Monday, August 31, 2009

First Day

The Whole Gang

My oldest daughter is starting 5th grade; my younger daughter is starting 3rd grade; and my oldest son is starting Kindergarten. My four year old starts preschool next week. And of course, the baby will be home with me.

Today is the first day of school for my 3 oldest kiddos.

Not exactly smooth-sailing so far.

The morning went better than expected; I had lunches packed and everyone got ready ASAP today. (Contrast this with day 98 of school when they will want to sleep late, wait until the last minute to get dressed and I'll be throwing together leftovers for lunches.) Anyway, we got out the door and took our Annual First Day photos. We were heading out through the gate when my oldest realized she had dog poop on the bottom of her shoe. In the interest of time, I told her to change into her Crocs so that we wouldn't miss the bus. But she said she has PE today and needed sneakers.

It's the FIRST DAY of school, how does she KNOW that she has PE? So I asked her and she said she checked the schedule that was posted in her classroom at Sneak A Peek. Well that may be; but I am SURE there are a lot of kids who did NOT check the schedule and they'll be showing up in flip flops, Crocs, etc. so I really don't see the need to wear sneaker on Day 1. ESPECIALLY when they are covered in dog poop. But she was adamant and starting to get upset at the prospect of NOT having sneakers for PE so I went inside and armed myself with a roll of paper towels and a container of Clorox wipes.

Picture this. She's balancing on one leg, trying to lift her other leg so that I get clean the poop off her shoe. I have the baby in one arm and the towels/wipes in the other. And there was a LOT of poop. I was really trying (as hard as one can try when balancing a baby and dog poop) but there was SO MUCH poop. I told her this and said it just wasn't going to get clean enough. So then she sits down and gives me her foot (still in shoe) so I can go at it from a different angle. Still too much poop. Again I suggest that she switches to Crocs, tell her that her foot is going to smell all day and she says she doesn't care. So she gets up and I notice that she has EVEN MORE poop on the bottom of the other shoe! At this point I tell her that I cannot clean both shoes and we are going to miss the bus and she must change into Crocs.

So she does and off we go to the bus stop. Except that no one was there. We missed the bus. On the first day. Because of dog poop.

Now her anxiety kicks into high gear I thought she was anxious at not having sneakers. This was NOTHING compared to missing the bus. She was VERY UPSET that she has missed the bus. As we headed towards home, my neighbor saw us through her kitchen window and realized that we missed the bus (as she was at the bus stop and we weren't) so she offered to take the boys (baby included) while I drove the girls to school. Perfect. I handed over the kids and literally ran down the alley towards home, got us all into the car and started driving towards school.

We had 7 minutes to make it to school "on time". It takes only 2 minutes to get to school so I knew we'd be fine. But my daughter was clearly upset and anxious. I tried to tell her that you are ALLOWED to be late on the first day but this did not help matters. I tried distracting her with conversation but when I looked in the rear view mirror and saw the look on her face, I knew NONE of my strategies were helping. She was pale, had her hand over her mouth and looked like she was on the verge of tears.

Just then a school bus came into view. Not just any bus but OUR bus. The one we just missed. We were LITERALLY right behind the school bus. When I pointed this out, she finally said, "Ok, I am starting to feel better now that I can see the bus." And because there were SO MANY BUSSES all lined up in the bus lane, my girls were actually able to get out of the car and into school before the bus even unloaded.

Thumbs Up for Kindergarten

So as I stated above, my oldest son starts Kindergarten today. Afternoon Kindergarten. Which means we had ANOTHER bus stop to get to later in the day. Even though his bus was not scheduled to come until 12:52PM, he INSISTED that we leave the house at 12:30 because, "I don't want to miss the bus MOM." Can't say as I blame him, I'd be worried too if I were him. So we waited and waited and waited and waited. And finally the bus came and he boldly stepped right up to the bus and got on. And promptly got in trouble for moving towards the back of the bus. The bus driver was shouting at him. Actually, I can't say for sure if it was shouting or if he was just trying to be heard over the noise of the engine but I'm gonna say shouting just because it was my kid and I thought the bus driver could MAYBE have cut him a break seeing as its the FIRST TIME he's been on a school bus. Afterall, there were only about 4 kids on the whole bus and they were ALL Kindergarten kids. If the driver wanted my son to sit towards the front, he should have stated that when the kids starting boarding. My son did not seem phased by this incident so I sighed in relief and all is well. I hope.

I will be collecting the kiddos from the bus stop shortly. We'll celebrate the first day of school with milkshakes. We're starting a new tradition and it's called Milkshake Monday. Each Monday after school we're going to make milkshakes and chat while we drink them. This is my sneaky way of getting my kids to talk to me after school instead of listening to them give me one-word answers or watching them rush through homework so that they can go outside to play with friends. Hopefully they will look forward to our Milkshake Mondays and will get into the habit of chatting with me after school. But just in case they don't, I also plan to institute Fabulous Fridays so that we can review their week over a fabulous dessert or treat or fun activity. One way or another, they are going to talk to me about school. I figured I had better start doing this while they still like me because once they are teenagers, they probably aren't going to talk to me just because I'm making milkshakes for them.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Camping (for real this time)

My boys have been asking to go camping and fishing and the weather cooled off a little bit last week so my husband decided to take the plunge, in spite of his sensitivity to mosquitoes. It was supposed to be a Boys Only trip but my oldest daughter really wanted to go too. There was only room in the tent for 4 people so my younger daughter had to stay home with me. She's wasn't interested in fishing or camping or hiking so she was actually happy to stay home. She was, however, upset to be missing s'mores around the campfire. Problem solved! I bought all the ingredients for s'mores and we made them in the kitchen, roasting the marshmallows over the stove. The ironic part is this: my daughter has a palate expander, thus she cannot eat sticky foods so she had to eat her s'mores without the marshmallow! She didn't seem to mind, but frankly, what's a s'more without the marshmallow?

My younger son's favorite part of the trip was building the fire. (He enjoyed the fishing as well.)

My older son's favorite part was fishing. He's mad to fish! He woke up at 6:30 the next morning for MORE fishing and has asked to go fishing every day since they came home. Unfortunately he did not catch anything but he got a couple nibbles on his line so he was content with his fishing experience.

My husband was a little bit grouchy when they got home and he realized how much work was involved in unpacking (and frustrated at packing it the first time and then unpacking again 24 hours later.) Welcome to my world. I always wonder (while packing for a trip) if the get-away is worth all the work involved. But fun was had by all and they managed to avoid being devoured by mosquitoes so maybe the camping trip will become an annual event?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Baby Update

10 Weeks Old

The baby is now 10 weeks old (although in my mind it is still May, time has been at a stand-still since he was born). He is doing well; his ear infection has cleared and he passed his diagnostic hearing test at CHOP. I have no idea how much he weighs or how tall he is but I'll find out on August 12 when he goes to the pediatrician for a check-up.


My girls are in Pittsburgh this week with my parents. I snapped this photo of the baby with Grammy when she was here on Saturday to pick-up the girls.

Brother Time

Brother Time (or Brudder Time as it is called in our house) is still a very popular activity. The older boys love to spend time with the baby. They don't seem to mind that he can't do much, they enjoy making him smile and take great pride in being able to stop his cries. My 4 year old has discovered that if he sings and plays guitar, he can get the baby to stop crying. It is so sweet to watch . . . and so funny to listen to him make up songs! As you'll see in the photos below, the baby is crying when my son starts singing but after a minute or so (second photo) he has stopped crying.

Maybe I should get myself a guitar!

Crying Baby

Content Baby

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Time to Say Goodbye

I've been dreading writing this post.

We had to put our 14 year old golden retriever, Lady, to sleep today.

We almost put her down last week but postponed at the last minute, thinking she might have some more time left. And she did . . . she lasted another 8 days.

Poor thing was deaf and nearly blind and very arthritic. She's been on arthritis meds for a while now but even they weren't helping. She started tripping and falling and having a hard time going up and down the 3 steps to get in/outside.

And then yesterday she couldn't get up at all. No matter how she tried. My husband had to carry her (all 90 pounds) in/outside so she could pee. And then she just laid there, lame, looking at us. And so we knew it was time.

We feel very fortunate to have had her for such a long time. She came to live with us 9 years ago (at the age of 5.5 years). I thought we'd have her for a couple years . . . but then she lived to be 10 and I started wondering how much longer she'd live. My vet said that anything over 10 years (for such a big dog) is living on "borrowed time" . But good ole Lady made it to 14+ years. She had a good life and was so gentle and loving.

She will be missed.


My oldest with Lady and Emma.

All the kids with Lady on her last day with us. The baby won't remember her so at least we have a picture we can show him.

This is my 4 year old "Loving Lady". He loved to lay on her and cuddle with her. He'd spend 20-30 minutes at a time just lovin' her. And when he was finished, he'd be covered in dog hair and would smell like a dog. So sweet, yet so yucky.