Friday, February 29, 2008

The circles of my soul

I had an appointment yesterday with the opthamologist. I haven't had an appointment in about 3 years. BAD! But I had to go in as my left eye has been bothering me. I've got a family history of eye issues. Actually, it's just my Dad. Not only is he nearsighted (as well as my Mom), but he's had blocked eye ducts (which required surgery), droopy eyelids (which also required surgery), and has glaucoma. So it's pretty important for me to get check-ups on my eyes.

Like I mentioned before, I am legally blind. When the big E on the lighted eyechart is in front of me? I can't see the E at all. I can only see the lighted eyechart. I'm on a totally different scale than you people who can say you're 20/200. For contacts, I'm a -11.75. For glasses, I'm at -15. So yeah, I've got really bad vision.

Anyway, I saw the opthamologist and it was good. He was a nice guy. He listened to my concerns. He checked my vision. He checked my eye pressure. He checked health of my cornea, eyeball, and optic nerve. Everything was good. He let me know that my vision hasn't changed really. My right eye has changed ever so slightly. He checked how I was seeing with my current contacts and my eyeglasses. He let me know that I'm seeing 20/20 with each of the devices. Cool! But he did give me a written prescription for both contacts and eyeglasses. This way I will be able to order new ones whenever I want to.

For the issue with my left eye? He did look at my current contacts and did confirm that I have protein deposits on one of the edges. He said since I was performing a weekly protein cleaning on them and that hadn't resolved the issue that I probably do need to get my contacts polished (as I mentioned to him earlier). The only thing is that don't do any polishing at that location. He had to give me the name/number of another place that actually does the polishing. Since I don't need new glasses, I decided to order new contacts. Since my eyes are bad I've always wanted to get an extra pair of contacts. It takes about 7 days to get a new pair. And if I ever LOST one, I'd be wearing my glasses for 7 days or more. It's just a huge hassle to get new contacts! So that's why I'm ordering new ones now. Proactive instead of reactive. Whew!

So now I've got to make an appointment to get my current lenses polished. And then go in hopefully next week to pick up my new contact lenses. Yeah! New lenses!

A daily task turned to field trip

After we dropped off the Princess at school, the Bear and I stopped by the local grocery store today to return some plastic bags to the conveniently placed recycling bin. We collect all the plastic bags we receive and store them until we feel it's "time" to drop off. That day was TODAY!

I had the Bear carry the two bags filled with plastic grocery bags. He happily swung his arms around making the crinkly sounds. There was a gentleman sweeping the front area of the store as we walked up to the recycle bin. The Bear tried to toss the two bags up into the container, but the opening was small and our bags were quite large. The gentleman saw the Bear and came over and opened the top for us. The Bear looked SO happy. I think he felt good about helping me out with the grocery bags. I mean, he did all the work -- carried them in and put them into the bin. AND he thanked the nice man without me reminding him to do so.

Since we were at the store, I decided to get some fruit. It wasn't busy, so we pretty much meandered through the vegetables and fruits. I had him select which kind of apples he wanted. We looked at the Granny Smiths, the Gala, the Fuji and the Braeburn -- he decided on the Gala. We then continued meandering and talked about citrus fruits -- the grapefruit, the tangelos, the clementines, the lemons, and the oranges. We looked at all the melons in their natural form AND we took a look at the cut-up versions (so the Bear would be more clear on what the insides looked like for each melon). We rounded out our discussion with the various sizes of tomato. He really took it in and I'm glad I took the time to take a slow walk through the section.

What's funny about our little side-trip is that two ladies stopped us in the store. One was a gal who was restocking the meat section (which is adjacent to the produce area). She said it was nice to see me talking to the Bear about the varieties. Another gal (a fellow shopper) stopped and let us know that it was nice to see me TALKING to the Bear. She said that every time she's went out shopping that she'd see a parent talking on a cell while the child(ren) trailed behind.

Now I found it strange that two people stopped me to tell me that it was nice to see my son and I talking as we shopped. Is it the norm to just not talk to your child(ren) when you're out and about? When I'm with the kids, I can't help BUT talk to them. It's infrequent that I need to "shush" them so that I can talk on my cell. The rest of the time we're together, we talk. Now that I'm not working, I'm only on the phone MAYBE 5 minutes max with the Hubs each work day. FIVE MINUTES! But I guess I'm one of those people who only talks on my cell when I have to (school, doctor, appointment, interview). I was never one who enjoyed talking on the phone just to talk (except when it's one of my sisters). I never talked endlessly on the phone as a teen. I just didn't. My neighbor? He talks on his cell ALL THE TIME. But that's just how he's made. He's a talker.

But do you talk on your phone a lot? How many minutes a day do you think?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

4am Service Calls

Transitioning from a deep dreaming sleep into full wakefulness in 3 seconds is NOT the way to be awakened in the middle of the night.

I was roused abruptly out of bed this morning by the Princess. It was 4am!!!

MOM! I have a bloody nose! There's a lot of blood!

Me being legally blind, I had to grab my eyeglasses on the bedstand and get her before she bled onto our beige carpet. I had her in the master bath in less than 10 seconds. I grabbed some tissue and stood next to the sink and held her nose.

Oh my goodness. About 3 minutes later I felt lightheaded. Like I was about to pass out. Like my head was weaving left and right. I was in bad shape. I had the Princess hold her nose and I stepped away and got more tissue. Then I sat on the floor and had her sit on my lap. I think my quick get-up and get into the bathroom move drained all the blood from my sleepy head. Plus the odor of the blood in the air also made me feel lightheaded. It was the most strange feeling. But sitting down really helped get my head back on straight.

Unfortunately, the Princess woke her brother as she freaked out in the upstairs bath when she realized her nose was bleeding. First, the Bear ran around upstairs looking for his sister. Then he cautiously came downstairs and looked in our bedroom. The Princess and I were in the bathroom with the door closed so the Bear didn't see us. He apparently started to run off sobbing when the Hubs called out to him. The Bear got into bed with the Hubs and THAT is where I found him when the Prin and I exited the bathroom. I got my robe and herded both kids into the family room. I closed the bedroom door after me. I got a bag of frozen peas, had the Princess lay down on her back, put the peas behind her neck, put her blanket on and settled her onto the one part of the sectional. I then got the Bear cuddled onto me so he would go back to sleep.

Thankfully, both kids were able to fall back to sleep -- as did the Hubs. But me? I just listened to the kids' breathing to make sure they were asleep. I couldn't relax. I couldn't fall back to sleep. The Bear in my arms with his face on me. The Princess just in front of me puffing air in and out of her pouty lips. My kids. They were safe. They were sleeping. And I was there watching them. It felt good. Even at 4am.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

And the result was a positive one...

The swim lessons yesterday afternoon turned out to be a good experience all around.

We got to the place quite a bit early. I'd allocated WAY too much extra time into picking the Princess up and having her change. I can probably pick her up about 20 minutes later than I did yesterday and still make it to the lesson on time. The Princess was anxious and she let me know.
Princess: Mom? My tummy has butterflies in it.
Me: That's what happens when you do something new sometimes. But butterflies shouldn't stop you from doing new stuff, right?
Princess: That's true. I'm just a little nervous.
Me: I know honey bun. But I think this'll be MUCH better than last year's lessons.
Princess: Okay.
Since we arrived early, we were able to watch the kids in the classes ahead of us. My kidlings saw all the instructors and how they handled the kids in the water. How the instructors kept a watch on all the kids and had EACH child perform the task. Each student HAD to do the task since the classes were so small. No one could miss out on learning. What was nice is that the instructors wouldn't PUSH the kids into doing something. The instructors would modify what they were doing with each child based upon that child's comfort level.

When it was finally time for my kids class, they opened up the gate. The one instructor called the names of the 4 kids in her class -- my two were part of this gal's class. The other two kids in the class were sisters. So the four kids walked to the steps of the pool. There were a bunch of instructors at the bottom of the steps. What cracked me up was that the Bear looked at one instructor and walked out right to that person. And basically EXPECTED that person to catch him when he couldn't touch the bottom of the pool. He just WALKED into the pool with no fear. It was amazing. Funny too. Because the instructor who ended up with him wasn't the one whose class he was in. HA!

Like I said, my kids were part of a class of 4. And there were five instructors in the class. FIVE! What was happening is that the new instructors at the school were being shown the methods of teaching of this school. It was nice. There was someone to keep watch of each child plus the main instructor. And what was nice was that at the end of class, the main instructor spoke to me and the other mom about our kids progress and what they'd work on the next class.

During class, the Bear was the fearless one. He did each task without hesitation. He was the only one who got dunked fully into the water. The Princess and the other two girls didn't want their heads underwater, so the instructor said they'd work on it the next class. He also kicked like champ when he blew bubbles into the water. The Princess did well with this task as well, but didn't sink her face into the water as much as her brother. At the end of class, the Bear was the one who went down the small slide first as the girls all hesitated. The Princess followed right after her brother. Then the two other girls went as soon as they saw that the instructors weren't allowing anyone's head to go under.

Both the Princess and the Bear are excited about the next class on Thursday. They're happy and anxious to learn more. I'm so GLAD!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Hold your breathe & go

This afternoon, the kids have their first swim lesson of the year.

Yes. It's already THAT time of the year. Hard to believe, eh? We're actually at the start of the warming trend in prep of spring/summer. The last couple mornings it's been around 50 degrees, which is much warmer than the 32 - 35 degree range that it was just a couple weeks ago. The highs for the day aren't that much warmer than they've been (only in the 60's to low 70's) though. But the temperature range for the day isn't so big. Only a 15 degree (instead of a 40 degree) variance from morning to afternoon is quite a difference. Thankfully the pool is heated. Hopefully, the Princess won't be a shivering mess when she exits the water (like she normally is). But I'll have sweatshirts handy for when the kids change. I just hope they don't fall asleep on the drive home from the swim school! That'll totally mess up bedtime!

Based upon the fact that March will launch the change into spring for us here in AZ, the local swim school schedules the start of the swim season by mid-March. The lessons the kids are starting this afternoon are actually the PRELIMINARY classes. These are a set of much discounted classes where the school refreshes the techniques with the old instructors and breaks in the new instructors. So each class will have more than it's regular set of instructors. YEAH! This means more individual attention to each child, which is a blessing. But normally for my kids age group there will only be from 3 to 4 kids in the class. And both my kidlings will be in the same class.'ll be them and one or two more kids.

When the Princess took a couple classes at the YMCA, we didn't have much luck. Each class had one instructor. Each class had about 10 kids in it. There were about 4 classes going at the same time. The pool area was always pretty chaotic. And since the Princess was already apprehensive, she didn't push her way forward to do each skill. She'd just hang out holding the side of the pool. For the Princess, the YMCA lessons didn't do a darn thing. I'm hoping that the smaller classes at the swim school will provide her with the attention she needs so she will perform each task be a stepping stone to be able to become comfortable to learn to swim.

Anyway, I've got my fingers and toes crossed that the Princess won't FREAK out. She is really bad about water getting into her eyes and nose. But I've been casually mentioning to her about the fact that she HAS to listen to the instructors. That they wouldn't do anything that would hurt her. That they are there to help her get comfortable, but that SHE must do what they tell her. That she needs to TRUST them in what they're telling her to do.

Of course, the Bear is excited. He's never had a lesson. But he's been in a pool with a vest. While he's in a vest, he's very comfortable swimming towards someone who is standing at the center of the pool. He's no squeamish about water in his ears or face, so I think he'll be okay with the lessons. Hopefully, his ease will filter off to his sister. I hope if HE progresses that'll she'll feel competitive and try to do as much as her brother. That's what I'm hoping.

But as I mentioned, I've got my fingers and toes crossed that both will happy about the lesson.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Singing & dancing

Both my kids LOVE watching High School Musical 1 and 2. They LOVE it!

Actually, let me clarify that one. In my own opinion, they seem to be more enamored with the 2nd movie than the first. Why? I don't really know. Is there more dancing and singing in the 2nd one? Again, I don't know. You see, Santa gave the kids the two DVDs this past holiday season. The kids don't watch the movies every day (like they initially did) -- only about once a week now.

I didn't realize HOW much in love the kids were with the music until I saw their reaction to a birthday card the Bear received from one of his friends. It was one of those cards that when opened up had one of the songs from the first movie. The Bear has WORN THAT CARD OUT by opening up so many times. Every time he'd open it up, the kids would both SING at the top of their lungs and dance a little jig. The Bear carted that card around the house for WEEKS!

Needless to say, I've acknowledged their love of the singing and dancing in the movie. And that being said, I broke down in Target 2 weeks ago and bought the CD to the 2nd movie. And now? When the two are playing and on the verge of getting on each other's nerves on the weekend, I have found a solution. Turn on the CD! In less than 10 seconds, the two are dancing and "singing" the songs all over the second floor. They turn in happy children once again.

The Hubs hasn't yet experienced the POWER of that CD yet, but I'm sure he will. I've just got to give it some time. I guess I have to leave the kids with him for more than a couple hours...hmmm.....when can I do that?

What turns your children from an unruly bunch to cheerful crowd?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Living in my own vortex

I just found out that Jennifer Lopez had her twins.

I just found out that Angelina Jolie is pregnant. With TWINS!

I just found out that Matthew McConaughey's girlfriend is also pregnant.

Gad-zuuks! Pregnancies all around!

I feel like I've been in a bubble. My own family vortex. What's funny is that I've been out and about since Thursday. The ONLY reason I found out about these two ladies I mention above is that we were getting the Hubs and the Princess haircuts and I was reading those tabloid magazines. It's amazing to me how much miscellaneous information is in those magazines. Tidbits about this person and that. I find it funny that I don't even know half the folks in the magazines. I guess I don't watch enough television. Or I just don't watch all the "popular" shows.

Anyway, I'm happy that Angelina is pregnant. Am I the only one? I think she's a nice gal. She had her wild time. And now she's a Mom. I know there are a bunch of people who don't like her because of the Brad-Jennifer break-up, but at least Angelina isn't living her life just for herself. She's trying to make other people's lives better. Of course, the Hubs isn't a fan of Angelina. Why? Because she's got big feet. Huh? Yes. That's his reason. Seriously!

On the celebrity front, are you planning on watching the Oscars tonight? Since the Hubs and I no longer actively watch recent releases at the theater, then we no longer watch the Oscars. I mean, we don't "get" the inside jokes. As we haven't watched the movies yet, then we don't want to have the storylines ruined for us when we EVENTUALLY do get around to renting the DVD of a movie that catches our eye. I'll only see the highlights of the Oscars to see what outfits everyone wore. Do you actually watch the entire awards show? Wow!

But like I mentioned earlier, we've been rocking family time this weekend. Just stuff. Nothing major. We visited our local home improvement store and purchased about 10 flowering plants. We then took a couple hours outside and all planted and pulled weeds in the front yard. The Bear is fabulous at pulling weeds. He's got some strong fingers, so he can pull all those baby weeds with no problem. Of course, the kids took breaks and either rode up and down the street on their scooters or just RAN up the hill and back. They also pretended to "feed" their horses (those horse on a stick things) some tiny yellow flowers from this one huge bush in our yard. And between yesterday and today? We've played outside with the kids about 5 hours. Whew! Right now? The Hubs is grilling dinner and the kids are in the backyard running around burning the last of their pent up energy. It's not like we weren't outside for 2 hours this morning. Kids! SO MUCH ENERGY!

How was YOUR weekend? Did you relax? Did you get a nap? Do some spring cleaning? Or did you have to work (sorry if you did have to do this option)?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Spring cleaning

It's February and it's get some big cleaning done. If you're house is squeaking clean already, then kudos to you. But if you're like me and do your own cleaning and are behind? It's time to do some cleaning from top to bottom!

I've got to get the curtains upstairs down and washed up (yes...I got the washable kind). I've got to dust those darn planter shelves that we've got. Vacuum under every dresser and bed. Yes...lots to do.

What's great about spring cleaning? Is finding all those hidden gems that I've forgotten about. Or those items that are hanging out in the house collecting dust. These items...these items...what to DO with these items? Any clues? That's right. SELL THEM!

Thankfully, our latest community HOA newsletter informed me that they're going to have a community garage sale. A spring cleaning garage sale. It's already scheduled for next Saturday, March 1. They've already even advertised it in the paper. All I need to do is collect everything I want to sell and get it outside. Woohoo!

I've already started getting everything collected. I've taken apart the toddler bed that we've had in the master bedroom. That'll go along with the cherry crib we've already got disassembled upstairs. I'll bring both those frames down tomorrow. There's the blow-up travel mattress that the Princess used when the Bear was first born. She'd sleep in our room when he was a baby and still nursing. There's a bunch of kid clothes that no longer fit the kids. The other day I found our old jog stroller in the garage covered in dust. I already brushed off, wiped it down, and washed the cover -- so it's all ready to go. There are some toys that the kids no longer use -- like the sit-n-spin and a tricycle.

Now check me on some of the prices I'm thinking of...Each article of clothing for $0.50. A brand new pair of size 10 boys shoes (with tags still on it) for $2. The cribs for $50. Jog stroller for $40. A treadmill for $50. Sound good? Or too much? I have no idea....HELP!

But have YOU started doing your spring cleaning? If not, then when? And do you have an annual garage sale? Does your neighborhood organize one?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Heading out for the day

Day #3 with both my children at home!

It's 8:15am - what am I going to do?

We'll be heading out in about 15 minutes for the morning. We'll be visiting our local zoo, which is about a 40 minutes drive from here. It's a small zoo, but it'll keep the kids occupied for a couple hours. The Princess has gone to the zoo a few times already. The Bear has NEVER been to the zoo yet. So it'll be a time of discovery for him.

What's unfortunate is that it's a cloudy day. But maybe that'll be a good thing. It'll be a bit chilly so there won't be many people there. That means we can meander aimlessly without getting in anyone's way. Good, right?

I've got the water bottles all filled. I've got the snacks in a bag. All we need to do now is get jackets and shoes on and pile into the car. I'll take some photos of our trip and get them up by the end of the day.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Getting ready for summer

It's only just the end of February and I've already started getting the kids' summer scheduled out.

Y'all know how anal I am about being organized. And out here in Tucson? The "good" summer programs fill up in no time flat once the word is out that programs are signing people up.

Actually, I've got the kids scheduled for swim classes starting next week. It's an outdoor pool. And it's a heated pool as well. It's an introductory session -- only 3 weeks twice a week. But it'll be good. It'll give me an idea if they'll want to do the NEXT session, which is a 6 week session. The Bear has NEVER had a lesson in his life. The Princess has had small classes, nothing consistent. The Princess also is edgey about getting water in her nose/eyes/ears. The Bear is not worried about the water on his face. It'll be interesting to watch the two in the same class -- how the dynamic will develop.

I've got the Princess' applications all filled out for the YMCA day camp. I'm only going to let her go every other week this summer. I'm not working right now so I can't take the full financial hit of a full summer of day camp. Having her attend every other week will keep her moving physically and (more importantly) out of my hair. I'm going to turn in the forms on Monday.

I'm contemplating getting the Bear into a martial arts class too. It's really a reasonable cost and he'd enjoy getting physical -- I'm sure. So I've got that idea on hold until I get more finalized. We've already figured out when the kids will be spending a week with the Hubs' family. We've also already figured out when we'll be visiting MY family for a week.

Why am I being so anal? Because I am. If you want to check out our weather, check out the Accenture Golf Tournament highlights. That tournament is being held about 10 miles away. When you see long shots where there's a valley below and mountains in the're actually peering towards where I live. Not many clouds -- you can actually see the blue of the sky! Tomorrow it'll be 40 at the coldest and the high will be around it's BEAUTIFUL!

When are YOU going to plan out your kids' summer?

Taking a U-turn

Most school-aged kids in the United States took Monday off. And I'm sure there were a few parents who officially were able to stay home without having to use a vacation day. It worked out well, right?

Then there are the companies that didn't have Monday off and those with kids had to either take the day off (burn a vacation day) OR make arrangements for someone to babysit their kid(s) for the day. This is generally not too difficult but can be stressful for some families to arrange.

Here in Tucson? Monday was NOT a day off for the school kids. Yes. Some parents did have the day off because that's an official company holiday. But the kids didn't have Monday off. The school-aged kids in Tucson have today and tomorrow (Thursday and Friday ) off.....for RODEO DAYS. HUH? Instead of honoring the Presidents past, Tucsonans honor the rodeo that comes into town.

Today my daughter is officially off from school. And she'll be home tomorrow too. So for me? It's technically not a problem since I'm home with the Bear. I prepared to have a full four days with both kidlings.

Yesterday I dropped the Princess off at school like normal around 7:40am. The Bear and I then dropped by CostCo to get a tank of gas. I ended up getting a little over 12.5 gallons, which means I was almost on fumes! Then we drove up another block to Tar-jay to get a couple items -- swim trunks for the Bear and contact solution for me. We were going to meander for a bit when my phone rang. 8:15am and my phone is ringing? I figured it must have been the Hubs, but when I looked at the caller ID it had the Princess' school name. What?
Me: Hello?
Teacher: Hi Grace? This is Teacher. Princess is having a rough morning.
Me: A rough morning? Is something wrong?
Teacher: I think so. She was saying her left eye hurt. Then she mentioned that her stomach hurt. Now she's crying.
Me: Okay. We're just over at Tar-jay. I'll be over in about 10 to 15 minutes.
Teacher: Okay. Thanks.
The Bear and I headed to the check-out counter and rushed over to the school. The Princess was laying on the chairs beside the front desk. She looked sad and miserable. We got her into the car and started the drive home.
Me: What's wrong babe?
Princess: My eye hurts. My tummy hurts too! I feel like I have to VOMIT! [crying begins]
I grab a ziploc bag and hand it to her. I ALWAYS have ziplocs in my car just in case! Once I hear the strain in her voice, I know that she is in definite pain. And her pain causes major anxiety for me. I can handle my own pain. But when she's in pain? Talk about rip my heart out!

We take the 10 minute ride home and I leave a message for the pediatric triage nurse to give me a call. The Princess is bent over in pain with intermittent crying spells. Thankfully, the triage nurse calls me as soon as I step into the house. It turns out we've got a LOT of stomach bugs going around. Since the Princess didn't have a temperature, didn't have any diarrhea, and hadn't vomited, the nurse recommended that we just stay at home and wait it out. Just PUSH FLUIDS and a bland diet.

I then call the eye doctor. I actually had an eye exam scheduled for yesterday afternoon. Since I had BOTH kids there was no way I was going to be able to make it. Thankfully, they were able to schedule me for next week in the morning. I can then drop the Bear off at his old daycare for the morning and go to the eye exam all by myself.

Then I got the Princess settled in on the couch downstairs -- a big bowl (in case she did vomit), a Thermos filled cold water (to keep her hydrated), and tucked under her Hello Kitty blanket. She drank the Thermos bottle in no time flat. Then she fell asleep within 15 minutes. Thankfully, the Bear played upstairs so he didn't disturb her at all. But what's funny? Is that she was only asleep for less than 30 minutes. And when she woke up? She was happy as a clam. I guess she was dehydrated. That'll teach her not to drink water first thing each morning. She was fine the rest of the day...

So in the end I'm going to have both kids home for FIVE days. FIVE DAYS! How lucky am I? [cough-cough] I'm just hoping I survive without loosing my cool too many times. That U-Turn yesterday really threw a loop into my 4-day plan, but that's what happens when ya have kids, eh? Best laid plans....

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Running like he's in track

The Bear and I went to the park this morning for about an hour and a half.

We had finished up writing numbers 5 to 7, reviewed numbers 1 to 4, and counted 1 to 100 out together. We did a couple hidden picture find pages, a couple pages where he had to identify patterns, and a couple pages using opposites (large/small, long/short, over/under). He relayed specific sounds to the letters I called out to him. He also wrote out his name twice. He has got a long name -- 9 letters just like his sister -- so I have to make sure he's able to write his name BEFORE he gets to school. I'm trying to do stuff like this with him each day. Doesn't take long either. He really enjoys doing all the workbooks. He likes the fact that I date and put a smiley face on each page when he's finished it.

Anyway, we headed to the park and he was more interested in running around the grass area than playing on the equipment. It was too cute. It really looked like he was in track and doing his workout. He ran counter-clockwise and stayed at the rim between the grass and sidewalk. He must have done the "lap" about 15 times! When we were loading into the car, he did say that his legs hurt. Imagine that?!

While we were at the park, we did see some annoying behavior. When we first got to the park, there was a mom with a 2.5 year old boy. A bit later two additional moms each with a little boy came and joined the first mom. Definitely a scheduled play date. When the 2 additional boys came, they immediately started to throw the playground wood chips at the play equipment and at each other. The moms didn't intervene as they were paying attention to each other. At one point, one of the boys was at the top of the equipment and was yelling "Mom!" He actually yelled about 8 times before she even looked his direction. Then there was the one boy who meandered the park with a corndog on a stick. Then there was the first boy who had been given french fries. He walked over to a cement bench, put the fries on the bench, laid on his tummy onto the bench, and then ate the french fries off the cement bench without using his hands. Of course, the 3 moms missed it when the corndog boy went into the grass area and yelled over to his buddy "I'm going to throw this ROCK at you! Ugh! It's stuck!" The reason the rock was stuck? Because it was a pile of doggy doo-doo! What really got to me is when I heard the boys say "I HATE you!" These kids were TWO! Ugh...

I know each parent has their own style and that's why I just let other adults parent their children. The only time I'll intervene is when another child has an adverse effect on my own children (i.e. is hitting them or throwing something at them). But MAN! I was shaking my head inside my mind the entire time as these moms were not even paying attention to these boys.

Thankfully, the Bear wasn't influenced by these boys and had a good ole time just running and watching his shadow. He's a great kid!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Design for me!

I loved this latest episode of Project Runway!

It was great that they brought the designers to the museum to get "inspiration". It allowed each of them to expand and create something rather than be told what to do.

And to his own detriment, Rami did what we all expected him to do. Just because one of the rooms had Grecian/Roman art in it, he didn't HAVE to default to what he loves. He should have stretched his skills and showed the judges something new. It's the brink of the finals, he should he TURNED IT OUT!

Chris! I am so happy that he made it to the pre-finals along with Rami. Especially after he was voted out and brought back into the thick of things when Jack left due to his condition. Love it! He certainly knows how to create drama that's for sure. I was a little disappointed on his last design though. It really was reminiscent of the dress he did with Christian. He just shouldn't have created such a BIG fluff over the right shoulder. If it had been made less tall then everyone probably wouldn't have been so distracted. I thought Chris was going to bust out in sobbing tears when Roberto Cavalli said that he could picture Chris doing a haute couture show in the coming years.

Of course, Christian was in love with himself and what he could create. But he definitely is creative. He's got a natural flamboyance about him. And it shows in his designs. He isn't bogged down into one particular style (like Rami is) so Christian draws from whatever is around him. He has got an eye for fashion. And Mr. Cavalli saw Christian's talent as well.

I was a bit surprised how short the dress that Jillian created. It was SHORT! But it was cute. I didn't realize that the judges caught the wonderful gold-matching lining that Jillian had put inside the jacket until Heidi pointed it out. She really appreciated that touch, as did the other judges I'm sure. What a compliment from Mr. Cavalli that he'd want someone like Jillian on his team.

I'm sad to see that Sweet P was voted out. Her dress was not on the same level as the other designs. The judges got it right that her pieces are always wearable. Sweet P is very conscious of making her pieces as comfortable as possible. I definitely would wear her stuff. It's just that she's not at the same place as the others. She put on a great run on the show. She's great. I hope she wins fan favorite!!!

I can't wait to see the final few episodes!!!!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Signing up for school

It's that time of year when most parents sign their kids up for kindergarten OR decide to move their kids to a new school. It's REGISTRATION time once again!

It didn't even dawn in the fathoms of my mind until last week that I had to get the Bear signed up. Yes. We recently decided to keep him with me until kindergarten in the fall, but it didn't click that I needed to already be getting his info into the school.

We've decided to enroll the Bear into the same charter school that the Princess attends. There are only about 120 kids at the school, which has classes from kindergarten to 8th grade. I like the way that the Princess has progressed academically, so I want the same for the Bear. I want him to have her support, so that's another reason for both of them at the charter school.

I really like the way in which the school provides positive enforcement for good behavior. They try to nix any kind of bad behavior in the bud. The kids get a couple chances and they are in the Principal's office. It's a light/football system. The kids earn little paper footballs when they do things properly & listen to the rules. They also earn a football when they've done well on a test/quiz or helped someone else in class or in school. BUT if they've done something wrong? They get footballs taken away AND their level on the light system changes. Each kid starts each day at a blue light. One transgression puts them down to a green light. The next bad move gets them down to a yellow light and they get sent into the hallway. Then it's onto the red light and the Principal. On Friday afternoon, each kid gets to count up their footballs and can turn them in to pull something from the class treasure chest. It's a pretty easy system and because the classes are small, even I know who has been "bad" during the day/week. And because the classes are small, the positive behavior mentality is easily transferred between the kids.

I already know some of the kids that'll be in the Bear's class. The Princess' best buddy (who started kindergarten with her) will have her little sister in the class. The Princess' other buddy (who started at the school this year) will have her little brother in the class. So there will be two "good" kids in the class with the Bear.

Now where do you plan on putting your kindergarten aged child in the fall? Have you signed him/her up yet?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Move a little faster maybe?

Our fire alarm went off about 15 minutes ago. The fire detector up on the 2nd floor.

It went off after the Princess finished her shower and I opened the door to go in and left it open. I'm guessing that the hot warm air from her shower set it off. Strange because this doesn't happen all the time. This is only the 3rd time the fire alarm has gone off in the 3 years we've lived here.**

Anyway, both kiddos were in the bathroom when the alarm went off. The Hubs was sitting in the upstairs hall waiting for the Princess to finish, so that he could help the Bear with his shower. But when the alarm went off I got the Princess out of the tub and handed her a towel. The Bear was on the toilet doing his business so he sat there with his hands over his ears. I left the bathroom and closed the door behind me to "muffle" the screeching alarm. I started to run down the stairs and saw the Hubs walking down the bottom of the stairs with his hands over his ears.
Me: Turn off the ALARM!
Hubs: How do you do that?
Me: Do the code and off TWICE!
He pushes the buttons as I've indicated and the alarm turns off. I rush back upstairs. Not a minute later the Hubs cell phone rings. It's the security company. They wanted to verify that we were indeed canceling the fire alarm. They wanted to make sure all was well.

What did I learn tonight? The Hubs didn't pay attention the last time the alarm went off. I had explained to him exactly how to turn off any erroneous alarm. Now that he's actually had to do it himself? He'll probably (I'm hoping) remember. Another thing I learned that even in an emergency my husband does NOT move quickly. It's like how we hear a strange sound and he looks at me and says "What was that?" Like I would have any better determination of what the sound was even as I'm sitting right next to him. ARGH!

** The first time the fire alarm went off was one Saturday morning about a week after we had the security system installed. I didn't know how to turn off the alarm completely so that the security people realized it was a false alarm. They did indeed ring the fire department and the men in the yellow flame retardant outfits did show up at our house. They walked through and verified that it was a false alarm. We still have no idea why the alarm went off. After that incident I read through our security panel instructions and foudn out how to turn off an alarm to indicate it as a false one.

The second time the fire alarm went off was on a Saturday afternoon in May when we had all the doors and windows open. It was a warm day. We didn't realilze HOW warm it was I guess upstairs and the alarm tripped. Thankfully, I knew how to turn the alarm off and indicate it as a false alarm, so no fire officials appeared at our door.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Holy Guacamole!

Y'all....I'm canceling my surgery.

I was reminded yesterday that my insurance will only pay 70% of any procedure. I called my insurance company and they said I'd have to call my doctor to find out the cost the doc would be charging. This way I could get an estimate of how much I'd have to pay out-of-pocket (30%). The cost is between $500-$750 that I'd have to shell out. ARGH!

What's even more of a killer? The surgery is scheduled to be at the hospital. Apparently, they were going to put me under. This means an anesthesiologist. This explains the chest x-ray, EKG, and blood work that I was going to have done the day before surgery. The cost I mentioned above? It doesn't include the hospital facility/equipment OR the anesthesiologist. Both of these would be additional costs. I called the hospital billing department and found out the portion I'd have out-of-pocket is somewhere between $2000 - $3500. There is such a huge range because the anesthesiologist cost can dramatically be higher based upon WHAT the person has to do.

This procedure that I was going to have done? When I researched it....I found out that some OBs do this procedure in-office. That it only takes about 45 minutes to an hour to complete. My OB? Does the procedure at the hospital for who knows what reason. So something simple? Isn't so simple here in the "Old Pueblo". And since it's become a huge cost AND a huge hassle? I'm going to just NIX the entire thing. Since I don't have a full-time job and won't have one until late August at the earliest, I do not have $4000 just hanging around to get this done. DANG IT!

Need a babysitter

I need to find an "every now and again" person who can babysit for me.

I've never had to find one. Both kids were in "school" full-time so I could fit in any appointments during the time they were gone.

Folks, I've got my surgery coming up and turns out I need to take some tests the day before. I need to get some blood drawn, a chest x-ray, and an EKG run. I cannot bring the Bear with me. So I have to figure out WHO can watch him for 2 1/2 - 3 hours.

I also have an optometry appointment scheduled next week. Now I feel comfortable with the Bear being in the room with me. He can play quietly on his Leapster. He'd even be willing to stay in the waiting room.

What am I going to do? I am going to send an email out to two of my neighbors. I know one guy will be home on that Monday I'm having the tests performed. My one other neighbor stays at home now but I'm not sure about her class (she's going back to school) schedule. Then I also am going to call the Bear's daycare/preschool to find out if they can watch him for that one morning. I have no family in town so I can't just drop the Bear off anywhere.

You stay-at-home parents know the dilemma I'm in. Now where did YOU find your "someone" to watch your child (or children) when you can't bring them?

Tried it & success!

I made Magic Meatloaf and it was a hit!

My husband gave it a thumbs up. My daughter ate TWO huge pieces. Of course, my son was the only hold-out as he is suspicious of anything new. I'm sure he'll come around.

What I enjoyed most about Manda's recipe was the number of ingredients -- SEVEN in all! I only had to buy the special Teriyaki sauce and the fresh Parmesan cheese. Everything else was already in my kitchen. What's funny is that I forgot to print out the ingredients before I went to the grocery store. Thankfully I had looked at the photo that she'd posted and I purchased the item based upon the LOOK of the bottle and her description of the label. Good one Mandajuice!

As the meatloaf cooked, I enjoyed the smell that emitted from the oven. It wasn't just a ground beef smell. It had a sweet aroma to it -- probably due to the special Teriyaki sauce.

Like I said, the meatloaf was a hit. Since it received 3 out of four thumbs-up, then it'll be something that I'll be making my family again. I'll probably make it a day after we've had a bunch of rice. You can get the Magic Meatloaf recipe at Mandajuice's website.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Not so positive health news

I called my older sister this evening just to chat. My older sister that has 2 boys and a daughter. The one who drove out here a couple weeks ago?

Anyway, she let me know that my BIL's youngest sister's oldest son probably has diabetes. He is 10.

My sister's 17 year old nephew (my BIL's oldest sister's son) came over for dinner with the 10 year old cousin my BIL's youngest sister's son around dinnertime yesterday. The two boys ended up eating dinner. And during dinner, the 17 year old mentioned that the 10 year old drank a TON of water that day. Like 10 glasses of water!

My sister was washing dishes and something clicked in her head. The fact that the 10 year old looked like he had lost some weight. The fact that the 10 year old had consumed a bunch of water that day. The fact that she had seen a bunch of glasses in her sink each evening when she came home after work (the kids would sometimes hang out at my sister's house). The fact that my BIL's younger sister had mentioned that her son had a couple nighttime accidents in the last couple of weeks.

My sister corned my BIL and had him call his sister. They found out that the increased water consumption had been going on for about three weeks. MUCH longer than my sister had realized. My sister told her SIL that she needed to call the pediatrician and tell him what's been going on. The pediatrician was called and he said that the 10 year old should get his blood tested.

My BILs Mom has adult on-set diabetes, so she has a blood testing kit (as does my father). So my BIL had his Mom bring over the kit first thing this morning. The 10 year old hadn't eaten yet, so they did the test. The normal fasting blood test is supposedly around 100. The 10 year old? His level was 325. That is THREE TIMES what it should be. So they are bringing him into the pediatrician first thing Monday.

The poor little guy was fully upset about it. I would have NEVER suspected that he would develop diabetes. He's not overweight one bit. He runs around regularly - he loves to skateboard. You would have never guessed it people.

But what's really good about the situation is that there are 3 families that live within a block of each other. My sister/BIL. My BIL's younger sister/husband. My BIL's older sister/husband. And all the kids. There will be enough support from all the adults because everyone is in such close proximity of each other. My BIL's mother has adult on-set diabetes, so she'll know how to show him how to test. And my father also has adult on-set diabetes, so he can show my sister how to test and do the shots (if that's the way they'll need to control it).

So you kids. Make sure you know what they eat. Make sure you watch what they drink as well. You never know...

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Another final step happened yesterday

Yesterday was the Bear's last day at his "school".

The Hubs dropped the Bear off in the morning as usual.

The Princess and I picked the Bear up at the end of the day as usual. But it wasn't an "as usual" afternoon. The two of us walked into the main reception area and the Bear's main teacher was at the reception desk.
Main Teacher: Hi Grace. How are you?
Me: Fine...How are you?
Main Teacher: I don't EVEN want to think about it.
The Bear was as happy as a clam (as usual) when we pick him up. He ran the length of the play area and jumped into my arms. I swung him around and nestled my nose into his neck.
Me: Did you have a good day, buddy?
Bear: Yup!
Me: Did you have good me-mes? --> me-mes is our word for nap
Bear: Yes I did! BYE GUYS!
He grabs my hand and waves at his buddies as he pulls me toward the door. We get inside the big room and another one of his past teachers is there.
Past Teacher: I didn't know today was the Bear's last day!
Me: Oh, you just found out?
Past Teacher: Yes! I saw it on the schedule today and I'm so bummed.
She took us into her room and she gave him a little car. He (of course) gave her a huge hug and a kiss on her cheek. This gal has been at the place since the Bear started 2 1/2 years ago. So she's watched him grow up and was definitely sad about his departure.

When we walked up to the main lobby area, his main teacher walked toward us and he gave her a huge hug. It was so sad to watch. At naptime, his teacher lays next to him and lets him play with her hair. As you recall, my little guy relaxes more easily if he's twirling someone's hair between his fingers. I think his teacher is going to miss this daily ritual.

I don't think the Bear fully realizes the situation as yet. But he will on Monday. I'm sure he'll have a withdrawal of some sort. But it was nice to see that the Bear will be missed. That just shows me how much they care about him.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

I've decided on some finality

Y'all know that I've got two kids. Two fabulous kids that I adore.

Y'all also know that the Hubs and I didn't have to try very hard to have our kids.

Because we've VERY fertile as a couple, I've had to be conscious of my cycle the entire time we've been together. When it was just the two of us, it was very easy to remember my pill. Once I had my daughter it was more difficult to remember. Having my son made it even more difficult.

I cannot handle another child. I know me and I know I can't handle it. Some ladies can, but I can't. When I forget my pill even once, I get all anxious about the possibility of getting pregnant. I have that nagging feeling until I get my next period. It's true. I can't shake it.

So now? I have decided to take the plunge. At the end of this month, I am going to have a procedure done so that I no longer will need to feel anxious. It'll be the end of me being fertile.

Yes. I know that the Hubs could have a vasectomy. His father had it done. His maternal uncle had it done. His paternal uncle had it done. But the Hubs does NOT want to even think about it. He's such a chicken! It's crazy. I'm the one who got pregnant twice and had two cesareans. All I wanted him to do is get a little snip-snip and feel uncomfortable for a couple days.

But I've made the decision and I'm all scheduled. I'm taking the responsibility. I have to.

So for those of you who are finished having kids, did you or your spouse get "fixed"?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Dental update

The Princess woke up fine as can be. No indication that the flu bug has hit her, so we went to the dentist first thing this morning.

I explained to the assistant why we were there. That the dentist had asked me to bring my girl in once one of those top front teeth popped out. She then realized that she would need to take an x-ray so that the dentist could do a full exam.

It turns out that the tooth that has broken through my daughter's gums is her permanent adult tooth. That sneaky extra baby tooth has moved itself above her left front baby tooth!

So now we've been told that the Princess needs to work on that left front baby tooth since it is just slightly loose. That once that one comes that he'll do another evaluation. That hopefully the baby tooth will slide right into that empty space. If THAT happens then the dentist can easily extract the extra baby tooth. If the baby tooth does NOT move down into the empty space then we'll have a more evasive procedure to get through.

The kidlings are scheduled for their 6 month cleaning in April, so I mentioned that to the dentist. So by then the Princess' front left baby tooth should be GONE or should be barely hanging on. [crossing my fingers that it all works out according to plan]

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Anticipating the flu

Folks, the Princess' teacher informed me this afternoon that 6 kids went down today. SIX kids in her class went home sick as the school day progressed. Not a good sign at all.

I am now holding my breath and crossing my fingers and toes that the Princess will be healthy tomorrow morning. Why? She has a dental appointment that is scheduled for 8am tomorrow.

Did I mention that she lost her top right tooth on Sunday afternoon? Her brother accidentally bumped her mouth when they were wrestling and the tooth (finally!) popped out. When she was 3 years old, I took her for her first dental appointment. They took x-rays and found that she had an EXTRA top tooth. That extra tooth sat just above her 2 baby teeth. That extra tooth sat below her 2 adult teeth. That extra tooth is BLOCKING the progress of her two adult teeth! So at her last dental appointment, I was told that they would need to remove that extra tooth once one of her two top teeth came out. And folks that time has come! We're going in tomorrow so that the dentist can take a look to see what is going on. Then we'll schedule the "removal" of the tooth.

Below is a photo of her current smile. The two bottom middle teeth are her adult ones. You can see the two tooth next to those middle ones moving into the gaps at the bottom. She has that HUGE gap. And you can definitely see some white peeking through her gum. I'm thinking that's the extra tooth that has moved down as the root of the loose tooth deteriorated to nothing. Hopefully that IS the case. If this is the case, then the dentist can pretty easily remove it since it's already peeking through the gum.

Anyone else have a child with an "extra" tooth?

But the Bear is coughing intermittently right now. He has no fever and not complaining about feeling yucky. So hopefully he just has a cough. So we are going be washing our hands even more so than normal. I will be disinfecting all the knobs and handles throughout the house today. Anything to keep the nasty flu but out of our house. I hope....

Monday, February 4, 2008

Are you ready to make a decision?

For a lot of states, tomorrow is SUPER TUESDAY. Are you ready to cast your vote?

The Hubs and I had a great discussion Saturday night on who each of us is voting for and why. We're married and we're member of the same party, but we haven't discussed the election at all. AT ALL! It was interesting to hear why he is voting the way he is. He listened to what I had to say.

I think it'll be an interesting evening tomorrow. The races might stay tight. OR...a front-runner in each party may emerge. With so many states making decisions, it'll be a mighty busy evening. Since my state is going to be voting tomorrow, then I won't mind election updates during prime-time tv. I seriously dislike it when the national news pre-empts regular programming when my state isn't even involved. I can wait until I watch the news (if I watch it). I like to vote on what I know about the candidates. I don't allow the news casters/media effect my stand on issues. I don't allow others to sway my opinion. It's just like in high school. I like people for themselves, not on what OTHERS say about them.

So if you don't know who YOU are voting for tomorrow, please invest an hour or so to check out where the candidates stand. Go in there educated. It's the primary, so vote on who you want to represent your beliefs. Don't vote for someone just because the media or your family says that's who you should vote for. Vote for what you believe in.

Sunday, February 3, 2008


I can hear my son upstairs. He must have awakened by the soundof the rain and wind. It's almost midnight people!

Now I can't sleep because I accidentally took a one hour nap late this afternoon and then had a half can of Coke with dinner. OY!

But since I can't sleep I'm watching the "Lost" episode I totally forgot about on Thursday. I can't believe they changed the day! Thankfully, I don't normally watch ABC, so I have no idea what is going on.

Me not knowing what is going on? That is a normal state of affairs.

The latest company I was working for has closed their doors. I am AGAIN out of a job. That's what I get for taking a chance with a start-up. When will I learn?

The Hubs and I talked and we're going to pull the Bear from daycare/preschool. He'll stay with me at home until August. I'll work on his academics. I'll spend quality time with him. I'm going to take him to swim classes. The library story time. Out to the park.

But I will still try to find a part-time telecommuting job though to keep some money rolling in. But it will NOT be my focus until the little guy is in kindergarten in the fall.

What do you think? It was a tough decision for me but we think it's the best plan for the Bear. Not what I expected to happen in my life at this point but we all adapt when necessary, right?