Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What I did on my summer vacation! :)

I think I suck at blogging! I like to read other people's blogs...in fact I am a regular follower of a few. I check them regularly, make comments, I even get irritated if they don't post for a while...but none of this is evidently enough to make ME post on a more regular basis!

So, this is my essay on what we did on our summer vacation:

As I mentioned in my last post, our city pool was required to make some major renovation due to legislated safety requirements. At first, they said they were going to be closed until mid to late July, but they ran into other issues and ended up not opening at all. This has been a bit of a challenge, as our kids (especially Ike) use the pool quite regularly, but they have survived.

Ike play All-Star baseball into July. As usual, it was wicked hot during that time. They practiced about four days a week and the tournament was held north of Coeur d'Alene the first two weekends in July. They ran into some really good competition and played really well. Won some games, lost some games. True to tradition we held a BBQ for the players after one of the games to celebrate Ike's 12th birthday, it is always fun to do that & the players (and coaches!) look forward to it now. Since baseball has been over Ike has had a pretty busy summer. He volunteered for Vacation Bible School at our church, went on vacation to Yellowstone National Park with one of his friends & his grandparents, has spent considerable time with Mike's dad, and went to church camp. He mows our lawn weekly and also one of the neighbors' lawns. He is looking forward to school starting & also wrestling I think, as just the other day he was walking around the house in a singlet!!!

Cassidy has worked all summer at the local farmer's market selling baked goods. She has done quite well, some weeks better than others & surprised all of us by sticking to it for the whole summer. She is done for the year now, but we are really proud of her for figuring out a job when she couldn't find one. She also volunteered at VBS this year, has spent some time at Papa's house, and went to church camp. She is at Silverwood today on a youth group trip and leaves tomorrow to spend several days at my mom & dad's house. She is very excited to start high school in a couple weeks.

Kaittlin attended Ironwood Thrower's Camp this summer and also went to church camp. Besides those two events and a few days with her friends most of her summer has been spent working at the hospital. She has gotten to try out every shift & she really likes her job. She is going to continue working once school starts, but will only be able to work weekends to start with. Beginning this week the hospital is doing a trial run of switching the CNAs to 10 hour shifts which means that swing shift runs until 1am instead of 11pm. If that becomes permanent she will not likely work during the week. If they go back to 8 hour shifts & her class schedule accommodates it she may try to pick up one or two swing shifts during the week. She gets her second senior picture sitting done on September 1 & just got register for the dual enrollment college course she will be taking this fall. She is ready to start her senior year...can you believe it???!!!

As far as our family goes, we enjoyed a visit from the Schulz family in June. It was an amazing time of just hanging out & visiting & it ended way too soon. Sonny did stay an extra couple days before they had to move on to a family reunion in Boise...that was an extra good time, as she had not been here in such a long time...we really enjoyed that. We got to watch her play in Hoop Fest & she was able to watch Ike play in one of his All-Star games. It was a special time & we are planning a family vacation in February to attend her final college basketball game.

We have spent considerable time picking huckleberries this year. The crop is abundant & the berries are big. The kids pick & sell berries each year for school clothes money. Prices are down this year...I'm not sure if it is because there are just so many berries out there or because no one has any money (I certainly understand that!), but we have sold some & the kids have bought some clothes. None of my kids are clothes horses & are pretty thrifty, so they will be fine. Hopefully we can sell them all & put the extra cash toward the trip to Bismarck.

Summer is slipping away & the list of projects around the house, although smaller, is not nearly as completed as I would have wished by now...go figure! School supplies have been purchased & registration for classes is next week. Time flies...

Now you know what I did on my summer vacation! :)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Summer Plans

Well, summer is officially underway whether the weather agrees or not. The season is shaping up to be quite different than we are generally used to.

The biggest difference is the city pool. Our kids, at least until they have turned 15 or 16, have always been big users of the pool. We always purchase a family pass & you can usually find them there almost every sunny day of the summer. This has always been of great benefit to us as I work all year & even though Mike works at the school his job is also year round (although 4 10-hour days in the summer). This year, however, due to new safety legislation the pool will not be open until late July because of upgrades that need to be done.

Kaittlin completed her CNA course through Lewis Clark State College this spring. The course consisted of one semester of a college level health course, followed by a one semester nurses assistant course. The CNA course was fairly extensive, requiring a two hour block of classroom work each morning at school with the obligatory assignments, quizzes, & tests. In addition she had to complete a specified number of "skills" hours. These were classes held at the local nursing home, taught by a registered nurse. She was also required to completed "clinical" hours where she worked a specified number of hours before & after school and on weekend, also at the local nursing home, basically practicing the practical skills she was learning, under supervision, at the nursing home. She also had the opportunity to shadow CNAs at the local hospital during this time. After completing all of her coursework & hours and passing her test to complete her course through LCSC, she then had to test through the State of Idaho to received her certification. She did that during the last two weeks of school & did very well, passing with an 85%.

In early May Kaittlin had applied at Valley Vista (nursing home) and the local hospital hoping to get a summer job as a CNA. In previous years, students completing this program had no problem getting on a Valley Vista, so a couple weeks before school was out Kaittlin was a little dismayed to hear that Valley Vista was not going to be hiring any CNAs this summer. We had heard a rumor that the hospital would not hire anyone under age 18 & she feared she had failed to make a Plan B & she would be without a job for the summer. She was just getting ready to enter panic mode on the day that she went to Post Falls to take her state certification test. About 1/2 hour before she was to take her test she noticed that she had a voicemail on her phone, so she called it back. It was the hospital, calling to schedule an interview with her!

So, the week after Kaittlin got out of school she interviewed at the hospital, found out she got the job!!! & took her ACTs. She is currently finishing up her first week at the hospital. She has worked swing swift all this week & spent a considerable amount of time in the emergency room. I think she has already learned a lot. This next week she will also work swing, then she will leave for Ironwood Thrower's Camp at Whitworth College in Spokane. She went to this camp last year on a scholarship & it was amazing. She is going as a commuter this year to save money. When she returns her shift at the hospital will change to graveyard about 4 days a week.

Her plans for the summer are work as much as possible, Ironwood, & she will also be attending church camp for one week at the end of July.

This spring Cassidy tried out for high school cheerleader & made the squad. She attended about 6 practices & came home one day & said, "Mom, I think I made a big mistake." Cassidy has always been a reluctant cheerleader, anyway. She was starting to feel like maybe she had bitten off more than she could chew. She had recently been to high school orientation & heard about the clubs she could join (two in particular really picqued her interest) & really took to heart the talks by the principal & counselor about your grades really mattering now. We made her wait a couple days before she told her cheer coach just to make sure SHE was sure, but she didn't change her mind.

Cassidy wanted a job this summer in the worst way, but no one hires kids under 16 in St. Maries. Idaho law limits the number of hours & which hours 14 & 15 year-olds can work, so most employers just don't like to mess with them for fear they will make a mistake in scheduling & inadvertantly break the law. Babysitting is so hit & miss and we did a lot of brainstorming, but finally came up with an idea that so far is paying off. St. Maries has a farmers' market every Friday night from 3pm to 6pm downtown. Cassidy has secured a booth & sells homemade baked items...pies, breads, cinnamon rolls, etc. Her first week she made about $40, this week she cleared about $95 (in the rain!). The booth costs her $10 a week, but after 4 weeks she is a member of the market & no longer has to pay. She also pays me for the ingredients. She is keeping track of her costs & sales so that she knows what she does & pays herself $10 per week to use as spending money, the rest goes in her savings account. Her early projections have her putting about $800 in savings this summer, not too bad! She will also be attending church camp at the end of July.

Ike just completed baseball season & was chosen to be on the All-Star team. That means practices for another several weeks & games the first two weekends in July. He has also become a regular "groupie" in the dugout of the local American Legion baseball team. They put him to work fetching balls & picking up bats & he likes to hang out with the big boys. Everyone is a winner! :) He will be attending church camp the third week in July. He also mows our lawn once a week & has a once weekly lawn mowing job for one of our neighbors.

Neither Mike or I have any work travel plans for the summer & vacation will likely not be financially possible this year, although I do think that we plan on a Spokane Indians game or two. We also would like to work a little on our yard, possibly moving in some river rock which we may have to make some trips to get.

We are looking forward to a visit from Sonny Schulz & her family next week and to watching her plan in Hoop Fest...can't wait for that! And, before we know it the end of the summer will be upon us. The kids plan on picking huckleberries again this year for school clothes money, it's crazy how fast it goes!

For our friends & family who read this, near & far, if you find yourself in the area please give us a call. We would love to have you stop by & see us...the house might not always be clean, but we can throw some hamburgers on the BBQ & build a fire in the pit on the patio & roast some marshmallows!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Graduation Weekend

My posts seem to be few & far between anymore. Life is so busy & I can hardly keep up most of the time. But this past weekend came with a story that one can't help but repeat...so repeat it I will:

Saturday was graduation in St. Maries. As usual we had a plethora of parties to go to (with my involvement in Junior Miss & Mike coaching wrestling we always get hit hard). We got home on Saturday night at about 10:30 pm. Kaittlin had a babysitting job until about 12:45 am. Cassidy had a friend spending the night & they decided to sleep in the TV room downstairs. Ike figured since they were down there he would sleep in Cassidy's bed in the girls' room upstairs (Kaittlin & Cassidy share the bedroom across the hall from ours).

At 5:00 am on Sunday morning Ike came into our room & woke me up. He said, "Mom, there is a girl in my bed that I don't know". Needless to say that got my attention & I asked him to repeat himself. The second time around wasn't much different, "A girl that I don't know just got into bed with me, I think she's drunk."

By this time Mike was awake & paying attention (imagine!). I quickly decided this problem should be his to solve & turned it over to him, but he wanted to make sure Ike was not sleep walking first & sent me to confirm the facts! So, I put on my glasses, walked to the doorway of the girls' room and sure enough Kaittlin was sound asleep in her bed and Mystery Girl, clad in blue jeans & a yellow hoodie with the hood pulled up, was snoozing away in Cassidy's bed where Ike had been sleeping.

At this point I walked back to our room & told Mike that, indeed, there was a girl in the bed. While he dressed & put his contacts in I asked Ike if he had woke up & she was there or how had the realization of her presence come about. He recounted the following scenario:

Ike wakes up to see the back of a girl, who he thinks is Cassidy's friend, bent over Kaittlin's bed. It appears that she is attempting to reach something near the bed, but is being very careful, possibly trying not to wake Kaittlin. Ike sits up in bed & watches for a few seconds. Then:

Ike: "Just grab whatever you need, you won't wake her up."

The girl turns around & Ike is surprised to find that she is not Cassidy's friend.

Ike (in a surprised voice): "Oh! Hi!?! Can I help you?"

Mystery Girl: "No???"

Ike: "Did you come home with Kaittlin?"

Mystery Girl: "I don't think so?"

Ike: "I'm confused..."

Mystery Girl: "So am I!"

At this point Mystery Girl walked over to Ike's bed, climbed in with him, rolled onto her side, pulled the covers up, & fell promptly to sleep. That is when, he said, he jumped out of bed & came into our room to wake me up.

This is when I walked back into the bedroom, with the entire family behind me, & knelt down next to the bed, & tried to lift up Mystery Girl's hood enough that we could see her face & maybe determine who she was. In retrospect this was probably a very funny sight, a real Goldilocks & the Three Bears moment, I'm sure. Had she woke at this point, she probably would have had a heart attack. But, she didn't wake up & we did figure out who she was. We also figured out that she was probably trying to get to her grandparents house, which is very close by.

We shooed the kids out of the room & tried to decide if we should call someone for her or wake her up & get her to her grandparents house. Due to the hour we decided on the latter & Mike went in to wake her up. He managed to get her up & walked her to her grandparents house & everyone went back to bed. It was quite the morning & Ike will have a story to tell for quite some time.

You know, I've had several people berate me for not locking my doors & telling me what a bad thing it was that she got in, but in hindsight I'm really kind of glad it happened. It was a good lesson to my kids of what can happen when you make not so good of decisions with alcohol, and even more so, I am SO GLAD it was my house this young lady wandered into. She could have passed out in the street & gotten hit by a car, she could have walked into someone's house who would have shot first & asked questions later, she could have walked into someone's house who would have taken advantage of her. Thank GOD my doors were unlocked & she made it somewhere safe!

Ike got an extra Twinkie at Sunday School for having the best story of the week...I think I deserve one too! :)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Pay it Forward?

The most interesting thing happened to us last night.

Next week is Spring Break for our school. I am also taking the week off of work, the first week long vacation I have taken in a really long time...no real plans, just staying home, spring cleaning, cooking, etc. This week is one of those screwed up weeks at the school due to conferences. Ike went to school Monday through Wednesday, but was off Thursday and Friday because of conferences. Cassidy had Friday off for conferences and Kaittlin was scheduled all week with early release on Friday. Originally Kaittlin was going to be gone all day on Friday because of a track meet in Bonners Ferry, but at the eleventh hour they rescheduled the meet for Saturday. I had also scheduled myself off of work on Friday to attend the meet in BF.

So yesterday, Thursday, I ended up working late trying to get my desk cleared off to be gone for 6 work days. It was 6:00 by the time I got home and Mike was at the neighbors house helping him work on his motorcycle. Kaittlin had also just walked in the door from track practice and Ike was outside playing (Cassidy was at a friend's house spending the night). I was tired and hungry and didn't really want to deal with dinner. The rising costs of EVERYTHING have really affected our family in the last 6 - 9 months and we have really cut back our spending, but payday was Friday and I threw caution to the wind and suggested we go to Cabin City Pizza for dinner. Since we eat out so seldom anymore I had no trouble convincing anyone to get in the car and go! :)

When we walked into the restaurant it was not busy. There were only two table occupied, one with two men and one with a single women, no one we knew. We took our table, ordered, and started talking amongst ourselves. Kaittlin had taken her ASVABs that morning and spent the afternoon at Career/College day at the high school. She had brought along some of the college and military brochures she had picked up and we were passing them around and discussing options and generally having a really nice "before the meal came" time. During that time the woman who was in the restaurant got up and left and a gentlemen we know walked through and briefly stopped and talked to us.

When our food came it took the waitress a couple trips to get everything to the table. On her final trip she announced, "and I have really good news for you, your meal has been paid for". She went on to tell us that the lady who had been in the restaurant earlier told her that she had enjoyed watching our family and we made her smile. The week before someone had paid for her dinner, and she wanted to pay it forward. The waitress knew little about her other than she comes into there about once a week and her husband is a long haul truck driver. We were stunned and thrilled! What a blessing!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Busy Times

This must be a busy time for bloggers. Since the first of the year I have not had a spare minute to post to this blog & 5 of the 6 blogs that I regularly follow seem to have the same problem.

Winter has waned here in Northern Idaho. After one of snowiest Decembers on record, snow storms have been few & far between since the first of the year. It has continued to be cold & frosty, but for the most part the roads have been clear & there have been a few days that have even made you think spring might be on the way. Today WAS on exception, as it snowed & the wind blew all day...I think we got nearly 3 inches.

Let me fill you in on what has kept us so busy for the past several months.

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, Mike is not a paid coach for the high school wrestling team this year. However, he did agree to continue to keep computerized records of all the boys' stats & compile the paperwork necessary for their state seeding records. This, along with our family's geveral love of the sport kept us on the road several times a week this wrestling season...following the team to almost all of their matches. Thirteen of our boys advanced to the state tournament in Pocatello a couple weeks ago, which was very good for our team. However, once they got there the competition was tough & we only came away with two medals, a 4th & a 6th. The season is over except for the awards banquet & he is already looking forward to next year.

In addition the weather challenges have kept the bus garage busy, he continues to serve as the Vice President of the Lumberjack Booster Club, & in his "spare time" :) he has been rebuilding the engine in his pickup which has been on all winter project.

For myself, I continually struggle to keep up with the demands of job, home, & family. I am enjoying a several month hiatus as the co-chairman of the St. Maries Junior Miss program as Kaittlin is participating...it is strange not to be very busy with that this time of year, but a welcome time off, & fun to see Kaittlin getting to experience the program. The economy has affected the grocery business as much as it has other businesses as well. We have seen ever increasing product, delivery, & overhead costs which in turn require an increase in what we sell, which of course, affects our business. But, most of all, the biggest impact has been in the unemployment in our community. So many people are not working, therefore not spending money. We have also had to cut hours. It is just heartbreaking to see so many people struggling. I am thankful that I have a job to go to each day & that it has not yet been impacted by the economy. Even though Mike & I have continued to work our family has felt the affects of the economy as well with rising fuel, food, utility costs. We have really cut back & pray that things turn around quickly.

Kaittlin has probably been the busiest of all of us this past several months. In January she finished up her first semester of her junior year, passing her college class Fundamentals of Health (the first half of her CNA course) with a B+. She began the actual practical part of the CNA course in January. This class is quite time consuming. In addition to the two hour online class each morning at school, with whatever homework that entails she also has skills classes, clinicals, & job shadowing. The skills classes are taught by an RN at Valley Vista, the local nursing home. These classes are various afternoons from 3pm to 8pm & some Saturdays. She must have 20 hours of skills to pass her class. Clinicals are also held at Valley Vista, usually early mornings before school & some Saturdays. The students work with RNs to practice the skills they have learned with actual patients. She must have 40 hours of clinicals to pass her class. She also job shadows at the hospitals a couple mornings per month before school, shadowing another CNA. She just finished up wrestling season, as the teams stats keeper & was able to travel to the state tournament with them. She had a great time, but came home with an upper respiratory infection that took her out of school for a couple days. She just started track practice every night after school & is really looking forward to getting going with that.

If all of that is not enough, Kaittlin began preparation for the Junior Miss program in January. They meeting once a week on Monday evenings from 7pm to 9pm. One week they met every night to learn their Fitness routine & in a couple weeks they will meet every night of the week to learn their Poise routine. We ordered her Poise dress in January & it arrived. It is at my mom's house being altered. Although Kaittlin is not really a dress girl, I think she is really looking forward to having a princess gown & dressing up for the program. She has also gotten her Talent outfit put together & her music cut, although she has yet to work on her Talent presentation. She will be performing American Sign Language to a song. The Junior Miss girls were able to go to a local photographer to get their group & individual pictures taken last Monday. The pictures were just posted to the photographer's website yesterday. You can view them at www.kukur.com.

Cassidy has had quite a busy couple months as well. Middle school basketball was in full swing in January & February. Since the cheerleading squad cheers for both girls & boys basketball there were some weeks that she cheered at 3-5 games per week. Thank God they don't travel with the teams...only home games. She also is in the Publications class, which she really enjoys. They publish the school newspaper & the yearbook. Yearbook deadlines are fast approaching, so she has been busy getting her pages completed.

Two weeks ago, during PE class, Cassidy was playing dodge ball with her class. She was running for the balls placed on the half court line of the gym & dropped to her knees to grab one. As she did so, her face collided with the knee of another student approaching from the other direction. A doctor's appointment & facial CT later we found that she had shattered all of the bones in her nose. She did this on a Thursday & we had to wait until the next Monday for some of the swelling to subside to see a Ear Nose & Throat Specialist. He scheduled surgery for the next day, Tuesday, as he needed to reset her septum & the nasal bones on both sides of her nose. The surgery went well & then she went to stay with my mom & dad for a few days while she was on the prescription pain medication so that she could be monitored...she was hysterically funny on the paid meds...more entertaining than TV! :) A week later the packing was taken out of her nose & the cast off the outside & her nose is straight again & she is having no problems breathing, so that is a good thing.

Ike started out the new year between sports. Idaho club wrestling & middle school wrestling ended in the beginning of December. He decided that he would like to try to wrestling the Washington club wrestling season, which started at the end of February. He affiliated with a club in Potlatch which does the wrestling season & goes over there 1 or 2 times a week to practice. He is having a good time with their team & learning a lot. Last weekend was the first Washington tournament, we went to Mead High School in north Spokane. There were 900 wrestlers there, but it was very organized & moved right along. We had to be there for weigh-ins at 7:00 am & wrestling started at 10am. They were done & starting to hand out medals at 4:45 pm! Ike took 2nd place in his age division & weight class & brought home a sweet medal! He has 4 or 5 more tournaments & 1 or 2 freestyle tournaments in the area that he can attend. He just got signed up for baseball for the spring & if it stops snowing I suspect we will have draft in a couple weeks.

As you can see it has been a busy couple months. We invite any of our friends & relatives to join us for Junior Miss which will be held at 7pm the evenings of Friday, April 17 & Saturday, April 18. Tickets are $5 at the door or you can contact Kaittlin to arrange to pre-buy your tickets so you don't have to buy them that night. We would love to have you.