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Thursday, December 19, 2019

I think I'm ready!

I think I'm done. 

I've got everything purchased. I've got everything wrapped.  I've got the Christmas Eve party menu planned.  I've got the food for the Christmas Eve party purchased. I even managed to get the Christmas cards mailed!

And, I've got my beanie for the game:

So, I *think* we are ready for our trip tomorrow.  Well, correction - I still have a long list of things to do today including packing and prepping the kids for our departure but I've done all I'm going to do for Christmas.

And speaking of our departure - our flight leaves Charlotte at 6:45 AM which means we will be leaving the house at 4:00 AM which means I will be getting up around 3:00 AM which means I most likely won't sleep a wink for fear of getting up late.

I can't seem to turn my brain off.  It doesn't trust my alarm clock and will wake me up multiple times to check to see what time it is.  It's very annoying. 

The weather looks decent for our trip.  Cold and partly sunny/partly cloudy.  I am very thankful that there is no snow in the forecast!

I am a little worried about the game though.  I am planning on dressing in layers but I have been having some serious hot flashes lately.  One minute I will be at the perfect body temperature and the next minute I will be burning with the heat of 1000 suns. And then after the hot flash I am cold - thanks to all the sweat that comes as a result of said hot flash.

It lasts usually just a couple of minutes thankfully but I am imagining myself bundled up at the Patriots game trying to stay warm and then having a hot flash and ripping off my coat, my sweater, my shirt, etc.  That will probably get me escorted out of the stadium....

Both of the kids have been fighting colds.  Peter's lasted over two weeks but I think he's over it.  His started as a sore throat, morphed into congestion, and ended with a lingering cough.  Sarah has it now and hers is the exact same.  Thankfully no fevers were involved and no school was missed.  Although Peter has been coming home from school and taking a long nap. 

Sarah missed swim practice on Monday because she was so tired but she managed to swim in her meet on Tuesday and shaved a little time of the dreaded IM and her backstroke. 

And with that, I'm out!   (If I have time, I would like to do a post about our trip but I'm not sure that will happen until after Christmas.  So, just in case - MERRY CHRISTMAS!)

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

The weekend update and now since it's the middle of a new week an update on that as well.

It's Wednesday and I'm just now doing my weekend update.  It must be December!  :)

After swim practice on Friday, we had dinner and then Peter headed to the Varsity boys basketball game.  Dan and I also went because we enjoy going to the basketball games. Sarah wanted to stay home and relax so she was happy.

On Saturday morning we dropped Sarah off at school.  She was behind in her pottery class and the teacher opened up the art studio for anyone who needed to come in and get caught up on their work or anyone who just wanted to practice.  Sarah is enjoying this pottery class and she's coming home with some really cute items.

After her time at the pottery studio, she went to a friend's house for an ornament exchange.  Each girl brought an ornament and then they played take away for the ornaments.  They had snacks, played games and took a lot of pictures.  She had a great time!

On Sunday we attended Mass, had lunch at my mom's house and had this beauty for dessert:

I was supposed to use cranberries for the decoration but had to sub red M&M's instead.  I think it turned out pretty cute.  Although I will say, the chocolate log roll recipe that I used last year was tastier than this one so next time I do one of these I will go back to my old recipe.

Sarah had a birthday party to attend at a restaurant downtown on Sunday evening so after we dropped her off, Dan and I headed to Incendiary Brewery for a beer. We liked the place but did not like their beer.  We most likely won't be heading back there anytime soon!

And here's an awkward selfie we took... We really should stop taking these!  :) But I liked the artwork on the ceiling so...

The kids had the day off of school on Monday and I headed to Boone to pack shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child.  I went with my friends from my old MOPS Care Group and we had a blast.

After a short orientation video, we were paired up with another group of workers, met the staffer in charge of our assembly line and got to work.

The first person in line checks the boxes for shipping money and then moves the box down where two more people are waiting to remove all the items from the box and check for things that are not allowed:  liquids, food, weapons, military or war items, seeds, money, etc.  and then after removing any bad items we had to check to add items if the box seemed a little lacking.  Then it got moved to the taping person who put packing tape around the box lids to secure them. Then they got scanned (if the person affixed one of the tracking barcodes to see where the package is) and placed in a larger container based on the sex of the child and the age of the child.  Then once the large box was full (each large box held 16 shoeboxes) it was taped and taken to the shipping area.

It was a lot of fun - the ladies I was with make everything fun - but it was also a lot of work.  It was also a little mentally draining.  The contents in some of the boxes were very sparse or just plain odd.  We had to keep reminding ourselves that these boxes are prayed over multiple times through the process (in fact, at one point, everyone in the warehouse stopped and a prayer was said overall the boxes being processed during our shift) and that God will make sure the right box gets to the right child.  I  also believe that with some of these boxes, God will mysteriously upgrade the contents before they arrive to the child.

As we were talking on the way home, we decided that when people are packing shoeboxes, they should go for quality over quantity.  For instance, we could tell that one person or group had packed 10 boxes because they all had the same items in them. It might have been better for this person or group to only pack 5 boxes and make sure the items in the boxes were a little nicer.  I'm just saying that because someone is poor doesn't mean you should give them a bunch of junk.  But again, that's where prayer and God come in to make this a beautiful ministry!

The boxes we were packing were going to be going to Peru.

Last night Sarah had another swim meet.  She was very annoyed that she had to swim the IM again!  Apparently, her coach told her he needed her to do it (not sure why) so she did it.  She was less nervous this time and actually cut some time from last week's time BUT doing this IM meant that her time on the 100 backstroke (her fave) went up.   She was frustrated but she can always get that time back down next week.

Here are some pictures from last week's meet and last night's meet:

Friday, December 6, 2019

Swimming and car problems.

Friday?  All ready?  That happened fast!

Sarah had a swim meet on Wednesday night. It was against Mt. Airy so we traveled up Highway 52 to get there.  It's about 50 minutes from the house but it is a very easy drive - not a lot of traffic, the highway is pretty straightforward and at the end of it you are literally dumped into Mt. Airy. 

Typically for sporting events in that direction I will drive to Dan's work and we will go together as it's on the way from his work.  But he is working on a new project and it's very large and will most likely consume him for the next three years and he didn't think he would be able to leave in time to get to the start of the swim meet.  I went separately because even though a high school swim meet can last between an hour and a half to two hours depending on the number of teams swimming, I didn't want to miss anything. 

Sarah was swimming a 200 Individual Medley. She's never done that one before and she was VERY NERVOUS so I didn't want to miss it.  It's a good thing I drove on my own because Dan missed her first two events and one of them was the 200 IM.

She did great!  She didn't win but we were excited that she finished, didn't choke (she was worried about that), didn't throw up (also worried), and kept up pretty close to the Mt. Airy girl she was swimming against.  I was very proud of her!  She was so relieved when it was over and her coach promised her that next week she would get to swim back stroke again.  (Her fave)

Here's professional shot from last week's meet.  I'm hoping he was able to get a couple more of Sarah from this week's meet.

After the meet (both our boys and girls teams won!) we headed to the parking lot.  I started my car and Dan helped load Sarah's back pack and swim bag and we had a couple of chairs as well in case there wasn't enough seating on the deck.  As we were doing all of this, we noticed my car making a very odd sound.  There were no warning lights on the dash so I headed home.  Luckily we made it with no problems.

I took the car to the shop yesterday morning and they determined that the tensioner was malfunctioning or broken or whatever.  I don't know all the correct mechanical terms.  This was causing the timing belt not to work.  So they need to replace the tensioner (which was already replaced once and should still have another 50k miles in it but apparently we got a bad one and of course, it's 5 months out of warranty) and the timing belt.  But apparently the timing belt and the water pump are part of a kit so they have to be replaced together.

Long story short:  cha-ching, cha-ching! 

I'm hoping they can have it completed by late morning.  Mom got to escort me around to all of my errands yesterday and then I had to borrow her car to take Sarah to swim practice so I'm hoping that I get my car back today.  There's too much to do to be down a car!!

On the  positive side, I think I might be about 75% done with my Christmas shopping!  That's good news.  I need to reassess my lists today and see where I stand.  Hopefully this time next week I will be done!

Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Thanksgiving, the tree, and all the rest of the long weekend.

Yesterday I posted about Sarah's ear piercing saga and now I need to continue with the rest of our long weekend!

After the doctor, she and I headed to swim practice.  After that, we came home and I made a delicious from scratch carrot cake for Thanksgiving. 

On Thursday morning Dan went for a run, the kids slept in but Sarah got up in time to watch some of the parade and  I made a delicious sweet potato casserole.

We headed over to my mom's for Thanksgiving lunch with her, my brother and my friend Jennifer's family.  We had a great spread which included jalapeno popper dip AND jalapeno poppers, chicken wings, turkey breast, ham, sweet potato casserole, twice baked potato casserole, green beans, cranberry sauce, and bread.  For dessert we had the carrot cake and a pumpkin pie from Costco.  (You can beat their pumpkin pies.  They are HUGE and they are only $5.99!)

I never can remember to take a picture of the food or the people.  But afterwards while we were all hanging out, I did have Sarah take a picture of me and Jennifer.

On Friday morning we headed to the mountains of North Carolina to get a Christmas tree.

 We got home and put out the wreaths and window candles and got to work decorating the tree.

On Saturday, Dan mowed the grass for the last time until spring, Peter watched football, Sarah and I went to shop for a Christmas ornament for an ornament party she's going to this weekend and Dan and I made fried chicken.

Every Sunday we would eat lunch at my grandmother's house and every Sunday we had fried chicken.  It was THE BEST fried chicken.  After we moved here, we started eating lunch every Sunday at my parent's house.  Mom makes a lot of different main dishes but several years ago (maybe more than several but I can't remember how many exactly) my Dad started frying chicken following the way my Grandma did it. And he nailed it!  Dan had always said he was going to go over there one Sunday morning while my dad was frying it to learn how to do it.

He never got over there to watch him do it so when I decided we needed to learn how to fry chicken, we headed to Google.  We found a recipe that  sounded similar to what my Dad did (electric skillet just like my Grandma) and we got to frying.  (Well,Dan got to frying.) I think it turned out great!  Especially for the first time we did it!

On Sunday, we had attended Mass, had lunch at mom's, watched the Panthers lose their game, went out for a drink/date, came home and watched the Patriots lose their game.  And that my friends, was our long weekend!

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

She finally has two more holes in her head again...

Happy Tuesday!  It's nice to finally know what day it is!

Since last week was a two day school week for the kids and a three day work week for Dan and then throw in Thanksgiving which always feels like a Sunday, I spent the entire week wondering what day it was.

On Tuesday after school, Peter went to a friend's house and had a sleepover with several guys.  I think they played video games all night so he had a good time.

After swim practice on Tuesday, Cheyanne came over and spent the night with Sarah.  I think they had a good time.  There was lots of laughing and commotion coming from upstairs.  And then when I went upstairs to go to bed, they came downstairs so it worked out great.  Sleepovers with big kids are the best!

I took Sarah to get her ears re-pierced on Wednesday.  Not sure if I've ever mentioned that whole saga before or not.  If you will recall, she got her ears pieces in 2015 when she was 11.  Look here at my little baby.  Isn't she the cutest?  And look how young I look.  Five years really does a number on the old face and body at this age!  :)

Anyway, she did fine with the earrings when she got them pierced but somewhere along the way she took her earrings out and the holes closed up.  And being the bad mom that I am, at one point, I forced her earrings back in the holes which probably wasn't a good idead because they got infected. She eventually just took them out again and they closed over again.  But this time, they also formed keloids.

Keloids are little knots of scar tissue.  In addition to the little knots of tissue (these were in her lobes and you could feel them but not see them) the holes turned brown.  Kind of like darkened scarred skin would turn.  So she couldn't wear earrings AND her earring holes were brown.  She was distressed by all of this.

A friend of mine had a daughter that had problems with her earring holes and she went to see a plastic surgeon.  So I called the office that I went to for my lipoma and basil cell removal and made her an appointment.

Her first appointment was at the end of June.  Dr. Lawson immediately gave her a shot of steroids in each ear.  This is what he did on my nose where he removed the basic cell carcinoma.  Scar tissue had started to form and was causing a bump.  I went to him at least three times for steroid injections until it finally was gone.

Sarah was under the same protocol.  Shots of steroids in her ears and then she would spend the next 6 weeks rubbing scar cream into her earlobes and massaging the keloids away.  She did this 4 times and was a champ with each injection. 

Dr. Lawson said that most likely the keloids would come back but if she reeeeaaaalllllllllllyyyyy wanted her ears repierced then he would do it.  Well, Sarah reeeeaaallllllllllyyyyyy wanted her ears repierced so after all the injections had cleared up the keloids and the ugly brown skin discoloration, we went back to get them pierced again.

I asked her if she wanted me to take a picture of her getting them done again but she declined.  He gave her a numbing shot in each ear which she said felt like the injections and then he pierced them.  She was elated because she could not feel a thing!

She has to wear the studs for 6 weeks before she can change out her earrings and we go back in 1 month just to make sure the ears are doing okay.  I really hope keloids don't form again because she will be so sad.  A bunch of her friends gave her earrings for her 15th birthday "because she never wears earrings" and she is anxious to start wearing them again. Although I will say, her studs are cubic zirconia and look really pretty and sparkly! But she's ready to have choices when it comes to her earrings. 

If you look closely, you can see the stud.  Please ignore the big goofball in the background.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Should have chosen another restaurant but it was still a nice weekend...

Dan made it home safely and on time on Thursday night!  And it sounds like he should be home through the holidays with no other trips currently planned yet.  Yippeeeeee!

On Friday, I met with my old Care Group from MOPS and we got caught up on life.  We are excited because in December we are registered to volunteer at Samaritan's Purse to fill Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes!  We were scheduled to do that last year but it snowed so we weren't able to do it.

It rained all day on Saturday so Dan wasn't able to mow the grass.  It really needs it one more time before he stops until the spring.  Hopefully the weather will cooperate over the long weekend coming up. I did laundry and we watched a lot of college football and ran some errands instead of doing any yard work and house work. 

On Saturday evening, Sarah had a birthday party dinner downtown at Crafted so Dan and I dropped her off to meet her friends and then he and I had a little date night.  We tried a new restaurant downtown and I was not impressed.  The name of the restaurant was  Sir Winston and it is located in the new Hotel Indigo. The food was pretty good but it was pricey and there wasn't enough of it.  You really shouldn't need a snack when you get home from dinner out. The atmosphere was cool and I loved the way it looked inside but I'm not sure I would go back unless there were menu changes. It would be a nice place for a drink but dinner...not so much. (Although, we asked the bartender a question about one of the beers he had on tap and he didn't know the answer.  So he asked the other two bartenders and neither did they so....)

On Sunday we went to Mass and then had lunch at my mom's.  Sarah really wanted to go to Starbucks after lunch so I took her and decided while I was there I might as well indulge in my favorite - a Peppermint Mocha!

After lunch we watched the Panthers game and then the Patriots game and now the weekend is over BUT we are all excited that it's a short week and we are all looking forward to Thanksgiving!

One other thing to note that I didn't mention previously.  I had my annual skin cancer check at the dermatologist office this past week.  I started going last year after I had the basil cell removed from my nose.  Last year she found a couple of pre-cancer spots that were forming and she used liquid nitrogen to freeze those off..  So now I go yearly.  This year she had to redo one of the spots from last year because it wasn't completely gone.  And she found another smaller one and another larger one.  So I look really pretty while they are scabbing up...

This was taken several days ago and it looks even worse now.  The two around my eye are nice and scabby red/brown like the large one on my forehead.  I look a little like a meth addict but luckily I can cover them with my hair and hopefully they will be less noticeable in a few days.

And now, it's off to the grocery store to get ready for Thanksgiving and having the family at home for most of the week.  And I've got an eye doctor's appointment and some errands to complete tomorrow and I'm attempting to get ahead on my Christmas shopping because after Thanksgiving on Thursday, we only have 3 and a half weeks until Christmas!  I don't want to alarm anyone but YIKES!!!!   It's time to get started on all the things!!!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Case Study and College Expo!

Last night we had Junior night at our school.  All the juniors and their parents were invited to participate in a mock college admissions meeting.

We started just like we always do at Bishop - with prayer.  It was the sweetest prayer and I'm not going to lie - it had me choked up.  I couldn't even finish saying it out loud, I just had to listen.

A Parent's Prayer

God, I love my children with all that is within me.
I pray that in your mercy you hear my humble plea.
I ask that you let your lives be long and healthy.
May they achieve all their dreams.
May they be who they were born to be, and may they never forget
that they were, are, and always will be deeply loved by me. Amen

After the prayer I looked to the mother to my left and said, "Great, now I'm crying."  She shook her head in agreement and I noticed their were tears in her eyes too.  Nice to know I'm not the only sap! 

Back to the real portion of the evening...

There were 13 admissions counselors from 13 different colleges represented so everyone broke up into 13 groups.  The students formed groups separate from their parents and then we all went into classrooms.

The admissions counselors were the leaders of each group and we all did the same activity.  Each group was acting as the admission board for a fictitious university and we were read some details about the university and we were presented with the goals of the university for the upcoming class they were going to be reviewing.

The criteria included: trying to grow theater department,  they had a couple of division 3 championship winning seasons in lacrosse  and were trying build on that, they were trying to diversify the student population, they weren't family need based, they preferred SATs in the 129-=1400 range, ACT in the 27-31 range and GPAs of 3.8 or higher on a weighted scale..

After we learned about the university and what they were trying to accomplish with the incoming class, we were presented with 4 applications from 4 different (fictitious) students.

The information contained parent's jobs and schooling, GPA, class grades, ACT/SAT scores, extra curricular activities and honors, recommendation letters, and the essay.

After reading through all four candidates we discussed pros and cons to each and then got to work decided who we should accept.  (We could only accept one, decline one and defer two).

After a lot of back and forth and consideration and comparison, we finally settled on what we were going to do.  Then all the groups met back in the cafeteria and we could see  who everyone else chose to admit, defer, and reject.

It was such an interesting activity.  And having a real life college admissions counselor there was huge.  I was asking her if even the big colleges really read every single essay.  The answer was yes.  (At the time, we didn't know which admissions counselor was with which college but found our at the end of the evening.)

The counselor in my room was with Clemson and that's a pretty big school so I guess they really are reading those essays.  What an odd/interesting job that would be.

After the mock admissions activity there was an expo and the kids could go around to the different colleges and pick up information and ask the admissions reps questions about the colleges.

In addition to NC State, Peter picked up info on Alabama, Auburn and Clemson. It was a worthwhile evening and it really hit me - we have a junior who will be going to college in a year and a half.

Gonna need to start buying my Kleenex in bulk!

I spy Peter!

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

High school swim season has begun!

Sarah had her first swim meet of the high school swim season last night! 

I volunteered as one of the timers so I didn't get any pictures of her but I was timing in lane 4 and that was the lane that she happened to be in for all four of her events!

We were swimming against two other schools.  One of the schools has an awesome girls team (lots of year round excellent swimmers) so our girls team lost to them but I think we beat the other team. 

Sarah was very nervous before this meet since it was the first meet she's been in since July.  I think she did great.  I'm interested to see the official times because I think her backstroke time isn't too far off from what she needs to automatically qualify for states.

That's actually her goal this year.  If you recall, she went to states last year as part of a relay team and decided then that she wanted to go during her high school career with her backstroke.  I think with enough practice, she might be able to do it this year!

The team mom made these awesome lanyards for the parents.  What a great idea - especially for someone like me that knows I met you at a swim meet last year but can't quite remember your name!

And on the back it lists the order of events and the times in each for automatic qualification into states!  Such a great idea!

And the awesome dad with the fabulous camera was there last night taking pictures so I hope that there will be some good ones of Sarah.  On the way to practice last week (I drive a carpool from the school to the Y with anywhere to 1 kid to 7 kids and a whole lot of backpacks and swim bags) Sarah and her friends were talking about how horrible they look in swim pictures.  But I disagree! 

I think they look fierce.  Something about using your whole body to power yourself through the water is impressive to me.  Maybe it's because I know how hard it is and these kids make it look so easy.  Anyway, prepare yourself for pictures of Sarah in her swim cap with her mouth wide open cutting through the water.  :)

Tonight is Junior night at school where we will be learning all about the admissions process for college.  I still can't believe we are here already....

Monday, November 18, 2019

Another weekend recap.

On Friday, our high school soccer team was playing in the state championship quarter finals in Mt. Airy.  Peter wanted to go so before Sarah and I got home from swim practice he headed up the highway to make the one hour trip. 

(Have I mentioned before that having a teen-aged driver means you will be praying a lot more than you ever did before?  Even if you thought you prayed a lot previously, having a teen-aged driver means you will double - dare I say triple - the amount of time you spend in prayer. )

Anyway, he made it to and from Mt. Airy safely but sadly our soccer team lost.  He said our student section had as many kids as theirs so I'm glad he went to cheer on the team.  I know it means a lot to the teams when there are a lot of fans there.

On Saturday we headed back to Greensboro to the Apple store to pick up Sarah's repaired phone and turn in the loaner phone. She was sad to see the loaner phone go because even though it was also a 7, the battery was much better on it than on hers. However, she was happy to have her beloved rose gold phone back. "It's so much cuter than the black one." 

After we got her phone, we stopped into Anthropologie where she exclaimed, "I wish I could just live in this store!"  And then she proceeded to smell all the candles (that girl loves a good scented candle) and look longingly at all the gorgeous clothes.  Poor thing, she has Anthropologie tastes and her mother has a Kohls with coupons budget.  Hopefully she can find a nice high paying job some day to support her love of the finer things!

We then went to lunch at Five Guys since Peter wasn't with us.  He doesn't like to eat at Five Guys since they have all those peanuts every where.  But don't worry about Peter.  He was at home eating Bojangles and watching the Penn State game.  He was in his happy place.

On Saturday evening we attended Mass and then met my brother and my mother at Longhorn Steakhouse for Peter's birthday dinner.  After dinner, we went back to mom's house where we had birthday cake and opened presents.

Ignore the two photobombers on the left.  (Look at those mischievous grins!)
Me and my baby! 

Dan headed to the airport on Sunday at noon and dropped Sarah off at a restaurant downtown for Friendsgiving.  Peter and I had lunch with my mom, brother, and uncle.

Later on Sarah texted me that they were almost done with lunch so I was heading out the door to pick her up.  The phone rang and it was Dan.  He was leaving the airport and heading back home because his driver's license had expired.

They will let you on the plane with an expired license but you can't check a bag.  He had taken his large suitcase because he has to wear suits on this trip and typically he checks his bag anyway  because he doesn't like to deal with a bag on the plane or in the airport.  (This is opposite of every one else on the plane but he prefers not having to fight for overhead bin space with everyone else.  He travels a lot and not having to deal with his suitcase is what he prefers.  And don't try to change his mind on this - he will not budge!)

Since he needed his clothes and the bag was too big for an overhead bin, he quickly rebooked  his flight from a 2:30 to a 5:30 departure and headed home to get his passport.  He swung by downtown Winston-Salem and picked up Sarah.  He got home, decided to squeeze everything into a smaller bag because his connecting flight left practically as soon as he landed and he didn't want to have to deal with lost luggage.  And he grabbed his passport and headed back to the airport.

He made all of his flights on time and managed to check in to his hotel in Seattle around 11:30 pm their time. I know he's tired today though but hopefully he will be able to stay awake through all his meetings!

Sarah has her first swim met of the season tonight and she's nervous.  She always is but hopefully she can swim fast.  It's raining and cold here and I'm annoyed that we never got our fall.  It went straight from Indian summer to winter weather.  Alright - no one likes a weather complainer so I'll stop right now.  But if it doesn't warm back up to normal November temps soon, I'm going to be grumpy!  (Ok....grumpier than normal!)

Friday, November 15, 2019

National Art Honor Society

Yesterday at school, Sarah was inducted into the National Art Honor Society!

Membership signifies that you have consistently demonstrate the highest qualities in art scholarship, character, and service.

Way to go Sarah!!

Thursday, November 14, 2019

And now I want a chicken sandwich....

Sarah survived her second (and hopefully last for a while) morning swim practice.  It's hard to get her up at 7:15 for school much less at 6:00.  But she did it and we made it to the Kernersville Y on time and got to school on time both days.  Whew!

That was quite the accomplishment.  Her hair was wet this morning (teen girls are so lucky they can put their hair in a wet bun and still look cute - if I tried it people would be calling the local mental hospital and reporting a deranged old lady on the loose!) and she had to put her make up on in the car but we made it!

Dan should hopefully be home from Germany tonight and will be here until Sunday morning until he leaves again for Seattle.  When he returns home from that trip he should be here until  Thanksgiving and I have no idea when his next trip is after that.  If I don't ask, maybe he won't have to go anywhere until after Christmas.  (That's what I'm hoping for!)

Last Friday after school was over, Peter and three of his friends drove to Greensboro to a Popeye's Fried Chicken to try one of those new chicken sandwiches that  are supposed to be better than Chick-Fil-A's sandwich.  They left school at 3:40 and got there a little after 4:00 and waited FORTY MINUTES (at 4:00 in the afternoon) for their chicken sandwiches.  He sent me this picture:

I think his sandwich looks really good.  It looks super crispy and I love the mayo dripping off.  Peter said it was excellent and he thinks it's BETTER than Chick-Fil-A! 

When we were leaving N.C. State after the tour on Monday we passed right by a Popeye's and I was going to whip in BUT the line at the drive thru was out to the street and I wasn't in the mood to wait forty minutes for a sandwich so we just headed home.  I'm starting to regret that now...

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Seventeen is...

Seventeen is...


Seventeen loves to...

play football
watch college football  and the Carolina Panthers
play video games
eat steak, wings, and pizza
drive around downtown
argue (especially with his sister)
yell at the television when his favorite teams are losing
watch YouTube sports videos
go out to eat with friends
spend time outside tossing the football around

Seventeen has my heart. 
Happy Birthday, Peter!

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

A phone update, a surprise party, a college visit, and a very early swim practice.

Whew!  Have we been busy!

When last I left you, I was on my way to the Apple store to get Sarah's iPhone repaired.  They had to send it off but they gave us a replacement.  Sarah was very upset when we had to reset the phone to the last time she had backed it up -- which was a year ago.  (And honestly, I think that backup was accidental.)  PSA - remind your teens to back up their phones so they don't loose all their pictures, group text threads, notes, etc.  And for that matter - back your own phone up.  I never back mine up BUT I go have Google photos so my pictures are automatically backed up. 

Peter had his last football game of the season on Thursday night instead of Friday due to a scheduling conflict.  It rained the entire game but thankfully at least it wasn't cold.  We lost and now the season is over. 

Dan made it home from Ireland on Friday night and we went to the mall on Saturday.  He needed some new shoes and some new jeans.  On Saturday evening, he and I attended a surprise 50th birthday part for a friend.  We had dinner and drinks at Jeffrey Adams downtown.  The food and wine were great and so was the company! 

On Sunday we attended Mass and had lunch at mom's and then on Sunday evening we had the football end-of-season banquet at school. We shared a potluck meal and the coach recognized all the seniors and also recognized everyone who attended every single practice.  There were only a handful of players that attended every practice and Peter was one of them!

When Peter started football in the spring I assumed he would tire of it and as the season wore on would regret his decision to play.  But no!  He never complained about practice, only minimally complained out the poor record, and really enjoyed his time on the team.  Overall, it was an excellent experience for him and I'm glad that he had the opportunity to try a new sport in his junior year!

Yesterday morning, Dan left for Germany and Peter and I headed to N.C. State University in Raleigh for a campus tour.  Dan was supposed to go with us when we scheduled the tour two months ago, but of course, this work trip came up a couple of weeks ago and the timing of those is totally out of his control so it was just me and the boy.  (Sarah stayed home to study.)  

Our tour was at 1:00 and it's about an hour and 45 minute drive to campus.  We left around 10:00 and grabbed some burritos at a restaurant near campus and then made our way to the information center along with probably about 30 other kids and their parents. 

The session started with a very informative presentation about the school.  After this presentation we took a walking tour of the main campus.  (There are two other campuses - the Biomedical Campus where the College of Veterinary Medicine is located and Centennial Campus where the College of Engineering is located.  We only toured the main campus because that's the campus you would be on as a freshman.

The tour was great.  Peter liked the look and feel of the campus.  We even got some ice cream at Howling Cow which is made right on campus from cows that are right on campus.  And of course we got a tee shirt from the campus store.

What I did not get was a picture of Peter on campus because he didn't want me to take one.  So, I snapped this as we were on our way to the car....

This morning, Sarah had to be at swim practice at 7:00 AM because she missed practice yesterday.  (I haven't figured out how to be in two places at once yet so....)  I was worried about her getting up in time but we made  it. We left the house at 6:20 in the rain and thankfully there were no traffic issues.

It was 53 degrees when we left the house and by the time I got her to school and got to the grocery store, it had dropped into the low 40s.  And now they are calling for below freezing temps so school has cancelled all afternoon activities!  Which means no afternoon swim practice!  Yay!  One less thing to do today!

And the best news?  It's Tuesday even though it feels like Monday! 

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

I should have just gone to the Apple store in the first place...

Sarah updated her iPhone on Sunday but something happened while she was doing the update.  I'm not sure if the WiFi went out (sometimes it goes out randomly - thanks Spectrum!) or what but the phone did nothing for hours except say "Verifying Update".

We googled it and did what it said to do and the phone was unstuck and it appeared as if the phone was updated. Victory!

However, after using the phone for a bit she came back to tell us that it said "No Service" and she could only use the phone on wifi.

I did some more googling and we did a couple of other things: we toggled airplane mode on and off, we checked to make sure it was updated to the latest update, we did a hard reboot, and nothing.

Dan left for his trip and I forgot about the issue.

She got home from school on Monday and said the phone was still messed up she tried a few things to no avail.  I just tried to ignore the whole thing.  I hate techy things and knew that this wasn't going to end well. We are getting the kids new phones for Christmas and I really didn't want to have to deal with any phone issues until then.

She said she was fine using the phone only on wifi until then. And since she is rarely anywhere without WiFi I was fine with that too.  (I've mentioned before I'm lazy - further proof!)

But yesterday she realized that she had a field trip today and she didn't want to be gone all day without access to her phone.  I didn't like the thought of that either and also, we discovered that even on wife she could only text her friends that had iPhones.  People like me, with an android, weren't getting her texts and she wasn't receiving any I sent. 

So last night  did all the things we had done previously and then googled some more and did what was recommended: checking for a cellular update, removing and reinserting the SIM card, and attempting to reset network settings among other things.  But nothing changed.  The phone still showed no service. 

Finally I contacted Apple Care.  I spoke to a very nice older gentleman who while kind, wasn't super helpful. (At one point I think he even used the phrase "gee whiz")  I told told him everything I had already done and he was like, "Wow!  You've done all the things I was going to have you do." 

We determined that even though it was showing it had been updated to iOS 13 that it most likely got disconnected from the wifi and got stuck and wasn't fully updated. So he sent me an email with a link to redo the system update and we said our goodbyes.

Then Sarah and I attempted to do that and it didn't work.  So once that didn't work we ended up trying to just restore to an old version.  But the last time she backed up her phone was a year ago.  She wasn't excited about that be we decided that was better than nothing.

Anyway, after doing the restore we got a message that the phone needed to be activated so we attempted to activate it.  BUT - it locked up and wouldn't let us do anything.

So I called back and got a very helpful woman.  We hooked Sarah's phone up to iTunes to try to do the same thing the first guy wanted us to do. She walked us through step by step so I know we were doing it correctly but with the exact same result.

She put us on hold for a long time while she spoke to senior tech.  Then he got on the phone with us and asked us if there was any writing on the back of her phone under the Apple logo.  There was so I read it off to him - a bunch of numbers and letters.

When I was done he said that her iPhone 7 was one of a very small number of 7s that has a weird glitch and won't work after attempting the iOS 13 update.

So he told us we could take it the Apple store in Greensboro - which is 45 minutes from here or to the Best Buy in Winston-Salem which is less than 20 minutes from here.

But as soon as he said Best Buy I remembered that over the summer I tried to take Sarah's phone there to get a new battery.  Her phone (Peter's too) were losing their charge pretty quickly so that by the middle of the day they were down to zero.  I thought it would be a cheap solution to get a new battery for each phone and see if we could extend the life of these phones for another year or so.

HA! Wishful thinking!

Sarah's phone has the tiniest crack in the glass.  It's on the side of the phone so it doesn't impact the view on the screen at all but apparently when they replace the battery they put a powerful suction cup on the screen to open up the phone and the slightest crack would cause the screen to shatter.

The kind folks at Best Buy informed us that we would need to replace the screen for $149 AND pay for a new battery and service fees and suddenly my cheap fix wasn't so cheap.  Especially when the trade in value for a 7 is oddly enough - exactly $149. So we didn't go that route.

But here we are and the Apple guy said we would need to fix the screen before they could fix the issue.

I told him that it didn't seem right that we had to pay $149 to fix a screen that otherwise isn't an issue to fix an issue that Apple forced on us with their bad update.  (Go ahead an google iOS 13 update and see all the issues.)

He put me on hold for a while and came back and said he had it approved that Apple would pay the $149 but I would have to go to the Apple store for the repair.

I have an appointment but it isn't until tomorrow so Sarah will be without a phone for at least two days.  I warned her it might be longer.  My appointment on Thursday isn't until 12:45 and I have to be back at school by 3:30 to take her to swim practice so if they can't get it done quickly (and I seriously doubt they will be able to) I will probably have to leave it with them and get it back on Friday.

So potentially 3 days without a cell phone has her feeling like a pioneer woman.  This morning as she was leaving for school she said, "I'm living on the grid!" which made me chuckle.

I got the cell phone number of one of her friends that will be on the field trip with her so if I need to get in touch with her I will contact her friend.  And if she needs me she will use her friend's phone.  So, technically, she's not too far off the grid. ;)

And might I add, all of that talking with Apple took THREE HOURS!  I didn't get to be until almost Midnight.  Cup of coffee number three - here I come!

(One funny from the phone call with the woman at Apple:  When I mentioned that the phone had not been backed up since October of last year, she told Sarah that she really needed to back up her phone more regularly.  (we were on speaker) Sarah rolled her eyes.  I laughed and told the lady that Sarah just rolled her eyes at her and she laughed too.  She informed me that she has three kids, one of which is a 15-year-old daughter and she was used to all the eye-rolling. ) Solidarity Apple lady.  Solidarity.