Monday, August 18, 2014

First Day of School

Lunchbox Lunch

It's here! The first day of school is here. Hurray! Lunch packed, new clothes and smiles are on. Time for pictures! Now they're ready for VPK and sixth grade!

Both Kids

Mike rode his bike with Isaac in the morning, but Isaac rode back home on his own. He reported that the day was "Great!" They spent most of their day in homeroom doing icebreakers. Later in the day they went to gym and someone got elbowed in the eye when someone else spiked a beach ball, volleyball style. It was a big to-do and his group had to sit out after that. He must have gleefully recounted that tale ten times. He got to see a lot of his friends and was relieved that they didn't have a rope in the gym. I told him that I think that's just in the movies because I've never seen one. Have any of you been made to climb a rope at gym? One odd thing, he came home completely empty handed not a single solitary piece of paperwork. I bet I get buried in forms tomorrow.

My poor dog always has a rough time on the first day of school, but she wasn't the only one. It wasn't easy for me waiting for 4:00 to hear about Isaac's day. Speaking of waiting, I was anxious to pick up Miss Roo as well! She hadn't batted an eyelash when I dropped her off in the morning. She helped me put all of her things away and then skipped merrily off to the art center. She drew me an amazing alligator swimming over curly seaweed! When I was ready to go she had to be reminded to say goodbye. I did get two goodbye hugs at that point though.

Apple Earrings

When I got home there was a post on Facebook from Riley's teacher from last year who was wearing the apple earrings we gave her in honor of her "original twelve" and wishing them a great first day of VPK. That's when I cried for the first time today. She was the absolute best and we miss her very much. Later in the day she got the flowers I sent her. When she thanked me she said "I promised myself I wouldn't cry today...and then these showed up." So, we're even.

A for Apple Note

When I went to get Riley she was very busy playing. I started packing up her things and heard the teacher tell her twice it was time to go before she looked up. Mrs L had to promise that the toy cash register would be there in the morning before she would agree to leave. Roo was also paperwork-less, she brought home some drawings she'd done that morning though. There was a note on the white board by the door to let us know what they'd done that day. When I asked her how the day went she said "We didn't sing any songs, but we played on the playground!" She also told me she had a new Greek teacher. The preschool's director reported that Roo "was making sure our new Greek teacher knew everything that they learned last year. :)" in an email later that day. Miss Roo told her grandma on the phone that her teachers "were very nice, so nice she could love them."

Isaac Riley

For fun I had the kids fill out these sheets when they got home. I thought they both did a great job. I adore all the enthusiasm. Miss Roo insisted on writing a lot of her answers herself. My favorite Roo responses: Favorite Food: Broccoli, Favorite Subject: Bugs, Activity: Pinball (WHAT?!?) and the best I think...(Roo Wrote) VPK is Awesome.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Summer, Stick A Fork In It

June2014 JUNE

July2014 JULY

August2014 AUGUST

Click any collage to enlarge

Summer Wrap Up Video Questions:
1. What was the most educational thing you did this summer?
2. What was the worst thing about summer vacation?
3. What was the very best thing about summer vacation?
4. What was the best thing you ate?
5. What was the worst thing you ate?
6. What was your favorite activity/project?
7. What was your favorite trip?
8. What did you do that was unexpected?
9. Is there anything you didn't get a chance to do that you wish you had?
10. Are you ready to go back to school?
11. What is the most exciting thing about starting middle school?

**Full Disclosure: We filmed this on the night before school started. It took at least six takes due to Riley's video bombing , the dog, technical issues, etc. So, I apologize before you view it for my sharp tone mid way through I was completely exhausted. Otherwise, enjoy our summer memories!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

So Long, Summer Camp!

Miss Roo

Monday: Dragons

Knight Accessories Armor

Some cardboard, masking tape, a few glittery brads, and sliver spray paint later, Lady Riley! Much thanks to big brother for lending her the sword and shield.

Knight Riley Dragons

The cutest knight in all the land!

Tuesday: Princesses & Pirates

Arr Pirate Fairy

Riley went as Zarina the pirate fairy. I had this costume in the closet for Christmas, but I had to let her have it when I heard they were having a pirate day. Can you blame me? The adorable was off the charts.

Wednesday: Circus, but she stayed home to see Rio 2


Thursday: Superheros!

Cape Pieces

For superhero day we decided Riley should be Princess Presto from Super Why. I re-purposed her Princess Sofia dress and shoes. Riley made me promise not to anything I couldn't undo (I wouldn't have of course). I printed tiny Princess Prestos to cover the Sofias on the dress and shoes. I made some green accents with ribbon and safety pins. I used fabric glue to attach green sequins to her purple star wand. She already had a cardboard Princess Presto crown from a cereal box. Mike drew the Super Why logo on a spare purple curtain to make her cape. It turned into a bigger project than I imagined, but she looked amazing.

Wands Up Princess Presto
Super Reader

Friday: Favorite Character

Princess Belle Carriage

Riley went as Princess Belle. She had a lovely last day.


In order for Riley to continue to continue on to kindergarten at her school she has to be drawn in their lottery. I've know that was the procedure since we enrolled in PreK3. When I got home I had an email informing me that the application process for kindergarten for the 2015/2016 had begun. I was stunned! Needless to say I submitted her application lickety-split. Unfortunately, along with the dose of suspense turning in her application brought there was certainly a dose of reality for me. When did she get so grown up?


Rio 2 Carriage

Wednesday was a big day this week. I kept Riley home from school and we all went to see Rio 2. It was the free kids movie of the summer. I told the kids that had to earn the movie and if they where super listeners we'd get snacks at the movie. My children have never been to the concession stand with their parents before so this was huge. During summer kids movies they have a special deal, the kids get popcorn, fruit snacks and a small drink. The trays have little dinosaurs on them! They felt so special having their own popcorn to season as they pleased. Isaac dumped the nacho cheese seasoning on. I also smuggled in a small candy bar for each of them. As we were leaving the kids were given free Guardian of the Galaxy comic books, it made Isaac's day! After nap that same day I took them out for free root bear floats too.

Week Nine Video Wrap Up

Weekly Wrap Up Questions
1. What did you learn that you didn't know before?
2. What was the worst part of your week?
3. What was the best part of your week?
4. What was your favorite meal?
5. What was the weather mostly like?
6. What was your favorite activity/project?
7. How many books did you read?
8. What were they called?
9. Which book was your favorite?
10. Where are some places you went this week?

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Blogging for Books: Dear Luke, We Need to Talk. Dad Darth

Hello, blog fans! Ready for something new, you say? How about some book reviews? Let's kick things off with a little lightheartedness, shall we?

Dear Luke, We Need to Talk. Dad Darth: And Other Pop Culture Correspondences
By: John Moe

Book Cover

Warning: Do not drink milk while reading! (it'll come right out of your nose and splash the pages/screen)

This book was, as promised, a collection of pop culture correspondences. These lovely notes, letters and memos run the gamut from whimsical to absurd. It features communications to/from Billy Joel, Elton John, Captain Kirk, The Grinch and, of course Darth Vader, among others. I loved NASA's letter to Elton John rejecting from the space program. After all it was inevitable will all the strutting around referring to himself as a "rocket man" and constant complaining about missing home and his wife. I also loved the letter from 30yr old Kevin McCallister, Home Alone, to his now estranged family. The journals of "the professor" explaining the origin of Gilligan's Island as a government experiment is in my top three favorites for sure.

I appreciated how easy this book was to pick up , but put down when I have to do something I'd rather not. Picking it up again always provided a bright spot in my day. I found some parts of the book to be extremely hit-or-miss for me, but such is the nature of pop culture. When a chapter engaged me, which was more often than not, I found myself laughing out loud or demanding the nearest adult stop what they were doing while I read aloud. My least favorite chapters where the rejected Superbowl halftime show ideas. I'm afraid much of those went right over my young little head. Overall, I found this book highly enjoyable. I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good pop culture parody or just needs a good laugh.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Pinkalicious New Cane

I went back to therapy for my last visit and they had no luck finding a cane in my size. I was not surprised. I've spent a lifetime hunting for things in "my size" only to conclude they simply do not exist. The next day I got a call from a local number I didn't recognize and sent it to voice mail, assuming it was something stressful that could wait. When I listened to the message it was the lady from PT explaining that she had found me a cane. I simply needed to go pick it up. She described it as "pinkish purple" and gave the impression she'd paid for it out of her own pocket.

This afternoon I went to pick it up. Low and behold it was the right size!

Cane Profile Front

Test Drive

After I had given it a spin I called and left her a message thanking her. Do you like it? It's not bad looking. Pink wouldn't have been my first choice but I like it. We may spruce it up a bit more actually. It's super light and you know THE CORRECT FREAKING HEIGHT!! On the walk back to my car my sister was using my old crutch and she started complaining about her shoulder! Moving on, my friends. There's still a lot of work to be done on my shoulders to avoid shoulder surgery, but this feels like a good place. I know what's wrong and what I have to do to fix it (even if that's a ton of work).

Modeling Modeling 2

Friday, August 1, 2014

Summer Camp Week 8

Miss Roo

Monday Cuteness Party Girl
Seahorse Over the Shoulder

This week the theme was camping. They set up a tent, they had a campfire (construction & tissue paper), and even made S'mores trail mix on cooking day. Her buddy had a birthday on Monday and his mom brought in balloons and Frozen cupcakes! Each cup cake had a snowflake ring with a different character on top. Roo scored three rings (I assume from some of the boys in class) Elsa, Olaf and one that says Frozen.

This week she did not demand a themed outfit, thank goodness! Speaking of clothes there have been some changes lately. I hate to jinx it, but it seems we're finally leaving the dreaded "dresses only" phase behind us. Don't get me wrong she's still far more of a girly girl than I ever was. She prefers dresses and skirts for school. I just mean it's not a knock down drag out fight to get her into shorts or pants at this point. No more daily discussions about how princesses don't only wear ballgowns, etc. Phew!

Super Writer

Next week is the final week of camp (the kids will have a full week off before school starts). Camp ending means....DRESS UP DAYS!! We adore dress up days. Next week's final wrap up post will be bursting with adorable guaranteed!


Week Eight Video Wrap Up

Weekly Wrap Up Questions
1. What did you learn that you didn't know before?
2. What was the worst part of your week?
3. What was the best part of your week?
4. What was your favorite meal?
5. What was the weather mostly like?
6. What was your favorite activity/project?
7. How many books did you read?
8. What were they called?
9. Which book was your favorite?
10. Where are some places you went this week?

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Moment When You Prepare for a Fight and Then Everyone Agrees With You

House's Cane

I begrudgingly dragged myself back to physical therapy today. Visions of wasted time dancing in my exhausted head. We got off on the wrong foot because all of my co-pays for PT I'd paid each appointment had somehow been applied to my balance at the Ortho. So, frustrating! I made a lump sum payment to the Ortho on Monday and now I have to pay my PT co-pays again?!? Oy! It wouldn't have been so bad if they hadn't acted stunned and confused by it. Add that to my "calls to make before the weekend list."

I have to admit I wasn't my usual gung-ho self at all. My dentist appt the day before went poorly and the saga that has dragged on since January (and I thought was ending yesterday) continues. So depressing. In spite of, the dark cloud over me I was determined to get the most out of this last two appointments. I did my arm bike warm-up while zoning out to some terrible pop music they had playing. I'm a big fan of Pat Benatar when I exercise, but to each their own, I guess.

When the timer went off I prepared to give my PT an earful. I mentioned the billing issue and was told for the second time to call them. Then I brought up what the shoulder doctor had said about committing to these exercises for six months until it heals. The PT seemed a little bummed that we only had today and one more visit (that makes one of us!). I did a little happy dance for no more co-pays in my head. Now he was in for it, I was going to unload about the crutches.

I was sure I'd say that I wanted to get rid of them and he'd argue with me. Have I mentioned I'm wrong a lot? Thank Goodness! He was surprised to hear I had not been a lifelong crutches user (only off and on usually post-surgery). He was also surprised (probably more so) that I don't use them in the house at all. After hearing my "Why are we doing all this if the crutches are going to be perpetually working against us" rant, he agreed!

He asked me to walk without the crutches so he could observe my gait. Then he asked me to walk with one crutch alternating sides so he could see the difference in my gait. Then he said "you should wean off of them as much as possible." He wants me to use one, but be careful to switch sides so I don't aggravate one shoulder. We also discovered my crutches are to tall for me. Shocking, I know. He wants me to find a cane. Unfortunately, the cane they had at PT was still to big even adjusted all the way down.

Ultimately, he wants me rocking the House cane when I need extra stability because (if it's the correct height) it will help with the shoulder issues. I'm down...I think. Normal people are lucky they never have to switch legs like those creepy dolls. People with mobility issues are always switching devices. I often feel resistant in the beginning. It's like driving a rental car you can't get out of, in the beginning. The next challenge is finding a cane that fits me (and I can afford). Fingers crossed!