Thursday, August 30, 2012

Religion Class - Part 2

I know I'm blogging about Ben at college a lot right now.  It's because the majority of the time, the rest of us are sitting in an empty house, wishing we had furniture.  We go to the library every morning to check our email and stock up on a fresh stack of books.  We come home and the girls do school.  Then we go to Barnes and Noble every night to read more books.  See?  Not exactly blog worthy.

But then I got this from Ben:

My Religion teacher asked who all in the class was there because they actually want to study religion.  Me and two others raised our hands and she said, "You three get A's for the semester.  Everyone else, leave."

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Religion Class

Ben's Religion class started today.  One student asked, "Will we be converted to a new religion by the end of this class?"

The teacher looked at him for a moment and said, "Yes, you will.  I can tell you are a weak soul.  Everyone else should be fine though."

Monday, August 27, 2012

Chained Up

Ben has two roommates at college.  One is single, and one has a girlfriend.

The single one told them, "Too bad you guys are taken, there are a lot of good looking women here!"

The other taken roommate responded dryly, "Yep, all Ben and I can do is run to the end of our chains and bark."

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Who Is She Anyway?

Katie and Emily were reading a story about someone who wanted to go to culinary school to learn to be a chef. 

Katie mused aloud, "I wonder if anyone really ever wanted to go to school to learn to cook?"

"Of course!" Emily responded, "What about Rachael Ray!?"

"Rachael Ray isn't real!" laughed Katie.  "That's just an actress!"

Monday, August 20, 2012

Moving Out

This is how our Sunday went:

Ben was planning to move into the dorms on Wednesday which was listed on the school calendar as the day incoming freshman can get their dorm rooms.  Just as church ended, however, he got a text message from someone reminding him that athletes had to move in on Sunday by 1:00.

Fortunately most of his stuff was already together, so he just flung it all into a suitcase and we got ready to go.  I asked him if he minded the girls coming along since they really wanted to see his new living space.  He didn't have a problem with it, so we all loaded into Kerry's car and took off with less than an hour before check-in was over.

When we arrived, I walked in with Ben to find out the check in procedure.  The co-eds at the desk asked him if he had brought his school passport which he received on registration day and which showed that he had completed all requirements to move into the dorms.  No passport, no key.  Ben told them he'd left it in the car and we went out to look for it.  As we headed towards the car though, Ben said, "I don't think it's in the car, I think it's on the table at the house!'  We searched the car just in case and then I told Ben, "Go inside and tell them you left your passport at home and ask them what the procedure is.  You can't be the first person to not have your passport and some of them come from a lot farther away and can't even get their passports.  They'll know what you can do."

So Ben went in and came back out, "They're going to let me go ahead and put all my stuff in the room.  They took me to it and introduced me to my roommates.  I can get the key when I come back with my passport."  Yay!

So we drove around to the door nearest his room and he suddenly didn't want the girls going into his room because his roommates were in there and having sisters is mortifying, so they (and I) sat in the car while he and Kerry trotted his worldly possessions inside.

When he came back out he said a different guy went ahead and gave him the key to the room.  "He said they told him not to give it to me until I came back with the passport, but he said he didn't care and he gave it to me anyway!"

We raced back to the house to find Ben's passport.  He griped on the way, "They only told us one time to bring that book to check in!"  We advised him that once should be enough, but he found the concept ridiculous.

When we got to the house, there was a mad scramble to find the red folder which contained everything from registration day, including the passport.  "It was right here on the table!  Someone must have moved it!"  He was very agitated that someone had moved his important papers.  It wasn't long before I located them in the van, where they had been since they were received.

The girls and I opted not to go back to the college with the guys and the appropriate paperwork.  "You don't want to go with us?" 

"WHY would I want to drive all the way over there just so I could sit in the car again?"

So the girls and I stayed home and the guys headed back to the college.  Five minutes later I got a text from Ben - "Did I leave my room key at the house?"

The girls and I did a quick search.  No key.

Kerry and Ben did a thorough search of the car.  No key.

I texted Ben, "Just go tell them you lost your key.  You're not the first student to lose a key, (although he may be the fastest) they'll have a procedure, they'll know what you should do."

He managed to get a replacement key and Kerry left our first child in his new home.

Later in the day I got another text from Ben - "I need a $75 check for a uniform, I need my sports physical, and I have to go to a welcome party tonight and it's BYOB."

I responded, "I already faxed them your physical, I can run a check out there in 30 minutes, and you can go buy your own B."

So I ran a check out to him, along with some toothpaste since I noticed his was still in the bathroom, and finally came home and collapsed.

Having an independent child who is out making his way in the world is tough on a mom.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Observations On Re-Entering The Mainland

Driving Long Distances - In Hawaii, our GPS never mentioned distances greater than about twenty miles.  You never heard, "Drive two hundred and thirty three miles and then exit right."  The kids and I take great delight in the large numbers Gladys-Agnes (our GPS) says.  We all agree though, it's unsettling to drive such a long way.  Normally if we did that, we'd be underwater.

Cruise Control - I bought my van on Hawaii.  I have never had the opportunity to use the cruise control in it.  It didn't occur to me until I was driving down a major highway with no sign of stopping for a couple of hours and then I couldn't find it!  I finally located it on a switch sticking out of the side of the steering wheel (when did they start putting it there?) and then I was trying to figure out how to make it work while driving seventy miles an hour without wrecking.

Speed - In Hawaii we have one five mile stretch where you can actually drive sixty miles an hour.  On the highway, you can go fifty-five.  But mostly, you are driving thirty-five.  Getting on highways which have a speed limit of seventy (SEVENTY!) is really unnerving.  And having Ben salivating in the seat next to you saying, "Can I drive?  I can't wait to go seventy!" doesn't help.

Heat - Good Golly it's a mite warmish outside.  Like stepping into a sauna.  And all the restaurants are freezing, so you are actually grateful to escape into the heat.  In Hawaii most restaurants have walls that fold back so you are just in the open-air.  The wonderful, perfect temperature air.

Restaurants - We are trying to visit places we haven't been to in three and a half years.  We've now graced the doors of Chick-fil-A, Waffle House, Cracker Barrel, Krystal, Panera, Applebees, Golden Corral and Carrabbas.  I'm ready to eat home cooked food again.  But I need a home.  And a cook.

Air - The air feels heavier here.  That probably has a lot to do with the heat and humidity.  I've never been so aware of air pressing down on me all the time.

Fashion - In Hawaii, the fashion is casual.  Shorts and flip flops are standard.  Nice shorts and nice flip flops are for fancy occasions.  I can't remember the last time I used an iron.  When we first got to Hawaii, I was watching the news and they were interviewing a local businessman and he had come to the studio for his interview in a tee shirt and shorts (I couldn't see his feet, but he was probably wearing flip flops if he was wearing shoes at all).  Shoes have barely graced Ben's feet for years.  I don't even know what the standard of dress is in Illinois.  But it gets cold in the winter, so I'm guessing they have more in their closets than we do.

(On a side note, when we lived in Alaska, the dress code was "dress so that you don't lose skin or an appendage to frost bite".  You rarely knew what was fashionable because all you saw were people's parkas and snow boots.  And even when you saw people without their outside gear, you still saw them in what would keep them alive, not necessarily what was trendy.)

Grocery stores - Where are your seaweed wraps?  Where are the purple potatoes?  Mangos?  Papayas?  Squid?  Cuttlefish?  We were just as surprised to find all these things when we arrived in Hawaii.  Now to not see them in every store is just as odd.  Oh, wait.  We can't be too far from home.  There's the Spam!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Signing Day

For those of you who haven't heard me crowing it from the rooftop, Ben received an academic scholarship to college which will cover almost 80% of his tuition.

We toured his college this week and they had an official signing of his scholarship papers.  I thought we were just doing the tour and didn't even bring my camera.  I didn't want to look like a dorky mom taking pictures of her baby's first day at Kindergarten.  I had to take this shot with my phone. 

We were very impressed with the campus.  It's a great size, not too big, not too small and has some extremely cool architecture.  We had planned for Ben to live at home in order to save money but he is actually required to live on campus, so we are scrambling to outfit a dorm room.  Apparently all dorms have extra-long sheets, so we can't just use sheets we already have (of course).

Seeing the dorms brought back a lot of memories for me and Kerry.  We kept comparing it to our dorms in college (many many years ago).  There are four beds to a room  in Ben's dorm, but they have a bathroom in each room.  Kerry and I had two beds in our dorms, but we had to share a bathroom with every single person on the floor.   

Ben won't have a lot of living space - three dresser drawers and one-fourth of a closet.  All the roommates share one desk.  Fortunately for him, we live close by and he can just keep lots of stuff at our house and trade out what he needs on the weekends.

I have to say one of my happiest memories right now is of a public school teacher telling me Ben probably would not be able to get into college if I homeschooled him.  It's a common statement made to those who are homeschooling and I'd just like to point out that it's based on misconceptions and no  facts. 

Here are some actual facts:  Ben's going to college with an academic scholarship!




Friday, August 10, 2012

New Car

One of our first requirements on the mainland was a new vehicle.  The Army will only ship one vehicle for you.  If you want to bring a second auto along, you  have to pay for it yourself.  While we have loved Kerry's Honda, it is fifteen years old and we didn't feel it would be cost efficient to bring it on this move.  So Kerry has been researching vehicles for months.

I actually became concerned about his addiction.  Every time I walked into the computer room, he would have a sexy car website pulled up, full of sleek shiny vehicles showing off their enormous headlights.  Displayed wantonly across the screen, the cars were singing a siren song, beckoning him to run his hands over their leather seats and breathe deep their evocative new car scent.

If I came up behind him unexpectedly, he would quickly flip the computer screen off and turn to me with an innocent expression.  "You're not fooling me," I informed him.  "I looked at the computer history.  You were up at five o'clock in the morning looking at cars again!  What is wrong with you?"

He tried to stay away from the CarMax website, but it was just a losing battle.  He would say he was just going to check Facebook and email, but then the cars would start preying on his mind, and with no conscious decision to do, would find himself browsing the car sites again. 

Occasionally, he would try to get me to join him in his fantasy world.  "Honey, look at this one!  Maybe I should go ahead and email them and ask them to hold it for me until we get there!"  I was the strong one, however.  I informed him in no uncertain terms that with a move to the mainland, finals, farewells, and a family to take care of, browsing car sites was below the bottom of my list. 

Once we got to the mainland and he was finally allowed to indulge his passion, he wasted no time in heading to every car dealership within a two-hour radius. He compared prices, mileage, colors, and age of every vehicle on every lot until he had narrowed his search down to his ideal mate. We had to drive two hours away, spend two hours dickering, and drive two hours back to get her, but she was worth it.

Her name is "Merlot".

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

My Birthday Poem From Katie

A child in China says her mom's the best
But she doesn't know that that's what the rest
Of all kids say about their moms.
But I know that they are all wrong
For my mom is the best.
Mom, you showed me many things
And maybe I can't fly
But you taught me how to soar
How to glide over mountains
And so much more.
You give us things we can repay
Money borrowed, toys
But you give us something we can't ever give enough
Back to repay you,
And that's love.

And......We've Arrived

Well, we've made it.  Sort of.

We have left our island home and arrived in the land of corn and Lincoln.  We are trying very, very hard to be happy and love it here.

It's not easy.

There has been a drought here and everything is dry and dead.  Walking across the grass is like crossing a field of crumpled paper sacks.  It's ugly.

We accidentally drove into a less-than-stellar area while looking for a place to eat and it was ugly too.

The kids have been unusually silent.

And when they are not silent, they are bickering more than usual.

Ben stays plastered to his computer and when someone else needs the computer, he lays on his bed and stares at the ceiling.  Yesterday was my birthday and he gave me no gift, wouldn't go to lunch with us, and offered no assistance of any kind in making a cake. 

I'm trying not to be hurt.  I'm trying to love Illinois.  I'm trying to find the good stuff. 

This season will pass and we will make friends and find activites.  Ben will start college and get involved with new friends and new activities.  The girls will eventually have BFF's again and co-op classes and entertainment.

We will get there.  But right now we are here and our hearts are in Hawaii.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Happy *Cough* *Mumble* *Cough* -th Birthday, Mama!

Aloha, y'all! The kids and husband of one fantastic person here, Emily as our spokesperson (Writeperson?). So we noticed that every year on our birthdays, we get a nice little piece on the blog about our existence, where Mama says how old and we're turning and wishes us a happy birthday. So this year, to show our love, we decided to hack her blog and write one for her!

Because hey, for my part, I just want to say my mom ROCKS. You know Proverbs 31, where it basically describes the perfect woman? Add the most epic sense of humor and the ability to cook spectacularly, and boom! My mom in a nutshell. But really, Mama, the thing I love most about is just... you. You're funny (read that as "bust-a-gut, ohmaigawsh HILARIOUS"), determined (like sitting there for an hour with me trying to figure out Algebra), smart (actually doing it), wise (with Bible stuff! And boy stuff!), a great cook, a teacher, a confidante, a best friend, a great role model, and an absolutely, all-around fantastic person. If I had to choose a mom, you'd be my first pick.
Love love love love love you,
Emily

29ish years ago today the world was blessed with a Goddess named Amy.
This dynamo is a combination of all three power puff girls combined
with a huge dose of creative genius and all around brilliance. She is
a also endowed with a large amount of patience and humor because she
puts up with a both me and her children on a daily basis.
Anyways...today is her day and we are so blessed to have her. She is
my soul mate and super heroine. She can leap tall buildings in a
single bound and single handedly save the universe in one day while
still managing to balance home schooling, direct the G3 play,
volunteer at church, and keep her sanity:-) The maker of the stars
broke the mold with you Birthday Girl. We love you! Don't get too
crazy to day!!
Daddy
Thanks for being an awesome mom for 18 years and being an awesome
person for 37* years! You have been an amazing mom since I
kickstarted the whole you being a mom thing, and I honestly don't
think I'd be going to college this year if you hadn't pushed me
forward. You've pushed me to accomplish things I never would have
without you, and I love you so much! Thank you for being my mom and
Happy Birthday!
Ben
Mama, you are my birther, my mommy, the peace keeper. And the whole family wants to celebrate [insert number here] years of your existence, and our hearts leap at your name. Mom,
WE LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You are very special... how old are you again?...
Whoa! That old???!!!
LOVE YOU!!!
Katie
 
2012-06-30 Portraits
 
(Just felt like showing off the fact that, as well as being the coolest person ever, Mama's also smokin')

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Warmth

Last night, I had the air conditioner on and the bedroom was nice and cool.  Kerry dropped off to sleep right away but I stayed awake to finish a page-turner that had me enthralled.

When I got to the last page, I had gotten chilly.  I tuned off the lamp and snuggled up to Kerry who is always like a little furnace. 

"Mmmm, you're warm," I said as I scrunched up close.

"That's because I just farted," he responded.