Have to blog….have to blog….have to blog.

Almost a month. I am very, very bad. It’s not that I haven’t had ideas about things to say, it’s just that by the time I come to sit & blog, I’m either exhausted and my brain refuses to form sentences or I sit down to blog and my head is utterly empty.

So, this past month I turned 44, Maggie had her Variety Cabaret, we bought the Ultimate Party Van, I took the photos for “Anne Frank” at the other high school, I’ve been crocheting like a monster, Thanksgiving and the further disintegration of my brain function.

My birthday was on the 12th. Since it was Veteran’s Day, everyone (but Steven) had the day off, so I got to spend the day all by myself. I went to the movies, the bookstore and just enjoyed some “me” time. (I hate that phrase) It was definitely needed and went way too fast.

Maggie had her Variety Cabaret that weekend. She did a solo, performed a number from “Chicago” with a group of girls, sang with the girls’ a Capella group and emceed the whole thing. A bit busy for a sophomore, I think, but she did a beautiful job.

I was just so impressed with the talent at her school. Because I’m getting better with my camera, I was able to sit at my table and shoot the whole show without flash and get some really good stuff. I then post the shots on Facebook for the kids to have if they want. I simply couldn’t stop shooting because everything was so good and the kids had such great stage presence that I was having a blast getting the pictures. Needless to say, I was very proud of my Maggie.

I also got hired at the other high school to take photos of their production of “Diary of Anne Frank”. I’ve known the drama director and performing arts center manager (and set constructor & designer) for years and they loved my shots of Pippin last year, so they asked if I’d be willing to join their team and document the process. I went up there a few times and got shots of rehearsals, set construction and the final dress rehearsal. I honestly don’t think any high school program has ever had the quantity of photos that this school now has. I believe I ended up with over 200 usable photos out of over 300 I took. No, I never overdo anything. Why do you ask?

I was so impressed with this production. These kids really met the challenge and put up and show to be proud of. I know a lot of has to do with the commitment of Tish & Sue (the aforementioned director and PAC manager) and how they are challenging the students to do more than they think they can. Plus they are really, really TEACHING them. Not just “how” but also “why”, which is so important. And they don’t let them get away with being sloppy.

Our biggest deal this month was finally, after 2 months of searching & begging people to take our money, bought a new van. And not just a van, but an ULTIMATE PARTY VAN. We got a Sprinter (the 140″ WB, not the 170″ WB) with the high roof and so far we really love it. The thing is HUGE, but I think it’s really going to meet the need we had. Henry gets his own row (4th row, far right), so Steven never has to be next to him at all. He can be in the 3rd row on the far left, or the 2nd row next to William, so I’m hoping that the sound of Henry’s voice won’t be quite so grating on Steven. The van seats 12, so we will have no problem giving people rides or taking long trips now. Which is awesome since we’re traveling to Los Angeles in January for my brother’s wedding. I cannot imagine that drive in our old van. Someone would have ended up dead. Now we have plenty of room for people to stretch out and even sleep while we drive, plus have tons of room for luggage, stroller, coolers, snacks, practically anything you can imagine. We’ve had it now for almost a week, and so far I really, really love it. I adore being up so high – I can see everything. The windshield and front windows are monstrous, making it feel like you’re flying a plane or driving a monster RV. You can see forever and it wraps around beautifully. The seats are comfortable (not like captain’s chair comfortable, but much better than I expected), everything seems to be right where you’d like it to be. The floors aren’t carpeted, but instead are some sort of plasticy thing that makes for super easy clean up. My kids are constantly spilling stuff and grinding things into the floor, so this is a huge benefit for us. The carpet on the old van is REVOLTING. I honestly imagine that if you just add some moisture and heat and left it alone long enough, a new life form would emerge from that carpeting.

It’s a graphite grey metallic, which I like. I really, really wanted it in what they call Vanda Blue, which is basically the color of the Tardis, but we would have had to special order that, adding 3 months to delivery. I was very surprised to learn just how difficult it is to get what you want in a passenger version of this van. They just aren’t popular enough yet, so there are only a handful in the whole US to begin with. Most of those or either white or silver (both of which I hate). There were a few black ones, a few graphite grey and maybe one or 2 in a battleship grey (which is U.G.L.Y.) The dealer finally found one with the options we wanted in the graphite grey so we grabbed it.

I have to get some better pictures – and I will. I keep forgetting to take my camera outside to do it, but I will. It’s an impressive vehicle and I adore it. Diesel engine – which, yay! The only negative so far is that there are many drive-throughs we can’t use. The van is over 11 feet tall and many (McDonald’s – I’m looking at you) are only 9′ clearance, so I have to totally rethink how I do things. So far, I can go through Wendy’s and Dunkin Donuts. Oh, and there’s one Arby’s that has no restriction, so that’s cool. For the rest, I have to actually GO IN the building. I realized when I went into McDonald’s the other day that I had never been inside that building. Strange, that.

Okay – the rest I will get to tomorrow or the next day. I have to go to bed now before I die. Thanks for reading!