Saturday, October 31, 2009

With a police escort and the high school band . . .

. . . K-'s elementary school Halloween Parade was a success. The rain clouds were looming. The crowds were large. We had about a mile to walk with 550 kids. We made it, though. We had a fantastic time. What a neat thing to do with the kids!

Smiles in my day:
- The parade with K-!
- Lifting the H1N1 quarantine for K- to visit my soon-to-be 92 year old grandmother. Apparently, my aunt and grandmother really missed us!
- I ordered our Christmas photo cards tonight. By going through My Points, I had free shipping and I had previously earned a free 11 x 14 poster with Snapfish. I ended up saving $14.97 and now I have the lily print ordered to put on the not-yet-painted kitchen wall! My husband was very glad. The Christmas card photo this year was a little more painful than it should have been. I was a woman on a mission. Sorry, honey.
- It warmed to 70 F later in the day and at 10:45 PM, I still have the bedroom window open! Those days will be gone soon. We're enjoying them while we can.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, October 30, 2009

The characters of our Halloween

K-'s pumpkin. She hollowed it out herself, with help only to open it up and later remove some strings. She carved and carved. We have Hubs' pumpkin on top and mine below. Hubs had to work late, so I was kind and hollowed his pumpkin out for him. I really don't like cleaning pumpkins. My pumpkin is the non-traditional one. You would have never guessed it, right? My other non-traditional pumpkin. I just don't have it in me to do the triangle thing that Hubs did. They all look nice, regardless of the shapes cut into them. I forgot to get little tealight candles, so right now we are lit with some lovely beeswax votives that my mom bought me many moons ago. The yearly photo. Hubs and K- trick or treating in my parents neighborhood. See that costume? My friend Laurie made it with me when K- was 2. We made it extra long figuring that she could wear it a couple of times, but I never thought that we would get one more stab at the re-run. I admit that K- was supposed to be Padme', but it just didn't pan out. She was cool with the butterfly though. She likes flying around in it. Opening up the goodie bag from Nana and Grandpa Big House. (AKA my parents. Hubs' parents live in a condo. Mine live in an old farm house. K- has been calling them that for years and it stuck. What does she call Hubs' mom? Nana Cheese. Nana's daily snack of cheese for K- earned her the nickname.) And away she goes. (You can see her coat peeking out from under the cape. It is a bonus to the cape, though. It is warm, but she can wear it over a thick winter coat and no one knows!) One more trick-or-treat. We have our neighborhood trick-or-treat on Saturday evening, but wouldn't you know, it is supposed to rain! We'll still go. We have rain gear.

Smiles in my day:
- Being able to trick-or-treat in my old neighborhood with Hubs and K-.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

At least I brought a hot lunch.

My morning started with my thunking myself in the forehead. Why? Because I locked myself out. I know how I did it. When I walk K- to school, I take my keys and cell phone with me. When I came in, I tossed my keys onto the kitchen table, as opposed to latching them onto my purse. I put my coat on, meant to put the keys into my pocket, scooped up my lunch, grabbed my camera and purse and out the door I went, checking the lock before I pulled it shut. I got out the door, gave my pocket a pat and it was flat. Drat. (Totally didn't meant to do that, but the rhyming was fun!)

I remembered that Hubs made a point of telling us this weekend that he had stowed a key away outside in case the neighbor had lost his. I knew where he said he put it, but it didn't appear accessible. I tried him on his cell. He didn't answer. I tried his work number. It was busy, but finally I got through. I got his boss, who had to call Hubs away from teaching so that he could tell me that the key he stowed away was his personal house key and that he TOOK IT BACK! Ugh! And, since Hubs was teaching a class, he couldn't get away.

Add to the locked out stress by knowing that I forgot to transfer my extra car key over to my new purse that I started using a few months ago. I was locked out and had no way to get anywhere other than on foot.

At least I had my cell.

I called work to tell them that I would be late. I called my friend Heather and asked if she would take me to work. She said that she'd be right there. I called my mother-in-law and asked if she or my father-in-law could pick me up from work and drive K- and me back home. She said that would be fine. Then, since Hubs had to work late, I called the neighbor to ask if he would be home on time. He has an extra house key, so that would save Hubs a trip out and back. He said that he wasn't working late, but bless his heart. I think that he was up in a telephone pole somewhere very near an operational train. I always call him at the worst times!

So, it all worked out and we ended up home. My mother-in-law remembered that she had a key to our house, so she sent my father-in-law along with that. We were able to get in without the neighbor. Hubs went and got TWO! copies of the house key and a little jibbit to keep it in. Apparently, we will be placing the jibbit in its super secret home tomorrow.

Let's just hope that I remember my keys until then.

Smiles in my day:
- Getting the tasks that I've "contractually obligated" myself to done. In other words, I have a calendar that I keep to when doing the Christmas decorating at work. It allows my boss to know what I'm doing and where. It keeps my upstairs organizer up-to-date on what my next pile o' needs will be. It lets my coworker in crime, Julia, know where to expect to be tripping over me next. It also keeps my sanity intact. If I can keep to what I have listed on that calendar, I'm good.
- Carving pumpkins. K- gutted her own. She needed help with the strings and some continual emotional support as she was telling me, "Mommy, this is gross! Ewww! I need you to do this for me! Mom! Can you do this, please?" I told her that I had 3 to do and she only had one. She ended up bucking up and doing a good job. She even carved it herself and did a bang-up job! (Yes, I'll post pictures, but I was too lazy today.)
- Heather being happy to take me to work and reminding me of the mouse story. It's one I have to share. One night, my phone rings and it is someone screaming on the phone. Finally, I figure out that it is Heather, though I have no idea what is going on. Between screams, I'm able to figure out that she had a mouse on the loose in her kitchen. Her husband was at a basketball game and wouldn't be home for another few hours. She said she had a trap. I told her to put it out. 15 minutes later, the phone rings. It is Heather. She is yelling into the phone again. This time, the mouse took the bait and was stuck to the trap. I told her to take it out. She said no way, no how. I told her to put something over it. She said that she put a bucket on top, but it was scratching against the side. Then I said, "Heather, do I need to come over there?" "Could you?" So, I drove on over half laughing all the way because clearly this was my husband's territory but if I left Heather with this mouse in her kitchen for a few hours, she'd probably have a nervous breakdown or at the very least, wake the kids with all the yelling. I came in, assessed the situation, grabbed a hunk of cardboard, slid it under the trap while keeping the bucket on top and went walking across the kitchen before Heather even realized that her floor was free of mouse. "Where do you want it?" She points, "Way over there! There is a gopher hole and I want you to push it into it. They'll like a mouse." That's what I did and apparently, the offending critter was gone from the trap before Ryan got home. When I got home the next evening, there was a gorgeous gift basket waiting for me. Heather and Ryan paid me for extermination with bath lovelies. As for me driving me to work? I'll pay Heather in brownies. The girl has a love for chocolate like me.

Have a nice night!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday: Reversible Foam Mat Flooring

I can't tell you how much in love we are with the Util-a-Mat Reversible foam flooring that we bought a year and a half ago. As you can see in the photo, it is drying after having been freshly mopped. The cat has coughed up hairballs, decided to do the drag-butt pattern (out of disobedience and laziness, not from impacted glands), K- has lost control of her water colors, sidewalk chalk (no, we don't encourage sidewalk chalk drawing on the mat) and Play Doh, and it all cleans up like a dream.

A bonus to the flooring is that K- can play in the basement in the winter, but the flooring remains warm. Since we live in NE Ohio, it has a habit of getting very cold here in the winter. Concrete flooring in basements gets very cold.

The surface has a raised diamond pattern, but we don't find that it causes any problem. K- regularly sets her Polly Pockets or Barbies up in their habitats and has no problem. She also sets her little indoor trampoline up on it and bounces away. The trampoline doesn't slide and another bonus to the mat material is that if K- bounces off, the landing material is far softer than concrete.

The flooring has two sides. It can be the color mat side or just plain black. Hubs has a separate pack that he uses under his guitar equipment to keep it from sitting on the cold floor.

So, how much is the flooring? To do the basement area that we have there, we used three packages. At the time that we purchased it, it was about $20.00 per pack at Sam's Club. We've tried having carpeting in the basement, but between the cat and a washer leak we had once, we had to throw it away. We're fine with that. Why? Because it works for us.

Smiles in my day:
- My boss being tickled at the Funky Monkey tree that I'm busy doing. And yes Rachael, Hannah has been on my mind as I've worked on it. I'll send photos along. I believe it would be Hannah approved.
- My friend stopping in this morning and was okay with having to follow me as I did my morning chores.
- The thank you note that my brother Billy left for me in the mailbox. To those of you not in the know, my brother is just a month or so out of drying out from a relapse in drug addiction. Happily, this is the best that he has been since he was a kid. He has had to make a lot of hard choices. These are choices in a positive direction for him and once again he is in constant contact with family, by his own choice.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tales from the Trenches: Antibiotic Aftermath

After Omnicef, K- is going to be needing a good liquoring up with probiotics. Girlfriend is experiencing the digestive effects of a really strong antibiotic.

On the bright side, she appears to be better and her cough is only intermittent now (though she just belted one out as I wrote this.)

Since Omnicef is an antibiotic that K- had never taken before, I decided that it would be a good idea to travel with the drug info sheet that comes from the pharmacy.

Can I tell you how glad that I did that? Why? Because K-'s output went red. I think I gasped. I didn't want to freak her out, but having had a grandmother die of colon cancer and well, red just isn't supposed to come out of that hole, I got her all straightened around, ran to our suitcase and prayed that "red" matter could happen while taking the medicine. It can.

Another charming portion is the repeated need for dispensing such matter in the proper reciprocal. At American Girl, it happened 3 times in the hour we were at lunch. On our third trip, the line ended up long with just two stalls (AG people, what are you thinking? I know you don't make any money on the square footage of bathroom space available, but truly, you are making more than enough every where else.) K- was jumping up and down announcing, "Mommy, I don't think that I can make it." The ladies were looking at me like I had a third eye. Folks, I had to do it. I pulled the card. I said, "Ladies, I'm so sorry, but my daughter was a probable Swine Flu case about a week and a half ago, ended up with the resulting pneumonia and is on a very strong antibiotic. She's experiencing some antibiotic aftermath right now." Magically, the lady who was the next to go told me, "Oh, please let her go ahead of me." We thanked and thanked. And, K- wouldn't have made it through the line. I was so desperate that I was considering the mens room.

So, Monday morning, K- was just not herself. She wasn't really eating anything and she didn't want to take Sparkle, her galloping to school hobby horse, with us. I was worried. I thought she was getting sick again. Thankfully, that wasn't the case. Girlfriend's eyes were turning from a lovely shade of green to red. My goodness, we were almost late to school. We had to abandon walking and opt to hop in the car and do a doorway drop off.

Hubs and I talked as K- was contemplating world peace and other pressing matters while in the bathroom and we decided that I should write a note to the teacher letting her know that K- was experiencing a need to use the restroom a bit more than usual. Thank goodness that I did. K- said that she went another three times while at school.

Folks, by the end of this antibiotic, she'll have no intestinal flora left! I'm going to remedy that, though. I plan on stopping by the health food store and buying some probiotic supplements. We used them with her as a baby (Nature's Way) and we're going to start rocking them with her now for a while.

Smiles in my day:
- Getting the first Christmas tree started at work. It took a little while to get myself rolling. I'll be taking pictures of the trees as I go along and I'll be using those with my "Home Tour" pictures this year.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Birthday Party: American Girl Place, Chicago

The lovely cake. Chocolate and vanilla. My daughter patiently waiting for lunch. She was so hungry, that I was feeding her mints. K- and her cousin A- were dressed alike, as were their dolls. Aunt Kristin and Uncle Tom gave K- the matching outfit as a birthday gift. K-'s birthday is in December and often, Aunt Kristin and Uncle Tom don't get the pleasure of being able to watch K- open it. This time, not only could they see the opening, but also the wearing. By the way, people thought that K- and A- were twins. A display right outside of the cafe holding area.
The Hancock Building.
95 floors up, you get to see this out the window. Not too shabby, since I had to use the zoom with no flash while we were standing in the waiting area of the observation area restaurant. No, we didn't eat there. It was pretty, though.

We started out on the road at about 3 PM on Friday. Hubs worked 1/2 day, but the school was late in arriving, the program was even later starting because of the little tiny bladders needing to dispense upon arrival, K- was in school and I was busy packing, packing, packing as I didn't do it the night before because I was busy making party necklaces for the next day. (At least I didn't do them on the drive like the church secretary suggested.) We need to take the air mattress, cot for K- and sleeping bags, as well as all the clothing, gift, doll and her trunk.

You'd be glad to know that we crammed the 5 1/2 hour drive into 7 1/2 hours. Sweet Pete! I'm happy to announce that the Chicago Skyway is passable at 9:30 PM with little traffic. At least, that was our experience. By the time we arrived, unloaded, set up sleeping quarters and the girls got to hang out, we remembered to add an hour onto their Central Time, we discovered that K- was tucking into bed at 11:30 PM. Eeeee-ghad!

We had a nice time at the party. American Girl is very efficient in how they run things. You are in and out in an hour. They greet you with warm cinnamon rolls, followed by appetizers of fruit, fresh veggies and pretzel/cheddar balls. You order your food. It is up lickety-split. It is good food and not crappity crap. The cake comes out. You do the singing and the candles, it comes back out cut with a little plastic flower pot filled with ice cream then voila! You are done. You leave with a little gift bag and you are spit back out into the store where they are hoping that you will continue to keep their store recession-effect free.

With the amount of merchandise flying from the shelves on Saturday, you would think that they were giving things away. I had already had the talk with K- in the car on the way to Chicago that we would NOT be buying anything. I told her that Miss Nora helped us to get her a lovely dog (Coconut, but re-named Cutie) and that she was permitted to touch things, but that we weren't buying anything.

She didn't ask for a thing. I was so proud!

Uncle Tom took us on over to the Hancock building to look out. The birthday girl wanted to do that, but discovered that the cold she was suffering from rendered her without her sense of hearing once we reached the top. We stayed just a brief time, then got her back down to solid, asphalt and concrete covered land.

Tom was kind enough to drop Hubs off at the Field Museum so that he could look around while we were doing the girl thing. Hubs was able to spend 4 hours in the museum and said that he still didn't see all of it. Folks, he was in love. I am so glad that he got to do that!

After the party, we returned back to Kristin and Tom's to find that the birthday girl's godfather had arrived. We took K- downstairs, had her change and had her take a nap. While she was napping and they were opening godfather gifts, Hubs and I escaped. We walked to the thrift store in their neighborhood, but found nothing. Then, we walked to the candy store around the corner from Tom and Kristin's house. We bought a few things, then headed down to Whole Foods. We always walk down there when we are in town. We wished that we had one here. How we love, love, love that store. We got some snackin' things, the homemade tortilla chips that MIL wanted and headed on back. K- was up and playing with the girls. Tom made dinner for all of us, which was great. We bathed and settled into bed.

This AM, we left by 10:15 EST. We stopped in at Bass Pro Shops in Toledo. Hubs gave me a Christmas shopping list to tackle. As soon as I got it done and the merchandise in the car, Hubs called to tell me that K- puked. (What would a trip to Chicago be without puke?!) I ran up, checked on K-, ran back out to the car for clean clothes, back up again to retrieve K- to take to the bathroom to clean up, and then out to the main aisles for K- to have fun with their rodeo weekend. So, why did my kid puke this time? She drank the equivalent of a can of soda (or better) in less than 5 minutes. Probably no breaths. Very cold. She doesn't drink pop, but by sips when she is sick. She suffers from reflux and gluttony. Don't worry about her, though. She is fine. But she has learned. I explained that drinking that much water is quite different from drinking that much pop. I told her that all the bubbles kind of collected together, they probably just wanted her to burp, but she got more than that. The in-law's apologized. They said that they tried to feed her, but she just wanted soda and they gave it to her as a rare treat kind of thing. Like the chocolate milk incident, I'm sure that they'll rethink that next time they consider soda.

So, I'm here this evening. I'm tired. I read the update on Dawn. I read the update on Michelle's dad. Both situations aren't ideal by any stretch. Please continue to keep these folks in your prayers. Thank you for doing that for my blogoversary (and all the time for the regular checkers!) I have a heart for prayer. I just find that even when things seem so funky, I can always pray for someone. I may not be able to find the right words to say to them, but I've got the words to God covered for them.

Smiles in my weekend:
- To Chicago and back safely.
- K- having a nice time playing with her cousins.
- Hubs is done for Christmas. (Thank you Hubs and nice sales person at Bass Pro that took my list and just kept handing me things.)
- Hubs stayed $5.05 under budget. That's enough to throw a few little things into a stocking. (K- filled it last year with things that she chose, so I'll probably do that same thing with her this year. He'll get an odd assortment of things, but she has fun with it. I give her a limit to stay within, so she's pretty good with it, too.)