Thursday, June 20, 2013

The things you learn from Facebook....

According to my college's post on Facebook this morning George R. R. Martin, the author of the Game of Thrones series was a professor there in the 70's!  So I did a bit of digging and confirmed it.  This is from his own website:

"Fortunately, I had a master’s degree from the best journalism school in the country, and after sending out several hundred queries, I was hired as a journalism instructor by Clarke College, a small Catholic women’s college in Dubuque, Iowa. It was a two-man department. My friend Charlie Ellis taught television and film, and I taught the print journalism courses. I was also the faculty advisor to the student newspaper, The Courier, which was great fun and got me in trouble constantly."

Pretty interesting, at least to me.  I guess they should invite him back to speak, right?  Or at least give alumni advanced copies of his next book.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Can you tell who is who?

The other day I was looking for my 3rd grade picture so that I could tell Katie whether or not I had pierced ears in 3rd grade.  Turns out I did.  So I got mine pierced at the beginning of 3rd grade, when I was 8.

Then we noticed how similar our mouths looked.  I thought it would be fun to see if you could pick out who's belongs to who.



Monday, June 17, 2013

Katie is 9!

I have been going through a lot of old photos lately - thinking about scanning them all onto the computer so they don't fade.  I'd like to do that to a lot of old photos at my moms house as well as the in-laws.  Both have so many pictures that I'd hate to see lost.  I'd like my kids to have them as they get older.

Speaking of older - Katie is 9!

Happy Birthday Katie!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Birthday Party Haze

The guests have left and the house has been put back in order - pretty much.  Oh, and the dog and cat have been given free reign of the house again..

- made their own mini pizzas
- played tag outside
- made candy mold suckers
- decorated make-your-own puzzles
- decorated bandannas
- ate fruit pizza
- Katie opened presents
- played ninja
- watched The Princess Bride
- ate popcorn
- played toilet paper mummy (Thanks for the idea Anne!)
- played hide-and-go-seek
- made bracelets
- giggled

Some of these things I just had in my back pocket - just in case.  (mummy, puzzles, bandannas) And I'm glad I did because the "I'm bored" whining came way too early.  So there was plenty to do.  The noise level DID go down a bit when the male guests left, but then it seemed to creep back up again at times. 

We ended up with an even number of girls staying over (Katie and 3 guests) - remember me talking about that?  Well they are not kidding - even numbers are WAY better.  There were so many times when one girl would pull only one other girl aside and whisper or talk or whatever, and that's ok because there's 2 left.  But if there was only 1 left - that would have made for more drama I think.  And the one girl that kept pulling only one other girl aside comes from a home with 2 older sisters - 12 and 14.  She seemed to have a lot of "older" girl speech and game ideas. 

All in all it was a success.  Today Katie wants her ears pierced.  She's been talking about it for quite a while, and I'm ok with it - more so than John is I think.  All the girls here last night had their ears pierced and they were talking about it too.  I think we are going to do it this afternoon.  Maybe.

Does this look like a jumbled mess? 
I hope so - cuz that's what I was going for.

That mummy on the left is Katie.

Katie and her friends...and Will. :)

Friday, June 14, 2013


Update to the party -

So I e-mailed the other 2 moms and said that we decided to turn the party into a girl's sleepover, if they'd like to come.  One said yes, one said no - they had done 2 sleepovers in the last week and were paying the price.  (Today that same mom e-mailed and said her daughter is sick and can't come to any of it!  Too little sleep, too many germs.)

So we are having 4 girls stay overnight and I think that's just perfect.  Katie has come around - she just doesn't like loud parties, crowds, and is worried about not being able to fall asleep.  I think once we get this first one under our belt, we'll be good. 

Katie has been invited to 3 birthday parties in the last 6 months or so and each of them included a sleepover for just a few of the guests.  In each case, Katie wasn't invited to sleep over - she was fine with it and so was I.  It seems to be a very common thing to do these days and is even one of the suggested "DO'S" on many sleepover tip-type websites.  Yes, I read sleepover tip websites.

However, it just felt odd not including everyone when our party list wasn't that long to begin with.  So the only ones excluded will be the boys - but you'd be surprised how many websites there are telling you how to throw co-ed sleepovers too!  I'm totally a stick-in-the-mud on that one.  We'll skip those.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Need your input

Ok, I need some help.

Katie is having her birthday party on Friday night. There will be 3 boys and 4 girls coming.  The party will be from 6-8 and we are making little pizzas, decorating scarves, making bracelets and have games to play.

We invited 2 of the girls to stay overnight.  The two Katie picked are probably not the two that I would have thought she would pick, but I wanted to leave it up to her.

Here's the question - will the other 2 girls feel bad and left out that they didn't get invited to stay over too?  How do I handle that?  DO i handle that?  I am actually good friends with the moms and have also thought about e-mailing them to give them a heads up and to explain that we'd love to have them spend the night in a couple weeks too.

I also offered it up to Katie to invite ALL 4 girls to spend the night so as not to leave anyone out and - being a TRUE introvert - she basically had a panic attack at the thought of 4 other people spending the night in her house.

So - you tell I need to be concerned with their feelings?  Should I e-mail the moms and explain the situation?

Monday, June 10, 2013

New week

It's Monday - a brand new week.  It's supposed to get warmer this week, muggy even.  It figures.  Go from unseasonable cold to muggy and humid overnight.  It rained Saturday night and about half the day on Sunday.  It sure looks like it could rain now too - but according to the weather channel, it shouldn't. 

We are having t-ball again tomorrow and it even looks like it could be *gasp* sunny!  Today we are hoping to get to the park. 

Hans started obedience class last week.  We are signed up for classes at a dog training place in the town next door.  I thought I would give them a try versus the pet stores this time.  Here were my options:
1. Take an adult 1 class at the pet store where we took our first puppy class.  The instructor was very nice, seemed knowledgeable, but the space left something to be desired because we were a little cramped, and it was the furthest away.

2.  Take an adult 1 class at the pet store where we took our 2nd puppy class.  It was very close by, but the space was terrible.  Way too cramped and very hard to control dogs when they are inches away from each other.  The instructor was very gruff, which is necessary at times, but she also had only been a trainer for 18 months.

3.  Take an adult 1 class at the professional dog trainer's facility.  Didn't know anything about it, other than I'd heard from some dog-people it was a good place.

All 3 were within $10 of each other, so I figured I'd give option 3 a try.  The first week, they didn't want any dogs - we just went over requirements of the class, type of leash, type of collar, etc.  When I explained the issues I was having with Hans (a little pulling on walks, and a LOT of pulling when he'd see other people or dogs.  I've had 2 burns across my hand from the leash and 2 fingernails bent backwards.  Boy, do those hurt.)  They suggested that I come early the following week and get Hans fitted for a prong collar. 
A prong collar has blunt prongs that squeeze the dogs neck when tightened.  It's supposed to replicate the mother dog grabbing her pups by the neck as a correction tool.  It looks intimidating, and I'd heard good and bag things about it.  During the week I did a bit of reading up on them and they are actually a quite gentle training device - more so than the choke collars or slip collars that were suggested as well.  When I went to have Hans fitted, the owner of the place did it himself and spent about 30 minutes with me showing me effective ways to use it, put it on and remove it. 

He told me that a lot of how Hans reacts in the prong is going to be based on my body language and how I hold the leash.  We tried an exercise - he told me to tense up my body as much as possible, arms, legs, shoulders, hands, etc.  Then he brought another dog close to Hans and Hans FLIPPED OUT.  He was lunging, trying to get close to the other dog, whining, etc.  They removed the dog and now he told me to relax as much as I could, slow, deep breaths, and to close my eyes.  They brought the dog back and I couldn't even tell he was there.  Hans was as still as a statue.  And just to drive the point home, we tensed up again brought the dog back, and I had "crazy Hans" again.  Weird.

So now we've been walking with the prong, and using in for 10-15 minutes at home doing our exercises and he's been doing great.  We only have the collar on when we are training.  I even was able to walk Hans through a group of about 5 kids, up to a lemonade stand and buy a cup. :)  He was totally calm, which never would have happened before.  There was only one issue.  We were walking by 2 dogs in their front yard.  I purposefully walked out into the middle of the street so Hans wouldn't get too close.  We are doing well around other dogs (excitement wise) but I still need to take it slow.  Of course these dogs aren't tied up, no fence whatsoever so they run out to us in the middle of the street.  Meanwhile the owners are sitting on their steps calling their dogs back (who aren't listening) and Hans is going crazy - probably because I'm all tensed and stressed and surprised at this sudden surge of dogs.  So Hans is yelping and jumping and going all crazy and sounding like something is hurting (because it is) and I'm trying to get the owners to come take their dogs away - which they eventually do.

For the Canine Good Citizenship test, you can't use prong collars.  So in adult 2 classes, they work on switching back and forth. 

Here's some pics of the kids at the Twins game last week - because I don't have pictures of the dog class.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

We had t-ball!

We had our first t-ball practice last night!  Finally!  It was sprinkling quite a bit so we were all wet after an hour, but at least we got 1 in.  Some of us were in foul moods after the hour
*cough* Katie *cough*....but some snacks and juice boxes seemed to help. 

Will did great - good solid hits and ran TO the ball instead of digging in the dirt.  Of course, I didn't have my camera - so we'll see what happens next week.  It LOOKS sunny for now...

Work is starting to pick up a bit.  I have projects to work on now and they very similar to what I was doing 10 years ago so there isn't much of a learning curve there - just a remembering curve.  It's hard working in an isolated bubble - I can't just shout over my shoulder when I have a question or something to say - I have to wait longer for a reply.  We converse mostly via e-mail and I try to schedule chunks of time that I am "on the clock" so I am not just working on and off for 20-30 minutes every hour.  However, when an e-mail comes in that I need to deal with, I need to deal with it.  So it makes it hard to track hours, more of an estimating situation I spose. 

Tomorrow is "Pebble's" last day at our house and I think it will be a positive move for everyone.  She is going to stay with her grandma who is visiting for like 3 weeks and then to a preschool center (kind of an expensive one, at that!)  But I bet we'll see her once in a while because that school always goes to the concerts in the park by the library - as do we. 

Let's see...what else - oh, it's the last day of school today.  Will got pushed and fell down and hit something hard on the floor at school - he came home with an ice pack from the nurse and a bloody nose with a big bruise on his cheek.  He was also quite sad. :(  Don't worry, he's over it now, though.