Thursday, February 26, 2009

Austen in Action

Let's face it. Austen is just plain fun. We always said Austen brings levity into a houselhold of intense personalities.How can someone who is so busy and deals with such serious stuff all the time, have such a great disposition?

Here Austen comes in from the back deck after spending a morning on Odyssey stuff. He is getting ready to work at the Club, showing some of the elementary kids how to wire circuit boards...

And what sane kid has fun with Homer? Austen and his friend Mandy dissolve into a pile of giggles over ways to "trap" their "enemies" in a game they are creating on quotes from the Illiad.

Yet with all this playfulness, Austen genuinely enjoys the structure a nd friendships he develops with his Civil Air Patrol peers.

This picture was taken after the San Antonio Lackland Squadron participated in a drill competition. They were seriously reviewing what went right..what went wrong..when Austen peaks at the camera and has the entire squadron laughing until they cry with one commentary after another on how they did. They then try to focus before performing their innovative drill. (Which they placed 1st in, by the way!)

Austen next to one of his good friend Josie. We all like to say that Josie and her cousin Sammy are Austen's body-guards. Both girls participate in both Civil Air Patrol and Odyssey of the Mind with Austen..and they are all Club kids. In other words...they have spent a LOT of time together over the past several years.

Austen has recently helped his dad fix a 4 wheeler. This has by far,
been the favorite past-time of all. Austen plans to spend his summer lifeguarding, traveling, attending a Shakespeare theater session and 4 wheeling everywhere!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Home Office?

Allright. I really want to know. Just who thought up the idea of
a home-office...and does anyone really..I mean really use them
efficiently? This is a shot of our school-room (now there's a laugh)/
home office/morning room/laundry room..that also houses our piano.

Rumor has it that this is the spot where I can accomplish all my
home paper-trail stuff. You know..grant writing, social service
forms for various families, program development for the Club, occasional sermon writing and..heaven forbid.. eventually produce a transcript or something for the boys.

When you turn the can see that I have an actual desk with computer (I stole it from laptop has been in a repair store for..count this 4 months!). We just happen to have
all my books on shelves next to the washer and dryer around the other corner.

I told Brian this morning that I didn't think this was working. I need space! I tell him. He looks
at me incredulously. Well..there's the tree-house. Oi..I we go with the tree-house again. I stare back at him. Do you want to put your stuff in our room again? he asks. I try this every year. It lasts a month and drives me crazy. The problem with having all your work stuff in your room is you never really rest. Let's face it. There is always more work to be done in any social-service type work. Going to bed and waking up to piles of unfinished work makes me unbearable to live with. No. I tell him. I want my own room. Can't you build me a room?

I know I am being unreasonable..but come hard could it be? Really.

The truth is..our house is too crowded to work in any open space. Just around the corner is thekitchen. It usually looks like this. You
know with people and stuff. And while I am a pretty social person, I don't think I have sat at the computer to do, well, anything, in over 5 years without someone peeking their head from the kitchen (and there is always someone in the kitchen!). If it looks like I might be remotely involved in something than I feel a presence of some tall boy or man looking over my shoulder. And then the question "Whachya doin'?". They don't really want to know. They either want the computer, or want to tell me something important. You know..where my undivided attention is needed immediately!
Now add Odyssey of the Mind into the equation. For the next month or two my living room
will always look like this..only with many more small people not seen in this particular picture. They are great kids!..but they are constantly looking for stuff. Glue, duct-tape, paint basically, anything that might be stored in a morning room/school room/office/laundry room!
I realize (again) that my quest for quiet office space is in vain. I do not want to climb a tree
to find quiet. Luckily, the weather is getting a little warmer. I look at our back deck. It has served me well every Spring so far.

The floor and roof need to be painted, new plants could be hung, but it's sure quiet.....

I think it's time to claim my new office!
Weekly Menu:
Sunday: catfish, beans, corn-bread, onion
Monday: quiche, spinach salad
Tuesday: black beans and rice, fruit salad
Wednesday: Quesadillas, fruit smoothies
Thursday: Lasagna, french bread, green beans
Friday: dinner in Austin
Saturday: out-to-eat with Brian :)

Monday, February 02, 2009

Packed weekend

It is 6ish this morning. Brian, Michael and I are sitting in a fog...drinking our coffee and trying to absorb that it is Monday. "So" says Michael (mason's dad)..."That was a blur" (meaning the weekend). "A bit everyone okay?"

He is right. We have all been running different directions since Friday night. Austen spends the night at Lackland for more Civil Air Patrol stuff. Mason has a game. Brian and Michael are working late. Cody and I stay home to watch movies. Early Saturday I leave with a car-load of
volunteers for a day of judges training. Michael spends the day working. Mason has a soccer game. Cody has more practice..Brian drives the soccer boys places..and then they head to the church to work at the annual Wild Game Dinner.( etc. etc. Are we getting the picture here?)

I will not go into detail on everyone's schedule for the rest of the weekend. But in a nutshell..everyone ends up sleep deprived (think church lock-in). Michael, meanwhile, is still working.

It is Sunday afternoon and we finally all get home. Brian wants everyone to clean, clean, clean?
We think he is kidding. No, we are going to have company for the super-bowl.
Super Bowl? Who's playing? I ask. Cody grunts. Brian shrugs. Does it matter? he asks.
Mason fills us in before guests arrive so we do not embarass him. We are told we should cheer for Arizona.
Mason and Cody grab the "best seats" and kick back to enjoy the game....but guests trickle in..and their evening becomes a bit chaotic.

We enjoy a Cajun
Crab Boil and eat way too much food.

Michael returns with 3-D sunglasses for everyone. Don't we all look cool?

Now it is Monday. We have returned to the normacy of the
week. Cody is holing up in his room to work on math. Austen and Devin work on Odyssey something or another.

Some of the co-op kids (Angela, Devin, Austen
and Amanda) play Cranium, after more octa-tetraing and a discussion
on Homer, Locke and the characters of Lost...(Calvin, Sawyer...) They listen to AC/DC and Duke Ellington. They hide from eachother under the house. Finally, they ask if they can just play Dungeons and Dragons next year. We tell them maybe.

Weekly Menu:
Monday: fish and veggie tacos
Tuesday: sausage and tomatoes, biscuits, corn-on-the cob, baby carrots
Wednesday: enchiladas, beans, corn-bread
Thursday: breaded pork chops, french fries, salad,
Friday: pizza again
Saturday: spaghetti, french bread, salad (another OM day)