Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Life Lesson

I received this email over the weekend. It's from the librarian at the boys school.

Hi Natalie -

I just wanted to thank you again for your help at our recent Book Fair. It's nice that you came back to use for another round!

We truly could not do this without the help of our volunteers.

This weekend, I'm at school putting together a big book order with so many wonderful and useful titles... the kids will love them! And all of it is purchased with Book Fair proceeds.

Your help truly made a difference!
BTW, your boys are awesome.

In gratitude,

In my profession, demonstrating thanks and gratitude is essential for success. Of course that's the case in most areas of life but especially fundraising. I've sent thousands of thank you notes and cards and receiving this email is a nice reminder of the impact stewardship can have.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Inland Cat

We're working on a sailboat.

Update... more information can be found at this post.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Bloomington experienced a pretty hefty thunderstorm yesterday evening. Nicklas had a baseball game scheduled for 5:30 and when I checked the radar at 4:30, there was a large red blob moving toward the city. I met the family at the ball park at 5:15 where everyone was standing around, waiting for the Parks Dept. to call off the games. That never happened so by 5:20 people were packing up their families and heading home. The recent tornados in Joplin have made people extra cautious. One father commented to me that he was leaving and heading for his basement. I thought that was a good idea until I realized we live in an apartment and we don't have a basement. It's been a long time since I've lived somewhere without a basement!

The parking lot was crazy; everyone was trying to leave at the same time. Cars creeped along and then the storm hit. Winds of 80 mph. The Polack had Seeger and they were one of the first to leave parking lot. They were driving when the wind hit. Nicklas and I were still waiting in line to leave. We watched a few trees that were once upright suddenly bend over by 45 degrees. A few deer ran through the parking lot, between cars, obviously panicked about the weather. The wind was shaking my car and I was worred about the convertable in front of me, with it's soft roof. The teenage parks and rec staff where trying to get the ball park and batting cages closed up. After several minutes, the cars began creeping forward again. When we finally got to the exit, I realized we weren't able to turn right because trees had fallen on the road. A utility pole across from the exit of the ball field was snappled in half, the electrical wire flying around the road. As we slowly made our way through town, trees were down in several places. Most homes didn't have electricity. We drove past the mall, several restaurants and places of business. No electricity. None of the stoplights were working, including the one to turn on to our street. As I drove to the apartment, I could see that everything on the left side of the street was dark. Everything on the right side - including our apartment - was lit up. More than 12,000 homes were without electricity last night night. We never lost ours though.

Thankfully the storm passed quickly and no injuries have been reported. Several cars were totaled and my friend had a tree fall onto her son's playset and through a window to her new home. Trees also fell on several homes and apartmets. Luckily, most students have left campus for the summer so many places were vacant. There are a few trees down around the building I work in. I took some pictures to share.

I haven't heard anything about our construction. Hopefully the house is okay and no trees fell around the property.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Random Thoughts

1. The summer before my senior year in high school, my mom let me host an exchange student for a few weeks. Her name was Elodie Dufour and she was from an area close to Lyon, France. We grew very close to each other those three weeks, going on double dates and singing Chickenman by the Indigo Girls at the top of our lungs and driving around Auburn in my beat up baby blue rusty Mustang. We bawled our eyes and clung to each, sobbing when it was time for her to go home. We lost contact with each other after about year. It’s too bad we didn’t have Facebook or Linked In back then.

2. Saturday evening, the family was debating what to do after dinner. It was between watching a movie, playing a board game, going on a walk, or doing a puzzle. We had a rock/paper/scissors tournament and ended up with walk. To make it interesting, we went out the house to walk on the land. Boy am I glad we did that because as we followed the small creek down through the woods, we came across a super awesome waterfall. It’s so cool! I definitely need to get some good pictures. As we came up to it, we could hear the water falling over the edge. We maneuvered over to the side of it and realized it dropped at least 30 feet. We weren’t able to see the bottom so we’ll have to go back and check it out sometime. The ravine to the bottom is very steep and heavily wooded so I don’t know if we’ll be able to go to the bottom.

3. All of this reminds me of when I was in high school and some guy friends of mine would play Army in my backyard that was wooded and had a creek through it. They would dress up in fatigues and stealthily move through the woods to see if they could find each other. I would sit on a stump and try to find one but never had much luck. They would later tell me they saw me.

4. I’m looking forward to going to the Lake this weekend but I know it’s going to be sad too. It will be our first visit since Grandma passed and unfortunately, many of my cousins won’t be there to distract me. I know we’ll have fun and it will be a nice time to just relax and chill. I just hope it isn’t too emotional.

5. Every other Monday, I volunteer to do paired reading with the kids in Seeger’s class. I went today it was especially cool because this week, Seeger’s class is leading the Pledge of Allegiance every morning. Seeger was one of the kids who did it today so I got to watch him. He was very proud of himself.

6. I think it’s interesting that they do the Pledge every day in school. The Polack’s school does too. We did it every day in elementary school but by middle school, it was only once a week. I really don’t remember doing it in high school. I’m going to have to put a call out on Facebook to see if my memory is correct.

7. Someone in the office made popcorn a few hours ago. I can still smell it.

8. The Polack likes thin pillows to sleep on. I like thick pillows. This means we never fight over which pillows to use. The sheets on the other hand…

9. I really wanted Mucho Macho Man to win the Preakness. But not because of Macho Man Randy Savage but because that name for a horse is just so awesome.

10. This past Sunday was the Broad Ripple Art Fair. I’ve never gone but have wanted to for several years. I wasn’t planning to go this year but when I heard that Steve Cambronne was going to be there, I decided I was making the trip. I discovered Steve about two years ago and fell in love with his Atomic sculpting. He’s based out of Georgia and I’ve been wanting to order something from his website for a while. I even contacted him to get pricing, hoping we could purchase something for the new house. The opportunity to see him in person was too hard to pass up. So we packed a cooler for lunch and some movies for the kids and we drove to Indy for the fair. We definitely weren’t disappointed. We ended up buying two pieces, a welcome sign and a mirror. We shouldn’t have – money is REALLY tight right now – but he offered us a great deal. I told the Polack we’d be eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the rest of the month and he was okay with that so we made the purchase. We’re glad we did it before choosing paint colors because now we can match the colors in the pieces (which we both really, really like). Of course, we won’t be able to afford paint for a while but when we do, it will be awesome.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Seeger's Yellow Belt

Seeger has been in tae kwon do since January. He didn't really about belt advancement and the differences of each colored belt. In the beginning, he was just participating in class. But as he learned steps of the tae kwon do form, he quickly realized that he wanted to move up. He practiced and practiced his form and on Friday, he finally tested and earned his yellow belt.

After attending several of Seeger's classes, Nicklas decided he wanted to start tae kwon do too. His goal is to catch up to Seeger and to see how far he can go. He told me he knows 18 of the 20 movements of the yellow belt form. Once he's been in classes for two months, he'll be able to test too.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Best and Worst

Seeger's worst - didn't do much for Friday Funday
Nick's worst - didn't get to stay at the book fair for very long
Mike's worst - only getting three half hours of sleep after watching
his team lose
Natalie's worst - hearing the kids fight over a stupid ball
Seeger's best - earning his yellow belt
Nick's best - it's Friday
Mike's best - wife brought his lunch, watching Seeger get his yellow
belt and seeing how proud he was and family fire pit tonight
Natalie's best - vacation day plus yellow belt = Jiffy Treet

Thursday, May 12, 2011

A Sleeping Seeger

Seeger has always been a heavy sleeper. He never wakes up at night and
he struggles to wake up in the morning. It doesn't matter how early he
goes to bed, he still doesn't get up on his own until at least 8:00.
This is how I found him this morning. I woke him up at 7:30 and had to
dress him to get him to wake up.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Best & Worst

Mike's worst - having to stay for the bathroom meeting and finding out
that he'd have to spend part of his prep making sure kids don't write
on the bathroom walls
Nick's worst - even though it's not Monday, it's Tuesday which is the
second worst thing
Seeger's worst - having to do jobs
Natalie's worst - having to write ANOTHER check for the house
Mike's best - going on a walk with his wife and showing up at TKD just
in time to see both boys practice their form
Nick's best - getting a new book at the book fair
Seeger's best - got a little extra long recess today
Natalie's best - volunteering at the book fair and getting to see both

Friday, May 6, 2011


1. Usually my lack of blogging means I'm too busy or too lazy. But my recent lack of blogging is due to not having a lot of material. Our family has been pretty boring lately. (But this a good thing.)

2. Yesterday at work we celebrated Cinco de Mayo. It was mucho funno. That's all I'll say about that.

3. It has rained way more days than not in the past month. I was about ready to build my ark for fear of floating away. The last two days have been super nice but the rain will be starting again soon.

4. I hope all this rain now means the summer will be awesome. I can't wait to spend some weekends at the Lake!

5. Tomorrow is campus commencement and once again, I have to read names at our School's luncheon. Bleh.

6. Things on my bucket list: attending the Kentucky Oaks (I'm way too cool for the Derby); a trip to Ireland; uhhhh... that's all I got for now.

7. Meg Ryan has been spotted in Bloomington. Ugh. I wish she was the cute girl from French Kiss and not the scary plastic surgery husband stealer.

8. French Kiss is my second favorite movie of all time and I don't know anyone else who likes it.

9. Just heard from our contractor and it looks like we'll be able to make the change we wanted to our stairwell. Of course, there's a $350 change charge (on top of the other charges included in the project). But at least we'll get the feature instead of always wishing to have it. I say this after paying $1300 to add lighting (and I still have to pay for the fixtures which I estimate to be at least $750) and $1250 for new appliances.

10. The house is still on track to be finished by June 30. Can't wait!

I really really feel like this is one of the most boring RTT's ever. What's up with that?