Friday, June 24, 2005

I would really like the beach ...

...if not for all the sand.  We're off for Ocean Isle beach tomorrow morning.  David is playing in a golf tournament in the morning, so will be down when he's done.  I'm just glad he's able to get away for a little R&R. 

The latest news on the trip to Kazakhstan is that they will leave July 26.  That means Quentin can go to camp (will get home on Saturday, and fly out on Monday ...)  David is still rassling with the travel agents to get seats.  Apparently the summer season has made them few and far between.  Right now they are holding tickets through Amsterdam. 

In the meantime, life goes on.  We go to speech, we go to the pool, we go to lunch.  Yesterday the little kids and I went to McDonald's.  Today it was the older kids' turn, and we went to eat with my friend Jan, and her son Kyle, whom we have been friends with since Colin was in 2nd grade.  They all go to different schools, but have remained friends all along.  Then we browsed through Barnes & Noble, one of my favorite pastimes.  I could spend hours in there (and mega bucks!) 

I just finished "The Kitchen Boy" ... about a fictional boy who worked for the last Tsar of Russia, and was there when they were executed.  Very interesting twist at the end.  My summer beach reading:  Gulag ... and the Falls, by Joyce Carol Oates.  She is one enigmatic author! 

I don't know about internet connections at the beach, so see you in a week!

Monday, June 20, 2005

Happy Fathers' Day

Happy Dad's day to all you dads out there.  We hoisted our dad up on the pedestal in a big way ... with cards galore (some store-bought, some home-made).  After church, we (well, David) grilled steaks for lunch and he sat in what I fondly call the "butt magnet" all day switching between the US Open and the NASCAR race (wherever that was, remember how much of a NASCAR fan I am ...)  There were some major thunderstorms in the area; one of the lightning strikes landed right in our living room (so it seems) followed immediately by a clap of thunder that hit 5.0 on the Richter scale. 

His birthday is on Tuesday ... he always jokes that he gets ripped off having his birthday so close to Fathers' Day.  But I feel his pain; my birthday is right around Mothers' Day.

David is one of the most extraordinary men that I know.  He is compassionate, giving (and forgiving), kind, of unwavering integrity and faith, fortitude and patience.  He is the Dad of all Dads ... a role model for our children.  He follows the "Andy Griffith" school of parenting ... which I think beats Dr. Spock hands down.  We are all so blessed to have him in our lives ... as our dad, and as my husband.  I am truly, truly privileged to have him as my partner.

Okay, gushing over.  Happy Fathers' Day, David!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Men Make Plans, and God Laughs

Bad, to not so bad news.  The playground trip has been postponed, due to a delay in the delivery of the playground set.  What took 28 days last year is turning into 60 this year, and it has just left Riga, Latvia, today, on a train to Almaty.  The best guess is that it will be another 14-16 days until it gets there.  Inconvenient, but not insurmountable.  David will get to come to the beach with us!  Look at the bright side.  On the other hand, the trip may interfere with YMCA camp that all four kids are scheduled to go to in July.  Oh well, so Quentin won't go.  No biggie.  Such is life in the former Soviet Union.

Our week has been busy, as usual.  Speech MWTh, movies (Batman -- very good! and Shark Boy & Lava Girl -- don't bother) Lisa at cheerleading camp every day.  This means wake-up call at 7:30, but I can't complain.  It sure beats 5:00.   Lisa and Colin went to play bingo with Kathleen that night ... it's getting to be a Tuesday routine!  And every time Lisa goes with her, Kathleen seems to win.  Lucky charm.

Tuesday night we had visitors ... two friends, Chis and her mother, Judith, whom we met on our trip to adopt Lisa, back in 2001, were in the area and came for dinner with their little girl, Aliya.  Aliya was barely 6 months old when Chris adopted her, and now she is a vibrant, adorable little 4 year old.  We had a very nice visit, and the girls enjoyed playing with each other. 

Took Melanie to the pool for the first time on Sunday.  She clung to me like glue, but really liked the baby pool, it's just her size.  I think we'll need to hang out there some more this summer.  Not that she needs to work on her tan or anything!  

Saturday, June 11, 2005

We Are the Champions!

The thunderstorms stayed away and it was actually a pleasant night for a baseball game!  Early on in the game it looked like we had the game in the bag, and we got a little cocky.  The Tigers rallied significantly, and it looked like it was going to be close.  But we made 5 runs in the top of the last inning, and the game was ours.  Christian batted great ... 5 for 5, but was put out at first, and flied out once.  He had a great attitude, was always happy and just content to be playing.  This is Christian's last game in the Coach Pitch league, and will move up to "kid pitch" in the fall.  I walked over to watch a kid pitch game for a while last night, and it is intense!  It will be an adjustment for sure! 


Thursday, June 9, 2005

Championship Game

The game that was rained out on Saturday was played on Sunday afternoon.  After sitting all season wrapped in blankets because we were freezing, we literally BAKED at this game.  90+ degrees, 1000% humidity.  Christian did great ... caught some pop flies, made some put-outs at first.  And we won .. sending the Twins to the semi-finals.  The Semi game was played Wednesday night ... as we watched the thunderclouds approach, then veer off, thank goodness.  Made for quite a pleasant evening.  We triumphed over the Cubs ... after starting off with a terrible inning:  bat ... out ... bat ... out.  But we came back and won decisively over a very tough team that had some great batters and even better defensive players.  But we have some real power hitters on our team.

Tonight:  the championship game.  It started off with the ominous thunderclouds again, but we felt optimistic.  Until the start of the bottom of the 1st inning ... when the bottom fell out!  Literally!  The boys continued to play for a little while, as we all hurriedly gathered our chairs and stuff and ran for the shelter.  Then we sat in the shelter and watched the fields slowly get covered with water.  No game tonight!

It's a shame, because we were batting to beat the band ... lots of balls were sent way out into the outfield, and between the legs of the outfielders.  I think I saw a look of "ho boy" on the coaches for the other team.  Christian was able to get to a sleepover earlier, though ... I had also hauled out the entire Branch family to watch the game!  Well, we can haul 'em out again tomorrow!!  Melanie enjoyed running around in the rain ...

David & Quentin leave in less than 2 weeks for Kazakhstan.  I have decided to book a condo at the beach for a week while they are gone, so we're not wandering around the empty house, missing them!! 

Other than all the baseball excitement, it's been a quiet week.  Colin finally out of school, and we're all catching up on the sleep we've lost over the past 10 months! 

Friday, June 3, 2005

Time to Build an Ark (edited)

Man ... the rain!  Enough already.  My plants are loving it, but sheesh!  What a quiet week.  David has been in New England, bouncing between VT and NH looking at trees.  I think he's coming home tonight.  We have been sleeping late (well, except for Colin who had finals .. my alarm still goes off at 5, but then I sneak back to bed for a while ... so nice!).  Even Melanie has been a 8-8:30 sleeper.  I did do some home improvements ... changed the fixtures in the downstairs bathroom, which involved spackling, sanding, painting and drilling.  Melanie had speech of course, on Wed., and Quentin had an orthodontist appointment.  Colin called me around noon on Wednesday saying he had a terrible earache ... I knew he hadn't been feeling well, but he really couldn't miss finals.  A quick trip to Urgent Care confirmed that he had a massive ear infection (in a 15 year old??)  Abx are started, and he seems some better.  Mt. St. Laundry is a little smaller, but still not gone altogether.  (Is it ever gone?) 

The greatest thing to happen was that thanks to, I have reconnected with one of my very best friends from 6th grade!!  Having grown up in a peripatetic family, I have little or no contact with anyone from those days.  She and I have exchanged some great emails ... "remember the time .." "...had a crush on ..." and it has been so much fun to remember that time.  The sleepovers, trying to stay up all night.  She even shared this very lovely picture of me that I had never seen before.  It is a group shot of all of the 6th Grade Prefects (safety patrol ... the only thing I remember doing is standing on the stair landing and yelling at people when they committed the evil crime of 'skipping stairs').  It was quite an honor though, and we all wore these nifty little pins that said "PREFECT" ... I am the one in the front doing a "Mod Squad" pose.  Apparently I took my job very seriously ... You can almost imagine me packing heat in that belt!

Quentin and David take off for Kaz in less than 3 weeks.  Yikes!