Thursday, March 15, 2018

School is in! and halfway done!

Wow. There are no words for my inadequate blogging. started again obviously and they're already halfway through the year now.

We took some amazing summer 2017 vacations to Washington, D.C., NYC for the Statue of Liberty and then Yellowstone with a short stop at Mount Rushmore again on the way home.

Sophia has her learner's permit and she's turned 15 already and we're trying to find time to get her driving so she's ready for drivers' education and an actual license when she's 16. She's not ready at all. She's smart and fun and has a really great group of friends at school. She's a great flute player and looking forward to marching band next fall.

Alexis is finishing fourth grade, turned 10 in the fall and is way too smart. She's a master negotiator and has a great group of friends as well.

Let's pretend I'm going to update again soon.

The girls at Spook Cave in Oct. 2017

Thursday, June 1, 2017

School is out!

The last day of school was yesterday - May 31st. No snow days this year, no late starts, no interruptions besides the normal days off (professional learning and clerical days). So the year ended before June, which is rare and awesome.

They are both wonderful girls - growing up so fast. Sophia has become a really great flute player, and she has a great small group of friends that care for each other so well. She's got her drivers' permit as well. Lexi has become a great softball player - playing for the CRPrairie LadyHawks again this year - on the 10U team. She's had some really great hits and you can see them on my facebook posts if we're friends. She's made great friends in school and is ready for 4th grade.

It's been a great and very fast year. Next up is a summer with some more softball, a couple camping vacations and then I guess we'll be back to school - I have a feeling it'll fly by.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Seriously the worst.

There should be an award for worst blogger. I would win. Seriously, the last post was October 2015. It is now January 2017. Wow.'s a short and sweet post (for the year, ha!).

  • My girls are still the best. They are 14 and 9 now, and growing so big but still little, you know? The 14yo isn't yet interested in her drivers' permit, which is fine with me, but makes her dad a little crazy. The 9yo still loves minecraft and softball, the 14yo just performed (flute) in the NEIBA Honor Band in December which was really wonderful. We're looking forward to more camping again this year with them, before we probably lose the teenager to a job or omg-camping-with-parents-ugh attitude.
  • The dogs are still insane. Both fluffy and cute, but complete idiots.
  • Families are doing pretty well I think, holiday season was full and crazy but also fun and relaxing. The kids all had 11 days off in a row and we tried to fill them as best we could around work and other things.
  • Softball kicks in for the 9yo next week, so we'll be busy with practices for the winter and games will start in the spring, hopefully we'll be able to camp those as well to make it easier to make it to games on time and be ready to play. She's a slow starter, so we need to be nearby and start early :)
  • The 14yo has a band concert coming up as well as a Solo/Ensemble performance piece she's working on. She really does seem to love the flute and the better she gets at it the more annoyed she is by those that don't work harder at it or understand the basics at this level. Which is frustrating for her and both frustrating and entertaining for me.
  • Our 20th anniversary was in May 2016, so we'll be coming up on year 21 before too long. It sounds like forever but doesn't feel really all that long.  Which I think is good, right?
  • We also paid off the house this summer, which is super awesome. Not to have to worry about the mortgage payment is a huge relief. We can focus on other smaller debt (camper) and start to consider some home improvements (hardwood floors? new paint, baseboards? remodeled bathrooms...yes please.)

That's it for now I think. Maybe I'll post more as the kids are getting older and less reliant on me, but let's not pretend - we all know that most of the time i'll decide to watch TV vs write a blog post. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

My girls are the best

Seriously, these kids of mine are just fantastic. As they grow and get older and less baby-ish and more independent, they're just becoming awesome. I know, I know, your kids are great too. Whatever.

Conferences for the oldest were last week and she's just a great student. She really loves changing classes this year, having different teachers for different subjects, different students in each, so she's not stuck with the hour. She loves most of her classes and tolerates any others. The school grading system is still crap, but she's doing well enough I can overlook it mostly. Conferences for the youngest will be the third week of November and I expect the same sort of report from her.

Saturday we went out to a local RV place (that we've been talking to etc, this wasn't spur of the moment) and finally decided on and bought a travel trailer. We plan to camp as much as possible over the next two years or so. We ended up getting a Jayco White Hawk 28DSBH which has all the things we need (bunks, queen bed) and most of what we want (solid surface counters, outside tv mount, electric stabilizers, etc) and we're super excited to start camping in the spring. The girls are super excited too, partially because we'll stop dragging them to RV places, and partially because they're really looking forward to having their own spaces in this camper (vs camping with the grandparents).

So we were sitting around on Sunday with not much to do. Laundry was done, homework was done, no obligations. Bored really. So it was sunny, not windy, and the fall leaves are falling so we took advantage and headed out to a state park for some family pictures. The dogs were super nervous in the car - is this a vet visit noooo - but loved it once we got there, walking everywhere, leaves to sniff and they sacked out in the car on the way home. The girls were super cooperative and smiled pretty and we got some really great photos.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Worst Blogger Ever. aaaaaannndd Updates.

Seriously, I am the worst blogger ever.  I read a pretty good list of blogs regularly, multiple times per week (or when my twitter feed tells me someone has posted something new). I am and will forever be amazed by those of you that blog regularly along with full time jobs, multiple children and everything else. I feel like to even consider blogging regularly would require some sort of outside hired assistant, a nanny, a chef, ghost blogger, something. So, I guess I just accept that I am terrible at this.

So...since last has started back up again. Yay! The last couple years were a little rough for the youngest, she just wasn't prepared to be away from me for long days and she's not a fan of the unknown. This year, second grade, she's a pro. She rides the bus, has joined running club and has a nice set of friends with party invites on the regular. She's really grown into her second grade self and it's super fantastic. No one cries when they get on the bus. It's so awesome. I am still giving her one half of a children's dramamine in the morning to combat bus motion sickness, but I feel like she'll eventually grow out of that as well. She's just gotten back some testing scores and she's also/still doing really well academically, so that's also fantastic. She's still catching all the colds, but her little body is doing better at fighting them each time, so her immune system is helping and also thanks to children's nyquil (dries her up, so cold doesn't automatically mean vomit anymore).

The oldest is now in seventh grade.  This is the first year she's changing classes each period and managing dressing for gym. So far it's been really great. Each kid also 'checks out' a Chromebook for the school year, to do their homework etc (who are they kidding, all they do is watch Minecraft Youtube videos) and that's working pretty well. She takes her responsibility for it pretty seriously, keeps it charged, and tries not to forget it. Before school started, she mentioned that one of her friends had pointed out her hairy legs, so I made it a point to show her how to shave her legs, etc...and the other day I reached out and tested a leg. It was not smooth. She said 'Yeah, I got lazy. It's just a lot of' which I find to be super hilarious. Peer pressure got her to shave and now she just isn't going to worry about it as much. I love it. She's still doing really well in classes (as far as I know, who comes up with these grading systems) and still enjoys playing flute in the band (even though she complains always about lessons and practicing). She's joined Art Club and loves that as well.

I am really really enjoying being able to put each kid on her bus each morning, and get to work right away, without worries about an upset kid or what might come up during the day. They've both just grown so much, and it's really just wonderful. Yay for happy smart kids.

Awhile back we started talking about camping. The husband used to go camping all the time with his family as a kid, in popups and travel trailers. The in-laws now have a 2 bathroom RV which the girls love to camp in. They usually get a few local trips in during the summer, between the in-laws trips to other places.  The husband remembers it so fondly, we've decided we think it's something we should do over the next few years. Before the oldest gets too old to go (has to work, thinks we're uncool, etc) and try to get some travel in, and some monument/national park experience. So, in order to do that, we had to consider trading in the 2009 Chevy Colorado. Originally we traded a Nissan Titan for the Colorado, to save on gas, awhile back, but now we need a full size truck again if we're going to pull anything. So the plan was to get something used/older, that would work, while we paid off my car. So the husband went looking. He found a really super nice - NEW - Chevy Silverado High Country (with a towing package) at a local dealer, and the deal paid my car off, so we get a new truck that can pull anything, pay off my car and still only have the one vehicle payment (until we buy that camper of course).  Not quite the plan I counted on, but I think it's going to work out beautifully. So find the perfect camper. Our plan is to go to a couple local RV shows over the winter and figure out exactly which models and floorplans we like and then make a buying decision towards the end of winter so we can hit the ground camping in the spring.  We want bunks for the girls, and at least a partially separated bedroom area for us, so we're considering travel trailers and fifth wheels with those options. It's been fun searching and we're looking forward to the in-person shows and finally picking one to buy. We'd like to go to Mt. Rushmore, Canada (to see sister in law), Disney (we have 3 free 2-day tickets) this year. So anyone with opinions on campers and/or campgrounds for us - feel free to email me or find me on twitter.

I wanted to do something crazy but not insane with my hair, and I've seen a lot of twitter ladies doing some undercoloring or highlighting with bright colors. So I opted for a vibrant purple, on the underneath half of my hair. I love it. I wish I could see it without using a mirror, and I sort of maybe wish i'd done a little more, or a streak on the top part, or something just a little more noticeable. Next time maybe. It's still cool and I love it.

This morning, I keep hearing this super annoying beep. I thought for sure there was a meter maid or something outside reading hte water or electic meter or something. Beep Beep. Beep.  Beep Beep. Beep. Over and over and over. Nope. It's our cordless phone. It's no longer able to sit correctly in its cradle for whatever reason, so it's connected to charge, then disconnected, then connected...then ahhhhhh stop. So my solution was to use a coaster and the wall to make it stop. I had to prop the phone up somehow so it could 1) charge and 2) STOP BEEPING. Why does it lose its ability to sit correctly in the cradle? I do not understand that.

Ok, that's it for me for now. Obviously for awhile probably since I'm so terrible at this. I shall continue to read ya'll and every few months, remember to do it myself.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Last day of school

Truly I am the worst blogger. I haven't posted here since November. November! It's not even like I don' t have things to say or share. I just don't have time to get them into writing. Today is the last day of school. It's not even a day really, they get out four hours early, so it's more like 2.5 hours of school - enough time to collect school supplies, have a small party with the class and get back on the bus. Kid#1 will be home in an hour, #2 an hour after that. I took the afternoon off, so we can maybe go out to a celebratory lunch or something. I am now in possession of a second grader and a seventh grader. They have really got to slow down already.

This one left at 710am as a 6th grader.

This one left at 810 as a 1st grader.

And now to figure out chore charts and a summer plan so we don't all go insane.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Whatever. I can be crafty. Sorta. (DIY necklace holder)

The oldest kid (12) has amassed quite a collection of earrings and necklaces. She rarely changes her earrings and almost never wears the necklaces. Nevermind all that, what we need is a place to display them all that isn't in a wad of chains shoved into a jewelry box. I gifted her the jewelry box awhile back when she started having jewelry, and she's outgrown it. Obviously I have a standing jewelry armoire as well for all the jewelry I never wear. So we looked and googled and pinterested until we found a good solution.

So we started out with this thread rack from Jo-Ann Fabrics. I specifically went to the store vs. ordering online, because some of the reviews sounded like when shipped they fell apart. The store was running a sale when I was there, so I got this for less than $5.
Jo-Ann Fabrics Thread Rack
 She decided she wanted it the teal color we used on her DIY bracelet holder, so I spray painted it in the 15 degree weather. Wasn't quite as terrible as it sounds, with the garage door closed and gloves, it didn't take long so I didn't freeze to death. And here is how it turned out. I obviously didn't do the best job with the spray but in theory, we can take the necklaces off and touch up the spots in the spring.

It turned out pretty great and since it's not really that heavy and it'll be holding necklaces and not...bowling balls, mounting it to the wall wasn't a big deal either. I'm a huge fan of the 3M Command Strips and I'm forever trying to figure out where else to use them. So I'm using the velcro type picture frame hangers for this project. Here is her dresser area before we hung this. The jewelry box on the left is where they all used to live, and you can see the DIY bracelet holder there as well. I recently bought her a jewelry tray at TJMaxx to hold her many earrings, so she'll pass that jewelry box to her little sister once she's fully cleaned it out.

The dresser BEFORE

She recently cleaned up the dresser two days it's looking pretty nice. And now with the jewelry a bit more under control, maybe it can stay that way for longer.

The dresser AFTER

I need to clean up the shelf above her dresser also...I really never understood that kids are basically packrats. Never wanting to throw things away or donate or clean out. They NEED everything!  I'm mostly kidding, my girls don't LOVE getting rid of things, but they do enjoy the new clean space after they do.

loaded with necklaces
There are 60 posts on this thread rack, which hold a lot of necklaces. I could see adding a second one, and repositioning them so they look right in the space, or even adding a third if it became necessary. It was a pretty easy project once I acquired the rack. Maybe now she'll actually wear some of these necklaces, now that they're visible and easily selected.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Band! Concert!

Last night was the oldest's first band concert of the year. I wasn't sure how that would work out because she caught a nasty cold over the weekend and stayed home sick on Monday, but she was back to school yesterday and feeling pretty good. So off to the concert we went. They played three selections and they did very well.

First up, Tambora!

Sophia Band Concert - Tambora! from Melissa Anderson on Vimeo.

Next up, Hidden World

Sophia Band Concert - Hidden World from Melissa Anderson on Vimeo.

Last selection, Union March

Sophia Band Concert - Union March from Melissa Anderson on Vimeo.

Friday, October 3, 2014

School photos

Fall school picture days have come and gone. I thought for sure I blogged about it, but alas, I have not. The 6th grader had picture day the 2nd week of school, the 1st grader, the next week...not even into the groove of things and pictures are taken. They'll take spring pictures again in March or April of course, and i'll have to get a few of those also.

The oldest. Almost 12. New Glasses.

The youngest. Just turned 7. Shy with the photog.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Happy Birthday kid!

So the first grader turns seven today. SEVEN! We had a party for her and a few friends on Saturday at a local paint-your-own-pottery place. Her cousins (and sister) came and the three non-family friends we invited came too. It was pretty great. We haven't really thrown her a party since she turned one and it was time. I try not to go overboard with parties, and we haven't with her, but she's the second kid so she sort of was getting...shorted. The oldest had a party at one, six, seven or eight...and so she'll have another this year too probably. But the youngest...she came along when the oldest was nearly five, so..she just didn't get parties after that one year mark. So we thought she was due.

Painting her ladybug

We had seven painters, so we asked them to stick to the $6-$10 price range on the pottery they selected and they were all very accommodating, choosing a penguin, ladybug, cupcake box, bunny, duck and kitty. I thought for sure they'd never get done painting in time to get to presents and cake, but in reality they painted super fast and the party was essentially over after an hour (and we had an hour to go). So we passed out the goodie bags and the girls played with those items while we waited for parents.

Happy Birthday cake (with her cousin)

Party goers

She got some great gifts and had a great time with her friends. The cake was delicious in spite of my having to ask the bakery to change her name from Laxi to Lexi. It should be a rule in cake and engraving...allow the customer to PRINT the words they want.  And Sunday she and her sister put together the two Lego Friends sets she got, and we got out the Doh Vinci set and she's decorated a cute little vanity/storage piece.

All in all a great weekend. And then Sunday night her nose started getting stuffed up (and her sister's too) and she woke up feeling awful on her actual birthday. I drove her to school so she could sleep in a little...and she threw up in the car just before we got out. So home we came and she's been relaxing and watching TV and waiting patiently to open the rest of her presents from us tonight.

Happy Birthday kid!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Birthday loft

So my stepmom is a dumpster diver. It sounds weird, but she works (and used to live) in a college town so the students are always throwing away things that should not be thrown out. She brought home a perfectly good folding table - worked really well for the garage sale, as well as some sort of old-fashion-y small suitcase things for the girls to store their art supplies or whatever. Very cute stuff.  Her latest acquisition is a loft bed. A metal frame PBTeen loft bed. Whoever discarded it threw away all the bolts that held it together, but for $12.50 she and my dad assembled it in their garage. And they offered it to the 7yo. We weren't sure if she was old enough for it, I don't want her to fall off, and she has a tendancy to puke when she gets a cold, so how difficult would it be for her to get down, get to a toilet, get to a puke bucket in those doesn't happen as often as it used went for it.  Her room is only 10x10 so a loft would really open up the space for her. Her older sister has a loft that her dad built for her which is equally heavy and a little more bulky. This one is also not quite as tall so she wouldn't be quite as close to the ceiling as her sis.

The loft came home two weeks ago and she LOVES it. Dad has build a nightstand shelf that sits over the top rail so she can store a book, water bottle, her clock and tissues and whatever else girls need high up in the air at night. Its super heavy duty and the gray finish goes fine with her purple room. All dumpster dives are allowed now, it sounds like an odd practice- but what a score!
loft pre-shelf

Thanks Grandma C!

We replaced her ceiling fan with a light fixture and bought her a clip on fan to keep her cool. We'll also buy her a wall mounted fan in the spring when it warms up again. She loves it.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Simple Things

We moved into this house in 2001 and so it has all oak trim and woodwork, a lighter honey oak. It's nice, but not quite a current trend. It also has all brass doorknobs and brass trim on the fireplace. Last weekend we decided it can't be that difficult to just spray paint the gold parts of the fireplace, right? Right!

Before (both top and bottom trim was brass)



The fireplace now looks like its always been trimmed in black and we'll probably tape and protect the glass and surround and spray the rest of the box to make it all look like new.  We should have done this years ago...when we started remodeling other areas of the house.  Next up, doorknob replacements! Slowly but surely!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Summer, School and a Smart Kid

So, summer is over. We've been on vacation, it's been a difficult summer. I don't really want to talk about it right now. Maybe when it's a distant memory and we've overcome some of the hurdles in our way right now..maybe then I'll talk about it. Anyway, we went on vacation to the Iowa State Fair and was mostly fun. The first grader had a really great time.

We went to Adventureland first and the first grader rode two roller coasters pretty much all day. Until the adults with her could no longer stomach another lurching ride. She's just brave and grown up, in a flash.

Of course there's face painting at the fair, which I promised we could go straight to so they'd have paint all day long. They loved it.

We also discovered the oldest needed glasses. I took her to the eye doctor and while we were waiting she was looking at the letters on the mirror/screen and reading them oh so very wrong. I was surprised...and I guess I'm really glad that flute lessons showed us she needed glasses. The left lens is prescription, the right is not, but I imagine as she ages her bad left eye will bring down her good right eye. Heh. She looks great in them.
She couldn't stop grinning when she got the glasses.
It's been a long summer. It's been beautiful weather, but not really great for swimming, until today, when it's super super hot. Today 91F, tomorrow 72F...honestly I'm glad they're back in school and learning and scheduled and in a routine. Next summer will be better.

And this first grader of mine, is smart as a whip. Obviously all parents think that of their children, but I got confirmation today from her teacher. They've done reading assessments and she came home to say she read at a 2nd grade level, which I wasn't surprised to hear. She's been reading Junie B Jones   over the summer...but it turns out she's actually PASSED the 2nd grade assessment, so she's really closer to 3rd grade reading skills. So she'll be taken out of her class four times per week for 20 minutes with a special teacher that will challenge her in reading. I couldn't be more proud.

Face painting at the state fair. Elsa of course.

To be fair, the 11yo is also very smart and a really great reader, she just wasn't this far ahead at this age.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Deck Expansion

The husband has been working on this for the last three weeks, pretty steadily. Our house was built with a 10x10 wood deck, which works ok to hold a grill and a small table. But the weather has been so perfect lately, we thought it would be really nice if we had more space to sit and maybe even entertain out there.  It's not 100% complete, we still need to trim the 4x4 posts and add a top rail to the stair rail, and potentially stain all the non-composite to match, but generally speaking, it's usable. And we LOVE it.

Also as a sidenote, we put in a paver patio down below the deck a couple years ago, which we use, but the sun beats on that spot in the afternoon so it's a little difficult to use. This new expansion shades that area now so it's much more usable. 



I also spray painted the small iron table and chairs I had up top and I'll show those in a later post when they're placed. I went with a teal-blue seabreeze color and I love it. I'm hoping to find or make some small cushions for the chairs so they'll be even more usable. I also have a ton more pictures of the process this deck took, but I haven't quite figured out how to embed just a slideshow into a blogger post, so I dunno if that will happen.

UPDATE: I downloaded picasa and used that to create a youtube slideshow video of the process of the deck build.

TDC Before and After

Bedroom art

I hunted for a long time for artwork or photos to go above my bed. With the newer furniture and new bedding I wanted to choose something that went well with all of it. I didn't want anything too crazy and I didn't want to have to explain anything abstract. I also decided that photos wouldn't be the best idea, because those would be outdated pretty quickly. So, I was reading Linda's blog about her experience with Prowl and figured I'd give it a try.  I got a lot of really great ideas about what to put there, how to make it matchy or not matchy and then I saw these and knew that was it.

My bedspread is green, brown and cream, the walls are cream and my curtains are brown, so finding this comforter set was awesome. And now, these wall art pieces match the starburst pattern I have on the bed perfectly.  I love how simple it is and how well it goes. Now I just need to find a way to pad the back of them a little bit so rumbly thunder doesn't rattle them so much :)

Next up, dip dying my lamp (maybe!?) and an attempt at long term meal planning.