2. Just to confess and relieve my guilty conscious, despite everything I need to get done around my house, I managaed to find time yesterday to finish my book club book, North and South, by Elizabeth Gaskell. It's a book best read when the house is quiet (that Victorian dialogue requires undivided attention), but I loved it. Mrs. Gaskell is a new favorite; I love her books even more than I love the BBC movie adaptations of her books. If you don't have time for a difficult read, go find these adaptions: North and South, Wives and Daughters, and Cranford. (I found them for you, here.) Watch them with tissues!
3. Somehow--don't ask me how, mostly it involves long stories you won't be interested in--I have myself scheduled to do the following over the next three days: plan and host a cub scout pack meeting at my house, chaparone the fourth grade field trip, and single-handedly throw the first grade fall party. How and why I have myself signed up for all these things remains a mystery, even to me.
4. Last week our schools had fall break. The Bionic Man took time off from work, and we took the children on a surprise trip to St. Louis. I packed in secret so they wouldn't suspect a thing, and the Bionic Man went into great detail about all the jobs he had for them to do during fall break. They were thrilled to find themselves in St. Louis, instead. Have you ever surprised your family this way? I don't know if we'll ever get away with it again, but it was certainly fun to pull off. I'll go into more detail on our trip another day, because there are great times to be had in St. Louis: it is a fantastically family-friendly city, with many free or low-cost activities. Our children said that this place was better than Disney World.
5. Umm....did you catch that? My children said something was better than Disney World? That is the most incredible recommendation EVER, considering that we were sent to Disney World for Superkid's Make a Wish trip. At Disney World, those children did not wait in a single line, got front row seating at every show, and special attention from everyone they encountered--from Tinkerbell to Buzz Lightyear. If my children say something is more fun than Disney World, you'd better find out quick what it is. In this case, it was also cheaper than Disney World.
6. Remind me to tell you about our Make a Wish trip, sometime. We are forever indebted to the Wish Foundation. They really do know how to make wishes come true.
7. And, while we are on the topic of good things.....Superkid did see a neurologist last week, and we definitely got some effective help, there. The neurologist knew of a non-habit forming antihistamine that has proven to be really helpful for young children who suffer from migraines. I'm so grateful! We've had a week free of migraines since Superkid started taking it, despite all the migraine triggers that are par for the course with family vacations (motion of the car, late nights, change in diet, etc.). That is HUGE! I am thrilled.
8. I made beef and vegetable soup last night, with whole wheat sourdough bread. I even made a pumpkin-gingerbread pie for dessert. I felt completely heroic, considering I also had bread rising on the countertop, had made all the phone calls I needed to, loaded the dishwasher, gone grocery shopping, survived a tornado (there is a trampoline on a garage roof just down the street), AND finished reading my book club book! Apparently, I'm accomplished, but lacking in humility. Lest you think me a paragon of domestic capability (that Victorian dialogue sucks me in every time) I shall inform you that there is a pile of unfolded laundry in my bedroom soon to be listed as the highest point of elevation in Indiana, and the pie was a mix I found at Aldi.
9. I hereby promise to share my recipe for whole wheat sourdough bread with you very soon, because--guess what?--you can make it in your bread machine and you don't need to use a sourdough starter.
10. Superkid's official birthday was on Saturday. She's 7 now. Wow. Today, while I was straightening up around the house, I found a little birthday card addressed to her. It had been handmade by one of the children in her Sunday school class. The outside of the card read, "Happy Birthday Superkid!" and was decorated with colorful balloons, party hats, and a cake. Opening the card, I found a very detailed drawing inside: a hillside covered with flowers, and two stick figures. It looked like there was a doorway into the hillside, with a big rock next to it. The little artist who had drawn this picture had carefully labeled everything. An arrow pointing to the flowers said "flowers". An arrow pointing to the stick girl said, "Superkid". Another arrow pointed to the stick man, "Jesus." And a fourth arrow identified the hill as "tombstone." There were instructions: "Color it." The very best part? Next to the large letters that spelled "Happy Birthday Superkid" was the speech bubble coming from Jesus. He was saying, "COME FORTH Superkid!" Not to lesson the sweet, child-like faith of the little artist, but I had a good laugh over that one. Isn't that the perfect birthday card? Hallmark, take note! Forget all the over the hill business, I say we go with, "You may be another year older, but you've got resurrection to look forward to. Happy Birthday!"
11. A friend stopped by with her little boy yesterday for a short visit. Hunter the dog looked extremely disappointed when they departed. I felt so sorry for him that, as our friends walked down the sidewalk, I lifted Hunter's paw up so that he could "wave" to them. In the middle of helping my dog wave bye-bye, I realized that I was helping my dog wave bye-bye. It's not like Hunter is some kind of little pomeranian....the dog weighs 50 lbs.....and I'm waving his paw? It was a shocking moment. I've become one of those people, apparently, who treats their dog more like a child than a dog. Luckily, I don't know how to knit, so you don't have to worry about seeing me and the dog wearing matching sweaters.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go sew Hunter's Halloween costume.