Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Very Different Ride

On Monday morning this week, I started my normal drive to work. For the last 5 months, the trees have been bare, the drive – dark. And then, on this day, the drive changed. I saw flowers, berries, leaves. It was an almost overnight transformation. My drive is a long, 30 minute drive down a country road. The road is lined with nothing but trees. And Monday, for the first time in 5 months, it was .....pretty. It lifted my mood incredibly for a Monday morning. The flowering trees were amazing. How amazing nature is.

This ride made me think. How quickly life can change for all of us. In a blink of an eye, things change. Our kids literally go from tiny, screaming newborns to 6 year old Kindergarten students. I blink and Finley and Cainan are 3 years old. Another blink and Mat and I have been married for 11 ½ years.

On Friday of last week, things changed drastically for a teacher at my school. She went from being a happy pregnant lady to a medical emergency where her baby's life was in danger. She took a very different ride home from work that day. No one could have forseen what was going to happen that day when she drove to work down a bare tree road.

I think – was it lucky? Fate? God? What put her basically in the right place at the right time on Friday to save her baby and herself? What made it so that she wasn't on a field trip (like the day before), or on the road driving, or home alone? This thought has troubled me all weekend as I play the scenario over and over in my head. What if? What if SOMETHING or SOMEONE didn't step in and make her situation so?

So many people are not so fortunate. The end is not what they expected. The ride very different from what it was supposed to be. Why? The question is haunting. We wake up every day expecting things to go just so. And then, in a blink – they don't.

It is what we do after the ride changes that shapes who we are and how we live. We can chose to accept the new path we were given, or not. It isn't always easy to accept the change. We are creatures of habit. I am in awe of people who accept change as a natural part of living.

My path, today, is clear. Wife, mother, nurse. I thank God that on Friday, he gave me what I needed to be the nurse my teacher needed to get her and her baby to safety. In this case, I have to say – no fate. No luck. Just faith.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Arlington meets Broadway

Arlington's spring break officially ends today. Her break was fine. It had a rocky start, but got better as the week progressed. The weather was the only thing that really got in the way, but by Thursday, the sun was shining, and the rains had passed.

Thursday is when Arlington and Mat went to 6 Flags. They had a wonderful time. They were there from open to close and she rode all of the rides she could several times. Mat said the park wasn't busy, so she could hop from ride to ride without problems. She is now big enough to ride some of the regular roller coasters, so she was thrilled. The day was cool, but sunny and that was the first day all week we didn't have rain.

Friday, Arlington joined me at school for "take your daughter to work". She was really good there. She only stayed with me from 8:30-12, so not a full day. My parents were coming in, so she didn't have the spend the whole day there. I had packed her a whole days worth of things to do, but she didn't even need them. She helped me do a few things in the office, spent some time in our Kindergarten classes (even read a story to the kids), and the staff had brought her a few fun things to play with. Plus the kids that came into the office were enjoying her - especially my older students. One of them read her a book and then brought her some things at the end of the day she wanted her to have. It was very sweet.

Arlington also experienced her first 911 emergency while she was at work with me. She handled it like a pro, and thankfully one of the Kindergarten teachers was in my office when the event took place, so she took Arlington with her to her class. I will not be sharing the details on the blog. Mat has asked me to stop talking about work on the blog. All I can say is that in this case, 911 was REALLY needed, the teacher is fine and she didn't have her baby in my office. All in all, a happy ending for everyone.

Friday afternoon my parents came in for a weekend visit. My sister-in-law Tricia and my nephew "E" also came. My brother was in New York City with his choral group, so my family came to stay with us and we joined my brother and his group in NYC on Saturday. Friday night we had a little birthday party for my nephew "E". He turns 1 at the end of May and since we can't be there, I thought we could have a little party for him here. "E" was hysterical with eating of his little cake. He dove right in, face first and gave the biggest, cheesiest grins. We were laughing so hard! He was really cute to watch.

Saturday Tricia, my mom, Arlington and I went into NYC for the day. We left around 10am and drove to my cousin, Kirsten's house. We were able to park there for FREE (which is a big deal to me) and unload the car. We got to look around her cute apartment:

And for NYC standards, it was a very cute size!! I was glad to see where she lived. She lives on a nice block.

We (Kirsten included) started our day in NYC. Arlington had a chance to ride a very crowded subway through the city, which she really enjoyed. The subway really moves , and she thought that was great.

We hit FAO Swartz. She was on overload. If you are not familiar with FAO - it is this gigantic three story toy store. We always used to go in when we were in NYC as kids, so I knew Arlington would love it. Her Grammy brought her (and all the grandchildren) something small. Arlington picked a stuffed dog which she called "sweetie apple". No idea why that name. She did say that the apple part was because FAO Swartz is located right next to the huge Apple (Mac) store.

Here is Arlington playing the big piano in FAO:

We also got to go into the park and feed some ducks and walk around. There were a ton of sunbathers enjoying the extremely warm day.

After that, Tricia and I left the group to go and hit China town for some "genuine imitation" deals. We had so much fun. We met AJ and his group and were able to take some of the kids into the shops so they could get some fun stuff. Tricia and I got some good deals and were happy with our purchases. I was even able to get my kids some Chinese outfits for next year's Chinese New Year.

While Tricia and I were in China town, Arlington, Kirsten, and my mom went to the American Girl Store. Arlington loves that place. My mom did buy her a book while she was in there. (She was forbidden to buy her anything else). They also walked down 5th avenue and looked at the shops.

We then met up with them for dinner in Little Italy. Arlington hadn't eaten much all afternoon, so she was starving. We ate at a cute little restaurant where she scarfed down a big bowl of pasta:

And about 15 pieces of bread. She was getting really excited to go and see her first Broadway show.

After dinner we quickly went into a super large Toys R US to grab a bag of M+Ms for Arlington to snack on during the musical. Then we headed to the theater. We saw Mary Poppins.

Arlington was really good during the show and really enjoyed it. She even sung along with some of the songs. She had a great time and was able to stay up for the whole show.

Kirsten knew some of the people who were working on the show, so she was able to take Arlington, Tricia, my mom and I backstage so that Arlington could see the set. Arlington thought that was pretty cool. We got a tour, and Arlington got to see the set up close and stand on the stage. She even got to look into Mary Poppins bag, which she found fasinating. It was great fun.

Here she is on stage:

All in all, Saturday was a great day. Arlington did great and was very well behaved the whole day. She was a trooper with all of the walking and the late night. We didn't get out of the city until close to (gasp) midnight. She was in her pajamas for the ride home and fell asleep right away.

Today we are tired, but fine. Arlington did sleep in this morning and has been fine all day. She is enjoying a playdate today with two of her good buddies "E" and "J". They are having a good time. My family left early this morning so that they would be home by early evening. So the day has been quiet.

Mat and I are still working on the playset. He worked on it for several hours yesterday, but when I went to look at the picture and see what he had done, he had put the boards on wrong. I tell ya - he is helpless without me. (ha) So we, again, can't get very far. Sigh. And it was really making progress too. Ah well. One step forward, 10 boards back.

Oh, I let Arlington take a few pictures in NYC - here are things from her point of view:

That's it. So I will probably write again on Wednesday this week. I am throwing you all off, aren't I? Tuesday Arlington has T-ball, and I have PTO. So I will see you Wednesday! Enjoy a few extra pictures.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Wild Flea/Tame Flea

This post is going to be about my visit with Arlington to the zoo. We played hooky on Monday and I took her to the zoo. Well, I played hooky. Arlington is on spring break. We didn't want her to have to go to daycare for a whole week, so Mat and I decided to each take one day this week and take her somewhere fun.

So Monday – Arlington and I went to one of the zoos in Boston. When I was researching zoos, I was surprised to see the low costs of the zoo. When we went to the zoo in San Diego, it was kind of expensive. Same with Florida. But this zoo? Like $10. I should have guessed that it was because it was a city zoo, and not anything overly fancy. Yeah. Should have guessed.......

(Arlington thought this was funny because it was sitting in its food bowl)

But, no problem, we still had a great time. As much fun as we could have as frozen popcicle people. Arlington's stellar mom looked at the weather, and SWORE she saw 60 degree weather for this day, so we dressed warmly, but no coats. Well, degrees Monday: 40. And windy. And not sunny...at....all. As long as we kept moving, we were fine. We were there about 4 hours. We saw every animal and took our time looking around. We got a break from the cold and wind every once in awhile with indoor exhibits. But after those 4 hours, we were ready to get inside for good. We are still wussy about the weather. We took the Florida heat for granted while we lived there, and now after 6 months of cold weather, we are wishing for those warm days.

The zoo wasn't overly packed – mostly mom's and strollers who probably made a spur of the moment decision to come out for the day. Arlington ran excitedly from one exhibit to the other. She loves animals. Everything was exciting – from the birds up to the gorillas.

We saw three funny things while at the zoo:

1)an ostrich tried unsuccessfully for 10 mintues to chew its way out of its cage. It would peck at the ground and then go back to chewing on the fence.
2)A peacock got out of its “habitat” somehow and was walking around bold as brass through the zoo. We took a picture of our rogue friend. We were able to walk right past it and it didn't care in the least.
3)A gorilla was sitting right next to the glass and was very entertaining to Arlington. I took their picture. But the funny part was when we were walking away, two teenage boys were standing at the glass watching the gorillas. The biggest gorilla came over with a ball in his hand, and as hard as he could, threw it at the glass that was between him and the boys. It made an incredible noise. Arlington found this pretty hilarious. I thought it was great watching the boys about fall over when they saw that ball coming at them.

The saddest part about this zoo? No giraffes and no elephants. What kind of zoo doesn't have either of these animals? We think they usually have giraffes, but we were told they don't have elephants. But it was a small zoo and Arlington decided that getting something as big as an elephant into this zoo would be more than this zoo could handle. I kind of have to agree. She was very curious how they get the animals to the zoo – especially after she found that most of them are dangerous. Her question “So....how do they talk these animals into coming to live at the zoo?”
Uh, yeah. Talk them into it. That's how it works.

Arlington rode a small carousel:

She stuck her head in a few holes:

She made silly faces while we had lunch:

We stayed at the zoo until we saw every last animal and did all we could, and it was still only 4 hours after the zoo opened. So, we decided to heat back home and go to the movies and out to dinner – just the two of us. We had a really fun day. Next time – we will take coats. Or go in July.

Arlington made me laugh on the way home from the zoo when she came up with a scenario “if the gorillas escaped”. It did not end well. I will spare you the details.
She tried to tell her dad about her day and called the peacock “pecans”. And instead of “we saw the chicken coop” she said “we saw the chicken poop”. Acutally, we saw both.


Arlington and I would like to know if any of you out there in blog world have a tamed flea? No? Huh. Here is how this conversation at dinner went.

A small bug flew by while we were eating and I waved it away.
Arlington: was that a bug?
Me: I think so – just a small one
Arlington: like a flea?
Me: sure
Arlington: that must be one of the wild fleas.
Me: what?
Arlington: you know – there are tame fleas that people keep as pets and wild fleas
Me: where did you get an idea like that?
Arlington: people have in their house - tame fleas. I would bet they even have collars for them. Outside the house – those are wild fleas.
Me: do you know someone with a tame flea?
Arlington: no, but I am sure there are.
Me: (trying not to look at her too strangely) right.

So after 12 hours of just Arlington and I - and not having one single moment the whole time of her sitting quietly and not talking - we arrived back home. She had picked out a stuffed wolf as her souvenier and she and her new wolf (named Fred or Bud, she can't decide) went to sleep happily Monday night. I am glad we had this day together. Arlington is a blast to hang out with. She is a whirlwind of chatter, and stories, and thoughts. Her mind is not ever off. It is hysterical.

Mat is planning on a day with Arlington tomorrow. It looks like the best weather day. They are going to 6 Flags - she is so excited.

So that is “going to the zoo with the Pletchers”. I hope you enjoyed it. I won't be posting again until Sunday because Saturday we will be in New York City for the day.

PS - the little ones are doing fine. Finley is sick again. She has a bad cold and cough. Plus she is getting some molars, which makes her a really miserable human being right now. She is lucky she is cute because her whining is driving us crazy.

Also, as you can see from this picture:

We haven't gotten very far on the play yard. It is taking forever and on Monday and Tuesday it rained, so we didn't get to work on it at all. Arlington keeps asking when it will be done, and I reply "it will be done hopefully before summer is over".

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The boy in the pink pajamas

Yes, that is right. This is a picture of Cainan in pink pajamas. Posing like a little ham, none the less, to make it that much more entertaining cute. These pajamas are not his fault. Nor his mothers. I went in last night to check on Cainan and tuck him in one more time, and I noticed the pajamas. I said to my husband "Cainan is wearing Finley's pink pajamas". "oh" he says "well those were the pajamas that were sitting on his bed, so I put them on him". Ah well. This will be one of those pictures we can torture him with later in life.

This week ended up going by pretty fast. I stayed busy at work, and that helped. Before I knew it, it was Friday afternoon and I was leaving work. It was a beautiful, sunny 70 degree day, so I picked up the kids and we played outside for awhile. I set them up to paint some rocks from our yard.

Finley had actually been asking to do this, for some reason, for awhile. So, I set them up and they spent an hour painting.

After the painting, they ran around for awhile and then came in for dinner.

I forgot to post this picture from Easter Sunday. I decided to make some "bird's nest" out of chocolate, rice crispies and jelly beans. Arlington helped me make them.

They were pretty yummy and very easy.

Our Star Magnolia tree in our front yard has also started to bloom.

We missed its blooming last year because we hadn't moved in yet, so it is nice to watch it this year. This tree is the first thing we see when we open our front door, so you can't help but smile.

We have many plans for the weekend and hope the weekend cooperates so that we can get them completed. Today Mat and Arlington went to pick up our brand new playset for the backyard. Thanks again to Gramma and Pappy Pletcher for this fantastic purchase! First we inspected the boxes:

Then we started to hull all of the wood up the hill. Even the little ones helped.

For awhile.

Once all the wood was at the top of the hill, Mat sat down and studied the directions. We laughed that one of the things you had to have in order to put it together were "two adults" and there was a picture of a man. Ha! So that ended Mat working on it this afternoon by himself.

Arlington had a T-ball "meet and greet" today. True to disorganized form that we are finding lately, they were having a practice as well. Now, being the type A person that I am, I did ASK if we needed to bring anything to the meet and greet, and I was told no. But alas, that wasn't exactly the truth. Apparently they were having a practice and needed their cleats and their gloves. UGH! Please tell me this isn't going to be like Daisies. I can't take it.

Anyway, Mat took her to the meet and greet and she had a lot of fun.

After T-ball, Arlington Mat and I worked a little longer on the playset. These playsets are not for the faint of heart. 1)there are about one trillion pieces. 2)none of the wood pieces are marked in any way. We have to measure each piece to see if it is the one we need. 3)some of the holes are not pre-drilled which makes fun times for all 4)the wood is very heavy for little ol' me.

In 2 hours time we got 2 small sections put together. We were satisfied with our work for the day when Mat realized that he put the one section together backwards. So wonderful. Well, tomorrow is another day. Arlington was cracking us up though. She was outside "helping" and when the first small section was together she asked if we were ready for the swing. Then she asked where the door was. Seriously? The section that we did is three vertical pieces of wood and two horizontal. Arlington was very hopeful of our playset building skills.

After the babies woke from their naps we decided to go to Chili's for dinner. We called ahead and I am glad we did because they were packed. We had a nice dinner and Cainan ate a ton. He always does. That boy loves to eat, but he really loves to eat out. We were getting ready to leave and Cainan was still munching on some tortilla chips. Mat said to him "time to go buddy" He said "no! I not finished yet". It was hilarious. We told him he could take some chips with him, so he lifted his entire plate up (which still had chips on it) and wanted to take the whole plate. What a riot. He is never not hungry.

The other day Finley was sitting in the bean bag "reading" to Cainan.

They looked so cute sitting there. She was reading him the letters on the page, and he was just listening. We were getting ready to go to school, and when I told them it was time to go, they said "no - reading". Too cute.

That is about it. Tomorrow is playset day. Other than that, no other plans! Just get ready for another week. Monday I am off from work because I am taking Arlington to the zoo. She is off from school this week for spring break. Mat is taking a day off this week as well to take her to Six Flags. So she will have a pretty good spring break. Next year she and I have the same week off, so I am excited about that!

Have a nice weekend, and I will see you Tuesday!