Friday, August 31, 2007

Second Week of School

I think we Cunninghams have gotten used to the school schedule. We know when to leave the house to pick up the two who carpool with us, to drop me off at college, and to get to Geneva. However, it is very busy for us. Mom, besides teaching the students and cleaning the church and school, is taking a science class at Georgia Perimeter in order to get her major in biology. Her classes are at six and happen on Mondays and Wednesdays. She always has something to do. Well, with Labor Day next week, she is ready to sit down and relax. She definitely needs it since our next break won't be until Thanksgiving.

On Saturday, Seth and I went to the Greers' house, where we carpooled with them and drove up to Winder, about thirty minutes away. Brittny Greer's fiance Jake Bailey's family built a large house up there and have a nice pool. The Covenant Youth Group from church were going to meet there. We all had a blast. The boys enjoyed torturing me, spraying each other with the hose, wrestling, throwing the toy torpedoes, and playing a violent game of water basketball. We enjoyed pizza and an ice cream dessert then had a devotional. Afterwards, the majority left to go home. However, those who hadn't left yet climbed back into the pool. Ben Greer enjoyed chasing whoever had a ball in their hands, and it was fun trying to keep them away from him. While we were at the pool, Dad, Mom, and Mandy went to the Abrahams' house to celebrate Kiera's birthday.

The second week at college has been easier now that I actually know what I'm doing. I can eat lunch in the cafe on campus (which costs $4.50 just for a sandwich, a pickle, and some chips). I've fallen in love with the philly steak sandwich that they offer. So, I am enjoying it. Seth and Mandy are doing well at Geneva as well. Recently, Mandy did a newspaper article for her class about the pool party Seth and I attended. She has Latin classes with Pastor Strevel, and she says he gives quizzes everyday. Seth has been doing well under Mrs. Boyd. As long as he does what she asks, he'll survive her wrath :)

Well, the weather seems to have taken a better turn. Just about everyday for a week, it has either been cloudy or has rained at least once a day. It has been much cooler. Mom's plants are looking better. We have harvested a few Roma tomatoes, and the japaleno peppers are ready to be picked. We're waiting for Mandy's bell peppers to get bigger as well before we pluck those off.

Nothing much is scheduled for the future. Tomorrow, after Mandy gets back from Bethany Greer's birthday party, we five are going out for Dad's birthday lunch (which we have rescheduled too many times to count). On Labor Day, we are going to hang out with family. I'll be sure to post pictures from that occasion.

Friday, August 24, 2007

The First Week

Well, we Cunninghams have started our fall, winter, and spring schedule for school. I started college, Mom began as the science teacher, and Seth and Mandy have returned as students to Geneva.

On Monday, Dad woke us up around six fifteen, which was a big change from sleeping in until nine or ten AM. We ate breakfast and got dressed. We were in a hurry, so we did not have the chance to get first-day of school pictures. Because it was the first day of school, Geneva was having a sort of orientation/ breakfast for the parents of the students. Dad drove to me to Georgia Gwinnett, and I walked into it. The college is taking over Georgia Perimeter, which will be fully gone by next year. The college is made of up three buildings, A, B, and C. A is where Perimeter still is, but the bookstore and information desk is also there. Buildings B and C have GGC classrooms, and B has a restaurant that I will be eating in starting next week. Anyway, the college is brand-new and is all for the latest technology in helping students learn. I don't call it helpful; I consider it unnecessary and complicated, one more thing to do. All the students have three accounts (and they will probably get more over the rest of the year). The first is the banner account where the schedule is posted; the second is the Web CT Vista where the students get to see their grades, announcements, and homework assignments; and the third is the e-mail account that the students use to e-mail teachers and get messages from the school. Well, the first week of school went bad for me technology- wise. My Vista refused to work, and my e-mail refused to log me in and I was unaware of the account number and password. On Tuesday, I got my Vista solved. I spent the next few days feeling stressed out about the lack of a working e-mail address. Finally, today, with the help of my algebra teacher, I got to fix it. I hope next week will go smoothly.

My schedule is weird and means boredom. My first classes everyday begin at 8 AM and end about an hour later. On Wednesdays, my next class begins at 11 AM and school is over by 1 PM. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, school is over at 3:20 after a two- hour computer class. Mondays and Fridays mean two hours of waiting before going home. I guess it serves me right for not knowing how to drive myself yet. Thankfully, my laptop with Internet helps spare me from boredom and I'm reading "The Amber Spyglass."

School has gone well for Mom, Seth, and Mandy as well. Mom is enjoying it thoroughly. On Wednesdays, she teaches Geneva at Home, a program for homeschoolers before they can enter Geneva in sixth grade. She loves this class, and the students are like little sponges and have said that science is their favorite class. Mandy has her best bud Bethany as her classmate as well as another girl Megan. She also has two annoying boys in her class, Ian and Micah. Seth is doing well, considering this is his first year with Mrs. Boyd, the infamous strict English teacher. On Tuesday, she gave him an assignment of summarizing various chapters of "The Count of Monte Christo." Poor Seth spent six hours finishing it, and that meant missing a trip to the pool. When he returned to class on Thursday, he learned his classmate Michael had only taken an hour to complete the assignment. He then learned that he had only to do five chapters, not the whole thing. Well, at least Seth won't have English homework for a while, hopefully.

Well, enough of school. The weather has been miserably hot this week as usual. However, we have found a way to keep the house cooler. We turn on the master fan when it is cool in the evenings and have smaller fans running all over the place. Our yard and back deck were looking poor for plant life. However, we have received a special blessing and a relief. On Thursday, we had a rain shower that didn't last that long. It was so good to see rain again after not having it for several weeks. Tonight, we had a thunderstorm pass through the area and got poured on. The air is humid but cool, and the house feels wonderfully cool. Nights are getting cooler, now let's hope the days start getting cooler as well.

On Thursday, Dad turned forty. We did a little intimate family celebration off- the- cuff. Mom and I went shopping and bought him some tobacco, the Indiana Jones trilogy, and some beer. We kids all got him cards and signed them. Mom made BLTs for dinner and made pumpkin pie as a surprise (since it is Dad's favorite dessert). I believe next month is the party, but I'm not actually sure about that, so don't call me reliable on that.

Tonight the Hortons, good friends of our family that we have known since late 1991, invited us over for dinner. Dad was suspicious. Ever since his surprise 30th birthday party, he has insisted on no more surprises. He asked Mom if she was up to something, but she denied it. On the way to their house, Dad kept looking around the neighborhood to see if there were any recognizable cars. Dinner was lovely with salad, grilled chicken, bread, cheesy potatoes, and a chocolate casserole. We enjoyed good conversation and watched "Much Ado about Nothing." Around ten PM, we came home.

So, it has been a good week as a starting point. Tomorrow will be busy for us. Dad, Mom, and Mandy will be going to Kiera Abraham's 1st birthday party. Seth and I will be going to a youth group pool party, which we are both looking forward to.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Feeling the Heat

The weather has been unusually hot and muggy lately. The temperature has gone up into the hundreds, making it miserable. Watering plants is impossible during the heat of the day, and they only quickly become wilted again. Our grass is turning brown, though it does not look like it did several years ago. We desperately need a hurricane or something. Anything that's cool and gives us a nice, long rain shower.

Well, things always break down when they shouldn't. We are having one of those moments, with our air conditioning. On Wednesday, it was hotter than usual in the house, so Mom ordered me to stop doing laundry, since we thought it was only making the house hotter. Well, she took Mandy and Bethany Greer shopping, leaving Seth and me at home. The air was on, but the house was absolutely sweltering. I was so sweaty that my shorts were clinging to my legs, and Seth decided to go shirt- less. When Mom got home, she checked the temperature. It was ninety- six degrees in the house. We quickly realized that the air was not working properly, so we called John Presley, an air conditioner repairmen, to take a look at it. While we waited, we opened all the windows and turned on our monster hall fan. The outside air was actually cooler than the inside. Well, we got it looked at and learned that we needed to fix it or buy a new one. And, our furnace in the attic isn't working well either, so we need to replace that too. Dad and Mom decided to replace both at the same time, which may happen in a few weeks. So, until then, it'll be fans in every room and open windows.

Now for something slightly more humorous. Over the past few weeks, Dad has brewed fifteen gallons of beer (three different types in different buckets). Well, beer is supposed to remain in relatively cool temperatures or it will go bad. With all the heat in the house, Dad grew worried about the beer going bad. So, we called the Strevel family and received permission to store the fifteen gallons in their dark and cool basement. Dad carried the three buckets down to the street and put them in the back of the van. He sat in the back and held onto them until we arrived at the Strevels'. After the delivery, we went to Boarders to cool down and relax. That night, we kids and Mom stayed at the Strevels' house, and Dad joined us the next night. Tonight, we will be sleeping in our own house, kept cool by the fans.

Well, the day is approaching. On Monday, school starts for four of us Cunninghams. I start college at Georgia Gwinnett (and I still need my last book, which hasn't come in yet. Grrrrrr). Seth and Mandy start their classes at Geneva, and Mom begins as her first year as science teacher. Her science room looks great. It has a bookshelf full of books, pictures of butterflies and plants, several quotes on the walls, and some plants. And, she bought a beta fish and wants to get a tarantula. I hope the boys at school don't try anything with the tarantula, such as let it out of its cage. Mom says that the hairy spider may be staying with us in the future. Yikes! I hope the cats don't knock its cage over, or I shall die of fright. So, anyway, the day is getting closer. Mandy is trying to finish her summer English assignment, and I need to start working on a project for one of my classes (the stupid one about being a good college student). This will be the first time in many years (since third grade) that I will be attending a secular school. I can only imagine that things have changed significantly since then. I will definitely miss Geneva and all the teachers and students. Well, I can't always be there forever. One of these days, I ought to do a slideshow with pics from Geneva.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Busy Times

Times have been busy for us Cunninghams lately. Recently, there was a Girls' Day Out, a Boys' Party, a couple days of hard cleaning, and a lovely shopping spree.

Last Thursday, we girls got up to go run a couple of errands. One of those was going to the college bookstore to pick up a couple of books. I had to buy them, and they were not cheap. The graduation money came in handy. I took a look through my English book, and it looks like a philosophy class full of writings from Martin Luther King Jr., Freud, Marx and Engels, and other writers. I'll definately miss Mrs. Boyd's English class. My Spanish book doesn't look too bad. Mom picked up a couple of books as well. The store at the college has everything: snacks, books, pencils, medicine, and other supplies. After that, we drove to the mall to see "No Reservations." It was a cute movie about cooking and romance. And that was the girls' day out.

Last Friday was busy. We never celebrated Seth's birthday formally because of a busy schedule, and he had wanted a poker party. So, we planned it before school begins. Seth invited the cousins Gabe and Noah and then Cliff, Christopher, and Ben from school/ church. We had Little Caesars for dinner and watched "Casino Royale." After that, the boys began their poker games. They played for a while, and Dad was the dealer. After dessert was brought out, the boys went outside to torment each other. Christopher and Seth had fun locking the other boys outside. Then, everyone decided they wanted to watch a movie. We watched "Mystery Science Theater: The Killer Shrews." For those who don't know Mystery Science Theater, it was a TV show where two robots and a guy are forced to watch horrible movies, so they make hilarious commentaries during the film. The movie was weird, so the guys decided to watch "Hercules against the Moon Men," the best Mystery Science Theater ever. I went to bed around two AM, but the boys were up until four AM until Dad ordered them to bed. The next morning, the boys nearly ate all the biscuits and gravy for breakfast, but Dad saved some for me.

On Sunday, Mandy and I were enlisted in the services of Bethany Abraham, who needed us to watch Avalyn and Keira for her while she ran errands. So, we went to her house on Monday morning and watched them for a good part of the day. We went to the pool after Bethany came home, since it was over a hundred degrees outside, which is very unusual for Georgia. We enjoyed pizza for dinner and watched "The Incredibles" on my laptop. Mandy and I spent the night because we were still needed for the next day. On Tuesday, Mandy stayed with the girls while I accompanied Bethany to her rented duplex, where she needed my help in cleaning it up. We did almost the entire downstairs and made good progress. The house was filthy, and it made me thankful that our house never got that dirty. After swimming at the pool again, Bethany took me and Mandy home. On Wednesday, I helped Bethany finish cleaning the house. It was a scorching day again, over a hundred degrees. We desperately need rain before Mom's lovely back deck garden dies. Also on Wednesday, Dad harvested his hops before they died in the heat. He couldn't be more happier and is anxious to use them for his next brew.

Today, we girls decided to go shopping for various things. We went to Cato, Mandy's favorite clothes store. I found two shirts and a skirt, but there were cute outfits that were too big, since the smallest average size was a medium. Mandy found some khaki capris that she can wear to school. We then went to Georgia Gwinnett bookstore to pick up more of my books. We have had some trouble accessing my college account, but we got that cleared up. And, we changed my schedule so it is more balanced, deleting the history class and putting math in its place. I spent over two hundred dollars buying my math book and my computer class book, and I still have to buy one more. Thank goodness for graduation money. Then, we girls went to Kohl's. Mandy found some jeans and a cute top while I found a couple of shirts. Next week, Mom is buying more for Seth and Mandy because of Geneva's dress code. Lucky for me, I have no dress code to worry about. Tonight, we are probably going to watch "Disturbia," a modern version of Hitchcock's "Rear Window."