Early Morning Musings

I had a lot to do yesterday. Deposit a check at the bank, pay our home owners' insurance, pay the cable/internet/telephone bill, make a flyer for Thanksgiving Eve party and post Thanksgiving Dinner parties for the Eagles' Club. Got it all done by 11:45am.

Here I sit at 4:20AM ET writing this post. I need to leave for work in a little less than an hour.

Speaking of work, I'm not sure if I ever shared that I became a substitute school bus driver for my kids' school district. I trained in late 2013-early 2014. I was hired as a substitute driver on April 15, 2014 - a tax day I won't forget. ever. The general reaction from people when they find out I drive a school bus is, "I could never do that!" Honestly, that's what I thought before I actually went through the process and got my CDL B SP (that's commercial driver license class B School Bus and Passenger endorsements). I love my job! I really enjoy being among the first people representing our school district to greet many of the kids in the morning and being one of the last friendly faces they see in the afternoon. Sure, it has it's bad days... the trouble-makers, the inclement weather when school really should have been delayed or cancelled, and mechanical issues. There are far more good days than bad ones! Our mechanic, Mike, is the best! He gets the buses in and out of the service garage as quickly as possible!

Starting this afternoon, I'll be subbing long term for one of our drivers who will be out on medical leave. There will be some mornings all my kids will need to go to work with me due to my husband's and my oldest son's work schedules. Today is not one of those, thankfully. Four o'clock in the morning is hard on my two 8 year olds. Next school year will be easier, they will be in 4th grade. In our district, 4th grade is in the Middle School building which means they start an hour earlier than they do this year.

My oldest son is 21. Lives at home. Works 3 part time jobs, which some weeks adds up to a 40 hour work week. He helps me a ton at home, not so much with chores... he's great at getting the kids ready for school and on their buses and he's an amazing cook! Good thing he enjoys cooking, otherwise, we'd be eating cereal and mac & cheese every night. I'm not the best cook and I do not like cooking. I'm learning and growing. My parents always joke that I could burn water, problem, it's no joke. LOL

Enough of my musings for now.

Must check out Pinterest for cute, safe, no mess, and not too mischievous/naughty activities for our Elf On The Shelf.

Rather than make a new post... just thought I would add on to this one.

My 13 year old 8th Grade daughter is currently memorizing the Periodic Table of Elements. She's using this....

to help. I'm almost sick of hearing it already!!


Random Ramblings

WOW! Two years and two days since I last posted. Oops. I guess I've let life just run away with me. I'll try to do better, but no promises.

I'm currently trying to get my house ready for the Thanksgiving holiday and feast that we're hosting again this year. We've been hosting Thanksgiving for 14 or 15 years now. We've almost got it down to a science or art-form. My husband cooks an amazing turkey! One year, no carving required... the bird literally fell apart as we were pulling it out of the oven. Best. Turkey. Ever. He also makes pumpkin pie... from scratch!! I'm responsible for prep (cutting celery and onions for the stuffing), mashed potatoes, sweet potato dessert, and clean-up. He handles the turkey, the stuffing, and the pies. Some years, he's even done all of the grocery shopping.

I'm also trying to plan the Advent/Christmas season fun and activities for our family. It's so hard this year. We have our oldest, 21 years old, still living at home. The other four kids are 13 (she turns 14 four days before Christmas), 10 (he'll be 11 a little over two weeks before Christmas), 8 (she'll turn 9 about three weeks after Christmas), and 8 (he turned 8 the week before Halloween). They are all very different personalities and interests. About the only thing they all agree on is the fun of our Elf On The Shelf "Elfis". I'm planning for his return the day after Thanksgiving.

Speaking of Santa's Scout Elves, does anyone have any tried and true and non-messy things our elf can do? Places to hide that I haven't already thought of? I'm notorious for doing super well for the first 5 or 6 days... then I get spotty about it. I'm going to make an appointment in my calendar or an alarm on my phone to remind to get it done each night. Any other suggestions on how I can handle that little dilema? My biggest enemy this year is going to be my work schedule. I'm a substitute school bus driver, so I get up very, very early in the morning... which means I go to bed super early in the evening. I'm always up and dressed and ready to go in case my supervisor calls.


Health Care Woes

I seriously hate this time of year! I was actually enjoying it until my husband called today. His boss has revealed his new cost savings measures.

New health insurance.

Our current relationships with our current doctors are coming to an abrupt end. The new insurance will be going into effect on December 1. Nothing like giving us some time to find the doctors that we think will best suit our families. There were two options for family doctors near (if you call more than 10 miles/less than 30 miles away near) my home. The first (and closest) option does not accept patients under the age of 12 years. Seriously?!? So I called the other option. They will have no problem participating with our daughter’s Children’s Special Healthcare Services coverage on top of our primary insurance.

We also get new dental insurance. The nearest dentist is over 45 miles from our home. Looks like we’ll go another 10 years or so before we go to the dentist again.

We also get vision insurance. Let me just say, what a joke!!


On top of this, if my husband’s employer did NOT offer health coverage, we would be eligible for subsidized healthcare coverage. If we opt out of the “employer provided” coverage, we also “opt out” of subsidized coverage. This is freaking frustrating. The ACA (Affordable Care Act – aka ObamaCare) is making it impossible for families to have affordable options!

***end of rant***


Summer Has Begun

Summer officially began for the Ingram household at 12:15pm when the last day of school dismissed. The 5th graders did their Final Walk of the Hall to the tune of “Happy” by Pharrell (the fact I spell that name even remotely correctly surprises my daughter).

Interesting twist #1 for Summer 2014 occurred at 6:15pm this evening when my husband called. We’ve been looking for a camper – any camper that would sleep our family – for a while now. Hubs found one listed on a Facebook Yard Sale group yesterday. I went and bought it today! Happy Father’s Day!! LOL The thought of all the gear we’re going to need to even go camping in it has my head spinning. We got a really go deal. We’re looking at this as a “starter camper.” Most people get a starter home. LOL With 4 kids (at home) and 3 dogs I didn’t want to buy anything super new & expensive. I managed to back the silly thing into the driveway all by myself. Honestly, it took a little while. Our gate is fairly narrow and we have a dead vehicle parked in the driveway.

Friday we’re ditching our big name, big bill cable and internet provider for the local smaller more personal service cable and internet provider! Looking forward to it!

Friday is a big day… Christopher is coming home from school for the weekend. Ok, so he gets off the train at 10pm on Friday night and we have to get to the train station before 7am on Sunday morning – so he’s coming home to spend Saturday with the family. Looking forward to seeing him. he’s been away at school since the 13th of May. Then in July I’ll go get him and all of his stuff. He’ll be home for a 6 week stint before going back to school on September 2 (just like the rest of the kids).

Took the kids to the library today after school. The summer reading program starts on June 23 – must remember to go back and sign them up! Started each of the (at home) kids a “shelf” on my GoodReads account so we can track the books they read this summer. I’ll try to show/link the books (with my Amazon affiliate account) as we finish them.


Time Flies

Time flies when you’re having fun, I suppose.

Nicholas started basketball in January. Practice one night a week and games on Saturdays. This ended just in time for big sister’s activities to really ramp up.

Mary Ann is currently participating in Girls On The Run, a volleyball league at our local YMCA, and she’s continuing with her Hip-Hop Dance class. Recital is coming soon!


Happy 2014!!

I should have dropped by the ol’ blog yesterday to wish everyone a happy new year and to fill you all in on the latest from the Ingram homestead.

December ended up being a lot more –fill in the blank- than I bargained for!

Early in the month, I went to my doctor because I had some pain in the left side of my neck and it looked swollen. He ordered an ultrasound. A couple of days later he calls me to make an appointment to come see him, but he needs me to get a lot of blood work done before the appointment. Fast forward a couple of days to completed blood work and my appointment. He is referring me to an endocrinologist to have a biopsy done on my thyroid. Wait! What?!? Yes, I heard him right, we were on a path to rule out cancer. YIKES! I got a letter from the endocrinologist on New Year’s Eve – “The results of your recent biopsy were negative.” Good news. I could have wished for more personal delivery of such delicate and important news.

Now, let’s back up again to December 19th. My kids are pumped about how close Christmas is getting. Our Advent Chain saved me from an endless stream of curious children wanting to know how many more days until Christmas. SCORE! Problem, we were awakened at 5:30am by the telephone ringing – School “will be closed on Friday, December 20th, 2013 due to inclement weather.”

WHAT?? Since when is an inch of snow “inclement weather”? Oh – right. When it has ice underneath of it.

One severely disappointed almost 6 year old… all vacation long asked when is my Christmas party?

Saturday, December 21 – My beautiful daughter turned 11 years old. I’ll spare you the gushing. Later that evening, hubby and I went to our Eagles’ Club for a caroling party. We were pumped. Couldn’t wait to share all that Christmas cheer with the residents of the assisted living facility and the nursing home. I think we were even going to visit some of the home-bound elderly Eagles Members. We’re at the club… Caroling is CANCELLED. WHAAAA!!

Sunday, December 22 – huge ice storm hits. Trees down everywhere. Power goes out for a lot of people including my in-laws – thankfully we kept ours. So, my in-laws move in with us until their power can be restored. The energy company was estimating 12/28. My home – 9 people + 3 dogs (one of the people doesn’t like my dogs). It made for a very long 5 days – in-laws’ power was restored on the 26th. They were able to go home on the 27th, we wanted them to wait until the furnace could warm the place up a bit. We had our generator at their place running their sump pump, refrigerator, freezer, and a space heater to prevent the pipes from freezing.

Christmas Eve was spent with my parents at their home. Wonderful as always. I’ll probably make some scrapbook pages and share them eventually.

Christmas Day was spent here at home for a change. We usually go to my in-laws’ home. They were already here. So we just kept the meal plans in tact and changed the venue. They had fun being here to watch our children open their Christmas gifts.

New Year’s Eve we went to the Eagles’ Club. We had a great time. The band was amazing. Potlucks always have the best food!

Today – I just want school to open back up, my husband to go back to work, and to have some time and space to myself, by myself. *sigh*

In other news – TLP (The-lilypad.com) is having their 2nd annual Month of Challenges. One scrapbook challenge per day for the entire month of January.

Day 1.


Day 2.


Pages are linked to the gallery where proper credits are displayed. When in doubt, assume Michelle Godin at TLP. Smile


ADVENT*ures Day 4

PHEW!! *Wiping sweat from my brow*

What a day!!

We woke up late. Not sure why… maybe I hit snooze one too many times?!?

Youngest daughter, Katie, had an appointment with the Cleft Palate Clinic today.


She is growing like a weed and gets prettier every time the doctors & nurses, dentists, surgeons, psychologists, social workers, and other members of the team see her. She will probably need more work on her defect when she is bigger, for now, we wait & watch her grow.

While he was at school today, Nicholas lost another tooth!! The tooth fairy is going broke! 4 teeth in 4 weeks!!


This photo made it very obvious I need to take the child and his glasses in to the Walmart Vision Center to get them adjusted – again. LOL

This evening, we went to our local Home Depot for a Kids’ Craft night. We also got to see Santa!




For some reason, my oldest – 18 year old Christopher did not want to sit on Santa’s lap or do the craft. LOL He was a huge help with the kids though and he plans on bringing them to craft night next week for “Build A Gift for Mom”. (That way, I can be surprised.)

I’ll post a picture of the cute craft they did tonight when the paint dries. Some of the children were more liberal with their paint.

Day 4 of Bible Study & Advent Devotionals – DONE! WOOT!