Monday, December 22, 2008

Another day

Today marks day 4 of no school - even though there should be! They have already cancelled school for tomorrow. Now we will have 5 more days to make up...and we're already making up days due to the beginning of the year teacher's strike. Let me give you a quick recap of the last week.

Wednesday: School was closed in "anticipation of the impending storm", which did not happen on Wednesday. Granted Wednesday was only a half day, but I still hadn't planned on a day o'kids (and I had to call in 'absent' to work).

Thursday: We woke to snow. Mason was scheduled for surgery, so that meant numerous calls to Children's; last minute planning; and leaving as soon as we were given the "come now" call.

Friday: Came home from Children's in the snow. Played in the snow.

Saturday: More of the same.

Sunday: More of the same.
Monday: More of the same - as we woke to 4 more inches. Luckily, I was scheduled to work & the office had "adverse condition hours". This meant we were open from 10-3:30. So, I had Mark take me to the Factoria office so I could work there. Hallelujah! He picked me up at 1:30 as I had a 2:00 appointment with a hand specialist to evaluate "a tumor". It's some sort of "mass" on my left hand. Tonight Mason spilled his juice all over the kitchen floor. That required major mopping and cleaning. I guess I should be thankful for that, as the floors are disgusting - courtesy of the snow!

Tuesday: So, tomorrow, the excitement will Then an MRI of "the tumor". But, at least it gets me away from everyone for awhile.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Oh the weather outside...

is frightful, but the fire is so delightful. And, since we've no place to go...DON'T SAY IT! It's been cold and snowy for over a week now. Last Monday was Grandpa's memorial service. We stood outside (undercover) at the cemetary in well-below-freezing temperatures with snow on the ground. The only day the snow decreased was on Wednesday when schools were closed "in anticipation of the impending storm" (THAT WASN'T).

But, the storm came on Thursday. It's been snowing on and off since then. Luckily, the 70+ MPH wind they forecasted did not come. So, thankfully we have power. I LOVE the snow. I truly do! It is beautiful. But, I much prefer "building" snow, not just dry snow. By my measurements, we've had 11 inches of snow - I measured tonight! Our little lights which are on stakes to line the driveway are completely covered. And, the news is calling for 3-6 more inches of snow.

Thanks to an SUV and paved roads in Bellevue, we have made it out and about. Today we went to my parent's for lunch and to see the cousins. After lunch, it was back home since it was snowing again. We were supposed to celebrate Grandma's 85th birthday today, but due to the weather, the restaurant cancelled.

The kids LOVE the snow almost as much as I do. And, Maggie, the dog loves it even more! So, tomorrow, there is no school AGAIN. Which means, (I assume) we'll need to make up at least 4-5 more days of school somewhere. Oh well.

In September when the schools were on strike, I made TONS of raspberry freezer jam to give to friends, family, and teachers (p.s. friends, if you are reading this...yes you're getting freezer jam). A few weeks ago I purchased the gift bags. Last week I cut out fabric and covered the lids. While Mason was having surgery on Thursday, I made gift tags. So, in all the snow, I learned a lesson. The lesson is this: If I get ALL the teacher Christmas gifts (a.k.a. holiday gifts) prepared in advance there won't be snow! Hmmmm, I'll have to think about that for next year.

The other lesson, is that Maggie CAN indeed stay inside by herself and not destroy or urinate all over everything - even if we're gone for a few hours!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Are you kidding me?!

Email I received from Lauren's school this morning: School has been cancelled today (Wednesday, 12/17) because of the impending storm.

From the school district website: Bellevue Schools are closed today, December 17, because of uncertain weather forecast and safety concerns for students and staff.

If you've lived in Washington for more than a few days, there is one fact we know for certain. Weather forecasters are wrong! Now, I'm not saying the "big storm" may not come today. But, I am saying that historically, the forecasters are wrong. Take yesterday for example. We were supposed to get 2-6 inches overnight. As I look outside, we have no more snow today than we did yesterday. Roads are still fine. Take earlier in the week, they forecasted our high in Bellevue would not be above 22. Well, it was.

But, the "thoughtful" school district decides to close school (on a half-day no less) just in case it does snow. Hmmm. If it does snow later today, that would most likely mean school will be closed on Thursday too. So, why not on Friday also? WHY in the world would administration decide to close school IN CASE of a storm? I understand kids safety, transportation, and all the rest. But, truly to close on the chance that there will be snow? Perhaps they should invoke a rule where kids cannot attend IF they might become ill during school hours too!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Don't you go dying on me

(picture from 9/08)To quote one of my favorite lines from the movie Dumb and Dumber...."Seniore citizens, although slow and dangerous behing the wheel, can still serve a purpose....Don't you go dying on me".

Yesterday, Good Grandpa did just that. He passed away at 2:30pm on Friday at Evergreen Hospice. He'd been in un-perfect health for a LONG time. He just kept plugging away. He'd been through a quadruple bypass; stents; fainting episodes, a hijacking attempt at Seatac in the '80's. And the list goes on. Ever since Mark & I started dating 1600 years ago (oh, I mean 16), it has always been Grandpa's last Christmas. We've truly joked about that every year. Each year Grandpa was with us, we were very blessed. He made it to both my sister's and my wedding. He was able to meet Lauren, Mason, and both my sister's children. That in and of itself was a HUGE blessing.

On November 14 Grandma awoke and Grandpa seemed unresponsive. 9-1-1 was called and they transported him to Evergreen Hospital. Within a few hours he was transferred to the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit. I arrived mid-day and met Grandma and Dad there. Grandpa was weak, but despite his dementia, he was "with it" enough to make jokes and knew who we all were. His vital signs were crummy (heart rate and blood pressure were very low). He was transferred later to the medical floor. They decided to change some of his medication to hopefully improve his vitals. He was discharged the next week with a catheter to home. The doctors and social work decided to have hospice come to their home and expected he had about 3-6 months left on earth. He spent Thanksgiving at home with Grandma and Uncle Fred & Aunt Faith. He even ate a good dinner. The next day however he was not doing well. The hospice nurse decided to have him transferred to Evergreen Hospice near the hospital. Quickly his condition deteriorated. Within a few days he was no longer opening his eyes, able to eat, or producing any urine.

We arrived home from Maui late Thursday night. Mom and Dad drove me to see Grandpa while Mark drove the kids home and even unpacked all the suitcases (and put the kids clothes away)! Grandpa's lungs were filled with fluid and you could hear him "gurgle" with each breath. Yet, he was peacful. He was obviously in the last stages and was taking LONG pauses between each breath. Mom and Aunt Lynda spent the night there. On Friday morning he was still alive.

After work I drove up to see him again. Uncle Fred and his wife Faith, Aunt Lynda, Uncle Ken and his son Scott, Mom, and Grandma were in Grandpa's room. His breathing was not as labored as the previous night. We were all in his room being just as noisy and obnoxious as always (it's a very noisy family). Just before 2:30 Grandpa opened one eye and started to stir. Next he opened the other eye. We all quickly stood around the bed and were touching him. Grandma stood by him and stroked his head while talking to him. She named everyone in the room. She told him she loved him. She told him we all loved him and what a wonderful husband, father, and grandfather he had been. He looked around the room. He smiled with his mouth wide open then gazed towards the ceiling. Immediately I knew he was leaving the earth. All I could think while watching him smile, was that he was entering Heaven. Slowly his eyes closed. As his breathing became shallow, his coloring changed. I knew (I think before the others) that he was gone. He never gasped. He simply stopped breathing, very peacefully. After a few moments I went to ask the hospice nurse to come in. She confirmed he had passed away.

A short while later the nurses explained that when the family was ready, they would clean him and provide him with a quilt. I stayed while the others left - I didn't want him to be alone, even though I knew he was gone. 4 nurses came in. They respectfully removed the oxgyen and removed his catheter. One brushed his hair. The other put his lower set of dentures in (the uppers were already in). They provided him with a clean sheet and a quilt. The other placed a electric candle in the window (this is their procedure once someone has passed away). They re-situated him in the middle of the bed and folded his hands on top of each other in a peaceful way. He looked just like always and you kept expecting him to take another breath. Everyone came back in when they were finished. We stayed in the room with him and told a few more stories. There were tears, but also many laughs. Shortly before 4:30, my cousin Monica arrived to say goodbye to Grandpa too. Each of us said our final goodbyes to Grandpa around 4:30 and left the hospice facility.

This is my 3rd Grandparent to pass away in the past 8 months. Mark's last remaining Grandma passed away earlier this year too. The deaths of my other two grandparents were not so difficult. We were not very close (by their choice - a long story for another time). But, Grandpa was my favorite Grandpa. He will be greatly missed.
This evening, on the way to my parents house to have dinner with the relatives, Mason commented on Great Grandpa. He said "great Grandpa won't be there. He is in Heaven".


To be continued later....

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tootsie Pops

Tootsie Pop "sticks" are not for eating. Could someone PLEASE tell Mason that?

For those who think I'm a careless mother....I'm not. Yes, he did indeed chew/eat most of the stick. Good news is that it is made of paper which does break down pretty easily in the stomach. At least he did agree afterwards that it didn't taste very good.
UPDATE: Hours after posting this, guess what I found?! The lollipop stick in the car. Turns out the kiddo DIDN'T eat the stick.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

How I won my new Cricut!

Last night at the Scrapbook Convention Friday Night Crop, the contest to win a cricut was to write a song to a familiar tune and turn it in. From the box of songs, they picked the top 5. We had to sing the song and then they were voted on by the audience by the 'applause-o-meter'.
So, here's the song...Sung to the tune of 'On Top of Spaghetti' or 'On top of Old Smokey'. Composed with the assistance of Beth Soderlund and Michelle Robblee.

In front of me I see,
a cricut machine
my husband won't buy it
because he's so mean.

Oh I need a cricut
I need it so bad
'cause if I did buy it
my husband 'b mad.

Oh I can just see it,
on top of my desk
If I could just win it
my husband'd get sex.

You think I am joking,
believe me I'm not
I need a new cricut
so I don't leave distraught.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Growing up

I consider myself rather organized. So, when my son asked for a coloring book, I went to the "craft closet" (which also serves as a little coat closet). I bring down the coloring book bin. Nope, not the right one in there. I bring down the workbook bin. Nope, the desired book isn't there. Next I bring down the watercolor bin. He pulls out Nemo, then decides to put him back too. One by one he doesn't like the options of our surplus of coloring books. I pull down the last coloring book bin. I pull out a Sesame Street coloring book. Then I pull out an Elmo coloring book. I exclaim, "oh, Elmo - that would be fun to color". Mason's response.... "No, Elmo is for babies".

Friday, November 7, 2008


The conversation at dinner tonight:

Mason - I'm thirsty. I want more to drink.
Cori/Mark - No, you've had enough to eat and drink.
Mason - I want wine.
Cori/Mark - You are not old enough. How old do you have to be to drink wine?
Mason - Twenty-one

Need I say more?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

At least he's not a blob

"At least he's not a blob". Those were the words of encouragement the pediatrician gave us this evening.

Mason is sick again. Not a big surprise. On Sunday and Monday he was downright irritable, fussy, angry, and all around nasty! We attributed it to the time change and the fact that he woke much earlier than he should have. I figured the majority of his hideous attitude was due to sleep deprivation. Yesterday afternoon, since it was sunny, both kids played outside for awhile. I attributed the runny nose to the cold air (and yes, I did believe that - once we came inside, there was NO nasal drainage). Which leads to today. He woke in his usual manner, but was a little wheezy. Appetite, activity, and everything else were fine. After school, the illness started in much better force. The nose was greenish/yellow. Lungs were tight and wheezy. By 5pm, when we were at the doctor, he had a low grade temperature.

Needless to say, at the doctor he did not feel well. He refused to get off the doctor's "wheely" stool. I had to physically remove him. He refused to take off his shirt. I removed it for him. He refused to let the doctor look in his ears. I physically removed his hands from his ears to let the doctor look inside. He refused to open his mouth. So, the doctor pulled out a tongue depressor and I told him if he didn't open his mouth, I would and it would hurt. He finally opened his mouth.

So, as Mark and I are sitting there rolling our eyes over the discussion of oral steroids again, the doctor said, and I quote, "at least he's not a blob". True enough. He went on to explain how high functioning Mason is. He explained that Mason's "will" also shows us that he is cognitively doing well too. I guess we have to be thankful for that - despite how CRAZY his "will" makes us.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Yesterday was Halloween. The kids woke up excited. Mason wished everything and everyone a Happy Halloween. Mason was having a party at school, so he actually was able to wear his spiderman costume under his clothes (but chose to be a Clone Trooper for the evening events)! Lauren had to wait until after school to put on her outfit. She was Kit Kittredge, American Girl. Grandma Sherry MADE her costume, which looks just like the "real Kit". We did our standard trick or treating at Herb and Deb's early in the evening. Next it was on to Grandma's. After a quick dinner it was time for Trunk or Treating at church. I sent the trio without me (thinking I could get a few things done & hand out candy here).
Mark called shortly after they arrived to tell me his Dad was AT church passing out candy. As the story goes, the kids "trunk or treated" at his Dad's car. He was decked out in a beard, mustache, and even padded his clothes to appear larger. He used an accent and none of them recognized him. As they were moving on to the next car, this "strange man" grabbed Mark's arm and said "you don't even know who I am, do you?". To which Mark replied, "no, I don't". Long story short, Mark's Dad whispered that it was him, to Mark's amazement and shock. The kids were elated! I drove down and met them all at church to check out the carnival games and to see Mark's dad. After Trunk or Treating was over, Mark's dad came back to the house. The kids get to spend the whole weekend with Pop Pop, and everyone is thrilled.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Done with life

I'm tired.Tired of what? Tired of being me! Tired of my life!
SINGLE LIFE:You see, even though I married 12 years ago ("till death do as part"), I have become a single mother. A single mother who also works. Granted, not full time, but for the next I-don't-know-how-many-months, I am working while the kids are in school from 3-4 days per week and the regular weekends. Yes, I know there are many single mothers who work full time, pick up their kids from daycare, maybe feed them dinner, and tuck them in. Some are happy with this life. I, however am not!
WHEN THE HUSBAND SHOWS UP AT HOME: Mark started a new job almost 2 years ago. Travel was one component. His travel increased to the point that it was Monday through Friday for 6-7 weeks in a row. Then he decided he'd have AT LEAST one day per week home. That week day would be a "work from home" day - which meant he could catch up on home issues and take calls as needed. Somewhere in the past few weeks, this "great idea" has vanished. Take this past Monday for example. He agreed to drop Lauren off at school...and then would be home to catch up on a few things (aka "work from home"). I was volunteering at Mason's school to do vision screening from 8am-12. Funny thing. He went into work. Oh, yes, he did come home around 12:30. He also made a point to tell me he'd purchased himself lunch. But me, no. Why think about others? He left again for an afternoon of conference calls. Monday night, I stated I wanted to discuss future travel plans. It's very hard to do that when one is obsessed with facebook. So, at around 9pm, I said, "you know, if you stopped facebook now, you could hang up the blinds you promised to do YESTERDAY". Guess what! The blinds are still on the living room floor. And, it's not that I hate facebook altogether. It's that I hate the possibility of what could be. I don't think it's appropriate for women to send "private" messages or "gifts" to men. Apparantly, I'm the only one. See, while some are busy on facebook, trying to rack up the number of their "Friends", others of us are left at home, and are neglected. And the housework is neglected. It's just not OK. It's also not OK to show up at home for 2 days and do nothing because you are "sick" or "tired". But, for the past two weekends, that's what Mark has done. Two weekends ago, he somehow got mason to nap (because then Mark gets to nap too, while Lauren watches TV or plays on teh computer). But then after naptime, he also let them watch an entire other movie. See, I don't get that privledge. If I don't do "my chores", no one else is going to pick up after me. I've actually tested and proved this theory. In fact, Mark actually told me on one weekend to lay down and rest....that I could do those things later! 'I', not "we".
THE WEBCAM: It's a great invention. What fun it is to see the other person at their place and talk, while they can see you. What is annoying, is that the webcam is not portable. You can't be playing outside or eating breakfast or getting in the car and talk on the webcam. It's not possible. On a cell phone, yes. Webcam, NO. But, being that he WANTS to use the webcam, he chooses to call at the most inopportune times. For example, we leave at school at the same time EVERY MORNING! Why would you call then to chat? Bedtime is virtually the same time every night, so why would you call then? And, no, I'm not keeping "your kids" from you. It's a pain in the butt to wrangle them up when they are playing outside in the sun! And, I choose not to get them out of bed to talk to you when it's bedtime. Yesterday he called as we were on the way home from school (same time as always). He wanted to talk as soon as we arrived home. Problem is, is that the kids need to get their homework done. I had already promised that as soon as homework was done, they could watch High School Musical 2 (since HSM 3 comes out on Friday). There was no way, I was interrupting homework for a phone call. When we called back after homework, guess what! He wasn't available. So, I kept my end of the promise and let them watch the movie. He called mid-movie to talk again. Neither kiddo wanted to get up from their seats (aside from when they were dancing). Then, he called back after bed time. Seriously - use a clock! Well, we called this morning, but guess what. He wasn't available. I guess the moral is, for those of us who do NOTHING (like me), we should drop everything to talk via webcam.
NOTHING: Let me tell you about the "nothingness" of my days. Where to start (since there is so little to discuss). Let's just discuss this current week.
Monday - Fix lunches; take Mason to school; volunteer from 8-12 at Mason's school for vision screening; come home and change sheets and clean both kids rooms; get call from Lauren's school nurse and talk to Lauren about an injury; email mason's teachers about his performance; pick up Mason; pick up Lauren & Thornley from school; drop Thorns off; sit down for 40 minutes with kids as they do homework; take Lauren to/from a birthday party; mop kitchen floor; do some congregational care work.
Tuesday - Fix breakfast; fix lunches; drop off Mason at school; drive carpool to Lauren's school; go to ENT; have CT scan of sinuses; come home; change my sheets; clean bathroom; start dinner (crock pot); clean laundry room (Mark's job - but he refuses to actually clean all the lint balls off the floor); go to the gym to work out with Michelle; pick up Mason; drive carpool home; do homework with both kids; assist Mason with thank you notes from his birthday (oh, yeah, to Mark's parents); open scholastic box; divide all books for Lauren's classmates in separate bags; pack Lauren's halloween outfit (for girl scout party on Wednesday); mop kitchen floor again (spaghetti spill); tuck kids in; pack up Mason's swimming stuff (for Wednesday); do more congregational care work; empty garbages (Mark's job - he likes to "forget" some); take all 3 garbage dumpsters to the street.
Today - Fix breakfast; fix lunches; drop Mason off at school; take Lauren to the twins house (their day for carpool); go to work; pick up Mason; take him to swimming; eat lunch (yogurt); come home; play outside with Mason; bring garbage cans back from street; clean outside toy bin; sweep a little; pick up dog poop from outside; go to girl scouts; watch their performance; come home; do homework with kids; play outside with kids; clean up; take Lauren to kids choir; put Mason in bath; receive call that Lauren is injured and needs to come home; get mason out of bath and race to church; bring Lauren home; tend to her; tuck kids in; clean pantry floor; type my "angry" blog. Oh, yes, and in the midst of this "nothing-ness", feed the dog; help Mason with occupational therapy homework; adapt Mason's homework for him; reply to emails from his therapists, teachers, etc. And, that's just a synopsis. There are so many other things that I just do routinely (Laundry on a daily basis, straightening up, etc).
So, that sums it up. I'm tired. I'm mad. And, well, the next week will be exactly the same as this! Me and the kids.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The glasses

Good news on all fronts! Mason's lost glasses have been found.

He's had the glasses for almost 2 months. He was wearing them fairly well - but nonetheless, they did require constant adjustments. He would pull them off, put them on, stretch them out, etc. So, once to twice a week, we'd get them fixed. Hence, the back-up glasses. It made it a bit easier. On one of the two pairs, one lens kept falling out. When I'd pick him up from school, the teacher would hand me the frames and the lens. So, two weeks ago, Mark took both pairs of glasses to be repaired at Costco, and came home with both pairs (I saw them both). Sometime that day, one pair disappeared. For one week I scoured the house top to bottom. Under the couches, under cushions, behind other objects, in favorite hiding spots. I looked EVERYWHERE. I finally gave up. In the meantime, with the pair he had left, the lens kept falling out. So, last week Mark took the pair of glasses back to be repaired again - and this time, they sent the glasses back to the lab! So for one week, no glasses. Yesterday, Mason and I were outside. He was playing here, there, and everywhere. When he came inside, he was wearing GLASSES! I asked him where he found them. He found them in his little power wheels car in the back yard. I think that was the ONE place we didn't search! Hallelujah. We don't have to spend money on another pair of glasses! (being that we just spent $95 on the locksmith)!!!!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

This is dedicated to Meghan

This morning I was awakened at 7:05am by the telephone. It was Meghan. Praise the Lord for my Meghan wake-up call! Due to her timely call, it left me with 30 minutes to get myself and the kids ready for school. Hence, why I dedicate this to Meghan.

Being that it is now Thursday, let me take you back to Tuesday night. Mark came home late that night from a trip (for which he left again for on Wednesday at 6pm). He is still recovering from bronchitis (which he was diagnosed with last Saturday at the urgent care, after I couldn't listen to him cough any more without being evaluated). Anyway, it was very nice of him to come home for Mason's birthday. But, that meant he was coughing and snoring ALL night. I think there was an hour spurt in there where I was wide awake as he was coughing and retching.

That brings us to Wednesday morning. It was Mason's birthday. Lauren woke us at 5:55 to ask if we could wake up Mason. As soon as he woke, he opened a few presents in the kitchen before breakfast. Mark & I brought cupcakes to his class. We brought him McDonalds to lunch and ate with him in the cafeteria (good idea Jen). We celebrated all day. In the afternoon Mark left for his trip. The rest of us had spaghetti at Grandma & Grandpas. After opening more presents, it was time for homemade cake - a clown face - which my mom spent two hours decorating. The kids went to bed as soon as we got home.

This brings us to "technically" Thursday. By that I mean 1am. I was wakened by Lauren. She informed me that Mason was awake. So, I stumbled into his room and found him on his rocking chair, peeking out his window. About an hour later everyone was back to sleep. At about 3:40am, I woke up again to close everyone's doors. Apparantly I fell back asleep and slept right on through my alarm at 6:15am.

Which brings us to the rest of Thursday. After Meghan (my alarm clock) woke me, I realized how MUCH I can truly get done in 30 minutes: Kids dressed; kids fed; dog fed; beds made; lunches made; blinds opened. To make it even better, I showered, got ready (including makeup) and had the kids to school ON TIME!

After dropping them off at school, I ran to Oil Can Henry's for oil (obviously). Headed back home and had 45 minutes to get a few things done. Was sidetracked by Church issues. Met Deanne for lunch. Raced back home to be here for another friend to drop off her son Wyatt at 12:30 (so I could babysit while she had a doctor's appointment). Played with Wyatt. Went to pick up Mason - Wyatt safely in a stroller as he likes to run away too. Heard from my friend that she hadn't been seen by the doctor yet. Came back home. Let the boys watch a little T.V. All three of us head to pick up Lauren. Head to speech and arrived 15 minutes late due to the HORRID construction delays on Coal Creek. Both boys fall asleep on the way. Call Mason's speech therapist to let her know we are indeed coming. Arrive at speech and ask her to come get Mason, since Wyatt is still asleep. Within seconds, Wyatt's mom pulls in and retrieves him. Come home from speech. Hear a loud crash. Mason has broken the light to his room (which was removed a few days ago again). Explain that the kids' bathroom is off limits until I clean up the hazardous area. Fix dinner & multitask at the same time to help with homework. Do dishes. Do the "shower/bath" countdown. Encourage hoodlums to get ready for bed. However, at this point, the bathroom door is still locked. Find appropriately labeled key to unlock it (oh, yes, 2 weeks ago, I labeled all the keys). Discover the labeled bathroom key does not work. Curse under my breath. Find other bathroom key. Discover it too doesn't work. Call locksmiths. Get estimates. Put children in our shower. Call another locksmith. Put children to bed. Let locksmith in. Have bathroom unlocked. Pay $95 for 5 minutes of "breaking and entering". Clean up glass from bathroom. And, now, sit down to write this.....and work on issues for meeting with Mason's teachers tomorrow afternoon.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Back in "the day", orthodontia seemed a bit barbaric. It was painful. Really painful. Having impressions made seemed to take forever. You sat in the chair with a huge tray of the plaster-tasting impression material in your mouth for about 5 minutes. Finally, they'd remove it. It would be shipped to a lab to make the mold of your teeth and then it would be returned. X-rays were taken with "x-ray film". It had to be developed, then put on the "light boxes" to view. Taking a picture of your smile meant you wouldn't see the photo until it had to be developed. Braces were fairly simple: Silver brackets, silver wires, clunky metal, and standard "ties". No options. And, to make it even better, you had the priviledge of just laying in the chair, listening to elevator music. Yippee. My old orthodonist retired years ago. We figure my treatment alone probably bought his summer home (expanders, braces x2, jaw surgery, retainers, "chains" to bring one tooth down, bite guard, etc).

My how the years have changed the practice for orthodontists everywhere. Last week for example, Lauren had an orthodontic consult. After the FREE consult, they actually had time to start the process. We didn't have to schedule the next appointment to have all the preliminary "tests" and scans done. First were the photos. Of course in digital. Next were the impressions. She was able to pick the flavors of her choice for the impressions (from about 20 choices). She chose pina colada for the uppers and root beer for the lower teeth. It took all of about 60 seconds for the impression to be completed, once it was in her mouth. Next were the spacers (rubber bands). They put them in rather quickly and she was done. Within 3 days we had a letter from the orthodonists outlining the findings and discussing treatment.

Today the actual orthodontia began. Of course there was the first issue of business. How we would pay. After that was done, it was time to discuss what would occur today. Everything was on the computer. The impressions were even on the computer in 3-D images. I have a copy they printed so I could show Mark. Next it was time for the torture session. First the bands on the back teeth were sized. No problem for Lauren. Next was another impression to custom-make the expander. Lauren's flavor choice today was vanilla. 60 seconds later it was done. The impression was taken to the lab (inside the office) and finished within minutes. Seriously. A few minutes later, a tech came out with the custom made expander. While the impression and expander were being finished, the brackets/braces were put on. Again, no problem. A little glue and the bracket was placed and turned the correct direction without pain. And, there were even smaller brackets for smaller teeth. Amazing. Next the wire was put on. Next were the "ties" or little rubber bands. Lauren was able to choose whatever colors she wanted. They had almost every color possible - including glow in the dark. Last the expander was cemented in. And, I might add, there was no elevator music. Each chair had it's own Nintendo DS system to play. Lauren played PacMan. Good news is that over the next year, she'll have time to improve her score. Aside from hating the taste of the expander glue, she didn't complain at all. She was a pro!

Once the equipment was finished, they took us to another room to discuss care of braces and expanders. Then they discussed their incentive program. Every time you come in, you can earn tokens. Then they have prices you can redeem your tokens for. Again, I was never rewarded for the pain of orthodontia.

After it was all over, she didn't even complain of pain (although I do anticipate complaints of pain tomorrow). When we got to the car, I gave her a little gift of a pair of earrings. She was ecstatic. Bottom line, kids these days have it MUCH easier then we did!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Caller ID

Caller ID. It can be a great feature. Sometimes, I will look at the incoming caller and I can actually CHOOSE to answer or not answer. Other times, if I am on a call, I might not look at caller ID and ignore whomever is calling. Other times, I'll look at the ID and hang up on whomever I was on the phone with originally. It's not that I'm trying to be rude or play favorites. It's just that sometimes you do have to take the other call.

Take today for example. My cell phone rang, but I was in the bathroom and didn't answer it. A few minutes later the home phone rang (and I was out of the bathroom) so I answered it without looking at the incoming number. It was Lauren's school. She had forgotten her lunch. So, like the good mother I am (despite the fact that Mason called me a "very bad mommy" this morning - as I wouldn't let him watch more T.V.), I said I'd drive to Lauren's school and drop off her lunch. I might add at this time, that I did ask Lauren if she got her lunch and she said 'yes'. Apparantly, when she departed from the car, I should have asked her if she also remembered to pick up the lunch from the floor of the car and take it with her to school! Anyway, Lauren received her lunch.

So, two hours later, while talking to Jackie (long distance), the call waiting rings. I hang up on her as I recognize the phone number as belonging to Mason's school. Great! So, I answer it. It's his "helper" (who helps monitor his eating at lunch and recess to make sure he doesn't run away). During recess, he was climbing up the ladder. She was standing behind him and he lost his footing. He slipped through the rungs and was hanging on. She tried to reach him, but he fell through and landed on his feet, then his rear. So, she took him to the school nurse (who he visited on a regular basis last week for his albuterol) and he was still complaining of a hurt pinky finger. Anyway, she wanted to call before she left school. I thanked her for her call and said I'd look at him after school.

The morale to this story: DON'T answer the phone if it's from the school!

Friday, October 3, 2008

What I didn't want to hear

To add to this crazy week, we took both kids to a consult appointment at an orthodontist. Last week at Mason's dentist appointment, (to evaluate two permanent teeth growing behind two very solid baby teeth), she advised that he'd have to have at least two teeth extracted. Since he has trachea issues, it would have to be done at Children's under general anesthesia. Since it must be at Children's, she wanted us to have an orthodontic consult to see if anything else should be done while they are "in there". I asked if we should bring Lauren to the orthodontist now, and she said yes. The good news is that the orthodontic consults are FREE. Yes, FREE. Not one dime!

Here is a summary of Mason's report from the orthodontist:
-Class 3 Lower jaw and teeth are displaced to the front of the upper jaw structures.
-An underbite is present
-Space available for upper teeth is severely insufficient
-Space available for the lower teeth is mildly insufficient.
Recommendations: To have 8 (YES, EIGHT) teeth extracted (4 upper; 4 lower) and to be reevaluated in 6 months.

Here is a summary of Lauren's report from the orthodontist:
-Class 1 The first molars are in a normal relationship
-Space available for the upper teeth is excessive
-Space available for the lower teeth is excessive
-Right posterior crossbite is present
Recommendations: Maxillary expander; Partial maxillary appliances; First phase treatment (estimated treatment for 12 months).
So, Lauren will begin the long road of orthodontia next week. The good news is that she will not have to undergo as much as I did (from second grade - expander, braces, extractions, surgery, etc - and "graduated" my sophomore year in COLLEGE). The bad news, is that this "free consultation" will cost a pretty penny. Anyone want to donate to the "Ponte beautiful smiles" fund?

The healthy child

It's been a LONG week! My sickly child Mason continues to be sick. Good news is that he made it 7 WHOLE DAYS at school before he got sick. Thank goodness there was a strike...he made it to the end of September without antibiotics. He's now on round two of antibiotics, and oral steroids (which make him evil). His oxygen levels last night were hovering around the low 90's. This morning he was actually sounding better and his oxygen was in the mid-90's. So, being that he had no fever, is on antibiotics, and the school can administer albuterol, I sent him!!

This morning when Lauren woke up and the lights were on, I noticed her eye looked a little red. Then, I noticed there was a little drainage. NO - NOT PINK EYE! After dropping the "sickly child" off at school, it was off to the doctor with the "healthy child". The nurse practitioner walked in and joked, saying "oh, I wasn't expecting you" (referring to Lauren vs. Mason). She evaluated her and then asked "how long has she had the cold for"? I staggered through my words, as I said "I can't remember - a week or more - it's been mild - she's my healthy one - Mason's been sick". We both laughed. I then joked, "how red does an eye have to be to keep her home from school". We all laughed at that too, knowing full well the school policy is absolutely NO pink eye at school (unless treated for 24 hours). What a bad mom am I!

Since Lauren was diagnosed with pink eye AND a sinus infection, it was off to the pharmacy to fill the prescription. As we wandered around Bartell's, we were paged back to the pharmacy. They had to verify Lauren's prescription coverage. I laughed and said, it's the same coverage as me and Mason (the sickly pair). I handed them the insurance card so they could add verify Lauren's coverage. Funny thing is, the last time she needed ANY prescription was July of 2007!!!! So, explain to me, WHY this had to happen this week!!!

Monday, September 29, 2008

What I learned from Bad Grandma

Bad Grandma died a few weeks ago. I use the word "bad" in reference to her, because she was BAD. Those who've known me for quite sometime, also refer to her as "bad grandma". The service was in California over Labor Day weekend. I actually am not sad that bad grandma is gone. I'm embarassed to say, I never even shed a tear. No, I'm not cold and heartless - it's just that nothing we ever did was ever good enough for her. If I sent a card, it should have been a phone call. If it was a phone call, I should have sent a card.Every call, visit, or note there was a complaint from her about something. She bad-mouthed my mom, dad, and grandpa at every chance she got. It was exhausting.
The past few years were a little better. This was only due to the fact that I was done tolerating her crap on the phone. So, if she started complaining (rather 'bitching') about mom, dad, or grandpa, I gave her a fair warning that if she continued, our call would be over. And, yes, for the record, I did hang up on her a time or two. I'd always call back a few days later and it would be a better conversation.
So, what did I learn from bad grandma? I learned that before you die, you better confess to the truth regarding lies you've told AND throw away stuff you don't want anyone to see (since you won't be around to explain it). In going through old pictures, letters, etc. I've come across all sorts of stuff. I've stumbled upon pictures with people torn off. Hate mail to people (that she copied and saved). Hate mail from people. Letters with unanswered questions. Letters from old relatives we were told NEVER wrote to her. Other things. Just things you really don't want laying around for others to find when you die.
At my age, I really don't have anything to hide. But, I'm a saver. I save cards I have received. I keep Christmas cards (truly, had some I saved from 1996 to the present). So, I went through and tossed three bags full of stuff. I kept some special items. Kept all the "congrats on the wedding" cards; cards from Mark; cards from the parents, grandparents, and anyone who passed away, etc. But, the rest went into the trash!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The tooth fairy

Earlier in the week I noticed that Mason's bottom two permanent teeth were coming through. If his bottom baby teeth were loose, that would be a good thing. But, they're not. Lauren was elated that Mason's big teeth were coming in. Mason kept telling us the tooth fairy was coming. But, we had to keep explaining that his teeth had to fall out before the tooth fairy would come. Anyway, I had scheduled an appointment with our dentist for this afternoon. Lauren knew he was going - and also that he might have to have his teeth pulled out. She is always eavesdropping, so I'm sure she heard me say the dentist would have to remove them - and I guess she assumed it would be today.
Mason & I went to the dentist. To make a long story short, he'll have to have his baby teeth pulled out at Children's in the not-to-distant future. So, we came home (all extra teeth and baby teeth intact). Mark picked her up from school and told her Mason still had his teeth. When she came home, she went right to her room. I followed her in to discuss her day. She wanted nothing to do with me and wanted to be left alone. After begging and pleading to talk about what was wrong, she burst into tears. At school today, she had written two notes - in her best pemanship ever. The first note, which she retrieved out of the garbage was addressed to me (correct address and all):

Dear Mom,
Did Mason loose his teeth? I'm worried. I am going to write a note to the tooth fairy. Love ya, Lauren.

Here was the next note, addressed to the tooth fairy (which she retrieved from her "paper bin"):
Dear Tooth fairy, I, Mason Ponte want to keep my teeth. Please instead of money give me Star Wars Toys. And give the teeth to my sister Lauren. Mason Ponte

As she was crying about the non-lost teeth, she explained she was sure Mason would prefer toys to money. She also explained that she wanted to keep the teeth to make sure Mason wouldn't put them in his mouth again and choke. She then had questions about how they would take out the teeth. Unfortunately, for her exposure to all the medical world and Children's, she had too many questions! All in all, she wanted to make sure he wouldn't feel them take them out, and that he would be OK during the surgery.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Is everything still current?

When calling doctor's offices, a standard question is..."is everything current"? Since Mason sees many a doctor (pediatrician, pulmonologist, endocrinologist, E.N.T., ophthamologist, etc), I experience this question frequently. So, if I answer "no - nothing has changed", why do the receptionist feel they must continue in the line of questioning? And if I repeat "no, nothing has changed", why do they tell me "oh, we have to ask anyway"?

Take today's conversation with the eye doctor's receptionist (who we saw in August, mind you). Here is how the call went:

Me- I need to schedule a follow up appointment with Dr. X.
Rec. - Your child's last name?
Me - Ponte. That's P - O - N- T- E.
Rec. - First name?
Me - Mason. Date of birth....
Rec. - Is everything current?
Me - Yes, everything is current
Rec - Are you still at (address).....
Me - Yes, nothing has changed. Everything is current.
Rec - Oh, I still have to ask. Is your phone number,
Me - (As I interrupt her & neglect to answer her last question) I'd like to schedule an appointment with Dr. X, in November.

You see, I consider myself fairly well-versed in notifying people of things. If insurance changes, I actually call the doctor's offices and notify them prior to an appointment. This past January (when our insurance changed), as soon as I had the information, I called Children's, the pediatrician, etc. Then, I also verify if our current providers are still covered by the new insurance or if we need to change. The other thing is, we haven't moved in 11 years. I'm guessing if we did, I might actually notify the doctor's offices of that too (since, in order to get copies of Mason's notes from his doctor, they do MAIL it to our home address). The other factor, is do the receptionists truly think I don't understand what the question means? To me, current means the address, insurance, guarantor, and ,phone number haven't changed. But, maybe I'm wrong! So, forgive me for being a bit uptight when asked "is everything still current".

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Free at last

Tonight we received notice. School WILL start tomorrow - Monday! After 9 days of striking, the strike is now over. Is it wrong that I'm singing praise songs related to school starting?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

day 8

Today marks day 8 of the teacher's strike. Or is that day 80? It all seems the same to me. So, what else to do, but go to the zoo. Again. With the Andersons. Now, for those of you who "zoo" with us, our crowd likes to be at the zoo at opening time (9:30). When Meghan and I looked at our watches, it was 11:30. Guess how many animals we'd seen? FOUR! The flamingos; lemurs; gorillas; and jaguar. Oh, we did see the zebra at the Savannah too. Not too many animals in a 2 hour time frame. That is because en route to Bug World (which I despise), the quartet of children decided to play in the forest play area. They were running through the tunnels. At first they were pretending to be ants. Later we figured out it was not a replica of ant tunnels, but beavers (I think). They ran up, down, around. They climbed up the rope spider web. They spent a good hour frolicking happily in this area. They battled good and evil. They protected the tunnels. And no one was bossy. And no one argued. There was finally peace, love, and happiness amongst the adults watching and the children (who should've been in school) playing. In the end we bribed them to eat lunch and see just a few more animals.
As we were eating our "brought from home" lunches and Meghan was ordering her standard pretzel, three unusual zoo-goers passed by. Make that three unusual zoo-goers and their dog (who was on a regular leash and was a bit unruly). To describe the men in more detail, read Meghan's blog for today. But, let me just say, I'm sure if I would have given them a hug, the odor d'alcohol and body odor would have rubbed off on me. Now, how they were able to get their black dog inside the zoo...claiming it was a "helper" dog, I'll never know. But as they teetered off (with security close on their tails), one rambled something about "if this would'a been a white dog, we wouldn'a had no problem". I guess the zoo must discriminate against black dogs. Wonder if the Sun Bears, Sloth Bears, and Gorillas will have to find a new home, in exchange for an arctic hare and other white animals. Hmmmm.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Day 7

Day 7 of the strike! Well, what should I do with the hoodlums on day 7 of the strike? Let's start with a few timeouts! Lauren earned two timeouts by about 8:15am. Let me also say, that this was AFTER I told the kids that we would go to the Puyallup Fair. I expected "yeah mom" or "whoohoo". What I received from the oldest child, was "you are the worst mom ever". Why? Because in preparing them for the fair, I wanted clear guidelines. The first guideline (or rule) was that I was not buying them crap. No, I did not use the word 'crap'. But, I made it clear that they would not be receiving any Sponge Bob inflatable balloons, crazy hats, sand birds, plastic swords, tieras, or any other "toy" from the fair. Lunch and scones, yes! Crap, no.

I then told them that they could each pick one ride of their choice to go on (having already discussed that the fair costs money). Since the ride tickets are $.85 each, and the most "expensive" ride was 5 tickets....they could each pick one ride to go on. I thought that was fair. And furthermore, that is the usual deal. Apparantly Lauren had other ideas. She craftily discussed bringing her own allowance so she could go on more rides. I nixed that quickly, as a 40-second ride for $5 doesn't seem like such a great idea for a child who saves about $2/month. I discussed other items she wants to buy in the future, etc. Anyway, long story short, Lauren threw her tantrum and sassiness over me telling them I'd take them to the fair to have scones, lunch, see the baby pigs, etc, and go on a ride. I explained that she was being selfish and ungrateful, and to look at a way to be thankful. Then I sent her to time out! Mason on the other hand looked at me and said "oh, mommy. One ride! Thank you". "We go to fair and I go on one ride". He was as sincere as could be too. I guess that's one of the benefits of being "chromosomally gifted".

Well, after the morning scuffle, we did indeed head for the fair. Mom & Grandma came too. The pigs were cute. The cows were huge. The scones were excellent. The Krusty Pups were good too. And Lauren didn't ask for one thing! As it ended up, it was cheaper buying 7 rides total, than the 5 individual coupons for the rides. So, the kids went on three rides. The Tiger Growl (or something like that...the roller coaster); Scrambler; and Giant Slide. We also met up with Mason's friend from school last year, Zach & his family.

We were there a few hours and came home. Lauren had Girl Scouts. Then we had dinner. Mom babysat and I went to a mom's group at Kindering Center. The end.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Day 6

Don't let the picture fool you. No one at this house is in school yet. It's day 6 of the teacher's strike. I'm still crossing my fingers for an agreement to be reached soon. Very soon. Very very soon.

So, for our day of "togetherness" Lauren ended up with "strike 3" before 9am. Yippee. So, she lost all screen time (T.V., computer, video games). Mason forgot to put his listening ears on and ended up with a time out. It's been a terrific day. Or not!

Today, we did get to look inside Mason's school! The principal gave us a tour this morning. Luckily, there were no picketers at the school today, so we didn't have to cross any lines. We toured his classroom, bathroom (where he's almost too short for the sinks - or so the principal said - it was quite funny), library, gym/lunchroom, art room and music room. His desk is already set up with his name on it. His cubby is ready for his coat and backpack. The classroom is ready to go. All we need now are some teachers.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Day 5

Today marks Day 5 of the Bellevue teacher's strike. It seems like day 50. We started the day with an exciting trip to the pulmonologist. Followed by folding clothes at home and cleaning the bathroom. That was followed by going to the gym (my only moment without the duo). Next was planning girl scout stuff with Deanne & the twins. Later was a trip to swim at the pool...which I might add was just too cold for me. I wonder what excitement day 6 will bring?!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The weekend events

This weekend we had things to do and places to go. After speech on Saturday, we headed to Home Depot to get a swing set kit. Yeah! Mark finally caved in and decided we could get new swings. The old swingset was fine, but Lauren was just getting too big to swing on it. It was starting to sway front to back and that is never a good thing! We bought the swingset about 3 years ago when Jackie was in Oak Harbor. It cost us $50 from a neighbor of hers who no longer needed it!

At the Depot, we found the basic 'A' frame kit and the lumber and came home. Let me add my disclaimer now. Just because the most simple instructions say "can be completed in 3 hours", it doesn't mean it will. We worked for about 3 hours yesterday and seemed to make progress. That is until you looked at what still had to be done. Well, quitting time came, so we stopped.

After showers and the babysitter arrived, Mark & I headed to the M's game with Adam & Meghan. Good game. We saw a 3-run homer.

We also saw a very interesting woman with some strange type of respirator device on. It was purple & green. And she had orange hair. Orange...not red! Quite the site. We spent the moments before the game trying to figure out what her deal was. Was she waiting for a terrorist attack? Bird flu? Multiple chemical sensitivity? We had quite the time trying to figure it out. When people sat behind us, they started doing the same thing. As the game started and continued, this woman would take off her respirator, talk or drink, then put it back on. We left the game still not knowing what the purpose was.
After Church, we came home and I cleaned the old swingset. I posted in on Craigslist on Saturday night for $150. I had two people call me last night wanting to purchase it! Today by noon it was gone and we pocketed the money, which will go towards the new swingset. Mark & I spent the entire afternoon working on the "easy, 3 hour" swingset. Well, it is now in the ground and functional thanks to another friend of ours who helped us stand it up right & dig a few holes.

Day 4 of the strike

Not much excitement to report on day 4 of the teacher's strike. We had errands to run -costo for glasses, etc. In the afternoon we watched the Andersons boys. Needless to say...there is never a dull moment when the 4 kids get together.

Mark was actually in-town most of the week (as I mandated him to do so because of the first day of school...which hasn't happened). He was out of town on Friday. So, after a long day and a week of no school, I decided it was time to treat myself. So, I took the kids to dinner and had myself a strawberry daiquiri! Amen for blended drinks.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Day 3

Day 3 of no school.

Yesterday (Thursday...aka day 3 of the teachers' strike) we took a field trip to The Outback Christmas Tree and Kangaroo Farm in Arlington. It was about an hour drive. When we arrived, there were peacocks (male, female, & babies), chickens, and turkeys roaming around. The tour started at 10am. Luckily, we were the only 3. Apparantly last week, some of their tours had 50 people. But, by now, those lucky parents have children who are attending school! Anyway, we watched the ring tailed lemurs. We saw a group of 1+ week old ducks.

Next was the "main event". The kangaroos (one named Kangaroo Jack), wallabies (2 were named Luke & Laura), and wallaroos (2 were named Sophie, Kate Moss). We were able to feed them, pet them, take pictures with them. It was wonderful! Then we saw goats and donkeys. The end of the tour we say llamas, alpacas, emus (named Monica & Bill), ostriches, a cockatoo, and a parrot. The llama (named Mr. T) even "kissed you". The last part was holding the baby joey named Bella. It was by far the highlight!

I would highly encourage
the trek up there on a sunny day. Their website is http://christmastreesand

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Goodbye to Martini

In July we "adopted" (or paid for) Martini our little long-haired chihuhua. Today he is no longer ours. He has had food aggression issues that we have been working with and handling. However, his aggression overall has gotten worse. His warning sign was to growl. He has nipped and growled at kids & adults. But today, he bit Mason. It was unprovoked. He was on his pillow and Mason laid down on the floor near him. Martini lunged and bit him. Luckily it was more surface scratches. The inside of his lip and near his nose bled a little. It could have been much worse. After consulting with our veterinarian, he advised that we bring him to the Humane Society. So after many tears, we took him there this afternoon and said our goodbyes.

So, if any of you feel the need to "smirk", "gloat", or act indifferent towards our situation, please don't! I've already had one call earlier today which was less then empathetic - and it's been a tough day.

Today was also day 2 of the teacher's strike. Aside from the dog trauma, Mason had swimming lessons.
And, we received this late this afternoon: "Bellevue teacher contract talks continue through Wednesday afternoon.
Whatever the outcome of today’s negotiations’ session, there will be no school tomorrow, Thursday, Sept. 4."

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Day 2

Today we spent what should have been the first day of school at the zoo with our friends. The Siamangs put on a great show. The baby gorilla was out frolicking with her mom. The animals were out and about. It was a good zoo day.

This just in: (to my in-box at 4:22pm): District and BEA negotiators met this afternoon. The discussion was productive but did not lead to a tentative agreement. There will be no school tomorrow, September 3, 2008.

Need I say more?

Monday, September 1, 2008

What my kids will be doing on the first day of school

Historically, schools in our district start the day after Labor Day. Being that today is Labor Day, tomorrow is the first day of school. To answer the question of "what will my kids be doing on the first day of school" below.

"The Bellevue teachers’ union has announced a strike against the Bellevue School District starting Tuesday, September 2. Because of the strike, all District schools are closed until further notice." (This was from the Bellevue school district website).

In other words, my children will be here with me. Again.

I'd write more, but I think I need to have a drink. Enough said!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Locked up

It's 10:00. The kids were tucked in hours ago. The dogs were just put to bed. However, due to the pouring rain, Maggie (the lab) started barking in the garage. I asked Mark to let her out or put her no-bark collar on. When he went to let her out, the door to the laundry room (from the inside of our house) was locked. To put it plainly, we were locked inside our house with the security alarm 'on'. If we opened any door or window, the alarm would go off.

Let me back up a bit. A few weeks ago, Mason the escape artist had figured out all the plastic "child proof" door handles. So, we installed real locks to prevent him from opening the laundry room door - pressing the garage door button to open it - opening the door into the garage (or crawling out the dog door) - and running into the driveway/street (which he has done). Or his other favorite game is to sneak out to the garage, get into the car, and honk the horn. Once we lock the door to the laundry room, you must use a key to unlock it.

That brings me back to tonight. Since Mark was gone the past few weeks, I have my little routine. I put the dogs to bed. Lock the garage door. Turn on the alarm. Get the key to the laundry room door. Then lock the laundry room door. Apparantly, I neglected to tell Mark my routine. He put the dogs to bed. Locked the garage door. Turned on the alarm. Locked the laundry room door. Left the keys INSIDE the laundry room!

So, after trying to problem solve and pick the lock (with no success), we called the alarm company and notified them not to dispatch police for the next 30 minutes (after explaining our crazy predicament). After further discussion, we decided that neither Mark nor I would fit thru the doggy door. The best candidate for the job was Lauren. Unfortunately she was fast asleep. So, we had to wake her (and she is a sound sleeper). She was just the right size to fit thru the dog door (since that door was locked), disarm the security system, and open the laundry room door.

It was a group effort - and almost reminded me of a MacGyver episode. Mark had the keys to his car (which just happened to be parked outside), so he ran to the car to unlock it and open the garage door. I carried Lauren in the pouring rain with her poncho and a flashlight into the garage. Next, she climbed her way thru the door and completed the tasks. Now, we've put her back to bed; locked the appropriate doors; obtained the necessary keys (and put them inside the house); and alarmed the alarm again. All that in about 30 minutes!

Monday, August 18, 2008


Why do people think it is just fine to bring their sickly kids and expose them to mine? Now, I'm not talking about somewhere like the mall or park. Obviously if I take my child "out in public", I do run the risk of catching some sort of virus. DUH. I'm talking about into a home for a play date! Twice this week, Mason has been exposed to a fever. Both mothers KNEW about it beforehand and did not feel it necessary to divulge such information until we were all together. In close proxemity. Exposed.

For those of you with pretty healthy kids, being exposed to a cold, fever, stomach bug, etc. is not a huge deal. My oldest child would fit into that category. I've really never feared exposing her to much of anything (other than vomit - which I despise).

But, to my youngest child, it is a big deal. A cold can turn into pneumonia in a matter of hours (literally). A fever could mean antibiotics (just to prevent something bigger). A stomach bug with vomiting could mean aspiration.

So, please try to feel a little of my frustration about my youngest being directly exposed to fevers. Some low grade, some not. Either way, a fever is a fever. Here's how it went down (again, after exposing Mason):
Mom #1: Oh, I had to bring "X". He was supposed to be at preschool, but he has a "little fever".
Mom #2: Oh, last night "Y" was up at midnight with a "low grade fever" and a stomach ache. (Who by the way, ended up with 2 days of a moderate grade fever and vomited. But the vomit episode was attributed to drinking water and lemondae by "Y"'s mother and other family members).

Seriously. If your kid is sick...let me know BEFORE you come to see us....or we come to see you. I won't be offended if you cancel. I will jump up and down with glee if you give me the choice of letting my kid be around your SICK kid or not. And I would prefer NOT!

So, now Mason is home tonight with a low grade fever! I have NO offers yet of ANYONE coming over to watch him so I can escape this insanity! (And might I add, this is week 2 of the husband being out of town. And, he is in Hawaii. He was home on Saturday for about 36 hours). And, to tick me off even more....I was told "oh, don't tell mom #2 and make this a big deal or make her feel bad. We don't want to hurt her feelings".

Saturday, August 9, 2008


Last year, after attempting to assist Lauren in tying her shoes, I decided I was not "the man for the job". While shopping for shoes before school last year, Mark insisted that Lauren have shoes that tie. He argued that she MUST learn to tie them. I plainly said that if he wanted her to have tie-shoes, he had to teach her. Unfortunately, that pretty pink of on-sale-Nike's from Nordys have sat in the closet for almost one year.

That is until today. Mark used simple bribery. What could be a big enough bribe to make Lauren sit still and learn to tie shoes? Jibbitz. Yes, jibbitz for her Crocs.

So, today has been a monumental day at our household. She has learned how to tie her shoes by HERSELF! She has demonstrated her new skill about 15 times (just to me). She and Mark even took a special trip to the grandparents to show them (and that was on the way to the store for jibbitz).

YEAH for Lauren!

Smoking causes cancer

Today I royally screwed up. Before you start to cheer...I think this was the first time ever.

While the four of us were in the car, both Mark & I were commenting on how tired we were. I joked with him and said, "well, that's because you were drinking & smoking all night". (After the kids were in bed, he headed back to my parents and had a cigar and a drink with my dad). Anyway, I may have just said he was juggling knives or playing with deadly viruses. Lauren in the back seat started to hyperventilate. What? Daddy? You were smoking? But why? Mommy, is he going to die? Is he going to get very sick? Is there medicine we can give him so he doesn't get sick?

Mark chimed in. He admitted to the cigar with Papa. The questions continued. Mark replied and said Papa asked him if he wanted a cigar. Lauren's response again was "why didn't you refuse"? After more questions from a very concerned 7 year old, I very simply explained that one cigar would not cause cancer. (I might add that at the Children's Festival this past spring, they had a LOVELY display of a lung of a smoker and a non-smoker. It made quite the impression). Anyway, after assuring Lauren that Mark wouldn't die today, she asked that we pray for Mark. So, she did. It was quite adorable.

After that, she made an immediate call to Papa to ask him to get rid of all his cigars. Her suggestion was to have a garage sale & sell them.

A word to the wise: NEVER tell Lauren if you have smoked ANYTHING!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Zoo Doo

Every spring, the zoo offers "zoo doo". They actually call it the annual spring Fecal Fest. As the zoo website says "garden enthusiasts enter a drawing in hopes of being selected to PURCHASE Woodland Park Zoo's highly coveted Zoo Doo".

Today, we had our own "zoo doo" excitement. We attended the zoo with Meghan, Thornley, & Jack. The kids were terrific. As we went exhibit to exhibit, we were a bit disappointed in the lack of performance by the animals. Some were hidden. Some were sleeping. However, once we saw the Komodo Dragon, excitement began. The Komodo dragon was walking & swaying it's tail. Thornley cheered, "it's pooping". Much to our surprise, it was. Everyone was thrilled. This was quite a highlight. That is, until we went to see the bears. With the bear facing away from the "audience", it pooped....and continued to poop. The kids ran from the otters to see the pooping bear. They were elated at such a fabulous performance! I could go into even more detail, but Meghan's blog captures the day with perfection. So, read her blog, "grossology"!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

I'm a firefighter boy

Mason is almost 6. However, many time he is just plain unsafe. He has no idea of boundaries...or what purpose they serve. He runs away (without warning). He has no fear of strangers. He runs into streets or off of sidewalks without a care. He'll quietly sneak into the garage and open the garage door. Sometimes he'll sneak into the car, just to honk the horn. In fact, one of his IEP goals is around safety, and not running away. In the fall, he actually has aide time during recess to assure he doesn't run away off the playground.

We've had a fairly child-proof house since just after Lauren was born. Most the plug outlets have been covered. The knives are out of sight and up high. Medication is stored appropriately in a locked cabinet. We have tot-locks on a few cabinets. Cleaning supplies are stored up high. The front door has a "hotel lock". Other doors have the plastic child-proof locks.

We felt rather comfortable with our safety measures. Many of which we never really even needed for Lauren. Well, that all changed yesterday. Yesterday morning, we awoke to Mason in our room at 6:30am. That on it's own would not have been an issue. However, he was dressed in firefighter dress up clothes. Hat and all. He greeted us with "Hi- I'm a firefighter boy. See my hose"? The problem is that in order to obtain said items, he had to open the childproof door handle from inside his room. Then open a different type of childproof door handle to get upstairs to the dress-up clothes. He did all this while we were sleeping. He told us he was even playing drums. No telling what hour he woke.

So, as I was at work, it was Mark's job to find a new lock. We are now proud owners of locking door handles. Door handles which require a key to open. One handle on the laundry room door (so he can't get to the garage). Another "hotel lock" on the door to upstairs. And, lastly, a lock for Mason's door & window. He is too at risk of being an "unaccompanied minor" on a field trip of his own! UGH.