Sunday, June 26, 2011
Thursday, June 23, 2011
I did take one picture - even thought they groaned. It was a rainy day, so I couldn't take much outside, which was kind of a bummer.
This week has been full of goodbyes.
Today was also Arlington's last day of 2nd grade and last day at Salem school. She was kind of sad, but did a great job holding it together. I went to the school for her end of the year party today and that was fun. It was an ice cream sundae party (sorry, I forgot my camera) and then the kids talked about their proudest moments of the year, and got to read us their author stories. (they wrote stories in a hard back book - very cool).
She could have come home with me after the party, but she wanted to stay the rest of the day with her friends. A good idea since she isn't going to see them much any more. She got a great report card, and now she is officially a 3rd grader.
I took the kids to Olive Garden for dinner tonight. Mat was in Boston all day today, so we went just the 4 of us. I am glad they are at an age that we can go out to eat with all three of them and only 1 parent and have a good time. It was pouring rain, but we had a nice dinner and then we came home and watched a movie.
So - tomorrow is our OFFICIAL start of summer. No super early mornings, or packing lunches, or homework for 10 weeks. Yay!
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Finley's Fighters (just click on this and it will take you right there)
And on the first page is the information about the Bike/Walk/Run. Click on the link that says "sign up by going HERE" and it will take you to the registration. Print out the brochure, fill it in, and mail it back. The more people we have registered ahead of time the better. This way we can have a better head count for shirts (you get a free shirt!) and meals (you get fed too!) for that day.
But no worries - if you can't register ahead of time, we still want you to come. It is going to be a great day, and hopefully our biggest fundraiser this year for Finley. So we want everyone to be there that day.
We have had the t-shirt contest, and we have had so many amazing entries. It was a really hard decision. We have chosen our favorite, and it will be revealed soon. We have turned it into the printer, and are hoping for a prototype to share soon. And for all the other entries - we will have them displayed the day of the event so that everyone can see the amazing work these kids did. We thank everyone who participated in the contest.
We are also starting to take basket raffle donations for the event. If you are interested in donating a basket or product for us to raffle off, we would love to hear from you! Leave me a comment, or email me at RDH12@RDH12.org and let me know what kind of basket/product you would be willing to donate! You can come up with ANYTHING you want, but here are some ideas:
Book basket - we have a SIGNED Dean Koontz book that we can give you if you are willing to make a book basket (adding other things to your desire).
Spa (we have a gift card we can give you to add to it - nation wide one)
Kindle - we would love for someone to donate one for us to auction off!
A Pittsburgh Activity basket - I have carnegie museum and science center passes to add to it!
A Pittsburgh Pirates basket - I have tickets to add to it
American Girl basket - you could get together with a few people to make this one - it would be a hit!
Outdoor sports basket
Family game night basket
Local Business basket - if you own/work at a local business we would love a basket of your products!
These are just ideas - we would love to see what you come up with. But we thank you for your donations - the basket raffle will bring in a large profit for our event.
Also - we are looking for sponsors for the t-shirts and for the walk itself. If you donate $50, you can have your business (or your family name, whatever you want) on a mile marker. If you donate $100 - you can have your family/business on the back of EACH shirt we are giving away for the event!! How cool is that! So contact us at RDH12@RDH12.org if you want to make this kind of donation and what you want to put on the back of the shirt/on the sign.
Thank you for making our event so successful. We will be doing the drawing that day for the Sidney Crosby Signed Jersey, so if you haven't gotten your ticket - get one soon!
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Tomorrow I have to go back to just clean up the office and transfer some files. It won't be a long day, and the kids won't be in the building. But tomorrow I will turn in my keys and make sure the room is ready for the next nurse.
I got a ton of presents from the kids today. And from the staff. It was really great. I probably hugged every kid in the school and that helped as well. So - it was a good day.
Monday, June 20, 2011
And then - like many 5 year olds - they were quickly ready to tell me all about their summer plans, and show me what color their tongues have turned from their recent popcicle.
I held it together, but it was hard. I hugged as many as I could, and talked to all of them, and promised I would come back and visit. I am sure they will forget me much faster than I will ever forget them. I tried to memorize their little faces, and their little voices knowing that they will grow up and leave Haddam Elementary without me being there to watch. It was almost painful to think about.
I know this is "just a job". This is just where I work and kids come and go and the years pass. But to me - this was not "just a job". These kids and their families became my family. I loved knowing them the best of anyone when they went to a new grade - I could walk into a class and name every child and talk about each of their personalities. I knew who was always needing a little reassurance, and the ones who were always "faking". I didn't have a class of 30 students. I had a school of 260 students that I was responsible for, adored, and loved learning about.
So tomorrow is our last day. The last day I will walk into that building and take care of those kids. It will be the last time I work with my co-workers at HES. For the first time ever, I am not looking forward to the end of a work day. Tomorrow - we will wave at the kids as they pull away in their school buses - a tradition at the end of every school year. We will cheer and wish them a good summer. And then we will ring the large bell in the front of our school - I will have to ring it because I am leaving, and this is when I know I will lose it.
Sunday, June 19, 2011
To my husband - who is the greatest husband and dad in the world. Even though you are sick this year on father's day, you didn't let it slow you down. You took your eldest daughter to see the new house and out for ice cream, much to her delight.
To my dad - the greatest dad a girl could have. Always patient and quiet when I was growing up, he was the calm parent. (take notes mother) He is the best grandpa/papa and my kids adore him. We are so lucky to have him.
To my father in law Ben - has it really been 20 years since we first met? And 14 years since we became family? I couldn't ask for a better father in law. You are kind, and loving, and my kids absolutely love you. And we can always count on you when we need something fixed around the house. And if we want to watch some really cool show on TV. :)
To my brother - it has been fun watching you become a dad. I always knew you would be great at it - even though I am sure it scared you to death at first. And now, you have two beautiful boys, and I am so proud to watch how amazing you are raising them.
To my brothers in law Jonathan and Frank - we are so lucky to have wonderful dad's like you in our family. You are amazing with your kids and family and we are very proud of how well you have taken to fatherhood. We look forward to having our kids all grow up together and share stories of the "early days" when the kids are grown and gone.
I hope you all had a wonderful father's day and I look forward to seeing all of you soon!
Saturday, June 18, 2011
I had a tour of the school first. This school has had a vision impaired student before and was renovated a few years ago to accommodate that student, so when we walked around, there wasn't much to point out. The principal was highly conscious of things in the classroom that might be a navigation hazard and had quick solutions for solving them. It was a great tour. The kindergarten wing is fairly new, so each classroom is big and bright, and up to code (imagine that). Plus - they have bathrooms in each room, so that is going to help. There is a large cut out Mickey mouse that stands right outside the Kindergarten wing, so that is a great landmark for Finley. I could go on and on, but just know that the tour went very well and I was very pleased with what I saw.
After the tour, we went through her IEP (individualized education plan) page by page and talked about Finley and her needs. And they were very interested in her diagnosis and her future vision. The teacher that was in the meeting had asked to have Finley next year, and I think she is going to be great. She asked a lot of great questions, and had wonderful ideas of how to work with Finley and her needs. So I think we are going to be just fine. They are already starting to look for a teacher for the vision impaired, have contracted an orientation and movement specialist, and have an aide in mind for Finley. And the teacher was GREAT. She was sweet, and "seasoned". She teaches sign language to the class as well, and was excited about also doing a braille letter each week. She asked me to come in and volunteer as well, so that should be fun.
All in all - a great meeting. I left there with a big sigh of relief that we are going to start off great in this school I can even separate the kids -there are three kindergarten classes, so Finley and Cainan will have two different teachers. That is for Finley's sake, mostly. She leans on Cainan a lot, and I really need her to learn independence and to self advocate. I know that Finley is a bit scared to start kindergarten. She was counting on her sister being on the bus with her, but she won't. But Cainan will be there. And she asked if she was scared, if she could hold Cainan's hand. About broke my heart. But I need to give her this shove. I see her introverting more and more these days as her vision goes down hill, so I need to build her confidence that she can do this without her brother.
After I left the little's new school, I ran over to Arlington's school (in this district Finley and Cainan's school is K-2, and Arlington is Grades 3-5) to drop off her paperwork for her registration. Her school is BEAUTIFUL. They just fully renovated it this past fall - this is their first school year in the building. It was really, really nice. she will be excited to see it. It is quite large, which might worry her, but I think she will adjust quickly.
I was back at work by 12:30, so it was a productive morning!
Today, Arlington had a play date with two of her good friends.
Friday, June 17, 2011
This is Mindy:
These two lovely people are Jay and Noreen Granucci:
I have been so lucky these last three years to get to know this wonderful group of people. This group of teachers took me in as their school nurse and I immediately became part of their family.
I am a lucky girl. I have a wonderful job, with wonderful co-workers, and wonderful friends. We have had more laughs than tears these last three years. And on Tuesday, when I say goodbye, it will be one of the hardest good-byes I have ever done.
I love you HES. I love the kids, the families, my co-workers. I will miss them with every piece of my heart.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Thor and Loci were little kids. And they both wanted to be king when they grow up. And when they were grown up, Thor was about to become king and Loci and he both wanted to prove to their father that they were good enough to be the king. So - they went to the Ice Giant land so that they could kill some of the ice giants.
They only thought about themselves - no one else. They killed some ice giants and then an ice giant got this big monster ice thing. IT was about to eat Thor, Loci and the friends that were with him. Then the king came and saved them.
Thor shot his hammer at the monster and it cut through the monster's mouth. And the king brought them back to where they were supposed to be. Loci - when he got touched by the ice giant - his skin would turn blue. But then it would turn back to normal. And then his father punished Thor for doing that. He took away his powers and sent him to earth in the trans.......something.
Thor met 2 girls and a guy. One of the girl tased him when he was about to hurt her. They brought her into the truck and into the hospital and he got loose. So they went running to try and find him. And then the lady who had the taser took it out so she could tase Thor again. When the girl who was driving was backing up, Thor backed into the back of the car. The girl's name was Jane. Jane said she should stop running him over.
After that, Thor and Jane went to the coffee shop. Thor drank so much he said he was done and smashed the cup on the ground. Jane told him not to do that. Thor heard that there was a hammer that got sent down. He thought it was his hammer. So he asked Jane to find it, but the guy with them said no. (the guy was Jane's father's friend). The guy was a doctor. The doctor told Jane not to drive Thor, so she didn't. Thor said "farewell" and kissed her hand, even thought she wanted to kiss him on the lips (OMG)
Then Jane went out to find Thor, but when she found him, Jane's van got taken away, so she couldn't drive. They were stuck on the top of a roof and these government guys took Jane's journal away.
At Thor's real home, Loci was talking to his father and the father told him this story because he picked up this ice block and he turned blue. Just like the ice giants. The dad said when they were having a big fight with the ice giants that he stole Loci because no one was taking care of Loci. Loci was a baby ice giant. Loci's father turned him half person so that every time the ice giants touched him he couldn't turn to ice. The ice giants couldn't take care of him because he was smaller than everyone else. And ice giants are.....GIANT, so they didn't want this little tiny person.
Loci tricked the ice giants into coming to the house.
Back where Jane was, they were talking about what they lost, one of the girls said she lost her Ipod, and Jane kept talking about her book and what was in it. And then the other girl said "I had 30 songs on my Ipod". And the doctor said "well, I can email them" But the lady with the Ipod said they took the doctor's computer. So they had to get off the roof somehow. I don't know.
Then Jane found Thor. And she called the doctor and said to the doctor that she definitely disobeyed him by driving Thor to the hammer, and Thor ripped through everything and then Hawkeye saw them. Hawkeye went to the gun section and instead of a gun, he picked a bow and arrow instead.
Thor makes it through to the hammer, and Thor tries ripping up the hammer, but he couldn't do it because his powers were taken from him. So, he screamed "no" really loud and got arrested. And then the head of the government came in and he talked about what was happening back where Loci was.
Loci yelled at his father about the ice giants, but then all of the sudden the father went to the ground, and Loci called one of the guards so that they could carry him into a thingy........what was Snow White in??? Coffin! He was put in a golden coffin. Everyone thought he was unwell. But he didn't die. Loci went to the Giants and said that he could kill the king right at his bedside.
Back where Jane was, Thor was getting more and more used to the life on earth. Some of his friends game from Asgard and they told Thor that his father wasn't dead. Oh - Loci had come to visit Thor and said his father was dead.
When Loci heard that Thor was coming back, he sent this Giant thingy to get Thor. Thor told Loci to not take life from innocent people, take life from me. So they did. When Thor was laying on the ground, a tear came out of his dad's eye and Thor got his power back. So he got all of his power back and the hammer began to quiver and he won the round with a robot thingy micbobber. Thor didn't want to go back to Asgard that much any more. But his friends kind of made him.
So he went back, and when the ice giant guard were about to kill Loci and Thor's father, Loci poked his sword through the ice giant's heart (or whatever is in there). The ice giant was dead. Loci and Thor's mother the queen thanked Loci for saving the king. And then Thor came bashing in and he told his mother the truth that Loci tried to kill the king. The queen hugged Thor very tight. Loci was very mad, so he went to the transporter thingy and he turned the lightening to ice so that it would go to the ice giants. Most of the ice giants were getting killed.
Thor learned his lesson not to think just about himself. He told the ice giants that they were going to kill many lives. Loci said "I am doing this for my father". Loci's dad came back to life and Thor smashed the rainbow road leading to the transporter thingy to stop the ice giants planet from blowing up.
The ice giants fell off the rainbow road. Loci was holding Thor, and Loci let him go. Thor shouted "noooooooo". But that wasn't the end of Loci. IT was almost the end of the movie.
And then the doctor back on earth - he was getting controlled by Loci. It said at the end that Thor would be back in the Avengers.
Monday, June 13, 2011
As you may have noticed, Jennifer’s valiant effort to do a blog post 365 straight days has hit a bit of a rough spot as of late due to the chaos of our upcoming move. Although her chance at achieving her goal has now past her by, I thought I would help her come as close as possible by pinch hitting for her tonight. So, tonight the role of Jennifer Pletcher will be play by her dutiful understudy.
Yesterday was a big day for me. I got to take Arlington to the first live action movie that we could both reasonably expect to enjoy (and no the Diary of the Wimpy Kid Part Deux does not count). It was the harrowing tale of a downtrodden Norse God, who against all odds, overcame Scandinavian (by way of Britain) good looks and “naturally” muscular physique to save the not-at-all unusually gorgeous astrophysicist and defeat his bratty little brother and runt of a Frost Giant. That’s right, we took in an afternoon matinee of Thor. (Side note – We did check a parent’s review of the movie before taking her in order to make sure there was nothing truly inappropriate in it for an 8 year old although what is appropriate for an 8 year old varies widely by user)
One of the many small pleasures I take from my children is the opportunity to share my pop-culture joys with them. Ne – indoctrinate them with all the trappings of geekdom in order to rob them of their free will and ensure their likes and dislikes match my own (We have also used this practice to ensure that our kids favorite football team is the Steelers, their least favorite college is Pitt, and they think all people from West Virginia are inbred hicks). You know, what every parent wants for their kid. As such, I have always made sure to set aside time for some family bonding over the warm glow of the classics of my youth. When the three tykes were still wee ones, I entertained them with all of the episodes of the Animaniacs, ensuring they recognize the genius that is Pinky and the Brain (Narf!). As they got older we moved into the classic Batman and Superman cartoons which eventually beget the more recent animated versions of Spiderman and Batman (although we had now moved beyond my childhood memories, I didn’t care because these cartoons still made the kid/manchild in me smile). Now we are onto the 80’s X-Men cartoons. It is sometimes shocking how badly these cartoons aged. (the X-Men Christmas Special is about as low as you can go). But the great thing is the kids don’t care. They see in those cartoons what I saw as a kid. Finley keeps asking when we will get the next X-men DVD so she can see what happens next with Jean Grey and Storm.
(Another side note – what a fantastic thing the DVD culture and Netflix is. It was allowed us to share bits of ourselves with our children that our parents never could with us. Sorry, being forced to listen to my Dad’s Kansas albums every Sunday morning doesn’t quite measure up to connection that is formed when your child sincerely asks you to explain to them the complex relationship between Spiderman and the alien Venom symbiote)
And once I have enchanted them with the brightly colored images to accept superheroes as their primary entertainment source, I have successfully guaranteed myself companions to all the superfluous activities that amuse me so. And this is critical because while Jennifer has insisted on growing out of childish pursuits, I refuse to. So with Arlington, Cainan, and Finley, I have a triumvirate of souls that still see the world as I would like, as a big playground where the larger than life is still exciting. They get jazzed about going to the comic book conventions and think is amazing when cartoon characters are show up in trailers portrayed by real people. Which brings me back to Thor.
Here was a big budget, mind-less summer blockbuster that Jennifer had no interest in seeing. But I could count on my monkey princess being trilled at the chance to go see this B-list, public domain sledgehammer enthusiastic be a special effects-enhanced version of Crocodile Dundee for 2 hours. We got to sit in a dark theater, father and daughter, just enjoying ourselves. Every now and then, Arlington looking up to comment on the action or to seek a bit of clarification of character exposition. I was so thrilled that this was one more thing I could now start to share with my kids (I actually can’t wait to introduce her to Buffy the Vampire Slayer but that will have to wait as that has much more mature material than Thor). But as great as this experience was, it did end with a scary vision of the future. When the movie had concluded with good triumphing over evil, Arlington turns to me and says she wishes that the villainous Loki would have won….because he was cute.
Sunday, June 12, 2011
For all of you who KNOW Finley - this is no chance. She is not lucky that was the top card.
"Finley?" I say, "Did you put that card on top?"
A sly smile crosses her face. "yes....." she admits.
"Cheater, cheater pants" I tell her. She does not mind. She thinks this is VERY funny.
The game ends quickly, of course, and so we play again.
This time, I shuffle the cards, but allow Finley to go first. "Hey" she says "where is the ice cream?"
Well hidden I tell her, and we continue play. We all know what happens when you cheat. It comes back to bite you. And for Finley - she did not have a good second game. She ended up on a spot where she lost a turn - twice. And had to go back to basically the beginning with one card she turned over. Then she was sitting funny on a chair, and tipped over. While she didn't get hurt, she ripped her pants.
After the second game - she was done with Candyland (which she most definitely lost). What a weirdo.
Disclaimer: the pictures were taken when Finley was already in bed. Arlington and I were doing sometime downstairs, and Finley was not pleased that she did not have Arlington upstairs yet. She said she wanted "company".
Saturday, June 11, 2011
After we were cleaned, we headed to our new town of Littleton, MA. Mat has a new co-worker and he and his wife and I have been talking back and forth. They are also Littleton residents, and they invited us to spend the day with them. We were excited to hear more about the town we will be living and also spend time with new friends.
We were there from the middle of the afternoon, until about 7:30. We all had a great time. They have a beautiful house and two children, so the kids all had someone to play with. I am glad we went, and I am so glad we have someone we know when we move up there.
It was a great day. We didn't get home until 9:30pm - kids fast asleep in the car. Mat and I put the kids to bed and fell into bed ourselves. We were completely exhausted. I am so glad that summer is not far off.
Friday, June 10, 2011
I have been so lucky these last three years to work with such wonderful people. We are in our independent buildings, but we always have each other for support. And Linda, our nursing supervisor, is amazing. She is a friend as well as a fantastic nurse, and I will miss her most of all.
I don't think I will ever be this lucky again. A great job, in a great district with 4 other great nurses. I will miss them dearly when we go.
Linda gave me a necklace as a going away present. It was hard to control the tears by the end of the night. But I am grateful that we are not going that far because I know I will get to see them again.
Thursday, June 9, 2011
Here is the outside of the house:
stairs up to the playroom. This is another section of the house - off the downstairs. It was a nice surprise to find. Since the basement isn't finished, we can use this room until it is: