara had an Ortho appointment, and now has to start wearing bands on her braces.   Today we had a new family member join the family.  I will be posting about her soon.     

Friday, May 2, 2014

The Week of Birthdays

It was Kyle's birthday this week.  We had a nice day, but I have very little proof of it.  He absolutely refused to smile in every picture that I took.  This one was at Fridays where we went to dinner. He was so excited that he got to have the steak with lobster, since it was a special occasion.  Normally he would not have been able to order it, since it costs almost $20.  

This is the face that I got when he posed with his Portal Birthday Cake. He would not even give me even a teeny little smile.  I saw him smile a lot that day, just not when the camera or phone was out.  He better watch out though..  I AM going to get a smile out of him again.   

Someone else had a birthday this week too.  Do you remember this guy?  Lucky turned 4 months old today.  He is considered to be a full grown mouse.  He is still super sweet and loves to be held by Kara.  He likes it when she sits him on her shoulder. He will play in her hair and sometimes hide in her shirt.  He normally does not sit still very long, so I really lucked out with this shot.  

Isn't this picture the sweetest.  She had given him a seed, and he was snuggling and eating it at the same time. If mice could look happy, I think this is what it would it would look like. 

Kyle's birthday means that we are now in the final stretch of school.  Only a little over 20 days are left.  Even though it doesn't seem right that summer is right around the corner, when it feels like winter just ended, we are looking forward to summer break.  I hope that I can get Kyle to do the homework he has been ignoring the last few weeks.   We will be having banquets, concerts, dance recitals  and all the other end of the school year events in the upcoming weeks.  In just a little over 20 days, Kristina will be a Senior.  I am not really ready for that.  When did she grow up?  I still remember that sweet little girl who was so excited about going to school.  I have a lead on a photographer for Senior pictures.  She is also  finally going to take drivers ed, so she can take the classes before she turns 18.  There is just so much more we need to worry about now, and a lot of things that cost money.   We will get through it though, we always do!  


Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Runaway Son

I did not mean to disappear for over a week.   Last week was Spring Break.  It was nice having a break from school and all of our activities for awhile.  It gave us a little reminder of why we love summer vacation.   

I have been debating on if I should write this post.  We have been dealing with something the last couple of months with our son that has been kind of frustrating.  I decided to share about it, because there might be others out there dealing with the same thing.   When he was much younger, he would inappropriately run  when he would get upset, anxious or angry.  He was not always aware of his surroundings, and would occasionally do something that affected his safety like run in the road.   For many years running was no longer a problem.   A couple of years ago we had a couple of instances, but they stopped as suddenly as they started.  A few months ago, though, he started up again.  This time it is a big different.  Now he only wants to leave when it is time to do homework.  He has always hated doing homework, but now that he is in high school it is not something he can get out of. 

This latest phase starting in February, early March.  It started out of nowhere.  We just got back from the store, and he took off while I was bringing the bags.  When he did not come in after several minutes, I went out to look for him.  I did not see him near the house, so I got in the car to go look for him. It has been long enough that he had enough time to leave the neighborhood. I found him running down a busy street near our house.   Luckily he was coming up to our road which turns off the busy street.  I was able to get him back in the neighborhood, and made sure he went back home.  I asked him where he thought he was going.. He said he had no idea. he just wanted to go.  I don't think he would have gone very far.  He had no money on him, and he is hungry quite frequently. It was also cold outside, and he only had a sweatshirt.   A couple of days later he tired to do it again.  This time though it was 10 p.m. at night, and very dark outside.  I was able to block the door, and talk him out of it.  He has tried a couple of other times at night, but so far we have stopped him from leaving.  For awhile his sister was hiding his shoes and coat at night, so he could not leave when no one was watching.    A month ago, when he was trying to leave, I got a hold of his shoes before he did.   I put them in the dirty clothes hamper, a place where I knew he would never look.  He put on one of old shoes. A shoe that is now 2 sizes too small.  His sister had hidden the other shoe. He told me he was going to leave anyway.  I put on my own shoes and followed him.  It was actually kind of comical watching him limp down the street in one shoe that did not fit.  He did not make it very far.  By the time he had gone about 5 houses, his feet were cold and he realized why it was not a good idea to run away in one shoe.  

The other day, Kara and I came home and realized he was not in the house.  He knew that he was going to have to do his homework when I got back home, so he took off before I got there.   Kara and I jumped in the car, to go look for him.   I found him a few minutes later at the end of a cul de sac looking at the busy street.  This time he was far from the traffic, and was  just looking at it.  I am pretty sure he knew we would see him where he was standing, which is why he picked the location that he did.    Kara got out of the car to go talk to him.  I stayed in the car just in case he would take off if he saw me coming.  When they started walking back towards the car, I thought maybe she had talked him into riding back to the house with us.  He walked right past the car.   He decided he wanted to run home instead.   I followed behind to make sure he actually did go home.   There is a neighbor who doesn't know us very well.  I guess my driving slow behind my son, made him nervous.  When he saw Kyle running by the house, he opened his back door asking Kyle if he is alright..  I tried to assure the neighbor  that everything was fine, that I was just making sure my son was actually going home.  I don't think he believed me though. He continued to stand there watching.   About this time Kyle became winded.  He stood there bent over trying to catch his breath.  I waited for him to start walking again, before I moved the car.   When Kyle  did it again  in front of the neighbor's  house, I could see the neighbor watching now out the front window.   While I am grateful to know there are neighbors out there that are keeping an eye out, I am also a bit annoyed that he thought I was trying to abduct my own runaway son.    Once we got back home, I told Kyle about the neighbor watching him to make sure he was safe.  He had no idea that it even happened. He did not hear or see the neighbor Then he said..  maybe we should go over and apologize for worrying him.  At this point we were both cold and tired, so I suggested we tell him the next time we see him.  I also told Kyle the best thing to do.. Is NOT TO DO IT AGAIN! 

Hopefully he will take my advice.  I also told him if he really feels like running, how about doing it safely but running laps around the outside of the house.  He likes that idea, we will see what happens from here. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Goodbye Sweet Cocoa

We had to say goodbye to another furry friend today.  Last night when we checked on Cocoa she was no longer breathing.  She had passed in her sleep.  We had been expecting it for awhile. Back in early December she went to visit the vet, because she had developed a tumor on her back side.  She still had a good quality of life, so the vet told us to she should still have some time.  I just love this picture of her sweet face, it was taken when we were waiting to see the vet.  

She had a couple more visits to the vet in the last couple of months.  At her last visit to the vet a couple of weeks ago, it was discovered that she had another tumor on her belly. She was still moving pretty good, but was definitely slowing down.  The vet felt she didn't have a lot of time left, but that she was still doing well enough that we could take her home. This past week I knew the time was near. She was only getting up to drink a little water and occasionally eat a few bites of food. She would then go right back to her igloo to sleep.   This afternoon Kara made her a special box, so she could go join her other  furry friends under the big tree in the backyard.  

Today was a warm spring day, very much in contrast from our last funeral when we had to make a path in the snow to reach the tree.  

We buried her not too far from Mocha. and placed a lady bug brick on top to mark her grave.  I am going to take Kara to Home Depot this week to pick out a couple of pavers  so she can make them proper headstones. She sat quietly by the grave for a few minutes and said her goodbyes. 

When going through pictures, I came across this one from when Kara first got Cocoa. Since it is such a nice, happy picture I thought it would be a good way to end the post.. 

Goodbye Cocoa..  Dec. 2012 - April 12, 2014 

Friday, April 4, 2014

End of the Seasons

Wow, I did not mean to be away from this blog for so long.  It has been a busy few weeks, with a lot  going on in many areas.   I chose the Ends of the Seasons as the title of this post because in the past week or so we had the end of the Robotics season,  the end of the third quarter at school, and finally the end of the winter weather. 

Last week it was the end of the quarter.  Kyle who does not like to do his homework, had a ton of work to finish up.  It got to the point that he was overwhelmed, and refused to do it.  Many kids are stubborn, but Kyle's Aspergers makes him extremely stubborn.  At times he goes into stubborn mode, when he really shouldn't, like when it comes to homework that will affect your grade point.  It is frustrating when he want to do things the hard way, instead of just doing it as soon as he gets it. He could easily have all As and Bs, but doesn't when  he doesn't want to turn in his homework.  On Friday and Saturday of last weekend,  we had our second Robotics meet. This time it was in a town  about 45 minutes away, and we had to do some fancy scheduling since I could not be at two places at one time.    We fared much better this time around.. After the first day we were in in the top 24, which meant we would have  a great chance to make it to the elimination rounds the next day.  

This time I was able to get to the pits and take a close up picture of our robot.  It kind of looks like Gary from the SpongeBob cartoon.  The circles that look like eyes are the tops of the antennae like arms that would pick up and throw the ball.   We did well during the last three prelim rounds Saturday morning.   Kara had a special dance class that day, so I was not able to get to the meet until after the alliance selections.  I was happy to find out that we were picked to be one of the teams in the final rounds.    We were on Team 8.  Later we would find out that Team 2, lead by one of the teams we are friends with, were planning on picking us for their team. Had we been on that team we may have lasted longer because of how the matches are seeded.   It probably worked out okay though.  During our first elimination round, our robot got hit hard when another robot was trying to block us.  It hit us hard enough that our battery was knocked lose.   The pit crew fixed the problem, but during the second match  there were more technical issues and our antennae arms could not pick up the ball. To make matters worse, one of our teammates also had technically issues, and could not move.  As you might have guessed, we lost that round.   Since we lost matches in a row, we were eliminated.  We are done for the season.  This year was a good learning experience, and we now have a better idea of what we can do next year. Most of the kids on the team are Freshman, we will be a force to be reckoned with  in another year or two.  

This week we had "quarterly" finals at our high school.  This is a new thing that our school is trying, and I think it will really help.  Instead of having one big final at the end of the semester which is  20% of the final grade,  there will now be a smaller test at the end of each  quarter worth 10% of the grade. It takes some of the pressure off of kids who have trouble testing, and each tests is over less material.  I know my oldest daughter aced one of her quarterly finals, so it will definitely be good for her.      

Our snow finally melted this week, after a very cold,  brutal winter.. We are less than 2 inches from breaking the record as the snowiest winters ever for our area. We got double the usual amount of snow.  When the giant snow banks at the end of my driveway finally melted this week, look what turned up!  That is my neighbor's Christmas tree that had been buried in our shared snow bank  for THREE MONTHS! It actually looked pretty good for being out there that long. The garbage men picked it up this week on April 2nd.  There are even some houses in our neighborhood with their Christmas lights still on their house.  This is the longest that has ever happened.  I think ours came down about a month ago.  There was just too much snow, and the temps were just too cold.    It is so nice to look out the window and see brown grass.. It will be green soon enough, and I can't wait.  

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Hamster, Allergies, Homework, and More

It looks like we may be saying good bye to another one of Kara's furry friends.  Last Wednesday, Kara realized that Sunny had somehow slipped out of her cage. We are still not sure how she did it.   How we got her in the first place was because she was a bit of an escape artist.  When one of the girls at our favorite pet store was trying to clean her cage, she jumped out of her hands, and into a shelving unit.  Kara, being a hamster whisperer, was able to successfully get her out.  Since Sunny looked just like her first hamster Sonic who had died about six weeks before, Kara begged to get her.  Sunny was a great little hamster, but it has now been almost a week without any sightings.  I also looked back on the blog and she was 7 or 8 months when we got her back in Dec 2012.. That would make her very close to 2 years oldl, which is the life expectancy of a drawf hamster. We do have some hope though, hamsters are known to reappear after being missing a few days.    

Another thing we have been dealing with the last few weeks is Kara has developed quite a severe perfume allergy in the last few months.  It got so bad that she was having allergic reactions pretty much every single day, pretty much everywhere she went.  People wear scent everywhere! .  Her doctor had a really good suggestion.  She said that if Kara was wearing a fashion scarf, she could discreetly cover her nose and mouth whenever she was starting to have problems breathing.  It is definitely better than wearing a face mask to middle school.  We found several colors of light flannel that would make great scarves on sale at JoAnn Fabrics. We had planned on getting right to work making them, but then her older sister gave her all of the scarves she no longer wears.  Some days are better than others, but the scarves definitely do help a lot. 

Adding to the chaos  this week is it is the last week of the quarter.  My son is not found of doing homework.  Because of his Aspergers, he really does not like to write.  He tends to put off homework as long as possible, so this week he is overloaded with work he needs to get finished.  I am getting a refresher coarse in Biology, American History and Algebra 2, to make sure he gets everything done.  One thing our school is doing different this semester is they are now having quarterly midterms, instead on only at the end of the semester.   He does test very well, so that should help his grade if he does not get everything done. 

If the lost hamster, allergies, and last minute homework was not enough, this week is also our 2nd Robotics meet.  Depending on how we do, this could mean the end of the season, or a trip to States. We have one of the most competitive states for Robotics with the more teams than any other state.  Since we did not do so well at our last meet, we might not have a chance to move on.  I guess we will find out this weekend. 

Well I better get back to it.. I know Kyle  is in the other room trying to avoid doing his English assignment.   Sigh...  Only one more quarter until summer break!