Next Up–April

This is like Christmas in June. I’m spoiling y’all!

Justin’s birthday party was the day after Robert got his ear infection diagnosis. He actually felt ok, but he kept having those coughing fits, so we decided he probably shouldn’t be hacking all over the party guests and we’d be almost an hour away from home if he did. Chris stayed home with him while Clara and I headed up to Spring. The newest Decarlo is the spitting image of his big brother. Clara helped keep him corralled for Danielle since he didn’t want to miss out on any of the action.

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Here’s a comparison pic. Travis is a year older here. Awww, weren’t they cute?

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It was a good thing Robert didn’t come. Before I got home, Chris called and said he was having a coughing fit and couldn’t catch his breath. He had thrown up everywhere and just could not get it under control. It wasn’t a productive cough at all. I got him into the bathroom and started the steam. I gave him a cough suppressant but he just threw it right back up. I ended up getting a syringe and giving him just a tiny bit when it slowed and he could catch his breath and then waited a minute before giving him more. It took about 20 minutes, but it stayed down.

I felt so bad for him. It was getting really late and he just wanted to sleep, but it still wasn’t slowing much. In between coughs he asked me “Am I going to die?” :( Poor guy. If he hadn’t stopped soon after, we probably would have taken him in, but the cough eventually started to subside and he was able to get a good night’s sleep. He was back to school on Monday, but fell asleep on the bus ride home. He got in trouble at school and fell asleep early on the couch the first half of the week. It really wiped him out.

I took on another project and cleaned the shower tile with an acidic cleaner that eats away all of the hard water deposits, leaving it smooth as glass, as well as re-caulked. It was not as easy a task as I had envisioned. (Is it ever?) There was crumbling grout behind a lot of the caulk, so not only did that make it harder to remove, but then I had to remove the loose grout as well. In the end though, I’m happy with the lovely bright white.

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Chris has made friends with a man at church that is a car aficionado and he told him how much Robert loves cars, so one night after church, he let Robert sit in his cool car. I don’t know what it is. BMW something or other, maybe?

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We went to Temple for Easter weekend.

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Saturday night before bed, the Easter bunny’s assistants had convened to discuss the gameplan for distributing each of their batches of eggs on Sunday. It was decided to wait until after church to hide eggs outside while lunch was being prepared. Well, during the night, an impostor entered the home and left eggs all over the house. Neither of the bunny’s true assistants said anything but both were wondering, “What the heck? Didn’t we just talk about this?” The reason I know this was an impostor is because the eggs contained Hot Tamales (which the kids hate, but which look a lot like red Mike and Ike’s that were intermingled in the eggs) and also Jelly Belly beanboozled flavored jelly beans. I didn’t realize this until I got what I believe to be a mouthful of dog food flavored jelly bean. Linda found eggs hidden in random places for days after we left, including in her purse.

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I just took a picture of a worksheet Robert brought home one day because I’m pretty sure I didn’t learn the term “oviparous” or “non-oviparous” in first grade. In fact, I think I learned the two new words that day.

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The kids had their field days at the end of the month. Clara and other RDR members got to help with the two sessions for the younger grades, so she enjoyed missing almost two full days of class between her own field day and the other two sessions. She was “working” the hula hoop station during this session. And that’s the only picture I took because I was busy helping pass out snacks the rest of the time.

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Robert fell off of his bike about five times over the course of a few days. He got back up pretty quickly with minimal tears each time, even this time when he hit his lip and almost busted it.
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I’m going to get in trouble for posting this next picture. We’ve decided to finish out one of our attics. It already has a full size door going into it, so we’re adding flooring and insulation and it will have an area for storage, as well as a space for Chris to spread out his hobbies. We had worked on it over the course of a month, and as he was laying down the second to last piece of plywood, he stood up fast and hit his head hard on the rafter above, falling off the plywood, one leg in the garage. We just added it to the quote the drywall/painter guy gave us, so no biggie. :)

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The science lab teacher had asked me several months back if I would help chaperone the 5th grade field trip to the Museum of Natural Science. The district changed chaperone rules this year and official chaperones must ride the bus with the group. I don’t want to re-live all the gory details, but suffice it to say, I was traumatized for a week. Some of the kids were awful, even after getting a huge lecture before leaving the school. We were late getting off (b/c of lecture) and then hit traffic, so we got to the museum an hour late, having missed our scheduled IMAX movie. Everything had to be re-arranged and we never did really get things under control. It was awful. One boy got in trouble and ended up having to sit on the bus with the principal the entire time. In the end, we watched a different IMAX about the Galapagos and the kids did calm down and enjoy that thankfully, so I was able to calm down and breathe for almost an hour. I think a lot of them had never seen a 3D movie. We also watched a film in the planetarium. We only had a short amount of time between the two, so we had to scrap the initial plans of splitting into groups and ended up just winding our way through the dinosaur exhibit quickly in one long line of 130 kids and then had to eat lunch out front quickly before getting back on the buses. No pictures because I was trying not to flip out on kids the entire time. :)

5th Grade End of Year Party

A couple of months back, 5th graders came home with flyers asking for parent volunteers to be on a planning committee for the kids’ end of year party. Fifth grade is the only grade that gets such a party, so the kids really look forward to it. About 10 people said they’d be on the committee. Beginning of May rolls around (less than a month before the party) and we have our first meeting. I was the only parent to show up. We don’t have a functioning PTA this year and staff is too swamped with end of year stuff to put on a big party. Sooooooo, unless we wanted to scrap the party and just have ice cream in their classrooms, I had to take it over. It was me, an asst. principal and two 5th grade teachers at the meeting. The 5th grade student council had decided on what they’d like to do, so we went over a few ideas for the party.

I sent out an email to everyone informing them that I was the only one to show and so I would coordinate. I made it very clear that I didn’t actually want the job, am terrible at planning, had never planned a party in my life and would gladly hand it over to any interested party :) No one took me up on my offer. A few were apologetic and asked if we could meet again, so we set a date a week later because having a closed campus due to STAAR testing got in the way. I was the only one who knew what was going on and then I went and got sick and couldn’t attend. Grrrrr. So I sent them my notes and the few that showed came up with other ideas. It was so frustrating trying to get on the same page. I begged for feedback or for someone to take on a portion of the party, but everyone just kept saying that they’d “help”. Needless to say, these last few weeks have been quite frustrating for me. In the end, only about 3 or 4 people helped with any of the planning or prep involved. The rest never even replied back to me. One mom shared plenty of criticism with me and others for how badly this party was being organized and how horrible the school is. Some were under the impression that it was a dance and weren’t happy that we didn’t hire a DJ. Even when told that the party ideas came from the kids themselves, this mom was still was upset. Apparently the 8th grade has a fantastic PTA that goes all out for their dance. Ok fine, but why should we force a dance on 11 year olds that said they don’t want a dance? Mind boggling.

Ok, rant over (mostly). The kids decided they wanted a glow in the dark themed party. They wanted to play games, including ping pong and Just Dance on the Wii. They wanted blacklights, fog machines and disco balls and wanted to paint t-shirts for the party with glow in the dark paint. We added glow in the dark bowling, face painting, a photo booth, posters with the class pictures to have signed by classmates, Twister and sno cones, popcorn and cupcakes.

No one wanted to take on decorations, so we just bought a few glow in the dark stars and balloons and I made this poster the night before. The stage was supposed to be completely dark for glow bowling and we had borrowed a couple of blacklights so they could come on stage and hang out for a bit and see themselves glowing. I put two volunteers up there to keep the kids under control and to only let a handful up at a time. Well, a few minutes into the party, I saw the lights come on and turns out some kids were throwing the softball too hard for bowling. They’d hit the volunteer twice and then hit a blacklight and broke it. I had borrowed it from a teacher and feel terrible. So what I thought would be a highlight of the party for the kids, being able to hangout under the blacklights, got axed :(
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We had lots of prizes to be given away as drawings and the kids hovered around the prize table like vultures. I had to guard it like a hawk and send them away the whole time. In hindsight, I should have had someone stationed there, because I couldn’t check on everyone during the party without grabbing an adult to stand guard for a minute. I incorrectly assumed that my other party planning volunteers could figure out if there was a problem and fix it. I was totally overwhelmed at that point, so I was counting on everyone to do their part. I had lots of parent volunteers but no body takes any initiative. They only want to be told exactly what to do. There were even parents who said they were unable to volunteer but would be at the party, but they couldn’t be bothered to pitch in when there was a problem. I probably could have prevented the blacklight fiasco if I had seen they were getting rowdy. Chris took the pictures for the photo booth. Halfway through the party, some kids found the table with photo booth props 20 ft. away and asked if they could move it closer. My few set-up volunteers hadn’t moved the table near the backdrop and Chris didn’t even know they existed. I’m like, “Come on people! Work with me!” Then my class picture volunteer forgot to tell the kids to sign the posters for their teachers and to bring their posters back when they were done so they didn’t get messed up, so the kids carried them around the whole time and I saw them laying around, getting stepped on. Rant #2 over.

I didn’t get many pictures (see above rant) and because it was so dark in the gym. Here is Clara and Ivonne playing the game where you see who can get the most cotton balls from a bowl on your head and into the bowl on your lap with a spoon in 30 seconds.

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Chris’ friend Scott let us borrow his party disco light. It was huge and sat on top of a speaker. We just plugged in a laptop and played kids bop songs. The kids started requesting songs from the asst. principal, so she ended up being my impromptu dj. They wanted a few line dances and had lots of fun doing that as a group. One of the teachers even joined in a couple of the dances.

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Clara and Kaneeze plopped down for a rest in front of the prize table, so I was able to snap a quick pic.

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The person who said they’d decorate for the photo booth was unable to, so about 15 minutes before party time, people were running to the workroom and grabbing paper to slap over the window. Sigh. Oh well. I couldn’t do every single thing and my party volunteers were showing up and asking where to go and what to do, so I just had to lower my expectations a bit and go with the flow.

Here’s before and after finding the photo booth props. Ha!

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And having a bit of fun with her blinking ring.

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Chris took this pic of the party light across the gym. That thing filled up the entire gym ceiling. It was so cool and I’m glad we were able to borrow it and even more glad that we didn’t break it :)

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In the end, despite the hiccups and headaches, I’m glad I took it on. I do NOT want to be in charge of something that large again any time soon though! Ha! It felt completely out of control, but I have gotten countless compliments on how well organized it was, how age appropriate the activities were, and how much fun the kids had. The teachers and staff who came in told me it was the best party they’ve had at least in the years they had been there. Even people who didn’t come in to the gym were telling me they heard how great it was and kids were thanking me in the hallways :) I aim to please.

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!

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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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.

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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Hmmmm, Where Was I?

Here’s a look at February around here. If I don’t have a picture, then it didn’t happen .

Robert’s friend Eli came over to play one afternoon while his parents had something they had to attend to. Robert was acting terribly and refused to play with him. I had to pull him aside several times to talk about his attitude; he must have just been having a really bad day. I was so embarrassed by his behavior but Eli was very understanding and didn’t seem too upset.

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Chris has been interested in starting up woodworking for quite some time now. He purchased a few woodworking tools with Christmas money and set to work. His first project: a workbench. He’s really enjoying himself and has built a bench and small table, as well as a kayak holder on wheels.

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I helped out with the Valentine’s parties at school. Robert’s teacher was so sweet and wanted to go all out for her class since it’s really the only class party they get. She said her babies work hard and she wanted to treat them to a feast. She had me pick up pizzas and then I helped her set everything up while the kids were at specials. She bought plates and napkins, cheese and crackers, fruit and even made up little goody bags for all of the kids. Other parents brought sweet treats as well.

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PTA gave each class sugar cookies that they could frost and add sprinkles to. I looked over at one point and caught Robert licking all of the runaway sprinkles off of his plate.

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Daddy brought Clara and me roses for Valentine’s Day.

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The next weekend was the local livestock show and rodeo parade and the pep squad participated in it. I had never been and didn’t know what to expect trying to pick her up at the end of the route, so Robert and I parked ourselves right at the tail end of the parade so we could walk to meet up with Clara at the end. Most people were out of candy by the time they got to us. It was a loooong route, so they were all pretty pooped by the end.

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Here is Clara with her friends, Lauren and Ivonne or Ivette, not sure which this is :)

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And then I babysat some DeCarlos for a few hours while mine were at school. This little guy decided it would be hi-larious if he blew out his diaper a mere fifteen minutes after his mommy left. I’m apparently a little rusty when it comes to changing blowouts and he kept looking at me as if to say, “Are you sure you’ve done this before?”

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No one wanted to pry their eyes away from what they were doing for a picture.

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Winter Vacation

In my last post, I mentioned the beginning of Chris’ illness. Well, he got worse and started running a fever and ended up missing work on Monday and Tuesday. Robert started up with a dry cough around the same time. He felt fine and the cough was mainly bad at night, so I decided to send him to school after a dose of cough medicine and a note to send him home if he got worse on Monday and Tuesday. On Tuesday, he came home from school coughing pretty bad (which made me feel bad for sending him) and by that night he started running a fever. His fever broke in the middle of the night on Wednesday night and he had to have a change of pjs and sheets he was so sweaty. I was happy that it broke when it did, because that meant he was able to go back to school for their last half day before the holiday break! I didn’t mind him missing two days of instruction so much, but I hated to see him miss Polar Express Day :)

On Polar Express Day, they have a sing-a-long in the gym and watch Polar Express in their classrooms while enjoying hot cocoa and cookies. Then it’s pretty much time for lunch and dismissal. In other words, heaven for all the kids. Robert insisted on wearing his elf pajamas. They’re actually Clara’s old hand-me-downs and the bottoms are way too big for him, but that wasn’t a battle I wanted to fight.

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Chris had quite a bit of vacation time left, so he’s been off since the 17th and won’t go back until next week. It’s been fun having him home. We went and enjoyed a kid-free breakfast at Panera on their last day of school. Then we split up that afternoon and took each kid to buy the other’s gift. Here is Robert finishing up his wrapping.

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That night, some friends from church invited us over for pizza and movie night. The kids watched Elf while the adults visited in the kitchen. They had invited the kids to have a sleepover, but we had an early morning planned so we decided it was best not to add more to our plate.

The next morning, we surprised the kids with an early showing of Star Wars. They have watched the three original Star Wars and some of the Clone War cartoons, so they are familiar with the storyline. I don’t know if it was the late night or the excitement of Christmas vacation or what, but they acted terrible throughout the movie. They were whiny and clingy and were just plain annoying the entire time.

 

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So other than that, we’ve spent our vacation time hanging out, watching movies, playing video games, playing outside, raking leaves and pine needles and getting ready for company.

 

Meh

I really don’t want to let my blog go, but I’m having a really tough time keeping up with everything right now. I’ve been saying this for the past month, but I really need to tone down my volunteering at the school. I’m basically working a part time job up there. Minus the pay of course :) I’m trying to make sure all of our new volunteers feel supported, so that means if they can’t be there the days I’m there, I’m coming in when it’s convenient for them to make sure they know their way around the workroom and feel comfortable working on their own. I end up saving some work to be done and then they sometimes don’t show, so then I’m scrambling to complete the work for the teachers. Or I’m getting ready to leave for the day and a teacher asks me if I can laminate something so since I don’t know if anyone else will be in and the laminator won’t be on again until a week later, I say, “Sure thing” and then laminate and take home an hour or so of cutting along with what I was already planning on completing at home. Suffice it to say, I can’t seem to get caught up :)

I love it though and the teachers have been sooooo appreciative. I also work in the library one morning a week on the librarian’s busiest morning. It’s non-stop classes and individual kids coming in for nearly four hours straight. Last week the internet was spotty all morning and it was complete chaos, long lines while we waited for the page to come back up and eventually writing barcodes on sticky notes to be entered into the computer later. The kindergarten classes are especially patient patrons.

PTA hosted it’s first movie night last Friday night and the entire day was spent putting out one fire after another. Broken popcorn machine, movie wouldn’t play, a/c order not submitted, wrong date given for PTA meeting that was supposed to take place, etc. I got there right after school started, went home for a couple of hours at lunch and then went back up and didn’t get home until 10:00 p.m.

Clara saw the orthodontist last week for the first time since her surgery in January. He’s ready to have her ankylosed tooth pulled. It’s right next to her baby canine, which will also need to come out to get to the ankylosed one. Her other canine was pulled in January and they’re not normally lost until age 12, but probably later for Clara due to her loosing teeth at a later age. So she’s going to have three empty spaces for quite some time. Technically, the ankylosed one looks like an empty space already.

The good news is she doesn’t need braces on the top four. He said the only reason would be cosmetic and since she hasn’t been bothered by them or self conscious about them, there’s no reason to do it. Yay! I love her orthodontist. That was her fourth consult with him, panoramic x-rays each time, and we’ve yet to pay a penny. And he didn’t pressure the first round of braces! He said a lot of parents like to just pull everything all at the same time, but he prefers a slower process. He wants kids to keep their teeth as long as possible and only extract when they start to cause problems with the eruption of surrounding teeth. That’s why this is her third round of extractions. It isn’t possible for her ankylosed one to come out on it’s own. I’m hoping that by slowly taking out the problem teeth that we’re setting her up for an easier time with braces here in a few years. I mean, if every tooth has a chance to get close to the right spot due to proactively making space, I would assume that means less forcing into place later on.

The bad news is we took her earrings out for the x-ray and forgot to put them back in until a few days later and one hole closed up. Oops. I tried poking it through, but it just wasn’t going and started bleeding. And there were tears. And crying. So now it’s back to the piercer at some point.

We’ve had a couple of roofers out to give us an estimate this past week. Insurance isn’t covering it, so we get to pay for it ourselves. One of the roofers is actually fighting our insurance right now for us. He had us get a second inspector out and actually got on the roof with him, so it’s looking like we may get a small break after all. Yay!

School is going very well. This week marks the end of their first 9 week period. How is it possible this year is already 1/4 way over!? Robert was really on the fence for the first few weeks but we’ve broken over and he now loves school! Oh my goodness, it’s such a relief to know that he’s not miserable and bored up there all day long. Grandma asked him all about school and what he liked and then when she asked him what was one thing he didn’t like, he couldn’t come up with anything. He eventually said the bus, but that’s only because he said it takes too long. He doesn’t wait any longer than he would if he was a car rider or bike rider, but I guess he’s just itching to get home in the afternoons. At his parent/teacher conference last week, his teacher said he’s doing wonderfully, both academically and socially. Thankfully he isn’t getting bored at this point. She has a few kids at his reading level, so she said they’ve naturally gravitated together and she’s able to keep them challenged. He’s reading very well, but his comprehension level isn’t as high. He comprehends things that have been stated in the text, but not things inferred. They expect even kindergartners to be able to infer. Isn’t that crazy?

I had more written, but it didn’t save so this will be sufficient for the time being.

So coming up in the next few weeks we have book fair, donuts with dad, open house, a camping trip, a new roof, Halloween costumes to make, school projects to make, a Rio trip for Chris (and maybe for me! Eek!) eye exams, dental cleanings and then it’s time for birthday/holiday season :)

This is Happening Right Now

Last Sunday night we noticed water coming up through small cracks and the large seam (or whatever you call the place where two pieces meet) in the street in front of our house. We called it in and the next morning we had a note on our door that there was in fact a leak and a crew with a back hoe would be out. Workers have been out several times last week marking gas and electric lines in our back yard and the neighbor’s yard across the street. A week later and the work has finally commenced. I thought maybe we were going to get lucky and just our neighbor’s yard would be getting uprooted, but alas, I looked out and this just happened.

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