Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Kindergarten...Already!????

E with his new Kindergarten teacher, Mr. McGuire

I look at pictures that I took of my kids just six months ago and can't believe how much they've changed. E is looking like a kid already, and e has lost all her baby look. She is as sassy as ever but I still love the three's. I'm convinced there is no such thing as "Terrible Two's." It's all in the threes.

E starts Kindergarten next week. Last night, we went to his school's open house so we could see where his classroom is, meet his teacher, and see the school a little more. E was very nervous but seemed to be really looking forward to going to school next week. Poor e doesn't really understand why she can't go with him. She keeps saying that she's going to kindergarten, too. I think she's really going to miss playing with E during the day and having his company.
E and e in front of E's new school

This is the first year that the Kindergarten has been in this school, so there is still a lot of construction going on. Hopefully, the playground will be up by the time school starts...for the teachers' sanity!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Twenty-one Holes


The ground in this area is like clay mixed with rock. Not the easiest to dig. So, I hired one of my neighborhood kids to start digging holes in my yard for the 21 trees I bought. Yes, 21 Thuja Green Giants will be planted along the property line between my house and the pool. Apparently, these trees (part of the arborvitae family) are fast growing and the most highly recommended for a privacy screen. I found some on ebay delivered to my house for almost half the price as I would have bought them locally. I'm paying my neighborhood kid $100 to dig the 21 holes (12" around and 15" deep!). The trees are 3-5' tall already, so it shouldn't be long before I have a decent screen. They should arrive on Thursday.

The kids had a great time this weekend. Saturday night we went to one of the local amusement parks for the evening with some friends. It was really humid and hot but we still had a good time. Yesterday, was the annual picnic at my university. Every year, the week before school starts, they have a welcome back picnic for everyone. It's potluck plus a lot of food provided by Aramark, our food provider. There is always a ton for the kids to do, usually at least two large inflatables and several games, as well as snow cones and popcorn. The kids are disappointed when the inflatables have to be taken down, but they sleep well at night after all that running around!

Friday night was interesting....somehow a yellow jacket got into the house. We were watching tv and I felt something kind of pinch my leg. It was the bee giving me a little sting. I shooed it off my leg and it hit E's toe and stung him a little, too. Fortunately, it was not a full sting for either of us, so it didn't have the hurt. E didn't cry, but he did start to break out in hives a little. Poor guy, he had also gotten stung earlier in the week while at school. He apparently thought he killed a bee and went to pick it up. Of course, it gave him a good sting on his finger. No hives, though. That's why this one was so strange. Anyway, I am not so lucky with bees. I am severely allergic and carry an epi-pen wherever I go. Since it wasn't a big sting, I wasn't sure whether I should take the injection. I called my doctor and told him that I was feeling a little short of breath but wasn't sure if it was from the sting, or because I was focusing on it so much! I've never had to take the injection before. This is the first time I've gotten stung since my first anaphilactic reaction which was over ten years ago. Well, to make a long story short, I finally gave myself the injection, took some benedryl (also gave some to E) and waited...I was having more trouble breathing, so I was glad I took the injection. I called a friend over to stay with us just until I was sure it worked.

This was LATE Friday night. Poor kids, they just can't go to bed without me laying next to them. And, I couldn't lay down with them until I was sure I wasn't going to have more of a reaction since I didn't want to fall asleep myself. So, there we all sat and watched tv until about 11:30. They were both a little tired the next day, but everyone was healthy.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Local View

Since I moved here six years ago (I still can't believe it's been that long), I've seen a lot of things that I just don't see too often (or at all) in other places of the country. Since I was born and raised in CT, I'm still a New England gal at heart, so some of these things seem pretty strange. So, I've decided to start a list...it probably won't be too long, but I'll add to it now and then. Some of the things help to give this place a quaint charm, other things just make me scratch my head and go "hmmmmmm......"

  1. Amish families who come to your door to deliver baked goods, eggs, and veggies - Yes, for many, they pull up in their horse and buggy and come a knockin'.
  2. Testicles hanging from the back of trucks - Don't ask. I have no idea.
  3. Mullets. Lots of mullets.
  4. Halloween parades - every year there are several Halloween parades in the area full of homemade floats, local politicians, youth groups, LOTS of firetrucks and whoever wants to march. They are pretty long, usually lasting a good hour or so. Most in the parade throw candy out to the kids, who often dress in their Halloween costumes. Santa Claus marks the end of the parade.
  5. Christmas parades - same thing at Christmas. The kids gather outside the local mall where a parade, similar to the one at Halloween, is held. This one is a little shorter, but just as hokey, and still a LOT of fire trucks and candy thrown out for the kids. Santa Claus again marks the end of the parade.
  6. Chicken and waffles - obviously a savory dish?
  7. Menanite families arriving in droves to shop at WalMart - They just pile into their minivans and come as a group.
  8. The Nascar trucks - every year, after the Nascar race, the trucks carrying the cars come through this area to get to the highway about an hour south of here. People pack the streets to watch the trucks go by, cheering for their favorite drivers. Now remember, most of the time, the actual drivers of the cars are not in the trucks, and you can't SEE the racecars. It's just the trucks that carry them that form this sort of "parade". Also, it is not a formal parade where things are planned. People just "know" that the trucks will be coming through about two and a half hours after the race ends and then they start to line the streets. I haven't seen this phenomenon yet, but I suppose I should go for the experience at some point!
  9. No school on the first day of hunting season - all the schools are officially closed (except the Universities).

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Pool Saga Continues

video
Okay, so last weekend M had her birthday party and, of course it was a pool party. Both E and e were invited. Finally, an invitation to use the neighbor's pool! E was great. Even though he was the only boy at the party, he had a great time. He really showed everyone that he is a very strong swimmer and loves being in the water. Since the kids were having such a great time, we even stayed a little later so they could play after all the other kids had gone home. So, you would think that J & J (the parents) would see how much my kids liked to swim and play with M. E even did really well with S at the pool. They got along great and even spent a fair amount of time playing tag in the pool.

That was last weekend. Now, three days later, we are back to the old situation. Last night, when we got home, their family was in the pool. By the time we finished dinner and got outside, there were about three or four other kids in the pool and three of the other moms were sitting by the pool chatting. These other kids were more M's friends than S's. So, I thought for sure E and e would be invited into the pool.

I told E and e to go get their suits on and that we would go outside and play. If they weren't invited to the pool, we would play with our sprinkler (which, unfortunately, we couldn't find!). So, up they went to get their suits on. e had a box of mints she wanted to share with everyone. I thought this would be a good opportunity to go over and have a little bit of an ice-breaker. e and I walked over to the fence. I said to S that e has something to ask her. She immediately assumed that we wanted to ask to come into the pool. She gave me an unhappy look and said "I'll ask my dad." I said, "No, S, e wants to ask YOU a question." "I'll ask my dad." "No, S, e wants to ask YOU a question." "Daaaaad" she yells for her dad (who was also by the pool) and points to us. So I said again, "No, S, e wants to ask YOU a question." To which she starts to walk away to ask her dad if we can come into the pool. So I just told e to forget it and to ask someone else if they wanted a mint. e asked one of the other little girls, L, if she wanted a mint. S looked confused and then realized what we wanted. Of course, then S and all the other kids lined up on the other side of the fence with smiles on their faces to get mints from e. J (the father) even mentioned how they looked like zoo animals lining up to be fed, but there was absolutely no attempt to invite the kids to swim. I just don't get it. There my kids are in their bathing suits, looking at the other kids swimming (who are also friends with my kids), and J and J do not invite them over.

A friend of mine says that I should just "be a man" and say something (calmly, of course) to them...like ask them if they have an open pool policy and say that I don't want to just take my kids over there without an invitation. I think that it's just polite, friendly, neighborly and obvious to give a verbal invitation to people when you see them standing there. Either way, the arbor vitae are looking more and more attractive. I think I might have to get them in sooner rather than later. I wonder how hearty they are if I planted them this late in the season. A wrought iron fence around a pool is as good as no fence at all when it comes to privacy. It just makes things very awkward....still.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Health Update

Summer is my time to take care of all the things I don't have time to do during the academic year. Since I am a college professor, the semesters are crazy and the summers are fairly relaxing. I have known for years that my cholesterol was high but I didn't want to start taking any meds for it until after I had the kids. So, two years ago, I finally went back to the doctor to start monitoring it more closely. Of course, it was much higher than it had been before I had the kids, so I started taking a statin drug. It did the trick and lowered my cholesterol to 175.

Now that I am 45 and as overweight as I've ever been, I'm becoming increasingly concerned that I am going to turn into my mother. She was diabetic, had heart disease, and many of the complications that are related to those. It was heartbreaking for me to watch her be ill for so many years while I was growing up. She died when she was 68, much too young. She had her first heart attack when she was not much older than me. I see many of her same habits in myself and that scares the shit out of me.

I have tried diet after diet and each time I lose some weight, but when I go off the diet, I gain back all the weight and then some. I just finished being on JC for about the last year. I lost a max of about 17 pounds but then started to inch back up to my pre-JC weight. When we left for Europe, I was so frustrated with the program (or myself) (even though I really do like the food) that I decided to take a break from it. Because I do so much walking when I travel, I usually lose weight. Not this time. I was really surprised when I weighed in. I'm now the heaviest I've ever been.

So, before I left for Europe, I had already scheduled a physical for when I returned. I wanted to get everything back on track. I asked for all the blood tests in the world so I could really watch things more closely and make sure there were no more signs of heart disease or diabetes creeping in. I find it so amazing that I need to ask for these things and that the doctors are not even suggesting them to me. I also started to go to the GI clinic (AKA fat clinic) at the local hospital and had my first appoint there last week. I go back every month. I wasn't feeling so bad about my own weight when I saw some of the other people in the waiting room, but I still know that I'm heading for trouble. My cholesterol test came back as elevated again, so I'm increasing my dosage of the statin.

And, have I mentioned that I'm REALLY tired of this damn cast on my leg!? Okay, yes, it is removable and it is a walking cast, but it's still REALLY hot, uncomfortable and impossible to sleep with. Maybe I should give it a name and be happy I'm sleeping with someone else besides my children. Three more weeks...ugh.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Pink Lemonade

E asked if he and e could have a lemonade stand yesterday. It was a hot day and the clouds were just about to roll in. Fortunately, the rain only lasted for a few minutes. So, off to the store we went to pick up some lemonade, cups, ice, and poster board. E said that he and e would split the money they made.

We brought their little picnic table and all the supplies to the entrance of our neighborhood. They set up camp there. I even gave them a bag of potato chips so they could offer them for free to customers. I figured this was a great business learning experience for them. They learn how to attract customers, how to treat customers, and to not be too frustrated if people didn't stop. They waved at passersby to get their attention (most people waved back, of course, not all stopped!). e had her tutu on, and I found it hard to believe that anyone could resist her in that! E was a great businessman. He even offered to help one woman carry her three cups to her car. They charged 75 cents a cup - most people let them keep the change. In all, they made about $18 and sold about a gallon of lemonade! Not bad! I think they were out there for about an hour and a half.

When E and e got home, E started to count his earnings. One of my neighbors works for the state and is not getting paid right now until they figure out the budget. E knew this and decided to split his earnings evenly between himself, e, and the neighbor. Very cute. Of course the neighbor did not accept his six dollars and all the money went right into both of their piggy banks. I thought for sure they would want to take a trip to the store to buy something, but they didn't even think about it. I think that's a good sign!