September 13, 2018: Trying 4H

I got up just before eight and was pretty tired, having stayed up working so late last night, and having had a very busy day with the kids yesterday.  Two library outings, and two taco restaurant trips.  It was a lot, on top of working.  Today I am hoping to limit our activities to just one trip to do 4H.  It is a lot to do two things yesterday, and another today.  That’s more than the girls normally would have done in a month!  But I feel that they need more of this sort of stuff and the opportunity to do things has just presented itself and I want to squeeze it all in.

So I started the day with moving one scheduled meeting to later in the day so that it will not conflict with 4H.  And did my DuoLingo for the day first thing, and worked to prep to get my phone charging aligned with when we would need to head out of the house.  Thankfully, 4H takes place just a couple of blocks away, so should be only five to seven minutes in the car, tops.  It’s at a local church, right on Josey.  So easy.

Luciana really wanted to go to the playground this week.  And I have been trying to figure out when we can squeeze it into the schedule.  But we can’t do it before 4H today, or else the kids won’t have time to sleep and they will be all sweaty for their first 4H meeting.  And they can’t do it afterwards because I had to rearrange a meeting just to make it as it is.  And after the meeting will be pretty late, but theoretically possible.  We will see about that.  We had no possibility of doing it yesterday, because we were so busy.  And before that, it had been raining for a few days.  It is not so terribly hot, though, so overall it would be very nice to get to go do that.

It is a little hotter than it has been, though.  We are supposed to be in the low eighties for at least a week.  So before bed last night we had to go back on air conditioning.  We really enjoyed the fresh air while we had it, though.

It was a bit of a mad rush to get out of the house in time to get to the 4H meeting today.  Luciana had been in a mood all morning and didn’t want to go, until it was nearly time to go then she was ready in a jiffy and happy as a clam ready to head out the door.  Liesl took forever getting ready and wasn’t ready on time.

We got to the church only about three minutes late.  It is so close, thankfully.  We found that the church was locked and that there were no signs, however.  Pretty confusing.  It seemed like no one was there, even though several cars were parked there.  We walked around, but there was no information or guidance.  The entrances were all simply locked.

Thankfully, a woman was trying to get in shortly after we arrived to get her child from daycare and she knew to ring a doorbell.  Which ended up doing nothing, but while we waited, someone came out a side door and let us in.  They had no idea about 4H being there (something tells me the church is too large if people working there aren’t aware of a group of children having a meeting in it at the same time), but let us in to look around.  We managed to find the meeting upstairs.

Luciana went to the clover room, where they were just drawing and colouring.  But she loves to do that, so not a problem at all.  We had heard that there were normally just two kids in the clover group and that Ciana might make it three.  But it turned out to be like six or seven today!  She drew me several pictures during the meeting, but eventually got caught up in playing with the other kids and mostly forgot about me.

Liesl sat at the table with the big kids and participated in the board meeting and learning about parliamentary procedures.  She was super nervous at first, but the older girls were super welcoming and she got into it all and had a great time really quickly.  She ended up really enjoying the parliamentary procedure stuff and getting to hang out with the older kids.  She might have been the youngest of the older kids.

I got to watch the big kids for most of the time.  Then I did a little info session with the other parents.  We made a new friends who has five kids, two of which are the same ages as the girls.  So hopefully they will be able to get together sometimes soon, and see each other at 4H.  This week is very successful on meeting people.

We did have an incident that almost got quite bad.  Some parent, who did not seem very official, at some point went into the hallway and I caught her yelling at Luciana and getting quite angry with her.  She didn’t like, apparently, that Luciana was trying to use the bathroom and yelled at her and kept telling her to go into some room that was not the bathroom and grabbed her arm and pushed her and was incredibly mean and rude and immature.  Then she gave Luciana attitude when Luciana wasn’t polite to her after she had been yelled at.  I was about to step in, but the woman left once she realized an adult was nearby.  Had I not been there, I would not have been surprised if she would have hit Luciana.  Whoever this woman was, she clearly had lost emotional control and was just attacking a child that seemed to be someone she had some power over.  Exactly why I fear public schools.  I had to wait to talk to Luciana about it at home.  Luciana had no idea what was going on, just some crazy mean lady going after her.

There was also an incident (well three) of a two year old nearly plummeting down a stair well because the church doesn’t have any railing around the stairs to stop children from just going over the edge.  Insanely dangerous.  The bars on the railing are so far apart that a young child can casually just walk between them, even Luciana at seven years old would not be stopped by them.

This evening I read another chapter of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone to Luciana while she took a shower.  It is so funny how much she enjoys that.

Dinner was mac and cheese.  Both girls wanted it tonight.

We had been planning on spending some time all together, but both girls seemed to just want to do something quiet on their own.  After two days of nearly continuous activity with other kids, they were ready for some down time.

Liesl did her reading in The Witch of Blackbird Pond just before bed.  She has not missed a day of reading since she was at book club.  She has not missed a day of DuoLingo Spanish since Sunday, either.  And she is really enjoying it.

So I got to put in a few extra hours working, then watched some of Deep Space Nine.  I am on the seventh, and final, season finally.

For their midnight snack, both girls wanted two corn dogs.  They are really in sync tonight.

I made some generic orange “Kool-aid” tonight and Luciana decided to try it and really likes it.  This is a first of her drinking something like this.

Luciana is hoping for another trip to Taco Bueno tomorrow.  Dollars to donuts she doesn’t want to leave the house when I remind her tomorrow.  She also then said that she wants to get up and go to the Guatemalan bakery because she loves it there.  Or to maybe try out Monica’s for breakfast.  She is always ambitious at night, and ready to stay in all day in the morning.

September 12, 2018: Library Day

Today was one crazy day for the Miller family.  I had to be up at a good time, I had my regular Wednesday morning meeting today.  Which we expected to go really poorly, or at least awkwardly, given yesterday’s news.  But it ended up going great and running for an hour and a half.  We felt really positive about it by the time that all was said and done.

After the meeting, I was actually in a rush to get showered, get the girls ready, and get out the door to drive up to Hebron to go to the Carrollton Public Library to attend the home school open house that they are having today.  Thank goodness both girls got themselves up, got dressed in what they were supposed to wear, brushed their hair, and were ready to go.  They were very helpful, and excited about the day’s activities.

Liesl had actually gotten up this morning and worked on her Spanish via DuoLingo while I was on my call!

The library was really crowded.  The turn out was one hundred and twenty eight people!  Way more than we had been expecting.

Liesl immediately made friends with another nine year old girl, Isabella.

The program had the parents all in one presentation room, while the kids were taken off to do activities to keep them busy and entertained.  We learned about library resources and community activities for the home school kids.

One that I think the girls will really like is 4H.  There is a homeschool 4H for them to check out, and it meets tomorrow.  So that is going to be rough, but we might make it.  The people there seemed really nice.

There is also a local nature trail group that seemed really nice that I think we will want to check out.  They have some neat programs for the kids and activities.  And everything is so close.

Luciana ended up being a little young for the scavenger hunt and something went wrong and she was upset and a librarian had to bring her back to me.  But even Luciana, by the time that we left, said that she had a really good time and just didn’t like the scavenger hunt.  We never found out exactly what went wrong, though.  Liesl tried to explain later.  But I think it was that Luciana didn’t understand all of the rules.

I met Isabella’s mother and we talked for a bit.  The girls want to try to get together later this week to hang out.

While at the library, I renewed my library card which had expired (it was a short six month card, now I have a five year one) and I got a Texture card which gives me access to most libraries in Texas.  So I am well set up on library cards now.

We got lunch at Taco Bueno on the way home.  Luciana especially loves the food there.  She got a quesadilla and discovered that she really likes dipping it into sour cream.  Liesl started with just some Mexican rice, but then wanted a quesadilla, too.  The girls were very happy with the day and the food.

We got home and only had forty five minutes for me to sit at the desk and catch up as quickly as I could, and for the girls to relax a little, use the bathroom, brush their hair again, etc.  Then at a quarter till four we were out the door again to go to the Farmer’s Branch library!

Farmer’s Branch had well over one hundred people, as well, for their dino craft activity event, they had only planned on about sixty.  The room was super crowded and they were scrambling to get stuff for all of the kids.

The girls did three crafts.  The first one was a paper cut out dinosaur that the girls coloured, cut, and glued.  They ran out of parts, though, so the dinosaurs were without feet.

The second craft was making dinosaur skeletons out of pipe cleaners, straws, and clay for feet.  But Luciana didn’t like that idea and decided that she wanted to use the clay to sculpt a dinosaur scene, instead.  Which honestly was way cooler than the planned activity.  Liesl tried the thing that they were “supposed” to do, but didn’t like it and took it all apart and tried to do what Luciana had done.  But she wasn’t happy with the result and decided to just give up on it and not keep what she had done.

Then the last craft was making “fossil necklaces” by putting plastic dinosaurs into clay and making a necklace from it.  Both girls got lucky and were able to do this, but there weren’t enough supplies for everyone.

The library gave both girls (and everyone else) two tiny little dinosaur fossils to take home.  And the girls won the raffle to get fossilized dinosaur poop, too!

It was pretty difficult carrying all of the crafts and things back to the car to head home.  The event didn’t last as long as we had expected, so we were in the car by five thirty and home well before six.

A super fun school outing and activity day.  Our libraries here really do a good job of offering things for the kids.

Once home I had a lot of work that I needed to do as I was way behind having been out of the office for so much of the day.  I had planned on being able to work from Farmer’s Branch Library while the girls did crafts, but because of it being so crowded there was no way that I could do that, I couldn’t take up any unnecessary space.  So I lost a couple of planned hours there.

So I worked for several hours while the girls relaxed and played video games with the Grices.  The Grices had been trying to Facetime them from the instant we stepped in the door.  So they did that all afternoon.

It was late, after eight, when I stepped away from the desk and we drove to Taco Bell to get dinner.  Liesl had wanted Taco Bell for lunch and Luciana had wanted Taco Bueno.  So we had compromised and did one for lunch and one for dinner.  Luciana got a pizza here (they do Pizza Hut personal pans) and Liesl got three cheesy bean & rice burritos, plus a caramel apple empenada; and she ate it all!  I got two bean burritos, as I usually do.

We got our food to go, came home, and ate it while we watched the ending of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,  which has one of the endings that all of us like least in the series.  There wasn’t much left, so we then put on Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix which, while being Luciana’s favourite movie of the series, has the beginning that we all like the least.

We only watched part of the movie before Luciana decided that she was ready for bed.  Both girls were pretty tired.

Liesl stayed up a bit longer, first watching something, then she realized that she had forgotten to do her reading in The Witch of Blackbird Pond today, so she climbed into bed and did that before falling asleep.

I had to stay up for several hours to work to catch up a little from the time that I had lost being out of the office today.  It was closing in on three when I finally got the chance to go to bed.

If things go well tomorrow, I am hoping to take the girls to Homeschool 4H in Carrollton, which is right up the road, at half past noon.  I am pretty sure that it is something that they will really enjoy and they only get together once a month, so I do not want to miss it and have to wait an entire month before we get a chance to try it out again.

What an incredibly full day we had!  We had loads of fun and got lots of time together.  And so many educational activities.  It all worked out really well.  And Liesl made a new friend.  All in all, today was a slam dunk of success.

September 11, 2018: Fresh Air Day

Tuesday.  I woke up at seven thirty.  It is so nice out this morning, and expected to stay nice until at least tomorrow afternoon, that I decided to open the windows and move to fresh air for a change.  This is one of my favourite days of the year, the day that the AC is no longer needed.  It’ll be needed again tomorrow or the day after at least, this is the coolest day for a week, but it is the beginning of the end of the summer heat.

My day started out great.  Plenty of sleep, nothing wrong at the office, great weather, fresh air, good mood, feeling good.  And then, just after ten thirty, I go out to get the mail when I hear the mailman stop by, and get the letter than our largest customer has decided to “go another direction”, which we’ve known was probably coming at some point, but still doesn’t feel good.  It’s not a terrible defeat like they didn’t like us, they just wanted to hire someone local to be an internal resource.   And they still want us to continue to be available in a lessened capacity.  But it is still a huge blow and really sucks.  Just as we had been struggling so hard all year and were just getting onto our feet and things were looking so good, another major set back.  A few more months of “doing not so badly” would have been awfully nice.  And technically, we still have a few.  The change doesn’t take effect for a bit.  But it is very unfortunate, all the same.

I did school with Luciana first today, and that went really smoothly.  We had fun and she zoomed through her lessons.  Even doing extra of some things over what she had to do.

Both girls had pizza for “breakfast”.  I ate the cut up melon in the fridge before it went bad for my breakfast.  That was pretty good.

Liesl, of course, had attitude problems for school and got in trouble.  It is such a struggle with her, even when I am the one doing school with her, to make her just either be happy that we are doing school, or at least put on a good face and do the work that needs to be done.  I don’t know why it is such a struggle when just doing it would make it all be over and done with so quickly and easily.  It’s like she wants to make it hard and take forever.

Allan came over this evening to talk sales for a few hours.  It was probably almost nine by the time that he got to the house.

After Allan left, the girls and I watched Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.  At least part of it, we couldn’t get that far into it, as it was too late.

We read more of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone before going to bed.  Just one chapter.

Both girls did a bunch of DuoLingo Spanish tonight.  They are very excited to be doing it again and Luciana can actually do a lot of it now as she can read.  This will be good not only for her Spanish, for also good for her English reading and writing.

September 10, 2018: Pupusas

I got up nice and early this morning around seven and got right to work.  Did a couple hours of work until the girls got up.

Our Farmer’s Branch Library cards needed to be renewed and today seemed like the perfect time to do it, so as soon as they were awake I hustled them out of the door and we raced down to the library and took care of our renewals, which is super easy.  We use that library all of the time as that is where my digital books, audio books, and MangoLanguages come from.  So we use it heavily.

On the way home, we stopped at Pupusa Dona Lola in Farmer’s Branch for some authentic pupusas for lunch.  I haven’t had one in many years, and the girls have never had them.  Luciana did not want to try one, but Liesl was excited to try something new.  We had time, so we stopped in and got them to go.  So cheap, less than four dollars for two with the trimmings.  We got them with beans and cheese.

Then we swung into La Mejor, the Guatemalan panaderia on Beltline.  The girls were super excited when they saw all of the baked goods and I let them get two each.  They were so excited to find this place.  They wanted to get everything.  I can tell that they were influenced by their time in Nicaragua.  They were right at home with all of the selection here.

Everything was so cheap, too.  Barely more than we would have actually spent had we been in Central America.  A great bargain, we will be back to both places for sure.

From the panaderia, we drove right back home as I had an up coming meeting to get back for around noon.  I ate my pupusa before the metting.  It was excellent.  I miss having these.

Luciana dove right into her cake and said that it was great.  She really liked it.

Liesl loved her pupusa and the spicy cole slaw that comes with it.  She ate the whole thing.  She liked how spicy it was.  This trip made for a very happy family.  And both stores together came to only seven dollars for all of that food!

In addition to the cake and pupusals, each girl picked out a concha.  Luciana, of course, got a yellow one.  And Liesl had to get a pink one.  There were a lot of smiles this morning.  This was a very successful trip to the library and for some food.  I discovered a few places that I really want to check out in the future, too.  Especially Monica’s Cafe, a Salvadoran diner nearby to us.

Once back to the house, it was straight to conference calls, one after another for a couple of hours.  So my day got to be quite busy.

The girls had a nice day.  They were thrilled with the morning’s activities, and then came home and played Portal Knights together for some time after they had eaten their food.  They are loving all of the natural light in the house, too.  I can tell myself that having the house so clean and bright, since I spent so much time yesterday cleaning before the kids even got up, is making me feel so much better.  I miss natural light when I am closed up for too long.  And having the house be a mess always drags me down.  It is still a mess, but at least things like the bar and kitchen are clean.

The afternoon was decently busy.  The girls did a great job of just hanging out with each other and playing really well.  They played with Playmobile or something similar all afternoon.  They were in the living room so I could hear them the entire time.  They are so adorable.

I ended up needing to work until eight this evening.  Mostly on the phone.  Once I was off, Luciana requested that we have pizza tonight.  We didn’t have any other plans, so I agreed and ordered Domino’s.  I decided that today would be my first real diet skip day in two months.  By this point, I’ve earned it.  So I got myself a thin crust pizza, too.

Liesl asked if we could watch some more of The Chamber of Secrets while we ate our pizza.  So we made it another Harry Potter evening.  We finished Chamber, which was already near the end, and started watching The Prisoner of Azkaban, too.

It was a very good day.  The girls and I got a lot of quality time together and did a lot of fun things.  Both girls were super happy with the day.  They had a great time between the library, food, getting to play, nice weather, pizza for dinner and family movie night.

During the second movie I needed to stay back into the office to run some Sage updates.

September 9, 2018: Restarting Harry Potter

Got up around six this morning.  Dominica and Paul are off to the Rockies to work on Dominica’s intestinal issues to see some medical professionals up there now that we are pretty confident that she has an IBS issue, rather than a gallbladder issue.  They have a long drive ahead of them today, up through Amarillo and through north eastern New Mexico.

I worked all morning, on posting, cleaning, organizing the house, getting caught up on stuff while the kids were still asleep.  First order of business is turning off all of the unneeded electronics and lights.  Second order of businesses is opening all of the blinds and getting some much needed light into the house.  The summer heat has broken, it was under seventy when I got up this morning, and there is no need to have the windows covered for insulation purposes and the girls and I very much enjoy the chance to have real sunlight in the house whenever possible.  The girls talked about it all morning, how much they love being able to open the blinds and have natural light.  It makes them happy.

I cleaned for several hours.  The bar is totally cleared, for the first time in about eight months.  Loads of stuff has been put away that never gets put away.  Then I watched some Deep Space Nine before the girls came out and asked to start a Harry Potter movie marathon, which we did, starting with the first movie and, early in the afternoon, moving on to the second one.

Luciana tried her life hack of putting milk into the empty Nutella container today, after she and Liesl finished off the Nutella.  Luciana liked it, so life hack success, I guess.

We had a nice day, and lots of time to relax.  By mid-afternoon, the girls decided that they needed a Harry Potter break and wanted to just play with their toys, instead.

The girls requested that I make pasta tonight.  The first real test of my cooking has already come.  I had to make the pasta, and figure out the butter, garlic, and cheese combination for the kids.  I made my pasta with a little sage in the water because the girls won’t eat pasta with “green stuff on it”, but sage is so important in the flavour of good pasta.

The verdict was that both girls really liked the pasta and ate it all.  Not as good as mommy’s, but really good, they said.  Can’t ask for much more than that.

I managed to use the time to get to watch quite a lot of Deep Space Nine and have practically completed the sixth season.  Just about one episode left to go.  I got a bit of exercising in today, which was nice.  I’ve learned how to use my exercise band a lot better.

We read chapter twelve in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone tonight.  It is amazing how many times the girls want to watch the movies and read the books.

Overall, it was a pretty relaxing day. A bit of cleaning, a bit of family time, some movies, reading, cooking.  We had a nice day.