Sunday, February 28, 2010


After 6 long months of studying, Joe finally took the GMAT. When he first started, he was so discouraged with the math section, that he almost gave up then and there. But he persevered, and kept studying. In the end, he did better than 53% of GMAT takers on the math section. The verbal section was another story. Joe's a genius in that department. He did better than 89% in there! Joe doesn't want me to publically post his results, but I'm very proud of his score. With it, we should be able to get into one of our preferred schools.

First we'll apply to Erasmus University in Rotterdam. This school has great accreditations, rankings, plus it's located close to my parents. We're also considering other European schools in England, Switzerland, and Spain. Then, of course, there are the American schools. Not as exciting to me, but it would still be an adventure.

The next step is for us to put the house for sale. We'll hopefully get that done by the end of this week. And then we wait. There is minimal control over this part of our journey. I just have to remember, if it's supposed to happen, God will help to make it happen.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Typical afternoon

  • Kids get off the bus at 3.45pm
  • The first question out of their mouths: can we play the wii?
  • My response: yes, as soon as you do your home work
  • The kids set the timer for 2o minutes and read
  • Sometimes I make them load and unload the dishwasher. They always fight who gets to load. I'd rather handle clean dishes any day, but I guess they don't like to unload, because the plates and cups are up high.
  • The kids turn on Mario Brother. Let the arguing commence.
  • I threaten to turn off the wii.
  • They beg me to play with them
  • One kid might get banned.
  • We play until it's time to make dinner.

I know... not the most productive day, but most of the time we have fun playing a game together.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Next obstacle

I'm continuing my efforts to declutter and get the house ready for sale. This mornings obstacle: the garage. Man oh man. What a disaster! It was a combination of disorganization, items for sale sitting in the middle of the floor, trash, tools all over. And then there were the heaps of boxes. Empty boxes. You know, the shipping kind. I never throw away a box when something is shipped to me, because if I ever have to ship something I would NEVER want to buy one. Now the boxes are nestled by size. All the peanuts are in trashbags, ready to access (we have 3 trash bags full of packing material).

Of course I got rid of my fare share of crap. Mostly things that have been in boxes for the past 3 years, and weren't even touched the 3 years prior to that. One item of internal agony, are the side shelves to my entertainment center. I purchased the 3 piece set in August 2005. The main piece was finished within a few months, but the side shelves are still sitting, half-finished and unassembled in my garage. Today I made the decision that it's been long enough. I am ready to take that burden off my shoulders. I will not finish it. Yep. I'm a quitter. I don't care if I can make an extra $100 when I get ready to sell it. I'm done!

I wish the garage was finished. After 2.5 hours I'm only halfway done. And it's cold out there. And I am just getting over a cold. And I'm ready for a nap!

(I wish I had some before pictures.. to document my progess... but then I would be embarrassed.. so I guess it's for the better... maybe I'll post an after picture, to impress everyone... )

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Rub a dub dub

While I've been in the house, in a Dayquil induced coma, the rest of the family has been enjoying the weather. It took a quick, surprising turn for the better. Mid 60's without winds. Considering that's pretty much the same temperature as the inside of our house the past 3 months, our bodies are plenty used to it. When I did finally make it back into the world of the living, I found Joe working on his tractor, and the kids running around without shirts on. Nice to live out in the country, where no one cares!

I don't know if it's the weather, or just dumb luck, but the kids were actually ALL playing nice together. As they saw me coming, they hurried off towards the end of the driveway. Joe and I were chatting, and when I was about to head back inside, I realized the kids has been TOO quiet. Hollering didn't get me an answer, so I made the trek down there. As I was getting closer, it was apparent by the muffled giggles that they hadn't run off down the road. They were having too much fun in here
Don't ask me how they all got into this trashcan. Or who came up with the idea. Or how they got the heavy metal lid on. Whatever will they do when we move back into town???

On a side note, we've been having problems with something eating our eggs. Instead of getting 10 a day, we were only getting about 4 every 3 days. A few days ago, Joe thought he smelled skunk. Not again! Instead of sitting outside, waiting for it to come back, we bought a humane "havahear" animal trap. (Joe was laughing about that name, saying: how much of a heart will I have when I drop the trap plus skunk in the lake!) I wish I could report that the trap got us something. But no... nothing. Maybe it wasn't a skunk,.. maybe a snake? I'll keep hunting, cause those eggs are MINE!!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Free agency

Or maybe I should title this post "battle of wills". Last night for dinner, I made a sauerkraut dish that Ginger did NOT want to eat. We usually give a consequence of "no dessert" or "no other food" until the kids do eat their dinner. This is usually pretty effective, but somehow Ginger chooses to just forego her dinner, and wait until breakfast. She's quickly becoming a picky eater. My philosophy is: if a child is a picky eater, it's because the parents LET them be picky eaters. I'm not one of those parents. Maybe it's old-fashioned, but when I cook something, I expect my kids to eat it. Even if they don't like it.

So instead of letting Ginger get away with skipping dinner, and then just eating breakfast the next morning, I told her: "you don't get ANY other food, until you finish this". She skipped breakfast without a beat. Around 11am, I could tell she almost caved. By lunch time I fully expected her to cave (by this time I had gotten the quantity down to just "2 bites"). Nope. Man, that girl is stubborn! In the afternoon, she was starting to complain that her stomach was hurting. I nicely reminded her that she was more than welcome to eat anything she wanted, cupcakes, cookies, bread, or whatever, AS SOON AS she just finished those 2 bites.

As I was cooking dinner, I started to get worried. She hasn't eaten anything for over 24 hours (I did let her drink as much water as she wanted). So I made it a point to cook something for dinner that she loves: pasta. We all sat down at the table, and all she did was frown and say she didn't want to eat those darn last 2 bites. When will she crack? Am I being too stern with a 4 year old? At what point do I give in, and let her "win"? Surely she won't go much longer without eating. Or will she???

2 hours later: I just couldn't stand by any longer. I think that child would die before giving in. So her 2 bites went down to 1. Then, I added bread to make it more enticing. Then I even offered to take off the one piece of red pepper. In the end she had a bite of bread with some sauerkraut juices. And she just gave me the biggest loving hug! I feel like I failed as a disciplinairian, but succeeded as a mother.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Stuff aka Crap

As we are getting ready to make yet another move, with it comes the daunting/tiring/annoying task of selling our house. It seems like we've moved way too many times, in our almost 1o years of marriage: 8. And it just gets harder and harder every time! Somehow we just gather crap. Yes, that's how I feel about all our stuff right now; crap. The idea of moving to a much smaller house, and possibly storing our stuff for a couple of years, makes me really think about what stuff to keep.

Do I really want to pay for storing that diaper bag I haven't used in 2 years? Will I ever use my atlas again, now that I have a GPS? The answer to those, and many similar questions is: NO! So as I go through my house, looking for stuff to get rid of, I ask myself those questions over and over again. Once I make the decision, I can't change my mind. I put it in the Goodwill pile, and not look at it again.

I really try not to get an emotional attachment to any of my stuff, but that's really hard sometimes. There's the "what if" question. And the "but I spent so much money on that" statement. Or the "this person gave it to me" lamenting. In the end, it's just stuff though. And it can be replaced. Of course there are a few exceptions: the kids art, heirloom furniture, and photographs. That's about it. Of course we won't get rid of any furniture yet, since the house needs to look nice for selling. In the mean time more and more drawers find themselves empty.

And it gives me happy feelings. Strange huh?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Under the weather

Okay, I know I was just talking about swimming the other day, but today is snowboarding day! We got a nice surprise this morning, with fluffy white flakes. It only took an hour or so to start sticking to the ground, and it kept up all the way until dark! I love the snow!
Living in Texas is great and all, but we seriously miss mountains and snow. Turns out we have our own "mountain" on our lower 40. Okay, it's just the dam. But, it's a large enough hill to get going on a snowboard (or sled, which we don't have).
So after being under the weather, and in bed all day, I pulled myself out for the snow. Here in Texas it's "now or never" when it comes to snow. Tomorrow it could be 70 again. The kids bundled up in their 20 year old snow suits - seriously, these are the suits I wore when I was 9! (the green one Winter is wearing) Rainboots had to substitute snowboots, cause you know.. we get a lot of rain here, not snow.
We thanked the wii for turning our kids into professional snowboarders. We just let them loose, and they did great! They made it all the way down our "mountain".

Monday, February 8, 2010

Swimming anyone?

Swimming might be the last thing on your mind right now. Especially if you are fortunate enough to have a few feet of snow. It's been on MY mind for the past week or so. Maybe not the swimming part, but mostly the pool. Last year we neglected the pool all winter, and well into spring. It wasn't a pretty picture!
So this year, my philosophy is prevention. The pool filter has been running all winter, and we keep the filters clear of leaves and debri. Up until this week, I haven't worried about the pool chemistry, but that's next on my list. I've also started a list of things to buy at the pool store. Including a pool broom (to get those leaves that did sit in the bottom, and left green stains) and a little glass "seeing-glass". If you fill a little glass jar with water, and leave it sitting outside in 16 degree weather, it WILL break! (and if you try to unscrew said broken glass with bare hands, they will get cut!)

With the large amounts of rain we've been getting, the pool has been full to be brim. Today I went out into the rain, with my raincoat, boots, hat, and rubber gloves on. I was ready to tackle that pool! A couple hundred gallons of water went down the driveway (which is already a river BTW), a bunch of leaves out of the filters and bottom, and a few gallons of bleach in the water. The pool isn't swim ready by any means, but we'll keep working on it, so when that first 80 degree weather hits, we're set to go.

Friday, February 5, 2010

A good reason

Guess what I'll be doing today?
See, we've joined all the unfortunately souls who are without heat. For some reason our heater decided to kick it. Last time it did that, Joe just kicked it (actually hit it with a hammer) and made it work again. Now if only that works again..

In the mean time, I'll be spending a lot of time in the "bedroom side" of the house (which has its own heater). With limited activities in that part of the house, I guess I'll have to lounge around, play on my computer, and read all day. So sad... NOT

Monday, February 1, 2010


We are getting ever so much closer to having our PLAN become reality. Joe has his GMAT scheduled for February 27th. He's been finishing up projects around the house. And I even took my first picture for the listing. The goal is to clean a room every day, and take a photo for the listing. Today I worked on the master bedroom. It seems like when we lived in Boise, my house always looked this clean (or was that just because our house was for sale for 6 months?) Anyways, even though I don't particularly like to clean the house, I sure like the way it looks and feels when it IS clean.

My children seem to have a particular hard time keeping track of, and caring for their "stuff". Especially jackets, hats, gloves, and shoes. The weather has been wacky here for the past week, going from freezing to 50s, so the kids will need their warm cloths off and on. This is what happens when Sterling takes off his jacket on a warm day, and doesn't bring it in until it's been freezing
(yes, that is a sandal stuck frozen to a very stiff jacket)

For Christmas we got the "super mario brothers" game for wii. That game is so addictive! I spend way too much time playing it. I don't even want to guess exactly how much. But, I am happy to say, that I can go to all 8 worlds, and I am slowly finding all the star coins (I know... that probably doesn't mean anything to most of you).

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