Sunday, July 31, 2011

Reconnecting

The last couple weeks spent in Virginia have been wonderful.  Not only have we been able to get some doctor's and dentist's appointments taken care of, but we've been able to reconnect with some of our friends and family.

My kids and I thoroughly enjoyed getting together with some friends at the local aquatic center and the McD's play yard afterward.  I was also able to have a long lunch with my best friend.  I've even been able to see some people at church who I've missed talking to.

I wish we were able to stay longer so we can see more people in the area, but we need to get going to our next destination so that we can see my hubby's best friend before he moves to Qatar for the next 2 years. 

Good news though... we'll be back in a couple months.  After all, we have to see our nephew (who is due in mid-Sept).

Friday, July 29, 2011

A Place to Call Home

It's official.  We have a place to call home (for a year at least).  We have signed a lease on a house in Port Charlotte, FL.  For those of you not intimately familiar with Florida, Port Charlotte is located on the Gulf of Mexico about an hour South of Tampa.



I know we had mentioned that we were thinking of moving to Texas and that is still an option.  We decided that we don't want to buy for at least another year.  We don't have furniture, and we don't want to buy any till we buy a house so we need to find something furnished.  We found that furnished rentals in the part of Texas we wanted were 2 - 3 times as much as in Florida (if you can find them at all). 

I have been trying to convince Jon to move to Florida rather than Texas for a while so this is a step in the right direction as far as I'm concerned.  I like the fact that the temperatures don't vary as much (the lows aren't as low and the highs aren't as high) as they do in Texas.  I realize that Florida has the potential for hurricanes, but there is a warning system that makes it so you can get out of the way.  Not only that, we have a 38 ft travel trailer so we can grab it on the way out of the state and we don't need to worry about a hotel.  In Texas, they have tornadoes which are much harder to predict and plan for.

Unfortunately, it's not my abilities of persuasion that convinced Jon to rent the house in Port Charlotte.  It's the fact that it is on a canal and has a boat dock (complete with lift). 

 (View of the second dock from the back yard)

One of the first dates he and I had was a trip out on Lake Pleasant in a small sail boat.  Jon's grandparents used to own a sailboat so it's in his blood.  In order to get to the Gulf, we will have to go under a bridge and it may be too short for a sail, but if anyone can figure out how to make it work, Jon can.  The house also has a workshop at the back of the garage that he is already claiming (and we don't move in till Sept).

The kids are most excited about a pool in the backyard and the possibility of a pet.  I am excited about that, but also the fact that I have been given permission to plant a garden in a portion of the back yard (and the growing season is such that I will be able to start as soon as we move it)! 

I'm also looking forward to having access to a library as well as being near a lot of things.  There are stores within a few miles of the house that I'm used to having to drive 30 min or more to get to.  I'm also hopeful I can sign the kids up for some sort of sport or group activity.  I also just found out that in many ways homeschooling in Florida is going to be easier than it was in Virginia.  I've already started some research and it looks like we will be able to join a homeschooling group (or 2) in the area which will give us access to some wonderful group activities.  

A part of me is sad that the house will be furnished because I will not be able to add my own style.  The good news is, that I won't have to unpack a lot of boxes (pretty much just our clothes and school supplies). 

 (So much bigger than the camper's kitchen.  I can't wait!)

At this point, I just want to stay in one place for a while.  I have family as well as some long-time family friends in Florida (most of whom will be within a 2 hour drive of the house), so that's a bonus too.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Dining Out AGAIN?!?!


Yes, you read that correctly.  The thought of eating another meal out makes my stomach turn.  You see, for the last two weeks, we have probably eaten out close to 1/3 of our meals.  Keep in mind that some of that is due to traveling long distances in a camper with no working fridge (it doesn’t refrigerate while we are driving).  We’ve also been eating out because what better way to get together to chat with friends and family than over a meal (especially one that none of you had to cook).

The other night, my kids even looked at me (after a dinner out to celebrate Daddy’s work success) and requested that we not eat out for a while.  I am very happy to oblige.  Now if only there was a way to have home-cooked meals without having to do dishes….

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Night and Day

Yesterday, I took my son to the dentist for a cleaning.  The last time he had been was a little over a year ago.  I know you're supposed to go to the dentist every 6 months, but our living arrangements have been less than conducive to such things.  Not to mention, the last dentist appointment didn't go all that well so I was working up the courage (and praying they forgot how bad it went).

At that appointment they tried to get bite-wing x-rays, a panoramic x-ray, and the standard cleaning.  None of then went particularly well.  There was lots of crying, squirming, and gagging.  Yesterday, was different... only because they didn't try to get a panoramic x-ray.  Otherwise it was very similar to last time... crying, squirming, and gagging, but more of it than last time (at least that's how I'm remembering it).  I even tried bribing him with cash (it got him to handle the x-rays and the flossing better than last time, but didn't work with the cleaning one little bit). 

Today, I took my daughter (Note: I knew not to take them at the same time because I knew they would play off each other because they did last time).  Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it went MUCH better than her appointment last year and worlds better than her brother's appointment yesterday.  In fact, I would say this was a wonderful appointment.

I've been trying to figure out why my older child seems to have a bigger issue with the dentist and I've come up with a few possibilities.  The first is that he has a gag reflex that his sister doesn't have.  The second, and maybe more important one is the hygienist.  I found out after my son was done, that they did not schedule him with the "child" hygienist.  My daughter however, did get her.  She explained everything to my daughter, she gave her time when she needed it and she didn't push the x-rays before the cleaning. 

Neither of my children were found to have any cavities.  In fact, the hygienist today said they wouldn't even consider taking x-rays unless there was concern after the cleaning.  Yesterday, my son was forced to try to do the x-rays before the cleaning and with his gag reflex, that really got things off to a bad start.

I think what I've learned from all of this is that for the next cleaning I'm going to make sure 1. My kids don't go at the same time, 2. I make sure they are scheduled with the "kid-preferred" hygienist, and 3. I'm going to make sure the order of procedures is such that there is the least stress in the beginning as possible. 

I'm just happy that one of my kids did well.  If she hadn't, I think I would have had to have a nice strong drink when I got home.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Proud


I just want to take a moment to let everyone know how proud I am of my hubby.  The last few days have been a bit stressful and sleep deprived for him.  He's been working on a project for a while and found himself facing a looming deadline.  He got everything done last night and the customer is happy!

Down side... they want him to add a new feature to the product in the next week or so.  I guess he's going to be holed up for a while longer. 

Up side… continued income when I know finding a job is hard.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Acclimating

Well, it's official.  My family has acclimated to warmer weather.  The last few days the temperatures in Virginia have been near 100 (with real feel temps closer to 115).  With the exception of a couple hours one or two of the days, we were all ok with the temperatures.  In fact, we even ran some errands that involved some walking outside.

Today, I went outside and it was around 90 degrees and I felt comfortable.  When I go into department stores, restaurants, or doctors offices I actually feel cold and even get chill bumps.  Hubby and the kids are the same.  If it weren't for the mosquitoes, I'd spend quite a few more hours outside each day.  I'm so used to the warmer temps that I've been considering wearing flannel inside the house (don't tell my hubby or I'll never hear the end of it).

Sunday, July 24, 2011

That Time of Year

Well, it's that time of year again...time to start thinking about school.  I remember back-to-school shopping when I was younger.  A part of me loved it (I got new stuff) and a part of me hated it (summer vacation was almost over).

Hubby and I used to talk about the joy of being able to send our kids off to school like our parents used to do and how we were sure our parents loved back-to-school shopping because it meant school was about to start (freedom from kids).  This year, things are different.  This year, I have to get ready for school long before my kids do.  I've already purchased the text books, but I really need to start figuring out what I'm going to teach when.

It brings me back to my time in school.  I really want to procrastinate, but I know that if I do, I will not do as good of a job.  I guess it's finally time to suck it up and get cracking... in a couple days.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Extended Stay

Right after we got back to Virginia, my daughter ended up with a recurrence of a non-contagious infection.  Her pediatrician has decided that because of the recent frequency of this particular infection, that they would like to run some tests once she has completed her current round of antibiotics to figure out what could be causing it.

Considering the antibiotic will not be completed till next Saturday, we've decided to stay in Virginia a little longer than we'd originally planned.  That way we can get the tests run now, rather than once we settle down somewhere else (very important since we want to make sure we prevent possible permanent damage).

A part of me is a bit bummed because there's a chance that some of the things we were hoping to be able to do on our way to Ohio may not happen now.  The other part of me is happy that I will have more time to visit with friends and family.  Oh, and maybe hubby and I will be able to fit in an extra date night too  :-)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Going Out of My Way

I have never been a fan of the dentist.  I've never had a root canal and I've not had that many fillings either, but it seems like every time I go to the dentist for my cleaning I end up with a TMJ-induced headache and canker sores a couple days later. 

Hubby doesn't like the dentist either.  In fact, it's safe to say he HATES the dentist and he has every reason to (lets just say he had a bad experience as a teenager and leave it at that).  Anyway, the dentist I had when I was in braces has an office near where I used to work.  When I stopped working, I used a dentists more local to our house and regretted it.  I then decided, the drive was worth it.

Today, I had a dentist appointment around lunch. Being that the dentist's office was 30 miles away, I knew it would take a while, but last night I received an email from a friend (thanks Jennifer) letting me know that there was a big celebration that would have traffic on my normal route a bit backed up so I found a longer route that would completely avoid the area in question. 

I pulled up to the dentist with two minutes to spare.  Good thing, because I parked way across the parking lot so that I could park in the shade.  You see today is supposed to get close to 100.  I am a firm believer in going out of my way and parking far away from the store/ doctor/ dentist if it means parking in the shade (especially if you know you are going to be inside for more than 5 minutes).  It was SO worth it, because when I got back to the car almost an hour later, it didn't feel that bad. 

The thing that gets me, is that people give me a look when I park way out in the parking lots.  It's like they think I'm crazy for passing up the parking space that is closer to the store.  Yeah, I walk outside in the heat longer, but I will be getting into a car that feels like it's in the 80's rather than the 100's.  Which of us is smarter?  Hmmmm....

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Grandma Would be Proud

Today I finished my first pair of knit socks.  Until the last couple of years of her life, my grandmother knit socks for all her kids and grand-kids, as well as many of her nieces and nephews each and every year.

About a year before my grandmother passed away, she came to Virginia to visit with my parents (and by the fact that I lived 6 minutes away my family as well).  While she was visiting, I made a point to have her teach me how to knit.  Granted, her eye sight wasn't what is used to be, nor was her manual dexterity what it used to be.  But she showed me a few basics and she made sure that I had all of her patterns (including the pattern she used for the socks she made for Christmas presents).

Since that day, I have had a few friends give me some pointers and I've also found a website that has some videos I've been able to watch, but I owe my knitting to my grandmother.  I wanted to carry on the tradition of knitting socks for my family at Christmas.  In fact, I was going to make my first pair of socks for her, but she passed away before I was able to make them.  Instead, the first pair of socks I made are for my nephew (due in mid-Sept).  I did not use my grandmother's pattern (I wanted something a little more "baby"), but I'm planning on working on some of those for my kids next.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

So Close, Yet So Far Away

Well, yesterday we traveled 418 miles.  We had every intention of going the full 501 miles, but it was not meant to be.  We left SC at 10:30 and were making good time, till we got just South of Richmond, VA.  It would appear that VDOT was working on repaving part of I-95 N and only one lane of traffic was open.  I'm not sure what they were thinking (or smoking) because it was 4:30 on a Saturday in the summer! 

Anyway, from what we could tell with Google maps, traffic was backed up for about 3 - 5 miles, so we found the first exit that could accommodate our truck and camper and stopped for dinner, gas, and to see if traffic would clear any.  Well, an hour later it hadn't, so out came Google maps again and we ended up finding an alternate route. 

Part of the time we were paralleling 95 so we were able to see the traffic that was stuck.  We saw 2 tractor trailers that had passed us earlier in our trip stuck in that backup.  I'm guessing they had stopped at the same truck stop we did, but then got back on I-95 after their stop (at least I hope for their sake that they weren't stuck there that whole time).


Needless to say, the delay made it so that rather than pull into my parent's driveway at 8PM we were just clearing Richmond at 8PM.  Rather than take our chances with murderous deer after dark, we decided to stop for the night.  This morning we are 83 miles away from my parent's house (and about 2 hours when driving the camper). 

The natives are restless to get to our ultimate destination, so I'm guessing we'll be on the road soon.  Maybe we'll be at my parent's in time to greet them when they get home from church... provided of course that VDOT isn't doing any more construction today.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Get Up, Get Up, You Sleepy Head

My daughter has been on an antibiotic for almost a week now.  As prescribed, I'm supposed to give her a dose every 8 hours.  Considering she sleeps for 11 hours and I like to sleep for as many hours straight as possible, getting that done exactly as prescribed has been a bit difficult.  What I've been doing is sneaking into her room right as I'm about to go to bed and give her a dose then.

To date, she has not remembered one single night dose.  That's because I can't actually get her to wake up.  I talk to her, I shake her, I flip her over and she STILL doesn't wake up (I will be discussing that with her pediatrician in a week).  Good news... I have been getting her to take the meds. though.  As soon as I stick the syringe in her mouth she starts sucking on it like she was an infant nursing as she fell asleep.

I've heard about smoke detectors where a parent records their voice telling the child to get up.  I guess the theory is that the child will wake more easily to a parent's voice than to a blaring beep.  Considering how well I can wake my daughter up, I'm thinking one of those would not work for us.  I just pray I never have opportunity to find out if the standard smoke detector will wake her or not.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Preparations

Well, the bitter-sweet preparations have begun for us to pack up and leave the Manatee Hammock.  I am happy to be heading North to see family and friends, but we have spent 7 weeks of our 12 weeks camping thus far, here.  We've seen dolphins, manatees, and alligators in the wild here, Jason learned to swim without a life jacket, we saw 2 shuttle launches, 1 rocket launch, and hopefully a night rocket launch tonight while here.  We've also gotten to know the area and the people who work at the campground.

We have every intention of coming back here again some time.  This campground is a good location for getting to Cocoa Beach and we both have the surfing bug (unfortunately the weather the last 3 weeks has not cooperated even a little for that to happen again).

It's really sad to think how different things could be when we return.  I was talking to one of the staff the other night and there are predictions that because of the shuttle program shutting down, they think unemployment in the area in 6 months will be 28%.  The county parks department (that he works for) just laid off 14 workers.  I really hope for the sake of the people in this area that NASA and government officials can get their act together and figure out the next goal that needs to be achieved, or this area is going to be hurting in a big way and very soon.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Being Useful

Well, I think I may have found my calling.  OK, maybe not my calling, but a way to funnel my creativity into something useful.  I love to make things: cookies, cakes, cross stitch, and now knitting.

A couple days ago I finished knitting a hat for my soon-to-be-born nephew.  I wasn't too happy with how it turned out so I decided to try a different pattern and I finished it in one day.  Can I just say, it is SOOOO cute and pretty easy too (sorry, can't post pics 'cause I don't want my BIL and SIL to see it yet).

Anyway, while I was working on it, I was thinking about my son's birth.  It just so happens that the color I was using for the hat was the same color as the hat my son came home from the hospital in.  You see, my son was bigger than most newborns.  In fact, he never wore a newborn diaper.

That size also translated to a rather large head, so the hats that they have in the nursery didn't fit him.  One of the nurses went home the night he was born and knit him a hat that would fit.  I still have that hat (scrolled away in storage right now), but seeing a knit hat in the same color, made me think about whether this is a common occurrence.  Perhaps not, but I think I might just start making hats and give them to hospitals.  Most will be for preemies but some for babies born a little larger than average (in honor of my son).  It's a way to still be crafty, but at the same time fill a need.

Monday, July 11, 2011

What's The Deal?!?

OK folks.  I have a question for you.  Why are you reading my blog, but not posting any comments?  Am I that boring?  Do you think you are that boring or you don't have anything to offer?  I know people are reading my blog (I can see how many people but not who), but I tend to get comments from only one person and I'm curious as to why.  I've recently made it easier for people to make comments.  So please, make comments.  I don't want this to be a one-sided thing.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

We'll be Back... In Just a Few Days

Yep, you heard that right.  The Beckmann clan is going to be back in Virginia in a few days.  We have some friends who are moving from Ohio to Qatar in mid-August, so we decided on the way to see them, that we would stop in Virginia for a couple weeks to see friends and family and to get a few doctors appointments taken care of (medical care while on the road is tough, if not impossible).

If things go according to plan (and you know they ALWAYS do), we will be in Northern Virginia July 17 - July 28.  If you're interested in getting together, let me know and we'll see what we can do.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Fare thee well, Atlantis

Well, the US space shuttle program has officially launched it's last.  You could feel the joy and sadness as people gathered to watch.  Rather than take a lot of pictures, I decided to take video instead.  I couldn't get it to upload to Facebook so I am uploading it here.  I know it's not as close as the videos you will see on TV and you can't hear the sound of the rockets, but hopefully you can get a little of the sentiment and perspective of the people there to watch. 

Enjoy!

video

Just like the moon landing was memorable for children of that generation, I believe this will be memorable for my kids.  My daughter is already talking about wanting to be an astronaut (she is aware she needs to get over her fear of roller coasters) and my son wants to build robots that will go into space.  If nothing else, this experience has given my children dreams they never considered before.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Out of the Mouths of Children

Below you will find a compilation of cute, funny, or sweet things my kids have said recently:

While at church, Jon and I were told that we were a couple that looked perfect together.  We were told we had a happy "glow" about us.  We were talking about it later wondering what the man could have been seeing, and our son proceeds to say, "Maybe it's because your skin isn't as dark as his so he thinks you were glowing."

My daughter has a tendency to mispronounce things.  I'm not sure if it's because she's not paying attention to what we are saying or because perhaps we aren't always looking at her when we tell her the name of something (thereby missing some valuable lip movements when saying certain words).  Some of her more recent mispronunciations:  Crackle Barrel (instead of Cracker Barrel) and Milky Wave (instead of Milky Way).

My son is not immune to mispronunciation either.  He recently said aerodymanics (instead of aerodynamics).   I must admit, it does roll off the tongue as aerodymanics quite easily.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Improv at it's Finest

How many of you have made grand plans to do or make something only to find out as you were about to do it that you were missing something really important?  Well, that was me last night.  Hubby is not a big fan of chicken, but I always try to have it at least once a week because I know it's more health than having red meat all the time.  I've found a few recipes that he puts up with better than others so I try to do those frequently.  Last night, I was going to make chicken parmesan for the first time since being in the camper.

The problem came when I pulled out the chicken and realized that each chicken breast was about 2" thick on one side and 1/2" thick on the other.  And guess what?  I don't have a meat tenderizer!  What's a girl to do?  Use a wine cooler bottle of course.  Yes, I used a full bottle of wine cooler.  I thought of using a beer bottle because it had a wider base, but was afraid it would foam too much.  It worked very well though.

Then it was time to crush the croutons for the coating.  Oops!  I usually use a rolling pin for that job and of course I don't have one of those either.  So what did I do?  I used an empty sphagetti sauce jar on it's side.

Good news...the food was inhaled by all and I had a good time trying to figure out how to make do with what I have.  I think it was some of the most moist chicken I've made yet too!

What is a coking improvisation you've made (for good or bad)?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Wonderful Day + 1 = a 180?

Yesterday was one of the most relaxing and enjoyable days I've had in a LONG time.  We went to church in the morning and neither kid gave me a hard time about going to their class.  Not only did I hear a good sermon, but I was reminded of all the sacrifices that our military make for us (appropriate for this time of year). 

After church, we had a light lunch and then hubby took a nap while the kids watched a movie.  This gave me some alone time and I knitted, read a little, called my parents, and just had some alone time.  After all that, hubby grilled some smoked steak (yum!) for dinner.

After dinner we got to roast marshmallows for S'mores for the kids and I made myself a cherry campfire pie.  After that, I had to work off some of the food, so the kids and I went for a walk down to the Indian River to play some Red Light, Green Light.  While there, I called my in-laws and the kids got to talk to their Oma and Opa for a bit.  We ended up back by the river at dusk in order to try to see another fireworks display (we saw one on Saturday that lasted 30 minutes long).  Unfortunately, it was so far away that most were hidden by the trees.  Yet the kids took it well.

Today however is looking like it will be a very different kind of day.  The kids are already fighting (Over a book.  Should I be happy it's at least about a book?).  We've also been dealing with a sewer problem the last couple of days and it would appear it's coming to a head today.  We are the lowest sewer spot on our row of campers so every time another camper empties their tanks it ends up pushing sewage up out of our spot.  We haven't been able to empty our tanks for 2 days now because of it.  We didn't have any problems before the weekend so we think the extra people this weekend are causing it.  Yes, most of them are leaving today, but we are at 90% capacity this weekend but on Thurs the campground will be at 100% capacity because of the shuttle launch.

As I type, one of the maintenance guys is snaking the sewer hole and adding a new PVC pipe (the one there was broken).  If they can't get it fixed we're going to try to move sites today.  The smell of the sewage is getting worse and I haven't been able to do dishes or take a shower since yesterday for fear of overflowing our tanks. 

If they do get it fixed, I'm going to have a lot of dishes to do (followed by a nice long shower of course).   As someone who doesn't like doing dishes, I must admit, the reprieve is probably part of what made yesterday so enjoyable.  I guess life is now back to normal for a few more days.  Sigh.