Saturday, November 29, 2008

A nice break from work

We are having such a nice break! It is going to be hard to go back on Monday. We have been spoiled this month – there were only 14 ½ school days/work days for myself and the kids. December we have 3 full weeks and a ½ a week before our next break. How will we cope?? Just kidding. With all the fun that December holds, I am sure it will go by quickly.

Wednesday was a quick work day for me. It was a half a day, and before I knew it, I was on my way home to get the kids from school. Arlington didn't have afternoon Kindergarten, so she was glad to see me. It was still nap time for the babies, so I just took Arlington with me and we went to the library. We browsed and killed time there, and then we went to Subway to grab some dinner for Mat and I (it wasn't dinner time, but I was just picking up early) and then went to the service station for some snacks. (Hey, I live in the sticks, there weren't many places to venture to kill some time!). We went back to the daycare about 1 hour later and got the two little ones and headed home. It was nice to come home and have some daylight still visible. It has been getting dark here around 4:30pm, which is about the time we normally get home.

The picture that comes next is for my family and friends who know me.

Yes, folks, we had Thanksgiving dinner at home! For the last 7 years, Mat and I (and then us with the kids) have eaten OUT on Thanksgiving day. For those last 7 years of our marriage, we have lived too far away from Family to have anyone come to us for this short weekend holiday, and too far for us to travel. So, we have always found a restaurant that serves PIE at the very least, and we got out. It is our tradition. Well, this year, we are closer to family, but since we are making a large trip at Christmas to visit them, we are staying home this year for Thanksgiving. BUT – since we now live in the sticks - I mean, a very NICE small town - there really isn't a place to eat out. So Wednesday, Mat went to the store and got a ham, some rolls, and a pumpkin pie. We already had mash potatoes and veggies at the house. So, we had home (GASP!!). Now, my family knows I don't EVER cook. EVER. I heat. But, we sat down together and made this meal, and it was fun! Of course, the ham was pre cooked and I only had to warm it, and everything was pretty easy. But STILL! For us – this is PROGRESS! I was proud.

Anyway, we had a great Thanksgiving day. We have a tradition that we get up, we watch the Macy's parade (we are so close that I am hoping when the kids are older we can GO to the parade), and we put out the Christmas decorations. We don't put up the tree, (because we get a real one), but we do everything else. The kids LOVE this day. So do we – it is probably my favorite day besides actual Christmas day. After the parade, Arlington and I then pick out one of her Christmas movies to watch and while the babies nap, we wrap presents. It really is a fun day. Mat took the kids outside for awhile today since it was fairly nice. Although, the ground is frozen and he did fall on our slippery hill and cut his leg. He was lucky he wasn't hurt worse! After the babies nap, we got our dinner ready and ate, and before we knew it Thanksgiving day was over.

Friday was fun too. I WANTED to start out my day at 6am at the stores, but I was vetoed. Nah, in all honesty, it is becoming so easy to shop online these days, that I didn't see the need to go out this year. So I didn't go in the morning. I did miss it, though. I usually go – all alone, and am back before 9am. I just do a few stores. I NEVER do electronics or toys. I am not insane. But I do get great deals on clothes on Black Friday. This year, no one really asked for clothes, so I didn't have a reason. BUT we did head out this evening. We went to Target and it wasn't so bad. With the mad rush over, we weren't in there too long. And we did go out to dinner at the Olive Garden. We have kind of stopped going out to dinner, and we held our breath, but the kids did great! Dinner came really fast – someone was looking out of our sanity today. Everyone ate, which was also a first in a really long time! So I am glad we went out just for a little. We are not used to being so cooped up all the time!

While we were at Target, though, Finley was so funny. We were browsing the toys just looking, and there was this dinosaur:

It is large, and very expensive. There is a “try me” button. Arlington pushes it, and her brother and sister (the real scardy cats of the family) froze in place. It roars, it moves, it is fierce. Not for the faint babies hearts! When it was done playing, Cainan did laugh and Finley seemed okay. We walked away, and Finley wanted to go back and see it again. So back we went. I pushed the button and she scrunched into me saying, “I don't like it”. Great. So we go to walk away and she says “no!”. So I tell her - “you want to watch it? It is okay – it isn't real. It is just pretend.” It is in a big plastic box, so I tell her it is trapped in there and can't get out. When it was done, we left, and for the REST OF THE NIGHT, she told me over and over, “It pretend. It can't get me. It is stuck in the box”. I mean, for HOURS she repeats this every couple of minutes! She is obsessed with convincing herself the dinosaur is not going to eat her any time soon. Too much!

Anyway, Friday was also “Christmas picture taking day”. With us being cheap, (and photoshop being awesome), we have stopped going to the store to have professional pictures taken of our kids at Christmas. When we had one child, it was fine. But with three kids and two of them at the wonderful age of 2, we don't dare subject strangers to their antics of getting them to take a decent picture. So, we suffer in silence at home. No, I kid. It wasn't too bad, but the pictures are not the best we have ever taken. Mat is fixing the final pictures in his computer to make them great, but I posted some of my faves below for you to see. The kids didn't misbehave, really. They were super silly! Especially Finley. She was making all kinds of weirdo faces, and doing little dances. That girl has ants in her pants 24/7. Arlington did her best to sit very still while we begged the babies to cooperate. We took 120 pictures, and I think we have maybe 5 ones that are decent enough for our card this year. Ah well. :)

Saturday was another fun day. We spent the morning hanging pictures around the upstairs of the house. After being here fro 6 months, we are finally starting to hang pictures! Took us a long time, I know! But it was a start. We need to get some new frames before we can finish up and then move to the downstairs. In the afternoon, after the babies took their nap, we went to a neighboring small town, Niantic for a “Holiday Stroll”. They were serving hot chocolate and cider, and treats for free while you could stroll down their mainstreet and listen to carolers and look at their stores. They had horse drawn carriage rides. Although when Finley saw the horses, she first say, "ooo, horses!" But then, we started to walk past, and the horses started forward on their walk, she got upset and said, "no horsie! Don't eat me!!". What???? She doesn't like to be snuck up on that is for sure!! Then Santa arrived by Firetruck into the town green (Gilmore Girls flashback!!!) and was available for the kids to talk with and take pictures. We couldn't even get close (so we promised Arlington we would take her to the mall to visit him). I tried to explain to Finley who he was (Cainan has no interest). Finlely finally said, "see Santa - get presents". Thata girl. They played Christmas music and then a fireman climbed the ladder on the truck and did a “snowball drop” where they dropped 1000 ping pong balls down and each one had a different discount you could use at one of the local buisnesses. The kids enjoyed watching them climb the ladder and try and catch the balls. Afer that we were pretty cold, so we walked down the main street for awhile and then headed home. But it was a fun way to spend a few hours.

So that was our Holiday! We hope everyone had a wonderful weekend and enjoyed time with family and friends. Happy Holidays to all!! Enjoy the pictures and we will see you Tuesday! Oh, and in the near future my blog will be getting a little facelift, courtesy of Mat, and a new name!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy Early Thanksgiving!

Happy Early Thanksgiving everyone! This is a short week for all of us. Tomorrow the kids and I only have a half a day of school/work. Arlington actually doesn't have Kindergarten tomorrow because of the 1/2 day - so she will stay at daycare until I can leave work at 1pm.

The kids have been BONKERS at work these last two days. I had one kid visit me 5 times yesterday. She just couldn't stay in her seat! And I can't even blame it on her teacher. She came in from recess, and lunch, and Spanish, and class, and art! She is good. She REALLY wanted to go home, but it wasn't going to happen - no matter how hard she tried!

Yesterday was also a first for me - here is the scenario:

Principal (calmly comes to my office - I LOVE her): "Jennifer, we have a little problem. Apparently Johnny Third Grader has eaten his lunch ticket".

Me: (starring at her), "I'm sorry, what did you say?"

Principal: "Well, Johnny Third Grader has a substitute teacher today, and every time he has a substitute he does something like this for attention. SO, he ate his lunch ticket"

Me: Okay....... are you sure he swallowed it?

Principal: Apparently so. The substitute watched him chew it and swallow it.

Me: (thinking why the sub didn't STOP him), "well, can I see him?"

Principal: We will send him down and then can you send him to my office so that I can call his mother?"

So I proceed to call my supervisor nurse who - after she finishes laughing at the crazy things that keep happening to me - says, "probably call poison control, tell him to drink a lot of water, and call his mother."

Now, this ticket is a paper ticket - like the ones you get for a drawing. Poison control stated he would live, although after telling his mom what he did, I think she was going to kill him when he got home.

So he comes to my office:

Johnny Third Grader: "I am sorry I ate my lunch ticket. I didn't mean to swallow it".


So, that was my Monday morning. Things are never dull at school, I admit. Today's excitement was a little girl who has bad food allergies who was brought to my office around 12:30 covered - and I mean COVERED in hives. After giving her some benadryl, we tried to get to the bottom of what she might have eaten, but came up short. Her mom did come and get her, but she had the teachers in a tizzy!

My kids are doing great. Arlington is excited to have 4 days off from school. Our plans are to decorate for Christmas, wrap presents, and just relax. We aren't going anywhere for Thanksgiving this year, since we are going to Pennsylvania for 10 days for Christmas. Arlington helped me do some Christmas shopping the other day for her brother and sister and that was a lot of fun.

Mat took Arlington to see "Bolt" on Sunday. It was the day where her elementary school had rented out the theater so that the kids could see the movie for free. Go PTO! They had a great time. She sat with a few of her friends and Mat said the movie was pretty good.

Oh, and speaking of movies, Mat and I did see Twilight Saturday night. Now, Mat will tell you it was awful and cheesy. I will agree with the cheesy part and the bad acting in some areas. BUT, overall, it stuck to the book, which was impressive. I think they have picked the wrong people for Edward and Bella's characters. But the others were just fine. There were some funny parts, and the theater was packed. I love watching a movie in a packed theater. It was no Harry Potter, but it was cute.

Finley is doing fine. She and Cainan were playing tonight and it was cute. Finley said to Cainan (showing him a little people), "What is this Cainan?" Cainan said "people". Finley said, "Yes, a people - good job Cainan". They are too funny! Cainan hasn't thrown an outright tantrum since our guest left Sunday morning, and that is great. Hopefully he will settle down. Even Finley's fits have settled a bit. I tell ya - age 3 is WORSE, though! I know what is coming.

So, since we are close to Thanksgiving, I am going to share what I am thankful for. I started a "What I am Thankful for" kite in my office. Each kid that comes into the office fills out a bow to add to our kite - filled with something they are thankful for. Some of them are really interesting (Thankful for the Incredible Hulk), and some are very touching (thankful for their teachers, and me!!). This season - really ANY time during the year - focus should remain on helping those who are less fortunate. Always remember that there is someone out there worse off than you. Nothing makes me happier than giving to other people. If I could, I would give my whole salary to save one child, save one person, change someone's life. I think life should be lead by paying it forward. I have been given so much - I have SO much. Someone else deserves happiness just like I have. EVERYONE deserves a helping hand. Whether that be a hand up or a hand out. Whatever the situation lends it self too. We should ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS put others before ourselves.

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for:

- my family
- my job
- my friends
- my comfortable life
- my health
- my families health
- every day that I matter to someone
- my worries are small

What are YOU thankful for???

Here are some pictures. Only one kid picture this week - my camera was charging! But I did take the camera to work today and took a few pictures of my little (ahem) office. The only thing I didn't take was my little bathroom! Enjoy! Have a WONDERFUL thanksgiving and remember how lucky you are! I will see you Saturday!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Visitors again/picture catch up

I got my cord back for the camera, so I am going to post all the pictures from the week today. Aren't you excited???

We had a good week. It has been really cold and windy here and that hasn't been fun. But at least the sun is still shining, which lifts the mood! Wednesday-Friday were busy for me at work, and the kids were busy at school. The kids had a Thankgiving party on Wednesday this week, which they really enjoyed. We found out that Cainan loves pumpkin pie! Yum! The kids didn't really slow down their visits to my office until Friday. Friday there was a Thanksgiving party in the Kindergartens and third grade was on a field trip so that helped A LOT. Thursday I did my VERY LAST vision screening. I only had one kid left that had been absent - a Kindergartener. He was cute. There is a plus sign on my chart, and the when I pointed at it he said "American Red Cross/Ambulance symbol". How about that!!! Too much!

I have two girls now that have jobs for me in the morning. They have been working on some decorations for my room. I have put up tons of posters and pictures - trying to cover the ugly walls, but they don't cover it all! The older one is in charge of making me a sign for outside my door with my name on it and a scene of her choosing. We change it once a month to keep it interesting. The other works on pictures since she is a little younger. This coming week we are going to working on a "wishes for the world/what we are thankful for" Kite. We are going to make a big kite, and stretch a sting all around each wall of the room, and as the kids come into the office, if they want to add a wish or a thank, they can, and my two helpers will help me with them. It is going to be fun!

Arlington is doing well. We are still working through all of her books. We are doing pretty good! We found that she really likes our new series - Clementine. We borrowed our second book in that series from the library and she is anxious to get it started. This coming week she only has 2 days of school before Thanksgiving break. She is excited about that!

Finley is doing fine. We made her a ne eye appointment for December 2nd since the last eye doctor was a bust. Finley said her first 12 word sentence "The ice cream place is closed because it is too cold for ice cream." Or 14 words if you count ice cream separately. She is talking so well. She is putting things together and really doing well!

Cainan is doing fine. Starting into the terrible twos I am afraid! He just recently started stomping his foot and really throwing a fit when he is "wronged". It has been tiring! To have two of them doing it - UGH! Actually, Finley doesn't throw too many tantrums. Hers are only related to eating. Cainan's are much worse. Sigh.

This weekend we have company again! We love it! Mat's parents and his brother, Zac, are in visiting this weekend. It has been fun. They arrived yesterday afternoon and will going home tomorrow. A quick visit, but we are so glad they are here. The kids are so excited they are here! Mat and I may take in a movie while they are here. I am dying to see Twilight. So we may go later this afternoon - we shall see! The Penn State game is on at that time, so I am not sure I am going to get my wish. We went out to lunch today, and the grandparents got a taste to see what it is like to take three kids out to eat! Not on their best behavior today and we were all exhausted by the time lunch was over! They also had a chance to see Arlington play basketball this morning, and that was a treat for her.

So that is it. Tomorrow Mat and Arlington are going to see the movie "Bolt". Arlingon's school rented out the whole theater for the 10am showing for the movie and it is free for students and $5.00 for adults. So they are going to go with the whole hoard of kids. It should be fun.

Enjoy the pictures and I will see you on Tuesday!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bitter cold/whimpy me

Yes, I am whimpy. I dislike the cold so very much! And it is only November. It will be May before we thaw out! Today was only 37 and tonight is supposed to be 29. We may even get snow flurries! Now, the snow I am anxious for the kids to see. But the cold - ugh. I am constantly shivering. My "economic" husband makes us run the space heater instead of burning all of our oil all the time! We do run it at night, but in the evening - it is space heaters! I sit right in front of my little "fire". I will be greatful for the summer!

The things I do like about the winter is hot chocoloate, warm tea, warm fires. Long sleeve clothes that for the last 8 years we have had no reason to wear. Seeing the kids faces when they play in the snow. Those are some pluses.

The weekend finished off nicely. Mat arrived home safely Sunday around lunch time. After he got home and settled, he and I left to get some Christmas shopping done for the kids. Then we went to the movies. We saw the new James Bond movie "Quantum Solace". It was pretty good. James Bond isn't bad to look at. So that makes it bearable! Then we went back to do a little more shopping and went out to eat, and then came home.

Monday was back to work and school - my parents were still here, so the babies were still at home and Arlington only had to get to Kindergarten. We just had dinner at home Monday night and relaxed and played Wii. Even my parents got in on the fun! My mom and I finished the spirit wear orders for my school (she and my dad had worked on it on Saturday and we were just double checking everything). We had a great turn out for the spirit wear and that was really great!

Today was a long day. I had an early morning meeting and saw 46 kids today. Yesterday I saw 45. My numbers are climbing again. We had 2, 4 day weeks, and this is a 5 day week and the kids know it. They started off with a bang, and were no less gung ho on going home today! But I held them off and only sent two home. I promise - if they are REALLY sick, they go. But otherwise - back to class! They get the slightest "different feeling" and they are in my office demanding me to call their parents to come and get them. But I hold off because most moms (me included probably!) - once they talk to their kids, they have guilt and come and get them!

I had one cute kid today come in and say,
"Do you have a cure for a runny nose?"
"Yes", I say "It is called a Kleenex".

Seriously?? What did this kid tell his teacher he was coming to the nurses office for? Starting in Janurary, I am going to have a little form for each teacher to send every time the child comes to the nurse to mark what the child is coming down for - it is a simple form -they just have to check a box. That way, if the story changes by the time they get to me, then I will know how they got out of class. AND, then I can send the communication back to the teacher. I hope this does two things 1)limit the amount of kids the teachers send to me for the ridiculous (hang hail, kleenex, ice pack for a 3 day old bruise), and 2) let the teacher's know what the kids are telling ME when they arrive so they can have a better handle on their "frequent fliers". Most of my teachers are GREAT - really drill the kids before they come to me. But some send EVERYONE - several times a day. I LOVE seeing the kids, don't get me wrong. It is just frustrating to have an office full of kids that don't really need the nurse when I have so much work to do. :)

Anyway, I don't have any pictures today because my parents left today and accidentally took my camera cord with them to Pennsylvania! They will mail it back and I will have pictures to share hopefully by the weekend.

So, I have three things I wanted to share with you.

1. November is national adoption month. This is something very close to our hearts, of course! In 1976, the governor of Massachusetts, Michael Dukakis, announced an Adoption Week for his state. Later that same year President Gerald Ford proclaimed that Adoption Week would be celebrated nationally. As more and more states started to participate in Adoption Week it became clear that more time was needed for holding events and in 1990 National Adoption Week became National Adoption Month.
Today National Adoption Month is celebrated during the month of November. The celebration usually includes National Adoption Day with courthouses throughout the nation participating and hundreds of adoptions being finalized simultaneously.
National Adoption Month is a time to celebrate family and to bring about awareness that there are hundreds of thousands of children in foster homes awaiting adoption. States, communities, and agencies hold events during the month to bring the need for families into public view. For information on what you can do to help the children who are waiting for a family contact your local state agency.

This years theme is "Answering the Call - You don't have to be perfect to be a perfect parent. There are thousands of teens in foster care who would love to put up with you." This year's theme of adopting teens from foster care builds on the Ad Council's new public service announcement (PSA) campaign of the Children's Bureau, the Adoption Exchange Association, and The Collaboration to AdoptUsKids. The main focus of National Adoption Month has been and continues to be foster care adoptions. There are approximately 129,000 children in foster care in the United States waiting for adoptive homes.

2. November is also national diabetes month. I have a juvenielle diabetic at my school and diabetes was a passion of mine as a pediatric nurse while working at Johns Hopkins. November is American Diabetes Month®, a time to bring even greater awareness and attention to the seriousness of diabetes, its deadly complications, and the importance of proper diabetes control. This year, the American Diabetes Association is asking the American public, "Why should you care about diabetes?"
Throughout the month, the American Diabetes Association will conduct activities – and encourage others across the country – to get involved in efforts to raise awareness about diabetes and its serious complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness and amputations. My plan for the spring is to organzie a walk-a-thon for juvenielle diabetes. If there are walk-a-thons, or donation centers in your area for diabetes, please considering participating!!

3. My Stuff Bag Foundation - this is an AWESOME foundation that was brought to my attention by Matt at Matt's blog. The My Stuff Bags Foundation provides comfort and a message of hope to abused and neglected children entering crisis and foster care through its unique program, My Stuff Bags. Did you know that around 300,000
(yes 300,000) children across AMERICA need to be rescued each year from dangerous home environments? Sadly, most of them have the leave their situations without any of their belongings - no special items for them to hold on to. You can read the story about My Stuff Bags here: My Stuff Bags
Click on the charity badge below to see how you can help!!!
please consider donating to this charity...

You know that children are my passion, and as a pediatric nurse for 11 years, I can't imagine what better population to help then those children who have nothing. Our system in America is broken enough - please consider helping these children get a little peace in an already awful situation. Thanks Matt!!

Everyone have a great week! I am sorry again about the pictures! But in acutality, this post was about three passions of mine, and it deserves to stand alone. We are a fortunate family with little concerns. If you don't give to charity, now is a good time to start. Remember - there is always someone less fortunate that you are.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Saturday already

This week went by really fast! It is hard to believe that it is Saturday night already. It was a busy week and I am tired! I don't have as much time to write tonight as I like. I am working on totaling up the orders for our school's (Arlington's that is) "spirit wear" orders. Myself and another gal on the PTO volunteered to put together all the spirit wear stuff for our school, and now the orders are in. We got 160 things ordered - we think that is great! Anyway, it is taking up most of my free time this weekend to get it together. But that is fine!

The week was good. The babies are home with the grandparents this week, and Arlington is taking the bus from the house. So a break from the germs for a little while, which is nice. Every thing returns to normal on Tuesday when my parents leave to go home. I am sure the babies aren't going to want to go back to school at first after being spoiled for so long!

Thursday was a long day of work for me. I had several meetings and left right after school to attend an asthma conference with my fellow school nurses. It was a really good conference and I am glad I got to go. After that, we all went out to dinner and had a really great time. We were at dinner for about 3 hours just laughing and joking around! We have a really great time together. I didn't get home until 10:30 pm!

Friday was the LAST of my screenings at school! I did a big HOORAY!! The kids are so cute. Some cute things they said:
(When I turn the lights out and tell them to sit still because it is dark): "I can see in the dark Mrs. Pletcher. I have x-ray vision." OR "I can see in the dark -my eyes glow in the dark". Both boys, of course!

We have a circle as something for them to identify on the eye chart. There is also a cup. Last week I had a couple of kids call it a tire and a cheerio. (the cirlce). This week they called the circle an "eye". Okay.... And then one child saw the cup, and when I pointed to it, he said "afternoon tea cup". Where do they get this stuff???

I also had a kid tell me that his skin was itchy because he had blood just like a frog. Explains a lot I told him.

Today was Arlington's first day of basketball. She did great! That is the majority of my pictures below (or maybe all of them, I can't remember!). It was from 9-10:30. It will be that every Saturday until February. She had a great time, and of course her best bud "K" was there! That always makes it more fun for Arlington. But she did great and I think she had a lot of fun. The bouncing of a million basketballs in a very echoey gym can get to you after awhile, though!

The babies are doing great. Cold free at the moment. Cainan said to Finley yesterday, "no touch brother". It was cute.

Arlington and Finley had dentist appointments on Thursday. Good reports. Finley has two baby teeth fused together. Dentist told us it is genetic, so who knows! They think her adult teeth will come in normally. What a weirdo.

Finley also had an eye doctor appointment on Friday. My mom took her. The eye doctor was very rude, so we will be scheduling another appointment. I don't think he sees very many little ones and it showed. I am going to take her to a pediatric eye doctor instead next time. Anyway, we will be making another appointment because Finley does seem to be having a problem seeing. It seems that she has a lazy eye. He did a test that she failed that showed that her left eye doesn't turn in like it should when she is focusing close. She doesn't see close up. We are to do some eye exercises to see if it gets better, and he believes the exercises will prevent us from having to do surgery. But that is why we are seeing another doctor. I see what he is saying, but I want to do further exam to make sure nothing else is going on and exactly what else we may need to do. So that is to come!

So that is all for now! I am sorry this is so short, but enjoy the pictures and I will see you Tuesday! I forgot to charge my camera and my battery was really low, so the pictures are not great.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Today my parents arrived for their week long visit. We are happy to have them here. Mat left this morning for Philadelphia (which is why they are visiting at this time) and we are going to miss him very much. He is gone until Sunday, so it isn't too long. And he isn't far away this time, which is nice. But my parents arrived at 3:30 this afternoon and we have been having a nice visit ever since. This evening we have unpacked (they brough the kids a ton of clothes and books and etc!) and Grammy and Papa had a chance to play Arlington on the Wii, we had pizza for dinner and all the kids went to bed easily!

The weekend wrapped up nicely. We went to church on Sunday and we did a big grocery trip afterwards. School was fine for everyone on Monday. My kids at my school put on a performance for the Veterans Monday afternoon. They were crazy on Monday! Monday is always a busy day anyway since it is after the weekend. I had a very large amount of stomach aches come in on Monday. Not sure what that was about. We do have a stomach bug going around, but you know little kids! One kid in the class has it - 5 more do too! But the day went by quickly.

Monday was also my parent/teacher conference for Arlington. Just the routine yearly conference to see how she is doing. Her teacher had nothing but praise for her and thought she was doing exceptionally well and is ahead of the curve. She said she will be working on reading with Arlington and some others like her in the class, and learning how to figure out what vowel goes in the words. She is very impressed with what Arlington can already do and wants to continue to challenge her and have us do the same at home! Arlington and I have started working through her list of books - got a lot of them at the library.

So that is all the news so far! A good couple of days. Arlington did say something cute. We got her a new carseat so we have one for each car now. Anyway, it has a little cushion on the middle/back of the seat that is the shape of, well, a butt. It is a different color than the rest of the seat, so when Arlington saw it, she said (very excited) "look! The carseat shows your where to put your butt!".

The babies are doing well. I did an oops this morning. I was drying my hair and had it plugged into an outlet with a bunch of other stuff. I knew this was a mistake, and sure enough, it threw the braker and shut the power down. So I said "crap". Now, I know I use this word WAY too much. And Cainan was in the room with me and he said "crap" right after me! He continued to repeat it until I had to stop him! UGH! Hopefully he didn't say it at school.

So that is it! We have a busy week ahead. We are having a neutralizer placed tomorrow on our water system because our pH has been low on our water test. And Thursday the girl's have dentist appointments and Friday Finley has an eye appointment. Oh and Saturday Arlington starts basketball! So busy times ahead.

Enjoy the pictures and I will see you Saturday!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Week in review

It is Saturday and I couldn't be happier! It was a long, tiring week, and I am glad it is over. It has been a rainy week too, and that has made our kids nuts! Ah well. Enough complaining.

Wednesday was a pretty good day. That is the day the rain started. The kids were up early, still, but not that early. I had a really great day at work. Everything seemed to flow well. I only saw about 26 kids, which was like a day off. I got extra work done, I was able to help some other teachers, have a conversation, leave my office, eat a WHOLE lunch without interruption, etc. It was a good day! I have a few students that I have doing a few things for me in the office – one that sees me every morning for an office job (making sponge ice packs, coloring a picture to hang in my office) because she needed some positive reinforcement to make her behave better during the day. I have a little girl who writes in a journal because she needs an outlet for school anxiety. I have a little girl who lets small boo-boos interfere with her day, so each time she comes in she gets some “magic cream” that lasts ALL day to keep her focused in class. I have found that my job in the school is to help the teachers keep these kids in class as much as possible. I LOVE a challenge. My favorite part of nursing is being inventive. I am feeling more and more like a team player every day, and that makes me feel good.

Thursday started Kindergarten screenings at my school. I did Kindergarten screenings on Thursday and Friday this week. I am so close to the end now! I saved the most challenging – yet cutest – for last. Thursday I did one class and it took me two solid hours. Friday it took 2 ½. But it was nothing but fun. The kids were pretty well behaved! We had our challenges. They can't tie their shoes – or really even put them on that well by themselves – so that took some time. The kindergarten eye screening test is pictures of things they should know (since in some kids even knowing letters can be iffy). So, I would bring my group of kids up to the eye chart, we would go over all the shapes, and then they would be able to do the test. That worked pretty well. They loved the scale. They would jump on it, hug it, lean on it – anything but what they should do. They wanted to see what their shoes weighed, a book weighed, etc. The hearing test actually wasn't so bad. They got it for the most part – raising their hand every time they heard a sound. One kid decided he would rather clap when he heard something and another who would repeat “beep”.

They had their moments. Of course, they ARE Kindergarten – the majority of the kids I usually see during the day. Just about one kid in every group of three (that is the most I would have in the office at a time) would want an ice pack for an imaginary boo-boo. If they couldn't get an ice pack on their firs request, they would make several more “boo-boos” appear to try and get an ice pack. Or a bandaid. Or chapstick. Or whatever they saw lying around that looked fun to have!

They would also “help” each other with the eye test. Each group I needed to remind to stop giving the kid (who was testing) the answers. And if the child got one wrong – look out! His classmates were quick to correct him! They are too much.

Here are some cute things they would say:

1.When one girl covered her eye with the eye cover (for the eye chart reading) she said, “I can't see anything with the eye that is covered – it is just dark”.

2.One boy thought the eye test would be easier if “he was a cyclops”

3. The eye chart has a circle on it for them to identify. Most kids called it a circle on an “O”. But I did have one child call it a tire and another call it a cheerio. Very creative. There was also a boat and one child called it a tent.

4.One little girl told me that “last night out goat got into our house and started chewing on our couch!”

One child never stopped talking. Ever. Can you imagine doing a hearing test on a child who never closed his mouth? He was the cutest EVER, but just would not stop telling me stories. He told me that when he is sick his mom gives him “Iprewprofin”. He apparently has 528 dogs – one named peanut butter butterscotch. He went on and on and it was too much!

Today I took Arlington to a workshop called “Minds in Motion”. It is sponsored by Connecticut's Association of Gifted Children. She really enjoyed it. She got to do two workshops. One was supposed to be an gymnastics one, but it got cancelled at the last minute. So she did two about animals and loved it. She got hands on experience and learned a lot. They also had a story time and snack. It was broken up by age groups, so she was with Kindergarteners. Her best bud “K” was there and she was so excited! There were also workshops for parents. I went and Mat stayed home for the babies. There were vendors there who were selling thing for kids (books, workbooks, games for kids) and then parents attended two workshops. I went to two about books available for highly able kids. It was really informative and I got a lot of good ideas of how to work with Arlington and her reading abilities. The speaker was really good and I liked her enthusiasm for children's books. Arlington is able to understand book like Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, so I wanted to make sure we were challenging her enough. I found that we aren't! Arlington can spell from memory 100 words. She has always been a little ahead of the curve. I hope I can keep up with her. We are proud of her and want her to continue to love learning and challenges and reading. READ to your KIDS! Best thing you can ever do for them.

The kids are all doing well. They have been getting up so early that Wednesday night it caught up with me and I fell asleep at 8:30! And Thursday night the kids are all at their wits end from getting up so early, that they went to bed easily by 7:30.

Cainan seems to be getting a little cold again. He used to be the healthiest of the three, but lately, he seems to be getting the majority of the colds. His eye on the side of his cleft is draining slightly again from time to time – let's hope school doesn't start to call it pink eye. He just has to get through a few more days of school before my parents come in and the babies will be home from daycare for 1 week. He is doing well, still in speech therapy and with his teacher. I spoke with the teacher the other day about Cainan's lack of ability to remember colors. She said that is age appropriate for boys and that it is just that he doesn't care. I do believe that! He is must more concerned about the object than the color of the object. She said for us not to worry about it. It will come with time. She found that he was right on track for age learning wise, so that was good news. We are a little “pickier” when it comes to Cainan and his learning. We know that he spent 14 months in an orphanage with little stimulation, and little nutrition. We watch him like a hawk for any signs that he might need extra help with learning. We want only the best for him and to decrease any frustration he may have when it comes to communication. We want him to learn at his own speed, but we also want to be able to recognize when trouble might be “brewing” and an intervention needs to be made.

Finley is herself. She got in trouble one day at school for pinching and pushing her brother. And she throws such major two year old fits, they are astonishing. It is hard not to laugh they are so ridiculous. She is so head strong! Now I have to say her eating has been better this week. She has been doing well at school and at home. School has been telling her “don't you want to be big and strong like Arlington?” She will say yes and put a bite in her mouth. There is no doubt that her sister is her hero. That girl LOVES Arlington. Whatever works!

Arlington is doing great. Next week I have a conference on Monday with her teacher about how she is been doing. (this is parent/teacher conference time for our school – nothing out of the ordinary). I don't really have any questions or concerns. I think Arlington is learning a lot in school and she loves it. But it will be nice to talk with the teacher and see what she thinks about Arlington's progress. My only goal is to have Arlington reading her beloved books by the end of this year (the easy ones that is) so that she goes into first grade as a reader. It is by far her favorite activity, and she loves the idea of being able to do it on her own.
Thursday Arlington drew a picture of a brain. (or what she thought it looked like). She said, “now I have two brains in case I lose one!” Sounds like a plan. I need to get myself one of those.

So that is it. Tomorrow is church and yard work and a large grocery trip. Monday is parent conference and Tuesday no school! Tuesday is also when my parents arrive to spend a week with us while Mat is out of town at a business conference. I am looking forward to their visit! It will be nice to have someone to play with the kids and they are so looking forward to it.

Enjoy the photos and I will see you Tuesday!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election day/Day off from work

So the election day has ended. The calls will now stop, the signs will slowly be removed from the yards. I like today - I like watching the news and watching the polls come in. But I am also glad it is all behind us and we can now move forward and think about something else! The holidays are coming and I am anxious to get into the season.

I refuse to make this a political blog. I hope everyone got out and voted today and made the choice that they felt was right for them. I feel very strongly about politics, but I know that there are many different opinions out there of people who read my blog and you are all entitled to them. I respect your views just as you should respect mine. But I am glad that my great state of Connecticut (and the rest of New England) was undoubtedly blue 1 minute after the polls closed. I am a very happy girl snuggled here in my liberal world of New England. Not missing Florida at ALL today.

I took Arlington with me to the polls this morning. That was fun. We talked about the election. Who is president now? "The Bush" she says. Close. And who did we vote for today? "Bahama". Not quite. Well, she is 5. I gave her my Vote sticker. She wanted to know why I didn't fill in all the ovals and make it a pretty pattern. :) She is too much.

Today was a good day. Arlington and I voted. Then we had a play date with our neighbor "K". She came over to play with Arlington here at the house. They had a really great time together. She stayed from 9-11:30 and I got a lot done around the house! They occupied themselves for the most part and it was great. I am glad we had a chance to get them together. After the playdate Arlington and I headed to lunch at her favorite establishment. (for my healthy eater readers, I will not horrify you). Then we went to the dentist office to fill out the paperwork for all of their appointments next week. I had writers cramp after that! Then Arlington and I hit Target to get a few things we needed and let her look at the toy section for some ideas for Christmas. She wanted everything she saw, of course. I am looking forward to the day where she is a little more choosy and helps me actually buy for her! After that we went to get the babies at school and then played outside until it got too dark to see.

The kids are all doing well. Staying healthy for the time being - knock on wood! Finley can now sing all of "Twinkle Twinkle" clearly. Every day she comes home from school and says "I take a nap. I nice to my friends". Good deal. She is still the world's worst eater. We are lucky if she eats half of her dinner each night. But we have decided to take the advice of experts and not stress over it. She has always been finicky and right now seems to be eating JUST enough to sustain life.

Arlington said some cute things today. We were sitting having lunch and she was saying how many words "K" could spell. I told her I would bet she could spell more than she thought she could. So I started running through all the sight words she knows. And she could spell them all. No confidence! Got to work on that! (although I must say "K" is one very bright little girl!) But she was spelling and I said, spell yellow. She said "I can spell that one without even using my brain." So funny! What she meant was - she knew it so well she didn't have to picture the word in her mind to spell it. Little kid language is a mystery to be sorted out every day!
Then while we were sitting she said, "I wish my friends 'K' and 'E' could be in our family. We could trade Finley and Cainan to their family". I am sure they would take Cainan but we would have to pay them to take Finley! She does love her brother and sister deeply, but I am sure they get on her nerves. :)

Cainan has not adjusted well to the time change. He is the worst sleeper of the three and I am not surprised that he is getting up early again. Not that I like it! He got up at 5:15 on Sunday, 5:45 yesterday and 5:30 today. UGH! I encourage him to go back to sleep, or at least be quiet, but that only last about 5 minutes and he is singing again. So this morning he got up to play. Hopefully as the week progresses he gets back into his old routine of at least 6:30! With school and it being nice this week where we can go outside after school each day, that should help. I should feel lucky that they are asleep each night by 7:30 and take 3 hour naps still in the afternoon. The morning will be back to normal soon.

So that is about it. Not much in the way of pictures today - I am sorry! Cainan - again - was made to wear a girly costume by his sister. I promise - I put boy costumes on his Christmas wish lists! And on Sunday with it being a long day (with everyone being up at the crack of dawn), we had a large box that we cut up, I traced each of the kids and let them decorate them how they wanted. Arlington drew the faces! The finished projects are....interesting. And I apologize for the pictures - no one was in a picture taking mood so they are not good. :)

Enjoy the pictures and I will see you Saturday!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Halloween/Happy Anniversary

Happy Halloween everyone! Even though this isn't my favorite holiday by far, the kids do enjoy it. The kids had a great time yesterday and I will share more on that in a moment!

This week went by fairly quickly. Wednesday we didn't do much after school, which was nice. It was the coldest of the days this week, so we were inside in the evening. Thursday Arlington and Mat attended a math a thon of sorts for Kindergarten through 2nd graders at her school. Mat said they had a great time. Arlington came home with all kinds of goodies. Mat was the right choice for this activity! They did math games and then physical math games and it was for 2 hours!

Friday was the school parties, the day care party and the trick or treat at night. The school party at my elementary school left me in peace and quiet for about 1 hour at the end of the day! From 2:30-3:30 - for the first time ever - I saw NO ONE. It was awesome. I got some work done, cleaned and neatened the office, and left on time! I loved it. I did watch the parade of costumes of the kids and that was fun. The babies and Arlington had a party at daycare before Arlington left for Kindergarten. They all wore their costumes and had good food and even got a little treat bag. Arlington also had a school party where she could wear a costume, so she took it in her bookbag on the bus. They had a little costume parade and goodies in the afternoon (Arlington's school only allows healthy treats, so no candy there!). Then in the evening at 6:15pm we went with our neighbors trick or treating through our neighborhood. It was fun. I think we went to between 10-12 houses before coming home. We were gone for about 2 hours. I only took the babies to two houses before returning them to Mat. Because we are in the "sticks" the street is safe, but not lit by street lamps, and it made it hard to navigate three little ones. Plus, the babies didn't care much. They had more fun here at the house handing out candy with Mat. AND - Cainan wanted nothing to do with a real costume. We looked into getting him one and he started pitching a fit and crying in the store when we tried it on him, so we chucked that idea. We wore his Steeler gear as his costume and that worked out fine. Finley was an angel (couldn't find a devil costume) and Arlington was Sleeping Beauty.

Anyway, trick or treating was fun. The neighborhood is well establish and everyone knows everyone else, and this gave us a chance to meet some more of our neighbors. I had no idea there were so many houses tucked in and around our street. We even got invited it a little Halloween party one of the houses was having, and that was fun. The kids used that house to take a break from the cold and walking to have some hot chocolate and some good eats. They had their fire pit going and it was warm. We appreciate our neighbor Michelle and their children letting us come along with them as we went through the neighborhood this year! I don't think we would have done as well without them!

Today is Mat and my 11th wedding anniversary. Hard to believe that 11 years ago - before 8 moves (4 different states even!), 3 kids, 2 dogs we were having a wonderful wedding day. I wish our scanner wouldn't have broken or I would have posted a wedding picture of us! Ah well. Time really does go by too quickly. We aren't doing too much today. Those three kids part, (and no family near by) makes it hard for us to get away on our actual anniversary any more. But we are having a delicious dinner in, and the next time company comes to call, we will take advantage of their generosity and go out just the two of us. I have everything I want today anyway - I don't need fancy presents, or reminders. I know what I have and how lucky I am. I spent my day outside with my kids - taking pictures of them laughing on the swings. I decided after reading a beautiful post on Bring the Rain (one of my favorite blogs) "You have no idea what you would miss if you let this pass you by..." that it is more important for me to just be with my family.

Plus - I have a lovely sinus infection and don't feel like doing much anyway. I have had a cold for a little while now, and yesterday afternoon my right side of my face and ear started hurting. This morning when I woke up, it was really hurting and I was having trouble chewing! Not good. And of course it is a Saturday. But urgent care isn't far off, so I went down there, talked with a really nice doctor, got some really nice antibiotics, and am veggin' on the couch. I don't feel bad other than my nose, cheek and ear hurt. So hopefully in a day or two I will be feeling much better.

I also want to say Happy Birthday to my Nanny Watson! Tomorrow (the 2nd) is her birthday! We don't get to see her very often, and look forward to seeing her again soon! We hope she has a wonderful birthday.

That is about it on this end! I have some pictures to share, of course! Tomorrow is church and then just a relaxing afternoon. We have been doing so much running around lately it is nice to just stay home. The weather is nice so we will have the kids outside quite a bit. This whole week is supposed to be fairly warm which is nice! We also have NO SCHOOL on Tuesday!! Whoo hoo! Around here there isn't school on election day. Speaking of which - make sure you get out in vote! No matter who your candidate choice is - you can't complain if you don't vote. The next time I write we will have a new president of the United States!

I leave with one cute thing a student said to me this week.

"Mrs. Pletcher, I am allergic to rocks" (Kindergartener)

Enjoy the pictures and I will see you on Tuesday!