Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Flu + Panic = wish I worked somewhere else right now

Alright. I understand. I DO. I understand that the news is making everyone crazy about H1N1 flu. I understand that a lot of people at once with a fever and not feeling well can make anyone uneasy.

BUT - my school has crossed the line from panic......to crazy. We have had a larger than usual number of kids out. Okay. We do have some kids out with "flu like symptoms". Okay. But this does not call for hysteria.

This is why I don't watch the news. This is why I stick with trash TV.

Today I worked a half a day because of Finley's doctor appointment (more on that in a minute). So, from 12-3:15, I did a handwashing class, and screened a second grade class for vision and hearing. AND in between that, I took about 8 phone calls and answered about the same number of emails from some of my favorite parents - all asking the same thing:

"How many kids are out of school today?"

Okay - stop. This is not public knowledge. Honestly. I can tell you that your school nurse should not be telling you how many kids are out, and what they are out for, and who has what, so on and so on. So don't ask her.

I had one parent go as far as to send an email to her child's teacher (who was out today) and ask her if she had the flu and if she feels she might have exposed the whole class. Are you flipping kidding me? That information is NOT going to be shared.

Rest assured that if there is a LARGE number of students out, the families will know. But we will not be causing mass panic. I had a parent call me today and say she might "home school her children for the next couple of weeks until H1N1 blows over". Yep. Sounds good.

Sigh. I am just upset. I didn't like to pacify a large amount of parents today. I want parents to STOP WATCHING TV. Just for a little bit. Just put on a happy, mindless TV show and watch that. Or read a book. Or take a walk.

Keeping your children out of school or causing panic at your child's school will not solve the H1N1 issue. Unless you are going to lock yourself in your house and not go to the mall, grocery shopping, out to eat, to the park, to get coffee, to Target, on and on an on - you may get the flu.

So, you have a couple of choices. 1) become a hermit. Hold your breath for the next 10 months until flu season is over.

2) Get a flu shot - seasonal or H1N1. Or both. TALK WITH YOUR DOCTOR TO MAKE SURE IT IS THE RIGHT CHOICE FOR YOU OR YOUR CHILD. Do not ask your school nurse or your friends what you should do - make a decision that is right for yourself and your own family.

3) Do nothing and watch trashy TV or read a romance novel. You know.....have a life.

I am done with my soap box now.

Finley had her cardiologist appointment today. It went very well. She was really good and we were only there for a short while. The murmur is still there, but the doctor wasn't concerned. She really felt that it was an innocent murmur. She only heard it when she laid down. Since Finley is growing well, and doesn't seem to be bothered by running or exercise, then no worries. She was going to do some research on LCA and its relation with heart problems, and see if she needs to be concerned at all. But her gut is no, which was good to hear. Unless anything drastically changes, she said that we don't need to see her again for 2-3 years. Yay!

Cainan learned to make the letter A. He has been working really hard at it. The concept of making letters has been really hard for him. So, he and Mat have been working at it. He has "C" and "A" now for his name! Oh, and I. So - N is up next. Oh boy.

Arlington had to read a book tonight for school on bats. We found out that bats are not blind. Did you all know that? I did not know that. I still think they can't see very well, but this book states otherwise. Anyone who has real bat knowledge, please enlighten me. Where did the saying "blind as a bat" come from?

See - answering questiong like this are MUCH more productive than worrying about H1N1.

Tonight Arlington had Daisy Scouts and they had a costume party. She got to wear her Halloween Costume, so she was very excited.

Here she is doing her best Batgirl pose:

So that is all. Mat and I are going away this weekend for our anniversary (Mat set it all up!) and so I won't be blogging this weekend. My in-laws are graciously coming in to spend the weekend with our kids and taking them (gasp) trick-or-treating - willingly - while we are gone. We are celebrating 12 years of marriage! So we are going away. I will be back on Tuesday - well rested and hopefully with a lot of pictures from our weekend in New York.

Have a great week!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

VisionWalk 2009

Today was finally the day! We got up early. It was a little hard getting out of bed at 6am on a Saturday, I must admit. But we all got ready and were on the road by 7:30.

Today's weather - rain, cold, wind. A beautiful day for a 5K, wouldn't you say? All I can say is that it really figures that after a week of nice weather and warm temperatures, it would be a yucky day.

But no matter - off we went! It did rain off and on during the walk, but not enough to stop people from coming. We took our warm clothes, and put them under our shirts, and we were warm enough. We walked 3.5 miles all together with the 100's of other people that were there.

We didn't take the camera on the actual walk due to the on and off again rain, but we walked along a park and along a lake. In the lake were crew teams racing, so the kids enjoyed watching that as we walked. Mat took some pictures of the area before we started, and I put those pictures at the bottom of this post.

There was face painting and balloon hats for the kids, plus a bounce house. Arlington's balloon hat burst while we were on the walk (causing many tears), so I don't have a picture of it.

(Arlington after the walk - tired, wet, missing her balloon hat, and half of her face painting off)

By the end we were cold and tired, but we had a nice time. Even Finley and Cainan walked the majority of the way. They were real troopers!

We can never thank everyone enough for all the wonderful donations and well wishes. We raised $4300 as of this morning. My original goal.......$200. So, thanks to all of you, we were able to raise an amazing amount of money for retinal research. Boston's total raised was $140,000 towards research. Supporting science and research and gene therapy is so important. Someday, Finley's sight and so many others may be restored because of donations like yours. We applaud you.

We got two of these mouse pads for being a top team.

Our team came in 6th place for donations. (out of 52 teams) Not too shabby considering we have only been fundraising for about 3-4 weeks!

When we got to the finish line Finley said, "did we win?" "Well no" I had to tell her (we were pretty close to the last people to come in, but that was just fine). But I thought about it. We did win. Because of the $4300 we all raised on Finley's behalf, someday she has a chance to see the world the way it was meant to be seen.

So next year!!!! Pittsburgh!! We will be a HUGE team!! We have all kind of fun things planned to get together once we know the date of next years walk. So stay tuned and plan on joining us in Pittsburgh. We want to at least DOUBLE our donation next year.

Funny Finley

Finley says the funnies things. And she is a little monster angel. The other day when my parents were here, she decided to dirty her pull up instead of using the potty. So my mom took her in the bathroom and said, "Finley, you need to tell Grammy when you need to use the potty". Finley's response? "I know.....we talked about this". (This is what I say to her EVERY time she does this)

Finley also is fasinated with skeletons this Halloween season. She wanted a "skel-E-ton" (as she says it) for her room. So my mom and dad bought her a giant one to hang on her wall. Weirdo. She also has a skeleton flashlight. She definitely marches to the beat of her own drum.

On the way home from the walk today, she was coloring in her coloring book. Being so good. So quiet. I turned around thinking she might be asleep. But no. Finley was coloring on the window!!!

(it is hard to see, so I wrote "Window drawing below" on the picture and she is pointing to her handy work).

Goodness. That girl will color on anything. Arlington NEVER did that. In fact, I can only think of one time that Arlington colored on anything besides paper. And Cainan hasn't ever either. But Finley - walls, tables, floors, counters, self, and now windows.


This Week

This week went by quickly. Mat was out of town on a business trip all week. My parents were in visiting all week to keep me company while he was gone.

Wednesday - we met with Finley's teacher for the Blind. She definitely qualified for services, so they came to see her and see what she could do and see what questions we had. The teacher was great and very nice. She stayed about 1 hour and we just talked. We talked about what we see and what concerns we have. We talked about what she would be doing at first. (taking a look at her down at her preschool and calling the public school about Finley's upcoming needs). She gave me three books that had braille in them (they are regular board books and braile has been added to them). It will give Finley the "feel" of braille. The teacher was on board with teaching her braille - thought it was a good path to follow. I was glad to hear that. She also gave Finley new sunglasses she wants her to wear when she is out in the sun to help protect her eyes. She gave her a box of toys to explore. It was really great. Finley really took to her and was giving her multiple hugs by the time she left. The next time we will meet with her will be the 2nd week of November. That is the same day the teacher will go to the preschool for the first time. At this point, Finley doesn't need much, thank goodness. But we have found ourselves a good advocate.

Thursday Finley had an appointment with the pediatrician. Well, it was more of a consult because we needed her to write us a script for some bloodwork. She is having some kidney function test and other blood test to make sure her kidneys are not being affected at this point because of the LCA. We are hoping for good news. She had the blood drawn on Friday, and was a trooper about it. I promised her a present if she sat still and she did. I took her out for pancakes and bought her a little present because she was so good. They had to take three tubes of blood (which is a lot for a little kid) so she needed food after that!! We have to do a urine test, but were told we could "catch" that at home. That will be much easier. We are going to turn that in on Monday morning. We will keep you updated.

This week while my parents were in, we got to see David Copperfield perform. Mat and I saw him years ago and he puts on a GREAT show. And he did not disappoint this time either. Arlington is into magic - we have read several books on Harry Houdini. So, when we found out this summer that David Copperfield was coming to our area, we had to go!! She really enjoyed the show and was completely facinated by the magic.

One funny thing - David Copperfield always takes audience members on stage when he is performing a trick. Arlington had taken off her shoes while we were watching the show. Once Arlington saw that he took people on stage, she scrambled for her shoes!!! Poor girl. I felt bad telling her she had to be 18 before she could go up there with him. She was very disappointed.

Cainan is doing well. Not much to report. He did have a few more nights of night terrors. The night after the "ghost in his room" terror, he woke up 3 times crying. Then the next night, just once, and last night, none. So hopefully, whatever it was, has passed. We are all exhausted. He is learning to spell his name. He knows what letters are in his name, but writing them is a different story. He has the "C" but that is about it. We are still working on the rest.

Cainan got a skeleton pen when we went to the party store the other day. He has been carrying it around since, and even sleeps with it. (don't worry - he hasn't figured out it is a pen). It lights up and he is facinated with it.


Last Bit of Randomness:

My dad's birthday is today! Happy birthday to the best dad in the world. He would do anything for his family - and does. He is quiet and reserved, but would stick his neck out for anyone - even strangers. We celebrated while my parents were visiting and were glad to have that time with him. His present was getting to take care of my kids all week. Aren't I a great daughter??? I am just joking. Sort of.

(singing happy birthday to my dad)
(helping him blow out his birthday cookie)

Arlington fell asleep with this mask on the other night.

Isn't she the funniest? Like I have said before, she can sleep anywhere, any way. She doesn't remember falling asleep with it on. When I showed her this picture she said "I wasn't asleep." It took some real convincing. Thanks Aunt Jess and Uncle Tom for this mask and all the other goodies. The kids love them!!!

So this turned into a really long post, didn't it? Lots to say, for once. Anyway, that is all. Next update will be Tuesday after Finley's cardiologist appointment. So until then - have a great weekend!!

Enjoy the rest of the pictures. Oh!! And remember, please leave us a comment! Here are the instructions again. We LOVE hearing from you. Don't forget to sign your name!!

1 - go to the bottom of this post and click on the word "Comments"
2 - when the page comes up, type a message into the little box on the right. PLEASE REMEMBER TO SIGN YOUR NAME.
3- scrolls down under the box and you will see the choice "Anonymous". Pick this and click "Publish Your Comment" (big orange bar)
4- your comment will appear on the left.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Ghost said "Boo!"

Poor Cainan.

Last night at 3am, Cainan decided to make a visit to the bedroom. He gets up early, but early for him is 6am.

Not 3am.

I was going to be really upset if he thought it was time to get up and he was all done sleeping for the night.

But that wasn't the case. He had seen a ghost, he tells me. He is in full body shakes - not crying yet, but then he starts. Wailing at the top of his lungs "there was a ghost in my room! And it said BOO!"


Poor guy - he is shaking so bad. Now, I am mumbling under my breath "way to go Arlington" who has be telling the babies ghost stories (which are not scary, but she thinks they are). I think the poor boy was dreaming.

So he calms down, and I try to get him back to bed. I turn on his light so he can see that there is nothing in his room, and he points to his lighted ceiling fan and says "see the ghost eyes right there?" (pointing to the light bulbs) He was really convinced!

So I put a night light in his room, and he did agree to stay in there.

My parents said he talked about it ALL day - they spent the day convincing him they were not real.
At dinner he wanted to know if Papa would sleep in his room. Poor boy.

So tonight, he went to bed, and I put the night light on. The kid who only sleeps in the dark wanted a night light. He was FROZEN in place in the bed. I told him over and over that he was safe in there, but I don't think he bought it. So we will see how it goes.

We are having a good week. Sunday my cousin Alissa came in to keep us company and spend the night. We spent the day baking and she taught the kids a few songs.

They danced and had a great time!

She brought her dog Otis, and all three kids enjoyed his company. And he enjoyed a comfy blanket spot on our couch.

Monday she went home and my parents arrived for the week. My dad and mom took the kids outside on Tuesday to blow the leaves out of the yard.

Finley and Cainan had a good time walking through the leaves.

The deer had eaten my beautiful mums.

Can you believe those stupid deer had the nerve to basically come up the stairs of our front sidewalk to eat those flowers.

The work week has been interesting. I had another case of lice and I completed the third grade handwashing classes and eye and ear screenings. So two grades down - 3 to go! I can't wait to be finished. This is my least favorite part of my job - the screenings. The class is fun. The screening are slow torture. Although I usually discover at least 10 kids who need glasses or new glasses, so that is good.

I had a little girl come into my office yesterday who said there was a little dirt next to her circle time mat, and when she looked at it, it would make her cough.

Huh. Well.......don't look at it. She told me she couldn't help it. What a weirdo.

Arlington has started getting "alternate" homework because she knows the weekly words (and can spell and everything) so that has been nice to see. She has been enjoying it. Today's homework was a book about snakes and a project with that, and that was a bit gross. But whatever. That girl was fascinated by the story. She picked out a rubber snake the last time we were at the store which has become a favorite toy.

That is about it. We are looking forward to our VisionWalk on Saturday. We appreciate all the donations and have passed $3200 in donations from all of our wonderful family, friends, collegues, etc. We are extremely grateful for all the support we have received through this. If you still would like to donate, you can click on the words below and it will take you to the site. Thanks for all of your help! We will take a lot of pictures to share.

Finley's future vision teacher came to the house today and spent some time with us. She wanted to meet Finley and talk to us a little about what we were seeing and give us a few suggestions to work with. She left Finley a pair of sunglasses to wear outside, a couple of books, and a fun kit of all kinds of toys with different textures. She was in love. She got to see how Finley looks at books, and how she tracks toys, and how she gets around. She could see where her trouble was and was very impressed with how aware Finley was of her deficit and how she has accommodated for her deficit. She said she was very smart! Always good to hear. She will make a call to our local elementary school to introduce herself and basically tell them that Finley will be coming soon and that she will be needed an IEP and accomodations. She is going to be an awesome advocate. She was pro Braille, and pro keeping an open mind to watching what was to come. It is nice to have someone to bounce "dumb" questions off of.

FYI - I understand there is some confusion about how to post a comment if you don't have a blog or a Google Account. Here are the steps:
1 - go to the bottom of this post and click on the word "Comments"
2 - when the page comes up, type a message into the little box on the right. PLEASE REMEMBER TO SIGN YOUR NAME.
3- scrolls down under the box and you will see the choice "Anonymous". Pick this and click "Publish Your Comment" (big orange bar)
4- your comment will appear on the left.

So try it! We understand we have a lot of readers and we don't hear from any of you!! Leave us a comment so we know you were here! We would love to hear from you.

That's it - I will see you Saturday!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Do not adjust your monitor

That's right. You are seeing snow. Snow that fell in the great state of Connecticut on October 15th, 2009.

I walked out of work at 3:15pm and snow flakes were coming down fast and furious. The evening of the 15th, accumulation of snow was made on our back patio.

Finley asked at 6:45 if she could put on her snow clothes and go outside and make a snowball.

No, no, no, no, no, no no.

To early. Not ready.

It did start to rain later, and the snow did melt some. And then by morning, it was all gone. Finley went outside to get in the car, and she said "where did the snow go? I didn't get to make my snow ball!"

Thursday at work had been pretty horrible. Just a long day. I had three big issues, and our principal was away at a conference. One issue involved a call to DCF, which I will not elaborate on. But trust me when I say, the deal took my entire day and all of my energy to manage, and I was really to go home by the end of the day.

Friday was uneventful at work. We had a "casual for a cause" dress down day on behalf of Finley. I thought that was really sweet of my school. They collected a nice amount of money for me to add to our growing FABULOUS sponsorship we have received. We are really excited about the walk! We have almost reached $3000!! That is amazing - thanks to ALL of you. We can never thank you enough.

Anyway, today started off with Arlington's last soccer practice of the season. She was in a bad mood to start the morning but ended up doing fine at soccer practice. It was flipping cold this morning - only in the high 30's for most of the practice. I need to locate my gloves. I got a chance to chat with some mommies and shiver for an hour and a half, and then we came home.

Today was filled with cleaning, laundry, and baking. We are getting some company starting tomorrow, so we are getting ready! My cousin, Alissa, is coming in from NYC to spend tomorrow into Monday with us. Then my parents come in Monday for the week. We are looking forward to both of their visits!

I made pumpkin muffins this evening, but they turned out a little bland. Very disappointing. Ah well. I am not the best baker. But I am going to try some different breads tomorrow and a few types of cookies.

I have been cooking more. (I will pause while my family picks their jaws up off the floor). Anyone who knows me well knows I HATE to cook, and I try to avoid it at all cost. But I decided that I would try to make at least 3-4 meals a week, and do simpler stuff the other days.

No WONDER it snowed. Duh.

After the little ones got up from their naps, we went shopping. Like the insane parents we are, we took three kids to the mall on a Saturday night. They were fairly good - they like to run down all the ramps that are there. We ate in the food court, and did a few minor things, then headed out. I went to make a return and actually heard Christmas music playing in the shop. You have got to be kidding me.

While standing in line in the food court, I stood behind two girls who couldn't have been more than 15. They each had a cell phone (of course) and were texting each other instead of talking. It was complete madness. Then they started talking some unknown phone language that I can't begin to understand. I own a pay by the minute cell phone. I don't text, or IM, or tweet, or do anything else weird. I counted about 20 people with cell phones to their ears just in the food court. Sad.

ANYWAY - after we left the mall, we headed to my least favorite place to take the kids. The grocery store. Finley loves to touch EVERYTHING on the shelves. Luckily the syrup bottle she knocked on the floor was made of plastic. Cainan likes to ride in the cart and be lazy. If he could have his perfect shopping experience, it would be riding in the cart, and having a large snack and a giant drink.

The kids left the store with one treat for being good and not causing a scene at any point. We bought them a bag of candy corn. I hate candy corn, but the kids and Mat love it. Finley tried to eat the whole bag on the way home, and when we told her she had enough, she sobbed for her "corndy cane". What a werido. That girl will do just about anything for candy. Anything but potty train.

I am sorry I am lacking in the picture department today. I forgot to charge my battery in the camera (a lot of days in a row), so no pictures. Except one of Cainan chillin' on the couch.

He woke up this morning, and came down stairs, and got under the covers, pulled up a pillow, and layed there.

The kids have decided what they are going to be for Halloween this year. Arlington chose Batgirl. (these are not pictures of the kids in the costumes - just Amazon models. ha)

Cainan chose Batman.

First he wanted to be spiderman until he saw the mask covered his whole face. Then he said "no thank you"

Finley chose Snow White. Her new favorite princess.

She tried it on tonight, and before I knew it, had drawn on it with a purple marker. Could she be any badder? I washed it and.....it didn't come out. Of course not. She had to draw on it with a permanent marker. I will try to wash it a few more times, but I think I am out of luck.

So, that is it! I will try to do better with pictures.

Don't forget - if you want to sponsor us in our "Visionwalk" there is still time! Click on this link:
And it will take you to our page. We walk next Saturday the 24th!!

See you Tuesday!!

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Crazed Sports Fan

Well, a crazed hair one anyway.

Don't you love this hair do? It fits her personality to a T.

Sunday we were all decked out in our Steelers gear ready for the game.

Which, of course, was not playing on TV in Connecticut. Ah well.

But they won, so yahoo for that!
This is what we say to anyone who is not a Steelers Fan:

The kids have been getting catalogs in the mail already filled with toys. Christmas catalogs. In October.

They were all over this one today. Each child had a pen in hand - circling every toy on every page, of course.

Arlington took the liberty of reading them the prices and the age requirements and the details of the toy. Then, after they decided it was STILL something they wanted, she wrote their name beside it.

So, that went well. The catalog quickly disappeared to the unknown regions of the garbage can.
When they weren't looking, of course. No worries. They will get about 1000 more between now and the end of November.

I wanted to show you a picture of Finley' that might interest all of you.

This is how Finley looks at things up close. She uses basically one eye to see what she needs to.

The best part is - she has no idea that what she is doing is odd at all. She will do it with just about anything. A cup of water, a book, anything she wants to look at closely.

Just wanted to give you some insight. It isn't easy to capture it in a photograph.

Monday the kids and I stayed home from school because it was closed for Columbus day. We had a pretty uneventful day. I had plans to take them outside and play and enjoy the backyard because that time is winding down. But our lovely neighbor had spoken about a bear that was possibly sighted in the neighborhood.

So, I decided that indoor play, away from windows and doors, was probably the best option. Or moving.

Just kidding. About the moving part. We didn't go outside. Today I had kind of forgotten about the bear as I marched down to the bus stop to meet Arlington. Then I heard a weird cracking noise coming from the trees and remembered about our friend.

I am a very big chicken.

Monday we used our babysitter for the first time. Well, I should say I used her. I had a doctor's appointment smack in the middle of the afternoon, so instead of carting 3 kids, or having Mat come home from work early, I called her and over she came. She is really great, and I am glad we have made the step to getting a babysitter. She is a school teacher, so she will be off when we are, which helps! Arlington adored her, and was sad she was only here for a short time.

Tonight is Daisy Scouts for Arlington. This is their first meeting of the year. We went on a hike with the Daisies on Sunday, which I think Arlington enjoyed. She likes walking around in the woods, and she had fun with her friends. I went along as the CPR certified mommy. Lucky me. But I did get to chat with some mommies and even met a new Kindergarten mommy who lives on our block. So that was pretty fun.

I think that is the end of my completely random post. Oh except today we had a 1/2 day for students in my district. My morning was filled with meetings from 9-1, and then I left the building for a nurse's meeting from 1:15-2:30. So I wasn't in my office for more than 20 minutes today to see students and I STILL saw about 15 kids. Isn't that amazing? They came in droves before my first meeting at 9am, and then I saw a few here and there while I was in meetings. Crazy day.

I had to take a picture of Cainan this morning because he was just looking so cute and grown up.

Of course, after I took his picture, princess Finley insisted I take her picture as well. She and her disheveled self. She had been dressed about 5 minutes - she has marker on her cheek and hands, and had untied her bow on her pants.

AND - for those of you who are following our VisionWalk progress, we have made $2300 so far! Isn't that amazing? I have absolutely wonderful family and friends. If you still want to donate to our Finley's Fighters Team, it is not too late. Click on the words below:
Right now we are the 5th highest donating team! I am so excited to be able to do this walk on Finley's behalf, and for all of you who are family and friends in the Pittsburgh area - don't forget! Next year, we expect you to walk with us!

Take care everyone, and I will see you Saturday.