Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Adventures in Babysitting II

Emily is a highly requested baby sitter in these parts. She often comes home with amusing tales of kids who won't comply, or dogs that threw up, or moms that never came home.

But this was probably her best story yet:

A little while ago, as we were getting ready to leave church, one of the moms ran up and asked if she could "borrow me for the next six hours or so." I was kind of looking forward to a nap, but six hours or more equals much moolah, and who am I to say no to what is obviously fate?

It turned out she and her husband were going to take their six-year-old daughter out to see a movie for Valentine's Day. The two boys ("T"is three years old and "U"is one) were going to go to their dad's parent's house for the day. However, for some unknown reason (alien abduction? The Bermuda Triangle?) their grandparents had to cancel their plans. Which left them scrambling for a babysitter, and, lo and behold, there just happened to be this amazing girl named Emily who was perfectly willing to watch the kids for a while.

The mom's mom took me and the boys to their apartment and explained that she was going to go back to her house to take a nap (lucky), since she had been watching the boys all morning (not so lucky). She explained the plan: fix lunch (PB&J, apples, and cheesesticks for T, mac-n-cheese for U), watch Cars 2, put the boys down for a nap, then mess around until Mommy and Daddy got home. Easy enough.

Grandma left, and I figured, since it was around twelve thirty, I'd go ahead and start lunch. T refused to eat, informing me at top volume that he would much rather watch Cars 2 (it took me about ten minutes to figure out how to work the BluRay). When I finally got it started, I gave the one-year-old his bottle and decided to start on the macaroni. Grandma had not mentioned where the pots were, so I rifled around underneath the cabinets until I found a few funky metal bowls that I figured would work well enough. I filled one of said bowls with water and set it on the stove to boil, then started on T's sandwich.

Just then, T started shrieking; I completely freaked out - red alert! Screaming three-year-old boy! - only to find that a car had just drowned in the movie (not sure how a car does this, but it's a movie). I relaxed and waited for the water to boil, watching the movie, when suddenly... Oh my. Whatever is that burning smell?

I turned around and oh, that burning smell must be coming from the flames licking up the sides of the metal bowl full of boiling water. That's right, the bowl was on fire. Or, more specifically, the rubber that I hadn't noticed on the bottom of the bowl was on fire and melting. I grabbed a bunch of paper towels (no time to look for oven mitts) and dumped the water in the sink, only then noticing the word "Kitchenaid" printed across the bottom of the bowl.

Oh... right.

Well, one adventure was over, and I turned around to make sure the boys hadn't noticed that the babysitter just almost burnt the house down, to discover that the one-year-old was covered in vomit. He had apparently chugged his bottle in a matter of minutes, then decided that he didn't like it after all and thrown it all right back up while my back was turned. He started wailing.

I rushed him to the bathroom, got him in the shower (no bathtub) and then couldn't figure out how to turn it on. Fortunately, there was a sink and a handy-dandy plastic cup in the room; I rinsed him off fairly well (he kept crying) and put a new diaper on him and then couldn't find any clean clothes to change him into. He walked around half-naked for the rest of the day.

I couldn't find any cleaning supplies anywhere in the house, so I just scraped up the bigger chunks of vomit on the carpet and covered the rest with paper towels, then collapsed on the couch in exhaustion and watched Cars 2 with the three-year-old (who hadn't noticed anything - gotta love the TV.)

Grandma arrived after I'd put the kids down for their nap (which I managed without any screaming, vomiting, or catching anything on fire) and showed me where the carpet cleaner was and how to turn the shower on. Then she and I talked for an hour before I finally just crashed on the couch; when I woke up, the kids were still out.

Thank heavens for small favors.

So, I just waited around with Grandma for another hour until Mommy and Daddy showed up. And, to cap it all off, the little girl spoiled the ending of "Big Miracle" for me.

Anyway, I now know to check the bottom of mysterious metal bowls for rubber before trying to cook in them. So it was totally worth it. And I got to write a blog post, which is pretty cool...


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

More on Illinois

Thinking more about Illinois.  Yesterday I was really excited, today I cried.  Then I watched this and laughed a lot at the overacting.  

Monday, May 28, 2012

Thinking Ilinois Thoughts

I'm trying to get my mind wrapped around the thought of life in Illinois.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

New Camera

Kerry and I got a new camera today.  There was a phenomenal deal for military members and we jumped on it.

On the way home, Kerry drove while I set the camera up and played with it for a few minutes. 

I had a little trouble figuring out the focus.

 So I handed it to Emily while I read the instruction book.

 Big mistake.

Not only does she take tons of random photos, but she got fingerprints on it because she was eating Salt and Vinegar potato chips.

  I took it back, cleaned it off, and started figuring out how it worked somewhat!

I realized it can take one photo and give you three images, with each one zoomed in a little more.  Cool!

I figured out how to take a panoramic shot.  I thought I did a good job until I got home and realized Kerry has no hands in this photo.  

I did a better job on this one, although a chunk of Kerry's shoulder is missing.  I thought it was cool that I could get the girls in the back seat and Kerry in the front seat, all in one photo.  It did make the windows look as if we were inside a VW Bug.

You'll be glad to know, Kerry is doing quite well, even drove home, despite the massive loss of body parts he suffered at the hands of the new camera.  

Friday, May 25, 2012


Yesterday brought some interesting news.  Kerry called me and blurted out, "We're not moving to Virginia, we're moving to Illinois."  I didn't say anything for a minute.  The words wandered around in my brain for a minute looking for a place to stick.

"Wow, I've rendered you speechless," said Kerry.

I really thought there was more to the story.  I was expecting him to add something along the lines of, "But then I called someone important and they did something magical and yes, we are moving to Virginia still, but for a minute there I was quite alarmed."

But he wasn't joking.  And there isn't more to the story.

We are moving to Illinois.  They come to pack up our house in ten days.  And we are moving to Illinois.


I didn't have my heart set on Virginia; I had my concerns about it.  There was no housing available on post and we were going to have to rent.  Renters aren't often open to the idea of a huge dog on their property (it's a liability if he bites someone, and no one cares that he would pee on himself rather than bite an intruder, it's a fear of his size).  I knew we wouldn't be able to live very close to the base which would mean a bigger commute for Kerry and we would see him less (and we would burn up a lot more gas at a time when gas prices are high).  It looked like a huge city and that means a lot more driving to get to anything and a lot more traffic.   Actually I did have my heart set on Virginia, just not the area of Virginia where we were actually moving.  All of our family lives on the east coast and we were really excited to be near them again.

And I had everything set up and ready for Virginia.  I had registered the girls for a scout troop and had been accepted as a leader in the troop.  I had joined a homeschooling group and had already nailed down a Biology class for Emily and found art lessons for both girls.  We have friends and family we were planning to visit with in Georgia, Maryland, Virginia and South Carolina.  Ben had sent his ACT scores to three different colleges in the area and he was particularly happy to be in Virginia because his girlfriend will be moving to New Jersey.  Her mom even gave Ben a train ticket to go see them when they bring her over at the end of the summer.  The problem is that the ticket goes from Virginia, not Illinois.  I don't know if it's refundable.

So now all those plans are scrapped and out the window.  We do have one set of friends who lived at the same base in Illinois where we are being sent and they loved it.  Loved it.  They say it was their favorite duty station ever.  I also have several friends who have winced when they heard the news and said, "That's in the middle of nowhere!"  Very encouraging.

On the plus side, we looked at the housing and it's big and beautiful.  And it's available (which is a big plus!)  The area is not huge and congested but is only about thirty minutes from a huge congested city if we want to go experience urban life.

On the minus side, it's in Illinois.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Graduation! - The Dancing

After we presented Ben with his diploma, we had about an hour of dancing.  We mostly did line dances, but some of Ben's ballroom dancing companions were there and so we threw in a swing dance.  We also played "Thriller" because one of the younger kids can dance just like Michael Jackson and he got up and put on a show for everyone (I was busy, and completely missed getting a video of that!).  Last but not least, we did the Virginia Reel, because it is so much fun and everyone can do it.  We had someone teach everyone how to do it, then ran through it one time, then had each group race to see who could finish it the fastest.  It's a LOT of fun!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Graduation! - Superlatives

One of the best things about being a homeschool graduate is that as the only member of your class, you win all the top honors!  (You also win all the worst awards too, but that's another story)  

At Ben's party, I made a wall of the honors he has received in his senior class.
I just used photos we already had of him and had them blown up for the occasion.

Class President

Prom King
Most Likely To Succeed

Most Adventurous

Most Chill
Most Glamorous

Most Likely To Be A Supermodel

Witch Weekly's Most Charming Smile Award
(5 Time Winner!)

Most Ninja

Most Likely to DANCE!

 Most Athletic

Most Likely To Cuddle

Most Likely

Most Likely To Be Seen On The News Someday

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Graduation! - The Leis

One of the most fun things about a Hawaiian graduation.........

.......Is the leis!

Graduates are covered with leis and toy floats and it's hilarious to see them all decked out!

As Ben can tell you though, those leis get heavy and they make you hot and sweaty!

Most of the people we know make their own leis rather than buying them.  At almost any time, you see women sitting around weaving leis, especially during graduation season.  Leis can be made to be beautiful, or to be humorous. Ben's leis were made from ribbon, yarn, paper, and even real leaves and vines.  He received a pink and white polka dot one with a plastic spoon and fork attached to it and one made out of folded styrofoam plates!

 One thing that many folks do is to buy netting and wrap up items in it.  Candy is usually in those, but lots of leis will have other random items in them.  Ben's favorite this year was one made with pickles and cheese wrapped up in it.  When I asked to take a picture of it, he'd already eaten it!

So, you'll have to settle for a picture of this one.... it contained Spam, Ramen noodles, orange soda, two packs of chocolate covered nuts, a seasoning mix, and a pack of seaweed!

Graduation! - The Cake

 The cake arrived in pieces and had to be assembled on location.
There's a wonderful woman at our church who makes cakes and she came up with the idea of a mountain of books.  Originally she was going to make a figure of Ben climbing the books, but she ran out of time.

 The cake was very wobbly because it was so tall.  The cake maker had to wedge drinking straws through it to hold it together!  She was worried it was going to topple over.

 Every time a kid bumped into the table (which happened quite often!) the whole thing would look like it was going to fall over!

Behind the cake is a digital photo frame which had pictures of Ben throughout his life playing on it.  While we did have a slideshow for the guests, I didn't want them to have to sit through a bazillion pictures while they tried not to nod off.  So we made the slideshow short, and put all the extra pictures on the frame.  That way, if people wanted to look at them they could, but they weren't forced to!

When the cake was finally cut, someone gave Ben the entire top book.  He ate part of it and then gave the rest to Kerry because it was too big for him to finish.  As I flew by at some point, Kerry said, "This cake is phenomenal!  You've got to try some!"  I took a bite of his slice.  It was chocolate and FABULOUS!  When I finally got around to heading over for my own slice, the entire cake was already gone!  And I only got one bite!

Saturday, May 19, 2012


Okay, I started to write about Ben's graduation celebration, but it was TOO MUCH!  This was the biggest party I've ever hosted, and when I think about writing one post about it, I'm overwhelmed and I quit.  So I'm going to break it down into bits and maybe I'll get it all done eventually.  

Ben's youth pastor when we lived in Kansas is amazingly also our youth pastor now that we live in Hawaii.  Ben and Kevin have a pretty tight bond since they have known each other for so many years.  As luck would have it, Kevin also is a master BBQer.  He actually teaches classes on how to grill and smoke your food.

 When he uncovered the pig all the kids went, "EW!"  Then they all stepped in for a closer look.

 They were mainly fascinated with the butt and found it hilarious.

 There were two chickens inside this pig!  We speculated that maybe that was how it died.  Eating two whole chickens will do that to you, you know.

 It looked like Carmen Miranda when they were done spiffing it up.
Chica Chica Boom Chic!

The guys were thrilled to feel like real hunter gatherer types!
Or at least pose in a picture like they were hunter gatherer types!

 Ben was particularly happy as he got to delve into the innards and serve it up to all his friends.

 That's it, WORK at your graduation party, boy!  Work!

Katie eventually wound up with its head on a platter (after Ben ate the tongue) but that's another story.