Monday, February 27, 2017

Sometimes, you just need to call in the pros!

So the weekend didn't go quite as planned.  If you will recall, our weekend project was to paint the stairs and hall way.  No big deal, right? 

Wrong. 

After dinner on Friday, Dan took Peter to a friend's house for a sleepover.  While he was gone, I got out the painter's tape and started taping the floors of the stairwell.

Dan has painted the stairwell and hall twice now because he loves me very much.  He could care less about dirty hand-prints down the entire length of the hallway (which is why we (he) painted it the first two times) or a bad paint color choice (which is why we are painting it now).

I had just finished taping the lower portion when he got home and I helped him bring the giant ladder up from the basement.  Our ladder is an adjustable ladder like this one:


It can be be made into a short ladder, a medium ladder, a long ladder or scaffolding depending on how you lock  the hinges.

After we brought the ladder up from the basement, we put down the tarps so paint wouldn't spill on my new wood stairs.  When we had the wood floors put in down stairs, we also had them put in going up the stairs. 

The whole project of painting the stair well had me very nervous.  The stairwell consists of  steps going up to  a decent size landing, and then there is a turn and the steps go up to the second floor.  And it's 15 feet from the landing to the ceiling so painting and taping this area is a huge pain in the rear end.  However, Dan is cheap so it's a pain he's willing to deal with.

I helped him adjust the tallest position. Like the picture on the right:



Because of the design of the stairs, Dan had the top portion of the ladder leaned against the wall over the stairs and the bottom portion situated right up to the wall on  landing.  Here's a picture to help explain better:

 The bottom of the ladder was against the wall with the window and the top of the ladder was on the portion of the wall right above the top of the steps which we can see below:


Good grief!  Could I drag this boring story out any longer???

And just for a little more perspective, if I stand underneath that window, and reach my arm straight up, I can reach almost half way up the window.  So it's tall in that stairwell even though it doesn't appear to be in these pictures.

I was paranoid about Dan going up the ladder but he's done it twice before and he's not afraid of heights like I am.  All was going well until we adjusted the ladder a bit so he could reach the ceiling right over the top of the stairs and then THE LADDER SLIPPED. (When he painted before, the carpet kept the ladder from slipping.  But now that we had hardwoods, the ladder/tarp slipped.)

I screamed at the top of my lungs  and y'all that scream was blood-curdling

But instead of Dan plummeting to his death as I had envisioned, the bottom of the ladder got wedged into the wall and the top of the ladder went right through the wall:



Nice,huh?!

Dan managed to hang on to the ladder while it was sliding down the wall and didn't even fall off.

However, in the split second that it took for the ladder to slip, I had envisioned the ladder slipping down the wall until it reached the air, then the ladder hitting the bottom steps with Dan on it and then Dan's mangled body resting underneath it.

Hence, the blood-curdling scream.

I was extremely rattled but Dan was fine. So fine, in fact that he immediately starting googling how to patch large holes in dry wall. I, however, immediately began to ask him if we could just call the painters in to do this job.  And as soon as he seemed sort of agreeable, I sent our painter a text and he's coming on Friday.  I also sent him a picture of the giant holes in the dry wall and he said he can fix those as well.

I'm so glad I got him booked because about 30 minutes after I did that, Dan started saying how it was going to cost too much, how he could do it himself, how it was a waste of money.  BLAH BLAH BLAH.  And I knew he would do that which is why I booked the painters as soon as he seemed agreeable.  This ain't my first rodeo. 


The only downside is now I will have to spend the next 10 years (or maybe more!) hearing Dan complain that he really could have done it himself. 

I guess I will just keep this picture around to remind him of the truth!



And just in case you were wondering, we spent the weekend painting some old furniture so all was not lost.  And next weekend, we will paint the bonus room which involves zero adjustable ladders - just one really short normal ladder that even I can handle!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Chit chat and what not.

The kids had a good day at Model UN.  They didn't come home with any awards though. 

Peter was annoyed because he felt like the team that won the award in his room shouldn't have won.  Not necessarily that Peter's team was more worth but that the team that won should not have. But overall, he was just relieved that his teammate made it.  He got a text right before we left that his partner didn't feel well and he might not make it.  But, luckily he made it because Peter did not want to sit in a room full of people he did not know all by himself.  (He is his mother's son.)

Sarah didn't care that she didn't win anything.  She was just happy that she wasn't as nervous as she thought she would be. She spoke up frequently when making resolutions (or whatever it is that they do) and several other countries wanted to work with her and her partner.  So, she considered the day a success.  And then several boys from another school sat down with her at lunch to get help with the paper they were working on.  That totally annoyed her based on the amount of eye rolling she did while telling me that. 

We are seriously just clicking through this school year at lightening speed.  This is our down week and we are enjoying it.

Next week we start track practice and then the week after that we add in swimming for Sarah and an art/painting class after school for Peter.  Not to mention trying to cram in scouts on top of that.  And speaking of scouts, Peter is heading to a Merit Badge college this weekend to work on another badge he needs for Eagle Scout.  And Dan, who is in charge of all the paperwork and what not needed for Boy Scout summer camp has been working on spreadsheets and email in the evenings necessary to coordinate all that for the troop.

And in the midst of all this fun and excitement I'm working on our taxes.  Every year I say that I'm going to outsource this fun job and every year, the thought of getting everything together to give to someone else to do, is more overwhelming than actually doing it myself.

To top all that off, we will be starting to paint the hall and the stairwell this weekend.  Well, I'm planning on that, I just need to get Dan on board.  We last painted the hall and stairwell 3 years ago and the minute that Dan got the first coat of paint on the walls, I hated it.  Hated the color, hated the finish, hated it all.  So for three years I have suffered in silence because Dan busted his butt to get that painted (our stair well is very tall and it was very hard for him to paint) and I didn't have the heart to tell him I hated it. 

But once we repainted the downstairs with a color that I love, I told him the hallway/stairwell was next and that we would be using the same color.  I also told him that since I painted the entire downstairs by myself, he was going to have to help me with the upstairs.  So it's a fun weekend around here!!!

And one last interesting tidbit - I was reading that a local strawberry farm already has berries on it's plants due to the extremely warm weather we've been having.  If we don't have a cold snap they are predicting that the berries will be ready to pick around March 21st!  Around here, berry picking season is the end of April through the end of May.  That's a whole month earlier than normal.  Unfortunately though, I'm certain we will have a cold snap.  It's gong to be in the mid to upper 70s through Saturday but I'm sure it will drop back to more normal temps after that. 

I'm not going to lie though. I love it being warm. We've been sleeping with the windows open at night this week and that is one of my favorite things to do!

All right.  Enough chit chat.  I've got taxes to do!


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Model UN

The 7th and 8th graders from all the area Catholic schools have descended on Bishop McGuinness High School to participate in Model UN.

The kids have been working hard preparing research on their countries and practicing their public speaking and debating skills. 

Peter and Sarah were both pretty nervous this morning but I know they will do great.  It's a great learning experience and I'm hopeful that they will be a part of the Model UN team when they attend Bishop.

Here they are before heading out the door this morning:

All dressed up and ready to go!

Monday, February 20, 2017

One final basketball weekend....

It was our last weekend of basketball.  Dan took the day off and we picked the kids up from school at lunch.  They changed out of their school uniforms and we headed to Charlotte for the Shamrock Tournament.

Our team was exited because this year (unlike last year) we were in the Flight 2 bracket.  This meant that we would actually have a chance to play all weekend and possibly win this bracket because we would be better matched against the teams.

Last year we were in Flight 1 with all the big schools and on our first game we were eliminated by the team of giants that went on to win the entire tournament.  That was extremely disheartening.
But this year, we felt like we could take the lower tiered bracket and bring home a trophy.

We had our first game on Friday night and won handily.  The boys played well so we were on to game 2 on Saturday morning.  This game was tougher but we held on and won which meant we were on to an afternoon game.

During the afternoon game, we played hard for 3 quarters and managed to stay in the lead through some questionable calls from the refs but as the game progressed, I could feel it slipping away.  And at the beginning of the 4th quarter, our best player fouled out and then the whole team imploded. 

Peter was angry at the outcome, the officials, the other team, etc. but not with his own team who had their own hand in the loss even though Peter refuses to see it that way. So there were a lot of teachable moments with this game. 

Dan's dad made him memorize this poem when he was a teenager:

If

If you can keep your head when all about you   
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;   
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;   
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,   
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

- by Rudyard Kipling

And yes, it's the same poem that Tom Brady posted on social media  after the Patriots epic Super Bowl comeback. So, yes, technically my husband and Tom Brady are practically twins.

After our game on Saturday, I told Dan that I think it's time he makes Peter memorize this poem.

And now basketball season is over and we're all feeling a little down and not just because of the loss.  I always feel that way when one season ends and another begins.  I absolutely love all the boys on Peter's basketball team and their parents, and it was great spending so much time with them.  It's always sad when something like that ends.

But track starts next week and so does swimming for Sarah so our evenings will still be busy and time still marches on and that's the way it's supposed to be, but it's still a little bittersweet.


Monday, February 13, 2017

A basketball kind of weekend!

The PECSAA (Piedmont Elementary Catholic Schools Athletic Association)  tournament was this weekend. 

We had a game Friday night and we won!  Then we played Saturday and lost against the team that ultimately won the tournament.  And then we played Sunday and won which means we came in third!

It was a great weekend of basketball and now that the PECSAA tournament is over we have practices this week and then on Friday we head to Charlotte for the Shamrock Tournament!

Here are a few pictures from the weekend.







And a picture of the team with the 3rd place trophy!


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Did you guys hear??

Of course you did but I would be remiss if I didn't write about it for my little family scrapbook!

Sunday was Super Bowl LI (51) and the New England Patriots were playing the Atlanta Falcons.

All week long Dan kept hearing all the predictions about how the Pats were going to cream the Falcons.  And the more predictions he heard like this the more worried he got.  Because even though my husband is a devout Catholic, a God-fearing man, and just completely full of logic and reason, he believes in Jinxes.

So he began to fret and start to talk about how the Patriots were going to lose.  (He also thinks that if he talks about how they are going to win, they will also be jinxed as well. Silly, right?)

Because the Patriots were playing, we didn't have anyone other than my brother over to watch.  And Brad knows the rules - minimal talking during the game. 

I made my delicious pepper jack pimento cheese toasts, chips and queso and meatballs.

The game did not go as we had hoped.  The first 3 quarters were extremely hard to watch.  Dan was sullen during most of the three quarters but Peter was doing his best to be positive using the logic that the Falcons scored all their points in one quarter so there was no reason the Patriots couldn't do the same!

And, well, you all know how that turned out!  A neighbor behind us even set off fireworks after the game so we went outside and yelled like a bunch of rednecks!

While I am very glad with the outcome, I do feel like the NFL needs to change their OT rules.  I think they just need to play a whole extra quarter - otherwise, just toss the coin and call the winner of the coin toss the winner of the game.  But that's just my two cents.

Now all that's left to do is find Tom Brady's jersey!


When my brother is in charge of the camera, there will be a lot of outtakes!





Dan's brother who still lives in Massachusetts sent us these cool shirts. Aren't we cute?? 

Monday, February 6, 2017

CSW - It's a wrap!

The rest of Catholic Schools week went well.

Thursday was the annual 8th grade class versus Parents and Teachers.  It was a lot of fun to watch.  The 8th graders won the game and no one had a heart attack or got injured on the parent's team!

Here's a little video:

One other nice thing our school does during CSW are prayer wreaths.  Each class has a wreath that hangs on the door and each student decorates the outside of a card and writes a prayer intention on that card.  They are reminded to pray for their intentions and their classmates intentions each time they walk through the door.  The wreaths are beautiful to look at and the prayers on the inside are equally beautiful and always heartfelt. 

Here are the wreaths from the 7th and 8th grade:




This year the school also did spiritual bouquets.  Each student was asked to pray during the week for our area priests and keep track of how many prayers they said.  At the end of the week, letters were sent to the priests telling them how many prayers were said by our students on their behalf.  I thought this was such a thoughtful thing!

Our school also does a service project every year for CSW.  This year we collected newborn diapers and wipes for Birthright.  We collected a large amount of them and they were delivered today.  Birthright was very happy and thankful to be able to continue to support women with unplanned pregnancies with these diapers and wipes!

And with that, CSW is a wrap!

I love our little school.  I am thankful we are able to send our kids to Our Lady of Mercy.  I know their minds are being challenged and their souls are being nourished! 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Catholic Schools Week continues!

Catholic Schools Week is rolling right along at Our Lady of Mercy!

Tuesday was Student Appreciation Day.  It was a free dress down day for all the kids and the PTO supplied a pizza lunch for everyone.

In the morning, the Mad Scientist came to school and had four very fun stations for the lower school kids to rotate through.  I think they had a lot of fun!  At least every time I went by the gym there was lots of laughing and clapping and learning!

And the upper school kids went bowling after lunch.  I think they had fun too!





Wednesday we hosted a Pastries with Parents and invited all the parents to stop in for coffee and pastry after drop-off and then our school hosted an Open House.

This afternoon is the annual 8th Grader vs. Parents basketball game!  I will be watching but not participating.  I'm a bit of a party pooper that way!  :)  But I'm okay with that!

I hope you guys are all having a great week and if your kids are in Catholic school - a great CSW!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Catholic Schools Week - Our living/balloon rosary!


Happy Catholic Schools Week!

Our school kicked things off on Sunday night with a Taco/Bingo night.  We had a great turnout and I think everyone had fun.  I've got no photos to share but I can tell you the food was really good.  For the last two years, we've had it catered by the sweetest woman named Evelyn.  She works at a local grocery store chain that caters to the Hispanic population.

When you walk into this store, you feel like you are in another country.  It is really cool!  They source their produce locally and it's fresh and cheap.  And the food that they prepare in this store just looks and smells so good! In fact, they make their own tortillas fresh everyday.

So just take my word for it - the food that Evelyn prepared for us was delicious!

Yesterday we had a living/balloon rosary.  We've done the living rosary at our school for several years now but for the last two we've added the balloon portion which I think makes it really neat for the kids.

The PTO spent the morning assembling the rosary and had it all ready by the afternoon:


The whole school assembles in the gym with the older kids taking a spot at each of the beads.


The older kids takes a turn leading each bead with the rest of the school following along.
At the end of the rosary, the entire school proceeds silently outside to the soccer field where the 8th grade releases the rosary to the heavens.

And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel's hand. - Revelation 8:4

And just like the smoke of the incense and our prayers, the rosary was released to the heavens....