Friday, August 31, 2007

Man oh Man

Today was one of those days that was quite productive, but one where I really just wanted to take a nap...

I made the boys...the almost blind seven year old as well as his (most likely) blind four year old bothers...eye doctor appointments.

I filed a lawsuit...for the first the Fairfax General Circuit Court.

I spoke to the little boys' teacher - not their preschool teacher but the one from the school district that will guide them through this next year and hopefully get their speech and sensory stuff settled.

I got steroid shots to help "settle" my scars down.

To explain.

Max mentioned a few days ago that he really couldn't see out of his right eye. Nice thing to mention offhand in the car. He has a way of doing that though. We knew from last year's annual exam that he had some trouble, and we probably should have taken him last year, but we are procrastinators. So, he's going in about three weeks. He'll most likely get glasses - can't WAIT to see what he picks out! As for the other two, well, their vision should be just fine, for now. We'll see what the professionals say, but I'd be surprised if either of them needs glasses.

The lawsuit was filed against our old landlord to get our deposit returned. I'll not go into details as the whole story really needs to be told in it's entirely to get the full humor in it, but I will certainly fill in the missing story when it is all settled. The note for now is that even after calling about 10 times and asking all the right questions, I still didn't fill out the paperwork correctly (yeah - a whopping two pages). Fortunately they let me scratch stuff out instead of having to redo the entire thing - Tom had just signed it and had it notarized. So, it's done and we are well on out way to collecting $2300 from a man with no sense at all (or at least no sense of what being a landlord is all about).

The boys' new speech / OT teacher called today. She seems very excited to get to work with them, and we'll get together next week to discuss how to get going and so I can fill her in. She said that most of the services would be provided at school, so life is really about to change. The little guys start school on the 13th, so we are already off on our next adventure.

My scars are hypertrophic - they are super excited about healing and they aren't supposed to be. So, my plastic surgeon offered to inject steroids into the are to "settle" them. Man, sounds like a good deal, but little did I know how painful it would be. The doctor said that it would sting - a lot - and I still agreed to do it. Man was she right! It felt like Lidocaine on top of Lidocaine. It stung going in and was sore shortly after. The good thing was that she was quick and it was over in a matter of minutes. She did need to tell me to slow my breathing. I was trying to take deep breaths and apparently I was hyperventilating myself instead. Oh well, pain does funny things.

And all I really wanted to accomplish today was a nap...

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Are you ready for some FOOTBALL??!!!

NO! NO! NO! I am simply not ready for the season to start. I have too many other things that I wanted to get settled before the season started, before I spend massive amounts of time on the couch, before I lose what little of my vision that I had left to searching for the pigskin as it flies across the screen, and before I leave my hubby for the ENTIRE NCAA and NFL. O.K. - just the football players in the NCAA, not the entire NCAA. Anyway, I create a widower each football season - I neglect my family, the laundry, the cleaning, the feedings, and anything else that gets in the way of my precious football. So, while it's the start of the season, I'm not 100% ready to go. Hopefully I can slide into this season slightly unprepared and enjoy it as much or more than last year. Then again FSU can only go up from here...sigh...can't deny myself the football...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Go South Carolina

For once she isn't from Texas...

Must be from that US America.

Monday, August 27, 2007

More Pictures!

This past weekend was our good friend Sabine's 7th birthday at this very cool pool / water park in Maryland. The kids had a ball and we all had cupcakes (yes, all of us, even those of us who shouldn't have)!




Dade and his Grandma

And some random pics:
New kids' plates and bowls from IKEA: $1 a piece
Hubby who arranges them by color so they look cool: priceless
Kiddo who grabs the bottom one to use for lunch: Let's just say that it's fortunate that he is cute.

Mission: The big slide at the fair. Here they go up the stairs.

They both did it! But look closely at their faces - Sam has a HUGE grin and Ian looks a little apprehensive. Seems the daredevil has his limits!

And my beautiful flowers in the kitchen - pink this week.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Adequate Yearly Progress...

"The Fairfax County school system for the first time failed to meet academic goals under the No Child Left Behind Act, largely because many students with limited English skills struggled on reading tests that were given in response to a federal order, according to school officials and scores released yesterday." -Excerpt from the Washington Post; By Maria Glod and Michael Alison Chandler; Washington Post Staff Writers; Friday, August 24, 2007; Page A01

My child attends a school that did not make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) according to government standards.

My child attends a school that has not made AYP in the past as well.

My child attends a school where 45% of the students are not proficient in English.

My child attends a school where 54% of the students are on free or reduced lunch.

My child attends a school where he is a minority in many ways.

My child attends a school where 42% of the population participates in the English for Speakers of Other Languages Program.

But my child also attend a school where there are children from 40 countries that speak 20 different languages.

My child attends a school where there is true racial diversity - 14% Asian/Pacific Islander, 6% Black, 48% Hispanic, 26% While, and 5% Other.

My child attends a school where there were no serious incidents or firearm violations, and only two fights last year.

My child attend a school that has had more winners of the Fairfax County Teacher of the Year than any other elementary school.

My child attends a school with an outdoor habitat learning lab, a black box theater, a museum in progress, a state of the art communication lab where students produce their own TV shows and videos, a staffed math lab and a staffed science lab.

My child attends a magnet school for the arts and sciences.

My child attends a school that has a foreign language partial immersion program in Spanish.

My child attends a school that offers about 30 before and after school classes ranging from athletics to science to band to arts and crafts. These classes cover thing like photography, healthy eating, drama, basketball, sewing, soccer, science experiments, and many more. These classes are open to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay.

My child attend a school where kids are given a chance to learn, regardless of where they came from or what language they speak.

My child attend a school where he learns.

My child attends a school he loves.

So, my child attends a school that really doesn't leave any child behind, regardless of the adequate yearly progress that we do or do not make.

Friday, August 24, 2007

More Randomness

We hit the mall (for a birthday present for an old friend - Max's old friend and he's only 7!), along with the gym today and aside from one hungry 4 year old meltdown, it was a good day. I did note a few things as went went about our business, so I thought I'd share:

Driving instructors don't have to be good drivers - they only need to pretend to be occassionally. (I saw a driving instructor kareening around a corner, cutting off another car, and almost slamming into a second car.)

Kids reach for descriptive words that sometimes miss the mark. (Ian and Sam both think that Sprite is "spicy.")

Costuming is important - good costuming apparently is tough. (Max thought his cousin Michael was a pirate in High School Musical - the stage production.)

<-This is a pirate, not my nephew.

My children are addicted to Pokemon. (They have renamed all of their stuffed animals Pokemon names. Winnie the Pooh is now Plusle.)

This Pokemon addiction makes it even tougher for me to understand the little men. (The names are things like Plussle, Pahnpy, Evee, Flaaffy, Espion, and the list gets weirder. Can't understand what the heck they are saying until I see the name on paper or someone spells it out. )

Old men can get away with just about anything. (Old men are allowed to get out of their cars in the middle of MOVING traffic on a busy street during rush hour to close their slightly ajar (not open) trunks, without having anyone honk at them. Amazing.)

Max talks about very random things in the car. (Max like Aunt Sue's bedtime stories and wants to hear more. )

I love football. (He he he - I love football and the season is starting.)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

And the rest of the day

So today, after it got off to a late start (might have some iron deficiency issues - gotta get that checked out), was a good one. I took the boys to the pool and we swam for two hours. Then I washed them and we headed to dinner. Funny thing about Google Maps. It isn't always right. I went to a Chili's that supposed to be near the Target that we wanted to hit, yet there was not a Chili's in sight. So, I called the number and the lady said that it used to be the Chili's number but was now hers. Great phone I have - gives me directions to a non-existent Chili's. That's strike TWO for the Google Maps on my phone. Dig the phone, not so excited about the Google errors.

So, we hit the Silver Diner instead. It was freezing in there and the grumpy lady that sat us finally gave in and moved us to a warmer spot. Not a much warmer spot, but warmer non the less. We ate and quickly made our escape before the boys tore the place down. Then, we headed to Target. You know, the cool Target of the cart escalator variety? Well, I was on a mission to fill in the rest of the school supplies and maybe find some pants that fit. Well, we did find most of those supplies, sans those pesky glue sticks. And I did find two pairs of pants....and a pair of shoes. I am bound and determined to get a little bit of style - even asked the girls working there if the pants fit correctly. They were young adults and know a heck more about the style of today than I do, so I figured that I couldn't go wrong. The pants fit PERFECTLY. It's amazing the way it works when the body is properly proportioned...and the pants are the right size. I am swimming in jeans right now - can actually remove mine without unzipping or unbuttoning them. The legs are so baggy that you could fit two other legs in there with my one. So, I found a great pair of pants (and two shirts), and don't have a single pair of shoes to wear with them. So, off to the shoe aisles. After a few sarcastic comments from the boys about what I really needed, we found some cute box toed black shoes that look good on my feet. I've had shoes like this on before and didn't like the way they made my feet look, but that may have been in part because I had to look past these FF's to see my toes. Just kidding - these shoes are nice looking. I also grabbed two shirts on sale for $5 or so that fit nicely as well. I put the pants and the shirt on and voila - STYLE! Hopefully I don't look like a complete dork, but only time will bear that one out.
So, I'm slowly stepping into the 20th century...wait...21st century? Darn - I'm still behind the times. But at least I'll look cute in my new clothes!

A Bedtime Song

Lela posted this lovely song on her blog and I just had to share here. It is so our family, down to the cat. Thanks Lela! supplies

I'll start off by saying that this is the third year that we've had to buy school supplies, and you'd think by now that I would have it all down, but I don't. I even went EARLY this year to get Max's stuff - school doesn't start here until after Labor Day - Sept. 4 to be exact. That's TWO WHOLE WEEKS by my count - amazingly early for us. None of that OH MY GOSH TOMORROW is THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL AND MAX HAS NO SUPPLIES for us, no sir. Well, sort of.

Max has to buy TWO sets of school supplies because he's an immersion student. For some reason these kids use two times the supplies that they would otherwise use, even though they are spending half the time in each class as the other kids. Weird elementary school immersion program math I guess. Regardless, it's not a big chunk of change, and it's all community property, so I don't mind purchasing the stuff.

So, we printed out the list and headed off to Staples. I had already tried to get the items from and from Peapod, but neither had enough of the stuff to make it worthwhile, and we didn't need enough groceries at the time to have Peapod come. Of course as we are driving to Staples the boys decide to start spitting out all the things that we need at the grocery store and we do indeed have enough, but we were already on the way. Anyway, off to Staples for all the supplies.

You would think that two weeks before school starts at an office supply store is a safe place to get all of your supplies. I can believe that the local grocery store is cleaned out the night before school starts, but it's two weeks early and Staples in in the business of providing school supplies. Heck, they've even done this at this particular store for years. But do we find all the things on our list? No. The shelves are empty and the cute little displays are picked over - two weeks before school starts.

Glue Sticks. The space for the big glue sticks (Elmer's brand, of course) is there. Big glue sticks? Have these people never used one before? Who in their right mind would give a second grader a big glue stick. The little ones are so much better - they dry up and you just replace them, but the big ones are three times the size. So when a kiddo leaves the cap off you've lost the equivalent of three of those little glue sticks. Regardless, they were out.

Elmer's Glue. Yeah, good old Elmer's glue. But the school doesn't want the cute little 4 oz size - guess the kids waste waaaaay too much for that. They want the bigger 8 oz size. Does Staples carry the 8 oz? Yes! Is it in stock? No! They only had room on the shelf for maybe 10 bottles or so, so they had obviously not consulted the local district when they made their lists to see which size they would require. So no glue for us. (I should mention that our next stop was Home Depot and they have plenty of the larger size glue there.)

Kids scissors. Yes - a great invention. What kid doesn't like cutting stuff up? But they don't want just any scissors - they want Fiskars. Don't they know that it took me about three months in Texas to get my hands on a pair of these? Don't they know that Staples doesn't carry them? Not sure exactly where to get these, so I opted to get another type hoping that the community pile didn't doom Max to a year of using a pair of not-quite-Fiskar's scissors. Go community tool pile.

Erasers. The staples of school life. We even watched a How It's Made on these a few weeks ago - very cool show if you haven't seen it before. Those little pink erasers were on the list when I was a kid, and you'd think that Staples would have a bajillion of them in stock. It's not like you can over order these things, and again, not a big surprise that they are on the list. Shame on you Staples for missing this one. We are eraserless as of this post.

Tissues. Now, it was along shot, but Staples actually had a space for the kind that we wanted. Amazing, but out of stock. Not a big deal as I wasn't counting on them being there.

The rest of the stuff we got - markers, crayons, hand soap, hand sanitizer (they actually did have this - wrong brand, but hey - it's the same basic stuff), and a few odds and ends. We walked out with a whopping $17 bill. Not quite the $55 that the school was going to charge us for the school supply packs, but we're only half way down our list.
So, tomorrow we're off to Target to get the stuff listed above, plus the tissues, and Ziplock bags, and whatever else is on that list. Not sure what they are used for, but the school wants all three sizes from the immersion kids. Who knew that they go through so many in one school year. Anyway, it's still two full weeks before school starts and I am apparently the last one in the district to buy school supplies. Next year it's back to the night before school, but it will be for three instead of two, so I might need to start this whole process in the early spring as it apparently takes this long to gather all the lovely items on the list...

And one last thing. Staples, you let us down. Yo are all about your easy button, and here I was list in hand facing many many empty shelves two weeks before school starts. Shame on you for not supporting my attempt at being a responsible parent. And man, in this case maybe procrastination does pay off...nah...I'll just start earlier next year.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I am Paper

Just saw this over on Angry Pregnant Lawyers's Blog. It's pretty short, and funny, so tell me...are you the scissor sneaking up on me?

You Are Paper

Crafty and creative, you are able to adapt freely to almost any situation.
People tend to underestimate you, unless they've truly seen what you are capable of.
Deep down, you're always scheming and thinking up new plans. Your mind is constantly active.
You are quite capable of anything you dream of. You can always figure out a way to get what you want.

You can wrap a rock person up in your sheet of trickery.

A scissor person can sneak up and cut you to pieces.

When you fight: No one can anticipate your next move

If someone makes you mad: You'll attack them mercilessly when they're unprepared

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Swimming Lessons

This summer the boys took swimming lessons at our gym. All three thoroughly enjoyed it, and while Sam is still a bit hesitant, all three made great strides. Max is swimming by himself - quite a way across the big pool. He can swim under water some too - that's his new thing after seeing his cousins doing it. He loves doing the cannonball and slipping down the slide. He's gotten a big dose of courage from teh lessons, and continues to make progress. Sam is making steps, albeit baby steps. He is now jumping in with some assistnace, or into shallower water all by himself. He gets so excited when he "sticks his head in the water," when all he actually does is put the very tip top of his head in (face down but he keeps that part dry). He's still getting more comfortable in the water each and every day. I guess this is one sport that Sam won't be the master of anytime soon (he's a natural athlete). Ian on the other hand, is in hog ehaven int eh pool. He's trying desperately to swim - face in the water and everything. But, he tips his head up too far and his butt sinks. He'll get it very soon though as we swim about two times a week and he's fearless. He is so fearless that he will jump in water over his head if you aren't watching. Kind of scary, but encouraging that he's found something that he loves that is exercise!

So, the lessons are over for now - maybe more in the Fall as the boys are already asking - but here are some pictures!
(Well, pictures to come tomorrow - blogger is misbehaving!)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Toning Up

I really enjoy exercising. I know, it sounds crazy, but I get lots of energy from it, I feel better, and I sleep better at night when I exercise regularly. I am certainly toning up but have run across a big downside. Well, not really big, and not terribly noticeable to anyone but me (probably not even Tom notices!). But, I never would have expected this to show up. When you tighten up your muscles, your fat jiggles more, and jiggles by itself as your muscles are more toned. Bummer...but it's true...

So I am toning and am slowly getting rid of the jiggly fat, but man, oh man this part isn't fun. All those jiggly parts - the parts that you don't ever want to own up to, are making themselves known because they are suddenly on their own. I guess that it's nice because I can see muscle definition, but before the muscles were defined, the fat and the muscles moved together as one and no one, not even me, seemed to notice. Good thing that no one else knows, but I had to share this in case you ever decide to tone...

In case you were wondering I'm healing up nicely and have been back at the gym for a few months now. However, my core muscles, those that help you stand up, balance, and do just about everything are still in terrible shape. After the little guys were born the abdominals never quite came back together, so those were sewn back together in April. While I can walk without falling over and can lift heavy objects, my balance on one foot and my ability to keep myself upright on one foot when fatigued is non-existent. It's pretty funny to see me doing balance things at the gym. I think my trainer gave me a bunch of those exercises to provide entertainment for others working out while I am exercising. They sure do get their money's worth watching me attempt NOT to fall over! So, slowly but surely I'm getting stronger and hope to get back on the skateboard soon - but that takes a LOT of balance, and I'm not sure I have it just yet.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Back FIll

So I am a bit behind on my posting due to all of our travel and have started filling in the stuff I've missed and changing the dates as I create the posts. So, periodically a post will pop up that is dated a few days before today (or tomorrow, etc.) I have a bunch to share and want to keep it semi-organized, and this is the only way to do. So, keep your eyes out for more stuff coming soon - from a week or so ago!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

On Turning 35

I guess this is a milestone. Every birthday is, but this one has a nice round number - 35. Looking back it's been a great 35 years overall - a few bumps along the way but I can't complain much. I have a great family, enjoy my job, have great friends, and have a pretty positive outlook on things. So, what more could I need? Dare you ask? CAKE! Tom, the smart ass that he is, put 35 candles on the cake. It was amazing that we didn't set the smoke alarm off - we have for lesser things...but it was well worth it. I got to eat cake on my birthday, and today, there was nothing better.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Driving through the mountains

I am in love with Ohio and West Virginia. Not sure that we could live there any time soon, but if I could pick any place to move, I might just choose one of those states. On the way out to Illinois, I slept through WV, but thought that Ohio was fantastic. It was country, but had big city elements; was open and green, but was populous enough to have all the services that you'd want. On the way back I saw it all - in all of it's mountainous splendor. It was, in summary, a place we'd like to live. If it were only a bit closer to the DC area...

So we drove to Illinois to see Tom's family and celebrate Great Grandpa's 80th birthday. The rents came to DC and the Florida kids were dropped off here by their mom, so we all roadtripped together in two vans. The kdis loved it - got to trade places and ride with Grammy and Grandpa, etc. Total mayhem. While we were in Illinois, we also celebrated Grammy's, Max's, mine, and Emily birthdays's. It was hot (not Texas hot but close), but we all had a great time. The kids got to play with their Florida cousins, they all got to ride a horse, they got to splash in the pool, and we all got to eat cake! A great trip all around.

We did see a few odd things on our trip, as well as the regular trip stuff:

Tom wanted to cut the glare so I suggested that he hide under this. He did long enough for me to snap a pic, and then he decided that he looked too much like a dork to keep doing this (even though he could see the screen perfectly. Silly man.)

Ian's headphones kept sliding down and falling off, so we adjusted them up as far as possible and added these socks, and he was good to go!

And it's not my worst nightmare, but the boys wanted pics in these chairs:

They'll learn soon enough that this isn't UT orange...or Garnet and Gold...

The boys enjoyed learning checkers outside of Cracker Barrel in Ohio. They were so excited, and actually "getting it," so we let them finish the game. It was speed checkers at the end, but Sam, teamed with Mom and Ian, played against Max.

We saw this truck in our detour through West Virginia (we wnadered off the highway in search of hte elusive Chick Fil A). If you can't read this (it's a phone picture so I don't expect you to be able to) it says: "Happiness is a good dump," and written upside down right below: "If you can read this roll me over."

I'm just going to add the smilebox's here, so feel free to peek at our trip!

Fun in the Sun Aug 2007
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IL Birthday Party Aug 07
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Illinois 2 Aug 2007
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IL Pool Time Aug 2007
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IL Horse Adv. Aug 2007
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