Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Parents and Letting Go...a little...kinda

So, parents of biguns.; HOW do you not freak out every time they get in the car to go somewhere alone in their vehicle?

Anyone have tips, advice, Valium, something?  Jake really had no interest in driving at all. He had friends or us to chauffeur him around.   He got his Learner's at 16, not 15, and his real license last week; he's 18.  He's been driving by himself for a week.

Monday I had a minor freak-out.  He's at the University and tells me he's coming by my office.  In the rains left from Tropical Storm Issac. On a major Interstate.  By himself for the first time.

Over an hour later, and he's not there nor answering his phone, which is a good thing. He won't answer his phone while driving.  I don't like to and he follows my lead.

But by this time, I am in a panic and trying not to show it at work. My one co-workers knows me and knows something is wrong.  I tell him what's the worry and he reassures me.

An hour and a half after I think he should arrive, he calls.  "Oh, yea mom.  I forgot I had a class at 2. Why are you crying, silly?"

UGH.  Cause I am a dork.

Cause you're still a baby in the sink and the cutest kid on the planet.

Cause you're still 8 and loving Cub Scouts with your mom.

Cause you're 13 and still fun to hang round.

Cause you're 17 and don't mind that I chaperone all your field trips.

 Cause you're 18 and know I am your biggest fan.

That's why I cry, silly.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Back to School Thrifty Mom

Well, you all know Jacob started back to school, but so did Isabel a few days after he did.

During the early part of her summer, we came across an awesome backpack in the clearance rack.  Total cost: $7. She fell in love and I went ahead and got it for her.

Power Puff Girls Backpack

We also always get school supply lists from the school.  I have learned to never buy supplies based off the school's generic lists.   These lists are separated by grade, so every 3rd grader buys the same thing, except when classes start, the teachers send out their own lists.  After getting burned several years with supplies they never used, I send my kids (Isabel now) to school with a pencil box full of scissors, pencils, paper, erasers, glue, crayons and markers.  When school then starts and I get the list back from the teacher, then I buy what her specific teacher needs.

Total spent on school supplies (not counting clothing/shoes):  $5.49 for supplies and the $7 backpack.

Why?  Because I keep everything year over year.  Isabel has used the same scissors 3 years in a row.  Guess what?  They were Jake's when he was in 1st grade.  He's a freshman in college.  :)  This woman knows how to save.  Her pencil box was the one she got in Kindergarten.  Her folders were all new folders that were never used and returned home from previous years.  Her pencils were pencils we've had since forever.  We have a drawer full of them.  I sharpened a bunch and put them in her pencil box.

The $5.49 was spent on loose leaf paper, index cards, 3 more glue sticks (to add to the 3 she brought back with her at the end of the year last year) and three notebooks.  Her teacher also asked for a spiral bound notebook.  I went into Jacob's room and asked if he had any left over from senior year.  He had two with barely any pages used so I ripped out the pages and put that in her backpack.

Her crayons are the ones from last school year; never used.  Still look brand new.  They never used them, or if they did, she used communal crayons and came home the last day of school with her box of crayons intact.  Markers?  From last year, all intact, hardly used.

Her lunch box is the same as last year; she loves it because it's pink and has kitties, so we're good.   I bought her zero new clothes.  The girl has SO MUCH CLOTHES from my family spoiling her that she does not need anything.  The only thing we got her new were sneakers for $30 + tax.  Nike's for $30, on sale and with a 20% coupon from Kohl's.  She ruined her old sneakers playing in the water at the family reunion.  They are now her "outside play" sneakers.  When the neighbor boy comes over to ask her to play, I yell "put on your old sneakers, not the new ones!" and she does.

She's in 3rd grade now with a BOY teacher again.  Here's to another successful school year; cheers!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Class of 2016

Here's a video showing the kids making 2016 that I told you about in a previous post. I see Jake a few times, but it's hard to point out. He's in the loop of the 6; where the circle meets the upright of the 6. I can see him. :)   Bright lime green shirt.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Stetson Focus Orientation Weekend

FOCUS:  Friends On Campus Uniting Students

This weekend was the start of the FOCUS Freshman and Transfer student orientation week.

After the fiasco with the car, Jacob got there RIGHT at the buzzer.  He got a Stetson cloth bag, a T-Shirt and a welcome folder. His first FOCUS group meeting was at 2:30 - 3:45 p.m.  All students got put into small groups of 20, with two Focus leaders; current students at Stetson.  Jacob already knew the 2 leaders plus some of the people in his group - the magic of Facebook and groups.

While Jacob was in his Focus meeting, David was at the parents' opening welcome in another area. (I was still dealing with car purchasing craziness).

By the time I arrived, they were on the Class 2016 Photo.  Everyone was lined up in Rinker Field and made to spell out 2016 on the grass while a photographer huge genie lift took their picture.  They all get a copy later.

Class of 2016, Waiting to make the 2016 out of all the kids on the field.

David and Isabel went home while Jacob and I headed into the Edmunds Center for the Opening Celebration.  Parents in the stadium seating, new students on the floor.
Opening Celebration, 08/18/12

Where's Jacob, 08/18/12

After the opening, we were free until 7:30 p.m. so we jumped on a Trolley to Downtown Deland for dinner.

Deland Trolley, The Trolley takes us Downtown for dinner
Trolley Ride.

We wanted to go to Cafe DaVinci but they were not open yet, so we ended up at Boston Coffee House instead.
Cafe Davinci
Cafe Davinci in Artisan Alley.

With more time on our hands, we hit the Stetson on-campus Starbucks, just to have a place to sit in the cool AC.

On-Campus Starbucks break, Jake crashes at te school's Starbucks.  But wait, what's that there?
Oooh, what's that on the left there?

A Piano!, Jake plays piano at the Starbucks.
Jacob played a couple of tunes while we waited.

Then we walked the campus a bit more, before we split up; he to go to a commuter student meeting and I to go to a Parent Association meeting.

Elizabeth Hall

Inside Elizabeth Hall
Inside Elizabeth Hall.  He has a class in here so we went to find the room.

Palm Court, The fountain from "Waterboy."
Palm Court.  Parts of the Adam Sandler movie " The Waterboy" were filmed here.

After the parent meeting, I hitched a ride with another parent I knew home and left Jacob to flounder on his own with his new-to-him car.  Oh, yea, he'd just gotten his driver's license the day before!!  He'd had his permit for 2 years and HAD to get his license so he could start driving himself to college.  *snort*  Talk about trial by fire!

The kids had activities until 2 a.m.!  He went to a Playfair at Rinker Field from 9:15-10:15 p.m. and then to a n outdoor dance party at Club Commons.  He arrived around 11:30 p.m. covered in light stick necklaces and eyeglasses, having had a great time.

It was off to bed because we had to do it ALL over again on Sunday.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Remember Murphy's Law?

mur·phy's law/ˈmərfēz/
A supposed law of nature, expressed in various humorous popular sayings, to the effect that anything that can go wrong will go wrong.

This was my Saturday, to the EXTREME. See, we had plans to be at Stetson University (Go Hatters!) at around 12:30 p.m. As a commuter, we had in get Jacob there between 12:30 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. for Freshman check-in and orientation. Stetson had this amazing calendar of events for parents and students for the entire weekend.

The previous Thursday, we found a car we decided to buy him in lieu of the one I damaged.  Instead of going back Friday, which meant a lot of traveling back and forth for David, we decided to arrive at 9:00 a.m. at the used car lot, get everything done and be out of there by at the latest 12:00 p.m.

What went wrong....hmmmm...... what went wrong.

1) The salesman arrived...at 9: 40 a.m.  We were not the first ones waiting, so we had to wait for him to help the first person there.  After test driving the car, we decided to go for it.  It was about 10:30 a.m. by the time the paperwork was (hand) written up.

2) The used car lot is not modern.  At all.  They did not have a credit card machine (we were going to use debit and use $$ set aside for this purchase) and did not accept personal checks.  Bank checks or money orders.  We drove to the bank 2 blocks away.  Closed on a Saturday.  We went to another branch another 1/2 mile away.  Closed on a Saturday.  I spent a frustrating 10 minutes on the bank's automated phone lines trying to speak to a human.  The automated systems kept telling me banks with atm's, not banks open on Saturday.  While I struggled, David sent a text to a co-worker who knew the area and told us about a bank about 15 minutes away that was open until 1 p.m.  It was about 11:15 a.m. by the time we made the trip, got the bank check and got back.

3) The used car lot wanted two proofs of residency in the form of bills to my house.  I knew this from Thursday.  I grabbed 2 bills.  One had only David's name and they would not accept it.  (Side Bar:  I am paying CASH for a car. Why do you CARE where I live? I am not financing anything!)  David had to drive 25 minutes home / 25 minutes back.  In the meantime....

4) The car lot would not accept what my insurance company, State Farm, had told me over the phone earlier; any car we buy automatically is insured under the policy for 14 days.  Automatically.  This is State Farm, people, not Joe Schmoe insurance.  The car lot wanted written, faxed proof that this car had coverage, and the VIN had to be included on the fax.  I call State Farm, get everything started and then...

5) BOOM!  A car accident down the street, involving a car hitting a power box, caused the power to go out at the dealership.  State Farm could not fax or email the letter.  Used car lot guy could not make a photo copy of all my bills and insurance card, etc. etc.  Used car lot guy spent 1/2 an hour walking up and down the street looking for someone with power, and with a copier.

I take the kids across the street to eat while we wait for power to be restored.  THAT side of the street had power.  David finally returns with the danged bill that can't even be copied.

By this time, it's 1 p.m.  We're supposed to be at Stetson by 2.  Jake is panicking.  I am not blaming him.  I cannot leave the lot because

7) The car is in my name, so the lot won't let David wait for the power so he can finally get the tag.  With the power out, they can't log into the DMV to get some forms they need printed, and they won't let David drive off the lot with it.

I send David, Jacob and Isabel off to Stetson without me.  I spend the next hour and a half waiting for the power to come on under a canopy in Florida's summer heat.  I am a sweat ball.  Jacob makes it to Stetson at 2:05 and gets his registration packet but misses out on a bunch of freebies.  David and a hyper Isabel sit through the first of many parent conferences.  He's giving me a play-by-play via text messages.

I spend my time talking scholarships with the then-surly receptionist who becomes super-nice once I start explaining to her the ways around scholarships, Florida Bright Futures, etc.  We spent a good 45 minutes discussing her daughter and what she needs to do to get financial aid for college.

The power comes back on.  I get everything I need and leave the lot at 3:00 p.m.  Three Pee Emm, people.

I go to Stetson to relieve David so he can take a super-tired Isabel home and I take my spot as "Parent of Jacob F." for the rest of the evening's events.

8) My phone dies from overuse.

9) The camera batteries died.  The spare ones I purposefully brought with me were dead ones.

Remember these lyrics?  "Got it all together don't ya baby?  Murphy's Law, is sure out to get you."

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Adventure Time's Fionna Cosplay Outfit!

My kids and I are huge Adventure Time fans.  My daughter LOVES to hand-draw Adventure Time pictures  and she also makes great ones using MS Paint.

Adventure Time, (with Fionna, Finn, Cake, Jake, Lady, P.B, and LSP)!

I even made Adventure Time cupcakes for my son's Drama troupe to sell as a fundraiser during intermission at one of their plays. (shout-out to Deviant artist stellarowan, whose design I emulated.)

From Kaaren's Kakes

We were planning on putting together a Princess Bubblegum costume for our daughter for Halloween, but slowly I realized she would really like to be Fionna a little bit more than she would PB.  Fionna is an alternate female version of Finn in a gender-bent episode of Season 3's Adventure Time, called "Fionna and Cake."

Here are my finds:
Fionna's Costume Adventure Time, The Fionna outfit I got together secretly for my 8 year old, who is a huge fan

I started with Etsy, of course!  Although there are many Fionna hats on Etsy, I thought Epic Costume's version looked the best.   The backpack was purchased from Izzy's creations.  It's a simple felt pack, with an opening at the top.  I think it'll be fun for our daughter to use as her trick-or-treat bag.

The top was next.  I searched Gymboree, Gap, Children's Store and Old Navy.  I found some on-line at The Children's Place (not available in the store though; I checked) and The Gap, but eventually got one in-store at Old Navy.

The shoes and socks were quick Payless purchases.  I still have to add the blue stripes to the tops of the socks.

The biggest problem was the skirt.  Fiona's skirt is plain.  No ruffles, no seams, no frills.  I checked everyone both on line and in stores, spending my lunch breaks hunting for a week.  Etsy, Ebay, Gymboree, Gap, Old Navy, The Children's Place, Macy's, JC Penney, Walmart, Sam's Club, Target, K-mart, Hot Topic, Dillard's.  You name it, I checked on-line and/or in stores.  There were some my sister found, but they were in China or the UK, and they were bulk-orders or too expensive.

I ended up having to settle for a skirt that had a ruffle from Wal-Mart.  I still have my sisters out there hunting and I have my eyes open too everywhere I go, just in case I find a non-ruffly one.

When Isabel walked into our guest room where I had laid everything out, she gasped "Wooooooow!!" and immediately ran to get the hat.

Fionna from Adventure Time Photobucket
Isabel as Fionna.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Fashion Show!

My mom brought Isabel some dresses from Puerto Rico.  My sister Brenda asked that I take photos of Isabel in her dresses.  We decided to have a bit of a fashion show.

She's a cutie!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

My Abuela

My abuela passed away Tuesday night in Puerto Rico.  She was 89 years old.  She had been suffering from medical problems with her lungs, and also had some kind of dementia/Alheimer's disease.  Sometimes she knew people around her, other times not.

The last time I saw her, sad to say, was 2006.  She came to Florida, then got ill at my home.   It was a scary time.  She had fluid in her lungs and ended up being hospitalized.  We visited and spent time with grandpa at home.   It was a trying time but we made do and at least I got to be with them.

None of us sisters from dad's line could attend.  She died Tuesday around 10 p.m.  They buried her Thursday at 2 p.m.-ish.  Flights were too expensive for us.

She was feisty when coherent.  She always made us eat.  "Cóme!, Cóme!" (Eat, eat!) she'd yell.  She had strong religious beliefs.  She and grandpa are the reason I believe in God and my salvation through Jesus.  When my parents did not go to church, our grandparents took us along.  Dragged us, you might say, but I am eternally grateful.

I will miss my abuela.  I don't think anyone will miss her more though than my abuelo and my sister Brenda.  Bar none.

Our abuelo/grandpa