Meet the Teacher

The kids’ school grew so much in enrollment last year that every grade except 3rd added an extra teacher this year. It’s so nice to have their class size go down a bit. Between those 5 new teachers, about 5 who switched jobs to non-classroom positions still at the school and about 7 who left the school, there are lots of new faces in the hallways. Both kids got “new to us” teachers. This is Ms. C.

Robert has had a rough start to his school year. He seemed to settle in a bit in week three. He has a hard time with change and misses his kindergarten teacher and friends. They’ve added a second recess to the day for K and 1st students, which has me so excited! I really hope it helps the kids stay more focused.

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Clara’s getting a little too old for pictures with her teachers, so I spared her the embarrassment :) She has three this year and loves them all. Her homeroom/science/social studies teacher is a male and is very enthusiastic and energetic and was at our principal’s old school several years ago. I think it’s going to be a great year for Clara. She’s decided not to continue doing orff ensemble and pep squad but I’m sure she’ll want to replace them with something. She really wants to do dance class, but I’m not sure I want to pay for dance class. And I’m fairly certain she’s going to want to be on student council. She was made for student leadership :)

I really liked what I heard at Clara’s orientation last week. Science is about 50% hands on experiments along with keeping a science journal and they still have their trip to the science lab every other week. Math is still doing timed multiplication/division quizzes to keep those times tables fresh in their minds. Reading and writing will be going back to doing some spelling practice, cursive instruction, in class book clubs in small groups with aides reading three different books on varying reading levels, and they will be writing and performing puppet shows. It sounds very engaging. There seems to be a lot of new things they are trying and I love it!

Labor Day in Wimberley

We took the camper to Wimberley last weekend to visit my cousin John and his wife Kelsey. John is the outdoor coordinator at Texas State and they live in the caretaker’s house on the University’s campground. You should already know this because we had our Griffis family reunion there this summer and I should have already blogged about that. Ahem. John has told us for several years now that we need to come camping out in the hill country with them, so we finally got around to setting up a date.

Since it was Labor Day and the campground was full, John had a couple of fires (figurative fires, not literal) to put out. We just parked ourselves in their driveway and hung out while the kids played together all weekend. John made us blueberry waffles two mornings and he and Chris did some dutch oven cooking. The Kelsey’s ended up not having to do much food prep all weekend. It was alright :)

The four of us ventured off down the trail for a little hike. We came to this spot this summer, but the creek wasn’t flowing then. They’ve gotten lots of rain since then, so it was flowing nicely and coming over these rocks and then underground. It was a little hard to get to this spot and I was helping Robert walk over a fallen tree to get to it. It had rained, so one leg kinda fell through a spot of packed dirt and he was a little messy. He fell through all the way to his bottom. He wasn’t hurt, just a little shocked. I wish I had a picture :)

He wanted to clean off a little in the cold, clear water of the creek.

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Clara didn’t want to miss out on the fun of course :)

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These pictures are at the creek bed right above the little grotto.

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It’s kinda hard to tell, but this is them sitting right on the edge of the rock where the water is falling over. It looked a bit more impressive in person 😉

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We also went down to their preferred swimming spot and I didn’t take any pictures. We avoided the most popular spot for campers (where we were this summer) because John said it was packed. We walked downstream a ways and the kids enjoyed using their snorkels and masks. John found an endangered fish under a rock that he was able to point out to Clara. It took some time and effort to walk back as the current was really strong.

Here are a few pics of the shenanigans going on back at the house.

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Most of our time was spent just sitting around sweating, some of us cooking, eating and watching the rain and kids play in the yard. We had lots of fun and are so thankful for John and Kelsey’s hospitality. The kids are already looking forward to our next visit!

Church Family Retreat

Ok, I have to do something here. I’m just getting further and further behind and I cannot just skip blogging about the last few months. I’m going to work my way back.

I have been looking forward to our family retreat for a while now. This church places high value on strengthening families and does so in a variety of ways. There have been several father-child Saturday events, Chris attended a dad’s class on Wednesday nights during the summer, there is a yearly marriage retreat, a marriage conference last weekend and a father/daughter retreat coming up.

We’ve met some people at church, but I thought this would be a great opportunity to get to know people better. We went to Pine Cove Crier Creek, which is a facility designed for family camp with individual cabins for lodging. We got lucky and our family got to stay in their new building that was just recently built. This was on the porch of our cabin, overlooking the lake. We were definitely not expecting such luxurious accommodations.

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These pictures are all out of order, so bear with me. These are Clara’s friends Mackenzie and Malana.

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There was foosball and ping pong on the front porch of the dining hall, so Robert enjoyed getting a game or two in every time we gathered to eat. That’s his friend Colton next to him. I enjoyed rocking in the numerous rocking chairs lining the porch.

This picture came out really dark, but this is Robert’s friend Owen. The small lake had canoes, stand up paddleboards and kayaks.

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And here is Clara and Mariah, who is in her same grade. Clara is a giant. And apparently has lots of church friends whose names start with “M”.

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The kids swam at the pool yesterday. Robert and Colton went down this slide together in different positions probably 50 times, maybe more.

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We had to pay a small fee when we registered if we wanted to do the zipline. I signed the kids up since they enjoyed their first zipline experience this summer. I put Robert’s harness on him and thought it was a bit loose but figured they’d tighten it up at the top. Well, he got harnessed up, helmet on and then sat and waited about 15 minutes for his turn. He made his way to the top and it turned out the harness was too big and couldn’t be cinched any further. He was so disappointed. He doesn’t handle changes in plans nor disappointment well at all. Throw in being hot and tired and I was ready for some waterworks as he came down. He did really well though and held it together. We let him choose a little something from the camp store since he was being so good about it. He chose a bright green harmonica.

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This was called the lagoon. This slide was huge! Both kids went down it without a moment’s hesitation. There was also an inflatable rock climbing wall in the middle and a floating dock to spar on.

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It started raining late Saturday morning and into the afternoon, so we had to be flexible during our planned activities. For a while it looked like our afternoon free time was going to be spent in our rooms, but thankfully the sun came out just in time and we had the entire afternoon to do things as a family. I voted for a nap but was outnumbered :(

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We had a couple of family activities and devotionals each day. We tried our hand at pickle ball and the kids played gaga ball. There was also horseback riding, frisbee golf, a baseball diamond and basketball court. We had smore’s over the campfire last night and the kids watched The Peanuts Movie outside. There was something fun for everyone from preschoolers to teenagers. It was a lovely weekend all around. When I told Robert we would be leaving after our morning outdoor church service, he started crying. I think it’s safe to say they’re both looking forward to next year’s retreat.

First Day of School!

Hmmmm, seems like I’m forgetting something……  Oh yeah, the last three months!! Hopefully I’ll get a summer re-cap up, but I’m not making any promises :) If I do, I’ll probably backdate them so they stay in order.

So, just like that, summer is over and it’s time to hit the books. Robert went to fill out a form at Meet the Teacher last week and couldn’t remember how to write his numbers. Oopsie. We worked on literacy activities that were sent home for the summer, so there’s been lots of reading and a small amount of writing done, but math kinda slipped off the radar. Oh well, can’t win ’em all.

You’ll notice someone has on a superhero shirt.  I found it (and his shorts) at the resale shop and he actually liked it! I guess he’s decided to lift the ban on superheroes. Neither of them needed too many clothes, so I just picked up a few t-shirts and shorts at the resale shop to replace ones they’ve outgrown. I think Clara’s had a growth spurt this summer. I did splurge on a new first day of school dress for her. She doesn’t wear dresses to school much anymore, but she loved this one that’s covered in owls, so I relented. About half of her wardrobe is covered in owls now.

Much to their chagrin, both of their backpacks and lunchboxes were still good, so we didn’t have to go out and replace them. I bought them LL Bean backpacks to hopefully last, and they have held up really well. Clara got hers at the beginning of 2nd grade and it still looks new. I told her she could choose a new one for junior high next year. I will probably let Robert upgrade sooner though. I’m not sure I can convince him to keep his dinosaur bones one through 5th grade :)

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They both got back to school haircuts and Robert went with a shorter ‘do than usual. I’ve always hesitated because of his cowlicks, but I finally just said “what the heck” and had the girl go short. I think it’s cute. He likes spiking it up in the front with gel and was a bit obsessed with it and didn’t want it to get messed up those first few days.

They both said they wanted to ride the bus this morning, so I didn’t argue. I was going back and forth about driving them myself. I wasn’t too worried about getting him to his new class; I really just wanted to chat with my friends and some of the office and library staff and maybe meet some new parents. I really didn’t want to mess with the nightmarish traffic and parking at the school though, so I just sent them on their merry little way.

And now I can go run errands without bringing along whining, fidgety, pestering kids! Woohooo! Freedom!

New Bibles

We started going to a new church at the beginning of the year and placed membership a couple of months ago. When kids move up to kindergarten here, the church presents them with a “big kid” bible. Since Robert didn’t have one yet, they gave him one last week. And then yesterday, Clara also got one unexpectedly. The kids promote to the next grade at the beginning of the summer, so incoming 5th graders get one as they move from the children’s ministry up to what they call “The Bridge”. It’s well, like a bridge into the youth group and is made up of 5th and 6th graders. I kind of like the idea; 6th grade is part of junior high and has always seemed really young to me to be going into the youth group.

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May, AKA Crazy Busy School Month

The first weekend in May, Clara had a scheduling conflict between two of her extra-curriculars. She had an Orff Festival and the last 1.2 mile finishing race for Read Deed Run. It was at the stadium and included all groups in the district. She was so distraught when she found out she would have to choose. I felt bad for her, but in the end, making hard choices is something she needs to learn, so I left it completely up to her. We asked her RDR sponsors and they said she could run the last 1.2 miles on her own and she would still get the finisher’s medal and t-shirt and would get to go on their end of year fun day, so she chose to attend the Orff Festival.

That Friday night, we had a family from church over for dinner for the first time and we let the kids swim. Clara had Orff the next morning and we had Becky’s family over for dinner and swimming that night. Two guests in two days is a massive amount of entertaining for us.

The next day was Mother’s Day. We hadn’t planned to do anything special, but we did stop for kolaches before church. Robert was very sweet and said he wanted to sit by me all day on Mother’s Day and my birthday. The rest of the time they both fight over who gets to sit by Daddy :)

I took the kids to their classes and then met Chris at our bible class and was surprised to see Dan and Linda seated next to him! They knew how stressed out I’ve been between all my dental work and helping Becky, among other things, so they decided to surprise me. They got to town the night before but stayed in a hotel so I wouldn’t have to worry about entertaining guests. I totally could’ve managed it, but they didn’t want to add anything to my already overflowing plate :) We just went to a nearby Mexican restaurant for lunch knowing it wouldn’t be a Mother’s Day hotspot and they headed home right after. It was very sweet of them to make the drive to come see us.

The next week was STAAR testing and I won’t get on my soapbox. You’re welcome. Thankfully, kindergarten scheduled their field trip to a nearby farm on one of the testing days so at least some of the kids got to have fun that day instead of remaining silent in their classrooms all day with no specials or recess so as not to disturb the students testing. Oops. Sorry, I just can’t help myself :)

I went along as a chaperone. Two other moms and I had our three boys plus two extra boys. Our three weren’t listening very well and kept wandering off, but the other two were perfect gentlemen. Why is it kids are so bad for their parents? Drives me crazy. Robert was pretty good actually. The “cars” on a racetrack just kept singing their siren song and he couldn’t help himself. He loved the hay maze and probably went through it five times. There was a huge hill with multiple slides, a massive jumping pillow and a tractor “train” ride. I was beat after a day at the farm and ready to get him back on the bus. Lots of parents were going up to the school to check their kids out early. I was like, “Are you crazy? I’m going to take a nap before they get home!” They wore me out!

The next week, Clara had her RDR trip to Main Event. There were only about a dozen kids who finished, so it was a pretty small group. Abby was the only kid in school to earn a certain amount of dog tags to be able to go on a special field trip so they let her go along with RDR. They were so excited. Clara’s teacher, who is one of the sponsors, along with her teacher last year and the librarian all went along and played right alongside them. They had a blast and stayed from 9-2! They bowled, played laser tag about 5 times and did a gravity ropes course several times. I asked the librarian if they ever got bored and she said no. The adults eventually had to sit down but she said the kids could’ve gone all night.

The day after that Clara was gone all morning with the Orff Ensemble to an Instrumental Showcase at a high school along with several other elementary musical groups in the district. It was actually rescheduled from the week of the floods.  They performed and watched the other groups all morning before heading back to school.

Here’s just some silliness after school one day. I think that’s Clara’s RDR medal she’s sporting in the pic.

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And then came Robert’s “awards” program. About halfway through, and before he had gotten his “award”, I got several calls from Chris and Becky within seconds of each other. I was texting them to tell them where I was and then Chris said I needed to get home because someone was on their way to look at a piece of our pool equipment that was broken and we were trying to get it fixed under our home warranty and it had already been a week. (Oh, and he couldn’t go because we only had the jeep that week because the rover was in the shop getting a new roof because the old one had a huge crack from hail during our bad flooding in April.) Becky was in pain and sent several texts all in a row. It’s very disconcerting when it happens because I can tell she’s scared and confused and disoriented and there’s just nothing I can do to help. Ahhhh! I snapped Robert’s picture when they called his name and then told a teacher he knows to please let him know I had to go home to meet someone there and I couldn’t stay for the end. I felt so bad. I’m sure he was sad and confused watching me walk out early :(

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Both kids had dental appointments this past Monday. Clara had a cleaning (that was rescheduled due to her Main Event fun day) and Robert got sealants on his two 6 year molars that have erupted. I then picked them up early at the end of the day for an orthodontist appointment for Clara. He took x-rays and after comparing them to her two previous ones, he’s decided that it looks as if two of her bottom permanent teeth have changed direction a bit and are coming up between two teeth instead of pushing out the baby teeth. Looks like she may end up having to have those two baby teeth pulled in the future. Still keeping an eye on her bottom ankylosed tooth and it looks ok for now, but it will definitely have to be pulled at some point. He thinks we can wait and pull all three in about a year if they don’t correct themselves. Sigh.

Because STAAR testing is the most important part of a well-rounded education in Texas, there can be nothing that might possibly interfere with the kids test prep in the spring. Which means that teachers couldn’t even put it on a parent’s radar that “Hey, your kids are going to have to do a science project in the last couple of weeks of school so you might want to be thinking about that.” I had already decided that she probably wouldn’t participate in the science fair this year because Chris was out of town one weekend and I was having my wisdom teeth out the next and I just didn’t want to add anything more to these last couple of weeks of school. After STAAR testing was done though, the assignment went home that it would be due on the 24th. Ugh.

She didn’t have to enter it in the science fair but we figured why not if she has to do it anyway. We weren’t the only ones. There were probably 3-4 times as many projects this year because they were mandatory for at least some classes. For her experiment, she wanted to see if making water wheels out of different materials would change their speed. I don’t know why she chose that, but she was soooo excited about it so I didn’t try to change her mind. Chris helped her build the frame and wheels with three different paddles–spoons, cups and popsicle sticks. She recorded the three different water wheels and then slowed down the video to count the number of rotations per second. Chris helped make sure her calculations were correct, but we didn’t give her much assistance with any of her findings or presentation of them and she spent probably 12+ hours on her project that weekend. She was just plain giddy all weekend. That girl loves her some science. She received an honorable mention for her project. She wore this dress because it matched her project :) I couldn’t even get a good picture because they had the kids crammed in there so tight. The kids spent almost the entire day at the science fair. All of the grade levels came through to see the projects and the judging happened after lunch.

Wednesday was the 4th grade “awards”. I had asked Clara if she really wanted me to come and she seemed ok to not have me there. (They’re a pretty brutal waste of time.) At the last minute I decided I should suck it up and be supportive and I told her I would be there. Well, I found out that Becky had been taken by ambulance to the hospital after a seizure that morning and her husband wasn’t with her. Her oncologist had hoped that if they got her to her neurologist’s hospital that she would be more likely to get in for surgery. If she walked in, she could expect to wait about 24 hours to be seen! Well, they wouldn’t take her to that hospital, only to the nearest one, so they were releasing her after a few hours saying, “yep, tumor’s still there; you need to get into your neurologist”. I brought her lunch and when they discharged her, we dropped her prescriptions and I took her home. I needed to go back for her medicine, so that meant I would miss Clara’s awards. I felt bad that I was skipping out on it when she was now expecting me, but I knew she would understand.

Thursday was her class field trip. I decided one field trip was enough for me this year, plus the kids have a four day weekend and we were getting ready to go camping on Friday, so I wasn’t going on this one. I was working in the workroom for a couple of hours that morning though, so I was there when I heard that the buses got about 10 minutes away from the school before having to turn around and head back. The ranch had received too much rain and they had just lost power. Talk about disappointing :( I felt so bad for all the kids.

When she got home, I could tell she was sad and had been holding it in all day. Not long after, I got a call from the state park saying they were closing their trails and that although the park would still be open, the sites were going to be pretty flooded. I called Chris and we decided to go ahead and cancel. He tried to find something else nearby, but everything was full for the holiday weekend or was also experiencing flooding. Clara just couldn’t hold in in anymore. It was just too much disappointment for one day and she cried and cried. Emily was disappointed as well. She was going to come with us and it was going to be her first time camping. We got a call the next morning from the park and they did have to close. The lake rose 6 feet overnight and the bridge into the park was covered in water. This weather has been crazy!

Later that night after I had taken Emily home, I noticed Robert was acting weird. He didn’t eat much dinner and was laying on the couch under a blanket. I took his temperature and sure enough he was running a fever. As Chris and I talked about what we should do (we were going to have Emily Friday and Saturday while her dad was at work), I looked over just in time to see Max pee right at my feet. The day just kept getting better.

I let Becky know that night because I didn’t want her getting sick right now and possibly having to postpone her as of yet not scheduled surgery. Thankfully, he woke up Friday feeling fine with only a slightly elevated temperature, so we planned on having Emily until Saturday night. We were waiting for her to wake up to go pick her up when I got a call from my neighbor. Her 4 month old had just woken up coughing up foam and choking on it. Jamie needed me to drive her to the ER because she didn’t want to strap her into her carseat and potentially choke again.

I got dressed real fast and left the kids watching cartoons and headed across the street. The Children’s hospital is very close, so we were there in only a few minutes. I watched her 3 year old Barrett in the waiting room while she went back. The baby was fine and I don’t guess they ever really determined what the foam was. She was just very hesitant to feed her without getting her checked out first. Her hubby got to the hospital and brought me home before going back up when they discharged her. So I got showered and headed on over to pick Emily up. It really has been an eventful week over here.

It rained a lot on Friday, so the kids just played inside all day and watched movies. This morning I took all three kids to Barrett’s birthday party at an inflatable play place. They swam after lunch and then I made them a picnic in the driveway. They had hotdogs and smore’s from our camping food stash. When life gives you lemons…….

Emily is at home now. Maybe I’ll have her Monday? Becky has been assured she’ll have surgery by Wednesday but still hasn’t gotten the date and the kids get out of school on Thursday, so we’ll just keep doing what we’re doing and hopefully things will start to work themselves out real soon. And good news. I’m all caught up on my blogging! Woohoo!

Dental Work

I’ve spent an exorbitant amount of time in dental professional’s offices since March. I had put off my regular teeth cleanings, as I am wont to do, since we moved to the area 3 years ago. I just get such terrible anxiety about the dentist that I find it’s much easier to just ignore the problem and hope it goes away. This post is whiney and long winded, so you probably don’t want to read it.

At the end of February, a piece of tooth or filling came out while I was flossing my teeth so that sealed the deal. I couldn’t put it off any longer. I had another small hole in another tooth that I kept having to pick food out of too. So I Googled “sedation dentistry” and found a dentist that had great reviews. Although I didn’t need to be completely under (hello, that pill is like $600!), I wanted someone who would be sensitive and patient with me and who would understand when I asked for nitrous and not make me feel like the big baby that I am. I realized that a lot of my anxiety probably stems from the fact that I white knuckle it when I have to have something done when I just need to admit I need a little “help” getting through the appointment. I told him that I needed a pediatric dentist for adults. You know how women will tell new moms-to-be “Don’t be a hero. You don’t get a trophy for a natural birth; get the epidural.”? Well, I decided to tell myself the same thing only, you know, in dental terms.

They were sooooo nice to me. They wanted to know if it was something in particular that bothered me and I told them it was everything. The sounds, smells, sensations, vibrations, tastes, gag reflex, cold water, everything. The hygienist was sweet and switched tools when she saw me tense up at one point. They all said how proud they were of me for getting in and I even got a card in the mail from the hygienist :) I would need a couple of appointments with my dentist and I had a root canal that looked concerning to the dentist, so he referred me to an endodontist to have it looked at. I also needed to get my wisdom teeth pulled in preparation for braces. My teeth are so crowded and worn down that the front bottom ones are starting to chip. I’ve had more than one dentist say that they are just going to continue deteriorating until I get them straightened. And unfortunately they’re too bad for Invisalign.

We scheduled me for my first appointment the week before Easter. I was having a partial crown removed and needed a full crown. When I got to the appointment, the receptionist told me that they were out of nitrous. It was supposed to be delivered an hour earlier but he still wasn’t there. I was holding in some fairly strong emotions as I told her I would be ok without it. When we got back to the room and the assistant started getting everything ready, my eyes started watering. Her back was to me and I was trying to hold it together, but the tears just kept coming and I had to grab a kleenex. She finally noticed me and asked what was wrong. I told her what they had said about being out of nitrous and apologized for being such a baby. I was so embarrassed. That’s the first time I’ve actually cried at the dentist.

When the dentist came in, he asked if I was ok. He didn’t even know they had run out. I told him I could do it without but he told me no. He wanted me to be comfortable and calm and we would wait. They tuned on the tv, turned off the light and gave me headphones and a blanket. Thankfully Mr. Nitrous Deliveryman got there about 15 minutes later. They hooked me up and a few seconds later I was giving the doc the thumbs up to do his thing. It took close to two hours and I even dozed off at one point. It is so very nice to not care one bit what’s going on in my mouth.

That was a Monday. On Friday night of Easter weekend I started having horrible pain on the other side of my mouth. Up until then, I hadn’t had a bit of pain. I wrote all about that in my Easter post. I got in on Monday and the dentist said he thought that tooth might need a root canal :( So I got right into the endodontist the next day. By then, the pain had shifted to a bottom tooth on that same side. Lovely. He did hot/cold tests on several teeth, as well as hit them with a little tool to see how sensitive they were. Heaven help me, I just about fell out of my chair on a couple of my teeth. He said he was afraid I was going to slap him if he tested any more, so he stopped after the couple of teeth that were concerning. So yes, I needed a root canal on the top right, a root canal restoration on the bottom left which looked to be infected, and probably a root canal on the bottom right, but we could wait and keep an eye on that one. Sigh. The bottom right one was the one that just about killed me with the cold. The tooth ached for the rest of the day after that.

I told him to give me the nitrous. I wasn’t going to try and be a hero. No shame here. He wasn’t quite as generous with the gas as the dentist, so my second visit I told him to up it a bit; I cared a bit too much about what was happening that first time around. I had almost no pain from that root canal. It was awesome. I was going in to my appointments with very little anxiety, and I haven’t procrastinated on making appointments. I’ve felt like a rockstar these last couple of months :)

So since my root canal went so well, I scheduled my root canal restoration for the Monday that we were keeping Abby. Welllll, that one did knock me for a loop. Because of the infection, the endodontist said that it’s like stirring up a hornet’s nest. I was in quite a lot of pain and I was sooooo tired for a little over a week. I spent a lot of time on the couch that week while Abby was there. The restoration required two visits. The first one he drilled out the old stuff and stuffed it full of antibiotic and filled it in. This needed to sit and work for a few weeks and then I went back to have the antibiotic stuff pulled out and finish the restoration off. We kept my crown, but I’ll go back in 6 months to make sure the infection has stayed away. If it didn’t work, which I guess is common with restorations, I will have to have it pulled.

During this time I also went to the dentist to get two permanent crowns and another small hole filled, I had a consultation with the oral surgeon about my wisdom teeth extraction and also a consultation with the orthodontist. All told, I had about 12 dental visits of some sort in an 8 week period.

Last Thursday I had my wisdom teeth pulled. They were all fully emerged and they all had cavities and have for some time. This was the big one that I had been putting off and putting off. I could’ve waited to have them out (and probably should have since I hit my maximum dental benefits for the year after just one crown), but I was on a roll and just needed to keep going til I was all done.

When the day came to have them out, I was actually excited. I think having the nitrous for all of these appointments has made a world of difference for me. I was hardly nervous at all. And the surgeon was amazing. He was preparing me for a pretty difficult recovery due to my age, so I was ready for that and planning on taking it easy the whole next week in case I was in pain. Well, it went off without a hitch and I’ve had almost zero pain! I took about 4 half doses of the good stuff and I took the ibuprofen for the swelling for a couple of days, but I never had a lot of pain. I was groggy and out of it the first day, but I’ve been so pleased with how things have gone. I do still have a numb spot on one side of the roof of my mouth, but hopefully that will return to normal eventually. If it is permanent, at least it’s not too terrible. It’s really just annoying. It feels like when you burn the roof of your mouth with pizza.

And so I don’t forget, here are a couple of funnies with the nitrous. At one of the appointments, I kept hearing a Beatles song playing. I think it was “I Want to Hold Your Hand”. It was funny because I was aware enough that I was eventually really confused about where it was coming from. HGTV was playing in my headphones but the Beatles was loud and clear in my head. Chris and I had gone to see that Beatles cover band a week or so earlier. I thought it odd that it wasn’t one of their psychedelic songs playing like “I Am the Walrus.” That would have been more appropriate.

And then during one of my appointments at the dentist, I had the nitrous, but the work didn’t require too much numbing, just a little because I had had the root canal. After it was over, I was super hungry and could actually eat because my whole mouth wasn’t numb. Every other time I could only get a milkshake. I texted Chris afterwards and asked, “Does nitrous give you the munchies? Because I’m STARVING!” and then I headed to Arby’s because that sounded sooooo good. I was telling that story to the endodontist and his assistant after he had hooked up the nitrous and they were waiting for me to get numb. The assistant was like, “Where is there an Arby’s around here?” and mentioned she hadn’t had it in forever and there was something new that looked really good. Halfway through the procedure she says, “Man, I really want Arby’s now.” Ha!

I’m very glad to have all of that behind me and hope I can get to 2017 before needing any more work done.

Huntsville State Park

The weekend following the flood, a mere 48 hours after Chris was diagnosed with strep, we left to go camping. The Couringtons and Chris’ co-worker Andy and his wife Jenny joined us. The water was chilly, but that didn’t stop the kids from venturing into the lake. It did take them quite some time to fully submerge themselves though.

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The kids took turns going out on the kayak. Chris and Robert were the only ones to spot a gator while on one of their excursions.

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I wanted to try and recreate this picture from 2012, but got them out of order. Weren’t they so cute? This is one of my favorite camping pics ever.

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Kate didn’t want to sit in the sun to eat her lunch, so she found a comfy spot in the shade.

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April

April seems like a really long time ago. I’ll do the quick run down.

First off, dental work. Lots and lots of dental work.

Clara’s friend Abby came to stay with us for a week. The girls had been counting down the days for a couple of months. Her parents went on a cruise and sent the four oldest kiddos to stay with friends while the grandparents watched the two youngest at home. The girls had a lot of fun on their extended sleepover.

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Around this time I also started watching my friend Becky’s daughter Emily some after school. Becky has a brain tumor and is having a really hard time getting brain surgery scheduled. Long story, but it should have been done weeks ago but she’s still waiting for a surgery date. The tumor has grown, she has swelling on her brain now and is having seizures and can’t get out of bed most days, so I’m trying to help her out with Emily as much as possible. She’s gotten worse, so now Emily rides the bus home with my kids and I take her home about the time her dad gets home from work. I’ve been taking them dinner most nights and Chris’ friend Kelly from work has been making her meals for me to take too. So that helps at least a little. Becky has been assured she will have surgery by June 1st (even though they still haven’t given her a date), so Emily will stay with us until she’s home from the hospital. This picture was from a trip to the yogurt shop on an early release Friday when I had both Abby and Emily.

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The day after that, Clara and Abby attended the Children’s Music Festival where they performed with the choir and brought home a trophy. Clara’s music teacher asked her to join the Orff Ensemble in March. (She had tried out at the beginning of the year but didn’t make it.) I’m guessing some kids had dropped out or were no longer eligible and she needed to fill spots. Anyway, Clara enthusiastically said yes, so since then she’s had either choir or ensemble practice almost every morning. Abby is also in both, so it worked out fine taking them both early the week she was with us. Abby was also in the honor choir, so I had to unexpectedly take her to a practice at a nearby high school one night.

The following Sunday night we had lots and lots and lots of rain. At the time, Chris was dealing with a situation at work that required him to be up between about midnight and 3:00 a.m. every night. Our electricity went out that night so he had to go into the office. Our electricity actually came back on after only a few minutes, but he had already left for the office. When he got ready to leave his office around 4:00 to come home, the roads were beginning to flood and they were starting to close some of them. To be safe, he decided to sleep in the jeep in the parking garage and wait til it was light out.

Because I’m technologically impaired, I couldn’t get my internet back up on Monday morning. Turns out there’s some “master switch” in some drawer that needed to be turned back on. We don’t have tv either, so I had no idea how bad the flooding was. I finally found a phone book and called the school district hotline to find out if school was cancelled and it said it was operating on normal schedule. I called three different times to see if it had been updated before getting in the car to take the kids to wait at the bus stop in the rain.

The road was dry right in front of our house, which is why I didn’t know it was so bad, but by the time I got to the bus stop that’s just up the street, the water was really high. I noticed a car on the street a few houses down that was partly under water. I figured it was probably flooded coming into our neighborhood too, so I turned around.

I called Chris to see if he had heard if school was cancelled and woke him up in the process. Oopsie. Yep, it was and had been called around 4:00 a.m. I guess they don’t update their old-fashioned hotline anymore. He decided to try to come on home since it was light out. Water was pretty deep in some places, but when he got about .5 mile from the house, he could tell it was getting high quickly so he decided to pull into some stranger’s driveway to wait it out. That was the only way in to our neighborhood. The other way always floods so he knew it would be impassable. About three hours later, he could tell that it had gone down and after watching a few trucks get through, decided to come through as well. It was still really deep, but he made it through unscathed.

He had started feeling sick while he was waiting it out, which was part of the reason he didn’t want to wait any longer. Sure enough, he felt worse and worse on Tuesday and was on breathing treatments every few hours. By Wednesday morning I was calling to get him in to the doctor. Thankfully we were able to get out of the subdivision and he was able to be seen right away. He had strep, so after getting a shot of steroids he was feeling much better a few hours later.

These pictures were taken on Thursday. No homes in our neighborhood flooded, but several cars on the street did. The water made it up to the sidewalks on a couple of the streets. Our house just had water up to the curb on the first day and there wasn’t even any standing water in our backyard so we were very lucky.

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School was canceled all week. Even though no schools in the district flooded, many district employees were unable to get to their schools due to high water and there were some families in the district that flooded. A highway and several main roads near our house were flooded and only reopened a couple of weeks ago, so traffic has been diverted to roads on either side of us making traffic a nightmare this past month.

Cabin fever started to set in by the end of the week. The kids watched some original Batman tv episodes and then went to work making masks for themselves.

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Here is Robert wearing his mask and utility belt, holding a batarang he made :)

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I started worrying about their sanity when I looked over and saw this getup. This would be Robert doing a little light reading in a batman mask, along with an Indian headdress he made at school at Thanksgiving, topped with a pair of bloodshot Halloween eye glasses while wielding a pirate sword.

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