Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Last of LA

Thanks for all the "sorrys" about The Price Is Right outcome for us. I'll get to responding to the comments soon. I'm sure you all can understand the difficulties of getting much done over the holiday weekend. Today is still a school holiday for us (but we start back tomorrow) so I'm gonna try to catch up while the kids play with all their cool stuff!

Allright, where were we?

After the game, you can see that I had my picture made with Daniel, the winner of the Showcase Showdown. Since I couldn't get the picture to show on the last post, I decided to just try it here.

By the way, I don't think I've posted yet that our air date is scheduled for February 1. Mark your calendar! I am quite certain you will at least SEE us on that day :)

After we walked off set, we wound our way through The Grove shopping center which is very similar to a shopping center down in Destin -- not sure the name of it but the one where the Bass Pro Shop and Restaurant can be found. Anyway, it's a ritzy kind of establishment but is an all outdoor area. I guess sunny CA is a safer bet for this kind of arrangement but I think FL is crazy to have one.

So we walk through here because my friend (former cousin by marriage) had parked her car here. She had offered to take us for a driving tour through some parts of Hollywood that we were interested in seeing. So she worked that Magellan thingy (which is TOTALLY cool by the way - my first experience with a GPS guide) and we found our way to the Chinese theater and shopping area. It was such a neat, neat place and really put a cherry on top of our visit. I have to say that my spirits were a little down after the show but thankfully, this cap to the day revived me!

We found a neat spot to have our picture made in front of the Hollywood sign. I was surprised at where this sign was in relation to the city. Even though you can see it from several spots in town, it wasn't as big and focused as I thought it would be. There's also not really a good place to just drive past it and gawk at it. If you are gawking, you are definitely going to get into an auto accident. The only really good places to see it are while jutting through some CRAZY traffic.

So we liked getting our pictures at this spot. It was after the sun was setting so we're thankful pictures turned out at all.
From 2006 December

The handprints/footprints/stars thing was pretty neat. We didn't see every one but we saw a few goodies. We snapped pics of the following for various reasons - Stallone, because of the upcoming Rocky movie; Ron Howard - because he's just cool; Jim Carrey - the kids know who he is and appreciate him, especially in The Grinch movie; Tom Hanks - because he's Woody and Forrest Gump!; Adam Sandler - because Bob Barker beat the snot out of him; and then Johnny Depp - because he has a special connection to the name of this child that I'm carrying. I'll share more about that in a future post.
From 2006 December

While we were looking around at all these neat things in the concrete, we realized we were background for something being taped on the sidewalk. Upon closer inspection we realized it was a Jimmy Kimmel skit making fun of Mel Gibson's "Apocolypto" film. We tried watching the JK show to see us, or at least the skit but we might have missed it. Or it could have ended up on the cutting room floor.
From 2006 December

When the sun was down, our appetite was up and we started looking for a place to eat. We tried finding something that was strictly LA but we didn't find anything within the shopping center except super-nice places where our "Bama Loves Bob" shirts would have been inappopriate. So we settled for the next best thing. California Pizza Kitchen. We knew it was a chain and that there are even a few in AL but we had never eaten there and the style and speed fit our needs.

So as we settled into our booth, we heard a "Roll Tide" coming from right behind us. It was a waiter who noticed our shirts. We thought that was extremely cool in and of itself because the guy wasn't necessarily a Tide fan, he was just being friendly.

But a few minutes later, the manager of the restaurant came to us and said, "Roll Tide! I am a U of A graduate!" We thought that was REALLY REALLY cool. We chatted with him for a few minutes to find out he was born in Georgia and spent some of his growing-up years in the Huntsville area. And at the end of our conversation, this manager told us to put our tab on HIM! YES! FREE DINNER! He encouraged us to try whatever we wanted, to get dessert, cocktails, etc. WHOO HOO!

So we ordered everything we wanted to try. It was stuff I never would have attempted if it wasn't free :) And we had more to eat than we needed to stuff in our gullet but because it was there, we somehow managed to get all of it down. Oh, it was SO good.

After at least 2 hours in the restaurant just hanging out and catching up with my cousin, we went for a fun drive through some fancy neighborhoods. It was AMAZING to see that million-dollar houses were about 1/3 the size of ours. When riding through "the hills" we saw these massive houses with zero yard, but with views that must have been worth a million dollars all by themselves. I really wish we had some addresses to know where some celebs lived...but just watching for someone famous to be out walking their dog was fun enough.

The next morning brought us to the end of our journey. We had an early flight back home. And would you believe that I actually felt a little tremor while at the airport? I wouldn't have known that's what it was except that a worker at the terminal looked up and asked, "what was that?" I said, "um, wasn't that a bus driving by??" He laughed and said, "No." So I asked if it was an earthquake and he said, "Probably."

But NO ONE else in my group noticed it. Good grief. So yeah, it was small.....but I felt it nonetheless! Glad it wasn't any bigger, though.

Coming home was such a relief. We were pooped and I was DESPERATELY missing my children. I hope that our next trip out to CA will be with everyone in tow. There's so much more I'd like to experience and I want to share every bit of it with those I love the most.

I think we'll pursue Family Feud or Wheel Of Fortune next :)

I'm Going To Quit Blogging If...

I can't figure out why pictures won't upload on this stupid space.

PLEASE someone at least tell me they are having troubles too OR tell me what the heck I am doing wrong.

Even now I am working from the girls' laptop that they use for school. THIS IS A GOOD COMPUTER and tells me that it is NOT my dinosaur computer's problem.

I cannot find any of the "troubleshooting" explanations that fit my situation.

I swear this makes me want to quit. I hate working on posts only to have pictures not upload. It puts me DAYS behind because I can't get a complete work.

Yes, I'm ticked. Sorry for being such a grump.

Seriously, someone has GOT to help me. Why don't any of YOU other blogspot people seem to have this problem?? You have pictures posted every day. WHAT AM I DOING WRONG?

Thursday, December 21, 2006

In The Price Is Right Studio

Unfortunately, no photographs were allowed to be taken on CBS property. They would have preferred we didn't even have our cameras with us but we couldn't get around that. So I have no way of showing you how truly crazy the PIR set really looked.

While we were sitting and waiting for the show to start, they played some pumped up music -- the first one being "Dancing On The Ceiling" by Lionel Richie. This was particularly funny to me because Nicole Richie kinda became an inside joke between me and Henry. You see, we were sorta near where Nicole was arrested for drunk/drugged driving. THAT, of course, is not the funny part. The funny came because some people in our group said they SAW her pulled over getting arrested. That was impossible, however, because she was arrested before we even got to LA. So, as silly as it was, Henry and I started talking about seeing Nicole Richie everywhere we went. And of course, the fact that Lionel has Bama roots made it all the more enjoyable to hear him in the Bob Barker Dome.

It was super-fast time elapsing from when we entered the studio to when we were finished taping. The most interesting Hollywood magic was actually that there was very little magic at all to the taping and inserting of commercials to the game show program. Everything was done in real time meaning that our taping lasted exactly one hour, just like it would on air. When it was time for a commercial break, the filming took a break that lasted exactly the length of the commercial. Bob would use that time to take questions (and gifts) from the audience. It was during one of these breaks that I raised my hand. Bob called on me and I stood to say, "My daughter Ray asked me to say 'hello' to your Beauty "Ray." (One of Barker's Beauties is a blonde named "Ray" and my Ray thought it was really cool that they had this commonality.)

Bob responded something like, "Well, why don't we see if we can get "Ray" to send an autograph home to your daughter. Would she like that?" He then turned to tell someone off-stage, "Tell 'Ray' to get this young Mom an autographed photo for her daughter." Several of the stage folks then took note of who I was and started shuffling around. The announcer, Rich (can't ever remember his last name -- I'm a pitiful fan) who wasn't but a few feet from us, motioned and said to me, "Write down your name and address so we can mail it to you."

So I did but one of the ladies on stage ended up bringing the TWO autographed photos to me right when the show ended. It was really cool.

Anyway, back to the show itself.

When the stage lights came on, the set took on a look that catapulted itself away from my pep rally description but didn't quite make it look as though it was the same set we watched on TV every day. Also, the aisleway in which audience members took their run to Contestant's Row was INCREDIBLY short. It seems like they're running a 1/2 mile track when you watch it on TV but in real life, it's only a few steps long.

And when those names started to be called out, the noise was deafening. They had cue cards on the stage with the names written on them because it could be very easy for someone to NOT hear their name called. So I watched those cards. And when the 1st four names were completed, and none of them were us, I have to admit that I was a little sapped of air. I knew it would be one of THOSE four people who would have a chance at The Golden Road.

But the excitement in the air wouldn't let me get truly down about it. I mean, HECK, I was getting ready to watch someone play The Golden Road right before my very eyes! (I can't wait to see this from TV perspective when it airs....it was going so fast and I had such an emotional swish happening that some of it is a blur...I can only imagine what it would have been like to be the contestant playing it.)

When I'm home watching this game on TV, I get weepy with excitement for the person who is playing. I think, "Oh how cool! They might just win that thing!"

Well, guess what THING was being offered this day...

A daggum 83+ thousand dollar CADILLAC CONVERTIBLE! Ohmygoodness.

But I can't remember if I got weepy. Henry was asking me questions because he was starting to really feel the excitement of the moment, too. He said things like, "What kind of car did he say? What does he have to do to win?"

Spoiler alert -- I'm gonna tell you the outcome of the game so don't read this if you don't want to know (for whatever reason.) The dude only made it a few steps down the Golden Road. He won the first item (I can't even remember what it was) but he didn't win the sofa that he had to win next that would THEN give him the chance to win the car. The only "redeeming" (even though that's not exacly the right word) thing about watching this game was that I think I probably would have lost when he did. It would have been very disappointing to be sitting in the audience knowing EXACTLY the right answers to say in this game. I felt a little relief knowing that I didn't miss winning that car myself. I probably would have made the same mistake he did.

After every commercial break, a new name was told to "Come On Down!" but one by one, it wasn't us. It sucked, quite honestly, to not hear our names. And not only did we not hear OUR names, we didn't hear the names of anyone in our group! (I have a theory about why we didn't have anyone from our group called but it is only a theory and to write it out on this blog would make me seem like a spoil-sport so I'm not gonna do it.) I really can't over-emphasize how quickly this "most exciting hour in television" slipped through the hourglass. I remember looking at Henry and saying, "Well....that's it. We didn't get called."

But I do NOT regret the chance we took. It was such a real DREAM COME TRUE just being there. The Price Is Right might be around another 100 years but Bob Barker won't be. And I am one of the lucky ones who had a chance to see him in action LIVE. Heck, I even talked to the legend! A couple of times in fact (the other was to answer his question about which large groups were in the audience.) And I KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that God has blessed me in so many other areas of life that I certainly don't deserve anything else -- especially not winning cars or trips or even recliners! In fact, many of you know that I (or Henry) have actually been on the receiving end of winning a car, a trip, and a recliner already (not all at one time.) So who am I to think I deserve another? I believe it is completely possible that I am fresh out of prizes for the rest of my life.

Walking out of the studio was sad. I knew I had to call the kids and let them know that we didn't win anything. They REALLY believed we would. No matter how much I warned them that they needed to be prepared for the truth we ended up receiving, they still held on to a great deal of hope that we would call them with an exciting report. I think others had non-intentionally, built-up their hopes. Because of our history of winning things in the past, we are kinda "known" for being lucky and the kids have picked up on that through the years. They heard things like, "If anyone is gonna win big at The Price Is Right, it will be Stacy." So I didn't look forward to letting them know we were coming home without anything other than an autograph.

The saddest thing was that I think they kinda held onto hope that we were just kidding on the phone and that we would surprise them with a big announcement when we got home.

But I must say again...there is no regret. Our trip was AWESOME, and I experienced an opportunity of a lifetime. I know God has big things in store for our family and I will praise Him for it, even when it's NOT because of material blessings. I know we will never be in need because God has always provided for us. Even in our scariest moments, we have always received the perfect provisions.

After leaving the parking lot, I got the opportunity to speak more with the winner of the Showcase Showdown (eventually you will see Daniel in a picture below but right now blogger is being a pain AGAIN! What is the deal? If someone can help me PLEASE DO!) He's soon to be married and was able to win some cool stuff for his bride. I thought that was pretty cool! He was also the group leader for his large group (employees of Clinique or some other cosmetic company) so I was happy that at least ONE group leader got a chance to experience the thrill of PIR victory!

I hope you're not too bored with all I've shared so far. I'd like to share more in the next day or so. Our adventures continued into the evening so I have more I'd like to write. Hopefully I will have it all posted soon.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Finally In LA

This was our first view of the Hollywood sign. This was taken 1 block away from our hotel. This intersection was the central hub of our travels. There was a subway and bus terminal here. Day 1 had us all splitting into small groups for touring. Henry, Mom, Uncle J, and I all mapped out and rehearsed our path to CBS Studios so we wouldn't be lost the next morning. After finding our way, we started to sight-see a little. My body just couldn't handle it, though so 3/4 of us returned to the hotel room. Uncle J perservered and met up with some others from our group.

Back in the hotel room, I recruited a few others to help me finish our "Good Luck" cards. We put Lifesaver Wintermints on them with tape (because staplers probably wouldn't have been allowed in our carry-on luggage, and carry-on is all we had.) Anyway, I had to tape them to the cards once we arrived because they took up entirely too much space with the mints attached.

With the Good Luck cards out of the way, and delivery pizza in my belly, I hit the sack. It was only 7pm Pacific time so I was able to get in a good 10 hours sleep before the BIG day.

Here's us waiting for our bus Tuesday morning. We were giddy with excitement!

We arrived at the studios about an hour before we needed to and began chatting with the red-coat pages. We hoped this would be in our favor. As others started arriving, we mixed and mingled. Our Good Luck cards were a big hit....especially with the college girls from Oregon State University. They were definitely sorority type girls (you can see Lyndsey on the show -- she was the one from their group to get called) and thought we were just the "cutest things." It was sweet and insulting all at the same time. I kinda felt like we were their "favorites" (their words, not mine) because we had some sort of pity attached - like, "aw, those cute people from Alabama." I played with it, though....anything to be a favorite! We hoped this enthusiasm for our group would be contagious and picked up by the producers. Oh, and this group was particularly sweet about my pregnancy. They would rub my belly and say, "hey Bama Mama!" whenever I walked by.

Even though we were there early, we didn't get our final approval to enter the sacred grounds of contestant seating until the very last minute. One of our group actually lived a few miles away....about a 30 minute drive if it had been in AL but because it was in the LA area, it took her 2 hours!!!!!! She was so apologetic and I had to be too because I pestered the mess out of her on her cell phone. I called for traffic updates every few minutes because our group was getting nervous and restless waiting on her. But she got there in time (barely) and we were allowed to enter.

The waiting process was lonnnnnnnnnng. VERY long. We were admitted at 10:00 and didn't get to enter the theater until a few minutes after 2:00. So there was lots of mingling and snacking. While in this waiting area the pages came around and checked our ID's and social security numbers on a 2nd form of ID. We also received our AWESOME price tag nametags outside. Knowing other people's names really helped with the bonding experience. I spoke with people who were vets at being in the audience and even got to meet and hug the girl who had won the showcase the day before. You can be in TPIR audience as many times as you are admitted (first come/first served) but once you are called down, even once, to Contestant's Row, you can no longer be considered for the show. But they often allow these previous winners back into the audience for fun and maybe to encourage us and pep us up.

Can you believe I met another prego while I was there? AND she was expecting her 5th child AND was due in February! I told my group I was gonna have to take her out since she was trying to squeeze in on my "gimmick." Thankfully, I think I looked much more capable of running down the aisleway than she did. She was a little more waddly and slow. I think she was probably a few years older than me, too. But she answered a lot of my questions about what to expect over the next few hours so for that, I am thankful to have met her :)

Around 1:00 the "interview" process began. It was NOTHING like I expected it to be (at least until Prego told me about it.) We were called around the corner (still outside in the noisy environment) and stood at a roped off area. Two producers were there, one sitting and taking notes, and the other standing and being very crowd-pleasing. This is how the interview went:
"Hi, my name is Mr. Producer and I know you're all so excited to be here. We're glad you're with us! Now I'd like to ask you your name, where you're from, and what you do."

He then proceeded to walk down the line to listen to each person's answers. He would make a few little comments like, "Oh? You're an accountant? Well you're in the right place for playing with money and numbers!"

And that was it! No opportunity to tell my story. No chance to say that my Granny would be so happy for me if she knew I was there. Only, "I'm a homeschooling Mom to 4 great kids, with another on the way." There was a smile and one of those clap-and-point-to-belly gestures that acknowledge my bump, and we were soon on our way around to the 3rd side of the building. This is where we went through metal detectors (although the female security guards told me I didn't have to walk through -- how thoughtful!) and checked in our cameras and cell phones. This was also our last chance for bathrooms and water fountains.

And at 2:00-ish, we were finally admitted to the studio.

Oh my goodness.

We had to walk upstairs and on that little hike, I got all tingly and even a little teary. I couldn't believe what I was about to do.

And what is the first thing I see when I enter the studio? A sign for "THE GOLDEN ROAD!" I had to cover my mouth. The first game was going to be THE GOLDEN ROAD! And for any real Price Is Right fan, they know that TGR is where BIG BIG prizes can be won. Usually prizes were more valuable than a double-showcase win! I couldn't believe it.

And as we continued walking to our seats, and as I absorbed the idea of possibly being able to play THE GOLDEN ROAD, I started to freak a little bit about what I was seeing. It was INCREDIBLY surreal. The stage was NOTHING like you would expect. Nothing.

Now, I had been fairly warned that "it is so small" and even knew the concept from having been to the local news station. Hollywood magic DOES make what you see on TV look much larger than it is in real life. But THIS was even more shocking than I had imagined. It was teeny and cheesy! The props looked like high-school pep rally props. It was all plywood and glitter! I couldn't believe it! I kept telling Henry, "This is unbelieveable."

Sorry, but this looks like a good place to stop. I need a little break. I gotta stretch my legs. Will continue again soon.

Dragging This Out

Since Blogger is STILL not letting me upload pictures, here's a non-photo related tidbit of the travel story. I promise to write more when I can share the pictures.


First, I definitely need to tell you about Henry putting the in-flight US Airways magazine in my lap with his hand covering part of an article. In the left margin of one of the articles there was a caricature of a handsome black man in glasses. Henry said, "You will not believe who this is."

I go back and forth with him thinking it must be a celebrity but he soon halts that train of thought and says, "No, this is someone you know and this picture makes him look older than he really is."

So I start thinking it must be a doctor who has had something to do with Mannatech. Maybe Dr. Ben Carson?? Dr. John Rollins? I mean, what other black man would I know that would be in an in-flight magazine?

Henry doesn't say, "No" but moves his hand instead so that I can read the name. It said, "Twas The Gift Before Christmas" by Dr. Eric L. Motley! (for those of you who don't know -- Eric is a guy I went to school with.)

My next tidbit occurred during our Charlotte layover. While ordering breakfast at one of the concourse snackbars, the gal behind the counter asked, in a somewhat shocked manner, "How many months are you?" When I answered "seven" she gasped and said, "It must be twins, right?"


Monday, December 18, 2006

Draft In Waiting

I am nearly finished with another blog-segment of my trip post but this doofy blogger won't let me upload pictures. Since that is important to the story-telling, I will keep it in draft until this thing decides to be nice to me.

While I'm writing, let me just say that I love December weather in the 70s!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Travel of Day 1

I've got to break down the post about the trip in a few easier-to-chew bites. I hate that this will cause the rundown to be a little backwards for people who don't check the blog daily but hopefully it won't ruin your day :)

Monday, December 11, 2006 (click pictures to see them bigger)

The sun found us above the clouds Monday morning. We flew out of Montgomery to Charlotte, NC and then to LAX. The layover was perfectly scheduled -- just enough time for potty breaks and food but not so much time that we ever waited to board the plane. In fact, we were almost considered late boarding the planes both times we were in NC.

The flight to CA made me realize there are lots of places in the United States that I definitely need to visit. I wish I had a window seat for this particular flight but my need for leg room kept me at the aisle. Thankfully the dude sitting at the window was friendly and talkative and was willing to photograph the beautiful landscape for us. He was also from LA and was able to point out a few areas of interest as we flew a path that was very familiar to him.

I wish I could see how this farmland looked from the ground. How do the farmers make such perfect designs?? And what is the reason? Anyone??

Colorado was BEAUTIFUL! I must admit that I was glad we weren't going anywhere snowy, though. I very much enjoyed the moderate temperatures of Hollywood. It was a lot like being home. The temperature, however, was about the ONLY thing like being home.

This (right) was our first real view of California. It was real easy to see how geography played a big part in categorizing different areas where people live (the Hills, the Valley, etc.)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

A Rundown Of The "Come On Down"

Actually, of the non-"Come On Down."

That's right, we weren't called.

I have soooooooooo much I want to share about our awesome TPIR experience and I know it will take me a big chunk of time to write it all. Since I can tell by the site-meter that lots of you are checking in a little more frequently than usual, however, I thought I'd give you the basic answer that most of you seek and will save all of the details for a bigger post.

My time right now is super-short and has been all day. I promise to cover the whole story soon and will share pictures.

Thanks to everyone for the well-wishes and prayers. Your encouragement has meant a lot to us!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Check Your Local Paper

Of course, those of you NOT local to me won't get to see this in person but those of you in my neck of the woods can check out the front page of the Life section on Sunday morning and see a picture SIMILAR to this one (but much more professional) and a story about all of us going to Hollywood for The Price Is Right! Five of the ones going from here were unable to meet for the picture and interview. Two others from New Mexico are meeting us in CA and the last one of our twenty actually lives in the LA area. The three from out-of-state are all former residents of our area.

Non-locals who know which paper is my local paper can find said article online.

Tee hee!!!!

Friday, December 08, 2006

The Artist

He-Man made his mark on the wall today. He has twice marked the floor and once, the fireplace hearth. The previous tools were markers or crayons so today's pencil was actually not too bad.

Henry noticed it first.

H - "Who wrote on the wall?"

Me - "I don't know. Are you sure it's writing? It could be where I had the wreaths leaning against the wall. Maybe it was scratched?"

H - "No, it's not from the wreath."

Me - "He-Man, did you write on the wall?"

Nods head.

Me - "Come here."

We then go through the, "Are you supposed to do this? What is the only thing it is OK to write on? Is this paper? Are you in trouble?" conversation. It's truly amazing how he has zero desire whatsoever to lie about any of this. He's just as honest and matter-of-fact as he can be.

The perfect consequence to this situation is to give him the job of cleaning the mess. Henry finds the box of baby wipes and He=Man then has to stand there scrubbing the wall to remove the marks. It comes off fairly easy (easy for us) but is the perfect difficulty for him. He can get it but it's work.

Later Rocky asks, "He-Man, why did you write on the wall?"

H - "It's not paper."

R - "Did you do it because.......(waits for answer)...you're a bad boy?"

(I almost intervene.)

H - (cooly replies) "Yeah."

R - "Are you gonna do it again?"

H - "No, I can only write on paper."

Allright, we'll see.

Why is it that some children feel the need to do this kind of thing? I think all of the children had ONE incident of writing on something inappropriate but He-Man has been the only repeat offender. I guess I should be thankful because some children have the desire to shove stuff up their noses or to eat poisonous substances. When I hear of THOSE kinds of stories, I realize how grateful I should be that artwork (including only 1 bad "Let's play haircut" incident) has been our only real "I can't beieve you did that!" trauma.

If I was superstitious, I wouldn't be posting this entry, ya know. It kinda seems like I'm asking for it, doesn't it?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Yee-Haw! Another Nod!

Aussie golfer gives "sugars" the nod for recovery.

"Glyconutrients" Will Be Household Word Before Long

Here's another exciting article recently published about glyconutrients. This time it's in the Explore: Journal of Science and Healing. It is an introductory type article but that's the phase glycos are still in on a global scale. One day, everyone will know EXACTLY what it means when they see that my email address and car say "GlycoFamily" but until then, I'll keep doing what I can to spread the hope we have in this scientific advancement.

See (and hopefully read) article here.

***note: I have the hard-copy version of this journal at home if anyone would like to see it.***

Monday, December 04, 2006

First Quarter

We're turning in our First Quarter homeschool records tomorrow. I can't believe how quickly time has flown! It's been neat writing out all of the things we've done since starting in August. I am so thankful for how well the year has gone.

The first quarter (ending November 30) was 75 out of our required 170 days within a calendar year. I'm sure the 2nd quarter won't consist of as many school days because of Christmas/New Year and Baby-birthin'. We'll probably take our "Spring Break" the week after the baby is born.

I'm a teeny bit concerned that Rocky is going to finish school way ahead of the girls. He tends to just fly through his workbooks when the day's assignment is too easy. Sometimes I have to stop him and say things like, "Please don't do that today so that you'll have something to do tomorrow." I've had to get him a few little "extras" to keep him busy. His favorite right now is the math dot-to-dot. It's got a lot of "count by 2s" and "count by 3s" some of them starting in the hundreds. He thinks it's great.

What a change from the first week of school, huh?

Henry and I still can't get over how much we all love homeschooling and how wonderful it has been for us. We still ask the kids to reassure us that they love it. We ask them all the time if they miss their friends or wish they were going to ECS or if they want to be around other kids. We ask if they wish they had to wear uniforms or stay in school until 12:30 (we only ask this on the days they finish early. We avoid this on those tough days that last until nearly sunset!) Our favorite discussions come around 4:30 when we see kids getting off the bus. I'll ask them, "Don't you wish YOU rode the bus to school?" They always laugh (and have started to sigh because of the repetitive nature of the questions) and say, "Noooooooo way!"

In all fairness, I know they DO miss their friends. That has been one thing that is definitely an issue BUT it is not a big issue. Even though they're not big phone-callers, they do call their friends a teeny bit more often than they used to. They also have gotten into emailing. Mostly they are writing grandparents and even some of my friends but that social interaction is something they really want every day. (By the way, if any of you want to write the girls an email, ask me for their addys off-blog. I'm SURE you'll get a very chatty reply. This invitation isn't open to everyone by the way. I'm sure y'all realize that!)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

TPIR Countdown

The Price Is Right trip is NEXT WEEK! We've finally gotten babysitters & house-sitters & dog-sitters arranged so all that's left is the packing and studying.

That's right. We're studying. I've tivo'ed all the episodes since we started planning for the trip. At lunch I watch it with the kids and jot down EVERY PRIZE and EVERY PRICE. I have a 12-page study guide that I've emailed (or had Mom email) to the 19 other people going on our adventure. I'm hoping that if ALL of us study, we'll be able to help whichever one of us gets on stage....and hopefully one of us will!

Here are a few examples:
(all below are only from the last few weeks)
*Least expensive - box of paper clips - $0.51
*"Worse Case Scenario" board game (shows up a couple of times a week) - $30
*Dinette range - $717 (casual glasstop by Ashley) to $4893 (glasstop by Carsons of Highpoint)
*Luggage range - $565 (3-pc. by Tutto) to $1070 (4-pc. by Pathfinder)
*Hot Tub range - (they give away LOTS of hot tubs on TPIR) $3495 (by Beachcomber - seats 7) to $8290 (7ft. by Sonoma)
*Trip range - $2405 (6 nights in Nashville - Sheraton Music City) to $7901 (6 nights in Venice)
*Vehicles range - $14,049 (Chevy Cobalt LS2) to $86,743 (Dodge Viper SRT-10 Convertible!!)

* Noteworthy - Winnebago - more than $73,000. We never found out the final price because the girl didn't win.

Both the Dodge Viper & Winnebago were grand prizes during the game "Golden Road." The Viper is the biggest prize won (or offered) to date on a DAYTIME Price Is Right. There have been more expensive prizes during the rare prime-time versions but nothing that much has been offered as a single prize during the daytime show.

*Showcases have ranged from $14,817 (casual Living Room set, carpeting, year-supply chocolates, trip to Switzerland) to $60,989 (trip to St. Lucia, $1000 cash, Chevy Corvette XE!!)

Don't y'all wish you were going with me!? There's still time! I can call to add up to 5 more people! Just let me know!

A 10-Year Old Who Has Never Believed

Wanna know what a 10-year-old does when she's raised without believing in the Tooth Fairy?

When she loses a tooth, she flushes it down the toilet!!

Funny, huh?

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Way The Day Went Down

(Edited: Picture finally added below.)

It was not a good start to the day. The church was having it's annual Christmas festival and the 4th-6th grade musical-expression group I lead was scheduled to present a routine. Ray is in this group.

We needed to be at the church by 9:30...because that's what time I, the leader, said we needed to be there. Did we get there on time? Noooo. Why not? Because MY daughter couldn't find her uniform shirt. Didn't she promise me a couple of weeks ago that she had seen the shirt in her room and that she knew for sure for sure exactly where it was for when we needed it today? YES she did. Could I have ordered her ANOTHER shirt a couple of weeks ago if she could NOT find her shirt from last year? YES I could. But did she tell me there was no need to order another because she had definitely seen hers and it was fine? Yes, she did. But could she find that shirt this morning???? No she could not!


I don't know if Ray cried this morning but before we were even halfway to church, I cried enough for both of us. Mostly hormones? Probably, but there was definitely a lot of anger in those tears. I was angry at myself for trusting Ray to know that her shirt is OK. I was angry that I put so much responsibility on my children when I could put more on myself. I was angry that Ray takes after me and is a procrastinator and didn't set out her clothes the night before (we could have borrowed a shirt if we had realized this problem last night.) I was angry at Ray for lying to me saying she had 'for sure for sure' seen her shirt and all was a-ok. I was angry that we were going to be late for a time that I scheduled and expected others to fulfill. I was angry angry angry and couldn't catch my breath. Thankfully, Henry was driving so I could attend to composing myself and correcting my makeup. It was rough.

And the performances didn't go so well. I'm usually pretty firm with the kids about being disciplined for this great ministry but who was I to discipline and lead today? I was late, I was a wreck, and my daughter wasn't in uniform. So the sugar-high kids who had too many minutes to goof off before my arrival, didn't get the tongue-lashing I was so tempted to throw out at them. They were in a silly mood and I didn't get it out of them. They were care-free about the program and I wasn't capable of bringing the necessary sincerity to the group.

And in my opinion, it definitely showed in the performances.

Yes, others said it was beautiful and wonderful but I knew it could have been better. I knew I could do better.

And the day continued...

My sour mood sweetened a little bit when we finally got away from the festival. We ate lunch at the Trippes and had a little down time. But the slow time wasn't very long because we had another big job still ahead.

The job? Getting Henry another vehicle. His poor white van is still in our driveway but it's no longer very functional. We're hoping to get a few bucks for it (for parts if nothing else) but she's definitely seen better days. That old Caravan was purchased by us 6 years ago and was 6 years old already when we got her. She's been a good vehicle most of that time and a good-enough vehicle until just recently. We've known for the past several months that her time was drawing to a close. Now the curtain has fallen.

So our next adventure required all 6 of us to go through the wonderfully fun process of purchasing another vehicle. It's a "GOOD DEAL" vehicle but older and nothing fancy -- at all. It took about 2 hours to do all that lovely paperwork that is necessary, and for those 2 hours, the children were ANGELS! Seriously! I was very proud and felt so much better about my parenting skills by the end of that trip. (Yes, I sadly equate my ability to parent with the behavior of my kids. Bad behavior = Bad Mommy. Good behavior = Good Mommy.)

The kids felt rewarded by being able to ride home with Daddy in the "new" car. I'm so glad that made them happy because that's all we had to offer at the time.

And then we pressed our luck.

When we pulled into the driveway, Henry and I decided that we should go ahead and return the truck that his sister had loaned to us for this past week. Even though she said she didn't need it back for a few more days, we knew we'd be better to go ahead and get it back to her today while our schedule was open.

So we packed the kids into the van again for a 35-mile trip (one-way) to return their Aunt & Uncle's truck. Poor kids. And they were hoping we'd be putting up our Christmas tree today when we got home.

And would you believe that they were ANGELS AGAIN!?

So we took them to Chick-Fil-A for supper. The visit to CFA has become a much bigger treat than it used to be. Back in the day, we used to go to CFA once a week or more. Since homeschooling however, we've cut that back to about once a month. So tonight's dinner was a nice surprise. And the kids deserved it.

They're finally all asleep now (since about 9:30) and I'm realizing my desperate need for some shut-eye, too.

Here's Henry's new ride.

God's blessing is amazing and oh-so-undeserved. How Sweet It Is.