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AFwife Claire

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About AFwife Claire

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    Hive Mind Royal Larvae
  • Birthday 02/07/1973

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    Mom to Nathan, Luke, Caleb, Jonathan, Anna, Grace, Faith, Micah, Drew, & Verity
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    Northern Virginia

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    Northern Virginia

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  1. I just got home from a huge, all-day, end-of-season swim meet in the broiling sun. Fortunately I had 6 kids swimming in it, so at there are plenty of races to be interested in. My 4 year old and 6 year old only had one race each--the 25 M freestyle. The 6 Y.O has swam this before, but someone was in the lane with him (not touching him or really near him, but still . . . "assisted". Well, he started last night crying about how he couldn't swim unassisted (even though he has been doing it every morning in practice), and he was back at it this morning, crying and carrying on. While he was sitting and waiting on the bench to be called up, he was still carrying on, which caused my 4 year old to also start fussing and carrying on, in the midst of a million other kids, on a million degree day. Eventually he got to the blocks, where he pitched a major tantrum and refused to get up on them, so needless to say, he didn't swim. My 4 year old daughter, however, swam across the pool for the first time unassisted (although she had to grab the lane line several times). And all my other kids did just fine, so overall it was a good day. But . . Typing this out all sounds sounds so petty, lol--I mean, he's 6, and I totally get it. I'm just fried from a day in the sun, and I wish *I* could have swam 25 M in a nice, cool, refreshing pool! And there's nothing like having tons of other parents looking on as your child throws a major tantrum front and center! 😜 My dh is a saint and took the kids to the restaurant where the team is gathering to celebrate the end of the season. I have a roaring headache and am happily not conversing with anyone in person, lol.
  2. No, we took the ball part out. The base is supposed to be for you to drive a scooter or maybe a riding lawnmower up onto, so there's a ramp on one side (that flips up when not being used as a ramp), and then a flat base with a slight lip around it. It has a long square part that fits into the hitch with a pin to secure it. Bob just bought some longer pieces of metal to construct 2 more corners, with pieces connecting those corners to the existing ramp corners. We have another thing, a big "Stow-Away" box that we use when camping, that also hooks into our hitch the same way--a long square part and then a pin to hold it in. This is the sort of thing he used, but ours was cheaper--about $100. I think he got it from Lowes, but we're off to church, so this is the first thing that showed up in my search! 😊
  3. We have 6 kayaks--2 adult-sized red ones, and 4 kid-sized yellow ones. My dh invented this ingenious carrier for them whose base is a trailer thing (but it doesn't actually go on the ground) that goes into our hitch. I blogged about it several years ago, back before we bought the second adult sized one. It's easy to get onto the back of the big van, and I can load the kayaks by myself, although it's easier if a kid helps me. Here is a post where I have pictures.
  4. Lol, I always call them jailhouse windows, because that's what they remind me of, but that has nothing to do with how the windows actually operate! 😂
  5. I just did this on our house in VA that we are selling. I googled and found people recommending Resolve (the carpet cleaner), so that's what I used. I sprayed it on several lines of grout, waited several minutes, and then used a toothbrush to scrub, but it wasn't as hard as it had been before just using some vinegar concoction. Then I would use a wet cloth to wipe off the residue. I was quite happy with the results!
  6. Yes, we got our power back on late Wednesday night, and we moved back into our house yesterday. A group from Be Hope Church knocked on our door with chainsaws, rakes, tarps to drag stuff on, etc. this afternoon, and they completely cleared our front and back yards in about 35 minutes. It was amazing!! They cleared away a linden tree in the front, and a huge pine tree, an apple tree, and the top 15 feet of a spruce tree (that we thought was from our next door neighbor's tree but turns out to have been from our neighbor 2 houses down and across the street 😲), as well as random huge branches that were strewn across the yard. They have been so totally the hands and feet of Christ in our neighborhood, and they were such blessings to us! Our 17 year old isn't going to recognize our yard when he comes home from work tonight! 😄
  7. I'm back! Our neighborhood in Beavercreek was directly hit. It looks like a war zone, honestly. It is an older neighborhood, built primarily in the 70s, with so many mature trees. Those are pretty much all gone, and the ones that are left have their tops branches broken off, or all the leaves stripped off them. The skyline is very different to look at. Our house didn't fare too badly. We have a big hole in our roof, plus lots of siding, gutters, and fascia off, etc. A big pine tree crushed our shed, and part of our maple tree destroyed our fence. Our next door neighbor had a big 40 ft. pine tree. The top 15 feet or so snapped off and sailed into our back yard. There's just so many downwd trees. We also lost an apple tree in our back yard, which was uprooted, and our big tree in front, which just sheared off a ragged stump. One of our minivans had the side windows shatter all over the driveway and the interior. I don't know how anyone would ever be able to sit in there again. I told the kids they must never ever, under any circumstance, walk on our driveway again without shoes, because even though I tried to sweep up all the glass shards, I know I couldn't get them all. Same with our yard. We had some windows break, although just the outer layer (dh and I were laughing that it was good to have very inefficient old windows so none shattered, like happened with many of our neighbors, lol), and I'm sure there are still glass shards in the yard, plus all the roofing nails everywhere. It's a mess. Our big van didn't look like it was damaged, but something happened to it because it no longer starts. We had it towed off today to be looked at, and we're praying it's not a hugely expensive problem. With our other minivan having shattered windows, we are down to one car, but friends who are out of town for 10 days kindly let us drive one of their cars, so at least dh can get himself off to work, and I can deal with swim practices, getting our 17 year old to work, etc. We had just returned from 4 days of camping in MD with a lot of our homeschooling friends from VA. We drove in at 7:00 PM, not thinking a thing about weather. I was so glad we went ahead and got everything unloaded right away so at least all the camping gear was safely in the garage! Then we were trying to get everyone showered and loads of laundry started. I had finished 2 loads, had another in the dryer, and one more in the washer when we got the first NWS alert a little before 11:00. I pretty much ignored it because I thought all the bad storms were supposed to be north of I-70. Then a few minutes later my mom (who lives a few streets over) called to say their neighbors, who are in a one story house, had made it over to their basement with their 2 little kids, and that we really should be in our "basement". (We are in a tri-level, so the basement is still partially above-grade.) So I went ahead and woke up dh, who was already asleep, plus the 3 littles, and got everyone else down to the basement. Fortunately, since we had just been camping, I totally knew right where the flashlights and camping lanterns were in the garage, so I grabbed them too. I put the little kids on a futon right under the window in the basement, and the rest of us were just hanging out there. I texted my mom at about 11:15 to ask if the NWS would let us know when the danger was past, because it seemed like the storm was moving off. As soon as I sent it, the lights started flickering and then went out, and it was not quiet anymore. Everything was crashing around upstairs, and the pressure was very weird. I yelled for everyone to get into the bathroom, and all 10 of us, plus our Newfoundland, squeezed in there! The dog was in the shower stall, lol. We waited there for awhile, but then we didn't have any cell service after that, so I couldn't figure out when things were safe! Eventually we emerged, and went outside to see what we could see of the damage. It looked a lot worse in the morning! All day Tuesday my phone (Verizon) really didn't work in the neighborhood, and it was pretty impossible to get out, with trees and power lines blocking entrances. I could receive texts, so I got all these texts from friends in VA and our 2 oldest sons, but I couldn't respond to them! I couldn't make or receive calls either, so that was so frustrating. Eventually in the afternoon I was able to send super short texts, so at least people knew we were okay! We ended up staying with friends for 2 nights, since it was miserable without power and hot water. We moved back in yesterday. It's going to take awhile to clean everything up, and of course, we'll be getting a new roof and siding. There's a constant noise of heavy trucks, chainsaws, etc. outside, and you can still hardly get down out streets with all the vehicles there. It's been crazy. Our church is sending a group over to help tomorrow with the trees. I'm hoping we can get a lot done. The city is picking up tree pieces as long as they are cut in 6 ft. sections and put by the road. These are big trees, though, so the sections will be so heavy! I'm a little overwhelmed by it all. Many other groups have offered help, but I know there are so many older retired couples in this neighborhood that can't do any of it, and there are so many poorer areas of Dayton that were hit, so we definitely want the help to go where it is most needed first. It has been so amazing to see volunteers out here, passing out water and food, helping with trees, doing all sorts of things. It really is neat to see. I was telling my kids yesterday that now I've survived an emergency plane landing and an F-3 tornado! I'm hoping not to add any more scenarios to my list though. 😆
  8. Ugh, I hate wallpaper. We're still looking at houses, so that whenever our VA house sells, we can move into a bigger one here. If there is any wallpaper (more than like one bathroom), then it's pretty much an automatic no for me. We're in a 1970's tri-level now, with wallpaper in one bathroom and in the kitchen. The wallpaper is fairly neutral, but still. It's peeling in the bathroom, and I just greatly dislike it.
  9. Ha, we have them too! I squash them with no remorse if I can, lol. I've never seen them before in other states, but they seem to be all over in Ohio!
  10. Athletics is super important, but they don't necessarily have to be varsity athletes. There are quite a few states that don't allow homeschoolers to be on their public school teams. VA is another one. And in some areas, the high schools are so enormous that very few people have the opportunity to be varsity athletes, and those that are, are probably being recruited by bigger name (and less academic) schools than academies. In that case, the academies expect the candidates to show leadership and initiative in finding other ways to pursue athletic things--clubs, running on their own and doing 5ks, doing a club sport like martial arts, etc. I would say most people who go to the academies or do ROTC are athletes, but not recruited athletes in their sports. They're well-rounded and athletic. I think for homeschoolers not on varsity teams, the candidate physical fitness test scores become even more important. You can study the different areas and work to max out each score. Some parts, like the basketball toss, are kind of weird, and watching a few youtube videos and practicing the technique goes a long way to improving the scores. You don't want to just hit the minimums, but rather max everything out. Also, having to find other ways to do sports is an excellent subject of an essay about obstacles you've overcome, lol.
  11. No, although it matches where we used to live (northern VA) before we moved last summer. Although NoVA has several area codes, so even there, many people have different area codes from each other. My sons all had different area codes than I did for my cell. Here in Ohio, since it's a military area, most people have different area codes. So far no one has batted an eye. We're in the same area as you, Happysmilylady--I'm surprised anyone was surprised! It's so transient here!
  12. It's a whole different application. If your son applies to the Academy, then he will have to do all the USAFA admissions stuff, plus apply for nominations from his senators as well as his representative. And then, as backup, he'll apply to civilian schools, as well as for the ROTC scholarship, if his goal is military service, as opposed to just going to the Academy. As others have said, many get turned down. My oldest ds is the son and grandson of Academy grads. He was triple nominated (senator, representative, and Presidential) in a very competitive district (VA-10)--but he was not appointed, although he did get an appointment from West Point. That's why your son has to be prepared with a plan B. My ds went to Virginia Tech as a part of the Corps of Cadets, on a 4-year AF ROTC scholarship. He's been very successful there and really loved his experience. And he met the woman who is now his fiancee! 😍
  13. I saw this video earlier this week on facebook and shared it. I just loved their joy, enthusiasm, and faith! It was so beautiful and encouraging to me!
  14. Where do you find all these movies? We're dong AP Psych this year, and movies didn't really occur to me because I am most definitely *not* a movie person. We watched "What About Bob" a few weeks ago, just for something fun, but not really thinking about dissecting it or anything, lol. But I know my boys would enjoy watching some of these. I'm not up on how to get movies though. Sometimes they stream them on Prime, but are those all more recent movies? I'm especially interested in the older ones. Where do you find those?
  15. Fleishmann's margarine that is pareve is also dairy-free. We had to use that for our son with dairy allergies before Earth Balance was something we knew about.
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