Thursday, July 29, 2010

Zenni Optical

I’ve been long overdue for an eye exam, so I recently went to Sam’s Club optical for an appointment.  I have this weird sensitivity on my eyes.  I can’t stand anything to touch them.  I DREAD that puff of air they shoot into your eyes for the glaucoma test.  Seriously, I’d rather get 20 shots or drink the nastiest medicine than have that puff of air touch my eye. 

I finally sucked it up and went to the appointment.  After I went through the torture of that puff machine, they told me it wasn’t working because I couldn’t keep still.  I have to go back for a dilation test whenever I can get someone to drive me.  Uugh.

Anyway, a friend of mine once told me about Zenni Optical.  It is an online store where you can enter your prescription information and purchase glasses on the internet.  I ordered my glasses early last week and got them in the mail today!  They are perfect!  My entire order was $26.80.  That includes VERY cute frames, non-glare glasses, anti-scratch coating, attachable sunshades, a cleaning cloth, a glasses case, and standard shipping.  Rock on!  They also offer rock-bottom prices on bifocals, progressive lenses, Transitions lenses, etc.

If you decide to take your prescription and order glasses online, you need to have the optometrist write down your prescription, including the PD (Pupillary Distance).  Usually, they leave this off the prescription because they want you to buy in their store…they just leave it in your file or do the measurement when you order the glasses.  I kindly asked my optometrist to do the PD measurement right then and write it on my prescription.

I only wear my glasses when I read, do computer work, or play the piano.  I didn’t realize how old my other glasses were until I put my new ones on today.  What a difference they make!  Thank you Zenni Optical!

Tennis Date

I let my sweet friend Joy talk me into dusting off the old tennis racquet for a few shakes around the court this morning.  Of course Grace had to come along for the ride, and she was perfectly happy to show off her pink tennis racquet and new pink tennis shoes.  She also made a decent ball girl.

I made a very clear disclaimer to Joy and my other two friends who joined us that I had not played since I took a college tennis class in 1993.  And back then I was more concerned with flirting with Todd than working on my swing.  But, thanks to Wii Fit Tennis, I did recently refresh myself on how to keep score.

Joy and I went to a separate court to “warm up”, which is code for “chase balls around the court”.  Joy is much better than me, but we were both beginners compared to the two other women we played.  They mercifully split Joy and me, so we had a seasoned player and a newbie on each team. 

When it was all over, I was actually quite proud of myself.  Sure, I missed a lot of balls, but I also hit a lot.  I even had a few great returns and volleys.  I definitely want to do it again soon, if they’ll have me!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Hurricane Harbor

To celebrate Todd’s last day of summer vacation, we went to Six Flag’s Hurricane Harbor this week.  It’s hard to believe he’s already back at work!  Summer seems to get shorter every year.  Anyway, we’ve been promising Grace all summer that we would go to a water park, and it ended up being a fun day.

Of course, anything compared to Dollywood’s Splash Country is a letdown….that place is awesome.  I think I’ve figured out why Dollywood is so clean, well-run, and inviting.  It’s the employees.  The average age is about 70…mostly retired folk.  They actually care about doing their jobs well and have a sense of responsibility.  Even the lifeguards are older and more experienced.  At Hurricane Harbor, the 87-pound, 16-yr-old lifeguard is more interested in flirting with the bikini-clad crowd than actually watching kids in the wave pool.  Just sayin’.

Anyway, Grace didn’t know the difference…she just had fun!  We didn’t take any pictures because we didn’t want to risk getting our camera or phone wet.  They ended up staying in our rented locker all day. 

I’m quite adventurous when it comes to roller coasters, but not so much with water slides.  I don’t even like the smaller ones.  My idea of a water adventure is floating down the Lazy River, preferably with a cold beverage.  However, Todd finally managed to talk me into going on the Roarin’ Rapids “as a family”. 

After waiting in line for an hour, we grabbed our floats and started climbing the stairs to the top.  Grace was tall enough to ride by herself with a life jacket.  Despite my nervousness about the whole thing, Grace was thrilled to be on her own.

Sure enough, something happened.  A woman was injured on a sharp protruding object and the ride was stopped for the paramedics and rescue team.  A cheeky lifeguard jumped over a wall and stopped the progression of our floats to the bottom of the ride.  For a long time, we waited and waited.  You might think that floating on an inner tube for an hour could be relaxing, but I bet you’ve never done it with a 5-yr-old who is in constant danger of falling through the hole and wants to ride to finish. 

Todd was fed up with the waiting game and started eyeing the side of the ride and looking to the ground below.  He actually asked the lifeguard if he could jump over and get off the ride, and the lifeguard shrugged his shoulder and said, “I can’t stop you.”  So, Todd vaulted over the wall.  I pushed Grace over the wall, then started trying to figure out how I was going to do it.  About 15 other riders were watching us with interest, as well as the lifeguard.  No pressure.

I tried to boost myself up with my arms, but when I pushed up, the roaring water and undercurrent of the ride shoved my body off the wall.  It was hard, people.  I finally managed to do it (thank you, Jillian Michaels).  After the three of us were safely over the side, the lifeguard decided to evacuate all the other riders.  I guess we were the guinea pigs.

And that, my friends, is the final chapter in my life experiences with water slides.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Getting Ready for School

Today was a special 20% off all educational supplies at my local Mardel store.  I decided to get there when they opened, but was naively surprised to see a full parking lot.  It was wall-to-wall people, no shopping carts, and for one panicked moment I relived my most recent Black Friday experience.

And let me just say that Kindergarten teachers are piranhas.  They look all sweet and innocent, but heaven help if you’re going for the same morning meeting book as them.  Or magnetic letters.  Trust me.

Anyway, miraculously, I managed to get everything I needed with the exception of a Saxon K-3 math manipulative kit.  (I’m keeping an eye on EBay and Craigslist for that.)  I set a budget between $200-$250 for my curriculum and I got out of the store with extra things not on my list for only $186.00! 

Grace was so excited to see everything I bought, and she wants to start Kindergarten NOW.  We’re going to wait to start the curriculum, however, until August.  I need more time to plan and get things ready!

Today, I bought our language arts curriculum.  We decided to use Alpha Omega Horizons.  I originally wanted to use Sonlight, but we just couldn’t justify the cost.  I’m going to supplement what I bought with some Hooked on Phonics and Scott Foresman materials I already own.  For math, we are using Saxon.    My sweet friend Julie Williams is letting me borrow her Kindergarten curriculum for this year!  I just need to find the required manipulatives.

For science, we will make frequent visits to the science museum, planetarium, and zoo.  We will check out science books from the library and learn about the human body.  For history, we will learn about different states in our nation and explore basic geography with our interactive globe and puzzles.  We will check out books from the library that describe other cultures and lands.  

We have signed Grace up for a weekly class with the Travis Academy of Fine Arts.  She will be so excited to begin ballet again!  Once she turns six years old, she will be eligible for other classes like drama, art, music, and bible study.  If there is room, we would love her to begin a couple of extra classes in the spring. 

We will start our school days with devotions and catechisms.  I have not been as faithful in teaching her the Westminster Catechism as I should have been, and I’m looking forward to getting into a routine of adding it back to our bible time in the mornings.  We will probably focus on one question per week. 

Even though this seems like a lot, I don’t expect our school days to take more than 2-3 hours total.  I hope to be done before lunchtime.  We are able to eliminate classroom hassles (i.e. bathroom breaks, learning rules and procedures, discipline issues, P.E., walking up and down the hallways, lunchtime, recess, and crowd control) to have a shorter day!  This leaves the afternoons free for field trips, shopping, library, playgrounds, and learning household skills. 

I spent the better part of today setting up our little classroom in our dining room.  I still have some things to laminate and hang up, but I’ll take pictures when I’m finished.  Grace watched in awe and wanted to play with everything I bought.  But, I told her it was only for kindergarten with mommy…gotta give her something to anticipate!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Kitchen Makeover

When I was visiting my parents last month, mom and I caught the redecorating bug.  She’s been wanting to update her kitchen for a while, so we decided to do it while I was there.   

Mom wanted her kitchen to be bright and airy with a subtle tropical theme.  First we went to a fabric outlet and bought a gorgeous print in the clearance bin.  I sewed it into roman shades for her two windows.



We brightened up the walls with a fresh green color….kind of between mint and light sage.

The hard work came with the cabinets.  They are original from when the house was built in the 40’s.  Their condition is excellent…oak wood.  We removed and cleaned hardware, sanded, primed, and painted three coats of white paint!   It was a ton of work, but so totally worth it when we were done.


Since we were on a roll, mom decided to clean out all her cabinets and donate some older, less used items in order to display things that better match the new decor.  She even added new shelf liners.  We both love the result!

Spa Day

Earlier this month, I decided to take Grace to a salon that specializes in haircuts for kids.  Being the frugal woman that I am, I usually cut her hair myself, but I’ve had more trouble lately getting a straight line across the bottom.  Her hair is really thick and heavy, which makes it harder to look like a clean cut. 

Anyway, Grace was in heaven.  I really wish this was a video so you could hear her delighted “Oooohs” and “Aaaahs” during the shampoo.  The girl washing her hair was cracking up, and I suspect she scrubbed it longer because Grace loved it so much.


She keeps asking me when we’re going back.  I watched the girl really closely when she was cutting Grace’s hair, so hopefully I’ll be able to do it myself next time.  We’ll see!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Trip To Clinton

Grace and I got to spend some time at my parents house visiting with them and all the cousins!  I got to meet my beautiful niece Keira for the first time!  Grace was helping feed her little cousin.


The kids loved playing together and it was thoroughly entertaining to watch them pick right up where they left off the last time we visited. 


Even though they don’t see each other very often, they feel very comfortable together.  I think it’s because my brother’s families and I talk about each other all the time and share internet pictures as often as we can.  Although we are so far apart, I want Grace to feel close to her cousins.

This was my favorite picture from our visit.  My parents with all the grandkids!


Youth Camp 2010

Hello internet!  June has been a crazy month, full of travels and family visits and lots of fun!  We started off by traveling to Orange Beach, Alabama for youth camp with my dad’s church.  We weren’t quite sure what to expect with the oil spill. 

When we first arrived, there were itsy-bitsy tarballs on the shoreline.  Unfortunately, it got worse during the week and it prevented us from swimming in the water.  The Coast Guard was hard at work the whole time we were there.


The tarballs didn’t stop us from enjoying the beach, though!  Grace loved playing in the sand and searching for seashells.


The lessons at camp were wonderful and the kids were great!  It’s always such a pleasure to go every year, worship, and enjoy the beach!

This year two of Grace’s friends were able to be there, so they stuck together like the Three Amigos:   Claire, Sophie, and Grace.


On a serious note, it was heartbreaking to see the devastation that this spill is causing the Gulf economy.  Hotels, restaurants, and shopping centers were bare.  Several business owners and waiters/waitresses thanked us for not cancelling our trip and helping the local economy.  It was so saddening to see first-hand what the Gulf communities are experiencing.  I pray that the clean-up efforts go smoothly and fast so things can get back to normal!