Ways to measure the heat without actually looking at the temperature:
1. It's so hot that a severe weather advisory was issued yesterday, and will last until tonight. I was trying to explain that the heat index is kind of the opposite of wind chill, but the girls were so hot they were unable to concentrate on the words coming out of my mouth, and were sort of staring off into space with dazed looks on their faces.
2. It's so hot that I was reminded today of the Ohio State vs. Oregon football game in 1987 when my mother spent about $350 on giant Sprites for the four of us to drink, one right after another (my dad was marching that day in the alumni band). If you know my mother, you know this was wildly out of character for her. Just as it is normally out of character for me to buy my children Icees/slushies while out in public. Which I have done 3-4 times in the last week or so.
3. It's so hot that the whole hot-hungry-tired Dillow meltdown formula is all messed up. Usually you have to meet all three conditions for a guaranteed meltdown. Now it's like a big crapshoot. Do you want to drag these children all over northwest Louisiana in a continued search for ruled index cards, manila paper, and belts? Because I might be done.
4. It's so hot that school starts next week, August 8. Before we moved, I joked about my personal theory that it must be so hot that everyone just gives up and goes back to school.
I know, I know, we need to buck up, buttercup. Except I think all the buttercups might be wilted, too.
ETA: Ha ha ha ha, clearly we aren't cut out for extreme heat. It's been an issue before, I had forgotten.
Despite a grass roots effort to quickly put into place a Wyoming Walpurgisnacht celebration, spring did not appear on May Day this year. Instead, we pushed our snow totals since April 1 to over 40" and had another snow day. The superintendent was quoted in the newspaper this morning saying that the school district might have to make up the day on June 8. Go check the calendar. Riiiiiiiight.
The girls had their first snow day ever today... you know, hardy plains people and all that. But after two very questionable calls on holding school that resulted in emergency pickups and ridiculously bad roads plagued with many accidents and emergency no-travel bans inside city limits (and even a bus that went off the road with kids on it, though they were all OK) the district finally cried uncle last night and called a snow day for today. This storm has been a "long duration spring snow event," and I can't remember when we had more snow at once. March 2003? January 1978? It's been a while. I even learned a new meteorology term: Conditional Symmetrical Instability, which is what developed last night to cause even more snow.
I will be desperate for snow for the remainder of 2013 and 2014, so we made the most of it today.
This is a questionable game called Sled Down the Shed Steps. I don't like it, but I haven't put a total stop to it, either. We need to get out for real sledding once the sideways snow stops and before it melts.
The dog loves snow. LOVES IT. She loves to bury her head in it, and jump around in it, and chase people in it, and kick it up with her paws. It is a great sadness that we can't let her off her tie-out in the yard. She hasn't tried to bust out of the house since the day we adopted her but today when we were coming in to change out Bridget's gloves, she busted out the side door and ran around the yard in circles in it. We finally had to physically remove her from the out of doors before she got herself into trouble off leash : )
Please don't make me move out of this house.
There was some reading time (Bridget is currently reading Tuesdays at the Castle).
Gracie wrote her persuasive journal entry homework about how snow is the best weather.
Maddie worked more on her new hard music (Clementi).
I made Pioneer Woman brownies yesterday to celebrate all of us arriving home safely, and we happily ate round 2 for lunch today.
Snow days are the best, even if I am wildly behind on all the other stuff I was supposed to be doing instead today : )
We were hit by a terrible blizzard starting on Monday night that lasted until late last night, dumping some 8-14 inches of (very welcome) snow in the southeast corner of the state depending upon the location. Like good rule-followers and former Girl Scouts everywhere, I looked at the weather reports on Monday morning and ran the appropriate pre-blizzard errands to prepare. Maddie had her (last) book club here (sniff) on Monday night and Gracie had gym, but by 9 pm we were all home finally and pretty excited for what would assuredly be a snow day on Tuesday. I even put the phone on my nightstand so I could grab it more easily when the phone rang to alert us on Tuesday morning around 5:15 am.
Except, no. No snow day. Kind of unbelievable, actually, given the windspeed, wind chill, hurt-y pelting snow whipping through the air, and the fact that much of Denver called their schools off at 9:00 pm on Monday night. Matt drove Maddie to the bus stop on his way to work and I drove Gracie and Bridget to the bus stop when it was time for their bus—something we've never done before, even on the coldest of days around here. The snow was coming in bands, and after a while it settled down for a little bit in the morning. Fine, I thought. Even though the Dillow girls have never experienced the glorious gift of a snow day in their lives, whatever.
And then around 1:00 pm it started to get bad again. I checked the weather, and the Storm Tracker local weather page I follow on Facebook, and it looked like it was going to be pretty bad for a while. I was feeling a little cranky about the girls being at school but went back to working on my class stuff. And then at 1:55 Maddie called feeling sick. She never calls feeling sick, so I grabbed my coat and my snow sneakers and set out to get her.
Oh, was I mad at this point. The weather wasn't just bad, it was dangerous. I lost the road (at 20 mph) twice on the interstate, where I was lucky that I wasn't involved in a 15 car pile-up as a semi raced past us all at 60+ mph kicking snow up everywhere. Why in the WORLD were the schools not called already? It took me almost 40 minutes to make an 18 minute drive. Got Maddie, sick as advertised, and stumbled back to the car through the blowing snow. Before we left I let Angie know I would not be making it back for the 3:00 pm scheduled conference call I was supposed to be at, and then saw the school district sent an emergency email directing parents to pick their kids up immediately due to inclement weather. WHAT?? Seriously, you have to be kidding me, right? Send hordes of worried parents out onto those roads all at once?
After another harrowing 25 minutes we made it to Gracie's and Bridget's school, where Maddie was looking worse and worse and worse. Not wanting to leave her in the car, we headed across the parking lot where it is unpleasantly windy on a good day (no trees, edge of town) and then it happened: in the midst of all that chaotic emergency pick-up with parents struggling to even make it into the building, Maddie had to throw up. Immediately. We ran to the front yard of the school, where she did. A lot.
And then, it happened. I started laughing. Involuntarily. A little bit hysterically. All while patting the back of my poor, poor Madeline, doubled over, throwing up all over someone else's school grounds. The principal scurried past me (people were literally scurrying everywhere) and looked at us strangely, this strange not-his-student-yakker and her vaguely familiar grownup, the one with the inappropriate giggling going on. Which made it worse, because hello, of all the days and locations to get sick? This was clearly the most ridiculous. And then I started thinking about my sisters, and wondering if this was an inappropriate reaction we all share, and by then it was literally a Herculean effort to pull myself together at this point, frozen eyelashes and all.
I called Marie to do a little investigative research after we finally made it home, and after she had a brief stomp-cackle (this is a kind of laugh we Willis girls have sometimes, The Stomp-Cackle—kind of catchy, isn't it?) she agreed that this was very likely A Thing. Maddie has since regained her sense of humor some and can see her future in the actions of her mama and aunts, and is mostly resigned to her inherited bit of crazy. On the bright side, at least she'll know why she's laughing one day.
1. Finding lost things makes me irrationally happy. (My lost Studio Calico pinwheel stamp and Gracie's lost Rainbow Magic fairy book from the library both turned up today)
2. Few things can't be improved by adding a healthy garnish of green onions and cilantro. (We're having beans + cornbread for dinner)(Not everyone in this house agrees on this point)
3. Wyoming weather is fickle, mean, and spiteful. (60º+ degrees again? And for the next week? It's enough to almost convince us that The Annual Thirteen Days of Spring is just a made up story—but we know better, sadly)
1. It is ridiculously windy this week. I was afraid someone's dog might blow past the window yesterday, it was so bad. Last night Bridget and I got back from dropping off Maddie and Gracie at the gym and Hawthorn House was gone—I searched the yard and the 20th AF parking lot for it, but as it turns out Matt was home for a few minutes before he had to go back out and pushed it into the garage (because it had already blown away from its spot underneath the trees). Today Bridget suggested we just hang out in the car until it stopped, until I told her that would probably be tomorrow. If we're lucky.
2. We had a fine, fine, time for our second annual Presidents' Day Weekend in Colorado Springs trip for Georgie's eleventh birthday. We've celebrated her 3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th, 8th, 10th, and now 11th birthday with her. That's pretty impressive for a bunch of Air Force transients. It's hard to believe that Maddie, Georgie, and Thea were 1, 2, and 3 when they met!
We did a lot of hanging out, and a lot of eating. And drinking milk. Oh, how we miss our Royal Crest milk.
3. There was also a brief opportunity for some playgroup mamas to meet up. I miss them way more than Royal Crest milk. We hit the movies and Mimi's, and it was just like old times. Nicole and I noted that we have known each other a very, very long time—since August 1996.
4. We didn't get to see everyone we know and love in Colorado Springs, but we did get to hang out with our old, dear neighbors for a bit—and briefly see some more playgroup friends, too. Gracie and Spencer are both 7! And I'm convinced that Bridget and Lauren are going to grow up believing that they were neighbors too, and be totally confused to discover someday that they weren't even born before we'd already moved away.
5. We got home five minutes ahead of my planned arrival time on Monday. And then I promptly chained Maddie to her science fair board so she could finish it up. We are both glad her first experience with science fair is behind her. : )
6. My camera battery was extra-extra charged upon our return, because I left it in the charger at home on accident. Awesome.
7. My trusty Cusinart blender officially gave up the ghost tonight. It was ten years old, which I think probably translates to 50 in blender years. I put the Ebay King on it—he already has a list of new trusty blender candidates for me.
8. It pays to be married to the Ebay King in so many ways.
9. Bridget made this amazing Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly today at preschool:
The only problem? [whispering: It is totally going to give me nightmares of Insane Clown Posse-esque proportions if I hang it up. I just can't do it. And this makes me a very bad mama.] But look at that lovely painting job she did on the dress and shoes!
10. I was searching for a picture of Hawthorn House to link to (I know it's in here somewhere) and found this funny thing I said about competitive gymnastics. Thanks, blog, for the healthy serving of crow. Ha.
My camera has mostly been on vacation this week (except for on Monday, when I somehow managed to pull off two photo shoots on the same day—a baby and an Eagle Scout) because Project 365 is complete! I wasn't entirely sure I was going to do it last January, but then January turned into February and I finally jumped off the fence and committed. I think I only used one pass (Sorry, I'm not counting my Hubble Telescope day as a pass) and unlike in 2008, I actually have the right amount of photos. Perhaps my math has improved?
Here are a few random observations after scanning through the album:
1. Everyone had really short hair for a lot of 2011. Well, Matt always does, but you know what I mean.
2. Goodness GRACIOUS we spend a lot of time gymnastic-ing in this house.
3. I am very sorry I took a picture of that moth on June 17. Please forgive me.
4. I love Instagram photos and I don't feel one bit guilty for using them.
5. Too bad we weren't really playing for prizes in Wyoming Weather Bingo. Because, BINGO.
6. This remains one of my most favorite projects to tackle, ever. Which is why I'm not doing it in 2012. A month-long photo-a-day is highly likely at some point, though. It's hard for me to believe I've been doing these photo-a-days for seven years come this November!
You know I have to have a project though, right? Well, here it is:
If this looks vaguely familiar, you're right—in 2010 I played along with the 12 on the 12th challenge where you take 12 photos on the 12th (or, er, the 15th or 18th) of the month. I posted all those photos here on this blog with notes, which made for a nice little project after a year of Project 365 + 1 and another year that involved a cross-country move.
While the concept is exactly the same this year, the supporting materials are completely new, because Angie (you know, Scary Angie/Not-Scary-Angie, Angie who occasionally visits from UT, Angie who owns Ella Publishing Co.) and I wrote them and turned them into this super-cool 83 page downloadable kit full of photo ideas, themed projects, lists, sketches, printables, and more! You'll also see some work from Donna Jannuzzi, Aly Dosdall and Lee Currie, who created sketches (Donna) and sample layouts (Donna, Aly, and Lee). Some of you will spot yourself in the photos, because with the exception of the sample layouts, all the photography is mine. I can't tell you how much fun it was to select photos to use, and it really reminded me of how valuable photographs are, for so many reasons.
I would like to convince everyone with a camera that a photography project is a valuable, worthy, and meaningful expenditure of your time. Here are some things to consider:
1. You don't have to be a scrapbooker to participate in a photography project—even this one. The only thing you need is a camera, and ideally, a place to store your photos (a blog, a journal, a photo album, or yes, a scrapbook) with a few thoughts about them handwritten, typed, or recorded.
2. If you are a scrapbooker, this kit has a ton of cool resources in it. And, if you're a digital scrapbooker, there are companion templates available for purchase that match the sketches in the main kit.
3. You do NOT have to be an intermediate or professional photographer to complete a photography project. All skill levels are welcome.
4. But here's the thing: the more photos you take, the better you get. I worked really hard to think of unique, sometimes challenging, and creative ideas for photo-taking for the monthly photo checklists that appear in the kit, and the more you practice taking unique, sometimes challenging, and creative photos the more unique, provoking, and creative photos you'll get.
5. It is absolutely possible to simultaneously participate in the Take Twelve Project and Project Life, a Project 365, or any other wonderful photography projects available to tackle out there.
6. It is also A-OK to focus just on this one and take a breather from bigger, more complex projects.
7. You don't have to start on January 12; you might decide to play along with this project beginning in your birthday month, or randomly in March, or in 2013. The ideas are flexible.
8. You don't have to own a DSLR to participate. All cameras are welcome, including pink Fisher-Price kid cameras. All you need is a lens.
9. No one is grading you on your performance or checking to see how well you follow the "rules." If you decide to commit to this project, make it your own—use the materials for ideas, use your phone camera one month and your "fancy" camera another, let your children or nieces or nephews or grandchildren help you, whatever—so long as you end up with 144 photos of some sort (and pledge to do something with them, whether it's layouts or a photo album or a big wall size poster) you'll have succeeded.
10. Each month I'll be blogging about Take Twelve over at The Daily Trumpet, where there will be lots of ideas, encouragement, and even giveways each month. Projects are more fun (and hold you more accountable) in numbers, so consider encouraging a friend or group of friends to purchase a kit, too! If you act quickly you can purchase the kit for a 12% discount (get it?) until January 12, when it goes back to full-price ($20.12).
Or, you can win a kit right now! Just leave a comment about something photography-project-related... what you're up to in 2012, what you love about photography projects, or questions about how it all works. I'll choose a lucky recipient this weekend. I'd love to have you join in : )