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Entries from September 2008

Raising The Bar

Today's highlight, if you want to call it that because I actually had to take a shower and leave the house for it as opposed to sitting home all day scrapping, listening to Noggin and wasting space, was Chloë's 7-year well check-up appointment at the Naval hospital.

I forgot to put a note in her folder this morning about picking her up early from school, so I had to call in and ask them to have her ready at 1400. Of course, when I got there at 1403, she was not ready. They called down to class. I waited. Sophie waited. Jack waited. And finally, ten minutes later, she came waltzing up front. I'm glad I built an extra 15 minutes in for that portion of our drive!

The trip was a bit hazardous, as it's rainy and windy from Tropical Storm Hanna. (It's not raining at all right now, so I don't know what she's going to do for our birthday plans tomorrow, argh.) I had brought the big box of goldfish crackers in the car, and the kids fought over them the entire trip. Why I don't keep a stash of little bowls for them is beyond me, but, they did find the cupholders in the backs of the seats and sides of the van useful for them!  Guess I'll be lugging out the vacuum cleaner again soon...

Anyway, the appointment went very well, as much as it could for the (29-year-old-yes-I-asked) doctor and my having to talk over the hooting and hollering, showing off, shouting, energetic little children in the room. They would not be shushed today!

At 7, Chloë weighs a scant 35 pounds and is 42.5" tall. In other words, she's teeny-tiny. We discussed that at length, and Doc Baby went out for a while to review the notes from her visit with the ped endocrinologist two years ago. He was satisfied about the work-up done but not her current growth, so he wants to see her again in six months and go from there, just to "make sure we're not missing something." In the meantime, I have to try and pack 3 cm onto her height. No qualifiers for weight.

Otherwise, she's exceptionally healthy save for that ugly cyst on the back of her head. Have I mentioned that? I found it well before our cruise - can't remember exactly when - when she had pigtails in one day. It was black, and I barely touched it when it oozed out all kinds of orange goo. Gross TMI, so sorry! So I kept checking on it, and it kept oozing. Doc Baby says there are two options, leave it alone and stop picking at it (hush, Robert!) and it should eventually go away on its own, or send her to a dermatologist and have it cut out. Since it doesn't seem infected, we're opting for choice one.

He's very happy with all of her abilities, both mental and physical, and seemed pleased that her size doesn't keep her back from doing anything all the other kids are able to do. He's happy she's in so many physical extracurriculars, with her diet and nutrition, amount of screen time, sleep time, yadda yadda. She's a happy, cheerful, imaginative, playful child with strong verbal abilities, and he noted all of that on his own. So, yay!

When it was time to check "down there" to make sure everything looked all right, and we discussed how only Mommy, Daddy and the doctor were allowed to look and touch there, she asked him what he was looking for. He paused and said, "Oh, uh..." and she blurted out, "My uterus?"  We both looked at each other and died laughing. "Very good!" he said.

And then in the car, on the way home, Chloë expressed an interest in what she was going to receive for her birthday. She told me she wanted a big robot kitty. I said, "Umm... I'm not sure they make those, honey!" Jack immediately popped out, "Yes, they do, Mommy, you just have to BELIEVE!!"


The other highlight was that there were three packages waiting, in the rain, on the stoop, when we arrived home.  One was the replacement caterpillars I'd ordered, in time for her birthday. Yay! Another was the kitty cat cake pan I'd won for her on eBay in time for her birthday. Yay! She'd been asking for a kitty cake. And the third was the bat Webkinz I ordered, in time for her birthday. Yay! Yay! Yay!

So, barring any major hits from Hanna, this should be a very good birthday weekend. More on that tomorrow!


Seven Things

I've been tagged for this meme by both Marilyn and Ruby, so I guess I better hop to it, eh?

Here are the rules:

Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs. Let them know they are tagged by leaving comments on their blogs.

I will do my best not to duplicate things I already posted on the 100 things meme, but I'm not going to reread it to make sure, so bear with me!

  1. I have a black thumb. For a biologist, it's pretty embarrassing. I kill houseplants. I wish it weren't so. My grandmother had a beautiful pot-garden in her house (wait, um, I mean, she grew lots of plants in pots, not that she grew pot!), and I often think about it while I'm killing my latest victim...
  2. I got my nose pierced when I was 21, after thinking about it for about three years throughout college. My dad had a fit when he saw it, calling me a "hippie bohemian." Anyway, I have a tiny stud in there now that some people don't even notice, but I can't take it out. There's a ball on the inside of the hole that is larger than the hole. Whenever I have a medical procedure, it complicates and confounds everything!

  3. I am madly in love with my husband of nearly 8 years. We've had our ups, and we've definitely had our downs, but that never changes. I hope it never does and we grow old happily together. (He's already old, but... hehe)

  4. I am always finding food inside my bra. I have big boobs that make my shirt stick out, and whenever I drop food, down there it goes. Good for a snack later!

  5. I have a crush on Larry David of Curb Your Enthusiasm. He is my unwitting boyfriend. If you ever meet him, say hello for me and profess my undying love.

  6. I love to honk my horn at people. I've gotten better about flipping them off, but I still honk. I am a native New Yawka, so I come by it honestly. BEEEEEEEEEEP!

  7. I do not like to play board games with my children. It frustrates and annoys me. I love playing with them, don't get me wrong, and I am a fan of games of all kinds. I am just not good at being patient with them for breaking the rules, accidentally or on purpose, and constantly having to explain how to play. It drives me nuts. All the board games are in a closet up in the Sophie's room, and we rarely get them down. I kind of feel guilty about it.

Well, that's it! I am going to tag everyone who has never done this meme, because I have seen it everywhere on the blogosphere, and I don't know anyone who hasn't done it yet, that I can think of! If it's you, please do the meme and comment here so I can go see! Thanks! ♥



In Advance Of The Storm

So I haven't posted in the past couple days, in favor of spending my time scrapping and napping.  I'll do a little catch-up now.

Yesterday's highlight was dance class. First, Sophia went to the 3- and 4-year-old Creative Movement class, immediately followed by Chloë's jazz class.



Once again, Sophia was happy to actually get dressed for dance class, but not to actually go to dance class.  The look on her face says it all. This was a much more welcoming environment than the gymnasium last week, but she was still clingy and pouty and refusing to join the other girls. Miss Jessica, her teacher (and Chloë's last year for ballet), repeatedly encouraged her to join, but with no pressure. I finally decided to leave her in the studio and go in the waiting room, but she bawled the entire time. I went back in, and she sat on my lap and sort of went through the motions with the class.

I guess my current plan is to give it a few weeks, through the month of October, and see if she warms up to it. If it doesn't get any better, we'll just try again next year.

It's so shocking to me, because Chloë always went right in, and she is the shy one, compared to her ballsy, fearless younger sister. You just never know!

Hmm, you can really see her ruddy cheeks are back in this picture. I'm trying to get her a doc appointment about the allergic reaction she had the other day, but so far I've been unsuccessful in securing one. I'll try again tomorrow!

If you're wondering what happened to Jack and soccer, well, he tends to take the papers out of his backpack on the bus ride home, and it's anyone's guess where he puts them and when we'll find them. I finally found the soccer registration paper, but I don't know when it came home. It was way overdue, and now we'll have to wait until Spring. I tried to register, late, online, but it rejected us. Rats!


Chloë and Jack played with another little boy - and his stuff - while Sophia was in her class. We normally wait in the car during Chloë's classes, but as when Chlo was Sophie's age, we'll wait inside in case she needs help going potty, etc. It's too far to drop off and wait at home; unlike most of the other moms there, we don't live in the neighborhood.



Sophia was happy to be back in the car again, while her sister danced, eating goldfish crackers with Jack.  While they played in the car (and reset all my buttons and settings up front), I caught up with another mom, Kathy. Her daughter and Chloë have danced together for the past three or four years, so we have gotten to know each other well. It was really nice chit-chatting with her, and I'm glad to have friends around town now. Some at dance class, some at the school, Bunco ladies, Brownies moms... it's good.

As for today, the highlight was the back-to-school meeting at Woodstock Park for the Brownie troop.



I can never resist a picture of baby Vivian, now eight months old and here, just waking up from a nap. She's so cute!


While we moms discussed plans for the upcoming year (I have decided to be the Cookie Chair and *maybe* the Fall Product chair, along with teaching the girls to crochet - hopefully a blanket for CARE Package for a service project!), the Brownies and their respective siblings played on the playground equipment.



Brett, one of Chloë's best friends who is again in her second grade class, helps a caterpillar down the slide.


There's plenty of room to roam around amongst the treest at this park. Thank goodness there was plenty of shade for us moms to sit and chat - it was 91 degrees! The four of us came right home and got in a shower to desweatify.



Sophia frequently sought out new sources of entertainment. She was here, there, everywhere!


Playing in - and kicking around - the dirt is always a favorite for Jack!


On the right, Nikki, our new troop leader, gets all the Brownies together to do the Friendship Circle and end the meeting. She is going to be much more into doing "traditional" Girl Scouts activities and teachings than in the past two years. I am looking forward to it. It should be a fun, exciting couple of years. She has lots of Scouting experience!


Caroline, her hands full of snacks, and Jack return to their mothers for the trip home.


Vivian gives me a big smile (mostly gone by the time I got the camera ready) to say good-bye 'til next time!


WFMW: Letting Go


It's not easy for me to do, this "letting go" business. I am overprotective of my children. I'll admit it.  I don't like the idea of them growing up and not being my little babies, under my wing. And I certainly don't like the idea of something bad happening to them.

But I do have to learn to let them go. And I am working on it lately.

For starters, I am letting my two school-aged kids walk four houses down to the bus stop by themselves every morning. That was really hard, but Jack (my 5yo) kept insisting he didn't want me to come, he could go by himself, he was a big boy. No way I'd let him go if it wasn't for his older sister, and if she ever has to stay home sick, I'll definitely walk him down. Every single morning I have to force myself not to run after them, not to call the school and make sure they got there okay, not pace the floors until Jack returns from school safely. But I do it.

For another, I have been letting Chloë, who will be 7yo on Saturday, cross the street by herself. I know!! She is SEVEN, for Pete's sake! But ours is a busy road, and she's a tiny girl. Our mailbox is across the street, and she has been taking my keys, crossing the street and getting the mail every day for the past few weeks. She loves this "chore," and gets irritated on Sundays and holidays when it can't be done. I, on the other hand, spend every second fretting around the peephole, waiting for her to make it safely back inside.

Also, I've been letting her play outside by herself, without me. The other two, I don't trust not to go running right into the street, but I do trust her to stay and play exactly where I tell her. And I watch out the front window. My neighbor actually came over and asked me whether I really thought that was safe, and I had to assure him I'd thought long and hard about it before deciding it was okay. We still have frequent talks about Stranger Danger, though.

Anyway, it's difficult, it really is, but these small steps repeated over and over are starting to ease the process for me. What ways have you "let go" when all you really wanted to do was hold on for dear life?


Messy Mellie

Whew. I have been doing a ton and a half of scrapping in my new craft space. I'm loving it! I need new sources of inspiration, though. I wish all the points programs of which I'm a member offered subscriptions to craft magazines and not just the hoochie mags, 'cause I can't afford to buy a subscription on my own right now!


But I'm enjoying myself. As I said, I finished the 2007 book, at long last, have breezed through January of this year, and am now working on February. It's so great to be able to come right to my lovely Kodak photo printer, choose which ones to scrap, edit them, crop them, pick my sizes, and print them right out seconds before actually doing the layout! I adore that. I'm quickly running out of the stash of photo paper I built up, though. Guess I'll have to make a run to the dreaded Best Buy soon.

Oh, but the point of my title, is that I am NOT clean when I scrap. There is a huge mess in the office right now. I'd show you a picture, but it's embarrassing. I have my garbage can on one side, my scrap papers thrown on the floor on the other, tools spread every which way, recycling papers thrown in an even further pile... I was supposed to stop scrapping today and clean up so Barbara could come, but I canceled her. Not so I could keep scrapping (though I will), but because I just can't pay her this week. I'll have to clean myself, boohoo! ;)

Yesterday, when we weren't waiting all day for updates from Rob's sister in Louisiana as Hurricane Gustav raged through, we decided to get in one last swim at the pool before it closed down for the year. Sad. Surprisingly, I'm not feeling the twinges of fear and doubt and anxiety about the summer ending and the cold weather coming that I have felt in recent years. I really think it's because I've been doing so well on my current med combo. Whatever the reason, I'm glad. It's a bad feeling. To the pool!



The girls were the first to brave the chilly water. It was warm out, but not exceedingly hot, and the water was cool.


Per his M.O., Jack pitched a fit about being carried into the water by Daddy. Oh, well. No good pictures of him swimming! He prefers to sit and kick from the edge. Next year, though, he's in for a rude awakening: I am instituting mandatory swimming lessons for all!


Ah, this is where he's happiest. If you come near him - or even start to turn in his direction - he jumps up and takes off running!



Sophie's not been much for the water lately, either, but she's more willing to be carried about the pool. She does like to get her kick on, though!


Rob gave Chloë a big hand with her swimming... then I put down the camera and joined in. We didn't stay very long, though! Only about an hour. It was shivery cold. Rob commented that it was the first time we left the pool because I was cold. First, though, the kids and I had a good splash in the baby pool.

It felt like a waste. Oh, well. There's always the beach, if we need to get our water fix.

Afterward, we headed to Michael's to use their and A.C. Moore's 50% off coupons. I got an eyelet setting tool and some eyelets! I've been having fun banging them out and finding new uses for them. Lots of fun, that. And I bought some more pretty papers and supplies that I needed.

It was in the check-out line that I noticed Sophia's rash had extended from her cheeks, which had been very ruddy for the previous two days or so, to her arms and legs and probably her torso. Hmm. I was just about to text Rob, who was elsewhere in the store, when he showed up beside me and commented on it himself.  But we put it out of our heads and went to lunch next door at Panera.

They really need to pay me to eat there. Oh, wait, they do! ☻

So we sat down to eat, and I noticed Sophia spitting out a bite of food. Then another, and another. I started to get angry, but then it dawned on me. "Rob!" I said. "Check her throat! She can't swallow!" Sure enough, her little glands were swollen.

Somehow, my kid has found something to be allergic to, and I don't know what. We would guess the sunscreen, or the chlorine in the pool, only her cheeks were all red before that.

Rob jumped up and ran past Michael's, to the Kmart there. He brought back some baby Benadryl and a medicine dropper. The first dose, she just spit right back out at him, and all over herself, refusing to swallow. The second time, he did what we had to do to get them to swallow meds as babies: held her mouth shut and blew in her face. It worked. Medicine down.

And the rash and swelling went away. She didn't want to eat any more lunch there, but she sure chowed in the bananas when we arrived at home! So now I'm not sure what to do about this potentially life-threatening allergy. Do I take her to the doctor, even though there are no current symptoms, and let them do tests? Or wait until the next time, when the reaction could possibly be worse? or hope it was a one-time thing and be glad the Benadryl did its job?

Please, counsel a mother.

The rest of the day passed pretty quietly, as news came in that SIL and BIL were all right and didn't have too much in the way of terrible damage to their house and property. Thank God for that!

I finally made Rob's birthday cake, two days late! I couldn't make it on time because I didn't have enough eggs in the house... anyway, a couple pics:


That darn six would not stay lit, and I ended up just holding up the cake and a match for him to blow out. Only he didn't, and I burned my finger! Stupid is as stupid does.



This is a totally faked picture! The candles were already blown out, but I missed it because of the finger-burning episode. I took care of my finger and then made him re-stage the scene for my camera. Hee!

Oh, and Chloë found a small present I had meant to give her on her actual birthday, so I let her have it as well (too bad she couldn't find the darn caterpillars; they're still MIA!):


Not the Webkinz, just the sailor shirt for it. She got "Clarice" back at Christmastime. She took this picture, and it amuses me that she posed it in front of the litter box! Oh well, at least no cat poop is showing!

Today was relatively quiet. Back to school for the kids, although no sooner did Jack come home from kindy than I got a call from the subtitute nurse on duty, telling me Chloë had vomited up her lunch, had a slight fever, and needed to come home.

I shod the kids and myself, and we rushed right out. Of course, since she was the sub nurse and didn't know me, she asked to see my identification - and rightly so - but I had run out without grabbing my purse. She stared at me for a second, debating what to do, until I told her that everyone in the office knew me and could verify I was her mother. So she left for a few minutes, came back, and told me I was acceptable!

Back at home, it was a battle to get her to lie down and rest. She felt absolutely fine and probably could have handled staying at school the rest of the day. There was no evidence of sickness, no fever (I had felt her at school and she felt cool to me there, too; I should have asked for the method used to take her temperature), and certainly no bellyaching.

So I did what I always do when my kids seem to be okay: I took her word for it and let her play. She decided, later, that she was well enough to go to ballet class, which started today, and so we did. Of course, I forgot to take pictures of her, but for ballet, she still has to wear the same light blue leotard and pink tights that she's worn for the past four years. It kills me that she is starting her FIFTH year of dance lessons already!! How is she old enough for that?! 

Tomorrow she'll start her first Jazz lessons, and Sophia will start Creative Movement, so there will be pictures then, for sure.

Anyway, I'd forgotten my purse, and Jack was hungry. I'd just roused him from his nap with enough time to run downstairs and get right in the car, so I didn't think about bringing along a snack for him and Sophia. We drove all the way home, got my purse, went back, and stopped for a couple chicken nuggets off the dollar menu. We're Dollar Menunaires right now! That staved off the hunger monsters in the backseat, and we arrived back at the dance studio just in time to pick up Curly Girl.

Nothing else newsworthy, so I guess I'll get back to my scrapbooking. Happy four-day wweek!


The Lamest Weekend Ever Continues...

We didn't do much on Sunday, either. Rob took the kids out in my van to Home Depot to get a stabilizing bar thingy for my craft desk, while I slept. And slept.

I had no idea where they were or when they were returning, so I got back to my scrapbooking! I've done a lot of pages this weekend. Not sure I'm loving them, but whatever. It's getting done. I need more inspiration, though.

When they got home and had eaten lunch, we all went upstairs. They kids and Rob wanted naps, and I was going to take a shower and go grocery shopping. Finally, so I could make Rob's birthday cake.  But the bed (and Rob's arms) looked so cozy, I lay down with him "just for a minute." I stayed and napped some more, for hours.

Chloë napped in the bed with us. Every so often, I'd wake just enough to hear a little girl snore. I'd smile to myself and cuddle back to sleep.

Finally, we all arose, and I took that shower and went shopping. Thankfully, I didn't completely kill my back doing it; it's been in a really bad place lately.  The guy behind me at the register bowed to me and said, "You are the master!" when he saw my total keep going down from all the coupons. That felt good, but I still only saved 8%, far below my goal of 12-15% off the total.

The kids are always thrilled to pieces when I come home from the grocery store. It's their favorite thing ever to look and see everything I purchased. They exclaim excitedly over each item: "You got cereal! Oh! you bought bananas! Oh, oh, more fruit snacks!"

We had dinner, and they went to bed. While Rob was showering, I meant to keep scrapping, but after just a page, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the tired. Makes no sense, considering I'd slept half the day away, but I couldn't stay awake.

So I slept some more, while Rob tippy-typed on his computer. Apparently I wouldn't shut up and kept chattering away in my sleep, and he'd answer me and I'd go off some more. Wish I could have heard it!

Eventually I woke up, and here I am, at 0332 on Monday morning. Happy Labor Day, and y'all stay safe down there in hurricane land, y'hear?