Hump Day

Star Puffs
Originally uploaded by Mainline Mom
Hooray for Daddy finally being home again. He walked in late last night with a furry animal attached to his face...apparently he thought two weeks away would be a good time to grow a goatee. He claims no one at the plant said anything about his lack of shaving the whole time he was there. He says he got more comments about his lack of hair, which I don't get since he's had a clean shaven head for quite awhile. We now know what Mike's promotion in Houston entails and he says he definitely wants the job. I'm hoping this weekend we can get a LOT of stuff done around the house and maybe get a realtor in soon.

I had a very nice dinner with my boss last night, who was just passing through town driving some equipment from our home offices in North Carolina to a project in New England. It's funny to me that I haven't actually seen him in almost two years. Telecommuting is great, especially when I NEVER have to go into the office.

Now back to my regularly scheduled day off :)



Originally uploaded by Mainline Mom
Still managing after a week of no husband or daddy around. Not liking it too much, especially since Alex is sick and I have a cold/sinus infection. Last night was the first night in weeks that I didn't have to move from my bed for 8 hours straight. Not that I got to sleep straight through, but I'll take it.

My awesome neighbor brought me pizza last night because I couldn't stay for dinner after her kid's birthday party since my kids needed to go to bed. I will definitely miss her. But at the rate things are going, we'll be here awhile.

Have I mentioned lately how much fun Nathan is? He tells me all kinds of interesting things, and he's so well behaved most of the time. He still hasn't mastered "quiet time" which is supposed to be either a nap or an hour of play in his room. But that's probably as much my fault for being inconsistent, because we seem to be on the go many days and skip that time entirely.

And Alex is adorable too, except I hate seeing him sick. He is a super well behaved baby too...often just sitting in his stroller for hours, content to watch what's going on around him. So far it appears both my kids have inherited me and my husband's ultra laid back dispositions. We'll see about Alex as he gets mobile.



Brandon Beachum
Originally uploaded by Mainline Mom
During an autograph signing session at the Blue/White game on Saturday, freshman Brandon Beachum came through our section with a big smile on his face. A guy in the crowd yelled "Brandon...is this better than high school or what?!" to which Brandon laughed and said "Yeah...way better than high school." He was one of the only players who really looked like he was glad to be there and having a good time.

When you see these players running down the field in a big game scoring touchdowns...when you read their statistics in the newspaper and listen to Joe Paterno's analysis of them...it's hard to remember that they are just kids. Some of them only 17 or 18 years old. They have a lot on their shoulders, the attention of the entire Nittany Nation and even the global spotlight of the media.

But it was another group of kids on Saturday that caught my attention even more than the players. They had a lot of special recognition ceremonies all through the game, highlighting former Lions now in the NFL, highlighting the THON dancers and the homecoming committee, etc. But then they marched a group of high school seniors onto the field who have enlisted in the United States Army. The recited their oath of enlistment, or whatever you call it. I almost burst into tears. We tend to forget how YOUNG the soldiers are fighting for our freedom. What makes a 17 year old want to do that? I'm glad we have a military and someone is fighting for us, but it's hard to imagine them being so young. I know how immature and inexperienced I was as a senior in high school...I guess maybe the military is the best place for some kids.

Well anyway, back to work for me. I would keep my kids at exactly the ages they are now if they would stay healthy!



Today is the big day here in Pennsylvania. The voters finally get their chance to have a voice in the presidential primary process. The last big primary in a virtually deadlocked race between Senators Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama. Pennsylvania has hundreds of thousands of new voters expected to turn out on this beautiful day as registered Democrats. Especially the swing voter areas like the Philly burbs where I live are crucial, as evidenced by the fact that both candidates have spent almost every day for the past six weeks in my neighborhood. So now Pennsylvanians have this collective big head about how important they are that THEY get to pick the "future President".

Yeah, except that...they don't really. Because all indicators are that both sides will get similar numbers of delegates and this primary will determine NOTHING. And neither will the smaller Indiana or North Carolina primaries. It will all come down to the superdelegates.

And Republicans are just sitting back and watching the whole thing in amusement. Personally I think it's all fascinating...like good sport. I myself stopped in at the polls this morning on my way home from daycare and voted, but I had virtually nothing to choose. No, really nothing. Nobody running against anybody else. Which is ok because I'm really sick this morning and my brain isn't functioning so well...I might have voted for someone who isn't even running anymore.


Life On Hold

Mike has been away a lot lately and he will be gone this whole week and all next week. So the whole thing with moving is kind of on hold till he gets back and we can put a plan together. I don't like waiting. Once I've made a big decision, I want to jump into action to make my plan happen, and I want the cooperation of those around me (ie Mike) to help me. People think I'm anxious to leave my friends and family and Philly behind, but that is not the case. I would rather stay, but we have made the decision to go, so I don't want to dilly dally.

In the meantime Alex has an ear infection. He's been miserable since Saturday. For once I got to take him to the pediatrician, tell him exactly what was wrong, and be right! AND I had to go to get the drugs, so it wasn't a wasted trip.

At least the football game was fun and the weather was fabulous. We got a bunch of autographs of the players, which I didn't really care about but I did it for Mike, cuz I'm a good little wifey.


Cowboy Country

Two Tough Cowboys
Originally uploaded by Mainline Mom
Well Lori was the closest, we are moving but not to Kentucky. Try Texas. Houston specifically. Not sure when yet but definately this summer. Mike was getting frustrated with his job and found a better one he liked in the same company, but it's in Houston. Plus my grandparents live there and they don't have any other family and very few friends left there.

Someday soon they will need some help from me, so it will certainly be easier living in the same town. And someday after that I will be responsible for their estate, which with two houses (one in Houston, one in Boston) is a big job and will also be much easier if I live there. I think they get pretty lonely sometimes and would very much like to see their great-grandchildren grow.

For now I am a bit overwhelmed about getting our house ready to sell, which pretty much means putting half your stuff in storage. I never have been much for home improvements and I especially hate doing a lot of it all at once for the benefit of someone else. Fortunately nothing needs "fixing" because the house is only four years old, but things need prettying up.

Thank goodness for the internet, it's so easy to learn about neighborhoods and schools and look for new houses 2000 miles away. A new house is the fun part.

The not fun part is the long goodbye to my family and especially my friends who I have grown very close with this past year.


A Hint

This is a little hint about my big exciting news. Keeping my readers guessing is too fun.



I have big exciting news, but I'm gonna save it for another post. I will keep you, my two or three readers, in suspense for now.

In the meantime, I'm trying to decide whether or not to attend any of the events surrounding my 1998 reunion of the graduates of the Schreyer Honors College of Penn State. See, they are smart and are hosting the events around the annual Blue/White Penn State spring football game. Mike being Mike, of course we are going to the game next weekend. But should I go to the reunion tailgate or reception after the game or anything else?

The Schreyer Honors College was known as the Penn State University Scholars program when I entered it in 1994. It is the reason I chose Penn State over Ivy League schools. At the time it was one of the top honors programs in the country, and I believe they only admitted 300 students a year. Very prestigious. It was a way for talented students to avoid being just another number at such a huge place like Penn State. I chose to live in "honors housing" as well, so all my first friendships were honors students like me. A large number of them were Chemical Engineers too, since it's such a challenging major anyway, so I remained friends and took classes with several of them for all four years. But I only invited two of them to my wedding...and then I promptly lost touch with ALL of them.

Through the magic of Facebook I just found one of the guys who came to my wedding and wouldn't you know it, he has done amazing things since we graduated including going on to Harvard and working for a very elite company. But he lost touch with everybody too, and he doesn't know if he wants to attend any of the reunion stuff either. I certainly don't want to pay $50 to stand around staring at people I don't know for an hour or two. But there are a handful of people that, if they show up, would be really cool to see. So who knows.

In my research I found this very cool video about the Honors College. You, my readers, won't care about it, but I wanted to include it in this blog post so that I don't lose it. So I'm being very self-indulgent, but isn't that what blogs are for? Mom, you might like to watch it.


Summer is Coming

Originally uploaded by Mainline Mom
The high is supposed to be 70 today, the weather guy said you might be able to wear shorts after school. I am soooooo ready. Spring is nice, but summer is really relaxing. Give me the beach, the river, the pool.

Spring is time for planting and improving and we are no different. Unfortunately I am no green thumb, but I am determined to add some color to our yard. And my basement will not be finished, but I am determined to clean it up and make it an enjoyable space.

Well, I have work to do so that I can enjoy this weather later today.


Kids Rock

Awesome Smile
Originally uploaded by Mainline Mom
Having kids has got to be the most rewarding thing in life. Sure it sucks sometimes, often for long periods of time. But then you hit another phase and see the joy of them doing or experiencing something new. You see their little personalities coming out and it is so cool.

Nathan's ability to form semi-logical thoughts and hold somewhat intelligent conversations is incredible to me. I love being able to really see the wheels turning. But it's also a bit bothersome, because he recounts things that happened at school that I can't quite get the full story on. Like comments about boys being scared of other boys, or him being scared of bigger boys. Comments about him crying for reasons that aren't always clear to me, like his teacher rebuking him for something.

But overall he seems fine, more often happy than not. Alex seems to make him very happy, and he has the sweetest smile. Now if only he would eat something other than oatmeal, strawberries, and pizza.


I Don't Like Mondays

Clean Baby
Originally uploaded by Mainline Mom
This weekend wore me out, and I am not happy about getting back into the work week. Mike is off to Texas tomorrow for a couple days so I'll be on my own. Friday I got up early and went to the Y to workout, and then we hit the bank and the outlet mall. Friday night I ran over to church for a kids consignment sale and bought a few cheap outfits for the kids.

Saturday Mike went to the gym to workout while I watched the kids. Then late in the day we all went to the Y to swim in the indoor pool. The kids had a blast and it totally wore them out. But Alex continues to wake up at 6am every morning.

Sunday we had church and then a birthday party for our neighbor who turned 5. Nathan was very nervous at first about climbing up the moodbounce wall, but after a couple of painstakingly careful trips he got the hang of it and did it over and over and over. It was tiring for mom who mostly just stood around watching and hoisting him into the moonbounce every few minutes. These birthday parties are very good experience for Nathan.

Well, it's time to get crackin' on the wastewater plant design. Happy Monday!


The Rainbow Song

videoTime for another movie clip! First the background. Nathan attends a fairly academic private daycare center three days a week. Earlier this year he moved into a room for 3 year olds, with a drill sargent of a teacher. She promotes independence and self-confidence. She gives homework. She reprimands the parents on a regular basis. I do not like her too much, but Nathan is certainly coming out of his shell. Maybe too much.

You see Nathan is a very shy child. Until recently he would only talk in whispers, and only to select people. Now he is a chatterbox. His teacher is big on sign language and spanish, something I think is interesting but does NOT warrant homework every night for three year olds. The big project of the past couple months has been to learn The Rainbow Song in sign language and to perform it at the big all-school sing-along. At one point she lectured me for not practicing enough at home, even though Nathan did it at home every night. I almost freaked out at her. But when the sing-along day came, she chose Nathan to be one of three kids leading the performance. She said Nathan instantly acted more confident, to the point where he has started hanging around the "tough guys". Their influence has not been too good since then. I hear stories of what sounds like bullying other boys. The sad part is, I know Nathan is just a follower, he'll go along with whatever the boys he's playing with do. We'll see wear it goes from here.

Anyway, here is Nathan performing the song, but not singing very loud.


Hump Day

Yesterday was generally a successful day. I got up early (nothing new there) got the kids dressed and dragged them to the gym so I could workout. As I was checking in at 8:15 I ran into a good friend and we got to workout together a bit. She challenged me to try a new, kick-your-butt piece of equipment. As I was leaving I ran into four more of my friends just arriving, which motivates me to do it more often on my days off.

Then I took the kids to visit my mom and we stopped by Linvilla Orchards to see their animals. Nathan's enthusiasm was infectious. Unfortunately it was much windier and colder than I'd hoped, so we didn't stay too long.

We made a couple more stops and then headed home where I made the delicious and nutritious tilapia dish I learned from the Biggest Loser. That with a bottle of merlot and some fresh bread...YUM. After the kids were in bed Mike sat down to finish our taxes, and after I asked to double check his work he found a couple BIG mistakes that once he corrected meant we should get a FAT return. Woohoo, I'll take it. I'd like to use it for my dream basement, but I don't know about that yet so maybe one pink Coach bag is in order?
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