Tuesday, March 31, 2009

OSHA and you

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is going to be visiting our district. Yay. Not. Apparently last week a teensy little fire occurred at our high school. Something involving a gum wrapper thrown accidentally into a garbage can that had a chemical in it from a science class. This caused a chemical fire when the glue from the gum wrapper touched the chemical. Kind of unbelievable. The science teacher reacted quickly and bagged the problem and immediately took it outside. BUT, at first they didn’t know what happened, so fire and police, and the fire marshall, and home land security, and OSHA were called…..yeah. Do you see where I am going with this? Parents got an emergency message on their phones stating “there has been an explosion at the high school”. Are you kidding me?? Is this the right words to tell a parent for a tiny fire? Uh, no.

Anyway, it ended up being a very minor, harmless fire that was contained in about 2 seconds and no one was hurt. The kids were all assessed. BUT, since OSHA was there, they decided to do a little investigating while at the high school, and some things were not in compliance. SO, they are thinking they should visit all the schools in the district. We are in clean up mode at our school and the teachers are in a tizzy. You wouldn’t believe the things that need Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) – sharpies, markers, white out, glitter……besides all the chemicals. We have to keep these sheets with the items in our rooms. It is completely insane. Our office staff is busy trying to put the booklets together for each classroom/room and it is a huge job. I feel for them. My office is no picnic with all of the chemical stuff and medications. We can have only 20% of our walls covered. Uh, this is elementary school. That is not realistic. The list is huge and kind of unreal, so I will spare you the details. Anyway, hopefully they will come soon. I am already missing my favorite little space heater. I hate being cold.

To make matters worse, today the high school has a small mercury related fire and they had to evacuate the whole school. Yeah - if OSHA wasn't coming before, they are comin' now.

Mat is in Florida right now. Well, he is actually on his way home, which is good. He was there yesterday and today. My friend, Mindy came to stay with me. We stayed up until midnight talking, and we were both feeling it this morning at work after only 6 hours of sleep. But, it was okay. Well worth it! And she survived the three crazies kids. She is going to be a great mom! She found out today she is having a BOY! Her husband is so excited. I am very excited for her.

The kids are doing well. Arlington is still being a bit of a drama queen when it comes to reading. She reads words like “impossible” without breaking a sweat, and then she gets to “went” and she cries about trying it. Weirdo. Whatever. I get such joy out of listening to her read that I want her to love to do it 24 hours a day. Just kidding. Today in the car she was talking about my friend Mindy and wanting to know when she would be coming back to play again. She knew she was having a baby and when I told her she was having a boy her only question was “will she be having the baby at your school?” Yep. That's right. These new fangled public schools are part education/part birthing center – didn't you know?

Finley is being her ornery self. Yesterday I was being gracious and letting them color with markers. I don't normally let the babies use markers without stern supervision. I......should have taken my own advice. I set them up at the table to color with markers and Arlington and I were working on a workbook. I was engrossed in her activity and I look up at the babies and Finley is sucking on a marker. They are non-toxic – no need to panic grandmothers. I go over and take it for her and tell her “only food in your mouth” for about the one billionth time. I look at the once blue marker – it is WHITE. She has sucked ALL of the color out of it. I hope it tasted good. Her mouth was really blue and so was a few other things later. - if you catch my drift. What a goofball. Finley has now proved that non-toxic really is non-toxic by sucking an entire marker dry in about 30 seconds. She could work for crayola as a tester.

Cainan is our only sane child, and is doing very well. Potty training continues to be a success. I can't say that enough because I am still so amazed how well he is doing. He always amazes me. Next week is his evaluation. I am looking forward to that being completed. He has been doing somersaults all over the place lately. He will just do them over and over all over the carpet. It is really cute. Cainan also has been into kissing his toys goodbye in the morning before going to school. In his case, this means he kisses his train set and his match box cars. It is pretty funny to watch him kiss an 18 wheeler goodbye.

Another busy week ahead. Thursday I have a nursing conference and dinner and Friday I FINALLY have my nurse's get together. Yay! I was supposed to be having a family picnic committee meeting for Arlington's school, but due to the nursing conference, I can't go to that. I am hoping it can be changed to another date. This is also Arlington's last week of indoor soccer. Then there will be a break for a few weeks, and outdoor soccer will start. She is also going to start swimming lessons at the end of April for once a week for 6 weeks. We go to a Lake house for a week every other summer with Mat's family, so she needs a refresher course before we go. Since we aren't swimming as often as we used to when we live in the south, I want her to be comfortable in the water before we go to the lake.

So, Arlington is going to have Daisy Scouts, swimming, soccer, and T-ball. Huh. Probably a bit much. Daisy's would be my first drop, but I guess we will stick with it until the end of the year. It should be interesting once all three kids start activities. I think I am going to have to cut back a bit.....

So that is it. Sorry for the lack of pictures. I will try to do better! See you Saturday!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Look ma! No coat!

Temperature on Friday: 67. Number of coats – zero. Number of happy people in our family – 5. I did a little skip to my car on Friday afternoon, sans coat. I felt so FREE! When we got home on Friday, the kids were chanting - “Outside! Outside!” How could we resist? We were outside for an hour and a half before I had to drag the kids in for dinner. It was great.

This week went by quickly, and fairly well. I say fairly because Wednesday was not that great. Wednesday STARTED fine – all kids healthy. Mat took the kids to school this day (and was picking them up) because I had my nurses get together. I was looking forward to it. I also had a big meeting this day with the Kindergarten teachers and our principal to start talking about the Kindergarteners coming in next year and what we wanted to share with their parents. At 1:15pm, I was in the very beginning of my Kindergarten meeting when I get a call from Arlington's school. It is the nurse. Great. She has a fever. Wonderful. And a stomach ache and headache. Beautiful. Are you kidding me? I don't have the van with all of the car seats, so I call Mat – nothing. Of course. I am sure he is in a meeting somewhere in Pfizer. I give him one hour, and still nothing. How much longer can I wait? Salem School calls me back. The nurse is very sweet – just checking in. I have no choice at this point. It is now 2:15, I have to leave to go and get her. Poor thing.Here is sicky on the couch:

So I am steaming not happy. My school pulled it together (yet again) and I left. I called my nursing supervisor, and our get together was canceled. I am in the car about 15 minutes and Mat calls. He apologizes, but since I am already going, I just tell him to stay at work and he can pick up the babies from daycare.
I get to Arlington and she is fine. Sick, but doing fine with the nurse. She spent the rest of the day and evening on the couch. Mat picked up the babies – Cainan is warm. He has a fever too. 101. Wonderful. Well, Mat was already going to be home with Arlington anyway Tuesday, so now he has Cainan too.
Thursday morning, we get up, I start getting Finley ready for school. She is super whiny, and – for those of you who know her – whiny is her middle name. But today was excessive. She didn't get any better after eating, so I took her temperature. 101. Of course. Why not? So, Mat's punishment day was about to get interesting. He was going to be home with all three, and he wasn't feeling well himself. But, I have a great husband. He was going to be just fine.

Here is Finley not feeling well:

I called at 11 am to check in, and the kids were a little nuts. The motrin had kicked in and they were bouncing off the walls. Good. That meant school on Friday all around. No one had another fever for the rest of Thursday and all returned to regularly scheduled programming Friday morning.
Friday was fine. Finley is being tortured right now because I am not allowing her to go the the “big kids” (preschool) side of her daycare until she “does her business” in the potty. She is peeing, just fine, but other than that? Just is kind of refusing. SO – no preschool side. She HATES this, however, it hasn't worked yet to get her to “do the deed”. It is so annoying. I am amazed, but even Cainan has passed Finley up in potty training. He is all the way trained. She......is being Finley.
Arlington had a bummer “star of the week” week. She was only there on Tuesday and Friday. But Mrs. O., her teacher, made it special for her. It just figures that she already had a shortened week, that she would also have to be sick as well.
Cainan is fine. Asking more questions lately. They are just popping out of him here and there. It is nice to see him become more curious. And the screaming after Finley takes something from him is getting less. He is more apt to use his words. Progress. His evaluation for special education is coming up in a little over a week. We have our meeting to find out for sure at the end of April. So, then we will have to decide from there what to do (if he doesn't qualify for special education services). Even though he is making progress, I think it is slow AND he is still behind. I would love to use these preschool years to get him on track for Kindergarten.
I took a picture of Finley's favorite baby doll:

Hmmmmm.. Is this what happens to baby dolls when they miss behave? No explanation given by our youngest. I guess it just looked like a fun thing to try.

Arlington and I are reading “Tale of Despereaux” at night this week.

She is really liking it. We are hoping to see the movie once we finish the book, but since it is a cartoon, I am not sure it is going to be a lot like the book. But this is our book of the week. Arlington has been reading more and more on her own. If we come to a word that she isn't sure of, she is getting better of working through it instead of quitting.

Arlington had a birthday party for one of her buddies “J” today. Three parties down, two to go. So far. She loves it. She had a blast playing with her friends. Today was at a large indoor playpark. The kids got to run like crazy, eat snacks, and then run like crazy again. And us mommies got to chat and relax. It was nice to have adult conversation for an afternoon. Makes the party circuit very bearable.

That is about it. Mat is going out of town just for an overnight this week. My friend, Mindy, from work is coming to stay with me. I know – I am a big baby. But she is looking forward to meeting the kids. She is pregnant with her first baby, so hopefully the kids won't scare her too badly!

Enjoy the rest of the weekend and enjoy my extra pictures. I was having fun taking pictures this week with the nice weather!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Star of the Week

This week Arlington is “Star of the Week” at her school. Do you like her poster? It is so busy! We had to practice what she was going to say about it several time because it is so busy. She had a great time putting it together. I am not sure what all Star of the Week entails, but I am sure Arlington will let me know as the week goes along. But I am proud of her and her work on her poster and “speech”. She did a great job!

Sunday Arlington had a birthday party for a friend in her class. It was a Mad Science party. She had a great time. It was a small party and the kids all had a great time there. I had a chance to chat with some mommy friends during the party, which is always fun. Arlington has a ton of parties of the next several weekends. She has a party every weekend until the second weekend of April - one weekend there are two! 5 parties in all. But it is fun - she looks forward to spending the extra time with her buddies.

The babies are doing great. Super silly as always. Cainan has a little cold but other than that, they seemed to miss whatever was going on with Arlington, thank goodness. Not much to report on the two of them. They haven't been fighting as much lately, so that is a big plus. Maybe it will continue. I doubt it.

Today was a busy day at work. I am sad that I am saying that a good bit lately. Another case of strep (oh, and Monday - three teachers with strep and one more student). It is getting slower, but I still wish it would stop already. The kids are maniacs. Spring fever is hitting them hard. Tomorrow, thank goodness, I have a nurse's get together. We are getting together at one of the nurse's houses to enjoy some sunshine (yes, we are having some) and each other's company. It will be nice to be with people who understand you for a day. I love my teaching staff, but I do miss - somedays - having another nurse in the same building. Someone else to roll eyes with me when a kid comes in and tells me (at 3pm) that she has something in her eye that has been there for 4 hours. (no, there isn't anything there). Or someone else to giggle with me when a kindergartener says something cute ("my mom told me I may have this cold for years"). So these dinners are fun.

Mat did get a new job at Pfizer and is pretty excited about it. I am not 100% sure of what all it entails, but he got asked to apply for a position in a new group that is starting, so he did and he got the job. He is very excited about his promotion and new adventure. I am proud of him! Although, I do hope this new job means LESS traveling. This spring has been crazy - he is gone almost once a month for one thing or another. He has two trips left, and then hopefully he will be done for awhile.
Tonight was disorganzied Daisy Scouts. Arlington still enjoys going, so I should stop calling it that. But I can't help it. It seems that tonights fiasco was that they lost one of the girl's envelopes of money from selling girl scout cookies. So not good. But - they did make up boxes to send to the troops overseas, which was really nice. Arlington said they put baby wipes in the box "to wipe off all the sand". So cute. I am so glad they can send yummy girl scouts cookies and a few gifts of "home" overseas.

Okay - I know the post is short, but not much new is happening in the short period since I left you last. Arlington is reading some new books. She tried the series "Magic Tree House" but she didn't really love it, so wasn't that into reading it herself. So we have moved on to some new books that a 1st grade teacher at my school gave me to give to her. I think she will have more success. It is so fun to see her read. I wish we had more hours in a day together to sit and read. I am looking forward to summer where we aren't so hurried.

Have a great week and I will see you Saturday!!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Trying not to panic a panicky school

Challenge of the week: decrease hysteria at a highly hysterical school. And when I say hysterical – I don't mean funny. I mean type A, melodramatic, slightly leaning toward needing serious therapy , school.

This challenge is bigger than me. I was completely swamped to the point of drowning in kids visiting the office on Thursday of this week. But let me back my story up.

My elementary school has a few cases of strep. And when I say a few, I mean 25. So, maybe few is not the right word. Tons? Lots? Incredible amount? Quarantine was mentioned? Remember, there are only 200 kids in my school.

Now, here is the question. How did this happen? I am diligent about keeping my office clean and sparkly. So, after many hand washing classes, shaking my fist at overuse of hand sanitizer, and preaching sneezing/coughing into their arms, I still have 25 known cases of strep?? Huh? I decided to do a little investigating.

Problem 1: Kids are disgusting little critters

Problem 2: even if the nurse calls home and STRONGLY recommends a trip to the doctor for their kids swollen tonsils, red throat, headache, stomach ache, and - in most cases – fever, since there are so many cases of strep in the school, the parent decides that one more day of “just waiting” will be a better choice.

Problem 3: water fountains. Raise your hand if you think these are disgusting.

Problem 4: cleaning. It is not being done by ANYONE – not custodial, not teachers. This is where being a CSI would be beneficial.

Here is my conversation with custodial staff:

Me: So, what do you clean the water fountains with?
Custodian: Windex
Me: No – I mean CLEAN it with. To make it CLEAN (obviously he didn't get what I meant)
Custodian: Windex
Me: No – I mean, at night, after all the kids have left, and you are cleaning and DISINFECTING the water fountains
Custodian: Windex.
Me: I see. I don't think that is doing the job. I think we may need to do something else.

I proceed to tell him what we have going on.

Custodian: Yeah, the kids put their mouths all over the metal piece of the water fountain.


Here is a conversation with a few teachers:

Me: are you cleaning anything in your room?
Teacher: no – I think custodial is doing that
Me: um, no. That would be a logical choice, but no.
Teacher: so – nothing is clean?
Me: uh, no. So, let's concentrate on the sinks
Teacher: great.
Me: I am with you.

Thursday I also made a cheerful REMINDER announcement over the intercom (that thing is REALLY fun) about washing our hands, sneezing/coughing into our arms, not sharing utensils, forks, spoons, (anything) with others, and NEVER EVER putting our mouths on the metal of the water fountain, I received over 50 lovely, sick/trying to be sick children in my office. Did I mention anything in my announcement about coming to see me? No. I seriously saw ¾ of my most “hysterical” teacher's classroom. It was a truly AWESOME day. Truly.

So, with a heavy sigh, on Thursday, letters went home to all of my parents to tell them about what is going on in school. Although, most of them already knew because I have been sending letters home from individual classrooms that had been affected when this party started.
But, if you think my teachers are, well, hysterical – the parents are.........more so. I am thinking about taking a vacation starting immediately.

As for good stuff on Thursday – this was Cainan's first day in underwear at daycare and it was a success! He didn't have a single accident. I was a bit worried because we do have to sit him on the potty quite often during the day, but he did great. Thank goodness! I think we have purchased our LAST box of diapers!!! Whoo hoo!!

Arlington also had soccer Thursday night. She did great. She even scored two goals! This is much more her sport than basketball. Less coordination – more running. Right up her alley.

Friday started off well. Besides the two new cases of strep throat (that I am just going to pretend I didn't hear about – just kidding) the day was going well. Then at 11am, things went downhill. I got a call from the daycare – Arlington had a fever. 101. And a sore throat. And a stomach ache. And a headache. And the chills. Should I go on? Mat has already been gone a whole week, so I had to leave work to get her. That was a huge deal because I didn't have coverage. AND my principal was taking a personal day. Great. But my staff was great and pulled it together and covered me. My nursing supervisor has her own school, but is only 5 minutes away, so she could go if there was an emergency. So I left. Arlington was a mess when I got to her. She was pretty much asleep. So we came home and rested on the couch. I took her to the doctor because it is a Friday and knowing her by Saturday morning she would have something contagious. They did a rapid strep test and it was negative. I was so happy. But the doctor wasn't convinced, so they did another test to send away to the lab that we will hear about early next week if it is positive. The fever didn't break the whole day and she did have “stomach problems” later in the evening that were not fun for anyone. Poor girl. She was pretty miserable. The doctor told me she had seen about 30 kids in the office that day for sore throat and some were positive for strep, but a lot were not. So I am hopeful. Although if it WAS bacterial, the antibiotic would make her feel better faster. The doctor told us she could run the fever for up to 1 ½ weeks – that is what she has been seeing with the virus lately. UGH!

This morning Arlington woke up still having a fever of 101. She laid on the couch the majority of the morning, but then started to feel better around lunch time. Hopefully the worst of it is over. She seemed to have more energy today. She isn't eating much, but is eating something, so that is progress.

I finished the pillows for the girl's beds today. Here is what they look like:

Here are Finley's pillows

Here are Arlington's pillows
Now if I could just get myself motivated to finish Arlington's quilt, I would be in good shape. I am going to work on it every day this week – I am really close to being done. I just need to focus on one project which is kind of unheard of for me.

We also hung our new ceiling fan in our bedroom. Let there be light!! It looks really good. Mat isn't sold on it, but I love it. Once our new window treatments are in next week, it will really look good. All that will be left will be to replace the less than stellar carpet that the old owners let their dogs do whatever on. It is truly disgusting and no amount of washing is going to make it satisfactory. Its days are numbered.I forgot to mention (I think) in my last post that Cainan's Certificate of Citizenship (COC) FINALLY came. It has only been a year and a half since we submitted it. In Florida standards (since that is where we submitted it in 2007) that isn't that long. So sad. Anyway, I got really worried about it last year when we moved (in May 2008) and when I called and spoke to the COC office, they assured me that it would be sent to my new address. So I kind of forgot about it. Until we past the year mark last fall. I called again, and it was approved, and would be mailed out soon. Then with the rush of the holidays, again- I forgot about it. Nice, right? So about a week or so ago, I thought about it again – tried to call. The number that I had no longer works. Of course not. It IS Florida. I called the national number – they couldn't help me. So I was afraid the $600 form that we filed in 2007 for our boy to “officially” become a citizen of the United States was lost and we were going to have to start over. As I was fretting- it showed up!!! How cool (and great) was that? We are relieved. So, even thought Cainan has been in the United States for almost 2 years, he just became an official United States Citizen. I took his picture for proof:I realized I have mentioned Finley in this post! Don't worry – she is healthy, well, and still bad ornery. She has been visiting the preschool side of her school more and more often, and I think it will become a permanent move. That way she isn't getting too bored at daycare these days.
Before I end my post, I wanted to share this little saying I saw in my favorite house wares catalog – Pottery Barn: (I know, who would have thought they could be inspirational?)

Into each day put equal parts of faith, patientce, courage, work, hope, fidelity, liberality, kindness, rest, prayer, meditation, and one well elected SOLUTION. Put in about one teaspoonful of good spirits, A dash of fun, A Pinch of folly, A Sprinkle of play, And a cupful of good humor.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone! I will talk to you Tuesday.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Fun in Pictures

We have had a change of weather. Will it stay around? I am really not sure. But this past weekend was really beautiful and we were able to get outside! So I took some fun pictures while we were out there.

Sunday Arlington had a birthday party in the afternoon. She had a great time. It was a small party of just a few kids, so that was nice. The BEST part was, she was able to stay herself, so I got to come home and get a few things done while she enjoyed being with her friends. While she was there, my parents and I swept the garage and raked the leaves in the yard. Both of those jobs made a huge difference. I am looking forward to having more and more warm days to get yard work done. I am looking forward to the flowers coming back. Speaking of which, I saw this today on our rhodadendrums while I was working outs side:

Blooms! Yay! That probably means pretty soon my Star Magnolia tree should be getting all the beautiful flowers it gets in the spring. Last year we missed it because we hadn't moved in yet.

Sunday we also had the kids outside for a little while before dinner. They had a great time. Arlington got to ride her bike, Finley got to try out her new tricycle she received for Christmas from her Uncle Zac. Thanks Uncle Zac – she loved it!! Cainan rode around in his “Flinstone mobile” that he received from our neighbor, Michelle. Thanks Michelle – those little cars are great!! Here are a few pictures from our time outside. The kids didn't want to come inside. They were having a blast. Fresh air does them so much good.
Arlington has been obsessed with FedEx lately. Not sure what started it, but she points out a truck every where we go, and she asks how fast they are, and if we send things FedEx, etc. Sunday we had this conversation:

Arlington: How Fast is FedEx?
Me: Pretty fast, why?
Arlington: do they send letters as well as packages
Me: Yes, they send a lot of different things
Arlington: how far away is daddy?
Me: Where are we going with this?
Arlington: I want to send daddy the picture I made him FedEx
Me: well, daddy is going to be home in a few days, you can just give it to him then.
Arlington: no – the picture says “I miss you”
Me: I know. You will just have to wait until he returns
Arlington: but it doesn't say “I missed you”. It will be too late.

She is a hoot. She wanted to mail the picture to her daddy. She is really missing him. She has been crying just about every night. Something is always up. She doesn't do that when he is here. Sunday I gave her photo albums to look at during her “reading time” before she falls asleep. I wasn't thinking. That really set her off on the “I miss daddy”. Oops. My bad.

Monday was chaos at work. The kids did not want to be there and I saw around 50 kids that day. It is nice to say that is RARE for me these days, so it wasn't so bad. It was a revolving door of small things. I was beat by the time I came home from work. I have one little girl that these days comes to see me daily with the most minor thing. She is just so cute and quiet, that I have a hard time being stern with her. Her arm will be hurting, her leg, she will be itchy, etc. I can never find anything wrong with her and everything always “just started”. I am a softy heart, what can I say? I am going to a conference this summer for School Nurses and my coworkers told me I need to look for a lecture on “how to be meaner”. They are SO funny.
Today was fun because it is St. Patrick's Day. I am not Irish, and never really know when St. Patrick's day is (and don't care) but it was fun for the kids. My kid's daycare and Arlington's Kindergarten has been talking it up and so Arlington was excited today. Last night Arlington asked if Lucky the Leprechan was going to be visiting us and leaving a treat. I guess daycare started that one!! So this morning, she woke to find that Lucky had left them green bagels;

Green shamrock straws (to drink green milk)

And three gold dollar coins!

That was good enough for her. (thank goodness). This was a first for our house – we have never had a leprechan visit before.

School was fun today – especially in the Kindergarten classes. The 3 Kindergarten teachers, and the kids, had set traps for Lucky the Leprechan last night to try and catch him. This morning they came into a room that was wrecked with stuff everywhere – but no Leprechan. They loved that. Very clever.

Tonight is PTO. I am going to post before the meeting. I am looking forward to going. I always like to see what it going on with the school. Hopefully we will have a good turn out. I am not hopeful because I is St. Patrick's day and apparently I missed the memo on this being right in line with Christmas as a big holiday.

Mat comes home in two days! He has decided to change his flight so he will be home midday on Thursday instead of late night. I am THRILLED. We really miss him and will be glad to see him soon!

I will see you Saturday!!!