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You're About to be Redirected to the New Home of Ground Control to Major Mom: 8/24/08 - 8/31/08

Thursday, August 28, 2008

More Perler Bead Fun

I did this while the boys were playing outside...Timmy thinks it's
Pardon the poor quality, this is an iPhone picture.


Shameless Pitch #574

Today I felt like a pretty good Mommy.

I started bringing the boys' crafty stuff out of their closets, starting with Moon Sand. If you remember my previous gripes right after the holidays about Moon Sand, now I can set them out on the back patio and cleaning up is an absolute minimum!


(The loss rate is still about the same, though.)

I also discovered a new craft addiction: Perler Beads! You've probably seen these around, they've been around for years. It's a great exercise to improve fine motor skills. I first saw Perler Bead crafts actually being made during Jake's ice skating camp back in June/July. It's one of the activities the kids could do before/after camp actually started. Jake wasn't that interested, though.

I was browsing our local Hobby Lobby on Tuesday and saw an area featuring little starter kits for $7.99 each. I had a coupon (of course) so it was more like $5 for a transportation-based kit: about 2200 beads and 3 assembly trays.

I brought it home and it was instantly a big hit with Timmy. He and I worked on vehicles for over an hour -- together! With no TV, computer or other distractions. I was VERY impressed with Timmy's attention span and even more impressed with his dexterity. Those beads are LITTLE....

...and they get everywhere. I bumped a tray full of beads earlier today and spilled them all over our living room! I was able to gather up most of them, the rest can come up when I vacuum.

As for Jake, he was less impressed. To be honest, not many things are impressing him right now. He used to be so happy about everything. Now he's blase', unless it's Star Wars...

Anyway, between Timmy and me, we've made a bunch of items...he's really enjoying it! Mostly I will outline a particular color -- such as the bottom of the sailboat -- and he fills in the rest.

After school today, Jake, Timmy and I made this satellite (Jake's choice). We downloaded the pattern from the website. Jake did the body of the satellite, Timmy and I did the solar panels. We ran out of gray beads.

So there's my shameless pitch -- Perler Beads are quite cool, and I'm pleased to have found an activity that's commanding Timmy's attention besides TV and Webkinz on the computer.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Nebraska -- The Pros and Cons

"So, Major Mom, how would you sum up Nebraska so far?"

I've gotten that question a lot this week. From neighbors and friends who have been calling to check up Dave's surgery recovery.

So here are the pros and cons of Nebraska, and our new lives near an Air Force base.


1.) Nice People. The people are SO NICE! Our neighbors wasted no time bringing us cookies and greeting cards, and offers to watch the boys when the movers were here delivering our stuff. In fact, today Dave received a card from his nurses at the post-surgery recovery ward at the hospital. Awwww...
2.) Cheap! The cost of living is much lower than what we were experiencing in the Raleigh/Durham area.
3.) Not as many SuperMoms here. There aren't waiting lists for every activity/preschool/sports club that I'm interested in for my kids (yes, there was one for Jake's soccer, but he still made it into the program and he was LAST on the waiting list!)
4.) No traffic to speak of. I don't count the gate lines to get onto Offutt AFB in the mornings. And they aren't that bad...not at all like Patrick AFB in 2002.
5.) Folks here drive the speed limit. I'm not sure if this is a pro or a con, since I tend to be an aggressive driver, this area has calmed me down quite a bit.
6.) Cheap gas. About $0.35 cents less per gallon than in NC (see CON re: gas below)
7.) We're Near Our Local AF Base! The base gas station, commissary, exchange, post office and fitness center are all 10 minutes away. We're renting a camper in mid-September from the AF base Outdoor Recreation center for cheap.


1.) The endless corn and soy fields. While you might think, "Isn't agriculture a good thing?", I envision many of these fields are being grown for biodiesel and corn-ethanol. While I support our getting off of foreign oil reliance, I think other agricultural priorities (i.e., feeding people) are now taking a back-seat to it. That discussion is for another blog posting. You can read this for now.
2.) The cheapest gas here is the ethanol blend. This is why gas is so cheap here. The ethanol blend is a higher octane, so it sells as "Plus Unleaded", but it's $0.10 less than regular unleaded. A mindset shift.
3.) Odors. The STENCH in our neighborhood when the winds are coming in from certain directions. If the winds are from the south but light, we get the stench of the pig farm just south of here. If the winds are from the ENE and coming in at a good clip -- 10 knots or more, we get the smell of some sort of rendering plant. I was checking my trash can on Monday when I was smelling what seemed like garbage -- but really it was throughout the neighborhood (trust me, I walked around the corner and still smelled it).

Tangent: I remember living in Deridder, Louisiana in 1995-1996, I had a 20 mile drive northward to work every morning. I could forecast whether there would be fog at the Fort Polk base weather station when I arrived at work in the morning based on the smell I experienced when I walked out of my apartment. There was a paper mill to the west of where I lived -- the stronger the stench when I walked out of my apartment, the worse the fog would be as I drove north in the morning.

I wonder if I will be able to predict the weather based on the smells here. Fun.
4.) Lines on the Road. The large intersections here don't have lines painted on the road to tell you where to stop...and NO, this isn't why I got into a traffic accident earlier this month! But no, no lines painted. I guess we're on our honor to stop such that we don't get hit by the cross traffic.
5.) The "N" is for "kNowledge". There are NO major-league sports teams in a 3 hour radius of this area. So people have no choice but to root for University of Nebraska sports...sigh...and it's fanatical here -- almost as fanatical as Penn Staters!!! Many of the houses have block "N"s somewhere on it -- sometimes it's subtle, like a small block N on the front door. Sometimes it's gaudy as hell, with a giant red-track-light-outlined "N" emblazoned on the fence.

This week is the Nebraska State Fair. While North Carolina's is TOTALLY AWESOME, I'm sure Nebraska's will be fun, too. Hopefully Dave is feeling well enough that we can go this weekend. Maybe we can see Styx in concert on Monday?

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"I Feel Like Shmoo"

That's what Dave said about his not being able to exercise, except for the occasional walk around the block, since the surgery.
(Side note: He does NOT look like Shmoo, nor will he. He has a fitness test this fall.)
I couldn't stop laughing, I hadn't heard about Shmoo in years! This will refresh your memory. There was a guy in college that the folks called "Shmoo" (Robin A., help me with this one!), and other than that, I vaguely remember him as a blobby cartoon character.
So, smiles!


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Some Good Nebraska News...

I got some good news today.

"FINALLY! You're going to tell us something good that happened to the Vollmer Family in Nebraska?"

Now wait a second -- I posted this a couple weekends ago.

"Yeah, but then you were hit with that flat tire on the bike ride over to watch the airshow itself."

I know...I know...the move itself was better than the move from Florida to North Carolina, but some of the circumstances that have occurred just after the move seem pretty bad, huh?

Okay, okay...back to the point. I received some good news today. Jake is registered for soccer and he starts on September 8th.

When we first arrived here, I immediately started networking with other Moms in the neighborhood about two things: piano lessons and soccer leagues. Jake's school and Timmy's preschool is already squared away.

The piano lessons part was easy, there's a piano teacher who lives right behind me! (Hi Alissa, if you're reading this!) I hope to start Jake soon, but I'm not in an incredible hurry.

The soccer was a bit more difficult. Two parents told me that we were just a TAD late for Bellevue Soccer Club and Little Rascals Soccer open registration, but I could inquire about indoor leagues starting after outdoor soccer ends in November. I made a few phone calls...talked to a few other parents...and Jake's future in soccer fell into two categories.

1.) He needs to be 9 years old for most indoor soccer leagues.

2.) He can go onto a waiting list for the local leagues that have already ended open registration.

Discouraged, I placed a phone call to the Bellevue Soccer Club representative to ask about how long the waiting list is. The gentleman was very nice and told me that if I acted in, within the hour, I could still get Jacob on the waiting list. He told me where to download the registration form on the web, and said to fill out the form and drop it at the Bellevue Soccer Club fields mailbox by 5pm (we were talking at about 3:50pm). At 5pm the coaches were going to assemble the lists and if there were still openings Jake might just make it.

So I acted fast. I had to pick up Howie from a grooming appointment anyway, and the BSC fields were on the way.

Today at about noon someone called to say that Jake made it onto a U6 team, please send the check to a particular address. Yay!

Jake is definitely nervous about starting in a new league, and an outdoor league, at that! He's been playing indoor soccer since his 4th birthday. He's really good when he isn't under pressure, and is just starting to develop quicker decisionmaking. Unlike Dreamsports in North Carolina, this group will practice and play twice per week.

As for Timmy, aside from his preschool on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I'll probably get involved in a MOPS group in Papillion (the next town over to the west). They start up in September and meet on Wednesday mornings.

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Timmy the Tagger

So here's the side yard. It's quite nice.

See? There's an apple tree -- and the apples aren't bad, either. Quite tart, I see a pie in our near future.

And here's Timmy marking up the fence to the right of the apple tree. He did this with some sidewalk chalk, thankfully it'll wash right off.

I'm so proud of my little guy learning to write his name...

...but I have visions of one day Timmy writing his name on a highway overpass or railroad boxcar. Thought I'd share this before I hosed it off.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Dave is coming up with a sign for one of his model railroad businesses and wanted something 70s-looking. When I was looking for some vintage ads, I happened across this one.
You'd NEVER see such ads today.
That's all I have to say 'bout that...

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